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Fishing & Boating in Fort Myers

Southwest Florida’s coastline offers plenty of opportunities for fishermen to enjoy backwater, offshore, fly and flats fishing. The Gulf Coast has many artificial reefs, providing rich ecosystems ideal for deep-water fishing. Common catches include grouper, snapper, amberjack, permit and shark. The backwater or backcountry areas include bays, creeks and mangrove swamps. These still, sheltered and unpolluted waters provide ideal nurseries for shrimp, crabs and small fish, and this in turn provides an abundant feeding ground for many gaming fish such as snook, tarpon and redfish.

During the months of April, May and June the Fort Myers/Sanibel area annually experiences one of the world’s largest tarpon migrations. Fishermen come from miles around to take part in the tarpon fishing tournaments.

A full-day trip on a 60-100 foot long party boat will cost an average of $40 per person, or you can have more personalized attention and instruction from an experienced guide on a charter boat (average cost $400 for a full day). Alternatively, you can fish on piers, bridges or docks, but you will require a saltwater license.

Take a cruise along the Caloosahatchee River or along the Intercoastal Waterway to Lake Okeechobee from the Yacht Basin in downtown Fort Myers. Alternatively head out towards the Gulf of Mexico on cruises which depart either from the Yacht Basin, from the Marina at Fort Myers Beach, or from Port Sanibel Marina. On these you can take in the views of Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast with its many islands, watch dolphins swimming alongside the boat, or just sunbathe on deck and relax.

If you fancy a full day trip you can even venture as far as the Florida Keys with a stroll around Key West. Most cruises provide cocktails and lunch/dinner, and some even offer music and dancing. Choose from a yacht cruise to a catamaran or even an old-fashioned Paddle-wheeler. To take full advantage of our beautiful sunsets, opt for an evening cruise.

For those of you who would rather venture out on your own, why not rent out a sailboat? There are plenty of boat rental companies, some of which offer sailing classes to the novice sailor.

If you would like to explore the many waterways of Southwest Florida rent a kayak or a canoe. You can plan your own route or take an excursion with a naturalist guide. There are hundreds of miles of back bays, aquatic preserves, estuaries, creeks and rivers to explore.

This is a fantastic opportunity to see Florida’s natural vegetation and wildlife including mangrove forests, native palms, ferns, birds, otters, turtles, alligators and manatees. You can also learn about the history of the rivers and the natives, the Calusa, that lived here for thousands of years.

Useful Links

View fishing and boating companies in our member directory by clicking the links below.

Fort Myers Boat Rentals »
Fort Myers Boat Charters / Cruises »
Sunset Cruises »
Fort Myers Boat -Sales, Service & Repairs »
Fort Myers Fishing Charters »
Fort Myers Fishing Tackle Shops »
Fort Myers Dolphin Tours »
Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail »
Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival »