Mary Laser with a tarpon caught while fishing with Capt. Matt Mitchell photo provided by our friends at the Island Sun!
Summer water temperatures have been hovering right around 88 degrees for a few weeks now. During the blazing afternoon heat, the water temperature in the shallows on the outgoing tide can get well over 90 degrees. Fish, like people, get much less active during the hottest part of the day and seek cooler water by either going to deeper water or in the shade of mangroves and docks. Extreme heat has the same effect on fish that extreme cold has slowing the action. Afternoon thunderstorms are a welcomed event as they cool off the surface temperature of shallow water. During the outgoing tide, we spent some time this week enjoying a great shark bite. Anchored up just inside any of the deeper passes with half a fresh-cut mullet, we had the rods bent and the drags screaming. Many of this crazy shark action was blacktip sharks up to five feet long. These blacktips are one of the more sporty sharks to catch as they jump, make lightening-fast runs and can change direction on a dime. Often these battles required dropping the anchor ball and chasing the sharks down before they dump the spool.
Other species of sharks we caught just inside the passes included Atlantic sharp-nose, spinners, bonnet heads, bull sharks and giant nurse sharks. Each time we did this, we hooked into a few real monsters that, after a few minutes of drag screaming-fun, broke off by either tailwhipping the line or getting a sideways bite on the heavy mono leader. The best action on these sharks has come during the first hour of the falling tide before the current gets moving too fast.
One area that always seems to produce fish during the summer heat is Captiva Pass. The outer sandbars are a great place to sit and chum with small live shiners to catch Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, pompano and trout. The deeper water in the pass once you locate rocky bottom holds gag grouper and mangrove snapper. The docks and down trees on either side of the pass is great for snook. Tarpon come through this pass, and sharks are always around. Captiva Pass is just one of those places that offers lots of options and seems to always produce some type of action. Capt. Matt Mitchell has been fishing local waters since he moved to Sanibel in 1980. He now lives in St. James as a country fishing guide. If you have comments or questions, email captmattmitchell@aol. com
Paint the Beach Plein Air Festival invites artists from across the country to come and experience all Fort Myers Beach has to offer and create paintings of and on our beautiful sub-tropical islands! During the event, the public is invited to observe this challenging form of open air painting as artists compete in multiple competitions all week long throughout Fort Myers Beach. The artists capture the beauty, texture and light of the local landscape.
Registration will be open to the public July 15 – September 30, 2017. Each participant must pay a $50 non-refundable entry fee to sign up. We hope to see you at our 8th annual painting competition, with over $6000 in cash & prizes!
Thanks to the FLorida Living Magazine for the following information!
Blind Pass and Turner beach have the best shelling on Sanibel and Captiva. Some will argue Lighthouse Beach at the opposite tip of Sanibel island is better. No doubt a lot of shells roll up there, but it’s heavily picked over. When coming from the mainland, it’s a shorter trip, so more visitors stop there. It’s also closer to the hotels and condos. The result is a crowded beach with lots of newbie shell hunters scouring the sand as well as experienced shellers. There are still plenty of common shells to be found, but beating the old pros to a prize shell is a challenge, as they often start early in the morning.
You’re more likely to find a rare shell at Blind Pass and Turner Beach. Before reaching the pass, shellers have to drive past a string of beautiful, hard to resist Sanibel beaches. By the time they pull into the Blind PassBlind Pass Shells parking areas, their numbers have thinned. The result is a better selection of shells than found at any other Sanibel beach.
There are several different areas to shell. There’s blind pass itself, with far more shells on the Sanibel side than the Captiva, which is mainly large rocks. More shells are found on the Gulf side of the bridge, and under it, than on the inland side. If you walk along the bank on the inland side, watch the tides. On a low tide it’s easy, but if you’re walking back on a high tide, you may have to fight through mangroves. On a low tide, it’s possible to wade out to a sandbar. Take care when doing so as the currents can be treacherous.
Captiva side of Blind Pass
The Rocky Captiva Side of Blind Pass.
Both sides of Turner Beach are excellent places to find shells. You can wander for miles without encountering many people. It’s often difficult to get away from the crowds when walking the sand by Lighthouse Beach. Another spot to check out is on the Captiva side where the sand meets the jetty. Sometimes shells pile up in impressive mounds there.
Make sure you know the ten rules of shelling. Pick a time when the tide is low. Gas up the car, and make the trek to the best shelling on Sanibel or Captiva
Southwest Florida is filled with fascinating wildlife, and CROW provides a unique opportunity to look into wildlife rehabilitation and meet the staff responsible for their care. Wildlife walks are the best opportunity for visitors to get an in-depth look into the inner workings of our hospital and the treatment process. The program has two parts: an introductory presentation covering our medical and rehabilitation methods and then a guided tour through treatment areas of the hospital, concluding on our rehabilitation grounds. Wildlife Walks are approximately 1 and 1.5 hours: a 45-minute presentation with a 45-minute tour. This program is open to all, but it is not recommended for children under the age of 13.
The James & Barbara Moore Observatory at Florida SouthWestern State College Charlotte Campus photo provided.
Skygazers can take in a solar eclipse viewing experience at the James & Barbara Moore Observatory on Monday, August 21 from 1:30 to 4 p.m . The viewing is free and open to the public. The solar eclipse will take place from 1:18 to 4:14 p.m., peaking at 83.3 percent coverage at 2:50 p.m. “We will have three or four telescopes with proper filters available for use and limited eyeglass filters, so we are encouraging participants to bring their own certified eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers,” said David Hanson, observatory director. Safety tips for viewing the solar eclipse and how to purchase certified eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers can be found on the NASA website at eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety. “Even if people can’t make it to the observatory, they should try to see what’s happening,” Hanson said. “The view is the same from anywhere in the state, but proper safet y filters are required wherever you are located.” Beginning this September, the James & Barbara Moore Observatory will be open to the public the third Friday of each month. Observation sessions typically begin about 30 to 45 minutes after dark. The James & Barbara Moore Observatory is located on the Florida SouthWestern State College Charlotte Campus, 26300 Airport Road in Punta Gorda. For more information or for a schedule of observatory events, call 1-941-637-5652 or visit www.fsw.edu/ charlotte/observatory.
Thanks to our friends at the Island Sun for the following information!
CROW’s newest animal ambassador, Mina, is a great horned owl who is missing one of her wings. Article courtesy of Jeff Lysiak, “Island Sun.”
They may hunt their prey at night without making a sound, but one of the most beloved bird species is actually amongst the smartest – and fiercest – raptors found in nature. Is it any wonder that there’s the expression, “Wise as an owl?”
Recently at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), approximately 30 people attended a presentation entitled Guess Hoo?, a lecture focused on owls found throughout Southwest Florida.
According to CROW Wildlife Rehabilitator Breanna Frankel, there are more than 200 owl species worldwide, approximately 20 of which are native to North America. Most species of owl are nocturnal, meaning that they are primarily active at night.
“When they’re hunting for food at night, they have to be really quiet,” said Frankel. “Their feathers are frayed and extra soft, which allows them to fly very silent.”
Physically, owls have tremendously strong talons, which allow them to grip their prey tightly. “They eat pretty much anything they can get their claws on,” she added, noting that their diet includes insects, rodents, snakes, small mammals and other birds.
During the 45-minute lecture, Frankel described the anatomy of owls, including information about their eyes, ears, tufts and wings.
“Their eyes don’t rotate in their sockets, so they have to turn their heads around when they’re watching something,” said Frankel, who noted that these birds can rotate their heads 270 degrees. “They also have three eyelids – one for blinking, one for cleaning, and one while they’re sleeping at night.”
The most common threats owls face have been created by humankind, including electrical wires, deforestation, barbed wire fencing, rodenticide poisoning and vehicular strikes.
As part of her presentation, Frankel introduced the audience to Mina, a great horned owl who is one of CROW’s animal ambassadors. Brought into the wildlife clinic in January, the owl had been discovered unable to fly.
“We noticed when she came in that she was missing one of her wings, but the amputation had completely healed over,” said Frankel. “Other than that, she was completely perfect… except she had a bit of an attitude. She was kinda mean, so that’s how she got her name. Mina.”
Over the past six months, Frankel has been working with Mina to become an ambassador for CROW. “This is her first presentation, so I’m pretty excited about this,” she added. “If you look at an owl’s tufts, you can tell if they’re calm, alert or agitated. Her tufts are relaxed a bit, so she’s pretty relaxed.”
For more information about CROW, call 472-3644 or visit www.crowclinic.org.
Bailey’s General Store now offers fresh daily sushi for sale at their Seafood Market counter.
Shima Japanese Steakhouse, located at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa right around the corner from Ocean’s Reach, has partnered with Bailey’s to provide sushi options for store shoppers. Each day, the sushi is rolled by the chefs at Shima Grab N Go and transported to Bailey’s where it is available for purchase.
The Seafood Market at Bailey’s features the Philadelphia Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, California Roll, as well as Salmon & Tuna Nigiri (fish laid over rice). Prices start at $7.99 with expanded options available as popularity rises.
Travis Rudder, the Butcher Shop and Seafood Market manager at Bailey’s, is excited about the new product line.
“We love being able to provide fresh sushi products to our shoppers. The new rolls from Shima are made with the highest quality ingredients and taste fantastic. We’ve gotten great responses from community members that want to be able to pick up lunch or dinner while they shop for the rest of the week,” he said.