Capt. Pete Rapps
Summer here in Southwest Florida is an awesome time for both us locals and those visiting our area to really enjoy all that the area has to offer without the big crowds of the winter season. Although we are still really busy taking customers out on charters each day, boats out on the water are few and far between, the fishing pressure is really low, and it is a fantastic time to get outside and appreciate our local fishery and amazing wildlife.
With that being said, the summer sun is now at its strongest and we all need to protect ourselves from its harmful rays along with keeping cool in the sweltering heat. We have to be smart and pay attention to what our bodies are telling us so we can get outside and enjoy our day. Out here on the water, we have a different environment than back on land. We most certainly have different things to think about and prepare for in advance.
First ofall, we have sun baking on us from two different directions. The most obvious is from above, but few think about the reflection from the water. That reflection from the water and the white deck of a boat can be equally as strong as direct sun and, for that reason, it is imperative to completely cover up if you want to beat the heat. I wear long pants, long sleeves, and a wide brimmed hat all year round, especially in the summer. People ask me if I am hot wearing all of that. Truth be told, I am a lot cooler in the sun than you are in a tank top and shorts. This is why… As the sun bakes you, it heats up your skin which retains the heat. Wearing light weight breathable clothing shades your skin not only from the damaging sun, but also from the direct heat it creates. Columbia offers a fantastic line of clothing made for our extreme summer heat that actually keeps your body cool. Yes, you will still sweat, but that sweat is what keeps your body temperature cool as it evaporates. Without proper protection, the direct sun on your skin will dry out your perspiration before it has time to do what Mother Nature intended.
Plan your day on the water appropriately. What I mean is that we all know that it’s going to be brutally hot each afternoon. Many of the fish feel this heat too. Your best bite will be early in the morning until around noon. We also know that the summer afternoon rains are going to occur, which will cool things down a bit. The fish feel this too, and will begin to feed again late afternoon into the evening. With this in mind make a plan to get out fishing early and plan on getting off the water by noon so you can swim, eat, nap, and cool off. Then get back out on the water after our late day showers for some fantastic late day action.