Friday, July 17, 2015

SW Florida Visit to Gulf Islands; Boca Grande and Gasparilla

Looking for Tarpon? This area looks promising!
My last visit to SouthWest Florida back in 2009 involved flying from Charleston to Fort Myers, and I chose the same travel option in 2015. It is an easy half-day of travel, which allows for plenty of afternoon time for sightseeing, dinner and preparation before the fishing begins first thing the following morning. My descent into Ft. Myers included a great overhead look from Sarasota down to Sanibel Island and I could see the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the beaches, but I could also see the sounds and inlets that make this section of Charlotte County an ecological gem.

A snooklet caught from the Charlotte Co. 'snookery'
Checking in to the Wanna B Inn located at Englewood Beach which is a section of the county just North of Punta Gorda. Located right on the beachfront, it wasn't long before I was looking for sharks teeth and noticing a plethora of sea turtle nests on their shore. The main Beach Road here runs by a number of seafood restaurants and we dined at the Gulf View Grill establishment that has been family owned for 30 years. Blackened grouper and mahi mahi ended up being our choices, and we experienced good service in this high-end restaurant with the second story view of the Gulf.

Capt. Slattery tries to coax a snook from under the mangroves
The Wanna B Inn on the Gulf of Mexico in Englewood
The next day began with loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings on the beach making their timeless trip into the ocean waters, with a large crowd of tourists gathered to cheer them on. After that I met fishing guide Capt. Mike Slattery with Palm Island Outfitters and we left the dock at the hotel and motored into Lemon Bay to use whitebait in order to target mangrove snapper and small snook. We caught each species plus a pinfish but in general the fish were not biting. We even tried a secret spot to entice a larger snook using a large white mullet for bait, but we did not get a strike. Slattery is a Charlotte County native and knows the estuary, and it would be wise to consult with him before any visit.

To view past blog entries about fishing near Charlotte Harbor click here.

To view blog entries from SW Florida click on Offshore Fishing - Field Notes - Farlow's Sustainable Seafood

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