Marco Island Fishing Guides: Which Is the Best for You?

Marco Island is a perfect spot to spend a day fishing. From experienced anglers to beginner fishers, the unique waters have everything you could want. All of this is set against the beautiful backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico.

If you are considering a day of fishing in the Marco Islands, we have created a handy fishing guide below. Read on to find out what charters you can book and what you can catch when you are there.

Why Choose a Charter?

Charter fishing is a fantastic choice for beginners and experienced anglers alike. When you book a charter, you are paying for the experience of your guides. They will know the best waters, fish migrations, and the times of day to make a catch.

In addition to this, you will be able to enjoy a stress-free trip. The boat and equipment will be provided, meaning you do not have to deal with the hassle of preparation. Cast out, sit back and relax!

What Do I Need to Bring?

Each charter is slightly different. However, you can expect rods, lures, baits, and fishing licenses to be the bare minimum provided. Some items that you should consider bringing are sunscreen, towels, and any specific food or drink. On our Marco Island fishing charters, we provide everything you’ll need to have an amazing trip!

If you want extras, you should discuss this in advance with your Captain. In fact, communication with your guide and captain is extremely important. They need to know what you want from the trip and what you hope to get out of it.

Check the onboard policies way in advance with your Captain. You may wish to smoke and drink some beer, but the captain may not find that acceptable. It may also help to check if you are allowed snacks and food on board. On our fishing tours, we encourage whatever it takes to have a great time.

Extra services should also be discussed in advance. Guides and Captains may provide a service where they can collect and drop you off at the boat. You should also discuss fuel requirements for the boat and ask if this is included in your charter price.


Before you start packing and preparing, make sure you have double-checked the departure time and know your way to the marina. Boats will often have more than one outing in a day and delays will interrupt their schedule. You must be on time.

It is unlikely that when fishing in the Marco Islands you will encounter wet weather. However, it can happen, so pack a waterproof jacket in case of a storm rolling in. Except for this, you need to pack for warm weather.

Rubber-soled shoes will help you keep a grip on deck. Polarized sunglasses are essential, as glare from the water can make visibility tough even on the clearest of days. If you need medication for seasickness bring that.

Finally, you will need three bags. One backpack for general supplies plus two coolers. One can keep your drinks and snack in and one can hold the fish you have caught. If you book your fishing charter with us, you’ll be able to use our large cooler to keep your waters, beer, and lunch cold.

Why Fish at Marco Island?

Marco Island is fishing in heaven. Its location right on the Gulf of Mexico means it has an abundance of fish and marine life. Combined with crystal clear waters, it makes for an amazing experience.

Marco Island has very shallow waters making catching easy. It also has 10,000 islands which are teeming with opportunities for sportfishing. Snook, tarpon, and sea trout all inhabit the waters.

In addition to this, its tropical climate gives it some of the best backwater fishing in the world. Subtropical mangrove means that lots of species come to rest where salt and freshwater meet, meaning you will get some very unique catches. The area is so good for fishing you can often catch a shark when casting from the beach.

Florida Licenses Fishing Guide

If you are going fishing in Florida you will need to acquire a license for the fish you want to catch. This also applies to lots of game hunting if you are thinking of doing some shooting off on dry land. There area number of licenses available all at varying prices.

Licenses range from lobster catching licenses to all in salt and freshwater licenses. You can purchase them yourself, but if you book a charter the guide will include them for you.

Backwater Fishing

The 10,00 islands are the spot for backwater fishing. This area will probably be some of the most relaxing fishing you will ever conduct. Cast out and sit back in theses beautiful shallow waters.

This area is a very unique ecosystem, and you can expect to see dolphins, manatee, and a host of birdlife. For the angler, the water will hold Redfish, Tarpon, Snapper, Trout, Sheepshead, Ladyfish, Snook, Pompano, and more.

Live and artificial baits are used in the mangroves and small, sandy beaches. the area also has plenty of barrier islands should you want to stop for a break and take a swim or go shelling.

Offshore Fishing

If you are looking for some action and adventure, then head offshore. This is where the big boys come out to play and you can catch some giant-sized fish out here. Head to one of the artificial reefs or wrecks and see what comes up.

The gulf stream will bring you fish of all kinds, from tiny fish to huge sharks and swordfish. It is best to catch them using trolling lures and a selection of bait. You can also try offshore fly fishing, but this is recommended for more experienced fishers.

These waters contain Snapper, Grouper, Shark, King Mackerel, and others. However, the king of them all is the Goliath Grouper. This beast can weigh up to 790lbs and won’t go down without a fight.

Due to winds from the west conditions can get turbulent. Be prepared by packing some seasickness tablets and appropriate clothing. Definitely the choice for adventure fishers!

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is a real art, and there is no more beautiful place to practice than the flats of the 10,000 islands. This form of fishing is extremely difficult, but that just makes it even more rewarding when a catch arrives. It is always better to fly fish in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is still watery and light is thin.

The best catches will tend to be in water around 2ft deep or even less. You can choose to wade in, or simply cast from the shoreline. Grassy flats with uneven bottoms and sediment will contain crabs and shrimps that will attract fish.

Jack Creval, Snook, Ladyfish, and Sea Trout can all be caught in this way. Your artificial bait should work best when imitating shrimp and crabs.

Beach Fishing

The fishing is so good on Marco island that you can even catch straight from a beach or pier. In fact, Marco has at least 6 miles of beach to choose from.

For fly fishers, you can try to walk the shore in the early morning or late afternoon. Whitebait imitations will tend to work best.

For people who want to use live bait, jigs with a shrimp as bait often work well. Cast into deep water away from the shore. A slow retrieval will bring sea trout and pompano while pulling in quickly can help you catch mackerel.

Shark Fishing

Shark fishing on Marco Island requires very specific knowledge of the local waters. The backwaters provide cloudy, warm waters that sharks love to hunt in, but they do require a little effort along with some specific bait.

Depending on how you fish will determine the shark you can catch. Some sharks like to trawl the ocean floor, whereas some like to feed up, so you really an experienced guide to help you with this. Contact us for a fishing charter quote.

What Can I Catch and Where?

There are a huge number of fish and sharks that you could catch on a Marco Island charter. What you want to catch will have an impact on the charter you choose. We talk about the most common fish and where to find them below;


The common snook sometimes goes by the name of Sgt Fish or Robalo. These fish can grow quite large, often between 1 – 4ft in length (some have almost reach 5ft). They are unique to the Gulf of Mexico and the northeastern coast of South America due to its inclination to breed in high saline waters, around estuaries and mangroves areas.

Snook like live bait. They will latch onto sardines and pilchards, particularly if you have located the bait from the area you are catching in. They like to lurk around mangroves and docks, so cast out in these areas to increase your chance of snatching one up in backwater or fly fishing charters.


There are two species of Tarpon, and the one native to Marco Island is the Atlantic Tarpon. They are particularly hardy fish and can live in everything from salt marshes to Mangrove. You can find them across the world, from Brazil to Senegal.

Tarpon is a very lively fish. They can give a real fight and have been known to jump up to 10ft out of water. They can grow quite large, though people tend not to eat them due to the proliferation of small bones in their flesh.

Tarpon is best caught with live bait such as shrimp and mullet. You can also use some artificial baits though is best for use on flats. Backwater charters are best for catching Tarpon.


The Florida Pompano is so famous, they even named a town after it. It a beautiful fish, with a forked tail and is blue-green with yellow details. They are quite small and excellent for eating.

Small fiddler crabs work excellent as bait. Pompano also likes to eat sand fleas which are always in abundance.

The Pompano migrate north in the summer and south in the fall, so you should factor this in when you book a charter. They can be found in areas with high levels of saline. You can find them while backwater fishing.

Blacktip Sharks

Blacktip sharks are strong, fast, and agile. They derive their name from the specks of black on the end of their fins. Despite being a voracious hunter, they are often quite shy and timid creatures so can be hard to find.

You can find Blacktips in lots of areas along the Florida and Caribbean coast. They like to come to shallow flats and shorelines. You can often find many of them around coastal passes and inlets.

Blacktips will take most types of fresh cut bait. They can even take artificial lures, but you have to be very close to the Shark as they have extremely poor eyesight. When you catch a Blacktip it will give a fight, making long runs and flipping out of the water.

Scalloped Hammerhead

The Scalloped Hammerhead is a great looking fish and is one of the larger breeds in the species. On average, they are around 5-6ft long and weigh around 65lb in males. They often breed around the shoreline, and young Hammerheads need a lot of food to survive.

There are very specific laws regarding the capture of Hammerhead sharks in Florida waters. It pays to have an experienced professional with you to navigate the capture and safe return of these amazing creatures.

Booking a Charter

If our fishing guide has got you ready to cast off and start catching, then you need to book your charter. We are an experienced Marco Island charter company that has a range of charters available. Call us at (239) 567-9859 and plan the fishing trip of a lifetime today!



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