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Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

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

Gimme Six Extended Protection promo is applicable to new Suzuki outboard motors from 25 to 300 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16 in accordance with the promotion by a Participating Authorized Suzuki Marine dealer in the continental US and Alaska to a purchasing customer who resides in the continental US or Alaska. Customer should expect to receive an acknowledgement letter and full copy of contract including terms, conditions and wallet card from Suzuki Extended Protection within 90 days of purchase. If an acknowledgement letter is not received in time period stated, contact Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. – Marine Marketing via email: marinepromo@suz.com. The Gimme Six Promotion is available for pleasure use only, and is not redeemable for cash. Cash Rebates apply to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki outboards made between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine.com. Customer and participating Dealer must fill out the appropriate rebate form at time of sale. Customer will have the choice to either apply the cash rebate against the original dealer invoice (Suzuki will credit Dealer parts account) or have a check sent directly to the customer. There are no model substitutions, benefit substitutions, rain checks, or extensions. Suzuki reserves the right to change or cancel these promotions at any time without notice or obligation. * Financing offers available through Synchrony Retail Finance. As low as 5.99% APR financing for 60 months on new and unregistered Suzuki marine engines. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki marine engines purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16.“Gimme Six”, the Suzuki “S” and model names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2016 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

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

L

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

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Photo Courtesy of Al Stewart Photography

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

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


It’s the Honda of Outboards. Literally.

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

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


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

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

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Eleuthera, Bahamas

FREE

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

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

COASTALA NGLERMA G.COM

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Southeastern Mountain Trout

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA EDITION

FREE

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

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

F R A N C H I S E

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

FISHING WITH UNICOI OUTFITTERS

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

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DECEMBER 2016

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

FLY FISHING

ON THE COVER

CASTING FOR THE REDFISH GAME: PART ONE

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

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

DECEMBER 2016

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Gift Ideas FOR ANGLERS

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

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

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Gifts for Anglers

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lthough winter’s here, it won’t stay cold forever. The holiday season is a great opportunity to pick up a catch bag so your favorite kayak angler will be ready to go come springtime. Also known as soft cooler bags, they keep a catch fresh, out of the sun and stashed safely away from predators. Consider the following to make sure your investment is a good one. The most durable catch bags are constructed of vinyl-coated polyester. Look for at least a half-inch of closed cell foam insulation under the tough fish spine-resistant exterior. If the closures use zippers, they should have large teeth that can handle sand and sun. I prefer a YKK zipper. Kayak catch bags come in multiple sizes. Large bags in the 70-quart capacity range are about three feet long. They are suitable for big fish and are most often mounted atop a kayak’s deck, either on the bow or in the stern storage area. Therefore, it’s important these bags come outfitted with multiple tie-downs or attachment points so they can be safely secured. A quality large bag retails for $180-$200. Check out Hobie’s new Soft Cooler Bag as a good example of what to look for. If your kayak angler prefers to keep the deck clear, consider a medium-size catch bag in the 26-quart range. About two feet long, they fit inside the bow hatch of many kayaks. These bags should open from the top to make for easier access. They retail for $130-$150. Other desirable features include carrying handles, easy-access drain plugs, and integrated shock cords for storage of additional accessories.

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NORTH FLORIDA

S

eventeen nautical miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass and 86 feet beneath the ocean surface lies a small artificial reef that, until recently, didn’t mean much to anyone beyond the fish who lived there, the anglers who visited and those who deployed it 15 years ago. But now the reef, previously known as EE-3, has new meaning and a new name: Sgt. James Taylor Waldron Reef. A lionfish-hunting team was awarded the right to rename an artificial reef off the coast of northwest Florida after successfully removing more than 500 lionfish while participating in the Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program. The reef was named in honor of team member Taylor “Curt” Waldron’s older brother and fellow comrade in arms. Sgt. Waldron was serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade when he was killed in

action, Sept. 13, 1970, at age 20. “After the Vietnam War was over, very few cared but me and my parents,” said Curt Waldron. “I wanted to do something more. The world has forgotten him; but they will look at that artificial reef name.” A total of 10 people or teams who participate in the Panhandle Pilot Program may qualify to rename an artificial reef. The program, which started in May 2016 and runs through May 19, 2017, also rewards divers with a tag that allows them to take an additional cobia or red grouper for every 100 lionfish removed off the coast of Escambia through Franklin counties. Waldron attributes success to his teammates Bill Parsons, Chip Burger, Huston Parsons and TJ Huff. He also acknowledged Steve Hemmert of MBT Diving, and boat captains Doug Hammock of H20 Below, Doug Pacitti of Six Shooter Charters and Andy Ross of Niuhi Dive Charters. During the annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day weekend, the team took a total of 133 fish out of the more than 8,000 lionfish that were removed off Pensacola that weekend. Between July 7 and July 15, they completed another 22 dives and removed 402 more lionfish. They hit their goal in August. “It really brings a sense of accomplishment that somebody you care about is going to be honored with a reef name,” Waldron said. “We were thrilled that the FWC offered this as an option. “Many years have passed since 1970, but I have never been confused by what the Marines taught me. I will be ‘always faithful’ to the memory of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. This is meant to honor all of our service members living and dead.” Only four teams have qualified so far to name a reef in the Panhandle Pilot Program, and only one other reef has been officially claimed and named. The artificial reef now known as Moira the Mermaid’s Fish Condo is off Escambia County and was claimed by team members Bob Marshall, Brady Hale, George Riffe and Jennifer Day.

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POMPANO MADNESS IN TAMPA BAY

VIMS Photo

T

he time of year to target pompano, those tasty hard-fighting little fellas, is after the first few hard cold fronts. We can keep somewhat of a handle on these guys all the way through April. But we always must remember that these guys need to be at least 11 inches to the fork to be legal. And the limit is six per person. When we get into a school of pompano the action can be really fast and furious, so we must measure correctly and keep an accurate head count. This really gets to be a challenge if we have more than just the two of us in the boat. There are many bridges that span Tampa Bay and the surrounding waters and this is a great place to look for pompano. Bridge pilings are great hangout spots to start fishing. But as the water cools down, the power plants inside the bay become our main target zones. Tampa has two hot water discharging plants on the eastern shore and one on the western side. Both can be awesome hangouts for pompano, redfish, snook and cobia. But we’re after pomps for now, and any of these other guys will simply be icing on the cake. We start with a 7-foot medium action spinning rod with a PENN 2500 series spinning reel spooled with 10- to 15-pound Spiderwire Stealth braid. To this we add a Berkley Trilene 100% flurocarbon leader of about 3 to 4 feet. Pompano see pretty well, so the fluorocarbon is very important. We just love the heavily scented Berkley Gulp! baits for pompano. There are all sorts of simple pompano jigs out there, but we feel the scent attraction gives us an edge. Pomps love bright colors such as pink and chartreuse and a smaller profile bait. So we rig the Gulp! 3-inch shrimp in a glow/chartruese, new penny/chartreuse or the 3-inch swimming mullet in the pink and chartreuse. We rig the baits on heavier jig heads, 3/8- to ½-ounce, also chartreuse or pink, because we want that bait bouncing off the

bottom, puffing up sand every time it hits. These fish are on the move and in our experience love fastmoving baits. We position the boat out in front of the hotwater discharge. We’re very safety conscience and a stay behind the off limits barriers. We start fan casting, letting the bait hit the bottom and bounce steadily back. Once we’ve hooked up, we Power-Pole down and keep fishing. Usually we will pick up more pomps in the area. We really like this simple tactic, and we catch lots of pomps and plenty of other fish as well. This is easy and great for the family, too. People tell us we’re crazy, but we like fried pompano.

For More Pompano fishing Tampa Bay, go to

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FISH ON A PLAQUE

W

hen someone dies, their friends may commemorate their life and deeds with a memorial service, an obituary in the local newspaper, maybe even a few chosen words on the person’s gravestone. Some people have even done similar commemorations for an animal like a famous racehorse (think Secretariat) or even a gorilla (think King Kong). But what about a fish? Have there ever been any honors paid to a lowly fish? Yes, in fact, there has been at least one fish which was honored. The small village of Blockley, England has a modest house visited by many people over the years, not to see the garden or antiques, but to see a wooden memorial to a beloved trout that lived over 160 years ago. In 1855, a young man carved the plaque to a fish that his father had tamed. The plaque, reproduced here says the following: “In Memory of the old fish./ Under the soil/the old fish do lie/20 years he lived/and then did die./He was so tame/you understand/he would come and/eat out of our hand/Died April the 20th 1855/Aged 20 years” The fact that there were funeral directors in the family of the man who tamed the trout, William Keyte, may have explained the unusual flight of fancy. But no one can

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DECEMBER 2016

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BIG BEND

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DECEMBER 2016

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LANARK

D

ecember is the start of cold temperatures and c l e a r w at e r. This is the time of year that I start to reduce the size of my baits to help Ray Clark with a nice pair of sheephead. entice opportunistic feeders. Spring, summer and fall I recommend larger baits to match the hatch but for winter, size down to present a better presentation. 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. A 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 the winter months 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. I feel tide in December is another very important factor to catching fish. Look for the mid-morning high tide to catch all of the opportunistic feeders making their way onto warmer flats heated by the sun. Redfish, trout, sheephead and drum can be caught in huge numbers in the winter months following this mid-morning pattern. The trout and redfish bite has been excellent in areas between Turkey Point and Lanark with reports of anglers limiting out. Most trout reports I am getting are folks set up in 1-2 feet of water drifting over mixed bottom throwing soft jerk baits in the middle to lower water column. Jeff Suber of FCKA.net and company recently got into a good number of fish around Alligator Harbor. Jeff has been catching his fish on suspending baits and soft plastics. Sheephead and flounder are being caught in good numbers all the way through the Big Bend. December and January can be very productive months to fish around inshore and nearshore structure for these two species. I will usually gather up fiddler crabs or a few dozen shrimp to fool the sheephead and mud minnows work very well for the flounder. 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!

I

PANACEA

hop e ever yone had a nice Thanksgiving and had a chance to hit the water to relax and recharge. The weather has finally given us a few days of cooler temperatures in the 30's but it is looking like a warm winter ahead. Since fish are greatly affected by water temperature if and when it cools down for a lengthy period of time the redfish, trout and sheepshead will move into the rivers. They will move out of the bay to follow the baitfish especially the spring fed rivers that will be several degrees warmer. After this Big sheepshead are fairly common inside happens you will be able to fish live during the cooler months. or dead shrimp on a jighead on the bottom. This will allow them to find dinner by scent. Fish at this time of year school up so when you find fish stay there until they move away. Then search to find them again. You can also have success slow bouncing gulps or other soft baits off the bottom and if you think you are going too slow, slow down some more. You can locate fish sometimes by slow trolling a diving lure like a rattletrap past the areas that you know have depth changes or structure. This is a good time of year to stay close to the dock and not burn a lot of fuel to catch dinner. Check the weather reports so you can dress properly to prevent sun and wind burn even though it's cool outside.  Another river trout for Kohl.   If you choose to run outside the bigger black sea bass should be around structure and artificial reefs. Trolling a stretch 25 to try to put some sweet fillets in the pan.   I am sure that everyone is glad you don't have to deal with political ads or phone calls for a while so get out on the water and enjoy the outdoors. FORECAST BY: Captain Steve Hobbs SkeeterBite Fishing Charters splopscapt@gmail.com Call or text 850-363-0527 Check us out on Facebook

FORECAST BY: Liam Callaghan IFA Kayak Tour National Angler of the Year St Croix Rods Pro Staff Native Watercraft Fishing Team

Ronnie Licitra shows off his nice river red. Callaghan showing off a nice redfish. 6 BIG BEND

DECEMBER 2016

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ST. MARKS N

ovember temperatures were above normal, and we might not see a big change this month. However, it only takes a few days of 40 degrees nights to drop the bay water temperatures low enough to shut down the flats Sometimes the captain gets to play! bite. If we get a warm period and the water temperatures climb back above 65 degrees, the flats bite will continue to be strong. The trout bite has been awes ome since June. November started strong, but disappeared with a few cool mornings. Watch the weather. A great way to find the trout this month is to find the bait. When the water temperatures drop to low to hold bait, like pinfish, the trout will be gone. If the flats bite is done, concentrate of the creeks and St Marks River. Bounce jigs and plastic combos for best Jamie with a solid red! results. The redfish bite showed itself in November, and warm temperatures will keep it around. Work the grassline. Gold spoons and paddletails on a light jighead will catch them. The bay is super clear, so sight fishing is very possible. Use your trolling motor to find the fish, and then pole or drift if you can. Winter is a great time to find light winds, clear water, and hungry redfish. If calm days are found, take a ride offshore to find the black bass, sheepshead, and flounder bite. Any public reef should hold fish. Live shrimp is awesome, but Gulp on jigs will catch plenty. December is The last big trout of 2016! your last shot at making 2016 fishing stories and adventures. I wish everyone a calm and warm day on the water this month. Thank you, to all that have fished with us this year! We are looking forward to 2017! As usual my Christmas wish list will include a heavy dose of drag, slime, and scales!

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DECEMBER 2016

BIG BEND 7


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ST. MARKS RIVER ENTRANCE TIDES – DECEMBER 2016 HIGH

DATE

THU 1 FRI 2 SAT 3 SUN 4 MON 5 TUE 6

2:40 AM/ 3.2 ft 3:11 AM/ 3.2 ft 3:45 AM/ 3.1 ft 4:24 AM/ 3.0 ft

LOW

HIGH

LOW

10:10 AM/ -0.4 ft 10:42 AM/ -0.3 ft 11:17 AM/ -0.3 ft 11:57 AM/ -0.1 ft 12:04 AM/ 1.1 ft 1:07 AM/ 1.1 ft

4:06 PM/ 3.0 ft 4:43 PM/ 3.0 ft 5:22 PM/ 2.9 ft 6:05 PM/ 2.9 ft 5:12 AM/ 2.8 ft 6:16 AM/ 2.6 ft

1:39 PM/ 0.2 ft

WED 7

2:23 AM/ 1.0 ft

7:44 AM/ 2.4 ft

THU 8 FRI 9 SAT 10 SUN 11 MON 12

12:17 AM/ 3.4 ft

3:45 AM/ 0.7 ft 4:59 AM/ 0.3 ft 6:02 AM/ -0.2 ft 6:57 AM/ -0.6 ft 7:48 AM/ -0.9 ft

TUE 13

1:02 AM/ 3.5 ft

WED 14 THU 15 FRI 16 SAT 17 SUN 18 MON 19

1:45 AM/ 3.5 ft 2:28 AM/ 3.5 ft 3:11 AM/ 3.4 ft 3:54 AM/ 3.2 ft 4:39 AM/ 2.9 ft

HIGH

SUNRISE SUNSET

6:55 PM/ 2.8 ft 7:50 PM/ 2.8 ft

7:15 AM 7:16 AM 7:17 AM 7:18 AM 7:18 AM 7:19 AM

5:36 PM 5:36 PM 5:36 PM 5:36 PM 5:36 PM 5:36 PM

2:44 PM/ 0.5 ft

8:50 PM/ 2.8 ft

7:20 AM

5:36 PM

9:27 AM/ 2.4 ft 10:56 AM/ 2.6 ft 12:05 PM/ 2.8 ft 1:04 PM/ 3.0 ft 1:56 PM/ 3.2 ft

3:53 PM/ 0.6 ft 4:59 PM/ 0.8 ft

9:48 PM/ 2.9 ft 10:42 PM/ 3.0 ft 11:31 PM/ 3.2 ft

7:21 AM 7:21 AM 7:22 AM 7:23 AM 7:23 AM

5:36 PM 5:36 PM 5:37 PM 5:37 PM 5:37 PM

8:37 AM/ -1.1 ft

2:45 PM/ 3.2 ft

8:26 PM/ 1.0 ft

7:24 AM

5:37 PM

9:24 AM/ -1.1 ft 10:09 AM/ -1.0 ft 10:52 AM/ -0.8 ft 11:34 AM/ -0.5 ft 12:14 PM/ -0.1 ft 12:18 AM/ 1.0 ft

3:30 PM/ 3.1 ft 4:14 PM/ 3.0 ft 4:55 PM/ 2.9 ft 5:36 PM/ 2.7 ft 6:18 PM/ 2.6 ft 5:30 AM/ 2.6 ft

9:11 PM/ 1.0 ft 9:54 PM/ 1.0 ft 10:38 PM/ 1.0 ft 11:25 PM/ 1.0 ft 12:56 PM/ 0.3 ft

7:03 PM/ 2.4 ft

7:25 AM 7:25 AM 7:26 AM 7:26 AM 7:27 AM 7:28 AM

5:38 PM 5:38 PM 5:39 PM 5:39 PM 5:39 PM 5:40 PM

TUE 20

1:22 AM/ 1.0 ft

6:34 AM/ 2.2 ft

1:42 PM/ 0.7 ft

7:54 PM/ 2.4 ft

7:28 AM

5:40 PM

WED 21

2:42 AM/ 0.9 ft

8:08 AM/ 1.9 ft

2:38 PM/ 1.0 ft

8:54 PM/ 2.4 ft

7:29 AM

5:41 PM

THU 22 FRI 23 SAT 24 SUN 25 MON 26 TUE 27 WED 28

10:03 AM/ 1.9 ft 11:25 AM/ 2.0 ft 12:20 PM/ 2.2 ft 1:02 PM/ 2.4 ft 1:38 PM/ 2.5 ft 2:13 PM/ 2.7 ft 2:46 PM/ 2.8 ft

3:45 PM/ 1.2 ft

9:56 PM/ 2.4 ft 10:50 PM/ 2.5 ft 11:37 PM/ 2.6 ft

12:52 AM/ 2.8 ft 1:25 AM/ 2.9 ft

4:08 AM/ 0.7 ft 5:21 AM/ 0.4 ft 6:17 AM/ 0.1 ft 7:02 AM/ -0.1 ft 7:42 AM/ -0.3 ft 8:18 AM/ -0.5 ft 8:52 AM/ -0.6 ft

7:19 PM/ 1.1 ft 7:56 PM/ 1.0 ft 8:31 PM/ 0.9 ft

7:29 AM 7:30 AM 7:30 AM 7:30 AM 7:31 AM 7:31 AM 7:32 AM

5:41 PM 5:42 PM 5:42 PM 5:43 PM 5:44 PM 5:44 PM 5:45 PM

THU 29

1:56 AM/ 3.0 ft

9:23 AM/ -0.6 ft

3:18 PM/ 2.9 ft

9:07 PM/ 0.9 ft

7:32 AM

5:46 PM

FRI 30 SAT 31

3:01 AM/ 3.0 ft

9:42 PM/ 0.8 ft

7:32 AM

5:46 PM

12:16 AM/ 2.7 ft

2:27 AM/ 3.0 ft

8 BIG BEND

9:54 AM/ -0.7 ft

10:25 AM/ -0.7 ft

DECEMBER 2016

3:51 PM/ 2.9 ft

4:23 PM/ 2.9 ft

9:55 PM/ 1.0 ft 10:32 PM/ 1.0 ft 11:14 PM/ 1.1 ft 12:44 PM/ 0.0 ft

5:58 PM/ 0.9 ft 6:52 PM/ 0.9 ft 7:41 PM/ 1.0 ft

4:54 PM/ 1.3 ft 5:52 PM/ 1.3 ft 6:39 PM/ 1.2 ft

10:19 PM/ 0.8 ft

7:32 AM

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Shell Point, Walker Creek High Tide -3min Low Tide -3min

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STEINHATCHEE RIVER • DEADMAN’S BAY TIDES – DECEMBER 2016 DATE

THU 1 FRI 2 SAT 3 SUN 4 MON 5 TUE 6

HIGH 1:49 AM/ 3.2 ft 2:20 AM/ 3.2 ft 2:54 AM/ 3.1 ft 3:33 AM/ 3.0 ft 4:21 AM/ 2.8 ft

LOW

HIGH

LOW

9:03 AM/ -0.4 ft 9:35 AM/ -0.3 ft 10:10 AM/ -0.3 ft 10:50 AM/ -0.1 ft 11:37 AM/ 0.0 ft 12:00 AM/ 1.1 ft

3:15 PM/ 3.0 ft 3:52 PM/ 3.0 ft 4:31 PM/ 2.9 ft 5:14 PM/ 2.9 ft 6:04 PM/ 2.8 ft 5:25 AM/ 2.6 ft

8:48 PM/ 1.0 ft 9:25 PM/ 1.0 ft 10:07 PM/ 1.1 ft 10:57 PM/ 1.1 ft 12:32 PM/ 0.2 ft

WED 7

1:16 AM/ 1.0 ft

6:53 AM/ 2.4 ft

THU 8 FRI 9 SAT 10 SUN 11 MON 12

2:38 AM/ 0.7 ft 3:52 AM/ 0.3 ft 4:55 AM/ -0.2 ft 5:50 AM/ -0.6 ft 6:41 AM/ -0.9 ft

HIGH

SUNRISE SUNSET

6:59 PM/ 2.8 ft

7:11 AM 7:12 AM 7:13 AM 7:13 AM 7:14 AM 7:15 AM

5:33 PM 5:33 PM 5:33 PM 5:34 PM 5:34 PM 5:34 PM

1:37 PM/ 0.5 ft

7:59 PM/ 2.8 ft

7:16 AM

5:34 PM

8:36 AM/ 2.4 ft 10:05 AM/ 2.6 ft 11:14 AM/ 2.8 ft 12:13 PM/ 3.0 ft 1:05 PM/ 3.2 ft

2:46 PM/ 0.6 ft 3:52 PM/ 0.8 ft

8:57 PM/ 2.9 ft 9:51 PM/ 3.0 ft 10:40 PM/ 3.2 ft

7:16 AM 7:17 AM 7:18 AM 7:18 AM 7:19 AM

5:34 PM 5:34 PM 5:34 PM 5:35 PM 5:35 PM

4:51 PM/ 0.9 ft 5:45 PM/ 0.9 ft 6:34 PM/ 1.0 ft

11:26 PM/ 3.4 ft

TUE 13

12:11 AM/ 3.5 ft

7:30 AM/ -1.1 ft

1:54 PM/ 3.2 ft

7:19 PM/ 1.0 ft

7:20 AM

5:35 PM

WED 14 THU 15 FRI 16 SAT 17 SUN 18 MON 19

12:54 AM/ 3.5 ft 1:37 AM/ 3.5 ft 2:20 AM/ 3.4 ft 3:03 AM/ 3.2 ft 3:48 AM/ 2.9 ft 4:39 AM/ 2.6 ft

8:17 AM/ -1.1 ft 9:02 AM/ -1.0 ft 9:45 AM/ -0.8 ft 10:27 AM/ -0.5 ft 11:07 AM/ -0.1 ft 11:49 AM/ 0.3 ft

2:39 PM/ 3.1 ft 3:23 PM/ 3.0 ft 4:04 PM/ 2.9 ft 4:45 PM/ 2.7 ft 5:27 PM/ 2.6 ft 6:12 PM/ 2.4 ft

8:04 PM/ 1.0 ft 8:47 PM/ 1.0 ft 9:31 PM/ 1.0 ft 10:18 PM/ 1.0 ft 11:11 PM/ 1.0 ft

7:20 AM 7:21 AM 7:22 AM 7:22 AM 7:23 AM 7:23 AM

5:36 PM 5:36 PM 5:36 PM 5:37 PM 5:37 PM 5:38 PM

TUE 20

12:15 AM/ 1.0 ft

5:43 AM/ 2.2 ft

12:35 PM/ 0.7 ft

7:03 PM/ 2.4 ft

7:24 AM

5:38 PM

WED 21

1:35 AM/ 0.9 ft

7:17 AM/ 1.9 ft

1:31 PM/ 1.0 ft

8:03 PM/ 2.4 ft

7:24 AM

5:39 PM

THU 22 FRI 23 SAT 24 SUN 25 MON 26 TUE 27 WED 28

9:12 AM/ 1.9 ft 10:34 AM/ 2.0 ft 11:29 AM/ 2.2 ft 12:11 PM/ 2.4 ft 12:47 PM/ 2.5 ft 1:22 PM/ 2.7 ft 1:55 PM/ 2.8 ft

2:38 PM/ 1.2 ft

9:05 PM/ 2.4 ft 9:59 PM/ 2.5 ft 10:46 PM/ 2.6 ft

12:01 AM/ 2.8 ft 12:34 AM/ 2.9 ft

3:01 AM/ 0.7 ft 4:14 AM/ 0.4 ft 5:10 AM/ 0.1 ft 5:55 AM/ -0.1 ft 6:35 AM/ -0.3 ft 7:11 AM/ -0.5 ft 7:45 AM/ -0.6 ft

7:25 AM 7:25 AM 7:26 AM 7:26 AM 7:26 AM 7:27 AM 7:27 AM

5:39 PM 5:40 PM 5:40 PM 5:41 PM 5:41 PM 5:42 PM 5:43 PM

THU 29

1:05 AM/ 3.0 ft

8:16 AM/ -0.6 ft

2:27 PM/ 2.9 ft

8:00 PM/ 0.9 ft

7:28 AM

5:43 PM

FRI 30 SAT 31

1:36 AM/ 3.0 ft

8:47 AM/ -0.7 ft

3:00 PM/ 2.9 ft

8:35 PM/ 0.8 ft

7:28 AM

5:44 PM

2:10 AM / 3.0 ft

9:18 AM / -0.7 ft

3:32 PM / 2.9 ft

3:47 PM/ 1.3 ft 4:45 PM/ 1.3 ft 5:32 PM/ 1.2 ft

6:12 PM/ 1.1 ft 6:49 PM/ 1.0 ft 7:24 PM/ 0.9 ft

9:12 PM / 0.8 ft

11:25 PM/ 2.7 ft

7:28 AM

Withlacoochee River High Tide +7min Low Tide +55min

Cedar Key Daily Predictions

Suwannee River High Tide +6min Low Tide +18min

Salt Creek High Tide –7min Low Tide +24min

Pepperfish Keys High Tide +12min Low Tide +24min

5:45 PM

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM

DECEMBER 2016

BIG BEND 9


T

KEATON BEACH

rout are on fire as of this writing at Keaton with fish being taken on live pins and shrimp fished under Back Bay Thunders and on synthetics, and soft plastics either bounced on a jig or rigged a on a jig under an original Cajun Thunder. Hard Jerkbaits like Cordell Redfins, Bite-ABaits and Bomber Long A are all taking trout and reds Buster Donald of Macon, Ga. with a Great 23" at Keaton. I am sure some trout taken October 25, 3016. anglers are also taking trout on stickbaits such as MirrOLure's Top Dogs, Top Dog Juniors, She Dogs and Top Pups, or Skitterwalks, Zara Spooks, Super Spooks and Super Spook Juniors. We haven't slowed down from catching them on live pinfish yet. If water temps hold in the mid-70's as they have of late, expect all of the baits and plugs above to work...however if the water temps drop down into the low to mid 60's expect to shift over to Catch 2000's, Catch Juniors, and MirrOdines in all three sizes #'s 14,17 and 27. Then when temps get below 60 degrees try the Paul Brown series in the Devil, Original, Fatboy John Burkhalter of Macon with a nice red. and the two sizes of Softdines. December is one of my favorite months to plug fish; so give me a call and let's set up a trip to throw plugs ! My charters have been great in November with limits of trout on most all our trips and several reds to go with them. Live Pins under the Back Bay continue to be the ticket with Gulf water temps from 74 -78 degrees on my last charter. We have yet to have a frost and today is November 8 …election day ugh… Let's ask the Republicans about Global warming again this year and see what they come up with? Our reds have mostly been mixed in with the trout out in deeper water but we did manage a few this past week on Thunder-Spins and Sleighs. Gold was the key on those fish. I only had a few minutes of Octoberfest so far this year and as soon as I got my ClarkSpoons rigged up and ready that dried up immediately. I hope to run into some diving birds this week as I start 11 straight days this Friday. I'll let you know how both of those went next month. Daniel Cook of Dallas, Ga. with a Great speck and a Great smile to match taken October 28, 3016 10 BIG BEND

DECEMBER 2016

T

STEINHATCHEE

he brisk fall air is refreshing; however it does generate a gusty morning wind. That is fine if your fishing the flats but going offshore requires a bit of forethought such as making the trip out in short legs. A smart offshore trip might begin in 25-30’ fishing for Florida snapper and seabass while waiting for the winds to abate. The trout guides are coming back with fine coolers of trout and red fish. The hot bait is small pinfish or “shiner tails”. A shiner tail is a pinfish that was been cut into strips and hooked to a hook or jig head. It can be fished straight or under a popping cork. Water 2-4’ deep has been most productive. If the winter remains relatively cool in December the song will remain the same. Jigs and plugs are working as well. As usual, the best bait is confidence. But never be too shy to try something different. The ‘different’ is what makes fishing always exciting for me. Florida snapper have and will continue to active and large. Although, some places where they are normally abundant they may be sparse. So, if the bite isn’t strong bounce to the next hard bottom. I’ve found them in 28-40’ of water and caught a gracious plenty on squid, cut bait and pieces of Gulp. Some large seabass have been mixed in as a special bonus. The grouper bite has been fair. I’ve been using live pinfish for bottom fishing. However, I’ve found trolling to be a good option especially if the wind is stiff in the early morning. For an appropriate plug color try something in gray. Red snapper are super abundant. I’ve caught a ten pounder in 30’ of water. Why to regulation is the way it is astounds me and everyone else. We leave places due to the overwhelming number of red snapper. Of course, by that time a few snapper are floating off from gut hooking. So we can kill them yet not take them to the kitchen. Conservation? I think not! For the shear fun of riding a reef donkey, pitch live bait on any common haunt and enjoy the ride. Amberjack will give free fishing lesions most anytime.

Let’s Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 25years! www.onemorecast.net onemorecast@gtcom.net cell: 850.838.7541

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FORECAST BY: Capt. Brian Smith BIG BEND CHARTERS LIKE us on Facebook! captbrian@bellsouth.net 877-852-FISH • 352-210-3050


H

CEDAR KEY

ey there Folks, I hope y ou a re re a d y f or Christmas, because it's right around the corner. I would like to take the first few paragraphs to suggest some Christmas presents for the special fisherman or woman in your life. Here are a few cool gifts that anyone would like have!  A sun shield or some nice sun gloves are great idea that doesn't break the bank. A few new UnfairLures or a few bags of Saltwater Assassin Jigs. These gifts make awesome stocking stuffers as well. You can never go wrong with a new rod and reel or some braided fishing line. Ladies if you have any questions, feel free to call me and I can point you in the right direction. Don't worry, your husbands didn't pay me off.  O k ay h e re we go for your fishing forecast.  With the cooler water temps, the majority of the trout have moved to the creeks and creek mouths. On the low tide, you should be able to catch them on the same cork rigs that we use on the flats. Also, suspending jerk baits, work great on fish that are sluggish to bite.  Red fish should be scarred from the mouths of the creeks, to the back of the creeks. They will be in the deeper troughs on low water, and this will be the easiest time to target them. Casting jigs, jerk baits, or just fishing with live shrimp on the bottom, should produce strikes as long as they're home. Once the tide comes in they will scatter out and you will have to search a little more for them, but they will still be catchable on spoons, jigs, and jerk baits.  The bass fishing is also picking up this time of year on the Suwannee River. This is the time of year that many techniques will work proficiently. There will be bass in most of the creeks and tributaries off of the river. The banks with sharp drop offs will hold more fish. You could catch a bass on one cast and a red fish on the next. Jerk baits, Texas rig worms, and crank baits work great this time of year. Well folks, I hope this will help you out in December. Until next month, get out doors and enjoy what God made for us.   FORECAST BY: Capt.Jimbo Keith Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charter fishcedarkey.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM

DECEMBER 2016

BIG BEND 11


H

HOMOSASSA

appy Holidays Nature Coast Anglers, December is always a great month to be on the water and especially between cold fronts. This year we’ve been blessed with the extension of gag grouper season until December 31st. With gulf water temperatures typically hovering in the mid to upper 60’s, this “IS” grouper time. From trolling, casting plugs to bottom fishing; be sure to grab a gag grouper dinner before the end of the month. Wi t h t h e c o o l e r water temperatures, our inshore trout population change gears from being spread over the flats and concentrate over hard, rocky bottom. This can either be a submerged oyster bar, rock flat or an isolated rock boulder. The good news is, the trout are concentrated and once one fish is located, there are generally more very close to the area. Slow suspending plugs like MirrOlure mirrodines and especially DOA glow jerk baits, are my go to lures and I encourage you all to try them as well. On the days when the NE wind is howling and it’s just too rough to leave the comfort of the river; well, stay in the river. There can be plenty of action along the rocky points, holes and springs. Live shrimp on a jig head is simple technique to keep the rod bent and red fish, mangrove snapper, trout and black drum will be the winter residence in the rivers for the next couple of months. I always like to mention too for the fly fisherman or upcoming fly fisherman; the ladyfish are in the headwaters of the river by the thousands. They can be a blast on a 5wt rod and will readily take a white clouser minnow aggressively. I like to pinch the barb down on the fly which makes for a easily release and it keeps you and the boat clean. The annual wither time sheepshead migration usually first starts just around the holidays and myself and several of the other captains; really look forward to their arrival. Sheepshead are one of the few fish that really prefer the cold water temperatures. If we’ve had several cold fronts, you can bet they will start arriving on the various hard bottom structures. I’ll be talking more about them in the upcoming months and I wish you all a great Holiday Season... Capt. Dan FORECAST BY: Captain Dan Clymer (352) 418-2160 Racin’ Mullet Charters www.crystalriver-fishing.com

12 BIG BEND

DECEMBER 2016

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CANGL_NFL1-NFL8.indd 5

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NORTH FLORIDA 5

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CA_HM

By Tobin Strickland • Photo by Kyle Johnson

W

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

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he Dry Tortugas are a group of seven small islands 67 miles west of Key West. Encompassed within a 100-acre national park, the islands are best known for Fort Jefferson, a 19th century brick fort on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. The history of the Dry Tortugas is pretty amazing, and so is the fishing. Fort Jefferson was built to protect the busiest shipping lanes between the Gulf Coast and the eastern seaboard. During the civil war, the fort was used by the Union army to disrupt shipping to confederate forces. During that same period, the fort was also used as a prison. The most famous prisoner held at the fort was Dr. Samuel Mudd, who mended John Wilkes Booth’s leg. In 1874, the army abandoned the fort and it was used solely as a coaling station for resupply. The Dry Tortugas received their name because there was no water on the island and the turtles prevalent on the beach made a good food source. The fort itself was never finished completely, but it is a testament to determination. All the building materials needed to build the fort were brought down by barge. The scope of it doesn’t hit you until you sit in the archways of the fort and think back in history of them hauling 14 million bricks 70 miles from Key West and roughly 200 miles from the mainland out in the middle of the ocean. Those arches of bricks often are made of six different angles meeting together to make the complex ceiling. A walk around the fort and climbing the walls is a must for anyone traveling to Dry Tortuga. Plan on just relaxing and watching the sunset from inside the fort. For anglers, the true magic happens when you go fishing off Fort Jefferson. The waters surrounding the fort are crystal clear. Often, when fishing in 30 or 40 feet of water you can watch groupers swim out of a hole and eat your bait. Whether you decide to fish K Buoy on the north side of the fort for yellowtails, East Key for groupers and mutton, or the south side of the fort for big groupers or kings, it is magical. The fishing at the fort is like going back 30 years in time and catching fish of yester-year. When you see a boat come back from the fort with its catch, you can tell where they have been without even asking. The fish are larger and more 14 FLORIDA

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colorful, and there’s just more of them. I think the remoteness of the fort has kept the fishing pristine. You know the king fishing at the fort is amazing when you see tournament teams run hundreds of miles to catch a fish there to win a tournament. I think there have been more winning kingfish caught at the fort than any place else, but the fort is known for its bottom fishing. Whether you decide to bottom fish on the Atlantic side of the fort or the Gulf of Mexico on the north side, be ready for some awesome action. On the Atlantic side, you can anchor down and chum up the yellowtails on the reef edge or drift fish the different drops. These drops are bottom contours that often only change by a couple of feet, but those edges hold myriad fish. The 204 drop or the 250 drop edges are loaded with fish, but you have to use the right tackle. I prefer braid when bottom fishing. The difference with braid when you are fishing deep is it takes half the weight to get down, and you can feel exactly what is going on with your bait. The amount of weight will vary every day, you want to make sure you have enough weight to hold bottom; you do not want your line scoping out away from the boat. When the line scopes out, you have to put more and more line out to find the bottom. Ideally, you want your bait a foot off the bottom. If you scope out, you also have a great tendency to hang the bottom. It can often be hard to get the feel for it for new anglers. Bait options are endless, whether you fish live bait (pinfish, pilchards, mullet) or dead bait, there is a time for each. There are days when they only want dead bait like bonita strips, ballyhoo or squid, and they will out fish live 10 to one. Then sometimes jigs with tails or ballyhoo are the secret. The best advice I can give is take it all: dead bait, live bait and artificials. It is a long way to the nearest tackle shop. Don’t be afraid to try different things at different locations. When it comes to jigs, I prefer white and everything from 1-ounce to 10-once. The current can be still, or it could be flying along at 3 knots. For I like to drift fish at the fort. There is so much bottom to cover and so many places I

want to get to that I rarely anchor. A perfect drift for me is 1 1/2 to 2 knots. If there is no current, typically there are no fish. Different times of day are better in different areas. I believe the fish migrate during the day from south to north or vice versa depending on where you are. When you setup a drift over a migration, you will know it instantly by the constant action. When you look at a chart of the Dry Tortugas, your imagination runs wild with all the great bottom contours to fish and different spots that just look fishy. Be mindful of the closed areas and restricted areas around the fort; the fines are expensive. The best part of fishing the Dry Tortugas is exploring a new fishery that is so widespread and alive with fish. You can expect to come home with stories and photos of a lifetime. So take the time to go down West and experience history. Visit the Dry Tortugas web page for more information (www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm). Contact Capt. Mike Weinhoffer and Key West Florida Fishing through their website www. Keywestfloridafishing.com or call 305-395-3474.

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If you think you can triumph over anything that swims, we suggest you go straight to Key West. Because from mighty offshore gamesters including sails, tuna and marlin to backcountry stars such as bonefish, permit, tarpon and snook, you’ll discover your breaking point a lot sooner than you might think. fla-keys.com/keywest 1.800.527.8539

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T

he gift of peak experiences happens to all of us. Sometimes we set them up, and sometimes they’re gifts from heaven. We all do our best to orchestrate memorable experiences. For me, a common denominator has been the ocean. Diving, surfing, sailing and fishing are all included. During the 18 years I handled sales and marketing at Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, I was fortunate to witness blue marlin tournaments in St. Thomas, the first Redbone tournament in Islamorada and good times at the Sailfish Marina with the West Palm Beach Fishing Club. Another thread has been the fishing/surfing connection. Having an affinity for the ocean is common to people who fish, and for surfers. Ben Hartig, longtime member of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, was one of the most revered surfers at Reef Road in Palm Beach. Nobody dropped in on Ben Hartig. Bill Holmes, who manufactured legendary “Holmesy Surfboards” in Juno Beach, also had the woodworking talents to do custom interiors for Rybovich Boat Company for many years. The late Ted James started Fox Surfboards in Palm Beach County in 1968 while he was catching monster tarpon and snook in the area, and later fished the Outer Banks of North Carolina while manufacturing Fox Surfboards and Sailboards there. Mark Castlow of Fort Pierce started Atlantis Surfboards in the 1960s, and then moved into manufacturing world class Maverick flats boats and Dragonfly Boatworks today. Ralph Boynton, long time Lake Worth pier surfer, won the West Palm Beach Fishing Club’s annual Nora Award for the heaviest snook three times, and holds the 50-year record at 42.08 lbs. Kristy Murphy grew up fishing and diving in the Bahamas before moving to Jupiter. She was so good in the water she could free dive 30 feet, spear a grouper and grab a lobster with the same breath. Kristy went on to win the Women’s World Longboard Championships in big waves. One of the world’s best big-wave surfers, Mark Healy, often free dives 100 feet deep as a volunteer to tag sharks for conservation. The historic Sea Mist drift fishing boat out of Boynton Inlet has had two of the best local surf-

ers as long time captains: Burt Garnsey and Charlie Brown. And don’t forget our own Florida fishing guides/writers Capt. Mike Holliday and Capt. Rodney Smith, both also hooked on surfing. Holmesy Surfboards, Fox Surfboards and Kristy Murphy are all featured in the grand opening of the new Surfing Museum in the Lake Park Arts District on Dec. 9. The Surfing History Museum recently moved from Delray Beach to Lake Park at 738 Park Avenue and the grand opening includes the premier of the new surfing film Ted James with a gift from the ocean, “Dream Steeple.” The museum a 41.75-pound snook, circa 1967. showcases the 100-year history Photo by Ralph Boynton. of surfing in Florida. We hope to see you there, and “talk story” about peak experiences and gifts from the ocean. Tom Warnke is a Trustee and Historian for the Palm Beach County Surfing History Project. Email Tom at trwarnke@hotmail.com or click on surfhistoryproject.org for additional info.

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I

f there is a point at which the world of art and the world of sport fishing came together, it can be found in fly tying. If you take a brief moment to scour the internet for videos on tying different types of flies anglers have developed, you’ll see that making flies is in a class all of its own when it comes to our world of fishing. Taking time to use natural or synthetic materials and making them look like something that will fool the wary eye of an elusive sport fish like bonefish or tarpon is a challenge to both our creativity and our knowledge as fishermen. However, learning to become a successful fly tyer can be one the most rewarding experiences in your fishing adventures, and it will force you to heighten your awareness of what your quarry is looking for. But let’s face it, it can be intimidating when you see pictures of some of the masterpiece flies that have been developed by more experienced tyers. Believe it or not, with only a few simple materials, some hooks, a vice, a bobbin, and tying thread, you can begin making quality flies all on your own in a very short amount of time. For the beginning fly tyer planning to fish fresh or saltwater in Florida, there are five flies I feel are not only very effective, but

are also very simple to begin tying on your own. Woolly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, Lefty’s Deceiver, gurglers, and polar fiber minnows are all flies that are a simple and effective launching pad for the beginning tyer. For the Woolly Bugger, you’ll need chenille, marabou and rooster neck hackle. The Clouser Minnow only requires two different colors of buck tail, painted dumbbell eyes and some Flashabou. Lefty’s Deceivers require matching (or varying if you choose) colors of rooster saddle and buck tail, along with some Flashabou and maybe a little paint to make the eyes. A simple gurgler only requires some marabou, chenille and foam, and for a polar fiber minnow, you only need one color of polar fiber, some fish eyes, and five-minute epoxy. For in depth instructions on all five of these flies, there are some great Youtube channels like Fly Fish Food, In The Riffle, or Tight Lines Video that offer great instructional videos for any one of these five flies and a multitude of other fantastic fly patterns. So as a fellow angler, I challenge you to head down to your nearest fly shop, pick up some of these materials and begin not only making your own flies, but catching fish on flies that you made! Good luck and tight lines.

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or more than 50 years, the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament has kicked off the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship Series. This year’s tournament dates are Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 1-4. The all-release challenge, a primary fundraiser for the Islamorada Charter Boat Association, allows an unlimited number of anglers per vessel to participate. Tournament events are to be headquartered at the Whale Harbor Inn and Marina complex, located at mile marker 83 in Islamorada, and open with pre-registration and a kickoff banquet Thursday, Dec. 1. Fishing is scheduled Friday through Sunday, Dec. 2-4, with an awards ceremony Sunday. Entry fees after Nov. 15 are $750 and $650, respectively. The junior angler entry fee is $250 regardless of entry date. Specially priced Islamorada lodging rates are available for the weekend event. The second event in the Gold Cup Series is the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament set for Jan. 19-21, 2017. The third is the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament scheduled Jan. 25-26, 2017, when the series culminates and the overall Gold Cup champions are crowned. For registration and information go to islamoradasailfishtournament. com/ or contact Dianne Harbaugh 305-522-4868.

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M

y earliest introduction to the Bahamas was Andros, and I really feel at home when I go back. Although I am blessed to have traveled throughout the Bahamas for my ongoing research of bonefish and the bonefishing industry, it was my initial angling trip to Andros that created ties to the Bahamas that draw me back. This, the largest and most sparsely developed of the Bahamian islands, offers some of the best fishing in the world. Andros is truncated by extensive, deep and vital oceanic creeks referred to as bights that act as fish highways, transporting rich nutrients from region to region and tremendous numbers of fish. North Andros, separated from Mangrove Cay by the north bight, extends roughly from Bering Point all the way north to the Joulters. Like the rest of Andros, a single road on the eastern fringe allows for travel from north to south. The western side of Andros is largely undeveloped, is challenging to reach and is now the largest Marine Protected Area in the Bahamas. Bering Point can be considered an epicenter of bonefishing on Andros and in the Bahamas for that matter. This small fishing community lies on the southeastern tip of Andros, south of Fresh Creek one of the largest settlements on Andros, and just south of the AUTEC naval base. Bering Point is home to many long-time lodges and some of the best-known guides in the world. Guides like Ivan Neymour, Charlie Smith, and Rupert Leadon started guiding anglers in the 40s and 50s, working to develop a premier bonefishing destination. Indeed, the flats of Andros are unriveled in their sheer size and many areas on the west side of Andros remain relatively untouched. Anglers visiting north Andros have a wide array of accommodations to choose from and while I was conducting interviews in the area, I stayed at the Andros Island Bonefish Club, founded by local legend Rupert Leadon, who passed in 2012. Although I was unable to interview Rupert for my research, I met and interviewed many of his family members. Through conversing with family and community members, it is very clear how much Mr. Leadon helped the local economy. Like the Leadon family, many guides working in Andros are descended from guiding greats, those men who ventured into a new industry receiving little credit for their tremendous efforts, until now. Flats within easy wading from Bering Point are extensive and varied. Anglers should have wading boots and larger flies for deeper water and larger fish. Double-digit bonefish are common in Andros. Fish the tides, look for moving water, look for places that get less pressure and do not be afraid to wade deep for big fish... however, watch for sharks. You can bet that if you find good bonefishing, you will also find sharks. Be wary of sharks while releasing bonefish, and reduce the potential for predation of your released bonefish. Do this by using adequate rods, reels and lines, by reducing fight time, by eliminating handling and using barbless hooks. “Keep ’em wet.” If you have to have a photo, consider waterproof cameras for interesting perspectives of you and your fish. North Andros is very interesting geographically. The south by Bering Point is sub-tropical. In the north, starting roughly near Stafford Creek, where the beautiful Stafford Creek Lodge is located, are extensive pine forests and some agriculture creating a significant change from the south. Bonefish angling is available all along the eastern shores, and creeks are great places to start. Car rentals are readily available from local airports and adventuresome anglers can reap great rewards for getting off the proverbial beaten path. Some creek 20 FLORIDA

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systems are extensive, and as with all of Andros, traveling to the west side requires a boat and expert local knowledge... a guide. The northern tip of Andros is known as the Joulters, recently hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Local guide Phillip Rolle graciously showed me some of the Joulters, and I can genuinely say the habitat is rich and the fishing is amazing. Miles and miles of hard white sandy bottom flats welcome anglers venturing to the area. I get the impression less angling pressure has permitted the continued health of local fish stocks. Huge schools of large fish move through countless cuts, bars and shoals, making the need for a guide critical. Given the size of the Joulters and all of Andros for that matter, finding fish is a daunting task; local guides who fish every day will greatly improve your odds of catching fish. Although the fishing on Andros is outstanding, there is much to do for non-anglers or on days away from the flats. Many blue holes dot the landscape, fantastic diving and snorkelling are easy to access, world-class birding and ecotours are available, and a rich culture including festivals like Crab Fest make for a great trip. For much more on this research please visit: http://tomkarrow.wixsite.com/ bahamas-guide-tek. Tom Karrow is a doctoral researcher evaluating the sustainability of the Bahamas bonefishing industry through accessing local guide knowledge and history. Tom works in conjunction with Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, The University of the Bahamas and the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association. Research is funded in part through partnerships with Nautilus Reels, R.L.Winston Fly Rods, FishPond, 12 Weight, Costa and World Angling.

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By Bert Marcus Last week I got a call from my friend Bill Washburn in Sarasota. He knew I had been running a Sailfish for the past seven years and wanted to know if I had seen the new Sailfish 236CC yet. I told him that I hadn’t and asked him why he cared. “Well I’ve got one tied up at my dock,” he replied. “I wanted to see if you wanted to go out with me tomorrow on my new boat.” I have never been one to turn down a fishing trip. We made plans to meet at his house on Longboat Key the next morning and said goodbye.

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After fighting a little traffic the next morning, I pulled back behind Bill’s House to his dock and there was Bill loading some rods and a cooler into what I could tell from a distance from its distinctive bow flare was a Sailfish, but the more modern profile and the hard-top frame integrated into the console were attractive new additions. “Get aboard,” he said, beaming with pride. “Just got it over the weekend.” He filled me in on all the details. The 236CC was a brand new Sailfish model, in fact this was number seven. “They’ve taken the best of your boat and added a lot of new innovations,” he explained, while starting to show me around the boat. “He really thought this one through, from the keel up – it’s got form and function.” I could see many of the old standards features from my old Sailfish – deep gunwales, built-in transom bait well, well-laid-out console, big fish boxes in he bow. However, there was plenty of “new” in this new model. “Look how they handled the transom seating,” Bill said, pointing to a fold-up seat attached to the transom. “And the whole thing lifts up to give you easy access to the bilge.” He then pointed to the leaning post lifted up the cushion on the passenger’s side and said, “look at this, a second live well build into the leaning post.” He also pointed out the tackle storage and stowable bait station built into the leaning post before getting behind the helm, tapping on the passenger seat and telling me to get ready to go. “I’ve put about 15 hours on the motor since Saturday,” Bill explained, “I could have gotten it with a 200 or 300 Yamaha, but I went with the 250.” “It runs 47 mph wide open,” Bill boasted. “And like all Sailfish’s, the VDS hull cuts into the water and the ride is real smooth.” As I said earlier, I have been running a Sailfish for the past seven years, and one thing that I have always appreciated is the way she handles in rough water. I have to admit, I was jealous of Bill and I spent most of the trip calculating what I could get for trading in my 218CC and what color my new 236CC would be.

CONNER’S NUTTER BUTTER Most fishermen will tell you they have a favorite color when it comes to specific fly patterns or lures. As a general rule, especially with streamers, it’s a good idea to have a range of colors to cycle through until you find what the fish are keyed in on. The Nutter Butter is a great pattern that falls toward the natural color palette, featuring mostly tans and browns and natural material like coyote fur. Something I have noticed is these subtle colors can draw a strike when brighter colors will not, making streamers like the Nutter Butter a staple for any streamer fisher’s box. In addition to color, the action and profile of the Nutter Butter are perfectly suited to drawing strikes from predatory fish. This fly really dances underwater. Rear Hook Hook: Gamakatsu B10S Size 2 Tail: Tan Extra Select Craft Fur Body: Tan Ice Dub Hackle: Polar Chenille Olive Copper UV Collar: Coyote Fur in a dubbing loop Front Hook Articulation: Senyo’s Intruder Wire and 2 6mm beads Hook: Gamakatsu B10S Size 1/0 Rattle: Hareline Plastic Rattle Medium Tail: Tan Craft Fur Body: Tan Ice Dub Hackle: Polar Chenille Olive Copper UV Collar: Coyote Fur in a dubbing loop Head: Brown Laser Dub Over Tan Eyes: 8mm CCG Eyes Tempt Head: CCG Flex

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

I

t’s December. I’m ready for some winter wade fishing, and I am sure you are, too. Now the question, is our equipment ready? The last thing I want to happen… again, is to be waist deep in 45-degree water and 40-degree air temp and realize my waders have sprung a leak. Let’s go over a few things to prevent this. First, I start with storage last spring. I store all of my waders and jackets in a climate-controlled environment. I also make sure to hang them up to avoid items getting tossed on top of them. Well in advance of my first trip, I will do a thorough inspection in search of pin holes and abrasions. The best method I have found for this is to turn my waders inside out, grab a spotlight and head for a dark room. I shine the spotlight inside and look for any light shining through. In the event I spot a hole, I will circle that area with a permanent marker. Once identified, I then use the appropriate patch adhesive for my waders and make the necessary repair. After this, I like to fill them with water as a secondary check. Now, when it comes to the type of equipment to buy, there are endless options from economical to expensive. There are two trains of thought here, and over my career I have subscribed to both. I used to purchase the more economical prod-

ucts, and for the most part they served me well, but I have had those occasional uncomfortable long, wet and cold days. My thought process was I could buy 6 to 10 pairs of these waders or buy one pair of the expensive ones. The 6 to 10 might last me a lifetime. It was hard for me to see the benefits to spending substantially more money for what I felt was the same product. I heard reviews that the others were warmer etc., but I just didn’t see it since they are both fairly thin and breathable. Once I tried a pair of the more expensive brands, I was hooked! It was a night and day difference in the feel, comfort and warmth. Not to mention the more expensive ones typically come with some type of warranty. Although I have not had any problems to find out first-hand, I hear customer service is top notch if something does fail. As I mentioned, both price points will work, but there is something to be said for buying quality when it comes to winter wade fishing gear. So whatever your preference, always take the time to check your equipment prior to that first wade in search of those winter trophy speckled trout. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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We’ve cracked the code ...

Surprising Winter is the Best Planting Time

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

DECEMBER 2016

better coming out of your home orchard versus buying fruit from the grocers that have little to no flavors. Thirdly, it is good for your soul and you will feel more connected to the environment and nature. Whether it is an apple tree, muscadine vine or a blueberry bush; now is the time to plant. Let’s Grow Together. Greg Ison, Ison’s Nursery and Vineyards, 800733-0324, www.isons.com

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

T

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

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

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

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

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UNDER THE SEA

SPEARFISHING WORLD RECORDS SHERI DAYE

M

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

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

For more Sheri Daye, go to

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Team MHX finds Success in 2016

H

FLW Photo

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

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

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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.

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Coastal Angler Magazine-Dec. / Big Bend