Experience an authentic view of Southwest Florida’s world renowned coastal estuaries and barrier islands of Sanibel, Captiva, and Cayo Costa with Native Guides Captain John Houston and Captain Colin Carpenter. We provide personalized private charters for parties of up to six people and are dedicated to offering the best experiences in fishing, wildlife viewing, and shelling our area has to offer.
This team sets themselves apart in the industry by consistently catching fish and offering their extensive knowledge on the history and habitat of the area to their guests. With their intimate understanding of the local waters and fish, they always know where to find the right spot to hook a catch in any season. If it’s mammalian wildlife you’re after, they’re happy to show off the best places to find dolphins and manatees as well!
No matter what you’re looking for out on the water, we know where to find it! In addition to good times, our specialties include fishing, shelling, ecotours (including birding and snorkeling upon request), and sharing the nature and wildlife of the beautiful Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve. Captain John and Captain Colin will surely provide you with a unique experience and memories that will last a lifetime.
Give us a call and we’d be happy to answer any other questions you have!
People come from all over the world to fish in the waters of Pine Island Sound & the Gulf of Mexico; this is a premier location whether you’re looking to catch a serious trophy fish or just to reel in dinner for the friends and family. Here in Southwest Florida we have an extensive list of fish and shark species that call these waters home and we put in the necessary effort to ensure you’ll catch them. Most months of the year the captains are out in their boats even before the day breaks netting and catching live bait. Hours before our guests arrive at the dock, we’re already there making sure their day on the water will be a success.
Whether you are a serious angler or wetting your first line, your guide will work hard to provide you the best opportunity to catch fish. Your captains outfit their vessels with top-of-the-line tackle and equipment from industry leaders including Shimano, Penn, St. Croix and Yeti. All bait, tackle, and licensing is included with your charter. Captain John operates a classic 1975 23’ Mako with a tower and plenty of shade. Captain Colin runs a 23’ Parker center console which also has a dual station tower and ample shade. Both boats are equipped with live bait wells to ensure your bait stays fresh and frisky.
Captains John and Colin know the waters, the influence of tides, and the feeding patterns of the fish you would like to catch; snook, redfish, sea trout, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, black drum, shark, tarpon, grouper, triple tail, flounder, mackerel and more. Fish caught on your trip that are of legal size and species will either be put on ice or released (if not wanted or exceeding limits). Upon returning to the docks the captains will clean and filet your catch so you can take them home or to a local restaurant.
The estuarine environment of the Pine Island Aquatic Preserve provides the ideal habitat for bird nesting and feeding. The preserve includes several rookeries, which are ideal places to watch and photograph wading birds such as Herons and Egrets as well as other marine species such as the magnificent Frigatebird and Roseate Spoonbills. Diving birds such as Cormorants and Anhingas can be seen year-round along with other permanent residents like the Brown Pelicans. White Pelicans only visit fall to spring months when they fly down to escape from the frozen north. Many other species call these waters home and many more migrate through with the seasonal changes. Our guests are often delighted that Common Loon is in fact commonly seen, Ospreys are abundant, and Bald Eagles are frequently spotted as well.
You will see some of these amazing flocks from a unique view on the water or you can choose to explore an island by foot while looking for some of the more subtle species. Captain John Houston’s and Captain Colin Carpenter’s knowledge of the birds migrating seasons and nesting locations will provide you the opportunity to see a wide variety of birds in their natural environment. You may also add a Biologist to the trip for an extra fee.
We are also able to provide Lunch Tours to Cabbage Key, where you can dine on cheeseburgers in paradise at the Cabbage Key Inn and then sip on a drink at the world famous Dollar Bill Bar! The Inn is built on top of a 38’ Caloosa shell mound. There are no cars allowed on the island, and there are no paved roads—only nature trails for you to enjoy! Other lunch destinations include Barnacle’s on North Captiva Island, a variety of options on Boca Grande, or the Tarpon lodge on Pine Island where the Randell Research Center is located; guests often enjoy stopping in there before or after lunch to learn about the archaeology, history, and ecology of Southwest Florida.
Shelling is another world-famous activity in Sanibel, Captiva, and the surrounding barrier islands. As you walk along the beautiful coastlines keep your eyes open, you never know what you can find! Spend an hour or maybe the whole day searching for your own treasures on white sand beaches, mud flats, and sand bars. Shelling charters to Cayo Costa State Park are particularly sought after because the island is only accessible by water. As you wander along beautiful beaches, discovering shells and habitat and learning about the history of the Calusa Indian, it will feel as if you’ve gone back in time.
You may also stop to see Cuban fish camps from yesteryear or the early homesteads of the few hardy pioneer’s that lived on the barrier islands. John and Colin know much of the history and lifestyles of the people who lived on the barrier islands and SW Florida and enjoy sharing the stories of a bygone era. The best time to schedule your shelling charter is when the tide is low so you can enjoy more of the beach to hunt for the treasure trove of shells found on Cayo Costa, we will take this into consideration when booking your charter. Please keep in mind, NO LIVE SHELLING is permitted. You may also add a biologist to the trip for an extra fee.
We enjoy being in the boat, but we definitely have just as much fun in the water! The abundance of underwater life in the Pine Island Sound make it a great place for snorkeling and swimming. Don't be surprised if you come face to face with a friendly manatee or see a pod of dolphins leaping from the water! You can spend hours in the warm and calm waters drifting and watching the animals of the sea. Captain John Houston and Captain Colin Carpenter know all the best spots for your underwater adventure and if you expect you’ll have plenty of questions about all of the animals you will see, you may also add a Biologist to the trip for an extra fee. Snorkeling gear is provided at no charge.
If you choose to book a special Eco Charter, one of our biologists, Cory Liang or Alessia Lopardo from our sister company Adventure Sea Kayak & SUP, will happily come along to answer your questions and enhance your educational experience on the water. This can be added to any of our fishing, sightseeing, shelling, snorkeling, or lunch trips. Eco Charters are often wide ranging; depending upon the tides you might go to Cayo Costa, Pine Island, small mangrove Islands, the old stilt fish houses in Pine Island Sound, or the Randell Research Center and Calusa Heritage Trail. Cory and Alessia enthusiastically share their knowledge of wildlife, marine life, shells, habitat, and history to bring additional learning to a fun and exciting excursion.