Fishing In Southwest Florida 101

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Fishing In Southwest Florida 101

I am Captain Sean A Davis with Fish Warrior Charters and I want to give you, the reader some basic information and insight into the spectacular fishing opportunities available here in Southwest Florida.

The area that is Southwest Florida begins at its northern most point in Boca Grande runs south through Pine Island Sound, Captiva, Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach to Naples and ends its southern most point in the Ten Thousand Islands. The fishing opportunities discussed in this article are practical for most of this area. Although there are many opportunities for off shore adventures, I am focusing on near shore and backcountry fishing scenes.

Catching fish in Southwest Florida begins with catching bait. There are many species of baitfish available including scaled sardines, thread fin herring and pin fish just to name a few. These baits are usually caught with a cast net around area beaches, bridges or grass flats. If you are not proficient with a cast net, shrimp can be purchased from your local bait shop or marina. Shrimp can be great bait at times, but cast netting your own live bait will be much more beneficial.

As far as the fishing goes, there are many types of fish available in Southwest Florida. Snook, Redfish. Speckled trout, Tarpon, Mangrove Snapper, Sheephead and Permit are several species that are targeted in the pristine waters of Southwest Florida. The tactics to catch these fish vary depending on the seasons, tidal flow and weather. Trout are a great fish to target for beginner fishermen. With Florida’s vast grass flats and passes, hooking into trout can be a good bet all year long. The grass flats around Sanibel and Captiva can be very productive.

Redfish is another species caught regularly most of the year. They are not as subject to water temperatures as some of the other species. To catch Reds, you want to beat up the bushes. Fishing mangrove island shorelines at high tide is a highly effective way to catch these bruisers. Mangroves are found mostly in the Southwest Florida area.

Tarpon or “Silver King”, as they are sometimes called, reign supreme in late spring and early summer beginning as early as April through the end of June. These beautiful game fish can be found cruising up the coast of Florida. It is an awesome sight to see schools of a hundred or more fishing rolling on the surface on there way to Boca Grande and points north. For these fish I use heavy spinning or conventional reels without the rods. My preferred bait is live Jumbo Threadfin Herring fished with a 6/0 circle hook. By pitching baits at rolling schools, hookups can come easy at times, but landing these spectacular fish is a whole other issue. The hookup to landing ratio of these Silver Kings in the 80lb or greater range is probably 7 to 1, but the show they put on when hooked will be burned in your memory forever. Tarpon fishing in Southwest Florida should be in everyone’s “To Do list” once in their lives.

If I had to pick my favorite game fish of flats fishing it would be Snook. There is no other fish that I like to fish for more than these savvy hard pulling line-siders. The best months for Snook fishing are April through nearly November. During the summer months, Snook can found along the Beautiful beaches of Southwest Florida. Live bait is the key to catching these awesome game fish. Small Snook can be easily caught by almost anyone, but it is the giant Snook that haunt my dreams at night. I consider a big Snook at the small end to be 34″ or 11 lbs going to 40″ and over 20 lbs. These fish will test your patience, tackle and angling skills.

As you can see there are many angling opportunities her in the Southwest Florida area. All you need to do is come to Florida and witness it for yourself. Please remember, there are many regulations for keeping fish, so be sure to check local laws concerning seasons, sizes and bag limits. One of the best ways to learn first hand about tactics used to catch fish in Florida is to hire an experienced fishing guide. I have been guiding for years and would love to share some of my knowledge with you. Do not let life pass you by without fishing the flats and near shore coastal waters of Southwest Florida. Book your Fishing adventure today!!!