Shoreline Report By: Paul Presson

Picnic Island Park is located in Port Tampa on Commerce Street in the South Westshore area. The park is West of MacDill Air Force Base with a 405 acre preserve separating the two. This 96 acre outdoor playground for adults and children has seen some vast improvements recently. The area was once the point of embarkation for troops during the Spanish American war.

Driving down Commerce Street, don’t let the industrial scenery dissuade you from continuing your journey to the park. Upon entering Picnic Island a boat ramp and a fishing pier are the first attractions on this property. Redfish and trout are plentiful fishing from this location. The pier is very well kept and has a cleaning station with running water. A mobile snack bar is setup in the parking lot on weekends.

A frisbee golf course, sand volleyball court, pavilions with grills, playgrounds, beach and a dog park are just some of the features of this park. Midway through Picnic Island is a very convenient kayak/canoe launch. At the southernmost point of the island is a large wooden fishing platform. This area is a great entry point for wading anglers.

The cove that leads to the preserve area holds redfish, trout, snook, and flounder. Wade fishing may be difficult because of the soft, mucky bottom in certain areas, but the fish are plentiful. The closest bait and tackle shops are located on Gandy Boulevard just before the Gandy Bridge.

If you haven’t been to Picnic Island, it is well worth the trip. With the recent improvements, this is one of the nicest parks in the area. Admission is free and the hours are from sunrise to sunset. Load your family in the car and enjoy a day at Picnic Island.