Coastal Angler Magazine | October 2019 | Alabama/Pensacola Edition

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ALABAMA/PENSACOLA EDITION

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Bull Reds

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Fly Fishing PRODUCT REVIEW PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL BOOTH VOLUME 24 • ISSUE 295

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F R A N C H I S E

O P P O R T U N I T I E S

A V A I L A B L E

OCTOBER 2019

W O R L D W I D E


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Gimme Six Extended Protection promo is applicable to new Suzuki Outboard Motors from 25 to 350 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 10/01/19 and 12/31/19 in accordance with the promotion by a Participating Authorized Suzuki Marine dealer in the continental US and Alaska to a purchasing customer who resides in the continental US or Alaska. Customer should expect to receive an acknowledgement letter and full copy of contract including terms, conditions and wallet card from Suzuki Extended Protection within 90 days of purchase. If an acknowledgement letter is not received in time period stated, contact Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. – Marine Marketing via email: marinepromo@suz.com. The Gimme Six Promotion is available for pleasure use only, and is not redeemable for cash. Instant Savings apply to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki Outboard Motors made between 10/01/19 and 12/31/19. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine. com. Instant Savings must be applied against the agreed-upon selling price of the outboard motor and reflected in the bill of sale. (Suzuki will, in turn, credit Dealer’s parts account.) There are no model substitutions, benefit substitutions, rain checks, or extensions. Suzuki reserves the right to change or cancel these promotions at any time without notice or obligation. * Financing offers available through Synchrony Retail Finance. As low as 5.99% APR financing for 60 months on new and unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 10/01/19 and 12/31/19. “Gimme Six”, the Suzuki “S” and model names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2019 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

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NEW PRODUCT

Fly Fishing

REVIEW

Abel VAYA Vaya is Spanish for “GO!” as in go outside, go on an adventure or go fishing. Crafted by avid Colorado anglers, Abel’s VAYA series of fly reels introduces an allnew technical look and feel, paired with outstanding performance. The partially-ported VAYA frame offers the unique combination of minimized weight, incredible rigidity and just enough surface area to highlight Abel’s hand-anodized finishes, which are offered in numerous awesome colors and patterns, from flat black to brown trout, dorado and many more. Available in sizes 4/5, 5/6 and 7/8.

Filson Rugged Twill Compact Rod Case Filson has earned its reputation for sturdy quality construction and products that are overbuilt to handle the rigors sportsmen put their gear through. The Rugged Twill Compact Rod Case holds two 9-foot, 4-piece rods in their tubes with exterior pockets to hold reels and accessories. This lightweight yet durable case is perfect for days when you’ll need two rods and want to keep them safe when not in use. It’s constructed of water-repellant and abrasion-resistant 100 percent cotton Rugged Twill with brass hardware and bridle leather straps.

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Ross Reels Animas

Rod Vault ST Why waste time threading line through the guides? The vehicle-mounted fly rod storage solution from Denver Outfitter allows recreational anglers and professionals to arrive at their fishing destination with fly rods and reels intact, fully-rigged and ready to fish. Two roof-mounted aircraft grade anodized aluminum tubes hold two, three or four fully rigged fly rods up to 10’6 in length, and a locking reel housing area easily fits most fly reels. Protective polypropylene liners inside the Rod Vault eliminate rod on metal contact protecting guides and rod tips from abrasion. The Rod Vault was specifically over-engineered to keep valuable equipment safe in almost any circumstance. Stainless steel hardware ensures the RodVault will remain rust free no matter the fishing environment and fiberglass infused nylon construction protects the reel housing, mounting hardware and aerodynamic nose cone from UV degradation. Whether storing rods to fish before or after work or traveling across the country on an epic fishing trip the Rod Vault is designed to keep gear safe. Available in three models, the Rod Vault 2 holds two fly rods, the Rod Vault Original for three fly rods and the Rod Vault 4 holding four fly rods.

Ross Reels has taken the time-proven features that made the original Animas a guide favorite and introduced new machined features to bring the new Animas fly reel into the modern era of Ross. Proudly Americanmade in Colorado and weighing just over 4 ounces, the new Animas features a compositedisc drag system and an ultra-light canvas phenolic handle, which gets tackier when wet. A new troublefree spool release yields zeromaintenance performance, allowing the Animas to be ready for any fresh or saltwater excursion. The new Animas is available in sizes 4/5, 5/6 and 7/8.

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THE BAHAMAS: BEAUTIFUL, DANGEROUS

although great variability exists between the northern and southern islands. This variability is most easily seen on Andros, the largest Bahamian island, where pine forests dominate in the north and give way to more tropical vegetation in the south. The majority of The Bahamas are low lying, with about 80 percent of the islands less than 15 feet above sea level. This, along with the fact that the islands span a great distance in warm tropical waters, make them attractive to tourists, who flock in for beautiful beaches, friendly faces and fantastic fishing. The Bahamas are heavily reliant on tourism, and for many “Family Islands,” angling tourism is vital for their survival. Unfortunately, these geographical traits also make The Bahamas susceptible to flooding and damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. The expansive nature of the islands of The Bahamas is a mixed blessing. Being large means Bahamians are more likely to be impacted somewhere in the chain by severe weather, but it also means many areas will remain untouched. This was the case with Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the two most northern islands, Abaco and Grand Bahama, but left countless others unharmed. The impact from Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama is catastrophic, and the outpourings of aid a blessing. One of the best ways to help The Bahamas overcome this tragedy, and future events, is to help the tourism-based economy by travelling to untouched parts of the islands. The author with a Bahamian bonefish caught from Andros Island while fishing out of the Two Boys Inn with one of the many legendary Neymour For anglers, this is a great opportunity to fish new waters. If you have family of guides. never been, try Andros, the Exumas, Long Island, Bimini, Acklins Island, Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Inagua or many other fantastic destinations By Tom Karrow throughout The Bahamas. he Bahamas are roughly 700 islands and cays with an additionIn this time of need, take the opportunity to help The Bahamas and Baal 5,000 low-lying rocks. Only about 30 of the 700 islands are hamians by simply booking a trip and getting on the water. Grab your fainhabited, leaving hundreds of tropical islands for wildlife. The vorite rods, reels, lines and leaders, tie up some Gotcha flies and give it a go. chain stretches more than 500 miles from the Island of Inagua in the Tom Karrow, PhDc, MES, BES, BED, is nearing completion of a PhD in Gesoutheast, to the northernmost island of Grand Bahama, an economic ography and Environmental Management, focused on sustainability of The Bahahub for the islands. mian bonefishing industry through ethnography. He was a research fellow at the Situated off the southeast coast of the continental United States, University of The Bahamas and is sponsored by R.L.Winston Fly Rods, Nautilus the climate is dominated by warm tropical-like air and water currents, Fly Reels, FishPond Gear, Costa Sunglasses and Simms.

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n the early 1930s watch manufacturers took a clue from Henry Ford’s favorite quote concerning his automobiles, “You can have any color as long as it is black.” Black dialed watches became the rage especially with pilots and race drivers. Of course, since the black dial went well with a black tuxedo, the adventurer’s black dial watch easily moved from the airplane hangar to dancing at the nightclub. Now, Stauer brings back the “Noire”, a design based 27 jewels and handon an elegant timepiece built in 1936. Black dialed, assembled parts drive complex automatics from the 1930s have recently hit this classic masterpiece. new heights at auction. One was sold for in excess of $600,000. We thought that you might like to have an affordable version that will be much more accurate than the original. Basic black with a twist. Not only are the dial, hands and face vintage, but we used a 27-jeweled automatic movement. This is the kind of engineering desired by fine watch collectors worldwide. But since we design this classic movement on state of the art computer-controlled Swiss built machines, the accuracy is excellent. Three interior dials display day, month and date. We have priced the luxurious Stauer Noire at a price to keep you in the black… only 3 payments of $33. So slip into the back of your black limousine, savor some rich tasting black coffee and look at your wrist knowing that you have some great times on your hands.

An offer that will make you dig out your old tux. The movement of the Stauer Noire wrist watch carries an extended two year warranty. But first enjoy this handsome timepiece risk-free for 30 days for the extraordinary price of only 3 payments of $33. If you are not thrilled with the quality and rare design, simply send it back for a full refund of the item price. But once you strap on the Noire you’ll want to stay in the black.

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FLORIDA

NIGHTTIME

SNOOK

TAC T I C S

By John Saporito

L

ike many predatory fish, snook are more active under cover of darkness. In fact, fishing at night might be the single biggest thing you can do to increase your odds of connecting with quality snook. Night fishing is, however, a much different game than fishing under the sun. When the sun goes down, many snook leave their daytime habitat and head into shallow water to hunt. They can often be found in the shadow lines around piers and bridges, and may be holding tight to

shore in canals and bays. Many anglers are stunned to come across snook that are right at their feet as they fish shorelines at night. Snook make this move because the darkness gives them both a sense of security and a feeding advantage over their prey. It’s important, therefore, that you be cautious when stalking these fish. Move quietly and be careful not to produce any vibrations that will reach the fish and scare them away. The night is generally much quieter than the day, and clumsy movements are likely to be picked up by wary snook. In addition, you should never shine a flashlight on the water you will be fishing. This is a surefire way to doom your chances of hooking up. Although fish may be attracted to consistent light sources—such as lampposts on bridges and docks—erratic, unpredictable lights will spook them in a hurry. The lure types and colors you choose should be different from what you carry in your daytime arsenal. Snook switch from using the color-sensitive cone cells in their eyes to using their rod cells, which are honed to capture silhouette and profile rather than color and fine detail. It’s a good practice to choose your offerings accordingly. Dark lures, especially black and purple, are deadly at night. For a snook looking up from below, a dark lure will stand out well against the night sky, which is bright compared to the water beneath it. The more contrast you provide, the easier it is for these gamefish to find your lure. Baitfish and other prey items will also actively feed in the darkness, and swimming plugs are extremely effective at night as a result. Lures with rattles and those that produce enticing ultra-sonic vibrations will do well for you, as snook favor audible cues and vibration detection by both their inner ear and lateral line in the absence of color vision. A word of caution to those who choose to pursue snook at night: Although your catch numbers may increase dramatically, night fishing can be a dangerous game. Always have a fishing buddy with you and be extra careful around slick surfaces such as seawalls, jetties and rock pilings. Be sure to have your phone charged in case of emergency—and also to take photos of your trophy snook before you release it. John Saporito is a lifelong fisherman and student of the seas. Visit him online at guerillaangling.com and follow on Instagram @guerilla_angling

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CHEECA LODGE ALL AMERICAN BACKCOUNTRY TOURNAMENT

W

ar heroes will compete with world-class anglers at the Seventh Annual Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament Nov. 7-9, 2019 at Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, Fla. In honor of Veteran’s Day, the event invites two war heroes to join the tournament inspired by 41st President George Bush, who frequented Cheeca and the Florida Keys to pursue his love of fishing. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, a non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats through research, stewardship, education and advocacy. “The All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament is part of Cheeca Lodge’s iconic legacy,” said Paul Burke, of Cheeca Lodge & Spa. “We’re excited to partner with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and to welcome Bruce Melnick, a former American astronaut and retired U.S. Coast Guard officer, who will fish the tournament.” All American anglers fish on a guided charter boat or their own boat

with a licensed guide. They compete for trophies and awards for releasing five different species of inshore fish: snook, redfish, bonefish, tarpon and permit. Individual and team trophies will be awarded for fly, general tackle/spinning/conventional and artificial lure divisions. Live bait is permitted in the general tackle division. Tournament entry fee is $1,500 per angler, offering two social events with dinner and beverages for four people, including the angler, guide and one guest each. Also included is a daily continental breakfast dockside at World Wide Sportsman, boxed lunches for anglers and guides and a gift bag per person. Social events will be held at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, a sportsman paradise renowned for barefoot elegance, with fishing departing from nearby World Wide Sportsman. This first-class tournament will kick-off on Thursday, Nov. 7 with a cocktail reception, rules meeting, patriotic banquet on the beach and live auction. Competitive fishing hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9. The tournament culminates on Saturday with an awards ceremony and banquet, where anglers can mingle with fishing celebrities such as world-famous fly angler, Stu Apte. Awards for Individual Grand Champion, Individual Runner-Up, Grand Champion Team, Runner-Up Grand Champion Team, Champions in the Fly, Artificial and General Tackle Divisions and Best Photo will be presented. New for 2019 is a Friday evening reception and presentation by Bruce Melnick from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Cheeca, included in the entry fee. While the tournament’s social events are included in the tournament registration, social-only tickets for the public are available in limited quantity by calling (305) 517-4512 or e-mailing lthornhill@cheeca.com to reserve. Social tickets are $70 for Thursday’s kickoff dinner and auction; $25 for the reception with Bruce Melnick and $95 for Saturday’s Awards Banquet. Cheeca will also host the 30th Annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament Jan. 24-26, 2020, the second leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship.

For more information, visit www.cheeca.com/all-american, www.cheeca.com/presidential or call (305) 517-4512.

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***


Does Age Matter?

Photo by Zachary Nolan Divers swim over the deck of the Ana Cecilia.

By John Lidington pril, 1968—a time early in Palm Beach County’s history of artificial-reef-building. The Mizpah floats about a mile off of Singer Island. That’s a problem. She’s supposed to be on the bottom 200 feet below, but refuses to sink. More holes are cut in her hull, and eventually she goes under. During that prolonged descent, the Gulf Stream has intervened, pushing her into shallower water. She lands upright on the sand, less than 100 feet down. Fast forward to July, 2016. About 150 yards south of Mizpah’s position, the Ana Cecilia is set to become the next addition to Palm Beach County’s artificial reef system. Her interior has been stripped of potential snags, and doors and hatches have been removed to allow access to her interior. The goal is to attract divers and fish. Unlike Mizpah, Ana Cecilia slips swiftly beneath the waves to her resting place 85 feet below.

A

The two ships’ proximity makes it easy to explore both on a single dive. That’s my plan as I ready my gear aboard Pura Vida Divers’ boat Sirena. I want to see just what 50 years of immersion does to a wreck. Similar in size (Ana Cecilia, 170 feet; Mizpah, 185 feet), the ships were sunk with outer structures intact and rest in the same environment. The big difference? Mizpah has been submerged 48 years longer. As the current carries me swiftly along the bottom, I see the Ana Cecilia’s bow emerging from the blue. She looks like a wreck should look—a ship on a journey that was interrupted. Encrusting sponges, hydroids and bryozoans are taking hold, but paint still shows in a few spots. Swimming through her open interior, I can imagine refloating her, scrubbing her and proceeding to port. Mizpah offers a very different experience. She’s now a true bottom feature. Most of her superstructure has collapsed. Marine growth is luxurious and includes gorgonians and cup corals. While both wrecks have plenty of fish (including goliath groupers), Mizpah’s increased growth attracts greater variety. Comparing the two, it’s obvious that wrecks don’t last forever. They create homes for marine life for a long, long time. But there’s a limit to how long a wreck will offer divers safe, easy penetration. Fresh wrecks keep the dive scene vibrant. To this end, the Palm Beach County Diving Association is working with Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management to sink a new wreck every year for the next three years. To help fund this program, they host an annual Artificial Reef Fundraiser, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach, Fla. Tickets can be purchased at Pura Vida Divers, at any other PBCDA member, or online at https://divepbc.com/events. To check out these wrecks for yourself, give Pura Vida Divers a call (561-840-8750) or make an online reservation through their website at www.puravidadivers.com. For a well-researched history of the Mizpah, check out Walt Stearns’ article at https://xray-mag.com/blog/diving-mizpah.

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Pelagic Rockstar Ready To Rock Central America’s Richest Offshore Tourney is Jan. 10-12 out of Quepos

W

ith more than half a million bucks on the line, the Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament will descend upon Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, Costa Rica Jan. 10-12 in what promises to be Central America’s richest fishing tournament. The Pelagic Rockstar is a fish all day, party all night kind of affair. With 60-plus boats expected to compete for more than $500,000, it is serious offshore competition. Back at the docks, it’s a massive party featuring multiple marina-side bashes and live rock ‘n’ roll. In the world’s premier offshore waters of the Pacific, target species for the tournament are sailfish, blue marlin, black marlin, striped

marlin, tuna and dorado. During last year’s Rockstar, fishing was off the chain. The fleet released a staggering 424 sailfish and marlin, while the weigh station was kept busy with piles of big yellowfin tuna and dorado. The Pelagic Rockstar kicks off Friday, Jan. 10 with check-ins, happy hour at Marina Pez Vela’s Pura Vida Beach Club and a Captain’s Meeting followed by the Kick-Off Party Extravaganza and Concert. On Saturday, Jan. 11, the tournament procession will depart Marina Pez Vela at 6:30 a.m. to stage at the starting line for the customary 7 a.m. shotgun start. Day One weigh-ins will be from 3 to 6 p.m. The Docktail Party and music begin at 4:30 p.m. Tournament Day 2 is lines in at 7 a.m., lines out at 3 p.m. The awards ceremony and farewell bash concert begin at 7 p.m. General Entry is $3,500. All-In is $17,500. Save $500 with early bird registration before Dec. 1 and get a free Official Tournament Apparel Package. Gather your crew and head on down to Quepos for “Costa Rica’s Funnest Big Game Fishing Event.” For information and to register, go to www.pelagictournaments.com.

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2020 21 LS Dual

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2020 JVX20 $22,895

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• Pedestal Seat w/ Base • Velcro Rod Savers • Console Livewell w/ LED Light • 24V Trolling Motor Plug • Hull Color Small Stripe - Cabernet • Velcro Rod Savers (2 Sets) • Maxiflow Recirculation System Maxi • Continental Aluminum Trailer

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2019 JVX16

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LLEBROC UPS THE ANTE WITH THE NEW SV SERIES

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lebroc Industries, a name synonymous with high-quality seats, has once again raised the bar for the marine industry. The SV Series will be unveiled at IBEX and The Fort Lauder-

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dale Boat Show this fall and will quickly become the industry standard. With new stitching patterns and colors combinations, the SV Series is comparable to the cockpit of a Lamborghini. No matter the style or design of your boat, Llebroc will rise to the challenge and ensure your vessel is both stylish and comfortable. From helm chairs to bench seats and leaning posts, Llebroc is capable of designing and installing the very best seating available. Based out of Texas, Llebroc Industries has a long-standing tradition of working with any vessel big or small. From bass boats to yachts, they are equipped to handle any project no matter how big or small. One of the latest projects was outfitting the 45-Foot tender of an Ocean Alexander. “I love e ver yt hing I do, and that’s why we work on e ver yt hing no matter how big or small,” said Greg Carman of Llebroc Industries. This attitude has helped Llebroc Industries develop a brand that is a thoroughbred of design, comfort, and stability. You can see Llebroc seating and helm chairs throughout the marine industry. From Viking Yachts to Boston Whalers, every boat company is looking to have the best quality boat and that is why they turn to Llebroc for their seating. So, if you are in the market for a new seating set up on your vessel, be sure to stop by Llebroc Industries and talk to Greg Carman. You won’t be disappointed. For more information, go to www.llebroc.com.

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ON THE MOVE MARK SOSIN

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t happens every year. No one really knows whether it’s shorter days, a slight drop in water temperature, or something else that triggers baitfish and predators to gather in schools and start moving south. This annual migration in September and October provides some of the best fishing on all coasts. Whether you prefer trolling baits or casting into the schools, success depends on getting an offering in front of the fish without frightening the schools into diving for sanctuary. The problem is, when you discover a school of fish, you are seldom alone. Instead of approaching the fringes of the school, boats race toward the fish at full throttle. The perfect position is on the seaward side of the school just off the forward edge and moving slowly with the school. If you’re trolling, this puts your baits where they can be seen easily. Casters can work the edges of the school, working their offering close to the main body and in the direction the fish are moving. In real life, it seldom works this perfectly. Boats tend to continuously jockey for position, while trollers move right through the middle of the school, forcing fish into the depths. Most of the action takes place when predators find a school of baitfish and begin to feed. Often gulls and terns

FLORIDA

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squawking overhead tell anglers there is action below. When the big guys aren’t feeding, it’s much harder to find them. You just have to keep studying the water’s surface until you see signs of fish. Baitfish have a habit of moving into an inlet and holding there for a period. Most of the time, you won’t see the action of breaking fish, but where there is prey, you can bet predators are nearby. As an angler, check every inlet carefully at this time of year. It could make your day. Whether you are retrieving a cast or trolling, baits should be moving in the same direction as the predators or not much of an angle to either side. Fish are not going to leave the school and chase something in the opposite direction. They will ease out of the main body, but they are going to maintain the direction of the school. Keep in mind that predators focus on one victim at a time. By working your offering on the edges of the school, but moving it in the same direction, it becomes an easy meal for them. For the surf fisherman, if you are working an area where mobility is possible, it pays to work up and down the beach until you find a school of bait or predators. Remember that casts must allow a retrieve in the direction the school is traveling. A single fish seldom goes against the direction that the main body is moving. This is the time of the year when coastal fishing can be spectacular. Take advantage of it. For more from Mark Sosin, visit

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BIG TROUT OR EASY TROUT ON THE NANTAHALA DH

Editor’s Note: In honor of delayed harvest trout regulations opening across the Southeast, here’s a look at one of North Carolina’s best. This description of the Nantahala River between Murphy and Bryson City is an abbreviated excerpt from the book “Flyfisher’s Guide to North Carolina & Georgia.”

By Nick Carter

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easy or difficult as you make it, although frequently the water gets quite high with winter rains. Don’t let heavy flow and a little bit of a stain deter you. Murky water combined with the right nymph or streamer can be the right combination to fool big fish that see a lot of flies. And there are some big fish. North Carolina does a great job of sprinkling trophy-sized individuals in with its stockings. For years, the Nantahala DH was a destination location for me before a move to Graham County just a few miles from the river made it a back-up plan. At the time, I was a wild trout snob. I can’t count the times I drove past easier fishing and larger fish to hike into remote streams where 5-inch fish were the norm. I don’t regret that. It was fun. What I do regret since moving away from Graham County are the Wednesday afternoons I had off work when I passed on the opportunity to fish the DH. I did, however, fish it a lot. What I learned was the fishing can be ridiculously easy for numbers after a stocking, but the better fish require a little work. The river can also be downright difficult once the fish wise up. Showing them either something natural or something out of the ordinary can be productive. Patience is also a virtue. Moving quickly and picking off the eager feeders is a good way to land a bunch of standard hatchery fish. Moving slowly and stealthily, watching the water and carefully picking your casts helps for those larger fish. In a place where almost all the fish come to hand with lip piercings, there are individuals that become reluctant to eat. Egg patterns, Buggers, mop flies and flashy nymphs get the most attention after a stocking. But bugs will be on the water, with winter stones, blue winged olives, midges and maybe some small caddis popping off in sunny spots during winter. Come spring, the river is a riot of bug activity, and dry fly fishing gets very good. At any given time, there might be black and tan caddis, small dark stoneflies, yellow sallies, midges and a variety of mayflies on the water.

ith special regulations calling for catch and release, sin“Flyfisher’s Guide to North Carolina & Georgia” includes maps, GPS gle-hook, artificial only October into June, a nearly 4-mile stretch of North Carolina’s Nantahala River is very popular access points and detailed descriptions of the region’s best trout fishing. this time of year. There is easy roadside access and wading can be as It is available on Amazon, at fly shops or by contacting the author at nsc8957@gmail.com.

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Contributing Writers Capt. Charlie Gray Capt. Dan Kolenich Capt. David Hare Capt. Don McPherson Capt. Johnny Willis

Capt. Rick Barberi Benton Parrott/Team Hobie Kevin Freeland/Dive Pros Rich Ellison

Graphics/Web Design

K-9 Contributors

Ryan Speer/Speerbot.com

Forrest Chapman Mojo Caruso

9/15/2019 4:23:35 PM


KAYAK REPORT BY: BENTON PARROTT

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arly a.m. fishing and home in time for College football! The water temperature is dropping and that should heat up the fishing. Early morning it’s hard to beat throwing a topwater looking for trout and reds. I have been having great results with the skitterwalk and the spook jr. I am using the bone white pattern because it is a confidence bait for me. I can search lots of ground with a topwater locating fish in open water. When fishing up in the creeks I use a soft plastics on a jig head. I like to throw the saltwater assassin sea

shad on a 1/8 oz. jig head and flutter bounce them down grass lines and creek mouths. Reds, trout, and flounder love them. This is the time the big reds start gathering up and they are always fun to play with out of the kayak. Not to miss in October! The Bayou Coast Kayak Clubs FallnTides tournament is October 19th in Venice, Louisiana at the Cypress Cove Marina. This is a huge inshore slam tournament with divisions for everyone in the family! https://bayoucoast.com/ fall-n-tide-tournament/ The MBKFA is having their 13th annual 5 Rivers tournament on Oct.26th. This is a weigh in tournament and there is divisions for slot redfish, speckled trout, flounder, bass, and inshore slam consisting over your best red fish, trout, and flounder combo. There will be lots of great prizes and good food. This is always a fun tournament to fish with a division for everyone! http://www.mbkfa.com Look us up on Facebook on our Kayak Fishing U page where we keep a running tab of

all tournaments going on. 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

ORANGE BEACH BY: CAPT. JOHNATHAN WILLIS

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ith the cool weather approaching the army morning and late evening bite has been fantastic! Top water chuggers, “walking the dog”, all of the above will work the key is find king the right place to use them. I’m looking for any kind of anomaly whether it’s docks holding bait, grass beds whatever it is that’s holding the bait that day is most important to find. After you’ve found the bait a quarter ounce jig head with a Matrix Shad paddle tail and a top water bait is going to be best effective as these fish are VERY aggressive when there is good tide movement early in the morning or late evening with everything from Trout and redfish to flounder, Mackerel, Blue Fish and many others! Captain Johnathan Willis Gulf Bay Charters 850-454-6937

2 ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL | OCTOBER 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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LAKE MARTIN BY: CAPT. DAVID B. HARE 489.00 ( full pool 491.00 ) 85 degree surface temp Clear to very clear clarity

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ake Martin is alive and well as I write this ( 9/10/19 ) The top water action is on fire right now both with stripers and spotted bass . In September so far we have boated them as big as 20 lbs on top water lures and as big as 37 lbs trolling . In regards to the bass bite ( which all of you know that’s not the species I target ) my bass angler friends are catching 5 fish limits with a consistent weight of 16-20 lbs total along with some 4 - 5 lb pigs . This top water bite is not just happening at day break but has been good all thru the day especially if you have a little breeze on the water . October assuming we have not gotten much rain the last few weeks is going to have the water levels down possibly as low as the winter pool level which is about 484.00 . I personally like fishing with the water levels down due to it’s just less surface area that I have to cover to locate and stay on the fish . When your dealing with 44,000

acres and 800 miles of shoreline like we have here then winter pool levels reduce that size area drastically which in return helps us dramatically. As I say every year in my October article this is what I consider the transition period for stripers. Transition for me means they are moving or thinking about moving to different areas all over the lake so I have to plan on covering a lot of areas and cover them fast to be able to have successful trips . The easiest and fastest way for me to do this is by trolling with my Down Riggers ( Electric Scotty 1160 Pro Pack ) as I’m trolling I am constantly watching my Hummingbird 12 series electronics for stripers that may be schooled together if I see this I mark the spot ( waypoint) so I can come back to them with live bait if the trolling doesn’t work . In above paragraph I mentioned the live bait method / I’m not going to go in to this at depth but I do want all of you to know that Alabama has passed a new law stating you can no longer transport bait fish from one reservoir to another . This law was passed due to the increasing issue of Silver Carp ( Asain Carp ) being found in a lot of water ways / luckily so far none have been found in Lake Martin and we all want it to stay that way so the new law does protect us against that which is a very good thing however it increases the work for the live bait fisherman to have to catch and use only the bait fish that’s in the reservoir your fishing . Still only legalized bait fish can be caught and used for fishing . Now you can still purchase

bait at your local licensed bait shops for fishing which basically around Lake Martin only consist of Minnows, Black Salties, crickets , worms , etc . Our area is very unlike other states and doesn’t have bait shops that offer gizzard shad or herring ( which by the way is still not legal in Alabama to fish with ) so we are at a disadvantage compared to other states and we will and are making legal adjustments to catching and fishing with local ( non transported ) shad . You as a client with Alex City Guide Service will probably never even realize anything changed but us as a guide service definitely will be working harder than ever to be able to supply good quality bait on our charter trips . For a better understanding of the new bait transporting laws go to Alabama DCNR , game and fish regulations. Until next time 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 | OCTOBER 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 3

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9/15/2019 4:23:36 PM


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9/15/2019 4:23:37 PM


MOBILE / DAUPHIN ISLAND BY: CAPT. CHARLIE GRAY

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emperature wise, October will start off warm and end up much cooler. The summertime pattern will persist until the first cool fronts appear mid to late month. Early in the month we will still be catching Speckled Trout, redfish and a bunch of White Trout around the lower bay rigs, on deeper structure and all up and down the bay, in the marshes and around the small islands in the sound. They can also be found around the rivers that dump into the bays and Mississippi Sound. The trout will continue this pattern until the weather cools off. As that happens they will migrate North into the marshes and the upper Mobile Bay Delta area where they will hold through the Winter months. I will continue to fish live shrimp under a popping cork early in the shallows and then as we progress to the deeper water, I will fish with a slip cork rig or even a tight line on the bottom. The redfish will be around some of the bay rigs now and can be found in the Grand Bay area and the Portersville Bay and Heron Bay areas as well. They will hit live bait as well as the plastic shrimp or mullet imitation baits like

the VuDu Shrimp or the Egret Bait Mambo Mullet. I really like to use live finger mullet under a rattling cork now but the redfish will also quickly take a fresh dead shrimp on the bottom. The triple tail or blackfish will be here as well until the water cools off and can be found around floating debris in the Gulf, Bays and Sound as will the ling or cobia as they migrate back to South Florida for the Winter. This is also the time of year the Flounder start to move offshore as well. Fish for them around the rigs, rocky areas and points on the bottom with a bull or mud minnow, small croaker or shrimp rigged in a Carolina rig fashion. All in all, October is one of the best months for inshore fishing here on the coast Until next time, tight lines, and good fishing to you, Capt. Charlie Gray Gray Gulf Charters Dauphin Island / Mobile Bay / Ft Morgan Alabama 251.379.5067 Charlie@Graygulfcharters.com www.Graygulfcharters.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | OCTOBER 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 5

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9/15/2019 4:23:38 PM


MOBILE BAY / EASTERN SHORE BY: CAPT. DAN KOLENICH

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he water looks good and water temps are still in the 90’s on the causeway. It won’t take long for the temp to drop into the 80’s. The good news is we have finally had a normal year in the Delta. The salt water is the way it should be and bait is everywhere. Shrimpers are working the north end of the bay and Mobile Ship Channel. Trout fishing is still very tough due to the water temps but reds are on the causeway. If you are looking for specs, you are in for a tough time. A few are being caught at Middle Bay Light and the Rigs at the south end of the bay. October should bring some relief from the warm water Live shrimp are a good choice on a slip cork or carolina rig. Soft plastics on jig heads in the usual colors will work for the artificial bait guys. Once the water cools into the 70’s the trout should get more active. As the water cools, try a Mirrolure Glad Shad or top water plug for some fast action. If you’re looking for reds on the causeway, my favorite is

’s Mobile ha Yama Y L N O Master ian Technic

a Hildebrandt spinner bait. Try the grass flats and along the edges of the rivers and cuts like North Pass and Turtle Ditch. As for colors, I try clear jigs with glitter or dark colors in clear water and bright colors in cloudy water. Live shrimp on a carolina rig will make a good meal for a hungry red. A live shrimp on a popping cork will work in shallower water. Flounder are also on the causeway. Soft plastics are a good choice worked slowly across the points like Tensaw Point. The bigger fish are being caught with a bull minnow on a carolina rig. One thing about the weather is that October will bring cooler temperatures and that will put water temps into the lower 80’s and headed for the 70’s. So go and enjoy the nice dry days and get ready for the frenzy known as November. It’s on it’s way.

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9/15/2019 4:23:39 PM


OFFSHORE REPORT BY: CAPT. DON MCPHERSON

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eptember gave us some hot weather and now most everyone is looking for October. Cooler temps should mean better fishing. We usually see larger king mackerel in the Fall. A four-hour trip is usually just long enough to catch kings, Spanish mackerel and bonita. Bull redfish usually appear near the shoreline around mid-October. Trolling with #2 and #3 spoons with same size planers are good options for kings and bull reds. Small spoons and mackerel straws are good for Spanish

mackerel. Spend a little more time on the water and you will probably catch some vermillion snapper bottom fishing. Red snapper and triggerfish must be released. There is a special red snapper season open Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend in October. This season is for recreational anglers only. Charter for hire red snapper season is closed. Bottom fishing in waters beyond 160 feet

should produce some variety of fish. Your best charter options are a tenor twelve-hour trip. Some of the fish you may catch are gag grouper, red grouper, scamp grouper, vermillion snapper, white snapper (red porgy), amberjack, almaco jacks and maybe more. The season for all of these fish are open in October. You can keep these fish the remainder of the year, except for amberjack. Amberjack season closes October 31st. If we have some blue or bluegreen water pushed in closer then October will be good for white marlin, blue marlin, wahoo, mahimahi and tuna. Deep drop fishing for snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, long tail sea bass and tilefish should be good in October. Watch for the small cold fronts in October and there should be great weather in between. I always enjoy the cooler temps and lower humidity. If you do not have your own boat then there are charter boats available. Capt. Don McPherson 251-752-0235 Getaway Charters www.getawaycharters.com

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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!

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9/15/2019 4:23:39 PM


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DIVING REPORT DIVE LIGHTS

BY: KERRY FREELAND / DIVE PROS

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mart Divers make sure they equip themselves with the essential tools they will need to have an enjoyable Dive and make the most of their brief visits to the Underwater World. One very essential tool is a Light source for times when natural light fades or is unavailable. There is a huge variety of Lights available to choose from ranging from very tiny lights that run on watch batteries up to large canister style lights that could illuminate a baseball field. It is recommended that all divers carry at least one small light at all dives. Reefs and Wrecks are covered with nooks and crannies that allow many fascinating creatures to hide from view. Taking the time to peer into these dark recesses can be educational and rewarding. Divers who have never seen a Reef at night will

be shocked to see how vibrant and alive the reef becomes after the sun goes down. Diving at night not only requires some additional training but also requires at least Two Dive Lights. Recent advances in underwater lighting have produced some of the brightest and best dive lights to come along in over 50 years. Make sure you visit a the Dive Pros and let one of the professional sales staff help you select the right tool for your next underwater adventure!

Essential Tip for Dive Light Owners It is pretty much a fact of life that at some point you will flood an underwater light. There are some important things you can do to prevent

permanent damage to your light. As soon as you notice your light has been compromised (and your out of the water) you need to open it up and dump out both the water and the batteries. (Dispose of your batteries properly please.) CAUTION: Sea water and batteries can produce both a caustic and explosive results so NEVER open a flooded flashlight without taking precautions to protect your eyes and your bare skin. Opening in a bucket of fresh water can be helpful. Immediately and thoroughly rinse your light and all the components with fresh water. You can actually soak your light and its parts in fresh water to make sure you get rid of any sea water or battery leakage that may linger. Use a hair dryer and completely dry all your parts. Replace your O ring(s) if needed. Carefully reassemble your light and without putting in new batteries, check it for leaks. You can submerge it and look for bubbles or simply take it on a dive and see if it leaks again. Most leaks are the result of either dirty or misaligned O’rings or due to not sufficiently tightening or by over tightening your seals. Over tightening seems to be more prevalent a cause than under tightening so be careful not to use excessive force when screwing your light back together. For more information, contact Dive Pros at #850-456-8845

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ALABAMA ADDS THREE-DAY FALL RED SNAPPER SEASON

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hose looking to fill the freezer with tasty red snapper will have a few more days in Alabama thanks to a three-day fall season announced for the weekend of Oct. 4-6. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will open an additional three-day private angler recreational season for red snapper at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 4 until midnight on Sunday, Oct. 6. The possession limit is two fish per person with a minimum size limit of 16 inches total length. Anglers are reminded that as of Sept. 1, 2019, any angler age 16 and older must have a Reef Fish Endorsement to possess any species of Gulf reef fish. For more information about the Reef Fish Endorsement, visit www.outdooralabama.com/saltwater-fishing/saltwater-reef-fish-endorsement. Landing estimates are derived from mandatory angler reports submitted through Alabama’s Snapper Check Program. Anglers are reminded that greater amberjack is available for voluntary reporting through the Snapper Check app. Detailed red snapper landing information from the 2018 and 2019 seasons is available at www.outdooralabama.com/saltwater-fishing/ exempted-fishing-permit.

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TAMPA BAY WATCH SEEKS VOLUNTEERS U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tori Long

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ampa Bay Watch is seeking volunteers for two upcoming programs designed to restore lost habitat in Tampa Bay waters. The first, slated for Oct. 3-4, will install an oyster shell bar on the shoreline of MacDill Air Force Base from 9 a.m. to noon on each day. The goal is to prevent further erosion of the shoreline and improve water quality through natural biological filtration. Oyster bars also make excellent habitat for gamefish. The second project, being conducted on weekday mornings of October 2, 15, 21 and 23, needs hard workers to help build oyster domes at the Marine Center in Terra Verde. The project involves pouring marine-friendly concrete into a fiberglass mold to create oyster domes and taking apart the molds that were previously poured. This project is physically demanding in requiring bending, crouching, and some heavy lifting. It is entirely on land, and the domes will be installed at a later date to provide hard structure for oysters to grow. Oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources, and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. For more information and to register for these events, go to www.tampabaywatch.org.

PERFECT FILLETS!

A

Sheri Daye

fter all the time, effort and determination it takes to land that beautiful fish, you don’t want to compromise the quality of your dinner by improper handling at the end. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years: 1) Dispatching/ bleeding: Whether you are fishing or spearfishing, try to minimize the amount of time the fish is under stress, as this can produce lactic acid which affects taste. Dispatching as soon as possible is humane and helps maintain quality. Bleeding also helps, especially for raw consumption. Spearfishermen can do it in the water, but if you don’t want to attract sharks, you Sheri Daye with a big Keys wahoo. can also do it on the boat. Cut the throat and place it in a bucket of water for a few minutes or use scissors and cut the gills. 2) Icing: Make sure you have plenty of ice, two pounds for every pound of fish. Saltwater ice is best if you can get it, and crushed

ice is optimal because it covers more surface area. Heat and air are the enemies, so ice your fish immediately. If you don’t plan to fillet soon, remove the guts and gills and fill the cavity with ice before burying it in the cooler. Drain and replace ice often to ensure fish stays cold and is not sitting in water, which will cause the fish to get mushy. 3) Filleting: When the flesh is chilled and firm, cutting is much easier, and a razor sharp knife makes quick work of filleting. After filleting, try not to rinse the meat, as water degrades the fillets and produces a breeding ground for bacteria. If you keep your knife clean, don’t puncture the gut cavity and you bled your fish beforehand, you should not have to rinse fillets. If the fillet is exposed to water, dry it promptly with paper towels. 4) Refrigeration: Fish can be stored in your refrigerator at 40 degrees for about three days. Wrap the fish in plastic-wrap and place in crushed ice. It is still best to store fish surrounded by crushed ice because the cooler you can keep it, the better. 5) Freezing: Store in the freezer at 0 degrees or lower. Lean fish (snapper or grouper) will keep for about six months. Fatty fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel) will keep for about three months. I like to vacuum-pack fillets. Vacuum packers are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and available at Target. Fill pre-cut bags with fillets and follow the directions on the vacuum packer. This keeps fillets airtight to prevent freezer burn. 6) Thawing: The safest way to thaw fish is in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Plan to cook immediately after thawing. Do not thaw fish at room temperature, and never refreeze fish. 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.

See more from Sheri Daye at:

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NOTHING IS OFF LIMITS FROM A KAYAK Photo courtesy of Justin Ritchey

By FWC Staff ayak fishing is a growing sport, and it’s easy to see why. Kayaks are nimble, less expensive than most motorized boats and provide access to places even the best casts from land just can’t reach. But those who love the sport1say kayak fishing is more than just Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 8/1/14 1:14 PM Page 1 a quick and less expensive way to get on the water.

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“You are more in tune with what is going on,” said avid kayak angler Tony Hart, who runs YakOutlaws.com, a website dedicated to kayak and SUP angling. “The slower approach gives you an opportunity to take in more. It’s almost as though you become a part of what’s around you.” “Because you are so low in the water, there is this sense of vulnerability when you start fishing, but you also have this feeling of freedom and accomplishment, blood, sweat and tears,” said Justin Ritchey, who has been kayak fishing for more than a decade. “I’m very passionate about it, it’s a huge part of my life.” Like many kayak anglers, Hart and Ritchey got into kayak fishing for similar reasons: they loved fishing and didn’t have access to a boat. Ritchey got his start in college with two-person rental kayaks. He would ask classmates to foot the rental fee. Ritchey would provide the car, fishing gear and knowledge. Hart was fishing from a dock in Jacksonville when he noticed fish off a point too far for him to reach casting. “That’s when two young guys paddled by and I thought, that’s the smartest thing in world,” said Hart. “The next weekend I got two kayaks.” What often gets people into kayak fishing is the ability to access places they can’t reach from shore. “You can go anywhere you want with no stress of a motor breaking down or electronic failure,” Ritchey said. “And because you are quiet, you can often get closer than boat anglers can get.” Some might think kayaks are great for seatrout and redfish, but they can also be used for monster tarpon and sailfish. While what you catch within paddling distance will vary according to where in Florida you are fishing, if you can catch it, your kayak can take it. “Being able to catch every species from a kayak is personal goal of mine,” said Ritchey, who has personally caught sailfish, blackfin tuna, mutton snapper, kingfish and tarpon from his kayak. “In a boat, when a fish takes a lot of line, you have less control. In a kayak, you might be getting towed, but you are never too far away from the fish, which allows you to get the fish in much faster.”

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


FLY FISHING

There are two schools of thoughts regarding bite-proof tippet. One school favors the soft, stainless-steel leader when fishing toothed game fish. The other school leans to the single-strand stainless-wire leader. Let’s compare the two.

BUILD THE PERFECT SALTWATER LEADER AND BITE TIPPET The basic fly leader is the saltwater fisherman’s most important connection between him and the fish. Tied incorrectly, it will place the angler at a distinct disadvantage when casting, especially under windy conditions. Simple in its design, the saltwater fly leader can meet the demands in almost every saltwater fly fishing situation. A leader’s length varies depending on conditions, but a 9-foot leader will work in most situations. A “4-3-2 combo” works well, as it allows the fly to roll over as it is cast. Creating this leader is fairly simple. First tie a two-turn surgeon’s loop of 40- or 50-pound soft monofilament at the fly line’s terminal. Then join the sections of your leader with blood knots, applying saliva to the knots to guarantee a solid connection. Take care to test the strength of each knot as you complete tying them. 4 feet of 40# soft mono 3 feet of 30# mono 2 feet of 20# mono Best Material for a Wire Leader When you fly fish in saltwater, there will be times when you deal with toothy critters like barracudas, sharks, needle fish, mackerel and numerous other fish sporting “ivories” capable of severing the heaviest monofilament and fluorocarbon leaders. It is the savvy saltwater fly fisherman who has learned to attach a bite-proof tippet to his fly line.

Soft Stainless Steel Wire Soft stainless wire is a good alternative to single-strand wire. It works well on smaller saltwater gamefish like Pacific barracuda, bonito and other toothy critters the fly rodder will encounter in many nearshore fisheries. The best attribute of the soft stainless wire is you can tie a loop knot in it rather than going through the time consuming process of making the haywire twist commonly used with single-strand wire. Single Strand Wire The second option, and my personal preference, is the single-strand stainless wire leader. The wire is tough, able to stand the raking teeth of a shark far better than its softer counterpart. Also, the advantage of using this type of leader is its small diameter. Like a piece of dental floss, it fits nicely between the fish’s teeth. As the battle rages, the wire does not wear against razor sharp teeth, giving the advantage to the angler in a difficult and prolonged fight. If your choice is the single-strand wire leader, the most commonly used knot is the reliable haywire twist. Although there are tools to assist you in the tying of this knot, I recommend the “old school” method you will find in numerous books and pamphlets, many currently available at your local fly shop.

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ELITE SERIES TO OPEN SEASON AT ST. JOHNS RIVER B.A.S.S. photo by James Overstreet

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n Feb. 6-9, the Bassmaster Elite Series will begin its 2020 season with an event on the St. John’s River out of Palatka, Fla. Last year’s tournament on the St. Johns was one of the most exciting in history, with Rick Clunn weighing a 34-pounds, 14-ounce sack on Championship Sunday to complete an amazing come-frombehind win with 98-14. That final-day bag included two bass over 9 pounds. The big-fish factory is an apt location to launch a 2020 schedule that was designed for fans who love watching professional anglers catch big bass. With the St. Johns event, the world’s best professional bass

fishermen will embark on a journey that spans six states and nine events on some of the most storied fisheries in the sport’s history. “This year, we unveiled the mantra ‘Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams.,’” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Fans will have an opportunity to see our anglers compete on some of the best big-bass lakes in America.” On Feb. 14-17, the Elite Series will shift focus to a location that has yet to be announced. The Bassmaster Classic takes the stage in March, when the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing descends upon Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, with weigh-ins and the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo taking place in nearby Birmingham. When regular season Elite competition resumes, B.A.S.S. will take a trip down memory lane with a return to Alabama’s Lake Eufaula on April 2-5. B.A.S.S. hasn’t visited Eufaula since 2006. But the lake on the Alabama/ Georgia border has been the site of 18 major B.A.S.S. events, dating back to 1968. The fourth Elite Series event will be in Manning, S.C., on the Santee Cooper Lakes. Lakes Marion and Moultrie, which have been on fire recently. A BFL event held on the Santee Cooper Lakes in March was won with five bass that weighed just over 30 pounds. The next fishery on the schedule is known for producing big crowds— the Sabine River in Orange, Texas. The 2020 event will be held May 29-June 1 and could challenge the fan attendance record of 36,200. The site for the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest will be announced at a later time. But the dates have been tentatively set for June 5-9 — just before the Elite Series makes its New York swing. That swing begins with a trip to smallmouth fishing’s holy country, the St. Lawrence River in Waddington, N.Y., on July 23-26. The 2019 Elite Series event on the river was won by Georgia pro Micah Frazier with an average of more than 20 pounds of smallmouth each day. The pros will then head to Plattsburg, N.Y., for an event at Lake Champlain on July 30-Aug. 2, where Vermont angler Bryan Labelle won with an average of almost 20 pounds of largemouth per day in 2018. With the Bassmaster Angler of the Year title and numerous Bassmaster Classic berths hanging in the balance, the Elites will finish their season in Macomb County, Mich., at Lake St. Clair on Aug. 20-23.

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FLORIDA

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Photo by Tom Purves/flickr

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Project Permit has reached a major milestone of 150 permit tagged with acoustic transmitters in south Florida since March 2016. Scientists track the movement patterns of tagged fish for up to five years, providing important information on habitat use and spawning locations. This information is essential to guide permit conservation efforts, and data from Project Permit have already influenced permit harvest regulations, such as the expansion of the permit harvest season closure in the Special Permit Zone (SPZ) to include the month of April. Recently BTT Collaborating Scientist Dr. Jake Brownscombe tagged 14 permit on the flats of Biscayne Bay with fishing guides Capt. Augie Moss and Capt. Carl Ball. Project Permit would not be possible without the help of the dozens of fishing guides who generously donate time and expertise to catch and tag fish with BTT scientists. Currently BTT is also seeking information on juvenile permit to gain a better understanding of the habitats that support the juveniles and sub-adults. For permit in the Keys, abundant newborns form 1 to 3 inches can be found on sandy beaches. Adults and larger sub-adults greater than 15 inches live on the flats or reefs and wrecks. However, fish between 4 and 14 inches are surprisingly rare. These 4- to 14-inch fish might be absent because the habitats they use are becoming degraded, and as a result, there are less of that size. Or, scientists haven’t yet looked in the right places for them. In either case, BTT seeks to identify the habitats these fish are using to restore them if they are unhealthy, or protect them so permit have a place to grow into adults. Report sightings and catches of permit in the 4- to 14-inch range to Florida Keys Initiative Manager Dr. Ross Boucek. Email Dr. Boucek at ross@bonefishtarpontrust.org.

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FLY FISHING’S

WARMWATER REVOLUTION By Nick Carter

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here’s a brutish undercurrent gaining momentum in fly fishing. Whether it’s river-run striped bass, muskie or carp, long-rodders are targeting freshwater’s most powerful fish. Here are a few destinations where you can get in on the action. James River Photo courtesy of Matt Miles Muskie, Virginia The James River is one of the few rivers in the east that supports a fishable wild muskie population. Guide Matt Miles eagerly pointed out that most of the fish they catch, the 35- to 42-inchers, were spawned wild in the upper James. He said the monster 50-inchers might have originally come from the hatchery, but they still prowl the river, ready to give anglers the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. Between Iron Gate and Lynchburg, Va., more than 80 miles of the James are considered muskie water. The relatively shallow pool and riffle habitat is uniquely suited to hunting freshwater’s biggest, toothiest fish with a fly rod. But muskie fishing isn’t for everyone. Casting waterlogged, 14-inch-long streamers on sinking lines with 10- and 11-weight rods is a workout. Doing it all day in hope of a single take requires mental fortitude. Peak muskie season is October through mid-March.

Saluda & Congaree River Striper, South Carolina Each spring, South Carolina striped bass go on the move. From the Santee-Cooper Lakes between Columbia and Charleston, fish run some 60 miles up the Congaree and arrive in Columbia to spawn in April. By early May they push into the lower Saluda, where they spend the summer in the cold-water refuge of a 10-mile stretch of tailwater. Jake Howard, of Saluda Valley Guides, tapes his thumbs during the June through August heart of the striper season because they become raw from lipping fish. He told of huge numbers of stripers and said 60-fish days are possible for anglers who can lay out line with a 10-weight rod and 350-grain sinking lines. The standard fish weighs 4 to 8 pounds, but 20-, 30- and even 50-pounders are caught each season. Catawba Chain Carp, North Carolina More than 15 years ago, Capt. Paul Rose left the Texas coast with his flats skiff in tow. He settled in the North Carolina Piedmont, far from the salt marshes he loves. But he found a new passion in the clear Catawba River lakes between Asheville and Charlotte, N.C. In the shallows, he watched carp tailing like redfish. The fishing style that arose is a lot like sight casting to bonefish. Rose poles anglers over clear-water flats, searching for pods of carp rooting and feeding. Many clients hire Rose to practice before a trip to the Bahamas. They return because carp are so much fun. Fish from 3 pounds up to 20 pounds call for a 6- or 7-weight rod. The peak season on impoundments like Lake Norman and Lake James runs from May through September. Nick Carter is the author of “Flyfisher’s Guide to North Carolina & Georgia.” It is available on Amazon.com, and autographed copies are available by emailing the author at nsc8957@gmail.com. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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n enormous 40-pound, 6-ounce brown trout caught at Lake Taneycomo in southwest Missouri is a new state record and just a couple pounds shy of the IGFA all-tackle world record. Bill Babler, a veteran fishing guide from Blue Eye, Mo., caught the monster brown on Sept. 4 using a pink Berkley plastic worm. He caught it on 6x tippet, which equates to less than 4-pound test, making his catch 2 ounces heavier than the current IGFA 4-pound line class record. The previous state record, set just seven months, weighed 34 pounds, 10 ounces. It was also caught at Lake Taneycomo. Babler told the Springfield News-Leader he’d only been out fishing for a few minutes when he caught his new state record. “As soon as I set the hook it came to the top and I knew we had a good fish on,” Babler told the newspaper. “We positioned the boat in an unobstructed area. It was pulling drag pretty good!” Babler attempted to keep the behemoth alive in an aerated tank, but unfortunately the trout died before it could be released. Fisheries Biologist Shane Bush said the fish was eight or nine-years-old. For more information on Missouri state-record fish, visit the MDC website at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z3t.

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Ultimate Control For Saltwater Fishing Boats The Dometic Group Introduces New Optimus Electric Steering Actuator

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altwater anglers who fish aboard today’s large center console fishing machines and other high-performance outboard powered boats will soon be able to experience a new level of precision steering and vessel control. The Dometic Group is introducing its new Optimus Universal Electric Steering Actuator. Incorporating proprietary technology and several new components designed and manufactured by Dometic, this new actuator is built exclusively for use with its Optimus Joystick and Electric Power Steering Systems. About the same size as the Dometic Tournament Cylinder, the Optimus Electric Steering Actuator mounts directly on the outboard in place of the present hydraulic cylinder. With its powerful drive train, integrated proprietary position sensors and embedded electronics, it eliminates the need for separately mounted hydraulic actuators used in the Optimus Joystick and EPS systems. This means no more Pump Control Module, no more hydraulic pump, no more hoses, hydraulic cylinders and fluid, and no more purging the system. “We are continually inventing ways to make boat building more efficient and boating more enjoyable,” said Eric Fetchko, President of Dometic Marine Americas. “Once again, we have taken marine steering to the next level. You have my word that we will never stop innovating and solving industry problems.” In terms of performance underway, ease of installation and seasonafter-season reliability, the new Optimus Electric Steering Actuator will provide substantial benefits to boat builder and skipper alike. With the present system, the signal from the Optimus electronic helm goes to the Pump Control Module, which activates an electro-hydraulic steering system. Even though it is “by-wire,” hydraulic fluid is still pumped through hoses and into the steering cylinders on the outboard(s) which act on the tiller arms of the outboards to move left or right. With the new Optimus Electric Steering Actuator, the electronic helm signal goes directly to the actuator which instantly moves the outboard. The “brains” of the Pump Control Module, including ECM, rudder position circuit and CANbus communication, have been

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transplanted into the new Optimus Electric Steering Actuator itself. Steering power is delivered by a proprietary high-torque high-efficiency brushless DC electric motor, designed and manufactured by Dometic, and a patented compact roller-screw drive system, also a proprietary Dometic design. Both the motor and power train reside within the steering actuator. In terms of steering performance, skippers will sense a marked improvement in handling. Steering response will be immediate, smooth and precise, thanks to this robust, industry-leading drive train that provides unparalleled performance and system rigidity when needed most. Programmable steering settings, including adjustable speed-sensitive lockto-lock turns, adjustable speed sensitive wheel effort, and speed-sensitive rudder angle limits to ensure safe steering, continue to be available, now without the need for any extra components. Installation of the new system is a snap, with just three CANbus connections plus power. Twin, triple and quad outboard installations will be set up similar to the present design, with Optimus Electric Steering Actuators controlling adjacent outboards via tie-bars. In addition, the new Electric Steering Actuator will interface with compatible autopilot systems in the same manner as the present Optimus systems. Dometic’s SeaWays Autopilot and SeaStation GPS Anchoring functionality are also built in. The Dometic Optimus Electric Steering Actuator exceeds all applicable marine standards, including NMMA, ABYC, CE and SAE electrical and environmental requirements. The actuators are maintenance free, except for regular greasing of the steering ram via installed zerk fittings. Over 100,000 hours of rigorous testing during development assures safe and reliable performance under harsh salt and freshwater conditions, all in keeping with Dometic’s proven reputation for superior quality. To learn more, visit seastarsolutions.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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He’ll typically kick the morning off with redfish encounters in depths of 2 feet or less. As the sun grows stronger, he’ll probe docks and structure looking for summer flounder before finishing off with feisty seatrout in feeder creeks. “I’m thinking this season will be a special one if we don’t get smacked by any major storms,” said Collins. “There’s tons of bait around already, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen as many mullet as we have this year. Crabs and small menhaden are abundant, too. Plus we have tons of shrimp; everything loves shrimp.” By Tom Schlichter Collins targets early morning reds around oyster bars, oyster reefs and oyster rocks in water that is generally hip-deep or less. He’ll work shoal areas and Seatrout: Dale Collins puts a fare even dig into the grass on White Oak Sound, White Oak River and the area on a pretty Oak River area sea trout. Photo courtesy of Do or Die surrounding Swansboro with a 7-foot, 6- to 10-pound class Star Seagis rod. His Charters, Swansboro, N.C. lure of choice for the reds is a Skitter Walk SW11 in a golden mullet pattern that always seems to bring surface thrills. Backing off the edges and working near docks and structure, he’ll switch to a ¾-ounce white Spro bucktail tipped with a 4-inch Berkley Gulp! pearl-white shrimp for the flatties. “For the reds,” disclosed Collins, “I keep a second rod rigged with a Z-Man soft plastic or Gulp! Jerk Shad impaled on a weedless screw-style hook. If a redfish blows up on the topwater but misses, I immediately send the soft plastic his way. He’ll slam that as soon as it starts to sink.” For flounder, Collins hops his bucktail about a foot at a time, but it’s vital you actually feel it strike bottom on the drop. “Most hits come as the lure falls, and if you don’t feel it hit bottom it’s probably in a fish’s mouth,” he said. “Strike immediately, because those flounder spit a lure out quickly once they realize it’s a fake.” As for the specks, Collins recommends getting on them as soon as possible. “You’ll find the biggest fish arrive first,” he said. Throw a Mirrolure MR 17 or ou’ve got to love fall’s promise here in North Carolina,” said Capt. Dale 18, or try my personal favorite: a Zoom Golden Bream on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Collins, of Fish or Die Charters (www.fishordiecharters; 252-422- Man can that lure catch some fish! Just work it slow and allow time for it to get 4236) in Swansboro, North Carolina. “The water temperatures are down deep. If you think you are fishing slowly enough, slow down a little more.” starting to cool and there’s plenty of red drum, flounder and big seatrout in our bays and creeks. Indeed, it’s my favorite time of year to fish around here.” If you’d like to fish the Swansboro area on your own, Collins suggests Collins should know. He’s built a reputation putting fares on big fish in launching from Cedar Point Wildlife Ramp near Dudley’s Marina (https:// skinny water in this area west of Morehead City and separated from Pamlico www.dudleysmarinanc.com; 252-393-2204) in Swansboro. For overnight accommodations Best Western Plus (252-393-9015) is right near the launch. Sound on the southern side of Cape Lookout.

SWANSBORO, NC: FALL ROCKS WITH REDS, FLOUNDER AND SEATROUT

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SIGHT CASTING TO LOUISIANA’S BIG BULL REDS ON THE FLY

Photo courtesy of Michael Booth Jr.

I

t’s no secret that the Louisiana coast is an inshore angler’s dream. A seemingly endless tangle of interconnected waterways, with big salt lakes, canals, grass, oysters and mud flats make the bayous south of New Orleans the No. 1 destination in the world for redfish. Places like Grand Isle, Cocodrie, Venice, Delacroix and Hopedale are the destinations for redfish anglers seeking out some of the best fishing on the planet. The region is filthy with reds, and targeting big bulls with a fly rod is the ultimate thrill. Angler Michael Booth Jr. and his buddies, many who are local captains, have made a practice of sight fishing these monsters. Instead of working the grass to find individual bulls or pods of slotsized redfish, they move out deeper on the big lakes in search of

schools of big bulls, which usually hunt in the 3- to 4-foot depths 100 to 200 yards off the grass. “The weather has to be good for a couple weeks beforehand for the water to be clean enough to see them,” said Booth “When we go out looking for schools of big fish, we start about 20 yards out and pole that line until we figure out where the reds are holding that day. Then they’ll usually all be in that same area.” On certain special days, when a strong northeast wind and a low tide suck the water out of the marsh around Hopedale, those 4-foot depths become 2 feet and spotting fish is easy. “Those big bulls will all be belly crawling with their backs out of the water,” said Booth. But normally, finding fish means looking for the telltale dark triangles of tails and fins or fish pushing water as they chase bait and root for crabs. Booth said a good pair of green-mirror glasses with amber lenses makes it easier to distinguish the shadows and colors of a big redfish in tannic-stained water. Once you find them, tempting them to eat a fly is a matter of trial and error to find the fly and retrieve they want on a given day. Booth prefers fishing on top, and a size 2 Surface Seducer Double Barrel popper is the hot bait at the moment. Booth likes purple, gold, chartreuse, black and combinations of those colors. Sometimes, when the fish aren’t feeding as actively, Booth said he’s forced to fish something that sinks. A size 2 shrimp pattern with extra large dumbbell eyes becomes the bait of choice. Again, purple and chartreuse work well, as do more natural tan or olive patterns. A 10-weight rod, floating line and a 50-40-30 leader with 12 to 18 inches of 16- to 20-pound tippet are in order. Booth said he’s seen days that brought 10 fish over 20 pounds to the rail and others when a single 40-pound red was reason for rejoicing. “Any day you’re able to catch a 20-plus-pound bull red on a fly is pretty awesome,” he said.

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM I NATIONAL 15 was At Harbor Freight Tools, the “Compare to” price means thatI the OCTOBER specified comparison, 2019 which is an item with the same or similar function,

*Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 2/3/20.

hft_coastalangler_1019_M-REG163332.indd 1

advertised for sale at or above the “Compare to” price by another national retailer in the U.S. within the past 90 days. Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other meaning of “Compare to” should be implied. For more information, go to HarborFreight.com or see store associate.

9/3/19 12:37 PM


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Field Dress For Success

The hunt for the perfect outdoorsman knife is over. There’s only one tool you need: the Whitetail™ Hunting Knife—now ONLY $49!

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he consummate outdoorsman never goes on deep woods hunting trips without the essentials. Not just the basics for every hunting trip, but the items he’s come to depend on over the years. Our new Whitetail™ Hunting Knife will quickly become your go-to blade for every expedition. The Whitetail™ is a premium fixed-blade hunting knife that’s perfect for skinning. With the Whitetail at hand, you’ll be ready for field dressing in only seconds, and you’ll never need a separate gut hook tool ever again. The Whitetail™ boasts a mighty 420 high carbon, full tang stainless steel blade, meaning the blade doesn’t stop at the handle, it runs the full length of the knife. According to Gear Patrol, a full tang blade is key, saying “A full tang lends structural strength to the knife, allowing for better leverage ...think one long steel beam versus two.” The comfortable handle is made from pakkawood—moisture-resistant and more durable than hardwood. If hunting is your life, then the Whitetail™ Knife was designed to make your life easier. With our limited edition Whitetail™ Hunting Knife you’re getting the best in 21st-century construction with a classic look inspired by legendary American pioneers. What you won’t get is the trumped up price tag. We know a thing or two about the hunt–– like how to seek BONUS! Call today and you’ll also receive this out and capture an outstanding, collector’s-quality knife that won’t cut heavy duty sheath! into your bank account. This knife can be yours to use out in the field or to display as the EXCLUSIVE art piece it truly is. But don’t wait. A knife of this caliber typically cost hundreds. Priced at an amazing $49, we can’t guarantee this knife will stick around for long. So call today! Stauer® 8x21 Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in Compact your hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the craftsmanship. Binoculars If you don’t feel like we What customers are saying -a $99 valuecut you a fair deal, send it with purchase of about Stauer knives... Whitetail™ Hunting back within 30 days for a Knife complete refund of the êêêêê item sale price. But we “Good value. Great looking. believe that once you wrap Sufficiently sharp. Overall your fingers around the an “A” purchase and Whitetail’s handle, you’ll I ordered three.” be ready to carve your own — B. of Maryland niche into the wild frontier.

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® 14101 Southcross Drive W., Ste 155, Dept. WHK291-01

Burnsville, Minnesota 55337

www.stauer.com

Not shown actual size.

*Discount is only for customers who use the offer code versus the listed original Stauer.com price.

Rating of A+

• 5 ¼” 420HC stainless steel blade • Full-tang design with gut hook • Pakkawood handle with brass pins • Bonus heavy duty nylon sheath

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1782-18B Coastal Angler.indd 1

12/19/18 3:50 PM


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