Coastal Angler Magazine | April 2019 | Alabama Pensacola

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Inside: Paddlesports Review

SUP FISHING TIPS

Enter To Win KAYAK

www.CoastalAnglerMag.com/Contest PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC J. MCDONALD VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 290

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Big Fish And Little Plastic Boats By Nick Carter; Photos by Eric McDonald

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hese guys stole a chapter out of “The Old Man and the Sea.” While fishing a 2014 kayak tournament in the Bahamas, angler Matt Eckert had an adventure of epic proportions. He hooked into a 500-pound blue marlin while sitting on the deck of a little plastic boat. It dragged him 32 miles over an 11-hour fight. Eckert admits he was unbelievably lucky to get his hands on the leader, making it an official catch before the fish continued having its way with him. “I grabbed the leader with my hand, and it was like a bomb went off next to me. It almost spooled me 10 hours into the fight,” Eckert said. “The only reason I was able to get the leader was he made a big airplane turn and swam right by me.” That’s about as extreme as fishing gets. The kayak trips Eckert and his partner Eric McDonald guide out of Boynton Beach, Fla., might seem tame in comparison. But there aren’t many who would consider catching sailfish from a kayak to be tame. Deep Blue Kayak Fishing offers standard inshore and freshwater trips, but they specialize in taking groups of up to six anglers off the beach in rigged-out peddle-drive Hobie kayaks to chase big pelagics. They don’t use motherships or support boats. Their location on the southeast coast of Florida is one of the only places in the world where their style of fishing is possible. At times, the Gulf Stream swings in as close as 8 miles off the beach and brings with it fishing that would normally require long runs offshore. “When the east wind picks up, it brings everything in,” said McDonald. “It brings in the grass and the baitfish, which brings in the pelagics.” Deep Blue doesn’t force clients on an 8-mile death-peddle out to the Gulf Stream. Less than a half-mile off the beach, the reef tops out at about 45 feet and drops precipitously into 100-foot depths on the backside. Within sight of shore, they drift with the current and slowly peddle-troll live baits from the reef out into 200-foot depths and back. Each kayak pulls a single bait on a kingfish-style rig, and six anglers working together can pull a pretty impressive spread. The fish are impressive, too. “We’re so close to the Gulf Stream, you never know what you’re going to get,” said McDonald. “It seems like everyone wants a billfish, and sailfish are our most common catch. It’s sailfish from October into maybe June. Then the rest of the year it’s big king mackerel.” A smoker king or 65-pound sailfish will take a kayak angler on a

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serious sleigh ride. The typical fight stretches out over 3 or 4 miles of water and lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. “We usually start out trying to get a sailfish first thing in the morning. Then you’re trolling looking for meat,” McDonald said. “A good day would consist of a sailfish and three or four more meat fish.” Kingfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, grouper, snapper and cobia are some of the species that regularly find a spot in the deck-mounted fish bags. Because of a kayak’s limited range, Deep Blue stays in contact with the local charter fleet to share intel, and word of a good grass line might call for a trek out into 400-foot depths in search of mahi. But what kayaks lack in range they make up for in stealth. McDonald said they are sometimes able to peddle over and through bait balls and schooling fish that an outboard would definitely spook. “We just look like another piece of debris floating out there,” he said. “We get a lot of sea turtles that come check us out, and a lot of times mahi will be right under the boat.” Because of the physical nature of kayak fishing, Deep Blue limits its trips to five hours on the water. Depending on the wind and currents, a five-hour drift can take you 20 miles or more from where you put in. But they won’t make you peddle all the way back to the put-in. With a series of different take-out points, the end of a trip is usually a straight shot back to shore, hopefully in a kayak loaded down with fresh fish. Check out Deep Blue Kayak Fishing Charters at deepbluekayakfishing.com or give them a call at (561) 350-8764.

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The Easiest Way To Get To The Fish!

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Introducing the fastest, lightest, most portable solo fishing SUP ever! The Sea Eagle SUPCat10™ weighs in at less than 45 lbs. This amazing SUP can be paddled or motored. Coming with multiple rod-holders and fittings for fishing accessories, this small SUP packs in a lot of features in a little space. Best of all, the SUPCat10™ packs in a car trunk and goes anywhere there is water.

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Putting In The Time:The Man Behind The Design By Ryan Drygas

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evin Hawkins, owner of Kaku Kayaks, is not your typical kayak manufacturer. He’s a fisherman who tests and uses his own product and has made a living doing what he loves. In the quiet beachfront town of Tarpon Springs, Fla. Kaku Kayaks was born out of the idea of “life on the water.” Initially, Hawkins took up kayaking to get into springs, go scalloping, spearfishing and basic exercise. He fell in love with the ease of use, the peace of the water and the idea that you can pick-up and drop-in anywhere and take off to parts unknown. What started as a hobby turned into a passion, and an idea was born. At the time, Hawkins also had an interest in mountain biking, so in 2007 he started an outfitter shop to combine his two favorite outdoor activities. As time went on, Hawkins realized the products

he was selling weren’t holding up to his idea of a true paddle-craft, so he made the decision to stop reselling and focus on inventing. The idea was there, the knowledge was out there, all he had to do was find a way to put it all together. Hawkins spent five years working in other fields and saving money. All the while, he was learning the trade of roto-molding, studying different plastics, shaping, design and everything else he could possibly absorb about creating the perfect paddle-craft. Hawkins slowly made his dream become a reality by piecing together his company one step at a time. Eventually, the time came for Kaku Kayak to step out into the world of kayak angling. In late 2014, Hawkins took a crosscountry trip and tested his paddle-craft in every condition of water you can think of. From Florida to Texas, Hawkins fished rivers, creeks, lakes, inlets, offshore oil rigs and everything else in between. When he posted photos showcasing the Kahuna on social media, he knew he was onto something special. The Kahuna just might be the ultimate fishing SUP, designed, tested and tweaked by a hardcore fisherman. The response flooded in, with comments like: “Where can I get that?” and “That looks like a fisherman’s dream.” Requests for the Kahuna were not in short supply. Hawkins’ dream had become a reality, but he knew his inventing days weren’t over. The success of the Kahuna led to the birth of the Wahoo, a kayak fisherman’s dream. Designed to be simplistic yet fully capable of top-of-the-line rigging, the Wahoo will cut through the water like a downhill train. People from all over the country were noticing the unique design of the paddle-crafts coming out of Kaku Kayak. Still, Hawkins knew he could do more. The blended idea of the Kahuna and Wahoo brought forth one of today’s most sought-after paddle-crafts. The Voodoo is a combination of Kayak and SUP, a design that is a perfect mix of balance, comfort and mobility. We can only imagine what is going to come out of Kaku Kayak in the future! Check out Kaku Kayak at kakukayak.com.

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BOAT REVIEW NuCanoe Frontier 12

The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is an incredible fishing platform. Just spend a few minutes fishing on the Frontier 12, and you’ll be hooked. First thing you’ll notice is that, unlike other kayaks, it has a very clean deck with a lot of open space. There’s not a lot to get in your way, and there’s no limit to how you can set it up and outfit it. Solo or tandem, rigged up or stripped down, paddle, trolling motor or outboard, the options are unlimited. You’ll be blown away by the Frontier 12’s stability. It’s unlike any canoe or kayak you’ve been in before. You feel completely comfortable whether seated or standing. Your movements barely affect how it rides on the water. So, when it comes time to cast and fight a fish, you’re not even thinking about being in a kayak, you’re just locked in to the battle! Adding an outboard to the Frontier 12 is an ideal solution for anglers who want a great fishing experience but don’t want to spend a lot of time paddling. The Honda 2.3hp outboard moves the Frontier 12 at a very nice clip and is surprisingly easy to control. Whether you are going 500 feet or 5 miles, the outboard will get you to where you want to be quickly and comfortably. Then kill the motor, grab your rod, stand up and enjoy your unlimited fishing experience.

Learn more + find your local NuCanoe dealer at www.nucanoe.com | 888.226.6310

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“The most attractive option for boat and SUP storage.” -Cabin Life, June 2015

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Paddlesports| 1. Log Kayak Rack

Looking for a way to store your kayaks, canoes or paddleboards? You’d be hard-pressed to find a sturdier, more convenient or better-looking solution than a Log Kayak Rack. Individually constructed in the U.S.A. from weather-resistant white cedar, Log Kayak Racks are extremely strong and durable. They’re built to hold heavy loads and provide many years of service. They are available with capacity for two to eight boats, and racks can also be customized to meet your specific needs. Need a place off the ground to store a paddleboat, rowboat or any hand-launched vessel? Give Log Kayak Rack a call. They’ll custom design a rack for you. Well-considered design makes lifting boats in and out of the rack easy. Locking down boats is a cinch with standard cable locks. Racks can be bolted to a dock or anchored to the ground, and there are even Log Kayak Racks designed to hang on the wall. Visit their website to see what Log Kayak Rack has to offer, then give them a call at (715) 543-2006 to discuss the best solution for safely storing your fleet of kayaks, canoes and paddleboards.

Product Reviews

1.

LogKayakRack.com

2. 2019 Hobie Mirage Outback

For more than a decade, Hobie’s Mirage Outback has peddled along without any major redesigns. With a kayak this close to perfection, there hasn’t been a need. However, for 2019, Hobie has taken the world’s best-selling pedaldrive kayak and made it even better. The 2019 Mirage Outback is a fishing machine built to handle any trip, from pond prowling to offshore expeditions. An extra-wide deck offers an improved and more stable casting platform and vantage point for sight fishing. The revolutionary Guardian Transducer Shield protects your vision below. The new Vantage CTW seat is roomier and more comfortable. Four molded-in rod holders, multiple deluxe H-Track mounts and numerous high-capacity storage compartments ensure all your gear is at your fingertips. Powered by the MirageDrive 180 with ARC Cranks + Turbo Fins, this vessel is versatile, fast, quiet and nimble. It now features the Kick-Up Rudder system with dual steering.

3.

Hobie.com

3. Kaku Voodoo

Kaku Voodoo The all-new Kaku Voodoo is the ultimate sight-casting paddle craft. This authentic fishing paddle craft has a unique look and performance. It’s part kayak, part paddleboard, with some micro skiff qualities. The Kaku Voodoo is like a personal deck yak. It has incredible stability, while maintaining good paddling efficiency. The performance of this paddle craft is lifted to an even higher level with the included Voodoo Chair, which is unlike anything on the market today. The Voodoo Chair has a beefy aluminum structure, a perfect amount of cushion, and off-the-charts utility, giving the paddler a high and low seating position, leaning chair,

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as well as a standing platform, without having to adjust anything. It’s mounted securely on 30-inch aluminum tracks, allowing for trimming as necessary. Top it all off with great storage and five Micro Powerpole mounts, which allow for multiple or single Powerpoles while also offering motor mounting. Check out the Voodoo’s higher-level capabilities today.

KakuKayak.com

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2. 4. Watershed Goforth Duffel

A dry bag is a necessity when you’re fishing from a kayak, canoe or SUP. Watershed’s Goforth is a darn good one. Step on it, stand on it or stomp around on it, no matter what you do, it won’t leak. The Goforth is a dry bag with mobility and versatility in mind. It features low-profile lash points along with a 2” nylon removable waist belt to make it ideal for on-the-go water enthusiasts. From the incredibly strong Airtight ZipDry closure to the 420 denier Cordura nylon ripstop fabric coated with polyurethane, it’s hard to know what to love most about the Goforth. Ideal for fishing, boating or just messing about on the water, this madein-the-U.S.A. duffel also features rugged carrying handles and multiple compression straps. Plus, it looks great on! Specs: Dimensions Rolled - 9”x16”x7.25” Capacity Rolled - 640 cu in (10.5L) Opening Size - 13” Weight - 1.5 lbs.

Drybags.com

5. Salt Marsh Skiffs Savanna

The new Savanna from Salt Marsh Skiffs is a kayak/skiff hybrid that offers a kayak’s ease of use with the capability to handle more diverse conditions and loads. Designed to handle two full size adults, it has a self-bailing cockpit fully loaded. The overall length of 14’ is long enough to accommodate 4 fly rods. The beam is 40” at the waterline, offering great stability that makes it a great fishing platform. The Savanna can be paddled, rowed, poled or powered depending on the need. It can putt around with a lightweight 2.5hp outboard or go long distance at up to 21mph with a 9.9hp engine. Perhaps the most intriguing option is the 3hp electric engine capable of cruising at 3mph with a range of up to 12-miles. For short bursts, the electric can reach speeds close to 6mph. The Savanna is right at home in rougher water and heavy boat traffic with a 14” free board. It can be easily be equipped for a variety of uses with the many accessories available from the kayak fishing world. If you’re ready to move up from a kayak and expand your horizons without the complexity and expense of a full-size skiff, the Savanna deserves a look.

SaltMarshSkiffs.com

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DeFoe Slams Door On Hometown Bassmaster Classic Victory B.A.S.S. photo by Andy Crawford

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or decades, it seemed almost impossible for an angler to win the Bassmaster Classic in his home state. Now it’s happened four times in six years. On the final day of the Classic March 17, Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe, of Knoxville, caught five bass that weighed 18 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing and the $300,000 prize. The event was held on the Tennessee River in Knoxville. DeFoe’s three-day total weight of 49-3

helped him slip past second-place angler Jacob Wheeler at the weighin before a raucous home crowd at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. The world-championship bass tournament drew a record attendance of 153,809. “This is a dream come true—a dream I’ve had since I was a 9-yearold kid,” said DeFoe. “When we came over here and did the walkthrough the day before the tournament, I actually imagined hearing my name after the words ‘Bassmaster Classic champion.’ “For it to happen now… I just keep thinking I’m gonna wake up.” DeFoe lives in Knoxville—and since few others in the 52-angler field had much experience on the tournament waters of Fort Loudon and Tellico lakes—he was one of the obvious favorites coming into the event. But things didn’t go smoothly for him all three days. After catching 20 pounds during Friday’s opening round, DeFoe caught five bass that weighed just 10-5 Saturday—and he said that tough day might have been the best thing that could have happened. “If I would have had a good Day 2—if I’d had even 14 or 15 pounds—I might have been totally committed to what I was doing,” DeFoe said. “…But the fact that it just didn’t work for me, that caused me to just scrap it all. I just

went fishing today, and that’s exactly what I needed to do.” DeFoe spent Day 1 far from the shoreline fishing shallow tips of points. His primary bait was a Storm Arashi Vibe lipless crankbait in the “rusty craw” pattern, which he doctored with orange, red and black Sharpies. On the second day, DeFoe switched to shallow boat docks when a strong north wind interfered with his pattern. His bait of choice around the docks—a 3/8-ounce bladed jig— helped him land three of his five keepers on Day 2. He used the bladed jig again Sunday but moved to the outside wall of a marina after a conversation with Keith Poche, a Classic competitor who failed to make the cut for Championship Sunday. On the water Sunday, after boating one of the bass that helped seal the victory, Defoe said he was going to give Poche a big old bear hug.

Bassmaster Classic Top-10 1. Ott Defoe, 49-3, $302,500 2. Jacob Wheeler, 45-3, $52,500 3. Jesse Wiggins, 43-14, $40,000 4. Michael Iaconelli, 42-9, $30,000 5. Mark Daniels Jr., 41-12, $26,250 6. Brandon Lester, 40-5, $22,000 7. Wesley Strader, 39-8, $21,500 8. Edwin Evers, 39-7, $22,250 9. Dean Rojas, 35-6, $20,500 10. Brandon Palaniuk, 34-15, $20,000

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT Unsinkable Polarized Mirror Sunglasses

KING KRACKEN Outdoor Clothing Co..

Unsinkable brings a lot more to the table than just being unsinkable. Their premium polarized glasses feature lenses made from a proprietary lens material called Polyamide, which has the optics of glass combined with the lightweight feel of polycarbonate, resulting in crystal-clear vision. New for 2019, Unsinkable’s lineup now offers blue and green mirror polarized lenses, providing another level of sun glare protection. These lenses reflect glare from every possible angle and offer super crisp, saturated, color acuity. A proprietary blue light barrier filters harmful blue light, allowing colors to blast, and a hydrophobic coating protects against salt, sweat and smudges. Other features include anti-scratch coating, 100 percent UV protection, they are BPA free, and boast injected and decentered optics. All Unsinkable glasses are lightweight and impact resistant, and provide 10 percent visual light transmittance (VLT). Blue mirror lenses are available in six wrap sunglass styles, ideal for blocking out glare while searching out signs of baitfish or gamefish. Blue mirrors are best suited for bright sunlight conditions and are an excellent choice for offshore and coastal fishing and boating. Green mirror lenses are available in four wrap sunglass styles, which reflect glare from every possible angle. They are best suited for variable light conditions and an excellent choice for anyone who spends a lot of time fishing or boating inshore waters or freshwater. Unsinkable Polarized Sunglasses will never sink, but in case they do float away, you are covered by Unsinkable’s groundbreaking Lifetime plus Loss warranty. The MSRP on the new Unsinkable premium polarized mirror sunglasses is $159. To checkout their complete lineup of products, go to https://unsinkablepolarized.com/.

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Center sp ie Vaine By Jeram

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tand up paddling covers a wide variety of activities. From the casual cruise on a calm lake to adrenaline fueled wave surfing. But I’ve found myself spending more time on my stand up paddleboard (SUP) with a fishing rod. Two good friends, Chris Hollingsworth and Ken Hoeve, opened my eyes to world of SUP fishing. Hearing their stories, seeing the fish they caught and the ear-to-ear smiles are what inspired me. I grew up on a small New England lake, where I spent countless hours fishing. But I never really thought about fishing from an SUP… until speaking with Chris and Ken. Besides hearing the stories and seeing the fun times, the biggest appeal of SUP fishing is its simplicity. All you need is a board, a paddle and a fishing rod. Whether you’re an angler who wants to try fishing from an SUP or a paddler interested in fishing, here are some tips for getting into SUP fishing. • What’s the right board? These days, manufacturers make fishing-specific boards that make fishing from an SUP easier. They are awesome, but they’re not absolutely necessary for someone just getting started. The most important thing is to find a board you can comfortably paddle without falling in. My general rule is a board over 30 inches wide and longer than 10 feet. It will have the stability to stand and fish, while remaining portable. If you’re concerned about falling in or losing your fishing gear, use a tether to tie it off to your board. Don’t tie gear to your person, it could hinder your ability to swim if you do fall in. • Where and when to go? Like any outdoor activity, and probably more so, weather is crucial. With an SUP, calm days are definitely better. Wind and rough conditions make it challenging, which eliminates the fun factor. Smaller bodies of water are a great place to start, as they are more protected from wind and do not have a lot of boat traffic. For these reasons, I prefer freshwater lakes. But a little experience on a board opens up a whole world of inshore action on saltwater. An SUP is a great, elevated platform to fish from during a calm day along the mangroves or up in the backwaters. • What to bring? For beginners, it’s best to keep it simple. I started SUP fishing

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with one spinning rod, pre-rigged with a single tried-and-true lure. It limited my catch, but having just one option allows you to enjoy time on the water without fussing with gear. Again, experience will guide preferences, but starting simple can save a lot of headaches. Of course the safety rules of SUP still apply. You’ll need a paddle leash and a lifejacket. • What to fish for? I really enjoy bass fishing, but some of my most fun days were with my nephews catching perch. Other people seek out trout in rivers and saltwater fish like snook, seatrout and redfish. If it can be caught from a boat, it can be caught from atop an SUP. Head out on the water, take a few casts and see what you think. If it develops into a passion, you might find yourself paddling a board that resembles a fully rigged fishing skiff.

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FLORIDA

By Capt. Michael Mauri Giovanni Marcozzi with a nice jack crevalle caught on a 7/0 popper.

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orn and raised in Germany, I have traveled and worked throughout all of Europe. As a fly fishing guide, I have spent a lot of time in exotic places and have seen a plethora of different fisheries. However, nothing even comes close to the consistency of the fishery we have here in Florida. Long story short, I love Florida, especially the Treasure Coast. With the variety of species and the opportunities to catch them, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. Our neighbor, George Sawley, also happens to build one of the highest

quality skiffs on the market, Chittum. Last week I was lucky enough to go on a test run of their new 21’ Islamorada. I got to chase cobia that were following huge manta rays. I ended up landing a nice one on a popper off the back of a ray. This was an amazing experience! A few days later, I had a client, Todd from California, in my boat. We were chasing big jack crevalle along the beaches when a blacktip shark showed up. Todd landed him on a new fly pattern Capt. Michael Mauri with a pretty cobia that was I picked up at the Atlanta trailing huge manta rays when it ate a popper. Fly Fishing Show last month. As soon as that fish took the fly, it took off and made several jumps through a long battle. The aggression and power when this shark took the fly was mind blowing. Catching big jack crevalle on popper is one of my all-time favorite things to do in the spring. The number and size of these fish is very impressive. It reminds me of my days fishing for giant trevally in the Maldives. In my opinion, there is little difference in these two species. Recently, my German friend Giovanni headed out with me in search of these giant jacks. It didn’t take long until we spotted the first school. I slowly got the boat in position to set him up for the first cast. The 7/0 popper hit the water, and BAM, fish on! The battle was hard and brutal even for a 12-weight rod. Giovanni landed two more before we headed home out of pure exhaustion. What a great day! If you live on the Treasure Coast or anywhere in Florida and you fish, consider yourself lucky. For more info about Mauri Fly Fishing, contact Capt. Michael Mauri at (772) 485 3321.

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By Tom Fucigna Jr. Paddlers assemble in Bimini in preparation for the 80-mile Crossing For A Cure to Lake Worth Beach, Fla. Jimmy Buffett has signed on as an advisor to the board of Piper’s Angels Foundation.

A CF Warrior Joe Mitchell, who kayaked from Bimini to Florida, defines the Crossing For A Cure credo of “Bold in the Face of Fear.”

Lake Worth Beach, Fla. is the Crossing For A Cure Landing site. You can volunteer or sponsor a paddler in any amount.

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hoy paddlers! Are you ready to embark on a great adventure, for a good cause, with a wonderful crew? The Crossing For A Cure would love to welcome you aboard. This year’s journey from Bimini to Florida, scheduled for June 15, is open to stand up or prone boards, surf skis, outrigger canoes and dories, with a potential of $100,000 in cash purses for the competitive categories. You can paddle as a solo or relay competitor, or as part of a recreational relay team. One-hundred paddlers made the crossing last June, and more than 160, including many first-timers, have registered so far this year. All paddlers are accompanied by support boats and team members from the midnight launch in Bimini to the celebratory landing at Lake Worth Beach. Everyone is invited to prepare for the crossing by participating in our mentoring and training programs, and everyone involved contributes to raising awareness and funds to assist cystic fibrosis patients and their families. Crossing For A Cure organizer Travis Suit’s inspiration for his first crossing, in 2013, is his daughter Piper, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 4 years old. “CF” is a

progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time (www.pipersangels. org). When Travis learned that salt can help alleviate the symptoms of CF, he immersed Piper in saltwater activities and became inspired to create an ocean-based event that could help CF patients everywhere. Thus was born the Crossing For A Cure and the Piper’s Angels Foundation. We are proud to announce that Jimmy Buffett has recently signed on as an advisor to the board of Piper’s Angels Foundation. The ranks of “Piper’s Angels” now include hundreds of inspired paddlers, dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors who work together to support and improve the lives of families in the CF community by raising awareness, offering life-expanding activities, providing urgent financial support and funding critical research. The only thing missing is YOU! Follow the adventure and learn how the foundation’s “Salt Supply” program is connecting saltwater-based vendors and guides with CF patients. For information, go to https://www. crossingforacure.com/ or https:// www.facebook.com/CrossingForACure/.

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he twelfth-annual Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo, an action-packed watersports expo for ocean lovers of all ages, returns to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center April 27-28. Produced by Sheri Daye, a spearfishing world record holder, The Blue Wild is south Florida’s premier ocean adventure expo, which features one of the most diverse and passionate crowds of exhibitors, speakers and attendees. Daye originally conceived the event as a fundraiser for Twin Palms, a center for developmentally disabled adults her brother attends in Boca Raton, Fla. She transformed her passion for freediving and created a must-attend educational and entertaining event where attendees can learn the latest techniques, shop cool products and socialize with like-minded ocean lovers. Spanning 65,000 square feet, the two-day, indoor event attracts 5,000 attendees and over 150 exhibitors who specialize in fishing and spearfishing, scuba and freediving, surfing and paddle boarding, marine art, underwater photo and video, adventure travel, beach apparel, boats, personal watercraft and more. Daily educational seminars and workshops are scheduled throughout the weekend and taught by world-class experts and celebrity-speakers like TV/movie personality Manny Puig; Chris Gillette, underwater photographer and GatorBoy; Vinnie LaSorsa, fisherman and captain for Jimmy Buffet; Ryan Myers, National Spearfishing Champion; Dr. Daryl Wong, expert spearo and custom speargun builder, and many other personalities. Topics include fishing stories, travel advice, freediving instruction, photography tips, fish filleting demos, speargun

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rigging, knot-tying and more. The popular Kids Zone offers free face painting, art classes and crab races – something for the whole family. “The Blue Wild is known for its high-energy crowds and fun vibe,” said Sheri Daye. “This show is like a big party for ocean lovers, and we attract a diverse crowd of locals, visitors, experts and exhibitors from all over the world who flock to Fort Lauderdale for its desirable and central location.” Returning exhibitors include Austin’s Diving Center, Bass Pro, Big Dog Tackle, Chaos Fishing, Contender Boats, Divers Direct, PADI, Papa’s Pilar Rum, Reef Photo and Video, Wong Spearguns and many more. The Expo is pleased to welcome new exhibitors such as Fishing Nosara, Pompano Beach Marine Center/Grady White Boats, Riva Motorsports, Surf World, Sea Tow Fort Lauderdale and Tropic Star Lodge. The show is sponsored by Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill which has its roots in south Florida and likes to promote the same ideals as the Expo—family fun and saltwater adventure. Entry is $20 at the door (children 12 and under are free) and includes a free goodie bag (while supplies last) and free entry to the Saturday night After-Party which takes place in the second-floor VIP lounge. Visit TheBlueWild.com or check out a video from last year https:// youtu.be/Rx45HhDGTRs.

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By Tom Schlichter Capt. Bobbi Brady shows off a nice seatrout taken from Deadman Bay with Florida Saltwater Flats Fishing Charters. The skipper and her husband, Capt. Mark Brady, also run charters for scallops.

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he Steinhatchee River is off the beaten track. That’s what makes it worth visiting, according to Capt. Bobbi Brady. She and her husband, Capt. Mark Brady, run Florida Saltwater Flats Fishing Charters (https://floridasaltwaterflats.com), based a couple hours north of Tampa in Florida’s Big Bend region. “We get some boating traffic here during scallop season, but otherwise it’s pretty quiet so our fish don’t get beat up,” said Brady. “Mostly we’ll target seatrout and redfish, with a few flounder mixed in to sweeten the pot. Virtually all our fishing is done on shallow flats

at the mouth of the Steinhatchee River and out in Deadman Bay. Because there isn’t much development around here, the water is crystal clear. That keeps our sea grass safe, which brings in a lot of smaller baits that lure bigger predators.” Head out with either Brady and you’ll probably spend most of your time casting in 16 inches of water or less. Both trout and reds like to stack up in small depressions, troughs and holes, where they’ll feed aggressively on dropping tides. “Most of the redfish will measure 22 inches and larger,” noted Brady, “and the trout can push the tape to 27 inches, especially in February, March and April. To get to them, though, you’ll need to cut across the shallows. I have a 2200 STL Bluewave flats boat that clears 8 inches. That gives me a serious edge because I can access spots others can’t reach.” Private boaters can get in on the action without going too shallow. There is generally a pretty good bite right in the Steinhatchee River itself, although the fish there don’t run quite as big as on Deadman Bay. There’s also plenty of water to probe just off the flats. Grab some shrimp or cut bait and you should have no trouble hooking up. In terms of artificials, twitchbaits really excel in this area. According to Brady, most places will have 7 inches of sea grass on the bottom, then another 7 inches of water to the surface. Work a suspending twitchbait just above the tops of the weeds and you are going to score. Her favorite twitchbait is a Livetarget suspending Scaled Sardine in Amber Ghost. “That’s the one lure I can’t live without,” she explained. “It approximates the abundant pinfish we have and the predators just go and get it. Retrieve it with a couple of short, sharp twitches followed by a pause. It’s absolutely deadly.” If you’d like to try your luck on the Steinhatchee River and Deadman Bay, there are several launch ramps in the area. Brady recommends Good Times Marina (www.goodtimesmotelandmarina. com), which has overnight accommodations, a slip to go with each room, plus a great restaurant that will cook and serve your catch.

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3/17/2019 2:04:13 PM


KAYAK REPORT BY: BENTON PARROTT

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pring is finally here this month. Warmer days and warmer water should bring the bite on. Early morning and late evenings a top water plug is hard to beat for trout and reds. My “Go To” baits are the Rapala Skitterwalk and the Zara spook Jr. I prefer the natural colors like the blue holographic and bone white. Change the speeds of you retrieval until you find what is working. Always work your bait all the way back to the kayak and don’t be

afraid to stop mid retrieval and let your surface walker just sit. Of course Shad Raps and Mirrodines are still doing great fooling trout and reds into striking. Flounder, reds, and specks are still being fooled by Saltwater Assassin sea shads fished slowly along the bottom and drop offs. For Reds and flounder I pair the soft plastics with a 1/4 oz. jig head and for trout i like to use a lighter 1/8 oz. Pro elite jig head Not to miss in April. The IFA Kayak tour gets back in to full swing on April 14th in Jacksonville, Fl. and in Georgetown, S.C on the 28th. This is a CPR (catch photo release) tournament based on your best length of a speckled trout and red fish. The IFA tour has tournaments running all year long from South Carolina to Texas. The Championship will be held in October in Grand Isle, LA. this year and you have to fish 2 IFA events to be qualified. The G.C.K.F.A Speckled Trout Shoot Out is on the 20th for more information sign up with the club. May 4th is the BCKFC’s: Paddlepalooza XVI at Bridge side Marina in Grand Isle, LA. This is always a fun tournament with prizes and categories for the whole family. As always, we have a running tab on what’s going on in the kayak community at our Facebook page Kayak Fishing U. Remember while fishing from a kayak to always think safety. We are low to the water and not always easily seen. Keep a 360-degree light on at dark and low light conditions, wear a PFD, keep hydrated, and let someone know your float plan. Benton Parrott Hobie Regional Team / Pro Staff Fishing Guide dbparrott@bellsouth.net

4 ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL | APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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3/17/2019 2:04:13 PM


WALKING THE POND BY: RICH ELLISON

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am a walking zombie. My wife and I just had our 4th child and Charlie is doing great! Between the birth of a child and trying to get my older son a gobbler, I haven’t been in my beloved bay very much. I did however get to revisit the thing that made me a fisherman; walking farm ponds. If you have never experienced the joys of spring on a farm pond, you are truly missing out! This time of year largemouth bass are ready to spawn. As I write this they are in the pre-spawn stage and are more aggressive each day the water gets closer to 68 degrees. Chasing spring bass is more like hunting than it is fishing! All you need is a pair of polarized sunglasses to see into the shallows & your favorite lure. I personally enjoy catching everything I can on top of the water with popping lures and buzz baits. When that slows, you simply can’t beat a Snagless Sally in a pond. I’m not sure why, but they work much better than your average spinner baits in my experience.

Once that slows down, I’ll try my go to Baby One Minus crank bait, because it’s usually good for a fish or 10. Of course when all else fails, throw a Texas rigged worm. In a pond you shouldn’t need more than 1/8-ounce bullet weight & honestly 1/16 is better if you can stand it. ‘ When walking laps around the pond be sure to look for dirty/sandy fanned out areas. These are beds made by larger females and guarded from pests by smaller bucks. If you see one, simply cast beyond it and drag your lure across; SLOW. I will even stop the bait in the middle of the bed. The buck will pick the tail up and move it. Eventually he will bite, and fish on. This is fun, but not the goal. Toss him aside, far away from the bed, and wait. At some point momma will come home to see why the bed isn’t guarded. In fact, if you catch a buck with marks on his side it is likely he was attacked by a female that didn’t appreciate him abandoning his post! The female will guard the bed in his absence, and that presents you with a fine opportunity at a trophy fish. It isn’t uncommon to catch 6-pound bass in farm ponds. I have one mounted from my youth that is 10.5#’s I landed with a Zebco 33 Classic. As with all things in life, moderation is important. Do not harass the poor fish to the point that spawning is negatively affected & practice catch and release. But in my view there is nothing wrong with this good, clean fun. It is a great way to teach a kid to fish and keep him interested. While you are walking laps around

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your favorite new pond; please be courteous to the property owner. Make sure you have permission & even then, abide by any requests they have and for goodness sake; don’t become a pest. Nobody wants to see you every time they look out their window! Oh, and keep an eye out for water moccasins, alligators, and poison ivy. Catch a big one! Rich Ellison Outback Fishing Adventures 251-223-7085

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3/17/2019 2:04:14 PM


MOBILE / DAUPHIN ISLAND BY: CAPT. CHARLIE GRAY

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ith the warmer temperatures, the Dauphin Island and Bay area fishing is starting to heat up as well after a long winter. The bait fish and shrimp will be on the move and the specks will follow; The local bait shops are getting nice live shrimp and its worth your time to get a few for your trip. Fish these under a rattling cork or popping cork with a hook small enough to not over balance the bait on about 18 to 24 inches of

leader; I use 12 pound fluorocarbon leader, the lighter the better. The trout will be following and chasing bait and can be found around the flats and oyster beds near the small islands in and around Mobile Bay as they move out of Dog River, Fowl River, Bayou La Batre and the surrounding small rivers; I also use a variety of soft plastic shrimp imitation baits like the VuDu Shrimp in natural colors or a fleck color like the Cajun Pepper, Magic or other natural colors. Try different baits depending on the water clarity. I am also still using paddle tail grubs like the Matrix Shad in the Lemonhead or Limbo slice colors on a Âź oz red jig head. April is the prime time for the spawn of the Sheepshead; they will congregate in huge numbers around most any good structure in the bay and sound and around the gas rigs in the lower bay and near shore. Fish rock piles, bridges and the gas rigs with live shrimp, fiddler crabs or cracked hermit crabs. Some of the bait shops will have these crab baits for sale. If you find a bait shop with live shrimp, get them. If not, then use the freshest dead shrimp you can get. The Sheepshead love them live. I will fish these under a cork as well to suspend the bait over and around

the structure. You can also fish for them with a #1 or #2 J hook or any other small hook that is stout on about 2 feet of 15lb to 20lb flouro or clear mono leader, tied to a barrel swivel. Above the swivel I will use a 1/4 oz, 3/8 oz or even a 1/2 oz egg sinker on the main line which is 12lb mono or 20 pound braid. Fish as close to the structure as you can but be careful because the Sheepshead will wrap you in the structure very quickly when hooked. Use the lightest egg sinker that you can which will allow the bait to present more naturally. Check your bait often. Sheepshead are notorious bait stealers and will often steal the bait as you drop down, it takes a bit of practice to catch them but once you get it down it will be on ! There will be large Bull Redfish on Dixey Bar and around the Lighthouse and off the beaches and also in the tidal rivers and bays, like Heron Bay, Portersville Bay and Grand Bay, fish the areas where small rivers flow or dump into the bays, look for water movement. Artificial baits work well here as well, jigging shrimp or minnow imitations or fishing the baits under a rattling cork. Capt. Charlie Gray Gray Gulf Charters Dauphin Island / Mobile Bay / Ft Morgan Alabama 251.379.5067 Charlie@Graygulfcharters.com www.Graygulfcharters.com

6 ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL | APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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3/17/2019 2:04:15 PM


MOBILE BAY / EASTERN SHORE BY: CAPT. DAN KOLENICH

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ood bye winter. Water temps are headed for the 70’s and it looks like we are beginning the migration patterns. There is plenty

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of saltwater headed for the causeway it’s just a little muddy and cool right now. Green trout are on fire in the delta. “Hildebrant Snagless Sally” is

my favorite with a pork frog. On the coast, Spanish Mackerel will be starting to move this month. Pompano have been around for a month or so now. Keep an eye out for Cobia and King Mackerel to follow. Bull Reds are around the passes if you’re looking for a fight. Inshore, the shoals and grass flats along Dauphin Island, Shell Bank Reef, and the rigs inside the bay are a good bet for Specs. Reds will be cruising the shore line and oyster bars. Live shrimp or a croaker on a slip cork or free lined is the way to go. If you prefer artificial baits, a Mirrolure Glad Shad in deeper water, Catch Jr. or 2000 in water less

than four feet, and soft plastics on jig heads in any depth are productive. Don’t forget top water plugs for some explosive action on warmer days and look for water temps in the 70’s. My favorites are High Tide jig heads and plastics in natural shrimp, white/chartreuse, chartreuse/red, root beer/chartreuse, and don’t forget electric chicken colors. As April moves on, the saltwater will be heading for the causeway. Depending on our rainfall in late March and April, look at places like Zundel’s, Gray Cane Reef, Pt. Clear, Battles Wharf, Middle Bay Lighthouse, and Gilliard Island, early in the month. Don’t forget to give the new reef off Pt Clear a shot. As the salt water moves north follow it. With a little luck, we will be fishing on the causeway in late May this year instead of June. More about that next month. Good luck, we’re headed for some great spring fishing.

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6110 RANGELINE RD • THEODORE, AL 36582 251-443-6020 • middlebay@bellsouth.net

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OFFSHORE REPORT BY: CAPT. DON MCPHERSON many more opportunities. April is a great month for fishing the Alabama Gulf Coast. The water temperature should increase. This will make fish more active. We are hoping triggerfish will remain open through the end of May. Cut squid on small hooks is usually you best option to hook triggers. The same bait will work for vermillion snapper. The season for red grouper and scamp grouper will open April 1st.These fish are usually found in 180 feet and deeper around natural hard bottom. Live bait is always the best option. It appears that amberjack season will be open during the month of May. Gag grouper season will open June 1st. Red snapper season for federally permitted charter boats opens June 1st with the last day on August 1st.This season is open 7 days a week. The 2019 Alabama red snapper season for anglers fishing from a private vessel or state-licensed guide boat will be three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) from June 1 through July 28, 2019, including Thursday, July 4, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and N.O.A.A. Fisheries. Except for the opening weekend, which begins on a Saturday, weekends are defined as 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. This season only applies to those who do not hold federal for-hire fishing permits. The new fishing seasons vary from state to state. Be sure and check your state regulations prior to fishing.

M

Capt. Don McPherson 251-752-0235 Getaway Charters www.getawaycharters.com

arch was typical with some very nice days and some windy days. The water is still cool but slowly warming. Triggerfish are biting along with vermillion snapper. The better bite has been 20 miles offshore and farther. Spanish mackerel should appear along the coast any day. April will provide

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Getaway Charters offers half day to full day fishing charters for Orange Beach, Perdido Key, Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and surrounding areas. We welcome first-time anglers to the well experienced anglers. Our charters are also very family friendly. Kids as young as four years old often join us. Morning or afternoon trips are available. Looking for the more serious deep sea fishing for snapper, grouper, wahoo and more? Offshore big game trolling, deep drop fishing and offshore bottom fishing are all options. We have three beautiful fishing boats with cool a/c, comfortable seating, clean restrooms, Sirius Satellite Stereo and friendly captains and deckhands. Come join us!

8 ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL | APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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LAKE MARTIN BY: CAPT DAVID B. HARE

A

lex City Guide Service wants to send our thoughts and prayers out to everyone that has been affected by all the tornadoes, flooding, and hurricane our friends and neighbors are still recovering from. God bless you all! At the time of this report we are barely into March and we are still dealing with water fluctuations and clarity changes, but we have managed to boat some nice stripers.

So far, the majority of fish are being caught in shallower waters adjacent to deep channels. The best bites have been on live bait. April fishing on Lake Martin is a ³No Brainer² fishing month. April is one month on the calendar that stands out to me year after year after year as the best. Weather in April is typically awesome with the water temperature almost perfect, the clarity perfect and the trophy striper bite is superb. If you are wanting a picture worthy catch this is definitely the month you want to be on Lake Martin as many days as you possibly can. If you have been out with us in April, you have been exposed to some of the biggest live baits that you¹ve ever dreamed of anyone fishing with. Typically we will be casting some huge top water lures and getting the fly fisherman in the middle of schools of some of the finest stripers Lake Martin has to offer. If your fishing on your own for stripers this month you probably don¹t have the live shad and a good

alternative for the weekend warrior is the Black Salty which can be purchased at most live bait providers around the lake or you can order them have them shipped to you overnight. Black Saltys are one of the few baits that the average fisherman can keep alive with the least amount of equipment. In April you don¹t have to run far from your lake house or your favorite launch because April is the month when every area of the lake will produce. Practice your fishing edicate as more boaters get on the lake. April is a great month to remind yourself to treat other boaters as you would like to be treated. The fish will be very close to the surface and can be spooked very easily, so if you see someone fishing hive them room and do not spook the fish they found by idling around them looking for the fish on your graph. Don¹t overlook pier light fishing in April. This may be the easiest way to catch stripers in April. It doesn¹t work year-round, but it sure works in April. Rig up a spinning rod with 12 lb. monofilament and very loose drag with a Rapala #7 Shad Rap

black and silver and you should have a blast. Once again, no certain area of the lake is any better than others for pier light fishing. If you¹d like to treat yourself, your family or your clients to a fun time of fishing on Lake Martin please keep Alex City Guide Service in mind. We are the #1 guide service on Lake Martin and pride ourselves in being the most professional and accommodating guides that you may ever fish with. Water Temps (58) 3/8/19 Clarity / Stained from middle to north , clear middle to south end (3/8/19) 5ft below summer pool (3/8/19) Until next time be safe and catch one for me! Capt. David B. Hare Alex City Guide Service 256-401-3089 2036 Cherokee Rd Suite 205 Alexander City, Al. 35010 davidbhare@yahoo.com www.alexcityguideservice.com Fbook/alexcityguideservice/ LakeMartin

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 9

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Pensacola Tide Chart

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Dauphin Island Tide Chart

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DIVING REPORT

FIGHTING BACK IN THE HEART OF LIONFISH COUNTRY BY: KERRY FREELAND / DIVE PROS

T

he warmer water temperatures usher in the diving, fishing and boating season. I look forward to swimming through bait balls, seeing the Spadefish finning the surface as they school around the tops of shallow wrecks. With the abundance of fish comes all the great fishing tournaments we have throughout the region. One of the largest and most exciting tournaments this year will be during Florida’s annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day festivities, taking place in Destin Florida. The Emerald Coast Open will be one of the richest lionfish tournaments ever held. Last years Lionfish World

Championship, held the during the L.R.A.D. was a huge success setting at least three world records. You get people’s attention when you remove nearly 10,000 invasive fish in two days. This initiative is gaining larger corporate sponsorship which more appropriately rewards these hunters for their efforts and the risks they take. If you participate in these hunts, and really all dives, you must have oxygen available, have an Emergency Action Plan to include a recompression chamber, and Divers Alert Network’s dive accident insurance can be very useful. This tournament should bring in some very impressive numbers. The fish have not been hit very hard lately, and we in the northern Gulf of Mexico have the highest concentrations seen to this day. The prevalence of lionfish in the northern Gulf of Mexico has lent the area to become a hotbed of innovation in the harvesting, research, and commercialization of these gorgeous, tasty, interlopers. We have some of the best, most efficient hunters, quickly surpassing

the veteran south Florida divers. This proves the age-old adage, “practice makes perfect”, rings true. Along the Gulf Coast numerous universities, local and regional, are doing research on where they live, what they eat, what slows them down and much more. In Escambia County we have three high schools doing DNA profiling of what lionfish eat. These kids have a database of over 5000 prey species proving cannibalism and providing information of what they prefer to eat. Local non-profit, Coast Watch Alliance has been focused on the commercialization of Lionfish. Bringing buyers to the last tournament that paid the lionfish harvesters 25-50% more money than usual for their catch. They have been doing dinners showcasing lionfish at numerous finer restaurants throughout the region at their “Venom and Vino” series. Now they are poised the bring the concept to less upscale establishments with their “Taste the Invasion” initiative. These efforts are extremely important if we are going

to create a market for these fish. We want people to try them, once see just how tasty they are, and how easy they are to cook, the market will be self-sustaining. Look for one of these events near you. Coast Watch Alliance plans to bring the Lionfish World Championship back as a series of events in the near future. In the mean time make it on down to the Emerald Coast Open in May. Come out to see what is happening on the frontline of the lionfish invasion, eat some, and tell your friends. For more information, contact Dive Pros at #850-456-8845

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PENSACOLA / PENSACOLA BEACH BY: CAPT. RICK BARBERI

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arch was typical with some very nice days and some windy days. The water is still cool but slowly warming. Triggerfish are biting along with vermillion snapper. The better bite has been 20 miles offshore and farther. Spanish mackerel should appear along the coast any day. April will provide many more opportunities. April is a great month for fishing the Alabama Gulf Coast. The water temperature should increase. This will make fish more active. We are hoping triggerfish will remain open through the end of May. Cut squid on small hooks is usually you best option to hook triggers. The same bait will work for vermillion snapper. The season for red grouper and scamp grouper will open April 1st.These fish are usually found in 180 feet and deeper around natural hard bottom. Live bait is always the best option. It appears that amberjack season will be open during the month of May. Gag grouper season will open June 1st. Red snapper season for

federally permitted charter boats opens June 1st with the last day on August 1st.This season is open 7 days a week. The 2019 Alabama red snapper season for anglers fishing from a private vessel or state-licensed guide boat will be three-day weekends (FridaySunday) from June 1 through July 28, 2019, including Thursday, July 4, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and N.O.A.A. Fisheries. Except for the opening weekend, which begins on a Saturday, weekends are defined as 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. This season only applies to those who do not hold federal for-hire fishing permits. The new fishing seasons vary from state to state. Be sure and check your state regulations prior to fishing.

GREAT WHITE SHARK SURPRISE BY: MOJO CARUSO

J

eremy Utter of Huntsville Alabama spends a couple months each year fishing for sharks and other species on the Navarre Pier. Jeremy and his shark fishing buddies: Thomas Thielman and Ernie Polk call themselves Team True Blue. They are very experienced when it comes to catching, tagging and releasing big sharks, but no one was ready for what happened next. With a 4 lb. bonita as your bait, and your rod bends, you know something huge is on the line. After an hour of the big fish fighting hard and running deep it finally came to the surface. That is when the team realized they’re dealing with 10-foot

great white that weighed well over 700 lbs. Jeremy worked the beast down the pier to the beach. Once in the shallows the shark was handled very carefully and released after being tagged with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tag. The information from this catch will greatly benefit their Apex Predator Program. Sharks are the top of the food chain and very important to natural balance in the Gulf of Mexico. Conservation and education for all shark species is the key for keeping our fisheries healthy for future generations of anglers. Video of this amazing shark catch and the eventual tag and release back into the Gulf of Mexico can be seen on YouTube.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 13

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THE NEGLECTED BOAT TRAILER BY: FORREST CHAPMAN

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rowing up in a family boat business, my father would often say, “The most neglected piece of boating equipment is the boat trailer. Without it, the boat never gets to the water”. And each season, I’d watch customers purchase new electronics, safety equipment, fishing gear, cleaners/wax, etc. for the boat, yet bypass the trailer equipment aisle. When offered a free trailer inspection, you’d often hear, “I hardly used it last season” or “It’s good for another year”. And then I’d see them again, with their broken trailer on the highway, together

with sad children or angry fishing buddies standing in the tall grass. Most modern boat trailers are built from galvanized steel or aluminum to prevent rusting. Trailers consist of a frame, axles, bearings, hubs, tires, runners, rollers, winch, lights, and sometimes brakes. Each piece of the trailer is Important and needs Inspection. The bearings and hubs are packed with grease to reduce friction. Heat can build up in the bearings at highway speeds, which causes grease breakdown. Water from submersions can also flush grease from the bearings. As grease breaks down, heat is increased resulting in the bearing locking to the spindle, ruining the hub, and possibly the axle. To prevent bearing lock-up, bearings need to stay full of grease. Trailer tires need to be inspected for tread wear and separation before each use, as well as properly inflation, including the spare. Periodically check

the torque on the lug nuts as well. Boat trailers equipped with trailer brakes need to be checked for brake shoe wear. Check the runners and rollers on the trailer for breaks or cracks and, if necessary, replace with new equipment. Broken rollers or runners can cause problems launching and loading the boat and may damage the hull. Check to see the winch is in proper working order. If the strap or the cable is worn or frayed, replace it. The final step in trailer maintenance is checking all running and brake lights. Make sure all bulbs are burning. Replace blown bulbs immediately. Most trailer light assemblies are not water tight, so always unplug trailer lights before launching or loading. Bulbs get hot when the brakes are applied, and if they are suddenly cooled by water, a blown bulb may occur. Unplugging the pigtail can save the brake light bulbs. Your boat trailer very important and routine maintenance can prevent a serious accident or a wrecked outing. If you aren’t comfortable checking your trailer, then contact a local dealer who offers free trailer inspections. Boats are meant for the water, not the side of the road! See Recreational Sales & Service for all your trailer needs (See ad on Previous Page).

SNAPPER SEASON is around the corner. Don't be left at the docks!

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 17

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OUR MISSION Pensacola Recreational Fisherman’s Association (PFRA) was established in 1999. We are a group of citizens who enjoy fishing and recognize the urgent need for recreational fisherman, private and charter, to form an organized group working to protect these rights.

The stronger our membership, the more effective our voice becomes!

JOIN US!

Next PRFA Meeting: April 9th, 6:30 PM

Club Info: 850.384.7512 Event Info: 850.516.0515 www.pensacola.fish PRFA would like to thank our amazing partners!

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Ceramic Pro Coating Detailing Marine / Canvas & Upholstery Outboard Mechanic | Woodworking | Fiberglass Jolly Rogers is the only certified Ceramic Pro Marine dealer/distributor on the Emerald Coast.

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Pick up a copy of Coastal Angler Magazine every month at these local businesses! Grand Bay, AL

I-10 Welcome Center

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Mobile, AL A&M Yacht Sales/Dog River Marina *

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Spanish Fort, AL Bass Pro Shops Scott’s Landing Summit Shell *

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Daphne Shell/I-10 * Dragon City Buffet

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Fairhope Marathon * Shell / Fairhope Ave * Winn Dixie

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Foley, AL

Blue Water Ships Store Brunson Net & Supply Countrymans Marine & RV

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Caribe Marina * Ducks Diner Flipdaddy’s Brilliant Burgers J&M Tackle* Lost Bay Tackle P&D Marine Sam’s Bait & Tackle * Sportsman Marina * Tacky Jacks The Market @ The Wharf West Marine

Elberta, AL

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Bayou Texar Boat Ramp Bayside Park Boat Ramp Dive Pros Exxon/Blue Angel Pkwy Gander Outdoors Goin’ Fishing Bait & Tackle I-10 Marathon Joe Patti’s Seafood Majik Market New York Deli Palafox Street Post Office Sanders Beach Boat Ramp Shell/Hong Kong Express

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Breeze Mart * Chevron & Marine Fuel Too * Gulf Breeze Bait & Tackle Meredith Lumber

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Broxson Outdoors Half Hitch Tackle Navarre Beach Fishing Pier

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*

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3/17/2019 2:05:00 PM


r spread BOAT INSURANCE SINKING YOU? By CAM Staff

W

In February 2018, Mike Klopfer caught this 11-pound, 14-ounce largemouth from Lake June-In-Winter.

ith a series of reservoirs draining into Okeechobee to the southeast, Highlands County, Fla. is a hotspot for recreational bass anglers seeking big largemouths on waters that are a little smaller than the “Big O.” Lake Istokpoga may be the most well known, with more than 100 bass heavier than 8 pounds registered with Florida’s TrophyCatch program since 2015. The largest was a giant 13-pound, 14-ounce bass caught by Adrian Echols in June of 2018. Keep in mind that these statistics reflect only fish caught and then registered with the state. To the west, across U.S. 27 from Istokpoga, lakes June-in-Winter and Placid are smaller in size with 3,000 to 4,000 surface acres of water, but they are both fisheries with very good potential for trophy bass. Placid also boasts more than 100 largemouths registered at heavier than 8 pounds with TrophyCatch. More than 30 of those were 10-pound-plus lunkers. June-In-Winter might not have the numbers of Istokpoga or Placid, but it is still a big bass factory. TrophyCatch shows about 50 8-plus-pounders registered with the program. The largest was an 11-pound, 14-ounce beast caught by Mike Klopfer in February of 2018. It topped a list of 10 fish heavier than 10 pounds caught there since 2015.

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World-Class Fishing For The Working Class By Craig Sutton

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ebruary 2019 was one of the busiest months is the history of FishingNosara. Our five-boat team ran 119 charter trips, and we’re stoked to report big catches and big smiles! The 32-foot flagship Wanderer led the pack with 29 trips… in a month that only had 28 days. With multiple double-half days and only two days off, Master Capt. William cemented his legacy as the most active captain in all of Central America. Capt. Carlos on the big battleship Discoverer was also burning the candle at both ends with 24 trips run. Clients reported excellent bluewater action, highlighted by a sweet double sailfish release. Check blog.fishingnosara.com for tons of great photos of all of our catches. The pangas Harvester, Explorer and Adventurer continued to blitz the bluewater beasties with a combined 65 trips and lots of amazing scores, including a bucket-list caliber roosterfish released by angler Jack Herzlinger and Capt. Fico.

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Even though the fishing in Costa Rica is world-class, FishingNosara is celebrating 10 years of serving anglers from the working-class. We never set out to serve multi-millionaires, but instead provide authentic Costa Rica fishing experiences for regular folks. A great example of this mentality is our 27-foot super panga Explorer. Launched in 2011, this barroom brawler proves that you don’t need a big boat to catch big fish. We started with a basic panga-style hull and bolted on all the top-notch sportfishing tools (tuna tubes, split consoles, radar arch, Humminbird xD bottom machine, Yamaha outboard), then loaded her up with Shimano Tiagras and Penn International reels. Last month, the Explorer had a banner day on Feb. 3, with angler Brendan Champagne and his group nabbing a wide variety of species. A 40-pound roosterfish release headlined a day that also included a super sailfish release. Then the barroom brawler headed to the meat market. The first fillets in the basket came from several nice dorados, and later in the afternoon it was yellowfin tuna time. Adding to the fillet diversity was an awesome cubera snapper. Five major species caught on a $650 8-hour trip. I challenge anyone to provide better bang-for-your-buck fishing than is offered by the 27-foot super panga. Excluding marlin, this trip featured pretty much every major species in our fishery. It was all in a day’s work for Capt. Fico, Mate Elias, and the versatile Explorer. April is shaping up to be busy, with lots of trips already scheduled and more to come. We expect the fishing to stay strong as we barrel into the 2019 Ship of Fools tournament in the beginning of April. The white-hot summer action is already booking up, with limited availability remaining for the insane June-August bite. If you have been reading this report for a while and waiting for the right time to visit, stop reading and call ASAP at 904-591-2161 so we can make your fishing dreams a reality.

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cil determined that the buffer between the catch limit and catch target could be reduced to 9 percent. If all that sounds too complicated, what it means is NOAA has loosened the harvest regulations on Gulf red snapper. The total 15.1 million pounds catch limit is allocated with 51 percent going to the commercial sector and 49 percent going to the recreational sector. The recreational sector is further divided among a private component, which is allotted 57.7 percent of the recreational total and a federal for-hire component, which is allowed 42.3 percent.

NOAA Increases Catch Limits For Gulf Red Snapper

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Seasons & Limits Bag limit is two per person, with a 16-inch minimum length. Federal Permitted For-Hire Season: June 1-Aug. 2.

ith 2018 assessments indicating that red snapper are not being overfished in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA Fisheries published a final rule to increase commercial and recreational catch limits and recreational annual catch targets for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. The rule also reduces the stock annual catch limit for west Florida hogfish. Both parts of the rule will go into effect April 4. The Gulf states are responsible for setting their own private red snapper seasons. Commercial and recreational red snapper catch levels and targets will be increased by more than 1 million pounds. Catch targets are levels below the catch limits that account for management uncertainty. For the recreational sector, catch targets were developed to reduce the likelihood that the recreational sector exceeds its catch limit. The red snapper recreational fishing seasons are projected to harvest the catch targets. Initially, catch targets were set for the recreational sector and its components at 20 percent below the catch limit. Because the federal for-hire component has never exceeded its catch target, the Gulf Coun-

States set their own seasons for private anglers. Florida—June 11-July 12, a fall season will be considered if quota is available. Alabama— Fridays through Sundays, June 1-July 28, including Thursday, July 4. Mississippi— May 24-Sept. 2, with a mid-season July 8-July 28 closure. Louisiana—TBD. Texas—Year-round in state waters. Hogfish The 2018 assessment for west Florida hogfish produced catch levels that were lower than projections from the previous assessment. Although the new west Florida hogfish catch limits are lower, the Gulf Council did not recommend any further management action because landings in recent years have not exceeded the catch limit and the minimum size limit was recently increased from 12 to 14 inches fork length, which should reduce harvest. The rule allows for increases in 2020 and 2021.

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CR Electronics’ new next-generation ResQLink Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) is the latest evolution of the world’s best-selling PLB. Incorporating first-hand feedback from survivors who activated the beacons in emergencies, the new ResQLink 400 and ResQLink View PLBs introduce user-friendly design innovations and enhanced functionality to provide a range of adventurers with a trusted and affordable link to rescue in a life-threatening situation. The ResQLink View with Optical Display Technology provides even more peace of mind to outdoor enthusiasts. The screen displays all the beacon’s operational activities, including GPS coordinates, operating instructions, usage tips, transmission bursts, as well as battery power. Compact, lightweight and easy to carry, the new ResQLink beacons feature a protected activation button located away from the test button, multiple wearable mounting options including a belt clip and oral inflation clip for easy access in an emergency, and an easier-to-release anten-

na enclosure. All the new design changes were suggested by members of the ACR Electronics SurvivorClub free beacon replacement program. The PLBs also include a new infra-red strobe light in addition to the ultra-bright strobe light to assist rescue crews using night vision. Made in the U.S.A. and approved by the FCC, the new PLBs offer the same exceptional power and reliability expected from ACR products. ResQLink PLBs utilize three integrated signal technologies—GPS positioning (Galileo and GPS GNSS), a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability—to quickly and accurately relay the user’s position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites at the push of a button. Using the next-gen network, anyone activating a ResQLink PLB can expect their beacon to be located within 100 meters (328 feet), 95 percent of the time, within five minutes of the distress signal. The ResQLink series does not require any subscription but must be registered with the country’s national authority. Optional subscriptions for testing are available via ACR’s patented 406Link.com technology. Mikele D’Arcangelo, Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Management for ACR Electronics, said: “A personal locator beacon is a vital part of any safety kit for boaters, hikers, climbers, hunters, snowmobilers and all outdoor enthusiasts. As safety and survival specialists, ACR Electronics has been at the forefront of beacon technology and we will continue to innovate and listen to feedback so that our customers can always rely on our devices in an emergency.” Featuring built-in buoyancy, the ResQLink PLBs have an operating life that exceeds 24 hours. Ideal for carrying in a pocket, backpack or attaching to a life jacket, the ResQLink View PLB weighs just 151g, while the non-display ResQLink 400 weighs 148g. Both measure 4.52 (L) x 2.03 (W) x 1.49 in (D). ACR is also introducing the option of new ResQLink Skins. Different styles, including a “camouflage” version will be available for users to apply to their beacons while still meeting regulatory color requirements. The new ACR ResQLink 400 PLB is available for $299.99. The ACR ResQLink View PLB is available for $349.99. For more information, go to www.acrartex.com.

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Reel in the memories. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is a fisherman’s paradise. Ocean, lake and river ecosystems are home to more than 800 species of fish, from the ever-popular sailfish and snook to largemouth bass and perch. Forget your gear? Visit one of

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arch 9 was a magical day fishing out of St. Augustine aboard the 62’ Viking, Free Spool. Led by Capt. Ryan Leary, the team caught and released 43 sailfish to set a single-day record for St. Augustine Inlet. They caught all their sails about 45 miles ESE of St. Augustine. (Above) Joining the captain on the deck of the Free Spool beneath 43 flying release flags are: owner and angler Rob Rowe and mates Justin Roe, Chris Pakerinen (AKA CPak!), and angler Dalton Hegdus.

Martin’s many bait and tackle shops or outdoor retailers. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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B NPS photo by Yasmeen Smalley

illed as the biggest lionfish tournament in history, the 2019 Emerald Coast Open will be held in conjunction with FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival in May. The tournament kicks off May 16 with a mandatory 7 p.m. captain’s meeting at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar in Destin, Fla. Harvest days will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 17-19, with the weigh-in scales closing at 11 a.m. on May 19. Cash, gear and other prizes will be awarded in Most Lionfish, Largest Lionfish and Smallest Lionfish categories. Northwest Florida has the highest concentration of invasive lionfish in the world, and spearfishing is currently the primary means of controlling them. Lionfish pose a significant threat to native wildlife, and tournaments such as this one promote awareness of the problem while also increasing har-

vest of these invaders. Since Feb. 1, teams of lionfish hunters have been competing in a pre-tournament and had killed more than 1,000 lionfish leading up to the main event in May. But there are still plenty of lionfish out there on the reefs. Registration is $100 per participant, with teams consisting of up to four individuals. FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival is May 18-19 at AJ’s and HarborWalk Village in Destin. The Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Bring your friends and family for an amazing festival and learn about lionfish, taste lionfish and check out lionfish products. There will be many family-friendly activities including art, diving and marine conservation booths. Learn how to safely fillet a lionfish and try a lionfish dish at a local restaurant. Have fun listening to live music and watching the tournament weigh-in and awards. Learn why lionfish are such a big problem and what you can do to help! For more information go to emeraldcoastopen.com and follow the Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival on Facebook.

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Tim Barefoot

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here are several ways to make this double tackle, but one simple knot makes a wonderful, heavy-duty presentation. Some folks refer to this as a “high/low rig,” and you can call it anything you want, but for the sake of this article I’ll just call it a “double tackle.” To start with, consider the fish you are targeting and choose the correct size fluorocarbon for the leader. You can tie this knot in almost any size fluoro up to 80- or 100-pound. A rig like this is extremely effective on quite a few species and gets a lot of “reaction strikes” due to the multiple offerings presented and the erratic action of the baits. Using a heavier jig on the bottom keeps the lighter jig, streamer fly or unweighted soft plastic in place. It’s less likely to foul and makes the action more erratic, which draws the instinct strikes. The darting action resembles a scared or confused baitfish, which is irresistible to predatory fish, and the trailing bait is an easy target. These are the baitfish they have been programmed to eat since birth. It makes perfect sense, as they exert less energy to catch disoriented baitfish than those swimming perfectly in open water. There are two primary considerations when choosing the poundage of the fluoro leader material, water clarity and quarry. After choosing the correct size jigs and fluoro, it’s time to determine the lengths of the two legs of the rig. I start with about a 4- or 5-foot length of leader and make a 10- to 12-inch diameter loop in the center of the leader. This is typical for smaller inshore or freshwater fish, but can be made larger and longer for larger fish and jigs for a variety of offshore fish. Next, make eight turns with one of the tag ends through the 1-foot diameter loop. Find the center wrap of the tag end and separate it large enough to pass the 1-foot diameter loop back through (as shown in the photo).

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At this point, hook the 1-foot diameter loop onto something that allows you to pull all three legs of the tackle together with equal pressure and lubricant (saliva). Now, pull the two tag ends HARD as well as the loop to secure the knot down tight. Clip one of the two sides of the loop (shown in photo) and this makes the second leg of the “double tackle.” This might sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. For a detailed video, visit the website and the watch the video named “Double Tackle” Check out Tim’s website at www.barefootcatsandtackle.com.

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Shot Placement Sheri Daye

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hen you watch experienced spearos, you will notice they are relaxed in the water, they don’t take long shots, and they make it look easy. You will also notice they have a high percentage of kill shots. That is because they are disciplined and practice good shot placement. Perfect shot placement means you achieve a kill shot, also called “stoning the fish.” In other words, the fish is instantly put to sleep, lifeless as a stone. There’s a multitude of reasons to strive for this shot. For one, a kill shot is the most efficient and humane way to dispatch a fish. With a head shot, the fillets will be in better shape, with no holes, blood marks, or chance of bacteria entering the meat (from a gut shot). Also, the fish does not have a chance to struggle and bend your shaft, or worse yet, to get off the shaft. There are added safety benefits to stoning a fish. You will avoid ringing the dinner bell for sharks attracted to a struggling fish. Also, a live fish has the potential of tangling on the bottom or around you, so a dead fish makes for a much quicker and safer extraction. Finally, if you quietly put the fish to sleep, you won’t spook other fish in the surrounding area, giving you and your buddy a chance at more fish. To stone a fish, the shaft needs to hit the brain or spine. The ideal shot is a quartering shot from above and behind, hitting the spot where the lateral line meets the brain. This sweet spot is at the top of the gills and behind the eyes. Of course, the closer you can get to the fish, the higher the likelihood of proper shot placement. Here’s more tips for achieving kill shots while spearfishing: 1. Refine your diving/stalking technique so you can get closer to fish without spooking them. 2. Don’t rush the shot, take your time and try to get a more accurate shot.

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3. Buy a good quality speargun and make sure your shafts/floppers are in good shape (not bent). 4. Practice hitting an underwater target, such as a weighted foam fish or net. Try shooting from different distances so you know your range versus accuracy. Don’t take “iffy” shots. 5. Take the time to study fish anatomy and examine them at the Sheri Daye fillet table. shows what good shot There are excepplacement tions to the rule. For on cubera example, when taking snapper looks a long shot on a spooky fish with a narrow like. body, such as a wahoo, you might want to aim for “center mass.” Otherwise, take the time to learn one of the most fundamental rules of spearfishing—that is, good shot placement! Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

For more Sheri Daye go to,

CAMSPEARFISHING.COM

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FROM SHIP TO SHORE

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The new Havalon® TalonTM Quik-Change IITM Multi-Blade Cutlery System brings together nearly 40 years of expertise in the surgical field and decades of quality time spent out in open waters. This innovative platform features a variety of reliable add-on blades designed to make clean work of the dirty work all the way from ship to shore. NATIONAL

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SEA EAGLE SUPCAT 10 SeaEagle took the concept of an SUP and created a whole new type of inflatable fishing craft that is extremely versatile for anglers on the go. With two rock-solid inflatable side pontoons, The SUPCat10 is an incredibly stable platform to stand and fish or paddle from. For those who prefer to move faster, it can be equipped with either an electric or small gas outboard and reach speeds up to 8mph. From the trunk of your car to the water, the SUPCat10 sets up easily in less than 10 minutes. With the Wheels Up/Wheels Down feature, it’s possible to cart your boat and all your gear down to the water, flip the wheels into an upright position and paddle or motor away. Features include: Four Scotty gear mounts, two Scotty rod holders, nonslip EVA foam deck pads, 360-degree swivel seat, built-in fish rulers, multiple D-ring attachment points, removable rear motor mount and four grab handles. It’s an exceptional little fishing boat no matter how you choose to propel it.

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Sailfish Boats’ new flagship center console, the 360CC, is the largest, most feature-rich boat in the Sailfish family. The 360CC is on the leading-edge of center console design. Like all Sailfish Boats, the 360CC features Sailfish’s unique Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) Hull design, offering a smooth, stable ride, even in rough seas. Their exclusive VDS Hull features three distinct running surfaces. The first section is a 24-degree dead rise that cuts through the water. This is the most aggressive angle used in the fishing boat segment. The second section is 23 degrees, and it provides lift and allows air under the hull, producing a softer ride with less friction for better performance and fuel economy. This lift allows you to reach the same speed without requiring as much horsepower as other boats. The third section is 22 degrees, and it provides stability needed for slow trolling or stopped positions. The hull and deck are both reinforced with Kevlar and carbon fiber, and built using the SailTech foam-filled fiberglass stringer system and SailTech composite full length transom. Sailfish has been expertly engineering center consoles, dual consoles, walkarounds and bay boats for nearly 40 years. They range from 19’ to 36’. With reliable outboard power from Yamaha or Mercury, and their exclusive VDS hull design, the Sailfish 360CC delivers a smooth, safe ride, even in the roughest offshore water. The all-new 360CC Center Console is a fitting addition to the Sailfish lineup. It epitomizes the Sailfish legacy of building high quality and expertly engineered boats that are fishing focused and family friendly.

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A rarity in its class, the 360CC is built using three-piece construction and cored hull sides, providing a rigid platform that allows for maximum cockpit space with abundant, built-in under-gunwale storage. Onboard, you will find an amazing array of innovative features and options, including a built-into-the-hardtop articulating cockpit shade, pressurized circulating bait wells, vented sunroof, and a spacious captain’s berth.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

EXPERIENCE THE


TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER Why Do Hooked Fish Get Off?

B

BRANDON LESTER

ass get away for two basic reasons: the hook coming out of their mouth and line failure. If you can keep those from happening, you’ll land the fish. Sounds simple right? Well, it is and it isn’t. To keep these from happening, you’ve got to have the right combination of hook, line and rod… and then you must use them all properly. Let’s start with the hookset. If the hook isn’t properly buried into the fish’s jaw, it is obviously easier for it to come out. The hookset is predominately a factor of the right hook paired with the right fishing rod. You generally want to use the biggest, sturdiest hook and the heaviest power (basically its stiffness) rod the particular technique and lure will allow. And you’ve got to learn to set the hook as hard as your equipment will allow you. Watch the hooksets of pro anglers on the Bassmaster television show. We do not mess around. The hookset is powerful and fast. The biggest challenge with matching hook and rod power is learning how big you can go with your equipment and still present the bait properly. You’ll get more bites using smaller hooks and lighter line, so you can’t always use the heaviest equipment. Pay close attention to the bait and lure weights that rods are rated for. I

build all my rods with blanks and supplies from Mud Hole Custom Tackle (www.MudHole.com). All of their blanks come with that information included. Winn Grips are a must on all my rods, as they ensure a proper grip on the rod for that big hookset. A good quality hook is one that penetrates a fish’s mouth and stays there until you get your hands on the fish. The sharper the hook, the better it penetrates into the fish’s mouth. Once there, the hook has to be strong enough to not “flex” or open up. A flexing hook takes pressure off the bass and allows him to pull off during the fight. A lot of baits come with cheap hooks that will flex even on the first fish. Lesser-quality hooks will often become dull very quickly, too. Not all hooks are made the same. Mustad is the world’s No. 1 hook seller, and it’s No. 1 for a reason. Fortunately for us bass anglers, years ago Denny Brauer and Kevin VanDam got together with Mustad’s engineers and designers to create the basic hooks needed specifically for bass. Mustad hasn’t stopped improving the line of hooks either. The Big Bite worm hook is a hook I helped them develop. In many countries, they don’t use a separate term for “fish hook.” They simply call it a “Mustad.” In a future article, we’ll discuss fighting the fish and the importance of choosing the right fishing line. Until then, go fishing and work on that hookset!

For more on Lester visit,

FISHINGMAGAZINE.FISHING

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35 PM

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*At participating dealers only. Qualifying retail customers may receive instant savings off the selling price of a Honda powered boat package or Honda Marine engine(s) sold for repower. This promotion is limited to new Honda Marine 40 HP through 250 HP outboard engines, 2014 and newer models, sold and delivered between January 3, 2019 and June 3, 2019 and registered by the Dealer in accordance with American Honda Motor Co., Inc.’s sales registration requirements. Only Honda Marine outboard engines sold for personal use qualify for this promotion. Fleet, commercial & government sales are ineligible. Engines sold under special pricing / promotions including (but not limited to) demo and tournament fisherman engines are also excluded. Honda Marine reserves the right to modify, amend, cancel or revoke, in whole or in part, this promotion at any time without prior notice. © 2019 American Honda Co., Inc. Always wear a personal flotation device while boating and read your owner’s manual. All Honda outboards meet EPA and CARB emission levels. 28 NATIONAL I APRIL 2019Motor I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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MARK SOSIN There is a lesson to be learned. Shortly before he vaulted to stardom on the largemouth bass tournament trail countless years ago, Rick Clunn discovered that he spent so much time searching for magical techniques and secret lures that he almost lost sight of the basics. When he paused to reflect, he realized there were no curealls or panaceas that applied to any type of fishing. The answer centered on a more simplified approach. It suddenly became apparent that almost all bass tournaments were won by somebody who used a spinnerbait, plastic worm or a crankbait. It didn’t matter where the contest was held, who fished it and won, or what time of year it happened to be. Armed with that valuable bit of information, Rick decided to change his own fishing style and substitute simplicity for the complex techniques he clung to in the past. It occurred to him that if he learned to fish these basic lures with equal skill, he should be able to catch fish anywhere. Some of us have a tendency to insist on making fishing much more complicated than it actually is. If fish were that hard to catch, few of us would ever be successful. Impatience and lack of confidence force many anglers to search frantically for solutions that just don’t exist. These fishermen would do better if they learned one or two techniques thoroughly.

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4/19 3:48 PM

Certainly, there will be times when their basic method does not produce, but over the long run they will catch more fish. My late father never heard of Rick Clunn, nor did he ever fish competitively for anything. Over many years, he fished for countless species in freshwater and salt, always limiting his approach to a few basic lures or some simple bait. When he finally retired and moved to Florida, his lure of choice was a small, yellow bucktail which he could fish better than anyone I ever met. His tackle box became the two side pockets on his jacket. A handful of bucktails were in his right-hand pocket and some leader material in his left pocket. There’s one other facet to Dad’s thinking worth following. He always insisted that the law of averages held the key to success. Those who insist on specializing on a particular species of fish or seek one of an extra large size are missing out on a lot of fun. All you have to do is keep casting and catching. The law of averages will eventually produce trophy fish for you as well as species that seem important. If you’ve been seeking a way to catch more fish on every outing, try this simplified approach that worked for Rick Clunn and my father. Many of the leading anglers of our time depend on it, and it just might turn the trick for you.

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

H

ave you ever wondered why your buddy fishing next to you is catching more fish when you are both using the same lure? Chances are it has to do with the way he’s retrieving his lure that entices fish to strike. What is the first thing you do when the fish are not biting? Most people immediately change lures. If that doesn’t work, the next step is usually to move locations, only to work the lure the same way when it clearly was not producing. You must try working a lure several different ways before ruling it out as ineffective. Here is an example. One chilly morning I was throwing a Controlled Descent Jerk Shad set to sink very slowly. It had a rattle in it. Since the water was in the mid 50s, I concentrated on an area that was 3 or 4 feet deep with a soft silty bottom. I started out keeping my lure near the bottom and working my rod parallel to the water. The lure was basically suspending 6- to 18-inches off the bottom with a side-to-side motion. This is a proven technique in similar situations; however, I didn’t get a strike. After some time covering the area with that technique, I changed my retrieve and worked the same area with the same lure. I started to twitch my lure slowly to the surface, almost as if it was climbing stairs, but very slowly. Since this lure had an extremely slow sink rate, it would almost suspend when paused after

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“climbing a few steps.” Once the lure reached the surface, I would let it slowly sink back to the bottom and repeat. I started to catch solid trout up to 6 pounds when the lure would almost reach the surface. Later that day, I fished a different spot with similar conditions. I was working the lure the same way that had produced earlier, and I was getting some very light bites once the lure would reach the bottom. The fish would pick up the lure and swim off, or at times they would swim toward me and I never really felt the strike. I landed a couple but missed and lost many more. Since they were definitely on the bottom and not really aggressive toward the slow-moving lure, I changed it up. Since I had a rattle, I started vigorously shaking my rod tip to make the lure rattle and twitch on the bottom without a lot of forward motion. This was most likely stirring up some silt, as well. This erratic action enticed the trout into a more instinctive strike. I began getting very aggressive strikes and landed every fish that hit. I never changed lure color, style or weight all day. Had I simply switched lures like most people do and worked them the same way as I started, I might not have caught anything. Try changing your retrieve before tying another knot. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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