We were on scene at the perfect time. The sun still 20 minutes from breaking the horizon. Just light enough to see a cast only halfway to its target.
Quiet, except for the sudden interruption of a school of hungry snook popping and slurping doomed baitfish at the surface of the shallow water.
Before long and to the right I could make out ripples when tails broke the surface as the redfish school moved onto the flat to feed.
Capt. George Tunison
Reds in a school become fiercely competitive and we were cheering as twice as many as three reds tried to eat one incredibly freighted Zara Spook. Spoons and topwaters were inhaled with gusto. Before long 19 reds from 4 to 12 pounds came boatside for pictures and freedom.
Redfishing is on here in Southwest Florida. Beautiful dark copper red bulldogs looking to crush your favorite lures.
We had just pulled away from the intersection when suddenly someone yelled from a passing vehicle "Hey! Yer boats afar!! Yer boats afar!!" "What?" I yelled back. Too late, they had already long passed us in a jacked up Ford pickup with huge "Crackerlicious" and "Rednecks Need Love Too!" decals in the back window. Bob turned to me and said, "Yer boats afar?" What the heck? Suddenly we both screamed in unison "THE BOAT'S ON FIRE!!"
And it was. The two of us ran in five different directions at once trying to figure how to put it out. Bob yelled, "Fire Extinguisher!" as he threw coffee at the fire. I countered, "In the Boat!" "****" !
We had been hauling a few things for my sister, some of which made using the rear view obsolete. The overflow went into her boat, but nothing more than a few boxes of curtains and clothes. Ashes from Bob's ever-present God awful cigar had somehow ignited as we rolled along, windows down.
Luckily, a small smothering tarp saved the day without much damage or loss of life from a huge fireball of exploding gasoline, fiberglass, and metal shrapnel.
Point is no extinguisher in the tow vehicle. Are you traveling without a spare? Going long distances without a bearing kit and the knowledge to replace a set along the highway?
Otherwise call the flatbed tow company, at 3 in the AM and hope you have insurance coverage or some hundred dollar bills handy. Murphy's Law especially applies to boaters that tow.
Heading to Matlacha or Pine Island? Make sure your lights are tip top for safety and also the many sheriffs that patrol this narrow corridor will be glad to give you an autographed memento of your burned out bulb visit.
We see lots of smaller flats style boats towed locally with no rear tie-downs or strap hold down. This is a disaster waiting to happen. One emergency use of the brakes and the boat can and will fly off the trailer and quickly become a 2,000 pound, gasoline loaded projectile sliding down a traffic choked road tow chain hooked or not.
If your baby has been sitting this summer and the cooler weather and fantastic fishing is stirring your soul spend a few hours this weekend looking everything over. Change that water separating filter right away and add fresh ethanol treatment to your tank(s).
Check all electronics on the boat and trailer. Make repairs now, not 25 miles offshore. Buy that spare tire, and the jack that you've been putting off. Grease the wheels and check for bearing wear. Maybe purchase a new set of LED trailer lights and swap out those old conventional taillights.
Have a watertight container with any and all fuses, spare bulbs and a small toolbox with essential tools. Carry large plastic lawn bags. Makes great emergency raincoats, fishbags, and a wad of plastic makes a great emergency drain plug. (I know).