Your Florida Waterfront Home - Shane Waterfront Wilson's Blog and Boating Guide

Your Florida Waterfront Home

Shane Waterfront Wilson's Blog and Boating Guide

Estero Island and Fort Myers Beach Part 2

Posted by Shane On October 17th

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great!!!!

 

We left off last time at Matanzas on the Bay Restaurant on Ft. Myers Beach. We were able to make it all the way through the Bay and around the southern tip of Ft. Myers Beach before stopping for lunch at Matanzas.  Afterward, we were going to take you on the rest of the tour behind Estero Island to see all the different Restaurants, Bars and Marinas, but the afternoon thunderstorm put a quick stop to that!  I have to say, one of the great things about boating here in Southwest Florida is that even if it’s blowing 20 or 30 knots you’re protected by our barrier islands. No rough water, no sea sickness, just a great day on the water exploring the waterways.  This week we continue our waterfront journey.

 

Once you leave Matanzas, right across the Bay is a place called Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Cafe.  This is on the north side of Matanzas Harbor across from Fort Myers Beach at the base of the bridge on San Carlos Island. I’ve eaten here on several occasions and it’s a very cool place to go by boat. Bonita Bill’s serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with tasty food and a festive atmosphere as well as live entertainment.  The staff is great and it’s just a really fun place to go. Check out the link to the trip advisor website that tells you more about Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Cafe.

 

 

 

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http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34231-d1556608-Reviews-Bonita_Bills_Waterfront_Cafe-Fort_Myers_Beach_Florida.html

 

Just around the corner is another great restaurant called Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille.  This place is awesome!!  If you’re into great food, great atmosphere, great water views, live entertainment…This is the place to go. Doc Ford’s features a lower deck outside right on the water and an upper air conditioned area as well. I like to describe the menu as eclectic Caribbean – try the Yucatan Shrimp, oh my gosh, spicy, but not too spicy, and soooo good. For your main course try the Banana Leaf Snapper – excellent. The name “Doc Ford’s” comes from the main character in a series of novels by Randy Wayne White, a local author and co-owner of the restaurant.  He writes all about Southwest Florida and??? Well, you just need to read his novels. One of my best buds, Craig, has read every one of Randy Wayne White’s books. Craig tells me it’s fascinating to be reading his novel taking place on the water in our local area and being able to reflect back, “hey,we were there”, or “hey, we saw this or we did that”. If you enjoy reading, you’ll enjoy these novels.  

 

For the novice boaters who may have challenges docking their boats, Doc Ford’s has full time dock hands who will help you guide your boat in and help you tie up; don’t forget to tip them. I only bring this up because several of you have called me and e-mailed me your concerns about docking your boat in front of all these people who are at these establishments. Yes, half the people are watching you dock your boat the other half are oblivious. As I tell all my new boaters, “take your time coming into the dock, there’s no race, take your time , nice and slow”.  When you get close enough, throw your lines to the dock hands, put your boat in neutral, and let the dock hands pull you in and secure your boat. These guys will make YOU look like a pro :-) No one has to know your heart is pounding out of your chest, no one has to know the anxiety you’re feeling as you approach the dock. Take it nice and slow and do not panic, ever!!!!. Oh one more thing, have your dock lines out and cleated off on your boat before you get to the dock. Not sure which side to cleat your ropes to?  Well do both starboard and port sides so you’re ready and you’re not scrambling trying to find your ropes and untangle them. Check out these photos and look at the Doc Ford’s website.

   

http://www.docfordsfortmyersbeach.com/index.html

 

 

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After pulling out of Doc Ford’s, head south down the Bay, it’s a beautiful cruise by boat.  You’ll see all the marinas, boatyards, shrimp boats, etc.

 

 

 

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I’m sure you’ve probably heard of the Key West Express.

This is where you would depart from, heading to Key West; coming back from Key West, you would disembark here as well.

 

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Just on the other Side of the Key West Express is another neat place to go. If you’re into sports and looking for a place to watch the game on the water, this is it…..Big Game Waterfront Grill. We’ve been here many, many times for football games, etc. It’s a great atmosphere, the service is great, and so are the people. There are plenty of places to park your boat. There’s nothing  better than meeting all your family and friends by boat here and watching your favorite teams play – there are big screen TV’s everywhere!

 

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Take a look at their website.

 http://www.biggamewaterfrontgrill.com/

Just next door is an equally fun place, with a totally different atmosphere, it’s called Parrot Key Caribbean Grill Restaurant at Salty Sam’s Marina.

 

This is another waterfront restaurant with great food and service and the crowd is always in a laid back mood. Parrot Key also features live entertainment. It’s fun to sit at the bar or a table on the water and see all the boats coming and going.  Many times while we’re waiting for our food to come out, or after our meal, we’ll walk the docks looking at all the boats.  It’s hard to put the feeling here in words – relaxed, casual, laid back  – “at peace” comes to my mind. Remember, Parrot Key is located on the grounds of Salty Sam’s Marina, a full service marina offering wet slips, dry slips, boat barn storage, fuel, service work, etc.  Scroll down to the weblinks to Parrot Key and Salty Sam’s…

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 http://www.myparrotkey.com/

 

 http://www.saltysamsmarina.com/

Now don’t be surprised if you see pirates at Salty Sam’s Marina…..There’s a pirate ship docked there and for a small fee will take you out on the high seas for a great time.  It’s actually quite entertaining with the show the pirates put on, on the Pirate Ship. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it, you just have to experience it for yourself.  This is a really fun adventure for when your family and friends come to visit…

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Here’s the website for more information on the ship and scheduling.

  http://www.piecesofeight.com/

 

I hope this issue of the Boating Guide has given you some new great places to go to, see and experience. We’ve been to these places time and time again. We bring family, friends, clients and every single time it’s a new adventure. You just never know what you’re going to see… Dolphin jumping in your wake, a large Leopard Ray jumping up and out of the water or the massive gentle Manatee swimming up to your boat. You just never know.

 

There are several other places to see and experience. We’ll hit those on next week’s Boating Guide.

 

Until next time, make it a great weekend. Please make time for your family and friends, life goes by so fast.

 

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Beautiful Southwest Florida

Posted by Shane On October 10th

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great!!!!

 

It’s finally beginning to feel like Fall down here in Sunny Southwest Florida. Last weekend we had a cool front come through and the temperature dropped. What a nice change. Every morning when we get up early and walk the dogs, the weather is great, low humidity, lower temperatures, it’s just beautiful out.

 

I regret to say, I did not make it out on the boat to get the additional photos I needed to complete this week’s Boating Guide. We have been very, very busy with work (for which we are very thankful and grateful).

 

Many of the snowbirds have come down early this year to secure their piece of paradise for the winter.  As for our local market, sales remain very strong. There are more properties coming on to the market and there are more and more properties selling. This is a great thing for our economy. Everyone I speak to is very, very busy no matter what type of business they’re in.

 

Until next time, make it a great weekend and enjoy your family and friends.

 

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Estero Island and Ft. Myers Beach

Posted by Shane On October 3rd

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great!!!!  Welcome back to the latest issue of The Boating Guide.  I’ve had some of my readers write in and say, “what if we don’t live on the water; where’s the best place to put our boat in? Where are the closest waterfront restaurants and watering holes that we can get to by boat?  We don’t know the waters that well in Southwest Florida and don’t want to run aground”.  Well, I would be happy to answer all of these questions.

 

In Fort Myers, the most centrally located boat ramp is the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp at Sanibel Causeway. It was all redone a few years ago, allows you to put in 4 boats at a time, and there’s plenty of parking. Punta Rassa also offers a large fish cleaning station and restrooms. At the end of the day when you’re pulling your boat out, it’s fun to check out what other fishermen have caught. I’ve seen Grouper, Snapper, Sheepshead, Redfish, Snook, American Red Snapper, King Fish, Spanish Mackerel, all kinds of fish.  Remember, there’s a $10.00 per day parking fee or you can buy an annual resident pass for $60 per year; just go to www.leeparks.org and search “parking sticker” for all the information. The annual pass also gives you access to several other ramps as well as parks in Lee County.

 

Punta Rassa Boat Ramp is really easy to find; from Hwy 41 go west on Summerlin Rd. towards Sanibel. Right before you get to the toll booths at Sanibel Causeway, stay to your far right, you’re going to veer off to the right onto Punta Rassa Rd. and then turn left to the boat ramp, you can’t miss it. Sometimes instead of leaving from the house, we trailer our boat to Punta Rassa Boat Ramp and put in there.  That way we can get to the Gulf quickly without going through the slow zones in the Caloosahatchee River. Take a look at some of the photos…

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Today we’re going to head to Ft. Myers Beach on Estero Island. It’s a short ride from Punta Rassa and there are plenty of bars, restaurants, marinas, fuel, etc., plus, the beach!  You can see Ft. Myers Beach as you go under the Sanibel Causeway Bridge heading South. The channel here is very well marked and you have plenty of water.  As you come from the Sanibel Causeway Bridge heading south, be sure to stay on the right side of the markers because on the other side, there’s a large sand bar.  Follow the markers to Ft. Myers Beach and once you get to the north end of the beach you’ll see more markers very clearly marking the channel going around and behind Estero Island. Once you’re at this point you’ll see San Carlos Bay behind and to your left; ahead and to the right there’s a public park at the northern tip of Ft. Myers Beach called Bowditch Point Park – a great place to anchor up, hang out and relax.  There are public restrooms, grilling areas, picnic tables, metered parking, and a little snack bar. The park underwent a beach restoration project several years ago substantially increasing the size of the beach and enhancing sea turtle habitat.

 

As you head south on the back side of the Island, you’ll come past a great big beige building to the right, this is the Pink Shell Resort. What a great place to stay, it’s right on the beach, has a great pool area, plus restaurants and bar right there on the Gulf.  There’s also a newer restaurant at the Pink Shell Resort on the Bay side; I haven’t eaten there yet, so let me know how it is?

 

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As you continue south towards the big Sky Bridge that connects Ft. Myers Beach to San Carlos Island and the mainland, you’ll see some really neat cottages along with huge “McMansions”…

 

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There are also several marinas where you can stop and get fuel or even keep your boat there.  There’s Moss Marina on the Ft. Myers Beach side and across the Bay there’s a new facility for larger boats and yachts, Diversified Yacht Services. Right next door is the United States Coast Guard…

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At the foot of the Sky Bridge to Ft. Myers Beach you’ll see a multi-colored building on the right called Nervous Nellie’s. The food is great and soooo much to choose from on the menu. At the very top there’s a bar called Ugly’s which has indoor and outdoor dining offering great views of the Bay… See the link below.

 

http://nervousnellies.net/

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Once you go under the bridge look to your immediate right. There’s another restaurant called Matanzas On The Bay. The food here is equally great with indoor dining and a large deck for waterfront dining! Matanzas also has an upstairs bar and dining called The Upper Deck.  This is another great spot to enjoy the Bay views or to catch a football game. Just next door is the Matanzas Inn with cute updated rooms and dock space for your boat. Check out the link below..

 

 http://matanzas.com/

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We had planned on visiting several other eating and drinking establishments on Ft. Myers Beach today, however, as you saw in the above photos, there was a very bad squall heading our way. I had been watching it build and build as we were eating lunch at The Upper Deck. As it drew closer and closer we could hear the thunder and see the lightning off in the distance – It was time to go! I must warn you, if the storm is too close, please stay put and wait for it to pass. Please keep in mind, I’ve been on the water my entire life and If I thought for one moment that we would be in danger, I would have stayed put. I told Anne, “it’s time to go right now”! It also helps that we were in the Lake and Bay flats boat which runs just over 80 MPH. We said good bye to our friends, hopped in the boat and took off. We were back to the ramp in no time at all. As soon as we had the boat pulled out and were on Summerlin Rd. the sky opened up!!!  Wow!!!  What a storm.. of course as most afternoon storms in Florida, they come quickly and pass quickly while cooling everything down – at least for a little while.

 

Stay tuned for next week and we’ll finish our tour of the back side of Estero Island (Fort Myers Beach).

 

On a serious note: I want to thank the United States Coast Guard, Lee County Sherriff’s Department, the Sanibel Police Department and any other law enforcement that helped rescue our friends last weekend. Thank  goodness for their quick response time… We have some friends who were fishing off Sanibel last weekend with 7 people on board – 4 children and 3 adults. No one knows why yet, but their boat sank. It was a 30 foot plus boat; the bow was the only part of it left floating up and out of the water. Thank goodness everyone kept their heads on straight. The kids were wearing life jackets and the adults put theirs on as the boat was sinking. They were able to call and give their coordinates to the authorities. Thanks to the quick thinking of the crew and everyone remaining calm, everyone is okay. Beyond scary to say the least.  Years ago, I used to get irritated when I would randomly get pulled over for a safety check on my boat. Checking life jackets, flares, other safety equipment, etc. I now welcome it, because I have had other similar situations, in which my buddies and I have rescued people from sunken boats. Having the proper safety gear on your boat in an emergency can save lives. Just think, if our friends had not been prepared, it could have turned out very bad. I don’t feel comfortable posting the youtube video of the rescue, however, If you choose to pull it up, go right ahead. Google “capsized boat off Fort Myers Beach”. Once again, I commend the captain, the crew and law enforcement who did an amazing job on their rescue.

 

Until next week. Make time for your Family and Friends, life is so short.

 

Make it a great weekend..

 

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BIG SHELL ISLAND

Posted by Shane On September 26th

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great. The weather here in Southwest Florida has been absolutely amazing.  Although we’ve had a lot of rain in the last week, it sure has cooled everything down from the hot, hot weather we had the weeks before. On our morning walks, we notice that the air is a bit cooler (well cooler for us Florida people). If you can dodge the afternoon rain storms, the boating and fishing have been great; this leads me into my next Boating Guide. I’ve had several people write in and say “Shane, what if we don’t have all day to go boating? Say we get a late start on the weekend or want to hit the water after work and don’t have time to run out to North Captiva or Cayo Costa… and we want to bring our pets???”  I’ve got the perfect place for you…..

 

This perfect place is called Big Shell Island at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. There’s a long sandbar at the north end of the island. This is where we go when we’re short on time and want to bring the dogs so they can run around, swim, and play. We love it here! Like I said, the dogs can run around chasing the Seagulls, swim in the shallow water, and roll around on the beach without getting away from us – we’re on an island!

 

My family and I live just north of the South Cape Coral Bridge so it’s a pretty quick and beautiful boat ride to get here. On this particular day it was beautiful and sunny.  We had a high tide and the water was as clear as I’ve seen.

 

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There are so many beautiful waterfront communities that you can see from the River, both on the Ft. Myers side and the Cape Coral side.

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This is what it looks like coming into the mouth of the River heading towards the Gulf of Mexico.

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Now if you’re planning on going fishing and haven’t gotten your bait, you have got to stop at Jasper’s Floating Bait House. They have all kinds of live bait that Jasper has delivered daily….If you need to call him ahead of time he can hold whatever type of bait you may need for you to stop by and pick up. Here’s his number 239-699-3469.

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Once you pass Jasper’s Floating Bait House, look to your southwest and you’ll see the sandbar I told you about. Yes, it’s this close.

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I took several photos of us pulling up to the sandbar after crossing over a submerged sandy ridge to reach the back side of the island. The reason I like coming to the back side is to avoid the boat wakes. There can literally be a hundred plus boats going through the mouth of the River at certain times of the day. Yes it’s all slow zone, but sometimes a few boaters go a little too fast and throw off a big wake. Well, guess what happens when you do that????

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The “man” will pull you over and you will get a ticket, or maybe a warning if you’re lucky…

Please, keep your tides in mind when crossing over the submerged sandbar.  When you get up to it, trim your motor or motors up and just idle across it. It’s deeper on the other side. You can pull your bow right up on the beach and throw out your anchor or drop your Power Pole.

 

By this time our dogs are having anxiety attacks and cannot wait to jump off the boat and onto the beach to chase the Sea Gulls and run and swim through the water.

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As I mentioned before, we just love it here. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “people watching”, well we come here to “boat watch” and of course watch the people on their boats. We see everything from little tiny John Boats, with little motors putting along to huge mega yachts – now those are a sight to see!! The current is always ripping through here which is a great thing if you like to fish.  Anne loves to set up her chair and just watch the dogs play and wave to the boaters.  Me personally, I cannot sit still, I need to be doing something while “oohing” and “ahhing” over all the boats going by. Well guess what I’m doing – you got it – Fishing!  Since the water is ripping through here this means there are bait fish, and bait fish bring the bigger fish. I’ve caught Snook, Redfish, Trout, Snapper, lots of Jack, right off this beach. This is the best of both worlds, Annie gets to relax on the beach, the dogs get to run around and play, and I get to fish and boat watch. This is almost better than going to a boat show.  Check out some of these photos….

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Now here’s something you don’t see every day. If you look closely in the water you’ll see a guy swimming across the channel. Yes, the same channel that all the boats are going through. He did make it across without getting run over.  I was thinking to myself, this guy cannot be the sharpest tool in the shed. Once he got to our island, I asked him what he was doing?  He said he just wanted to see if he could swim across the channel.  All I could do was look at him and say “Okay”… There was no wasting my breath trying to explain how dangerous this was.

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What an amazing, beautiful day. I don’t think we could have asked for a better day. The sun is shining, there’s a balmy breeze, just a great day…

 

It’s amazing how many people we know on the boats that are going by.  Actually, I recognize the boat first and then identify who the owner is. While enjoying this beautiful day, what do I see?  It’s a black Lake and Bay flats boat. Turns out it’s our good friends’ son, Bo, and my son, Wade.  They’ve been out fishing and saw our boat so they decided to come by and say hello…(Please note on the first photo below how he’s coming across the underwater sandbar , motor trimmed up)

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On a personal note, watching my son and his buddy pull up on the boat makes me think about how great it is, and what a blessing, to be raising our kids on the water – being able to boat, fish, dive, and enjoy the outdoors. Seeing my son standing on the bow of that boat, looking like a young man makes me so very proud of him. Wade is a fine young man!!! Yes, I’m very proud of my daughter Ciara as well :-) (she’s not pictured here.)

 

Words cannot even describe what a great day it’s been. Please enjoy some more photos…

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For those of you who may not have a boat, or your boat is in the shop and you want a quick place to drive to, how about going to the Cape Coral Yacht Club Beach. It’s also located on the River at the southeast tip of the Cape. They have a great man-made beach and there’s a playground for the kids, showers, rest rooms. Right next door is a restaurant that just opened up this summer called “The Boathouse – Tiki Bar & Grill”. It’s all outdoor dining with a fun, relaxed atmosphere, really good food and drinks and live entertainment!!!!!! 

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Well that’s all for now….. Make time for your family and friends, life goes by so fast.

 

Until next time make it a great weekend!!!!

 

Shane “Waterfront” Wilson

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A Snapshot Of Our Local Waterfront Real Estate

Posted by Shane On September 19th

 

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great!!!! 

 

Believe it or not we have had some cooler mornings and lower humidity here in Southwest Florida. I’m not sure if these are just mini-fronts moving down from up north or just the normal cooling down at this time of year. Once the sun goes down, it’s actually very comfortable outside at night sitting by the pool.

 

Fishing has been red hot here! I have spoken to so many friends and customers who have been out on the water catching all kinds of fish, inshore and offshore. The inshore bight, as I mentioned, is red hot – they’re catching lots and lots of Snook as Season opened on Sept. 1. There are also schools of Red Fish spotted up in Pine Island Sound and farther north along all the mangrove islands. The Trout bite has also been really good on the grass flats. Anywhere you can find nice healthy grassy bottom, you should find Spotted Sea Trout.

 

Offshore, my friends have been catching Snapper, Hogfish, big Black Grouper and Gag Grouper as well as Red Grouper. Last week I took my buddy, Frank from Chicago, and his cousin Elias from Greece, out about 35 miles and we caught some monster Red Grouper pushing the 30 inch mark.  Elias fishes all the time on the Mediterranean Sea but even he was amazed by the size of these fish!  Now these are big Red Grouper!  I’ve been hearing about other friends catching small Blackfin Tuna and Bonita as well.  If you haven’t been out on the water lately, you need to get out there. It’s awesome!!!!

 

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On a business note, our local Southwest Florida Real Estate Market appears to be steady. Waterfront homes are still selling very well –  if they’re priced at current market value, they will sell. Homes that are overpriced continue to wait for Buyers. Today’s consumers are very smart and they do their homework.

 

In the last 30 days, from Downtown Ft. Myers to Jonathan Harbour near the Sanibel Causeway, there have been 11 waterfront properties Sold and Closed. Sold prices range from $259,000 to $3,750,000.  In the same geographic area, there are 11 Pending waterfront homes under contract at this time. In Cape Coral, the same holds true. Properties that are priced at current market value are selling very well. I feel that with interest rates as low as they are, and waterfront prices still affordable compared to so many other places in the world, we will continue to see a strong waterfront market. As inventory shrinks, we’re going to see prices continue to rise. With so many cash sales and more restrictive lending, I think this rise will occur at a normal appreciation rate and not as some artificial bubble like we once saw.

 

If you have any questions about our Waterfront Market here in Lee County or Collier County, or would like detailed information, please feel free to call me and I will set you up on my program called Listingbook.  Listingbook will send you morning updates of all the properties that come onto the market that fit your search criteria. It will also let you know about price changes and you can change your search criteria at anytime. It’s a really great program to have at your finger tips, and, it’s FREE to you.  If you would like me to set you up, just give me a call or shoot me a quick e-mail with what type of property you’re looking for, or what areas you’re interested in.  Give it a try, it’s easy, it’s free, and I know you’ll love it!!!

 

Now on to the fun part of the Boating Guide. I’ve heard from many of you who want to know about all the different things to do here in Southwest Florida – Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Sanibel, Captiva, Naples – by boat.  So over the next several months, I’ll be highlighting specific Boating Destinations throughout our area.  There’s a whole myriad of things to do and places to go by boat that could fill up every weekend for the next year!  So stay tuned, I think you’ll really enjoy it!

 

Remember, make time with your Family and Friends, time goes by so fast.

 

Until our next issue, make it a great weekend…

 

Shane “Waterfront” Wilson 

 

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Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part 5

Posted by Shane On September 5th

Hello everyone. I hope you are all doing great!!!!

 

I’m going to skip the boring stuff and get right into the Boating Guide… Lobster Mini Season In The Florida Keys 2014 Part 5.

 

We left off with the first day of Lobster Mini Season where we went out early, had a great day, and caught lots of Lobster.

 

Well then, you know what today is don’t you…. It’s the second and final day of the two day Mini Season. Today we lost half of our crew, but it’s all good, they decided to go to Key West for a day of sightseeing and shopping.  Key West is a beautiful place, it’s at the Southernmost tip of the United States and about a 90 minute drive from Marathon. The seafood here is fresh, fresh, all the food is amazing, the Bars are a blast, and the water is sparkling clear with all kinds of watersport and fishing options. You meet people from all over the world here, yes, all over the world.  Everyone is in a great mood, and why not, they’re on vacation!  The locals are laid back and relaxed. There is so much to do and see – visit the Key West Aquarium or the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum, ride the Conch Tour Train, stroll along Duval Street, relax at Smathers Beach or Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, tour the Hemingway House, take in the sunset shows at Mallory Square, the list goes on…  And you have a wide variety of overnight options like staying in a cozy Bed and Breakfast, renting a private house or condo, or checking into a big fancy resort hotel.  If you have never been to Key West, you must go, there’s something for everyone. Check this out – a rooster in someone’s front yard off Duval Street.

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After walking around all afternoon, our crew made their way to Sloppy Joe’s. Everyone has heard of the world famous Sloppy Joe’s! The food is good and the live entertainment is even better and it goes on all day and into the night.

 

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Here’s the sunset on the drive back home from Key West to Marathon, Key Colony Beach…..

 

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As I mentioned above, half our crew went to Key West for the day. The rest of us hopped in the boat and headed out to our secret lobstering spot on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Keys. This spot is so secret, sometimes the Lobsters cannot even find it… Just kidding… It was a beautiful sunshiny day. There was a light breeze, the water was calm and so pretty. We had about a 13 mile run to the “secret spot”.

 

Along the way we passed the Key Colony Beach Club; here are some photos of the Club from the water. It’s a really pretty place with a restaurant, pool, and beach right on the Atlantic Ocean.  And check out some of these McMansions!  These homes are huge and so beautiful…  

 

 

 

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Those properties are just incredible.. Want to buy one or two? I’d be happy to show them to you and sell them to you :-)

 

Back to our 13 mile journey to our secret spot….My crew consisted of three teenagers and me. So this means 6 Lobster per person equals 24 – we could get 24 more Lobsters today.

 

 

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The GPS said we were getting closer and closer and closer to our spot. Once again the anticipation was building and building. Will the Lobster be there? Will they be legal size? When we got to our spot we threw the anchor out and got lined up right where we needed to be with the wind direction and the direction of the current. We were right on it. Wade and I suited up with our dive gear and we hit the water. The water felt great – nice, cool and refreshing!!!!!!  We let the air out of our BC’s and slowly sank to the bottom…Oh my Gosh, does this spot have sea life! There was an outgoing tide so the water was a little murky, which was just fine. There were coral heads on this spot, small ledges, and a bunch of sea fans. This place is a fish haven! There were Snapper, Grouper, Hog Fish, Grunts, so many species that even I didn’t know what they were. Beautiful Angel Fish, so much sea life. Even though we were not there to spear fish, my son Wade brought his speargun down just in case. Check out these photos….

 

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Within a few minutes we found what we came here for…….oh yeah……..

 

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Oh Yeah, turns out they were too small, so we left them alone.  We searched some more and I thought I saw what looked like tentacles.  As I got ready to reach in the hole and pull the Lobster out, guess who peered out of his castle and gave me the look?  “Yeah, stick your hand in here buddy”,  it was a Spotted Moray Eel. Take a look…

 

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I made a quick choice, it was better to leave him alone and move on. I told you before that Moray Eels have teeth that are curved back, so when they grab their prey, it doesn’t get away.  Meanwhile, Wade found a nice rock ledge and was trying to get a Lobster out. In the struggle to get the Lobster out, Wade broke off his tentacles, then the little booger came out the other side of the rock for his getaway…  take a look…

 

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No fear, I gave chase and got that booger……We expanded our search and looked and looked. Again, there were sooooo many fish….mixed in with all those Snapper was a nice Hog Fish. He’s the fish with the black dot on his tail..

 

 

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We searched some more and holy cow, did we find the honey hole. Look at them all. In the rocks, on the rocks, hanging upside down. Now this was going to take some planning to make sure that they didn’t all scatter. Wade and I have our underwater hand signals. We determined which ones we were going to get first and how we were going to get them. Wade and I have done this for years and we are, I feel, the best team. He knows what I am thinking and I know what he is thinking always….. Take a look at the honey hole…

 

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Look at this next photo closely, see all those tiny little microscopic fish. They are so tiny. In the previous Boating Guides, we spoke about ecosystems within ecosystems. We spoke about the Sargasm Weed ecosystem way out in the Atlantic Ocean. We spoke about the ecosystem on the Gulf side at the ledges and holes. Now here we are on a completely different type of reef on the Atlantic Ocean side. Just amazing, all the life that is in this one spot. Wouldn’t it be nice for our kids, their kids, and future generations to be able to enjoy this too?  That’s why it is so important to do your part in keeping our environment clean and encouraging others to do the same…..

 

Needless to say we had almost reached our limit of Lobster on this one rock. We took the biggest ones and of course did not touch the small ones, called “shorts”.  We searched for a few more minutes and bingo, we found another rock full of Lobsters and a Grandpa Lobster –  he was a big one!

 

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While we were down there Wade saw a legal size Red Grouper. He gave me the hand signal, “can I shoot it”?  I signaled back “sure, it’s legal”.  Wade, in his stealthy way, snuck up on the Grouper which was sitting by a coral head.  As Wade approached the Grouper, I was thinking in my head –  wait for the clean shot, wait, wait. Wade got closer and closer, I was thinking in my head – wait, wait, make it a clean shot.  I thought in my head – NOW Wade, NOW!!!!!!!!  Within a second… BAM, Wade shot, a direct head shot, instant kill. No suffering on the fish’s part, and no thrashing around in the water to attract the sharks that live in this area. We had our limit of Lobster and Wade shot a nice Red Grouper. It was time to head to the boat and double check our Lobster to be sure they were all legal size.  Check out the photos…

 

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What a nice day’s catch…  and time to head back in. What an amazing day; the sun was out, the water was calm and beautiful…

 

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When we got back to the dock, we set out our Lobster and fish and took photos…….

 

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Another fantastic day on the water.. Words cannot describe how beautiful the Florida Keys are. The weather for us on this trip was amazing. The fishing was amazing, the Lobstering was amazing. Our friends and families were amazing. The memories we all created here will be imprinted in our minds forever. For the kids to experience this, they will never forget this vacation full of boating, fishing, Lobstering , swimming on the reefs. These are things they will always remember…

 

If you ever make plans to go to the Keys, remember, I was raised there. I can tell you cool places to go to and see, things to do, charter boat captains to use, places to stay. I would be happy to share my knowledge with you.

 

There was one more day in the Keys full of snorkeling Alligator Light and boating, but I feel you all want to hear about the boating and places to go here locally in Southwest Florida. So look out for next week’s Boating Guide, some of you have sent me requests to write about certain places here, and boy, there are plenty. If you want to know where to go by boat for anything, you let me know and I’ll share my years of experience here on the water with you.

 

Remember to make time for your family and friends. Make a plan and work that plan. Life is so short.

 

Until next time make it a great day and even better weekend.

 

Shane “Waterfront” Wilson

  

 

Lobstering In The Florida Keys 2014 Part 4

Posted by Shane On August 28th

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great!!!!!!!! Before we jump into “Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part Four”, I want to give you an update on our local Real Estate Market in Southwest Florida.

 

Properties continue to sell as long as they are priced within market value. Tear down houses on Gulf access canals are selling from the mid $200,000 range and up.  Homes in the $500,000 plus range are selling as are the homes priced well over $1,000,000. There seems to be a steady balance at this time; as properties are selling, others are coming on the market. I am also seeing another trend, many of the homes that have been on the market for a while are now getting price reductions.  We’re seeing more activity with them going pending and then sold within a few weeks. This is a great thing!  This also tells me that Buyers today are not dummies! They keep track of what is on the market for sale, they see when a property goes pending and then what it sells for. Buyers today are better informed than ever. It doesn’t appear that the waterfront market is getting stupid crazy like it was during the “boom”.

 

If you’re interested in knowing what’s happening with prices on properties in a particular area or neighborhood, please let me know and I’ll set you up on my Listingbook program.  It’s free and allows you to search whatever houses or lots you’d like. It will notify you of new listings on the market and it will also let you know when properties go pending; it’s a great tool. Even if you’re not looking to buy or sell at this time, it’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of our local Southwest Florida Real Estate Market.

 

If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help you anyway I can…:-)

 

Okay now on to the fun stuff…..Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part Four..

 

To recap:  Last week we left off with our crew going out in the boat scouting out our Lobster spots. After that we took the boat to Sombrero Key Lighthouse for an afternoon of snorkeling on the reef.

 


Well today is the big day!!!! The First Day of Lobster Mini Season…  Holy cow you have no idea how exciting this is… We got up early, early, like before the sun came up and headed over to pick up our friends, the Mazzola’s. We headed out to our spots approximately 10 miles out in the Gulf in the pitch black early, early morning night sky. It’s quite an eery feeling. The water is flat calm and the wind is whistling through the T top tubing on the boat as we cruise 35 mph. You cannot see a thing until you look up in the sky and see trillions and trillions of tiny little stars. If you look up long enough you will sometimes see shooting stars – meteors entering the atmosphere and burning up. It’s a really cool sight to see…

 

It’s also really neat to watch the dimly lit GPS while it’s taking us to our secret Lobster holes. The anticipation  builds as we get closer and closer – 8 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles, 1 mile to our destination… beep beep beep, you have reached your destination. All the while, you have that feeling of not knowing if you are going to get to your Lobster spot to find that all of the Lobster have moved during the night. Or not knowing if you are going to encounter a big Moray Eel living on the same ledge as all your lobster; or a Nurse Shark resting in front of the ledge which holds all of your Lobster… Ya just do not know!

 

By this time the sun was just getting ready to come up as we jumped into the water. Underwater is pure darkness. You can’t see a thing and you don’t know what sea creature may be watching you invade his home. All you see is the beam of light coming from your waterproof flashlight that you threw in to mark your spot. But now it was time, Wade and I jumped into the water right on top of our spot..and SCORE!!!!!!!! – packed full of Lobster. Wade yells up to the boat, “throw in the scuba tank, cause we’re gonna need it”! When you’re on some of these spots, the Lobster go way deep back into their ledges and it can take some time to get them out. Sometimes you have to reach way up under and feel your way around with your hands (on a serious note, unless you are experienced, do not ever do this, it can be very dangerous and you never know what’s living in the ledges, again DO NOT do this). I know you’re thinking “well Shane, why do you do it? Are you brave or just stupid?” I am neither. I have been doing this since I was a little kid growing up in the Florida Keys. Yes, there is a technique I use to minimize any damage to my fingers and hands. Yes, I have been bitten by Blue Crabs, Stone Crabs (those are almost the worst – ouch!) small Moray Eels, and other things that have tried to latch on to my hand. To this day, I still have no clue what animal it was that I made very angry way up in that ledge?? I’ve been stuck with Black Sea Urchin spines and even a few very close calls with the poisonous Lion Fish. On this ledge there were none of those creatures, just us and the Lobster. Wade and I started pulling Lobsters out one by one. We handed them to Annie or Paige and they would swim them over to the boat where Craig would measure them a second time to be sure they were legal size to keep. Once we harvested all the legal lobster from that hole, we moved on to the next hole, then the next one. With each stop we were getting closer and closer to our daily limit of Lobster. Take a look at some of these photos of our ride out to our spots. Remember it was pitch dark and the kids were half asleep…  :)

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As we hit our other spots the sun was beginning to rise – how beautiful is this?! Photos do the sunrise no justice; words can’t explain the sheer beauty as this part of the world awakens. Now the darkness is turning into light. Now we can see the thunderstorms that had surrounded us in the night sky. All you could see were the flashes of lightning, way, way off in the distance…

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Before we knew it , we had our limit and were headed back in. The sky was so beautiful as sunrise approached creating a bright orange glow….

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It was interesting coming back into Vaca Cut. We already had our limit, however, the late sleepers were just heading out to start their search for Lobster…

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We got back to the dock and unloaded our catch into a livewell to keep the Lobster fresh…

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You are only allowed to harvest 6 Lobster per person per day so we had 18 more Lobster to catch. Three of our crew members had decided to sleep in but still wanted to catch Lobster, so we picked them up, loaded more supplies, and headed out. This was going to be much more challenging now due to the fact that EVERYONE was up and out on the water looking for Lobster!  No fear .. we’ve got our numbers and we will find more Lobsters!!!!! It was a beautiful ride out. The water was calm and the sun was coming out, making it so much easier to see our spots from above…

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We arrived at our spot and “splash!”, Wade was in the water. He went down for a look. He shot up to the top of the water and yelled “DAD!!!!!!! come on!!!!! We have got some monsters here!!!!!”  I said “Wade are you sure”. Wade replied ” Dad, seriously!!!! Come on!!!!!!”  We were on a mission. The others in the boat couldn’t resist so they also got into the water to check it out. Well, Wade was right, there were some really big ones and they moved way back into the ledges. Well, they can’t hide from us… so we went in after them!!!!!!!!!! Wade, Craig, Annie, Paige, Tyler and Peyton. They would be our look-outs in case any of these Lobsters tried to escape through a back hole.

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It did take a little more work to get our Lobsters this time, and a little longer, because many of the holes were cleaned out, but we did reach our limit and decided to head back in. We had plenty for our family and we wanted to make sure we stayed within the law.

 

The ride in was a great ride, the seas were calm, the sun was out. As we approached Vaca Cut we noticed a couple of wave runners with guys on them – they really looked out of place. These guys were fully clothed, hats on, and what appeared to be some type of utility belts. I said to Craig, “something doesn’t look right”.  All of a sudden one of the wave runners spins around, heads right at us, and comes up from behind. It turns out he was an undercover police officer checking all the incoming boats to make sure they were following the law by keeping within proper Lobster limits. The officer was very nice. He asked us if we caught anything and we said “yes”. He asked us to open our livewell and he pointed at what he thought was the smallest lobster and said “Please pull him out so I can measure him”.  Without any hesitation, we reached in, pulled the Lobster out, and gave it to the officer. He said “you’re all good and free to go”.  Soooooo, ya see right there, we were following the rules, complying with the law, and being respectful. And of course, we didn’t have any “shorts” (too small Lobsters) on board. By the way, if you get caught with a short Lobster or Lobsters onboard, it’s a $500 fine per Lobster, a court appearance, and even possible confiscation of your boat. I took a few photos of the officers on Wave Runners; that’s something you don’t see everyday!

 

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We went back to the dock to admire our catch and start cleaning the Lobster.  But of course, we had to get photos first…

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Now comes the part that many people think is gross. By cleaning the Lobster you have to twist off their tails. Then you have to clean out the “pooper trail” with one of the lobster tentacles.

 

Everyone got involved with this (well, not everyone). It’s actually kind of fun!

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A few hours later after we cleaned all of the Lobster, as well as the boat, the kids hopped in the Lake and Bay and headed over to our friends’ place by water.

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The rest of us decided to join them and have a cold beverage and share stories about our great day on the water. Come to find out, the other five families in our group also did very well Lobstering that day. They cooked up some of their Lobsters and we grilled the fresh Mahi Mahi we caught the day before. We had a seafood feast!!!!!!!

 

What another amazing day on the water with family and friends. I just wish I could show you all first-hand how much fun this is. I can show you thousands of photos and write 20 pages of words, but nothing compares to the real thing. Being here and experiencing this. These are memories and experiences our children and friends will remember for ever.

 

Remember make time to do the things you want to do. Make a plan and work your plan. Just make it happen.

 

Until next time, make it a great weekend!!!

 

Shane “Waterfront” Wilson

Hello everyone, I hope you are doing great!!!!!

 

I am going to jump right into Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part Three. Last week we left off with a great day of fishing and hanging out with family and friends at the sandbar. Today is the day before the Big Day, “Opening of Lobster Mini Season”! We’re going to head out and scout out our spots in the Florida Bay. We’ve gathered these spots for several years and while we are out, we look for new spots to hit as well. The night before, Anne asked if we could take her water skiing first thing in the morning. I said “sure, we’ve boated, fished, gone diving, the least we can do is take Anne water skiing”. We got up early, pulled into a cove and pulled Anne. I have to admit, she’s really good.. take a look….

 

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On the way back in we really began to admire these homes here in Key Colony Beach. Some of them are massive huge and others are not so huge, but the architecture is amazing. There is even one home that looks like it was designed around this big catamaran yacht; almost like a house for their boat. Take a look..

 

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Now it was time to head out for the day and scope out our secret spots for Lobster, so we cruised over to pick up our friends, the Mazzola family. The part of the Florida Bay where we look for lobster is shallow, with depths in this area ranging from 2 feet to about 8 – 10 feet. We have saved all of our secret spots we’ve found over the past couple of years in our GPS so we know right where to go. Keep in mind, season has been closed for months, so most of these spots are going to be full of lobster. We ran out about 10 miles to the first spot and “whammy”, the GPS indicated we were right on our spot, and by golly, we were on it!  We jumped into the water to check it out and wouldn’t you know… we had lots of Bugs (Lobsters). You can’t touch them though at this point, they’re still out of season. We just wanted to check and make sure that these spots were going to produce. Take a look, this is what it looks like once you’re in the water looking down toward the ledges and seagrass. It’s pretty neat…

 

 

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There were a lot of Lobster at this spot!

 

Take a look at this beautiful Queen Angel Fish swimming into a hole..

 

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We went to another spot, and yet another spot, and they were all full of Lobster…

 

 

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We went to more spots and they were full too..:-)

 

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Now look at this next photo…  I put the camera underwater and pointed it into a hole on a rock ledge – see the long green thing, that’s a Moray Eel. Bad news if you reach into a hole for a lobster and he clamps onto your hand, you’ll be lucky to get your hand back in once piece. Their teeth are angled backwards so when they bite on to something it can’t escape. If you look to the top of the photo there’s a tiny red cleaner shrimp. These little shrimp are known to crawl into the mouths and gill slits of a fish and clean off all the parasites in the fish’s mouth and gill slit areas. No, typically the fish do not eat these shrimp. This is what you would call a symbiotic relationship. Now look to the bottom of the photos; see the brown rounded shape? That’s a baby Nurse Shark’s head. As I mentioned earlier, there’s the ecosystem in the Sargasm weed line in the Atlantic Ocean, and then there’s a whole other ecosystem on the Bay side. All of these creatures live in entirely different ecosystems with some dependent on each other, and others just getting along and sharing a home. Either way, it’s never a good idea to blindly stick your hand into a hole looking for a Lobster or you may get a not so nice surprise…

 

 

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We moved on to another spot to check for Bugs (Lobsters) keeping in mind that when we come back tomorrow for opening day, I should not stick my arm in the hole where the Moray Eel and Nurse Shark live.:-)

 

Look at our other spots, I think we’re all set…..

 

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We scouted almost all of our holes and came to the conclusion that we would have plenty of spots and we would surely limit out on Bugs in a short time.:-)  Everyone was getting hungry so we decided to go have lunch at a place called Shuckers Raw Bar & Grill on the water in Marathon. The service was great here and so were the food and drinks…

 

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After lunch we decided to go home and rest up, but then someone suggested we run out to Sombrero Lighthouse, so we headed out to the Lighthouse. It’s such a beautiful place, the water is crystal clear, there are thousands upon thousands of fish everywhere. Tall coral formations, small caves and ledges, just beautiful.  In this first photo, if you look way out into the distance you can see the Lighthouse.  We had leftovers from lunch so we fed the fish; within 20 seconds there were hundreds of fish all around us, pretty amazing…

 

 

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What a stunning reef, one that I’ll never forget.  When we arrived at the Lighthouse, my buddy Craig jumped into the water and saw a Nurse Shark swimming very slowly and gracefully away from him.  Craig swam underwater to get closer; the closer he got, the shark would get that much further away. Craig came up for air and went back down. Once again, Craig was within a foot of the Nurse Shark, and as he tried to get a little closer, the Nurse Shark would stay just far enough away. After Craig told me of this encounter, I mentioned to him that the shark knew exactly where Craig was at all times and he stayed just far enough away for his own comfort. Craig thought this was the best!!!!!! and it was!!!!!!! 

 

By this time it was getting late, nearly 6:00 pm and time to head in after a long, wonderful day on the water. What a fantastic day. The weather was great, the water was great, the company was great!!!!!!

 

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Just wait until next week, the Big Day… Opening of Lobster Mini Season… Wait until you read and see the photos of this adventure!!!!  You are not going to want to miss it.

 

Until next time… Make time for your family and friends. Do the things you dream of. Make your plans and stick to your plans. You will make it happen….Time goes by soooo fast.

 

See ya,

 

Shane “Waterfront” Wilson

 

 

Hello Everyone, I hope you are doing great!!!! I am going to jump right into the Boating Guide with the fun stuff, Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part Two. We left off with a great day in the boat fishing, going to Sombrero Lighthouse Reef to snorkel, and finishing off the day with our family and friends at the Key Colony Beach Sandbar…

 

Today is a new day and a new adventure. Since we didn’t have much luck yesterday, we decided this time we would run 20 plus miles offshore in search of Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi). We loaded up the boat with all of our gear and bait and headed over to pick up my buddy Craig and his kids. It was a beautiful run out. The Ocean had small 2-3 foot swells and we quickly ran out to the first shipping lanes. You do not realize how huge these cargo ships are until you are right up on them. Take a look…

 

 

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We saw some birds and weed lines so we put our lines in and… nothing. I said to my crew, “let’s not waste time like yesterday, we are gonna run out 20 to 25 miles and look for birds and weed lines”. So we pulled our lines in and headed out farther. We saw quite a few weed lines, but no birds. I said “let’s go out farther”. We saw several pods of diving birds all around some weed lines. I said “guys, this is it, get those trolling rods out, quick, quick!!!!!”  In about 10 or 15 minutes…. Bam, Fish on!!!!!!! Rod number one, Bam, Fish on; rod number two, Bam, fish on; rod number three. We had three fish on at one time… Holy cow!!!!!!!! Controlled mayhem!!!! Craig got his fish up to the boat and someone gaffed it and put it in the fish box. As the other two Dolphin were pulled to the boat, the whole school of 60 plus Dolphin were swimming all around!!!!!! check it out…

 

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I yelled “chum, chum, get some cut bait in the water quick to keep the Dolphin around the boat”!  Craig jumped into action, cutting up the Ballyhoo and chucking chunks into the water. Meanwhile, Boogie has a fish on, Wade has a fish on and Tyler has a fish on and Paige has a fish on!!!!!! and we have three rods out of commission with no hooks. (Sometimes it’s easier to cut the line, throw the fish in the fish box, and get the hooks later). Once again, controlled mayhem!!!!  We got Tyler’s fish in the boat, Boogie’s fish in the boat and tried to get Paige’s fish in the boat, but the line broke. We rigged the other three rods with missing hooks in a matter of minutes and had them back in the water pulling up more fish, one after another.  

 

 

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If you think these Dolphin are beautiful fish in these photos, wait until you see them in real life. The colors on these fish are spectacular greens, blues and yellows…..Wade said “Dad, I have always wanted to spear a Dolphin”.  I said “Wade hop in and get some”!!!!!  Wade put on his gear, jumped in the water, and about this time the Dolphin went deep, too deep to chase.

 

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I said “guys let’s regroup and get our rods ready and baited and ready to go for the next school of fish we find”.

 

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We ran to another group of birds and weed lines, dropped our lines in and began to troll. After about 10 minutes, something didn’t feel right. I cannot explain the feeling I had. Something told me to have Craig turn the boat to another fat weed line near some birds. Once we got to it, I said “stop the boat and drop your lines”. Wade said “there’s nothing here Dad”, I said “yes, there is”. Call it luck, call it a hunch or a feeling….all of a sudden a dozen plus Dolphin came shooting out from under the boat. Bam, Bam, Bam fish on, fish on, fish everywhere. Craig was already on the chum, throwing chunks into the water. The kids each had a Dolphin on their rods!!!!  Wow, once again, controlled mayhem. One fish was gaffed and brought into the boat but missed the fish box. These fish are strong, I mean strong, ask anyone who Dolphin fishes. A 30, 40, or 50 pound Dolphin flapping around your cockpit can cause some serious damage. As they are frantically flapping around the boat, you had better get out of the way or you could end up seriously hurt. Broken bones, massive bruises, broken fishing rods, flying gaff if left on the floor of the boat. This Dolphin was under 15 pounds and still, blood was flying everywhere. We jumped on it and Craig opened the fish box and we shoved the fish in and Craig slammed the fish box lid!  Thank goodness, ’cause when that lid shut it sounded like an angry 220 pound man banging on the fish box hatch lid from the inside!!!!  Oh boy, we were covered in blood, the cockpit was covered in blood, what a mess, but what fun. One of the kids used the salt water wash to clean up the blood and the other kids were still fighting fish. After all this, we were able to bring a few more to the boat.

 

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My son Wade says, “Dad can I get in and spear some fish”. I said “sure”. Keep in mind we are 22 miles out in 1,000 feet of water.  Within 2 or 3 minutes I see Wade swimming to the boat; he jumps out of the water and pulls up his spear cord from his spear gun. He was soooo excited!! His first speared Dolphin, he was in Heaven. He said “Dad can I go back out”?  “Sure son, go spear another one”.  Meanwhile, everyone in the boat is still pulling in Dolphin.

 

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Here comes Wade with another Dolphin – I was amazed. Craig kept the chum chunks of Ballyhoo in the water which kept the Dolphin coming back so Wade did not have to venture far from the boat..

 

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I think Wade speared about 4 Dolphin. Of course, throughout this entire process while Wade was in the water with everything going on, I kept a watchful eye on him. Suddenly his swimming demeanor changed, he was not swimming normally. He was swimming briskly back to the boat, back first, facing the opposite direction of the boat with his spear gun pointed straight in front of him. In my mind I am thinking one of two things, he speared a big Dolphin and was having a tough time pulling him back to the boat, or he had a shark in his sights. I have always taught my children if you ever see a shark in the water, DO NOT panic, keep your cool. You keep your eyes on that shark and you do not take your eyes off that shark until you reach the boat. If you have a spear gun, pole spear, a spear shaft, you keep that between you and the shark. If that shark starts to get too close, you jab that shark as hard as you can and he’ll turn away. Thank goodness Wade did not have to do that. He got to the boat and out of the water and said,  “Dad…”  I finished his sentence and said “you saw a Shark.” He said “yes, a big one, about 8 or 10 feet long”. So many people have misconceptions about sharks; 9.9 times out of 10 they are not there to eat you. In this case, the Shark smelled the blood in the water from the fish, he sensed the thrashing fish in the water and was coming in for a closer look and maybe an easy meal. No, not Wade, the injured fish.

 

At this point we had 25 Dolphin in the boat and that was plenty to feed our families and bring some home to freeze. What a beautiful day, sunny, breezy, the seas laid down, what a great ride home from 22 miles out in the ocean.  Again, coming in and watching the changing colors of the water is amazing. It goes from the dark purple to dark blue to light blue, just beautiful….

 

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Now comes the fun part, Haaaa, cleaning all the fish. This is a huge job in itself, but can be fun sometimes to look in their stomachs and see what they have eaten. Most of the time you will find file fish, small jacks, small crabs and other types of fish. When we are chumming the water we will later find those chunks of Ballyhoo or squid in the Dolphin’s stomach. I know all this sounds nasty, but it really is not. It teaches all the kids that watch us clean the fish, and the adults too, about the natural food chain and how important our ecosystem is. It teaches them how important it is to keep our oceans clean; it’s like Marine Biology 101. We are showing people that if the weed lines are not healthy, they may become non-existent. If there are no weed lines, there are no nurseries for the baby, shrimp, crabs, and fish to live. No baby shrimp, crabs, fish, then there is no food to sustain the Dolphin, Tuna, Wahoo, Sailfish, etc. that live in the open oceans.  I read somewhere that Dolphin are voracious eaters and can grow an inch per week. I think the article said that Dolphin are the fastest growing fish in the ocean.

 

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Finally, we got all those fish cleaned and packed on ice. A friend texted to tell us that everyone was hopping in their boats and running to a sandbar for some cold beverages and to hang out and relax in the warm ocean water. Well, you didn’t have to ask us twice. We loaded up all the  boats and headed to the sandbar….

 

 

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What a long, great, fantastic day!!!!!!!!  Fishing, relaxing with family and friends. It doesn’t get any better than this!  Well, yes I guess it does. The girls informed us that the men were taking them out to dinner with the kids because they were NOT cooking.. why not ??;-) ….so we all went out to supper and had a great time. When we got home everyone hit the beds and they were out in a minute, dreaming about our big day tomorrow – scouting out our secret Lobster holes…

 

This is all for now. Please look for the Boating Guide next week to read Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part Three. We’re going to take you to my top secret Lobster holes out in the bay, I cannot wait!!!!!! :-)

 

Until next time, make time for your family and friends. There is nothing more important than your family so plan to make time. I hear so many people say, “there’s not enough time to do everything”. You know what? You’re correct. In that case, you must prioritize those things that are most important to you in life.  Make a plan, stick to your plan, and you will have no regrets.

 

Make it a great week!!!

 

Shane “Waterfront” Wilson 

Lobster Mini Season

Posted by Shane On August 7th

Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part One…

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great!!!!!!! You know what time of year it is, don’t you???? Lobster Mini Season!!!! This is where there’s only a two day time frame to catch Lobster, (Lobster Mini Season) and the commercial Lobster folks are not allowed to put out their traps until right after the two day mini season. Let’s talk some business first, and then we can get on to the fun part of The Boating Guide. Our Southwest Florida Real Estate Market continues to be very good with more lots  and homes being put on the market for sale. As always, the properties that are priced at current market value are selling. The homes that are overpriced are sitting on the market with very little activity. Today’s consumer is very savvy. With all the information available on the internet plus assistance from his Real Estate Professional, today’s Buyer knows a good, or fair market value when he sees it based on what else has sold in the immediate area. Many of the overpriced homes I have been tracking for months and months are still on the market for sale; I have also tracked numerous Sellers who have adjusted (reduced) the price of their homes to be more competitive in the marketplace. Keep in mind, these are not “give away” prices,  but fair market value. Interest rates are still at historic lows, in fact, I saw a 30 year 4.1% interest rate last week, with no points. That’s cheap money! In some cases, it’s better for a Buyer to get a mortgage at such a low rate and keep his cash in investments where it could be earning a higher interest rate. You will have to talk to your financial advisor about this :-).. There is another trend that I see that has been evolving for some time. I’m talking about “scrapers”. These are homes on the water that make no financial sense to remodel or add onto. The value in these properties is in the dirt (the land). We are seeing more and more properties being bought, scraped and replaced with brand new beautiful homes. All in all, our Real Estate and New Construction are moving right along. Many, many sales. The inventory seems to be stable at this time, however, when a great value hits the market, it’s typically gone within a week. If you have any questions about our Southwest Florida Real Estate Market, please feel free to reach out to me on my cell phone, by text or e-mail. I will respond to you. If you want to keep up to date with the properties in your neighborhood or a certain area you select, I can set you up on my Listingbook program (FREE) and it will send you daily status reports. Please let me know however I may assist you….

Now on to the fun part of The Boating Guide….

Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part One….

 

Every year we head down to the Keys for Mini Season. This year we stayed in the town of Marathon which is about halfway down the Florida Keys. There’s a city within Marathon called Key Colony Beach; it’s a really neat place to stay, close to shopping, food stores, fuel, dive shops, Marinas, boat ramps, you name it. Key Colony Beach even has its own Marina, hotels, rental houses, restaurants (on and off the ocean), swimming pools and beach. Everything you could want is right there. There are multi-million dollar homes and there are more modest homes, down to 600 sq. ft. duplexes – there’s a property for any budget. Oh, and best of all, you can keep your boat right in your backyard and within a few minutes you are out in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf via Vaca Cut (a navigable channel). Other than where I was raised in Islamorada (the Upper Keys), this has got to be one of my favorite places. It offers something for every member of your family. You can boat, fish, dive, snorkel. There are world famous reefs, a beautiful beach, restaurants, coffee shops, gift stores; or take a drive to Key West, approximately 50 miles away. There is some type of activity for everyone :-).. And best of all, it’s only a few hours drive from Fort Myers.

 

We headed to the Keys on Saturday with 5 families and boats in tow. Once you enter the Keys and get down towards Islamorada, it gets very narrow and there are many bridges to go over which give you spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. The views are to die for with beautiful crystal clear turquoise blue water in every direction. As you look farther out into the ocean, the water turns to a darker blue then almost a stunning purple color.  You’ll need to see it with your own eyes to understand what I am trying to explain. Talk about anxiety (good anxiety)!  We cannot wait to put the boats in the water and go explore. The rest of our drive is almost unbearable with the excitement of knowing that in a short time we’ll be out on the water!!!!! Before we even get unpacked and settled into our accommodations, we unload the boats and motor them around the canals to the docks behind our rental houses that will be home for the next week. And, we made the trip with no issues, thank goodness.

 

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Fwd_ Mini Lobster Season in the Florida Keys 2014 part one..

Once we unpacked and got settled in, we sorted through all of our fishing and diving gear to get ready for the days ahead. I went down to the boat to double check that we had all of our safety gear, life jackets, flares and first aid kit. I double and triple checked all the bilge pumps, through hull fittings, and electronics on the boats to be sure we’d be set and prepared for any unplanned issues.  By this time it was getting late, so we jumped in the boat to go out and watch the sunset and prepare for the next day.

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We got up the next morning and prepared to run offshore to look for Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi). We loaded all the rods, tackle and snorkeling gear to hit Sombrero Light Reef on the way back in.  Here are some of the amazing and beautiful homes in Key Colony Beach that we passed each day as we headed out to the Atlantic or Gulf. Check out these photos…

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Heading out into the Atlantic Ocean or into the Gulf is a beautiful ride in itself. To watch the color changes as the water gets deeper and deeper and deeper is just an unbelievable sight. The light blues, then turquoise, then darker blue as the water gets deeper. Once you are past the 600 foot mark, the water is a brilliant purple color…

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Once we got about 12 miles out, we began to see weed lines. Weed lines hold crabs, shrimp, fish. With this micro ecosystem in place, it attracts the bigger bait fish, which in turn attracts the larger fish we are targeting – Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi), Tuna, Wahoo, etc. It was a beautiful, calm day out on the ocean. The sun was out, there was a light breeze, and lots of weed lines. We saw birds diving on bait near the weed lines so we trolled over to see what we could catch..

Bam !!!  Fish on.. the drag screamed for half a second and then it stopped. We all thought this was strange???

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It looked like a Bar Jack hit the lure we were trolling and then something big hit the Bar Jack. Look at the photos, it’s bit right in half.

 

After trolling for awhile the kids were kind of bored and Wade wanted to stop at the next weed line to spear some fish for dinner. Keep in mind the water here is about 600 feet deep and we are 12 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean…Check out these photos….

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The water was sooooo clear and there were tons of bait fish, but nothing worth shooting to take home for dinner. These weed lines are their own tiny ecosystem in a massive ocean. We found this small female crab holding her eggs..

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As I said above, there are tiny shrimp, fish, crabs, so many small little creatures moving around that even I don’t know what they all are. Very, very cool creatures of the sea..

By this time the kids wanted to head in to Sombrero Lighthouse which stands above an amazing reef – a “no take” zone – so it’s teeming with life and marine sea creatures. The ride in to the lighthouse was beautiful.. The seas were calm, a light breeze, and the water was beautiful...

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Heading into the reef the color changes of the water were just amazing!!!! Words cannot even describe it. Everyone was so excited to get there, the water was so crystal clear that we could see all the fish, coral heads and marine life from above the water. Once we got into the water, hundreds of fish would swim up to check us out ……

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Swimming around you will see hundreds and hundreds of different species of fish. However, on every single reef I have ever been to, there are always your “resident” Barracudas, along with some of the most amazing reef fish you will ever see..

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One of the best parts of swimming on the reef is hand-feeding the fish. It’s so cool to have them come right up to you and eat out of your hand…

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At Sombrero Light, there are some amazing ledges and small caves you can swim through. (Do not attempt to swim through these small caves, it can be dangerous). Take a look at these photos..

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Before leaving, the kids wanted to feed the fish again….

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We were all ready to head back in after an amazing day on the water. The weather was great, the ocean was beautiful, and everyone had a great time..

 

On our way in, we saw the other families we were vacationing with at Key Colony Beach, hanging out at the sandbar swimming and having a cold beverage and snacks before dinner. We decided to stop so everyone could visit and share stories about their amazing day!!!!!!!….

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What an amazing end to our day on the water!!!!!! Well it’s time to go.. Wait until next week for Part Two of Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 .. 

Until then, make time for your family and friends.. Life goes by so quickly. Just make your plan, work your plan, and stick to it. 

 

Until next time make it a great week..:-)))

 

Shane “Waterfront” Wilson

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