Everyone has a different approach to leisure on Sanibel Island. Some Island Inn guests adopt the postcard-perfect attitude – lying on the beach, soaking up the warm Florida sun for days at a time. Others bring a more regimented approach – emerging for early-morning strolls – doing the Sanibel stoop to grab a few choice shells – then scooting back to the room before the sun tops the trees to plan a day of touring the island and surrounding attractions.
Somewhere between these two poles stands the fishing enthusiast. Fishing looks like work to everyone but the fisherman, who thinks he (or she) is getting away from it all. And they usually are. After all, it makes sense to keep a wide berth from someone who is swinging hooks around in the air.
Whether you are a serious angler or a rank amateur with a rented rod, the waters off Sanibel and Captiva islands offer some of the best fishing in all of southwest Florida. Casting from knee-deep just off Island Inn’s own shoreline, guests pull in handsomely sized Sea Trout, Snook, Redfish and even Tarpon. Pier fishing is also popular, usually requiring heavier tackle for larger species such as Grouper and Snapper.
Often overlooked by the casual casting crowd is the “other” body of water that makes Sanibel an island – the Bay. When you vacation in Sanibel at Island Inn, you are, of course there for the beach. The Gulf of Mexico’s beach with its white sand and lapping waves. But if you want to catch a great variety of fish year-round, the brackish waters of San Carlos Bay, Tarpon Bay and Pine Island Sound are hard to beat. Accessible to small and large boats, canoes and even kayak fishing, the calm bay areas are home to great populations of Snook, Tarpon, Sea Trout and Redfish, along with Snapper and Grouper.
If you don’t have your own boat, don’t worry, because there are hundreds of fishing charters. Some specialize in deep water Gulf fishing (which has the added benefit of a long, beautiful boat ride miles out into the placid Gulf, with flying fish spurting out of the water, seemingly racing you!) There are inexpensive party boats, trolling outfitters and many operating small and medium sized craft in the bays, perfect for a private chartered party with your best fishing buddies.
Island Inn staff will be glad to help you plan a fishing adventure that is just your speed. We know Sanibel Island’s bait and tackle shops, the captains and the rental outfits and we can steer you in the right direction. You’ll need a fishing license, unless you are fishing with a licensed guide, under 16 of age or a Florida resident over the age of 65. Licenses can be purchased at many shops on the island or online through www.myfwc.com.
Be careful, though. Once the Sanibel fishing bug bites you, you might truly become a Sanibel cast-away!