If you can relate to the amusing signs in car windows and bumpersnickers that read, “I’d Rather be Fishing,” or “My Other Car Is a Fishing Boat,” then it “a-piers” you are in luck today with this list of seven top spots to fish from shore in Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Cape Coral. We went to visit one of our best friends at his home in Fort Myers Beach, he was busy installing a new boat lift from IMM Quality Boat Lifts, a local manufacturer. Our friend mentioned that if your other car isn’t a fishing boat or you just want to cast some lines from the sand, docks and riverbanks, these seven favorite fishing holes where the locals know to go could be your next favorite fishing spots too. All corny fish humor intended, by the way.
1. Blind Pass
Year-round in the strong incoming and outgoing currents between Captiva and Sanibel is where Sheepshead and Snook especially hang out with just about anything you can catch. Stronger currents mean more weight is needed than in other fishing spots for the best Redfish, Pompano, Black Drum, Cobia, Whiting you can catch. Open season to snag some Snook lasts until December 1.
Fish from either on top of the bridge or from shore where your dog is welcome to come help. “We know better,” says one YouTube fisherman of his dog, Murphy, “but he thinks he is helping.” Restroom facilities are located on the Captiva side, and limited paid parking on either side is available. There is a safer beach around the rock jetty for swimming than in the strong currents at the pass, a plus for traveling with non-fishing family members.
2. Matlacha Bridge
Gone is the construction mess here, so park some open folding chairs on the nice, wide sidewalk at the newly rebuilt Matlacha Bridge and reel in dinner. Matlacha Community Park is an easy walk with plenty of parking and restroom facilites, but arrive early (which you should anyway if you’re fishing!) to snag one of the limited parking spaces at the bridge. Fishing is much better at the bridge than at the pier in the park especially for night time fishing, making every Jack, Tarpon and Snook you snag worth every step. Parking at “The World’s Fishingest Bridge” might be more available for night time fishing if you happen to get the itch to fish on your way home from work (and what respectable angler doesn’t have an itch to fish any time)?
3. San Carlos Bay – Bunche Beach Preserve
In the right season, the grass flats of Bunche Beach Preserve are a great spot to fish for trouts. Paid parking is plentiful in this South Fort Myers location off Summerlin Road, between the entrances of Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel. Enjoy spectacular wildlife, sunsets and “Old Florida” at its finest while fishing from either pier, or get a saltwater fishing license to fish San Carlos Bay from shore. A variety of recreational activities provide something for everyone traveling with you.
4-6. Sanibel Causeway
The $6.00 toll covers in and out for Causeway Islands, Sanibel Causeway and the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park. Off the North end of Fort Myers Beach, head North on San Carlos Boulevard, and turn left onto Summerlin Road to follow the signs to Sanibel. Early morning and dusk are prime time for reeling in Snook. Pompano, Flounder, Sea Trout, Mangrove Snapper, Blacktip Sharks and Bonnet Heads are going for shrimp or cut mullet and mackerel. Bring a cast net for nice catches of greenbacks.
On the East end of the island, the fishing pier is located on the bay side of Lighthouse Beach with restrooms, outside showers and bike racks. Shade pavilion offers relief from the sun, and the grills and picnic areas are perfect for cooking up delicious catch of your day with your fishing buddies!
A guy fishing underneath Sanibel Causeway
7. Fort Myers Beach Pier
Almost any spot on a beach will do for fishing, and increased fish activity between the sandbars and the beach are popular places to fish. You undoubtedly will want to avoid crowds that can get in your way and spook the fish, for example, near the downtown area. The downtown pier in Fort Myers Beach, however, is a popular spot at Times Square. Fish from the end of the pier, and get snacks at the convenience store located there while non-fishing family members reel in some sightseeing in downtown Fort Myers Beach.
Even if your other car is a fishing boat, sometimes you just want to fish from shore. With the action at these seven hot spots, you will not likely be “fishing through fishless days you will remember happily without regret.”