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Fishing | It’s FRW February, do you have your spot picked out?

By Staff | Feb 1, 2024

Capt. George Tunison

It’s been a long wait but FRW February is finally here and across Florida, ramp watchers are definitely excited! Florida Ramp Watch members are busy gathering score cards, pick-nick supplies, new comfy lawn chairs, cameras, coolers and cleaning off the grill. With Florida roads, boat ramps and restaurants packed like never before, there’s little question that statewide, members and guests of the FRW are looking forward to an entertaining and hopefully safe month of ramp follies.

This isn’t just a pull-up-a-chair-and-laugh gang. They have a fairly strict set of conduct and scoring guidelines for members and guests. I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs, but basically senior FRW members gather their group’s average scores for each event with the final tally presented to the most senior FRW member.

Weekend ramp users have several events to participate in, in hopes of gathering high marks from the watchers and a possible FRW trophy to treasure.

There’s quite a list but here are just some event examples starting with the famous “Crab Crawl” This continuously failing backing maneuver is typically performed by the newbie boater, for the first time ever, on the Saturday you plan to enjoy the water. Points for every up and down the ramp trip before the trailer wheels finally touch water. Extra points awarded for better halves and children screaming opposite steering directions while backing. Double points for complete jack-knives requiring a driver mercy extraction and ramp drive-out by an experienced FRW member.

“Ramp Campers” — this clueless crew backs halfway down the ramp then illegally parks to unload the truck, guests and equipment while 12 experienced boaters kill precious fishing time in line. Five points for every 15 minutes wasted on this rude crew.

Another popular event is “Noah’s Ark,” with the most points awarded for the day’s biggest FWC fine levied for exceeding the boat’s yellow sticker rating with way too many guest and animal passengers. Points doubled for DUI arrests.

Related to the ramp camping event are the “Who Snaps First” and “Over the Edge” events. After working all week, putting up with the gift of living daily life, high prices and a looming third world war, you just want, need, to go fishing. Unfortunately the Ramp Camper and Crab Crawling events have altered your plans with the ramps clogged and locked up. WSF folks are easy to spot as they pace and loudly swear outside running pick-ups, beet red and flexing, finally storming the ramp for a good cuss-out or even an old fashioned dust-up. Extra points awarded for any arrests.

OTE participants are also easy to spot. Generally these are older WSF folks on heart and blood pressure meds that can’t take the ramp waiting stress (RWS) anymore and require immediate medical attention or chopper extraction and sometimes a mention of remembrance in the local paper and FRW newsletters.

Other point events include “Over the End-Trailer Hopelessly Stuck” for backing down too far or the ever popular “Prancing Plug Panic” as panic stricken boaters race around from boat to truck searching for that missing plug while the new boat slowly sinks at the ramp.

FRW members always award the highest event points when treated to “The Deep Six” when boaters forget to put the truck in park or when the whole rig slides helplessly underwater on steep algae-coated ramps. My favorite is the “Surprise Seize Up” where the boater docks leaving the motor running, backs down the trailer, winches up the boat then drives off, outboard still running. I’ve personally witnessed this event twice.

February is definitely ramp watching month so claim a spot, grill some dogs and enjoy the show.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. You can contact him at 239-282-9434 or via email at captgeorget3@aol.com.