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Charlotte Harbor

Charlotte County, Florida.

Charlotte Harbor ends in Placida, Florida.

195541063.78 miles (314692935.11 sq kilometers)

About The Charlotte Harbor

About Charlotte Harbor, FL

Charlotte Harbor is the second largest open-water estuary in Florida after Tampa Bay. It is found on the Gulf of Mexico, where its mouth can be traced behind Gasparilla Island on Florida’s southwest coast. Two-thirds of this water body lies in Charlotte County, while the rest in Lee County.

Originally named after the Calusa Indians, the harbor’s name was later renamed as Carlos by the Spaniards and then permanently changed to Charlotte in honor of the wife of King George III of England. Since the Calusa Indians’ period, Charlotte Harbor has long been attracting local anglers around its beaches and barrier islands. These former fishing villages have been converted into nine low-rise coastal communities (including retirement communities) and four barrier islands huddled around the harbor.

Charlotte Harbor has a large watershed that covers about 270 square miles (700 km2) including Charlotte Harbor itself as well as the Caloosahatchee River, Peace River, and Myakka River basins. It is classified as a bar-built estuary, which tends to be shallow with minimal tides. This makes it one of the most sought-after fishing destinations on the Gulf Coast.

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Description

All About Fishing in Charlotte Harbor, FL

The waters in Charlotte Harbor are a combination of saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico and freshwater from the rivers nearby. Under these are seagrass beds that are significant in cycling nutrients, stabilizing sediments, and providing a perfect breeding ground for a wide array of fish, including tarpon, redfish, cobia, snook, barracuda, grouper, and many others that attract anglers all over the world. Many of these popular sportfish can be caught here all year long.

One of the biggest fishing attractions in Charlotte Harbor is tarpon fly fishing. As this fish is known for jumping several feet above the water, many anglers around the world visit and enjoy the challenge of this difficult big game. Set up a 4000 series reel filled with a 20-lb braided line, and you’re ready to test your athleticism for catching a 20-40 pounds tarpon. If you’re already an expert of this game, you may join the highest-paying tarpon tournament held right in the Boca Grande Pass, an inlet that joins Charlotte Harbor to the Gulf of Mexico.

Other fishing opportunities available in the area are bottom fishing, spearfishing, and dead-bait fishing. Cobia and grouper are typically hunkered down on wrecks, bridges, reefs, and rock structures, so they are easily caught by bottom fishing and spearfishing. Barracuda, on the other hand, are caught by spinning or casting as these fish tend to stay in shallow areas stalking small baitfish. If you are after snook and redfish, go to a place without boat traffic as these fish love to sail the islands around the harbor looking for food.

Even if the harbor offers a lot of fishing opportunities, you may encounter some problems such as occasional red tide and a large amount of boat traffic that you will have to contend with, so it is important to plan your visit first.

Charlotte Harbor Seasonal & Other Description

Fishing Seasonality

Game fish in this area regularly traverse between Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. While some species are seasonal, many species are available year-round. When the waters are warm, schools of snook and redfish become hungry and aggressive. It is also during this season that they spawn, so it is the best time to catch them. When fall comes, they retreat to mangroves, canals, and other structures so catching them will be more difficult.

The months of May to July are the best time to fish for tarpon. You can go inside the harbor by taking a quick ride from the dock or you can simply stay offshore and you will still be able to catch tarpon and other game fish. If you want to catch the biggest one, which is as heavy as 100-150 pounds, do it in May.

Cobia, barracuda, and grouper are some of the species found in Charlotte Harbor that never go off-season. The high season for cobia is around April and September to October while barracuda and grouper are abundant almost throughout the year, especially during spring to fall.

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Charters & Fishing Guides

address

Fort Myers, FL

20ft - 5 guests

Starting as low as

$450

address

Stuart, FL

23ft - 4 guests

Starting as low as

$450

address

St. James City, FL

21ft - 6 guests

Starting as low as

$200