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Tips From the Tipsters

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On: Thu, May 21, 2015 at 1:50PM | By: Captain Ron Kowalyk

Everybody wants to be in the know, well, that’s only natural. I sit around the shop at Estero River Outfitters on my morning visit when I’m not on the water. It’s a good way to network, try ‘n stirrup business and just generally kibitz. You can sell everybody a fishing trip, that’s OK, too. The prevalent question is where we should fish to catch whatever’s out there. Immediately you know these guys are totally in the dark.

The first step in fishing any areas, especially new water, is learn what the local targeted fish are; easy: pick up a leaflet put out by the FWC. These leaflets describe native fish, legal limits and seasonal closure, license requirements; ignorance of the fishing regulations is no excuse. So here is some easily available info on what’s swimming where, maybe.

The next question is how deep is the bay, yah, OK? Get a “map”—no, get a chart. I got this placemat with a picture of Estero Bay on it at Denny’s, isn’t that good enough?—NO! The channel markers are different here than in Michigan—NO! It’s red right returning? Yah, but where are you returning from? Get a chart; study it when you’re on the presidential throne. I got a GPS; great that tells you where you are, not really how to navigate safely to the next waypoint.

How deep is the water; get a chart. The tides are different here; in Massachusetts the tides are 12 feet, yah! We fish in the bay here in 2 to 4 feet of water and less, generally. A good Estero Bay tide is 2-plus feet. What time is low tide; get a tide chart! I went out and it was supposed to be high tide at 9 am, we ran aground? You were using your Naples tide chart that you got at Denny’s! Is it different here? Yes? Why? Somebody help me!

I’ve done a lotta fishing, can you troll here? Yes and No; you can troll on the Gulf, but pretty much not in the shallow bays. All in all, folks need to read up on where they’re fishing, what they fishing for and study the water! And when you ask the locals, believe them when they answer; unless you really tick them off, they have no reason to lie.

Years back a fella called me for chartering, he said he wanted to hire me for 10 days and get the lowdown on fishing this area; great! He wanted to fish for redfish, snook, sea trout, cobia, permit, tarpon, sailfish, and maybe marlin, my-my! He had a 42-foot Hatteras that he trucked down to the marina in one of the very high-end gated communities. That’s nice! He wanted to fish from his salon-style “Coast Guard Cutter”; not!

I began to explain to him that he might have a hard time getting the “Lusitania” out of the Imperial River. Oh no, he said the real estate lady said “we’ve got direct access to the Gulf “. True, true, but not for you! Further I explained to him that for all intents and purposes there was no sailfish or marlin fishing within 150 miles of Ft. Myers, whether you go out west in the Gulf or, better yet, head to Key West.

There was a long spell of heavy breathing, then a tirade of cursing all in a New York Lawyer-tone. He calmed down long enough to tell me he had built a 4-million dollar home on the water, was assured by the developer that he’d have a wonderful experience in his new mansion. Then he proceeded to castigate the stupid real estate lady, who he described in much less flattering terms. I said I’m sorry for his disappointment and perhaps he could move his Hatteras to another marina. He, in no uncertain terms, then told me where I could move to with that damn real estate agent. Perhaps he should have gotten a better chart of our area!!

P.S. Most real estate people don't necessarily know anything about fishing, or even boating.

Capt. Ron Kowalyk, Don't Ask Me, I Just Live Here: 239-267-9312


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