June 26, 2020
The area of Fort Myers is a very popular travel destination. Oftentimes, families will say they are in Fort Myers, when really they are staying in a nearby community such as Cape Coral, Sanibel Island, or Fort Myers Beach. They are all within the same area on the southwest coast of Florida, so it makes sense to simplify.
We’ll keep it simple as well, and tout all the benefits of this incredible fishery. From the freshwater options of the Caloosahatchee River, to the inshore fishing in the bays and inlets, to the bountiful Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers fishing is off the charts.
Anglers near the city of Fort Myers have the best access to freshwater fishing. Just head east on the Caloosahatchee River, away from the Gulf. Make your way past the Interstate 75 overpass to where the river thins. If you travel far enough you’ll see the Caloosahatchee Regional Park, where several anglers fish from a pier. Make your way to the Caloosahatchee Canal and you can get to the river’s starting point, Lake Okeechobee. This entire section of the river is great for landing largemouth bass.
The lower section of the Caloosahatchee River (from Fort Myers to the coastline) has more salinity in its waters, and therefore more saltwater species are found here. Most people who visit Fort Myers who are looking to fish the Caloosahatchee will fish this section of the river. The variety here is incredible; It’s practically a buffet for anglers. You can fish near the bridges for sheepshead, or the mouth of inlet for tarpon, or near the mangroves for mangrove snapper.
Tarpon, or the silver king, is a highly desired fish near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. The topography of this area is the perfect feeding grounds for the speedy tarpon. Tides keep the current moving, and there are plenty of seagrass beds nearby that provide food. There are also boating restrictions due to a manatee buffer zone, so there’s no excuse for spooking the tarpon!
As you exit the Caloosahatchee River, head north in the Intracoastal Waterway to Pine Island. There’s a preserve here that protects nature from civilization, so the wildlife is able to grow in its natural state. Depending on the time of year, you can catch snook, tarpon, or redfish. Spotted seatrout thrive in the shallow waters as well. In fact, the entire Intracoastal Waterway (the east side of Sanibel Island north to Port Charlotte) is an estuary with some of the best fishing in the state. The flats and mangrove islands create an ecosystem that boosts the sizes and numbers of this fishery, and anglers are thrilled by the rod-bending action of the area. Fish twelve months of the year and enjoy a variety of inshore catches.
Head south from the Caloosahatchee River and you’ll find yourself in another incredible estuary. Estero Bay is accessed either through the Estero Pass (and Hurricane Pass) or the Matanzas Pass located on either side of San Carlos Island. Fish the 865 overpass that connects the island to the mainland and to Fort Myers Beach for sheepshead. Or make your way into the bay for reds, trout, flounder, ladyfish, permit, spanish mackerel, and even shark! The grassbeds on the east side of the bay is the best place to start casting your lines.
Make your way to the Gulf of Mexico for even more unbelievable fishing. Here you’ll find deep sea fish species such as mahi mahi, king mackerel, and marlin. If you’re up for an adrenaline pumping excursion, the Gulf is your destination.
If you want to increase your success rate, or lower your worry about where to fish, consider hiring a local Fort Myers fishing guide. They have the best knowledge of the area and will have all the gear you need.
Captain Clarence is a local guide known for getting his customers on the bite. He has a 24 ft. boat and can accommodate 5 passengers on both inshore and nearshore charters. If you’re interested in shark fishing, consider fishing with Captain Mike – he has mastered this technique and is happy to teach you or help you improve. If you’re looking for an adventure, check out Capt. Keith – he runs 4, 6, and 8 hour trips in the many nearby inlets and you’ll have the opportunity to hook a tarpon, snook, amberjack, permit, redfish and more, depending on the season.
Fort Myers is a great place for families to vacation or plan a special event. Celebrate birthdays, weddings, or family reunions in the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel Island area and you’ll be creating memories of a lifetime. The backdrop of gorgeous Gulf of Mexico sunsets alone are worth the cost of admission!
Hit the links, walk the beaches, or bend the rods – get your family to Fort Myers for a great trip soon!
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