The Big Bridge in Englewood joins the mainland with Manasota Key
where Englewood Beach,
and other beaches are located. Next to the Big Bridge is the remainder of the old
wooden bridge that has been rebuilt as a fishing pier.
The old Englewood Bait House is at the bottom of the bridge and there are boat and jetski rentals available.
Below are some pictures.
The sidewalks leading to the bridge are wide on both sides of the road. These are nice for walking or bike riding.
The entrances onto the bridge sidewalk is narrow and so is the sidewalk. It is barely wide enough for two people to pass without rubbing bellies!
The old bridge wood pilings still protrude from the water. Diving from the bridge is prohibited. We used to jump from the center of the bridge into the deep channel, but you probably can't get away with that today.
A view looking to the southeast side of Lemon Bay.
The bridge has gates on all four corners to stop traffic when the draw bridge opens. This keeps car and pedestrian traffic from getting too close.
The concrete sidewalk turns into steel mesh on the draw bridge.
This is the view to the southwest. By boat, this channel leads to Stump Pass and Ski Alley.
This is what it looks like looking to the south which is the Intercoastal Waterway in the center of Lemon Bay. By boat, this leads to Palm Island and Boca Grande.
This is a nice old wooden speedboat that had passed under the bridge.
The Englewood Fishing Pier shot from the top of the Big Bridge.
The view to the east from the Big Bridge.
You can see how narrow the bridge sidewalk is at the exit. The concrete is also uneven so you have to be careful not to trip.
There is no bike lane across the bridge so walking your bike on the sidewalk is probably smart when the traffic is heavy. There are a lot of Q-Tips driving during the season!
The parking lot for the pier is a shell-sand mix and is usually in rough.
This is where you walk onto the pier. Sometimes the ground is in rough shape. The fishing here is usually slow...so if your looking to relax, bring a chair and kickback while your bait is drowning.
The pelicans. seagulls, and herons hang around the pier hoping for a hand out. They also like to poop all over the place so watch where you sit.
Yeh well maybe the bird was taking my spot but that is not really a good place to cast a line. If you are in a chair, go to the end or on the bridge side of the pier to cast...don't waste your time in the "handicap" zone.
These guys were enjoying the day even though not much was biting.
The end of the fishing pier is close to the center of the bridge. The bridge tender has a little air-conditioned office to sit and operate the draw bridge.
A friendly little pelican airing out it's wings on one of the old wooden bridge pilings.
This is the Englewood Bait House at the foot of the east side of the bridge. It looks pretty much like it did over 50 years ago. An interesting woman by the name of Minnie Pierson owned the place for many years. She was 4 foot something and tough as nails. She was also highly educated with a great interest in marine life. I liked her a great deal. Her grandchildren own the place today.
You can walk across the street from the pier and get freah and frozen bait and other fishing supplies.
The Bait House marina area has boat, jet ski, kayaks and other rentals.
Captain Jacks Deep Sea Fishing Boat. You can take an off-shore fishing trip with Cap't Jack and catch some snapper and grouper if you want your own fresh seafood. Go in the Bait House for information.
Looking across the top of the Bait House from the center of the bridge.
A sailboat about to pass under the bridge.
Looking north up Lemon Bay and the Intercoastal Waterway toward Venice Florida.
Here is a series of pictures of what the bridge opening close up looks like. The bridge tender did not see me on my wheelchair and opened the bridge once I was passed the gates. After the bridge began to close, she ran out of the tender's office and ranted at me about being too close. I waited til she was done and calmly said,"You opened the bridge while I was crossing...not me."
The east side begins to raise up first.
Then the west side opens.
Both sides of the draw bridge open to about 45 degrees.
Once the bride opens, the boats can pass through safely.
When the bridge is fully raised, you can see under it to the other side.
This is a view from the bridge to the Northwest side of Lemon Bay.