Mike Sweeney: Boating safely can save your life, and others

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Every summer the rivers and waterways get more and more crowded with boaters and kayakers of all sizes, shapes and colors.

Every time we get a chance to get out on the water, we have to dodge crab pots, nets and other water dangers. You have to be able to know where you are and how to get home, but more importantly, you have to do it safely.

What I would like to do is give you some pointers I have learned along the way.

The first thing you have to do before anything is get your boat in order with all the safety gear, including life jackets, a marine radio and a throw cushion. If you are smart, you can get the Coast Guard to inspect the vessel for you, and when you pass, your boat will have a sticker saying you passed. This will allow all of the other officers on the water know you are a responsible boater.

When you are on the water, you want life jackets on at all times and the throw cushion close at hand for emergency overboards. When you are traveling from the ocean to the land, you want the red channel markers on your right and the green on your left. Just imagine that the red is on the right on the return trip. (R.R.R.)

Here in our area there are thousands of crab pots in the water, so what you have to look at is what direction the lines are running and get between them. You also want to know what direction the current is running so you can see in your mind where the lines are running underwater and stay up current from them. I have a ton of these safety tips available on my Facebook page, Fishing with Mike, so look them up and give me some of your own to share.

What’s Biting, Where...

The fishing report for offshore is looking pretty good when the wind allows the boats to get out. We have a good catch of mahi this week, along with some hit-and-miss billfish action. The tuna are here and there, but if you want to fish for them, it seems you have to focus all you efforts on the tuna.

The beach still has good fishing, with tons of bottom fish hitting double rigs of blood worms and shrimp. There are croaker, mullet and some spot with blues if you can cast that far. We also are still reporting some drum off the beach, but it’s mostly at night.

Here in the river, we have a good white perch summer in full swing, with coolers being filled and some of the fish over a foot long. The ring perch are big this year also and shaped like footballs. They are hitting the old standbys, like Uncle Jessie lures and white Beetle Spins. The largemouth are also active especially early in the morning and late in the day.

The creeks are especially busy with top water at low light and Texas rigged worms and lizards when the sun is bright.

If anyone gets a chance to get out this weekend, send me some pictures to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com and we will try to get them in next week.