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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: fishermens village

You’ll Find Everything You Need at Punta Gorda’s Fishermen’s Village

by on Aug.12, 2013, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Shopping, eating, fishing, boating, swimming or just plain “hanging out” in a nicely-appointed rental condo–you’ll find it all at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda.

Fishermen's Village Resort is conveniently located on the Punta Gorda harborfront.

Don't miss a waterfront meal on the patio at The Captain's Table Restaurant at Fishermen's Village

Locally-owned and operated shops and restaurants below, with rental condo above. Fishermen's Village is a one-stop destination.

Cool off from the summer heat at Fishermen's Village

Spectacular Charlotte Harbor sunsets are the end to a perfect day at Fishermen's Village.

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Resurrection at “Fat Point”–Punta Gorda Has Come A Long Way Since Hurricane Charley!

by on Aug.11, 2013, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Upper Charlotte Harbor

I remember driving from Gainesville to Fort Myers in the fall of 2004 and seeing nothing but blue tarps and crushed mangroves alongside I-75 south of the Venice exits.  That was the year we had to postpone the annual meeting of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, and push it back to October.  And even two months later, when we finally had the Conference at Venice, much of southwest Florida was still in ruin.  Punta Gorda, or “fat point” as its name translates in Spanish, took the worst hit.  Many historic building were destroyed and the downtown was literally flattened and flooded.  Only a few structures remained, and those that did struggled.  Only after a huge community effort (and millions of dollars!) did Punta Gorda become what it is today.  Extremely walkable and bikeable, with over 50 independently-owned restaurants, shops and 4 very nice harbor-front hotels, Punta Gorda has become an excellent destination for anglers and sportsmen wanting to take advantage of Charlotte Harbor’s bounty.

The rooftop bar at the Wyvern Hotel is a great place to watch the sunset.

I can’t think of many more communities  the size of Punta Gorda that are more angler-friendly.  There are excellent boat ramps, marinas, and the city’s location at the mouth of the Peace River, in upper Charlotte Harbor, makes running to some great fishing spots easy.  You can read about fishing in The Saltwater Angler’s Guide To Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida, but now take a visual tour of “Fat Point”

Sunset along the waterfront at Punta Gorda

Dinner's great at Laishley Crab House, on the Peace River

Punta Gorda's bikes are free. Just be sure to return yours!

Laishley Park, Marina and Boat ramp complex is just upriver from town

Feeling old? Take a sip from Punta Gorda's Fountain of Youth. Just hold your nose!

Some original structure remains from pre-Hurricane Charley days.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night fun at Dean's Tex-Mex

Punta Gorda has over 50 independently-owned restaurants

The Sheraton Four Points Hotel is conveniently located harborside.

Fishermen's Village offers lodging, shopping, bars, restaurants, dockage and access to great charterboats!

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At Punta Gorda Without A Boat? Give King Fisher Fleet A Try!

by on Aug.07, 2013, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Yes, there are times when I travel to good fishing spots in our state and don’t take my boat.  After all, sometimes I’m on a trip that’s featuring food and food writing, not fishing.  That was the case last week when I was invited to participate in Charlotte County and The Gulf Islands’ food writer trip.  I did manage to take a shorter-than-I’d-like trip with Capt. Ralph Allen, who owns King Fisher Fleet, with a whole bunch of boats headquartered at downtown Punta Gorda’s Fishermens Village.  Ralph and I took one of the smaller boats, a Hewe’s 18 Redfisher, and headed south towards Burnt Store Marina, on a high tide looking for reds and snook.  Charlotte Harbor, the 2nd largest body of water (after Tampa Bay) in Florida, was surprisingly calm and we were able to leave the fish biting on the East Wall, north of Burnt Store, and head quickly over to the area around Turtle Bay.  There, where we’d expected to find more fish on the falling tide, the bite was slow despite Ralph’s carefully and quiet poling efforts.  I blamed summertime;  Ralph blamed the fact that I insisted on using only artificial lures and that I made him leave his bait net back at the marina!  So it goes!

Capt. Ralph at work! Be sure to give your guide a big tip if he poles you around all morning!

Despite his "live bait" attitude, Ralph managed a nice keeper trout on a Rapala Skitterwalk plug!

In addition to a variety of inshore and offshore fishing opportunities, King Fisher Fleets also offers day trips to Cabbage Key and Cayo Costa State Park.  Cabbage Key is an isolated island in middle Charlotte Harbor, and its restaurant’s cheeseburger is supposedly the inspiration for singer Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.  Cayo Costa is an isolated Gulf beach island that’s just out-of-the-way enough to make you think you’ve left all your cares behind!

A sunset dinner at the Captain's Table Restaurant at Fishermen's Village is a great way to start the evening.

If you're lucky, the setting sun will light up the Peace River Bridge.

Be sure to bring your camera, or whatever device you have, to capture the beautiful Charlotte Harbor sunset.

Finally, don’t miss taking one of the King Fisher Fleet’s Sunset Cruises.  The hour-and-a-half cruise makes a loop around the mouth of the Peace River and the Captain does a really great job of setting the boat up for some wonderful sunset shots!  A good cheap date, or just time to relax after a seafood dinner at any of Punta Gorda’s great restaurants!

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