Gasparilla Island sits along the southwest coast of Florida, between Charlotte and Lee counties.
The only way on and off the island is the Boca Grande Causeway. Gasparilla Island and the town of Boca Grande harkens back to the days of general stores and local watering holes, which makes sense when you find out that this town is only 2.13-miles long. Hard to chalk up more small-town-America vibes than that. Yet, this area feels more like a faraway place that belongs in a destination where only a secret map can get you.
"With snook, red and trout fishing, we are looking for potholes. The areas were tides are running strong," says Rhines. "All three of these species are ambush fish, which means they target bait when the tides change."
With any fishing destination, there has to be a place to lay your head.
Gasparilla Inn serves that requirement with classical polish and Southern glamour. The Inn touches on the time of tycoons like Henry DuPont, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford — all guests of this historic hotel.
Don't expect the usual hotel stay. No stale muffins from a continental breakfast. It's all class with the Gasparilla Inn. With its golf club, beach club, and outdoor activities, there's plenty for the whole family to enjoy.
Boca Grande brings its visitors to a tropical escape within domestic lines. Backwater fishing backed by a grand, historic hotel. It's a hard-to-beat scenario.