A Different World

As everyone probably already knows Penny and I are wintering at our southern fishing camp on the southern Gulf side of Florida, Naples to be exact. I now have my Captain’s license, a flats boat, my 20’ Old Town canoe, and am guiding backcountry fishing trips in the Rockery Bay Reserve, Ten Thousand Islands, and Everglades National Park. I thought it would of interest to everyone if I reported on the diverse local fishery during the off season back home.
Here you’ll find an entirely different world with entirely different fish and wildlife. Around these parts, for me, the wilderness is truly on the water and most of the coastline has been preserved from here to the Keys, nearly 200 nautical miles of what appears to be two billions miles of backcountry shoreline. A fifteen minute run in a flats boat from any of the boat launches and you kiss the world good-bye, rarely seeing another boat.
For example ten miles from our place is the Rookery Bay National Estuary. It’s an enormous bird sanctuary with an extensive system of tidal rivers and creeks. You’d likely get lost without a good chart or GPS and it would take a week to explore all the water available. Not a whole lot different than exploring the backwoods of Maine with your Delorme in your lap. The different being the back roads that we travel around here are made of water. So just close your eyes for moment. Picture in your mind a page from your Maine Atlas and imagine all those roads as water. I absolutely love exploring this world and just like the backwoods at home the further you get off the beaten trail the fewer people you find.
The wildlife is endless whether on the wing or in the water. You never know what you’re going to find. One minute you’re watching a sting ray inching along the bottom looking for a crab to chomp when another fish, you didn’t even know was there waiting in ambush in the shade of a mangrove limb, blows out heading for the sanctuary of deeper water. My heart pounds thinking about it. And the variety of birds that are native or migrate here for the winter is endless. You’ll be watching a flock of egrets peacefully perched in the mangroves when an osprey lets out a cry, eye high on a dead limb a hundred feet to your right. There are pelicans, great egret, blue heron, white ibis, wood stork, osprey and bald eagles and roseate spoonbill, and on and on and on. I’m forever seeing someone new. Everyday is an adventure and no two days are ever the same. It’s no different than launching the drift boat at home. When I kick the engine in gear I’m always excited about leaving the world behind and down right giddy about what today will bring. It never gets old.
Have a closer look at the map above. You’re just seeing a tiny bit of the water there is to explore and it’s all as it always was.
I’ve spent the last two winter seasons learning the lay of the land, poking into as much of it as I can. I’ve found some wonderful places where few people frequent. So if you have a bit of adventurer in you and want to have a peek into this wilderness on the water place, I’d be honored to take you there.
I need to excuse myself; this is after all a fishing reports page. I got side tracked and forgot to elaborate about the fishing. I will say this regarding the fishery, “There are lots of fish and lots of species of fish which you’ll learn lots more about in my winter fishing reports below”.
If all this peaks your interest there is a “Guide Service – Florida” button on the left side of this page where you will find our Backcountry Trips. Come join me for an unforgettable journey into another world.