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Life at the Fort DeSoto Fishing Pier

The Fort DeSoto fishing piers are along a major fish interstate. Right off the pier you can catch everything from pompano to Spanish kings to tarpon. Both piers are open daily from 7am-11pm. The great thing about fishing on both piers is that no fishing license is required. Fort DeSoto Park is a Spanish-American War era military ruins that sits atop Mullet Key Bayou south of St Petersburg, Florida. The park contains 1,136 acres of land and five interconnected islands.

The Bay Pier offers shallower water than the Gulf Pier. It is a great spot for Spanish mackerel and sheepshead.

The Bay Pier offers shallower water than the Gulf Pier. It is a great spot for Spanish mackerel and sheepshead.

The Bay Pier also includes a small bait and tackle shop. This shop includes a small snack area as well as other items you may need for your day at the pier or beach. Kayla Burrows has worked at the shop for the past 8 years. She has a wealth of knowledge on the local fish in the area. It is a family affair as her mother is the manager at the gift shop.

The Bay Pier also includes a small bait and tackle shop. This shop includes a small snack area as well as other items you may need for your day at the pier or beach. Kayla Burrows has worked at the shop for the past 8 years. She has a wealth of knowledge on the local fish in the area. It is a family affair as her mother is the manager at the gift shop.

Fisherman use a wide variety of bait out on the pier such as the squid shown here. They also use shrimp and a variety of colorful lures to attract fish.

Fisherman use a wide variety of bait out on the pier such as the squid shown here. They also use shrimp and a variety of colorful lures to attract fish.

Quay Moncrief, a fisherman from Montgomery, Alabama, out fishing with his finance and her family. While Quay did not catch a single fish, he still enjoyed his time at the Fort Desoto pier. He said he fell in love with the area and would consider moving down to the St Petersburg, Florida area.

Quay Moncrief, a fisherman from Montgomery, Alabama, out fishing with his finance and her family. While Quay did not catch a single fish, he still enjoyed his time at the Fort Desoto pier. He said he fell in love with the area and would consider moving down to the St Petersburg, Florida area.

Humans are not the only ones fishing off the pier. Birds, like this Great Blue Heron, land on the railings waiting for the right fish to swim by. This park is a great spot for birders as there are a known 296 different species at any one time.

Humans are not the only ones fishing off the pier. Birds, like this Great Blue Heron, land on the railings waiting for the right fish to swim by. This park is a great spot for birders as there are a known 296 different species at any one time.

Dolphin pods surround the pier looking for an easy meal. As they see a fish at the end of the line it is a race to see who wins. If the fisherman is quick enough he gets to keep the fish. Dolphins can jump out of the water though and snatch the fish out of the air. While these dolphins look friendly and you might want to feed them it is illegal. Stiff fines and penalties are awarded for violating this law. This is both for the safety of the dolphins and the fisherman.

Dolphin pods surround the pier looking for an easy meal. As they see a fish at the end of the line it is a race to see who wins. If the fisherman is quick enough he gets to keep the fish. Dolphins can jump out of the water though and snatch the fish out of the air. While these dolphins look friendly and you might want to feed them it is illegal. Stiff fines and penalties are awarded for violating this law. This is both for the safety of the dolphins and the fisherman.

The Egmont Key ferry transports passengers from the Bay Pier at Fort DeSoto Park to Egmont Key State Park. Times are dependant on the season so be sure to check out their website for more information. Roundtrip is $20 per person and reservations are highly recommended. The trip takes approximately 15 minutes. Egmont Key is the location of Fort Dade, an old fort dating back to the Spanish American war era. The island offers great shelling, swimming, and opportunities to see wildlife.

The Egmont Key ferry transports passengers from the Bay Pier at Fort DeSoto Park to Egmont Key State Park. Times are dependant on the season so be sure to check out their website for more information. Roundtrip is $20 per person and reservations are highly recommended. The trip takes approximately 15 minutes. Egmont Key is the location of Fort Dade, an old fort dating back to the Spanish American war era. The island offers great shelling, swimming, and opportunities to see wildlife.

A commercial fisherman on his boat the Morgan Marlin right off the Bay Pier. Casting his fishing net after he baits the water ensures a greater catch.

A commercial fisherman on his boat the Morgan Marlin right off the Bay Pier. Casting his fishing net after he baits the water ensures a greater catch.

A commercial fisherman on the Morgan Marlin hauling in his net full of fish.

A commercial fisherman on the Morgan Marlin hauling in his net full of fish.

A young man fishing off his kayak and taking advantage of the great spring weather. The rock outcroppings are a great place to catch fish in this area. Fort Desoto offers kayak and canoe rentals by the hour or for the entire day. 

A young man fishing off his kayak and taking advantage of the great spring weather. The rock outcroppings are a great place to catch fish in this area. Fort Desoto offers kayak and canoe rentals by the hour or for the entire day. 

The Gulf Pier on Easter morning. A rare sight as it is usually crowded with fisherman and beach goers every weekend.The Gulf Pier is noted for sheepshead, pampano, Spanish mackerel, King fish, tarpon and cobia. This location also has snacks, bait, and assorted beach items at their shop.

The Gulf Pier on Easter morning. A rare sight as it is usually crowded with fisherman and beach goers every weekend.The Gulf Pier is noted for sheepshead, pampano, Spanish mackerel, King fish, tarpon and cobia. This location also has snacks, bait, and assorted beach items at their shop.

Dan, a Michigan native, has lived in Florida for the past 40 years. He loves to tell a good fishing tale and was eager to share his experiences. Dan's method for fishing was to cast his line out in the water, set his pole down, and wait to see what bites.

Dan, a Michigan native, has lived in Florida for the past 40 years. He loves to tell a good fishing tale and was eager to share his experiences. Dan's method for fishing was to cast his line out in the water, set his pole down, and wait to see what bites.

Lynn, one of the many female fishermen, fishing off the Gulf Pier. Her bubbly personality and energy were contagious. She not only caught fish but took fish other people did not want that day. Lynn stated the she just loved to eat fish!

Lynn, one of the many female fishermen, fishing off the Gulf Pier. Her bubbly personality and energy were contagious. She not only caught fish but took fish other people did not want that day. Lynn stated the she just loved to eat fish!

This double-crested cormorant hung around the pier waiting for someone to throw a fish back in the water.

This double-crested cormorant hung around the pier waiting for someone to throw a fish back in the water.

Luckily for this cormorant he did not have to wait very long for a fish to be thrown back in the water.

Luckily for this cormorant he did not have to wait very long for a fish to be thrown back in the water.

Hugo Perez took his family fishing on Easter morning. Here Hugo removes the hook from his daughters catch, a grey snapper. 

Hugo Perez took his family fishing on Easter morning. Here Hugo removes the hook from his daughters catch, a grey snapper. 

An unexpected catch. This spiny box puffer, or striped burrfish, wound up running in to a fisherman’s hook and getting reeled in. The sharp barbs and it’s beak can prove to be a challenge when removing the hook. These fish are poor swimmers and not good to eat.

An unexpected catch. This spiny box puffer, or striped burrfish, wound up running in to a fisherman’s hook and getting reeled in. The sharp barbs and it’s beak can prove to be a challenge when removing the hook. These fish are poor swimmers and not good to eat.

Matthew, out on the pier with his grandfather, caught this pinfish. 

Matthew, out on the pier with his grandfather, caught this pinfish. 

Crabs make for an interesting catch. The fisherman opted not to keep this calico crab and tossed it back in to the water.

Crabs make for an interesting catch. The fisherman opted not to keep this calico crab and tossed it back in to the water.

This group of ladies made quite a spread for everyone in their fishing party. They also had carts with large wheels making it easier to pull all thier fishing gear and picnic items through the sand.

This group of ladies made quite a spread for everyone in their fishing party. They also had carts with large wheels making it easier to pull all thier fishing gear and picnic items through the sand.