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FREE

FASTBREAK OKEECHOBEE’S ULTIMATE GUIDES

KEY LIME SAILING CLUB “Hidden Gem” TIPS FROM HAWAIIAN

SPEARFISHERMEN

new

 CC 28 ASHLEY HATAWAY ON HANN POWERBOATS

www.betteroffwet.com


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CONTENTS

16

FEATURES

5   21   The Lady in Black

SPEARFISHING

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KEY LIME SAILING CLUB

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Have you ever tried spearfishing? Check out this article for some good tips and the Florida regulations.

Key Lime Cottages and Sailing Club offer a unique experience for the adventurous traveler. The B.O.W. crew heads out for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

  12   A HIDDEN GEM

OKEECHOBEE GUIDES Want to hit up the “Big O” and be successful? Take a look at the bass we caught with Fast Break’s guide services!

HANN POWER BOATS Hann Power Boats has an awesome new 28’ CC available for 2014 that can be customized to suit your wants and needs.

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ARTICLES

Top 10 things to consider when booking a charter boat.

Diving in the Florida Keys…From beginners to advanced divers, there is a place in the Keys for everyone. Take a look at some good spots we have marked for you.

Follow the rules! Do you know the eight basic rules of the watery roads?

Working on the water. Find out about how a local commercial diving company is helping the SFWMD ensure flood protection for residents in Palm Beach County.

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF  Ben Chewning ben@betteroffwet.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Chris Stone chris@betteroffwet.com SALES & MARKETING Andrea Duenas andread@betteroffwet.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Joe Sweat jsweat@betteroffwet.com CONTACT Better Off Wet P.O. Box 821 Okeechobee, FL 34973 863.634.7710 www.betteroffwet.com info@betteroffwet.com

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BOW

EVER TRIED SPEARFISHING? + THE FLORIDA REGULATIONS

Spear fishing has turned into a popular sport around the world; capturing fanatics from United States to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Africa, and many other colder climate locations. The sport of spear fishing involves the fisherman being completely submerged underwater while utilizing one of an assortment of spear apparatuses to obtain their fresh catch. Commonly, spear fishers use spear guns, pole spears, and Hawaiian slings; device selection is dependent upon comfort and ease of use and personal preference. Each type is comprised of a barreled body that encases and contains the mechanisms to propel a slender, pointed metal spear, attached by a tether. Additionally, dependent upon the spear, various stoppers are available to prevent backsliding of the spear, once a fish is speared. The body of a spear gun is similar in appearance to a traditional shotgun or rifle, and handled in much the same manner, generally powered by sturdy rubber bands or compressed air. The spear gun is loaded by driving the spear down the shaft or barrel, engaging the trigger, and is ready for cautious use for capturing prey.

More simplistic designs are available for spear fishing; both lack a trigger mechanism and rely solely on recoil of a stretched rubber band that is controlled by the user; however the barrel and body differ in complexity. A pole spear is comprised of a 5-8 foot stiff barreled pole that surrounds a spear. The spearing end has the capacity to be a single or multi pointed tip or barb, and the opposite end housing a rubber or elastic loop. The spear is placed in the barrel with the rubber tubing coming out of one end; the fisherman pulls the tube toward the center of the shaft and grasps both the pole and band ensuring maintenance of tension on the band. When the target is in view, simultaneously the fisher aims the shaft as the rubber tubing is released. BET TEROFFWET.COM   5


“One of the best tricks a spearfisherman can take advantage of is a fish’s curiosity.

The Hawaiian sling, despite looking like a spear gun, is more similar, mechanically, to a sling shot. This device consists of a smaller barrel with a handle attached to the bottom and rubber tubing at the rear. The spear is slid through the shaft and drawn back, via the opposite hand, with the tubing to provide maximum tension while aiming for the unsuspecting fish with the handle; the spear is thrust forward once both the spear and tubing are released. Regionally, the regulations regarding device usage varies, boundaries of protected areas, as well as fishing seasons. It is imperative that spear fisherman research these local laws governing the waters. Not only is there a vast array of equipment available for use with the sport of spear fishing, also the manner in which the dive is executed. Free diving, its own competitive sport, combined with spear fishing is one of the most common practices, and often the only option for legal spear fishing. It does not require additional gear or licensing, therefore free diving is most widely accepted and practiced. In other areas, scuba diving while spear fishing is allowed and is growing in popularity. Due to the availability of breathable air, the diver is able to remain underwater for longer periods of time, increasing the ability to spear more fish; however the escaping bubbles tend to deter fish from approaching. Both methods present hazards and disadvantages, including sickness caused by pressure changes, i.e. “shallow water black out” and the “bends.” Divers, both free and scuba, must take the proper preventative and safety measures, educate themselves on local regulations to ensure a safe and rewarding trip. Spear fishing, increasing in popularity globally, combines the thrill of diving with the reward of a fresh catch for dinner. One of the best tricks a spear fisherman can take advantage of is a fish’s curiosity. No matter the skill or commitment level, budget, and time availability, avid divers and fisherman can find the best of both worlds, underwater wonder and the thrill of the catch. Internet forums and message boards connect international fishermen with stories and tips, or to explore for further information regarding spearfishing. Tournaments and spear fishing clubs can be found across the globe competing for the top prize. Check with your local dive and / or tackle shops for events and groups that can help refine your skills as an underwater spear fisherman.

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FLORIDA REGULATIONS Spearing is defined as “the catching or taking of a fish by bow hunting, gigging, spearfishing, or by any device used to capture a fish by piercing its body. Spearing does not include the catching or taking of a fish by a hook with hook and line gear or by snagging (snatch hooking).” More specifically, spearfishing is defined as “the catching or taking of a fish through the instrumentality of a hand or mechanically propelled, single or multi-pronged spear or lance, barbed or barbless, operated by a person swimming at or below the surface of the water.” The use of powerheads, bangsticks, and rebreathers remains prohibited. The following page provides a list of species that are prohibited for harvest by spearing. Any other species not listed that are managed by the Commission, and those species not managed by the Commission, are allowed to be harvested by spearing. You May NOT Spearfish (Excluding bowhunting and gigging): Effective July 1, 2001, spearfishing of marine and freshwater species in freshwater is prohibited. Possession of a spear gun in or on freshwater is also prohibited; within 100 yards of a public swimming beach, any commercial or public fishing pier, or any part of a bridge from which public fishing is allowed; within 100 feet of any part of a jetty that is above the surface of the sea – except for the last 500 yards of a jetty that extends more than 1,500 yards from the shoreline.


OFF LIMITS SPEARING BILLFISH (ALL SPECIES), SPOTTED EAGLE RAY, STURGEON, MANTA RAY, SHARKS, BONEFISH, TARPON, GOLIATH GROUPER, SNOOK, BLUE CRAB, NASSAU GROUPER, SPOTTED SEATROUT, RED DRUM, WEAKFISH, STONE CRAB, POMPANO, AFRICAN POMPANO, PERMIT, TRIPLETAIL, LOBSTER, FAMILIES OF ORNAMEN-

“Spearfishing is defined as

the catching or taking of a fish through the instrumentality of a hand...

TAL REEF FISH (SURGEONFISH, TRUMPETFISH, ANGELFISH, BUTTERFLYFISH, PORCUPINEFISH, CORNETFISH, SQUIRRELFISH, TRUNKFISH, DAMSELFISH, PARROTFISH, PIPEFISH, SEAHORSE, PUFFERS, TRIGGERFISH EXCEPT GRAY AND OCEAN).

Spear fishing is also prohibited in Collier County and in Monroe County from Long Key north to the Dade County line; for any fish for which spearing is expressly prohibited by law (listed above); in any body of water under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection,Recreation and Parks. (Possession of spearfishing equipment is prohibited in these areas, unless it is unloaded and properly stored.) Fishermen who catch and/or sell fish harvested by spearing are subject to the same rules and limitations that other anglers in the state are required to follow.

TIPS FROM HAWAIIAN SPEARFISHERMEN Fish see their world with their eyes and with vibrations picked up by their lateral line. Experienced spearfishermen take advantage of this by moving very slowly in the water, and by using weights to carry them to the bottom rather than kicking of fins to minimize vibration. Once on the bottom or in sight of a fish a spearfisherman will remain perfectly still, and lack of vibration in the water will usually cause the fish to come within spear range to investigate. Experienced shore spearfishermen will travel along the shoreline and prepare for an entrance to the water and enter and go straight to the bottom for as long as they can hold their breath. Any large fish in the area will usually come to investigate the appearance and then disappearance of something, as no picture is available to their lateral line of a non moving object. Any rocks or other objects on the bottom that the spearfisherman can get close to will further disguise his appearance and warrant closer investigation by fish within 40 yards. Exiting the water and moving 40 yards down the shore usually produces another shot at a big one. Experienced divers will carry several small pieces of coral or shells and when a fish is reluctant to come into spear range, rubbing or clicking of these usually draws them closer. Throwing up sand also will bring a fish closer and helps to camouflage the diver. Contact with coral should be avoided as this may damage the reef. Blue water divers will float on the surface 100 yards from their boat and continue to rap a dive knife or a softer object against their spear gun until a big one comes to investigate. In areas where many holes are available for a fish to hide in, a strong swimmer can clip his gun to his belt, and force a fish into a hole by swimming full speed and slapping his cupped hands on the surface with each stroke. Another shoreline technique for the big ones is to spear fish that are favorite prey of the desired species or collect the seaweed, mussels, etc. that they eat and chum them into the area. Some think chumming the water is dangerous as it will draw sharks, but many big predator fish travel with reef sharks, and the instances of spearfisherman being attacked is a very low percentage of the total number of shark attacks. Sharks are like dogs, if you cower from a bad dog, it will bite you, but if you stand your ground with a big stick, you can usually back it down. Spearfishing in areas with many sharks larger than 8 feet and of aggressive species does not require chumming as these areas are plentiful in big fish that are not used to seeing spear fisherman. Care needs to be taken in these areas to stay out of areas where blood from a kill is in the water. Some information for this article was obtained from myfwc.com, world sportfishingguide.com, liquiddreamsdiving.com, and freediver.net. BET TEROFFWET.COM   7


Aboard the

MYSTIC

ROSE Jupiter, Florida

Jupiter, Florida Deep Sea Captain and owner Jay York is a USCG 100Ton Master. Captain Jay has over 30 years fishing experience and began his fishing journey off the Northeast coast of New York. Captain Jay began fishing at the age of ten, on his fathers charter boat, The Compass Rose. His father, Captain Jesse York, fished for everything from Flounder, Striped Bass, Cod Fish, to Giant Bluefin Tuna, Marlin, Swordfish and Sharks. Captain Jay’s passion for charter fishing is why he spent the next 32 years making his livng from the ocean. He spent 20 years commercial rod and reel fishing for Yellowfin, Bigeye, and Giant Bluefin Tuna. Jay then moved to Jupiter in South Florida and has spent the last 14 years deep sea fishing in the charter fishing industry in West Palm Beach and Jupiter, FL.

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10

things to consider when looking for a charter

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CHEAPEST IS NOT BEST

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FISH ONLINE FIRST

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There are plenty of people who operate as fishing guides even though they aren’t trained, licensed, or bonded —and often, they’re the least expensive option. If a charter seems surprisingly low in cost, ask the captain to provide license numbers ahead of time, and ask about his or her credentials.

There are plenty of fishing-oriented chat rooms where charter customers go to either praise or vent after a charter. Take it all with a grain of salt since some of the comments could come from people with an ax to grind, but if you detect a trend, take note.

CHOOSE THE CAPTAIN, NOT THE BOAT You can be on a smaller, slower, or older boat and have a great time. But if the captain is a bummer, then you won’t have fun no matter how extravagant the boat maybe.

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IF YOU’RE ON A CRUISE OR AT A RESORT, USE THEIR CONTACTS A reputable organization won’t hook up with a charter service unless it’s a good one. This is particularly important if you’re on a cruise ship; if you use an outside vendor, the cruise ship might leave you behind if there are engine troubles or other delays while you’re out fishing.

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5

BEFORE YOU BOOK, ASK ABOUT TACKLE AND TECHNIQUES

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Yes, we know it’s politically incorrect to suggest this, but the fact of the matter is that female fishing guides usually have to work harder and longer to prove themselves. As a result, any who stays in business is likely to be top-notch.

Some boats troll, others cast light tackle, and a few do both. Choose one that uses your favorite tactic, unless your goal is to try something new.

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CATCH AND KEEP, OR CATCH AND RELEASE Some boats kill everything and then sell all or some of the catch; some consider the fish your property; some are catch and release only. The only way to find out what’s what on a boat you’re considering is to ask, and knowing ahead of time will prevent disappointment.

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NEVER BOOK ON A DOCKWALK Some captains will sit at the dock and try to engage passers-by in conversation, then sell them a trip. This doesn’t necessarily make these captains a bad choice, but booking on the spot doesn’t give you time to research their reputation.

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BE A REVERSE-SEXIST

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BEWARE OF BOATS THAT ARE AVAILABLE ON PRIME DAYS, ON SHORT NOTICE If a charter isn’t booked on a summer Saturday, there’s probably a reason why.

YOU’RE NEW TO 10 IF FISHING TRY A

HALF-DAY CHARTER If you decide you enjoy fishing you can always come back for more. And if you don’t enjoy it… there might be something wrong with you! Contact: 561-371-1172 jay@mysticrosefishingcharters.com facebook.com/MysticRoseFishing


Made in U.S.A.

Introducing D.O.A.’s newest lure the AIRHEAD available in 35 colors. Specially formulated for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. AirHead comes in resealable 6 pack bags or in D.O.A. kits. The incredible action and variety of rigging options of this 5” lure have made it a “go to” bait for many anglers. Whether you are jigging a near shore wreck, wading a grass flat for Trout, Redfish and Snook, or swimming it through thick cover for Bass, you will love the latest creation from the mind of Mark Nichols. Check out the cool rigging instructions on our website under EVENTS

www.doalures.com


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DESTINATION:

KEY LARGO

Key Lime Sailing Club

LEAH SWEAT

Tucked away, behind the hustle of the Overseas Highway, in the midst of the daily routines of the locals, lies a hidden gem. Without specific plans, or GPS navigations, the common traveler would miss Key Largo’s sweet spot. From the highway, the property seems to only house a hodgepodge of water sport equipment; however by following the gravel drive west toward the Gulf, just beyond the seagrape tree line, you’ll discover Key Lime Sailing Club. BET TEROFFWET.COM   13


DESTINATION:

KEY LARGO

“Paradise found… A hidden gem.” Upon arrival, we were greeted with a warm welcome from Gloria, beginning with a property tour, including individualized rooms, making sure all details were covered to ensure comfort and familiarity with the accommodations. Theresa was able to answer any and all questions our party presented, including best dining and shopping nearby and for the questions we had not yet conjured, a comprehensive welcome packet with literature and maps, complete with island mix CD. As the sun was setting and temperatures cooled from the coastal breezes, the tiki torches throughout the property lit the path to the waterfront fire pit, where friends from across the states gathered to enjoy a cool beverage. The options were endless… hammocks, Adirondack chairs, under the tiki hut, front porch swing, curled up inside… all overlooking the bay. At this point, it was clear… vacation had begun.

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Retreating to the cottages felt like a personal vacation home; complete with all necessary kitchen wares and linens. Each separate hideaway is adorned with tropical flair, both inside and out; picnic tables repurposed from pilings, channel markers and buoys define the outdoor spaces. Luckily, we checked the side table drawers, as we were able to peruse the brief diary entries of previous guests and their adventures while visiting KLSC. Up before sunrise, to be sure and capitalize on every moment, breakfast at the Conch House, just north of KLSC ocean side, included coconut macadamia nut pancakes and cracked conch benedict, an ideal way to begin the day paradise. Small tour of the islands, including stops at fresh coconut stands, sandal outlets, local artisan galleries, and a multitude of photo ops, just far enough to travel the seven mile bridge, is always an option. However, guests find that Key Lime Sailing Club will meet every need, whether it be relaxing by the water, or exploring in the water.


For the sailors, novice to expert, KLSC offers free 22’ sail boat with each stay; with unlimited water time, guests are free to explore the nearby islands sun rise to sun set. Expert guidance, from Capt Sheldon, regarding tides, wind, wildlife and their habitats, temperatures, predictions, and safety, can be obtained via a morning briefing session, or during private sailing lessons. Those looking for the sailboat experience without the work of being your own captain, KLSC boasts a weekly sunset catamaran cruise; guests are able to mingle with an ever changing picturesque backdrop.The latter part of our day was spent paddling the bay’s waters on the available kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards; spotting creatures below and above. The first mates are on hand for life vest fitting, an extra set of hands for equipment prep, tips on best routes, mini how to session, or a personal bon voyage. The glassy water allows for frequent sea life spotting, and the protection of the bay aids in smooth paddling. A short paddle in any direction mangroves abound, and bring your poles along for an afternoon of fishing. If the water’s just right, hop in for some snorkeling around the docks, or ask the captain about diving options to explore the WWII ships. Or, just follow the live music to the local Bayside Grill for a recharge and refreshing beverage.

Key Lime Sailing Club and staff provide the perfect base for a get away to Key Largo; with everything required to not leave the sea grape tree line. Paradise found…A hidden gem.

Contact Info: 99306 Overseas Hwy Key Largo, FL 33037 (305) 451-3438 www.keylimesailingclub.com

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FISHING:

OKEECHOBEE WHITNEY AND LISA CATCH BASS WITH

Fast Break’s GUIDE SERVICE

LINDA MARSOCCI

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When visiting the “Bass Capital of the World,” it is necessary to stop by Okeechobee’s unique, one-stop shop for all your fishing needs. Located on Lake Okeechobee, and only one mile from the nearest boat ramp, Fast Break Bait and Tackle is Okeechobee’s hottest supplier of fishing merchandise and more; with approximately 1,800 square feet of tackle and 1,800 square feet of convenience store merchandise. To top it off, Fast Break Bait and Tackle combines all of the above with fuel. Anglers and passersby stop in to Fast Break to purchase fuel from the Marathon gas pumps. Just when you think a convenience store couldn’t get any more convenient, the owners of Fast Break Bait and Tackle appeal to residents and visitors of Okeechobee by supplying a little bit of everything and making it an angler’s one-stop shop. Fast Break Bait and Tackle is family owned and operated. Established in 1993 by Franklin Marsocci, Fast Break quickly grew and eventually became a family business. Fast Break is currently owned and operated by grandsons Blake and Chase Marsocci, making them the 3rd generation of owners, after their father Danny Marsocci, passed it off to them.

Fast break was originally a convenience store with fuel and some fishing merchandise. Over the years, the business earned a reputation for supplying anglers with the hottest baits and information on the lake’s “hot spots.” It is clear that the Marsocci men are avid fishermen and have a passion for the sport. Danny, Chase, and Blake all fish competitively and leisurely (when time permits) making them credible informants on the latest with the “Big O.” In September of 2009, both Blake and Chase joined the Fast Break team and with them they brought a fresh new outlook to the business. With hopes to share their passion for fishing, the brothers expanded the business by adding a guide service. Fast Break’s guide service provides an interactive website, okeechobeebassfishingguide.com, where you can book guided fishing trips, ask questions, view fishing reports, read captains’ bios, and view pictures of the latest catches. The website allows the guide service to reach tourists traveling nationwide and even internationally. In return, it has resulted in booking visitors from China, Italy, Brazil, Canada, Hawaii, and Alaska. BET TEROFFWET.COM   17


It is clear that the Marsocci men are avid fishermen and have a passion for the sport.

Fast Break has professional guides operating out of the business, all of which are licensed and insured. The guide service is also available by phone at (866) 213-2474. Inquiries on guided fishing trips can either be emailed or called in. Blake and Chase personally manage and respond to all guide service emails, phone calls, and bookings. The guide service offers two types of trips: live bait or artificial bait fishing. You have the option of booking a 4, 6, or 8 hour trip - 4 hours: $275, 6 hours: $350, 8 hours: $400. It is strongly recommended that clients use live bait if fishing for trophy bass.

Fast Break Bait and Tackle has wild shiners available for purchase the day of the guided trip. The guides are happy to supply clients with the necessary rods and reels; although, clients are encouraged to bring rods they already own and are comfortable using. Fast Break’s guide service not only books Bass fishing trips. Clients have the option to choose between fishing for Bass, Blue Gill, Shell Cracker, and/or Crappie. The guides operating out of Fast Break have all the latest boating equipment and fishing supplies. For clients who do not already have a Florida fishing license, they can be purchased at Fast Break the morning of the guided trip. When booking with Fast Break’s guide service, it is likely that you will hook up to a real “lunker.”

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What better way to preserve the memory than by mounting your catch? Fast Break Bait and Tackle makes it convenient for you and will gladly see that your catch gets mounted by their recommended taxidermist. With the business growing, Blake and Chase’s visions are expanding. Being the true outdoorsman they are, the brothers look forward to growing their guided hunting services, as well. Guided hunts range from turkeys, ducks, gators, and hogs. Keep up with the latest on Fast Break Bait and Tackle by visiting the website: www.okeechobeebassfishingguide.com. Or just stop on in, we are happy to have you! Let Fast Break Bait and Tackle take you fishing!


FISHING:

OKEECHOBEE

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BOATING: HANN POWER BOATS

the Lady in BLACK

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Hann 28 CC New for 2014 is the Hann 28 CC. Based on a race proven hull, the Hann 28 delivers blistering performance that will get fishermen offshore and back fast and with money left in the wallet. With just a pair of 200 HP outboards the Hann 28 CC approaches a 60 MPH top end with a comfortable 40 MPH cruise while burning 2.1 GPM! Designed so that the customer can choose their own layout and features, the Hann 28 cc comes as a base boat with a center console, forward storage in deck, forward anchor locker, rod lockers and standard T-Top and leaning post with storage. Popular options include 40 gallon livewell/leaning post, rear baitwells, outriggers, hard top, head in console, stereo with subwoofer, choice of radar/fishfinder/chartplotter, forward seating, hard top and enclosure.

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SPECS CHECK

Starting at just $89K for the base boat, the Hann 28 CC can bring high performance boating to the public at an affordable price. Contact Hann Powerboats today at 850.543.1176 to learn more about the new Hann 28 CC and special introductory pricing! For more info visit www.hannpowerboats.com

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HANN 28 LENGTH 28’ BEAM 8’6” WEIGHT 5500 LBS DRY DRAFT 18” STANDARD POWER - TWIN 200 HP VERADOS TOP SPEED 60 MPH FUEL 155 GALLONS


BOW COVER GIRL

ASHLEY HATAWAY BET TEROFFWET.COM   23


Ashley Hataway grew up in Palm city, Florida and attended South Fork High School, graduating in 2008. “I wouldn’t change one thing about my small town,” she says. Ashley is currently a nurse and for the last year has worked with brain and spinal cord injury patients. Nursing is her passion. She has also been a licensed esthetician and make-up artist for the last 4 years, helping with many local weddings and events. Ashley started modeling about 3 years ago. She is very driven, dedicated and hard working, achieving whatever she sets her mind to. Ashley is southern Italian and raised with strong old fashioned beliefs. She believes it is important to be close with your family. “My mom, dad and sister are my biggest supporters and have always encouraged me to follow my dreams and stay motivated”.

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DIVING:

FLORIDA KEYS

DIVE The Florida Keys The Florida Keys are the exposed portions of an ancient coral reef, with very little sand. The northernmost island arising from the ancient reef formation is Elliott Key, in Biscayne National Park. North of Elliott Key are several small transitional keys, composed of sand built up around small areas of exposed ancient reef. Furthernorth, Key Biscayne and places north are barrier islands, built up of sand. The Florida Keys have taken their present form as the result of the drastic changes in sea level associated with recent glaciations or ice ages.


BEGINNER DIVE SITES Beginning some 130,000 years ago the Sangamon interglacial raised sea levels to approximately 25 feet (7.5 m.) above the current level. All of southern Florida was covered by a shallow sea. Several parallel lines of reef formed along the edge of the submerged Florida plateau, stretching south and then west from the present Miami area to what is now the Dry Tortugas. This reef formed the Key Largo limestone that is exposed on the surface from Soldier Key (midway between Key Biscayne and Elliott Key) to the southeast portion of Big Pine Key and the Newfound Harbor Keys. The types of coral that formed Key Largo limestone can be identified on the exposed surface of these keys. Starting about 100,000 years ago the Wisconsin glaciation began lowering sea levels, exposing the coral reef and surrounding marine sediments. By 15,000 years ago the sea level had dropped to 300 to 350 feet below the contemporary level. The exposed reefs and sediments were heavily eroded. Acidic water, which can result from decaying vegetation, dissolves limestone. Some of the dissolved limestone redeposited as a denser cap rock, which can be seen as outcrops overlying the Key Largo and Miami limestones throughout the Keys. The limestone that eroded from the reef formed oolites in the shallow sea behind the reef, and together with the skeletal remains of bryozoans, formed the Miami limestone that is the current surface bedrock of the lower Florida peninsula and the lower keys from Big Pine Key to Key West. To the west of Key West the ancient reef is covered by recent calcareous sand.

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Looe Key Reef is one of the nicest, most diverse reefs in the Keys. It should be a priority dive if you’re diving the Middle Keys or Lower Keys. It is roughly 200 yards wide and 800 yards long, and is “U” shaped. It has a reputation for unpredictable visibility. Looe Reef has representative members of both patch and outside reefs, which is unique. It is it’s own little world; a representation of the entire Keys reef ecosystem, in one protected place. Many locals and dive personnel think Looe Key Reef is the most beautiful reef in the Middle or Lower Keys. Barracuda and jacks meet the diver upon plunging from the boat. Yellowheaded jawfish, parrotfish, and surgeonfish cruise over the reef, and many divers see loggerhead turtle. There is a profusion of life on this reef, with tropical fish schooling and larger fish quietly watching you as they pass. Consider making your first dive here at one of the deeper buoys. Depths start at about 35 feet, and drop to over 100 feet as you move offshore. Some of the bigger animals, like reef shark, grouper, or spotted eagle rays are in the deeper water. Rarer species of sponge and coral, such as massive barrel sponges, inhabit the downward reef slope. Divers should be warned that Looe Key Reef has been designated a SPA area [Sanctuary Preservation Area] and fishing as well as lobstering are strictly prohibited. LOCATION: LAT 24 32.70 LON 81 24.50 | MARKER 24: FL R 4S 20 FEET 6M “24”; 10 NMILES SW OF BAHIA HONDA CHANNEL ON A 225° COURSE; MOST DIVING OPERATIONS LEAVE FROM BIG PINE KEY | MARKERS: 54 BOUYS: 1-32 ARE ON CENTRAL REEF [1’ TO 30’ DEEP]; 33-39 ARE SHOREWARD [3’ TO 15’]; 40-49 ARE 1 MILE N OF MARKER 24 [16’ DEPTH]; 50-54 ARE SW OF MARKER 24 [30’ TO 70’] | DEPTH RANGE: 5 TO 70 FEET DEEP | SKILL LEVEL REQ.: BEGINNER | RISKS/WARNINGS: DEEPER AREAS ENCOUNTER OCCASIONAL DIFFICULT CURRENTSSPA AREA [SANCTUARY PRESERVATION AREA], NO FISHING OR LOBSTERING ALLOWED

Hens & Chickens Reef is so-named because of the layout of the reef: a large central “hen” patch surrounded by smaller “chick” patches. A 35 foot tower rests on the southerly edge of the reef. As it lies closer to shore than most other reefs, it is somewhat more prone to low visibility. It has a great diversity of fish and corals for such a relatively small reef. Massive star coral and brain corals engulf panoramic camera shots. The tragic winter of 1970 destroyed much of Hens & Chickens, but today plumes, fins and candelabra soft coral have begun to colonize the old graveyard. Life continues to proliferate, with snook and small grouper chasing through gorgonians. It’s a nice, shallow dive. Divers should be reminded that Hens & Chickens Reef is a designated SPA area [Sanctuary Preservation Area] and special care should be taken not to disturb any kind of marine life. Remember you are a visitor in a home that belongs to the animals and not to you! Fishing and lobstering as well as any other collection activity is strictly prohibited. Note that collection of any kind of coral or conch anywhere in Florida is strictly forbidden by state law. LOCATION: LAT 24 55.9 LONG 80 32.90 3 MILES E-SE OF WINDLEY KEY; | MARKERS: MARKED BY LARGE 35 FOOT TOWER: FL R 2.5 SEC 35 FT 5M “40” | DEPTH RANGE: 20 TO 28 FEET DEEP | SKILL LEVEL REQ.: BEGINNER | RISKS/WARNINGS: SPA AREA [SANCTUARY PRESERVATION AREA], NO FISHING OR LOBSTERING ALLOWED

The Benwood sits upright in 50 feet of water. The hull is intact, albeit heavily damaged by the collision and subsequent demolitions by the US Navy. Boats should tie off to one of the four bouys. This spectacular dive can be enjoyed by nearly all skill levels of diver. The steel wreckage provides a protective maze in which thrive large numbers of fish. The metal sides are coated with coral and sponges. Huge stoplight parrotfish sleep on the wreck, adding to a fantastic night dive experience. Begin the dive near the bow at 45 feet. Look under the bottom of the hull for moray eels, lobster, and nesting jawfish. Several large grouper and snook call the Benwood home. There are a variety of simple penetration options, but no real penetration is possible. About 100 feet away from the Benwood, along the ledge that runs offshore from the bow, a large anchor from an unidentified wreck rises from the sand. Overall, the Benwood is a fantastic dive for novice divers, and an excellent night dive for the more experienced. LOCATION: LAT 25 03.16 LONG 80 20.025 NM OFFSHORE; FROM PILE AT FRENCH REEF, TRAVEL NW TOWARD A RED NUN BUOY FOR 1 ½ MI. WRECK IS HALFWAY BETWEEN PILE AND BUOY; MACROWAVE TOWER ON 312° BEARING | MARKERS: MOORING BUOYS B1-4 | DEPTH RANGE: 25 TO 55 FEET DEEP | SKILL LEVEL REQ.: BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE RISKS/WARNINGS: MODERATE CURRENT

The “Brick Barge” was an old steel barge that was torpedoed during World War II. It lies at the shoreward north end of the reef. In the extraordinarily cold winter of 1970, over 80 percent of the reef died. It has since made a courageous and determined, if incomplete, rebound. LOCATION: LAT 24 55.9 LONG 80 32.90 3 MILES E-SE OF WINDLEY KEY; | MARKERS: MARKED BY LARGE 35 FOOT | TOWER: FL R 2.5 SEC 35 FT 5M “40” | DEPTH RANGE: 20 TO 28 FEET DEEP | SKILL LEVEL REQ.: BEGINNER | RISKS/WARNINGS: SPA AREA [SANCTUARY PRESERVATION AREA], NO FISHING OR LOBSTERING ALLOWED

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ADVANCED DIVE SITES The Eagle is in 2 pieces in 120 feet of water. Currents can be a concern. This is an advanced dive, and few diveshops will take divers without proper documentation (i.e., logbooks showing deep dives, Advanced C-cards, etc.). Boats should tie off to the buoys, which are secured to the bow and the stern of the wreck. Divers should always descend and ascend along the anchor line to avoid being swept away by the current. A 15’ safety stop is mandatory. Due to the variable depths, this should be considered a multi-level dive. Dive computers are a great aid. Don’t forget your divelight either. Diving the Eagle is an awesome experience. Visibility is often over 100 feet. Penetration is easy and safe (for wreck-certified divers). A large ship originally, the Eagle is an encrusted garden of sealife. Divers should wear protective suits and gloves. Spiny oysters, hydroids and sponges proliferate. Schools of baitfish like silversides, grunts, etc. flit about while amberjacks, grouper and cobia patrol and feed. Divers will reach the wreck at either the stern or bow anchor line. First time Eagle divers should stay as shallow as possible (to maximize downtime). As most of the wreck is 65’ - 100’, avoid going deeper than 100’. Some of the easier entry points can yield spectacular penetration experiences as you come face to face with a large grouper or nurse shark. Depending on which half of the wreck you tied off to will determine where you spend most of your time. Note the giant propellers aft. Topside, the large masts extend out from the forward decks, and the smokestack extends up from the back deck. Diveshops from Key Largo often include the Eagle in a 3-tank all-day diving adventure. Otherwise, you’ll need to visit an Islamorada shop to hit the Eagle. It’s too far south for most Key Largo shops. LOCATION: LAT 24 52.18 LONG 80 34.21 MIDWAY BETWEEN CROCKER REEF AND ALLIGATOR LIGHT, 4.5 MILES SE OF ISLAMORADA | MARKERS: SEVERAL BUOYS ARE JUST UNDER THE SURFACE. IT’S SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT TO FIND THIS WRECK, ESP. WITHOUT GPS | DEPTH RANGE: 75 TO 120 FEET DEEP | SKILL LEVEL REQ.: ADVANCED | RISKS/WARNINGS: DEPTH, CURRENT, WRECK PENETRATION

The Thunderbolt is a thrilling dive, for those divers qualified to make it. All diveshops will pre-qualify divers with C cards and logbooks. Only Advanced divers should attempt this dive, due to its depth and often strong currents. Sitting upright in 115 feet of water, the Thunderbolt is totally intact and recognizable as a nice wreck. It is heavily encrusted with a variety of encrusting sponges and soft corals. At the bow, her massive cable-laying wheel, now encrusted with coral and filled with schools of silversides, dominates the scene. Black jacks and bar jacks frequently come by to chomp a little silver meal. Her broad bridge sits amidship, with the wheelhouse still totally intact and highly entertaining to enter. It is often occupied by resident barracuda. Penetration of the wreck was made possible prior to her sinking, through the removal of her doors, hatches, and inner entanglements (don’t get killed doing something you’re unqualified for!). An opening at the base of the superstructure (center main deck) yields a staircase, which leads up to the wheelhouse. Swimming up her staircase is a fascinating thrill. The Thunderbolt’s two large bronze propellers sit silently aft. In short, this is a stellar dive for advanced wreck afficionados. Highly Recommended. LOCATION: LAT 24 39.48 LON 80 57.90 SOUTH OF COFFINS REEF, 1 MILE S-SW OF MARKER 20; 5 MILES SE OFFSHORE OF MARATHON MARKERS: 1 UNDERWATER BUOY | DEPTH RANGE: 75 TO 115 FEET DEEP | SKILL LEVEL REQ.: ADVANCED | RISKS/WARNINGS: DEPTH; CURRENT

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The Duane sits upright in 120 feet of water. As it is outside the reef line, the current is often quite ripping. This is an advanced dive, and few diveshops will take divers without proper documentation (i.e., logbooks showing deep dives, Advanced C-cards, etc.). Boats should tie off to the buoys, which are secured to the bow and the stern of the wreck. Divers should always descend and ascend along the anchor line to avoid being swept away by the current. A 15’ safety stop is mandatory. Due to the variable depths, this should be considered a multi-level dive. Dive computers are a great aid. Don’t forget your divelight either. The Duane is one of the most spectacular dives in the Florida Keys. It should be a centerpiece of any dive trip for qualified divers. Visibility is often over 100 feet. Penetration is easy and safe (for wreck-certified divers). The hull is heavily encrusted with corals. Large animals like grouper, cobia, turtles, big amberjacks, etc. frequent the site. Schools of barracuda hover at about 50 feet, giving you something to check out while you ascend/descend. Divers will reach the wreck at either the stern or bow anchor line. First time Duane divers should stay as shallow as possible (to maximize downtime). Avoid going deeper than 100’ as there is nothing worth seeing any deeper. Pass along each side of the ship, stopping at the wheelhouse in the middle. Some of the easier entry points can yield spectacular penetration experiences as you come face to face with a large Grouper or Nurse Shark. The forward deck has a large circular hatch, marking the ammunition storage area of the gun turret. Always stay alert and look around for the big animals. The Duane is so cool that 1 tank and 25 minutes is insufficient to satisfy you. People often overstay their air and deco times because they are having so much fun. Enjoy, but beware! LOCATION: LAT 24 59.38 LONG 80 22.92 6 NAUTICAL MILES OFFSHORE, APPROXIMATELY 1 MILE SOUTH OF MOLASSES REEF TOWER; 1/2 MILE SOUTH OF THE BIBB. | MARKERS: 2-3 MOORING BOUYS | DEPTH RANGE: 40 TO 120 FEET DEEP | SKILL LEVEL REQ.: ADVANCED | RISKS/WARNINGS: DEPTH, STRONG CURRENT, REMOTENESS, WRECK PENETRATION Some information and images obtained from flkeysdiving.com and wikipedia.org. Be sure to check out their site’s for more great dives locations and information!

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KEEPIN’ UP TEAM YOUNG BUCKS

FROM THE TOURNAMENT TRAIL Each publication we will be following the tournament competition trail of Team Young Bucks. Team Young Bucks fish on the Kingfish Tournament Trail and also the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. In addition, you will catch Team Young Bucks at all the local spearfish and summer bottom fishing tournaments in the Clearwater area. The team consists of four friends Zach Railey, Jacob Choi, Jack Vasilaros and Peyton Powers. We have been avid sportsman from a very young age and take every opportunity we can to get out on the water. We fish on a 36 ft Yellowfin powered by triple 300 Mercury Verado Engines for our Kingfish Tournaments. For the Tarpon Tournaments, we fish a 22 ft Sea Hunt. The team lives by Our Motto: Have Fun, Be Safe and Don’t Come Back with Nothing! We also make sure to have the boat packed with good-looking girls. Not only is it more fun for us but we believe the fish like our boat a bit better with the ladies on board. During 2014, we will start off with the Kingfish Season fishing in 6 Tournaments on the West Coast of Florida. Our largest event will be the Wild West Kingfish Series. The Wild West Kingfish Series is 4 events. Two events in the Spring of 2014 and two in the Fall of 2014. Each event is its own individual tournament. In addition, your top 3 weights from the 4 events are counted toward the aggregate to determine who is the BEST OF THE WEST. Only one fish can be weighed per event. This series has

all the top teams from the West Coast of Florida and is based out of John’s Pass, Florida. This series was the brainchild of James Maltz. He wanted to put together the best teams on the West Coast of Florida to determine who is the BEST OF THE WEST. The series has now expanded to allow teams outside the West Coast of Florida to come in and try to capture the Crown. Last year, the competition went down to the very end. Top teams including Team Pro Marine, Team Caliente, Team PennyWise, Team Dough Maker and many more competed for the BEST OF THE WEST CROWN. In the end, it was Team Pennywise, Team Young Bucks and Team Pro Marine that took the top three overall positions in the series. 2014 is shaping up to be even bigger and better on the Wild West Series Circuit and we can’t wait to get out on the water. Following the Kingfish Season, our focus this Spring and Early Summer will shift to Boca Grande, FL for the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. Hosted in Boca Grande we will have our All Women’s Team fishing on the Saturday Tournaments and our Men’s Team Fishing the Sunday Tournaments. These are 4 hour events each day. You can catch as many tarpon as you like and get release points and points for weighing fish. Weight is determined by length and girth measurements. You can only weigh 1 fish each 4 hour tournament. Each tournament is a stand-alone event with the winner of each

BET TEROFFWET.COM   31


event winning a new Sea Hunt Boat. This tournament runs from Mid-May to Mid June. We hope that you are as excited as Team Young Bucks for the 2014 Season to kick-off. We update on all our tournaments and fishing adventures on the team website www.teamyoungbucks. com. In addition, find us on facebook, www.facebook. com/teamyoungbucksfishing, where we update on our adventures. We would like to thank Better Off Wet for partnering with us for the 2014 season and look forward to bringing you updates as the season progresses. A huge thank you goes out to our sponsors. Better Off Wet, High-Water Companies, Dockside Fuel, Deluge Products and Mercury Marine. Tight Lines! Team Young Bucks

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DO YOU KNOW

“THE RULES of the NAUTICAL ROAD”?

HANK CUSHARD UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AUXILIARY

STUART, Fla. |  Sandsprit Park, located on the doorstep of U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 59, is one of the most popular boating areas in Martin County. This body of water is where Manatee Pocket meets the North Fork of the St. Lucie River and the Indian River just before the St. Lucie Inlet (sometimes called the “Cross Roads”). With the amount of boating traffic in and around this area, it is increasingly important that the boating fraternity know the “Rules of the Nautical Road”. Waterways all over Florida have similar inlets and rivers. The rules don’t change and local knowledge of the area is essential in boating safely. It is time to review, though. It is much more fun and much safer for all involved, if you are familiar with the rules of the waterways, the buoy navigation systems, and locking procedures. Some things are pretty basic and should be common knowledge among all boaters. The Eight Basic Rules (next page) are just a few things that can make boating better for everyone and some come under the heading of just plain common sense. For the serious skipper and the week-end boater, there are more aspects of seamanship that can be learned from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Recreational Safe Boating courses near you, at www.cgaux.org. Remember, when in doubt as what to do in a particular situation, put yourself in the place of the other boater who will be affected by your actions and then act accordingly. You won’t go wrong!!!

BET TEROFFWET.COM   33


HERE ARE EIGHT BASIC RULES OF THE WATER ROADS. ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THEM? 1. Meeting Head-On: when two boats approach each other head-on, each boat should turn their boat to the right or starboard side of the other boat and pass port to port. 2. Overtaking: When one boat is overtaking another, the one doing the overtaking must stay clear of the one boat being overtaken. The boat being overtaken has the right of way and must maintain course and speed. 3. Crossing: When two boats approach at a 90 degree angle, the one to the right side of the other has the right of way. This is the same thing that applies when driving a car. 4. Leaving Docks, Slips Or Tie-Up Moorings: Boats leaving docks, slips or tie-up moorings must give way to all approaching vessels. Boats must proceed slowly and with caution.

5. Sailboats: Sailboats when under sail always have the right-of-way over power boats except in a rare situation where they are overtaking boats under power. When under power, they are just like any other powered vessel. 6. Vessels Engaged in Fishing: Any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus that restricts maneuverability has the right of way. It does not include vessels with trolling lines, or drift fishing with hand rods and lines. 7. Boats In Distress: If you are involved in a mishap or come across one on the water, it is your duty and navigation rules require, operators to stop and render assistance to a vessel in distress unless doing so would endanger their own vessel or passengers.

8. Buoys And Markers: These traffic signals guide boaters safely along the waterways. • Red colors, red lights, and even numbers indicate the right side of the channel as the boater enters from the open sea. • Green colors, green lights, and odd numbers indicate the left side of the channel as a boater enters from the open sea. • Red and green horizontal stripes are placed at the junction of two channels to indicate the preferred (primary) channel when the channel splits. If the green is on top, the preferred channel is to the right. If the red is on top, the preferred channel is to the left.

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Payroll Services


Working on the Water B & Z Diving Services is a commercial diving company with an experienced team of divers, who focus on safety, quality, and production. Since late 2010, B & Z Diving Services has been working on bank stabilization projects for the South Florida Water Management District and the United States Army Corp of Engineers. B & Z Diving provides a wide range of underwater services for contractors, government entities, and private owners. BET TEROFFWET.COM   35


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The South Florida Water Management District is responsible for operating and maintaining the regional water management system that provides flood control and protects water supplies for South Florida’s 7.7 million residents. Flowing along the county line between Palm Beach and Broward counties, the Hillsboro (G-8) Canal is a major component of the regional system.

One of B & Z Diving’s latest projects is the Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. The Canal Bank Stabilization Project will repair banks along the Hillsboro Canal and dredge a 1.3 mile section to ensure water can be moved through the canal to maximize flood protection. Some portions of the banks will be stabtilized with an articulating concrete block mattress (ACBM) system and some portions will use a high performance turf reinforcement mattress (HPTRM) system. Both systems will utilize commercial divers for proper underwater installation. Once these systems are in place with proper canal bank grades, the life expectancy of the canal banks and their ability to move water properly will increase 50 years.

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REPAIRS NEEDED TO ENSURE FLOOD PROTECTION The SFWMD’s Operations, Maintenance and Construction Division conducts regular inspections of the regional water management system — which includes more than 1,600 miles of canals — to prioritize projects necessary for the system’s continued operation.Through the inspection program, the District identified the need to repair and protect the banks of the Hillsboro Canal. Over decades of service, extended sections of the canal banks have eroded or detached from the bank slope and fallen into the canal. These bank failures limit the flow of water in the canal, creating the potential for flooding impacts in Palm Beach and Broward counties during a major storm or hurricane.Bank erosion is also known to contribute to the buildup of sediment around coastal structures, such as the G-56 on the eastern end of the Hillsboro Canal. Accumulated sediment needs to be removed to ensure that these structures can provide adequate flood control protection. The Hillsboro Canal Bank Stabilization Project will address these issues through canal bank repairs and dredging that will improve the stability of the canal banks and restore the canal to its intended capacity. The District is designing a cost-effective solution that will also maximize flood protection for surrounding areas.

B & Z Diving Services, LLC 802 SE 8th Ave • Okeechobee, FL 34974 863-623-8452 South Florida Water Management Distrcit 3301 Gun Club Rd • West Palm Beach, FL 33406 561-682-2571

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