Juan Ponce de Leon had the right idea.

After his semi-successful first exploration trip to Florida (unfortunately no Fountain of Youth was found), Ponce de Leon returned to set up a new colony in southwest Florida between Charlotte Harbor and the Caloosahatchee River. While historians debate his rationale for the location, we believe it was for the fishing! In our continued pursuit of the great fishing spots of North America, we recently spent a weekend inshore saltwater angling in Ponce de Leon's old stomping grounds.

Image: Google Maps

This area of the world boasts many kinds of waterways, estuaries, coastlines, islands and more. This is a very interesting area to fish because of the confluence of saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico cutting through the outer island passes and the incoming freshwater from the Peace and Caloosahatchee Rivers. This massive, sheltered, shallow water area grows a huge assortment of fish habitats and fish.

In his custom Aquasport flats boat, Captain Jason Ramer of Ramer Fishing Charters continually put us on the fish over two beautiful days. While the tarpon fishing is legendary down there, we unfortunately did not lay into them as they were out of season. We did catch a ton of nice fish including this beautiful redfish:

Photo: Russell Moenich

What was so fascinating about this trip was the huge variety of fish we caught including snook, redfish, shark, permit, mackerel, ladyfish, barracuda, permit, pompano, trout, grouper, snapper, and amberjack. Normal fishing excursions yield a handful of different species, but this trip's plethora was pleasantly surprising!

For fishers, a wide variety is good, but in the range of 1-year stock and bond returns sometimes variety is not so good.

The chart below is a fascinating and important one. It depicts the range of 1-year, 5-year, 10-year and 20-year returns for stocks and bonds and a "50/50" portfolio made up of 50% stocks and 50% bonds. Notice how there is a very wide variety of returns for the 1-year measure period in the three bars on the left side. As an example, stocks showed a massive 87% range between the asset class's best 1-year return of 47% and its worst, -39%. The range of bond returns was a bit tighter but still wide at 51% (43% was the best return and -8% was the worst).

There is a lot of uncertainty associated with any one year of investment returns. The good news is that the longer you remain invested, the tighter the range of expected returns. On the right side of the chart above, notice the much tighter ranges of the three bars (e.g. the 20-year stock return range between 6% and 17%) and they are all positive! Like a day of fishing, you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you get "skunked" and other days you slay. But if you have patience and stick to your long-term investment program, you might just catch a big one!

For more information on this topic, contact Russell Moenich.