Help Me (Please) Plan a Trip to Florida This Summer

WNCtroutstalker

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Getting way too late of a start, but thinking about doing a trip to Florida, on the west/Gulf side, this summer. I need to keep July blocked out until a potential conflict gets settled, so thinking the second half of June, August or the early part of September.

The Fort Myers/Sanibel area is intriguing because I've read and heard that the snook fishing can be quite good there (never targeted them and they sound neat) and that it's also possible to fish for them right from the beach. I plan to hire a guide for most of my fishing days, but wouldn't mind a DIY day or two to save some money. But it's an almost 800-mile drive for me (I don't intend to fly), and so really tough to do in a day--and then get up early to fish. So I'm wondering if there's some place further north that I should consider, either as a stopover point (maybe fish there for two days and then go on to the Fort Myers area) or as my sole destination.

In terms of what I'd like to target, I'm really not all that particular. If a tarpon happens to show that'd be great, but not looking to target them specifically. As mentioned above, would really love to catch some snook, and redfish would be fine too. I'd probably be disappointed if I ended up with nothing but sea trout, but in general not overly picky.

So with that background.....

1. Are there places you'd suggest on the Gulf side that aren't as far south as Fort Myers/Sanibel/Naples?

2. I'd be OK hiring a guide for all or most days, but at that place is it possible to fish from shore/wade without having to worry about gators or sharks?

3. As among late June, August and early September, is there one time that is likely to be especially good or especially bad? (Bonus points if you can predict the hurricane schedule) At the end of the day I think my trip dates are likely to be driven by guide availability, but that said would prefer to target the "best times" and work down from there.

4. Are there any guides you'd recommend for the suggested area? Please send me a PM if you'd like to keep private.

Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

thom

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Caribbean schoolchildren learn a hurricane song with the words “September remember.” If you encounter one of those storms in September could my points be converted to a cheeseburger at Cabbage Key?

Watch out for red tide. Some years lately it’s been serious enough to make a fellow shift up or down the coast. Florida tracks red tide online.

There is a discount outdoors clothing store known as King Frog off I-75 in Adel, GA. It’s a small store which sometimes has good discounts on Columbia fishing shirts etc. Good luck!
 

mikemac1

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A bit closer would be anywhere from Honeymoon Island (near Clearwater) down through Sarasota. Lot of great wading water for DIY along county parks, especially at Fort DeSoto County Park. Great beach snook fishing along the Sarasota/Venice beaches. Two guides I would recommend:

Capt Byron Chamberlin (https://www.barbedsteel.com/) for inshore flats in the Tampa Bay area
Steve Gibson (http://kayakfishingsarasota.com/). Steve is a guru on beach snook fishing in the Sarasota area and does some great inshore kayak trips.
 

driftless22

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Finding a guide during June might be difficult, since the Tarpon migration usually continues through June. Booking a guide during late summer/early fall will be easier. If you are interested in fishing further south in the Everglades City/Chokoloskee area, I can recommend guides.

I would also second thom's warning concerning red tide. We were already seeing sporadic outbreaks during April, which is not a good sign.
 

Swfl gladesman

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As mentioned red tide you're also in the middle of hurricane season and flyfishing along the beach on Sanibel is a early morning ( before beach goers) or late afternoon which is fine if you are staying on Sanibel. The middle of the day the waters warms up as does the temp and the snook are less likely to eat mid day imho. Bowman beach will be your best bet I like to head north up the beach as they're are trees in the water further down(Ambush point).

You will want to cast parallel to the breaking waves the snook and occasionally seatrout hug the beach in between the beach and first sandbar. A stripping basket is a bonus to keep your line outfrom underneath your feet. Check out Norm Zeiglers fly shop off Periwinkle he can give you an idea of fly choices mainly white of some kind as the bait will be thick that time of year. You can also check out ding darling park you can't really wade there but you can fish from shore in a few spots.
Pm me when you come down maybe I can break away from work for the day and put you on the pointy end of my boat. I have been fishing around Sanibel since I was 8 and I am old now.
 

Lamarsh

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I plan to hire a guide for most of my fishing days, but wouldn't mind a DIY day or two to save some money.
I've done many DIY fishing days in Florida. My advice is to get a guide for at least one day, get dialed in to methods of fishing, flies and spots, and then rent a boat and go out yourself. I'd rent a skiff or bay boat, and make sure it's not a pile of junk (many junk rentals exist). If you have a fish finder that has charts, spend the $70-90 and buy the charts for the area, you'll need them to navigate through channels in low tide to avoid running aground. Always pay attention to the tides and exercise caution if you are fishing outside of cell service areas.
 
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