Well, the truth is that there is so much natural beauty to enjoy while out on the water here in Southwest Florida. Much of the wildlife that can be seen is in the calm and shallow backwater areas of the 10,000 Islands and the Everglades National Park – the same exact waters that we fish in.
As you can see from my photos, on a typical fishing charter we often have dolphin come right up close to the boat. Depending on the season, we sometimes see loggerhead turtles in the shallow water flats, bright pink roseate spoonbills feeding in the shallow water, giant white pelicans on the sandy island beaches, an occasional Bald Eagle nesting, osprey talking to each other from high in the mangroves, manatee feeding on the grass flats, brown pelicans catching baitfish, cormorants popping out of the water with fish in their beaks, frigate birds circling high above, herons and egrets feeding in the mangroves, gulls, pipers, and variousother birds searching for something to eat, and horseshoe crabs crawling on the beaches.
There are some really cool historical sites down here in the Everglades National Park too. We have several old homesteads that can only be seen by boat including the Watson Place in the Chatham River where the notorious “Bloody Ed Watson” lived in the 1800’s. His story can be read about in Peter Matthiessen’s book “Killing Mr Watson”. It is believed that some of his workers on his farm never made it home after the crops were picked. The Key West Sheriff and the Lee County Sheriff would not come to Chokoloskee to sort things out so the residents took justice in their own hands. Grab the book then come down to see the site. It’s local history!
Being out on the water is not always about fishing. Truth be told, some of my happiest customers have been more excited about what we see during the course of the day, not what we catch on rod and reel. There is so much natural beauty out on our local waters that cannot be seen from the busy mainland. Whether you are an angler or not, be sure to get out there and take in the natural beauty of what Southwest Florida has to offer us. Take a tour, rent a boat or book a charter. Bring a camera, pack a cooler and lather up that sunscreen. Isn’t it time you got out on the water?