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ALABAMA GULF COAST EDITION

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GIFT GUIDE

Local

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM

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SUMMER MIGHT BE WINDING DOWN, BUT THE SUZUKI SAVINGS SEASON IS JUST HEATING UP

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The Suzuki Savings Season 2016 ends soon so see your participating Suzuki Marine dealer today – or visit suzukimarine.com – for details on these special offers.

Gimme Six Extended Protection promo is applicable to new Suzuki outboard motors from 25 to 300 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16 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. Cash Rebates apply to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki outboards made between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine.com. Customer and participating Dealer must fill out the appropriate rebate form at time of sale. Customer will have the choice to either apply the cash rebate against the original dealer invoice (Suzuki will credit Dealer parts account) or have a check sent directly to the customer. 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 marine engines. 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 marine engines purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16.“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. © 2016 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

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More Of A World Traveler’s Top Fishing Destinations By Patrick Sebile

L

ast month in these pages, I laid out what in my opinion are the top-5 fishing destinations in the world. It was a list of the most impressive fisheries I have experienced in a career spent traveling to fish the most renowned waters on this planet. From southern Africa’s Atlantic coast to Scandanavia, Panama, Australia and Venice, Louisiana, those five destinations topped the list among the 64 countries where I have fished. But there are other destinations well worth mention as some of the top fisheries in the world. With this article I will touch on five more destinations I believe to be some of the best on the planet. • Florida, U.S.A: Choosing a whole state and calling it a destination might be a stretch. However, the variety of great fisheries offered by this peninsula is what makes it one of the best places in the world for anglers. With fantastic inshore and offshore fishing, seasonal highlights like the east coast mullet run and some of the best bass fishing anywhere, Florida’s patchwork of options make it a great place for fishing. • South Island, New Zealand: This place is as wild as wilderness can get. Fishing for trout in New Zealand streams with the backdrop that was the set from the “Lord of the Rings” movies has to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Also, the north island offers great saltwater fishing for humphead snapper and yellowtail amberjack, which is one of the meanest and most powerful fish that lives in the world’s oceans. • Lake Biwa, Japan: This 259-square-mile lake is surrounded with history as one of the oldest lakes in the world. It is filled with millions of ayu—a small trout-related fish—that turned out to be the major food for a population of largemouth bass. There are consistently more

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Photo Courtesy of Al Stewart Photography

big bass in Lake Biwa than anywhere else I know of. It is where the longtime IGFA All Tackle world record was tied just a few years ago with a bass that weighed 22-pounds, 5-ounces. • Ivory Coast, Africa: Years ago, I ran a lodge on the Ivory Coast, not far from the city of San Pedro, where Stuart Campbell used to come targeting record blue marlin. He succeeded a number of times. From April to June, my average day consisted of three to five fish in the 300- to 600-pound range. • Massachusetts, U.S.A.: I’m a striped bass addict, and fishing the shores of Massachusetts is a pilgrimage I must make on an annual basis, period! There’s nothing like fishing for striped bass when they’re blitzing bait on the shorelines of the northeastern states. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


It’s the Honda of Outboards. Literally.

Quality, reliability, technology and fuel-efficiency have made Honda an automotive legend. You’ll find those same strengths in every Honda Marine outboard. Honda outboards deliver best-of-class features in models ranging from 2.3 to 250 hp. Many even share engine technology and components used in Honda vehicles like the Accord, Odyssey, Fit and Pilot — vehicles that have proven themselves over millions of miles. No wonder all Honda outboards are backed by the only 5-year manufacturer’s warranty in the industry. Power your boat with the brand that offers millions of miles of proven performance — Honda Marine.

Take Advantage Of 2.49% APR Financing On All New Honda Outboards Or 4.49% APR Financing On All New Honda Outboard Engines Or Boat/Motor Packages — Going On Now! To Find Your Nearest Authorized Honda Marine Dealer, Visit Our Website Now From Your QR-Enabled Phone, Or Go To ca.hondamarine.com *APR financing available on all new Honda outboard engines through American Honda Finance Corporation upon approved credit. 2.49% APR financing for 24 – 48 months, available to customers who qualify for the AHFC super preferred credit tier. Example for new Honda outboard engines: 2.49% APR for 36 months financing at $28.86 a month for every $1,000 financed. 3.49% APR for 60 months financing at $18.19 a month for every $1,000 financed. 3.49% APR for 84 months financing at $13.44 a month for every $1,000 financed. Offer good on any new and unregistered Honda outboard engine, with a minimum amount financed of $1,000 and a minimum monthly payment of $100. Check with participating dealers for complete details. Dealers set actual sales prices. For well-qualified buyers, not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for different terms and/or buyers with lower credit rating. Lower rates may also be available. Offer valid through 01/03/17, on new and unregistered Honda outboard engines (2hp – 250hp) and only on approved credit by Honda Financial Services through participating dealers. Honda Financial Services’ standard credit criteria apply. **APR financing available on all new Honda outboard engines or packages (boat, motor and trailer, where Honda outboard engine is the main source of power) through American Honda Finance Corporation upon approved credit. 4.49% APR financing for 12 – 180 months (term and rate based on amount financed) available to customers who qualify for the AHFC Super Preferred credit tier. Example for new Honda outboard engines or packages: 4.49% APR for 84 months financing at $13.90 a month for every $1,000 financed. 4.49% APR for 144 months financing at $9.00 a month for every $1,000 financed. 4.49% APR for 180 months financing at $7.64 a month for every $1,000 financed. Offer good on any new and unregistered Honda outboard engine or package, with a minimum amount financed of $1,000 and a minimum monthly payment of $100. Check with participating dealers for complete details. Dealers set actual sales prices. For well-qualified buyers, not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for different terms and/or buyers with lower credit rating. APR may be subject to dealer mark-up. Offer valid through 01/03/17, on new and unregistered Honda outboard engines or packages and only on approved credit by Honda Financial Services through participating dealers. Honda Financial Services’ standard credit criteria apply. ©2016 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Always wear a personal flotation device while boating and read your owner’s manual. All Honda outboards meet EPA and CARB emission levels. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM DECEMBER 2016 NATIONAL 7


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WEST MICHIGAN : Phil Belsito • (616) 957-1714 • phil@theanglermagazine.com UPSTATE NEW YORK : Frank Geremski • (518) 898-6484 • frankie@theanglermagazine.com

INTERNATIONAL BAHAMAS : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com COSTA RICA : Thomas Hauer, Jr. • (321) 445-1557 • thomash@coastalanglermagazine.com Thomas Hauer • tomh@coastalanglermagazine.com PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Disclaimer: Coastal Angler Magazine / The Angler Magazine will not be held liable for injuries incurred while partaking in activities described herein, or for claims made against products or services provided by advertisers.

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Editor’s Note: Each month, Coastal Angler Magazine and The Angler Magazine staff search our vast coverage area for photos that will grace our covers. With well over a million readers in diverse coastal and inland markets, our magazines strive for broad national appeal as well as local-level intelligence to put anglers on fish. The cover is different depending on which edition you, the reader, are holding. The following is a little information about this month’s covers.

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Eleuthera, Bahamas

FREE

This year’s December holiday editions of Coastal Angler Magazine feature an image Holiday of Gene Dyer and a 30-pound mahi caught GIFT while fishing aboard Uncle Tom Dyer’s GUIDE 55-foot Hatteras off Eleuthera, Bahamas. Dyer is Coastal Angler’s newest franchisee, having recently taken over the Fort Local Lauderdale franchise location. Gene comes to Coastal Angler as a former advertising sales executive for Florida Sport Fishing. Eleuthera is one of the long skinny Out Islands that make up the eastern edge of the Bahamian archipelago. It is a spectacular vacation destination with miles of pink sand beaches, and for anglers it is a renowned bonefish destination, noted for expansive and easily accessible flats. As evidenced by Dyer’s Mahi, Eleuthera is also a fantastic jumpingoff place for the reef, spearfishing and sport fishing the Bahamas are famous for. Excellent reefs such as Devil’s Backbone are teeming with snappers, groupers and amberjack. And with depths of thousands of feet a few miles offshore, anglers can take a quick boat ride and tangle with tuna, marlin, snapper, mahi-mahi, sailfish and some huge wahoo. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

COASTALA NGLERMA G.COM

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Southeastern Mountain Trout

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA EDITION

FREE

There is no better gift for a trout angler than the opportunity to cast to gorgeous fish in the streams of southern Appalachia. The cover image for our holiday editions of The Angler Holiday Magazine comes from the north Georgia GIFT GUIDE mountains, where Tommy Nicodemus caught this big rainbow trout from Noontootla Creek Local while fishing with guide Chuck Head of Unicoi Outfitters. Noontootla Creek is one of the best small trout streams in Georgia, and it feeds the larger Toccoa River, which boasts one the Southeast’s premier tailwater trout fisheries. Noontootla itself flows from high-headwaters through public land on Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area, where it is a small stream offering wild brown and rainbow trout. For decades it has been managed under special regulations, which have produced a great, if sometimes challenging, fishery. Our cover fish was caught from an extensively managed private trophy stretch of Noontootla Creek called Noontootla Creek Farms. The image was captured by Jason Weldon. PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON WELDON

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

F R A N C H I S E

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

FISHING WITH UNICOI OUTFITTERS

THEANGLE RMAG.COM O P P O R T U N I T I E S

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DECEMBER 2016

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inter means giant redfish on the fly. From Florida to Texas and up the east coast of the United States, giant redfish are a prime target species for many saltwater fly anglers. In my opinion, there is no finer wintertime saltwater species to sight fish a fly too. The fishing opportunities are endless, and the chance to hook a true giant heavier than 30 pounds is very likely. However, for the fly angler to be successful he/she must be able to make the cast. First Things First The first thing I suggest to anglers before they jump into saltwater fly fishing is to really learn how to cast a fly line to 40 feet quickly and accurately. We are often led to believe that if the angler can cast a long distance then he or she will be a successful fly angler. There is nothing further from the truth. I’ve seen wonderful fly casters become frustrated when sight casting to redfish. They are so focused on making a long cast that they miss the f ish-catching opportunities within 40 feet of their rod tip. Casting to redfish is more about accuracy and quickness than is distance. Learn The Double Haul Developing a solid double-haul is the foundation of a quick and accurate cast. Not only does the double-haul help with distance, if executed correctly, it reduces the number of backcasts the angler must make. It is well to remember that the more time the fly line is in the air, the less time the fly is on the water. The best way to learn the double haul is to find a grassy area like a park. Next, strip out 40 feet of fly line and make a forward cast, allowing the fly line to lie on the grass in front of you. Next, lower your rod tip to where it is touching the ground in front of you. Then, pick up the fly line and make a back cast, laying the line out behind you. This is the single haul. Next, pull the fly line off the grass behind you with your line hand while the fly rod is moving forward, and with the rod moving forward, pull the line down towards your belt line. As you feel the fly rod load while it bends on the forward cast, release the line from your line hand, allowing the fly line to shoot forward through the guides. This is the second haul of the double haul, an effective cast when long- distance casts are required, but also important for the short, quick accurate cast needed when fishing red fish. The Back Cast Is Important Much of your success in fly casting is dependent upon the development of a smooth back cast, that is the ability to cast 20 to 30 feet of line behind you whenever demanded. Remember the fly fisherman’s adage that “your forward cast is only as good as your back cast,” and a good cast is the “rule-of thumb” when casting flies to redfish. If a redfish appears behind you, simply make a forward cast. With your fly line on the water, simply pick up the line, and shoot it behind you. Retain eye contact with the redfish’s position. In next month’s column, Casting to Redfish Part Two, I will write about the importance of the repositioning cast and quick cast.

FLY FISHING

ON THE COVER

CASTING FOR THE REDFISH GAME: PART ONE

Follow Conway Bowman at www.conwybowman.com, on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

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DECEMBER 2016

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Gift Ideas FOR ANGLERS

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heck out these great gift ideas for the outdoor enthusiast on your holiday gift list. These local merchants are available to ensure your holiday gift giving satisfaction. We always try to encourage our readers to shop locally. It’s our community and we all benefit from supporting our local businesses. They’re here for us all year long and our personal convenience depends on their sustainability. Tell them Coastal Angler/The Angler Magazine sent you. By the way, if you see something here that you wish could be under the tree with your name on it, just take out a marker and circle it. Then leave this page open for your friends and family to see. Yes, crude but effective.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Coastal Angler/The Angler Magazine.

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t can be tough to keep up with all the acronyms involved in and created by the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. TIGs (Trustee Implementation Groups) sprouted to assess damages and then decide how to spend the money recovered for restoration projects. The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group is one of those TIGs. Its responsibilities are for projects designed to benefit pelagic species and deep-water habitats. In 2017, the group is implementing an interesting project aimed at restoring pelagic fish to the Gulf of Mexico. Many Gulf oceanic fish, eggs, and larvae were injured by the oil and chemicals used for cleanup. Species injured include pelagic (or open-ocean) fish such as tuna, billfish, sharks and mackerel. The Open Ocean TIG is working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help restore these fish populations by reducing fishing mortality. This will allow fish to grow and reproduce, helping support healthier populations of fish throughout the Gulf. The project will establish a temporary, voluntary, six-month repose period each year of the project, which is expected to last

five to 10 years. During this repose period, participating vessel owners will refrain from pelagic longline fishing and will be financially compensated to offset their potential loss in revenue. To help offset economic impacts of the repose, participants will be encouraged to fish for yellowfin tuna and swordfish using alternative gear. These gear types have been shown to result in low levels of bycatch and bycatch mortality. This will also provide an opportunity to study and improve the efficiency of alternative fishing gear over time. The project is tailored to restore resources impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and does not affect existing management practices or regulations. The project will be launched as a pilot, with a four-month repose period starting March 1, 2017. Interested pelagic longline vessel owners can learn more about this project or contact Kristin Byler at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for more information. This is the first direct fish restoration project to be implemented by the Open Ocean TIG. An additional $380 million has been allocated for future fish and water column restoration projects.

To Learn More about the life of a Longliners life on a boat, go to

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By Tobin Strickland • Photo by Kyle Johnson ill warm water temperatures reduce winter big trout catches? It’s a question that many are beginning to wonder. “Is it cold enough yet? Have the big trout moved to the mud?” These are some of the questions I’ve been hearing. The answer is… Well, it depends. In shallow-water big trout haunts, we’ve found that the big fish move there much earlier than what we once thought, some will even stay all year in the right conditions. The fish are there for more than just the mud. As Capt. Steve Soule has said, “They are there for protection, food, and solitude.” Many of the places they frequent have formed mud on the bottom due to the layout, more so than for the mud. Depth also affords trout with similar protection, and with depth the water temperature swings are more subdued giving fish a more stable environment. With depth, there is no need for the stabilizing effect that mud also offers. In the end, I don’t think the warmer conditions will reduce the catches of seasoned big trout anglers, unless you are in south Florida, where the cold is required to move the trout into the bays. We will need to be ready as the conditions change along the way with each passing cold front, even if they remain weak. Warmer weather will allow many of the fish to stay shallow, but who knows, we may still get a winter yet.

W

Tobin created TroutSupport.com - Tech Support for Speckled Trout and Redfish anglers.

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new boat show is coming to Pier Park in Panama City Beach next March. Wheels Up Events, LLC, a well-known local promoter of high-end fishing tournaments and unique family-orientated boat shows, recently announced plans to host the first Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show at Aaron Bessant Park March 3-5. The new show will feature boat displays from all major manufacturers representing the latest in boats of all types from the highly popular personal kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, to small trailerable cruisers, high-performance center-consoles and runabouts as well as active outdoor lifestyle accessories. Featuring marine and outdoor lifestyle exhibits of all types along with seminars and live entertainment, the event will be much more than just a boat show. Iconic brands such as Sea Ray, Everglades, Boston Whaler, Sea Hunt and more have already registered to display their latest models at the event. Additionally, the show will display bicycles, electric carts, fitness products and the latest in outdoor gear. Today’s boats are incredibly technologically advanced with features such as active dynamic positioning and gyro stabilization now available in smaller vessels along with advanced drive systems and excellent fuel economy. Kayaks and SUPs also have benefitted from lighter, stronger materials and innovative drive systems. From Crab Island to Shell Island and St. George Island, the new Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show caters to today’s outdoor active lifestyle family. Given the show’s unique location immediately adjacent to the immensely popular Pier Park, and the associated exciting amenities all within walking distance of the beach, the Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show is sure to become a breakout hit during Panama City Beach’s 2017 Spring Break Season. For more information, visit GulfBoatShow.com or contact Chris Miller at 850-348-1498 or Chris@CMMMarinas.com.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

11/17/16 4:48 PM


It’s that time of year, A time for Laughter and a time for Cheer. Maybe even time for Some Special Angler Gear!

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e consider this December issue the angler gift guide. You may even see something that you want for yourself. Many of our readers claim that they hold onto this issue for a while! Although it is the Holiday season, it is coming up on that time where we start thinking about Spring. Just like December got here in a flash, so will March. March begins a busy time for many of us. We warm back up, see more tourists, and of course, more anglers. If you are a business owner that would like more customers, I would love to work out a deal to get them to you. You don’t want to be “out of sight - out of mind!” Each month we print 10,000 magazines & circulate throughout Mobile and Baldwin counties. We

also have regional options available, with 50,000 in circulation. That regional edition goes all along the coast from Galveston, Texas to Panama City, Florida. One of our boat dealership advertisers recently mentioned that advertising in Coastal Angler Magazine doubled his business in one year. I hope to do that for you! Don’t forget to join our Favorable Fishing Condition Notification (fish texting), sponsored by BLUEGILL Restaurant. It could definitely come in handy for many of you that are too busy to keep up with the fishing flow. We could give you a heads up! I hope you all have the most wonderful Holiday Season and I will see ya next year!!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | ALABAMA GULF COAST 1

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FISHING FORECAST Dauphin Island

he 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 and 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 to 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 Until next time, tight lines, good fishing and Merry Christmas Capt. Charlie Gray Gray Gulf Charters Dauphin Island, Alabama 251.379.5067 www.Graygulfcharters.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | ALABAMA GULF COAST 3

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any individuals who fish along the gulf coast filed a “Subsistence Claim” with BP before the deadline of June 8, 2015. These claims were to compensate those who provide seafood to their families from the Gulf of Mexico and its tributaries. Subsistence claims are being denied... Many claims have been denied or reduced due to technical details pertaining to the species of seafood caught, the period that the fishing was harmed, and the proof required to show that certain family members received the

seafood. Other problems arise from the strict licensing requirements which must be met for a person to receive compensation. Individuals who filed these claims are finding it difficult to jump through all of the hoops in the claims process without the assistance of an experienced professional. Over 95% of the claims which were filed have received some form of “notice,” which, if not answered correctly, in a timely manner, will ultimately result in denial of the claim.

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FISHING FORECAST Alabama Gulf Coast N

ovember provided some very good fishing. December fishing could slow down a bit but there are still many fish to catch. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel and bull redfish should be found nearshore within a few miles of the shoreline. Trolling spoons is a good method. Mann’s stretch 20’ and 30’ are good lures for bull redfish. The typical north wind that we often experience in

December can be advantageous. A north wind gives us calm sea conditions nearshore. Offshore fishing should continue to be good with vermillion snapper, white snapper and scamp grouper. Amberjack and red snapper must be released. The weather can always be a determining factor for offshore fishing. Wait on a good day and enjoy some calm seas.

Costa Rica Fishing December is the beginning of the dry season in Quepos, Costa Rica. This means no or very minimal rain and nice sea conditions. Sailfish, marlin, tuna and mahi mahi are often caught on full day trips. Roosterfish and snapper are usually caught on 1/2 day trips. We are off to a good start in November. Come join us.

Captain Don McPherson Getaway Charters 251-981-8047 getawaycharters@yahoo.com www.getawaygulffishing.com Fishing Costa Rica w/ Big Eye Charters funfishingcostarica@yahoo.com www.fishingcostarica.net

6 ALABAMA GULF COAST | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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FISHING FORECAST Mobile Bay 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 all the rain we had this year. The water is clear and in the mid 60’s. It should be getting cooler with each passing cold front. Trout are in the rivers that run under I-10. As the water cools this month, they will be moving south. Live shrimp have proved to be most productive. Artificial bait guys will find a soft plastic on a 3/8 oz jig head worked slowly on the bottom will also produce a few fish. I like a High Tide natural shrimp, but root beer/chartreuse, chartreuse/red, and white/ chartreuse are also worth trying. Fishing for reds has been pretty good in North Pass, Daphne, and the other cuts just south of the causeway. This should continue for a few weeks or our next big rain. A live or dead shrimp on a carolina rig is a good bet. 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 winter time fishing holes. Get after the trout before they go to sleep for the winter. Capt Dan Kolenich 251-422-3474

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Sign Up for Favorable Fishing Condition Notifications! Just email us at CoastalAnglerAlaGC@outlook. com Include your name, cellphone number & your cellphone provider. (We need that because we email the texts to you). Our Captains will issue notices from time to time, every other week or so, when they see good fishing conditions, when they see bad conditions, when they recommend you hit certain spots...It’s great! And free!

Sponsored by BLUEGILL Restaurant www.bluegillrestaurant.com

8 ALABAMA GULF COAST | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Ocean Conservancy Restoring the Gulf Beyond the Shore By: Kara Lankford I

n November, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced nearly $370 million in new projects to help the Gulf of Mexico recover from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Ocean Conservancy is thrilled to see NFWF investing in the health of Gulf marine life. Six years ago, when the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster struck we all saw photos of hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and marine mammals, as well as countless numbers of fish, that perished. Today, it’s important to realize that marine species are still recovering from oil impacts and these projects are needed to help support struggling populations of dolphins, sea turtles and fish to make sure they are on the path to recovery. We applaud the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida for their continued commitment to projects beyond the shore and for building on previous investments to create a comprehensive approach to restoration. This announcement included four projects to restore fish, sea turtle and dolphin populations in the Gulf. These projects are administered by NFWF through the five-year, $2.5 billion Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund as a result of the BP criminal settlement. We are especially pleased to see funding for the Mississippi Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation, Recovery and Monitoring

Program, which will increase the state’s capacity to respond quickly to stranded animals, provide rehabilitation for stranded sea turtles by tracking their movement after they are released back to the Gulf, and provide shrimpers with turtle excluder devices to make sure sea turtles aren’t accidentally caught in shrimp nets. Florida’s Enhancement of Sea Turtle Stranding Response Capacity project will collect and analyze data on the causes of sea turtle deaths to inform future sea turtle management strategies along the Florida Gulf Coast, building on previous investments in sea turtle response through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration program. And lastly, Florida and Alabama have both announced a continuation of past projects to collect data on key Gulf fisheries, such as red snapper, to improve future management of these fisheries. Since the onset of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Ocean Conservancy has led the charge for a comprehensive approach to restoration, including funding for projects from the coast to the deep sea.

Kara Lankford is the Associate Director of the Gulf Restoration Program. She’s a lifelong resident of the Alabama Gulf Coast. Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean. From the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico to the halls of Congress, Ocean Conservancy brings people together to find solutions for our water planet. Informed by science, our work guides policy and engages people in protecting the ocean and its wildlife for future generations.

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KAYAK REPORT By Benton Parrott

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s the weather and water gets colder look for deep holes that the fish will congregate in. Structure in the rivers can be good as well with fish gathering around. Fish become lethargic as the water temperatures drop. I like to use soft plastics like a Saltwater Assassin die dapper on a ¼ oz. jig head, a mirrOlure mirrodine, or a sinking corky. Fish slow and low bouncing your lure off the bottom. During these cold days also 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. Even with the water

Benton Parrott with speckled trout

temperature down I will still work a topwater late in the evening on near these drop offs. Slowing down my retrieval 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 January 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

Paddlepalooza14 in Golden Meadow, LA., G.C.K.F.A. Biggest Pair Tournament in Pensacola, Fl., and the M.B.K.F.A Bagwell tournament in Dauphin Island, Al. Also the MBKFA is doing an all year online tournament for club members. Go to their site 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

Ryan McNeal and Benton Parrott doubled up on speckled trout.

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 / Fairhope Boat Co. Pro Staff Fishing Guide dbparrott@bellsouth.net

Benton Parrott with a slot red.

10 ALABAMA GULF COAST | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

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t’s December. I’m ready for some winter wade fishing, and I am sure you are, too. Now the question, is our equipment ready? The last thing I want to happen… again, is to be waist deep in 45-degree water and 40-degree air temp and realize my waders have sprung a leak. Let’s go over a few things to prevent this. First, I start with storage last spring. I store all of my waders and jackets in a clim at e - c ont ro l l e d environment. I also make sure to hang them up to avoid items getting tossed on top of them. Photo courtesy of My Coast Outdoors. Well in advance of my first trip, I will do a thorough into spending substantially more spection in search of pin holes and abrasions. The money for what I felt was the best method I have found for this same product. I heard reviews is to turn my waders inside out, that the others were warmer etc., grab a spotlight and head for a but I just didn’t see it since they dark room. I shine the spotlight are both fairly thin and breathinside and look for any light able. Once I tried a pair of the shining through. In the event I spot a hole, I will circle that more expensive brands, I was area with a permanent marker. hooked! It was a night and day Once identified, I then use the difference in the feel, comfort appropriate patch adhesive for and warmth. Not to mention the my waders and make the neces- more expensive ones typically sary repair. After this, I like to fill come with some type of warranthem with water as a secondary ty. Although I have not had any problems to find out first-hand, check. Now, when it comes to the I hear customer service is top type of equipment to buy, there notch if something does fail. As I mentioned, both price are endless options from economical to expensive. There are points will work, but there is two trains of thought here, and something to be said for buying over my career I have subscribed quality when it comes to winter to both. I used to purchase the wade fishing gear. So whatever more economical products, and your preference, always take the for the most part they served me time to check your equipment well, but I have had those occa- prior to that first wade in search sional uncomfortable long, wet of those winter trophy speckled and cold days. My thought pro- trout. cess was I could buy 6 to 10 pairs Capt. Michael Okruhlik is of these waders or buy one pair of the expensive ones. The 6 to the inventor of Controlled De10 might last me a lifetime. It was scent Lures and the owner of hard for me to see the benefits www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

For More Tips on Winter Wading, go to

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It’s Time For The States To Manage Reef Fish

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he election is over, and now there’s a chance for Congress and the states to get together and do something that makes sense to almost all of us who fish in the Gulf of Mexico. This would be bi-partisan and a win-win for all of us except perhaps a few on the fringe who would like to see all fishing halted. The states need to take total control of all management of reef fishes in the Gulf of Mexico. Reef fishes are generally non migratory. Some make seasonal movements or migratory aggregations, but never the long treks undertaken by coastal pelagics like mackerels and cobia. The reef dwellers are not that different from the state-managed species like flounders and spotted sea trout. State management measures similar to those used for these state species would work equally well for the reef species. Habitats off the different states differ greatly, providing major differences in population dynamics of reef species. Off Alabama, for example, thousands of artificial structures provide ideal habitat for red snapper. The population there is such that I have repeatedly speculated Alabama could have a six-month red snapper season with a two fish bag limit, and it wouldn’t make a dent in the population. This is based on my 30-year study of red snapper there. And off the other Gulf states, habitats vary. The petroleum platforms off Louisiana and Texas support very healthy populations, which could easily handle a much-extended season. And even within a state’s boundaries, there are marked differences. The Florida panhandle habitats vary greatly from those off the west Florida peninsula shelf, supporting alternative management. Different habitats with variable population characteristics should be managed with regulations that are tailored to these differences. These fisheries would be better managed by individual states rather than the federal government.

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I served on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council for 18 years, and served as its chair three times. The council members and staff are hamstrung by certain provisions of the Magnuson Act, which governs stocks in federal waters. While the Act has resulted in many benefits, there are two major problems: stocks must be managed on a quota and in most cases stocks must be managed as a single unit. By mandating a quota, the Act disallows innovative options, such as closed areas in lieu of a quota. Also, determining a quota requires a stock assessment, and as we all know, stock assessments are expensive, slow in coming, and notoriously subject to major revisions. Of course the mandate that stocks be managed as a single unit precludes the differential habitat considerations described above. Another problem with federal oversight has to do with effort. Until a few years ago, effort was determined by the MRFSS (Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey). This program was so “fatally flawed” that it had to be replaced by what is known as MRIP (Marine Recreational Information Program). Alas, the two programs had such conflicting results that the Council and National Marine Fisheries Service are still trying to untangle the flawed data. In addition, the states are developing their own effort data programs, far more sophisticated than the MRIP program. It has been suggested that the Gulf states don’t have the resources to gather and interpret the data necessary to make sound scientific decisions. Not true! The states are currently generating enough data to do a far more effective job of localized management. Think of the economic benefit to the states of having a longer season. Are we in for a three-day snapper season in 2017? Isn’t the system broken? Doesn’t it make sense that the states manage? Dr. Bob Shipp is professor emeritus of marine science at the university of South Alabama and author of Dr. Bob Shipp’s Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, available at: bobshipp.com.

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at planting, and take the rest of the winter off. Even though there are no signs of growth above ground, the root systems will have time to get adjusted to their new location and begin to initiate new root growth. There are plenty of advantages of growing your own edibles. First of all, you know what has been done over the course of the growing season from a chemical stand point. Second, the fruit just taste

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New African Surf Rod Design Promises ‘Seven Seas’ Success By Mike Pehanich

T

he landscape is stark off Namibia’s South Atlantic Coast. Sands end in sea, and, well, that’s about all there is to see! But these coastal waters where Jeri Drake and wife Sue fish and train for international surf fishing competition are loaded with game species, including copper sharks (“bronzies”), spotted gully, cow sharks, blue rays, smooth hounds and many more. You might never make it to Africa to fish these waters, but the tackle and techniques that Jeri—a master rod builder, innovator, member of Namibian President’s fishing team, and owner of Excalibur Tackle (www. excalibur-tackle.com ) in the town of Henties Bay—takes to the surf could find application on your coastal waters, too. Fishing is serious sport along the “Skeleton Coast,” particularly for tournament anglers who, armed with long rods and a fighting belt, often wade out several hundred yards to sandbanks, routinely casting 6- to 7-once sinkers and bait 100 to 160 yards or more to reach hard-fighting game fish. Rod design for Jeri Drake, known simply as “Jeri” in southern African fishing circles, has evolved into 14-foot and longer rods. He has developed his own blanks for this style of fishing, with unique handles featuring short butt sections and long fore grips, the latter measuring around 28 inches. The essential difference to U.S. style blanks is a ‘faster’ action, as opposed to the usual ‘through’ action. Jeri employs the same “reel down” design—reel positioned relatively close to the fighting belt—with surf rods he builds for both “fixed spool” (spinning) reels and conventional reels. The long fore grips allow fishermen to change the fulcrum point while fighting the fish. The “reel down” design also makes it easier to master more powerful casting techniques and thus achieve better distances. Wading through troughs and casting and fighting fish in sea spray calls

for a non-slip rod grip material. Jeri crafts his rod handles individually, wrapping Winn Superior Rod Wrap (www.winngrips.com ) directly over the large butt section of the rod blank. The all-weather WinnDry polymer, which also wraps easily over existing cork or EVA grips with its tape-like backing, retains its tacky feel even when he’s immersed in sea spray. In lieu of finishing tape, Jeri terminates the ends of the rod wrap with thread wrap and a finishing coat. This prevents seawater, sand particles and any other substance to undermine the grip material by seeping in between the wrap and blank. It also gives the handle a more finished look. To protect the polymer material from wear and punishment where rod butt meets rod belt, Jeri places a woven carbon sleeve above the butt button. The base of the rod wrap starts above the sleeve. This keeps the polymer from contacting the rod portal of the belt. Adapt some of Jeri’s surf rod tips to the rods in your arsenal. You’ll be tipping your cap to the tackle innovations of the avid anglers of southern Africa!

To see Winn Grips Fishing Rods in action, go to

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT NO SHOES NATION GEAR Engel has partnered with Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation to offer you a better way to keep #SeriouslyCool. A complete range of products will keep that “cool factor” alive for hours, days, even weeks. With 2 inches of insulation, a rugged lid that seals tightly, virtually indestructible construction, and the No Shoes Nation logo proudly emblazoned on the front, Engel High-Performance Coolers are exactly what you need when the show goes on the road. Packing your stuff in? Grab an Engel No Shoes Nation Backpack Cooler. It’s tough, easy to carry, and can hold enough food and drinks to keep the party going into the night. New NSN Backpack Coolers are coming soon, so stay tuned. When you’re ready to watch the show, sit back with your Engel No Shoes Nation Tumbler. These vacuum-insulated, stainless steel 30-ounce tumblers have a no-drip lid, and a no-skid bottom, so you can enjoy a drink without worrying about spills. Best of all, proceeds from all these sales go to supporting the CCA’s National Habitat Program so there will be a waterfront for us all to enjoy long into the future. For more information, visit

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No more cork tape! No more bike wrap! Now you can apply the patented WinnDry polymer of the all-weather rod grips from Winn to your own rod handles in minutes with just a pair of scissors and a marking pen for instant comfort and rod control. Available in 96- and 44-inch rolls, Winn Superior Rod Wrap brings bold color, style, elegance and fashion to any rod arsenal with seven solid colors: lime green, dark gray, red, yellow, pink, black and purple—and seven hot and trending camo color patterns: Wildfire, Desert Camo, Blue Camo, Lime Green Camo, Gray Camo, White Blue Camo and Pink Camo. The Saltwater Series (96-inch only) features three solid embossed “Tuna” wraps and an elegant camo-style “Dorado.” This versatile rod wrap, which comes complete with finishing tape, can perform double duty on landing nets, boat handles, gaffs and other surfaces upon which the non-slip properties of Winn polymers offer tactile advantage. Now anyone can put a Winn “skin” over the grips of their favorite rods. Finishing tape included.

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UNDER THE SEA

SPEARFISHING WORLD RECORDS SHERI DAYE

M

ost people have heard of IGFA (International Game Fish Association), which manages world records for fishermen. But have you heard of IUSA (International Underwater Spearfishing Association)? IUSA keeps track of spearfishing world records. Both were founded more than 65 years ago and have a rich history—and both pride themselves for providing a universal code of sporting ethics as well as record keeping. The IUSA rules are fairly simple: the fish must be taken while freediving and using a muscle-powered speargun, sling or polespear. The catch must be legal, unassisted and weighed on a certified scale. The application must include photos of the weighing, dimensions and witness information. The categories are: men and women, saltwater and freshwater, speargun and sling/polespear. In other words, a woman can have a record black grouper taken by polespear in the ocean; a man can have a record walleye taken by a speargun in a lake, and so forth. I was inspired a few years ago to see if I could get a world record yellowfin tuna. That led me to learn to hold my breath, educate myself on equipment, get in better shape, learn all about tunas, save money for trips and make friends with other bluewater hunters. Having that goal set many other activities in motion.

I was fortunate to achieve my goal with a 179-pound tuna in Mexico. While the catch itself was exciting, I now realize that it’s the hunt, not the catch—or as they say, “it’s the journey, not the destination.” The lessons learned, the new friends made along the way, the memories—that is what becomes most precious over time. If you’re interested in pursuing a world record, here’s some quick tips: 1. Go where the fish are! Investigate areas, charters, and recent catches. 2. Use the right tool for the job. For example, Wong guns are known for bluewater hunting, Hammerhead is known for slings/polespears, etc. 3. Know the rules in advance so you don’t unwittingly disqualify a record. They can be found on the IUSA website at www. iusarecords.com. 4. Pack a certified scale and tape measure in your dive bag. You never know when that special catch will take place! Chatillon scales are known for being accurate and “certifiable.” 5. Above all, be safe and have fun. Records are an enjoyable pursuit, but they don’t compare to your health and wellbeing. With a bit of persistence and some luck, you might be able to immortalize the fish of a lifetime by claiming a world record. Life is short, so get out and enjoy it! Follow “Sheri Daye” & “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” April 22-23, 2017 – Ft. Lauderdale - Instagram and Facebook.

For more Sheri Daye, go to

CAMSPEARFISHING.COM

EXHIBITORS - SEMINARS - WORKSHOPS

freediving, scuba, spearfishing, lobstering, fishing, surfing, SUP marine art, U/W photo and video, watercraft, apparel, travel

April 22 - 23, 2017 - Ft. Lauderdale, Florida - www.TheBlueWild.com

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Team MHX finds Success in 2016

H

FLW Photo

ow does a team that collectively won over $425K in 2015 go out and improve? “Maintaining the incredible work ethic of our anglers while working directly with our team to continue to develop the best blanks out there,” said Bob McKamey who is The Man when it comes to rod building and managing the team. FLW Tour pro John Cox started off the year with a bang at Lake Okeechobee with a top-12 cut and valuable AOY points. John narrowly missed the Angler of the Year in 2015 but had and extra spark when starting out the new season. An interesting side note to that Okeechobee event was Brad Hallman from Norman, Oklahoma, who was flipping dense reed heads with a custom-built MHX-FS966. “We didn’t initially know Brad was using our blanks until after the win,” Bob said. Come to find out, one of the MHX Regional Staff members Brandon Mosley, who fishes the COSTA series built Hallman’s rods before the event. So with just one event down in the FLW Tour, MHX Blanks had accounted for over $100k, not a bad start. Less than a month later, the Elite Series was on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Fla., and MHX Pro Brandon Lester found himself in the Day 1 lead and newest Team Member Bradley Roy was not far behind. Although he relinquished the lead over the next few days, Brandon and Bradley finished in the Top 20 to earn valuable AOY Points and nice paydays. Not to be outdone, John Cox and the FLW Tour were on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina the very same weekend, and Cox had the lead in that event. Although he did not win wire to wire, he was at the top when the smoke cleared on Sunday. With a Top-12 in the first event and a win in the second event, it seemed Cox wasted no time getting back to his

2015 form. On the regional event side, team member Brandon Mosley maintained a hot hand through the Costa Series and made two out of three cuts while building his rods as well as Hallman’s out on the FLW Tour. As the FLW Tour and Elite Series went on throughout the year, Cox, Roy and Lester continued to produce all while building their own rods. Cox, the most notable, who builds lake-specific rods in his hotel room during practice also has fellow anglers coming to him to fix a tip-top or a guide in an emergency. As the 2016 Season comes to a close, MHX has had an incredible year with multiple titles, a FLW Cup Championship and even team members headed to the Classic for the first time in their careers. Keep an eye out for the MHX Team as 2017 Season begins in January. If you are looking to build your own fishing rods check out MHX Rods at www.fishmhx.com and Mud Hole Custom Tackle at www.MudHole.com.

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Coastal Angler Magazine-Dec. / Alabama Gulf Coast  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...

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