Tips on Having a Great Kayak Fishing Holiday in Southwest Florida
For many of us Europeans, a kayak fishing holiday in southwest Florida is definitely at the top of the bucket list, not only because of the fishing, but also because of the beautiful weather, the great day trip destinations and the amazing wildlife. Whether with the family or with a group of anglers, you can experience a lot in the Sunshine State. Here are a few tips from me on what to do on a trip to Southwest Florida!
I fly to Florida every year and of course one of the main reasons is inshore kayak fishing and the many different species of fish that are not found in Europe. But the attractive supporting programme is what makes these stays so unique. The Everglades, the Keys or major cities like Miami and Orlando are only a stone’s throw away and can be reached quickly.
Our destination in Florida is always the small charming town of Matlacha on an island in a strait between Pine Island and the mainland of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, right next to Cape Coral and Fort Myers. Our accommodation – the Fisherman’s Paradise – with its four apartments offers space for up to 10 people and is located right on the water. A total of five fishing kayaks (Coosa HD, Kraken, Cuda) were available for guests, including paddles, life jackets and accessories. A really great location and you only have to paddle a few meters to catch snook, redfish, tarpon, seatrout, ladyfish, jacks, stingray, sharks and many other species.
If you are interested in a group tour, just send me an email and I will give you all the further information. But now more information about the destinations that you can go to from Matlacha:
A trip to the Everglades is highly recommended. A simple car ride on the Tamiami Trail (connects Tampa with Miami) is a great adventure and you can see many alligators. There are numerous stops along the road. Airboat and buggy tours are possible, you can observe wildlife on trails or even paddle through the Everglades with a kayak. This is definitely worth it if you want to meet alligators at eye level. A great parking lot with a kayak ramp is the Turner River Kayak Launch, where you can also take a short break from driving. If you don’t have your own kayak on the car roof, you can book a kayak tour with some providers (for example Everglades Area Tours). If you plan a little more time in the Everglades, then a visit to the Shark Valley Visitor center is worthwhile. If you want to drive the Tamiami Trail, be sure to fill up in Fort Myers, because there are not too many gas stations in the Everglades. Pack up enough food and drinks.
Extra tip: if an additional family day trip can be planned, visit Billie Swamp Safari, about 80 miles from Fort Myers.
We made a day trip to the city of Miami on the southeast coast of Florida. If you start very early and prepare to be back home late at night, you can do it. But be prepared for the fact that Miami is very expensive. We were happy to go for a walk on Miami Beach and swim in the Atlantic, but a visit to a restaurant directly on Ocean Drive cost us a fortune. You also have to make sure to head for a cheap parking space. Tip: choose the 7th Street Car Park.
Do you want a Caribbean feeling? Then off to the keys that everyone knows for sure. As a day trip from Fort Myers not an easy undertaking, but quite doable. Small stop at Robbie’s to feed Tarpon, then a nice souvenir photo at Hemingway’s house and at Southernmost Point in Key West.
Walt Disney World Resort
Especially if you have children with you, a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is a great experience. But plan at least two days for this and think carefully about which of the 4 theme parks or water parks you want to visit. All information is available on the website https://disneyworld.disney.go.com.
Kennedy Space Center
Do you want to visit NASA? The Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral are just under 200 miles from Matlacha.
Tampa is with 350,000 inhabitants the third largest city in the state after Miami and Jacksonville. It is only 230 miles from Matlacha.
Fort Myers Beach & Sanibel Beach
If you just want to have a nice day at the beach, then head to Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel. Parking: Lynn Hall Beach Park (Fort Myers) and Bowman’s Beach Parking (Sanibel). Don’t forget your fishing rod.
You want to go fishing all day and the girls want to shop? Let them drive to the Miromar Outlets in Estero with over 140 top designer and brand name outlets. Tip: be sure to eat a burger in Ford’s Garage!
Bass Pro Shop
If you want to shop fishing tackle, be sure to visit the Bass Pro Shop in Fort Myers. A day trip with the family is also worthwhile if you go to the Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant after shopping. With over 130,000 sq. feet of outdoor equipment, wildlife displays, state record replicas, a both a 19,000 freshwater and a 12,000 gallon saltwater aquarium, and an archery range, there is something for everyone!
Fishing Tackle Shops
If tackle or deadbait is needed, the fishing tackle shops D&D Matlacha Bait and Tackle and Cape Tool & Tackle are not far away.
Bert’s Bar & Grill
If you love Dockside Dining & Live Music, order a beer at Bert’s Bar in Matlacha, a one-of-a-kind waterfront restaurant offering delicious and fresh local seafood, refreshing brews, beautiful views, and entertainment nightly.
Fowler Firearms Shooting Range
If you want to shoot, I recommend visiting the Fowler Firearms Shooting Range in Fort Myers. A great team will take care of you, even if you have never had a gun in your hand. Learn More
If you have the opportunity to rent a boat, then you must visit Cabbage Key and eat there in the restaurant. Nearby is the Boca Grande Pass, known as the Tarpon Capital of the World. Usually, between April and October, Tarpon arrive in droves to the waters of Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor and attracts thousands of anglers.
I know there are thousands of other places of interest in Southwest Florida, but I actually spend most of my time kayak fishing. And I would also recommend everyone to explore the flats with the SUP. No matter what you are on the water with, you can see so many fish, birds, dolphins and manatees and the perspective from the water is always different than from the land.
hHave a great time having a Kayak Fishing Holiday in Southwest Florida. If you are looking for great accommodation with kayaks in Southwest Florida or if you need more tips for your vacation, drop me an email: email@example.com
Do you have any other tips? Comment below!