Fishing the Islands
Wanna Go Fishing? Sanibel is the Place!
Florida has a special spot in the heart of a fisherman. It’s the fishing capital of the world. The State of Florida issues over half a million fishing licenses a year. These paradise islands – Sanibel and Captiva – are part of that special spot and they offer you the chance to test yourself against these wary creatures of the deep. Whether you do it from onshore or offshore, in deep water or the flats, with a fly rig or heavy tackle you will have a thrilling experience to be remembered.
Where to Fish
– There are two ways to get those fish in your creel —
- Onshore fishing is usually with light tackle and the catch will likely be snook, redfish, sea trout or grouper. The most popular places are the many beaches on the islands but the Lighthouse Pier, Blind Pass bridge and the rock jetty at Turner Beach are also places where the catch is usually good.
- Offshore fishing is either from your own boat, a rental or a charter boat. It will usually be in State waters, within 9 miles of land. Waters beyond this are Federal waters. The catch will be similar to the onshore catch with some Pompano or shark also possible.
WHEN TO FISH
– There is pretty good fishing all year. There are some migratory species that will be found only during certain months but all the good eating fish can be caught throughout the year.
There is a fishing license required in Florida for both residents and non-residents – and for both onshore and offshore fishing. The rules and regulations on size, limits and seasons sometimes change during the year so it’s a good idea to check. Most bait stores give free information published by the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission. You can purchase a fishing license at any marina or bait and tackle shops such as The Bait Box, Tarpon Bay Recreation, Jensen’s Marina, McCarthy’s Marina, Adventures in Paradise, Norm Seigler’s Fly Shop or Whitney’s Bait and Tackle. You can enter any of these names in your search window for more information about them and their services.
There are many fishing guides and charter companies on the islands to help make your fishing adventure both fun and productive. The benefits of a charter include an experienced guide who knows the local fish and wildlife habits and how and where to find them. You can find a full listing of guides and charter companies who are members of the Chamber of Commerce. Three that are mentioned frequently by firms such as TripAdvisor include:
Tarpon Bay Explorers
Location: 900 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel
Location: 15107 Captiva Road, Captiva
Location: 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva
Getting Ready For Your Fishing Trip
Whether you’re fishing alone or on a charter it’s good to plan ahead – know what you might need beforehand rather than not have it when you need it. If you’re fishing onshore you should have the rods and reels of course, plus license, polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, pocket knife and pliers, tackle box with extra line and hooks, bait, a first aid kit, creel or bag for the fish, some water and snacks, your camera and a nice wide hat. Also some bugspray if you’re in the flats. If fishing offshore you will need the same plus a sweater or jacket. Out on the water it will be 10 degrees cooler then on land and there will be a breeze. If on a charter you will be provided much of what you need – license, tackle, bait and treating/cleaning/bagging the fish. They will want you to wear non-skid shoes on their boat. You will need cash for gratuities and maybe fuel and bait. You should check with your charter company beforehand.
Have a wonderful fishing adventure in the shimmering waters of these beautiful islands.