The End of an Era – The Caloosa Grande Finale

Fort Myers Beach, Ft. Myers BeachThe final tournament in the Caloosa Tournament Series will take place November 2-3 in Ft. Myers Beach. After 23 years, the Grande Finale marks the end of the annual Caloosa Fishing Tournament Series — forever. There is no qualification…the field will be limited to 50 paid teams…no exceptions. As of this writing, only 31 spots remain. This fishing tournament offers a high pay-out (Tournament Purse – $10,000 – GUARANTEED), open bars, high end gear and fantastic food at a great location and the last chance to celebrate 23 great years. For more information, or to sign up, visit the Caloosa Tournament’s website.

Florida Anglers To Raise Funds for a Worthy Cause in Ft. Myers Beach

events / things to do in Ft. Myers Beach

2011 Tournament Winners (photo credit: filletandrelease4hospice.com)

The 8th Annual Fillet and Release Fishing Tournament will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2012, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. It is a one-day, inshore fishing tournament designed to benefit the non-profit organization, Hope Hospice, which operates in several counties throughout Florida including Lee and Hendry.

The event will have a cash pay out of $7,050 based on a 30 boat entry. Tournament team members as well as everyone that gives a donation to Hope Hospice at the event will have an opportunity to meet and have photos with the Jagerettes.

charity fishing event

Fillet and Release for Hospice Fishing Tournament

Angling teams (4 anglers per team max) interested in participating in the charity fishing tournament will need to preregister, remit a $250 team entry fee and attend a pre-tournament meeting. An entry form and additional tournament details are available on the event’s website.

No License? No Problem! Sept. 1 is License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day in Florida

Fort Myers Beach fishing

Greater Amberjack Catch (Photo credit: myfwc.com)

Sept. 1 is a license-free saltwater fishing day in Florida. This year, it not only falls on a holiday weekend, but is during the popular spiny lobster and bay scallop seasons. Florida is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World” due to its abundant resources, combined with responsible freshwater and saltwater fish management. Florida residents and visitors can experience the joy of saltwater fishing and many will discover a healthy sport they can enjoy for a lifetime.  Don’t miss this opportunity to to share the fun, excitement and togetherness of a fishing trip with the entire family or introduce friends to the sport, even if they don’t have a fishing license.

Popular Shore Fishing Locations near Fort Myers Beach:

  • Sanibel Causeway – Head North on San Carlos Blvd off the North end of Fort Myers Beach, and turn left onto Summerlin Road, following the signs to Sanibel. Once passed the toll booth ($6 toll, but covers in and out) there are a number of places to stop on the causeway islands. One of the islands also includes restroom facilities.
  • Punta Rassa area – Just before the Sanibel Causeway toll booth there is an exit on the right to Punta Rassa. If you take this exit there is a boat launch area where you can park, and go fishing under the causeway bridge. Also on the south side of the road when you are heading back from Punta Rassa, just after the toll booth there is a wide shoulder where people park to go fishing on the south side of the road. This is also a popular spot for camping and kite boarding.
  • Pier on Fort Myers Beach – The pier in downtown Fort Myers Beach is usually a very popular spot for fishing. Head to Times Square and walk out the pier to the end. There is a small convenience store located on the pier.
  • South End Bridge – If you follow Estero Blvd all the way south as you are about to leave the island, you will most likely see people standing on the bridge fishing over the side. This spot almost always has people fishing from it.
  • Lovers Key State Park – Just drive a bit further south from the South End Bridge and you’ll be on Lovers Key. There are plenty of spots to park for free, including near the boat ramp and you can wade in to the bay side very easily. There is a sign about alligators at Lovers Key, so keep that in mind.
  • Beach Spots – Almost any spot on the beach will do. You’ll no doubt want to stay away from a crowd of people in the water as they can spook the fish and get in your way, so near the downtown area is usually not the best spot. It seems that between the beach and the sandbars that exist in a number of spots along the beach are popular, due to increased fish activity. Mid-island, near Cocoplum Beach House, is usually a very quiet stretch of beach.

All other bag limit, season and size restrictions apply on these dates. To make your fishing day successful, check out MyFWC.com/Fishing for fishing tips, locations and rules.Visit MyFWC.com and click on “Calendar” to learn more about boating-safety events during National Fishing and Boating Week and year-round.

Ahoy Mateys! Pirates return to Fort Myers Beach for Columbus Day!

Pirate Fest Fort Myers Beach 2012

Pirates “Invade” Fort Myers Beach (photo credit: naplesnews.com)

The 7th Annual Fort Myers Beach Pirate Fest will take place along Old San Carlos Boulevard and throughout the beach region during Columbus Day Weekend on October 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2012. For four days, the area beneath the Matanzas Bridge will be transformed into the nostalgic pirate port of Tortuga, and will include hundreds of professional pirates from across the state and beyond, bringing one of the most exciting events of the year to Fort Myers Beach.

Throughout the weekend, kids’ activities will include interactive games with pirates, a treasure hunt, sea skirmishes, stage shows and costume contests. For adults, there will be a pirate ball and costume contest on Friday night, and a weekend-long pub crawl.

This year’s Festival will provide more entertainment than ever before for the whole family, featuring a Pirate Invasion, Parade, Fight Ring and a Ship-to-Shore Battle with black powder cannon and small arms fire! The festival will also feature two stages of live entertainment from some of the best Pirate Crews, Actors, Storytellers, and Musicians from across the state of Florida.Events / Things To Do Ft. Myers Beach

The festival itself supports the Fort Myers Beach Little League, and many of the local performers take advantage of the event to raise money for charitable causes. Although admission is free, a donation of “a buck-an-ear” ($2.00) is suggested.

Event hours are 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  For more information, check out Pirate Fest’s website or Facebook page.

Looking for accommodations for the Pirate Fest? Cocoplum Beach House is located right on Fort Myers Beach, minutes from the festival location.

Grab a copy of Author Randy Wayne White’s newest novel, Gone, at book signing in Ft. Myers Beach

Ft. Myers Beach book signing Doc Ford's

Randy Wayne White’s new novel, “Gone”

Join Randy Wayne White as he discusses and signs his newest novel, Gone, at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille in Fort Myers Beach on September 24th, from noon-6pm.

Gone features Hannah Smith, descendant of generations of resourceful Florida women with wit, spirit and backbone. A Sanibel fishing boat captain, Hannah didn’t plan to do anything with the investigative agency she inherited, until circumstances conspire to send her off to find a missing heiress. The trail of clues leads her from the enclaves of Captiva’s wealthiest to the mangrove swamps of the Ten Thousand Islands and deep into the recesses of the Florida underbelly never seen by tourists. Set in the world fans have come to love so well from the Doc Ford series, White once again captures the true spirit and essence of the land, its people, and its ecology, with an unforgettable new heroine.

Gone is a first-rate mystery from one of the true masters of the genre. Randy Wayne White brings all of his expert knowledge of the locale as well as his years of experience captaining a boat to bear in his writing, and it pays off with an explosive and exciting novel that will please both his legions of current fans and new ones alike.

Winner of the Conch Republic Award for literature and the John D. MacDonald Award for Literary Excellence, Randy Wayne White has written 19 Doc Ford novels, four nonfiction books, two cookbooks, and seven novels under the pseudonym Randy Striker. Before becoming a professional writer, he spent 13 years as the captain of a charter fishing boat in Florida’s Tarpon Bay. He lives on Sanibel Island, where he can regularly be found at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille.

Prepare your taste buds! 10th Annual Fall Tapa Hop – Sept. 18, 2012

things to do / events Ft. Myers Beach

10th Annual Ft. Myers Beach Tapa Hop

The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce will be holding its tenth annual Beach Tapa Hop Tuesday, Sept. 18, beginning at 5:00 p.m. What is a Tapa Hop? With the purchase of an event ticket you will board a Beach Trolley, visiting 5 great Ft. Myers Beach restaurants, each providing appetizer items or ‘tapas’ included in the price for the event.  This year’s participating establishments are:

  • Parrot Key Caribbean Grill
  • Gulfshore Grille
  • Junkanoo
  • Pinchers Crab Shack
  • Big Game Bar & Grill

The event will also include raffle prizes, grand prizes and a poker run.  Check-in begins at 5pm at Parrot Key Caribbean Grill. The first Beach Trolley will depart at 5:30 p.m. All Trolleys will return to the Big Game Waterfront Grill by 9pm for dessert, the final prize drawings and poker awards. With the nominal additional purchase of $1 per Poker Score Card (no limit – while they last) the player will draw a playing card at each of the 5 locations. The winner will be determined at the final restaurant location.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door and can be purchased from the Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce online at http://bit.ly/OLr7FO.

Get Your Paddles Ready!

kayak fishing

Get ready to welcome Fall with the most exciting paddling festival in the country. This year’s Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival dates are November 1st to the 4th.

An annual event since 2006, the popular paddling festival has offered races, seminars, guided trips, a fishing tournament, demonstrations, a photo contest, and social events to kayakers. This year’s festival will include stand-up paddleboard (SUP) activities, on-water instruction, and a canoe and kayak film festival. Also, the festival will offer a race to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Lee County, Florida.Florida kayak and SUP festival

Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival 2012

Photo credit: swflsupclub.org/

The festival serves to highlight the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile marked-and-meandering saltwater trail that spans the coast and inland rivers along the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. It includes saltwater mangrove trails and inland rivers that access the saltwater trails.

The event was selected as a Top 20 Event for 2012 by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival is coordinated by Lee County Parks & Recreation, which reported attendance for the 2011 festival from 20 states, Canada and Great Britain.

Festival details are available at www.CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival.com and also on Facebook and Twitter. For trail information, visit www.CalusaBlueway.com.