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Deep Sea Fishing Fort Myers: Fishing the City of Palms

The deep sea fishing in Fort Myers is incredible throughout the year with powerful sportfish feeding around reefs that are only a short boat ride away. There’s an abundance of underwater structures that support a wide variety of baitfish and other food sources and make this fishery one of the best places in the state to head offshore.

New and experienced anglers from all over the country come to Fort Myers for reef fishing. The reefs off the coast of Fort Myers have some of the best opportunities in the world to catch these massive bottom-dwelling fish.

Fort Myers Red Snapper

What’s Special about Fishing Fort Myers

Fort Myers is located on the southwest side of the Florida Peninsula about halfway between Tampa and the Keys. it also sits further east than other locations on the west coast of Florida like Clearwater. Unfortunately, getting to deep water near the continental shelf is 100 miles from shore which is too far for charters to go but there are plenty of incredible sportfish much closer than that.

The offshore structures like humps, ridges, reefs, and shipwrecks can be found anywhere from a couple of miles out to 50+ miles off the coast. The depth changes very slowly as you leave shore in western Florida which is perfect for the fish that inhabit these waters. With these structures scattered throughout the waters surrounding Fort Myers, the fishing opportunities are endless and the fish are abundant.

Target Species

With the location and environment of Fort Myers, all of the offshore species are found near reefs and other structures.


Snapper are popular for their delicious meat by people around the world and Fort Myers is one of the best places to catch them. The most popular snapper species caught here are lane, vermilion, mangrove, and the occasional red snapper. While red snapper has an open and closed season the others don’t which makes them great targets year-round.


The reefs off the coast of Fort Myers are home to several species of grouper that patrol the bottom looking for food. The most popular species include gag, red, black, yellowfin, and goliath grouper all of which can grow to be very large. Grouper are usually caught in a similar way to snapper with cut or live bait fished near the bottom. Trying to haul one of these brutes out of the depths can be a real challenge but make the thrill of catching one that much better.

Fort Myers Grouper


The greater amberjack is often described as being the strong fish pound for pound and that is the perfect hint of what it’s like to fight with one. These fish are aggressive predators often caught by anglers targeting snapper because they live in the same reefs. With these fish being so strong and growing to 6ft long and 200lbs hooking into a giant would test the skills of even the most veteran anglers.

Fort Myers Nearshore Amberjack


King mackerel patrol the edges of reefs attacking anything they can fit in their mouth. These fish are long lean speedsters with a mouth full of teeth that require a wire leader in order to land one. Kingfish are formidable fighters and capable of hitting monstrous sizes of up to 100lbs and 5 feet long.


Cobia are unique fish that don't fall into any one category. Cobia can be found feeding in large schools or cruising the ocean on their own. Similarly, these fish can be found far offshore in open blue water or swimming through inshore estuaries at the right time of year. It's hard to understand cobia but all you need to know is they are powerful and delicious.

When to go fishing

While the fishing in Fort Myers is great throughout the year, several species have peak seasons when the fishing opportunities are the best. Cobia, grouper, and kingfish have a strong spring bite that returns in the fall and runs into the early winter months. Snapper species are great for a year-round bite but the peak bite happens in the summer along with barracuda but starts to fall off when water temps begin to drop.

Other Types of fishing

The many water types surrounding Fort Myers offer incredibly diverse fishing options. Anglers can take on peacock bass inland, redfish inshore, or head offshore for snapper and kingfish. No matter what kind of fishing you prefer Fort Myers has something for every angler.

Fort Myers Redfish

Fort Myers Inshore Fishing

Inshore fishing Fort Myers is phenomenal throughout the year because there are always several fish hitting their peak bite. With a diverse fish population, the inshore waters around Fort Myers are teeming with life and are home to plenty of target species. An inshore fishing trip might be the best fishing you can do in Fort Myers with an ideal environment for these fish to thrive. Between the Caloosahatchee River, Estero Bay, and miles of canals and backwater intertidal creeks, there is no shortage of prime spots to target in search of a giant. Fort Myers is an ideal location to go after the Backcountry Slam which consists of catching a redfish, speckled trout, and snook in a single day. As spring warms up, the tarpon bite kicks off and is red hot through the summer As the summer heat drops off into fall, bull redfish, snook, and speckled trout head into the backwaters, flats, and intertidal creeks. If you want to take on a challenge, this is an excellent time to sight-fish for redfish or any of these species and take a shot at the Backcountry Slam.

Inland Freshwater Fishing

Three lakes are only a short drive from Fort Myers and have top-notch fishing for highly-prized freshwater species. Lake Trafford, Lake Clewiston, and Lake Okeechobee are all within striking distance and offer some of the best freshwater action in the state. These lakes have incredible fishing for bass, crappie, and exotic species like peacock bass and Nile tilapia. With so many spots to fish and a wide variety of species to catch, Fort Myers is a great place for freshwater anglers.

Things to Do in Fort Myers

Fort Myers is home to plenty of events and activities that can keep any group entertained on or off the water. Visit any of the white sand beaches at Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel Island where beautiful ocean views are the perfect scenery for a day of rest and relaxation. Take the whole crew out to kayak with Manatees at Manatee Park where you will find an abundance of other wildlife as well. For the people who want to cut loose on vacation, Fort Myers has more than enough food and drink options to satisfy any craving you might have. No matter what you are looking for Fort Myers has something for everyone and is the perfect place to take a trip.