Fishing Charters Around Sanibel: How to choose the right one for you

DATE: August 16, 2013

We were at the Sundial pool the other day and a boy a little younger than my son walked up to him and asked, “Where do you go fishing here?”

My son looked up at me with the blank stare that can only mean “This guy’s got to be kidding me, right?”, then turned back to the boy and politely responded, “Over there.” pointing at the Gulf.

While he was 100% correct, he was not exactly generous with the details and the look on his face told me that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. To make a long story short (which if you read this blog with any regularity you know if not always a strong skill of mine), I’ll skip the whole song and dance with the little boy and the weird tangent into snorkeling and the struggle to try to explain to a five year old the concept of a snorkel and just share with you a little about fishing around Sanibel Island.

Due to Sanibel’s mild climate and the relatively calm and temperate waters of the Gulf of Mexico, fishing is a year round activity. With school now in session and work loads (for us adults as well) increasing, our family tries to look for things to do together that pack a lot into a specified amount of time. Fishing Charters fit this bill to a tee!

There are literally dozens of different options for choosing your charter. First, you should begin by deciding what kind of charter you want. Sanibel offers three basic types of fishing: inshore, offshore and fly. I’d have to say that the most popular choice for families is inshore fishing because the size and type of fish you’ll catch  will likely allow the kids to reel them in (a lot more fun than if they have to hand over their rod to an adult when it’s THEIR catch). For anyone interested, I’ll add links at the end of the blog for all three types of charters.

So what is inshore fishing? It literally refers to fishing in toward the shore, mainly in the flats and around mangrove islands. The most common fish you’ll find here are Snook, Trout and Redfish as well as Tarpon, though they have a migration season and you will typically only find them from mid-April through July. In addition to these most common species, you can also pull up Mangrove Snapper, Shark, Grouper, Triple Tail, Flounder and a whole host of others. Anyone who enjoys fishing knows that one of the biggest thrills is feeling that bite on the line and the excitement reeling it in wondering what you’ve caught.

But hey, fishing charters aren’t just for fishing! Once you’ve decided on the type of fishing you’d like to do, deciding what company to use can be narrowed down based on whether or not you’d like to add any additional activities to your trip. Many offer shelling trips, snorkeling, wildlife guides and even sunset cruises. Customizing these day trips with the hobbies and activities that are favorites of your family and friends is what truly makes these  memorable experiences. This fall we’ll be adding snorkeling to our fishing adventure because our son is finally a strong enough swimmer and has mastered snorkeling in the pool to the point that we now feel like we can do it as a family in the open water and all be able to enjoy it.

Virtually all of the charter services offer different options for trip length and size, which really allows you to plan a charter experience to best fit your lifestyle.

All in all, I would recommend anyone who enjoys fishing or exploring the outdoors to try a fishing charter at least once. Here’s some information on a few of the charter services available around Sanibel Island. Happy boating!

Mangrove Masters: Captain Jack Boutchyard, Inshore and Offshore Fishing, Shelling and Sunset Cruises

Captain Noah’s Sanibel Fishing Charters: Captain Noah, Inshore Fishing, Off Shore Fishing and Shelling Charters

Catch Me if You Can: Captain Jeremy Stewart, Inshore Fishing, Shelling and Wildlife tours

Captain Joe’s Charters & The Royal Shell Saltwater Fishing Team: Captain Joe, Inshore Fishing, Fly Fishing. Shelling, Snorkeling and Sightseeing Trips 

Captain Steve Bailey Charters: Captain Steve Bailey, Fly Fishing

Athena Charters: Captain Pete, Off Shore Fishing

Angler’s Choice Outfitters: Captain Jason March, Inshore Fishing, Sightseeing, Shelling and Leisure cruises

(Photos from








Share Post