Ft. Meyers area advice ...
Headed to Ft. Meyers at the end of Feb.
Looking for gen. info, shops, target species, flies...
no guides, i want to explore on my own..
all wade fishing....
any info would be greatly appreciated !!
I know of two areas to explore - one is the Ding Darling reserve in Sanibel, and the other (which I've done) is Bucks key off Captiva. There is a canoe/kayak livery in Captiva- Mackenzies, who can provide you with your vessel to get to the flats. There you can pole around searching for tailing reds in the moving water, anchor and walk, whatever...or if nothing is going on for you there you can paddle over to cast toward the mangroves for whatever will hit your clouser - I got a snook on New Year's day doing that. I found sea trout, redfish, lady fish and the snook during afternoons of a family vacation.
I would recommend getting a guide for at least a half day to help you figure out how and what and where exactly you will be fishing. There are fly guides near Sanibel and right at Mackenzies in Captiva...There is also an Orvis shop on the way to the bridge from Ft Myers to Sanibel who will be more than willing to provide flies and the local leader set up. The 8 or 9 weight single hander will be the local choice, but the 7 weight Loop 11'6" was fun for the mighty heave-ho as well.
The trick to the flats is to catch the tides, which are variable.
There are other places to wade that the Orvis shop can point you to. Best luck, Foster
The orvis shop in Ft. Myers is Lee Island Outfitters.
Awesome guys !!!
Thanks a lot.
I'm bringing my 9 and my ten foot 7, with floaters and intermediates.
Will I need the shooting head anywhere?
Also, I want to tie up some flies ....any suggestions ?
You mentioned clousers for snook ....anything else ?
Will I have a shot at tarpon at all ?
Water temp is key on the beaches here and snook appear right near the shore, it seems, on the last two days of March, when I'm about to leave. This has happened the last two years I've been there.They're spooky at this time and hard to catch, swimming away as soon as the fly hits the water. Red tide didn't help either. Snook took off for the deep to protect themselves and we had a good fish kill each morning. This year, so far, the red tide hasn't hit the Ft. Myers area. As for flies, white is the best color for me for snook. I like white clousers, white Puglisi peanut butter flies on #2 hook, also olive/white and tan/white, tied sparse, using EP fibers or neer hair. White schminnow, pattern on one of these sites is good, white seducer caught my first snook. There are also jacks here which give you a good tussle on a flyrod. They seem to favor chart/white clousers. Also, ladyfish love white. Mostly size #2 hooks. I use a 9 wt clear intermediate line. If you do a search on Google and type in Florida flyfishing snook, it should lead you to some good sites and fly patterns. A good site to obtain productive flies for this area seems to be www.danscustomflies.com. I never had a shot at tarpon from shore during March. From what I've heard, from May on is the time for tarpon from the shore. Hope this info is of some help to you.
fishing southwest florida
Bring an 8wt, floating line. Clouser-style in all-gold, all-silver, chartreuse over white, tan/white, olive/white, gray/ white. Fiber-body flies in tan/white, olive/white, tan/silver.
You can wade Bunch Beach near Sanibel Causeway. Also off the north tip of Pine Island. Shuffle your feet when you wade, or the stingrays will get mad at you if you step on them.
Great stuff guys - thanks!
Maybe this will be the year I actually wet a line in Florida:smokin:
Just got back from a week in Sanibel. This was a family vacation, so I had limited time on the water. If you want to do-it-yourself without a guide, stop in (or call) the Bait Box shop on Sanibel Island. Very friendly people that will set you up with maps of the island and show you where you can go on your own - they do give good advise.
There is a great flat on the South shore of the Sanibel toll booth. This flat is wind sheltered from North wind, and also is next to the deeper channels --- so you can wade out to the edge of the flat and cast into the deeper tough/channel for trout & ladyfish, etc., or wade the shallower grass flat portion for redfish. Late February on this flat should be nice for incoming reds and snook.
I also rented a motorized canoe in Tarpon Bay (part of the Ding Darling reserve). There were oyster bar islands in the middle of the bay that I caught dozens of 18-24 inch specs of a charteuse/ white clouser. The bay has great mangoves, and in a month or two, I can see the place filled with redfish and snook (the 65 degree temps when I was there was just a little too chilly).
I took a 6wt for the trout and ladyfish, and had my 8wt in case I started to see large redfish or snook (but didn't). Floating line was the stable, but there are some places there to blind cast the channels if you want (sinking/intermediate). If fishing the flats, make sure you have assorted flies to handle the flats grass and other interference.
Best of luck and tight lines,
Ft.Myers has been my home waters for over 20 years! One of the best flats to fish is the sanibel causeway just before the toll booth as mentioned above. at first light you will find all the regular flats species over the grass. last year i ventured out just before the sun broke the horizon and was standing still trying to see nervous water, a tail, or anything that would warrent a cast when i guess i startled a pod of large tarpon that swam up to with in 5 feet of me before realizing it. they took off like a rocket with water flying all over the place and about 20 min later my heart resumed beating. those flats are great for seatrout, lady fish,jack, snook, tarpon, and redfish. if you want tarpon fish the seawall where it curves under the bridge(deep water there) as you walk to the sea wall from the flats you will see some rocks in the water by the shore line. i've pulled many red fish out of there as well as along that 100yard streatch of sea wall. clousers, decievers, and chuggers(for trout) will work well on the flats. floating line is fine but if there is any floating strands of grass you may want to switch to an intermdiate line to get just under the grass on the surface. also drive down san carlose blvd(south) the 1st bridge you will come to is Big Carlose Pass on the south ocean side end of the bridge there is a small grass flat that is pretty good and walk in to the little back cove you will see (you'll have to wade though the 10' wide opening to the cove to get to the graff flat you'll see it) that cove is shallow and you can walk from shore line to shore line in knee deep water sight casting for red's, snook, black drum......e-mail me for more indepth hot spots-Giericd@yahoo.com
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