The Indian River Lagoon is a favorite destination for anglers in New Smyrna Beach.
Whether casting from a boat or from a spot along the shore, the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway promise fishermen the opportunity to reel in Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, mangrove snapper and red drum, among a host of others.
Those who prefer dockside fishing will soon have access to a choice spot along the Intracoastal thanks to the reopening of a fishing pier that was closed by the City of New Smyrna Beach last year.
The city recently announced the pier at Buena Vista Park would reopen in mid- to late-October with several upgrades designed to give anglers a better fishing experience.
Maintenance Operations Director Faith Miller said lighting, benches and fish cleaning stations have been incorporated in the design of the new pier.
"In addition, the handrails are made of a recycled composite deck material that should result in fewer accidental splinters for our residents and visitors," Ms. Miller said.
The pier was closed to the public March 25, 2020, due to concerns by engineers of its structural integrity. A replacement pier was approved April 27, with half of its construction funded by a Florida Inland Navigation District grant.
The city says the pier, which is at 550 North Causeway, has reached 87% substantial completion with crews continuing to make progress.
Since the closing of the pier last year, fishermen have taken to using a smaller pier accessible from Buena Vista Park just south of the new pier. Local fisherman casting from the pier on a recent weekday afternoon pointed out the new pier should be a great spot for fishing thanks to the shade provided by the North Causeway Bridge. Fish tend to seek out shade as it provides cooler water as well as a place to hide from birds and other predators.
“Sparky,” a casual angler who was spending the afternoon fishing at Buena Vista Park, said the area seems like a great place for fishing. “It seems like it’s been pretty active for a lot of people we’ve seen out here. They’ve pulled a lot of stuff out.” Sparky said she would definitely try out the new pier once it was opened.
Another fisherman, Frank, who was at Buena Vista Park to fish after work, noted the new pier will allow anglers easier access to the deeper water near the channel. Typically deeper water means more fish and better opportunities for fishermen.
Documents presented to the City Commission in April 2021, cited “aging and storm events” as factors contributing to the disrepair of the pier. The report showed the renovation project would replace 300 linear feet of the pier while retaining the same footprint as what was previously there. Anticipated construction costs were set at $698,400.
Other city parks that provide spots for fishing in New Smyrna Beach include Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park at 6656 S. Atlantic Ave., which provides a fishing pier on the Indian River side of the park, and Riverside Park at the east end of Canal Street, which provides a long boardwalk and fishing pier.