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Top Fishing Charters in Port Charlotte


Fishing in Port Charlotte

Sitting at the end of the Charlotte Harbor Estuary, the town of Port Charlotte is a well-hidden charming spot with quick access to supreme inshore fishing. Looking from above, you’ll see an impressive maze of waterways that teem with fish. Port Charlotte fishing charters are your best chance to get to the heart of the labyrinth and come back home with an excellent catch.

Port Charlotte fishing spots

No matter how skilled you are, there will be a lot to catch around Port Charlotte fishing spots. You can stay inshore and explore flats, or go upstream for succulent freshwater tablefare. If you want something a bit different, take a kayak around the sounds, go fly fishing for Tarpon, or head to the offshore reefs and wrecks. And you haven’t even heard the best part - these fisheries won’t disappoint that easily. The season is promising from early days of January until the last days of December. 

Gasparilla Sound and Charlotte Harbor

Where the Charlotte Harbor opens up to the Gasparilla Sound you’ll find mangrove shorelines, skinny grass flats, as well as oyster and sand bars. This could easily mean bags full of Snook, Trout, and Redfish. But, these fish don’t give in easily. You'll need the expertise of a local captain to help you navigate around the hot spots. These waters are fished year round, but there isn't a lot of pressure on coveted inshore species as less experienced anglers often miss the good bits. And if you’re a visual type - these scenic waterscape are filled with herons, manatees, and egrets.

Pine Island Sound

Fishing Pine Island Sound will get you the finest of inshore species, including Snook, Speckled Trout, Tarpon, and Redfish. There are many flats around these waters where sight fishing is purely epic. If you want to tip the scales your way and stand a chance against these fellas, better find a local fishing guide to help you. This network of grass flats and oyster beds lits up with the first signs of spring and stays on fire until the last days of the year.

Gulf of Mexico

For the best part of the year, the Gulf waters are a 24/7 battleground for bottom fishing and topwater brawls. You can get anything from Red Snapper, Gag and Goliath Grouper, Amberjack, Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, Mahi, Cobia, and so much more if you want to venture further out.

Novice anglers can find a lot of action even within 20 miles from the coast, while there’s no limit for the experienced sportfishers - you can even head 100 miles offshore to get Snowy Grouper, if you’re feeling like it.

Myakka River

And now for something completely different. The Myakka River fishes amazingly well for Bass, Bream, and Crappie. There is little structure around these waters, but the underwater grass can bestow you with a really nice gift. You can sample Largemouth Bass, Tilapia, and Catfish, while the brackish stretches hide Snook. 

Peace River

The Peace River lives up to its name. You can easily find undisturbed stretches of water where fishing for Largemouth Bass and Bream is spectacular. Canoeists love these currents and so do Snook. Don’t be surprised by some of the oddballs that venture all the way upstream, miles away from their usual summer habitat.

Fishing techniques

The diversity of Port Charlotte fisheries makes this town a perfect hub for scores of inshore and offshore anglers who want to smash IGFA records. Don’t be surprised if you have a hard time choosing what to do first.

Fly fishing for Tarpon near Boca Grande Pass, wade fishing around Pine Island Sound, and sight fishing for Reds in the Charlotte Harbor are just some of the options.

But then, you can also do kayak fishing for Bass in nearby rivers or head offshore to troll for King Mackerel, or bottom fish for Grouper. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular techniques around here.

Saltwater

If you’re more experienced, you shouldn’t miss fly fishing for Tarpon. The hype gets real come May as Tarpon star their spring migration, swimming through the Boca Grande Pass by the dozens. You will want to have an experienced guide by your side to help you find hot spots and reel in a real beast.

There are so many species around here, including Redfish, Snook, Trout, Permit, Jack Crevalle, and some odd Cobia too, which can all be found around brackish waters, bridges, moving tides, creeks, sounds, skinny flats, deeper bays, lagoons, and coves. Yes, it surely is picturesque.

These species are a good starting point for novice anglers but don’t be fooled by their sweet-looking demeanor. Redfish are super strong and you'll often need an extra hand to pull them out of the water. Snook move around a lot, and you can find them as far upstream as the upper stretches of rivers. Trout aren’t the strongest of fighters and smaller specimens are fun to catch, so you might want to start there if you’re fishing with kids. Sight fishing for all these fellas is always a good game of hide-and-seek. If you want hands-on experience, get your wading boots and hop in.

Once you get to the Gulf, you can trol for Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel, which can sometimes also get you a Cobia. If you’re fishing during summer months, bottom waters around offshore reefs and wrecks hold plenty of Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack.

If you’re up for big game, there is a sea of possibilities if you’re patient enough to head 30+ miles offshore. There you can troll for Mahi and Tuna, with a chance of landing some Sailfish too.

Freshwater

Staying around Port Charlotte’s rivers lets you sample some of the most desired freshwater species. Largemouth Bass are always a popular choice and fly fishing for them is a special trip. Bass will readily take plugs, soft plastics, and spinnerbaits, and this will often get you Snook too. Tilapia hide near the edge of the water and gladly feed on peas. Ultralight tackle is the default option for Crappie, and remember to use small hooks and parts of worms, just enough to cover the hook.

Need to know

If you’re fishing aboard a licensed Port Charlotte fishing charter, you don’t need a saltwater license. Most charters supply all the gear, tackle, bait, and lures, and on some, you’ll find catch cleaning as part of the trip. However, you should check what’s included with the captain before the trip. If you’re traveling with small kids, you should also check whether the charter includes life vests, which is the case most of the time.

When packing for the trip, bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, Dramamine in case of motion sickness, as well as an extra layer of clothes. You’ll also want to pack snacks and drinks, if the crew doesn't serve that on their trips.

Anglers exploring freshwater fisheries should purchase a freshwater fishing license.

Port Charlotte Fishing Seasons

You can get an excellent bite from Redfish, Mangrove Snapper, Pompano, and Sheepshead. The nearby rivers and sounds hold a good stock of Bluegill and Snook.
 

On a warm day you can snatch plenty Sheepshead around the harbor waters. Rivers and creeks fish well for Snook, Crappie, and more. Head a bit further down the sound towards Boca Grande Pass and you can get Redfish.

The warm front attracts smaller fish that head towards the grassy areas and structure. This is where you should seek Seatrout and Redfish. You might even be surprised by some early Tarpon.

The Tarpon spring run is spectacular. Although not in full swing, these fellas turn even an average day on water into a spectacle. Offshore bottom fisheries are fun to explore, with a selection of species. Inshore is good for Snook and Trout.
 

Seek structure and you shall find Snook. Make sure to have feather jigs ready if you want to land a memorable catch. Tarpon are on fire and Boca Grande Pass is a heaven for fly anglers.

When the Snapper season opens, you’ll want to be there to harvest to the limits. They are super tasty and fun to catch. Trolling for Kingfish also produces stunning results.

As the summer heat unfolds, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Inshore, you can get Tarpon and Snook. Bass, Crappie, and Bream are in the rivers. Offshore, bottom fishing can get you Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack.

Head offshore to land Amberjacks, Mahi, King Mackerel, Snapper, and Grouper. Back home, you can get Bass, Bream, and Crappie around the rivers, and Tarpon and Trout in saltwater.

As the fall slowly sets in, you will see a rise in Redfish numbers. There are some Tarpon inshore too, while offshore waters fill well for Kingfish.

With Redfish galore and a rich stock of Trout and Snook, your inshore trip will turn into a real blast. Further out you can get Grouper, King Mackerel, and Amberjack.

Cobia put up a nice fight, with the number of Redfish and Trout rising day on day around the harbor waters. Snook are moving towards the streams so get a fishing guide to show you local honey holes.

If you want an early Christmas gift, stay inshore and cast lures and bait for Redfish, Speckled Trout, Snook, Black Drum, and Sheepshead. Head offshore to get Amberjack and some late season Mackerel.

Port Charlotte Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Port Charlotte

"Fish-on! For sure! "

Chris Styles fished with Fish-On Sport Fishing on December 27, 2017

If you are used to fresh water fishing use a charter guide to teach you. Salt water fishing is a totally different game than fresh water.

"Half day trip with Captain Jack"

Michael Cook fished with Shallow OPS Charters on September 1, 2017

Patience and persistence. The fishing is slower in September and you may need to venture out to Englewood or boca

"Full day trip with Captain Jack Sanzalone "

William Rennie fished with Shallow OPS Charters on March 12, 2017

Do your research and find a good guide/captain to show you what to do, how to do it and where to go.

Top Targeted Species in Port Charlotte

Redfish

Tarpon

Tripletail