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Bokeelia Fishing Pier

Historical Context

The Bokeelia Fishing Pier, located on Pine Island in Lee County, Florida, is steeped in history, reflecting the rich maritime heritage of the region. Pine Island itself is the largest island in Florida’s west coast, known for its lush mangroves, tropical climate, and abundant fishing opportunities. The Bokeelia Fishing Pier has played a central role in the island’s fishing culture, serving as a vital hub for both commercial and recreational fishing for over a century.

Early 20th Century Origins

The origins of the Bokeelia Fishing Pier can be traced back to the early 1900s. Pine Island, with its strategic location along the Gulf of Mexico, became a focal point for fishing and shipping industries. The original pier was constructed in the 1920s, primarily to support the local fishing industry, which was booming at the time. Fishermen would unload their catches of mullet, redfish, and other local species, which were then packed in ice and shipped to markets across the state and beyond.

The early pier was a simple wooden structure, built using locally sourced materials. It was designed to accommodate the heavy loads of fish and equipment, as well as the small boats used by local fishermen. The pier quickly became a community gathering point, where fishermen, residents, and visitors would exchange stories, trade goods, and enjoy the scenic views of Charlotte Harbor.

Mid-20th Century Development

During the mid-20th century, the Bokeelia Fishing Pier underwent several modifications and expansions. The post-World War II era brought increased prosperity and technological advancements, leading to the modernization of the pier. In the 1950s, the wooden structure was reinforced with concrete pilings to improve its durability and resilience against the harsh marine environment. These improvements allowed the pier to support larger boats and increased commercial activity.

The 1960s and 1970s saw a shift towards recreational fishing as tourism began to flourish in Florida. The Bokeelia Fishing Pier adapted to this change by enhancing its facilities to cater to recreational anglers. Amenities such as bait shops, restrooms, and seating areas were added, making it a more attractive destination for tourists and locals alike. The pier became known not only for its excellent fishing opportunities but also as a picturesque spot for sightseeing and relaxation.

Environmental and Economic Challenges

The latter part of the 20th century brought new challenges to the Bokeelia Fishing Pier. Environmental concerns, including coastal erosion and water pollution, began to impact the health of local fish populations and the overall ecosystem. Additionally, economic shifts in the fishing industry, such as the decline of commercial fishing and the rise of aquaculture, affected the traditional fishing activities at the pier.

In response to these challenges, local authorities and community groups undertook efforts to preserve and protect the pier and its surrounding environment. Conservation programs were initiated to restore the health of the marine ecosystem, and regulations were put in place to manage fishing activities sustainably. These efforts helped to maintain the pier’s role as a vital community resource and a cherished historical landmark.

Modern-Day Renovations

In recent years, the Bokeelia Fishing Pier has continued to evolve, with ongoing renovations and upgrades to enhance its functionality and appeal. The most significant renovation occurred in the early 2000s, when the pier was extensively rebuilt to meet modern standards. The new design incorporated advanced materials and construction techniques to ensure longevity and resilience against hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Today, the Bokeelia Fishing Pier stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Pine Island’s fishing culture. It remains a popular destination for anglers, tourists, and history enthusiasts, offering a unique blend of historical charm and modern amenities. The pier continues to be a focal point for community activities, educational programs, and environmental conservation efforts, reflecting the deep connection between the people of Pine Island and their maritime heritage.

Fish Species and Fishing Techniques

  • Spanish Mackerel:
    • Techniques: Light tackle is effective, with a preference for using spoons, jigs, or live baitfish like pilchards. Fast retrieval techniques work well to entice these swift predators.
    • Best Months: November to April
  • King Mackerel:
    • Techniques: Similar to Spanish Mackerel but with heavier tackle. Using live bait like blue runners or large pilchards is particularly effective. Trolling or drifting with live bait also yields good results.
    • Best Months: April to October
  • Snook:
    • Techniques: Best caught at night using live bait such as pinfish or mullet. Artificial lures like jigs or swimbaits can also be effective, especially near the pier pilings.
    • Best Months: March to November
  • Tarpon:
    • Techniques: Known for their acrobatics, tarpon are typically targeted with live bait like mullet or crabs. Heavy tackle is recommended due to their size and strength. Fly fishing for tarpon is also popular.
    • Best Months: May to September
  • Pompano:
    • Techniques: Sand fleas, shrimp, or clams are excellent baits for pompano. Using a double-drop rig and casting near the surf zone often yields good results.
    • Best Months: November to March
  • Bluefish:
    • Techniques: Fast-moving lures such as spoons or plugs are ideal for bluefish. These aggressive feeders can also be caught using cut bait like mullet or menhaden.
    • Best Months: October to April
  • Sheepshead:
    • Techniques: Targeting sheepshead near the pilings with fiddler crabs, shrimp, or barnacles is effective. Light tackle and patience are key to hooking these finicky feeders.
    • Best Months: January to April
  • Flounder:
    • Techniques: Bottom fishing with live bait like mullet or artificial lures such as soft plastics can attract flounder. Slowly dragging the bait along the bottom helps mimic natural prey.
    • Best Months: October to March

Fishing Calendar

Month Spanish Mackerel King Mackerel Snook Tarpon Pompano Bluefish Sheepshead Flounder


  • Bait & Tackle Shop: Offers a variety of bait, tackle, and fishing supplies. Rentals are available for fishing gear, making it accessible for both beginners and experienced anglers.
  • Restrooms: Conveniently located near the entrance of the pier, ensuring comfort for all visitors.
  • Cleaning Stations: Equipped with running water, making it easy for anglers to clean their catch before heading home.
  • Concessions: Snacks, drinks, and basic refreshments are available for purchase, ensuring that visitors can stay hydrated and energized during their fishing trip.
  • Seating Areas: Benches and shaded areas are strategically placed along the pier for rest and relaxation.

Techniques and Baits for Each Species

  • Spanish Mackerel: Use silver spoons or small live baitfish. Fast retrieval mimics fleeing baitfish.
  • King Mackerel: Live bait like blue runners or large pilchards. Trolling or drifting techniques.
  • Snook: Live pinfish or mullet at night. Jigs or swimbaits near pilings.
  • Tarpon: Heavy tackle with live mullet or crabs. Fly fishing is effective.
  • Pompano: Sand fleas, shrimp, or clams. Use a double-drop rig near the surf zone.
  • Bluefish: Spoons or plugs. Cut bait like mullet or menhaden.
  • Sheepshead: Fiddler crabs, shrimp, or barnacles near pilings.
  • Flounder: Live bait like mullet or soft plastics dragged along the bottom.


8421 Main Street, Bokeelia, FL, USA


Operating Hours

OPEN 7AM to 7PM everyday.

Admission & Pricing

$15.00 per person

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Fish Caught

Snook, Redfish, Tarpon, Cobia and Grouper, Snapper, Sheepshead, Pompano, Mackerel and not forgetting Sea Trout. As well as Whiting, Jack Cravelle, Ladyfish, Grunts, Squirrel Fish, Sand Perch, Lizard Fish and Puffer Fish. Sharks in all their guises, from small Bonnet Heads to Bulls and Hammerheads.

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8421 Main Street, Bokeelia, FL, USA

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