Coastal Angler Magazine | February 2019 | Volusia/Daytona

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DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND EDITION

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Tampa's

Treasures

Record-Class

Blackfish Inshore Rigging Tips PHOTO COURTESY OF DARYN ANDREW WHITE VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 288

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LIFE ON THE COAST IS BETTER WHEN YOU STAY CENTERED.

190 FSH SERIES

Make the most of the open water with Yamaha’s 190 FSH® Series. Our all-new 19-foot center console boats have been redesigned from the ground up for more fishing and family fun. A saltwater corrosion resistant driveline protects you from the harshest elements. And with an extra spacious layout and new storage pods to keep all of your gear, the 190 FSH Series will put you in the middle of everything you love about living on the coast. Starting at $29,799.

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FROM SHIP TO SHORE

All trademarks mentioned are owned by, or licensed to, the AkzoNobel group of companies. © AkzoNobel 2018.

© 2 0 1 9 H AVA LO N K N I V E S

AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN.

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For over a century, a league of canned crusaders have been fighting to keep boats safe from barnacles, slime, algae and other aquatic evils that rob your boat of its true performance. With advanced know-how and unique capabilities, each antifouling is tailored to different conditions, and has the power to defeat fouling in all its forms. Micron® WA is a water-based formula that’s powered with advanced Water Activated Matrix technology to efficiently release active ingredients over time for valiant multi-season protection. Micron® WA is easy to apply and clean up, making it ideal for boaters in all waters and regions. For super-powered antifouling protection and proven performance, choose Interlux®.

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Tampa Bay, A Jewel On

Florida’s Gulf Coast By Rosemary J. White

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ampa Bay has some of the very best fishing in the state of Florida, which means it is some of the best fishing in the world. What makes Tampa Bay so unique is the many different varieties of both freshwater and saltwater fish to catch, as well as the many different ways to catch them. If you are not a boat person, Tampa offers the world’s longest fishing pier, the Old Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Here you can catch snook, tarpon, grouper, black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, sheepshead, red snapper and pompano. That’s 10 species of highly desirable fish from just one location, without a boat! And if that list alone is not impressive enough, fishing the bridge is convenient, too. You’ll need some specialized gear, but once

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you’ve got it you can drive right onto the pier to your exact sweet spot and unload. It’s also lit at night! There’s no limit as to what time of the day you can fish. Feel like delving into the ocean world a little deeper than a concrete bridge? Tampa Bay boasts the stunning Fort Desoto County Park. Here you can simply slip on a pair of old sneakers and wade into cerulean blue waters and lush seagrass beds. Sound surreal? It is. Wading is a stealthy approach to fishing. In addition to species from the list above, you can also catch redfish, trout and flounder. Looking to fish the deeper waters of the bay? About 45 miles out, the water depths start to reach the 80-foot range. Out here, the possibilities are endless. Varieties of grouper, assortments of snapper, arrays of sharks, blackfin tuna, sailfish, mahi, amberjack, jack crevalle, permit and bonita can be added to the previously mentioned lists of available species. What if you tend to lean more toward the fresh side? Tampa Bay has some of the most diverse freshwater fishing opportunities one can imagine. Use a kayak to quietly glide through the tannic waters of our creeks to catch largemouth bass that grow upwards of 10 pounds. The creeks also hold massive bluegills, crappie, toothy alligator gar, tilapia, catfish and carp. The secret to what makes our freshwater fishing so thrilling is that you never know what you are going to catch. You see, many of our saltwater species inhabit our freshwater, as well. It is not only possible, but it is common to catch a big largemouth and then five minutes later a 15-pound common snook. Tampa Bay offers a temperate climate, direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, artificial reefs, a unique slowly sloping continental shelf, and an abundance of freshwater feeds. From grass flats and mangrove systems in our inshore ecological system, to the deeper channels throughout the bay and Intracoastal Waterway, anglers have the opportunity to catch anything from sharks to Goliath grouper. The potential for the catch of a lifetime exists on every cast.

*At Ma sal inc

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*At participating dealers only. Qualifying retail customers may receive instant savings off the selling price of a Honda powered boat package or Honda Marine engine(s) sold for repower. This promotion is limited to new Honda Marine 40 HP through 250 HP outboard engines, 2014 and newer models, sold and delivered between January 3, 2019 and June 3, 2019 and registered by the Dealer in accordance with American Honda Motor Co., Inc.’s sales registration requirements. Only Honda Marine outboard engines sold for personal use qualify for this promotion. Fleet, commercial & government sales are ineligible. Engines sold under special pricing / promotions including (but not limited to) demo and tournament fisherman engines are also excluded. Honda Marine reserves the right to modify, amend, cancel or revoke, in whole or in part, this promotion at any time without prior notice. © 2019 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Always wear a COASTALANGLERMAG.COM personal flotation device while boating and read• your owner’s manual. All Honda outboards meet EPA and CARB emissionIlevels. THEANGLERMAG.COM I FEBRUARY 2019 NATIONAL 7

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NauticStar Introduces

SEE IT AT THE MIAMI INTL BOAT SHOW BOOTH A237 The 251 Hybrid offers a fresh new look and a new 25-foot model to NauticStar’s very successful hybrid lineup. This unique multipurpose vessel offers the perfect size and features for a family friendly pleasure boat and a tournament ready fishing platform. NauticStar has also moved into the 30-foot plus category with its

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newest member of the family: the 32 XS Offshore. This outstanding saltwater performer delivers all the necessary fishing features for the serious angler with a smooth, dry, comfortable ride with cutting edge styling and comfort features never before seen in a boat of this style and size. With its 10’ 6” beam, the 32 XS Offshore offers a spacious and comfortable bow that features large forward lounge seating with arm rests and plush wrap-around bow seats. The head console has a fully lined interior with a sink, SeaDek floor and electric flush toilet. It has a spacious and ergonomic helm to allow for dual 12-inch or 16inch multifunction displays. The leaning post features ergonomically correct Llebrock double billfish seats with flip-up bolsters and pivot arms. It has a sink, tackle storage, and a slide-out, 35-quart YETI cooler. The D-channel, integrated T-top can be fitted with a variety of options such as a retractable shade and fold-down cockpit television. Aft, the jump seats flip-up for a spacious fishing deck with sizable, infloor fish boxes and large port side dive door. “Engineered for exceptional reliability and performance, the new 32 XS Offshore carries forward NauticStar’s 100-percent wood-free construction and one-piece foam filled fiberglass stringer system,” said Ryan Witt, director of engineering. “Additionally, we’ve added some great new design features such as sculpted hull sides, a sideentry cockpit door, and large insulated in-floor fish boxes. The 32 XS Offshore also features cutting edge technologies with NaviOP digital vessel control system and Klipsch custom-tuned audio system.” “I am very proud of the team and all they have accomplished over the past year,” Schiek added. “These new models are truly exciting and we look forward to introducing many great new models in the future.” The 251 Hybrid and 32 XS Offshore will be on display in Miami at booth A237 and available for test rides in the Yamaha in-water display. For more information on each of NauticStar’s new model introductions, please visit: 195 Bay - https://nauticstarboats. com/boats/nauticbay-boats/195-nauticbay/ 251 Hybrid - https:// nauticstarboats.com/boats/hybrids/251-hybrid/

TI EES EHT TA LTNI IMAIM WOHS TAOB 732A HTOOB

auticStar Boats, a subsidiary of MasterCraft Boat Holdings, Inc., has been reinvesting in the business at an accelerated pace, specifically, modernizing the plant and developing leading edge new products. The Company launched the new 195 Bay Boat in August, followed by the 251 Hybrid in September and will debut its largest offshore model yet, the 32 XS Offshore, at the Miami International Boat Show. “To say we have been busy at NauticStar is an understatement,” NauticStar President Tim Schiek said in a statement. “We have assembled a strong team of marine experts focused on delivering the highest quality and best performing boats in their segment. This is not only driving continuous improvement in our boat building processes, but throughout the entire organization. We have also implemented a more disciplined product development process that is delivering more new products, at a faster cadence, with increased consumer insights and innovation that ultimately will deliver the best boating experience for our consumers at a reasonable price.”

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Get A First Look At Miami International Boat Show

THE ALL NEW

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IT’S CRAZY COOL!

NAUTICSTAR’S

251 HYBRID

Three Exciting New Models!


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With its sleek lines and stylish contours, the new 251 Hybrid offers a fresh new look and a 25 foot addition to the NauticStar Hybrid lineup. This unique multi-purpose vessel offers the perfect size and features for a family friendly pleasure boat and a tournament ready fishing platform. If you need a serious fishing machine for yourself or a boat with enough room for a large crowd, the 251 Hybrid is the boat for you! Check out all the incredible features of the 251 on our website and design the boat of your dreams.

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By Tom Schlichter

Winter Bulldogs Out Of Ocean City, Maryland By Tom Schlichter

Ron McClelland caught this 24-pound blackfish aboard the Fish Bound out of Ocean City, Md. in April of 2018. Mate Kevin Twilley helps hoist the beast. Photo courtesy of Fish Bound Charters.

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enneth Westerfeld was expecting a big blackfish when he set up on a solid, single-tug while wreck fishing out of Ocean City, Md. back in January of 2015. What he wasn’t expecting was a new International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record at the end of the line.

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“We were into big blackfish right off the bat,” explained the Queens, N.Y. angler, “and I knew immediately when I set the hook that this was a double-digit white chin. I got three quick turns on the reel and then all I could do was hold the rod high and tight while she dove for the wreck. More than half way to the top, however, she got a second wind and tore 40 feet of line from my drag, which was nearly locked tight. I couldn’t believe the power. That’s when I knew this one was more than special.” When the monstrous bulldog finally hit the deck, Westerfeld was stunned by its size. Back at Sunset Marina in Ocean City, the huge white chin officially tipped the scales at 28 pounds, 8 ounces. That blackfish, still the all tackle world record for the tough-lipped bottom feeders, was decked aboard Capt. Kane Bounds’ six-pack charter boat Fish Bound, a vessel on which Westerfeld has taken several ’teen-sized bulldogs over the years. “I’m convinced there’s even bigger blackfish in Maryland waters,” he said. “A couple of years ago, an experienced SCUBA diver reported seeing two giant blackfish on an offshore reef there—the smaller one he estimated at 30 pounds.” Capt. Kane agrees that bigger fish probably lurk in the 80- to 150-foot depths where he concentrates most of his blackfish efforts. “I think our ’tog have a little longer growing season than up north,” he reasoned. “That makes a difference with a fish that can live more than 30 years. In 2017 alone, we had five that broke the 20-pound mark. Three of those were released.” You’ll want to fish heavy in these waters if giant ’tog are your target. Bounds recommended conventional outfits with smooth drags and 50- to 60-pound test braided lines. He also goes big on hooks, choosing 5/0 and 6/0 sizes over more traditional 3/0 and 4/0 selections. Expect to need 8 to 12 ounces of lead to get to the bottom. Monster blackfish bite right through the winter months, with many of the largest fish decked each year in February, March and April. Westerfeld advised anglers looking for the blackfish of a lifetime to use fluorocarbon leaders no matter which rigs or hooks they choose. “Maryland’s waters are pretty clear in the winter and low visibility fluorocarbon leaders really provide an edge,” he said. “Seaguar’s 60-lb. test Blue Label fluorocarbon leaders have worked well for me. They have great abrasion resistance and impact strength, plus very little stretch—three things you really need with these brutes.” To fish with Capt. Kane on the six-passenger Fish Bound, contact: www. fishboundcharter.com; 443-497-1361. Open boat fans can check out the Morning Star (http://morningstarfishing.com; 410-520-2076).

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Central Florida Bass Are On The Beds By Nick Carter • Photo by Brett Cannon

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hile largemouth bass across much of the country remain hunkered down in a winter pattern, bass in central Florida are running full tilt in all three stages of the spawn. Right now tournament angler and guide Ricky Congero is wearing out big Florida strain largemouths on the eight Kissimmee Chain lakes around Orlando. Whether you’re an angler in need of a road trip or if you’re sitting in an easy chair waiting on your reservoir to get right, Congero’s tactics might help steer you to the largemouth of a lifetime. Starting in November and December, Kissimmee largemouths begin staging up in prespawn behaviors. The first big waves of fish hit the flats toward the end of January. They’ll move in and out with the passage of cold fronts, but from January into early March there will be fish in all stages of the spawn. The key to locating them among miles of thick vegetation is to find hard-bottomed shallow flats. “You can pattern them year-round based on the spawning flats,” Congero said. “During prespawn, they’ll be staged in the first grass maybe

100 yards off those flats. Postspawn, they’ll move out into the dense hydrilla and hyacinth.” Congero starts by covering water with moving baits like swim jigs and Chatterbaits in search of bass preparing to move up. When the smaller males arrive on the flats to fan out beds, it’s an indicator that fishing is about to get very good. “If you start catching a bunch of young bucks on the flats, the big females won’t be far behind,” he said. In the tannic waters of the Kissimmee lakes, it’s difficult to spot fish on the bed. Instead of sight fishing, Congero looks for the locations big females prefer. “You always find the bigger females bedded on isolated pads, as opposed to the big clumps of pads,” he said. “They’ll spawn right at the base of the stem.” And while heavy braid and heavy-duty tackle are mainstays for hossing big fish out of thick vegetation, fishing beds requires stealth and finesse. Sizing down to 17- or 20-pound fluorocarbon, Congero likes a short 5- or 6-inch Senko. A staple on the Kissimmee lakes is black with a blue tail. He Texas rigs it with 1-ounce tungsten bullet weight, which is pegged to the head of the worm. This allows him to feel when his bait hits the stalk, at which time he lets it sit on the bottom until the bass picks it up. “Don’t set the hook as soon as you feel her pick it up,” he warned. “She might just have the tail in her mouth and you’ll come back with half a worm. Wait until she’s swimming off with it. Reel up all the slack and give her a second or two before you set it.” For a guided trip, contact Congero at (973) 6998981 or email info@blackcloudfishing.com. Follow him on Instagram @Ricky_Congero.

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VISIT AND Visit andEXPLORE Explore Burnsville, NC Burnsville, N.C.

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hether you’re hiking, exhibits. The restaurant, conces- through Yancey fishing or camping sion stand and gift shop are open County. hether you’re hiking, fishing or Mountains and the South Toe in the mountains or May thru a fun camping in the mountains, at- October. River Campground Valley. StretchingEnjoy nearly has 9 tent sites only. attending a performance at Parkfilled day on tending a performance at Parkway 500 miles through the mountains the Playhouse ororcoming North Virginia way Playhouse comingtotothe theMt. Mitchell Winding of along the Carolina southern and water, catching Crafts Fair Crafts or Carolina Literary without a single red light, Mt. Mitchell Fair orMountains Caro- edge of Yancey County, the Blue the the fishBlue native to Festival, there’sLiterary alwaysFestival, a good day waiting Ridge one of the best lina Mountains Ridge Parkway givesParkway travelersisan our mountains. for you in Burnsville, North Carolina, espe- scenic drives in America. there’s always a good day waiting amazing view of the Black MounWe is guarantee cially for travelers who like to discover their The Blue Ridge Parkway the forown youjourney. in Burnsville, North Car- tains and the South Toe River your fishing only access to Mount Mitchell County is home State Park at Hwy andwill mileolina, Yancey especially for travelers whoto waterfalls, Valley. Stretching for nearly 500128trip be full campgrounds, hiking post It’s five miles sumSnakeroot Ecotours offers custom tours like to discover theirbackroads, own journey. milestrails, through the355. mountains of to of the fish-catching clean rivers, and six the 10tohighest peaks mit. and The Parkway by Civilian Con-Observation at Mount State Park. of one ofplatform the wildest andMitchell most scenic corNorth Carolina Virginia was – built Yancey County is ofhome experiences! in the eastern United States. servation Corps labor in the 1930s. Workers ners of Western North Carolina. They invite and not one single redlight – the waterfalls, campgrounds, backToe River, Located in southern Yancey County, used dynamite to blast tunnels through the you into astoundingly Southern diverse Appalachian habitatsMounand Blue Ridge Parkway is one the a Carolina roads, hiking trails,(6,684 clean feet) rivers,is the Hemlocks, Black Mount Mitchell highest mountains andofcarve road through rough, and reveal the mysteries of the Southern Appatains. More info at www.snakemountain of the peaks Mississippi River. It drives remote terrain. The Parkway rises to an el- lachian scenic in America. and six of theeast 10 highest in best Mountain Campgrounds are all lo-Mountains. See more info at www. rootecotours.com. was designated North evation over 5,000 as it off passes through snakerootecotours.com. Blue Ridge Parkway is thefeetcated Eastern America. the first state park in The Highway 80 in the South The Burnsville-Yancey ChamCarolina in 1916. Today it features an obYancey County. Located in southern Yancey only access to Mount Mitchell Toe River area of Yancey County. servation platform on the summit next to Enjoy a fun-filled day on the water, The Burnsville-Yancey Chamber of ber of Commerce and Visitor State Park at catching Hwy 128the andfish mileCounty, Mount Mitchell (6,684 State Park and and Visitor Center is located at Elisha Mitchell’s grave and an interpretive nativeMount to ourMitchell mountains. Commerce Center is located at 106 West Main post 355. It’s miles to thefishing feet) is the highest mountain East Crabtree Meadows by Main Street in Burnsville. Inside museum with historical and environmental Wefive guarantee your trip will be full are of accessed 106 West findofa inforhelpful The restaurant, standThe Parkway fish-catching experiences! was built by the Blue Ridge Parkway. you’ll find aStreet. of exhibits. the Mississippi River. It wasconcession des- summit. helpfulInside staff you’ll and lots and gift are park openinMay through River, Carolina Hemlocks andEcotours Black offers staff and lotslodging, of information mation shopping,on CCCOctolabor in theToe 1930s. Workers ignated the shop first state North Snakeroot cus-on attractions, ber. Theincampground limited to used only nine Mountain are all located off dining and local businesses and services. The attractions, lodging, shopping, dynamite to blastcampgrounds tunnels tom Carolina 1916. Today itisfeatures tours of area one of of the wildest tent sites. Highway 80 in the South Toe River Visitor Center and office are open Monday& dining, and local businesses through the mountains and carve an observation platform on the most scenic cornersthrough of West-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call Winding along the southern edge of Yancey County. Mountand Mitchell State Park road through rough, remote ter- ern summit to Elisha services. Visitor Center and office Carolina. Yanceynext County, the Mitchell’s Blue Ridge a Parkway and Crabtree Meadows areNorth accessed by theWe invite (828) you 682-7413. givesand travelers an amazing view ofrain. the Black Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway rises to an ele- into astoundingly diverse habitats open Monday thru Friday 9am to grave, an interpretive museum with historical and environmental vation over 5,000 feet as it passes and reveal the mysteries of the 5pm. Call (828) 682-7413.

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More than 1,400 boats—in water and on land, over 1,100 exhibitors, new boat models and product debuts, demo docks, marine electronics pavilion. Miami’s hottest fishing spot. Catch everything from sport fishing yachts, center consoles, dual consoles, downeast boats, express fishing boats, bay boats, and walkarounds from all the top brands, plus a Sportfishing Pavilion packed with fishing tackle, accessories, clothing and more.

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THE ALTERNATIVE TO BUYING A NEW BOAT

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hat a wild, wet and woolly week it was for the fleet fishing the Pelican Yacht Club Invitational Billfish Tournament out of Fort Pierce, Fla. Jan. 9-12. First, the fleet of 30 fishing teams crushed all the records for the 39th annual tournament, and for the 65-year history of sailfish tournaments fished in eastern Florida waters. The final tally was 969 sailfish caught and released. The tournament’s second day of action wound up being the single best day in sailfish tournament history for any event fished north of Palm Beach County in waters of the Atlantic Ocean. A total of 712 sailfish were caught and released by the 27 boats on the water that day. The top three boats that day accounted for 121 sailfish by themselves — JT, led by Capt. Mark McDevitt, had 41 sailfish; Cowpoke, led by Capt. Mike Brady, had 40 sailfish; Alikai, led by Capt. Patrick Price, had 40 sailfish. The 41 by JT, owned by David Johnson of Beach Haven, N.J., stands as the new record for the tournament for a boat in a single day. Consider also that tournament rules stipulate fishing time as 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. But since the boat departed Fort Pierce Inlet each day, and the sailfish were concentrated in an area north of Patrick Air Force Base and south of Port Canaveral’s main channel some 45-50 miles north, tournament boats were forced to sacrifice up to 1:45 of fishing time each day just to reach the best fishing. But when they did, they were rewarded, at least for two days. The event began Jan. 9 when Grand Slam, led by Capt. David Grubbs

of New Smyrna Beach, sat down on an area so packed with hungry sailfish that it looked like a feeding frenzy under his boat. Grubbs felt it was going to yield some fish, and ran there because he knew it would produce bites. Few, if any, in the fleet knew his plan. By noon, the cat was out of the bag. Big time. He wound up with a Treasure Coast area then single-day record 38 sailfish catches that day and a substantial lead on his competitors, known to be some of the best sailfish skippers in the western hemisphere. Teams racked up catches of an incredible 86 double-headers, 45 triples and 15 quads. It was truly staggering. On Jan. 10 the fleet followed the leader, Grubbs and crew, to the fertile fishing grounds off the Space Coast and helped him achieve something many experienced sailfish specialists thought could only be accomplished in Mexico or Costa Rica. The captains called it epic and incredible, unbelievable and amazing. But it wouldn’t last. On Jan. 11 the fish had either scattered a bit, moved back north out of range, or simply quit biting, like fish of any species do. The fleet of 27 fishing that day picked up “just” 93 releases. Saturday, with a smaller fleet fishing because of lay days mandated by tournament rules, those numbers dwindled more. The final day anglers tallied only 29 releases, reminiscent of the season’s start in December when sailfish bites were very hard to come by.

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Close Encounters of the Shark Kind By John Lidington

A diver observes a reef shark near Shark Canyon. In natural encounters, when sharks are not being fed, they rarely approach divers much closer than this.

“K

atharine the Giant Great White Shark Lurks Off Florida — Again” If Katharine was here, as the South Florida SunSentinal announced on Nov. 26, winter was on its way. Usually this snowbird shark from Cape Cod arrives first, and being a great white, she always makes the news. For divers, though, her arrival means the migrating lemon and blacktip sharks are on the way. It’s shark time for Florida’s Gold Coast! When I started diving in the 1960s, the arrival of sharks meant the departure of divers. Prevailing wisdom held that sharks were dangerous and unpredictable and should be avoided. That outlook on sharks began to change in the 70s. Scientists, such as the University of Miami’s Dr. Samuel Gruber, had turned shark behavior into a major study area. H. David Baldridge analyzed data from more than 1,500 cases in the worldwide shark attack file established by Dr. Perry Gilbert to identify the real factors behind shark “attacks.” The emerging picture showed an animal superbly adapted to its environment by its 400-million-year existence in the oceans. Man, as a newcomer to their world, was not seen as food, and usually ignored. In his 1974 book “Shark Attack,” Baldridge wrote: “I wish not to generate any

fear of sharks in the mind of any reader, yet a healthy respect for these beautifully adapted beasts would appear to be justified…” It took the PR genius of Jacques Cousteau to popularize this science and help dispel unnecessary fear of sharks. The air of authority gained from his highly regarded TV series lent credence to his book “The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea,” in which he documented divers regularly interacting with sharks. Sharks were becoming accepted in the diving world. But there was a bump in the road. At the same time “Shark Attack” appeared, Peter Benchley published Jaws. His depiction of sharks as malevolent killing machines was promptly translated to visual form in Steven Spielberg’s movie adaptation. The impressions from those twin horror assaults did eventually fade, but for quite a while it was the rare diver who didn’t experience flashbacks of huge toothy mouths while doing back entries. The twenty-first century has seen divers’ attitudes shift even more favorably toward sharks. Today many divers want to encounter sharks. They regularly visit sites naturally frequented by sharks in hopes of diving alongside these majestic fish. When diving Jupiter during the winter shark migration, your chances for shark encounters skyrocket! According to Shana Phelan of Singer Island’s Pura Vida Divers, “The most common sharks we see year round are nurse sharks, reef sharks and lemons. Our most active shark months are in the winter, with lemons in January and blacktips in January and February. Winter sightings are most likely at Shark Canyon and on some of the wrecks.” Shark Canyon, here I come! Pura Vida Divers hosts regular shark dives in February. To learn more about these awesome creatures, book a PADI Shark Conservation Specialty Diver class, or hop aboard their next charter. Contact Pura Vida Divers at 561-840-8750 or visit www.PuraVidaDivers.com.

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Florida Seeks Input on Spotted Seatrout FWC photo by Tim Donovan

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he Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is gathering input on management of the recreational spotted seatrout fishery. Share your input by taking an online survey at SurveyMonkey.com/r/Seatrout2018. Your input will help FWC better understand the public’s satisfaction and desires related to this fishery. Spotted seatrout is managed in Florida in four unique zones across the state (Northwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast). The status of the seatrout populations within each zone is assessed using a measure of population health known as the spawning potential ratio (SPR). Research indicates seatrout populations should be kept to at least 20 percent SPR to maintain a sustainable population. The FWC manages spotted seatrout at a higher management goal of 35 percent SPR to provide a better fishery. In 2017, staff held a series of workshops related to a draft spotted seatrout assessment. The final assessment results were released in 2018 and suggest the Southwest and Southeast zones are exceeding the FWC’s management goal. The Northeast and Northwest zones are not meeting the 35 percent SPR management goal and may benefit from some management actions. The results of the survey will be brought to a Commission meeting in early 2019.

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DAYTONA • NEW SMYRNA • DELAND

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FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK

ebruary is upon us and winter fishing is here. This is probably my favorite season to fish. Inshore the water gets clear, fish push way back in the backcountry, and sight fishing is at its height. Offshore the wahoo and kings are in full swing, and the bottom is red hot also! When we aren’t out fishing in February, you can be sure we are working hard on making this magazine the best it can be. If you aren’t currently following us on social media, you are really missing out. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We are not only producing fantastic content to keep you in the loop on new business, boat models, lures, and more. But we are also producing multiple fishing videos every month thanks to our great sponsors Diamond Suzuki, and New Smyrna Chevy.

February is also the month of Valentine’s day. If you have a lady angler in your life, we highly recommend a chartered day of fishing as a gift! You get to create a great memory with your special person and you get to support our local economy. You can find some great charter companies right here on our Local Captain’s page. Check them out and give them a call!!! We are always looking for new content, so if you think you have something to offer, we want to hear from you! You can email us stories, pictures, and videos at cchibbaro@ coastalangler.com Tight lines, The Chibbaro Family

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FEBRUARY 2019

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST JAMES FARLOW

High Bridge Fishing Report

S

o here we are again, at the start of another snook season. With any luck, we will escape this winter without any brutally cold weather. Check the inlets and bridge lights with lots of bait passing through to find this beautiful fish. Many will have great success matching the hatch with artificials; others who prefer live bait should use live pins or mullet. The flats back here in the Highbridge area are still loaded down with an abundance of perfect mid to upper slot redfish. Float a live shrimp under a popping cork or, for my artificial anglers, using a smaller topwater or soft plastic will be your best bet when you run into those schools of reds. Find some fast moving water with plenty of bait running through and you’ll be sure to find some nice fat trout. Once again, early anglers should throw a topwater for a great bite with a show, or some kind of fluke or soft plastic paddle tail for the best results. For all the bottom fishermen out there, February is the month to limit out almost every trip on sheepshead! Get yourself a decent amount of fiddler crabs and hit the docks, oyster beds, or any other type of structure and you won’t be disappointed. P.s. Don’t forget about that special someone in your life on the 14th! Be sure to thank them for all of those hunny-do items that didn’t get done because you were fishing! James Farlow is the co-owner of Salty Dawg Outfitters @ High Bridge

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST ED FARLOW

Ponce Inlet - Surf Halifax River - Backwaters

W

ith February upon us, that means spring is just around the corner. However, in the meantime we still have some excellent fishing to contend with. February means the big bluefish will be cruising the beach and inlet. Some of these large fish (30 to 35 inches) as well as the smaller “snapper” blues will also make their way into the river and onto the flats. Chunks of large cut bait such as mullet, ladyfish and bonita will work best. For lure fishermen, GotCha lures and spoons are deadly to throw. Bluefish are not the greatest table fare, although they’re not bad depending on how they’re treated after the catch and how they are prepared. This month will also see Captain Rick on the Vulcan with a beautiful the largest influx of black drum Wahoo in the 70 lb plus range. into area waters. Look for them around docks and piers, and along the jetty rocks. Best baits will be fiddler crabs, cut blue crab chunks and shrimp. The sheepshead will also be around in greater numbers. Use the same fiddlers and shrimp. As long as we don’t get hit with brutally cold weather, the pompano will hang around for anglers fishing the surf and inlet. Live sand fleas are deadly for them and for the whiting that will also be cruising our waters. For the backwater anglers, February can be a very good month for you as well. With the cooler temperatures, redfish will school up on the flats in larger numbers. Artificials like the Rapala Skitter V, Rapala Skitter Walk, Yozuri 3D Minnow and 3D Crystal Jeremy with a nice red wading and Shrimp, and DOA Cal Paddletails in New Penny and Goldrush colors will all casting a Rapala Skitter Walk. produce good numbers of fish. SNOOK SEASON COMES BACK FEBRUARY 1ST!! The best places to find them will be around docks and piers, bridges and on the flats. If fishing the docks, piers and bridges, the Gulfstream Flair Hawk is very hard to beat. This lure has been responsible for catching more Snook than perhaps any other lure, period! On the flats, a Kelly Lyon with a nice Pompano Bomber minnow and Long “A” is hard to catch on the beach. beat. Another good choice is the DOA Cal Paddletail in Watermelon Halographic and Green Back colors. Stop by Salty Dawg Outfitters in Ponce Inlet for all your bait, tackle, lures and rod & reel needs. We’ve also got the best fishing reports and info to make your day on the water successful. Until next time tight lines and light winds! Ed Farlow is the co-owner of Salty Dawg Outfitters Located in Ponce Inlet beside the Ponce Inlet boat ramp. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

FEBRUARY 2019

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 3


FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. MICHAEL SAVEDOW

February In Edgewater Backcountry and Mosquito Lagoon

F

ebruary brings the last few weeks of the winter pattern in Edgewater Backcountry and Mosquito Lagoon if chilly temperatures continue. Late winter targets include redfish, seatrout, sheepshead, black drum, snook and bluefish. Redfish are primarily on shallow water flats, sloughs, creeks and drop off edges in the backwaters and Lagoon, deep water larger reds are in Ponce Inlet and Haulover Canal. Shallow reds are a sight fishing target in winter. Search slowly and quietly as our skinny water schools are notoriously spooky. Select size shrimp, small live finger mullet, mud minnows, and crab parts are the best natural baits. Small soft plastics, Gulp baits, and shrimp or crab patterns on fly can be good artificial choices. Seatrout can also be shallow or deep, most flats trout are bigger size fish. Free-lined finger mullet are the most popular live bait for soaking. Big specks are skittish in the shallows; sight fishing usually requires long distance sighting and accurate cast. Mullet, select shrimp, and larger plastics can get bit. Big trout are all female breeders, which are very important for our recovering fish stocks, careful release of them is best for our trout catching future. School size trout are usually deeper on drop-offs, holes, and channels. Sheepshead are always a winter/spring fish, they will eat fiddler crabs, small live or peeled frozen shrimp, pieces of clam, oyster or crab. They have a small hard mouth so use a sharp hook of #2 to 1/0 range, as little hardware and weight as possible to make your rig stealthy in the clear winter water. Fish sheepsheads’ favorite hangouts like bridge or dock pilings, rock piles, inlet jetties, and oyster bars. You can chum them in with crushed oysters or barnacles scraped off pilings.. Black drum also can be caught either deep or shallow.

Holes, channels, and dropoffs in the ICW and backcountry and favorite area winter deep spots again being Ponce Inlet and Haulover Canal where drum, reds, and sheepshead can all be found. Shallow grass flats can hold schooling black drum- fish them with the same techniques as redfish with shrimp or crab baits. Southern Chris caught 42” Redfish in Mosquito Lagoon and into Brevard Edgewater Backcountry with Capt County hold the best possibility Michael Savedow of flats drum. Bluefish are open water fish, in the river, backcountry, inlet, and surf, they are not picky, minnows, shrimp, flies, top water lures and flashy small lures are all good choices. Find them near spots holding bait fish schools, jetties, bridges and back water points with current and ambush spots. Snook season opens February 1 with the slot limit of 28” to 32”,1 fish per person, with a snook permit on your fishing license. Linesiders are ambush feeders, so live bait, artificial lures, and fly will catch them near manmade structures like jetties, bridges, docks, as well as natural spots in the backwaters and Lagoon with downed mangrove bushes, branches, drop-offs and points. James Farlow is the co-owner of Salty Dawg Outfitters @ High Bridge

Winter caught Bally Hoo

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Inshore Adventures with Skye

S

o many changes have taken place here in Mosquito Lagoon these past few years. From the heat of summer causing algae increases making the lack of sunlight to the Lagoon grass and as most local and conservationists know the other environmental hazards that have taken place throughout our estuary. Also, the hurricanes, which I believe was actually a positive for the waterway, allowing saltwater into the Lagoon and helping push the salt into the South part of the Indian River. With all that now settling down, my most recent trips into the Lagoon I have found myself landing plenty of fish from Snook, Reds, and trout. Did I mention the water clarity is getting better?! Although the water quality is improving, we must be mindful of our estuary and the fact that we are blessed to have such a beautiful Lagoon. Let’s all continue to respect it and all the species it holds.

What is mosquito Lagoon?

Our Lagoon is an estuary of national significance. It is home to 53 threatened species and a safe haven for our breeders to lay eggs and allow our juvenile redfish to keep safe until old enough to move out of the estuary. it will take four years for young reds to start breeding and continue the life cycle. The Lagoon is home to more than 2,000 plant species, 600 fish species, and 300 bird species. These species include the West Indian manatee and the Eastern indigo snake. If you are a kayak angler, it is much easier to sit back and notice the little things and small Beauties the Lagoon holds. That’s what being in the lagoon is all about right? If you see a little head popping out of the water, that is a diamond back terrapin turtle, and that little fella is very high on the endangered list. Also, so many may not notice but our Atlantic Seahorse is high on this list as well due to being stuck in Fisherman’s crab traps. Most are unaware that the seahorses are trapped in their crab crates, so if we can check our traps more frequently please look out for the sweet babies to help prevent the death percentage from climbing or them going distinct. The Lagoon is their home and they live nestled in grassy beds.

kayak surrounded by schools of reds, I think to myself, “What fools!” as I watch these Flats boats do such terrible things. I just can’t understand how they can sit out there and destroy our beautiful Lagoon, yet they feel they deserve to be able to fish in it? I watch these captains on many occasions on that race to the fish, if they just slow down and respect our Fishery they can see we are blessed and have reds covering our Lagoon. With a Push Pole or paddle you can actually slow down and take in all that the Lagoon has to offer. I do respect the captain’s and anglers who lift their motor and push pole around the Lagoon not causing damage or harm to our fishery. So I thank those of you who do for that! It’s heartbreaking when I land a redfish that has scars on it or ripped broken fins due to these boaters ignorance and or lack of caring. We anglers need to come together and help spread the word and do our part as protecting the Lagoon in the endangered species that live.

Help our Lagoon

We can all do our part in protecting Mosquito Lagoon by using push poles to get around and prevent ripping tearing and killing our seagrass, that our fishery needs for survival. We can check our crab traps more frequently to help save endangered seahorses that are trapped. We can properly dispose of braid and leader by simply using the fish line disposables that FWC puts in at parks and launch locations for us anglers, to help keep our marine life safe. Have you ever fed your leftovers to the Pelicans? This is very harmful the young birds as they do not know better and pick up a very bad habit by not foraging on their own for food. Sure it is cool and fun to experience, and you feel like you were helping him by giving him food. But when an angler makes a cast and those pelican fly to grab the bait and get hooked well... Where do you think they learned that from? So yes, unfortunately by not feeding birds, you’re actually helping them. If you do hook one please look up how to unhook them safely. Do not leave the hook in its mouth, it will not come out on its own and can prevent the pelican from feeding itself. One of the biggest concerns that not all anglers Doing your part are aware of, is proper handling techniques for catch and release of redfish We Anglers have such a beautiful Lagoon and are blessed to be able to fish and other species. As we know, a fish swims horizontal in the water, yes it THE Redfish capital of the world! I believe Mother Nature has done its share lives his whole life horizontally. When taking him out of the water hanging of harm in the lagoon such as the algae blooms killing our sea grass, and cold vertically causes damage to the fish’s heart and starts to shut down his organs. fronts causing fish kills, but there is being a lot of harm done by anglers and I understand not all Anglers are catch-and-release and I respect that some fish fishermen as well. Our Lagoon is an estuary for threatened species, it is their for the sport and others fish for the food. But please remember the size and home and sanctuary. It is our duty to keep our lagoon clean and not cause limit allowed per angler each day! I am seeing too many Anglers disrespecting harm to it. Firstly I’d like to say I could not wait to get out in the Lagoon and our waters and fishery by keeping under slot and over slot as well as improper enjoy the water clarity and sight some Beautiful blue tails. I found myself handling during catch and collecting trash all over the lagoon, yes trash! I was beyond myself and in release. One last piece of advice disbelief that there are anglers/boaters out there that feel okay going back home for all catch and release anglers INSHORE after trashing our beautiful Lagoon, the home of all these endangered species. is minimize the time your fish ADVENTURES All I can think is how would you like if one came to your home and ate your is out of the water. Get the food and trashed it? I sit out in the flats and watch boats go through the ripping hook out, and get that fish back WITH SKYE up our flats, leaving props cars and helping kill the seagrass that our fishery where it belongs Feel free to check out my inshore needs. I don’t understand, that if we enjoy fishing the Lagoon why tear it up? fishing adventures on Facebook @ Sight casting is what mosquito Lagoon is all about. Its very essence lies in the Inshore Adventures With Skye and on grass flats that I repeatedly see being gorged by boaters running too shallow Happy Fishing! Instagram brassyhooker87 and damaging out sea grass while skimming across the flats. As I sit in my Skye

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NEW SMYRNA CHEVY | BACK TO BLUE OUTDOORS | DIAMOND SUZUKI

Tech Tips Diamond Motors

Truck Maintenance from NSB Chevy

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or this month’s tech tip, we want to talk about fuel. Of course we all know how important fuel is right? Well, year after year we see more and more motors with issues we believe are from ethanol gas. The short story is that ethanol attracts water, and even in small amounts, water through your motor can cause all types of damage. We highly recommend using ethanol free gas, or at the very least, using a stabilizer product with every fill up. Your motor can see performance issues in as little as a few weeks. If you believe your motor may be having issues from repeated use of ethanol gas, please give us a call and we will be happy to get you running in tip top shape again.

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his month we are talking about your sparkplugs and wires. These should be changed every 60,000 miles to avoid misfires. Spark plug wires aren’t actually made of wire. They are made of delicate carbon fibres, and over time the carbon breaks down and the wires wear out. When left unattended, worn out plugs and wires can cause arcing, poor combustion, misfires, and more. While many people take this job on themselves, it can often be a very frustrating experience. The plugs may be very tough to loosen and can break off while still screwed in. We here at NSB Chevy are happy to take on this job for you. Just give us a call to make an appointment and we will get your car or truck firing on all cylinders…..literally!

Offshore Forecast by Capt. Shane Ryan

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ffshore in February is pretty much the best fishing of the year out of Ponce Inlet. First is the peak of Wahoo season for both high-speeding and bait trolling. Check out the Back To Blue YouTube channel for more in depth rigging tips and Get on some decent bottom strategies. Many boats have been and it won’t take long to limit reporting some yourself out. You may eve find a great catches this year with cobia or two on the bottom. a few fish over 70lbs! So, if you want the Wahoo of a lifetime, February could be your month! The second go to bite this time of year is trolling planers with spoons for Kingfish off the nearshore structure. Make sure you always have a cobia rod ready, because you will see some brown clowns showing up as well. Cobia will bite spoons as well, but we always recommend keeping a cobia rod ready to cast in case you see them up top or on rays. On the bottom the Trigger fish and Red Eyes have been chewing on chicken rigs pretty good. Get on some decent bottom and it won’t take long to limit yourself out. You may even find a cobia or two on the bottom.

If you want to get in on some of this dynamite February action, give Back to Blue a call to book your charter. We do inshore and offshore charters Good luck and Tight Lines! Capt. Shane Ryan | Back to Blue Outdoors

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Your local, reputable outboard service and repair shop

Family owned for over 30 years

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Stop in and check out our marine supply store. Call to inquire about used outboard parts and engines.

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Captain Doug’s Marine Service 430 N Ridgewood Ave, Edgewater, FL 32132

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Jeff Hudacko battle this bull from land!

Caleb Gordon landed this beauty of a sheepshead Kenny Boyer was seeing spots in Ponce Inlet Local Eric Christian does it again on the flats

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Harry Berger with his first ever redfish before returning to Illinois

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST

CAPT. BARRY ENGLEHARDT

Tomoka Fishing Report

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he Tomoka River can be slow one day and great the next day. Currently, the river is mainly fresh water as a result of all the rain we received this year. February brings us diverse weather due to the many fronts that come through. However, this month is good for finding schools of redfish and trout. The winter flounder migration happens in January and February which can make for some fun fishing. Live baits of choice are mullet, shrimp and mud minnows. The water in the river looks like strong tea and I find that cutting the tail off a live mullet works well in the stained water because it generates smell and movement. Artificial baits that are subsurface with rattles also work very well. Take a child fishing! Tight lines! Captain Barry Englehardt | fishwithcaptainbarry.com

Ponce Inlet

FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. BRYN RAWLINS

TIDE CHART

Central St. Johns River

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ven though the weather wasn’t consistent in January, we still saw good catches of speckled perch brought in and February should be no different. In fact, it could be the best month of the season. February is an excellent month for specks (crappie) and you can use all kinds of fishing methods to catch this much sought after table fare. Trolling, jigging and drifting with minnows are some of the most productive methods used depending on weather conditions, moon phase and water temperatures. Some of the best jig and lure colors for February will be blue and green and blue and silver. Make sure to use lighter test line while trolling. Find the best speed for trolling and then shorten or lengthen your line as needed. When specks move to more shallow water to spawn, vertical jigging and pitching a cork and jig or live minnow against the bank will produce the most fish. When the fish aren’t tight against the bank, try drifting or trolling the open water of one of the many lakes that connect to the St. Johns River. Lake Woodruff has long been rated one of the top lakes in Florida for both Largemouth bass and Speckled perch. February is typically a great month for bass; however the bass fishing still remains slow. Some bass will spawn this month, but not all of them. Wild river shiners are a great bait for these large mouth bass. Fish these shiners against floating vegetation under an egg shaped float with a weedless hook. For the angler that favors artificial lures, try large top water plugs, slow roll large spinner baits or throw a 9 inch trick worm with no weight. Remember, the colder the water temperature, the slower the retrieve. Highland Park Fish Camp has a large stocked pond for the novice fishermen to learn the great art of angling. Call us any time for more info or an updated fishing report, 1-800-525-3477 Call us anytime for an updated fishing report. Capt. Bryn Rawlins | Highland Park Fish CampDeLand, FL 1-800-525-3477 | www.Highlandparkfishcamp.com

Tide Chart DATE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

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Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu

February 2019

HIGH AM FT 5:59 6:45 7:28 8:09 8:47 9:23 9:58 10:31 11:05 11:42 12:11 12:59 1:56 3:02 4:11 5:12 6:08 7:02 7:54 8:44 9:32 10:20 11:09

3.5 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.4 3.2 3.1 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.9 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.0 3.8 3.5

12:39 1:38 2:40 3:44

3.5 3.4 3.3 3.2

PM

FEBRUARY 2019

LOW AM FT

FT 6:13 6:59 7:43 8:25 9:03 9:40 10:15 10:51 11:29

2.7 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9

12:24 1:13 2:12 3:23 4:32 5:32 6:28 7:22 8:15 9:06 9:57 10:48 11:42 12:01 12:56 1:56 3:00 4:04

2.8 2.6 2.6 2.5 2.7 2.8 3.1 3.3 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.6 3.2 2.9 2.7 2.5 2.5

FT

PM

12:11 12:56 1:38 2:17 2:54 3:30 4:07 4:48 5:35 6:29 7:25 8:25 9:28 10:33 11:32

0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.4 0.3

12:25 1:20 2:14 3:07 4:00 4:57 5:58 7:00 8:02 9:03 10:05

-0.4 -0.6 -0.6 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.6

12:20 1:06 1:46 2:23 2:57 3:30 4:04 4:39 5:16 5:58 6:42 7:31 8:25 9:25 10:28 11:28 12:27 1:19 2:07 2:54 3:41 4:29 5:20 6:15 7:10 8:05 9:03 10:02

0.4 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.1 -0.0 -0.2 0.1 -0.1 -0.3 -0.4 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.3

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CONSERVATION

Whale Watch

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hile huge numbers of snowbirds flock to our coastlines during the winter months, huge marine mammals are also traveling south down our coast, often just slightly offshore. Two large whale species migrate to or through our waters from December through March. If you have never witnessed a humpback whale breaching the waters or a mother right whale swimming and playing with her calf, you may still have time to catch the action this season. With a population of less than 500, the North Atlantic right whale is one of the most critically endangered large whale species in the world, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The whales were once hunted to the brink of extinction and are still at great risk of injury or death due to entanglement, vessel strikes and other disturbances. Right whales spend most of the year feeding and mating in the northern waters off Canada and New England. Many migrate to the waters off the southeastern US coast to spend the winter months. The area from the southern North Carolina coast to Cape Canaveral is a critical habitat area where pregnant females give birth to their calves after a roughly one-year pregnancy. Females typically calve once every three to four years according to NOAA, though no calves were reported last season. Right whales can be identified by rough white patches on their head and face called callosities, which are unique to each whale. Volunteers with the Marineland Right Whale Project work tirelessly during this time of year to spot right whales and identify them. After the decline in calving

VOLUNTEER IN THE 2019 WHALE SEASON As we begin the 2019 whale season, there is an opportunity for local citizens to help sight whales. We need “eyes on the water” to detect and report the small number of whales (right and humpback) that may occur from January through March. Please print the card below and carry it with you when on the deck of your condo, or on beach walks. There are also a few opportunities to participate in our dedicated survey teams. For the latter, please reach out to marinelandrightwhale@gmail.com.

over the past couple years, one was reported off the Jacksonville coast already this season. While that is relatively promising news, the long-term outlook is dire for the North Atlantic right whale. A whale sighting in Florida may be a once in a lifetime opportunity but it is important that boaters obey regulations to keep a safe distance from these enormous and enormously vulnerable creatures. Boats and other watercraft must stay at least 500 yards away from right whales. Report all right whale sightings by calling 1-877-WHALEHELP. If a whale seems to be entangled or in distress, keep a safe distance and call the above number or contact the US Coast Guard on Channel 16. Humpback whales are a slightly smaller “cousin” to the right whale. Both species are baleen whales, eating by filtering tiny organisms from the water through their baleen. Some populations of humpbacks are listed as endangered or threatened while most have recovered in numbers since the whaling moratorium placed by the International Whaling Commission in 1985. These whales inhabit many of the world’s oceans but the populations that travel past our coastlines are migrating from the northern Atlantic waters to as far south as the West Indies for winter calving. Humpbacks are known for their amazing acrobatics, often breaching completely out of the water, and for their beautiful and far-reaching songs. Recent humpback sightings off the coast of Volusia and Flagler counties have been welcomed after recent high mortality rates along the eastern seaboard. Humpback whales can be identified by their tail fluke patterns and unfortunately, by remarkable scars from vessel strikes as they swim through shallow coastal waters, some near busy shipping ports. Over the past few years, unusual mortality events (UMEs) have been reported by NOAA for both North Atlantic right whales and humpback whales. It is estimated that nearly 85% of right whales have been involved in some sort of entanglement. Humpback whales are also susceptible to entanglement as well as vessel strikes and underwater noise disturbances. NOAA encourages vessels to stay at least 100 yards away from humpbacks and to proceed at slow speeds and with caution. Harassment of whales or other violations of regulations can be reported to the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline by calling 800-853-1964. Get out there and keep your eyes open for these majestic creatures (and don’t forget to report!). Tara Shea | Staff Writer, Coastal Angler Volusia

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL Halifax Sportfishing Club

11th Annual Surf Fishing Tournament

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he Halifax Sport Fishing Club presents the 11th Annual Surf Fishing Tournament on Saturday. March 2nd from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Sign-up begins at 7:30am at Frank Rendon Park, 2705 S. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach Shores. There will be coffee and donuts. Prizes awarded for the heaviest eligible fish and a TWT for the most fish caught. For more information, All HSFC seminars are FREE and open to the public. A brief meeting at contact Jesse Jones at 386-453-6489 or tournaments@hsfc.com. Information 6:45pm, open fishing forum at 7:00pm and seminar at 7:30pm. All seminars can also be found on the club website at www.hsfc.com. are held at the Halifax Sport Fishing Club, located in the Riverside Pavilion at Monthly Seminars 3431 S. Ridgewood Ave. in Port Orange. For more information contact David The Halifax Sport Fishing Club’s monthly seminars are the third Thursday Rittweger at programs@hsfc.com or 386-334-9038. each month. Check the HSFC website or Facebook for date changes and speaker/ subject information. The February seminar will be held February 21st. HSFC Tournament Director Jesse Jones

3/30-4/13-two weeks of fishing days You choose your two days to fish

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at HSFC headquarters!

4/16 Awards 6:00pm at HSFC headquarters 25’ or less small boat award For tournament rules and registra�on go to our website: www.hsfc.com

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FEBRUARY 2019

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 13


This place is like the Cheers of breakfast places... I’ve never been disappointed.

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Best Spanish omelette on the planet! And great service too. :) Exactly what a breakfast diner should be. Recommend highly.

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110 Faulkner Street • New Smyrna Beach, FL 32167 Downtown New Smyrna, right on Canal St, rear entrance behind the PennySaver office Open Mon-Sun 7:00 am - 2:00 pm Cash Only - ATM Available

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or our latest meeting and class outing, what better place to have it than the beach!! The students all came together to make our community beach a better place! Starting at Flagler Ave, the kids worked together in groups to pick up trash all the way down to 3rd Ave. While collecting the items off the beach, they would separate plastics, aluminum, and various other items to compare what we found most of on the beach. To our surprise, the largest amount of trash collected was cigarette butts, followed up by various plastic items. As the sun was going down, we all watched and reflected on the importance of keeping our local beaches clean, not just for us, but all of the wildlife that we share the beaches with. We also discussed the local businesses on Flagler Ave. that have eliminated the use of plastic straws and only use paper products. Our next event coming up is paintballing at Xplex which is located in New Smyrna Beach. Xplex offers numerous game styles and the option to play with a low impact paintball. Thank you Xplex for reaching out and inviting us! Tight Lines & Screaming Drags, Coach Sanders

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SHRIMPING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. LEE NOGA

Show Me Some Shrimp!

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technology, redefining and re-engineering fishing/ his month I expect the needle to move and to see shrimping lights (7 modes/3 strobes, patent awarded). an increase with the amount of shrimp passing Brevard has closed and fenced off the Max Brewer boat thru Central Florida. Living on the Intracoastal ramp until March 2019 for repairs. affords me the chance to stick my toe in the water and see The pier has re-opened with all new electrical and where we are in the shrimp growth cycle. In some cases, new tenants with bait shop at Max Brewer Titusville I am just looking for any river crickets. There are shrimp Pier. Sebastian via boat has stumbled into a gallon in Oak Hill and Edgewater but they are lean (catching of large shrimp (6-7 inches) early January. Railroad dozens) and dinky. Bridge via boat is producing 1 gallon or less on S or November & December were another lazy couple SE winds (blowing 6-10), and the sizes are excellent. of months which puts me on the path of these words. They have been picking off the crickets going back to We are going to have a shrimp season but I believe it’s December which are not of great quantity but of great going to be 4 weeks late. Another season of warm waters Jesus Andrade doubled down at Sebastian quality. Swirling low pressures have counter clockwise following our January start of the season. South Florida Inlet area and went home with the gold. winds. Those that want to shrimp Haulover Canal, usually starts their run in December/January and the Railroad Bridge or the Titusville pier live for these word is just not on the streets. Volusia County had small low pressures which drives our cold fronts that normally end at the end of troops of shrimp passing through and really nothing appreciable as of yet. February. When the winds turn South or West, RailRoad Bridge becomes a Volusia County is going to struggle with hundreds of mature size catfish and 5 star hotel of boaters. This applies to the famous Titusville pier as well; they large pods of bait fish. We need cold water to chase these nuisance fish out of our sport. Denial is comforting until a member posts a picture of hundreds of are wind driven ninja warriors. Remember, Brevard is wind driven and not catfish and zero shrimp early January. We have been plagued with this problem tidal like Volusia County. For daily intel, problems and solutions join us at the Facebook group which is shutting down many boaters who cannot see anything in the water. “Florida Shrimping Academy – Tips & Tricks”, we have 20K boots on the What problem? Fish blackout hovering over your lights. I believe this is year 3 of this same problem. Pulling and tossing your lights every 10 minutes takes ground for the entire State of Florida channeling intel. Capt Lee Noga | Academy Of Shrimping | www.leenoga.com the joy right out the sport. No worries, I have solved this problem innovating

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FEBRUARY 2019

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 15


SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CAPTAINS Inshore Offshore Outdoors

Specializing in Daytona’s Exciting Fishing Action

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4-Hour Guided Fishing Charter No need to worry about sea sickness aboard our flat bottom, canvas shaded, 10 passenger, 24’ boat.

Rod, Reel, Bait, Tackle & Fishing License are included. Cleaning & bagging of catch is available.

386-405-3445

BOAT REVIEW

Boat Review with Capt Daniel Levesque

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first met Bobby at Skimmer Skiffs while he was building my 14’ 6” specifically to fish the inshore local tournaments. The rig was perfect, super shallow draft, light weight and extremely easy to pole. One year after building the perfect tournament skiff, I was getting calls from the local guides to take their overflow trips. I quickly realized this seemingly perfect vessel had one minor flaw, it was built for two anglers and not for chartes. Bobby was quick to insist we will build a bigger and even badder skiff! My new 17’ skimmer skiff is everything I could have wished for. The hull weight is minimal and it feels like no detail was missed. With all the weight forward “fuel tank and batteries” the boat is perfectly balanced making the whole shot so great, you will find yourself

16 DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND

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saying “Watch this!” before you put the throttle down. I chose a tiller rig which optimizes space for clients, but multiple options are available. My boat is rigged with a Gator box 45 (fantastic coolers!) on the bow which doubles as a casting platform or seat. The skiff boasts 6 rod holders under the gunnels and a completely 100% customized console set up you would have to see to believe! Bobby at Skimmer Skiffs has truly outdone himself with the 17’ model. Do yourself a favor, and call Skimmer Skiffs when you are looking for your next fishing machine. Captain Daniel Levesque | Skimmer Skiffs – Sanford, FL www.skimmerskiffs.com | 407-402-8295

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Come Join Our Team We’re looking to expand throughout the Gulf, Great Lakes, Mountain and West Coast territories. If you or someone you know loves the outdoors and possess a modest affiliation for sales, we would like to discuss our business opportunity with you. We currently have 32 locations throughout the U.S., Costa Rica and the Virgin Islands. Publishing your area’s version of our magazine can be an exceptionally rewarding and profitable endeavor. Some of our franchisees say it’s the best business they’ve ever been involved with. Again, for those of us who love the outdoors, there’s nothing better. What we’re offering is a proven method to generate your income in a field that you’re passionate about.

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By Capt. Terry Fisher

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ast September, my first-mate Vicki and I took off on a whirlwind vacation to explore the waters of Italy. We started in Venice, where other than the shoe leather express, the only way to get around is by boat. To my knowledge, Venice is the only place on earth where unique modes of water transportation play out in day-to-day living. The Adriatic Sea plays host to yachts, cruisers, pleasure and fishing boats. The Riva de Biasio (The Grand Canal), Venice’s main thoroughfare, is busy with all types boats, like taxis, police, garbage, ambulances and construction cranes, which all share the canal in relative peace. Fishermen line the canals with long poles, catching what look like small baitfish for dinner. Tuscany, in central Italy, was our second stop, where we hired fly fishing guide, Gianlucca Orselli, of Florence. Gianlucca was one of four terrific guides from a local fly shop in Florence. He grew up fishing the Arno River, which runs through the middle of Florence,

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but suggested we fish the Lima River, close to the towns of Lucca and Pisa. During a 90-minute drive to the river, we saw the old castle walls of Lucca and other historical sites we would not have seen without the drive. Once in the mountains, the views were as picturesque as those of northeast Georgia. The river and its feeder creek were comparable to places we’ve fished in Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming. We worked hard to catch rainbows and browns. Unfortunately, the fishing was not as productive as we had hoped, but it was no different than some days I’ve spent on rivers in the U.S. There are a lot of trout and char streams in Italy to consider, but we would not trade our experience of being together in this lovely setting. Our third stop, the Italian Riviera, is where Vicki and I left part of our hearts. The Cinque Terre is part of an Italian National Forest located in northwestern Italy on the Liquarian Sea. The rugged coastline is incredibly beautiful. Five villages are built on mountain ledges, with steps up to each cliff-side dwelling. Fishing and boating are “old world,” existing mostly for locals who make their livelihoods on the sea. A limited number of recreational fishermen on small vessels were seen close to shore or sitting on the rock ledges catching small fish on sabiki-like rigs. We chose the quaint town of Vernazza as a base and stayed for three nights. I rented a 20-foot boat for two days to explore the waters. There were reports of yellowfin tuna swimming the rocks as close as 300 yards offshore, but all we could do was wish for adequate equipment and bait, as there were no tackle shops. Next time we will take our own. Explore the possibilities of fishing in Italy at www.flyfishitaly. com. Or contact me by email or phone at fishfacecharters@yahoo. com, (239) 357-6829.

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onsider this an important decision. Other than deciding whether or not to use one, a surprising number of anglers seldom give leaders much thought. As long as there is some type of buffer against the deadly dentures of some species or the abrasive hide of others, fishermen tend to be satisfied. Their attention shifts to other aspects of the sport. Choosing the right material and proper construction for an effective leader are some of the most overlooked challenges in rigging. The ultimate, of course, centers on fishing a light line without a leader. That seldom is possible on the saltwater scene. Experience will prove to you that the fish you hook has teeth, abrasive skin, or the bottom is rugged. Any of these factors will end the battle almost before it starts. The general rule is that the heavier the leader material, the fewer strikes you will get. The solution demands a compromise. You want the strongest leader possible without sacrificing too many strikes. Monofilament leader invariably produces more strikes than single strand wire or nylon coated wire. Sometimes you have to use wire or every fish of a given species will cut you off. When you do use wire, rely on the shortest length that will produce favorable results. For offshore trolling, a short length of wire makes it easier to rig a bait. Some anglers even insist that a skipping offering being trolled works better if there is a short length of wire in front of it. The length of the leader is equally significant. From

MARK SOSIN a protective standpoint, if the species you seek has an abrasive body, the leader should be longer than the average fish you might catch. Then, when the fish is moving away from you and the line streams over its back, you have the protective advantage of a leader. This part of the leader does not have to be as heavy as the short length around its mouth and gills, but it should be stronger than the line. Fly fishermen become aware of a leader’s importance very quickly. In that type of fishing, the leader helps to turn over the fly properly so it lands on the water delicately. In very clear and shallow water, a longer leader enables the caster to enjoy a more delicate presentation where the fly line lands farther from the fish. This is particularly important on the saltwater flats for a variety of species including bonefish, permit, tarpon and redfish. Fly leaders take many basic forms, but the most important thing to remember is that each succeeding section should be shorter than the one before. The majority of tournaments and all recordkeeping organizations establish specific leader requirements. It makes sense to study them before you decide to compete or fish for a record. Leaders are a critical part of rigging each outfit you use. Cutting corners or ignoring details can be a serious mistake. If you lose a trophy fish because of a faulty leader, you’ll have a hard time forgiving yourself.

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Queen Conch In The Bahamas Sheri Daye

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hile hunting for that perfect fish for dinner, you sometimes run across other tasty treats. One of my favorites is from the Bahamas: the famous queen conch. This creature is as delicious as it is beautiful and deserves to be treated with great respect. Their slow growth and late maturation makes them susceptible to overfishing. Once abundant in the Florida Keys, it became illegal to harvest them in the 1980s when they were harvested to the point of collapse. It’s taken quite a few years to see the beginning of a comeback, but they will likely need continued protection for years to come in the U.S. In the Bahamas, the importance of this valuable resource has been realized and rules are in place to protect it. The recreational limit is six, and they must have a thick, well-formed lip—meaning they had a chance to grow into adulthood and reproduce. Also, they must be harvested while freediving. Inside the conch shell is a soft-bodied mollusk, which is in the same family as clams, oysters, octopi and squid. They live near coral reefs and seagrass beds and can reach up to 14 inches long. Besides humans, they have a few predators in the water—loggerhead turtles, nurse sharks, spiny lobsters and more. The meat has been consumed for centuries by islanders in the Caribbean and serves in a multitude of dishes such as salads, chowders and fritters.

Conch Tips:

1) Regulations are subject to change so double check before harvesting any marine life. 2) When diving, it is easy to see that in certain places in the Bahamas, especially close to highly populated areas, the conch are 16

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not as abundant. Do not take any from these areas, even if it’s legal. 3) They are easy to spot and move slowly, so use good judgement. Target mature adults that have reproduced and are toward the end of their lifecycle. Consider taking less than the legal limit. 4) The mollusk is not easy to extract or to clean, so if you don’t know how, make sure you have a professional on hand at the end of the day to help you or teach you. 5) Don’t forget to check for pearls in the mantle. These pink pearls are beautiful and more rare than traditional pearls. 6) The inedible part of the conch (the guts, also called “slop”) makes excellent bait for fishing, especially for mutton snappers. Nothing goes to waste! 7) You might (or might not) want to eat the pistol, also known as “Bahamian Viagra.” It is part of the conch’s digestive system and looks like a clear noodle. 8) The Bahamas exports conch to the U.S., but bringing your own conch meat back to the U.S. by boat is strictly prohibited. Safe diving and Happy Hunting! Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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As fisherman, we all know how hard live bait can be to find. Seasonal weather patterns change the way fish are biting, so a variety of bait is key. Bait fishing is so important that fishermen spend weeks prior to tournaments catching bait and then keep them penned up all for a couple epic days of fishing. The last thing you want is for your bait to die because of a pump failure. At Hooker Electric, we have designed a durable, strong and long-lasting baitwell system. This system is capable of supplying multiple livewells with its adequate DC brushless motor. You will no longer need multiple pumps to supply each livewell. Now, by adding the Hooker Electric custom manifolds, you can divert water to the designated wells by adjusting the amount of water flow to each well with our variable flow knobs. This allows you to run all of the wells from one Hooker Electric pump and have another one for redundancy. The system is easy to use with the variable flow dial, without having to restrict the pump. This Hooker Electric livewell system is a plumb-andplay setup with a variety of sizes. It’s available in 2500, 4500 and 7500 GPH and we also offer an on/off feature for the pumps. For more information, visit www.hookerelectric.com or check out their Instagram page @Hookerelectric_pumps.

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he older I get, the more I like to fish inshore for all the usual suspects from the Northeast, down through the Carolinas all the way to the Keys. From stripers and specks, to drum and snook, every fish loves a shrimp or minnow imitation under a float. And this includes many freshwater predators. I always keep a float rig tied on when fishing inside. Popping, cigar and oval floats all have their place, and an added “clicking” sound adds value, especially when fishing a soft plastic shrimp under the float. There are plenty of commercially available floats, but I want to share a simple and effective way to achieve the same end result… and one that will rarely foul or tangle. Whether the beads are external or internal, the clicking sound is perfectly married with the splashing sound that drives fish bananas. To make the simple external-bead-style clicking float, view the video below. Allow 1/16- to 1/8-inch clearance (total, not both ends) between the beads and ends of the pegs to allow the beads to tap the plastic pegs. Follow the instructions below to make the internal-bead-style clicking float. Materials: 80-pound fluorocarbon; small plastic beads, like those found in sliding cork kits; small swivels; a commercially available foam slip cork with plastic pegs. Steps: • Thread braided mainline through the plastic peg and one of the small beads. • Feed the mainline through to the other side of the slip cork and then tie it to one side of the swivel. • For the other side, thread a fluorocarbon leader through the other peg, thread on a small bead and tie it to the other end of the swivel.

• Press one peg securely into the slip cork, and then pull the bead and swivel into the float’s interior channel. • Press the second peg into the cork, and your slip cork is now a clicking float. The tiny beads slide back and forth on the line to tap the plastic pegs inside the float. • Tie a 3/8-ounce jig head and a soft plastic shrimp onto the leader, and… just add water. There are a number of opinions on how deep to fish below the cork. I like between 18 and 24 inches of fluorocarbon, depending on water depth. This same tackle works extremely well in freshwater for striped and hybrid bass in moving water. Just use a fluke-style soft plastic instead of a shrimp. The largest largemouth bass I caught this year was under cigar float with an internal clicker. I was fishing a Super Fluke for striped bass. Smallmouth bass in rocky rivers are complete idiots over this same rig. Wherever you are, and whatever you’re fishing for, a float rig is something you should keep tied and ready on the deck. Visit Barefootcatsandtackle.com. For video instructions on making a clicking cork, see:

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nglers are catching a lot of big largemouths in Texas. Last year’s Toyota ShareLunker Program, which tracks bass heavier than 8 pounds, certified 486 bass caught from 89 Texas lakes in 2018, and that’s just the fish that were reported. At the beginning of 2018, the Toyota ShareLunker program debuted a new year-long season for anglers to enter bass for prizes, recognition, and to help enhance bass fishing in Texas. Anglers entered largemouths into four categories including six “Legacy Class” bass of 13 pounds or heavier that were entered during the spawning window Jan.1 through March 31 and loaned to TPWD for the selective breeding and stocking program. The total number of entries in other categories who provided citizen science data included: five “Lunker Legend” bass 13 pounds or heavier caught outside the spawning window or not loaned for spawning, 107 “Lunker Elite” bass weighing 10 to 12.99 pounds, and 368 “Lunker” bass at least 24 inches or weighing between 8 and 9.99 pounds. The top five ShareLunker producing lakes in 2018 included Lake Fork near Quitman with 73 entries, Lake Conroe near Houston with 41 entries, Lake Athens in Athens with 28 entries, Sam Rayburn Reservoir near Jasper with 21 entries, and O.H. Ivie Lake near San Angelo with 17 entries. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker program visit https:// www.facebook.com/ShareLunkerprogram and https://texassharelunker.com/.

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FRESHWATER Nevada’s WORLD-CLASS CUTTHROAT

T

he International Game Fish Association (IGFA) keeps the most extensive list of fishing records in the world. With categories for all types of tackle and species, some records are more impactful than others. This potential all-tackle length world record for cutthroat trout is without a doubt an impressive fish. Adam Garcia caught and released this giant cutthroat on Nov. 11, 2018 while fishing Nevada’s Pyramid Lake. The fish measured 85 centimeters in length, or more than 33 inches. Once the paperwork clears, the fish could dethrone the old 81-centimeter length record. Garcia is no newcomer to the record books. According to IGFA records, he holds four line-class world records for weight, all cutthroats caught from Pyramid Lake in 2016 and 2017. Some of those were actually longer than his Nov. 11 fish. The biggest one, which holds the 16-lb. line class record, weighed 24 pounds. Pyramid Lake is a large and natural desert lake near the California border northeast of Reno. It is the world hotspot for giant cutthroat trout, where anglers can wade from shore and cast jigs for record-class fish. Every single one of IGFA’s line class cutthroat records were caught from Pyramid, as well as the all tackle world record, which was caught back in 1925 by John Skimmerhorn.

Surprising Winter is the Best Planting Time

I am often asked when is the best time to plant fruiting plants. My answer is usually the same; the best time is 20 years ago or today. The second best time to plant is during the winter months. Plants are dormant, and can be easily shipped and planted with no stress on the plant because there is not a lot of maintenance once the plant or tree has been planted. Simply dig a good hole, water thoroughly

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

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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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TIPS FROM A PRO

Cold-Water Bassin' BRANDON LESTER

F

ebruary is one of those transition months. Spring is just around the corner, and it might have already arrived in some places, but it’s still wintertime for most of the country’s bass fisheries. Bass are cold-blooded animals, which means the colder the water is, the more the fish’s core body temperature decreases. That also means the fish’s metabolism slows down. Metabolism is the chemical processes that occur which allow the fish to maintain life, grow, heal and make energy. Humans are warm blooded, so our body temperature stays a steady 98.6 degrees. A fish’s temperature drops with the water temp, which makes them more sluggish the colder it gets. If you’re like me, you’re ready to eat three meals a day and some snacks 365 days a year. It’s different with fish. In warm water, fish feed every day, throughout the day and into the night. In the winter they don’t feed nearly as often. One reason is they don’t move around as much, so they don’t come into contact with prey. Fish feed-up heavily in the fall when the water is still warm to put on weight. Bait is plentiful then, and instinctually they feel cold weather coming. I have way more 20- and 30-fish days in spring than winter. You’re not likely set any records for fish catches in cold water. Fish bite for two basic reasons, either because they’re hungry and the bait looks like food or because the bait has come into their territory

and they instinctively attack it. Reaction strikes are greatly reduced during the winter. In water mid-50 degrees and lower, you really need to make the fish want to eat in order to catch them. I try and fish the warmest water on a lake, as fish in these areas will be more active. A couple degrees in water temperature can make all the difference. Slower-moving baits work best for cold-water bass. I like baits that stay in one place and can be worked slowly, like a jig. A suspending jerkbait with Mustad KVD trebles will hang in one place, hopefully right in front of their face. Use lighter line in cold water, as it allows the bait to move more realistically. Eight or 10-pound Vicious fluorocarbon is preferable on a jerkbait. Objects in the water, especially rocks, retain heat. On sunny days, the shallow water near rocks on the bank will often be warmer. Keep in mind that fish don’t bite nearly as hard in cold water. You will feel them kind of “load up” on the bait instead of slamming it. The fish are just picking up the bait and doing as little as possible to catch it. Those “light bites” increase the importance of having a sensitive rod. I build my own rods and will tell you that MHX Rods from Mud Hole Custom Tackle help me catch more fish, especially in cold water. Higher quality graphite makes a more sensitive rod. MHX Rods are much more affordable and the quality is better than a vast majority of rods out there. For extremely light bites, I recommend the NEPS series of blanks built with Winn Grips.

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