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Area offers a number of offshore fishing opportunities

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Oct 15, 2020

If you’re looking for a change from the ankle deep flats game and want to get in on the offshore bite and some tasty fresh fillets but don’t have the appropriate sized boat and tackle, then consider a local offshore fishing charter.

Offshore or deep sea Gulf of Mexico charters typically fall into two categories — party/head boats or private charter boats.

On a head boat expect to fish with many other anglers which makes the daily rate more affordable. You won’t need a fishing license and like most fishing charters, everything is included, just bring your hat, sunglasses, food and sunscreen. These boats are larger with toilet facilities and air conditioned interiors allowing you to get out of the heat. While the captain runs the boat, you’ll have an on-deck crew to assist you with tackle, baits, advice, help landing your fish as well as cleaning and bagging your catch at the end of the day. These mates work hard and tips are always appreciated.

Most head boat fishing is usually bottom fishing for grouper, snapper and other Gulf reef fish. Capt. Tony’s in Fort Myers is one of many popular charter boat outfits in the area capable of taking out larger groups. (capttonys.com – 239-415-0515)

More expensive private offshore charters offer the same all-inclusive individual services at various price points. Smaller groups, usually six or less, make up these trips, which allow you to do shared charters or take the whole family out for the day. Fewer anglers also allows for different fishing presentations like trolling, which doesn’t work well with 35 people on a head boat. The larger sized boats will offer A/C as well as toilet facilities.

The King Fisher Fleet docked in Punta Gorda has become a popular charter for up to six people. (www.kingfisherfleet.com – 941-639-0969)

These days Southwest Florida has an overabundance of inshore and offshore captains and guides all competing for your fishing dollar. Almost all are glad to offer trips suited to your specific needs, target species and fishing style. Most are hardworking and dedicated to the sport and customer. Shop around and always try to get reliable references before picking a charter boat operation.

Before venturing offshore with a big crew or taking out the family for the day, make sure to first have a discussion about sea sickness. You can get seasick on a nasty day with heavy seas or on a beautiful, flat calm and hot sunny day with little wave action. Diesel engine fumes makes some sick and others get sick by staying inside or down below instead of out in the fresh air and sunshine. Staying up late the night before or having a greasy breakfast before going out does many in. For the lucky sailor, getting sea sick makes them feel just slightly uncomfortable, slightly nauseous. For others, sea sickness can turn a great day into one of the worst feeling days of your entire life. These poor souls are usually seen hanging over the rails throwing up for hours or lying flat on the deck moaning offering the captain huge sums of money to head while begging for someone to put them out of their misery. It really can be that bad. Believe me, I know.

There are many folk remedies and over the counter preventatives. Eating ginger may help or taking the well-known motion sickness pills can help prevent the illness. Don’t wait till you’re 60 miles out and starting to feel nauseous to take your remedy as its way too late then. Most are taken the night before for best results.

If you are prone to motion sickness by all means get a doctor’s prescription before going out. The skin patches that secrete medicine through the skin are probably the best sea-sickness preventive known today.

Sleeping early, eating a lite breakfast and staying up on deck will greatly help.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.