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Fish-Tale Marina’s a ‘special’ Fort Myers Beach location

By Staff | Mar 11, 2020

Fish-Tale is a full-service marina, and that’s literal.

Visitors to the establishment on Fort Myers Beach can boat up and park for an hour, or a day, or week – or even longer. With transient space rentals, 75 in-water slips, and more than 200 dry slips contained in multiple boat barns, the marina has a place for hundreds of boats.

Walker’s Marine Service is the on-site service department, as well as a boat sales company.

Staff will even power wash boats as they come in to keep the salt water from damaging the hull.

That’s all within the parameters of a marina. But Fish-Tale has even more.

From fishing charters, boat rentals and eco-dolphin tours there are many family-friendly adventures that begin at the marina. Options for off-shore, near shore and bay fishing charters are available or, if fishing isn’t on the wish list, captains can take visitors out on eco-tours and more. When fishing with one of the marina’s charter captains you can take your fresh catch over to Fish-Tale Waterfront Dining and have them prepare your meal in house.

If someone already has a boat, there’s plenty of services available, including fill-up stations, wet and dry storage slips, and self-storage areas for people to keep their on-the-water equipment.

Then, after the fun on the water is over, visitors can dine at the multiple restaurants in Santini Plaza as well as peruse the local shops for gifts.

“Explore the Estero Bay on one of our rental boats, come back for lunch at Fish-Tale Waterfront Dining,” said Marketing Director Hannah Falkenburg. “Check out the local shops in the plaza, then end your day on our Sunset Eco Tour. The Fish-Tale campus truly has a ton to offer.”

Owner Al Durrett renovated the former Fish House restaurant and opened up a seafood restaurant, Fish-Tale Marina Waterfront Dining, located just behind Santini Plaza.

The dock-and-dine restaurant features a screened-in area with plentiful seating and a more casual tiki area. The bar serves local and domestic beers, wine and liquor.

Besides a variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts, the bar serves up local craft beers and delicious cocktails. There’s also a happy hour, and during the summer, a special “locals night” on Wednesdays and a trivia night on Tuesdays.

Focusing on “local” is a part of the business culture at Fish-Tale. Durrett hosts many local fundraisers and community events at his marina, including a Friends of the Arts Winter Concert Series, and forums for local election candidates.

Fish-Tale prides itself on its support of law enforcement, first responders and military service members. It’s got special “super hero” parking reserved for them. It also hosts and sponsors several service-oriented fishing tournaments, including the U.S. Coast Guard Tournament, the Mako Funament, and the Grouper Grapple.

Besides a commitment to helping the local community, Fish-Tale has also placed the local environment at the top of its priority list.

The marina is classified as a Clean and Resilient Marina, two different and separate qualifications from the State of Florida.

Being a Clean Marina means completing a program through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to set best practices that go above and beyond regulatory requirements for environmental standards. The Resilient Marina certification is related to its ability to withstand a disaster, such as a hurricane or a large-scale oil spill.

Fish-Tale doesn’t use any harsh or unnatural chemicals during cleaning. The Ship Store uses biodegradable bags. The restaurant started using paper straws when it opened, and now it’s phasing out straws altogether.

Fish-Tale Waterfront Dining has a certification from the Surfwriter Foundation as an Ocean Friendly Restaurant. “This means that we do not use any expanded polystyrene foam, proper recycling practices are followed, only reusable food ware is used for onsite dining, paper straws are provided only upon request, and no plastic bags are offered with take out or to-go orders,” Falkenburg said.

“We make our living on Estero Bay, and it being an aquatic preserve, you want to protect the quality of the water,” Durrett said.

He said he’s most proud of the fact that the Fish-Tale Marina is a source of employment with a good quality of life for more than 100 people; some of those employees have been there for almost 30 years.

“Fish-Tale is a special place. A special piece of property on Estero Bay,” Durrett said. “The water and estuary itself is a very special place. I’ve had fun there all these years.”

Fish-Tale Marina is at 7225 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach. Check online at thefishtalemarina.com or call 239-463-3600 for more information.