The most important news from southwest Florida today is "what's not happening".
There is no oil on the beaches, there are no hurricanes on the horizon, there are no tar balls polluting the surf and there are no closed fishing zones.
I hate what is going on with my neighbors in the panhandle region of the state but if you place all of your news gathering dependency on the national news media you're only getting a part of the story of the beautiful state of Florida. Here in the Ten Thousand Island area, south of Naples, the fish are biting the beaches are their normal, beautiful, bright white selves and life is good.
I have had many of my clients, friends and readers of this newsletter contact me and ask how "bad" it is in my area. Well, here's the answer from a guy who lives in a house that is 30 inches above high tide, (In other words, I'm not writing this from afar) it is as it is always is this time of year.
The months of May and June along with September and October offer some of the best sport fishing we have and this year is no different. Even though we are still feeling the effects of our hard winter all this does is just make the guides, myself included, just have to work a little harder but the catches are the same as in years past with some species even being better than usual, particularly tarpon and many pelagic species.
After guiding for twenty years in this area, I have convinced many of my fisher friends that if it's prime fishing and quality beach time you're after, now is the time to visit. I'm not trying to drum up business for the guide community or the tourist industry itself, I'm just stating a fact.
There is little traffic, the accommodation rates are lower than usual, the fishing is very good and the beaches are not crowded. Sure it rains almost every afternoon but that provides a respite from the noonday heat and the clouds are spectacular.
Many of my favorite restaurants will close this month or next for a summer break and to prepare for the next "season". It's interesting to watch the migration of the "watering hole" crowd as they select a different place to meet and trade tales in the lazy afternoons of summer and sometimes the height of the tales matches those of the cumulus clouds that bring the afternoon showers.