Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Want to Fish the Islands? Choose a Guide!



Captain Mary A. Fink

Whether you are a novice or an experienced angler, it is wise to hire a guide to take you on a memorable fishing experience in our pristine islands. I don’t recommend this simply because I am a fishing guide; rather, I do so because it is the most effective and comfortable way to become familiar with the area, the types of fish found in the area and to expose you to numerous fishing techniques to help you succeed in catching.

Our Ten Thousand Islands areas as well as Everglades National Park provide some of the finest back country fishing in the state. However, our fish-rich paradise also poses challenges to those who are unfamiliar with the area. Some of these challenges include dangerously shallow areas, difficulty in navigation due to the numerous islands which appear to look the same, and severe summer thunderstorms, just to name a few.

When I travel to another country, state or unfamiliar area, I make it a point to hire an experienced guide who can share his/her local knowledge with me. This allows me to venture off on my own with a good background of what to expect in an area that is new to me. Many angling enthusiasts of all experience levels make the mistake of not doing this, and they often pay for it in one form or another.

Among the many benefits a guide will provide for you include appropriate tackle, bait and fishing licenses. Fishing tackle appropriate for one area or type of fishing may not be effective in another. The captain can offer the most effective fishing techniques for the types of fish you intend to target. Knowledge of the types of fish found in the area will be shared

A guide can help you learn the local catch, use the right bait, keep you from getting lost and even provide you with fresh filleted fish to take home! PHOTO BY MARY FINK

A guide can help you learn the local catch, use the right bait, keep you from getting lost and even provide you with fresh filleted fish to take home! PHOTO BY MARY FINK

with you by an experienced guide, as well. Additionally, a good guide will clearly possess local knowledge of factors like tidal exchange, water depth and navigation skills to help ensure a safe day on the water which will allow you to enjoy the luxury of a comfortable and relaxing fishing experience. Another plus is that you don’t have to be concerned with preparing a boat for a day on the water, or cleaning the boat following a day on the water! Both of these jobs are time consuming and somewhat laborious.

Finally, assuming you have some great fish in the cooler at the end of the day, your guide will fillet your fish for you, so you need only to drive home and heat up the grill or the stove, or go to a local restaurant that offers cook-catch meals and they will prepare it for you! If cooking at home, your guide can most likely offer great recipes for species caught, as well. So, don’t just wish to fish, hire a guide to take you out for a memorable experience in the beautiful back country areas of south Florida. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy time with family and friends!

Tight Lines!


Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both back country and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing.  Visit to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary. Or reach her at 239-571-2947.

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