Sanibel Island, adjoining to Fort Myers in Southwest Florida, uses its accustomed attractions that accommodate a advanced array of angle species, an absurd bulk of bird life, and abyssal wildlife that includes dolphins and manatees to draw you afterpiece to nature.
It is a destination that aboriginal put us beneath its spell in 2011.
This breadth is an alfresco amphitheater for anyone who enjoys fishing, birding, biking, hiking, kayaking, boating, canoeing, paddleboarding – you name it and it’s apparently here. As we collection over the Sanibel Causeway that spans San Carlos Bay, my wife Sandy and I became excited. It was abundant to be back, watching the sun boring set for our opening-day acceptable for the week.
It had been seven years aback we backward on Sanibel and this time we based our operations at the Sundial Bank Resort and Spa. In accession to accepting prime bank access, affluence of dining options and activities, the Sundial is home to the Sanibel Sea School. This different acquirements centermost teaches guests about the bounded abyssal ecosystems, including the bird activity and the shells you acquisition alternating the 50 or so afar of accessible beaches in Lee County. What a abundant abstraction as you aggrandize your ability of the breadth to accept how this all interacts.
Our aboriginal day was a fishing chance with Capt. Ryan Kane of Southern Instinct Fishing Charters. The antecedent plan was a 50-mile off-shore run to the Fantastico, a 200-foot Honduran freighter that sank in the Gulf of Mexico off Fort Myers during the “No Name” storm of 1993. The Gulf of Mexico doesn’t accept a lot of structure. Throw in a alveolate address or a radio belfry and they become angle magnets. This time of year should accept been acceptable for gag grouper about the wreckage. Yellow snapper, baron fish, cobia, amberjack – you never apperceive what you’re activity to catch.
Bad account greeted us that aboriginal morning, though. A algid advanced was advancing through and with it came able winds. There was no off-shore active in Kane’s 36-foot Contender, outfitted with three 250-horse Yamaha outboards. We had to break abutting to home out of Port Sanibel Marina. Afore we alike pulled out of the slip, we managed to angle into some actual nice snook on alive shrimp. Aback it was time to depart, we boring started to aback out of the blooper aback the baiter aback chock-full and veered larboard aback to the dock. The bow band was still attached. Could this be an augury of things to come?
We headed out into the capital approach and beneath the Causeway. Alternating the way, a dolphin swam alongside our baiter and fabricated an appearance. A manatee additionally fabricated a abruptness visit. Using Sanibel Island to absorber us a bit from the wind, Kane chose to analyze about an bogus beach fabricated from the boodle of the old Sanibel Causeway, congenital the alpha of this century. Helping on the cruise was Kane’s new partner-in-slime, Capt. Matt Hetrick of Fort Myers. I’m not adage who was active the baiter aback we left.
We noticed some birds diving on baitfish abreast the reef. If there’s baitfish, there’s usually predator fish. We formed the breadth aback and alternating a few times as we apparent spots on the GPS to analyze beach bags captivation fish, for now and for approaching reference.
“We’re actual abased aloft baptize temperatures,” said Hetrick. “Water temperature now is 73 degrees. Aftermost year at this time it was 80 degrees for better. We were communicable tarpon and red angle in actuality aftermost year. Tarpon like the threadfin herring. Aback they’re in, the tarpon and added angle appearance up.”
“It’s a Catch-22 situation,” Kane said. “When it’s unseasonably warm, the fishing is usually good. However, aback it’s hot like that, some bodies will break abroad and won’t booty their vacations.”
After several hours of aggravating and, with the wind blame up a notch, we absitively to ballast at the aperture of the Caloosahatchee River. Using alive shrimp for bait, we formed the baptize for bigger than an hour, managing to bolt one snook and accident a brace of added anonymous fish.
As we stood there attractive around, an osprey fabricated a grab for a angle in the baptize and was successful. We were amidst by bird life. A accumulation of four American white pelicans soared aerial and, as I followed their flight path, a ablaze blush blush bent my eye. It was a Roseate spoonbill canoeing the wind currents.
It reminded me that I anon will be touring the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. It’s a bird lover’s dream and the atom I saw my aboriginal Roseate spoonbill and copse stork abounding years ago. If you are in the area, the NWR is a charge see. Go aboriginal aback they accessible at 7 a.m.
“December can be amazing aback you hit it right,” Kane said. “This time of year we try and hit those canicule amid algid fronts. If you are planning a cruise to the area, don’t lock bottomward one specific date. Be adjustable to get your best fishing experience. We’ve had a heck of a year this year and we accept absolutely beatific added angle to the taxidermist than anytime before.”
Ryan was aflame by what affairs authority for the future. He was accepting a new 42-foot Prowler Catamaran built, article that will handle the asperous baptize bigger than annihilation he owns. Fishing off-shore amnion in a barge that can absolutely handle the difficult altitude will be a abundant bigger acquaintance for the barter and the captains.
Kane briefly talked about was red tide, a adverse algal blossom that takes abode abreast the coast. This blossom is acquired by diminutive algae that aftermath toxins that annihilate angle and accomplish mollusk alarming to eat, according to the National Ocean Service. The toxins additionally may accomplish the surrounding air difficult to breathe. As the name suggests, the blossom of algae generally turns the baptize red. It was aboriginal accurate in the Gulf Bank in the 1840s. Fishing off bank takes red-tide apropos out of the blueprint for Ryan and Matt.
Experts feel that red course could be afflicted and fueled by agronomics through fertilizer run off and from urbanized areas, but it’s not the cause. Daily ecology takes abode through the Florida Wildlife Commission at http://myfwc.com/redtidestatus.
Red course didn’t appulse our beat and I don’t anticipate it should alarm you abroad from this alfresco paradise.
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