Punta Gorda

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Fishing in Punta Gorda

Don't miss your chance to get in on the world class game fishing Punta Gorda, FL has in store. Located on Charlotte Harbor in southwest Florida, this little town gives you access to miles of undeveloped coastline, Boca Grande Pass, and the Gulf of Mexico. To match this diversity of habitats is a wide a range of game fish, from Redfish and the mighty Tarpon to Wahoo and Blackfin Tuna.

Known For

Punta Gorda is known for its exquisite marriage of old fashioned architecture and a booming modern restaurant scene. Meaning "fat point" in Spanish, this city has long been identified by the wide peninsula extending into Charlotte Harbor. Brick streets lined with palm trees and early 20th century homes remind many visitors of Florida before the days of expansive development. This small town charm is complemented by stellar inshore fishing, featuring 100+ lb Tarpon in summer.

Punta Gorda Fishing Spots

Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound

Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands are climbing their way to the top of the list when it comes to world class sportfishing. Here you’ll find flats, sounds, and mangrove shores full of Florida’s most popular game fish. Fishing charters out of Punta Gorda put you smack dab in the middle of the action.
A day on the water allows you to explore Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound, and the Boca Grande area. Depending on your preference, you can spend 4-12 hours fishing for Redfish, Snook, Speckled Trout, Permit, Flounder, and much more. The infamous Tarpon enters Boca Grande Pass in April, peaking in May and June before scattering around Charlotte Harbor.
Summer Tarpon fishing in these waters is one of Southwest Florida’s best kept secrets.The best time to go after the spectacular Silver King in Punta Gorda is between May and July.  While casting lines along the beaches early in the season, you might land a Silver King ranging from 40-150 lbs. The canals host smaller specimens (10-40 lbs) through September.

The Gulf of Mexico

If you’re ready to take your Punta Gorda fishing experience to the next level, look for a charter that will take you into the Gulf of Mexico.

A nearshore trip takes you to the other side of Boca Grande Pass, typically up to 9 miles from shore. Here you can fish for Snapper, Grouper, Barracuda, Cobia, Amberjack, and Sharks. Keep an eye out for King and Spanish Mackerel in spring and fall. Many local captains consider a 6 hour trip to be ideal, since you’ll have plenty of time to dabble in the nearshore waters without spending a full day at sea.

Deep sea fishing out of Punta Gorda will take you much farther into the Gulf, anywhere from 25-100 miles offshore. For an adventure of this sort, plan on booking a full day trip. The Bluewater is home to large bottom fish like Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack, in addition to big game pelagics such as Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Blackfin Tuna, Cobia, and Barracuda.

It’s ideal to book a deep sea fishing trip between March and November, when the weather is agreeable and you can target many of these species in their peak season. You can expect good bottom fishing year round, but it's important to note that some species are closed to harvest at certain times. Most notably, the season for Gag Grouper typically open in spring while Red Snapper are only open to harvest for a couple of months in summer.

Webb Lake and Marl Ponds

The freshwater angler can enjoy casting lines in the Webb Lake and Marl Ponds Fish Management Areas roughly 9 miles south of Punta Gorda. Webb Lake is a man-made body of water spanning 395 acres, while the Marl Ponds are about 2 acres each. These waters host Largemouth Bass, Bluegill Bream, Catfish, and Tilapia.

You can access Webb Lake by 3 different boat ramps. Marl Ponds 1, 2, and 3 provide great fishing from the banks.

How much will it cost?

With an overall price range of roughly $325-$1,500, Punta Gorda fishing charters allow you to enjoy this world class fishery without flexing your wallet.

Inshore fishing trips typically cost $400-$450 for a half day and $600-$800 for a full day.

Many captains in Punta Gorda and the surrounding area advertise their Tarpon fishing charters separately. You won’t see a significant increase in prices for half day and ¾ day Tarpon trips compared to regular inshore fishing rates, but you can expect to pay $800 or more for a full day trip. Extended day trips (12 hours) average $1,100-$1,200.

Tarpon fishing typically requires more patience and persistence than a regular inshore fishing charter; booking a trip of 6 hours or more will increase your chances of success.

Nearshore trips in the Gulf last 6-8 hours, and you’re likely to pay between $650-$800.

Punta Gorda deep sea fishing charters cost $900-$1,200 for a full day trip and up to $1,500 for an extended day trip. You might also decide to join a shared charter for around $200 per person. While this budget option is certainly appealing, you typically don’t get as much individual attention from the crew on a shared trip.

Types of Fishing

Fishing inshore will see you casting live bait and artificials primarily on light tackle. Anglers target Tarpon using a wide variety of methods, from sight casting and drift fishing to trolling. You can also target the Silver King and most inshore species on fly.

Offshore and deep sea fishing techniques consist mainly of trolling and bottom fishing. You can troll the open water for pelagics like Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Blackfin Tuna, and Sharks, or bottom fish for species like Snapper and Grouper near the reefs. Depending on your target species, you may use live bait, cut bait, or artificial lures.

If you plan on fishing Webb Lake or the Marl Ponds, consider using ultra-light tackle for Tilapia. You can catch the species in these waters using a handful of baits, including crickets, red wigglers, and small bits of hot dog.

Need to Know

Saltwater and freshwater anglers must carry a Florida fishing license. You can expect most charter operators in Punta Gorda to supply a license for you, but always check ahead of time.

If you plan on freshwater fishing or shore fishing without a guide, you can purchase a fishing license online.

Anglers fishing the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area need to bring a Daily Use Permit or Management Area Stamp. 

Punta Gorda
Based on 19163 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Punta Gorda Fishing Seasons


The start of the year is an excellent time to fish for Redfish, Sheepshead, Pompano, and Mangrove Snapper inshore. On the reefs, you’ll have great luck with whichever bottom fish are open to harvest.


With average temperatures hovering around 63°F, February can be a great time to get out on the water before loads of tourists arrive. Redfish, Sheepshead, and more are still to be found in abundance.


Spring break is the perfect chance to get in on this top notch fishery right when things are heating up! Cobia and Sharks are appearing inshore while Amberjack and Mackerel are showing up in the Gulf.


Inshore you can enjoy the best Snook fishing of the year, and maybe be the first to catch a Tarpon this season! Offshore you’ll find plenty of Amberjack and Barracuda on the reefs.


May marks the height Punta Gorda’s Tarpon season, accompanied by great catch-and-release Snook fishing. Keep an eye out for summer fishing tournaments in the Boca Grande area.


By June, you can expect stellar fishing everywhere you look. Chase after big game trophies in the Gulf or continue to indulge in the Tarpon season inshore. Expect temperatures around 80°F.


Fish the wrecks and reefs for Barracuda, Snapper, Grouper, and Goliath Grouper, or take advantage of the Gulf’s big game scene. Then again, Tarpon are still stealing the spotlight inshore. 


There’s still time to hook into a Tarpon near Punta Gorda, or make the trek offshore. Temperatures can creep as high as 100°F in August, so be sure to pack your sunscreen and stay hydrated!


Now that the Tarpon craze is dying down, set your sights on the big game fishing offshore. You can enjoy excellent fishing for Snapper, Grouper, and a few fall Spanish Mackerel near the pass.


If you’ve been waiting for cooler weather, chances are October will be your saving grace. Fishing in the Gulf is still hot, though! Autumn is a great time to target Redfish if you feel like staying inshore.


Bottom fishing gets better as winter approaches. You can take advantage of Mackerel’s fall run on the reefs or stay inshore to target Redfish, Snook, and Speckled Trout.


Grace your holiday table with a catch fresh from the waters of Punta Gorda! Redfish, Sheepshead, Speckled Trout, a variety of bottom fish, and even late season Mackerel could all be on the menu. 

Punta Gorda Fishing Calendar

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Reviews of Fishing in Punta Gorda

4 hour morning trip with captain Lou
Amanda B. fished with Fast Cast Fishing - Punta Gorda on July 7, 2020
This was our first time and we had a blast. I do thing morning in July was a good time. Not as hot
6 hour trip with Captain Lou
Vernon S. fished with Fast Cast Fishing - Punta Gorda on February 19, 2020
Get advice from Captain regarding best type of fishing for the time of year!
Full day
Jeffrey L. fished with Fast Cast Fishing - Punta Gorda on March 10, 2019
Depends on your target fish species as to which month to fish
Half day fishing trip
Ronald A. fished with Reel Rich Fishing on February 15, 2019
Get a good fishing guide like Captain Rich. The weather in February is mild . The fishing is fantastic!
Great day!
Rich C. fished with Reel Rich Fishing on January 29, 2019
Go hire Captain Rich at Reel Rich Fishing at Burnt Store. You will love the experience.
Learning Charlotte Harbor
FishingBooker Member fished with Endless Pursuits on November 12, 2018
Be open minded to trying everything in your box. Fish will gobble top water one day, and smash a Gulp the next. Always be aware of how and where the tide is!

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