This definitive guide will show you where to find the best fishing spots, fishing charters on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island.

Fishing Turner Beach on Captiva Island
kids fishing at the lighthouse on Sanibel
boat in Tarpon Bay on Sanibel Island

Fishing on Sanibel Island & Captiva Island


Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are known for their fishing as they are for their sunsets. There is ample opportunity for everyone of all skill levels to catch one of the many types of saltwater fish that the gulf has in abundance. The beaches provide 15 miles of amazing shoreline for inshore fishing and the numerous, popular charter services and Captains are there to provide offshore adventures. With ample rental services, fishing supply outlets and endlessly knowledgeable fishing professionals available, Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are great places to learn a new sport or, for the experienced fisherman, take on an admirable marine challenge.


What Are The Fishing Rules & Regulations?


Fishing rules and regulations change depending on species, time of year and variable size restrictions. You will need a fishing license Apply Here. Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are strict about regulating fishing and there are inspectors frequently traveling throughout the fishing areas. To make sure you are aware of the current regulations,  check the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.


 The Different Types of Fishing on Sanibel Island & Captiva Island?


There are 3 main types of fishing on Sanibel Captiva. Surf, Kayak and Fly fishing. You can practice all three at each beach however, some beaches cater to the different types better than others.

Blind Pass Fishing surf fishing Captiva Island

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing is where you fish from the shoreline or wading in the surf. Surf fishing can include casting a lure or bait and covers all types of shore fishing from rock jetties to sandy beaches.

kayaks on the beach on Sanibel Island

Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is exactly what it sounds like! Fishing from a kayak! Kayak fishing has the benefits of being quiet as there is no engine, allowing access to the water beyond the shoreline and, Kayaks are generally inexpensive to own or rent and are extremely convenient to transport. For rental options on the Island check out Sunny Island Adventures and YOLO Watersports.

Fishing on Turner Beach on Captiva Island

Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing is arguably the most skilled and specialized type of fishing. Noted for its physical benefits due to its specified and technical casting methods, fly fishing is a more advanced type of fishing than surf or kayak. If you want to learn the art of Fly Fishing drop by Whitney’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Norm Zeigler’s Fly Shop or The Bait Box.


 The Best Places To Fish On Sanibel Island & Captiva Island?


Sanibel Island’s Blind Pass Beach

Blind Pass is a terrific place for fishing as you can bay fish or gulf fish! Due to the flow of the current through the bridge, the fish are in abundance so the best spot to fish is on the bridge.  Keep in mind it can get crowded and, with minimal parking spots up for grabs, the early bird truly does catch the worm. If you don’t manage to secure your spot on the bridge, there is ample room for surf fishing and space to cast off from the rocks. Kayak fishing is also an option so with all these options available, nothing should stand in the way of you and your ultimate catch!


Captiva Island’s Turner Beach

Turner beach is on the Captiva side of Blind Pass so the fishing is comparable. The beach has a  unique rock jetty that gives any fisher incredible access to the Gulf and allows for a farther-reaching cast. You can also fish from either side of Blind Pass Bridge so have the benefits of both worlds. 

Turner Beach also allows for kayak and surf fishing and is known for a wide variety of fish including Tarpon, Snook, King Mackerel, Snapper, Grouper and Redfish.


Sanibel Island Fishing Pier

Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park features one of the most popular fishing spots on Sanibel Island, the Sanibel Pier. The pier is a great spot to fish and expect to catch redfish, snook, snapper and sheepshead, drum and more! The pier features several benches and though it is fairly short, it ends with a deep channel accompanied by a strong current attracting plenty of baitfish and even big game fish such as sharks.

The pier also offers tremendous views of the historic Sanibel Lighthouse and is located on one of the most popular Sanibel Island Beaches, Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park. The park is equipped with charcoal grills (cook your catch!), outdoor showers, restrooms and parking. There are three pay-and-display parking lots with two of them by the pier. The rate for parking is $5 an hour. 


Sanibel Island’s Bowman’s Beach

Bowman’s Beach is one of the few places where you can fish the back bay and the beach. There is a free launch area for canoes and kayaks. The launch ramp is very close to the parking lot and will give you access to the Clam Bayou. Clam Bayou is a back bay ecosystem teeming with wildlife. Check the tides here as it can get really shallow in the back bay. A moving tide is best, preferably in-coming as to reduce the chances of getting stuck. This really is a cool spot for kayak fishing!


J.N. Ding Darling / Tarpon Bay 

Recommended for back bay fishing, the Ding Darling is the island’s nature reserve that is spread throughout Sanibel Island and is inclusive of Tarpon Bay. All sites have a plethora of vegetation most notably mangrove trees. Part of the reserve is the Wildlife Drive where fishing is popular and known for a wide variety of fish including grouper, mangrove snapper, flounder, sheepshead and pompano. As this is a nature reserve, there are further regulations and rules that can be seen here


Redfish Pass

Created by a hurricane in 1921, Redfish Pass is the strait that connects Pine Island Sound to the Gulf of Mexico and separates Captiva from North Captiva Island. It is only accessible to the public by boat and is noted for its great fishing most notably for snook during the Spring and Summer months.


 Common Types Of Fish On Sanibel Island & Captiva Island


Whatever time of year you are fishing on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, you are likely to hook redfish, grouper, snapper, Spanish mackerel, sea trout or snook. Tarpon and pompano are more plentiful in the Spring and Summer with Spring and Fall introducing tripletail, king mackerel and drum. Sheepshead make an appearance in winter and spring.


Charters & Tours Available On Sanibel Island & Captiva Island


One of the best ways to experience the incredible fishing of Sanibel Island and Captiva Island is to utilize some of the highly recommended charters and fishing tours. All the charter group tours listed below include fuel, bait, rods, reels, fishing license, cleaning fish, ice and water. Reservations are highly recommended especially if you plan to go deep-sea or offshore fishing.

Catch Me If U Can

239-210-8339

Led by Captain Jeremy Stewart, Catch Me If U Can Charters offers a variety of adventurous trips and customized experiences. With trips catering to every member of the family regardless of age or skill set, Catch Me If U Can offer deep-sea fishing, Tarpon fishing, Shark fishing and much more to satisfy thrill-seekers and advanced fishermen alike. A wide range of other sightseeing trips are also available.

Motorboat on Sanibel Island

Crushin’ It Fishing Charters

Led by Captain Anthony Torres, Crushin’ It Fishing Charters caters to a variety of ages and skillsets. Be out on the water for inshore fishing for 2, 6 or 8 hours or experience the thrill of Tarpon fishing for 6 or 8 hours. Eco-tours are also available. 

About The Sanibel Captiva Island Guide

Santiva Saltwater Fishing Team

239-472-1779

Offering private, group tours the Santiva Saltwater Fishing Team offer short, fun-filled trips for the novice and longer, more intense excursions for the fishing savant. All trips can be modified to cater to larger groups and additional hours can be added. There are many other excursions available including a “Surf and Turf” option that encompasses fishing, shelling, sightseeing and more!

boat in Tarpon Bay on Sanibel Island

Tarpon Bay Explorers

239-472-8900

Limited to the Tarpon Bay area, Tarpon Bay Adventures offer back-bay, saltwater fishing trips. The rates are very reasonable and the Captain’s are incredibly knowledgeable about the area. Currently, they are only providing catch and release fishing trips due to the red tide crisis in 2018. Tarpon Bay Explorers also offer a whole host of other Tarpon Bay centric nature tours.

kayaks on the beach on Sanibel Island

Fishing Supplies/Charter Captains


Whitney’s Bait & Tackle

1554 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 

239-579-0399

Supplying fishing charters, bait, tackle, apparel & lessons

Whitneys Bait and Tackle Store Sanibel Island

Norm Zeigler’s Fly Shop

2242 Periwinkle Way Ste 1, Sanibel, FL 33957 

239-472-6868

Supplying fishing charters, bait, tackle, apparel & a free lesson with the purchase of a fly rod

Norm Zeigler's Fly Shop Sanibel Island

The Bait Box

1041 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 

239-472-1618

Supplying fishing charters, bait, tackle, apparel, shelling equipment

Bait Box bait shop on Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island & Captiva Island Marinas


Jensen’s “Twin Palm” Cottages & Marina

15107 Captiva Drive, Captiva, FL 33924

239-472-5800

Full-service Marina offering docking, boat rental, boat rides, sightseeing tours, fishing guides, water taxi and a supply store that provides for all your boating needs. Boat rides include excursions to Cabbage Key, Pine Island, North Captiva and Boca Grande. Great for spotting Manatees! 

jensen's marina

Sanibel Marina

634 N Yachtsman Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957

239-472-2723

Sanibel Marina offers a variety of sightseeing tours including “Sanibel Thriller” the island’s most exciting and fastest boat tour. Boat rentals are also available with the full-service Ships Store to stock up before your journey and, if outdoor dining is your thing, Sanibel Marina is home to Gramma Dot’s, a highly recommended waterfront restaurant. 

Sanibel Marina on Sanibel Island

McCarthy’s Marina

11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, FL 33924

239-472-5200

McCarthy’s Marina is nestled in the heart of Captiva and close to many local attractions, galleries and great restaurants. Dock your boat for a day to explore or stay a little longer, short and long term dockage is available. McCarthy’s is also home to Captiva Cruises offering a wide variety of exciting tours including a dolphin and wildlife cruise and sunset cruise. 

Captiva Cruises on Captiva Island