Coastal Angler Magazine | December 2019 | Alabama/Pensacola

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ALABAMA/PENSACOLA EDITION

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Gifts for Anglers Issue

PHOTO COURTESY OF DARCIZZLE OFFSHORE VOLUME 24 • ISSUE 297

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A V A I L A B L E

DECEMBER 2019

W O R L D W I D E



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Boaters and anglers up and down the east coast know there’s an important season between the holidays and spring: Boat Show Season! Timed perfectly to gear-up for some of the best fishing of the year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) line-up of premier boating and outdoors shows are the venues where shoppers and dreamers alike can peruse the latest the industry has to offer. From yachts to kayaks and all the accessories, these shows offer hands-on experience with the hottest boats and gear bound for the water in 2020. It’s no secret that shoppers take advantage of the best deals of the year on the floor at NMMA’s annual boat shows.

Here’s the rundown of this years best shows and expositions:

1) Progressive Insurance Atlanta Boat Show

Jan. 16-19, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta With 600-plus boats, the Southeast’s premier boating event returns for its 58th year to Exhibit Hall C of the Georgia World Congress Center. A boating bonanza, show-goers tour hundreds of boats, and interactive features including virtual reality exhibits, educational seminars on boating, fishing and sailing, a nautical Kids’ Zone, Touch-a-Boat Tour, events with local breweries, DIY workshops, Career Day and more! Entry is just $15 for adults. Kids 12 and younger are free. Tickets are $3 off for active-duty military, retired military, veterans, law enforcement and firefighters. Advance tickets are also $3 off when purchased at www. AtlantaBoatShow.com.

2) Progressive Insurance New York Boat Show

Jan. 22-26, Javits Center, New York City A New York tradition since 1905, the world’s first and longest-running boat show enters its 115th year with a five-day celebration of boating at the Javits Center. Boat hop and shop 350 boats along with the latest boating innovations, technology and gear. Highlights include Kids’ Build-aBoat and The Progressive Boathouse, which features hands-on boating courses for all experience levels. Entry is $16 for adults. Kids 12 and younger are free. Tickets are $3 off for military and first responders. Save $2 by buying advance tickets at 5) Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show NYBoatShow.com. Feb. 26-March 1, Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City The Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show brings activities to 3) Progressive New England Boat Show give lifelong boaters and novices an all-access pass to discover why life is Feb. 8-16, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston For nine days, this nautical extravaganza will showcase more than 700 better with a boat. Serious shoppers benefit from “Super Thursday” and new boats and watercraft, along with a stunning array of must-have ma- find bargains on hundreds of boats as well as gear, technology and acrine accessories. There is something for all ages and boaters at this year’s cessories to go with them. With everything from kayaks to sportfishers, show. Dozens of seminars will cover fishing, sailing and boating. Explore there is a boat for every lifestyle and budget. Admission is $17 for adults. Children 12 and younger are free. Adboating careers at Marine Innovation & Career Day. Hop on “Salt,” the life-size inflatable humpback whale. Boost your boating IQ at the Pro- vance tickets can be purchased at ACBoatShow.com. gressive Insurance Boathouse. Kids can captain their own paddleboat at 6) Progressive World Fishing & Outdoor Exposition the Kid Paddle Pool. Feb. 27-March 1, Rockland Community College, Suffern, N.Y. Entry is $16 for adults. Kids 12 and younger are free. Active military The Northeast’s premier fishing, hunting and travel exposition features receive one free ticket with valid ID. Purchase advance tickets at www. a vast selection of outdoor sports vendors, speakers and events. With newenglandboatshow.com. major manufacturers, trusted brand names and local retailers, show-goers can compare and shop new and hard-to-find outdoors products and 4) Progressive Miami International Boat Show enjoy a variety of educational seminars and attractions. For more inforFeb. 13-17, Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, Miami Over President’s Day weekend, the world-renowned Progressive mation, go to sportshows.com/suffern. Miami International Boat Show will host nearly 100,000 visitors from around the globe to shop more than 1,400 boats as well as gear, tech- 7) Progressive Insurance Saltwater Fishing Expo March 13-15, New Jersey Convention & Expo Center, Edison, N.J. nology and accessories from more than 1,000 vendors. From yachts and The one-stop shop for saltwater anglers of all experience levels, catamarans to offshore fishing boats, high-performance boats and family cruisers, visitors will experience one of the largest and most influential the Progressive Insurance Saltwater Fishing Expo returns to Ediboat shows in the world. Sea trials allow serious buyers to take their son, New Jersey, offering a vast selection of vendors, speakers and special events. The three-day event kicks off the region’s saltwadreamboat for a spin. Tickets are $30 per adult; two-day passes (Feb. 14-17) are $55; Premier ter season with deals from more than 200 vendors selling everyDay (Feb. 13) is $45. VIP packages available. Children 12 and younger thing you’ll need to hit the water, from boats to terminal tackle. For more information, go to www.sportshows.com/saltwater. are free. Purchase advance tickets at www.MiamiBoatShow.com.


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ENTER TO WIN! Editor’s Pick Holiday Gifts for Anglers

FireDisc Cookers

B&W Trailer Hitches

A modern, high-performance version of an authentic plow disc cooker, FIREDISC is built to last and designed to be easily taken down for travel and storage. FIREDISC fires up fast, cooks virtually anything, seasons like a cast-iron skillet and cleans up quickly with just water. These portable propane cookers are going to change the way you cook outdoors — you’ll never go back to a traditional grill!

You’ve got a lot riding on your hitch, and the only thing keeping your truck and trailer connected are those relatively small pieces of engineered steel. The hitch matters to your safety and the safety of our roads. That’s why B&W treats the manufacture of your trailer hitch with the respect it deserves. For one, we insist on American-made steel.

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Simms G4 Pro Jacket

Everest Series Rotomolded Cooler

Cut from advanced GORE-TEX Pro Shell three-layer fabrics and kitted with ingenious fishing details, the G4 Pro Jacket is Simms’ highest-performing, most durable jacket. The streamlined design of four front pockets reduces bulk and allows rain to sheet off. A three-point adjustable storm hood and a long rear hem to collar length extend protection from the elements. Nine pockets include hand-warmer pockets as well as a large rear game pocket, accessible through the front. .

With over 20 years of experience, AO Coolers offers well-constructed, innovative coolers made for all outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, and camping. We’ve now taken our knowledge to make the best 80-quart hard-sided cooler – we are excited to introduce the Everest Series! Built tough to handle the abuse of the great outdoors. Keeps your food, drinks or catch ice cold for days. Rotomolded polyethylene construction, the same process to make whitewater kayaks, ensures excellent impact resistance and long-lasting durability. Now available in three colors: white, deep blue and tan.

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99.9% Pure Gold History In Your Hands In 1934, the U.S. Government issued $100,000 Gold Certificates—but they were never meant for general circulation. The United States had left behind the gold standard the year prior, and were in need of a new way to transfer large amounts of wealth between Federal Reserve banks. The $100,000 Gold Certificate legally represented its worth in gold, and didn’t require a forklift to move. By 1960, the notes had served their purpose, and most were destroyed. Only a small number still exist, including notes held by the Smithsonian.

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FLORIDA

SOUTH FLORIDA

SAILFISH ON THE MOVE

Photo by Craig McMicken

By Gene Dyer

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ailfish are on the move off the coast of southeast Florida. It happens every year as the first cold fronts make their way south and bring cooler temperatures and northerly winds. Highly migratory in nature, these acrobatic pelagics can be caught here year round, but the highest concentrations occur from November through April. Techniques for targeting sailfish vary depending on location. In Stuart, trolling dead ballyhoo with dredges in the spread is the most popular method. Off Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, kite fishing with live bait on the drift is the go-to technique. In the Florida Keys,

it could be a combination of both or it could be sight fishing with a few live pitch baits ready to throw at a hungry sailfish. Regardless of location, wind and sea conditions change constantly and play a huge role in determining the best fishing technique on any given day. The best sailfish bite happens during tailing conditions. Typically, tailing conditions occur right after a cold front passes, while the western edge of the Gulf Stream is in close proximity to the coast. When the strong north current of the Gulf Stream clashes with strong winds from the opposite direction, it fires sailfish up into a feeding frenzy. In tailing conditions, it is not uncommon for the top sailfish boats in the fleet to catch and release 20 or more sailfish in a day. Not everyone can afford the expensive electric reels and other gear required for kite or dredge fishing, but anyone who owns a boat with outriggers can slow troll or bump troll baits to get tight with arguably the most majestic gamefish in the ocean. You will need four 20- to 30-pound conventional outfits. Since sailfish are capable of swimming at high speeds, you want reels with at least a 5:1 gear ratio and high line capacity. Connect the main line to 6 to 8 feet of 40-pound fluorocarbon leader with a small barrel swivel. Tie an inline circle hook to the business end. Use a 7/0 hook for larger baits such as blue runners or goggle eyes. For smaller baits like pilchards or cigar minnows, use a 5/0 hook. Deploy the two outrigger baits first with one long and one short. Then send out your flat lines from the corners with one short and one long. Once your spread is out, position your boat down-sea and keep it moving forward slowly by putting the boat in and out of gear. Keep an eye on your spread, as sailfish will sometimes show up out of nowhere. Sailfish tend to swim in packs, so it’s a good idea to keep a 20-pound spinning outfit ready to go with a live pitch bait. Once you get your fish to the boat, grab it by the bill and remove the hook. Hold your sailfish alongside the boat while in gear to revive it before release. Gene Dyer is editor and co-publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine/Fort Lauderdale.

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don’t throw much anymore. I don’t throw them except for around the spawn, but it sure does work that time of year! JD: What was your most productive technique this year? Lester: A wacky rig, especially early in the season. It’s always huge for me during and around the spawn. It just gets bites and catches big fish, too. I put fish in the boat using the Mustad Titan X Wacky Neko hook with an X Zone Lures True Center Stick. I fish it on the MHX NEPS 81MXF. That rod was my MVP this season too.

BRANDON LESTER

JD: Speaking of MHX rods, you’re well-known for building your own custom rods on tour. What rods will you build this off-season? Lester: Mud Hole is always making new blanks available, so I plan on building nearly a whole new set this winter. You can build rods efficiently once you do it a few times, and it really doesn’t take much time. For anglers out there looking to have a full complement of rods that are the same brand but won’t break the bank, I highly suggest building MHX rods. They have a starter kit (great Christmas gift) on their website www. MudHole.com, and all the other bass rods a man would need. They have all the kits broken down by style, and if anyone has any questions they can ask me on social media. Instagram is @ brandonlesterfishing and Facebook is @proanglerbrandonlester.

By JD Blackburn JD: How did your Bassmaster Elite Series season go this year? Lester: I finished in sixth place in the Toyota Angler of the Year point standings and also finished sixth in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic. Those were both career-best marks. JD: What one new piece of equipment did you adopt this year that really helped you? Lester: The new C-Map card from Lowrance Electronics. Case in point: on Lake Guntersville this year, I fished structure I had no idea was in existence on that lake. The detail the card has on it is just amazing.

For more Lester visit,

JD: What was the biggest fish you caught this season? Lester: The biggest weighed 7-11, and it came from the St. Johns River in Florida. I used an 8-inch lizard, which is a bait people

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he world’s largest and longest-running watersports and beach/ resort lifestyle show is a best-kept secret for retailers of fishing apparel and accessories. Surf Expo launched its Bluewater category in January 2018 with some of the hottest brands in fishing. Since then, angling has become an integral part of the twice-annual show, which returns to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center Jan. 8-10. Savvy buyers will find that today’s Surf Expo is a lot more than surf. Featuring internationally influential brands from all facets of watersports, Surf Expo is the show that drives water-lifestyle trends each season. It is geared toward buyers seeking to stock their shelves, which makes it a unique opportunity for retailers to get ahead of the market’s next big thing. Bluewater is where buyers can find all the freshwater and saltwater fishing and marine lifestyle apparel and accessory brands grouped together in one easy-to-shop area of the show floor. Since Bluewater’s inception, more and more marinas, tackle shops and outfitters have discovered that Surf Expo is a very convenient way to shop all their mainstay apparel and accessory brands and then easily browse other products they need such as sunscreens, sunglasses, coolers, T-shirts and PFDs. Tackle dealers who don’t take advantage of the crossover between fishing and the overall watersports lifestyle are missing out on a powerful revenue stream. Surf Expo is the one show where you can see and touch it all… and attendance is free for qualified retailers. “We’ve been attending Surf Expo for many years,” said Aledia Tush, owner of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, a fishing and boating landmark in Sarasota since 1959. “We’re always looking for new products, T-shirts, sportswear, suntan products, towels, sandals, shoes and sunglasses. Being a Florida retailer, Surf Expo is a show not to be missed!” Brands exhibiting in the Bluewater category include: HUK, AFTCO, 5Fin, Marsh Wear, Fish Hippie, Hooked Soul Fishing Co., Heybo

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Outdoors, Salt Life, Big Ocean Sport, Florida Cracker Trading Co., REEL Happy, Deep Blue Gear, Salty Crew, MANG Gear, Sunday Afternoon, Anglur, Huntworth, Skinny Water Culture, Tormenter Ocean, Costa, Bimini Bay and more. “We’ve been coming to Surf Expo since the beginning, and we were one of the first to be in the Bluewater section—where we’ve found a new home,” said Bill Shedd, president of AFTCO and 5Fin. “There’s a whole lifestyle that’s being developed around saltwater, offshore and big game fishing that’s bled off into inshore fishing and more of an outdoor activity in the broader outdoor world. AFTCO and 5Fin fit into that. Bluewater at Surf Expo is a perfect section to corral up a growing number of brands like AFTCO, 5FIN and Marshwear. The buyers don’t have to walk around looking; we’re in one area.” Surf Expo is a place where it’s easy to get business done. It is a pure, trade-only event, which eliminates the hubbub of open-to-the-public trade shows. It’s also a fun place to be, with a laid-back atmosphere that appeals to those in the watersports industry. The Bluewater Lounge has become a popular hangout for the fishing crowd. Hosted by Hell’s Bay Boatworks, it features happy hours daily and talks with special guests from Captains for Clean Water. Preserving the waters we love has always been an important part of Surf Expo. It is a platform for the watersports industry as a whole to promote clean water, water access, conservation and sustainability. “When people come to the Surf Expo for the first time, they notice the relaxed, cool atmosphere. It’s that lifestyle we all buy into, and there are a lot of down-to-earth beautiful people at a surf show,” said Surf Expo buyer relations manager Steven Fisher. “It’s just a great place to be if you’re in the watersports industry. If you’ve got a shop, come check it out for yourself.” For more information or to register now, buyers should visit www. surfexpo.com.

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feet; the fish are swimming along the trough looking for baitfish. When there’s bait around the trough (the deep channel where the breakers hit the beach), there are fish. Look for birds. When there are birds diving around the trough, the fish are near. There are several techniques I use to catch fish.

By Richard Matteson

S

urf ’s up! Grab your spincaster and head for the beach. I just moved to Hutchinson Island, one of the barrier islands on Florida’s Treasure Coast, and I’ve had a lot of fun fishing the surf early in the morning and late in the evening. I’ve averaged several snook per trip, with a few jacks, plus bluefish and mackerel. My best hour so far was four snook, a dozen jack, two ladyfish, two bluefish and a mackerel. Now that’s an action packed 60 minutes, and the best thing is you don’t have to cast more than 30

W

TACKLE: I use a spincasting reel with 10-pound braided line and a clear 20-pound fluro or mono leader. Tie 2 feet of leader onto the braid with a double uni knot, and then tie your lure on with a loop knot so it moves more freely. I use a 3/8- or ½-ounce jig with a D.O.A. paddletail either in pearl white or silver sparkle. I like the lighter weight, but it’s harder to cast. Silver spoons and topwaters are my secondary lures. THE SURF: you want some wave action, and rough surf is better than calm, but if it’s too rough the jig doesn’t stay in the strike zone long enough. Always fish into or toward the wind so you keep in contact with the lure. TECHNIQUE: I wear shorts and stand in the shallow wash. You don’t have to get wet. After a wave breaks, fish the backside between waves, jigging gently and keeping some tension on the line. When a wave overtakes the lure, keep in touch with it and let it tumble until the wave crashes on the beach. Then fish the backwash on the beach side of the trough. If you fish perpendicular to the trough, the lure is only in the trough for a few seconds. If you cast parallel to the beach, the lure stays in the trough longer and you have better action. Remember, the fish are feeding in 6 inches of water sometimes and can even strike in the backwash. Keep tension on the fish when you get one on, and lower your rod tip so Spanish, snook and bluefish won’t jump as much. When a fish rides the wave into the shore, you’ll need to reel fast to keep tension or they will flip off. Where to Fish: Any beach access is good, but look for birds and activity. No birds, consider moving to another beach access. I like the St. Lucie beaches in the Herman’s Bay area and the beaches near the inlets. Richard Matteson is staff writer for the Stuart Rod and Reel Club. For information, call 336-414-3440.

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 1

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DIVING REPORT DIVING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND BY: KERRY FREELAND / DIVE PROS

S

ome might say the diving season is over, but I have had some of my best dives during this time of the year. The cooler months usher in our winter diving season. At depth, the Gulf of Mexico retains its warmth, and there is much less pressure on the reefs from divers, as well as from fishermen. The water becomes clearer. As the lower air temperatures cool the surface waters of the Gulf, the algae and other free-swimming microorganisms disperse, leaving the northern Gulf of Mexico with better visibility. The tourist season has slowed, and I find more time to do some recreational diving. The Gulf is still very alive with many species making fall migrations. There is still a lot of baitfish in the water and the tarpon, redfish, the sharks and the birds take full advantage of their presence. On the bottom the Lionfish start to move offshore, and the flounder make their way into the Gulf from the bays and estuaries. An appropriate exposure suit is all that is necessary to enjoy our winter diving. Our bottom temperatures in the winter are close to the bottom temperatures on the west coast of the united states, during the summer, their warmest temperatures. Yes, indeed we don’t have it bad here on the Gulf Coast. Adding to the myriad of diving opportunities are numerous freshwater springs throughout northern and central Florida. These freshwater springs, with their constant seventydegree water, feel cool in the summer, but in the winter months they can feel pretty warm. It really is a matter of perspective. I take this time of year to explore some of the different springs throughout the state. Florida is peppered with these freshwater springs that burst up out of the ground and provide a beautiful pool of clear water with local fauna, and the spring run that gives one a good bit of area to explore. In

my cave diving days, I used to love to take that exploration a step further. I would swim past the cavern areas to the no light zone. Here I would find fossils embedded into the walls of the cave, and who knows what on the tops of the occasional debris cone, where the roof of the cave has collapsed and given the surface dwellers a convenient place to discard just about anything. I have old license plates and pull-tab beer cans from these quaint little trash piles. This is also manatee season. No, they are not in season, this is the time of year that they move out from the Gulf of Mexico and into the springs of central Florida. The cooling Gulf temperatures cause the manatee to migrate inland to the springs and associated rivers where the water temperature remains a constant seventy degrees. The manatee take refuge in

these waters during the winter. During colder weather events they will move into these springs so that they resemble stacks of cordwood. There may be literally hundreds of them huddled around one or two spring heads during the cold spell. Manatee are protected and should not be harassed or chased. It is illegal to pursue one or to reach out to touch it, but, if you are patient, they will often swim right up to you and roll over and want to be scratched. Just wait for it. Dive Pros in Pensacola puts together Manatee Safaris every year and I try to participate in at least one each year. I would go more often but having to work does thwart those grandiose plans. I love to get in the water and just watch them. It becomes a magical experience when one of them decides they would like to have a little interaction with you. In addition to the Manatee Safaris, Dive Pros is scheduling South Florida trips that will allow you to once again enjoy the warmer waters. In January, over Martin Luther King Day, we will dive out of Pomano Beach, they have a three-tiered reef system there that is just beautiful. Some of these divers will be going on to dive with sharks. Dive Pros is also planning trips to the Middle Keys in March which will havewreck and reef dives leaving out of our own North American tropical islands. As you can see there is no shortage of diving opportunities to be had during the winter months. We can fit you with an exposure suit that will allow you to get out and enjoy these dives in comfort. Get out there yourself this year and take advantage of the great trips we have to offer. Don’t be one of those fair-weather divers. Give your shop a call, give Dive Pros a call, or check out our club, 3rd Coast Divers, on facebook to see what exciting winter diving you could get into. We will be right there with you. For more information, contact Dive Pros at #850-456-8845

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

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11/13/2019 8:13:28 PM


LAKE MARTIN BY: CAPT. DAVID B. HARE you really need to check it out. In December of 2018 it was a record setting month for us including several days with over 40 fish boated and released in a 6hr-trip including December 29th our clients boated 92 fish in 5 hrs. Just another HIGH on Lake Martin that I think of frequently. This month expect to be able to catch large numbers of bass, stripers and crappie. I’ll along with the help of my guide services many great guides will be targeting stripers on most any part of the lake. I love planer boarding big shad in the shallows this month but when clients say they want lots and lots of action then I concentrate on areas that have deeper water that’s holding huge schools of fish down deep. December also brings higher numbers of sea gulls so stay focused on these birds because it’s a known fact they will lead you to some feeding fish and if you’ve never fished around active sea gulls then your in for exciting treat . If you are looking for something special for someone special in your life then consider a gift certificate from Alex City Guide Service here on Lake Martin its good for one year from date of purchase and who knows they might even bring you along too. Merry Christmas to all and we hope everyone has a Safe and Happy Holiday Season.

D

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

ecember brings low air temperatures, low water, low water temperatures, low recreational boating traffic and low fishing pressures on most any day. December is mainly known by most Lake Martin anglers as high volumes of catching going on, high volume of memories being made here with family during the holidays as people come in to visit parents, grandparents and friends. I am very proud to say we have helped make hundreds of fond memories on our charter boats in December on Lake Martin. If you’ve never done any December fishing on Lake Martin, then

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11/13/2019 8:13:41 PM


CHAPPY’S ANGELS BY: CHAPPY

I

n this time of Thanksgiving and holiday spirit, I wanted to take a moment to thank a very special group of people. Many people know I lost my leg to cancer 9 ½ years ago. Since that time, I’ve enjoyed clear scans and never gave it much thought until this past May, when the cancer returned to my lungs. After much consultation, I decided to begin chemotherapy at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. After a meeting with the oncologist one morning, I found myself in a hospital room with a medi-port in my chest and not knowing what was going to happen next. To say that I

was scared and nervous is an understatement. That’s when I met my first angel, Chaina, one of the charge nurses on the floor. She held my hand as I fought the tears, and talked about the procedures, side-effects, and duration of the chemotherapy. We also discussed spirituality and faith and the importance of a positive attitude. After that meeting, I no longer felt alone. Since that time, I have met several other angels, each one of them becoming special to me and my family. They are remarkable people, working each day and night, helping

patients who are going through one of the most difficult times of their lives. I’ve been through five rounds of chemotherapy, plus hospitalized seven other times for infections and sides effects, and marvel at the hard work and caring attitudes of these men and women. This group of dedicated caregivers has become a second family to me, and I cannot thank them enough for all they do. I found this poem which reminds me of them and all they do. Thank you.

It is My Duty Dawn Butler, RN

I walk through those doors with pride, Who’s life will I save tonight? Someone is waiting for me, Someone is alive today because of my duty. Sometimes we cry cause we can’t save them all, God sometimes won’t let us interfere when he calls. A baby’s first breath when he looks at me, The joy of my first delivery. The tear I wipe away with my own hands, The life ending of a gentle old man. The night seems so dark and the morning so bright. Being a nurse you see life in a different light. Who will I save tonight? Who will hold my hand during their last breath with no fright? Who will enter this world on my shift? How many mothers will greet their babies with a kiss? I don’t know who these special people are but I will meet them with every call I will hold them tight and help the pain I will hold them up when they feel faint. I will be strong when I’m needed That is my job. I am a nurse. That is my duty.

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

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11/13/2019 8:13:49 PM


MOBILE / DAUPHIN ISLAND BY: CAPT. CHARLIE GRAY

H

ello fishing fans!The turkey gobbled was smoked, fried and eaten and, with that the cooler days and nights prevail. November started off warm and slow but ended up cooler with more fish schooling up. Things should progress into December before the really cold months of January and February make fishing more difficult. With the colder air and water

temperatures, the speckled trout will move into the deeper parts of the rivers that feed into Mobile Bay, Fowl River Bay, Grand Bay, Portersville Bay and others. When it’s colder the trout will hold up in the deeper holes of these rivers like Fowl River, Dog River, Little River and Bayou La Batre. The deeper holes are often found where the river makes a hard bend; Fish a Carolina rig or slip cork rig deep and on the ledges around these holes with a live shrimp if you can still find them, if not use a VuDu shrimp or shrimp imitation; I have great success with the Vudu in natural, cajun pepper, gold and brown varieties and I also add a little Vudu shrimp scent to help attract fish to the bait. For redfish try the same tactic, although you can use a dead shrimp fished on the bottom, or smaller finger mullet, mud minnows or bull minnows. If you are fishing a dead shrimp on the bottom, don’t let it just sit on the bottom, bounce or pull it along the bottom ever so slowly, do not rush or hurry the presentation. The fish are sluggish now in this cooler water and expect the baits to be slow as well. You need a slooooow presentation. Also, don’t be afraid to try these same baits under a popping cork in the shallower waters. On the warmer days ahead of a cold or warm front (if we get lucky!) fish the flats in these rivers around the holes. The fish will move into the shallow water as the day heats up. The mud bottom and oyster

shell bottoms heat up quicker than some other areas. You have some tidal movement in these rivers to have success, when the tide is slack you seldom have any action. Often, just as soon as the tide starts to move either way, in or out, the fish will begin to feed. Watch your water in these shallow rivers, you may get in an area when the tide seems high, but a north wind and a falling tide may strand you on a mud flat. Be alert and careful, always pay attention to the conditions, they can change quickly this time of year. We are still fishing and booking trips through these cooler months, call us, Lets go fishing! Remember, we don’t hunt, we just fish, take a kid fishing If you are looking for the PERFECT Christmas or Holiday gift, call me and let me get you a gift certificate for a fishing trip; You can get the certificate and have it ready under the tree for a trip for this Spring or Summer. Book a date and get the certificate, it’s that easy! Until next time, tight lines, good fishing and Merry Christmas. 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 | DECEMBER 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 5

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11/13/2019 8:13:51 PM


MOBILE BAY / EASTERN SHORE BY: CAPT. DAN KOLENICH

D

ecember is upon us and that means the start of winter fishing. This fall has been a little less than normal for trout fishing on the causeway. That is no surprise after how much rain we had this year. The water is not very clear and in the mid 60’s. It should be getting cooler with each passing cold front. The trout fishing is slow, and it looks like that is it for the year on the causeway. As the muddy cool water moves south so are the specs and reds. Follow the clear water south and soon you will be in the gulf. Live shrimp have proved to be productive at the rigs. Artificial bait guys will find a soft plastic on a 3/8 oz jig head worked slowly on the bottom will also produce nice fish. I like a High Tide natural shrimp, but root beer/chartreuse, chartreuse/red, and white/ chartreuse colors. In shallower water, I like to try a Mirrolure top dog, catch Jr. and glad shad. Fishing for reds has also been slow in North Pass, Daphne, and the other cuts just south of the causeway. A live or dead shrimp on a carolina rig is a good bet as they move to the gulf. Soft plastics on jig heads are also productive. A 3/8 oz head with chartreuse or root beer are my two favorite colors. I also look for the tide to be low and still falling for the best timing in these ditches. As winter closes in, I’ll be headed for the gulf to chase the salty water. But for spec action, I’ll look in the rivers that flow into the bay. Fish, Magnolia, Fowl, and Bon Secure are a good bet. Fish the banks for reds and toward the deeper part in the center for trout. A falling tide with slow working jig head on the bottom is usually productive. A 3/8 oz jig head to be sure you are on the bottom is my preference. A Mirrolure glad shad is another one of my favorite baits for winter trout. Winter is on the way, so get ready to head for your wintertime fishing holes. Get after the trout before they go to sleep for the winter. Capt. Dan Kolenich info@captdankolenich.com 251-422-3474

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

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11/13/2019 8:13:53 PM


OFFSHORE REPORT BY: CAPT. DON MCPHERSON

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ovember fishing was awesome with catches of scamp grouper, big red grouper, gag grouper, vermillion snapper, white snapper and big wahoo. These fish were caught on full day fishing trips offshore. Big bull redfish, Spanish mackerel, kings and bonita were also caught within 3 miles of the beach. These same fish can be caught in December. We have to fish between cold fronts where we experience calm seas. Nearshore fishing can be enjoyable with a cold front as the north wind is block by land and condos. As the north wind pushes the bait out the pass the big bulls will be waiting. This fishing can be fun by trolling spoons and deep diving baits and, also casting curly tail grubs into a big school. Come enjoy some great December fishing. Don’t let the winter weather keep you inside. Most charter boats are heated with nice comfortable seating. Capt. Don McPherson 251-752-0235 Getaway Charters www.getawaycharters.com

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10 ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL | DECEMBER 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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EXCELLENT BAR-B-Q AND PUMPKIN PIE TOO! BY: FORREST CHAPMAN

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ow. What a wonderful find in my own hometown, for great Bar-B-Q and desserts. I’d driven by Hot Spot Bar-B-Q, located at the corner of 9th Ave. and La Rua Street in Pensacola, for about 2 months without ever stopping in. But each time the delicious smells coming from the smokers, which were working at the crack of dawn, would have my stomach growling and my taste buds wanting. I finally decided to stop in one day with for lunch and Hot Spot nailed it. I have the 3-meat combo with Brisket, chicken and pork. Plus, two sides. I absolutely think the brisket is probably the best I’ve ever had. It is fork tender and juicy and melts in your mouth. The chicken was equally tender and not dried out as some smokers can do. One of the sides, Brunswick Stew, is like a meal, and loaded with vegetables. After about a dozen visits and take out, I finally tried the Pumpkin Pie, which is seasonal and comes out September 1st. This is simple the BEST pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. Hands down, No Bull.

I don’t know what it is about this pie, but you owe it to yourself to try it. Even if you don’t like Bar-B-Q, go and get a slice of the pie. Better yet, get a whole one for the family and they will talk about you for generations. I have given this pie to over 50 people in the past couple of months and EVERYONE of them said it was the best they had ever had. So, do yourself a favor and go to Hot Spot Bar-B-Q for a real treat you will enjoy.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2019 | ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL 11

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ALABAMA / PENSACOLA Brag Board SPONSORED BY BRUNSON NET & SUPPLY NC.

NG Luiza shows off a nice Speckled Trout. For more information on this amazing lady angler, go to: www.fishingwithluiza.com

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A beautiful Redfish caught on a day trip on the Gulf of Mexico with Getaway Charters.

Bill West shows off a beautiful bass while fishing a river this Fall.

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KAYAK REPORT BY: BENTON PARROTT

A

s the weather and water gets colder look for deeper holes that the fish will stack up in. Structure in the rivers can be good as well with fish hanging around. Fish often become lethargic as the water temperatures drop. Fish slow and low bouncing your lure off the bottom. During these cold days I like to use soft plastics like a Saltwater Assassin sea shad on a ¼ oz. jig head or a sinking corky. Look for flats near drop offs that will heat up quicker during a sunny day. Fish these flats in the afternoon where fish will come to feed. I will work the flats with a Rapala Shadow Rap Shad making a few twitches and letting the bait pause while taking the slack out of the line. Even with the water temperature down I will still work a topwater late in the evening on drop offs to deeper water on the

edge of these flats. Slowing down my retrieve to a crawl has produced some solid trout over the years as they are looking for one good meal. I am still finding reds cruising close to the bank along the grass lines looking to eat. There isn’t anything going on as far as tournaments in December but start looking ahead to next year. Take the time to clean up and organize your gear and get ready for the Spring bite. Add that depth finder or anchor system you have been wanting. In the spring there will be the B.C.K.F.C Paddlepalooza15 in Louisiana, G.C.K.F.A. Spring Tournament in Pensacola, Fl., and the M.B.K.F.A Bagwell tournament in Dauphin Island, Al. Also a lot of these groups have a all year online tournament for club members. Go to their sites for more details

and to get signed up. All are great tournaments where you can have a great time and meet new anglers. We always have a list of upcoming events on our Kayak Fishing U Facebook page. Always dress for the water temperature and not the air. One wrong move could spell disaster if you aren’t prepared. 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

T

his is it! What we’ve all been waiting for, The Gulf Coast’s famous Redfish run! When on the water the next couple months your biggest tool is your awareness. A lot of times the fish will be given away by a crowd of other boats, birds, bait all of these are good signs. When these fish are on the surface I like to use a 40lb fluorocarbon leader tied to a

1 1/2oz Spro jig. As long as you land your lure in the midst of the feeding frenzy all that is left to do is set the hook and the fight is on! Another HUGE part of this month is safety, as things can get chaotic when these fish are coming up and going down always remember to be mindful of other boats around as they be standing up fighting a fish and not see your boat wake coming. So with that being said, tight lines and we wish you the best of luck! Captain Johnathan Willis Gulf Bay Charters 850-454-6937

18 ALABAMA / PENSACOLA, FL | DECEMBER 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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In addition to a huge selection of boats and marine products, there are special events for the whole family to enjoy! The Fetch-n-Fish dog show returns with dog jumping, training tips and lots of fun for the kids; and the Talk 106.5 Guide’s Corner boasts a great line-up of local and regional fishing talent sharing their secrets and tips. “Kids Fishing 101” is a free event for children, teaching them how to cast and use a rod and reel and water safety through a fun interactive program. The first 100 participants will receive a free fishing rod, tackle box and tackle courtesy of Plano, Pure Fishing Matrix Shad and Odd Ball Tackle.

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Decked for the holiday season during Palm Beach’s By John out Lidington 2018 boat parade. Photo by Andrea Whitaker.

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t’s the holiday season, a time of giving and good cheer, and divers are as ready as any to participate. One source of good cheer is supporting good causes. Humanitarian causes are typically linked to this season, but we can feel good about aiding organizations focused on our diving environment, too. A number of worthy organizations stand ready to put your aid to good use. This year, on the humanitarian front, there’s a special cause for divers to consider. Hurricane Dorian did a number on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands. The devastation has dropped out of the news cycle, but their needs will be great well into the future. The Bahamian government maintains a webpage listing relief organizations at www.bahamas.com/relief. While donations are a major component of the relief effort, restoring jobs is also essential. If you want to boost your spirits along with the local economy, try a winter dive vacation to Grand Bahama. Its major dive operations are back up, and flights to Fort Lauderdale and other international airports should have resumed. Restoration of Abaco’s services will lag Grand Bahama’s, but the islands should offer

great adventures for the more self-reliant. Of the many marine-focused organizations, here are several that Florida divers might consider: Probably the best-known diver-oriented nonprofit is Reef Environmental Education Network, based in Key Largo. Check out R.E.E.F.’s website (www.reef.org) but plan on a lengthy visit. Their “quizlets” will hook you if you’re into fish-ID. Coral propagation is an important tool in restoring disease-damaged reefs. The Coral Restoration Foundation (www.coralrestoration.org) has focused primarily on growing elkhorn and staghorn corals to replace stands wiped out in the 1980s. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium (mote.org/research/program/coral-reef-restoration) is working with brain and boulder corals, with the goal of repairing reefs hit by the new disease outbreaks from Martin County down into the Florida Keys. Are sea turtles your thing? Two long-established local organizations are the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (marinelife.org) and the National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation (savetheseaturtle.org), which now hosts the Florida Hawksbill Project (www.floridahawksbills.com). In addition to collecting nesting and tracking data, Loggerhead operates a turtle hospital. NSSTF funds turtle research projects, including several at Florida Atlantic University. There are more ways to offer support than giving organizations cash. Check off your gift list while supporting your favorite cause. Check out their online stores. Apparel, books, toys—they’re all there. Save the Sea Turtle even offers subscriptions to “Florida Environmental Outreach” for a gift that gives all year. You can spread the holiday cheer close to home, too. Pura Vida Divers is participating again in the Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade and supporting the Toys for Tots donation drive. Every new, unwrapped toy you donate at the shop earns you 20 percent off in-store items and a raffle ticket for Pura Vida’s Holiday Party on Dec. 13. This year, pick a cause and support it. Your holidays will be even happier!

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By Will Schmidt

G

rowing up, I used corks a lot, usually to know when a bream had taken my little dough ball when I was fishing in my backyard. Later, I used them to keep track of lively white bait or aid in casting shrimp farther. Now days, I use them more as a dinner bell than anything else. I am also using them in much deeper water than you would ever expect, but here you need a little patience.

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If you’ve fished the flats in saltwater, you have probably used a popping cork and a shrimp at some point. Giving your rod a sharp tug to make the cork pop always seemed to liven up the action. Well, the same can be done in deep water to help hungry reds find your meal offering. The really cool thing about this is it works with conventional tackle as well as fly setups. The concept is pretty simple, a popping cork with about 20 inches of mono out of the bottom tied to large swimbait or fly. We use them around large schools of bait that are being worked over by breeding-sized reds. “Pop it hard and wait at least 10 seconds. You know it’s deep here and it will take at least that long for the fish to find it,” said Capt. Gary Dubiel. He should know since he invented the Pop N Fly technique. The key is to make a huge pop with a lot of noise and then pause. The deeper the water, the longer you wait. The fish are in constant movement around enormous schools of bait. When they hear what seems to be another fish feeding, they come running to get their share. But it might take a minute. You want to make sure your bait gets straight down below the cork, as well as giving the fish plenty of time to locate it before popping again. On average, wait 8 to 10 seconds in 14 feet of water, longer if the water is deeper. It is also nice that you don’t need live bait for this technique because it saves time at first light, making it easy to run and gun on large schools of bait. For tackle, a medium weight spinning rod with plenty of 20- or 30-pound braid will do the trick. On the fly, you will want a 10 weight to cast the rig and plenty of backing. Below the cork, your fly or swimbait will slowly sink down looking like a stunned or wounded baitfish that seemingly escaped a vicious attack… aka an easy meal. Pop and be patient, the strikes are basically unremarkable; the cork just disappears. But the fight of these 40-plus-pound beasts on light tackle or a fly rod is much more noteworthy. Will Schmidt is a seasoned tournament angler who has been writing about fishing for two decades. Reach Capt. Dubiel at (252) 249-1520.

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VISIT THE

STUART BOAT SHOW JANUARY 10-12

Photo by Cayne Grace

A wide variety of boat brands are represented at the show including the latest models of motor yachts, cruisers, center consoles, speed boats, sport fishing boats and pontoons ranging in size from 12 feet to 90-plus feet in length. Additional exhibitors include the latest in personal watercraft, safety equipment, marine electronics, inboard and outboard engines, financing and insurance companies, nautical clothing and jewelry, fishing gear, accessories and financing and insurance companies. The schedule is full all three days with seminars presented by female angler Darcizzle, captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell, Capt. Paul Sperco, Capt. Planet and Mark Palazzo. It will be lots of fun for the whole family with an expanded food court area with delicious food, and a bar and large screen TVs to round out the show.

WHEN:

Friday, Jan. 10, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WHERE:

54-290 NW Dixie Hwy., Stuart, FL - Free shuttle service available from Whitham Field and Wright Blvd./Dixie Hwy. parking lots.

ENTRY:

$14 General Admission, $12 Veterans and $7 Children 12 and under. Tickets available at www.stuartboatshow.com/tickets. Sorry, no pets.

F

ind your dream boat at the largest boat show on the Treasure Coast Jan. 10-12 in Stuart, Fla. In its 46th year, the Stuart Boat For more information on the Stuart Boat Show, visit http://www. Show will feature more than 175 local, national and interna- stuartboatshow.com. Follow the Stuart Boat Show on Facebook, tional exhibitors displaying hundreds of boats in water and on land. YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

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FWC has approved several draft rule changes for spotted seatrout. Based on public comment, the Commission also directed staff to continue considering public input and update the proposal as needed prior to bringing this back at a future meeting for final approval.

Approved draft changes include:

• Splitting the Northwest spotted seatrout management zone into two separate zones including the Western Panhandle (Escambia County through most of Gulf County, not including Indian Pass/Indian Lagoon) and the Big Bend (Franklin County, plus Indian Lagoon, through Fred Howard Park Causeway in Pinellas County). • Moving the boundary between the southern management zones to create the newly-renamed South Florida zone (Fred Howard Park Causeway in Pinellas County near the Pasco County line through Broward County) and Central East zone (Palm Beach through Volusia counties). • Reducing bag limits - Western Panhandle: five to three fish - Big Bend: five to four fish - South Florida: four to three fish - Central East: four to two fish - Northeast: six to five fish • Modifying the recreational slot size limit from 15-to-20 inches to 15-to-19 inches total length.

• Allowing one seatrout over 19 inches per vessel (currently, per harvester). • Changing the current daily commercial limits to 50 per harvester and 100 per vessel. • Prohibiting captain and crew from keeping a bag limit on a for-hire trip. • Re-establishing the February recreational closure in the Western Panhandle zone and the November-December recreational closure in the Central East zone. Provide online comments about these draft changes at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

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By Paul Tyre

F

rog fishing is one of the most exciting ways to catch the largemouth bass that ambush feed in grass-choked reservoirs of the South. Lake Seminole, on the Florida/Georgia border, is one of the best frog-fishing lakes in the country. If you ever get the chance to visit Seminole, do it. In the meantime, these tips and techniques may help on your local grass mats. My favorite hollow-body frogs are the Spro Bronzeye series. Spro Bronzeye frogs are built

around a Gamakatsu EWG double hook that is very strong and sticky sharp, which is needed for getting big bass out of heavy cover. They come three styles: Bronzeye Frog, Bronzeye POP and Bronzeye Shad. Each has a unique action that works great under different circumstances. The Bronzeye Frog 65 has a pointed nose that can be worked over and through the heaviest cover or in open water. It’s the frog I choose for covering water to find concentrations of bass under grass mats. As the grass starts to die under mats, it creates open pockets and perfect frogging conditions. When fishing a Bronzeye Frog 65, heavy braided line is a must. My choice is Cortland Master Braid for its durability and strength. I also prefer a high speed reel, at least 7:3:1 gear ratio mounted on a 7-foot, 2-inch to 7-foot, 6-inch heavy action rod with a fast tip and a lot of backbone to haul big bass out of cover. Make long casts across a flat and work the frog with a fast hopping action. Expect a blowup! This is a great technique for covering large expanses to find out where fish are holding. When you get a strike, be sure to pause before setting the hook. Also, when a missed strike occurs, reel the bait in as fast as possible and cast back past where the strike occurred. Work the frog slowly with slight twitches to move it side to side but not forward. The bass should key in on the bait and strike again. The Bronzeye Pop 60 has incredible attention-drawing power. Its concave nose allows you to fish slower with a popping of the rod tip. The frog remains in the strike zone longer and generates explosive strikes. Fish this frog around all types of cover from laydowns to docks, to grass lines and holes in grass beds. I prefer a 7-foot to 7-foot, 3-inch heavy action rod with a fast tip and a high-speed reel with 50- to 65-pound braided line, depending on the cover I’m fishing. The Bronzeye Spit Shad 65 has a spitting and gliding action. It can be fished anywhere you would want to throw a hard bait but can’t due to hangups. I fish lily pad fields with this bait. It comes through pads very well and allows faster fishing to cover more water. Contact Paul Tyre, of Lake Seminole Fishing Adventures, at (850) 2647534, e-mail paultyrefishing@yahoo.com and follow him on Instagram @lakeseminilefishingadventures and Facebook @paultyrefishing.

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• Cable TV, Hi-Speed Internet • Boat Trailer Parking on site w/ Water and Power • 2 miles to the Ft. Pierce Inlet • 12 miles to the Gulf Stream • Water Taxi Service Available

• Fully Furnished 3 Room Cottages w/ Fully Equipped Kitchens • 250 Foot Dock w/ Covered Guest Area • Laundry, BBQ Grilles • FREE Ice / FREE Guest Dockage • FREE use of our Kayaks

All ReseRvAtions of 28 DAys oR longeR Receive A 50% Discount on AccommoDAtions Offer valid through April 2020. Rates subject to change. Limited availability.

3011 N. Indian River Dr., Ft. Pierce, FL 34946 www.indianriverlagoonwaterfrontcottages.com Reservations and Information: (772) 349-2206 Nightly • Weekly • Monthly • Seasonal Rates Available It turns out that being a Florida resident meant two things for Viens, racing and boating. As for racing, Viens started locally at the New Smyrna Speedway and fell in love with the sport. After starting racedaysponsor.com and climbing the ranks, he found himself at the Daytona International Speedway racing before all of his friends and family. “My first time there was surreal,” Viens remembered, “definitely my favorite moment on the track.” One day, after fighting again with a rusted adjustable wrench trying to get the drainplug from his boat, Viens knew there had to be a better way. On one of the Nascar driver’s long walks, the idea for the Boat Gadget was born. Viens wanted an all-in-one boat tool that could truly be useful and not something that just sat in the garage. What came to fruition was one of the most useful tools on the market today. The Boat Gadget has more than 10 uses, including: 1) Molded notches for deck plates 2) Wine or canvas snap opener 3) Fishing line cutter 4) 30mm & 35mm gas cap key 5) T-bar drain plug crank 6) Bottle opener 7) Flat top drain plug tool 8) Flip top gas cap 9) Safety whistle 10) Square boat drain plug

By CAM Staff

N

ascar driver turned inventor Tim Viens is bringing a revolutionary new boat tool to the industry this December, and Coastal Angler sat down to see just how he made the switch from the track to the docks.

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You can find this innovative new product for purchase at www. boatgadget.com, and make sure you follow them on Facebook and Instagram @boatgadget.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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DECEMBER 2019

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DECEMBER 2019

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12/19/18 3:50 PM


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