Wednesday's charter was about sunscreen, shades and cool drinks. Friday morning was about long pants, socks and a jacket, and thanks that I didn't have a trip scheduled.
But how can we complain about a little cold snap? After all, in as little as 16 weeks or so the migratory tarpon will return from their winter vacation down south. Snook will hit the beaches and passes, humidity will return to Amazonian levels and all will be once again right in the lives of Southwest Florida anglers. In the meantime, residents and guests just have to endure this icy 70, 80-degree winter weather.
What causes some tarpon to stay and others to migrate south during the cold water period is somewhat of a mystery. There are many things about the tarpon still unknown. That's a question you might ask when you go to the Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters' annual clinic at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. Open to the public.
Capt. George Tunison
The club will have seven stations set up so plan on 20 minutes at each "hands-on working station" to get the full course. Covered will be equipment, knots, lines, hooks, release methods, cast net throwing, etc. Everything you need but water to get you started in the right direction if you plan on pursuing the silver king. Bring a small notebook.
Joining the club is a great way to learn everything you need to know about tarpon fishing from seasoned tarpon anglers, some with over 500 catches recorded. The club is open to everyone and meetings are held the third Thursday of the month. Questions about the open clinic should be directed to Ken Jaros 618-713-0267.
Offshore angler Capt. Roy Bennett of HotOneII Charters caught grouper to 30 inches Thursday in 80 feet with seven keepers iced and 30+ throwbacks. Finding red tide at 80 feet they moved to 65, continuing to catch fish.
Pick your days and even flats and bay boats can fish nearshore reefs. But, if you were here Thursday you saw a beautiful bright, calm, sunny day turn into a windy, rainy storm in what seemed like minutes. Don't let this be you in your 21-foot bay boat, which now suddenly feels like a16-footer 15 miles off Redfish Pass. Check and double check the weather and let someone know where you're heading.
Don't have a towing service for your boat? Get it! Ten miles off and old reliable wont crank? Who is your next cell call to as you're floating off in the general direction of England. Can u get reception? Did you ever fix that pesky short in your boat's rusty radio's wiring? Oops!
Don't venture offshore unless you're prepared. It's never worth it.
This week I witnessed a steady parade of anglers driving full speed across some of the most productive no-wake flats in the area. Flying by, in some cases, mere yards from other quietly fishing anglers. This rude behavior ruins it for all of us trying to enjoy the water and destroys bottom grasses.
Give fishing boats a distance and noise courtesy, after all that could be you and your family trying to enjoy the waters. Troll motor and pole, save the bottom grasses. No grass - no fish.