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Mike Iaconelli Talks Kayaks Inshore

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ELITE SERIES PRO MIKE IACONELLI CHASES REDFISH FROM A HOBIE KAYAK VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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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.

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The cover of this month’s Coastal Angler Venice, Louisiana: editions features a gorgeous Louisiana red A Paddler's caught by Kaku pro-staffer and Louisiana Heaven tuna captain Jeff Schneider while fishing from the deck of a Kahuna SUP. There is perhaps no better place in the world to chase redfish from a paddle-powered boat Local Bass Pro Mike Iaconelli than Venice, Louisiana. Kaku’s president Talks Kayaks Inshore Kevin Hawkins tells us all about it in this issue. With thousands upon thousands of acres of marshland situated around the mouth of the Mississippi Delta, it is a paradise for inshore species and the anglers who target them. There are so many options for kayak and paddleboard anglers around Venice. They range from mothership trips out in the Gulf of Mexico for big cobia, jacks and bull reds to easier hand-launch expeditions off the side of the road in Venice, where marsh ponds and canals in tall grass make it easier to find fishing out of the wind. No matter where or how one decides to deploy a little plastic boat in the waters around the Delta, the fishing will be fantastic. It truly is heaven for anglers under paddle power.

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Bass Pro Mike Iaconelli: Down Off The Deck

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Professional bass tournament angler and Mike Iaconelli TV personality Mike Iaconelli is one of the most recognized anglers in the world. The 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion and 2006 Make New Lures Angler of the Year, “Ike” can claim to have won Confidence Lures Local almost every major award in professional bass fishing. But he’s also a self-described fish-head, who will fish anywhere, any way for anything that will pull on the other end of a line. It’s fitting that the rig pulling his stateof-the-art Bass Cat boat also has a Hobie kayak strapped to the roof for quick and easy, on-the-spot fun fishing. In this month’s magazine, Ike tells us about his love of kayak fishing in a question-and-answer session that delves into some of the tools and techniques he uses inshore. Ike is one of the best bass fishermen in the world, and his tournament skills translate well to saltwater. The cover of this month’s The Angler Magazines is of “Ike” with a good redfish caught while filming for his TV show “Going Ike” in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. We interviewed him in the run-up to this year’s Bassmaster Classic, and taking a moment to talk kayaks seemed a breathe of fresh air for him during crunch time. Talks Kayaks Inshore

ELITE SERIES PRO MIKE IACONELLI CHASES VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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Kayakin’ The Spring

By Patrick Sebile

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ife is getting vibrant. Things are warming up, and spring is here. As a ritual long established, I feel the need to be close to nature. And to me there’s no better way to experience the feeling of life awakening than riding a kayak with a rod in my hand. I have fished and guided from all kinds of boats, from small skiffs to majestic deep-sea vessels, but a small plastic shell puts me right next to the fish, my hands always a few inches from the water’s surface. It’s not a money matter, as I own boats. Perhaps it is the challenge? I definitively spend more time each year fishing from my skiff or bass boat, and surely catch more fish from these boats. They are true fishing machines, helping me cover lots of water to find fish. And they can carry all the gear necessary for any situation. On my kayak, I have to think effectively about what my needs are and carefully consider every single thing I will bring onboard. It’s a good way to find the balance between needs and wants. So how do I fish while kayaking? In freshwater and saltwater, my approach is to slowly and surely cover every spot. In a kayak, I am much more aware of, and more capable of, targeting the places where fish hide. Superbly silent, my Pro Angler carries me at the edge of two worlds, above the surface where we

live and the liquid world, which holds the object of all our passions. My kayak tackle boxes have a variety of carefully selected key lures that will help in different situations and environments, nothing more than what I will need. I carry Magic Swimmers, hard for open water and soft for heavy cover and structure. A Flatt Shad snagless is effective in both open and snaggy areas. Twitch baits like the Stick Shadd definitely go into my box, as they are needed if fish are active. A handful of plastic worms, a couple of bucktails, and then a topwater or a pivot frog will complete this set to fish from a ’yak. Seated just above the water, gliding silently with gentle movements of my feet on the pedals, rod in hand and with eyes searching, I use the smooth approach to get as close as I can to the spot or to the fish. Then all that’s left is a short but accurate cast. Proximity also gives me greater enjoyment of seeing the fish and seeing it bite. That’s why I love kayak fishing this time of the year. And you never know; I may let my lures sit in the tackle box and simply hook a shiner or a shrimp and let it swim. Or maybe I won’t even do a thing, just watch the water and the life that surrounds it—just enjoy life… and a kayak ride. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

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Mike Iaconelli Talks Kayaks And Redfish

Editor Nick Carter had the chance to interview professional bass angler Mike Iaconelli just before the Bassmaster Classic. We didn’t want to jinx Ike by talking about the Classic, so we asked the Hobie pro about his love of kayak fishing.

W

hat’s the appeal in stepping down from the deck of a bass boat into a kayak? Ike: Growing up in southern New Jersey, I consider myself a small-boat angler first. Many of my early childhood experiences fishing involved fishing from the bank, rowing a small jonboat or paddling a canoe. Kayak fishing fills a huge niche in my fishing life. Outside of competitive bass tournament fishing, I’m still a huge fish head. That means fishing for all freshwater and saltwater species in my down time. When I’m fun fishing or filming for TV shows, I love to access remote places that I can’t get into with my full size bass boat. Kayak fishing is also a HUGE breath of fresh air to leave behind the big boat and all of the time and preparation that go along with launching and running that boat. With your tournament schedule, do you get to spend much time on the salt? Ike: I definitely try to go inshore and offshore fishing each fall when the tournament season concludes. This past fall, I spent a week in Port Fourchon, Louisiana hanging out at Hobie Worlds 6 and filming a kayak fishing episode for season two of my TV show, Going Ike, which premiers this spring on the Pursuit Channel! I had a great time catching big redfish and trout, plus it was awesome meeting the Hobie World Championship competitors from all over the world who love fishing as much as I do. I also had a chance to go offshore fishing with my buddy Ish Monroe in San Francisco during November. We were mainly targeting lingcod, and it was an amazing day of fishing! Where do you put your kayak in and what do you fish for in New Jersey? Ike: I mostly fish the small lake behind my house, which has largemouth bass, northern chain pickerel, crappie and sunfish. My son, Vegas, got a brand new Hobie kayak from Santa for Christmas this year. The fish in our lake better watch out this summer! I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family and pursuing exciting new fishing adventures. How do redfish compare to “green fish?” Ike: Anyone who has caught a big redfish would agree that they are definitely more powerful and are a very aggressive fish in general. One of my favorite things about targeting redfish is that most of the time I can focus on shallow-water power-fishing techniques and search for active, feeding reds. With the “green fish,” there are a lot of times that I have to slow down and present a bait to them slowly such as with a jig, worm or finesse fishing.

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What skills, techniques and gear from your bass arsenal translate well to inshore? Ike: Casting accuracy/ presentation, reading tides and powerfishing techniques are the first three that come to my mind. Often when I’m inshore fishing, I am targeting fish that are relating to a grass edge or current break. If I can make accurate, quiet casts, there’s a good chance I’m going to catch more fish! Having grown up fishing the Delaware River, which can have up to a 7-foot tide swing between low and high tides, I’ve spent much of my life learning how fish position based on the tide level and current. This experience translates extremely well to inshore fishing…. I bring a lot of traditional power-fishing gear that you’d also find in my Bass Cat boat when I’m fishing for bass: Abu Garcia “Ike” Series Rods, Berkley Trilene braided/ monofilament/ fluorocarbon fishing lines, Rapala Skitter Walk and Skitter V topwaters, VMC jigheads, and Berkley Powerbait and Gulp swimbaits, grubs, and more soft plastics. How is your Hobie rigged out? Ike: I have a Power Pole Micro Anchor to stop the kayak on a dime. This is a very crucial piece of equipment, which allows me to quickly stop and fish an area without the kayak drifting with the current or wind. This is huge when you are fishing specific targets such as points, current breaks, laydowns, docks and more. I also have a Lowrance HDS 9 Touch unit, a storage crate for my Flambeau Zerust tackle boxes and tackle bags, landing net, rod holders, and of course, Hobie’s Mirage Drive pedals so I can keep my hands fishing instead of paddling! Electronics play a huge role on the bass tournament scene, what’re your thoughts on electronics in kayaks? Ike: Electronics play just as huge of a role in kayak fishing. I really use it the same as with my Bass Cat boat! As I just mentioned, I run a Lowrance HDS 9 Touch unit on my Hobie for its GPS/ sonar abilities. I rely heavily on the information I can gather from the Lowrance such as mapping/ bottom contours, reading the water temperature, and using the sonar for locating fish, cover and structure to name a few. I may mount a Hydrowave on the Hobie as well soon. It’s another great innovation in electronics, and I use it often in my boat to fire up fish. I’m always interested in adding tools to my boat or kayak that help me catch more fish!

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By Nick Carter - Photos Courtesy of Kaku

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f there’s a heaven for folks who fish from paddle-powered boats, it must look a lot like Venice, Louisiana. This narrow spit of marshland at the Mississippi River Delta is a maze of canals and bays that flush into the Gulf of Mexico with fecundity born of joining waters. Channels and marsh ponds tucked into thousands of acres of wetlands make it the perfect habitat for redfish, seatrout, flounder and other species. It’s like the landscape was designed for fishing and exploring with a paddle. Kevin Hawkins was born and raised in Tarpon Springs, Fla. He is the president of Kaku Kayaks & Paddleboards but calls himself the company’s chief pro-staffer. He prides himself on the amount of fishing he does and designs his boats on experience. Venice is one of his favorite testing grounds. Whether its launching roadside into the marsh, a trip outside the pass from remote Port Eads or a mothership expedition to the Gulf ’s famous oil rigs, it’s the perfect setting to test his boats. It doesn’t hurt that the fishing is awesome. When the seas aren’t too rough, there’s no adventure quite like a mothership trip out to the oilrigs in search of cobia, kingfish and bull reds. Kaku pro-staffer Capt. Jeff Schneider is also a tuna captain who runs a 36-foot Contender when he’s not paddling a small plastic boat. With kayaks loaded, it’s about an hour and a half run from Venice Marina out to 50-foot-deep rigs in West Bay. Hawkins described a day he fished with Schneider, and although the primary target was cobia, a big 45-inch redfish was the highlight. Armed with big 5000 reels and 40- to 50-pound tackle, they dropped Kaku Wahoo kayaks into 2- to 3-foot seas. Even on the stable fishing platform, Hawkins said it might have been a bit much for new paddlers. For a veteran it was fun. “It’s awesome, man. I love paddling a good kayak in that stuff and busting over big waves,” said Hawkins. “When it gets rough like that, it’s fun.” They fished a series of four or five structures linked by a bridge, which gave space to paddle around and explore. Hawkins said he paddled right up to the corner of a pier, dropped his jig straight down and began back paddling before jigging. That’s when the big bull red ate. “When you’re in the shallows and they pull you around, they call that the Cajun sleigh ride,” Hawkins said. “When you’re in deep water like that, he heads straight down. He was pulling me, and that kayak was smashing straight down on those waves. It was pretty intense.” Invariably, fish seek something to wrap the line around, and only by kicking off a beam was Hawkins able to keep himself from going

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Experience Heaven

APRIL 2017

under the rig and losing the fish. He gave a piece of advice for battling big fish from a kayak in deep water. “Keep the tip of the rod toward the front of the boat,” he said. “When the rod goes to the side, that’s when you run the risk of flipping.” If an open-water mothership trip seems a little much, Port Eads sits on the southernmost tip of Louisiana, right at the end of the Mississippi River. It’s only accessible by boat, and reasonable prices buy lodging and good meals. Also known as South Pass, the location is a few minutes paddle from the open Gulf and offers excellent fishing for big jacks, reds, cobia, blacktip sharks and any number of other species big enough to warrant medium-heavy rods, 3000 to 4000 reels and 30- to 40-pound-test lines. Hawkins likes artificials and prefers Slayer Inc.’s Sinister Swim Tail rigged on a 4/0 jig head. For him, sinking bait outside the pass would detract from the reason he fishes from kayaks and SUPs in the first place. “Kayaks are about stalking and hunting the fish,” he said. “You’ve got to use your instincts to find them. I don’t like to just sit on a hole and fish bait.” It’s as much fun as you can have sitting down… or standing up if seas are calm enough for an SUP like Kaku’s Kahuna, which is specifically designed for fishing. But perhaps the best bet for calm waters is a third Venice option, to launch roadside. Highway 23 runs from New Orleans to Venice, and Tidewater Road is where the pavement ends. There are any number of places to hand-launch a kayak or paddleboard. Hawkins mentioned Yellow Cotton Bay as well as a series of marsh ponds and cuts at a circular canal known as The Pinwheel. Once you find fish off the grass edges, it’s probably the best inshore action in the world, and it’s easily accessible to paddlers. Popping cork rigs are a no-brainer, but Hawkins said once you get tired of catching scads of rat reds and trout, it’s time to switch to the paddletail rig he likes to fish outside the pass. “We’re looking for the big ones,” he said. “You’ve still got to be ready for the big ones. No matter where I am in Venice, I’ve got a 30-pound rig.” For more information on Kaku Kayaks & SUPs, see kakukayak. com.

To learn more about fishing from a Kahuna Paddleboard, go to

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The 12.5′ length of the Wahoo helps ensure stability. The Wahoo spans 33″ wide, great for fishing! Weighing only 74 lbs, the Wahoo is WWW.kakukayak.com lightweight, but incredibly stable. The Wahoo has a capacity of 400lbs.

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The Most Versatile Paddle Craft… Ever! The new Kahuna offers extreme stability, versatility and durability. Mount coolers, seats, storage boxes, rod holders and more to its rugged frame. It’s the first paddle craft of its kind to offer fully integrated mounting for the Micro Power Pole Shallow Water Anchor!

THE DAY’S BIG CATCH SHOULD BE YOUR ONLY FOCUS Insurance coverage through BoatU.S. makes for a great start to what could be an epic day of fishing. Our policies are designed with coverages custom-made for Anglers and include 24/7 claims service from boating experts. • Agreed Value Coverage for Your Boat, Engine(s) and Boating Equipment • Broad Cruising Areas • Charter and Guide Coverage Options Available • Coverage for Fishing Gear • Tournament Coverage • Water Towing and Roadside Assistance from TowBoatU.S. – the Nation’s Largest Fleet

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Paddlesports Product Review COVERALLS KAYAK COVER

CREEKKOOLER FLOATING COOLER

Who says kayak covers need to be bulky and thick? CoverAlls kayak covers deliver protection, strength and durability in a lightweight, tough material that keeps your kayak clean and dry year-round. Protect your kayak from nature and the elements. Prevent dirt, debris, pollen and leaves from piling up in the cockpit and seat. Block bugs and critters before they move in. Keep water out with material that’s not just water-resistant—it’s water-PROOF. Our covers are also UV-resistant to preserve your kayak’s hull and rigging from the sun’s damaging rays. Best of all, CoverAlls kayak covers are a breeze to use. They slip on quickly, draw closed with a single poly cord and cam lock—not zippers—and get snug with durable Velcro straps. There’s even a built-in red flag for transport. The cover slips off easily and stows neatly in an included compact stuff bag that even fits in most deck hatches. Spend more time with a rod and reel and less time with a hose and scrub brush. See how much better protection can be at www.coveralls.biz!

Space is always at a premium when you’re on the water in a paddle-powered vessel. Whether it’s a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, a lack of stowage often forces us to leave behind the things not absolutely necessary for the activity at hand. On a larger boat where there’s plenty of room, many anglers wouldn’t think of going fishing without a cooler full of iced-down beverages. With the new Creekkooler, those navigating under paddle power can have the same luxury. The Creekkooler is an innovative floating cooler designed with dual-wall construction and top-quality insulation to retain ice and keep things cold for extended periods. Its shape cuts through the water, limiting drag and allowing it to be pulled easily behind a boat. Creekkooler has a 30-quart capacity and will hold 30 12-ounce cans and 20 pounds of ice. It has four drink holders on deck and a 1/8-turn watertight lid that makes it a great tool for extra dry storage, too. Whether it’s for keeping drinks cold during a day on the water with buddies, packing in provisions for a multi-day float trip, or extra dry storage for the stuff you need but don’t have room in the boat for, Creekkooler is an innovative new product that will make your excursion under paddle power more comfortable.

WWW.COVERALLS.BIZ

KANOOLERPRODUCTS.COM

WHALEBACK PADDLEBOARDS TORTUGA

When I’m not in the studio or at the racetrack, I’m fishing. Every chance I get. I recently started SUP fishing, and the 12’6” Tortuga by Whaleback Paddleboards is a real game changer. At 12’6” x 34” x 10.5”, with twin pontoons, the stability is ridiculous. I can walk nose to tail and all around the rails to reel in fish from any direction. Its 3-inch side bite tracking fins allow me to squeeze into shallow flats, and its maneuverability and stability is great offshore as well. With a fullcoverage, water-resistant traction pad, the deck space is unmatched. And its 28 customizable

By Matt Nix, Racin’ Nation Radio

WWW.WHALEBACKPADDLEBOARDS.COM

JACKSON KAYAK KRAKEN 13.5

Jackson Kayak’s Kraken 13.5 is an all-new option for paddlers looking to tackle big water. Based on The Kraken 15.5 platform, the 13.5 sheds some length for more maneuverability but with all the punch of its big brother. This kayak, just like the original, is designed for the most challenging paddling environments and intended for the offshore and big-lake kayak angler. It’s a natural follow up to the first collaborative design between legendary kayak angler, Jim Sammons and Jackson Kayak’s design team led by Tony Lee. The new Kraken 13.5 is a boat shaped and built to accommodate those hitting the open water in a nimble, smaller footprint but still capable of big water management. It’s designed for punching through surf, handling rough offshore currents, swells, beach landings and those who desire ultimate performance and maneuverability. With more features than can be listed, Jackson has considered all the needs of bigwater anglers and packed them thoughtfully into this kayak. Its great-tracking hull has the speed to cover miles and the volume and storage to carry you and your gear comfortably on long outings. 16

inserts and deck tie downs let me rig up my YakAttack lean post, rod holders, GPS and paddle holder and still have room for the cooler, cup holder and lawn chair. Because let’s face it, nothing’s better than celebrating a good catch with a cold one. Whether you’re an experienced SUP fisherman or just getting started, the 12’6’ Tortuga is the board for you. It sets you up with everything you need. You just have to find the fish. All Whaleback boards are made in the USA. Visit www.whalebackpaddleboards.com or call 561-3361612 for a dealer near you.

PAU HANA BIG EZ ANGLER At 11 feet long and available in both 32 and 36 inches of width, Pau Hana’s Big EZ Angler is built to be stable, the perfect platform for fighting any game fish. This paddleboard is derived from the classic Big EZ, and is shaped to provide anglers the balance they need while remaining easy to maneuver in shallow water without disrupting fish underneath. It is lightweight at just over 30-pounds, which means it is easy to launch anywhere there’s a place to carry it to the water. It can be rigged up for any kind of fishing, can handle heavy loads and carry all the gear you need. With a soft and stylish deck and space in between the pieces for water drainage, the Angler comes pre-equipped with 25 multiple threaded mount attachment points using Pau Hana’s innovative SeaMount System. Coolers, tackle boxes, anchors, nets, rod holders, paddle clips, lights and anything else an angler needs can be easily mounted on deck. The Big EZ Angler is a real teak paddleboard with the capacity to carry everything an angler needs and provide a stable platform to fish from.

WWW.PAUHANASURFCO.COM WWW.JACKSONKAYAK.COM APRIL 2017 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Paddlesports Product Review RAM MOUNTING SYSTEMS Whether you are on a lake, stream, whitewater, inlet or ocean, kayaking is all about adaptability. RAM has created a complete line of rust-resistant mounting solutions for kayaks that allow anglers to mount items where they are needed. RAM Mounting systems offer the widest selection of kayak fishing accessories to adapt to a wide range of fishing scenarios. With a patented ball-and-socket design, RAM mounts allow anglers to mount almost anything at the perfect angle. This provides flexibility to mount equipment within reach, but out of the way. RAM’s kayak mounts and fishing accessories are rugged, compact, and have no sharp edges or points. All of our kayak mounts are backed by a lifetime warranty and are made in the USA. RAM mounts are the solution for mounting anything you might need on the water. A full line of rod holders covers everything from fly rods to conventional baitcasters and spinning rods of all sizes. Electronics, like fishfinders, chartplotters, phones, tablets and cameras can be mounted securely where they are needed. RAM even has a special system for mounting transducers for depthfinders. If there is something that needs to be mounted on a kayak, chances are RAM has thought of it and designed a product to hold it.

WWW.RAMMOUNT.COM

THE SKIMMER KAYAK MOTOR KIT Paddle fatigue getting to you? Want to motorize your kayak or canoe? There’s no need to pay $2,000 for a motorized kayak. Watercraft Technologies’ The Skimmer is a simple system for motorizing your kayak or canoe, and it costs less than $400. It is a lightweight, portable motor that mounts easily to your stern. Just snap it on when you need it. Fishing has never been easier, safer and more convenient. Go farther and save your energy for fishing! Increase your range! Catch more fish! The Skimmer weighs only 6 pounds. It’s 12v battery operated. There are easy controls for steering and motor lift. It’s environmentally safe, with no pollution, oil or gas spills. The Skimmer is made for saltwater, but does great in brackish or fresh water. It is able to propel a craft 2-4 knots and lasts two to five hours per charge. Imagine running your kayak at that speed and that long with zero effort! This propulsion system is great for people who want to get on the water and not worry about paddling hard into a swift current or strong wind. It is also great for those with shoulder, back or elbow issues. This kayak trolling motor kit carries a one-year, full parts replacement policy. See The Skimmer in action and order online at www.kayaktrollingmotor.com or order by phone at 631-848-3119.

WWW.KAYAKTROLLINGMOTOR.COM

MALIBU X-WING CONSOLE

Storage is a huge issue when all the gear you need at hand must fit in a space the size of your legs and lap. Malibu’s X-Wing Console is a fantastic option for storing and organizing gear in the cockpit of a kayak. Mounting of electronics, rod holders and other accessories can all be accomplished on one unit without drilling unnecessary holes in a kayak’s deck. A dry-storage compartment included in the unit makes the perfect place for valuables as well as being a great place for a battery. The X-Wing slides back and forth on a track mounted to the gunnel, so placement can be customized on the fly so it’s there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t. It’s also completely removable for storage and transportation. The X-Wing fits Malibu Kayaks, and modifications and adapters can be used to make the console fit other brands.

WWW.MALIBUKAYAKS.COM

YAKGEAR COOLER SEAT A cooler is one of the most valuable tools in most anglers’ arsenals. It goes everywhere and serves as a refrigerator, stepladder, poling platform, storage box and even a seat. YakGear’s Cooler Seat and Rigging Kit allows anglers to turn their cooler into a more comfortable and practical seating platform. Perfect for fishing, paddling, camping, tailgating and hunting, the YakGear Cooler Seat and Rigging Kit consists of the YakGear Sting Ray Seat and the necessary hardware to mount and secure the seat to a cooler. The kit is compatible with all coolers that feature “Front Locking Holes” including Yeti, Grizzly, Engel, Yukon, Icehole, some of the Bison models, and many more. The YakGear Sting Ray Seat features built-in back braces, which allow rigid back support without pressure from an exterior backrest. While most seats slouch down or fold over, the YakGear back braces hold the seat in place. As an additional feature, the seat has an aggressive non-slip pad to prevent unwarranted movement while sitting.

YAKGEAR.COM APRIL 2017

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FLY FISHING A Modern Take On Booking Fishing Guides And Charters

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a better way. In April 2016, Fisher Guiding was founded. Since then, Hill has been working full time to turn his dream of easy one-stop shopping for charters and guided trips into reality. Fisher Guiding is a web-based service that lets anglers book trips with guides and charters online. It allows potential customers to search, review, message and pay guides all through an easy-to-use website. This service allows guides and captains to advertise and book clients based on available dates. It makes payment hassle free and allows guides and captains to market to customers in a way never before available. For some independent guides, the local fly shop is the only avenue available for them to book clients. Fisher Guiding is looking to supplement and modernize by offering a variety of scheduling and booking tools. Right now, Fisher Guiding currently has booking options from Alaska to the East Coast, Bahamas, Belize and Costa Rica. Although the consumer website just launched eight days ago, Fisher is already off to a great start with trips booked and new guides joining daily making for a constantly growing community. “Ultimately, the goal is to have guides and charters representing every market and fishing destination in the USA and around the world,” said Hill. It will be interesting to see how Fisher Guiding impacts the industry. The advantages are obvious for guides and charter services, but the greatest benefit may be for the consumer. Customers can read reviews and even message guides right through the website. Booking and paying for trips can be handled in two easy steps. While all change forces adaptation, a more competitive and transparent system will serve both the professionals and consumers. Ultimately the goal of Fisher Guiding is to make guides and charters more accessible to the public and contribute to the growth of the sport. A high tide will raise all the boats. See for yourself at www.fisherguiding.com.

FLY FISHING

ooking fishing guides and charters has not really changed at all for 50 years, so the industry is ripe for change and improvement. That is what Edward Hill—founder of Fisher Guiding– thought before launching his online service for guides and captains and the anglers who use them. Hill worked at Front Range Anglers before By Charlie Warfield graduating from the University of Colorado. There he saw firsthand how the guiding business worked in the local area. After school, he did private sector work in Washington, D.C., but after a couple years felt the need for a change and a new challenge. He began planning a trip to the Everglades with his father to do some fishing and reflection. Hill began searching the Internet for local guides. He was frustrated by the lack of information and the hoops he had to jump through to get hold of a guide. He had to look up guides and then call them for available dates and rates. It was a hassle, and it then turned out the guides he tracked down didn’t have the dates available he was looking for. Hill thought there must be

CHOOSING THE CORRECT BAITFISH FLY

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f you look in many fly anglers’ boxes, you will see a huge array of flies in all shapes, sizes and colors. However, having the one correct fly in the box is the key to fishing success. Picking the correct flies for any saltwater fly fishing situation is key to whether or not you’ll be catching fish. Walking into a fly shop and looking into the fly bins can prove mindboggling to the uninitiated. The bins are filled with so many flies with which the fledgling saltwater fly fisher has little or no knowledge. Saltwater flies differ from their freshwater cousins in size and dress. Sometimes, like the kid in a candy store who is more influenced by the attractive wrapper than its contents, the beginning saltwater fly angler often chooses the eye-candy, over-dressed flies far too bulky to resemble a baitfish or a crab, flies that hook fishermen rather than fish.

Baitfish patterns

I believe a sparsely dressed baitfish pattern is preferable to a bulked up flashy fly. Why? The sparsely dressed fly will have a more natural look than will an all-too-spruced-up fly. Also, my experience has shown that a fish is far less selective when presented the sparsely dressed fly. The fly is only an imitation, a hint, of what the fish is feeding on, producing in the fish a reflexive action to strike. Perhaps one of the most important parts of the saltwater fly is its large eye that resembles closely the good-sized eyes on baitfish such as sardines, pilchards, and anchovies. Game fish zero in on that oversized eye when chasing and feeding on baitfish. Focusing on that eye results in fewer lost meals.

Color

Natural colors work best. Olive green, browns, tans and

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FLY FISHING Upstate New York

Bass On The Fly! By Mathew DeRosa

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t was a very successful spring steelhead season on New York’s Salmon River. Approaching the tail end of the season, a friend and I made a “last chance” trip in hopes of finding a few final drop-back steelhead left in the system. We fished the lower section of the river, near Lake Ontario, to increase our chances of a tight line. It was one of those days when spring starts meshing into summer. The sun was shining with a few high clouds, the warm breeze was 70 degrees, and we had the river to ourselves. For an angler, being outside and fishing in a short sleeve shirt with no one around should be enough to call any day a success. This day was about to get better. As we cast into a river with increasing water temps and a majority of the steelhead already back in Lake Ontario, our expectations of a tight line were low. Soon enough, as we launched large flies

into the water, the addicting tight line grabs began. These fierce strikes were not steelhead, but hungry smallmouth bass. We enjoyed a full day on the river swinging 4-plus-inch flies and catching more than 25 smallmouth bass apiece. Are you a bass fisherman? Have you experienced the power of a bass on a fly rod? Smallmouth and largemouth bass will aggressively hunt down prey, which makes catching them on a fly rod extremely enjoyable. The late spring and early summer months are perfect to experience bass on the fly in Upstate New York. Altmar, N.Y. is on the Salmon River a short drive from the Tug Hill Sportsman Club. Both the Salmon River and the Tug Hill Sportsman’s Club are great places to learn how to fly fish and test your skills on bass. The beautiful scenery and vast expanse of meandering clear water make the Salmon River a top-priority fishing location in late spring. Favorable river conditions draw in large numbers of smallmouth bass. The river has more than 12 miles of public fishing property, and you can fish all day without encountering another angler. Smallmouth enter the river in April to spawn and remain in the system until September. Average Salmon River smallmouth bass range from 2 to 3 pounds; some weigh more than 5 pounds. Bass are present the entire length of the river from Altmar to the Douglaston Salmon Run. Tug Hill Sportsman Club The Tug Hill Sportsman Club is located on 450 acres of gently rolling land and is home to four lakes. The lakes make up about 45 acres of pristine largemouth bass-infested water. New to fly fishing or experienced, the opportunity to catch a world-class largemouth is there. The fish in these small lakes have had unpressured feeding, growing and reproductive conditions as the property has been carefully managed for more than 25 years. The goal is to provide guests with the highest quality angling. Enjoy Tailwater Lodge’s relaxing accommodations and fish the Tug Hill Sporting Club with Zero Limit Adventures! Matthew DeRosa is a guide with Zero Limit Adventures. For more information on the Tug Hill Sportsman’s Club and Zero Limit Adventures, visit www.zerolimitadventures.com.

whites are all great color combos for baitfish patterns. You should, however, carry a selection of blue and white, red and white and, of course, chartreuse and white in your fly box.

Size

Depending on what type of fish you’re pursuing, the size of your flies will vary. But, in most saltwater fly fishing situations, you’ll also need baitfish patterns that range from a small anchovy patterns in size 6 to large sardine or pilchard patterns in size 2/0. Remember, just as it is on the spring creek or on the large river, it’s all about matching the hatch, weather it’s insects or baitfish.

For more flyfishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

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You could get a discount when you combine your auto and boat policies.

for your boat geico.com | 1-800-865-4846 | Local Office Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Multi-Policy Discount available to auto insureds that have purchased a boat policy through the GEICO Marine Insurance Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2017 GEICO

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SOUTHEAST

FRANKLIN COUNTY, FLA.,

A Tarpon Fishing Destination

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he areas of the Forgotten Coast in Franklin County, Fla. might not be your first thought when planning your quest to bag a silver king, but you really should consider it for your next fishing destination. Franklin County is not only home to beautiful, historical areas that take you back in time, the fishing is also second to none. Typically, May through August is the best time to find these migrating monsters as they come north for the summer, but given the warm conditions this year it might be sooner. Tarpon are not always an easy fish to catch, but if you hire one of the many seasoned guides that understand their habits, it increases your odds of landing one exponentially. Capt. Jordan Todd, of Saltwater Obsessions (www.facebook.com/ SWOfishing) understands these fish extremely well, and regularly cracks the code to get them on the end of his client’s line. Having a keen understanding of the migration pattern and feeding habits, he can put you in the right place at the right time to do battle. If you bring your own boat to chase tarpon, you can count on them making an appearance around the mouth of the Apalachicola River, Ballast Cove, Dog Island, Mud Point and Alligator Point. Live bait, like threadfin herring, pilchards or pinfish are always a good bet. Try live mullet or jigs tipped with shrimp near the mouth of the Carrabelle River. They’ll often

be chasing mullet up and down the lower portion of the rivers and into the bays. Live mullet free-lined is a good bet when you’ve located actively feeding fish. You’ll know they’re active when they’re crashing on bait balls; mullet learn to fly and the commotion is intense! Techniques vary from casting and drifting live bait to sight fishing with a fly rod, but one thing is constant: these are big tarpon that migrate to this area! You won’t be chasing juveniles; they will usually be in the 70- to 100-pound class, so gear up accordingly. Spinning gear is always a good bet for presenting live bait. A 7’ med-heavy action rod with an 8000to 12000-series reel will do the trick. Fly fishermen should consider a 12-weight rod and a comparably matched reel with a quality drag system. These fish will test your equipment! Speaking of equipment, Apalachicola now features a fly fishing shop. The Forgotten Coast Fly Company, located in the historic downtown district, is a technical fly shop that provides the fly fishing community with fly tying material and tools as well as American-made rods, reels, line and merchandise. Your Franklin County tarpon quest awaits you along Florida’s forgotten coast. To hook up with one of Franklin County’s tarpon guides, visit www. floridasforgottencoast.com./ca.

Your fish is waiting. Florida’s Forgotten Coast

Boaters and mariners will find something to love in Franklin County. Carrabelle features deep water access to the Gulf of Mexico and freshwater rivers. Plan a kayak or day sailing eco-adventure from Apalachicola or St. George Island. Eastpoint and Alligator Point offer direct access to the best inshore fishing on the Gulf Coast. Bring your own boat or rent one here; there’s no better place to enjoy Florida’s Forgotten Coast.

Visit Floridasforgottencoast.com/ca for complete launch, marina, guide and tackle information.

ALLIGATOR POINT • APALACHICOLA • CARRABELLE • EASTPOINT • ST. GEORGE ISLAND COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Picking the Right Inshore Rod

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any overlook the importance of selecting the right rod for the job as it relates to casting artificial lures. There are five things to consider with casting performance in regard to graphite

rods. The first is the modulus of the graphite in the blank. Higher modulus graphite weighs less and is stiffer. Then there’s power of the blank, the tip action, the weight rating for the blank, and finally the rod length. For example, a medium power 6’6” or 6’9” rod, with a fast tip rated for 1/8 to 1/2 oz. is a great rod for inshore casting and fighting speckled trout and redfish with lures that range from 1/8 to ¾ oz. This rod specification will be well suited for topwaters and subsurface walkers. A medium light rod power with a fast action tip may cast the smaller lures slightly better, lures like the Mirrolure Little John on 1/16- or 1/8oz. jig head or a swimbait hook. The higher the graphite modulus of the blank, the lighter the blank will be and still keep the performance. For example, for my soft plastic rod I use a Lew’s Custom Lite Speed Stick in a medium lite action, 6’10” and rated for 1/8 to ½ oz. It’s constructed from 85 million modulus graphite. It’s light, casts far and accurately and is extremely sensitive. I can still cast larger lures such as She Dogs on this blank, and it makes for a lighter stick working lures all day. Tobin Strickland created TroutSupport.com - Tech Support for speckled trout and redfish anglers.

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GEORGIA

FANNINCOUNTY

Offers Trout Fishing Of Every Kind By Bob Borgwat

F

rom its highland origins to beyond its breach of the powerhouse gates at Blue Ridge Dam, the Toccoa River forms the spine of trout fishing in Fannin County, the Trout Capital of Georgia. Less than 3 miles from downtown Blue Ridge, the Toccoa spills cold water year-round from Lake Blue Ridge. Tammen Park flanks the river’s west side in the shadow of the powerhouse. Trout stockings take place weekly at the site, where bank fishermen soak baits like crickets, red worms, salmon eggs and Berkley’s PowerBait. Fly-fishermen and anglers with spinning tackle wade this first quarter-mile of the tailwater, armed with seasonal fly selections and lures that resemble small baitfish. Others launch drift boats

to reach miles more of trout water that flows through woodlands and along stunning private homes. Fifteen miles downstream, the Toccoa River enters Horseshoe Bend Park at the town of McCayesville, which shares the state border with Copperhill, Tenn. Trout are stocked here, too, on a weekly basis through June. Benches, pavilions and a playground shadow rocky shoals and long pools where anglers find good action in the catch-and-keep setting. Above Lake Blue Ridge, the Toccoa flows for more than 20 miles from its origin in adjacent Union County. Along its way, the river flows through a patchwork of national forest land where fishermen access the river on foot, by canoe/kayak, at roadside pullouts and recreation sites. Rainbow trout are the primary species of trout in the Toccoa, but wild brown trout occupy some of the deeper and darker waters of the river. Deep Hole National Recreation Area, off Highway 60, and Sandy Bottoms Canoe Access Site are maintained by the National Forest Service. Deep Hole features campsites and easy river access where hundreds of trout are seasonally released every other week through June. At Sandy Bottoms, the Toccoa is stocked monthly and managed under delayed harvest regulations. From Nov. 1 through May 15, trout anglers are restricted to using singlehook artificial lures/flies, and all trout must be immediately released unharmed. After May 15, fishing reverts regular Georgia trout regulations. For many anglers, the tributaries to the Toccoa River play the most important part of trout fishing in Fannin County. Big Creek, Noontootla Creek, Coopers Creek, Rock Creek and Fightingtown Creek are the largest of these small streams that hold trout. Public access to these streams is scattered across the Chattahoochee National Forest, where graveled roads often run alongside the streams. In other cases, fly fishers hike to reach tributaries where lighter fishing pressure promises a more remote fishing experience. Catches include wild rainbow, brown and the colorful indigenous brook trout. They’re not large, but the brookies hold a special attraction for anglers. For more information about trout fishing in Fannin County, see the Reel Angling Adventures website at www.ReelAnglingAdventures.com, or call the outfitter at 706-838-5259. The Fannin County trout stocking schedule and fishing regulations are available online at www.GeorgiaWildlife.org.

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Atlanta/N. Georgia/ Lake Country April 2017

PUBLISHER: Bob Rice CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Nick Carter Henry Cowen Dr. Andrew Cox Capt. Jake Davis Jim Farmer The Fish Hawk Ronnie hall Jmmy Harris Capt. Cefus McRae Chris Scalley Gary Turner Noey Vineyard O'Neill Williams Rene J. Hesse Jimbo Mathley James Bradley David HulseY WAYNE WOOTEN Steven king ryan kennedy jay striker Graphic Design: Kathleen CARREIRO KATHLEENCARREIRO@YMAIL.COM

To advertise in the largest free fishing publication in the U.S. with over 1 million monthly readers, call 706-614-8231

A Free Publication The Angler Magazine Is Distributed Across The Southeast. The Angler Magazine Is Published Monthly By B & B Publishers P.O. Box 766 Madison, GA 30650 706-614-8231 www.theanglermagazine.com Reproduction Of Contents In Any Form Is Prohibited Bob Rice, publisher The Angler Magazine Fishing, Boating, Conservation “Find your outdoors here”

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Photo by Jim Farmer

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Local Rivers & Fly Fishing

April Fly Fishing Report Contributed By: Henry Cowen www.henrycowenflyfishing.com April may be the BEST month to fish area lakes throughout North Georgia. It is easily one of the two or three months to fish for both striped bass and spotted bass on nearly all our area lakes. What makes April so productive is that the winter pattern has ended, and we are fully ingrained with warm spring-like temperatures every day. This has the fish committed to two things; eating and spawning. Both of these are based on warmer water temperatures. Striped bass the most part will already be up to the upper reaches of the river systems their lakes are formed by. While this usually starts in end of March and goes thru April, this year we will see this event already post season as the water temps sent the fish up river earlier than normal. Not all fish head north. Some fish will head to the backs of some of the larger creeks where there is a good source of fresh water. This is when the fish will get SHALLOW. However, for anglers wanting to take advantage of the spawn, all one has to do is head north into the river system. The fish will bunch up in huge numbers. This will last from two to three weeks as all the fish do not make the run at the same time. For anglers fishing Lake Lanier, all you need to do is head up either the Chattahoochee or the Chestatee Rivers to wait for their return down river in this annual event. While most fish are still feeding on threadfin shad in the 2”-3” range, do not hesitate to toss flies that are a tad larger than that we toss both 8 and 9 weight fly rods. Lines are still the same in

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that it is best to employ both an intermediate (slow sinking) and fast sinking fly lines in case you are finding fish in water 8’-10’ deep (fast sinking line) or 2’-5’ deep (intermediate slow sinking line). Clousers, Coyotes and Something Else flies are still your best bet. For anglers with conventional tackle, it is best to toss medium action rods with 12-pound test line and have an assortment of baits with them. Some of my favorites are flukes (weighted and un-weighted), ¼ ounce bucktails, Mcsticks, Scroungers and Krocodile spoons. The first week to ten days of April will see the tail end of this pattern this year since it is happening in March. You can start fishing points in the dark using Long A Bombers. That bite is usually kept very quiet by in-the-know striped bass aficionados. Anglers will also find spotted bass getting shallower at this time of the year in preparation for their spawn. Anglers need to fish in the 3’ to 8’ depth and toss a little lighter tackle (6 and 7 weight rods) for these bass that are getting very aggressive. Tossing flies on points up shallow as well as fishing the grass flats will have you finding lots of hungry spotted bass. Largemouth will also start getting active and now is the chance to catch a trophy fish up shallow and on dock lights too! I would even guess that the beloved Redfin bite which normally starts toward the end of April will begin by the full moon in April this year. It is the ONLY time I may not use a fly rod on Lanier day in and day out. When a striper eats a Redfin, they want to completely destroy it on the surface! It is the perfect combination of beauty, excitement and good fishing. Take advantage of April on your area lake and go have a ball. See you on the pond

Contributed by: by Jake Darling

Unicoi Outfitters jake@unicoioutfitters.com

Pheasant Tail Nymph Hook: Nymph #12-18 Thread: Ultra Thread 70, Brown Tail: Pheasant Tail Fibers (3) Rib: Copper Wire Abdomen: Pheasant Tail Fibers (6-8) Wing case: Pheasant Tail Fibers (6-8) Thorax: Peacock Herl Legs: Pheasant Tail Fibers (4-6) April is the Mayfly month. During this month, you’re likely to see many different species of Mayflies active in your local rivers. The Pheasant Tail Nymph is by far the best generic Mayfly pattern to use whenever the water is polluted with so many different species of Mayflies. This pattern is quite versatile, and can be fished at all levels of the water column depending upon where the fish are feeding. Be sure to tie this pattern in a wide variety of sizes in order to mimic the different Mayflies you may encounter while out on the water.

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Local Rivers & Fly Fishing

Bugs Alive Contributed by James Bradley As I sit here on this early March morning before daylight trying to see through the darkness outside, I have to wonder if you have ever heard the old saying: “never count your chickens before they hatch”. There is an assortment of these sayings I’ve heard over the years, but this one seems a good match to everyone’s anticipation of spring. Up here in the Southern Appalachians, we’re seeing maples, pear trees and yellow bells blooming, heck, even our peach trees have started as well. I have to admit it has been mild, but Old Man Winter looks to be the one who’s going to have the last laugh. My 5-day forecast shows snow on the way and temps diving into the mid-twenties. If this stands to be true, there goes the peach crop for this year. Not only that, the fishing will take a hit for the first few days afterwards. Hopefully after this event, winter will be over, and we’ll welcome spring on in! April has personally always been a good month to be outdoors. Seems that everything is abound and hopping around with all kinds of activity everywhere and especially on and in the streams. Bugs will really begin coming off as the days heat up. This will get the trout looking up and make it fun for those who enjoy dry fly fishing. Rainbows will finish their spawning runs and head back to their usual lie. A lie is nothing more than a small piece of holding water where a trout’s needs can be met like shelter, safety, feeding lane, etc. We are seeing a decent number of different mayflies coming off and a few caddis have started as well. Once

it begins to warm up as we head into April, several different species will begin to appear. Mayflies, caddis and stoneflies will begin hatching, and trout will begin taking them emerging and on the water’s surface. Remember, we really do not have true hatches of one species here. It is usually a mixture of them. So plan ahead and have a decent number of flies in different sizes so you can match what you see coming off the water. Normal flies will be the Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Pheasant Tail and Hare’s Ear nymphs in size 12-16 will match most of these insects. By mid-April you can add Hendrickson, Light Cahill and Little Sallies or yellow Stoneflies with these being size 14-16. These can be very good dry flies to use late in the evenings. Lastly, don’t forget to pull a big nasty streamer through at least a few good holes. We catch a decent number of really big trout doing this. Cast quarterly upstream, point the rod almost downstream and begin to strip line back in. Continue stripping and giving the rod small jerks to help imitate a wounded baitfish. You’ll never forget the first time you have a big 20” plus rainbow or brown follow your fly almost to the end of your rod! Reel ‘Em In Guide Service is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide based out of beautiful Ellijay, Georgia. They have been accommodating fly anglers since 2001. Their Special Use Permit for Guiding allows them access to the Chattahoochee National Forest. They have licensed guides for North Carolina, offer over 7 miles of private trophy waters across Georgia and offer drift boat trips on the Toccoa River and the Tuckasegee River in NC.

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Local Rivers & Fly Fishing Chattooga River

by Karl Ekberg Chattooga River Fly Shop www.chattoogariverflyshop.com 864-6382806 The weather over the past month has sure been very interesting here on the waters around Chattooga River Fly Shop. We have had days near 70 degrees, then a major cold front with snow and temperatures below freezing at night, and then back to warm temperatures. We have had little to no winter at all, yet here in March we receive snow and a few days of colder weather, like late winter. The fish move out of the deeper waters into the riffles, then back to the depths to find warmer water during the colder days. Wait a day or two, and it will be in the mid 60’s again, and the fish will be rising to dry flies. We will all happy again, watching fish taking our dry flies from the surface. Caddis hatches have been occurring late morning to midday and again late in the afternoon to sundown. Prior to these bugs hatching and seeing surface activity from the fish, you will have success swinging nymph and emerger patterns in the riffles and into the heads of the pools. Also, swing flies towards the tail-outs of the pools as well. Dead-drifting tandem nymph rigs has produced many large fish

using a Skipper Stone, Twenty Incher or a Gummy Stone as a lead fly, and trailing a Holographic PT, Psycho Prince or March Brown nymph. As the water temperatures have risen, the fish have moved from the depths of the river into the shallower water to feed on these bugs. Flies of choice will be Maycad, CDC Caddis, March Brown Wet, Never Bug and dry flies of the aforementioned as surface activity occurs. Dry fly fishing has highlighted many fishing trips. Be sure to cast well above rising fish, dead-drift your dry fly toward your targeted area and give the dry fly a twitch or two to entice these fish. The outcome will highlight your day out on the river as well! Let’s make sure we still fish streamers as well. We are still catching many large fish on streamers, especially in the early morning and the last couple of hours of daylight. The dead-drift and the strip and pause technique has proved to be the best. Full and half-day guided wading trips are available through us here at the Chattooga River Fly Shop, along with one-on-one fly tying classes. What better way to enjoy your trip out on the river than tying your own flies. We hope to see everyone out on the rivers!

9400 Highway 197 North Clarkesville, GA 30523

(706) 947-3474

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Call Jeremy Seabolt today for a fishing adventure in North Georgia that you’ll never forget!

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Local Rivers & Fly Fishing

The Casting Corner Rene J. Hesse Certified Casting InstructorFederation of Fly Fishers & Atlanta Fly Fishing and Camping Meetup Organizer

Quick Fly Fishing Fixes Here are some things that happen every day to every caster and a few ways to fix them. There is not enough line out of the rod tip to make a cast: Put the rod tip in the water and sweep it back and forth until you can attempt a roll cast or two to help pull out the line. You need to get the fly in your hand: With a rod length of line or two out of your rod tip, raise your rod tip up till you can get the fly line to lay across your hand and then do a roll cast off to the side and let the line slip through your fingers until you can pinch it next to your fly. The line is twisted from a spinning fly: Take the fly off and make several long casts. You could also drag the line behind the boat or let it sweep downstream. The line is ‘kicking’ over at the end of the cast: Try lengthening the leader a foot at a time until the energy is dissipated. At the end of the cast the leader

is swinging in a curve off to the side: Make the forward cast in more of a vertical position. Back cast is ticking the water: Aim the trajectory of the back cast up (sounds simple but we often have to stop and think about it). Increase your line speed, tighten your loops by not breaking your wrist and start your forward cast a little earlier. Line is bouncing back in the air on the forward cast: Stop stepping on the line (works for me), aim your cast lower toward your target rather than up high. Aiming your back cast up higher will aid in keeping the straight line path of the rod tip (180 degree rule) to your target. The line is not tight when you start forward on the haul: Increase your haul on the back cast to increase the line speed that is being sent in the opposite direction of your forward cast. There is never enough time to go fly fishing: If anyone has a cure for that, let me know.

April 11th Full Pink Moon

henrycowenflyfishing.com. To book a trip, please contact us thru our website at www. by Capt. David Hulsey Contributed

GEORGIA’S TROPHY TROUT WATERS International Federation of Fly Fishers Master Certified Casting Instructor http://www.hulseyflyfishing.com 770-639-4001

Fly fishing on Georgia’s trophy scream instead of just squeak! trout waters is a fun experience Of course, you have to pay if that everyone should do once on you’re going to play. Most access their fly fishing journey. Twenty fees will begin at about $250 and go something years ago when I for up from there. A lot of people can’t some reason decided that being a stand the thoughts of having to pay fishing guide was a cool way to make to fish as they drive off in their fifty a living, there was only a couple of thousand dollar bass boat. Let’s face private landowners managing their it, Georgia isn’t Montana, but it’s a property with trophy regulations. whole lot closer and less expensive to Since then there has been a surge in drive two hours to catch big fat trout folks with streams flowing through that can make the most jaded trout their properties that have begun to angler giggle like a school girl. do this. Some offer a chance for the My favorite private water is public to visit their property and take Noontootla Creek Farms near Blue a guided fly fishing trip for a half or Ridge, Georgia. The Owenby family a full day with a chance at catching has about two miles of mind-blowing large rainbow, brown or brook trout. trout water flowing through the Normally anyone outside the family most beautiful valley in the Georgia of the landowner wouldn’t be able Mountains. The water contains the to access these properties, so we are most brightly colored big rainbows very grateful to them for this. and browns you’ve ever seen. They Of course the regulations on offer awesome guided fly fishing these areas are fly fishing only, trips for one to sixteen anglers a day catch and release only. Without this in addition to Bobwhite quail hunts designation, these waters would with world class bird dogs and a soon be decimated by folks raping challenging 12 stand sporting clays the stream of the fish populations range. Where else can you catch a that live there. The trout can happily five pound rainbow in the morning, thrive here, and some can reach 30 shoot a round of sporting clays and inches and 10 pounds here. Almost hunt over a beautiful Brittney or every pool that can hold a nice sized Setter in the afternoon all on the fish does and makes these waters same property? You can contact them perfect for teaching a new angler by phone at 706-838-0585 or check how to fly fish. He or she will have them out on the web at www.ncfga. multiple shots at fish during the day net to book your trip of a lifetime! instead of fishing public hatchery supported water and hoping the stocking truck came by this week. Because of geology, the trout waters here in Georgia for the most part are very acidic. This fact doesn’t make it hospitable for aquatic insects to grow and thrive, and our trout populations suffer from not having as much food as the Rockies or even the Northeastern states. Also, liberal trout regulations on our public waters just don’t let fish live long enough to get past “good eaten size”, as my dad used to say. A few trout figure it out and can live a little longer. Protecting these private water trout and having a supplementary feeding program Amanda McLendon & Bryan really improves the chances for the Farley landing a trophy rainbow fish to be able to make your fly reel trout at Noontootla Creek Farms

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Local Rivers & Fly Fishing

The Guide's Angle

Lake Allatoona

Contributed By: Chris Scalley River Through Atlanta Guide Service

Dry Fly Time

April is “dry fly time” on most southern trout streams. Caddisfly hatches can be frustrating when fish are rising consistently but not taking your offerings. Acclaimed author and angler Gary LaFontaine wrote about his underwater observations of trout feeding behavior while diving. He noticed that caddisflies struggled to penetrate the stream surface in slow meandering water where the surface tension is greater. This surface tension is also known as the meniscus where caddisflies tend to be vulnerable and trout will key in on these cripples. The most common caddisfly pattern is likely the traditional elk haired caddis dry fly with a palmered hackle. Although your elk hair caddis pattern may be the right size and color, the trout still may reject your fly. Try trimming the hackle of your dry fly flush with the body so the fly rides lower within the meniscus.

Forecast By: Capt. Robert Eidson First Bite Guide Service 770-827-6282 eidson6260@att.net www.firstbiteguideservice.com Linesides fishing is good! The south end of the lake is still holding fish but not as many as in weeks past. I have done really well mid-lake this week, and have heard there has been a few good fish caught near the Delta. The fish are still hitting flat lines and planer boards best in the early morning. By 9:30 am change over to downlines and U-Rigs.

The spring run has started. The white bass have already started running up the river, and it won’t be long before the hybrids and stripers start their run as well. The topwater bite is also starting to pick up. Both the flats at Little River and the Delta are starting to heat up at sunup and sundown. White Roster Tails are hard to beat when these fish are busting topwater. April is one of the best months for stripers and hybrids on Lake Allatoona, and normally we book up fast. If you would like to book a trip, give us a call at 770-827-6282 for availability.

“Both the flats at Little River and the Delta are starting to heat up at sunup and sundown.”

15544 Hwy, 515, Ellijay

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3/19/17 3:47 PM


Local Rivers & Fly Fishing

Five Flies for April Trout

Contributed By: Jimmy Harris

www.unicoioutfitters.com

Now the fun begins! Dry fly heaven is upon us and even here in the Deep South we forego the split shot and the strike indicator of our winter fishing trips, tie on a new 9 foot, 5X leader, check the level of floatant in our bottle and walk off into the woods in search of the perfect pool and rising trout. Our vest, shoulder or waist pack is lighter or maybe even hung on a nail in the garage as we downsize everything to the point where we could literally stick our gear in our pocket and go. We grab a 4 wt. rod, possibly a 3, and shake it just like a neophyte testing their first fly rod. It just feels nice in our hand. It’s a whole different ballgame than what we’ve been playing all winter. You can’t help but smile as you imagine stalking rising fish on the Chattooga River. Things don’t need any complications now. Here are five flies BX Series BX Serieshave in your box during you should April in Georgia: • Blue Quill in sizes 16 & 18. Drop BX Series

M Series

M Series

an 18 Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail off the back for good luck. • Quill Gordon in sizes 12 & 14. • Cream Caddis in 14’s but have some 12’s with you. If the fish aren’t taking it on a dead drift, try lifting your rod tip and skittering it across the surface. This can be some of the most exciting fly fishing you will ever try. • Little Yellow Stonefly in 16’s. A Yellow Elk Hair Caddis works well also. • Griffith’s Gnat in sizes 18 – 22 for the ubiquitous midge hatches we depend upon so often throughout the year. The best hatch chart for northeast Georgia trout is kept up on the Rabun Trout Unlimited website at http:// www.rabuntu.org. Go to the “Tight Lines” newsletter for the month of April for more details on times of Series can expect Series when Byou day and Bmonth hatches to match these flies. One last thing you’ve heard me

BX Series

B Series

B Series

M Series

L Series

L Series

M Series

L Series

say many times. If at all possible, plan your day so you can be fishing at dark thirty in the evening. The last 30 or 45 minutes of daylight can be magical and even epic. Take a good flashlight for the walk out. See you on the river!

L Series

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Local Lakes & Forecasts lake lanier striperS Forecast by: Clay Cunningham www.catchingnotfishing.com 770-630-2673 The striper fishing this past month has been fast and furious as the stripers prepare for the spawn. The stripers will spawn over the course of the next few weeks. As a result, the fish will be on the move and eating. The key over the month of April will be points and flats as the stripers pull up into these areas to feed on shad and herring. Freelines and planer boards will be the key tactics this month. Take a variety of baits like herring, gizzard shad and shiners for the best results. The bait of choice has been small all winter, so be sure to try all sizes. As a result, be sure to be prepared with a variety of hook sizes and line sizes tied on different rods. Keep two Shakespeare Striper rods rigged with 12 pound Trilene 100% Flourocarbon and size 4 Gamakatsu Octopus

hooks for the small baits. Then two Shakespeare Striper rods with 15 pound Trilene 100% Flourocarbon and size one Gamakatsu Octopus hooks for the herring. Then at least two rods with 15 pound Trilene 100% Flourocarbon and size 5/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks or larger for the gizzard shad. If they are “mongo” gizzards maybe add a Gamakatsu Magic Eye Treble stinger hook. Talk to your local bait shop like Hammond’s or Oakwood Bait and Tackle for details on the stinger hook set up. Toward the end of the month, look for the topwater bite to appear as well. This will be the highlight of the year for those who like to cast. Rig up a 7 foot medium action rod with twelve pound Trilene Big Game line and be prepared for the stripers to try to take it away from you. Be sure to take a variety of baits like the Cordell Redfin, the Sebile Magic Swimmer and the Heddon Super Spook. Every day a different one will be the ticket. Just writing this makes me ready to go. See you on the water,

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of the creeks towards the main lake as the sun comes up. Flat lines and planers are the ticket. I like to use long leaders and smaller circle hooks as the water on the surface can be really clear at times. Woodring Branch, Beach Creek and the area around Ridgeway have all had some great striper action lately. The walleye are in the creeks and also around the river mouth and have been eating the live bait too. Some no snag sinkers and 12-pound leader is the rig and keep moving on the banks and ledges in 14 to 40 feet of water. As far as the spotted bass go, if you want to catch big spots, now is the time. Lots of 4-pound fish are being boated.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts

Scouting Early Spring Crappie Contributed By: Wayne Wooten I had called my friend and Lake Oconee fishing guide Captain Mark Smith to check on his recovery from a recent surgery. Mark said he was doing well and should be able to get back on the water the next week. Mark also stated that he had upcoming trips booked and needed to find the fish after being off the water for a few weeks. Mark already knew that the striper and hybrid fishing was hot, so crappie would be our target. I told him I would love to go scouting with him, and we set up a trip for the following Thursday. I met Mark at the ramp around 8 AM and dropped him and the boat in the water, and then it was giddy up time. The temperatures have been unseasonably warm this year. Normally in the high 50’s and low 60’s, it was going to be 70+ degrees today with a 5 mph wind and the water temp was around 58 degrees.

Mark had decided we would pull some double jigs around 1 mph figuring that the fish would be 10 to 12 feet deep. The first spot we went to had a wad of fish 15 to 20 feet deep in the mouth of the creek. Capt. Mark slowed down to .7 mph to allow the jigs to run deeper and sure enough we caught a couple of crappie. By the time we reached the back of the creek and trolled back to the mouth, the fish were gone! We then headed to spot number two which was a creek channel that was also 15-20 feet deep, and once again there was plenty of fish. We pulled through them slowly, picking up a few fish. Mark then decided to change to a heavier jig and slow down to .6 mph.to run deeper and slower. The problem is the bottom varies in depth from 15 to 20 feet, and the trick is not to run too slow because you will get snagged on the bottom.

So Mark watches the Lowrance HDS12 on down scan and speeds up and slows down the Minn Kota with the remote control depending on the depth. We did catch fish but realized that although it had warmed up earlier than usual the fish were still lethargic and we would have had more success pushing rather than pulling. When pushing you don’t have as much line out and can run as slow as .3 mph without getting snagged. The half a day scouting paid off! Mark had the info he needed to find fish, catch them and will be able to provide a quality experience for his clients.

I had a great time, learned something and can’t wait to come back to Oconee and do it again. Now we are loading out headed for our usual post-fishing lunch! If you want to go striper, hybrid or crappie fishing on Lake Oconee, contact Mark Smith at Reel Time Guide Service on Facebook, or call him at 404-803-0741. You will be glad you did While we were out scouting, we checked out Young Harris Outdoor Marine’s new dock system. It is really nice and nice people too! If you want to rent a boat, or jet ski, I recommend you check them out on Facebook for all their contact info.

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APRIL 2017

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Local Lakes & Forecasts Lake Blue Ridge Smallmouth and Spotted Bass By: Shane Goebel Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service & The Angler Magazine Fishing Team www.bigolfish.com 828-361-2021, 1-844-4-ANGLER

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Located about two hours north of Atlanta, Lake Blue Ridge plays host to some of North Georgia’s best smallmouth and bass fishing, and April is a great month to hit the water. Currently, Lake Blue Ridge is 15 feet below full pool. Water temperatures are in the mid 50’s. Water clarity is clear in the main lake and stained in the creeks and rivers. We are still catching a lot of smallmouth and spotted bass all over the lake, with the majority of our smallmouth being caught in the Toccoa River area. Target these fish off rocky points, ledges and shallow humps around the lake. Also, focus on working the banks that the early morning sun hits first. We’ve been pulling planer boards with live blueback herring early. It’s also a great idea to set out a couple of free lines 100 to 120 feet behind the boat while you pull planer boards. When the sun really comes up in the midmorning hours, we’ll switch to down lining live blueback herring. This really seems to be the best technique for the larger smallmouth. Look for large schools of smallmouths in the Toccoa River and Star Creek area. Live bait seems to be the key out here lately, but a jigging spoon and shaky head can’t be ruled out this time of year. April will also kick off the start of a great walleye bite on this beautiful mountain lake. We really try to turn our focus on these great tasting fish. Walleye will start to make their way

into the rivers and creeks from the deeper water to stage in spawning areas. After this migration, the walleye will feed vigorously on more nontraditional baits. Even though these walleye are willing eaters, some fishing tactics will work better than others. We usually see some good amounts of rain in April which leads to muddier water conditions. Brighter color lures in the yellow, orange and red will tend to work more efficient than live bait. On occasion, trolling Rapala Jointed Shad Raps, Cordell Wally Divers, and Bomber Fat Free Shad will tend to work more efficiently than live bait. Sometimes, the more erratic movement and vibration of artificial bait will cause the walleye to strike, especially in calmer waters. We try to target these fish by slow trolling live minnows and blueback herring pulled behind planer boards. For those walleye clinging to the bottom underneath the boat a live blueback or a night crawler 6 to 12 inches from the bottom on a down line will work. April is a fantastic month for catching some very big fish on this lake. Give Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service a call and let the area’s #1 guide service put you on some of Lake Blue Ridge’s best trophy fish. And, for all your live bait and tackle needs, go check out Hughes General Store in Blairsville, GA. They carry everything you need for a successful day of fishing. Now bundle up, hit the water, and go “get your fish on”!

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Local Lakes & Forecasts lake seminole

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you know you’re in a good area. This bite typically lasts a couple of hours in the morning. A topwater frog has been producing some big bass and will continue throughout the summer. I like the Strike King Popping Perch in Shad Spawn. I like to fish this bait over the top of the grass and through the top of holes in the grass. The bream and shellcracker are starting to bed up, and they can be caught on a red wiggler in 2’-5’ of water. We have campers in the Bass Island Campground at Wingate’s Lunker Lodge who come just to fish for them. For up-to-date lake information or guide services on Lake Seminole, call Paul Tyre at (850)264-7534 or email him at paultyrefishing @yahoo.com.

Water temperature: 70 degrees, water level: full pool, clarity: clear to stained. Lake Seminole is on fire! This spring, the bass have had a very good spawn. As we go into the post-spawn phase of the spawning cycle, there are several lures that will be very productive. One is a spinnerbait and the other is a frog. The spinnerbait I like to use this time of year is a Strike King Double Willow in 3/8 ounce chartreuse and white fished along the edge of the grass lines. The shad will be spawning this time of Paul Tyre and Nic Jeter with their year. If you notice the shad following winning catch in the Fishers of Men your spinnerbait back into the boat, tournament.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts lake lanier STRIPER Forecast By: Steve Scott http://TeamLanier.wordpress.com In February, the pattern remained pretty much the same with smaller baits (shiners), smaller hooks (#6) and smaller leaders (8-12lb) on downlines and unweighted flat lines 75-100’ out. While March water temperatures were beginning to get into the 55-59° range, we used the same patterns as in February. Large gizzard shad were also freelined at 100’ but on a short line under a bobber or a balloon. The short line gave you more control over the shad in the event you stopped or slowed down over some targets to prevent the shad getting ahead of the boat. My last trip out we went up the Chattahoochee River only to find the same shallow waters as on the main lake, but I thought that the river stripers would still be there trapped from last year. We still wanted to test the waters, so we put out our usual spread. With planer boards and freelines out for several hours, we didn’t have any luck. I remembered to add a BB shot to one of the freelines and it was fish on for the next 2 hours. Sometimes the smallest detail can make a big difference. A final word about big striper season lasting to mid-April; big baits will deliver big results. IMPORTANT: big baits greater than 10” need a

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stinger. Use a #6 Gamakatsu treble hook cinched on the main line hook with enough line to put one treble hook into the vent. April’s Log: Early morning water temp 49° - planer boards ¼ ounce weighted 50’ behind the board in shallow water. Mid-morning to 1:30pm - water temp 64° - weighted planer boards & unweighted flatlines; weighted free lines 70-100′; flatline trolling on main lake points & humps; river channel, river bends near channel and over trees; LM 22 to FC 1; River Forks area 50′ depth. Midday 1:30pm - umbrella rigs; weighted flat lines; weighted planer boards in river channel; back of Shoal Creek, Saddle Dike, Orr Creek, Mud Creek, Balus Creek, FC 1-4. Other methods to use include topwater lures and downlines. Other locations for topwater action; Little Hall reef pole and other flats nearby; Chestatee 9-10 and LM 37; Chattahoochee River points above Hwy 53 bridge; FC#1 to LM 29; LM#1 & Rip Rap at the dam. Keep a Log. For Lake Lanier fishing info visit http://FishingLanier. wordpress.com. TIP OF THE MONTH: Quickly change from flatline to downline and back by using a removable disc weight with a snap swivel attached. This will allow you to snap the weight on through the swivel on the bead side. For more detailed information about striper fishing copy this link into your browser: http://TeamLanier. worpress.com/menu.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts

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The Boating Season is Here Contributed By: Dr. Andrew Cox Professor at Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama. andrewtrout@aol.com. April and the subsequent warm weather months ushers in the boating season on area lakes and waterways. Beginning with this month through the fall months, our waterways are crowded with pleasure boaters and anglers. Boating safety becomes important to reduce or minimize potential boating and other water related accidents and mishaps. On Georgia waterways during 2016 there were a total of 116 boating related accidents. These included 69 injuries and 19 deaths during the 2016 boating year. Unfortunately, some of these accidents involved the use of alcohol and drugs. Many of these mishaps could have been avoided through knowledge of safe boating procedures or nonuse of alcohol or drugs while operating a vessel. Do you know what to do in the following boating scenarios? • How do I operate a boat when I see red and black buoys within the waterway? • What do I do when I see striped black and white buoys midstream within the waterway? • What do various flags in the water mean? • How do I operate my vessel when approaching other on-coming boats? • Do I slow my boat down when operating my boat adjacent to anchored or stopped boats? • How close can I operate my vessel near to or within swimming areas? • What safety equipment is required on my boat? These questions and other boating safety and operation tips and procedures can be answered fairly quickly and easily. A useful reference for Georgia boat operators is the Handbook of Georgia Boating Laws and Responsibilities. This reference is available through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (www.gadnrle.org). Alabama has as a similar publication available

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through www.outdooralabama.com. These handbooks will answer the above questions plus some that you didn’t know to ask. As a boat operator on the increasingly crowded waterways in Georgia and Alabama, you may want to consider taking a boating safety or boat operator course. These courses are available in live course with an instructor or on-line course instructional formats. Some are free or charge a minimal fee. Some potential boating safety or so-called boating education providers are listed below: • Georgia Department of Natural Resources. www.gadnrle.org; www. gooutdoorsgeorgia.com; www. georgiawildlife.com. These websites describe online and live boating education programs available within the State of Georgia • United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. www.uscgaux.info. Lists various boating education programs available through this branch of the U.S. Coast Guard • United States Power Squadron. www.usps.org. Another source of boating education programs • Several non-governmental providers of boating safety and education programs are available to include www.boatus.org and boated.com. These sources include online boating safety courses. Review of the above resources, being observant, and anticipating possible safety hazards while operating a boat can keep you and your boating passengers from being a statistic as described earlier in this article. Hope you have a safe and pleasurable boating season. Author’s Note: Dr. Andrew Cox is a contributing writer to outdoor publications and newspapers. He has been fishing the waters of Georgia, Alabama, and north Florida for over forty years. Dr. Cox financially supports his fishing habits as Professor Emeritus at Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama. He may be contacted at andrewtrout@aol.com.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts April on Lanier – Fishing the Spawn Contributed By: Jim “Jimbo” Mathley www.jimboonlanier.com Fishing during the spawn can provide some interesting opportunities and many different choices. Bed-fishing is very popular this time of year, especially for tournament anglers, and certainly can provide some outstanding catches. In most instances, I prefer to leave the fish to their reproductive cycle, and often shy away from bed fishing. In this article, I will focus on tips and techniques to catch fish during this sometimes challenging period that offer an alternative to the bed fishing option. Optimal Conditions: In 2017 we are ahead of the curve in the timing for the spawn. The unusually warm winter has moved up the spawn calendar. The largemouth in the lake will physically go on the bed at water temperatures of 58-60 degrees. We have already seen those water temperatures in early March, and have also seen some largemouth spawning activity. The spotted bass tend to spawn a bit later when the water temperatures reach 62 degrees or above. The timing of the spots may not be affected as much given that we will experience some cold fronts in April this year. Typically, the fish spawn in “waves” rather than all at once. After the first “wave” of fish completes their spawning routine, there will be fish in all stages of the spawn (pre, spawn, and post) for the next 30-45 days, depending on the weather conditions and water temperatures. Many fish that spawn in “waves” do so during a favorable moon phase, given the noted water temperature requirements are met. The full and new moon phases often prompt fish to move into their bedding routine. Make sure to cross reference the moon calendar with water data to understand when fish will likely begin their spawning rituals. Location: The largemouth in Lake Lanier tend to spawn shallower than do the spotted bass. The largemouth can be found bedding in creek pockets in a protected area often in 3 feet of water or less. The spotted bass can frequently be found in similar areas, but often prefer a hard bottom type area such as that a pebble rock/ clay flat or sandy pocket can provide. 14 ATLANTA

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The spots can generally be found in 6-12 feet of water and deeper, and there are a contingency of the spotted bass that will spawn on the main lake. These fish can be found on or around humps, points, islands and sandy saddles between islands on the main lake. These females are often some of the biggest fish in the lake. If you are looking for a trophy spot in the springtime, your efforts may be better spent on the main lake as opposed to the creeks. The creeks will offer greater numbers of fish and more action than will the main lake in most cases. Spots and largemouth both will stage around and under docks near likely spawning areas. Check those areas thoroughly. Lures and Presentation: Now that we have explored the location that fish can be found during the spawn, I want to share some of the techniques and lures that can be used to catch these fish. Rather than focusing on specific “bed fishing” techniques, I am going to share some proven tactics that can be used to catch fish just before they actually lock down on the beds. 1. Worm/jig – These baits are proven fish catchers year-round, and the spawn is no different. These are great baits to skip and pitch around docks for those staging fish we discussed earlier in this article. Use a 3/16 ounce Picasso Shakedown Head or Chattahoochee Cross Ball and tip it with a Zoom finesse worm. If the fish are ultra-finicky, don’t forget the Carolina Rig to present your softplastics. This presentation method is often ideal for finicky spawning bass. Drag or drift this rig slowly over secondary points or the ends of spawning flats for some potentially awesome results. Also, when fishing a Picasso Shakedown Head and worm combo, consider using a lighter jig-head. I often choose a 1/8 ounce head or lighter to target these spawning fish. I will often tip this with a 4 inch worm as opposed to a traditional offering of 6 inches or more. 2. Super Spin - I like to downsize to a 1/4 ounce model with a small trailer and work the back 1/3 of creeks with this bait during the pre-spawn and just before the fish go on beds. It

offers versatility in presentation and depth, a great combo. A traditional spinnerbait can be a good choice as well. 3. Swimbait – Swimbaits offer great versatility as they can, based on the model, be fished at any depth you wish. This a great bait with which to catch a monster bass just before they spawn. Often, the females will be out just off of the spawning area in slightly deeper water, but they are not far from the beds. Throwing a big 6 or 8 inch swimbait and slow rolling in these areas just off of spawning flats or around secondary points and docks can entice bites from very big fish. I recommend the Farley Swimbait options for this tactic. Keep in mind this approach will not garner you many bites on any given day, but the fish you do catch will likely be monsters! While the spawn can be a challenging time of year to catch

fish, focus on the immediate prespawn period with the tips and baits noted above for some outstanding results! See you on the water. Jimbo is a full-time, yearround spotted bass guide on Lake Lanier. Contact him today to book a trip at 770-542-7764 or at www. jimboonlanier.com.

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3/19/17 3:48 PM


Local Lakes & Forecasts

The Humble Purple Worm By Capt. Cefus McRae Nuts & Bolts Fishing Series

The six-inch purple worm is probably responsible for more fish caught on an artificial lure than any other ever invented. Although I’ve never actually seen a purple-colored real worm wreaking havoc on a bass bed, or seen purple-colored worms swimming across a weed bed, the fish must inherently know they are something worth eating. For the past several decades, the purple worm has reigned supreme as a go-to bait for a lot of anglers, and it remains a tried and true favorite today. Anglers have come up with variations on the way to rig and fish plastic worms. Manufacturers offer them in myriad colors, add scents and rattles and make them in a variety of sizes. For the most part, they’re still plastic worms, and they still catch lots of fish. I’m not sure, but I’d bet old fish don’t tell young fish they should eat purple worms. Once fingerlings leave the bed, they’re pretty much on their own. It’s an eat-or-be-eaten world under the surface. Little bass

have to eat big meals in order to become big bass. Apparently purple worms have become a staple part of their menu. But what about all the other colors? June Bug, Watermelon, Bubble Gum, Moccasin, Pumpkin Seed, and there are literally hundreds of others. Yep, they catch fish too. Some days the hot color might be Silver Shad, and other days it will be Chartreuse Fleck. I usually keep three colors of plastic worms in my tackle box; June Bug, Pumpkin Seed…and Purple. Instead of a vast array of colors, I choose to keep an assortment of sizes; 4-inch, 6-inch and 9-inch. Why? Because those are the colors and sizes that work for me. I can create just about any style of rig or presentation from those sizes and colors, from Texas to Carolina, wacky to drop shot and more. You can fish brush piles, weed beds, docks, stump fields and lots of other places that a crankbait would get hung up. You can fish shallow

or deep, or even skip it across lily pads, and plastic worms won’t bust the bank, compared to some of the 20 dollar or more lures that are out there. And I’ve experienced a good deal of success in the salt with worms as well. In fact, I’d submit a plastic worm has a lot more in common with what saltwater fish eat than most freshwater fish. Needlefish, lizardfish, glass minnows, eels and other salty delectables, have shapes closer to a 6-inch worm than does a crayfish or frog. I’ve caught cobia, mackerel, barracuda and dolphin with Texas and Carolina-rigged plastic worms. There are plenty of lure choices on the shelves today. All colors, shapes and sizes, and they will all catch fish at some point in time. When you’ve exhausted all the other options in your tackle box, dig deep and rig up an old friend…a

purple worm. It’s highly possible you’ll develop a renewed admiration for how well old stuff catches new fish. Tight Lines and Calm Seas.

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APRIL 2017

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Local Lakes & Forecasts Jackson Lake

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Water temperature: 63-68 degrees, lake level: full pool, water clarity: stained/clear. The bass are in full swing of the spawn. With the warmer than normal temps, the fish have started to spawn early. You can catch bass in different stages of pre-spawn, post spawn and spawning fish. Search baits on main lake points and secondary points will fill the boat as the fish make their way to or from spawning areas. Find a good spawning cove and drop the trolling motor. Spinnerbaits will produce a lot of fish at this time of the year as these fish make their journey. Flats with stumps and rocks will have a lot of fish cruising

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Local Lakes & Forecasts lake Oconee CRAPPIE

Lake NOTTELY STRIPER By: Shane Goebel Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service & The Angler Magazine Fishing Team www.bigolfish.com 828-361-2021, 1-844-4-ANGLER April is finally here, and it brings with it some rip-roaring fishing action on Lake Nottely. Time to get out of the house and hit one of North Georgia’s best lakes with Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. Lake Nottely’s waters are on the rise, and by mid-April, we should see a significant change in water level. Water clarity is clear for most of the lake with water temperatures in the mid 50’s. Striper fishing has been excellent and we’re catching some quality stripers with the majority of them in the 20 to 35 lb. range. Presently, these Lake Nottely monsters are in their full-spring pattern and chasing bait in the mouths and backs of creeks and off rocky shallow points. As far as bait goes, some days the fish are feeding on small herring and other days they are hitting on large bluebacks and shad. I would recommend bringing a number of different baits with you. For the next month or so, look for fish to move further back in the creeks, rivers and around shallow coves as early spring spawning will start. Pulling planer boards and free lines with

live bluebacks and shad will be your best techniques. Also, look for a great topwater to start. I always like to have a Zara Spook or a fluke at the ready to nail those top-busting fish. Spotted bass fishing also remains very strong and will continue for the next several months. We are catching some nice 4 to 5 pound spots with an occasional largemouth. Several of our largemouth lately have been in the 8 to 10 pound range. These largemouths and spots will soon start to work their way to shallower water. Start looking for some large schools of spots halfway in the backs of creeks, pockets and around shallow hump and look for largemouths to be hanging around shallow points and a brush further down into the creeks and rivers. April is a fantastic month for catching some monster stripers on this North Georgia lake. Give Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service a call and let the area’s #1 rated guide service put you on some of Lake Nottely’s best trophy fish during the fishing trip of a lifetime. For all your live bait and tackle needs, check out Hughes General Store in Blairsville, GA. They carry everything you need for a successful day of fishing and the best live herring around. So, come fish with the pros for the opportunity to be featured in Angler Magazine—let us help you get your fish on!

by Capt.Mark Smith reeltime@belllsouth.net 404-803-0741 Lake Oconee is full and with the water clear on the south end, stained up the lake, and the water temperature is 59-62 degrees. Striper fishing is good. The fish are starting to move to the dam. Live bait (bass minnows) have been the best bait over the past week. There are still some fish in the river bend area of the lake. Use your Lowrance

to locate the schools of bait and the stripers will be close by. Live bait and spoons are working to catch these fish. Crappie fishing is good. The fish are moving into the creeks. Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches. Spider rigging will also catch some fish. Some of the bigger fish are starting to show up in the rivers. To book a great spring trip on Lake Oconee, call Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service at 404-803-0741 or at reeltime@ bellsouth.net.

“Striper fishing is good. The fish are starting to move to the dam.”

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Local Lakes & Forecasts RV’s - Campers - Boaters Lake chatuge Eric Welch Welch’s Guide Service www.welchsguideservice. com 706-455-2323 Water temperature: 51-53 degrees, lake level: 7 feet below full pool, water clarity: clear. Although we’ve been having some crazy weather, the bite has been good. The water temps are starting to climb, and in the back of some pockets we are seeing 56 degree water. The largemouth are starting to move up

in and around spawning flats and pockets. We’ve been targeting them with Alabama rigs, swimbaits and 2.5 crankbaits. The spotted bass are also starting to move up around rocky points and bank lines that they will spawn on. I’ve been targeting them with a Strike King 6.5 finesse worm on a shaky head, 3/8oz PB/J jig and small critter baits. We’re just coming off a full moon and they should start moving up more with the warmer days ahead. Give us a call for some great fishing this spring.

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lake lanier spotted bass Forecast By: Ryan Coleman LanierSpots Pro Guide Service 770-356-4136 Fishing is good. The lake is still down and holding at 10 feet below full pool. The surface temperatures have been jumping around but are in the mid 50’s for the most part. We have had a very warm winter and early spring, but the fish really are not that far ahead. Most of our fish are either late winter patterns or early pre-spawn. This is pretty typical for late March. You would think that they would be trying to spawn with the warm weather we have had, but there are still a good many fish out deep in winter patterns. The fish that are up shallow are very shallow, in less than 6 feet for the most part. Jerkbaits and crankbaits are working very well. Look for shallow pockets with just a few docks in them and be stealthy. The water is super clear right now. I have been catching most of my fish in the pockets on the last two docks in the pockets. If they do not react to a jerkbait, toss a Zoom Swamp Crawler rigged on a 3/6 ounce SpotSticker Screwball shaky head

at them and hold on. This a staple pattern for Lake Lanier in the spring. As the weather starts to warm in early April, look for the spinnerbait bite to really pick up on main lake points and along the shoreline in the pockets. I would suggest a 3/4 or 1 ounce Mini-Me spinnerbait out on the main lake points. That weight bait will help you make long casts and is designed to be fished on clear water lakes. In the pockets, I would downsize a bit to a ½ ounce Mini-Me. As for colors, I use a painted blade MiniMe 80% of the time on Lake Lanier. Colors like the Reehmer, Blue Billet, Lavender Shad or Blue Glimmer are my typical choices. Make sure to use a 2/0 trailer hook on a spinnerbait anytime you fish it on Lanier. Keep the bait moving on the points. The extra weight will allow you to move it fast but keep the bait in the 2-3 foot range. If you are working docks, you need a 3/16 ounce jighead worm combo and a 5” Yamamoto Hula Grub rigged on a Crawler Head. You won’t need any other baits to fish docks on Lake Lanier. Look for the docks with sun on them and keep your boat as far away as you can. Skip and hold on. Good luck out there.

“You would think that they would be trying to spawn with the warm weather we have had, but there are still a good many fish out deep in winter patterns” 18 ATLANTA

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Local Lakes & Forecasts The Perfect Destination for You Every once in a while, say yearly at least, you need to save your pennies and grab a destination, a new fishing hole, new tactics, meals, experiences. It’s an idea whose time has come. Get my point? Well here’s one where the fishing’s great and perfect to enjoy with your sons, daughters and even dads and moms. Read on. This is a good choice for your search. Cajun Vista Lodge in Barataria, Lousiana. Owned and operated by one of the most pleasant, hardworking fellows I’ve ever met, Thoephile Bourgeois. Well, actually his name is Theophiles Jean Anton Bourgeois III. Cool huh? Instead of reading on, you can check him and his facility out by visiting www.neworleansfishing. com or www.cajunvistalodge.com and those two websites will fill you in completely. However, since you’re already into 10% or so of my feeble attempt at communication, stick around a bit. I don’t get paid for this and only do it because it makes me feel important, so do me a favor and read it. If you stop now, you’ll hurt my feelings and I’m sensitive. Barataria Bay is an hour south of New Orleans and, if so inclined, you can stop there for a stroll down Bourbon Street, but since this is a fishing column, we’ll have to handle that subject later. So, what’s at Cajun Vista Lodge? Let’s describe it this way; once you park the truck, you’ll hang there for a few days and not drive another inch. Three grand meals of ultrafresh seafood smothered with Cajun seasoning with Gumbo and smoked sausage on the side enjoyed daily, prepared and served by loving hands, boats manned with Coonass guides completely at home with the locations of myriads of schooling speckled trout and redfish and comfortable, spacious private bedrooms and baths. Don’t stay too long. You’ll get completely spoiled. The only downside to the whole visit is that you’ll have to listen to that whiney Cajun music. It’ll get old fast. Toefiel will change the station, but it won’t help, it’s on every channel. Cajun Vista Lodge can accommodate 60 fishermen comfortably. In a hurry to go? I am and will be there in September of 20 ATLANTA

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2017 with a group of 30 or more. Make your plans now for the fall. Back to the important part; the fishing. Ok, here goes. Barataria Bay is inside what is called ‘the marsh’, otherwise known at the Atchafalaya Basin, a 30-mile wide, 90-mile long stretch of rich fertile water full of grass, lily pads, canals, all 4 feet deep with millions of speckled trout and redfish. The ‘marsh’ is the direction and route that the Mississippi wants to flow, but the river has been managed by some very smart people to go to New Orleans via giant berms. As an illustration of the amount of catchable trout, the legal limit is 25 per day per person and, by lunch time, the boat, with three to five fishermen, will have a limit, 75 to 125 trout. Really! Why so great? For the last few centuries, the Mississippi River has been dumping fertile water into the ‘marsh’ from the Midwest and the fish population enjoys it. It’s a giant ‘nursery/hatchery’ for game critters. How about the reds? Wow! Put on a Road Runner with a plastic trailer or a shrimp tipped jig under a popping cork, cast to a cut or creek branch filtering from a grass line and hang on. You’ll will have another limit before lunchtime, then go back out. The reds are big, healthy, strong, hungry, brightly colored and living there by the millions ready to bend your rod and make you smile heartily. If it helps with the struggle, know that you’ll probably be eating the rascal red that night after he’s spent a few minutes on the Big Green Egg and he’s served to you with Cajun Rice and hot sauce and, if you’ve been nice and so inclined, a cold beer. I’m including a few photos to whet your appetite for such a trip. It’s only about seven pleasantly driven hours from the Atlanta area and totally worth the expense and effort. The downside is that you will be totally spoiled and desirous to returning monthly which, I might add, you can do because the season is 12-months long. If you like, and haven’t already made plans, be in touch with me, O’Neill, via my Facebook page (oneilloutside) or website or call directly to Cajun Vista and speak to Josie and come along with us. It’s a

group of guys from here and there that I call the “Deeply Disturbed Fishermen”. The dates are September

21 – 24, 2017. Travis and I will be there to exchange stories about each day’s adventure.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts lake nottely STripers

Forecast by Jeremy Seabolt lakenottelyfishingcharter.com 706-994-8649 Fishing has been fair, but we are going into April which is my most favorite month. We have had a strong bite on planer boards and freelines. We have been fishing up around Point 11 and the fish have been eating large herring. When I say big, I’m talking 8 to11 inch herring. They are still eating large shad also. We are putting around 10 feet line out behind the boards and pulling them right up on the banks. We have also been catching a lot fish out in open water pulling baits 25-40 feet behind the boards. Going into April, the fish should start bunching back up. You can catch fish on points and up in the creeks pulling bait, and the RedFin bite should be in full swing by mid-April. Work the points and banks slow walking them.

We Keep you Powered on the Water and Grass We Keep you Powered on the Water and Grass The U-Rig bite has been catching a lot fish also. It is a good tool to have on the boat mid-morning. The fish this time a year are moving fast, so be ready to pick up and move as the fish move. If you are looking to come tackle one of the hardest fighting fish this side of the ocean, give Lake Nottely Fishing Charter a call. April is one of the best months to catch a 30-40 pound fish on Lake Nottely.

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Forecast By: by Keith Hudson Bass: Good - April is usually my favorite month for fishing in general. Bass can be caught on several different patterns. Topwater baits such as Pop R’s, Zara Spooks and a buzzbait can be extremely effective for shallow and aggressive pre-spawn and spawning fish. The second pattern that works really well is to look for spawning shad. Try fishing rip rap around bridges with spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, and Zoom Superflukes. Lots of spotted bass spawn in April and just dragging a Carolina-rigged Zoom finesse worm or mini lizard around sloping gravel banks works very well for numbers. Linesides: Excellent - Expect a strong river run from the hybrids and white bass this year until at least mid-April. The hybrids have made a nice comeback since the DNR has been stocking them for

the past several years. Many of these fish are mature enough this year to guarantee a big run. Try live or cut bait (even chicken livers will work at times) fished in holes from Grayson’s Landing to Franklin. Spray your bait with a little garlic scent for even more bites. Some fish will, as usual, always remain down on the main lake as well and can be caught on small crankbaits, topwaters and Storm Swim Shad lures. Crappie: Good - There should be a strong second wave of crappie coming up in early to mid-April to spawn after the cold weather we had in mid-March slowed them down. During April, crappie can be in all stages of the spawning process; pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn. Crappie can be easier to catch in slightly stained water especially if you have shallow brush, blow-downs or chunk rock structure. Spawned out fish will typically move out and hold on deeper structure for a while to recover. Night fishing should also improve in late April.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts Cloud Fishing Contributed By: Noey Vinyard

Pinball- The Not Cat My good friend Dora the Explorer called and said she needed a home for a cat that she had rescued. Dora is a wonderful columnist and writes for the Fannin Sentinel, but she may be better known for her animal rescue endeavors. So I was happy to be in a position to take one of the animals that she had rescued and went to pick him up. He wasn’t much to look at, a fairly scrawny, light orange and white tabby with a funny kind of walk that came from his run-in with a car. He was friendly enough and went into the carry cage easily. Pulling away from her house, he started a low-key meowing that seemed to be more conversation than stress, so I was feeling pretty good as I drove down the road. Little did I know that I had just picked up one of the oddest and most unusual creatures I have ever seen. The first thing that I noticed is that when we pulled into my driveway and I picked the cage up, the meowing stopped, and folks, he has never meowed again. Nor has he ever hissed, growled, flattened his ears or purred. Ever. In fact I was about to find out just how un- catlike he really is. I named him Pinball, but at the time I had no idea how truly appropriate that name would turn out to be. I have often heard it said that if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans, and that certainly applies to Pinball, starting from the first day he got here. In my A-frame cabin I have a loft that has lots of nooks and crannies in places that most cats would love to hide in. So before I brought him home, I set the litter box up there along with the water bowl and food thinking that he would probably stay up in the loft for at least two or three days until he got used to the place. It was about here that God started laughing. I knew that my long-time partner in crime, Festus was not going to be crazy about the new addition, but being a rescue himself, he was simply going to have to just shut up about it and suck it up. He gave me the cold shoulder as I carried the cage in and walked upstairs, but I figured I would have two or three good days for them to get used to each other. I set the cage down and opened up the door, picked him up and showed him around. He promptly followed a half a step behind, and as far as I know, has never 22 ATLANTA

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gone up to the loft again. Oh well, the best laid plans and all that. The very first thing he did when he got down the stairs was walk right up to Festus and got nose to nose with him. Festus, the fearless little terrier had scrapped with more than one coyote and who once had faced down a black bear. And yet Pinball showed no fear whatsoever. I was beginning to wonder if being run over by a car had scrambled his brains more than we thought, because while Pinball was completely silent, Festus had a deep growl going and had all of his teeth on display. I knew they needed to work it out for themselves, but this time I intervened and made Festus mind his “guest” manners, and for the next week or so there was an uneasy truce in the Vineyard household. But after a week I was noticing a mischievous side to Pinball, and I knew Festus well and knew that soon things would come to a head. It would become known as the night of “Looney Tunes.” Maybe it takes a true cat person to understand just how unusual Pinball’s behavior is, but this is what I noticed. He likes to sleep in the middle of the room on his back and does not blink an eye at a door opening or vacuum cleaner. He does not like chicken, fish or beef, snubs cat food, but eats dog food like it is filet mignon. The only real cat behavior I saw in him was the way he had taken to hiding underneath the legs of my recliner, using it as an ambush position to harass poor Festus, who I was still enforcing the guest manners upon. But all of that was about to change. One of my favorite times here at 30 Coveys is the end of the day, when all of the animals have been put up and I know that they are fed and safe for the night. I come home, take a shower, grab a bite and then park it in the aforementioned recliner, letting Festus up in my lap and nodding off while not watching anything in particular on TV. And that’s exactly what we were doing when it happened. Except on this night Pinball was not in the recliner with us, he was in ambush position underneath, and the way Festus was laying with his tail hanging over the side, it must’ve looked like a climbing rope, and he simply could not resist and latched on to Festus’s tail with all four claws. Then it was on. Tune in next month for the conclusion of Looney Tunes.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts Lake Burton

Lake SINCLAIR BASS

Contributed by Matt Henry www.sinclairmarina.com 478-451-0167 Lake Sinclair is down 1.2 feet, clear with water temperatures in the upper 50’s. Bass fishing is good. Carolina rigs and small to medium crankbaits have been producing more consistently than other baits. Primary and secondary points and flats are the places to throw the Carolina rig. Depths are varying from 3 to 10 feet and more. Try a Zoom Finesse or U tale worm in June bug or green pumpkin on a 1/0 Gamakatsu extra wide gap hook. A 2 or 3 foot leader of 12 pound line is attached to 14 or 17 pound main line with a half ounce weight. Crankbaits have worked on

the same points and also around rip rap, docks, rocks, blow downs and in coves and pockets. For depths of 2 to 6 feet, try a ¼ ounce Rat-L-Trap, #4 and #5 Shad Rap RS, and Bomber Model 6A. Some good baits for 7 to 10 feet are a Fat Free Shad #6, Norman Deep Little N, and Rapala DT10. Most chartreuse patterns along with chrome blue and crawfish patterns should work. Spinnerbaits may get more consistent very soon with the average temperatures moderating. Try a 3/8 ounce Stanley in chartreuse with a single gold Colorado blade on the points and rip rap. A tandem blade model usually works best around wood and grass. Work the jigs and Texas rigs around docks, brush piles and blow downs. Staying light has been best, but power fishing these baits should get better.

Spinnerbaits may get more consistent very soon with the average temperatures moderating.

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Forecast by: Capt. Wes Carlton Georgia Lake Fishing 770-318-9777 www.georgialakefishing.com Water temperature: 56 degrees, level: full pool, clarity: clear. Bass: The bass are shallow and deep. Most of the bigger spotted bass have been holding on a 20 foot bottom and are feeding on light color crankbaits and weedless jigs. Seems to be when you find one, you have found a school. We have been doing a lot of sight fishing for these fish lately. They are chasing the schools of herring around the main lake points and ditches. Keep a topwater Fluke or Spook tied on for these topwater fish. Most of the bass including the largemouth should pull up shallow over the next few weeks and begin to spawn. Walleye: The walleye are in full spawn and not very hungry right

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now. These fish will be hungry and feeding in the next couple of weeks. Look for them on a 15 to 25 foot bottom. Trolling spoons or crankbait lures in these areas is your best bet this time of year. Don’t be surprised if you catch a monster. Trout: The brown trout have been fairly shallow the last few weeks. Most of the concentrated groups are in the mouths of the creeks. We have been catching a lot of fish on plain old Rooster Tails in bright colors. These fish will slowly migrate out of the creeks into deeper water as we near April. Finding the schools of smaller herring will be a good place to find the majority of the brown trout population. The key to catching trout this time of year is covering a lot of water and watching for schools of fish on the electronics. We will start trolling spoons during the month of April. Try using a bright colored spoon. This doubles as a walleye bait as well as trout bait. Good Luck!

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Local Lakes & Forecasts Using Supplemental Fish Food to Grow Bigger Bass Contributed By: Steven King sking@ilmenvironments.com Many lake or pond owners interested in growing bigger largemouth bass would usually consider stocking forage fish as a primary method. However, there are several limiting factors that can affect growth rates, and the maximum potential size of largemouth bass, that should be considered first. For example, when a lake or pond already has a substantial population of forage fish such as bluegill or other smaller species that largemouth bass feed on, adding more fish into the ecosystem could actually have an adverse effect by causing an overpopulation issue. Before implementing any management tactics, an assessment of your aquatic ecosystem and fish population should be performed by an experienced lake management professional to help determine the best strategies for managing your fishery Fisheries managers often

recommend supplemental feeding for growing larger predator species. In fact, the addition of a supplemental food source into the water can result in one pound of increased fish size for every two pounds of fish feed. Fish feed comes in a pellet form that is specifically created to give fish important nutrients that their natural diet does not provide. Although largemouth bass do not naturally eat the feed themselves, the forage fish that they consume will naturally eat the nutrient-rich feed. In turn, those nutrients will be passed along to the largemouth bass when they eat the forage fish. This management strategy is not only beneficial for largemouth bass, but can also boost the health of the entire fish community. The feeders themselves come in stationary models that can be installed on the bank or floating models that can be placed directly

in the lake or pond. Pellets come in floating or sinking form to help meet the specific needs for each waterbody. Additional benefits of using a fish feeder are that feeders are solar powered, very low maintenance and can be set on a timer for your desired feeding frequency. Adding a secondary food source will reduce the feeding pressure on the smaller minnow species and newly hatched fry, which will help increase their populations due to a higher survival rate. Supplemental fish food is also the most cost-effective way to increase fish size, and quality feeders can last a lifetime if they are maintained on a regular basis. Lastly, it is just plain fun to watch schools of fish go into a feeding frenzy when the food is released! There are numerous methods that may be implemented as part of a sound fisheries management plan to help improve largemouth bass population structure. Stocking fish, liming, fertilizing, enhancing fish cover or adding aeration may all be recommended depending on the needs of your aquatic habitat. The one management strategy that virtually every lake and pond could benefit from, however, is the addition

of supplemental fish food. Lake and pond owners should consult a fisheries management professional to help determine the most effective management strategies. The professionals at Solitude Lake Management have years of experience working with a diversity of waterbodies, and are trained to provide sustainable solutions to help clients achieve their fisheries goals. Steven King is an experienced aquatic and fisheries management professional with SOLitude Lake Management, an environmental firm providing a full array of superior lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management services and solutions. He can be reached through the website www. solitudelakemanagement.com.

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Local Lakes & Forecasts Bass Fishing; No Regrets Contributed By: Jay Striker www.jaystriker.com Introduction: In the life of a professional bass angler there are always times where you see you made a bad decision that cost you the event, whether it’s not retying a knot when you know you should and losing the winning fish, or perhaps not practicing as much as you should have before an event. In the world of bass fishing there will always be times when you regret something that squarely falls back on you that you know if you changed, could have made a big difference in the outcome. While fishing an event on Lake Sinclair, I was disqualified for having too many fish in my live well. Being caught up in the moment, I forgot to cull and did not know it until weigh-in. I do believe I would have had the second place finish that event, however, it cost me the entire event. I was bummed out, and I did regret it. However, not taking the loss as a setback, I took it as a setup for my next event. Because I was looking forward, staying focused on my goals and never giving up, allowed me to not have any regrets about the past. Looking Forward: Too often, I hear anglers at a current event criticizing themselves about the past events. It is important to be as relaxed as possible for any event, and dwelling on the past will only make your current event that much tougher. Learning from my Lake Sinclair setback sent me to the next event on Lake Guntersville with another opportunity; a second place finish and a check. I truly believe if you dwell on the past, it will be hard to find your future, so keep looking forward. Staying Focused on your Goals: At each tournament it is important to remain focused and goal oriented. Know that most things you do in bass fishing are always moving forward. You don’t cast backwards, you don’t drive your boat backwards, your electronics are not oriented backwards, the scales don’t move backwards. All these and much more all move forward to accomplish a goal. You

too should be moving forward. J. Mason once said “Regrets look back. Worry looks around. Visions looks up!” If being the best angler you can be is your goal, you have to have a vision and stay focused on that goal. Don’t let yesterday use up too much of your today, because today is all we have. Never giving Up: Never giving up is pretty self-explanatory. In bass fishing this sport is very humbling and can make you wonder if it’s worth it. Having a positive attitude is the number one key to being successful. Your attitude is directly tied to your results. If you allow your results to dictate your future, it will also dictate your attitude. In competition bass fishing you are going to lose more that you win. Winning is always fun, however, you best get used to this sport humbling you because when it does, the only thing you got to hang on to is your dreams and goals, which are tied directly to your attitude, which is the fuel that gives you the power to never give up. I leave you with this. Never let anyone steal your dreams. Don’t let yesterday steal your tomorrow, and always keep looking forward staying focused on your dreams, and no matter what, never live with regrets as they will only hold you back especially in bass fishing. Striker Nation thanks you for the support and I’ll see you on the water. Let’s go!

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Local Lakes & Forecasts lake lanier crappie Forecast By: Dan Saknini, Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. www.laniercrappieanglers.net March is definitely fickle! I was about to put away my warm clothes, but there you go! As usual, I checked in this week with my die-hard fishing buddies to get some feedback, and everyone laughed! We do fish year-round in cold weather, but this week the combination of the brutal winds and the cold weather kept everyone off the water. Light tackle does not agree with heavy wind. To satisfy my curiosity about the water temp, I lowered my boat off my dock and turned my electronics on to check

it out. Not surprisingly, water temp was 53 degrees in the middle of the day, after a cold but sunny morning. All that being said, over the next few days and weeks as it warms up and the winds die down a little, fishing should pick back up where we left off before this front moved in. This time of year, target the shallower docks in 5 to 15 feet of water. The fish should be suspended about halfway between the surface and the lake bottom. If they begin biting, they will shallow up quickly. My guess is the spawn will begin as soon as the weather warms and will continue into the next moon phase. Target blowdowns in the back pockets and watch for schools of baitfish. Where there is bait, there are fish. Stay safe on the water and always wear a life jacket!

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Local Lakes & Forecasts

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Your Fat, Green Mistress

By: Ryan Kennedy YouTube: Ryan Kennedy Fishing Instagram: ryankfishing ryankfishing@gmail.com

Well, February and March have passed, and Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Whether you took her out to a nice dinner or bought a teddy bear twice her size, you enjoyed giving the one you love a great Valentine’s Day. Now let’s get down to business; people are great, but a bass… oh yeah, now we’re talking. That’s right, it’s time to impress the mistress. We all know her. She’s a fat, green female, and you love spending time with her. She’s a sneaky ‘ol gal. Like a cat and mouse, she swims all around a ginormous lake as you frantically search to find her. Why does she hide? All you want is to lip her while she flails around, hang her on the scales to see how fat she’s gotten, and snap a picture or two to show her off to all your buddies. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, but she’s a little bipolar about it. One day she lets you pattern her every movement, and the next she’s suspended in forty feet of water with no interest in you at all. 28 ATLANTA

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What could you do different to get her all excited? Everything she could ever want is sitting there on your front deck. You name it and you’ve offered it to her. Do you give up? Of course you don’t. She knows just how to push your buttons and get that credit card swiping. Friday rolls around and it’s time to head to the tackle shop. This is a serious matter here. You are trying to impress the love of your life that you want nothing more than to see hanging on your wall, so of course you called in sick to work. Walking out to the garage, you see that pretty boat and brand-new truck she made you buy. After all, she just wouldn’t spend time with you if you didn’t have a blistering fast boat and a truck with every upgrade possible. The mistress just doesn’t want to be seen with a man that doesn’t have the newest, most expensive toys out there. If you’re anything like me, you’re heading to The Dugout in Kennesaw,

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GA. As the front door opens, you see those pretty St. Croix rods, and of course you’ve got to have one. How could you resist that Avid-X to go with your three hundred-dollar reel? Exactly, it’s a no-brainer. You’re walking around inside and you can already imagine the feeling of her sandpaperlike teeth grinding against your thumb. Of course, she doesn’t want to spend time with you unless you’ve got the best, most expensive fluorocarbon that money can buy. So naturally, you pick up the thousand-yard spool just in case. Up at the counter you see all those pretty jig skirt colors, and you know that’ll be just the ticket. How could that beauty resist a handtied Chattahoochee Jig? You are correct once again; she can’t. After you get a few jigs made, it’s the part you knew was coming. It’s time to pull out the near maxed-out credit card. It’s okay though, because what’s one more purchase to make your love happy, right? Now that you’re prepared to go catch her tomorrow, it’s time to go home and relax. Meanwhile, you’ve completely forgotten about your

honey-do list. Oh well, you’ll get to that some other day. You’re one sunrise away from feeling that thump at the end of your line. It’s time to take it easy for the night and rest up for your big day tomorrow. After all, you’ve had quite the day, champ. Now get out on the water and go see your fat, green mistress. Tight Lines...

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Local Lakes & Forecasts Lake MARTIN Forecast By: Capt David Hare 256-401-3089 Alex City Guide Service April of 2017 should be awesome fishing as it has in past years on Lake Martin. Weather for the most part is as pretty as it gets! Dogwoods along with other trees and shrubs are blooming, the grass is getting green and the fish are turned on. April for us brings on earlier departure times and one of the few times we offer late afternoon trips too, because the trophy bite is good pretty much all day! As for stripers, you should use some of the largest live bait you can get your hands on this month. The slow approach or a faster approach both will work this month. Fish any and all channels and creeks regardless of where they are located, because it’s the time of year that there is hardly any dead water when it comes to catching! Pier light fishing this month will also be producing very well.

Along with some of the best fishing comes rising lake levels, which produces a lot of loose floating debris. That said, as always, you really need to have a watchful eye for this debris. Yes folks, April on Lake Martin is an absolute no brainer when it comes to wondering if you should go fishing or not! As always, we are booking trips and you can reach me by calling 256-4013 0 8 9 . Until next t i m e , t i g h t lines.

Brent Carson from Sandy Springs, GA with a huge 40 pounder fishing with Capt David Hare

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Wall of Fame Stan and Karen Miller with the North Ga Crappie Anglers with some great smallmouth bass fishing on Lake Superior.

Dale Burrell wins big fish with a 2.3 pound crappie at the North GA Crappie Anglers February tournament.

Young Charlie Benson caught this 22 inch 10 pound bass from Lake Lanier.

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Logan Smith from Kennesaw with this 7-4 bass recently fished his first college FLW tournament on Lake Guntersville and finished 13th out of 248 boats!

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WINNER! Steve Hitchcock used his fly rod to catch this 10 pound striper on Lake lanier.

Ed and Rachael Dalton from Kennesaw both caught their personal bests at 8.68 and 8.75 pounds using shiners on Rodman COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM Reservoir in Florida.

Charles Stoops with the HukMouth fishing group caught this big 8 pound largemouth on Lanier. APRIL 2017 ATLANTA

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Wee Willy Wigglers Are Fly Rod Magic

By Craig Riendeau

GuideNorth Service & Travel GA’s

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W

arm-water fly fishermen are always looking for the “magic fly” that will catch fish all the time no matter what the conditions… something irresistible to most species of fish in a lake all at the same time. Well, I think I’ve come up with that fly. Say hello to the Wee Willy Wiggler (W3). This fly pattern is as easy to tie as it is to fish. I would place it under a guide fly category as you can crank out a dozen easily in an hour. For detailed instructions on how to tie this pattern go to my website offthedeepedge.com. If it takes you more than five minutes to tie this, maybe fly tying isn’t for you, which then is the case I’d check out Rainys Flies Inc. They are making the Wee Willy Wiggler commercially available. As for fishing this fly pattern, it doesn’t get any easier. Several of my fishing companions call this style of fishing “just stupid easy.” I tend to fish this fly under a half inch foam indicator or as I refer to it, a depth regulator. Even though the indicator does detect strikes very well, that is really the secondary reason for its usage. Its main purpose to suspend the fly at a specific depth and hold it over a specific spot for as long as you want it to stay there. Basically, you’re putting the fly in the fish’s face and leaving it there until out of hunger, curiosity or annoyance he eats it. Lucky for us anglers, fish do not have fingers to poke at the fly to see what it is or push it away. Any testing comes in the form of a bite.

To fish this, set the fly’s depth under the “regulator” to be just above the cover you may be fishing over. Things such as weedbeds, rocks, logs, fish cribs or even fish you see suspended

on your electronic devices. Most species tend to feed upward. Then simply cast at the area and wait. It is similar to being an impatient bait fisherman with a cricket and bobber. Let the fly dangle over the area you think there is a fish for say five or 10 seconds (sometimes more). If nothing happens, give it a six to twelve-inch strip and repeat. If there is a breeze blowing, just let the indicator drift with the current, mending occasionally to control the speed of the drift. It may sound silly but it is addicting, especially once you start catching fish. So, there you have it, the most productive fishing method that you’ll ever do. When using this method and anyone asks what are you fishing for you can blatantly say “fish” without being facetious. That’s because with the Wee Willy Wiggler you’re never quite sure what is going to eat it. Anything from a small bream to a 10-pound bass may show up at any time, so hang on to your rod tightly.

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Tackle Corner:

By Mike Pehanich

Angling for comfort and joint health

O

nce upon a time, fishing was deemed a passive, even contemplative game, a quiet pastime spent under a straw hat and a warming sun. No more! Modern angling is an active endeavor generally characterized by energetic casts, and plenty of them. The aggressive style of the modern angler takes its toll on the body with back, wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries. “As we get older, our bodies kind of fall apart,” said Bassmaster Elite Series angler Mark Menendez during an outing on Kentucky Lake. Menendez has developed tendinitis in his elbow. “I have had to figure out ways to fish that are less taxing on my body.” He has changed technique and equipment to reduce the wear. He fishes soft swimbaits like the Strike King Shadalicious far more these days, working them on relatively light spinning tackle and line testing no more than 10 pounds. It’s effective and easier on his elbow. The other adjustments he makes relate to his tackle. He lauds the Winn grips now featured on Lew’s Custom Lite, Lew’s Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick and Lew’s Mach Speed Stick rods. “The advantage to the angler is that the Winn grip adheres to your hand, but it’s not sticky,” he explained. “It just makes you feel you have a good grip on your rod and reel. The grips also allow me to make longer casts because I have better control of my rod and reel.” Musky and saltwater anglers are also taking advantage of the “tacky” feel and security of the non-slip polymer to protect against joint stress. Eavesdrop on a group of musky fishers for long and you’re bound to hear complaints of sore elbows and forearms. Many musky anglers are building custom rods with Winn grips, employing larger 1.25-inch Straight Taper split grips or a Straight Taper fore

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grip coupled with a 15-inch Straight Cylinder Saltwater grip capped with a fighting butt to extend the rear handle to 18-plus inches. Winn will add a new 18-inch grip to the Saltwater line this spring. Builders of custom surf and offshore rods are already making plans for its use. But oversized grips and rod wraps are finding favor with other anglers, too. At the Bassmaster Elite Series event at Lake Okeechobee in February, anglers with arthritic hands and joint issues noticed the booth Winn shared with North Fork Bait & Tackle owner and rod builder Steve Keller, who also operates a Winn Authorized Service Center at his store in Jensen Beach, Fla. Arthritis sufferers noted their preference for larger grip diameters to ease gripping pressure. The 1.25-inch Winn grips caught their attention, as did the array of offerings in the Winn Superior Rod Wrap line of overwraps, which enable the angler to put a layer of non-slip Winn polymer over existing cork or EVA grips. Winn grips and rod wraps (www.winngrips.com) are available in a wide range of sizes and colors. The Winn interchangeable grip system offers an endless combination of configurations.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER LEARN CONFIDENCE IN NEW TECHNIQUES

BRANDON LESTER

G

rowing up in southern middle Tennessee, I was fortunate to have a lot of really good fisheries within a couple hours of my house. I had my choice between the Tennessee River lakes like Guntersville, Wheeler and Wilson or the typical highland reservoirs located in the hills of Tennessee. I spent many days fishing club events and absorbing every bit of knowledge I could. It helped me become a versatile angler and to stay in tune with the seasonal movements of bass. These things helped prepare me for the situations I would later face on

the Bassmaster Elite Series. I remember my very first Elite Series event. It was at Lake Seminole. I had never been to the lake and didn’t know a thing about it. After a tough first day of practice, I ran way up the Flint River to see if I could find something up there all to myself. What I found was a couple of small backwaters with clear water and fish that were setting up to spawn. These places had been completely overlooked, and I finished 21st in that tournament. I caught almost every fish on a floating worm, something that is very popular during the spawn around my home waters. That tournament and many others since have taught me that no matter where you go in the country, or what body of water you’re on, there will always be something that fits your fishing style. It may not always be the winning pattern,

but more times than not, I would rather be fishing for fewer fish with more confidence. The very best lure in any tackle box is confidence. But this doesn’t mean I stubbornly sticking to the same techniques I’m comfortable with. Successful tournament anglers must keep up with the latest trends. Lures, line, rods, reels and everything else are constantly evolving. It helps to stay on the forefront. As I travel the country, I learn a lot of new techniques and about new baits that work in particular regions. Every time I go to a tournament and a new technique arises that I’m not familiar with, the first thing I do when I get home is take it to a nearby lake and try to learn it. When trying to learn something new, it’s best to do it in areas you know hold fish. A good example of this was at the first Elite Series event of this year at Lake Cherokee. Cherokee is in east Tennessee, but it is much different than my home waters. There is a hot new trend among the locals there called the “Damiki rig” that is dynamite for catching smallmouth relating to baitfish. It is a small fluke-style lure rigged on a Lake Erie-style jig head that allows for precise placement of the lure at depth. I had heard about the rig leading up to the tournament and tried it in practice, but I never could figure it out. Our tournament was actually won on that rig, and several of the top guys were doing it. After that tournament was over, I spent the next day on my home lake with nothing but that rig. I wanted to learn everything there was to know about it. I went on to catch some big smallmouth on my home lake with it, and although I still don’t consider myself an expert, I feel like I can catch them on it next time the opportunity arises.

Get more tips from Lester at

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FRESHWATER BIRDIE BLOCKER Tired of scrubbing bird droppings from the tops and decks of your boat? If you’ve got a problem with birds using the railings of your craft to roost, Birdie Blocker is the solution that will keep your boat free of roosting birds and the nasty mess they make. Birdie Blocker is an easy-to-use and extremely effective bird deterrent to protect any boat with 7/8- to 1-inch railings. It is a simple system using fishing components and some high-quality UV clips. It can be installed in about five minutes, and it’s just as convenient to remove and stow when it’s time to head out for a cruise. A barrier of monofilament held up with easy-to-mount clips deters birds from landing on your rails and roosting on your craft. It is tangle-free and simple, and at less than $100 it will cover about 40 feet of railings. Two Birdie Blockers are the ideal solution for larger boats. The clips are also multi-purpose and can also be used to hang lighting, decorations or double as a make-shift clothesline. The Birdie Blocker is a great gift for any boater. These quality systems arrive pre-assembled and can begin protecting your boat in about five minutes with simple set-up that requires no measuring. It’s a no-brainer for anyone who is sick and tired of cleaning up after birds. Call Birdie Blocker at 440-231-4767 to order or email birdieblocker@ gmail.com. Visit www.birdieblocker.com to see an easy to use video.

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Endless Fishing Opportunities

In Marathon

By Capt. Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters Marathon, the very heart of the Florida Keys, offers fishing options as vast as the crystal blue waters that surround the islands. to experience the exhilaration of big game sport fishing closer to shore and easier on your budget. Rounding out the sport fishing options in Marathon are bonefish, snook, Goliath grouper, permit and barracuda. Each challenging in its own right and all worthy of a place of honor on your trophy wall.

F

ill Your Trophy Wall With visions of Ernest Hemingway’s exploits in their heads, adventurers flock to Marathon from around the globe to fulfill their dreams of catching the sportfish of a lifetime. The offshore deep blue waters are the realm of the mighty swordfish, who live in the 1,500-plus-foot depths. Fishing for swordfish is highly technical and is best done with an electric set-up. While a magnificent creature to display above the fireplace, swordfish are also prized for their food value. Closer inshore are sailfish, which are unsurpassed in their size range for combined strength and spectacle. These silver speedsters, with their distinctive blue fan-shaped fin, are free-roamers that seem to prefer the coral reef areas. They are best fished for where their favorite foods are plentiful, such as along weed lines or around schools of blue runners, goggle eyes or pilchards. Perhaps the most elusive of all the sportfish in the Marathon waters is the Silver King. The tarpon that visit the Middle Florida Keys each spring love to hang out at bridge passes, where their food of choice is easily obtainable. These areas are known for their relative calm conditions, making tarpon fishing a comfortable experience for all anglers, even those prone to seasickness. Using light spinning tackle and circle hooks, fishing for tarpon is about as sporting as it gets. And, to hook one and chase it through the bridge pilings, hoping to be rewarded with a few jumps and maybe a picture at the side of the boat is an unforgettable experience. With a plethora of media coverage of sharks, catch-and-release fishing for them has become increasingly popular. The Marathon area sees a vast spectrum of sharks, including lemons, blacktips, bulls, blacknoses, nurse, spinners, hammerheads and tigers. These range in size from little guys to behemoths at 12 to 15 feet in length. Light tackle, shallow water angling for sharks in the Middle Florida Keys presents the opportunity 30

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Fill Your Dinner Plate When it comes to catching fish with a top-quality food value, you’d be hard-pressed to find a greater bounty than contained in the waters surrounding Marathon. On the Atlantic coral reefs and wrecks, snapper of all variety are plentiful for the taking year-round. Yellowtails, mangroves, muttons and lanes offer endless rod-bending entertainment and fill the bellies of hungry anglers at the end of the day. Grouper – blacks, reds and gags – are ever-present as well, although they tend to retreat to deeper waters during the summer heat. Additionally, the season is closed for them from January 1 to May 1. There are many more species that provide high-quality table fare – too many to list – but include amberjack, cobia, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cero mackerel, pompano and on and on. Marathon’s offshore waters are fishing central for pelagic species that provide angling excitement. Venture 26 miles out to the Marathon Humps and you will be in tuna heaven. Blackfin and skipjack tuna are abundant year-round, and the only thing that can prevent you from getting there to catch them on any given day are the winds. But, on a calm day, the ride out and back is comfortable and the catching typically rapid-fire. Dolphin (mahi) and wahoo roam the open sea in a continuous hunt for food. Anglers seek them along weed lines and around any sort of floating debris. Feeding birds, particularly frigates, also indicate their presence. The spectacle of the blue and yellow blaze of a dolphin or the blue and white zebra-like stripes of a wahoo on the end of your line is indelible. Entertain The Family. There’s nothing finer for family bonding than spending quality time together on the water, away from the interruptions of everyday life. Marathon boasts multiple venues that are ideal for a day of family fun fishing. The patch reefs, Hawk Channel, the Seven Mile Bridge and the nearshore bay waters are chock-full of fun-catching fish. Snapper, hogfish, porgy, yellowjack, maybe even grouper, keep the rods bent with tasty rewards at the end of the day. Just for fun, there are sharks, barracuda, jacks and more. Catch ’em and release ’em and on to the next! So, whether you’re looking to fill your trophy wall or your dinner plate, or just have a great day out with the family, Marathon offers the fishing opportunities to make your dreams come true. Capt. Chris Johnson specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters, docked at Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club in Marathon. You can reach him at 305-743-5305, http://SeaSquaredCharters.com and http://Facebook. com/MarathonFishing.

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Register For

The Bahamas Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament

A

Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

nglers with the guts to mix big-game tournament fishing with kayaking will head to beautiful Grand Bahama this month to compete in the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament April 2023. This two-day kayak fishing tournament will attract anglers and their family members from all over the world for a chance to win more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, and all to help raise funds for the Humane Society of Grand Bahama. There will be free entertainment, food, drinks, a huge raffle and lots of fun for the entire family! “This event, now in its fourth year, has gained tremendous interest and notoriety for anglers and sporting enthusiasts from throughout the USA, Canada, China and Brazil. We have seen the competition grow each year from 40 anglers in our inaugural year in 2014 to some 280 participants last year,” said Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) spokesman Richard Treco, Sr. “The high level of competition, coupled with our incredible on-island authentic cultural experiences and diverse product offering, makes this event most attractive for the seasoned as well as relatively new to the sport, angler.” Joe Hector, of Extreme Kayak Fishing International and organizer of the event, said he is excited to work with The BMOT on this tournament, and is particularly pleased with its rapid growth. “The Bahamas Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament truly is the gold standard for kayak fishing in the world, as it provides everything into one great getaway: fun and family adventures, awesome fishing from white and blue marlins to huge mutton snappers, friendly people and the most beautiful destination in the world,” said Hector. Pre- and post-tournament packages range from $595 triple or qua-

druple occupancy for a three nights stay to $1,370 single occupancy for a seven nights stay, which includes tournament registration, hotel accommodations at the Flamingo Bay Hotel and Marina, round-trip transportation for the angler and his/her kayak from Port Everglades to Grand Bahama, a cocktail reception and awards dinner. Fish caught during the tournament will be given to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, Flamingo Bay Hotel and Marina, and volunteers assisting with the project. For more information or to register for the tournament, visit www. extremekayakfishing.com or call 954-661-0175.

To learn more about the event and how to register, go to

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UNDER THE SEA

SLINGS AND POLESPEARS

from companies have challenged this SHERI DAYE traditional design by changing the here’s a fun retro-movement taking hand position. The place in spearfishing—a trend toward Headhunter Guerilla primitive hunting gear. Slings and Sling has a comfortable polespears are used in places that do not allow trigger mechanisms, such as Bermuda or the grip, which transfers the weight load from Bahamas, but they are growing in popularity the wrist and distributes the force throughout the forearm. Sea Archer slings look like an outside these regions too. This could be attributed to the new Sling/ underwater bow and arrow. The user holds Polespear category for world records, run by the body of the sling just as they would with a the International Underwater Spearfishing bow and arrow. There’s nothing more beautiful Association (IUSA). However, I suspect the than watching a skilled underwater hunter real reason is that many hunters appreciate using a sling and hitting the mark with a freethe challenge and simplicity, not unlike land- flying shaft! Polespears are another fun option. hunters opting for bow-and-arrow over rifles. It’s a beautiful art form that evokes images of They can be made of fiberglass, aluminum Indians using extreme stealth and having great or carbon fiber. The tip can have a flopper, three-prong paralyzer tip or a slip-tip. Neritic respect for their prey. Slings and polespears are great tools for Diving company makes polespears with someone who is either learning how to spearfish interchangeable sections that can be assembled or interested in improving their hunting skills. in different length configurations. Users may Compared to modern spearguns, they force a choose to use a shorter polespear when hunting diver to become calmer and stealthier because in dirtier water or in tight spaces. When diving of their shorter range. One must slow down and in deep clear water, fish may not be cooperative study the behavior of fish in order to get closer and a longer polespear may be desired. The to them. While both slings and polespears are ability to quickly construct your weapon of powered using rubber bands without trigger choice is one of the best recent innovations, along with magnetic slip-tips that don’t fall off mechanisms, these two styles differ. Slings, sometimes called “Hawaiian slings,” while diving. I must admit that I can’t help feeling a are similar to a slingshot where the band is pulled back to launch the spear. Traditionally, smug sense of satisfaction when I land an the shooter was a tubular-shaped piece of wood elusive fish with a simple stick and rubber with a hole drilled down the center so the shaft band. Regardless if you are a novice or could slide through when being launched professional, primitive hunting offers a forward by the band. Recent innovations fun and entertaining challenge. Why not

T

Charles Duffie with a polespeared hogfish. Photo by James Ferrara.

add another skill to your spearfishing resume and another choice in your toolkit? It will double your fun and make you a better hunter! Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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Spearfishing Course for Freedivers

By Capt. Chad Carney Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

I

n 2016, Freediving Instructors International (FII) presented their new spearfishing course at The Blue Wild Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. If you’re new to spearfishing or a veteran, this wealthof-knowledge course, from many of the world’s best spearfishermen and freedivers will be invaluable. All students must already have a Level 1 freediving certification from an internationally recognized agency. FII founder Martin Stepanek, and freediving instructors John Dornellas and Cameron Kirkconnell, wrote the textbook for the course, called FII Spearfishing. The first course was taught by Martin and John at Florida Freedivers, Jonathan and Kelsey Dickinson’s dive shop in North Palm Beach, Fla. just days before The Blue Wild. Jonathan became a FII Spearfishing Instructor in September and taught the course to most of his staff and several customers since. The classroom section of the course runs a half day and is packed with great content including spearfishing ethics, freediving safety, location safety about dive planning, site obstructions, currents, marine animals, divers and boats. Information about spearfishing gear, it’s handling and use is covered thoroughly along with underwater hunting skills and techniques. The second half of the day is the pool training, where speargun handling and float line training is hands-on. The provided spearguns are unique in that they can be loaded in the water with total safety, because their shafts are completely stationary, as they are permanently bolted to the muzzles and mechanisms. Otherwise, the spearguns are fully functional and allow the best practice for pool or confined water training. Hunting styles and tricks are also taught and practiced in the pool around a portable artificial reef at the pool bottom where students will stalk a foam fish. Certification is completed with the classroom and pool session, along with a written test. A day of real ocean spearfishing is an option and may vary from location to location, but in the Palm Beaches, Jonathan says they plan for a day of spearfishing in moderate depths where water entries with gear can be polished, and also float lines can be used in currents. Reefs with low structure are available for stalking with, aspetto and agguatto techniques. The photo is Jonathan Dickinson with a recent 70-pound amberjack!

Check out www.floridafreedivers.com and www.freedivinginstructors.com for more information about the course and spearfishing and freediving equipment. Capt. Chad Carney runs diving and spearfishing charters in southeast Florida and can be reached at 727-4237775 or chad.carney@yahoo.com.

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FISH & FISHING

THE LIGHT WAND MARK SOSIN

L

earning to fish a fly in saltwater adds a new and extremely challenging dimension to the sport. Light-wand enthusiasts on the marine scene don’t have to trip over tradition that sometimes limits the thinking and performance of their brethren who focus attention solely on trout and salmon. There are differences. When you work over fish in a stream, you often have ample time to contemplate the situation, change flies if the first one doesn’t work, and even try several approaches. Even a shoreline largemouth bass lays claim to a stationary feeding station near a log or under the lip of a lily pad. Saltwater critters remain on the move, probing and prowling continuously or they hold on a seat in the restaurant until the water level rises or falls a certain amount. Then, they change position. If you happen to spot your quarry, you only have seconds to get a fly in front of it. The first cast has to count. Simple hesitation can cause you to miss the opportunity. When you are blind casting, it’s important to read the water and recognize another set of signals. Predators frequently follow a feeding rhythm tied directly to the stage of the tide. Since they are not restricted to a few deep pools or the tail end of a run, finding them and presenting a fly with accuracy requires detailed knowledge of their habits and habitat. Casting in saltwater demands a bit more distance than it does in many freshwater settings. False casting becomes a handicap when you’re trying to drop a fly in the path of a cruising gamefish. You won’t have time to admire the tight loops or match the distance to the target precisely before dropping the fly gently on the skin of the water. The repeated surges of a powerful marine denizen tethered to flyline, leader and backing, or the task of driving a fly into the wind and in front of a cruising fish have no parallels in other forms of angling. Once experienced, these challenges trigger an insatiable appetite that demands more.

For smaller species of fish, a 9-weight fly rod that is 9-feet long would be my first choice. The reel should be single action, hold adequate backing, and left or right hand retrieve. You should turn the handle with your primary hand rather than what many fly fishermen do today. With a 9-weight rod, the reel should hold at least 200 yards of 20-pound dacron or braid. The second outfit for larger fish starts with a 12-weight or 13-weight rod and a reel that holds at least 275 yards of backing. Again, if you are right handed, choose a right hand retrieve. If you’re new to fly fishing, the time to break out the fly rod is when fishing is very good and your chances of success are boosted. It pays to keep it rigged and handy all the time. Let me warn you that catching fish on a fly rod becomes addictive. Once you start hooking fish on the light wand you will also be hooked.

For more Mark Sosin visit

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A slippery knife can make filleting fish a difficult chore. Dexter UR-Cut Fillet knives were designed to eliminate this problem, while providing comfort and control by custom molding the grip to a user’s hand. Coastal Angler put Dexter’s design to the test at the docks with a cooler full of sheepshead, which are known to be difficult to clean. The customization involves boiling the handle before dipping it in cold water and gripping it tightly so the owner’s grip is impressed on the handle. With attention to thumb position during the process, we were able to customize the grip to the exact position our fillet men prefer. It took just a few minutes, and the result was a well-balanced tool that felt secure and comfortable in the hand. Then we took our blades to the cutting table. Dexters are known for maintaining a super-sharp edge, and having just the right amount of flexibility. Past experience has taught us they are also easy to sharpen. We were not surprised to find the blade on our new UR-Cut knives performed flawlessly working along spines and ribcages. Our hands and the table were coated in slime, and this is where the URCut showed why it is more than just a good knife. We intentionally created a slippery situation by not washing down, and the non-slip properties of the custom handles performed as advertised. For more information, visit...

UR-Cut features the same legendary DEXSTEEL, super-sharp edge, and just-right flexibility that you are used to with Dexter... 1.Dip handle in boiling water for 2 minutes. 2. Dip in cold water for 1 second. 3. Grip and form handle for 10 seconds. 4. Put back in cold water for 10 seconds and your done.

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www.BALLYHOOD.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 3/1/17 1:39 PM

TROLLS 6-10 OR UP TO 20 KNOTS — NO WEIGHTS NEEDED

APRIL 2017

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O/B MOTOR BRACKET Mounts to your existing swim platform

RATED FOR 2 & 4-STROKE ENGINES UP TO 15 HP OR 132 LBS.

ADD SOME KICK WITH PANTHER’S ALL-NEW SWIM PLATFORM O/B MOTOR BRACKET Transform your boat into a fishing machine and make trolling for your favorite species more efficient and productive. www.MarineTechProducts.com

f /PantherMarineProducts

PANTHER SWIM PLATFORM OUTBOARD MOTOR BRACKET Now, with the new Panther Swim Platform Outboard Motor Bracket you can transform the family boat or even the work boat into a fishing machine. The convenience of having a kicker motor makes slow trolling for your favorite species much more efficient and productive. The new bracket easily mounts to most swim platforms and features three levels of convenient height adjustment to accommodate most platform heights and motor shaft lengths, for optimal prop depth and performance. • Rated for two- and four-stroke motors up to 20 hp with max motor weight of 195 pounds • Constructed of black powder coat aluminum • Comes complete with transom support bar for weight support torque resistance For more information, contact MarineTech Products at 1 651-486-2010 or visit

WWW.MARINETECHPRODUCTS.COM

Come Outside & Play in Okeechobee

www.visitokeechobeecounty.com

PWC Fishing Towers

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Rod Holders

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

3/20/17 3:41 PM


Ohio Man Charged With

Cleaning Out The Fishing Aisle

NEVER WAX AGAIN! RESTORE AND PROTECT YOUR BOAT

M

ost anglers would probably enjoy a shopping spree in the fishing section of the local Walmart. An Ohio man allegedly helped himself to not one, but two free-ofcharge shopping sprees last October, and has now been charged with stealing an estimated $3,800 worth of fishing gear, according to NBC affiliate WLWT. Warren County, Ohio prosecutor David Fornshell told reporters that Derrick Marcum, “pretty much cleared out the aisle.” According to the WLWT report, Marcum was arrested last October when he attempted to carry two backpacks stuffed with fishing gear out of an Ohio Walmart. He was arrested that same day for the theft of $1,300 worth of gear. But it wasn’t until recently that investigators connected that incident with another theft that occurred the previous day at another Ohio Walmart. Marcum allegedly filled five plastic bins with tackle and then proceeded to the self-checkout, where he paid only for the bins. Investigators valued that heist at about $2,500. A grand jury indicted Marcum, and he waits in jail for his arraignment, according to reports. Jail time seems a pretty steep price, even for thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear.

Poli Glow does what wax can’t! As seen on Ship Shape TV

for more than 12 months with a finish that is “like new!”

“Recommending Poli Glow is a no brainer.” - PRACTICAL SAILOR, the #1 consumer resource of the U.S. boating industry

FREE SHIPPING Code: CA13 | 1-800-922-5013 WATCH THE DEMO at PoliGlowProducts.com

Be Your Own Boss Coastal Angler Magazine is now offering Gulf Coast markets for franchise development. If you love the outdoors this is a great opportunity for you to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself.

Editor in Chief

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A Paddler's Heaven

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Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

Mike Iaconelli

Talks Kayaks Inshore

M RMABG.CO I D E LAN GLE L E W O R L D W COAOSTA I E S A VA I L A P P O R T U N I T

JEFF SCHNEIDER PHOTO COURTESY OF VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

• New Orleans, LA SOLD! • Baton Rouge, LA • Lafayette, LA • Corpus Christi, TX • Austin, TX

APRIL 2017

F R A N C H I S E

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For More Information On These And Other Franchise Locations

Call Tracy Patterson 321.777.2773 Email info@coastalanglermagazine.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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suzuki spring savings Three Limited Time Offers Make A Good Deal Even Better Suzuki Gives You All Three So You Don’t Have To Choose One Or The Other

Buy a new Suzuki outboard from 25 to 300 horsepower and take advantage of not just one, but ALL THREE Suzuki Spring promotional offers.

Add cash rebates on select models and you can get up to $800 cash back. Plus our Repower Financing is available at attractive interest rates (on approved credit.*)

Just say, “Gimme Six!” and you’ll get six years of product protection. That’s right, you’ll get Suzuki’s three-year limited warranty and Suzuki’s 3-Year Extended Protection Plan at no extra charge.

See your participating Suzuki Marine dealer today and find out how you can get the ultimate deal on the Ultimate 4-Stroke Outboard.

Six Years of Protection at no extra charge on all new outboards 25 to 300 HP.

Cash Rebates on select models. See your dealer for details.

REPOWER FINANCE

Rates as low as 5.99% on new Suzuki outboards (OAC).*

For details and the name of your nearest participating Suzuki Marine dealer, visit www.suzukimarine.com

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 4/01/17 and 6/30/17 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 Outboard Motors made between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. 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 Outboard Motors. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. “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. © 2017 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

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PENNFISHING.COM

LET THE BATTLE BEGIN The Slammer is back! Featuring a full metal body and rotor, IPX6 sealed gear box and spool design, a full Brass CNC Gear system,

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and a smooth yet powerful Dura Drag System. The Slammer is not only back…. it’s better than ever before.

3/19/17 2:26 PM


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Coastal Angler Magazine - April / Greater Atlanta Area  

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

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