Canal Rationale

I am staying in the cape coral area for 2 weeks next August, with my mate. we hope to leave our wives in the villa as much as possible while we fish! Our villa backs onto one of the canals (behind sw 56th street if it helps.) We also have access to a boat. We are limited on the amount of gear we can bring with us…apparently our wives intend to bring clothes as well as tackle..go figure! Is a light weight outfit for the canals worth bringing? Have a heavier weight travel rod for the boat but can we catch fish in the canals? I know nothing about your methods in the States, spend most of my time fly fishing in the UK so any help you can give would be great. many thanks, martin.

The canals in Cape Coral are possibly THE most neglected spot in the area. I don’t know why, but in all the years I have fished them, I have seldom seen anyone else there fishing. Canal fishing is fantastic. Like most specialty areas, it takes a bit of learning the unique environment, and how the fish relate to it, to consistently fill stringers.

The best canals are ones that are closest to larger bodies of water, such as a river. The farther away you move from body of water, the more the fishing slacks off, because the water becomes more brackish. And you’ll have better luck landing fish in the wider parts of canals. There are some big fish in there, and you may need the fighting room. But most of the fish will be holding or cruising near the seawall to grab anything that falls in. As a rule, after they strike, they will streak for the center of the canal.

The canals are full of snook, snappers, redfish, and I have even caught some very respectably-sized groupers. Of course, there are always tons of shrimp and crabs to be had in the canal;ls as well. I always drop a crab net down while I am fishing, and throw my net a few times for shrimp, before I leave.

You can get by with light saltwater tackle (I fly fish most of the time), but you may do better with something just a little closer to meduim. It’s not uncommon to tie into a stray tarpon in the canals, and when you do, you have your hands full for a bit. I have also caught an occasional bull shark in the canals, so I don’t advise wading.

Happy fishing.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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