Punta Gorda and Matlacha
Fly and Light Tackle Fishing
Matlacha could be considered the gateway to Pine island as you have to drive right through this quaint old Florida fishing village to reach Bokeelia, Pineland, or St. James City in more well known Pine Island. However, Matlacha by its self is a very unique small town that just happens to offer some of the best back country fishing in a variety of different angling environments. The area is full of mangrove islands, tidal creeks, and bays and coves that hold lots of oyster bars, grass flats, and sandbars.
Because much of the area is posted as slow or idle zone, it doesn't get run over by the larger boats. For this reason ,it's one of my favorite places to fish out of a small technical skiff. More importantly, the fish don't get run over which allows them to settle down and keeps them in more of a natural pattern.
The reduced boat traffic and variety of natural structure combined with lots of current and moving water make this one of the best snook spots in Southwest Florida. In fact, from Matlacha Pass that runs through the Bascule Bridge at the entrance of town and out to spots like Buzzard and Smokehouse Bay , no less than five different bodies of water help contribute to some of the strongest current flow in our area that over time have created some of the deepest cuts in and around all the mangrove structure creating some excellent gamefish habitat. In addition to snook, the flats, creeks, and small bays throughout Matlacha hold redfish, spotted sea trout, jack crevalle, snapper, and cobia. And in spring, the silver king, the tarpon, begin showing up off many of the bar systems. In all, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound, and Charlotte Harbor all contribute to the strong tidal flow that help make this fishery so unique.
Punta Gorda and the East Side of Charlotte Harbor
Up the east side north of Matlacha between Pirate Harbor and Alligator Creek lies an abundance of backcountry creeks and mangrove shorelines just south of Punta Gorda, Florida. This is an excellent area for winter flyfishing as good numbers of redfish and snook will move back into the islands to take advantage of the more stable water temperatures. The water is quite clear this time of year and sight fishing opportunities are common.