What Great Times

By: Capt. Tim Ramsey

We’ve reached what I believe to be the best month in Southwest Florida. Some quick reasons:

·       It’s hot, but not that hot.

·       Much of the lesser initiated have scurried back to points elsewhere.

·       Everything is biting and anything can happen.

·       Your favorite dockside bar might be able to seat you in under an hour.

·       The weather outside can be frightful, but the changes are so delightful.


Let me backtrack a bit. My new life as a happy Army pensioner and professional writer/author gives me some freedom. This year was a combination of cold weather fishing, tropical fishing, backcountry fishing, cold weather motorcycling, which I highly recommend, and various other pursuits. The fall/winter New Jersey striped bass fishing was great, the Peacock Bass and monster Robalo (Snook) fishing in Panama was stellar, and as always, my pursuit of fishing all Ten Thousand Islands continued. Only 3,237 to go. Then I’ll start over.

This year, having noticed the absolute explosion of boats around Marco and northward, I didn’t venture north of Cape Romano. After all, we fish. We don’t go “boating,” pointlessly ride around, go to the dockside places in season, tow skiers, booze cruise, or any of that stuff. It’s launch, go to Coon Key, turn left, get away from everybody, fish, return. And now it’s June. June, I tell you! Guess what, you have arrived.

You arrived at a time when you can get out on the water before it gets too hot, and for my wife (La Primera Dama de la Pesca, the First Lady of Fishing), before it gets too bright. You can time your day with the eventual push of the building thunderstorms, timing your arrival at the dock, ramp, or watering hole with the rain. You can get out in the heat and cool off in a little rain shower. If there is no lightening then sure, fish in the rain. Nothing better.

You can find bait everywhere in June. Go crazy with it. Put it on your hook and keep some to toss into the water in bunches. You can find snook everywhere, be it in back, on the beach, the bay, in the channels and passes, everywhere. Everything is biting, from jacks on French fries at the dockside bar to schools of blacktips near the (location removed to protect the locals) to bluefish that forgot this isn’t the east coast. You can find clean water and species you never meet until summer. Last year I took my snook-catching Skeeter out to the reefs and caught Cobia, Amberjack, King Mackerel, and near the Marco Ten-mile we caught two Dorado (mahi-mahi if you favor Hawaiian).

Go forth my friends. Enjoy. Remember, this is June. Be prepared for weather. Be certain you know where you are, the way the weather is moving. Better to be between the weather and the dock than on the other side of the weather. Also, hydrate. If anyone remembers my column of things to not do, remember, if you’re having a few “adult beverages, oat sodas,” or “a couple tinnies” out on the boat, be aware you’re now drinking and boating. If you trailered your boat, you will soon be driving under the influence. In June, it’s good to practice “for every beer, a bottle of water.” Go ahead and sweat. Remember beach towels, sunblock, and bug spray. Also remember that no sunblock is truly waterproof or lasts for more than 80 minutes no matter how expensive (unless zinc oxide and you can still see it on).

One note of caution. If you see a storm coming, make the decision to move or tuck in somewhere ahead of time. That guy you see fleeing at the last minute as the rain comes down in sheets might not have any idea where he’s going. I’ve seen people get lost in the backcountry and grounded in the open after frantically running aground. Don’t be that guy. See you out there! Well, in the early part of the month anyway. If you can believe it, June is the best month for scuba diving off the coast of New Jersey!

Side note: As you recover from your daily skin-burning and dehydrating fishing adventures, if you’d like to read a great story about a butt-kicking female former assassin living in the Florida Keys, give “Assassin Key” by my good friend Yolanda Maria De Icaza a try. Find it, and my four mystery novels on Amazon.