Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pittsburgh Creekside: Fishing Lovers Key State Park on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Lovers Key State Park Beach

With the July 4th holiday over it was time for a trip down south to warmer waters. I recently took a trip to Bonita Springs on the gulf coast of Florida and got some quality beach and fishing time in.  I spent most of my time at Lovers Key State Park in Ft. Meyers Beach, Florida.  I was competing with Tropical Storm Barry as the gulf coast was really churned up for a few days masking the beautiful turquoise water. All in all, my trip was fantastic as it was the first time that I got to fish the Gulf Coast on both the ocean and estuary mud flats.


Map of Lovers Key State Park


Small Map of Lovers Key State Park

I went walk-about on the beaches of Lovers Key and fished the storm churned surf to no avail.  The surf was about 2-3 feet and just too rough.  I also fished the entrance to Big Carlos Pass and Little Carlos Pass on the bay side and the Lovers Key fishing pier located on the southern part of the island.  The fishing pier can be accessed on a trail from the beach and the pier extends out into the estuary mud flats.


Bridge to Beach on Lovers Key State Park

Park Entrance to Lovers Key State Park from Big Carlos Pass


The Gulf Coast and Tropical Storm Barry

Fishing The Gulf Coast of Florida during Tropical Storm Barry

Dead Tree on Lovers Key State Park Beach

 
The Seashell Tree at Lovers Key Beach


 Big Carlos Pass

map of Big Carlos Pass

Fishing Big Carlos Pass at Lovers Key State Park
Fishing Big Carlos Pass Bridge at Lovers Key State Park

Fishing Big Carlos Pass Under Bridge at Lovers Key State Park


 Little Carlos Pass


map of Little Carlos Pass



Fishing Little Carlos Pass


Lovers Key Beach Fishing Pier

map of Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier


Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier



Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier



The Catch
I caught a few Hard-Headed Catfish which is a salt-water catfish. I’ve never caught one and am very familiar with the freshwater catfish of Pine Creek back home, so I was surprised to see a catfish in the saltwater estuary.  I caught one on a Gulp imitation shrimp at Little Carlos Pass under the bridge on the bay side and the other from the fishing pier in the mud flat estuary area using real shrimp.  I also caught a few small mangrove snappers.


Hard Headed Salt Water Catfish

Fishing Tale of the Trip
I hooked into something big while fishing off of the Lovers Key Fishing pier.  The fish hit my spoon like a bolt of lightning in the flats and then proceeded to make my reel scream as it darted directly under the pier. I tried dancing with it to keep it from heading under the dock, but it didn't cooperate as it tangled and broke the line! Smart fish. This one will haunt my fishing memories for a long time.  Was it a redfish, tarpon or snook or possibly a Jack?

Fishing from Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier


Gulf Wildlife: Dolphins, Manatee, Birds and a Gator
Lovers Key is full of gulf wildlife and not uncommon to see dolphins or manatee.  These two dolphins loved the attention as they leisurely swam back and forth under one of the walkway bridges from the parking lot that leads to the beach.  I also spotted a manatee swimming near a navigational buoy in Little Carlos Pass in the bay near the bridge that I was fishing.

On our visit to Sanibel Island we visited the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge where spotted a small gator just hanging out in the swamp waters of the island.

Dolphins at Lovers Key State Park

Alligator on Sanibel Island


pelican

Egret on beach at Lovers Key State Park

Heron on beach at Lovers Key State Park

 Pittsburgh Creekside Shout Outs!
 Lovers Key Bait & Adventures
A fisherman's no-nonsense bait and tackle shop that's nice enough to tell you where the fish might be.  Visit Lovers Key Bait & Adventures.

 Lovers Key Bait & Adventures

Coconut Jack's
Coconut Jack's Waterfront Grille is an award-winning waterfront restaurant just strides away from Bonita Beach overlooking the Back Bay. Try the Fish Tacos!

Coconut Jack's Waterfront Grille

Back Home
Ariel view of Pittsburgh from Southwest flight
Ariel view of Pittsburgh from Southwest flight

Until Next Time

Entrance to Lovers Key State Park

"I know I don't get there often enough, But God knows I surely try, It's a magic kind of medicine, That no doctor could prescribe." Jimmy Buffet - One Particular Harbour

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