On Sanibel Island, fishing has been a way of life for thousands of years. Evidence of this is found in the large shell mounds left by the native Americans six thousand years ago. The major fish targeted in the waters around Sanibel are Tarpon, Snook, Redfish and Spotted trout. A lot of mullet are caught too (with nets).

If you are fishing on a budget, all you need is a fishing pole, some tackle, bait, and a salt-water fishing license, but, you do not need a license if you are: under 16; over age 65. If you have some money to spend and really want to catch fish, your best bet is to charter a fishing guide. A fishing guide will provide the boat and the fishing poles and bait, and most importantly, professional fishing guides know where the fish are! You don’t need to have a fishing license if you are fishing with a professional guide, since you are covered under their license.

Fish can be found here year ‘round in Sanibel Island; Offshore, Inshore, Back bay, Pier, Beach and Wade sea fishing. Fish commonly caught on Sanibel and surrounding waters:

  • Redfish– these bottom feeders are caught on the grass flats, along the beaches, and in the waters of Ding Darling refuge. In other words, just about anywhere.
  • Tarpon– In April they start moving north from the Florida Keys. They can grow to 250 pounds and are famous for jumping out of the water when hooked. Boca Grande Pass is the most famous spot for catching Tarpon, but many guides will tell you they can hook you up with just as many Tarpon in other places. The pass can get very crowded during the season.
  • Snook– A serious game fish and excellent eating too. They have very sharp gill plates that can cut most any line, making them a real challenge to land. Pay attention to the closed seasons. These fish are highly regulated.

  • Spotted sea trout– Small but feisty, this speckled trout is one of Florida’s most- caught game fish. Spring and Fall is the peak season. Found on the grass flats.


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