There is nothing more relaxing than shore fishing in Florida. It’s a fun activity that the entire family can enjoy and a great way to create new traditions. After all, our first big catch is a memory we all cherish forever, isn’t it? The beauty of shore fishing is that it’s suitable for anglers of any experience level and doesn’t require much equipment. So, with that in mind, it’s time to pick your favorite Southwest Florida beaches for shore fishing and get started.
What exactly is shore fishing? As the name suggests, it’s when you fish from land or shore, whether from a bridge, pier, or along the coast. Angling this way is the easiest way to get started if you’re a beginner. In the following sections, we will cover some essentials regarding shore fishing in Florida, such as obtaining a fishing license, the best Southwest Florida fishing spots, the type of fish you can find in the area, and much more.
Where Is the Best Shore Fishing in Florida?
There is no better place in the world to do shore fishing than Southwest Florida. There are endless opportunities to fish around every corner, and we’ll go over some of our favorite spots below.
- Naples Pier – Once a freight dock, it is now a popular spot for fishing and watching sunsets in Southwest Florida. Some damage was sustained when Hurricane Irma hit the Sunshine State, but it has been reopened since then and is definitely worth a visit. You can catch snook, king and Spanish mackerel, tarpon, and sea trout there. In addition to your fishing gear, grab a camera and stay a bit longer to soak in the gorgeous sunset views.
- The Sanibel Causeway – It’s easy to spend all day at this local favorite spot. The Sanibel Causeway connects Fort Myers to Sanibel Island and offers beautiful tropical scenery and an abundance of fish waiting to be caught. Anglers can choose between fly fishing, shore fishing, or surf fishing. You’re likely to catch flounder, snapper, kingfish, or Spanish mackerel in this area. Make a whole day of it by bringing a chair, light snacks, and plenty of water to keep you hydrated during the warm months.
- Fort Myers Beach – Looking for a great place to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise while fishing for silver trout? The Fort Myers pier is the place for you since it is a focal point for many activities in the area. While waiting for a catch, you can gaze down at the people on the beach, observe dolphins playing, or catch live music from the nearby restaurants. If you forget bait or snacks, you can find some at the pier’s gift shop. In addition to silver trout, you can also find redfish, snook, grouper, and Spanish mackerel here. There have even been instances where bonnethead sharks have been caught in this area.
- Blind Pass Beach at Sanibel Island – You won’t just find incredible fishing here but also some of the most unique seashells in the world. After all, Sanibel is known as the “Sea Shell Capital of the World” for a reason. As a result, you’ll be able to prepare a delicious dinner from your catch and take home a seashell souvenir. Kayak fishing is also an option if you’re feeling adventurous. You can catch redfish, grouper, snapper, Spanish mackerel, sea trout, snook, or sheepshead in this area.
Can You Fish from Shore in Florida Without a License?
Fishing is a favorite pastime in Southwest Florida, but keep in mind that you should know a few things before you pick up that fishing rod and prepare all the necessary gear. First, a fishing license is needed to get the most enjoyment out of your hobby, whether you’re a Florida resident or here on vacation. A fishing license is required for anyone who doesn’t reside in Florida over 16 and any Florida resident between the ages of 16 and 65. A fishing license is still needed even if the only purpose of your visit is to help set up by baiting hooks rather than to fish.
Keep in mind that if you’re trying to catch a specific species such as snook, tarpon, spiny lobster, stone crab, blue crab, or shark, there are additional permits you would have to obtain in addition to the regular fishing license. All Florida residents can take advantage of a complimentary shoreline fishing license – this way, you can catch saltwater fish from land. Additionally, disabled residents are eligible for a free fishing license with a Florida Resident Disabled Hunting and Fishing License. However, there are exceptions to the rule. A fishing license does not need to be obtained for a saltwater fishing charter or a licensed fishing pier.
You can purchase a Florida fishing license from authorized retailers such as Walmart, registered bait and tackle shops, or tax collector’s offices. You can also buy it over the phone at 1 (888) 347 4356 (FISH-FLORIDA).
Offshore vs. Inshore Fishing: What’s the Difference?
You’re not sure whether you should fish inshore or offshore? Regardless of your preference, Florida’s fantastic weather makes both experiences incredible, with a guarantee of catching unique fish. However, they differ in several ways, so let’s get into the details.
Offshore fishing is when you have reached a depth of 30 meters. That is where you have the opportunity to catch some of the ocean’s biggest and most unique fish. A typical offshore trip lasts approximately 8 hours, as it takes some time for you to travel to your desired destination. In offshore fishing, there is a high chance you may battle with amberjack, goliath grouper, lane snapper, barracuda, blackfin tuna, southern flounder, and many more. If you want to experience offshore fishing while on vacation but do not have your own vessel, you can book a charter with Port Sanibel Marina.
On the other hand, inshore fishing is ideal for beginners since it does not require much equipment that can quickly become overwhelming. Inshore fishing involves any fishing in waters less than 30 meters deep. Many fish, such as snook, bonefish, and tarpon, are found in shallow waters at the time of migration, and many others, such as redfish and speckled sea trout, inhabit the shallow waters year-round. You can just bring a chair with you, soak up the views, and enjoy the beauty of fishing. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about seasickness or rough waters since you’re on land.
Ultimately, both experiences will be gratifying, but whether you want to fish inshore or offshore depends on preference and the type of fish you’re trying to catch. Although there are plenty of great fish you can catch from land, the deeper into the water you go, the greater your chances of catching that big prize.
What Is the Difference between Surf Fishing and Beach Fishing?
Surf fishing and beach fishing are ultimately the same activity. It involves standing on the shoreline or in shallow water. Most people think that when you surf fish, you should cast as far as possible when in reality, your bait should be in knee-deep water. To maximize your catch, pick natural baits such as squid, shrimp, or mullet. In addition, when it comes to surf or beach fishing, a significant factor in whether you’ll be successful or not has to do with the saltwater tides and weather. You have the best chance of catching fish when the tide rises or falls. The advantage of surf fishing for beginners is that they can quickly move along the shoreline for more control and stability, as well as the fact that they don’t need a lot of fishing equipment.
What Fish Are Considered Inshore?
- Snapper – This specific fish ranges from a little under 1 lb to a few that get over 100 lbs. The most commonly known snapper species are the Cubera snapper, Red snapper, Mullet Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, and Yellowtail Snapper. They are known to fight tough and will do everything in their power to break your line. However, if you’re lucky enough, try baiting them with mackerel or squid for the best chance of catching them.
- Trout – For those who don’t want a big challenge, trout can be an excellent choice for fishing. A fishing trip like this might be perfect if you are a beginner angler or trying to teach your children how to fish. Also, keep an eye out for large “gator” trout that often like to hang out in many of the Fort Myers canals.
- Striped bass – The striped bass is the largest bass species, and a simple way to recognize it is by searching for the black horizontal stripes on its sides. If you want to catch these guys, try a nearby lake or river, since they migrate from saltwater to freshwater. In addition, try fishing with flashy lures and live bait to get their attention.
- Tarpon – A very well-known fish throughout Florida and often referred to as the “silver king” due to its incredible silver scales. Tarpons are one of the most sought-after fish, but they’re not an easy catch. These species will challenge you and prove to be an adventure you won’t soon forget. If your heart is set on catching the Silver King, you can visit Boca Grande, often known as the “Tarpon Capital of the World,” which is located very close to Fort Myers.
- Snook – Locals love this fish because of how delicious it tastes. If you want to catch snook, you should head to the Caloosahatchee River due to its high presence in that area. In addition, it’s not uncommon to catch a snook within a few minutes of casting your line but be prepared because a snook puts up a good fight.
What Inshore Fish Are in Season in Florida?
Southwest Florida is known as a fishing paradise due to the abundance of coastlines and the diversity of fish. However, fishing for a particular fish species is more enjoyable when you know the best times. Let us help you plan a successful fishing trip and review when each fish is in season.
- Snapper – October through March
- Grouper – November through March
- Tarpon – Although you can find them all year round, you will find an abundance of them from March through July.
- Largemouth Bass – January through April
- Cobia – April through October
- Redfish – All year, but the best time is August through December
- Sea Trout – May through July
You’ll Find Everything You Need at Port Sanibel Marina
Shore fishing in Florida is a must-do for all anglers. It’s warm year-round and ideal for spotting different fish species all day. Whether you fish inshore or offshore, Port Sanibel Marina offers a wide range of services. You have many options when choosing your next adventure, from boat rentals and fishing charters to kayaks and paddleboards. Additionally, don’t forget to check out the marina’s store, where you can get all the necessary tackle and bait to make your fishing trip a success.