Grosse Savanne Waterfowl and Wildlife Lodge
The Gulf is something of a mecca for anglers, who reel in a bounty of grouper, trout, and tuna, to name a few. There’s pier fishing, inshore charters, and deep-sea expeditions from which to choose, and plenty of pros ready to share a story or tip.
On Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier , the world’s longest, dangle a hook (or a trap for blue crabs) into the waters of Tampa Bay. Chances are, if it swims in the Gulf, it will eventually pass by. Continue south to Matlacha, a tiny Old Florida island just off the coast of Fort Myers. Join locals at all hours, day and night, on Matlacha Bridge, dubbed “the fishingest bridge in the world,” to try your luck landing snook and tarpon, which swim in the dynamic north- and south-flowing currents of Matlacha Pass.
For sport fishing with a side of luxury, head over to Grosse Savanne Waterfowl and Wildlife Lodge in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Calcasieu Lake, a saltwater estuary, is just right for snagging trophy speckled trout and giant flounder; nearby, two freshwater lakes are stocked with largemouth bass. The ultimate reward: feasting on your expertly prepared catch served in the dining room of the resort’s plantation-style lodge.
If you’d rather cast a line in the deep blue beyond the shoreline, there are charters available in almost every town. One standout is Capt. Mike’s Deep Sea Fishing (captainmikeonline.com), based in Dauphin Island, Alabama. Captain Mike Thierry’s decades of experience and conservation work repairing offshore artificial reefs afford him an insider’s advantage when it comes to locating fish. Hook a range of species, from mackerel to marlin, on trips ranging from five hours to several days. And if you find yourself in Thierry’s hometown in July, stick around and rub elbows with more than 3,000 competitors and 75,000 spectators at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (adsfr.com), the world’s largest fishing tournament.