Sanibel is a playground for inshore anglers. Jump aboard one of Sanibel’s many great flats boats and you could be pulling in Snook, Tarpon, Redfish, Trout, Ladyfish, Permit, Pompano, and Sheepshead, within minutes of setting off. Honestly, the hardest thing about fishing here is choosing which spot to spend your time in. You really can’t go wrong no matter where you fish, but here are a few of the top spots to whet your appetite.
Sanibel Island Fishing Spots
Ding Darling National Wildlife Reserve
This 5,200-acre mess of sandy banks, grass flats, and shallow bayous is the largest and most diverse of all the places to fish around Sanibel Island. The tidal waters sprawl for miles just a few inches above the water. This mean tailing fish by the hundred if you time your fishing trip right. Many anglers fish this area for its amazing Snook fishing
, trying to beat that ambitious 44-pound State record which was caught right here on the island. Their main obstacle is the sheer number of Trout which swarm these waters, gobbling up bait, lures, and flies with equal voracity. But hey, if your main problem is catching too many fish, you know you’ve come to the right place!
If you are looking to fish from shore, there are few places which balance beauty and big fish as well as Bowman’s Beach. Stumps and trunks of windswept trees litter the shallows and make the perfect habitat for huge Snook. The best fishing is found on the seaward side of the stumps, so serious anglers will do better fishing from a boat than from land. But if you’re just after some great fishing while the family enjoys the day at the beach you can’t do better than this!
The deeper waters of Blind Pass hold some of the biggest Sheepshead in the area, while the shallows are home to the same great mix of species the island is known for. This makes it a wonderfully varied place to fish and will send you packing with a great mixed bags of tasty table fish.
Sanibel Tarpon Fishing
has built up a well-deserved reputation over recent years. Small Tarpon can be found year-round in Sanibel and these kings-in-waiting are dwarfed by their fully-grown friends which stop by for a long visit in the spring and summer months. There many places to target Tarpon in Sanibel but Tarpon Bay is well worth a mention and not just for the name.
Pine Island Sound
The sound’s thick turtle grass and thriving oyster bars are fed by a hundred creeks and streams, from the tiniest of trickles to the wide waters of the Caloosahatchee River. This makes the water incredibly rich and the perfect breeding ground for big Redfish, who stalk through the shallows safe in the knowledge that they can escape to the deeper channels nearby – at least that’s what they think!
How long should I go for?
All these areas and many more are easily accessible on a half day trip and will make for one of the most productive mornings of your fishing career. But with such great conditions all year round, you may well want to stay out longer. In the winter, the long low tides and clearer waters can give you a solid six hours of shallow-water sight casting bliss. In the summer, a broad range of species come barreling into town, and if you fancy landing trophy Trout, Tarpon, Redfish, and Snook all in one day, a full day trip will be well worth the money.
How much will it cost?
The standard price for a small center console of flats boat is around $100 an hour, and discounts for longer trips are rare. This is charter fishing at its best , though. The fierce competition around Sanibel breeds skilled, dedicated captains and guides whose families have often been working these waters for generations.