Sunshine Skyway Bridge itself, viewed from the south.
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park is a Florida State Park located on the north and south sides of the mouth of Tampa Bay. When the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built on I-275 (US 19) after one part of the old bridge collapsed due to a ship collision, the approaches to the old bridge were turned into the longest fishing pier in the world. The bridge is lit at night, and the park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The most common activity is fishing. Common catches include snook, tarpon, grouper, black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, sheepshead, red snapper, and pompano. Snacks, drinks, bait, and fishing supplies can be purchased on the fishing pier, which charges an admission fee of $4.00 per car plus $4.00 per adult, $2.00 per child (6–12 years old) and free, children 5 and younger. Other activities include kayaking, swimming, wading, kite surfing and other miscellaneous water activities.
The piers, which can have excellent fishing, are very high above the water. This is not for everyone, so the area around the pier has many legal spots to fish from shore. From these spots one can access the edges of some deep channels (excellent for snook) and have lots of unfettered access to huge “flats” (shallow water) areas. These areas are usually less than chest deep at most high tides and hold red fish and spotted sea trout, most of the year. In the warmer months migratory fish move through the area including snook, cobia, tarpon, sharks, Spanish mackerel and in the deep water around the piers occasionally some kingfish.
In August 2008, Florida Department of Transportation officials announced that the eastern spans of the pier would be closed on August 29, 2008, for safety reasons. They were built in 1954, and after 50 years of corrosion and wear and tear, they had worn out. The western spans, built 17 years later, were still deemed safe to use.