Booking a Trip
Rates for one or two anglers:
Eight-Hour Trip: $600
Six-Hour Trip: $500
Four-Hour Trip (PIne Island Sound only): $400
Tarpon Trip (full day only): $650
A $100 per day deposit is required to book a trip. The deposit is refundable with 30 days notice. You can pay by cash, check, traveler’s check or PayPal (four percent surcharge on PayPal). No credit cards, please.
Capt. Bill Blanton
8676 Franchi Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919
In case of inclement weather, we’ll rebook or I’ll refund your deposit. I consider inclement weather a situation that’s either dangerous — lightning storms, for example — or so uncomfortable as to make the fishing no fun for anyone, like steady rain and a cold north wind. We’ll make a judgment call on or just before the scheduled day to determine if we’re going to fish or stay home
No license is required. You’re covered by my guide license.
For Everglades National Park trips, I usually launch at:
150 Smallwood Drive
Chokoloskee, FL 34138
For Pine Island Sound trips, I normally launch at the Punta Rassa ramp off Summerlin Drive in Fort Myers, just before the bridge to Sanibel Island:
15001 Punta Rassa Rd.
Fort Myers, FL 33908
We'll make final arrangements the day before your trip.
We can start at any time you like; however, fishing is best early in the morning, so I generally like to be on the water right at or just before the sunrise. On tarpon trips, I want to be on the water and at the first spot we plan to fish before the sun comes up. Remember …
… it’s better to be sleep-deprived
What to Bring
— What you want for lunch, including any beverage other than water (I’ll have plenty of water).
— Polarized sunglasses. Tan or copper lenses are best.
— A long-billed or wide-brimmed hat, preferably with a dark under-brim.
— Sunscreen. Put it on BEFORE you get on the water. Sun gloves and neck gaiters are also beneficial.
— Rain-gear and outer wear appropriate to the season. This is South Florida, but in winter and early spring it can be chilly, especially in a fast-moving boat first thing in the morning. A fleece vest is a good addition when the weather is cool. In all seasons, I recommend long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
— Boat shoes with non-marking soles. Tennis or running shoes or cross-trainers are fine.
— Bug spray with Deet. I’ll have a supply of this, but you might want to douse yourself before we meet to launch the boat. During the rainy season, the Everglades “swamp angels" are abundant and out for blood, especially at the ramp first thing in the morning.
— Tackle: You don’t need to bring anything. I can supply all gear. However, if you want to use your own tackle, a fly angler will need a 7- to 9-weight rod for snook, redfish and small tarpon. An 8-weight would be considered an all-around size for those species. A 7- or 8-weight paired with a 9-weight makes a nice combo. For the most part, a floating line is all you need. Make sure all lines are rated for tropical conditions.
For large tarpon, you need an 10- to 12-weight rod. On a tarpon trip, it’s useful to have one rod rigged with a floater and another rigged with a clear intermediate.
Fly reels should be suited for salt water, that is, corrosion resistant, with smooth drags and the capacity for at least 150 yards of backing in addition to the fly line (200 yards for tarpon). I will supply fly leaders.
For snook, redfish and small tarpon, light tackle anglers need rods rated for 15- or 20-pound braid (I use PowerPro) and 1/4- to 5/8-ounce lures. For large tarpon, a heavy-duty rod with 40- to 50-pound braid is the norm. Reels need to be saltwater resistant with smooth drags and the capacity for 150 yards of the rated line. A spinning reel for large tarpon should hold at least 200 yards of 50-pound braid and have a smooth, strong drag.
— Flies and lures: I have a wide selection of flies and lures that work in the Everglades and Pine Island Sound. Feel free to bring your own if you want to experiment.
What NOT to bring:
— Coolers. I’ve got one. There’s no room for another.
— Large gear bags. A couple of small bags are easier to stash in the boat than one large one.
— Rod tubes. String the rods before we get on the water. The boat’s built-in rod holders and tubes will protect your gear.