The Angler Video Magazine | April 2024 Edition

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• Boat Dock
• Hot Tub • Pet Friendly!
5/3 Home Sleeps 12! Located on Deep Water Canal, Room for 2+ Boats! Life on the Water... Life on the Water is the perfect vacation home for the multi-family desiring waterfront accommodations with multiple living areas. What You’ll Love: New Property! All New Furniture and Amenities Dec. 2022! Distance to Beach: Car 5.7 mile, 0.5 miles Boat. Located on the Gulf Breeze FL peninsula, on a hidden deep water canal. Boat Ramp 1 mile away, 2 min to open water, 2 marinas with fuel within a 5 min boat ride. 120 ft. of brand new dockage, fish cleaning station, power and water. Ultimate outdoor space featuring a pool, hot tub, patio areas with grills, and open-air shower.

The Ultimate Vacation Home for Anglers

Be it red snapper season, Blue Angels air shows, or everyday exploration of the miles of Pensacola Beach just three miles away, fishing is a huge part of Emerald Coast Getaways’ Life on the Water vacation rental, and the creation of this property kept that in mind for the discriminating angler and boater.

Located on the Gulf Breeze peninsula between Pensacola Beach and Pensacola, Life on the Water is situated on a deep water canal, with 120 ft. of brand new dockage plus 30 feet under boat house cover, there’s plenty of protected room for two+ boats. Your boat will be secure, protected from open bay beatings, yet less than two minutes to open water and three miles to Flounders, Pensacola beaches, and the various restaurants accessed via boat. The property has two driveways, so trailer parking is available, with the Oriole Beach Boat Ramp one mile away, and two marinas with fuel within a five minute boat ride. Life on the Water also boasts a custom fishing cleaning station, power and water for the boats, and there’s even a lower dock landing for the kayaker and paddle boarder. Just out the canal are miles of grass flats with great fishing for speckled trout and redfish. There’s even a pinfish trap on the dock for bait!

If you decide not to trailer your boat, rent a boat! Pensacola Pontoons will deliver a boat right to our dock. Just say when and they will get it delivered. Lets get you on the water!

Guests will fall in love with the ultimate outdoor space featuring

a pet friendly fenced-in yard (pet fee does apply), upstairs and downstairs entertainment decks, 2 gas grills and private pool overlooking the water.

From the coastal decor to the amazing outdoor spaces, this 3,143 sq. ft, 5 bedroom/3 bath home is sure to impress. Just released to the market, this multi-level home accommodates 12 guests comfortably allowing plenty of space for everyone. This kitchen is well stocked and fit for a chef, comes complete with the stainless-steel appliances, Calphalon cookware and beautiful quartz counter tops. The open concept design allows the perfect space to interact with family and friends.

No detail was overlooked in the design and décor, a stately home in a charming neighborhood, making this an unforgettable vacation location! Life on the Water will become your families hidden gem. We truly look forward to hosting your stay!

Jimmy Johnson Dishes on quEst foR tHE RINg

Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week is an annual South Florida event that is renowned for a guaranteed million-dollar-plus purse.

It’s the largest guaranteed prize for fishing in the world, so far as we are aware. The “real prize” is the chance for one team to win diamond-studded Super Bowl-caliber rings that rival any awarded by the NFL.

The event’s namesake is, of course, legendary Hall of Fame football coach Jimmy Johnson, who is now a fixture in the South Florida fishing community. I had a chance to sit down with Coach to pick his brain about the tournament.

Johnson grew up on the Gulf Coast of Texas and loved saltwater from the get-go. “Daddy had a little 14 foot wooden boat in Galveston,” he recalled. Johnson fished as a child and developed a passion during his time as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

“I liked to get out in the boat early and fish by myself,” he said. “I found fishing to be so peaceful as opposed to the stress of coaching

pro football. I just love it. I have caught and released five blue marlin by myself… but my favorite fish is the wahoo because they just scream. I’ll fast troll with lures or slow troll with a ballyhoo and a cigar weight.”

Coach Johnson’s tournament started as a local Florida Keys event.

“Well, it started as a small tournament in the Keys centered around my restaurant, Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill,” he said. “Since bringing on the crew at Fish Hard Events, it has become the enormous experience it is today.”

Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week, or JJFISHWEEK, includes the main event, the two-day Catch & Release ‘Quest for the Ring’ Championship, featuring a $1 million guaranteed purse; JJ’s National Sportfish Tournament, for the meat fish aficionados; and the invite-only Hard Rock Invitational.

This year’s JJFISHWEEK concluded March 9 with an awards ceremony at Seminole Hard


Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Coveted championship rings were awarded to Owner Sandra MacMillan, Capt. John Louis Dudas and Team Sandman, aboard a 63foot Spencer, which earned them a cool $300,000. This marks Sandman’s third championship, having clinched the title in 2018 and 2020.

Obviously, the money and fishing are big-time, but Johnson likes how the event engages the fishing community and gives back. This year’s event raised more than $100,000 for the CI Foundation, which will be gifted to its charitable beneficiaries.

“I love the people that it brings together,” he said. “We also have a number of charities that we support. My son has the Tranquil Shores Foundation, which is a drug and alcohol abuse center. He’s got a foundation for people who can’t afford treatment.”

The next stop for Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring is an inaugural Atlantic City, New Jersey tournament July 14-20. Next year’s Florida event is slated for March 4-8, 2025. For more information

Scott Goodman is Co-publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine/Miami.

You’re still not fishing custom made rods?



Any angler that spends enough time on the water becomes hyper-sensitive to the performance they get from their gear. The new Find a Rod Builder section at has made it easier than ever to get rods tailored for you, and built to fish your way.

Batson has combined the industry’s best line up of rod blanks and components with direct access to our network of professional rod builders that make awesome rods happen. Click to visit us online, browse rod blank and component options, and get in contact with the best fishing rod creators in the business.



Suzuki Marine USA has unveiled its new Stealth Line™ of outboards for 2024, designed to provide boaters and anglers with a bold yet “stealthy” new look that sets any boat apart from the crowd. The Stealth Line™ (“Shinobi” in Japanese) was introduced to boating enthusiasts, press, and the industry at the 2024 Miami International Boat Show, the largest recreational boating show in the world. With a new, all matte black finish and matching Chrome Black graphics, Suzuki’s new Stealth Line™ delivers a look that compliments a range of popular boat styles, from bass boats, bay boats and flats skiffs to performance pontoon and deck boats to large offshore center consoles. With their “sneaky” good looks, this family of motors has a way of giving any boat an extra dose of attitude — whether sitting at the dock or accelerating across the water.

Underneath each of these motor’s bold exteriors lurks all the performance, advanced technology, fuel efficiency and rock-solid reliability boaters have come to expect from Suzuki 4-stroke outboards. Suzuki’s DF115B Stealth Line™ outboard is an inline 4-cylinder that delivers a powerful punch to flats skiffs, small center consoles, aluminum fishing boats and other popular vessels. The big block inline 4-cylinder DF150 and DF200 Stealth Line™ outboards are ideal for all applications including center consoles, bay boats and other freshwater/inshore boats that need to fish fast and hard all day long. Now offering a 2.5:1 gear ratio, these two Stealth Line™ outboards deliver serious power and fuel efficiency in a motor that is compact, lightweight, and of course, feature the eye-catching Stealth Line™ look.

Suzuki’s V6 Stealth Line™ includes the big-block DF250 Stealth (mechanically

controlled), ideal for powering large bay boats, high-performance pontoons, and deck boats, as well as bass boats. Finally, the DF250A Stealth (digitally controlled) delivers a superior hole shot, strong acceleration and blistering top-end performance required to power premium high-performance bass rigs, walleye tournament boats and single application bay boats. Suzuki Marine also unveiled the sleek and sexy Stealth Line™ concept version of its flagship V6 DF350AMD outboard, the industry’s first motor to provide the performance benefits and increased efficiency of dual contra-rotating propellers. Make sure to take the survey using the link below to vote on the next Stealth Line™ production model addition.


Introducing The All-New NavNet TZtouchXL Series Transform Your Helm Into A Multi Function Masterpiece

Furuno’s New NavNet TZtouchXL Delivers “Off The Charts” Performance

Furuno has again raised the bar for the most powerful, easiest-to-use Multi Function Displays (MFDs) with the new NavNet TZtouchXL. Five sizes of MFDs provide all the functionality boaters desire and never-before-seen features.

An all-new chart offering called TZ MAPS sets these MFDs far ahead of the field. Navigators have complete control of data they download, such as raster or vector charts, satellite photos and bathymetric data. Plus, they can select specific areas to keep updated. Objects can be turned on and off in the Layers menu with a single swipe on the display. Users can create custom objects or update charted objects, on the system on the fly. Custom objects can be shared with other users through

offers “off the charts” bathymetric data with contours that can be easily configured to a resolution three times better than anything else on the market. Bathymetric data can be overlaid onto navigation charts. All of this can be rendered with custom color palettes and terrain shading.

Purchase of TZ MAPS areas also unlocks AI Routing to plan routes. The free TZ iBoat app for mobile devices allows at-home planning that transfers to TZtouchXL. With a free TimeZero account, waypoints and routes can be backed up or retrieved from the cloud. Charts can be purchased directly from the MFD!

DRS Radar connection unlocks two new safety features: Risk Visualizer™ and

AI Avoidance Route™. These two features provide 360° representation of collision risks and a route around them that can be sent to a Furuno NAVpilot autopilot.

The series comprises five MFDs with displays from 10” to 24”. All feature a powerful hexacore processor for lightningfast response.

All magnetron or Solid-State Doppler Radars, high-powered Fish Finders, AIS, Autopilot, and Deep Water Multibeam Sonar options of NavNet TZtouch3 are compatible with TZtouchXL. Many of the must-have features are also available, including Target Analyzer™, Bird Mode, Rain Mode, and PIN Code Lock. The TZT10X, TZT13X, and TZT16X feature a built-in 1kW TruEcho CHIRP or CW Fish Finder and built-in 235kHz or 455kHz CHIRP Side-Scan. Two new remote-control options are also available.

To learn more, visit:


By Mark Ambert

ou know spring has officially arrived when the eastern seaboard welcomes the arrival of several pelagics, specifically the voracious blackfin tuna! What better way to shake off the winter doldrums than to get out and target these small but mighty speedsters.

April, May and June are the best months to target these fish as they speed their way along the Atlantic coastline. These fish enjoy a wide range from Cape Cod to South Florida and are the ideal coastal target. During the summer months, blackfin tuna migrate to temperate waters that remain above 70 degrees. They inhabit the warmest waters of all tuna species.

Blackfins are a schooling fish and feed on migratory baitfish, squid and shrimp. They frequently hunt along the deeper side of the ledges and reefs common to the eastern seaboard. These fish have a dark top with a bronze stripe and big eyes. They commonly range from 5 to 20 pounds, with the occasional 30-pounder blowing up your bait!

Live bait is best for bigger tuna. I prefer “goggles” or goggle eyes. Commonly used for sailfish, these baits can be caught or bought locally, but they can be expensive. Due to their hardiness, they are well worth the cost to have on hand, and I prefer smaller-sized goggles for blackfin tuna.

For live baiting, I use a Shimano spin combo consisting of a Baitrunner OC size 6000 reel spooled with FINS 40G Braid. This braid has the highest strength to diameter ratio on the market. With the diameter of 6-pound mono, this braid has a tensile breaking strength of 45 pounds. I pair this reel with the Shimano Terez model TZS69M, 6-foot, 9-inch medium action spinning rod. I use a 6-foot section of Seaguar inshore fluorocarbon in the 30-pound range for the leader and Owner SSW 6/0 or 7/0 cutting point hooks. Blackfin are extremely leader shy, so start with a 30-pound test leader and move up to

40-pound only if you are experiencing breakoffs.

I combine live bait fishing with jigging techniques when targeting tuna. There are a multitude of options on gear specific to jigging, but for highspeed retrieval of lures through the water column, which these fish prefer, I use the Penn Battle III 4000 HS (highspeed) spinning reel. These reels have the dependable and smooth HT-100 drag system, and spooled with Fins braid are up to the task of landing big fish. I combine this reel with the new 6-foot, 6-inch Shimano Trevala B. This crossover rod is built for maximum versatility utilizing a proven durable TC4 blank. It’s a medium-action rod with a moderately fast taper and can absorb a lot of punishment should you hook into an oversized fish. I start off using Rapala Williamson Kensaki jigs in the 120- to 220-gram range in a wide variety of colors.

Pro Tip: Switch sizes and colors until you find what best “matches the hatch” rather than switching brands.

I like the early morning hours, as tuna can be both light and boat shy. During a full moon cycle, the bite can turn off quickly as

Williamson Kensaki jigs

the first reef system, past the drop-off in deeper water to avoid the bonito, sharks and kingfish. This is typically in the 225- to 300-foot range. I deploy two live baits—one in the bow and the other in the stern—then use jigging rods and techniques in the middle. Check your fishfinder often to identify “scratches,” or

fish moving through, and mark the depth they appear in the water column. Target these fish while jigging.

Nothing tastes better than fresh-caught tuna. The food quality of blackfin depends on proper bleeding when they are first caught. Make a small incision behind the pectoral fin on both sides of the fish to ensure the highest quality meat. Catching these speedsters will quickly become an addiction, and now is the time to get on the water and make it happen!

Find Mark Ambert on Instagram @marksgonefishing_™; email:

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in Topside
A Revolution

The fight for an unforgettable catch begins here, where 100,000 square miles of deep blue waters play home to speedy blue marlin and wahoo, massive tuna and brawny mahi mahi. Deep sea fishing in The Out Islands is a battle of wits, a test of perseverance, and a chance to prove your angler’s instinct. See what could be waiting on the other side of your line.

more at


Spring is one of my favorite times of year for many species on the inshore menu, including red drum, snook and trout. I usually fish at night for several reasons including my “day job,” which keeps me occupied for a vast majority of daylight hours. I guess I could become a weekend warrior, but I’ve noticed the best weather typically doesn’t occur on weekends. There’s an old saying that goes something like this:

“You know what happens after two days of really crappy weather?”


All joking aside, I believe the best bite for older, wiser, heavily pressured fish is at night. They’re a little more at ease after the sun goes down and the boat traffic lets up. This is when the big girls let their guard down and come back into shallower water to feed. Wherever you find shrimp and small mullet along the edges is a good place to take advantage of aggressively feeding redfish, trout or snook after dark. The patterns are similar for all of them.

Just before dark is a good time to get situated to the rising or falling tide and the water clarity, which might be affected by frequent rains this time of year. Get used to your surroundings

and how fast the current is running. Keep the lights low, and allow your night vision to kick in as darkness settles.

Music on the boat is fun, but this is a situation when you’ll want to be quiet. Don’t play the radio loud or stomp around on the deck. Close your coolers and hatches quietly. Try not to talk are laugh too loud. Sound travels extremely well in the water, and when the rest of the world is quiet, the noise you make is even more startling to the fish.

I don’t even use “spot lock” on the trolling motor at night in shallow water. I think fish have learned to associate the sound of trolling motors with the presence of a boats and humans… just saying. Make your own choice here.

Color selection is a very important at night. Dark colors, especially with shrimp lures, work better at night, especially when there is a bright moon. It might sound crazy, but dark colors are silhouetted by the moonlight and are easier for fish to see. Dark brown, purple and black can be extremely hot on nights with a full or nearly full moon.

I’m partial to shrimp imitations, and a lot of times I’ll suspend one under a glow-in-the-dark cork for night fishing. That cork carries it along perfectly with the current and you can keep your eyes on where your bait is, which is one of the difficulties of fishing at night.

If you’re like me and have a job that keeps you occupied during the day, consider fishing the second shift. You might be pleasantly surprised.

See more from Tim Barefoot at


This 91.9-pound tournament wahoo was caught by Capt. Joseph Shugart and the One Time Fishing Team off the Georgia coast. From left are Colton Shugart, 14, Jack Smith, 14, Aidan Strickland, 14, and holding the card is Brooks Shugart, 12.


Here’s a solid wahoo tip from Capt. Judy Helmy of Miss Judy Charters in Savannah, Ga.

The wahoo’s nickname is tail-cutter. Why? They are known for disabling their prey before they eat.

So, here’s how this goes: They speed by and cut the tail or tails of fish off. This causes the intended meal to start falling in the water column. You already know it’s hard for a fish to swim, much less escape, without a tail.

The wahoo is also known for its ability to make sharp turns. In other words, really corner like it is on rails! Their tail design allows them to make precise as well as accurate 180-degree turns while never slowing down.

Now, with this information on board, you as

a fisher should be thinking about the best way to catch this speed demon. Let’s talk about my oldschool fish-catching tools while using big horse ballyhoo rigged on Ilander lures. My favorite was red/black, or I should say “burgundy and black.” I pull this lure way back behind my trolling spread, and it is always in the rod holder located behind me on the bridge. When it gets bumped, better known as a “short strike,” I immediately put the reel in free spool and quickly drop back the bait.

Why? If you think about this fish’s nickname “tail cutter,” you should assume the wahoo just cut the tail off your bait. Bait can’t swim without a tail. While you are dropping back your bait, the wahoo that just hit your lure is or already has made a 180-degree turn. After it makes that turn, if your tailless bait is not falling in the water


column, the wahoo immediately thinks something is wrong because the fish it just cut the tail off of should be falling.

How much line should you drop back? Free spool as long as you feel. After all, you already know there are big hungry fish in the area. And what is this drop-back plan called? “Prospect Fishing!”

Just so you know, I suggest dropping back all baits in your spread. You got not a thing to lose, and you just might get hooked up! That, my friend, is exactly what fishing, or should I say “HOOKING UP AND CATCHING IS ALL ABOUT!”

Check out Capt. Judy Helmey at

THE ANGLER VIDEO MAGAZINE APRIL 2024 19 Visit for a Dealer Near You.
Lures in
Mitzi Tournament 17

With gag grouper closed until late summer for many of us, it is time to be out looking for red grouper to fill our tacos this spring and summer. Fortunately, they are aggressive eaters if you’re willing to make the extra effort to go to their feeding grounds. In general, to get to decent-sized reds, you’ll need to head a bit farther out, with the best fishing being found in 80 feet or deeper, especially as the water warms. You are still looking for the same type of environment; Swiss cheese bottom, ledges and artificial reefs can all hold good numbers of quality fish.


The tactics are the same and simple. They will eat dead or live bait in most cases. That said, I found a combination of the two to be the best bet. I like to start with “stinky bait.” Dropping some frozen squid or menhaden is a great way to get the bite going. Once the bite starts, which

is usually quickly if they are around, I like to switch to palm-size live pinfish to entice the bigger fish. While dead bait and jigs will certainly get you keepers, the larger fish are quicker to hit a live bait.

Rigs are simple. Circle hooks must be used with natural bait and 5/0 to 7/0 hooks will do the trick. I prefer to use about 2 feet of leader, then a swivel and my weight, and a knocker rig will also work. A minimum of 50-pound fluorocarbon leader is recommended, as they will run for a hole in the rocks once hooked. Keep a close eye on your leaders, as they tend to get chaffed when the fishing is good.

Even though red grouper are typically smaller than gags, I still use my go-to big grouper set up, as at these depths you could get a big gag or other sea monster. Fortunately, new lighter combos like the Accurate BV600 reel and 70H rod make a full day of fishing more fun and less


fatiguing. These two-speed reels have a patented twin drag that will stop the hardiest of fish, and with that winching power you can use a lighter more parabolic rods to handle the biggest of bottom fish. Line is important too. The lack of stretch in braid is a must for landing big grouper. A minimum of 65-pound test, and a metered braid like the Nomad Panderra 8x is great for knowing how close you are to the bottom. Moreover, these rods are sensitive enough to do double duty as trolling rods for kings, sails and mahi.

While they might not be quite as big as some of their cousins, red grouper are great table fare, and it is hard to turn down a grouper taco, no matter what variety it is.

Will Schmidt is a seasoned tournament angler who has been writing about fishing from more than two decades.



Prepare for exhilarating water adventures with Yamaha Boats' impressive 19 Foot Series. Featuring the Runabout lineup (SX190, AR190, SX195, AR195, and 195S) and the Center Console FSH Boats (190 FSH Sport and 195 FSH Sport), each group offers unique features tailored to specific preferences, ensuring an unforgettable experience for both family water sport enthusiasts and fishing anglers alike. Regardless of the model, consumers can look forward to Yamaha's award winning Connext® touchscreen technology, state of the art sound system, and bimini top available on every 19FT unit.

Known for their style and ease of ownership, The SX190 and AR190 boast a compact design without compromising performance. Equipped with the all-new 1.9-liter High Output Yamaha Marine engine, these boats provide a great blend of power and agility. The Connext® touchscreen technology provides easy access to navigation, entertainment, and other essential boat functions. Their compact

size and trailer allow them to fit into most garages, adding convenience to your boating experience.

The SX195, AR195, and 195S take the Runabout Boats to the next level. These models offer spacious seating for up to eight passengers, ensuring that everyone can join in on the excitement. The sound system guarantees a premium audio experience, elevating your time on the water and making every adventure feel like a party. While the Yamaha SX190 and SX195 are believed to be the perfect welcome to boating, watersport lovers will be drawn to the versatility that the tower provides on the AR190, AR195 and 195S models.

The FSH Boats, including the 190 FSH Sport and 195 FSH Sport, seamlessly combine fishing functionality with family fun. Designed with anglers in mind, these boats feature a center console layout, dedicated fishing amenities, and ample storage space for gear. The 190

FSH Sport and 195 FSH Sport come equipped with everything needed for successful fishing trips, including an 18-gallon livewell, T-Top rod storage, and casting platforms. But they are not just for anglers; these boats are versatile enough for the whole family to enjoy. With their innovative helm layout, spacious seating for up to eight passengers, and integrated swim platforms with tow hooks, you can relax, fish, and tube all in one vessel.

From the Runabout Boats’ advanced technology and garage-friendly size to the FSH Boats’ combination of fishing prowess and family-fun, Yamaha offers a boat for every adventurer. Embrace the thrill and make lasting memories with Yamaha Boats' 19 Foot Series. Whether you're a water sports enthusiast or a fishing aficionado, these boats are designed to exceed your expectations.

ExploreYamaha’s 2024 19FT Series at:

THERE ARE STORIES TO TELL BELOW THE SURFACE ©2023 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved. Follow instructional materials and obey all laws. Drive responsibly, wearing protective apparel. Always drive within your capabilities, allowing time and distance for maneuvers, and respect others around you. Don’t drink and drive. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT YAMAHABOATS.COM OR CALL 1.800.88.YAMAHA. RUN THE WATER ™ // YAMAHABOATS.COM ePropulsion Electric Outboard Motor 500 W NEW ・Eco-Friendly ・Whisper-Quiet ・Easy-to-Use ・Compact Whether you’re fishing in a kayak, canoe, or small boat, the ePropulsion eLite is your reliable companion. Max 5.6 miles at half throttle and 3.5 miles at full throttle. Experience the eLite Difference. Go Electric. Go Silent. Go Fishing! Get Yours Today! MSRP $999 (excluding tax and shipping) Nominal Power Maximum Power (in Sport Mode) Battery Charger Rated RPM Trim Tilt Angle Shallow Water Mode Tilt Angle Dimensions (L x W x H) Motor Weight (excluding bracket) Adjustable Shaft Length 500 W 750 W Integrated 378 Wh 25.2V Lithium-ion 100 to 240V AC charger included, 12V charger optional 1500 to 1700 8° / 17° / 26° 75° 36° 297 x 75 x 890 mm (11.7 x 3 x 35'') 6.7 kg / 14.8 lbs 401 / 362.5 / 322 / 282.5 mm (15.8 / 14.27 / 12.7 / 11.1'')


The Miami International Boat Show always seems to set the stage for each year’s innovations and trends in the boating industry. This year’s MIBS was no exception, and there were numerous electric outboards on display. Yamaha even introduced a prototype hydrogen-powered concept, but of all the new innovations unveiled at this year’s MIBS, the winner of the coveted Innovation Award was the eLite electric motor by ePropulsion. Their 14-pound electric motor, with its easy recharge and convenient carrying case, is a “must-have” engine for today’s portable fishing vessels. Just put it in the trunk of your car and go. Access to the water has never been easier, and with a price tag under $1,000, it’s never been more economical either.

According to Tom Watson, President of ePropulsion USA, “This award represents a substantial recognition of the hard work that our team has put in on the eLite, and we’re delighted that the judges share our enthusiasm for this innovative and sustainable product that we’re so proud of.”

The eLite, which was created for the tender and smaller boating market, is also ideally suited for the inflatable and kayak markets.

ePropulsion showcased its latest innovations, including the award-winning eLite electric outboard motor at the 2024 Miami Boat Show.

The ePropulsion motors represent a new era in clean, quiet and eco-friendly marine propulsion. Designed to be the most compact and lightweight electric outboard in its class, the ePropulsion eLite 500W electric outboard is an easy-to-use alternative to small internalcombustion engines. At just under 3 feet in length and weighing 14 pounds including the built-in battery, the eLite stores easily and the one-click quick-release bracket allows for installation and removal in a matter of seconds. The tiller handle converts to a perfectly balanced carry handle. Built to last, the motor is constructed of aviation-grade aluminum alloy for lighter weight and greater durability, and the anti-ground auto kick-up feature protects the motor from accidental damage. With a focus on minimal maintenance and cutting-edge technology, this addition to the ePropulsion range raises the bar in electric boating standards.

For more information on ePropulsion and its revolutionary electric motors and accessories, visit

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Navigating skinny water in depths of 3 to 12 inches can be exceptionally challenging for the majority of motorized vessels. Trimming your motor beyond the natural draft of your vessel is risky at best, and overheating your engine is never advisable, but the rewards of fishing skinny water compel many anglers to try, regardless of the risk. I know, because I have tried, and it can be an expensive experiment. Coastal Angler Magazine recently had the opportunity to test out the Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 powered by the lightweight ePropulsion electric engine, and the results were exactly what we were looking for… to cover ground and effectively fish some very skinny water.

There are quite a few benefits that accompany the use of the inflatable Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 that make it super high on the “must have” angler equipment list. This vessel only weighs 47 pounds and when inflated it packs easily into a sturdy carrying case. Throw it in the trunk or back seat and head to your favorite targetrich fishing destination. It inflates quickly and efficiently. Paired with one of today’s lightweight electric engines, this vessel

represents an absolute game changer for skinny-water angling.

Here’s a quick list of some of the other attributes we discovered about the Sea Eagle FishSUP 126.

Stable: At 12’ 6” in length with a superwide 3’ 4” width, this vessel is very stable.

Durable: Drop stitch material is rugged and built to last.

Accommodates up to two anglers: Perfect for chasing bait in the shallows.

Quiet: Paired with the ePropution

electric engine, this vessel is stealth. Economical: Priced at around $1,000, this vessel is by far the most economical way to get on the water!

I am pleased to recommend the Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 to any angler looking to explore the shallows. You won’t be disappointed. This vessel absolutely deserves the moniker of GAME CHANGER!

Learn more about the Sea Eagle FishSUP at:

forSpring Inshore Action WORK THE EDGES

As the seasons change, so should your fishing locations and tactics. In my quest to target larger trout and reds, I modify my approach slightly versus what I have been doing for the past three or four months. However, depending on the weather, spring can be a tricky time to find solid and repeatable patterns. With the water temperature swings, the fish begin to move from winter to spring areas. But a slight cold front will send them right back to their winter patterns, and it will keep you on your toes.

The first major transition is from mud to a firmer sand bottom. In my area, the prominent structure will still be grass, but the base sediment will change. If your area structure is shell or rocks, you will still want to find harder sand. According to biologists, the primary reason for this is the winter forage, primarily mullet, find their food source in the mud during the colder months. We all know fish follow the bait, and that is why we target trout and reds on softer bottoms in the winter. As the water warms, the next generation of perch shrimp and other species hatch and will be found in structure with a firm bottom. In my area, that will be grass.


Now that we know where to fish, let’s cover the how. In spring, staying tight to the cover is important. It is imperative for juvenile forage to stay in tight schools and intermingled in the structure for survival. Keeping your lure near the grass, shell, or wherever you are fishing will be critical to success. I target the borders where sand and grass meet. Each area will vary depending on if it is predominantly sand or grass. If it is mostly grass, I concentrate my efforts casting into the grass and working my lure into the sand, paying attention to the edge and giving the fish time to find my lure at that intersection. On the other hand, if it is mostly sand, I will target the grass patches and once again the edge.

Spring allows us to utilize a wide range of lures. Soft plastics danced along the bottom or topwaters skated across the surface can both be effective, depending on the mood of the fish. This will be determined by water temp and the passing of lateseason cool fronts.

Whatever lure you decide to use, concentrate on the edges of the available cover to increase your odds of having a productive day. As always, take a kid fishing; you just might learn something.

Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures®, and the owner of




Hilton’s innovative SAT2NAV system connects your Garmin, Furuno or Raymarine chart plotters to HiltonsOffshore. com’s server directly from your MFD. Customize/download the latest dynamic charts and then navigate on them outside of cell range — ALL FROM YOUR MFD SCREEN!

Split screen a Hilton’s chlorophyll or sea temp chart along with a bathymetry chart and/or instrumentation.




Since 2004, Hilton’s has helped serious offshore anglers catch more fish while burning less gas. This is the company that pioneered online satellite fish forecasting with timely updated charts that display all of the pertinent fishfinding information at a reasonable cost for the best anglers in the world.

This year, Hilton’s pushed the industry forward again with its SAT2NAV system. In a quantum leap ahead of any other service in the industry, Hilton’s has brought its unparalleled charts where they belong… to your boat’s chart plotter screen!

Gone are the days when a separate smart device was required to navigate on charts downloaded while in cell phone range. SAT2NAV allows you to surf Hilton’s online mapping portal, select desired charts and then navigate on them—all on the water and all from the multifunction display in your cockpit. Nobody in the industry can do what Hilton’s is doing with SAT2NAV.

SAT2NAV is an external device that connects to the monitors of your Garmin, Raymarine or Furuno multifunction displays. It has its own WIFI and GPS antennas and brings access to Hilton’s charts to the monitors at your helm. It is now possible view your vessel’s position relative to temperature breaks, color changes, high-res bathymetry, altimetry, etc. on your multifunction display.

With split-screen, all of this powerful imagery can be displayed alongside sonar, radar or other desired information. With SAT2NAV, it’s never been easier to identify and navigate to ocean features where bait and gamefish congregate. You can do your homework on the charts at home, but sometimes it’s necessary to call an audible on the water. With Hilton’s charts clearly visible on your monitor, you can find those good currents, minute temperature changes, sea-surface upwellings, color breaks and navigate to them. Perhaps more importantly, you can eliminate dead water, which makes you a much more efficient and effective angler. Of course, all of this comes with Hilton’s unrivaled service. Their philosophy, reputation and longevity in the industry rely on the concept that if the information doesn’t help you catch fish, you won’t use it. So, they continually strive to provide the best up-to-date imagery, information and technology, and they’ll go above and beyond to make sure you know what you’re looking at and how to use it.

Hilton’s, again, is leading the industry. With SAT2NAV they can do what no one else in the industry can do right now. At the same time, they are continually working to be better with additional eye-opening features that will further distinguish Hilton’s as the best in the fish forecasting industry. Stay tuned…

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In some parts of the country, the bass spawn is already coming to an end like it is down here in Florida. In others the post-spawn might not start up for another couple months. Regardless of your phase, this post-spawn fishing tip should help you dial in your fishery when the time is right for you.

One thing is the same for every fishery and every species of bass after they spawn, they are hungry! This can create some awesome and fun fishing opportunities. Post-spawn bass have provided some of my best days on the water.

Typically, after the largemouth bass spawn, there are other fish that begin their spawn. I’m not a scientist, but I’m sure this has a lot to do with the specific timing of why bass do their thing when they do. In most areas of the southern United States, bluegill and oftentimes shad start to spawn

very shortly after the bass finish up. After a long couple weeks or months protecting eggs in the shallows, bass use every advantage they can to feed when these baitfish group up, and this can make for some fun fishing.

Smallmouth bass and spotted bass in the post-spawn phase are very similar to largemouths when it comes to taking advantage of bait schools. I have seen them group up and attack shad, perch and alewife schools and any other bait that is readily available. Typically, I do a lot of my searching for these things with my electronics and forward-facing sonar, which is a very helpful tool for learning fish activity and seeing what’s going on under the surface of the water.

Most of the time you don’t necessarily need electronics. You can use clues visible to the naked eye to help you find this “feed”

that is going on. Birds feeding on the water is an awesome sign of a feeding frenzy, and it’s one thing I always look for. Also, always keep your eyes peeled for fish blowing up on the surface or shad flickering under the surface. Sometimes the very smallest clue can lead you to much larger picture. Birds standing on specific banks, the sound of bluegill popping around vegetation, anything that clues you in to bait in the area usually means the bass aren’t very far away.

Hopefully this tip will help you when the fish in your area get into the post-spawn feed. Find the bait, and you will find the bass!

I try to imitate the prevalent baitfish with whatever kind of lure I’m throwing. For bluegill eaters, I will throw a frog or a swimjig in bluegill colors. For shad eaters, I will throw white or silver topwaters and crankbaits.

Always match the hatch if possible. Good luck out there this season, and tight lines!

Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at



Explore the Real Florida in Putnam County

When the hubbub of the Bassmaster Elite Series descends on Palatka, Fla., April 18-21, anglers and fans alike will find a quality of fishing and a lifestyle that has made Putnam County an ideal destination for anyone seeking to experience the “Real Florida.”

Putnam County is the rural heart of North Florida, where the gorgeous St. Johns River flows northward between largely undeveloped banks as the centerpiece of the county’s abundant natural resources. It is a place where a high quality of life and nature’s bounty create opportunities for businesses and residents to thrive.

The St. Johns River is one of the most celebrated bass fisheries on the planet, and Putnam County has long been known as the “Bass Capital of the World.” It is home to three of the top 10 bass fisheries in Florida, according to the

Florida Wildlife Resources Commission, and bass are not the only game in town. The river and reservoirs hold some of the best fishing anywhere for many freshwater, brackish and saltwater species. While boasting natural shorelines and protected lands, Putnam’s waters are also accessible, with numerous public ramps and docks.

And fishing and boating aren’t the only ways to experience the region’s beauty. Putnam County is the “Trail Hub” of Northeast Florida. The Rails-to-Trails Project has an elaborate and expansive trail system through a picturesque mix of woods and rural landscapes. Hikers and cyclists will find plenty to explore, including the extraordinary topography of the “Ravine.”

Ravine Gardens is a formal garden with hiking trails in a steep ravine formed by the flow of the St. Johns. Azaleas and other exotic

species create a dramatic landscape, especially during peak flowering from late January to April. Outside of the formal gardens, the unique topography is enjoyed by hikers and cyclists by trail, and drivers can see it on the Ravine Loop Road. The whole area is an excellent place for bird watching.

Putnam County is ideal for anglers, and it is also a fantastic off-the-beaten-path place to kick back and relax in.


The Place to Stay and Play on Florida's Nature Coast

Situated riverfront and surrounded by the natural springs of King's Bay, Plantation Resort on Crystal River offers unforgettable experiences for travelers of all ages and interests to enjoy endless outdoor activities. From boating and fishing to scalloping and wildlife encounters, visitors from around the globe travel to Florida's Nature Coast to enjoy the organic assets of our dynamic destination. Reflect on the peaceful joy you'll feel while swimming alongside a manatee and her baby, the rush of adrenaline after hooking an evasive gag grouper in the shallow waters of the Gulf...there are so many memories waiting for you here!

Guests will find a full-service resort with classic rooms, excellent dining, a lagoon-style pool, an Aveda spa, and a traditional golf course. Discover all there is to create your next great vacation memory.

| Hotel: Reservations: 800.632.6262

From boating and fishing to scalloping and wildlife encounters, Plantation on Crystal River is an ideal setting for travelers of all ages and interests to enjoy endless outdoor activities. To follow is just a sampling of the abundance of available outdoor pursuits.

BOATING: With more than 25,000 accessible acres of waterways, including Crystal River and Kings Bay, Plantation on Crystal River is a boater’s paradise. In addition to scenic river tours from Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop, kayaks, jon boats and pontoon boats can be rented by guests who want to explore on their own.

endless outdoor adventure awaits!

FISHING: With Central Florida fishing at its finest, Plantation on Crystal River is located alongside the Crystal River inlets and Kings Bay, just a short distance from local lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Whether by land or by sea, anglers can cast a line for bass, grouper, snook, flounder, redfish and more. At the end of a successful day of fishing, Plantation’s chefs will be happy to prepare the fresh catch for the guest’s dining pleasure.

SCALLOPING: There is no better place to go scalloping on Florida’s Gulf Coast than Plantation on Crystal River. Taking place in shallow waters, scalloping is a fun family activity that only requires a snorkel, net and a pair of fins; no previous experience is needed. Scalloping does require a special permit, but licensed group tours and charters are available for those without a license. Scalloping season is typically July 1 to September 24.

MANATEE TOURS: Plantation on Crystal River’s Adventure Center & Dive Shop provides guests with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim and interact with threatened West Indian Manatees in the waters

of Crystal River and Kings Bay. Snorkelers will find many of the gentle creatures in the crystal-clear spring waters migrate during cooler winter months with some that stay year-round. The manatees can also be easily observed from any part of the Plantation’s expansive sea wall and gazebo point.

GOLF: Guests can tee off on the resort’s traditional Floridastyle 18-hole championship course. Surrounded by native plants and oaks, the championship course challenges guests with a number of difficult fairways and waterways, including the course’s signature No. 11 hole. The Original Golf SchoolTM at Plantation on Crystal River accommodates players of all levels, with experienced professionals offering on-course instruction, with no more than four students per professional instructor.


Countless on-property amenities also provide entertainment to guests at Plantation on Crystal River. Highlights include a scenic, lagoon-style swimming pool overlooking the river, sand volleyball court, horseshoes, shuffleboard, oversized outdoor chess and checkers and a regulation croquet court. Nearby attractions include Three Sister Springs State Park, Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Coastal Heritage Museum, Weeki Wachee and the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Park.

Transportation is convenient with nearby international airports, including Tampa International Airport only 70 miles away, and Orlando International airport just 90 miles away.

For more information, visit


Whether your vessel options are limited or you just want to spice up your inshore fishing experience, fishing from a kayak should not be overlooked as a possibility. When done correctly, it is some of the most exciting fishing. It can also be modified for the extreme, or an entirely leisure day on the water.

Kayaking is how I fell in love with fishing. Of all the different ways I have gone about it, I have

enjoyed them all. From packing a lunch and fishing my way to an island for a picnic and a swim, to drifting backcountry mangroves other vessels cannot access, to cruising dock lights at night, or deploying in 1,300 feet of water seeking yellowfin tuna off of the oil rigs, kayak fishing is versatile with endless possibilities.

This type of fishing can be dangerous, and its especially important to know your limitations and be overly prepared. Currents and wind

change quickly and affect your return trip. Make sure to check tides and weather before venturing or drifting too far. Paddling against the current while battling the extreme heat can put you in a bad situation very quickly. Make sure to have a small anchor onboard as well. Obviously, this will come in handy for fishing, and it can also provide an opportunity to rest if exhaustion is getting the best of you.

Decking out your rig for fishing is an art


form, and there are many ways to go about it. Prioritize having a cooler attached to the back over all else. You do not want to get dehydrated out there. Afterall, you are the motor of the vessel, and should be well maintained just like any other motor.

Affix everything to your kayak with the expectation of getting flipped. Of course, do everything to keep yourself from that situation, but things happen. Use dry-storage bags, and clip everything to the kayak itself. Most kayaks are designed to make this a straightforward process.

Fishing artificials will simplify your set up, but sometimes after all the paddling, its nice to relax and toss out some live bait. A bait bucket on a rope with shrimp, that can be tossed out between paddles, should be all you need. For more extreme fishing, modify a PVC pipe with holes drilled into it to hold live baitfish.

Use common sense and check local regulations. Protect yourself from the sun during the day, be properly lit at night, and stay out of high-traffic boating areas and channels. You are also required to carry a PFD and a sound producing device, such as a whistle.

Once you have hit the full safety

checklist, go out there and experience the possibilities that kayak fishing has to offer. Fishing from a kayak will intensify the tug even with smaller fish you hook up to, so hang on and enjoy the aquatic sleigh ride.

Capt. Quinlyn Haddon guides with Sweet E’Nuf Charters out of Marathon, Fla. See, @captainquinlyn or call (504) 920-6342.


Power Purge Jr.

The easy way to 100% purge air out of BayStar and SeaStar hydraulic steering systems. Reduce installation and warranty costs while enhancing the quality of the boat to the end user. A typical manual fill and purge takes the average experienced installer or service technician about 30 minutes per boat – by using the Dometic Power Purge Jr. this can be reduced to 10 minutes or less.



Experienced boaters know that even a tiny bit of air in a vessel’s hydraulic steering system can compromise performance, response and steering effort. However, the process of correctly bleeding the system— whether performing maintenance or installing new hydraulic steering on a boat—could be messy and challenging to do correctly. Not to mention that it is a two-person job, with one at the helm and one back at the steering cylinder.

Marine steering leader Dometic has forever solved this problem with its Power Purge Jr., a self-contained system that makes it easy for one person to fill and bleed 100 percent of the air out of any SeaStar hydraulic steering system in 10 minutes or less.

This system comes in its own sturdy carrying case and includes a blue helm hose, clear cylinder hose, helm adapter and battery connectors. All that’s required from the boater is a wrench to open the bleeder valves and 5 quarts of SeaStar hydraulic fluid.

This system uses the boat’s battery power to quickly fill the entire

system with fluid and fully remove even the smallest air bubbles—helping boaters get back on the water fast.
Learn more about the Power Purge Jr. by visiting:


With its marshes, tidal creeks and flood-tide redfish, the South Carolina Lowcountry has long been a destination inshore fishery. Historically, the billfish bite has been an outlier, reserved for the few hardcore captains with gumption to make long runs to the Gulf Stream for an outside chance at a marlin encounter. That paradigm has changed. Over the last few years, the offshore trolling bite has been very good, and the fishing world is taking notice.

In Charleston, Capt. Mike Able keeps close tabs on the fishery. He and his brother, Graham Able, run Haddrell’s Point Tackle and Supply, a family-owned hunting and fishing store, which has grown to two locations and a fly shop in the Charleston area since their father, Mike Sr., started the business in 1983.

“Charleston has definitely been put on the map with the billfishing we’ve had the last several years. It’s really been phenomenal,” Able said. “I mean, look at the Carolina Billfish Classic. In the CBC last year there were outriggers full of sailfish flags… we’re talking double-digit stuff. And not just the big boats. I mean, the big boats have an advantage, but guys are catching blue marlin from center consoles, too. You know the fish are really chewing when the center-console guys are hitting fish like that.”

The Carolina Billfish Classic (CBC) is one leg of the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. In the Charleston area, out of Mt. Pleasant, the CBC is held each June during the peak season. Last year, with poor weather conditions during the one-day shootout, 47 boats released nine blue marlin and 53 sailfish. The top boat, Trash Man, a 64’ Weaver out of Savannah, Ga., released four blue marlin to top the leader board. The second-place boat released seven sailfish and a blue marlin. That’s some pretty good fishing for any destination fishery, and Capt. Able said they’re starting

to see more big boats and professional teams show up for what used to be mostly regional tournaments.

Able said extensive conservation efforts over the years, particularly from the Governor’s Cup Series, has led to healthier fish stocks. He also thinks anglers are getting better at finding and catching billfish. The run outside the ledge to the Gulf Stream is still 50 to 55 miles out of Charleston, but these days captains can run straight to productive water instead of burning gas looking for it. Satellite services make it easy to identify Gulf Stream blue water, weed lines, temperature breaks and color changes to make a solid gameplan before leaving the docks. Additionally, technology like Omni Sonar can pinpoint fish with an effective range of 5,000 feet.

“You could mark a fish from a half mile away and go over and drop baits,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you can make them bite, but you know they’re in the area.”

Peak season for blue marlin and sailfish is May and June, but blues will be in the area all summer into August or September. Sailfish can be good into October or November, when wahoo also begin to show up heavily in the mix. Able said a lot of the blue marlin they catch are 150to 200-pound “rats,” but they see some 300- to 400-pounders, and an occasional 500-plus-pound blue marlin will be the talk at the docks. White marlin might also show up in a spread, but they are not as common.

One of the perks of trolling out of Charleston is you’ll likely fill the box with dolphin and blackfin tuna while you’re hunting billfish. Tuna stack up along the break on the edge of the Gulf Stream in spring, and big schools of mahi usually arrive with warming waters in April or May. These fish spread out and the bite slows as summer progresses, but they remain a likely catch.

Capt. Able hung up his charter captain hat to run the family business a few years back. Now he fishes for fun, making frequent offshore runs with family and friends in a 34’ Regulator center console. He’s primarily interested in the billfish bite but also catches plenty of dolphin, tuna and wahoo pulling a mixed spread with dredges, squid chains and circle-hooked ballyhoo. He said to keep a ballyhoo ready on a 50-wide pitch rod to replace the teasers when a marlin comes into the spread, which might happen several times in a day. For more detailed information on Able’s tactics, check out one of his offshore seminars. The schedule is available on the Haddrell’s Point website.

What does a good day look like fishing from a center console offshore in the Lowcountry? Able said he had a day when he went three for four on sailfish, and his next best day was a blue marlin and two sailfish. The billfish bite really has gotten good out of Charleston.

Check out Haddrell’s Point Tackle & Supply at

Drawing to be held June 28, 2024. Winner announced on Facebook. Skye Burkhardt A KAYAK FISHING TRIP WITH @brassyangler87 AND AN ULTIMATE KAYAK FISHING PRIZE PACKAGE INCLUDING A MOKEN 10 KAYAK!

COOLERS, the leader in high-performance soft-sided coolers, is hitting the water this year with new, upgraded fishing products. Our fishing team partners told us what they needed, and we listened!

Products are in stock and ready to ship; The Fishing Cooler Backpack, 2, 4 & 6ft Fish bags, Fillet bags, Boat fenders, EVA Traction pads, Inflatable Docks, ISUPs, and of course, our high-performance coolers specifically designed for use on boats, guaranteed not to leak, and to keep ice cold for up to 24 hours.

Thirty years ago, AO was launched to provide active, hard-core people with quality products at a reasonable price. We started selling our soft-sided coolers to the hard-core, go-fast boaters and fishermen in Lake Havasu. We aimed to keep ice in our coolers for up to 24 hours in 120-degree Havasu heat. That goal was accomplished 30 years ago, and we’re still at it.

We know our customers; they fish and boat in the summer and ride the dunes or trails in the winter. AO products give those high-octane souls greater freedom to embark on and enjoy what’s important to them.

Make sure that your gear does not hold you back from doing what you love. AO products are built to handle whatever offshore adventure is coming next.

AO is flexibly rugged, seriously fun, and honestly real!

We’re looking for active, adventurous folks that demand quality and performance from their gear. Share your adventure and send us your fish story or photo.


By Nick Carter

What do you get when you mix a large, hard-fighting fish with another smaller fish that feeds ravenously and is well suited to warm waters of the Southeast?

The answer is a hybrid striped bass, and anyone who’s tangled with them will tell you they are blast when you find them schooled up and busting baitfish on the surface.

Also known as hybrids, wipers, palmetto bass, sunshine bass, Cherokee bass and other names, these chunky brawlers are the Franken-fish of anglers’ dreams, rather than nightmares. They are a crossbreed of white bass and striped bass, produced in hatcheries and released by the millions for the enjoyment of anglers in reservoirs across the country. They give us something else to fish for that draws advantages from both species. Hybrids are unable to reproduce in the wild, but they do feed heavily and grow fast, which is part of the reason anglers love to catch them. They have some of the size of striped bass and the aggressive feeding and temperature tolerance of white bass. Hybrids fill the open-water niche on our large reservoirs, and some make faux-spawning runs up rivers in spring.

Lake Oconee in central Georgia is a hybrid bass hot spot. The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division stocks hundreds of thousands of hybrids in the lake each spring, and conventional anglers get after them with live baits, jigging spoons and by trolling plugs and jigs.

Capt. Wayne Moore, of Oconee on the Fly guide service, is probably the only guy you’ll see on Oconee slinging line with a fly rod from his center console. While he admits that spinning gear and conventional tactics are more effective most of the time, there are three specific situations when fly fishing for hybrid bass is not only possible, it is productive, and it’s also a boatload of fun.

Lake Oconee is a 19,000-acre impoundment of the Oconee River about an hour and a half drive east of Atlanta. It is surrounded by luxury golf resorts and is well known for hybrid bass as well as for good largemouth, catfish and crappie fishing. The lake is formed behind Wallace Dam, which is a pump-back dam that draws water for power generation and also pumps water back into Oconee from a downstream reservoir, Lake


Sinclair. Either action gets current flowing over much of the long, skinny lake, and moving water is key to finding a good hybrid bite.

Like coastal tides, lake currents incite fish to feed. This is true for hybrids in any reservoir, and especially on Oconee. Capt. Moore said there is often a good afternoon bite on the lower lake when the dam kicks on. When the water starts moving, schools of hybrids move up from deeper water onto main-lake points in 10-foot depths to chase balls of threadfin shad. Diving birds are a surefire sign that the action is on, but when the gulls go back to the coast in spring, Moore uses electronics to locate bait balls and fish. He

fish hit right next to the boat. So be ready for that. You might make a 50-foot cast and they won’t hit it until it’s 5 feet from the boat.”

When the bite is really hot, a good angler might boat 8 to 10 fish in short order, and 4- to 6-pound hybrids are not uncommon on Oconee. “A 6-pound hybrid is going to fight like a 10-pound striper,” Moore said.

The second situation for which Moore likes a fly rod is a mid-lake morning bite that is also dependent on moving water. Like the blitzing striped bass on the coast of New England hybrids herd shad to the top and blow up on them in a frenzy that makes the surface of the water boil.

“It might be a good school of busting fish, but it doesn’t last long, maybe an hour,” Moore said. “But once it turns on, it’ll be there almost every morning for two or three weeks.”

and his clients go to work on them with 8-weight fly rods spooled with intermediate sink-tip lines.

Moore said the fish can be very picky during this bite. To mimic the shad, he fishes a 2-inch-long Clouser Minnow in white/chartreuse on a 5-foot leader of 12- to 15-pound fluorocarbon. He almost always fishes a cadence of five short strips followed by a pause.

“I don’t know why, but they can be very color selective,” he said. “Sometimes they won’t even look at a plain white Clouser, but they’ll eat one with chartreuse. I also don’t know why, but very frequently these

Moore said he starts looking for this bite in May, and that it coincides with the shad spawn. Even though the fish are crashing bait on the surface, Moore sticks with the same set-up and fishes sub-surface. With thousands of newly hatched threadfin shad in the water, Cowen’s Somethin’ Else, and Cowen’s Coyote are Moore’s go-to flies for this bite. Henry Cowen is a legendary angler and fly tier who developed both patterns specifically for striped bass in Georgia waters. In fact, Moore said he learned everything he knows about fly fishing reservoirs from Cowen, and those flies work just as well on hybrids as they do on stripers.

One other situation when Moore said he’d rather have a fly rod in his hand is at night, under the lights.


the ones that are lit will be covered with fish,” he said.

The structure of a dock paired with lights draws baitfish and the fish that eat them at night. Moving the boat stealthily into position and making good casts are imperative to catching these easily spooked fish. For this reason, Moore usually reserves night trips for experienced fly fishers. He

likes Coyotes and Clousers for this bite and said putting pressure on the fish quickly is usually the only way to get it back to the boat.

“You better have that 15-pound leader. A 6-pound hybrid will give you a run for your money,” he said. “Typically, hybrids will run for open water, but at night they’ll run you right back under that dock.”

Surveys by Georgia DNR indicate good numbers of maturing hybrids are swimming in Oconee right now, including fish in the 5- to 10-pound range. With the May schooling bite approaching, it’s worth making plans to visit the lake now… or, you could try these tactics on your local hybrid reservoir.

Moore said he stays on top of the bite and only takes fly fishers when conditions are right. If good action isn’t likely on the fly, he catches good numbers of fish casting or jigging spoons, fishing bucktails or crankbaits and trolling lures and live baits.

Check out Oconee on the Fly at

Contact Wayne Moore at (404) 317-9556 or



The Chattahoochee Jig Company is based in north Georgia and specializes in crafting custom, handtied jigs for anglers. We ofer high-quality jigs that come in various styles and color combinations to enhance fishing success. Here are some of their notable products:

Chattahoochee PBJ: A versatile jig designed for effective fishing in local waters. Hand-tied with expert craftsmanship

Chattahoochee G.G. CHART Casting Jig: Another quality offering from the company, designed to attract fish with precision

Chattahoochee Pain Killer Casting Jig: Crafted with care and attention to detail, this jig is a reliable choice for anglers

Explore A full range of products, including jigs, shakey heads, and jig heads, on our website. Tight lines!





You don’t need an invitation to have fun in Upcountry South Carolina: Come kayak crys-tal blue lakes, hike to rushing waterfalls, dig into local cuisine, attend family oriented events and breathe fresh mountain air. But when you hold a South Carolina fishing license, it feels like an official ticket to enjoy the great outdoors.

Fish bite year-round in the lakes, rivers and streams of Upcountry South Carolina, which is located in the state’s northwest corner in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Devils Fork State Park in Salem is a great place to access Lake Jocassee, which holds state records for rainbow trout, brown trout, redeye bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass and yellow perch. Or try your luck at Lake Hartwell, at Lake Hartwell State Park in Fair Play and Sadlers Creek State Park in Anderson, three-time host of the Bassmaster Classic.

The Chattooga River boasts healthy wild trout populations and is also regularly stocked by Oconee County’s Walhalla State Fish Hatchery. The Whitewater River above Lower White-water Falls is another great option for wild trout. Lake Keowee, at Keowee-Toxaway State Park in Pickens County, swims with largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, crappie, bluegill, yel-low perch, catfish, brown and rainbow trout.

Pick up everything you need—including advice— at local fly shops or book a guided fish-ing trip. Sam Jones, of Jocassee Charters, puts anglers on trophy trout. Buster Green’s Guide Ser-vice reels in stripers, hybrids and bass on Hartwell and Keowee. Chattooga


River Fly Shop leads fly fishing trips on the Chattooga and Chauga rivers.

Even if you don’t fish, you can still get on the water. Jocassee Lake Tours offers tours of the lake and of Jocassee Gorges, which National Geographic called a “destination of a Lifetime.” Some amazing spots can only be reached by boat. Several tours are offered, so you can learn from a naturalist while riding on a pontoon or paddle a kayak through coves and under waterfalls.

Prefer to captain your own boat? There are several rental companies, including Tri-County Boat Rental, on Keowee, Jocassee, Hartwell and other lakes.

If you’d rather be under the water, Jocassee is a world-renowned freshwater diving desti-nation that boasts visibility of more than 50 feet at depth. Lake Jocassee Dive Shop offers lessons and guided trips to see “The Wall,” where a section of mountain was blasted to build the dam, or a 40-foot swim-through wooden sailboat.

From fishing to boating, hiking to camping, biking to bird watching and more, the Up-country’s state parks are a great place to play. Dip into the swimming hole at Oconee State Park. Hike to the tops of Pinnacle and Table Rock mountains at Table Rock State Park. Explore the 13,000-acre Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area at Caesars Head State Park. Or create your own adventure at any of the Upcountry’s 13 state parks.

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Along with blooms on the trees and frogspawn in the ponds, the annual rites of spring include an uptick in anglers reporting heavyweight catches.

A spate of recent record catches marks the transition to longer days, warmer weather and springspawning species putting on weight. In Indiana, an angler caught a monster 8-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth bass that crushed the existing state record by a pound. In Kentucky and Georgia, two anglers boated big yellow perch. The Kentucky perch set a new state record, while the Georgia fish earned the angler a tie for the heaviest perch ever caught in the Peach State.

In Indiana, angler Rex Remington caught his big pre-spawn smallie on March 3 at Monroe Reservoir. The fish was weighed on certified scales in the presence of Indiana DNR officials before being released. The new record was adopted a couple weeks later and is listed at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, beating a record that had stood since 1992. The all-tackle world record smallmouth weighed 11 pounds, 15 ounces. It was caught from Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee in 1955.

Smaller, but no-less-impressive, Lynn Bumgardner caught his 1.58-pound Kentucky-record yellow perch at Lake Barkley on March 2. It beat the existing 1.44-pound record caught in 2010. He was trolling grubs for crappie and knew he had a heavy fish when it hit, but he didn’t realize it was a potential record perch until it surfaced. The fish was 14.25 inches long.

They must grow perch bigger in Georgia. On Feb. 18, Emerson Mulhall caught a huge 16-inch-long, 2-pound, 9-ounce yellow perch that tied the existing state record set in 2013. Mulhall, who usually bass fishes at north Georgia’s Lake Burton was initially confused, because the fish he’d hooked didn’t fight like a bass. When he realized it was a perch, his father convinced him to get off the lake and go get it weighed on certified scales.

The all-tackle world record yellow perch is reported by IGFA to have weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces. That fish was caught in New Jersey in 1865.

For more record fish, go to

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Welcome To Peppertree Maggie Valley

Peppertree Maggie Valley was developed in 1981 as one of the mountains premier timeshare vacation resorts. Our 40 two bedroom condos look out over the beautiful Maggie Valley Club Golf Course and beyond to the Great Smoky Mountains that surround the valley. Owners and renters (from Peppertree Maggie Valley) may enjoy the amenities of the Maggie Valley Club including golf for two people during their stay. The many area attractions are a short drive from the resort. These include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cherokee Indian Reservation, Harrah’s Casino, and America’s largest private dwelling house, the Biltmore Estate, in Asheville.

classified as the Maggie Valley Mountain Heritage Trout Water. It is hatchery supported and is subject to restrictions that have been established by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. This area provides convenient fishing opportunities to visitors of Maggie Valley. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at or by phone at (888) 248-6834. A 3-day license costs $11 for residents & nonresidents age 16 or older and is valid only for waters designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters.

Peppertree is affiliated with both Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II) for any who may want to exchange in from another resort and we have rentals and some re-sales available.

A three-mile section of Jonathan Creek has been

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has approximately 2,900 miles of streams and provides a great opportunity for fishing, as well. Fishing is allowed year-round from 30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset. A fishing license or permit is required from either Tennessee or North Carolina. For more information including restrictions and limits visit Fishing in Great Smoky Mountains.



The sprawling bays and flats of the Texas coast have long been considered some of the best fishing anywhere for giant spotted seatrout. This spring, with widespread support from the angling community, Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW) has moved to protect that reputation by enacting stricter regulations designed to protect the fishery, and specifically big seatrout.

Long-time The Angler columnist Capt. Michael Okruhlik is one of many hard-core inshore anglers in favor of the regs changes. Okruhlik’s love of big Texas seatrout and redfish drove him to invent new lures to target them, and his company, Knockin Tail Lures, is dependent on a thriving fishery. He said Texas inshore fisheries are currently receiving more fishing pressure than they ever have.

“Over the past few decades, fishing for speckled trout in Texas has increased in popularity, which is evident not only while on the bays, but also in the increased sales of fishing licenses,” he said. “The surge since the pandemic

has been exponential versus the steady increase over time. This coupled with widespread loss of habitat due to industrial impacts, hurricane Ike on the upper coast, several fish-killing freezes and so many other natural and manmade issues make these changes imperative to the future of our fishery.”

The new regulations went into effect on March 26 across the Texas coast. The daily bag limit per angler was reduced from five fish to two fish. The existing slot limit of 15 to 25 inches was tightened to 15 to 20 inches. The allowance for one oversized trout in that limit was also changed. Anglers used to be able to keep one fish longer than 20 inches as part of a limit. Now that one oversized fish must be at least 30 inches to be legal.

“The bag limits are only one part of the solution,” Okruhlik said. “Habitat restoration and industrial impact need to be addressed, as well. Bag limits on anglers is the easiest first issue to tackle, but it’s not the entire solution.”

An official TPW proposal, which was out for

public comment in late March, has been floated to eliminate the oversized trout allowance in the daily limit until a tag system can be implemented for the next license year, which begins Sept. 1.

This tag would allow anglers to harvest one spotted seatrout greater than 30 inches with the purchase of a saltwater fishing license or endorsement. In addition, the proposed rule would also implement a $3 Bonus Spotted Seatrout Tag and a $3 Exempt Angler Tag (for individuals who, by law, are exempted from license requirements) that would allow for the retention of one oversize spotted seatrout per license year.

TPW estimates these changes could bring a 27 percent increase in spawning stock biomass over a seven-year generation of spotted seatrout. The benefits would be magnified over time the longer these regulations remain in effect.

“There are multiple kill tournaments every weekend along the coast that encourage anglers to keep large trout for a few hundred dollars,” Okruhlik said. “The new regulations may not reduce the number of tournaments, but it will protect the number of big trout being weighed in.”


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Kyle Hall is getting mighty good at targeting giant Texas largemouth bass, and Lake O.H Ivie is getting mighty good at growing them.

The nation’s hottest big-bass factory has continued to produce monsters this spring, and Hall’s 15.82-pound giant is just the latest “Legacy Class” bass headed to Texas hatcheries for spring break.

Toyota ShareLunker is Texas’s trophy bass recognition program, and it is also a very successful breeding program, as evidenced by the string of giant largemouths that have come from the Lonestar State in recent years. Anglers who catch “Legacy Class” bass, which are fish heavier than 13 pounds, are encouraged to donate their live fish to the program during the spawning season from January to March. Those fish are used to selectively breed giant-fish genetics into hatchery-produced bass that are released into the wild.

Hall’s recent catch is in the top 50 bass to ever hit the scales in Texas. It ranks as the 37th heaviest in Texas history. It’s also his third 13-plus-pounder in the last three springs. In March of 2022, Hall caught a 16.1-pound monster, and he followed it up in January of 2023 with a 13.58-pounder that would be the fish of a lifetime for most anglers and most lakes.

As for O.H. Ivie, fish in the teens have become a regular occurrence. Last year, 18 O.H. Ivie fish were caught and reported to ShareLunker that weighed 13 pounds or more. The largest fish caught last year was a 17.03-pound lake record for O.H Ivie. It was boated on Feb. 13 by Jason Conn.

So far this year, 10 13-pluspounders from O.H. Ivie have been reported to the Sharelunker program.

For more, check out


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Tennessee’s Mountain Playground

Alaska’s Summer Fishing Stands Alone

Capt. Lukas Brickweg

John Muir, the famous naturalist, wrote in his journal that you should never go to Alaska as a young man because you’ll never be satisfied with any other place as long as you live. From firsthand experience, I believe this to be true.

In the past, frontiersmen in covered wagons headed westward for opportunity. The mysterious bounty of untamed lands was out there, but only for the frontiersmen, dreamers and adventurers willing to take on hardships for which rewards were determined by successes and failures.

Today, this romanticized ideology is harder to put into practice. There are fewer untainted lands and seas, where opportunity is there for those willing to venture into the unknown. Alaska, in all her glory, is a modern-day representation of this ideal.

I’m here to tell you that Alaska still holds riches beyond one’s wildest dreams.




Hundreds of millions of salmon flood into their native streams and rivers to spawn each year. Giant barndoor halibut scour the deep seas feeding on all that’s provided. Humpback whales migrate thousands of miles from their winter waters to feast on Alaska’s annual summer bounty. Eagles, bears and other wildlife abound and celebrate summer, when it’s a feast for all. This is true for human visitors, too. The summertime fishing in Alaska can be astoundingly good.

Imagine the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes cascading into a sea teeming with marine life. It’s as if someone dreamed it up for fantasy tale, but this dream is a reality. Unlike any of the other places I’ve lived and fished, there’s just nothing quite like Alaska. Fiji, The Bahamas, Hawaii, Florida… they are all spectacular, but there’s nothing like an Alaskan summer.

My own journey to Alaska began as

a young man when I dreamed of one day fishing there. Giant halibut and bears eating salmon from wild streams infiltrated my thoughts. Like most young adults, I strived to get good grades and work jobs to pay bills and tuition. I took the mainstream approach of university studies that would one day set me up financially for a secure life and a couple vacations a year. I had the life I thought I wanted in sight.

Shortly after graduation with a degree in investments, I obtained a position with a financial firm working on investment portfolios. I loved the work; I hated the monotony of a nine-to-five work life. Dry cleaning suits, commuting to work to park in a parking garage, the same elevator ride every day, and the daunting task of everyone deliberating what restaurant to go to on lunch break were all so tedious. I’d had enough, and after a year and a half I called it quits. I didn’t

have an idea or plan for what I would do, but I knew one thing for certain, I wasn’t going back into that office another day!

With no contacts or the faintest idea of what it would be like, I fled the corporate world for Alaska. I headed into the unknown with an open mind and ambition, and I’ve never looked back. It’s been 12 years, and I still call Alaska home for the summer fishing season.

Of course, coming from Florida meant learning new techniques and strategies. Despite the differences and obstacles, I quickly discovered that the knowledge I gained growing up fishing, surfing and diving in Florida translated well in Alaska, and really to any ocean in the world.

I now operate a guided fishing service called Ketchikan’s Finest Fishing Charters. My fishing partner, Jake Smith, and I consider ourselves lucky for the opportunity to provide top-flight fishing and experiences for clients every day.

The prime fishing season in Ketchikan runs from May through September, and we provide world-class customized charters for any group, regardless of age and experience levels. You can

expect to catch halibut, salmon, rockfish, cod and even Dungeness crab. We offer full-day and multi-day packages for those looking to fly in and experience Alaska fishing at its finest, with daily catches aggregating over hundreds of pounds. In addition, based in Ketchikan, we offer cruise ship recommended charters for salmon and halibut to fit each visitor’s port times. With pick-up and drop-off from downtown cruise ship ports, it’s the best way to fish during an Alaskan cruise.

Imagine riding out to the richest Alaskan fishing grounds with humpback whales breaching on the horizon. Eagles are soaring overhead and swooping to pluck salmon from the sea. This and more are routine in Alaska. The fishing is insane, with massive halibut providing deep-sea wrestling matches to the surface and lights-out salmon fishing with multiple simultaneous hookups keeping your group running from rod to rod in the heat of a hot bite. Being in Alaska even means you might have to play tug-of-war with sea lions, who patrol the waters waiting to steal dinner from your line. It’s sensory overload in a good way,

and an experience that should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list.

Planning a fishing trip in Alaska might seem daunting. There’s an assumed notion that reaching accommodations requires five float planes and a dog sled. That might seem romantic, but modern-day Alaska is accessible to all. Ketchikan is a short two-hour plain ride from Seattle in a commercial airliner that touches down in a modern airport. From there, everything is at your fingertips, from lodging and accommodations to rental vehicles and activities for everyone.

It’s not so hard after all, and it’s well worth the trouble for an experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Contact Ketchikan’s Finest Fishing Charters at (907) 617-4717 or e-mail

Forty-nine reservoirs stretch across the Tennessee Valley like a string of pearls. And for those who love to fish, those lakes are just as valuable. Whether it’s bass, crappie, walleye, or catfish, whether for sport, food, or just fun, you can find world-class lake fishing only hours away from any spot in the Tennessee Valley. From more than 11,000 miles of shoreline or while floating on more than 700,000 acres of water, residents and visitors will quickly learn why this area is considered one of the best fishing destinations in the U.S. and, some would say, the world.

Find Your Own Fishing Hole

Fishing from the shore can be restful and rewarding—and anyone can do it. All you need is a little intel about how to find a spot where the fish might be biting. Here are a few tips for successful shore fishing from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency:

• Fish are often swimming near the shore in the spring and fall. If you’re fishing from the shore in the heat of summer, do it in the evening or early morning—or even after dark.

• Fish near-unique features such as docks, logs, trees, rocks, or rocky areas; aquatic vegetation; or places where creeks enter the water.

• When fishing in moving water, look at the surface for boils and breaks—this means there is some underwater structure blocking the current, which could be the perfect hiding place for fish.

• Begin fishing (casting) close and parallel to the bank, then work your way outward (fan casting) toward deeper water.

• If you don’t get any bites, try switching baits. If this doesn’t work, move to another hole.

• Wear polarized sunglasses so you’ll be able to see fish as well as submerged objects more clearly. (Your eyes will also be protected from the tackle.)

If you love outdoor sports—boating, hunting, fishing—and the natural world, or if you just like to observe wildlife, build birdhouses, maintain a bird feeder or are just curious about the critters in your backyard, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is here to help enrich your outdoor experience. Visit us at


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Afirst-time paddlefish snagger from Kansas hauled in a new world record while fishing Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks on March 17. On the first day of Missouri’s paddlefish-snagging season, Chad Williams snagged a 164-pound, 13-ounce paddlefish that crushed the previous state record of 140 pounds and outweighed the existing world record by 13 ounces.

“I was lucky enough to get invited to go out snagging with friends,” Williams said. “I’d never been snagging before. Never seen a paddlefish – didn’t even know what it was!”

Williams and several friends were fishing with guide Jason Smith of Smith’s Fishing Adventures. Shortly into the snagging trip, Williams hooked into something massive. It was their second fish of the day.

“I was thinking I was extremely weak because it was taking so long to reel in. My body was aching,” he recalled.

After the fish made it onto the boat, the group immediately knew it was a record. They later met MDC Fisheries and Protection staff at Three Brothers Meat Company in Montreal to weigh the fish on a certified scale.

Paddlefish are also known as spoonbill. They are a large, prehistoric zooplankton eating species. They are filter feeders, so they won’t chase lures or live bait. Anglers typically troll for them and snag them during special snagging seasons.

Williams said he and his wife kept some of the paddlefish meat and shared the rest with their fishing group. He plans to taxidermy the head.

“I’m honestly still processing this whole thing,” he laughed. “Conservation Agent Tyler Brown was in disbelief it was my first time snagging. He said, ‘You don’t have to go out fishing ever again! Nothing can top this!’ and he’s probably right!”


smaller chicken dolphins. If lures are your thing I prefer Yozuri Crystal Minnows and honestly color doesn’t matter. Pitch around the weed lines or patches and look deeper down for the bigger Mahi. As for Tuna with all the chumming going on, I like to send down a vertical jig on 60#-80# test at least 100’ below the boat. Working your jig through the water column is a good way to fire up any kind of fish that may be lurking around in the shadows. If you have a large diamond jig I’d put some heavy wire in front of it for a chance at a wahoo. Triple Tail are amazing fish on light tackle and I recommend 15#-20# fluorocarbon and #2 Owner hook. Live

If bottom fishing is your go to joy Vermillion snappers, Groupers, and Rock salmon is my target. For Vermillion snappers I like using a 2-3 hook chicken rig mixed with cut squid and Boston mackerel. Let your weight sit right on the bottom and wait for those 2-3 light bites. Rock salmon and Groupers like to hide out in the rocks and caves, so a slip lead is what I like to use. Heavier leader line for Groupers and larger baits close to the bottom. Feel the bite and start cranking. The first 20’-30’ are the most

When it comes to offshore fishing don’t give up. There’s a lot of trial and error. Figure out what works best for you and as always keep your lines out and keep them tight.


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