Fishing in Southwest Florida
Concierge.com's insider take:
The Gulf of Mexico's warm, shallow waters and protected estuaries make southwest Florida an angler's paradise. The sheltered Ten Thousand Islands are a favorite spot for backwater fishing and saltwater fly-fishing, especially for snook and tarpon. From Chokoloskee, an end-of-the-road hamlet surrounded by Everglades National Park, Capt. Charles Wright offers trips in either powerboats or sea kayaks (239-695-9107; chokoloskeecharters.com). Capt. Michael Van Jones of Fins-N-Grins (239-784-2442; charterfishingmarcoisland.com) in the Marco Island fishing village of Goodland will hook you up with redfish, sea trout, snapper, and even sharks. The Naples-based 45-foot Lady Brett (239-263-4949; tincityboats.com) and the 43-foot Sea Quest (239-765-7665; seatrekfishing.com), based in Fort Myers Beach, offer deep-sea charters in search of the big stuff, like goliath grouper, barracuda, and king mackerel. Farther north, Captiva-based guides Jim and Jimmy Burnsed lead private fishing trips, from two-hour jaunts to all-day backwater excursions (239-472-1779; sanibelcaptivafishing.com), that can also include shelling and snorkeling. It's also possible to wet a line from dry land: Naples Pier and Sanibel's Fish Pier are hot spots for catching pompano and Spanish mackerel. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (888-347-4356; myfwc.com) requires a recreational saltwater fishing license for non-Florida residents over 16 years old unless you're fishing from a licensed charter boat.