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Record snook!

Most people brag about their biggest catch, but today, we bring you something different: The smallest snook I've ever seen! He was caught in a cast net alongside some finger mullet and whitebait in a tidal pool just south of Big Carlos Pass. He might not make the slot, but it's not every day you get to snap a pic of a truly juvenile snook the size of your thumb. 

 

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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, not Christmas. A couple of weeks before Halloween, everyone who has lived in SWFL throughout the oppressively humid summer months breathes a collect sigh of relief. It happens all of the sudden. One day you walk outside and your glasses fog up, the next you receive your yearly affirmation of what you've loved about Florida all of these years. A few day preview is usually all we get at first, but then around Halloween the weather breaks for good. This is my (any many Floridian's) favorite time of year. It's still quite warm, but the humidity is low and the sun is high. The days are still relatively long, and most of the snowbirds haven't returned yet keeping the restaurants, beaches, and roads at low density. It's a magical time in Southwest Florida, and apparently local event planners know this as well as anybody. 

I set out to plan my weekend last Friday, and quickly the options started enumerating. The third Friday of every month brings Music Walk to Downtown Fort Myers which is always a nice time--particularly when your wife is a music educator. On Saturday after the musicians had all cleared out, the living dead came to play as Zombie-con took over the streets of Fort Myers. Bonita Springs held their annual Riverfest complete with rubber ducky races on the Imperial River. Taste of Coconut Point featured the best of the best from the massive outdoor mall. Naples is preparing for the Stone Crab festival next weekend near Tin City. But what speaks to me is somewhat simpler than all of those those things: meat, beer, and foods that have no place being fried being dropped in a vat of hot oil. That's why I put on my cowboy hat, found an F-150, and headed out to the Collier County Fairgrounds for the Big Swamp BBQ Competition. Ribs, brisket, pork, fried oreos, and beer makes me smile. 

On top of the myriad events happening all around town, the fishing in SWFL during October is stellar. The water is starting to clear up from all of the summer rain, the flounder, redfish and trout have started coming back out in numbers, and there is still plenty of bait around. Oh yea, and the weather. The idyllic, picture perfect weather. With my boat inoperable due to a bum trailer bearing, I decided I'd take the canoe out for a trip. I chose New Pass due to the interesting contours inside and outside of the pass and its ease of access. There was a point in the day when I was poling around on a sandy oyster bar inside the pass looking for snook. A single small cloud lazily meandered past the sun. As the shadow spread over the beach, the crystal clear water, and my perfect little fishing setup I was surprised to hear myself let out an audible grunt. How spoiled I have become with my October weather in SW Florida.

Arguably the best part about the whole scenario is that the weather doesn't just hang out for a few days, or a week, or even a month. Most winters here in SWFL, highs stay between 75 and 85 degrees with the exception of a passing cold front or two. If I were a travelling criminal, I would move to SWFL for the winter because when that weather hits, every door and window is open for 50 miles. Luckily, nobody seems to have taken advantage of this. 

For me, this is the most wonderful time of the year. If you need me this month, you'll find me on the lanai, by the pool, or out looking for the next perfect way to spend a perfect day. 

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Shark Tagging with a Marine Biologist

Difficulty: 

This one of a kind experience is not for the faint of heart. If you want to experience the real Florida, and I mean the REAL Florida, strap on your head lamp, put on your mosquito netting, and take a trip with shark biologist Pat O'Donnell to go capture and tag sharks in the heart of Florida's famous 10,000 Islands. You'll be helping Pat monitor shark populations in the local area while experiencing what Florida was like before the modern era of pesticides, bug spray, and gated communities.

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