Fishing — like many recreational pursuits — requires its own special gear.
Want to catch a fish?
You’ll need a rod and reel, a net, a bait bucket.
It takes guts, too — to hook a slimy worm, or a prickly pinfish, or to risk a $20 lure.
Then, you’ll need to head out to your playing field: The Gulf of Mexico, a river or a lake.
Mostly, though, you need luck.
Being lucky while fishing is what makes it so addicting.
You can fish alone, or with friends.
You can fish while listening to a football game, or while bird-watching.
You can fish for your dinner.
You can catch and release, and you can tell lies.
You can fish just because it’s fun.
I once saw a man wearing dress pants, and an oxford cloth shirt and tie — out fly fishing in a creek, in the middle of the day in Durango, Colorado.
I remember thinking, “I want to live in a place where I can fish on my lunch hour.”
Pasco County offers that.
It borders the Gulf of Mexico. It has rivers and lakes, and there are lots of boat ramps and piers.
Boaters have it made.
But if you don’t have a boat, you rent one from a marina, or borrow a kayak, or hire a fishing guide, or fish off a pier.
If you’re ready to cast a few lines, here are some fishing spots that are worth checking out.
Anclote Gulf Park
Anclote Gulf Park has a 500-foot pier open free 24 hours daily and a boat ramp offering easy access to the Gulf. The 23-acre park itself is open daily, dawn to dusk, and has a playground, dog park, trails, picnic tables and restrooms. It’s at 2305 Baillies Bluff Road in Holiday.
Tarpon, goliath grouper, sharks, red snappers, snook, trout, redfish and scallops are all in Gulf waters. The 10-day bay scallop season starts the third Friday in July.
Anclote River Park
Anclote River Park, down the street at 1119 Baillies Bluff Road, also has a boat ramp, docks and fishing access to Anclote flats for inshore fishing for trout, Spanish mackerel, snook and redfish. The 30-acre park is free and open dawn to dusk.
Eagle Point Park
Eagle Point Park is another popular place to fish. It’s at 4499 Straub Memorial Drive in New Port Richey, bordering the Gulf. It has three fishing piers, a kayak launch and picnic shelters, trails and a playground. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily, except Thursdays, when it opens at 9 a.m.
Along the Pithlachascotee River
There are several places along the Pithlachascotee River, or “Cotee,” as locals call it, where anglers like to cast their lines. Here are two:
- Port Richey Waterfront Park
Port Richey Waterfront Park, at 8119 Old Post Road, has a kayak launch and a 200-foot fishing pier over the Cotee. The park is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and has a pavilion, playground, restrooms and a dog park.
- The Sims Park Boat Ramp
The Sims Park Boat Ramp into the Cotee is at 5443 Main Street in New Port Richey near downtown. It’s free and open 24 hours daily. Sims Park also has a small lake, a riverfront walk, picnic shelters and restrooms.
Withlacoochee River Park
Withlacoochee River Park, at 12449 Withlacoochee Blvd., in Dade City, has a kayak dock into the Withlacoochee River, where anglers catch largemouth bass, speckled perch, bream, chain pickerel, catfish and bluegill. Park hours are daily, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free.
Fishing spots at Pasco County parks
Pasco County is lake country and plenty of parks have lakes.
Here are just a few:
- Moon Lake Park
Moon Lake Park, at 8985 Lake Drive, in New Port Richey, has a boat launch, popular with folks fishing for whopper largemouth bass. The launch is limited to small-powered-engine boats and kayaks, but that’s all you need to fish on this large lake. The park, open daily from dawn to dusk, also has a small beach, picnic tables, a playground, basketball court and picturesque trees.
- Crews Lake Wilderness Park
Crews Lake Wilderness Park, at 16739 Crews Lake Drive, in Spring Hill, has a fishing pier children especially like. But the lake tends to be clogged with weeds in areas, so it is not popular among serious boating anglers, says park supervisor David Jay. Jay says the lake is good for kayakers, though, and for boaters with engines that are 10-horsepower or less. The lake at 200-plus acres is one of the largest natural lakes in Pasco County, and has largemouth bass, crappies, catfish, gar and bream.
- Middle Lake Park
Middle Lake Park, at 18620 Townsend House Road, in Dade City, has a fishing pier over a 200-acre lake, a kayak launch and a boat ramp for boats 16 feet or smaller. The park, free and open daily from dawn to dusk, also has a picnic area.
By Karen Haymon Long
Published March 02, 2022