Like a lot of you, I’m sick of winter.

I’m sick of the ice on my home lake. I’m sick of having to put on layers of clothes to take the dogs out. I’m sick of endless drab, gloomy days.

So, I’m doing a little “make-believe” tonight. Here are five places I would rather be than Ice Station Kansas City.

  1. Fort Myers Beach, Florida: My wife and I retreat to the warmth of Fort Myers Beach almost every winter. When I daydream, I can picture the magnificent white-sand beach, the quaint resort where we stay almost every year, and the tiki bar that overlooks the Gulf.

The temperatures are in the mid 70s, the sun is shining, and the fish are biting.  I can picture casting to the edge of the mangroves in the backwaters, hoping a snook or redfish will emerge to deliver a jolting strike.

Man, I wish I was there.

  1. Winter Haven, Fla.: Not far from Disney World, the big bass are stirring like it’s spring when the winter weather is warm. I’ve fished with former Kansas Citians Jeff Smith and his brother Steve on secluded small lakes in the middle of orange groves and found out why Florida waters harbor some of the world’s biggest largemouths.

I can picture trolling with golden shiners and watching a giant rise to engulf the bait. Knowing there the next bite could be from a bass weighing in the double-digits only adds to the experience.

Man, I wish I was there.

  1. San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico: When the snow and ice hit home, I drift off to winter days spent here with friends Larry and Sharon Chambers.

I relive the time when Larry and I shared a charter boat on the Sea of Cortez and had an amazing day of fishing. We battled big wahoos, rooster fish and red snapper, and our guide bought our bait directly from the commercial fishermen who were busy from sunup to sundown.

I would give anything to put up with more abuse from our guide, who turned to me after I lost several fish and said to me, “Have you ever fished before?”

Man, I wish I was there.

  1. San Diego Bay, California: I don’t have to go back very far to draw on memories of this place.

Jana and I were there in January, partly for her business and partly for a break from a Midwest winter.  I miss it already.

I still can picture the beauty of San Diego Bay as I fished from a boat with guide Janes Nelson. I got a bite on my first cast, and caught a fish on my second. We caught fish steadily throughout the morning, and I was impressed at how hard even the small ones fought.

We fished much the same way as us Midwesterners fish for bass – with light line and plastic grubs. We caught numerous saltwater bay bass, a mighty mite that has a mean streak.

On more than one occasion, I got a jolting strike and announced to Nelson, “Big fish,” only to watch a 13- or 14-inch bay bass finally surface.

Man, I wish I was there.

  1. Islamorada, Florida: Located in the Florida Keys, this village is known for its world-class sailfish.

I’ll never forget the day I hopped into a friend’s private plane and flew from Fort Myers to the Keys for a day of chartered fishing. I was a little nervous about flying in a small plane. And it didn’t get any better when I swear I heard one of the engines pause. My friend, Ray Zitzloff, laughed and told me, “Relax. We’re fine.”

Within minutes of landing, we were in a charter boat, trolling for sailfish. As our baits skipped across the waves in the Atlantic Ocean, I spotted every saltwater fisherman’s dream. A big sail rose to take the bait and immediately flew out of the water, twisting and arching as it attempted to throw the hook.

I held on and eventually landed the fish after what seemed like an eternity. I posed for photos with Ray, then the beautiful fish was released. All of this in January, a time when it was snowing back in Kansas City.

Man, I wish I was there.