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