One of the more popular topics that comes up on charters surrounds what is “fun fishing” and what fish can be taken for food for you and your family. 

Most of our regular visitors are aware that Southwest Florida, and Sanibel & Captiva specifically, suffered from a large-scale Red Tide event a few years ago. This Red Tide killed off a large portion of our fishery.  Red Tide is a term used to describe an algae bloom which removes the oxygen from the water making it impossible for fish to breathe.

Almost no species were spared.  Speckled Trout, Redfish, Tarpon, Mullet and even Catfish floated, en masse, along the surface of the water and left a horrible stench in the air. The last large-scale event we saw was 2 years ago and hopefully we don’t see another one for a very long time.

So what can we harvest and eat? We have some of the tastiest fish to ever swim at our feet here in Sanibel and Captiva Islands – and even some of the most expensive. Red, Black and Gag Grouper that can be caught offshore.  We get large numbers of Spanish and King Mackerel that run for a good portion of the Fall and Winter as well as Sheepshead, Bluefish, Triple Tail, Black Drum, Mangrove Snapper, and many, many more.

Lately, we’ve been blessed by the return of the Florida Pompano, which at the time of this blog retails for more than $29 a lb and man, are they tasty!!! They have a dense white meat and are perfect for the grill. They put up a heck of a fight, and are known for drag screaming runs and quick changes in direction. They’ll test even the most experienced angler.

Florida Pompano grow very quickly and are a good example of a sustainable food resource here in Florida. Pompano are easy to target from the beach and in the passes. They can be caught by simply bouncing a jig along the deeper trough on the beach or along the edge of grass flats in the sound. They don’t hang around too long, so come catch some while you can!

There are plenty of fish that can be harvested for food, but MY primary goal is to make your trip FUN and memorable for you, your family and friends. That’s what it’s all about! Fresh fish is a tasty meal, but pictures and memories like ones below are what it’s all about! Fun Fishing it is!

Come fish with us! We hope to see you soon!

Capt. Bryan Dollar

PS. – For up to date regulations surrounding food fish in our region please visit or just come fish with us, were up on all that stuff!