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By Capt. Mike Weinhofer hen I arrived in Key West more than 30 years ago, there was a sign on the fence at the airport that said “Sportfishing Capital of the World.” At the time I had no idea how special Key West was as a fishing destination. It isn’t that it’s the best fishery for any one species. The opportunities here are endless. It has a lot to do with Key West’s location and topography. Key West is a tiny island 120 miles out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. It has shallow waters surrounding it to hold bait and deep water near to shore. It’s a very unique ecosystem. It’s a natural migration point for many species to feed and breed. Shallow flats surround Key West and serve as a breeding ground for bait and shallow-water trophy fish. The tarpon migration is world famous. Whether you want to fly fish or bait fish for tarpon, they are always willing to entertain. The shallow flats are also home to bonefish and permit, the hardest fish in the world to catch on a fly. But while the flats are loaded with fish, it’s not just the shallow water that mesmerizes. The call of bluewater seems to ring in everyone’s ears. Just 5 miles offshore on the Atlantic side lies the shallow-water reef. The reef is home to grouper, snapper and all types of tropical fish as well as myriad baitfish. The reef is also a congregation point for bluewater fish. The small ballyhoo and other baitfish attract larger and larger fish to the shallows. It is not uncommon in the winter months to watch sailfish chase ballyhoo in less than 15 feet of water. Just outside of the reef, the water drops to about 120 feet in 500 yards, and then there is an area called “The Bar.” It’s the old coral reef from when the water table was 40 feet lower. The Bar is about 200 yards wide and holds all kinds of fish. It shadows the reef for about 20 miles to the west. The west end of the bar is a magical place, with east-bound current upwelling on the end, bait feeds on pushed-up nutrients, and where bait congregates fish follow. Now for the offshore bluewater. “Woods Wall” is named after the man that discovered it, the famous Keys fisherman Norman Woods. At

W

make even more structure. So close to shore and holding such a variety of fish, it is a bluewater angler’s dream. Amazingly enough, we have not even touched on the fishing west or the north of Key West yet. To the west lie shallow flats and a string of islands that hold bait, tarpon, permit, sharks and many more species. Then, when you get about 20 miles west of Key West there is an island atoll call the Marquesas. It is a special place. Flats fishers come from all around the world to fish this little island. Many stories have been written about epic battles with tarpon and permit and what a magical place it is at sunrise, when anglers watch shallow-water fisheries come to life. Farther to the west are 10 or so wrecks in less than 15 feet of water. Fishing around these wrecks is like fishing in an aquarium. The water is crystal clear and bait is everywhere. Whether it is barracuda, permit, cobia or sharks, the wrecks are alive with activity. Another magical place 64 miles west of Key West is the Dry Tortugas, a group of small islands surrounded by shallow water and some of the best bottom fishing in the world. The Dry Tortugas is home to Fort Jefferson, a national park and a whole other ecosystem I could spend an entire article describing. To the north of Key West lies the Gulf of Mexico, a shallow basin for the nearshore that drops to about 100 feet in depth at 40 miles. The Gulf is loaded with wrecks that hold all kinds of bottom fish. Grouper, snapper and cobia fishing is a blast, as is the jewfish and shark fishing. Never mind fishing behind the shrimp boats for blackfin tuna, bonitas, cobia and other fish. And there are the radio towers that stand tall out in 80 to 120 feet of water that hold all kinds of bottom fishing opportunities as well as kingfish, amberjacks, sharks and cobia. In short Key West is not the best fishery for any one thing, it has it all. The topography makes it like no place else in the world to fish. Its unique layout allows us to hide from prevailing winds and make even the worst winds fishable. Quite often the hardest decision is which way to turn in the morning, left or right can make all the difference. It is one of the few places you can catch tarpon in the morning, sailfish in the mid day and dolphin or tuna in the afternoon. Everything is just so close, and there are just so many choices it makes each morning a debate. After 30 years, I still enjoy all the hard choices. Capt. Weinhofer runs charters on the Compass Rose. Visit www. KeyWestFloridaFishing.com or call 305-395-3474.

the edge of the continental shelf, the top of the wall is 800 feet deep with a shear drop to deeper than 1,800 feet in a mere 100 yards. The Gulf Stream slams into this shear face and makes rips and upwellings. If that weren’t enough, there are cracks in the wall that extend inshore to 8

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For more tuna fishing in the Keys, go to

FISHINGLIFE.CO

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Fight the blues.

If nothing makes you happier than battling a billfish, you’ll find plenty to smile about in Key West. Minutes from shore you can go toe-to-toe with behemoth blue marlin, the greatest gamefish of them all. You can chase after tuna and dolphin, too. Wahoo! fla-keys.com/keywest 1.800.527.8539 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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ON THE COVER Editor’s Note:

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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Freeport, Bahamas Yellowfin

FREE

Sushi doesn’t come any fresher than it does Outdoor 32nd Annual on the deck of the Finster when yellowfin Palm Beach Apparel International Edition Boat Show tuna are pushing bait off of Freeport in the Bahamas. This month’s Coastal Angler Magazine cover photo, courtesy of Picture Perfect Charters, is of Capt. Pete Milisci with a nice tuna that has an imminent encounter Local with a fillet knife and some soy sauce. Team Finster is an offshore tournament team based out of Fort Myers, Fla. They fish sailfish tournaments on the east coast of Florida as well as some offshore stuff on the west coast. All that sounds fun, but so does their annual spring tuna outing across the Gulf Stream from Fort Lauderdale. It’s the kind of trip most occasional anglers dream of, and these guys do it pretty much every year when the yellowfin show up. They spend the better part of a week operating out of a condo in Port Lucaya, venturing out just 10 miles from the docks each day to chase birds and catch big tuna. They load coolers with mahi, blackfin and yellowfin tuna, and even the occasional mutton snapper caught from the dock while they are cleaning the day’s catch. What more could an angler ask for? March 23-26

WHOLESALE CUSTOMERS WANTED! The Best American Hooks & Weights For Better #Fishing

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 266

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Lake Erie, Smallmouth Bass

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Over the last decade or so, Lake Erie, the fourth largest of the Great Lakes, has really taken off Outdoor Apparel as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in Edition the world. This has been widely credited to the arrival of the invasive round goby, a bottomdwelling species that has become a staple in Local the diet of bass and other game fish. Biologists have reported impressive growth rates of smallmouth bass in Lake Erie since the gobies took hold there. The long-term impact these invasive fish will have is not completely understood, but for the meantime they are propping up a great fishery. The photo on the cover of this month’s editions of The Angler Magazine is of Kayla Culp, of Ridgeway, Ontario and a chunky bronzeback she caught while drop shotting soft plastics in Lake Erie’s East Basin. She mainly fishes the Canadian side of the lake, where bass season doesn’t begin until early summer. Anglers on the U.S. side of the lake also get to experience fishing through the stages of the spawn, which typically begin with a pre-spawn push to shallower water in April and run into June when the fish retreat back to the depths. The photo was taken by her boyfriend, fishing buddy and all-around lucky dude Matt Sirianni. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 265

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APPAREL Product Review XTRATUF KRYPTEK ANKLE DECK BOOT Introducing the Kryptek Ankle Deck Boot from XTRATUF, a beloved fishing boot brand popular amongst recreational and commercial fisherman alike. XTRATUF boots are a gear staple of every man, woman and child in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest and beyond, not only for the protective properties that have made them must-have gear for boating, sailing and fishing enthusiasts, but as a fashion and trend statement around the world. This boot is a simple, wearable way to achieve a fashion-forward look in a truly iconic boot with significant brand heritage. New for spring 2017, XTRATUF and Kryptek, camouflage design innovators, are collaborating on a new deck boot collection that combines the technology of the popular XTRATUF Performance Ankle Deck Boot with sleek Kryptek camo designs, including the Yeti and Pontus patterns (MSRP $90). It features a 1mm Neoprene XpressCool bootie that surrounds the whole foot and ankle providing all day comfort. Like all XTRATUF footwear, the Kryptek Ankle Deck Boot is 100 percent waterproof, and it includes a boatload of performance features. • XpressCool lining to keep feet cool in warmer weather • Full-rubber, lightweight silhouettes • Slip-resistant chevron outsole • Pull-on tabs for easy on and off

WWW.XTRATUFBOOTS.COM

L.L. BEAN HYBRID FISHING SHIRT With a unique combination of fabrics, excellent ventilation and built-in sun protection, L.L. Bean’s Hybrid Fishing Shirt delivers unbeatable performance. This shirt is slightly fitted to provide on-thewater functionality while looking good. A relaxed fit through the chest and sleeve as well as stretchy knit upper arms with built-in articulation allow for a full range of motion when casting. A slightly slimmer waist keeps uneccesary fabric out of the way when you’re fishing. The Hybrid Fishing Shirt features a blend of woven and knit nylon and polyester with built-in UPF 50+ sun protection. It’s breathable, and a caped back for ventilation will keep you cool and comfortable during long days on the water. Polygiene treatment prevents the growth of odor causing bacteria to keep you from smelling worse than the fish you catch. L.L. Bean has designed a performance fishing shirt that looks as good as it performs on the water. Trim for attaching zingers and forceps and streamlined pockets for gear complete the package.

WWW.LLBEAN.COM

SCALESKINZ MULTIFUNCTIONAL HEADWEAR Capsmith Inc. is the No. 1 trusted source for fishing and outdoor enthusiasts with more than 32 years of experience in the headwear industry. Scaleskinz Multifunctional Headwear can be worn many different ways, and will attract all the right attention with colorful detail and sun protection. Scaleskinz feature a seamless tubular design that can be worn in 12 different ways, including a cap, scarf, facemask, headband, neck shade or shape it to fit your needs. This exclusive product offers maximum protection against sun, wind and rain. Scaleskinz are the perfect addition to retail stores that cater to fishing enthusiasts. Available designs include Dolphin, Tarpon, Marlin, Redfish and Bass. One Size Fits Most. For wholesale Scaleskinz inquiries, contact Capsmith Inc. at 1-800-228-3889, or buy online at www.ihatehats.com.

REEF CONTOURED CUSHIONED SANDALS

Reef has become the go-to purveyor of sandals that look as good as they feel on your feet. Their new Contoured Cushioned Sandals are so comfortable you might not even take them off to go to bed. These sandals feature molded rubber sponge footbeds, so you really are wearing pillows on the soles of your feet. Synthetic-nubuck-leather uppers are stylish and durable, and they are padded with jersey lining to feel super soft against your skin. Finally, these shoes are outfitted with anatomical arch support to keep you comfortable all day long, through any adventure. What more could you expect from a company that is world-renowned for making high-quality footwear for those who enjoy life on the water. Whether you’re headed offshore or to the tiki bar, Reef’s Contoured Cushioned Sandals will keep your feet looking as good as they feel.

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APPAREL Product Review PELAGIC BATTLE GLOVES Ever look at an old salt’s hands? Fishermen are right up there with mechanics for having the most abused hands out there. Pelagic, a company that designs clothing specifically for protecting anglers from the harsh marine environment, has the perfect solution for protecting your hands while they’re doing battle. Pelagic Battle Gloves give anglers an edge when fighting monsters of the deep. These heavy-duty “Sure Grip” fishing gloves are ideal for fishing heavy mono, braid or wire lines and are Kevlar reinforced for maximum protection from line cuts, blisters, sharp fins and teeth. Made with open fingertips for maximum dexterity and finger maneuverability, they protect your hands while allowing you to do the intricate work of rigging lines and baits and tying knots. These gloves increase angler endurance, yet are versatile enough to use for fish handling, bill grabbing, fish filleting, and many other offshore purposes. With Velcro security and stamped with the Pelagic deluxe logo, Battle Gloves are a must-have for any offshore adventure.

WWW.PELAGICGEAR.COM IN GOGS WE TRUST! The Kluch Signature Gog Tee features a simulated goggle eye portrait complete with $100 bill background and Kluch lettering. Available in a variety of styles, this shirt is built of a 100 percent ringspun cotton fabric for that true comfort fit. When it comes to sport fishing, having the right bait means everything! The “In Gogs We Trust” collection was inspired by those brutal days fishing tournaments and being down a release needing another bite to edge into first. After countless attempts of creating luck, teams turn to their wells in search of the best-looking bait to catapult them onto the podium. When all of a sudden the right short starts acting up and there he is!

BODY GLOVE 3T BAREFOOT WARRIOR

Many watersports require toe dexterity, and that’s where the Body Glove’s 3T Barefoot line of water shoes shines. Whether you’re a top athlete, a beginner, or somewhere in between, 3T Barefoot shoes are the perfect footwear for everything water. It doesn’t matter if it’s Stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or just swimming off a rocky shore, the 3T Barefoot is up to the task. A patented three-toe design allows for dexterity in the toes that need it. A minimalist, neutral-balance foot bed allows for maximum ground feel while keeping your foot protected. Body Glove’s Integrated Drainage System (IDS) lets water drain out while preventing debris from entering the shoe. It can be worn either in or out of the water. Other features of the 3T Barefoot include adjustable shocklaces, easy slipon design, hybrid use for in or out of the water, zero heel lift, and the drainage system, which cools the foot with air circulation when out of water.

WWW.BODYGLOVE.COM OLUKAI PA‘A SANDALS

WWW.KLUCH.COM A good pair of sandals is as important to life on the water as a boat, maybe more important. The Hawaiian company OluKai knows this well, which is why they make footwear designed specifically for the ocean lifestyle. At the core of OluKai’s philosophy are quality, durability, comfort and craftsmanship, which means their sandals are crafted to perform and last. OluKai’s new PA‘A sandals were designed with on-the-water action in mind. Translated, PA‘A means secure in English, and these flip-flop-style kicks provide secure footing while battling fish from the deck of a boat or while scrambling out on a jetty to cast. They are fully adjustable on both straps with molded D-rings and micro hookand-loop to ensure a snug fit so the sandals won’t fall off your feet. Water resistant synthetic straps and soft, quick-drying jersey knit lining provide comfort in and out of the water. The footbed is crafted of anatomical, compression-molded EVA midsole with a brushed ICEVA drop-in. The outsole features a non-marking, wetgrip sticky rubber base enhanced with rubber pods for durability and maximum water traction. If you’re looking for a sandal that offers all-day comfort and secure footing in any situation, PA‘A sandals are about as good as it gets.

WICKED DRY & COOL PERFORMANCE SHIRTS Hook & Tackle, designers, manufacturers and distributors of authentic performance fishing apparel since 1963, introduces the new Wicked Dry & Cool collection. Designed with a breakthrough Wicked Dry & Cool proprietary fabric that wicks moisture while keeping you cool, the shirts feature radial sleeves for expansive arm movement. The extremely light yet durable fabrication offers UPF 50+ sun protection, quick dryness and odor resistance. Tested and proven to be the coolest shirts in the market, they are now available in four designs from sizes XS-3XL. For more information, contact Stan at srudman@sportailor.com or visit the site.

WWW.HOOKANDTACKLE.COM

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Lake Erie’s

Big Brown Bass L

By Nick Carter ake Erie boasts some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the world. And over the nearly 10,000 square miles of surface area on this massive lake, the Eastern Basin offers some of the best habitat for bronzebacks. The Eastern Basin is the deepest part of the lake and is separated by a ridge that runs north to south from Long Point in Ontario, Canada to Erie, Pennsylvania. Buffalo New York sits on the eastern shore at the mouth of the Niagara River. Anglers visiting Niagara Falls would be foolish not to set aside a day for fishing the irregular near-shore topography that makes the Eastern Basin such a good fishery. Biologists see incredible growth rates from smallmouth in this area, and 5- to 7-pound fish are a regular occurrence. Kayla Culp, a teacher from Ridgeway, Ontario, has spent years patterning smallies on the Canadian side of the lake. In the Canadian waters of Erie, bass season is closed in spring to protect bedding fish. This is not the case for U.S. waters, where anglers take advantage of pre-spawn migrations as early as April. When the fish move up onto sand flats and chunk rock and into the bays and major tributaries in early spring, it is a time for bumping the bottom in 15 to 20 feet of water with spoons, tube jigs or blades. It can be a grind to find fish, but anglers who set up over a school will find plenty of action and potential for giant smallmouth bass. Lakewide, bed fishing is generally frowned upon. When the Canadian season opens in late June, smallmouth are typically feeding aggressively during their post-spawn transition to deeper water. Culp

said early summer is a fun time to fish the lake. Smallies will be on the weed edges, and they are susceptible to run-and-gun tactics or trolling with fast-moving lures like jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Location is everything when fish are spread out over so much water. Some enjoy drift fishing to find fish. Culp said to trust your fishfinder and cruise, looking for rock-to-sand transitions. This is especially important as fish move deeper. In summer, big smallies will hang around structure or transitions just off the bottom. The depth can go from 10 to 15 feet in early summer out to 30 feet as the water warms. This summer bite is Culp’s favorite of the year. She enjoys drop shotting soft plastics and tubes into schooled-up fish. When it’s on, 30 fish or more from 2 to 5 pounds and larger are a definite possibility. A natural approach is best in Erie’s clear waters. Dark colors like green and brown make up the majority of Culp’s soft-plastic arsenal. This makes sense. It fits the color scheme of the round goby. These little bottom dwellers invaded the lake in the mid 1990s, and smallies developed a taste for them. Biologists have estimated that gobies account for up to 75 percent of an Erie smallmouth’s diet. The goby invasion is widely credited for accelerated growth rates of smallmouth in the lake. For more bass fishing on Lake Erie, go to

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The Freeport Meat Run

Lorem ipsum

An Annual Trip Of A Lifetime By Nick Carter

By CAM Staff - Photos Courtesy of Picture Perfect Charters

F

or some anglers, the fishing trip of a lifetime is an annual event. Team Finster, out of Fort Myers, Fla., fishes top offshore tournaments, but one of the highlights of their fishing year is an annual spring meat trip that coincides with the arrival of big yellowfin tuna in the Bahamas. Team member Pete Milisci, who operates Picture Perfect Charters out of Fort Myers, feels it’s well worth hauling Team Captain Zac Carpenter’s 34’ SeaVee three hours across the peninsula to launch off Florida’s east coast near Fort Lauderdale. Big yellowfin move through in late April and early May, and five guys spend the better part of the week chasing birds and filling fish boxes. The trip starts with provisioning and bait. As charter captains, team members begin saving and freezing leftover bait from charter trips a month in advance because chumming is key. They prefer fishing live bait, so the livewell is loaded with pilchards and threadfins before they leave. Provisions and gear are crammed into every available hold before they set out on what should be a couple hour run in front of twin Mercury Verado 300s across the Gulf Stream to Carpenter’s condo in Port Lucaya, Freeport, Grand Bahama. The crossing always takes longer than it should. It’s difficult for a boatload of anglers to pass up fish along the way. “Last trip, we had all the fish boxes full before we even got there,” Milisci said. “We came upon a whole tree adrift with mahi all over it. They were good mahi, too, all gaffers.” It’s a good thing there’s an ice machine at the condo. Even when cleaning fish at the dock, there is opportunity to put more meat on ice. Milisci said tarpon and big mutton snapper appear to clean up the scraps. Cooked whole and fresh, those snapper are fine eating. The main event begins after checking in with customs and unloading. “The fishing is right out front. It’s within 10 miles,” Milisci said. “You lose sight of land, and you’re in ’em.” Tuna move constantly, and they move fast. Finding fish is a matter of finding birds on the radar. Huge groups of birds are typically found over bonito, so Team Finster is looking for smaller pockets of birds that are a giveaway for tuna. They never pass a frigatebird without checking it.

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When fish are found, the boat is maneuvered in front of the anticipated direction of the school’s travel. The engines drop into neutral and heavy chumming begins with a month’s worth of frozen baitfish. “The fish are on the surface. They’re coming up blasting baits, and the birds are diving on the bait they push up,” Milisci said. “Sometimes you’ll see fins coming up on your bait.” When fishing in a maelstrom of 10- to 15-pound blackfin tuna and yellowfins weighing 30 to well over 100-pounds, it’s important to fish heavy gear. There are also sharks mixed in, and they will leave nothing but a fish head at the first hint of blood in the water. Anglers must crank hard and fast with 60w and 80w Penn Internationals spooled with 200-pound-test mono and 200- to 300-pound leaders. Anglers either reel fish in from the rod holder with bent-butt rods or fight them with a belt. Tuna will eat dead bait, but the team prefers presenting pilchards and threads on a slack line until they run out of live bait. Milisci said the fish are smart enough to let a bait go if they feel the slightest amount of tension on the line, so that slack is important until a fish eats. Then it becomes a grueling race against the sharks. The reward is almost immediate when a fish hits the deck. Wasabi and soy sauce are kept on-hand, and knives go to work while the rod-man catches his breath. For more on Team Finster or to contact Zac Carpenter or Pete Milisci, see finsterfishing.com. To book an inshore trip with Milisci out of Fort Myers, go to www.pictureperfectcharters.com. For highlights from this Tuna catch, go to

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Spawning Phase Will Play A Big Role In Conroe Bassmaster Classic

K

elly Jordon is not a weatherman. He can’t say for sure what the conditions will be when 52 of the world’s best anglers descend on Lake Conroe, an hour outside of Houston, Texas for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, March 24-26. But as a Texas native and a 22-year veteran of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, Jordon knows bass are likely to be in some phase of the spring spawn— and he said the angler who best identifies that phase is likely to be the winner of the event. “If I was going to guess—depending on what the weather does—I’d say we’ll be toward the final quarter of the spawn,” said Jordon. “There will still be some fish on the beds, but there will also be a lot of postspawn fish.” A spawn/postspawn scenario could provide a lot of options, and it could certainly lead to some giant fish being brought to the scales at the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park. Jordon said the bluegill will likely be coming up to spawn, and big bass can often be found feeding around bluegill beds. Male bass are also likely to be guarding recently hatched fry, and big females that are hungry from the spawn could be roaming the shallows. Though some bass are likely to still be on the beds, Jordon said he doesn’t expect sight fishing to be a dominant technique. “I don’t think somebody can win on sight fishing alone,” he said. “You’re likely to see several giant fish caught off beds or maybe a key 5-pounder at a time when someone really needs it. But I don’t think it’s something you’ll be able to totally hang your hat on.” As for the type of structure that’s likely to be most popular, Jordon said anglers will have their pick. “The water color will depend on how much rain we get and which part of the river you’re fishing,” he said. “The water way up on the upper end could be a lot more stained than the lower end. But when you get up there, you’ll find plenty of backwater stuff, some side creeks, some marinas, some residential

areas with canals, big gigantic flats—a little bit of everything.” The lower end of the lake could appeal to dock fishing specialists. “The lower half of the lake—if not more than half—is pretty much wall-to-wall boat docks and seawalls,” Jordon said. “Whether you want to fish shallow shoreline cover or deep shoreline Bassmaster Elite Series angler and cover, there’s tons of it Classic competitor Bradley Roy caught available. You can find this giant largemouth during pre-pracseawalls that may have tice on Lake Conroe. 10 feet of water around them. “You’ll find flat banks and deep banks. It’s a really dynamic place—and since we’ll be in the spring spawning season, the person who finds not only where the fish are, but where they’re headed, is going to be the one who’s in the best position to win.” With the phases of the spawn playing a major role and Conroe’s reputation for producing big bass, there’s a good chance there will be some 30-pound sacks brought to weigh-ins. For more on last years Bassmaster Classic, go to

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FLY FISHING

WADE FISHING ESSENTIALS

W

ade fishing is one of the most rewarding ways to target shallow-water fish like bonefish or redfish. However, there is more to wade fishing than just walking on a white sand flat or beach and casting to fish. To make the wade fishing experience more enjoyable, here are a few tips to help you make longer casts, protect your feet, blend into your environment, stay safe and catch more fish! Stripping Basket There is nothing more frustrating than fishing from the beach and having your fly line wrap and tangle around your legs and feet especially after you have made a perfect cast to a school of stripers, a corbina or surf perch. The simplest way to solve this problem is to invest in a stripping basket. Made from a variety of materials and available in many styles, a stripping basket will assist you in managing your line. Removing your concern for loose line will allow you more time to concentrate on improving your casting and distance. A stripping basket is not limited to beach fishing, either. More and more anglers are also accepting the value of the stripping basket on boats. A taller free-standing cousin to the wearable basket allows you to keep your line off the deck and avoid its many potential hang-ups including boat cleats, shoe laces, coolers and the other obstructions on a boat’s deck. Wading Footwear There are hundreds of different types of practical shoes for fishing. Select a shoe with high ankle support, a firm and solid toe and stiff arch support. Since you’ll be wading in a variety of bottom conditions from soft mud, soft sand, hard sand and even reefs or oyster beds, it’s a good idea to get a shoe that has a thick sole to prevent punctures. Blend In Blend into your environment. Match your clothes to your

surroundings. If you are fishing the beach, wear neutral colors like tan, light green or even brown. When fishing the flats, a light blue shirt, and stone-colored shirts or pants are your best choice. Also don’t overlook camouflage outfits when stalking spooky fish in shallow water. There are plenty of camo patterns on today’s market, and aside from looking good, wearing camouflage allows you to blend into the environment. Don’t Get Lost One of the worst fishing nightmares is becoming lost or disoriented on the ocean, on the flats or in a marsh’s maze. A handheld GPS can prevent this terrifying situation. Also, if you find an outstanding area where the fishing is red-hot, you can mark it in your GPS and return to the exact spot whenever you choose. Most GPS units contain moon phase and tidal information, which are keys to successful saltwater fly fishing.

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ass anglers use lipless crankbaits in many circumstances and ways. I believe it is not used enough for reds, trout, tarpon and snook. In fact, a lipless crankbait is one of the most effective baits to catch fish in shallow water, and it’s definitively one of those I use often. And I’m not alone. When Louisiana’s famous Team Broussard was at the very top of their tournament career a few years ago, “Cajun” Phil and Capt. Kevin had many wins including the Redfish Cup and Team of the Year titles. The secret weapon they were hiding from media and competitors alike was a Flatt Shadd 50 snagless. That small, compact, lipless crankbait puts out vibrations that travel far through the water, catching the predator’s attention as if it was of a much larger bait. The quick, side-to-side motion also creates a lot of flash, adding visual attraction. When I was the Mepps spinner designer 20 years ago, I worked closely with scientists who had an understanding of the factors that attract predatory fish. The type of vibration and its volume were key. Both with inline spinners and lipless crankbaits, moving a significant amount of water is essential for creating signals that are much larger than many other types of baits. This is why baits with spinning blades and those that emit vibrations commonly catch large fish, even when the lures are small. Often, a predatory fish is first alerted to a potential meal by its lateral line, a natural radar. These small baits fool the fish into thinking it is chasing down much larger and more significant prey. How do you use a lipless crankbait best when you’re on the flats or casting close to the mangroves? If it is deep enough, you can cast and burn it or slow roll it to offer consistent action and cover lots of water as a search bait. This is the main way I use a lipless bait when targeting tarpon or large channel bass (red drum) in main inlets, estuaries and anywhere there is enough depth and preferably some current. But for the true, shallow inshore and backcountry fishing, I use them as I would a soft jerkbait rigged on a jig head. I twitch-twitch-pause and yo-yo it. The great thing with a vibrating bait is every time you pull on the rod, you can feel the bait reacting. Action can be constant when fish are aggressive, but for cold water or finicky fish, don’t hesitate to let the lure pause on the ground for a few seconds here and there. You might be surprised to find the majority of bites happen on the drop, or even when the lure is lying motionless. Fish can be so hungry for it that they swallow it in a snap, resulting more than you can imagine in hook sets deep within the fish’s mouth. If you haven’t thrown a small lipless crankbait around in the shallows, give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

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FLORIDA

Why Just By Tom Karrow

Bonefish?

“While Pursuing bonesfish, many anglers overlook the boxfish.”

A

s a bonefish researcher in the Bahamas, I often hear “bonefish” anglers saying they only cast to bonefish while fishing the flats. Somehow this statement is supposed to elevate their angling prowess, but to me, these people are really missing out on fun and great learning opportunities. While bonefish seem to dominate the species that anglers pursue, there are a host of other fascinating creatures that inhabit similar ecosystems, each utterly fantastic to catch. If you are rigged for bonefish, do not hesitate to throw at a barracuda, jack or other fish you encounter. I often carry a larger fly for predators like barracuda and to quickly attach it, I simply use the hook of my bonefish fly through the eye of the larger fly to provide me with a quick tie, which can just as easily be removed. Species like jack and barracuda both offer great sport and are usually readily available. Look for barracuda in ambush locations, over dark patches, deep holes or cuts and remember to use wire or you will lose flies, lures or bait. I often blind cast into suspect areas, and the reward often outweighs these minor efforts! Tube flies or lures commonly fool barracudas, but I have caught them on just about everything, including bonefish flies. In addition to permit, jack and barracuda, mutton snapper, triggerfish, jacks, boxfish, puffer fish, needlefish and many other potential quarry roam the flats. Most bonefish anglers overlook these fish, but in pursuing them, anglers increase their chances of bending their rod. Fights from many of these species rival or even surpass those of a bonefish, and many times these species fill the emptiness in flats void of bonefish. They can be just as finicky or more so than bonefish and make great camera fare. Many of these species tail like bonefish, cruise behind rays like bonefish, and they can be as selective as bonefish or even more so. Triggerfish, pufferfish and boxfish have tiny mouths that require tiny flies on strong hooks and

usually a slow deliberate retrieve. These fish have tough mouths with loads of teeth perfect for grazing on coral; hooks must be sharp and strong. I have many times fought triggerfish for some time only to have the fly fall from their mouth as they come to hand. An interesting fact I have learned from several elder guides I have interviewed is that triggerfish are great table fare and their skin is highly abrasive. In days gone by, the skin of triggerfish was dried and used for scrubbing floors and general cleaning in many family island communities. For more on the research I have been undertaking in the Bahamas or to contact me, visit tomkarrow.wix.com/bahamas-guide-tek. Thanks to Coastal Angler Magazine for continued support of this research along with Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, The University of the Bahamas and BFFIA.

BluewaterSFC_half_pg_Mar2017 FOR PRINT.qxp_Layout 1 1/18/17 8:06 PM Page 1

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Cool Water Wading

T

he water is still cool but the fishing can be hot. Strap on your waders and head for the Indian River Lagoon. Drainage from Okeechobee has stopped since fall, the water is clear and there are signs the grass might start coming back. North of Fort Pierce inlet has already shown signs of growth. Look for areas of rock kelp growing north near the first Vero Bridge. Early spring means pompano. They will be cruising the lagoon on deep-water edges for the next month and will take a 4-inch C.A.L. jig or smaller pompano jigs. Look for pompano skipping in the water. If you scare one to the surface, there will be more. Make sure to keep your jig bumping the bottom, which will also entice redfish and trout that like a slow presentation. Use a jig of 1/8-ounce or heavier. It’ll help keep your presentation on the bottom. Cool water also means bluefish and mackerel. Both are line cutters with sharp teeth. They school up and cruise the shorelines. Both like fast presentations and hit near the top. Move the jig quickly in areas with bait. Make sure you use pliers and keep your fingers out

of their mouths. As the water warms into the mid-70s, big snook start biting. In the spring, big females head for shallow water on the shoreline of the lagoon. Instead of catching 18- to 23-inch male snook, you’ll run into some over-slot females. You’ll find snook around the mangroves during high tide and around structure like walls and docks. Look for them to go shallow when the sun is up. Look for bait and try the St. Lucie River. The South Fork is good for numbers, and 10 snook a day is not unusual. Trout have been hard to find. Look to sandy points on the east side of the lagoon in the Stuart area. Higher tides are best. There are some trout in the Vero area if you wade the west side at Wilcox Road. High outgoing is best. The Moorings area is good on the east side if you can get access. 

Fishing for jack and ladyfish has continued to be excellent, and 20-jack days are typical. Jacks are schooling inside the sandbar. If you get a strike, you’ll probably get two more and catch one. The lagoon and river jacks have been averaging 1 to 3 pounds. They are very aggressive. I recently caught a jack when my lure was out of the water. Here’s a trick for fishing in high wind. If you have to fish in a crosswind, there’ll be a big bow in your line, and you’ll lose touch with your lure. Keep your rod tip down an inch or two above the water. Your line will be in the water except for a few feet at the rod tip. When your line’s in the water, the wind can’t bow it. 
For info on the Stuart Rod & Reel Club, call 336-414-3440. For more wade fishing in the Indian River Lagoon, go to

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Amazing 13,000 Mile Journey

A

male mako shark named Hell’s Bay has broken a record, traveling more than 13,000 miles, equal to over half-way around the planet, in 600 days. It is the longest track ever in the Atlantic Ocean by a mako shark tagged by researchers in Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI). “We’ve had some of our tagged makos take some pretty interesting tracks over the years, but this one swims above the rest,” said Mahmood Shivji, a professor at NSU and the director of GHRI. “Having Hell’s Bay report for as long as he has is fantastic because we’re able to really get a detailed look at mako migration behavior over a good amount of time. He was like the Energizer bunny—he kept going and going and going, and luckily did not get captured like many of our other sharks.” The 600-day track of Hell’s Bay mako can be seen at: nova.edu/ sharktracking (select Project 3). Hell’s Bay was tagged in May 2015 off the coast of Ocean City, Md. In the first year, Hell’s Bay traveled north along the east coast and then returned close to the tagging site. Hell’s Bay spent 2016 hanging around the coast of Maryland and taking jaunts throughout the Atlantic traveling east of Nova Scotia to just south of Bermuda before returning to Ocean City. In 2017, it repeated a similar path closer to the coast. Hell’s Bay showed clear seasonal patterns to its movements, spending the winter and early spring far offshore, and the rest of the year on or close to the continental shelf. The closest relative to the white shark, makos are the cheetahs of the shark species. As the fastest shark species, makos can swim up to 60 mph. The tags are funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), a not-for-profit organization that conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. “These satellite tags allow us to follow sharks in near-real time,” said

Greg Jacoski, executive director of the GHOF. “Understanding where these animals travel and the habitat that they use is the first step to better conserving the species.” Hell’s Bay was named after Hell’s Bay Boatworks, a boat manufacturer based in Titusville, Fla. The tag was sponsored by Capt. Chris Peterson, who owns Hell’s Bay Boatworks. A new GHRI study has just reported that 22 percent of the makos that have been satellite tagged were caught or killed by commercial or recreation fishermen. Shivji indicated that worldwide, sharks are being killed off in unimaginable numbers – some estimates say between 70100 million sharks per year. Clearly, that is not a sustainable level of removal, since many shark species, including makos, reproduce at low rates. For more information about the GHOF and GHRI, visit www. guyharvey.com. To see Hell’s Bay’s journey as well as other sharks tagged by GHRI researchers, visit nova.edu/sharktracking. For more about tracking Mako Sharks, go to

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s of March 1, it’s open season in all state waters for Florida’s favorite inshore fish: snook. On the Atlantic side, recreational snook season opened Feb. 1 in Florida’s Atlantic and inland waters from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line north, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. In the Atlantic, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license, unless the angler is exempt from the license requirements. The harvest of snook in all of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state waters, including Everglades National Park and all of Monroe County opened March 1. The limit on the Gulf side is one fish per angler, per day that is not less than 28 or more than 33 inches total length. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home. Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save their filleted carcasses and provide them to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. For a county-by-county list, go to MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater,” “Snook” under the heading “Saltwater Fish,” and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.”

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NAVICO ELECTRONICS CONNECTED GLOBALLY International marine electronics company, Navico, is bringing global connectivity to its GoFree product suite, providing boaters, fleet managers and service technicians the ability to monitor, log, transmit and report important vessel information in real-time around the globe. This upgrade is made possible through Vodafone’s Internet of Things Technology (IoT). With Vodafone’s global network and Global IoT SIM, Navico’s GoFree Track and GoFree Vessel products will be connected across the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions for all types of marine vessels including local boats or cargo ships traveling internationally. With the connectivity, GoFree Track, an affordable hardware system, can track critical vessel information like engine hours, battery status, oil pressure, coolant temperature, fuel consumption and more. By tracking these on-board assets, boaters can instantly access details of potential mechanical problems and share them with technicians to service the specific area in need. Vodafone’s IoT technology allows GoFree Track to monitor bilge levels and alarms letting boaters know if the vessel is taking on water and allowing them to react accordingly, as well as notifying them when there is loss of shore power, which can drain batteries and potentially damage onboard systems that are running. All data collected is transmitted back to the GoFree Vessel online module for immediate viewing, giving consumers better access and control over vessel details. GoFree Vessel allows users to play back different boating trips to share with friends or service partners. GoFree Track is offered with a variety of communication options including the Track-WiFi or Track-CellFi, which leverages Vodafone’s Global SIM to connect users to 2G or 3G networks throughout the world.

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Spring Boat Shows

Mix Boats With Seafood And Live Music

S

pring boat shows really are easy as 1- 2- 3! Current Productions is bringing their unique twist to the boat show for three major boating markets. Current Productions has been producing successful marine events for 20-plus years. They are proud to kick off spring with The Southeast US Boat Show. This major event has been anchoring the spring boating schedule for many years, and that means it has evolved and improved beyond just acres of boats on display on land and in a marina filled with boats and yachts. Current Productions now puts what they have learned into the form of a very fun and cool twist on all three of their spring events. Jimmy Hill, show producer, explained that bringing the fun to the waterfront with a big music and seafood festival onsite at the same time as the boat show is the key to their success. Separating the commerce

area and treating the fun festivals as a major feature inside the shows works to make Current Production events that much better. Jacksonville, Fla. has been home to the region’s largest event, The Southeast US Boat Show, scheduled for April 21-23, and featuring The Oyster Jam Music Festival. It has become a huge deal with thousands of folks out on the riverfront jamming out to great live music, amazing food and the best boat deals around. Central Florida has always been its own boating hot spot, so it only made sense that the Daytona and Orlando boat dealers are gearing up for their own in-water, major boating expo—the Florida Boat Show and Dock Jam, the regions biggest boating event to be held May 19-21 at Halifax Harbor Marina and Grounds. The event features everything: boating, yachting, including all the accessories, and fun. But, don’t forget the music and seafood festival in an awesome setting right on the water at the best marina around. This event quickly established itself as the marine industries’ favorite for Central Florida and is expected to grow with more dealers and the bigger focus on the regions amazing seafood. It’s a must attend event for anyone in the area. The third event is the one that has everyone talking in the Panhandle this year—The Florida Panhandle Boat Show to be hosted at the City Marina in downtown Panama City this June 16-18. Locals know that this is the perfect weekend to catch the bulk of the boating community as they gather to enjoy the beautiful emerald waters of this part of Florida. The festival is live on the pier at the City Marina downtown. The boating industry is excited to bring the best deals to the best venue for the best show in the Panhandle. Activities and fun will center around the water and include great music on stage and the area’s best seafood vendors. The kids will enjoy the pier-side fishing experience, and there are seminars for the whole crew. For more information on all of these awesome events, visit currentproductions.us. For more about these great events, go to

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NORTH FLORIDA

Remembering

Jose Wejebe

By Capt. Cliff Lumpkin

F

riends, family and fellow anglers gathered the last weekend of January to remember the life and legacy of fishing legend Jose Wejebe who tragically lost his life in a plane crash in April 2012. Jose was the host of the extremely popular TV fishing show, “The Spanish Fly,” which highlighted the great fishing and areas of south Florida and the Florida Keys. Jose was surely known for his fishing prowess, but he was equally known for giving back to the community through charity organizations like Make a Wish Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Red Bone Catch a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis, to name a few. It was in memory of this generosity that the Spanish Fly Memorial Foundation was formed to continue this important work. The Spanish Fly Memorial Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable organization and honors Jose’s legacy by making fishing dreams come true for those who face life-impacting challenges. The Foundation not only provides

a once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience, but also exposes participants to the ecology that Jose cared so much about. To highlight these efforts, the Spanish Fly Memorial Foundation organized the annual #FishforJose event. This three-day event encourages the local community to take time to do something new by sharing a fishing experience with a friend or offering trade tips and techniques— anything that will help continue to spread Jose Wejebe’s mission of giving back. The event kicked off with a welcome party at the Square Grouper’s upstairs bar My New Joint in Cudjoe Key. Guests were greeted at the door by another Florida fishing icon and foundation board member Capt. Jim Sharpe. The evening was filled with great food and drinks, a silent auction and raffles and provided the opportunity for guests to share stories and memories of Jose. In attendance at the event were some of the wounded and injured veterans that have benefited from the hard work of the foundation. Day two was dinner at Jose’s with the Spanish Fly family. The invite-only dinner featured Cuban food, music provided by local musicians Terry Cassidy and the Key Lime Band and guest speakers like legendary guides and mentors Stu Apte, Steve Huff, dear friend Carter Andrews and daughter Krissy Wejebe. Day three encouraged participants to take the day to fish for Jose, post their stories on social media using #FishforJose and meet at the Saltwater Angler for an open bar, silent auctions and guest speakers from the fishing industry. The weekend was a huge success. Cliff Lumpkin is the co-publisher of the Florida Keys edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. To learn more about Jose’s passion and spirit, visit the tribute to Jose Youtube video at this link https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=zYPuTAQduMQ. To find out more about the organization or how you can help, visit the foundation’s website at www.josewejebefoundation.org. To learn more about Jose’s passion and spirit, watch a tribute here

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Gaining Confidence In A New Lure Is Key

By Michael Okruhlik • Photo Courtesy of My Coast Outdoors

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aining confidence in a new lure is key to having success fishing with it. Whether it is new to the market or just new to you, without confidence you might not tie it on or keep it on for long. Many times anglers tie on a new lure prior to the trip anticipating instant success only to be heartbroken when the fish didn’t show the same enthusiasm. Other times, we tie on the new lure when nothing else is working expecting a miracle. In reality, fish might not have been caught during these two scenarios simply because they were not there or they were not feeding. This could leave us with a bad impression of the product and cause us to toss it in the bottom of the tackle bag, where it will lie in darkness. Many years ago I bought a very popular slow-sinking lure that

everyone raved about. I could not catch a fish on it if my life depended on it. Looking back, I fell into the two scenarios above and never gave it a fair shake, but that’s a story for another article. The same was true for topwaters in salt water. I had caught many bass on them, but I would only tie one on when I wasn’t catching anything in the salt. Then I decided that I was going to catch a speckled trout on a topwater plug or I was not going to catch one at all. To build my confidence and perfect my technique, I decided to only carry topwaters on my trips. I remember the day I gained that confidence. On a trip to Lake Calcasieu, La. with three friends, my persistence paid off. It was not a productive day overall, but it was a great day for me. I caught 3 ½-, 5-, and 6-pound trout plus a keeper redfish. Every time I would hook a fish, a few of my buddies would tie on a topwater, fish it for a while, and then switch back to a soft plastic. Between the three of them, they landed one red. Had I not kept the topwater on all day, I think it is safe to say I would not have had a productive day, but most of all, I still would not have gained confidence in the lure. I have found that when I decide to try a new lure, I make sure to give it a full and fair trial. I like to fish it through different scenarios and conditions to see where it might stand out from the rest of my tackle. While doing this, I like to fish with others and measure my production against theirs. I am not one to switch as soon as my buddy catches a fish, or three. I prefer to keep plugging away, trying to make them eat what I am offering. That is how I break in a new lure. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com. For more about the lure that Okruhlik gained confidence with, go to

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Feathering a Baitcaster To Cast Farther By Tobin Strickland • Photo courtesy of Troutsupport.com

T

he final step to casting farther is learning to “feather” the reel spool. Feathering the reel spool edge or the line on the spool is accomplished by using the thumb to ever so slightly brush the spool edge during the initial one-third of the cast. With the increased power being loaded into the cast now, you have to control the spool speed during at the beginning of the cast until downrange velocity is a little more constant. This takes practice, practice, practice. Start by not fully removing your thumb from the spool during a cast. Instead of fully removing the thumb off the spool at the beginning of the cast, just leave the thumb to barely brush the line or the spool edge as the line leaves the spool. I find feathering is more consistently accomplished on the edge of the spool. As you practice, your touch will be become lighter and more precise. You’ll begin to feel the point where the spool is running smoothly, and at that point in the cast you can completely remove the thumb from the spool and let the reel do all the work. Here on the flats, we’re using the Team Lews Lite and ProG to consistently make very long casts working structure such as potholes and edges of grass and oyster. Many times catching fish at the end of the cast and adding fish that weren’t reachable prior to using these tools Tobin Strickland (aka TroutSupport.com) is a Lew’s Field Staff member.

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Big Bend on the Road K

eeping with the theme, Big Bend on the Road, I recently fished Port Aransas, Texas. Make no mistake about it, Florida is the fishing capital of the world, and for the most part we lead the fishing and boating industry in every category. Then comes Texas. Texas has fish! Texas has crazy skinny water boats! Texas has miles and miles of wade fishable waters! Most important Texas has CONSERVATION! Please, read the signs. These signs are posted at most public boat landings, and marinas in Texas. I know to the experienced fisherman, that are familiar with the understanding of balanced ecosystems and managing a successful fishery, the signs seem passé. However, I am certain that everyone, including myself, needs to read the signs. Number one, observe all boating rules. If you are not certain of the boating rules, please do some research BEFORE you launch your boat. I am skipping two and three simply for the sake of limited word space. We will revisit them another month. The photos will be outstanding! Four and five, kinda go together. I know on any given weekend, it can feel crowded. As a guide, I feel your pain, as my income is sometimes influenced by the crowds. It truly is a BIG bay. I always love the theory of boats attracting boats. Be a leader! You could find your own pile of fish! That’s how legends are born. Well, six, seven, and eight, are the most important, CONSERVATION. Simple. Without the sea grass beds, the fish will not be here. Ask anyone from old school Tampa Bay. Litter. Some always finds its way into the water from your boat and mine. Make it a habit to slow down and grab someone else’s. Keeping life in balance. Last, Keep what you need, and put the rest back. By 2017, we understand our resource is not endless. Protecting for future generations is noble. How about protecting for next season? Make no mistake about it. This season’s conservation is next season’s

By Capt. Mike McNamara results. Yes, please join CCA Florida. Meanwhile, I will work on gathering funds for Florida signs.

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MARCH 2017

BIG BEND 3


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LANARK M

arch is one of those months historically that can be extremely cold or unseasonably warm. Determine first the weather pattern leading up to the days you fish and react accordingly. With cooler temperatures continue to look for the midmorning high tide to catch all of the opportunistic feeders making their way onto warmer flats heated by the sun. Like November through February I feel tide is more of a determining factor to catching fish than any other determinate the winter months have to offer. Redfish, trout, sheephead, Sadie tricked a nice winter redfish on a gold drum and even flounder can be caught in huge numbers in the spoon. early spring months following this mid-morning pattern. Target shallow flats that have exposed grass or oyster outcrops and focus on working your bait as close to the structure as possible. When the water starts to crest the tops of the bars work yourself off the structure methodically. If the temperature starts to become warmer fall back to the fall pattern. Another great upper to middle column bait is the spoon. Aqua Dream Living by Captain Mike Hakala makes a great spoon that mimics most bait. Pick your favorite color and work it over mixed bottom and oyster bars. Another fantastic artificial bait for March is the 6” DOA glow jerk bait or the Slayer Inc. soft plastic line. Rig these soft plastics with a 1/16 oz. weed less hook or a Slayer Inc. jig head. Lanark, St. Theresa and around to Alligator Harbor has produced a number of decent reports of redfish being caught on both ends of the tide. The Captains I am talking to are looking for the clean water around the last half of the high tides and the first part of the falling tide. They are reporting solid numbers of redfish and trout being caught on soft plastics and gold spoons. Offshore this month I am getting great reports of amberjack being caught in 80+ feet of water. Most anglers are dropping down frozen LY’s but they can also be caught vertical jigging with a butterfly jig or heavy bucktail jig. The sheephead and flounder bite will continue to be excellent in March around your areas near shore structure. Pick up a Hot Spot map or Google some public numbers and you can fill a cooler with a mess of fish. The Big Bend has one of the best fisheries in the entire state, so get out, support your local tackle shop and bend a rod! FORECAST BY: Liam Callaghan IFA Kayak Tour National Angler of the Year St Croix Rods Pro Staff Native Watercraft Fishing Team

6 BIG BEND

MARCH 2017

PANACEA

I

s it winter? Is it summer? I'm Keep a look out for our buddies the Manatees not sure myself but I guaran- when running the rivers this time of year! tee the fish don't know...they move in and out as the water temperature changes. Then storms dump lots of rain and that changes the patterns too. Here is a tip. If the water is murky, then a shiny or bright bait work best. If the water is clear, then light colored baits do well. Another tip, white seems to always work. The sheephead are up the Ochlockonee near the bridge. Put a live shrimp or fiddler crab down and you should find fish. Search for trout and reds, on either side of the bridge shoreline. If the water temperature is sixty degrees and above, check the bars and dark bottom areas along the Redfish off the bars out in the bay. shoreline. In these areas, I like to use a floating lipped bait, like a Bite-A-Bait, in copper with a dark back. If temperatures are way below 60 degrees, work deeper holes and channels with jigs or live shrimp. If it goes above 68, head to flats! Maybe someday soon it will level. Spring is going to make for some exciting times on the water. Have fun and be safe! FORECAST BY: Captain Steve Hobbs SkeeterBite Fishing Charters splopscapt@gmail.com Call or text 850-363-0527 Check us out on Facebook

Raymond Clark with a nice upper slot redfish. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM

Robert Houghton shows a nice winter trout.


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must admit. I haven’t seen anything like it in 20 years of fishing the Big Bend. This is the year without a winter. Mid February, and the flipflops are in full effect. What is going to happen to the fishing? I am guessing it is going to be awesome! With a heavy dose of March wind, lets see how it all plays out. Trout should be laying low with water temps below 62 this month, but not the Kristi with a solid flounder. Fish was caught Tuesday case so far. They still have to hang tight to land until water morning! temps reach 68, or so. So, fishing the edge of stuff is the best bet this month. Oyster bars, rock piles, and marsh grass will hold fish. Keep throwing small baits until it reaches 70, and the pinfish return to the flats. Paddletails on a jighead will catch them. It shou ld b e a banner spring for redfish. They shouldn’t be starving to death and confused as they sometimes get in the winter. The warmer flats have kept them eating all winter. If the rains are light this spring, the red- Clayton's red was caught Tuesday afternoon, T shirt weather! fish bite will be on fire! Same as with trout, keep your baits small. Topwater usually doesn’t get good until April, but this year, let them fly. The sooner they start crunching topwater the better! March will also see a push of pelagics. I am always interested in when the first mackerel arrives. How about the first smash and drag of a 10 pound jack! A nice push of pompano is very possible. Sheephead will be piled up on the public reefs, with a flounder or two mixed in. Seabass trips are worthy if the wind is calm. All can be caught on a live shrimp. I am jacked up about early spring! The boats are rigged and ready to fly by March 1st. So give me a call/text/email and lets go make drag sound! Meanwhile, I will be praying for very little rain, and less wind! Warm is good, and the fish are coming!

Taylor with a slot red. His fish was caught on Wednesday morning. Fifty degree temperature change in 24 hours!

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MARCH 2017

BIG BEND 7


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KEATON BEACH T

his milder than usual ( but certainly not Global Warming) winter so far should have the trout and reds biting like crazy come March this year. We had been holding Gulf water temps around 58-63 over the last few weeks with an occasional dip down around 55 degrees; but mostly Tom Windram of Port Charlotte, Florida with a Nice Red taken on warmer than usual. an Assassin Croaker Shad pattern 5" Shad. The pinfish are out and aggressive on the flats hitting anglers plugs fishing this week. If the bait is there the trout are there...but they will need the water temperatures to hold 60 degrees overnight for a week before things really take off. MirrOlure's suspending baits: Soft-Dines, Paul Brown Devils, MirrOdines and Catch 2000's will all take nice trout and reds in March as will lipped-jerkbaits like Bite-A-Bait fighters, Cordell Redfins, Bomber Long A's and MirrOlips. TIP: Use the suspending baits in water temps from 58-63 and the floater-diver lipped baits in waters 63 degrees plus. Remember to fish s-l-o-w-l-y as March fish are just beginning to warm up as early Spring comes around. Try the NEW Assassin S a lt y Sna ck s r i g ge d un-weig hte d on t he Eagle Claw 5/0 Trokar Magworm hook provided in the package. Comes in 8 exciting colors. TIP: Toss it out , let it settle to Martin Shine of Tampa with a good Red taken on an the bottom; then twitch it Assassin "Hammertime" pattern 5" Shad. twice and let it settle again then twitch it once… Repeat as necessary. I can feel the subtle strikes on these style baits 'cause I use TrikFish Copolymer X-Rated line which is virtually invisible and yet tough, with a smaller diameter than monofilament of the same line test; and as it is a copolymer, abrasion resistant with very low stretch. Hey, if all else fails we will be drowning some live shrimp under Back Bay Thunders in March and live pinfish if it is as warm as I suppose it may be considering the current trends. My azalea started blooming January 18th and is just about done?

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arch is a month that denotes a season of transition. The old adage, “It comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb” is true. The winds and temperatures jump up and down like a kid on a trampoline but eventually exhaust themselves. If you’re a weekender locked into a Saturday sheepshead trip you are likely to be disappointed if you have a small boat. Sheepshead spawn heavily in March. I believe most of the secret spawning locations have been wiki-leaked. Local charts and tackle shops will certainly direct you toward the flotilla(s). As for tackle, simple trout gear, a knocker rig with the lightest egg sinker and shrimp or fiddler crabs for bait. The bite of a sheepshead is the equivalent of a peck on a wire from a distant chicken. The most important issue is anchoring. You must anchor close to where the fish are milling around. Miss anchoring by ten feet may be the difference between watching people catch fish or them watching you. Sheepshead fishing is the perfect recipe for the melt down of humanity. First, the frustration of not being able to capitalize on the pecks from distant chickens and, if using live shrimp, realizing each peck cost a quarter or more. The boat can be losing over a dollar per minute on the dark side of a strong sheepshead bite. Second, people, on other boats, are fishing tight together and that never works out well over the short term much less the long. Pretty soon somebody is going to perceive some invisible line have been breached and words, possibly sinkers will be thrown between boats. The fun has now ended over the reckless pursuit of some silly fish that isn’t the least bit aware of what is going on above their head. And, it is just a fish. The take home lesson: Fishing is supposed to be fun. Be neighborly and enjoy the good time together. Furthermore, the weekdays are less crowded and generally more enjoyable.

Let’s Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 26 years! www.onemorecast.net onemorecast@gtcom.net cell: 850.838.7541

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FORECAST BY: Capt. Brian E. Smith BIG BEND CHARTERS LIKE us on Facebook! captbrian@bellsouth.net 877-852-FISH • www.BigBendCharters.info


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he past month has been unbelievable in the Horseshoe area. The weather has been unseasonably warm and kept the water temps up and the fishing hot. This is only going to get better this month plus we will start to see the winter tides start to go away as well, so no more fighting extreme low tides. If you are breaking your boat out of storage make sure and do a good walk through and make sure everything is in order before you stick it in the water. The redfish have been schooled up really well the past three weeks and I expect the same to continue. Paired with the gin clear water this has made for some great site fishing. Nothing beats seeing the fish, making a good presentation then watch that fish eat your bait. With the warmer March temps the topwater bite will come on strong to. This is by far my favorite thing to do. You will see some epic strikes and have plenty of drag peeling action. The Mirrolure She Dog or Top Dog Jr. are my top two baits to throw. If I am in skinny water I will throw the Jr., a bigger topwater will spook more fish than it will catch. If they are shying away from the topwater bite I will pick up a Zman Diezel Minnowz on a 3/8 or Âź oz jighead and make a steady retrieve varying my speed until I find what pace the fish like. The big gator trout have also showed up in great numbers. If you are lucky enough to catch one of these beautiful fish I ask that you turn it loose. There are plenty of lower slot trout that you can take for table fair. We want to help sustain this great fishery by turning these big breeder fish loose. The Paul Brown Devil has still been the ticket to put extremely good numbers of trout in the boat. The topwaters will also produce a lot of action. If you are ready to come explore these great waters and have an epic fishing trip give me a call and I will get you set up. I still have a few open dates available. Until next month have fun, be safe and take your kids fishing. FORECAST BY: Capt. Craig Spitznogle Florida Flats Charter Co. 352-445-4978

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MARCH 2017

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ey there folks, H I hope y'all survived the tuff Florida winter, because March starts my favorite time of year. This is when the turkeys start gobbling, fish start bedding, flowers bloom, grass starts growing and boats come out of hiding! To start with, I would like to go over a few things to check on your boat and trailer. If you will do a few simple checks before you strike out on your fishing trip, it just might save you some time and money. After your boat sits for a month or two, you need to check your cranking battery for juice. So, what I do the day before I head fishing is turn my key and make sure the motors fires off. This checks your battery, and also lets you know if it will crank. Another real important thing to check is your steering. If you have cable steering, turn your steering wheel back and forth, to make sure it's not seized up. The cable will sometimes freeze up after it sits for a month or so. If you have hydraulic steering, you won't have this problem, but you will still want to check it to make sure yours has fluid. On your trailer, check your wheel bearings for grease; this might save your fishing trip and an expensive tow bill. Now we are on to the fun stuff. The inshore bite is going off! Trout are just about everywhere, from 1 to 4 feet of water. We are catching the majority of ours on the B52 Super Sounder with a Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad jig beneath it. There is also a new lure that hit the market for 2017 that is working great. It's made by Saltwater Assassin Lures and it's called the Salty Snack. This is an awesome bait for trout and reds in shallow water. You can check it out at BassAssassinlures.com Redfish are starting to gather at the creek mouths and points along the shoreline, both north and east of Cedar Key. These fish are a little easier to target with artificial lures like topwater lures or spoons. You can also fish for them with shrimp, but you must rig it shallow under a cork to keep from getting hung on the rocks and oysters. The sheepshead are also moving to the offshore reefs and shallow rocks to spawn, and should be pretty easy to catch on shrimp and fiddlers. Well folks, I hope this will help you out on your next adventure. As always, get outside and enjoy what God has made for us.

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FORECAST BY: Capt.Jimbo Keith Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charter fishcedarkey.com 352-535- 5083 12 BIG BEND

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FWC Discusses Goliath Grouper; Gulf Red Snapper, Gray Triggerfish and Gag Grouper At its February meeting in Crystal River, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discussed future management possibilities for goliath grouper, Gulf of Mexico red snapper, Gulf of Mexico gray triggerfish, and Gulf of Mexico gag grouper. For details on these items, see below.

Goliath grouper In a discussion on goliath grouper, FWC staff reviewed the species’ management history, biology, and stock assessments. Stakeholder input on the management of goliath grouper has varied from interest in opening a harvest to continuing with the current harvest prohibition. FWC staff is interested in hearing more from the public on the management of this species, including the possibility of a limited harvest. To submit your comments, visit MyFWC.com/ SaltwaterComments.

Sheephead, flounder, and tripletail FWC needs your feedback Information: FWC is collecting feedback on Florida’s flounder, sheepshead and tripletail fisheries. If you fish for any of these three species, we’d like to know more about: Whether you actively target them or if you catch them while targeting other species • How you fish for them (hook-and-line, etc.) • If those fisheries are seasonal in your area • When and where you target them • Your thoughts on how these fisheries are doing, compared to the past and/or compared to other fisheries • Your thoughts on current management of these species

Gulf red snapper and gray triggerfish Commissioners also approved a draft rule to set the 2017 Gulf state waters recreational red snapper season, and discussed the potential for a fall 2017 Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season. The proposed Gulf recreational red snapper season, if approved at the April meeting in Tallahassee, would be 78 days in total and would be: Open Saturdays and Sundays in May starting the first Saturday in May. C ontinuously star ting the S at u r d ay b e f o r e Me m o r i a l Day through Sunday following Independence Day. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, plus Labor Day. Due to the 2016 federal quota being exceeded, the Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season has been closed in state and federal waters for all of 2017. FWC staff is gathering input on a limited fall 2017 season in state waters that could provide harvest opportunities to anglers.

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Gulf gag grouper The Commission also expressed interest in making changes to the recreational gag grouper season in Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties. Staff have received stakeholder requests for a longer season in this area, which is currently open yearly from April 1 through June 30. Gulf state waters outside of that area and all Gulf federal waters are open June 1 through Dec. 31. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM

MARCH 2017

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ello Citrus County anglers, March is here and it’s trout time. This month is one of the most productive times of year to tackle that “Gator” trout you’ve been after. Trout are typically not on the grass flats, but on hard bottom such as rocky points, rock and oyster bars, creek mouths and also “yellow” limestone bottom. Slow suspending baits shine this time of year and soft plastic jerk baits and hard baits such as the MirrO’dine and Unfair Lures Rip-N-Slash are some of the favorites. Usually the incoming tide is best and when the gulf hits the 64 – 68 degree mark, it’s time to go trout fishing. Sheepshead are still on the scene if one wants to venture a bit offshore. High profile structures are where you want to concentrate your efforts. A live shrimp or piece of fresh shrimp is all that’s needed for success. Be ready for some Spanish mackerel too. If you get cut off a time or two sending down a shrimp, put on a long shank hook and chum a bit. Very few fish burn a drag like a mackerel and they are great fresh table fair as well. Our resident snook population will be on the feed and after a winter of seeking comfort around the springs, they are ready to eat. Begin your trips in the middle part of the river and target points with good current flow. A steady erratic twitch, twitch, pause retrieve with just about any bait fish imitation plug will work beautifully. Don’t forget to up your leader to at least 30lb fluorocarbon. There is a real possibility of encountering a snook in the 40” range and you don’t want to be saying good- bye, before you get that catch and release photo. With the warming temperatures and spring tides coming – the red fish will be more accessible. You can always have success with live shrimp, but now is the time to use an artificial. The ever reliable gold spoon is a spring time favorite for red fish. Put down the trolling motor or push pole your boat, and ease along a rocky shore line. This is saltwater bass fishing as its finest. By doing so, it allows you to cover a lot of water, find new productive shore lines and hopefully, find an area that holds fish time and time again. Good Fishing! FORECAST BY: Captain Dan Clymer (352) 418-2160 Racin’ Mullet Charters www.crystalriver-fishing.com

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MARCH 2017

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Celebrating the (T)ides of March by Gary Droze

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hile the Ides of March in 44 BC turned out to be rather a bummer for Julius Caesar, nowadays they can spell great fortune for “roamin’” anglers who plot the assassination of big fish in the St Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Take a stab at the springtime St Marks Refuge offerings in salt, brackish, and fresh waters. Here are some of my favorite examples of each… Salt: Horns Creek. Boat access is best from the Lighthouse ramp. Head east past the lighthouse for two miles and hang a left. Once into Horns, look for two significant bends in the first half mile. They will reward thorough exploration. Warning: like many tidal creeks, Horns is fairly shallow at the mouth. Stay alert for fast-dropping tides around the new or full moon, to avoid getting stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Or dodge that risk by targeting Horns Creek for a low-tide wading expedition. Park at the bathrooms off Lighthouse Road, and hoof it along the levee for 5 minutes (past Tower Pond), then scramble across the salt marsh flats for another 10. When you spot an alligator…you’re there! Tip: wading anglers who pick a day when low tide is near zero can hike almost the entirety of Horns Creek and often find spring redfish, trout, and sheepshead gathered in Horns’ holes. Brackish: Deep Creek Levee. The canals on both sides of this bike-friendly levee trail offer redfish and largemouth bass action to bank anglers, and occasional mullet bonanzas to cast-netters who possess a sixth sense about unseen oyster bars that lie in wait to devour weights. These canals hold fish throughout the tide cycle; seek out a spillway that begs for topwater tossings just as a high tide starts to drain in the evening. Tip: because the high levee bank elevates angler profiles and spooks fish, a stealthy approach is paramount when targeting these skinny canals. I’m 16 BIG BEND

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often on my knees when casting from these banks (passersby assume I’m praying for success; of course they’re right). Fresh: East River Pool. From March 15 to October 15, this lunker-holding gem is open to boats powered by trolling motors or elbow grease. It gets a good deal of pressure, but still manages to kick out numerous bass over five pounds, no doubt due to a combination of plentiful cover and lots of forage species (poor mullet can’t catch a break from harassment, even in fresh water). Tip: dense brush makes bank fishing on the pool’s west side a rough go, but whopper bass lurk there. A great culinary aspect of fishing the St Marks Refuge in March is that almost anything you catch can be diced into fryable chunks, perfect for adding life to a Caesar salad.

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Fishing Terms In Ordinary English

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ven for landlubbers who never go fishing or even think about the subject, fishing terms play an important part in our everyday English language, giving us vivid, meaningful expressions to better express our meaning. Take, for example, the following examples from the domain of fishing. A messed-up reel caused by a poor cast is a “backlash,” a word that can also mean to ordinary people “an opposite reaction to an action.” For example, the school board’s latest decision caused a backlash among normally complacent people. While a can of worms can be useful to an angler about to bait her hook, a “can of worms” in ordinary life can be a potentially messy problem. Have you ever said something like, “let’s not open that can of worms” when you want to avoid something? Speaking of an angler’s fishing hook, we have “barb” for the angled point of such a hook. And that has led to “barb” for a cutting, deliberately hurtful remark, as in “his public barb rankled the victim more than people realized.” If, in place of a cast line, we instead

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police parlance for a means of “netting” criminals. Think of the 1950s old-time radio show, “Dragnet,” with Sergeant Joe Friday trawling for the bad guys. Then, when the unsuspecting fish takes the bait, i.e. strikes at the bait on our hook, it bites. We can use “bite” for the meaning of “to fall for a trick or a joke.” For example: “Why did the ostrich cross the road?” “Okay. I’ll bite. Why did the ostrich cross the road?” When we don’t catch the fish that took our bait, i.e. when it outsmarted us, we

can console ourselves with the expression, “there are more fish in the ocean (or sea)” with the meaning of “there are other, maybe even better opportunities ahead for us.” A rejected suitor can console himself with that idiom from the world of fishing. We can describe a heavy alcohol drinker as one who “drinks like a fish” or one who is “loaded to the gills,” comparing an imbiber to a fish that seems to drink or take in a lot of water. A suspicious incident or action can be “fishy,” as in “There’s something fishy about that fellow.” A relatively new term describing the malicious attempt to acquire sensitive information like passwords and credit card details is “phishing,” which is a homophone or word that is pronounced the same as another (“fishing”), but differs in meaning and maybe spelling. The similarity to “fishing” goes back to the idea of using bait in an attempt to catch an unsuspecting victim. So there you have just a few examples of how the sport of fishing has entered our ordinary language. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “South Florida Waterways” (2013 - available at amazon.com for $7), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com. For more on Kevin McCarthy, go to

GOBOATBOUND.COM

Spring Boat Shows

IT’S AS EASY AS

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drag a net behind the boat to catch fish, we are employing a “dragnet,” a word that has gone into

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Jacksonville, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

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March Madness Inshore By Captain Terry Fisher

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his is the time of the year when I look forward to knowing I will not be disappointed with productivity. It is the beginning of spring and spring fever! In many areas, the revered snook again becomes a target for harvest. Their strikes will be ferocious after a “long winter’s nap.” Other species will become more aggressive with an abundance of baitfish. Tarpon may begin to make their annual migration to southwest Florida waters, accompanied by sharks. It is all about the water temperature. A consistent 68 degrees will guarantee at least some sizeable numbers of tarpon off of the beaches, in the passes and up the rivers. Sheepshead should still be available in larger numbers. They got a late start this year in southwest Florida due to the higher than normal water temperatures during early winter. Spanish mackerel, large jack crevalle, ladyfish and pompano will become happy and hungry. Large seatrout will become more numerous in the grass flats of open water and around the sand holes and turtle grass close to the spoil islands. This is the month to experience artificial baits for the gamefish. The abundance of live baitfish helps disguise these presentations. Fish seem less cautious coming out of their winter haunts with a new outlook on

life. Some effective lures are topwater, twitch, crank, swimbaits, spoons and weedless presentations. They all work. While artificial presentations are effective, I submit that the use of live bait gives anglers the edge. I recommend certain types of live/cut baits for better results as follows: SNOOK: Freeline pilchards. Large snook will take threadfins as well. Pinfish and large shrimp are good back-up baits. TARPON: Freeline large, live threadfins, pinfish, mullet and ladyfish. Catfish fillets are good dead bait. SEATROUT: Shrimp suspended on a weighted jig head under a cork over the grass flats. Larger trout prefer pinfish (alive or cut) under a cork or freelined along the spoil and mangrove islands. SPANISH MACKEREL: Shrimp is a cheap and easy way to target these fish. Suspend them under a cork with a long 30-pound leader or light wire. POMPANO: Tip a ‘silly willy’ jig with a shrimp or fish shrimp under a cork for an occasional by-catch. JACK CREVALLE: Shrimp on a jig head or freelined will catch these ferocious fish. Light tackle should always be used for the enjoyment of the catch. However, be sure the equipment is strong enough so as not to exhaust the fish if not harvesting. I suggest, for gamefish like snook or redfish, a 3500 to 4000 series reel mounted on a medium heavy rod with 15-pound-test line and a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. Use size 1/0 to 3/0 circle hooks. Tarpon fishermen should utilize 6000 series reels mounted on a heavy rod with 65-pound-test line and 100-pound fluorocarbon leader. Use size 6/0 to 8/0 circle hooks. One should consider lighter tackle for all other inshore species mentioned above, as well as for mangrove snappers and flounder. Use 2500 to 3000 series spinning reels on a light rod, 10-pound-test line with a 20-pound leader and small 1/0 circle hooks. Capt. Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters can be reached at 239357-6829 or fishfacecharters@yahoo.com. He is available as ‘Captain for Hire’ by the hour on your vessel for navigation, fishing locations and techniques that will ensure enjoyable boating and fishing.

Two State Bowfishing Records Fall

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wo new state record buffalo have been arrowed. One, a 57.7-pound bigmouth buffalo, was shot in Missouri by John Paul Morris, the son of Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris. The other, a 70.55-pound smallmouth buffalo, was shot by Alabama bowfisher Nicki Greene. Buffalo are the largest North American suckerfish. They are similar to carp and are popular with bowfishers because of their size and abundance within their native river systems. Bigmouth buffalo are filter feeders that strain zooplankton from the water. Smallmouth buffalo are bottom feeders that suck up algae and vegetation as well as small critters that live on the bottom. Their feeding habits make them difficult targets for traditional anglers, although they are said to put up a good fight when hooked. Greene was on a date with her boyfriend Adam Bearden when she arrowed her big buffalo. Their shared love of the sport is a big part of what brought them together. The fish has been officially recognized by the Bowfishing Association of America as the state record smallmouth buffalo. The official Alabama state record is pending the results of tissue samples, which will positively identify it as either a black buffalo or a smallmouth. Either way, it will be a state record. Morris shot his buffalo from a coal mine strip pit in Henry County Missouri. It had a length of 39 inches and a girth of 32.5 inches.

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Florida Trash Tour Begins March 25 at Cedar Key

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Photo by Michael Pereckas

he Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and Swamp Head Brewery are teaming up for the 2017 Florida Trash Tour, a series of tournament-style trash round ups that will award prizes in a number of different categories. Swamp Head will bring free beer! Throughout 2017, the tour will have several events all over the state to clean up Florida waters. The first stop is at Cedar Key on Saturday, March 25 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration is free, and so is food and beer at the after party. This is, however, a family friendly event, so sodas and water will be available for anyone under the age of 21. Those who need a place to stay should contact Cedar Key Cove Marina for discounts and availability at 352-543-6148. In each event, there will be divisions for boaters and walkers, so a boat is not necessary. Prizes will be awarded for the most trash collected. Other Tour Stop Dates: Titusville - April 22 Jacksonville - June 10 Steinhatchee - August 26 St. Augustine - November 4

For information, contact Caitlin Mitchell with CCA at cmitchell@ ccaflorida.org or 407-401-7677. To register online, go to the CCA Florida website at www.ccaflorida.org and find the event on the Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 1:14 PM Page 1 “Calendar of Events” page.

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Will Florida Allow Goliath Grouper Harvest? FWC Photo

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lorida Today is reporting that the mighty goliath grouper might soon be fair game for anglers in Florida. The topic spurred some heated discussion at the February Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting in Crystal River. FWC staff members have begun the outreach for input that will help determine the future of management for the high-profile species and how a limited harvest might work. This data will be considered at the FWC meetings next fall or winter. Once known as jewfish, harvest of goliath grouper has been off limits for 27 years. Since catch data is important to research and population estimates, researchers have little data from which to assess populations. A strictly controlled and limited harvest of these huge grouper would help the FWC more accurately determine how many of them are actually out there. According to FLKeysNews.com, public input at the Crystal River meeting was varied. Diving interests spoke in opposition to harvest because of the huge fish’s attraction for divers. Recreational anglers spoke in favor of a limited harvest, saying the species is overpopulated in some areas and threatening stocks of other species.

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The Changing Face of the Indian River Lagoon Estuary By Zack Jud, Ph.D.

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lear water! As I poled a Fort Pierce shoreline, I was thrilled to see last year’s environmental disaster had finally relaxed its grip. I had all but forgotten how exceptional the sight fishing can be without the ubiquitous green and brown water we’ve all slowly accepted as the new normal. I could see bottom for the first time in more than a year. Even better, I was seeing gamefish—a mix of snook, reds and trout that provided ample opportunity for a carefully placed cast. More important than what I saw was what I didn’t see. Seagrass was conspicuously absent from an area that was blanketed in green just a few years ago. With clear water comes the frightening realization that most of the Indian River Lagoon system is devoid of seagrass. Aside from a few ever-shrinking patches that I fished over in the Mosquito Lagoon this winter, I’ve been seeing nothing but bare bottom. Similar reports are rolling in from anglers throughout the system. An excited phone call about seagrass recovery from a friend who makes his living guiding on the Banana River turned out to be yet another letdown. From the bow of his skiff a few days later, it became apparent that the green carpet of “seagrass” was actually an aggressive species of bottom-dwelling Caulerpa algae—a seagrass lookalike that provides few benefits to our ecosystems. This shift from seagrass to macroalgae is occurring throughout the Indian River Lagoon system. It might have cascading consequences that go far beyond the gamefish we so deeply value. To make matters worse, the clear water we’re enjoying this winter has nothing to do with improved management practices. It has nothing to do with the dedicated efforts of concerned anglers and citizens. There were no hard-earned environmental victories for conservation groups, no

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game-changing environmental legislation. To the contrary, last year’s environmental catastrophe has resulted in little change to Florida’s troubled water infrastructure. Improving conditions in our estuaries are nothing more than Mother Nature giving us a few minutes to catch our breath in the corner before the inevitable round ahead. Unless substantial changes occur, Lake Okeechobee discharges and agricultural runoff in the southern Indian River Lagoon, along with septic tanks, sewage treatment plants and residential fertilizer use in the central and northern lagoon, will continue pushing the Indian River Lagoon–and its valuable sport fishery–to the brink of ecological collapse. Thankfully, there is some positive news to report. It seems our voices are finally being heard by a handful of legislators, and lawmakers are getting involved in meaningful discussions that might result in improved water quality for our estuaries and the Everglades. Most important to anglers is Florida Senate Bill 10, a law that if passed would facilitate water storage and filtration in the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee. By storing and cleaning Okeechobee’s polluted water using enormous filtration marshes, we can reduce harmful freshwater discharges to coastal areas, while simultaneously providing the Everglades with the water it desperately needs. No other single component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) has this much potential to improve the health of Florida’s waters. Clear water? Don’t count on it lasting. The bottom of our estuary, now devoid of seagrasses and their stabilizing root systems, is easily stirred up by wind and waves. Human factors that led to last year’s algae blooms, fish kills and massive freshwater discharges are still in place. While our inshore waters may be clear right now, the next disaster is looming. Sure, there are still gamefish to be found, but not in the numbers we remember from even a few years ago. More concerning is the lack of bottom-dwelling prey species—the base of the estuarine food web. While midwater forage fish like mullet, anchovies and pilchards will probably remain abundant for a while, crabs, shrimp and pinfish—species that depend on healthy seagrass—are becoming as scarce as rocking horse manure. Without clean water, without sea grass, without forage species, without nursery habitats, the fishery we cherish may be taking its last gasps. Dr. Zack Jud is the director of education at Florida Oceanographic Society, a coastal ecologist, and a fly casting instructor. Contact him at zjud@ floridaocean.org. Check out the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center’s cool kids’ fishing programs at www.floridaocean.org.

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Fishing Line And Tackle Disposal

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ishing is a key component of the Florida lifestyle as well as the state’s economy. But fishing line and other fishing tackle frequently enter Florida’s aquatic systems creating potential traps for unsuspecting wildlife. Monofilament is the most common type of fishing line, however, modern advances have produced several other varieties with higher tensile strength, reduced visibility and greater abrasion resistance. While fluorocarbon can be recycled in the same manner as mono, braided line and wire leaders must be disposed of differently. Anglers can purchase or make their own fishing line storage bins to keep with them so that line can be stored securely and out of the way. Products such as the Monomaster and Line Snatcher help anglers store unwanted fishing line; however, homemade versions can be made by cutting an “X” in the lid of something as simple as a coffee can. Once on shore, mono and fluorocarbon line can be recycled in designated bins found at boat ramps, piers and tackle shops. Anglers should not use these bins to discard any other type of fishing line or leader material such as braid or wire. Also, the bins should not be used to discard tackle, such as hooks, lures or soft plastics. To discard non-monofilament line, such as braid or wire, cut the line into 12inch or smaller pieces and place into a covered trash receptacle. You can learn how to make your own monofilament recycling bin by visiting our FWC Saltwater Fishing YouTube channel. For more information on the statewide Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program, visit MRRP.MyFWC.com. As part of the “Pitch It” campaign, soft plastic baits with the hook or jig head removed can be discarded in special program containers that are separate from monofilament recycling bins. Learn more about soft bait disposal and the “Pitch It” campaign by visiting Pledgetopitchit.org. For more on how to make a monofilament recycling bin, go to

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Not Just

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The perfect fishing knot is not a knot, but a weld!

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et’s face it… the majority of us who hear the title “safety class” usually aren’t thrilled at the prospect of sitting through hours of cliché safety lectures. Boater safety classes are something a lot of us put up with to move forward with getting a boating license or captain’s license. We read about all the horror stories of boating Brandon Tourigny with a nice accidents but Crystal River trout. never think it could happen to us. For me, things like life jackets, up-to-date fire extinguishers, or proper flares were just things that seemed more like hassles to keep on-hand because I didn’t want to receive a ticket from the game warden. However, when the unexpected does happen, when the worst possible scenario unfolds before your eyes, there is no telling how much time you will have to react. How you react in these situations could very well be the difference of life and death. This past month a friend and I were given a rude awakening on the importance of emergency preparedness during a fishing trip into the heart of the Crystal River. After a long day of fishing through the backcountry, we experienced engine failure on our way back to the boat ramp at about 7:30 p.m. With wet clothes, dropping temperatures, howling winds, and only one working phone with 30 percent battery life, it would be an understatement to say that nothing was going our way. Thankfully this story has a happy ending since an unsung hero, who will remain nameless, went the extra mile to see us to safety. Had we been forced to stay the night on the boat, one thing could have become a serious risk for us, hypothermia. With the temperature supposed to drop into the 40s, we had no dry clothes, and hypothermia was a real threat. Emergency situations are actually very preventable if you take the effort to prepare for the worst. Situations such as being stranded due to engine failure, being stuck due to low tide, or a sinking vessel are why having a strong working knowledge of maritime law, safety and emergency preparedness are not something to be taken lightly. Also, the simple step of having an emergency bag containing fire starting materials, nonperishable foods, blankets or towels, some dry clothes and rain ponchos can very well mean the difference between a miserable or life threatening experience or just an inconvenient yet nonthreatening wait for help. When getting ready to go out on the boat to fish or just to enjoy the water, safety should never be taken lightly, because emergency situations can happen to anyone at any time. As a friend of mine’s father once told me, the smartest people don’t learn from experience but from the experiences of others. These are the people who go out more prepared the next time.

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ishermen have been on an eternal quest for the perfect knot. This effort is futile because the line must bend to tie any knot, which always weakens the line, in many cases, substantially! Tauten has replaced the knot with a polymer line weld which results in virtually no loss in system strength. Instead of the line breaking at the weld, the line itself will fail first. Works on braid, mono or fluorocarbon Simply run line through lure/hook and back over device, push button and line is welded to itself in seconds Takes easily replaced and inexpensive polymer cartridges (up to 12 welds per) Device derived from one used by surgeons to tie surgical knots and is extremely durable, lightweight and it floats! Allows you to use smaller diameter line or increases the breaking strength of existing line No more failed knots!

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UNDER THE SEA

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by blending into the reef, and some just want SHERI DAYE to look cool. Ladies, if you’re looking for he popularity of spearfishing in the “skins” for the summer U.S. has grown significantly, and it in attractive patterns, has spawned product innovation and improvements—not only with spearguns, check out Slipins. You might not blend into but with associated dive apparel. Believe it the reef, but you will look amazing! 2) Gloves: There are more sizes, or not, how you dress can play an important thicknesses and features now. I’ve been part of the hunt. Here are some examples: 1) Wetsuits: It’s important for a hunter to diving in water so cold that I lost feeling be comfortable in the water. If you are cold in my hands and couldn’t feel the trigger. and shivering, if your suit is rubbing the I should have sprung for a thicker pair of back of your legs, if it feels too tight in the gloves when I traveled to California. With the popularity of polespearing, chest—you will not perform as effectively. In this regard, new wetsuits with open-cell there’s a need for gloves that make it easy to technology and newer materials have been hold a loaded polespear, so the grip is made a godsend. They are softer, stretchier and of nitrile or latex while the rest of the gloves thinner, yet they keep you warmer than the (back of hand and wrists) are a dynema/ old materials. A good wetsuit should feel Kevlar composition. The all-Kevlar gloves like a second skin and should not let water are useful for handling fish or lobsters. It’s in anywhere. The following brands are not uncommon to get cut by gill rakers when available at your local dive shop: Yazbeck, dispatching bigger fish. Wearing solid gloves will give you confidence when handling fish. Mares, Riffe, Omer, Cressi and more. Most spearfishing wetsuit brands now Check out Neritic and Akona, among others. 3) Booties: With the advent of long fins have both a men’s and women’s cut, resulting in a better fit. The new stretchy materials for spearfishing, it’s become more important are forgiving enough to fit most bodies. for the fin-pocket/bootie combination to Still not happy with the fit? No worries; form a good fit. An ill-fitting fin will greatly there are several affordable custom wetsuit reduce efficiency in the water. As with gloves, manufacturers who will tailor one to your there’s a greater variety of choices, and it’s important to try them on with the foot measurements. Try Oceanos or Elios. Another recent development is the pocket you plan to wear. Next time you go spearfishing, make wide variety of camouflage patterns. Some hunters believe it allows them to be stealthier sure you are dressed for success!

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TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER THE THINGS WE WEAR

O

BRANDON LESTER

utdoor apparel isn’t as much fun to talk about as how to catch big bass, but it’s important for those of us who spend a lot of time on a boat. I’m not sponsored by any clothing companies or anything like that, but I do know what I like. Let’s start with hoodies. You just can’t beat a quality hoodie for chilly mornings and running down the lake. Most of my sponsors have sent me a hoodie or two, but I have to say my all-time favorite one is from Raymarine. There’s something about the texture of the hoodie. It’s manufactured by

cover up from the sun as well. They keep me cool and really make a difference in how much energy I have after a long day on the water. I also like MHX’s lightweight hat as well as a trucker hat I have from Phoenix Boats. A rain suit is key for me too. Mud Hole was nice enough to send me one from Gill that really works well. They make good stuff. Raymarine sent one made by Stormr, and it is my favorite for cold weather. Mercury provided me one from Simms that is really nice, and it has held

Sport-Tek and is just extremely comfortable. It looks good too. For those cold mornings, I really like to have on a beanie, too. I have accumulated several from Mercury, and I really like theirs. Mercury’s are good quality and don’t shrink. I’ve had others that got loose and feel like they were going to fly off. Everything has to be tight when running at 70-plus mph. Buff USA makes good beanies, as well, and several other cold weather products I like. Most of us think of Buff for sun protection, but they perform in the cold too. Speaking of sun protection, I will indeed have a UV Buff around my neck 95 percent of the time. I also wear their gloves, and honestly it feels a little strange to not fish with gloves on anymore. As younger anglers, we’ve heard stories and seen pictures of sun-damaged skin. Most of us heed the warnings. I wear MHX sun shirts to

up very well. You can never have too many rain suits. You never know when you’ll need a backup for either yourself or someone fishing with you. To complete the look and feel, I like to wear lightweight, comfortable fishing shorts from Mercury. You see a ton of anglers wearing the Mercury shorts, so it was obviously a brilliant marketing move for them to send them to us. It just feels like “game day” when I have them on. Did I mention all this stuff is wrinkle free. Even our jerseys are wrinkle-free. I usually stay in hotels, and I’m thankful to be able to pull my gear out of the suitcase or out of a boat compartment and have it look good. Valley Fashions does a good job with our jerseys. That’s enough about clothing. Next month we will get back to fishing. If you ever have any topics you would like me to cover, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

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FISH & FISHING

PRIORITIES

A

MARK SOSIN

nglers tend to reverse priorities. Instead of focusing on fishing an artificial effectively, they worry more about choosing some magical fly or lure guaranteed to produce a spectacular catch simply by being in the water. Success seldom happens that way. If you have confidence in your choice and believe it will work, it probably will, provided your presentation and retrieve are effective. The best bait in the box will bomb unless it looks realistic and natural to your quarry. Fishing an artificial is a mental game. It’s easy to be distracted and simply cast and retrieve without any purpose or thought behind each presentation. Every cast should be made to correctly cover a specific segment of water and effectively put an offering in front of a fish. Simple things can make a difference. Here are a couple of examples. I watched an angler cast a swimming plug with a lip into the shallows, crank the reel handle four to six times so the plug dove downward along the dropoff, pause for a moment until the plug began to rise, and then continue the retrieve. If you stood next to him and simply retrieved the plug without pausing so it could rise, you couldn’t buy a strike. Another time, a friend who had been a guide was fishing with me. He kept getting strikes on his lure, while I became more frustrated with every cast, and we were using the same artificial. I watched his every move and tried to duplicate it to no avail. Finally, I asked him what he was doing that was different than my retrieve. As he worked his lure, he kept vibrating his hand. It was too subtle to see. Vibrating his wrist caused his lure to flash underwater just like a real baitfish. That made all the difference. Finding a school of breaking fish on the surface stirs the soul and telegraphs the imminent success to every fiber in your body. The key is to keep the boat away from the school while moving up ahead of it. Casts should be made in front of the school when possible or

at least close to it so that the retrieve follows the basic path of the school. Assuming the school is moving north, you want your retrieve to cover the northeast or northwest quadrant. It should move in the general direction of the main body of fish. Not very often will a school member chase a lure going in a direction opposite that of the main body of fish. Retrieving an artificial must make it appear to the fish that it is trying to escape. If the predator senses that the lure is moving toward it, you can bet it will spook. Every cast should be carefully calculated to make the lure look realistic. If a fish fails to strike, vary the retrieve. And, in cooler water, don’t overlook a slower retrieve. Those anglers who set the standards fishing artificial baits make every cast count. Follow their lead and you should begin to catch more and more fish on artificial lures.

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TACKLE CORNER:

GETTING A FRESH HANDLE ON SPINNING RODS By Mike Pehanich

T

he topic of spinning tackle can be a lightning rod among fishermen. Opinions on it vary greatly across the angling spectrum. Some rely on spinning tackle and, literally, can’t fish without it. Some hate it and can hardly broach discussion of this “down-side” style of fishing without a snide aside (“a birdsnest waiting to happen”) or epithet challenging the user’s manhood (“fairy wand”). In recent years, effective finesse techniques in the bass world have taken the fire out of the debate, and a sober “it’sjust-a-tool” mentality has cleared a place for spinning in the arsenals of most serious anglers. Design Disadvantage Outside the realm of partisan debate, however, spinning tackle has remained open to at least one legitimate complaint. The design of most spinning rods compels the fishermen to grip the rod across the reel seat and straddle the reel stem, leaving the angler’s hand little or no grip security and comfort. The design leads to particular disadvantage when fighting big fish or fishing in adverse weather conditions, from snowstorms and freezing cold to tropical humidity and lightning bolts. Fortunately, solutions have come to the fore. Here are three options to answer the spinning rod conundrum. Hooded Reel Seat With Polymer Grip: Hooded reel seats,

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such as those in Fuji’s VSS series, are designed for a grip shaped to extend over the reel seat. The design provides palm support—grip comfort and security at the palm interface—even with fingers straddling the spinning reel stem. Fuji, through its exclusive American distributor Anglers Resource, introduced a proprietary set of Winn grips (WVSS1615, WVS17), tailored to fit precisely with two of its newest and most popular spinning reel seats and its Perfect Fit Trim. This combination of grip and reel seat adds ergonomic benefit and puts more of the hand into contact with the non-slip Winn grip polymer. Aero Comfort Finish Reel Seat: American Tackle offers a spinning reel seat with a topside extension that delivers palm support. Like hooded reel seats, the design provides ergonomic benefit by supporting the palm, but it is a hood-like portion of the reel seat rather than grip material that reaches up to meet the palm. The “comfort finish” reduces the degree of hand slippage. Mummy wrap: West Coast saltwater anglers were the first to overwrap spinning rod handles with Winn Superior Rod Wrap, a “skin” of patented Winn polymer, known for its tackiness in adverse weather conditions. The tape-like material is backed with a forgiving adhesive that wraps easily around rod handles. The “mummy wrap” approach adds a continuous wrap from rod butt to foregrip with the reel already in place. The mummy wrap straddles the reel stem over both ends of the reel foot. Palm and fingers have complete contact with the non-slip polymer covering the entire handle. Check out the spinning rods in your arsenal, and see if one of these solutions can add comfort and effectiveness to your fishing. Rod wraps are simple solutions. Check with a custom rod builder or rod repairmen about retrofitting spinning rods with a new grip or reel seat.

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EAGLE MARINE TRIO ROD HOLDER Eagle Marine’s new Trio Rod Holder conveniently stores three rods while only utilizing one rod holder in your boat’s gunnel. This setup is ideal for kite fishing or anytime when multiple rods will be used. All aluminum construction is bright dipped anodized to ensure many years of protection from the harsh marine environment. Custom soft PVC Liners help create a secure fit into the tapered rod holders that feature a welded cross pin. The Trio Rod Holder fits standard gunnel-mount rod holders. It features three 8 ½-inch tapered and flared rod holders with custom fitted white PVC liners. These rod holders are ideal for kite fishing or any time an angler needs to add more rods to a spread. For more information on this and all of Eagle Marine’s fine products, see www.eagleproducts.us/ eagle-marine/.

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• Excellent for Grouping Rods in Tight Spaces • Designed to fit all standard - Gunnel Mount Rod Holders - Tower Mount Rod Holders - Leaning Post Rod Holders

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PALM CITY Y 872 N. Federal Hwy., Lantana, FL 33462 www.pcylantana.com (772) 220–3000

TWIN 300 HP

300 HP WHITE Fly By Wire

BLACK or WHITE Fly By Wire

TWIN 250 HP BLACK Fly By Wire

w

250 HP

2

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W

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*5.99% Financing W.A.C. - All Prices are plus applicable sales tax. Limited quantities at these prices. Installation includes Suzuki Rig Kit, SS prop & labor. **On Select Models

175 HP

175 HP

BLACK Fly By Wire

32

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WHITE

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225 HP

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TWIN 175 HP

200 HP WHITE

WHITE

UP TO

WHITE

**

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140 HP WHITE

115 HP WHITE

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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90 HP WHITE

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2/14/17 1:46 PM


COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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UNDER $300...The Doctor’s Choice For ADVANCED HEARING AID TECHNOLOGY How can a hearing aid that costs less than $300 be every bit as good as one that sells

The MDHearingAid PRO® has been rigorously tested by leading ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) physicians and audiologists who have unanimously agreed that the sound quality and output in many cases exceeds more expensive hearing aids.

for $3,000 or more? Tremendous strides have been made in Advanced Hearing Aid Technology and those cost reductions have not passed on to you--Until Now.

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“I have had this aid two days and all I can say is WOW!” --Terrsa H., Grove, NJ

BE ONE WITH THE FISH An Aqua-Vu HD underwater camera is the quickest way to find big bass. Unlike pixels and mysterious sonar signals, an Aqua-Vu reveals a live, crystal clear image of the underwater world. See largemouths buried in vegetation and brush, smallmouths hidden beside boulders, suspended spots and everything else beneath your boat.

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MARCH 2017

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RHODAN INTRODUCES 72� SHAFT GPS GUIDED TROLLING MOTOR

New Longer Shaft for High Bow Boats Excellent for Offshore Fishing Same Superior GPS Technology

Feds Close Atlantic

Cobia Harvest Megan Willard with a stud cobia caught offshore of Hilton Head Island, S.C.

R

ecreational anglers are again feeling the sting of federal regulations. NOAA Fisheries announced in late January that cobia harvest in federal waters of the Atlantic from Georgia through New York will be closed for the remainder of 2017. As recreational anglers continue to scream of arbitrary data being used to set catch limits and estimate annual landings, NOAA says the recreational landings of Atlantic migratory group cobia exceeded 1.3 million pounds, more than double the annual allowable catch for 2016. These numbers came despite a closure in federal waters for nearly half of 2016, which was spurred when catch data from 2015 indicated an even larger recreational catch of 1.55 million pounds. Federal waters begin outside of three miles in the Atlantic, and a large majority of the recreational cobia catch occurs within state waters when these brown bombers migrate to shore and northward in the warming waters of spring and summer. NOAA has predicted the annual catch limit will again be exceeded in 2017, as state marine fisheries managers refuse to fall into line with strict federal regulations. NOAA has said the federal closure will be reevaluated if state regulations change in 2017. This federal closure does not apply to cobia on the Atlantic coast of Florida, which are part of the Gulf of Mexico migratory group. It also does not change regulations for commercial anglers, who will still be allowed two cobia per day.

4X More Accurate 36% More Efficient Outstanding Customer Support

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888-434-7726

Enclosures

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

2/14/17 1:46 PM


SAVE 64%

SUPER COUPON

7 FT. 4" x 9 FT. 6" ALL PURPOSE WEATHER RESISTANT TARP

ITEM 69249/69115/69137 69129/69121/877 shown

SUPER COUPON

$2

99

4

comp at $8.48 $ 99

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

SAVE 68%

1500 WATT DUAL TEMPERATURE HEAT GUN (572°/1112°) SUPER COUPON

ITEM 62340/62546 63104/96289 shown Customer Rating

$

$899

12

SUPER COUPON

20% OFF

# 1 SELLING

RAPID PUMP® 1.5 TON ALUMINUM RACING JACK

Customer Rating

ITEM 69252/68053 62160/62496/62516 60569 shown

• 3-1/2 Pumps Lifts Most Vehicles • Weighs 34 lbs.

SAVE $70

SUPER COUPON

ANY SINGLE ITEM

$5 999 79

Limit 1 coupon per customer per day. Save 20% on any 1 item purchased. *Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or any of the following items or brands: Inside Track Club membership, Extended Service Plan, gift card, open box item, 3 day Parking Lot Sale item, compressors, floor jacks, saw mills, storage cabinets, chests or carts, trailers, trenchers, welders, Admiral, Bauer, CoverPro, Daytona, Earthquake, Hercules, Jupiter, Lynxx, Poulan, Predator, StormCat, Tailgator, Viking, Vulcan. Not valid on prior purchases. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17.

$

comp at

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

60", 4 DRAWER HARDWOOD WORKBENCH Customer Rating

SUPER COUPON

ITEM 93454/69054 63395/62603 shown

SAVE $265

12 VOLT, 10/2/50 AMP BATTERY CHARGER/ ENGINE STARTER

Tools sold separately.

Customer Rating

$12999 $15999 $395

comp at 99 $198.45

3-IN-1 PORTABLE POWER PACK WITH JUMP STARTER

comp at

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE 36%

ITEM 38391/62376/62306 shown

SAVE 38% $

SAE

SUPER COUPON

$699 9

METRIC

YOUR CHOICE

$5

99

8

$ 99

SAVE SUPER COUPON 66%

$1499 $1799

comp at

$14.97

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

NATIONAL

Customer Rating

MARCH 2017

comp at

8 Functions: Sanding, Remove Grout, Cut Metal, Cut Flooring, Cut Plastic, Plunge Cut, Scrape Concrete, Scrape Flooring

$44.99

SAVE 83% $

comp at

SAVE $83

SUPER COUPON

Customer Rating

$

$1 1999

14999

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

ITEM 61196 62392/69597 38846 shown

SAVE 48%

SUPER COUPON $

$17

99

2199

comp at

$34.99

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior

presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

1500 LB. CAPACITY DUAL WHEEL SWING-BACK BOAT SAVE 37% TRAILER JACK

Customer Rating

SA 85

comp at

$203.73

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

Customer Rating

ITEM 6922 6922

ITEM 62443 68751 shown

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

3 TON HEAVY DUTY STEEL JACK STANDS

LIMIT 800-423 purchas Offer g present

SUPER COUPON

45 WATT SOLAR PANEL 10 PIECE KIT

$999

1999 $59.98

$98.62

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior

NAT_0317.indd 40

5999 comp at

29 PIECE TITANIUM NITRIDE COATED ITEM 62281/61637 shown HIGH SPEED STEEL DRILL BIT SET

purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be

hft_coastalangler_0317_spread_M-REG100630.indd 2-3

$

comp at

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON ITEM 62279/62302/62866 68861 shown

MULTIFUNCTION POWER TOOL

$3999

99

Customer Rating

$10.99

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

ITEM 69043/63282/42304 shown ITEM 42305/69044/63171

SAVE 59%

YOUR CHOICE

49 $2999 $69.99 $

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

$ 99 comp at

comp at

9 PIECE FULLY POLISHED SAVE 59% COMBINATION WRENCH SETS

40

ITEM 61740/63109 63152/4077 shown

5999 $64.99 SUPER COUPON

Customer Rating

12 VOLT, 250 PSI PORTABLE INFLATOR

99

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE 57%

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

$39

B. PANCAKE

B SUPER COUPON

Cu

ITEM 95275 shown 60637/61615

Customer Rating

$5999

SUPER COUPON

A. HOT DOG

ITEM 69269/97080 shown

A

69265/62344

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

3 GALLON, 100 PSI OILLESS AIR COMPRESSORS

ITEM 60581/60653 shown

SUPER COUPON

79

SUPER COUPON

Customer Rating

SAVE RETRACTABLE AIR HOSE REEL $138 WITH 3/8" x 50 FT. HOSE ITEM 93897 shown

$

S

99

$129.99

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

comp at 99 $28.83

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

Customer Rating

SUPER COUPON

JACKS IN AMERICA

LIMIT 800-423 purchase Offer g presente

SAV 65

ITEM 69779 67500 shown

$2999 99 7 $2 $44.99

SUPER COUPON

LIMIT 800-423 purchas Offer g presente

comp at

LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

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75


OG

own

WITH

ITEM 63599/69052 shown 69111/62522/62573

SUPER COUPON

$

14999

comp at

$9999

$205.99

Customer Rating

12" SLIDING COMPOUND DOUBLE-BEVEL MITER SAW Customer Rating WITH LASER GUIDE

2000 WATT CONTINUOUS/ 4000 WATT PEAK POWER INVERTER

Customer Rating

ITEM 60432 69662 shown

ITEM 63091/63248 68998 shown

SUPER COUPON

$2999 SAVE $ $76

900 PEAK/700 RUNNING WATTS, 2 HP (63CC) 2 CYCLE GAS GENERATOR EPA/CARB

19999

$339

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE $95

SUPER COUPON

$11999 $16999 $215.41 comp at

LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

ITEM 46807/68975 69221/62123/63017 BAR 69222 shown

12" RATCHET CLAMP/SPREADER

WIRELESS SECURITY ALERT SYSTEM

3

t

$

$299

comp at

ITEM 93068 shown 69590/61910/62447 Customer Rating

SAVE 68%

SUPER COUPON

$ 99

1499 SUPER COUPON 99 comp at

$20.76

$31.46

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

SAVE $60

MAGNETIC TRAILER ALIGNMENT KIT Customer Rating

9

$ 99

comp at

$19.99

ITEM 69778

SUPER COUPON

$6

$

LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

NAT_0317.indd 41

• No Gas Required

120 AMP FLUX WIRE WELDER

ITEM 61849/62719 Customer Rating 68887 shown

SUPER COUPON

99

750+ Stores Nationwide

$9

LIMIT 9 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

SAVE 65%

comp at

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

ITEM 63024 63025 shown

SUPER COUPON

$8999 $10999

99

comp at 99 $149.99

$8999

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE NOW

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

3

SAVE 85%

3799 $106.34

SUPER COUPON

18 VOLT CORDLESS 3/8" DRILL/DRIVER WITH KEYLESS CHUCK SUPER COUPON

comp at

wn

ing rior ipt. be day.

SUPER COUPON

130 PIECE TOOL KIT WITH CASE

ITEM 69651 62868/62873 68239 shown

$13499

$

comp at

9

$ 99 $19.97

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

Blade sold separately.

• 1000 lb. capacity

LIMIT 1 - Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase. Coupon good at our stores, HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day.

SAVE $204

ON

ON

$7

99

VALUE

SUPER COUPON

ITEM 61969/61970 69684 shown

62

ing rior ipt. be day.

SAVE $106

SAVE 59%

SUPER COUPON

Customer Rating

E

3

ITEM 60497/93888 shown 61899/62399/63095/63096 63098/63097

4

SUPER COUPON

E %

N

MOVER'S DOLLY

Customer Rating

$ 97

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

15

9

ANY PURCHASE

SUPER COUPON

3-1/2" SUPER BRIGHT NINE LED ALUMINUM FLASHLIGHT

KE

L T

10 FT. x 20 FT. PORTABLE CAR CANOPY

ITEM 63054/60728/69034/62858 shown

own

alling prior ceipt. be day.

FREE

SUPER COUPON ™

inal day.

SS RS

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

80 PIECE ROTARY TOOL KIT ITEM 97626 shown 68986/69451 63235/63292

$1699

Customer Rating

Includes one 18V NiCd battery and charger.

SAVE $ 65%

1999 $49 comp at

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

ITEM 69924 shown 62403/62862 Customer Rating

SUPER COUPON

6" VARIABLE SPEED DUAL ACTION POLISHER SAVE $95

SUPER COUPON comp at SAVE $ 99 71% $24.15

9

$

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

PORTABLE FISH FINDER ITEM 62675/94511 SAVE Customer Rating 46%

$

SUPER COUPON

$699

MULTI-USE TRANSFER PUMP

ITEM 62961/63144/61364 63591/66418 shown

SAVE 59%

$65

At Harbor Freight Tools, the “comp at” price means that the same item or a similar functioning item was advertised for sale at or above the "comp at" price by another retailer in the U.S. within the past 180 days. Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other meaning of "comp at" should be implied. For more information, go to HarborFreight.com or see store associate.

HarborFreight.com • 800-423-2567 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

$149.99

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

comp at

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

3999 $3499

comp at

6999

$5499

Customer Rating

SUPER COUPON

6

$499

$ 99 comp at $12.39

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior from original purchase with original receipt. last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

purchases after2017 30 days MARCH Offer good while supplies

NATIONAL

41

2/14/17 1:46 PM 2/13/17 10:14 AM


THIS YEAR, MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY DAY ON THE WATER

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE MATCHED BY EXCEPTIONAL VALUE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE SPECIAL BOAT SHOW OFFERS FROM SUZUKI MARINE

REPOWER FINANCE

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.

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

Offers end March 31, 2017. See your participating Suzuki Marine dealer for details or visit www.suzukimarine.com.

42

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 01/01/17 and 3/31/17 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 01/01/17 and 3/31/17. 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 01/01/17 and 3/31/17.“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.

NATIONAL

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MARCH 2017

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WHATEVER THE SEA THROWS AT YOU, STAND YOUR GROUND. BUILT FOR ALASKA, FIT FOR EVERYONE XTRATUF boots have been proven and tested in the unforgiving Alaskan seas. Now, that same toughness is available in the XTRATUF Performance Deck Boot. With a non-marking, slip-resistant Chevron outsole, these 100% waterproof boots are as tough as the elements.

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INTRODUCING THE NEW KRYPTEK ANKLE DECK BOOT

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