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Times of the Islands Magazine

Whitney's Bait & Tackle Celebrates 5 Years in Business

Dec 11, 2017 09:39PM ● By Kevin
Captain Whitney Jones of Whitney's Bait & Tackle in Sanibel celebrates the 5-year anniversary of opening the shop on Dec. 12. Though there will be no celebration on the 12th, Whitney's Bait & Tackle will be open on Christmas Day for a big Christmas party.

According to Jones, "Everyone is welcome! There will be about 50 pounds of pork and several cases of beer to celebrate. We will be open all day." 

The store is a full service bait and tackle shop, offering rod and reel repair, custom rod building, rod rentals, guide service, live and frozen baits, locally hand-tied flies by its guide staff, fly and spinning gear, the latest lures, plugs, and scented jerkbaits, as well as expert advice.

For spinning gear, in addition to custom made rods, Whitney's also offers a selection of Star and Temple Fork Rods, as well as Penn, Shimano, and Diawa spinning reels. Fly fishing enthusiasts can choose from a full selection of Hardy & Grey’s rods and reels. The store also carries Ross Reels, RIO and Scientific Angler fly lines.

"Our fly selection is tied by local guides who are familiar with our local fishing and know which flies work best," Jones says. "We’ve also got t-shirts, caps, sunglasses, and sunscreens."

The business is comprised of an enthusiastic group of anglers and sportsmen that pride themselves on offering the best fishing advice, bait, how-to and techniques information available for enjoying bait, spin, and fly-fishing in the Sanibel-Captiva area.

Jones is a lifelong, passionate angler, who has built a life around fishing. Also a local guide and master rod-builder, Jones has been designing hand crafted rods for more than 20 years to "catch anything from the deepest bluewater marlin to the shallowest inshore gamefish," their website says.

"Sanibel needed a real tackle shop, and it needs to have a friendly atmosphere," Jones told us. "I wanted a place that was welcoming and had a homey feel. Our whole staff is friendly and knowledgable and we want you to feel welcome when walking through the door. I really wanted to have a shop with a different kind of vibe."

Among the accolades the business has received includes Jones' consecutive awards in 2013 and 2014 for "Best Fishing Guide of Sanibel and Captiva Islands." The store was awarded "Best Tackle Shop of the Islands" in 2013.

The guide staff can arrange a day of fishing around a potential customer's needs. By letting them know what kind of fishing you’d like to do, the team can match you with one of its guides for a day on the water. They offer 4-, 6-, and 8-hour charter fishing options, but can customize an option for anyone, including shelling on the beaches, looking for manatees or dolphins, or enjoying lunch at Cabbage Key. Whitney's guide staff also provides ice, bait, tackle and all licenses.

The charters leave from the Punta Rassa boat ramp just before coming over the Sanibel Causeway. The species for which the team fishes include: snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, tarpon, jack crevalle and ladyfish.

The shop has earned a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Facebook, averaged out of 52 reviews.

"The best bait shop within 100 miles," Chilly Willy said in a June 22, 5-star review. "Friendliest staff for those new to fishing this area. Always there to answer questions and get you on the fish! They have all you need to get started! I will definitely stop by every time I'm down here! Plus the owner is from my home state!!"

Whitney's Bait & Tackle is located at 1554 Periwinkle Way in Sanibel. It is open daily from 5 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit the website or call 239-410-8665.