Wow! Is it not amazing how time just flies by? I can’t believe that the holiday season is already upon us and Christmas Day is just ten short days away.
Now, if I were a betting man, I would put money on the prospect that there are a whole lot of loyal WaterLine readers out there that are still looking for that perfect gift. Something to give to a friend or loved one that would bring a smile. Something that when used would make a memory that will last a lifetime. Gifts that can do this are sometimes very hard to find.
Well, you’re in luck — I know of a gift that will make your friend or loved one smile and give them something to talk about for years to come. This gift is capable of tightening bonds or even bringing a spark back to the life of someone who has been down for one reason or another. The gift that I am thinking of is a fishing trip with one of our area’s many talented fishing guides.
You are probably thinking to yourself right now, “What would make a trip with a guide any more special than a trip on my own boat?” That answer is simple — no worries and peace of mind. Our local guides are on the water almost every day and it is their job to know what the fish are feeding on and where they will be on each stage of the tide.
They also take the not-so-fun part of the trip off your hands. All you have to do is show up at the boat, hop on and go fishing. Your captain will have his boat gassed up and ready to go, with plenty of ice, bait and tackle on board to get you through the day. He will take you to where the fish are and teach you how to catch them.
Most guides are very friendly and full of all kinds of crazy fishing stories (some of which might even be true, depending on the guide). It is also your guide’s job to know the size and bag limits of all the fish you catch. He’ll clean and bag your catch at the end of your trip and give you plenty of ice to get your dinner home.
And the best part: No clean up for you! That is also the captain’s job. Just think about it — you hop in someone else’s boat, go fishing, never tie a hook or take a fish off the line, hop off the boat and just go home. Writing this column has me wanting to hire a guide for a day!
So, if this sounds like a great gift idea and you would like to give it to someone special, or even have it given to you, then this is what you should do: Head on down to your favorite tackle shop and talk to the guys behind the counter or even the guys just sitting around shooting the bull. You could check the Internet, but that’s for tourists. The best guides will have connections at the bait shops.
After they’ve given you a few business cards, you’ll want to talk with a few different guides before you make up your mind which one to hire. The one that makes you feel the most comfortable and that you feel the best connection with should be the one you choose.
Most guides will take you out for what they feel will give you the most action for the day. If you are looking to catch a specific species — a big snook, a tarpon, a shark or anything else that swims in our waters — make sure to let your guide know your wishes in advance so that they can plan ahead to give you a shot at your fish of a lifetime.
I would like to wish everybody a safe and joyous holiday season. Tight lines.
Capt. Mike Myers, owner and operator of Reelshark Charters, is a full-time Charlotte Harbor guide. Having fished the waters all along the Southwest Florida coast for more than 40 years, he has the experience to put anglers on the fish they want. His specialties are sharks, tarpon and the nearshore Gulf waters. For more info, visit ReelShark.com or call Capt. Mike at 941-416-8047.