We all have those favorite vacation spots that keep bringing us back. It’s that feeling of peace and comfort that draws us again and again. That’s the way it is for me and Pine Island. I’ve been there four times and still want more.
There are any number of reasons to visit laid-back Pine Island off Florida’s Gulf Coast near Fort Myers. There is solitude and relaxation. Art galleries, fresh seafood, peace, and quiet are in abundance. There are no beaches, no hi-rise condos, not much traffic. But the biggest reason people come here is to fish!
Islands in the Sun: 80 miles and a world away from Sarasota!
Over the past 10 years and dozens of articles, this weekend staycation was among the most memorable. It’s not for what it had, it’s more about what it didn’t have. It’s about a weekend that got better by the hour—but not for the usual reasons.
We drove south from Sarasota on Interstate 75 and began angling toward the coast just after Punta Gorda, arriving about an hour later. We checked into a place called Tarpon Lodge, a quaint Old Florida resort on the banks of Pine Island Sound.
Florida has long been known as one of the country’s most popular vacation destinations. Whether it’s the cool vibes of South Beach, the oodles of family fun that can be found in Orlando or the wild wetlands of the Everglades, there really is something in Florida for everyone.
But, for those looking to get off the beaten path just a little bit, Pine Island is the place to be. Today’s guest contributor, Fred Mays from North Texas Active Life,is here with some great recommendations for finding active travel on Pine Island. From fishing to kayaking to just taking it easy, this is the spot to be! Read More
For ultimate relaxation, Tarpon Lodge offers sunset dinners, mangrove views, fishing and more.
How does ESPN’s popular host of Reel Talk Radio (99.3) and longtime fishing guide Capt. Rob Modys romance his bride of 22 years after her intense season promoting our destination worldwide? (JoNell Modys is the PR and communications manager of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB.) Why, he takes her fishing, of course!
“We’ll start with a relaxed sunset dinner at Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island,” he says, “and then retreat to the lodge’s most romantic accommodation, The Cottage, overlooking Pine Island Sound. We’ll have drinks (and, in my case, a cigar) on the front porch before turning in for the night. We’ll be on the water by first light, watching the sun rise over the mangroves. Sunrises are often more beautiful than sunsets, and the birds and dolphins are active and hunting for breakfast. We’ll fish till around 11, and then bring our catch back to the four-star chef to cook up for lunch before we head for home.”
Several excellent fishing guides work out of Tarpon Lodge, Modys says, and summer is an ideal time to practice your fly-fishing skills, “especially for redfish, tarpon and sea trout.”
I recently had the opportunity to stay at Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island, Florida for a fishing tournament. The event was hosted by Maverick Boat Group; the manufacturer of my Hewes Redfisher as well as Pathfinder, Cobia and Maverick boats. The lodge is a place I’ve always wanted to visit but for some reason, never found the time. This time I didn’t pass it up!
There are so many reasons to visit Florida’s lower Gulf Coast — all those beaches, the calm, warm water, the sailing, power boating, kayaking, diving, SUPing…. But hey, my linebacker legs don’t do well on SUPs. No, all those things are well and good, but I come here for one reason: to fish.
Anytime you go on vacation, you’ll need to make sure you enjoy as many activities as possible – you’ll be back at work soon enough, and you’ll want to have made good memories when you had the chance. And while there are certainly plenty of things to do at Tarpon Lodge, we like to encourage our guests to spend at least one morning or evening introducing your children to fishing.
Photo courtesy of Hoke Fishing Charters
Fishing is a positive and fun way to spend a few hours, at it becomes a healthy, lifelong hobby for many. But if you want your child to enjoy fishing, you’ll want to make sure their first trip is a good one and that you catch plenty of fish in the process. Read More
Explore the natural setting and incredible history that makes our area so unique.
Our friends at Captiva Cruises have created a special lunch excursion from Captiva to Tarpon Lodge and the ancient Calusa Indian Mounds on Pine Island. You’ll cruise by historic fish houses en route to Pineland, with Captain Sean and Captiva Cruises’ Educator, Richard, discussing the history and unique properties of the area. You’ll then enjoy a delicious lunch at Tarpon Lodge. After your meal, you’ll walk over to the Randell Research Center where you’ll be led on a guided hike to the top of a pre-Columbian mound of the ancient Calusa Culture. This Center is dedicated to learning and teaching about the archeology, history and ecology of Southwest Florida.
MY HUSBAND, JACK, desperately wanted to hook a big snook, which was the motivation behind our three-night DIY kayak-fishing trip around Pine Island, the largest landmass in the archipelago which includes southwest Florida’s seaside resorts of Sanibel and Captiva. There was only one problem, as far as we knew an inn-to-inn paddle-trip in that area had never been done before. It wasn’t exactly a heroic off-the-grid adventure. During the day we’d weave in and out of mangroves and across shallow bays, then come ashore at dinnertime, check in to a waterfront lodge, then paddle and fish again the next day.
“I think it’ll work,” Jack said, after researching some nautical charts and regional websites. “We’ll need to paddle about eight miles each day, which should leave us plenty of time to fish.”
Eight miles in the ocean? What if we got lost? What if the sun scorched our pale northern hides? But we might catch snook! A month later, we launched our boats at Tarpon Lodge on the west side of Pine Island.
Tarpon Tales is a Newsletter from your friends at Cabbage Key & Tarpon Lodge in Pineland, Florida.
Warm Gulf breezes, spectacular sunsets and starlit nights are making our summer bright and happy here at Tarpon Lodge and Cabbage Key. If you haven’t spent time with us over the summer months, we invite you to experience the nuances of a different season in our special corner of the world.
We are also thinking ahead to fall happenings and events, and our staff has much in store for your next visit. In the meantime, please send us your favorite photos and stories from the time you have spent with us – we may include them in our newsletter or post on our blog or social media pages. Thank you for being part of our Tarpon Lodge & Cabbage Key family!
All the best, The Wells Family
Catch a local fishing report from Captain Erik Flett, Native Attitude Charters
Tarpon season has been great these past few months, but the big numbers are starting to dwindle. Right now, snook abound in and around the passes on live bait. And you can always find trout up on the grass flats, catchable with live or artificial bait. And some more good news…there have been quite a few snappers around.