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On the Water: Memorial Day is beginning of our warm season

By Staff | May 27, 2020

With the warm weather comes good snook fishing. Gary Postma from Bonita Springs caught and released this big snook from Charlotte Harbor while fishing the incoming tide with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

With the exception of a couple days that brought us much needed rain, weather and fishing conditions were near perfect leading up to Memorial Day weekend. Looking ahead, we are quickly exiting spring and heading into our warm or summer season.

As we progress into the warmer months, it can get downright hot during the middle of the day. For this reason, many anglers prefer to get an early start and fish the cooler hours of morning and back off the water before the afternoon heat.

Often, this is also your best chance at catching fish — they also avoid the hottest time of day and are more active during the coolest hours. June is a top month for hooking a tarpon, they are often most active in the mornings when the sun hits the horizon. A calm summer morning is a great time to get up early and watch the sunrise while chasing active tarpon off the beaches from Sanibel north to Boca Grande.

This past week the late afternoon falling tides flushed thousands of small pass crabs from Charlotte Harbor through Boca Grande Pass. These little crabs are candy for the big “poons,” and you combine a crab flush with late afternoon/early evening the bite is even better.

As the days heat up, it is imperative to keep hydrated. And no, beer is not a good choice. Any alcohol product has a negative effect and you will become dehydrated quicker. It’s hard to beat good old water, bring more than you think you might need, and drink often. When you are fighting a big fish (tarpon) for an extended time, it’s easy to get caught in the moment and before you realize it, you are feeling the effects of dehydration. Keep those beers on ice to celebrate after you land that trophy fish. If you have kids on the boat, they especially need to drink fluids often as they have less body mass than adults and expel a lot of energy.

To make sure your day on the water is enjoyable from start to finish, keep an eye on the sky and watch for those afternoon thunderstorms. Also, as we witnessed last week, it’s that time of year that morning thunderstorms may develop offshore and move over land without much notice. It is never fun to get caught on the water in a storm, especially with women and children on board. It can quickly ruin a great day, plus some of these storms produce extremely strong winds and dangerous lightning. By using a little common sense and watching the sky you can be back in port ahead storms and keep a smile on everyone’s face.

If you are fishing or just out for a day water, with a little planning and precautions there is no reason not to enjoy a great time on Southwest Florida waters.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-410-8576 (call or text); on the web at www.fishpineisland.com; or via email at gcl2fish@live.com.

Have a safe week and good fishin’.

As a lifetime resident of Matlacha and Pine Island, Capt. Bill Russell has spent his life fishing and learning the waters around Pine Island and Southwest Florida, and as a professional fishing guide for the past 23 years.