Coastal Angler Magazine | March 2022 | Emerald Coast Edition

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LOCAL PHOTOS & FORECASTS VOLUME 27 • ISSUE 324

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HOOKED ON™ A CLEAN OCEAN

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CLEANING OUR OCEANS FOR A BETTER

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SUZUKI’S CLEAN OCEAN PROJECT If you’re going to claim to be “The Ultimate Outboard Motor,” you’d better do more than just build great engines. This is why, for the past 10 years, Suzuki has been committed to cleaning up the marine environment through voluntary “Clean Up The World” activities around the globe. Through the recently launched CLEAN OCEAN PROJECT, Suzuki Marine is committed to reducing the use of plastics in packaging materials to its consumers which has led to eliminating 2.3 tons of plastic waste annually. Suzuki is continually finding ways to reduce plastic waste while educating and informing the boating industry about this critical issue. This is only the beginning and Suzuki is pledging itself to the important cause of protecting our planet’s waters, coastal environments, and marine ecosystems for future generations to enjoy.

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S R E V I L E D H C A E PALM B

I

t was a good winter in the Atlantic off south Florida’s Palm Beach County. Capt. Austin Rowe said that bodes well for the spring season, when a convergence of several different bites typically makes for some of the best action of the year. “March, April and May are by far my favorite time of year around here,” he said in mid-February. “We’re already starting to see some blackfin tunas right now, which is kind of uncommon. It was a crazy-good winter for mahi, and it was a good for sailfish, as well. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the fish stick around for spring, and we can really put a hurting on them.” Rowe is a young captain who grew up fishing here, where the Gulf Stream sweeps warm nutrient-rich waters northward just a few miles offshore. He captains “Angler Management,” a 34’ Legend center console with twin 300s. With a crew of up to six clients, it is a perfect ride for making the short runs out of Singer Island’s Sailfish Marina quickly and comfortably.

By Nick Carter

“One of the really beautiful things about fishing around here is you don’t have to go very far to get to the fish,” he said. “A full tank of gas lasts a long time.” Most spring mornings start for clients with a run of just 3 or 4 miles out of the inlet with tanks pre-loaded with live threadfin herring and/or goggle eyes. Kite fishing is the preferred method in this part of the world, and that’s exactly what Rowe does when conditions are right. “I’m looking at water color, temperature and moving water. I’m also looking for bait,” Rowe said. “I’m a big fan of charts, and I study them religiously looking for eddies and things, but keeping your eyes open is the biggest thing when you’re out there. If you see live water, with birds diving, it’s probably time to pick up and go see what’s happening over there.” With kites—or drifting with flatlines when conditions call for them—you’re targeting anything that will eat live baits at the surface. That can produce some pretty exciting mixed bags.

“We see a lot of blackfin tunas. There should still be some sailfish around. The kingfish start to show up pretty thick this time of year, and there are also mahi,” Rowe said. “And don’t forget wahoo. Wahoo can get really good around the full moon in March.” If all else fails, or if his clients just want some more meat, the reef is just a couple miles from the kite-fishing grounds, and it’s usually no problem to load up a cooler full of snappers in short order. Big African Pompano also make regular appearances on the reef. Rowe said that by the end of the day, if his anglers aren’t too worn out, he’ll stop in the inlet and let them test their strength against some hard-pulling jack crevalle. You can pack a whole lot of fishing into a full day when you don’t have to run far to find fish. Check out Austin Rowe and Absolute Action Sportfishing Charters at absoluteactionfishing.com.

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MARCH 2022

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ventilation, you’ll conquer every battle, every day. GILLZ took its Pro Series UV Hoodie to the next level. They went one step further and provided anglers with a built-in mesh mask to go along with the 3-piece hood construction. Now, you’re able to keep your gear organized in one place for when that unexpected pull on the reel turns into a clash of strength. Brand new to this collection is the Pro Series Board Shorts. Made of recycled quickdry polyester, the 9-inch inseam gives you the freedom to move without worry, and the secure cellphone hip pocket keeps your devices safe from any damage. This time, Gillz introduces anglers to a new design feature: a no-sew fabrication. This means no chafing or irritation as you charge headfirst against the waves. The Contenders Series, delivers an amazing fit and feel for each and every angler. With the Contender Series Long-sleeve or Hoodie, you’re guaranteed to have 360-degree cooling and 170 GSM interlocking polyester that gives you perfect performance every single time. Moreover, you’re given an extended range of motion that allows every angler to move freely. When facing the unpredictable outdoors, GILLZ Gear and the new Spring 2022 who want Collection will give you the power to perform to face the at your best, no matter where you and Mother elements head-on. With our GILLZTEC proprietary fabric, Nature meet. With prices starting at $39.99, there’s 4-way stretch, and the ability to modify with something for every angler from the Atlantic to the shoulder shape, the Pro Series Long-Sleeves and Pacific and every waterway in between! Hoodies fit every angler to perfection. Plus, when Check out the Gillz Spring 2022 Collection you add on UPF 50+, ultra cooling, a single seam at gillz-gear.com. underarm mesh gusset, and complete 360-degree

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MONSTER BASS ON

JURASSIC LAKE

I

t piques my interest when “Jurassic” appears in a nickname. So is the case with Jurassic Lake, a 10,000-acre reservoir in Fellsmere, Florida, officially known has Headwaters Lake. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) had a goal to turn Headwaters into a worldclass trophy bass fishery. By all accounts, they succeeded. Just a little over 10 years ago, this bassfishing mecca was farmlands, cattle pastures and orange groves. The St. Johns River Water Management District purchased the lands from Sun-Ag to build a reservoir intended to provide a water supply for surrounding communities and flood control for the St. Johns River. The FWC saw an opportunity and invested $1.35 million in bass fishing “enhancements.” Prior to the reservoir’s flooding in 2015, the FWC constructed fish habitat in the form of winding channels, dredge holes, flats, islands and more, with the goal of providing the optimum combination of structure, depth and spawning habitat. The FWC planted 15,000 bald cypress and red maple trees on the numerous islands, and they stocked over a million bass, bream and crappie. If there is a downside to Headwaters, it’s that there is so much awesome, fishy-looking habitat that it can be a little over whelming trying to figure out where to fish. Since August 2020, when the Headwaters Lake boat ramp opened, 103 trophy bass (bass eight pounds or larger) have been registered into FWC’s Trophy Catch program from Headwaters. Who knows how many other giants were caught that were never entered into Trophy Catch? The biggest registered catch is a 13-pound, 1-ounce monster caught by kayak angler Mary Kelly on January 24, 2022. Those are pretty impressive results for a reservoir that is not even seven years old. Jim Fallon, the Godfather of Headwaters,

10 NATIONAL

MARCH 2022

By Paul MacInnis

has probably fished these waters more than anybody. “I love this lake because of the design of the habitats, the natural beauty and all the great fishing,” said Fallon. You’ll find Fallon on the reservoir three to five times a week. He’s been fishing there since 2018, before the boat ramp opened, when he’d drag a kayak into the reservoir from the bank. Fallon says a competent bass angler should catch 15 to 40 bass on an average day with a decent shot at a trophy fish every trip. Fallon has caught almost 50 bass over eight pounds from Headwaters, including 13 in the double digits, all on artificial baits. The address for the Headwaters Lake boat ramp is 16245 Fellsmere Grade Road, Fellsmere, Fla. Headwaters is an hour and a half drive from Orlando, making it a great diversion on a central Florida vacation. The nearby city of Palm Bay has convenient hotels, many with bass boat friendly parking lots. An internet search will bring up several Headwaters guides who can put you on a bass of a lifetime. For more information, visit MyFWC.com.

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APPROACHING THE

TRANSITION

A

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

s I type this article in early February, the temperature is 38 and the forecasted lows across the Texas coast will dip into the mid to upper twenties for a few nights. This should place larger seatrout into full-blown winter mode, which is a great thing. It might not be so cold where you fish, but similar patterns should exist wherever there are big trout. Predicting movements and habits is always easier when the seasons are typical. This tells me where I should start in early March versus where I should fish later in the month. In early March, I look for shallow areas with irregular soft mud and grass bottoms. I particularly like these areas adjacent to deeper water, as the night temps will still cool flats to less favorable temps for large trout. The term “deeper” will be different for each area. So, as you plan your trip, you should focus on deeper pockets in relation to the overall area. Early in the month, I will stick to a larger profile lure

like a 5-inch paddletail. The trout will still be feeding on mature mullet, and the 5-inch swimbait is a great imitation. These lures are versatile, and they are ideal due to the finicky nature of trout during the transition from winter to spring. A slow roll can be deadly when trout move onto a flat to warm and feed. Depending on the conditions, a slow roll just under the surface that creates a slight ripple can trigger an aggressive strike. If the bait is down, I will slow roll the lure in the mid to lower water portion of the water column. The versatility of these lures also allows them to be jigged and twitched; however, I prefer to do that in a little deeper water. As the water temps rise later in the month, fish become more difficult to pattern. Although high temps warm the water faster, persistent cool fronts still chill the waters, and the wind shifts can wreak havoc on the pattern. It keeps fish and anglers confused. During this part of the season, I tend to move often, not devoting too much time to a location or pattern. Changing things up often until you find them is more effective than banging it out in a spot like I would do in early March. Lures to choose from are wide open here. Small and large soft plastics in the twitch or paddletail style can all be effective. Topwaters and slow sinking hard baits can also produce. Keep moving and changing lure styles, sizes, colors and action until you find the bite. Don’t forget to take a kid fishing. You will be surprised what they can teach you when they put the electronics down. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures, and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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GULF COUNCIL MULLING LIMIT CUTS for Kings, AJs and Gags

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he Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met virtually in January to make decisions that will affect Gulf anglers. The council is the regional authority charged with managing fisheries in federal waters of the Gulf. Here’s a brief overview of what was decided.

R

Vermilion Snapper After hearing a summary of public comments and recommendations from its Reef Fish Advisory Panel, the Gulf Council took final action to South Atlantic Council is expected to take final action in March meeting. increase the vermilion snapper overfishing limit, acceptable biological The Gulf Council is expected to take final action in April. catch, and annual catch limit. The most recent stock assessment determined Greater Amberjack the stock is not overfished nor experiencing overfishing. This change will The most recent assessment shows that greater amberjack is both increase the total annual catch limit, but it will not change the daily catch overfished and experiencing overfishing, and that recent average recruitment limit of 10 fish. is lower than it has ever been. The Council’s Scientific and Statistical King Mackerel Committee recommended new overfishing limit and acceptable biological A recent update stock assessment for king mackerel determined that catch recommendations for greater amberjack. These recommendations king mackerel is not overfished or experiencing overfishing. However, the require a significant decrease in harvest. spawning stock biomass was found to be below the biomass necessary to Gag Grouper achieve maximum sustainable yield. The most recent gag grouper stock assessment determined that the stock The Gulf Council must work with the South Atlantic Council on actions for this highly migratory fish, and both are still considering options. They is overfished and experiencing overfishing. Additionally, the assessment have both removed alternatives that would reduce the recreational and identified there is a low proportion of males in the gag grouper population commercial minimum size limit for Atlantic king mackerel and will retain (less than 2%), which impacts the stock’s ability to reproduce. The Council is obligated to end overfishing and develop a rebuilding plan the 24-inch minimum size limit. Also, they both opted to allow for the retention of cut-off/damaged Atlantic migratory group king mackerel caught for gag grouper, and initiated the development of a plan amendment to revise under the recreational bag limit that comply with minimum size limits. The catch limits, accountability measures, and other management measures. • STEEL BUILDING • SALE • PRE-ENGINEERED BUILDINGS • SAVE • STEEL BUILDING • SALE • CARPORTS • SAVE • CALL NOW • SPECIALS • SALE • STEEL BUILDING • SALE •

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Catch High Season For Marlin in the Bahamas

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f a big blue marlin is on your bucket list, there’s no better time to visit The Bahamas than over the next few months, when high season for billfish brings giant pelagics to the deep blue waters off the islands. Bahamian waters are the birthplace of big-game sportfishing. Back in the 1930s, the world was introduced to adventure like no other when anglers like Ernest Hemingway and Michael Lerner did battle with giant marlin and big bluefin tuna off Bimini. The fishing is still ridiculously good. Marlin season in the Bahamas begins in March or April, when the white marlin arrive, and by June or July things get into full swing when big blue marlin show up. They come in numbers to feed off the islands, and PHOTO COURTESY OF The Out Islands Bahamas throughout summer it is not unusual to have days with multiple bites on the same trip. In recent years, far-flung destinations like Africa and Australia might have come to the forefront as the best places to tie into granders (blue marlin that weigh in excess of 1,000 pounds). Yet, The Bahamas remain one of, if not the best place, in the world to actually catch blue marlin. It’s worth noting that the Out Islands of The Bahamas are a quick and easy trip for anglers in the eastern U.S. White and blue marlin are the marquee species when trolling off The Bahamas, and there’s also a good chance other highly sought after gamefish will crash into the spread. When the outrigger snaps, you might be reeling in wahoo, tuna or mahi for dinner. Check out all the action the Out Islands of The Bahamas have to offer at www.myoutislands.com.

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Largemouth Bass: Florida’s Gift to the World

F

lorida is the land of sunshine and hurricanes. If you stopped random people on the street in any other location in the world and asked them what first comes to mind about Florida, most would offer something about places like Daytona Beach, Disney World or the beaches of Miami. Florida is also the second largest producer of beef in the U.S., and of course Florida oranges and Indian River grapefruit. If that person you stopped fishes, they would likely talk about the Florida Keys, tarpon, or any of the other sought-after saltwater fish. But, for the freshwater angler, Lake Okeechobee largemouth bass are what dreams are made of. “Lake O” needs no introduction for those familiar with the bass fishing world. Black bass in Florida have a long and storied history. Bass anglers across the country can thank Florida and those early fishery managers who had the foresight to protect largemouth bass. The early years of the 20th century saw bass population depleted due to their importance as a food source and no regulations. As a result, the 1926 Black Bass Act was passed to restrict interstate commerce of bass and allowed states to designate them as a gamefish. These restrictions and future

By Rex Hannon

regulations limited commercial harvest and sale and increased their value as a sport fish. By mid-century, large reservoirs across the U.S. were built to accommodate the growing need for electric power. These were prime locations for bass stocking and management programs. Today, largemouth bass have been successfully exported worldwide. The economic impact is impressive; bass fishing is a $60 billion industry. Today’s Florida offers the best bass fishing on the planet. Lake Okeechobee is considered the pinnacle here, but trophy fish can be found in the countless lakes, ponds and canals that are readily available to any angler almost everywhere in the state. There is no need to travel to exotic locations or plan a vacation around fishing for monster largemouths. With a little research and some scouting, you can find them in your hometown, and often in your own neighborhood. Florida largemouth bass are a hardy species, and you can target them in a wide range of habitat and water qualities. I have caught largemouths and snook in the same canals and ponds. This speaks to the adaptability of both species. There has never been a better time to be an angler. Anglers today have access to many species

that in the past would have required a trip to far away and exotic locations. Native Florida bass have not only become a sought-after species for sport, they are an economic generator for future generations. There are anglers worldwide who dream of fishing Florida for a trophy bass of a lifetime. Whether you’re an avid angler or just someone who wets a line when time permits, today’s Florida offers something for everyone.

T t

L y

D yo pe

Th ya

Fr al qu

w 10 FLORIDA

MARCH 2022

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J


destin, FL March 2022 Tide Chart Provided by

Destin (Choctawhatchee Bay, East Pass), FL Perdido Bay, FL - Sep 2021 Mar 2022 Nix Point,www.USHarbors.com Low ft

Tue

2

Wed

PM

9:53 3

Thu

4

Fri

10:43

Wed

2

ft

3 4

Thu Fri

Sat

ft 5

Sun

6

0.0 7

Mon

0.0 9

Wed

10

Fri

8

Tue Thu

AM

ft

8:56

1.0

10:06

1.0

PM

ft

Low

PM

ft

9:51

0.6

7:3112:03-0.2 1.1

10:46 0.5

7:551:47 -0.1 1.0

11:49 0.4

7:56

11:08

Rise

1.0

6:25 6:26

AM

AM

ft

Set 12:54

7:13 2:47 7:12 4:05

0.0

PM

ft

Moon

1.0

0.0

2

0.1

9

0.2

0

0.3

7

Mon

14

Tue

8

Tue

15

Wed

16

Thu

9

Wed

17

Fri

10

18

Sat

Thu

19

Sun

20

Mon

21

Tue

11 Fri 11:50A 12 Sat

1:45 13

Sun

14

Mon

3:29

5:13 15 Tue

6:52 16 Wed

0.2 22

Wed

8:29

6:29

7:07 7:06

0.7

12:49

0.2

6:29

7:05

0.3 0.2

7:05 2:15

0.8

0.3 5:21

0.6

7:01

6:31

7:00

0.0

6:32

6:58

0.0

6:32

6:57

0.0

6:33

6:56

0.0

6:33

6:54

6:01 11:42 5:51

0.0

6:34

6:53

0.1

6:34

6:52

6:00 11:55 5:52

0.2

6:35

6:51

5:59 10:56 5:52

0.2

6:35

6:49

0.3

6:36

6:48

5:57 12:58 5:53

0.3

6:37

6:47

0.2

6:37

6:46

2:03

6:38

6:44

3:07

6:04 6:52 5:49 6:03 8:19 5:50 9:30

9:30

6:29 11:35

0.3 0.2

9:18

6:43

0.1

6:39

6:42

0.1

6:39

6:41

0.1

6:40

6:39

8:09

0.1

6:41

6:38

9:00

0.1

6:41

6:37

27

0.1

Mon

28

29 0.0

Tue Wed

6:31 9:33 0.6 4:50

1.0

5:43

1.0

7:00-0.1

5:43

7:14

6:54 7:04 6:55

6:50 6:32 6:58-0.1 10:30 0.51.0 7:32 8:05

1.0

6:32 0.4 11:38

6:57 0.0 7:40

1:12 0.2 6:33

7:33 6:56 0.1 6:55 6:54 0.1

0.1

6:34

6:52

11:55

0.2

6:35

11:41

0.2

6:35

10:56 25 Fri

0.3

6:36 4:40 0.8

Thu

6:31

0.1

6:55 4:19 6:54

11:42

24

0.1

5:13

11:41

7:01

6:53

Wed

7:02

-0.1

6:31

6:34

23

6:06 3:29 5:48

6:30

4:10 0.61.0 6:49 8:41

Sun

0.9

12:16 0.5

Tue

0.3

0.2

1:45

11:12

7:02

0.0

22

11:10

6:02 10:28 5:50

2:141:16 -0.1 0.9

20 Sun 11:12

Mon

0.2

6:38

0.6

0.9

19 Sat 1:12 10:28 0.0 0.3 12:22 6:33 0.3 21

6:07 11:50A 5:48

0.3

0.1

26

0.0

6:08 5:47

6:56 6:54

3:41

18 Fri 9:30

7:08

6:09 5:46

-0.1

Sat

0.0

7:09

6:27

6:14

25

8:19 17 Thu

6:27

7:45

6:30 3:23

Thu

7:11

0.0

6:10 11:56 5:46

0.2

Fri

30

7:12

6:26

-0.1

0.2 24 0.1

6:26

0.0

Set Moon

5:38 0.60.8 4:28 3:15

Thu

23

0.6

0.0

11:24

6:28

4:27 0.60.5 3:293:26 -0.1 0.7 4:22

11:10 3:26

10:43

0.1

1.1

0.6

7:13

12:42

2:10 0.6 12:51 -0.1 1.0 12:17 6:28 7:06 3:09

Set

6:25

0.9

1:25 9:55 0.61.1 7:07 6:28 11:11

Rise

6:28

11:29 -0.1

1.1

ft 0.0

0.0

0.7

7:05 0.51.1 7:08 6:27 12:53

Rise

PM 9:53

12:23

4:19 0.20.6 7:246:11 0.1 0.66:4112:30 12:59 0.1 4:00

Low ft

11:24 0.0 6:26 7:11 0.1 8:40 0.0 5 Sat 1:19 0.2Sat 12:28 11 4:18 0.30.9 6:03 12 Sun 4:57 1.0 11:56 6:27 6 Sun 0.0 12:32 0.41.0 7:09 10:10 0.0 13 Mon 5:53

3

5

1

High

1

AM

www.USHarbors.com

High

Date

Date

www.USHarbors.com

12:36 0.6

6:53 6:56 6:51 6:56 6:09

0.1

6:50 6:57

7:54

0.0

6:49 6:58

9:18

0.0

6:48 6:58

10:42 -0.1

6:47 6:59

1:14

0.7

2:09

0.7 12:18 -0.1

6:44 7:00

3:18

0.7

2:02

6:43 7:01

6:45 6:59

6:51 6:49

-0.1

6:48-0.2 3:34

0.3

27 Sun 12:58

0.2

7:30 0.7 6:37

5:43 6:46-0.2

6:39 7:03

28 Mon 2:03

0.2

8:44 0.7 6:38

6:25 6:44-0.1

6:38 7:03

11:12 0.4

7:02

0.0

6:36 7:04

12:17 0.3

6:39

0.1

29 Tue 3:07 30

Wed

31

Thu

4:19 5:43

0.1 0.1 0.1

9:54 0.6 6:38

6:39 6:39

6:47-0.2 4:46

6:41

7:04

0.1

6:40

6:39

8:09

0.1

6:41

6:38

9:00

0.1

6:41

6:37

We do fishing.

6:40 7:02

6:53 6:43-0.1

6:42

6:29

6:42 7:01

9:18 26 Sat

6:37 6:08 0.7

Moon

6:37 7:04 6:13

0.1

Panama City Beach, Destin and Navarre

www.HalfHitch.com

6:34 7:05

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

march 2022

the emerald coast 1


Fishing forecasts

the underrated

fish

Capt. Alex Kendrick Reel Salty Charters Destin www.reelsaltydestin.com FB: Reel Salty Destin IN: @reelsaltydestin @captain_alex_kendrick

W

ith March coming up you know what that means! Trigger fish season, that's right. To me the Trigger is one of the most underrated fish in the Gulf of Mexico. White meat, highly populated, and a fun fight for all ages. These little bait snatchers are in my top 5 favorite fish to eat. Having a small mouth with tons of teeth they are known for stealing your bait before you know it. My go to rig for catching these guys is a 2-hook chicken rig made of 40# test and a #4 circle hook. Don't use light wire hooks as their strong jaws matched with oyster crushing teeth are known for biting through hooks. My favorite brand of hook for triggers are the Birds of Prey. As for bait I prefer smaller cuts of squid to make it harder for them to steal the bait without getting a hook in them. When fishing the right area, the bite tends to be very quick and very light. I like to leave my weight right on the bottom with just a tad of tension. The best

The Canvas Lady

way to describe what to feel for is kinda like crappie fishing. Get 2 or 3 bites and start reeling. If you don't feel them on after 4 or 5 cranks run your bait back to the bottom and wait another 30 seconds. If you don't get a bite after that they got you! Check your bait and try again. Trial and error are a big part of this. Keep going and don't give up. Being a flat fish, they swim on their side making the battle that much more fun. Even the small ones put up a good fight! Remember fishing is supposed to be fun, so kick back, relax, and get out on the water. Check us out on Instagram @captain_alex_kendrick and @reelsaltydestin, we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Tune in to our YouTube channel at Alex Kendrick for weekly updates and tips and tricks. As always Stay Salty!

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march 2022

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opportunities Capt. Preston Muller Gulf Angler Charters 850-428-0118

A

hhhhh it’s here folks. Can you feel it? One of my favorite places to experience spring is right here in Destin, Florida. Just like that the winter is over and it’s time to dust off those rods and reels, fuel up the boat, break out the sunscreen and get after the fish! The air smells like the sea and the sun makes your skin feel tight. Spring in Destin is a student on break, a seafood restaurant chefs’ blank canvas, a time of opportunity for every local and a fisherman’s answered prayer for the long winter to finally give up the ghost. For our fishermen: March is a great time to get out into the gulf to wet a line. The Sheepshead fishing is fantastic near the rocks closest to the pass and the Spanish Mackerel will make their appearance in no time. Vermillion Snapper are also quite prevalent over the nearshore rubble. March fishing is great across the board here in Northwest Florida and is the beginning of new opportunities for experienced fisherman and novices alike. Happy March Fishing! 4 THE EMERALD COAST

march 2022

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importance of Fresh Nonethanol Gas in your Outboard Motor

E

veryone talks about the difference in ethanol versus nonethanol gas in the marine industry. The marine industry recommends the use of nonethanol gas in your outboard motor. Ethanol gas in known to attract water. The main reason for using nonethanol is that ethanol loses its octane rapidly. We have customers drain their old gas from the outboard motor, put it in a car, and it runs fine. So they think it is fine to run in their outboard motor. What they don’t think of is your car cruises with an overdrive transmission at around 1800-2000 rpms. The outboard motor cruises around 4000-5000 rpms. The higher the rpms…the higher the octane needs to be. Scientists have reported that the ethanol gas loses 18% of its octane every month. Each manufacturer of outboard motors have minimum octane ratings that is safe to run in their motor. Most four stroke motors are in repair shops for fuel related problems. It is better to keep fresh nonethanol gas in your boat. Enjoy your boating.

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Send in your catch photos to be featured in Coastal Angler Emerald Coast! Capt.Elizabeth@CoastalAnglerMagazine.com


Perdido Bay, FL March 2022 Tide Chart Provided by Nix Point, Perdido Bay, FL - Sep 2021 Nix Point, Perdido Bay,www.USHarbors.com FL - Mar 2022 Date

Date

Low ft

AM2 3

ft

Wed

8:56

1.0

Fri

11:08

1.0

Tue

2

Wed 12:53 0.7

PM

Sat

ft 5

Sun

6

Mon

Rise

ft

AM

PM

ft

ft

11:4212:03-0.2 1.1

Set 12:54

1.0

1:47

1.0

Moon

12:06 -0.1 12:23

11:24 0.0 6:26 7:110.1 5 Sat 4:21 0.3Sat 3:30 0.4 0.9 10:14 11 4:18 6 Sun 11:56

0.0

2

0.1

9

0.2

0

0.3

7

Mon

8

Tue

9

Wed

10

Thu

11 Fri 11:50A 12 Sat

1:45 13

Sun

14

Mon

3:29

5:13 15 Tue

10

Fri

12

0.0

Sun

13

Mon

14

Tue

15

Wed

16

Thu

17

Fri

18

Sat

19

Sun

20

Mon

21

Tue

0.2 22

Wed

0.2 24

Thu

25

Sat

26

Sun

27

Mon

28

Tue

23

0.1 0.1

Fri

6:11

0.7

6:29

-0.1

12:17 7:06

1.0

7:05 2:15

0.8

0.3 5:21

0.6

7:244:27 0.7 0.5 7:403:26-0.1 0.7

11:10 3:26

0.6

8:403:15 0.7 0.8 8:39

6:30 3:23

0.9

3:41

0.9

-0.1

6:31

29 6:50 6:52 0.0 16 Wed 12:35 0.7Wed 6:32

1.0 1.0

8:05

1.0

7:11

0.0

6:27

7:09

6:13 5:50

6:27

7:08

0.0

6:12 5:51

6:28

7:07

0.1

6:28

7:06

0.2

6:29

7:05

6:14 11:56 5:49

6:10 11:50A 5:51

0.2

11:10

0.3

0.2

6:30

7:02

0.1

6:31

7:01

0.1

6:31

7:00

0.0

6:32

6:58

0.0

6:32

6:57

0.0

6:33

6:56

0.0

6:33

6:54

11:12

0.0

6:34

6:53

11:42

0.1

6:34

6:52

0.2

6:35

6:51

0.2

6:35

6:49

0.3

6:36

6:48

0.3

6:37

6:47

0.2

6:37

6:46

2:03

0.2

6:38

3:07

0.1

6:38

0.1

6:39

6:57 7:04 6:59

0.1

6:39

0.1

6:40

8:09

6:56 6:59

0.1

6:41

9:00

0.1

6:41

0.3

6:03 11:55 5:55 11:41

9:30

6:29 11:35

7:02

6:02 10:56 5:56

0.3 0.2

9:18

6:01 12:58 5:57 7:00 6:57

7:01

11:43 -0.1 4:10 0.7 1.0 11:00 5:43

6:26

6:05 5:55

10:47 0.7 10:25 -0.1

6:31

Thu

5:02

7:12

0.0

6:06 10:28 5:54

6:251:16-0.1 0.9

1.0

6:59 4:19 6:58

7:00-0.1 11:25

5:43

6:58-0.1 11:43

8:19 0.0 0.6 17 Thu 1:32

6:32

6:570.0 11:51

6:55 7:00

18 Fri 9:30

4:14 6:330.3 11:44 6:560.1 10:20 0.1

6:54 7:01

2:40 0.0 0.5

19 Sat 4:14 10:28 0.0 0.4

0.2

0.7

6:28

6:26

11:24

0.0 Rise 10:43 Set Moon

9:30

4:27 0.6 1.1 3:40 9:55 6:28 7:07-0.1 5:12

7:13

6:07 8:19 5:53

1.1 1.1

Set

6:25

6:52

7:05 0.6 1.1 2:21 3:55 6:27 7:080.0

11:11

Rise

6:08 5:13 5:53

1.0

8:29

ft 0.0

6:09 3:29 5:52

4:57 3:34 0.5 1.0 12:51 6:27 7:090.0 5:53

PM 9:53

1:45

0.7

4:50

30

0.3

4:00

www.USHarbors.com

Low

ft Low

PM

ftThu PM10:06 ft 1.0 AM

1

4

High AM

9:53 0.0 7:13 7 2:47 0.912:0712:42 3 Thu 1:48 0.6Tue 6:25 0.0 8 Wed 4:05 0.7 12:49 10:43 0.0 6:26 7:12 4 Fri 2:51 0.4Thu 4:01 0.1 9 4:19 0.2 0.6 11:356:11 0.1 0.610:5212:30

3

5

1

High

www.USHarbors.com

3:24 6:330.4 11:06 6:540.1

6:53 7:01

3:38

0.7

1:29

0.0

6:50 7:02

4:16

0.8

2:53

-0.1

6:49 7:03

5:11

0.8

4:29

-0.1

6:48 7:04

6:20

0.9

6:13

-0.1

6:46 7:04

20 Sun 11:12

0.0

3:18

11:42

0.1

6:34

11:55

0.2

11:41

0.2

10:56 25 Fri

0.3

21

Mon

22

Tue

23

Wed

24

Thu

9:18 26 Sat

6:340.5 12:05 6:530.0 6:35 6:35

6:360.9

7:42

0.3

6:370.9 9:10

6:52 6:51 6:49

6:48-0.2

7:45

6:45 7:05

6:47-0.2 8:57

6:44 7:06

0.2

6:370.8 10:32

28 Mon 2:03

0.2

11:46 6:380.8 10:36 6:44-0.1

6:42 7:07

29 Tue 3:07

0.1

6:38

11:04 6:43-0.1

6:40 7:07

31

Thu

5:43

2:14

0.1

0.5

6:46-0.2 9:54

6:39

11:13 6:420.0

6:39

6:41

3:19

6:43 7:06

6:39 7:08

0.3 10:50 0.1 10:24 0.1

10 THE EMERALD COAST

7:04

0.1

6:40

march 2022

8:09

0.1

6:41

6:38

9:00

0.1

6:41

6:37

6:39

6:29

Sit back and catch 6:44 6:43

more buSineSS! 6:42 6:41 6:39 6:38 6:37

6:51 7:02

12:58 27 Sun

30 Wed 12:56 4:19 0.1 0.6

Moon

6:38 7:09

advertiSe in

COASTAL ANGLER contact elizabeth

(850) 499-5685 capt.elizabeth@ coastalanglermagazine.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


The maintenance SEASON Capt. Matt Miller Miller Fishing Company 850-501-5016 www.millerfishingcharters.com

W

elp, it’s our super slow time of the year. That means lots of boat work to be accomplished. Rods and reels need to be freshened up; whether that’s replacing some of them, fixing a guide on a rod, or maybe replacing the drag on a reel, etc. Fun stuff! The few days we have fished this month have been on a slight north wind, which lays out the beach for perfect conditions. Crystal clear water, and miles of pretty beach. Sight fishing redfish of course! I like throwing top water plugs over the schools and working them right thru. Poppers, skitter-walks, whopper ploppers- really whatever you have in your box that makes noise and splashes on top will get their attention. When it’s a super clear day I will do a 30-40lb leader but if it’s overcast, I will tie straight to my braid. I like using my bass rods for this since they really like stretching out that 10lb line haha. Most of the redfish are all over slot but you never know when a few slots are mixed in. 9/10 times we release all these fish. It’s hard not to pluck a pumpkin from its patch every now and then though! Redfish on the half shell over a hot grill!!!! Yum! Looking forward to charter season, spring break is coming quick. I better get back to working on the boats! Tight lines.

Bowfishing rod and reel fishing • trips to craB island

plan your next fishing adventure in Beautiful

destin, florida! Call or text 850-528-9212 www.reelnockoutfitters.org www.facebook.com/reelnockoutfitters

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

march 2022

the emerald coast 11


crushing

the bait

Join us on Facebook!

Capt. Mason O'Daniel Pensacola Fishing Co. 850.733.7436 www.pensacolafishingco.com Social @pensacolafishingco

Greetings Gulf Coast Anglers!

C @EmeraldCoastCAM

aptain Mason here, welcoming all you Spring Breakers to town. This might be my favorite time of year!!! As the temperature rises, we see several species make their way back to our emerald green waters. Cobia are beginning to make their migration west. Whether from the pier or the boat, these great-eating fish are typically caught by spot casting. Our favorite baits are live eels, live Herring, live Pinfish, and the occasional jig. We also see the King and Spanish Mackerel make their way back to “town.” Trolling just off the beaches using a variety of bright colored jigs and spoons is a sure way to get the Spanish fired up. When going for the Kings, we switch to larger Rapala’s or live Cigar minnows. In deeper waters, we are targeting Mingo Snapper, Lane Snapper, Gray Triggerfish and Red Porgy. We like a Carolina Rig, adjusting the weight for depth and current. Just gotta read the screen and see where the fish are hanging out. The Triggers can be thick and love crushing your bait on the way down. To get one of these home and on the grill, you’ll need to be 15” fork length. Even the smaller ones can give you quite a pull!! That's all for now folks! Let’s get this 2022 Season off to a solid start, have a safe St. Patty’s Day and keep those lines tight!!!!

have a big time On small water Capt. Sid Nelson IG: GulfCoastCapt FB:Captain Si Nelson

I

’m a guide, but sometimes I wish I wasn’t. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy taking people fishing - in fact, it’s my passion. However, I miss the high I would get off catching a single fish, or a good bite that ended up breaking me off. When I was a kid, I would go throw a topwater against a sunrise before school and occasionally catch a single trout. You better believe I rode the high of that one fish for the rest of the day and into the next. I’d tell the story to my buddies and then again to my coach. It was magic. As a guide, I find myself answering the question of “How was it?” with a moan and a groan or two about how we struggled this morning, ended up with only 2 pompano, 9 mangroves and 3 trout... or some collection of fish that would have made childhood me go blind with adrenaline. Later, I’ll remember we also caught and released a bull red that I’d forgotten about. It seems that when you pursue your passions that somewhere along the way you lose sight of what you once saw through new eyes. The miracle becomes the mundane. I envy the weekend warrior. Kicking out with his precious moments of spare time to try his luck. For him, every bite is an adventure and every

12 THE EMERALD COAST

march 2022

single fish played to hand a cosmic victory. He is more alive in that moment than he has been all week and will live in this moment many times in the week to come. What a true blessing to be so heartily content. It’s a new era for anglers. Social media seems to constantly remind you there are other people out there catching more fish than you. It seems they’re steadily stacking fish while you’re merely slapping the water like a buffoon. Don’t fall for it. I implore you to remain content with your layman’s game and continue to conjure up joy in the little miraculous moments you steal away before or after your other obligations that sum up your life. By the mass, social media is designed to convince you that if you bought something else, you’d catch more fish or even be a better angler. Don’t let them set your expectations for you- comparison is the thief of joy. So, cherish now, my Weekend Warriors, the hidden blessings that can be found at the end of your street, or the pond across the road. Worry less about being the better angler and spend more time being an angler. Just as you can’t buy a better golf swing, you can’t buy the happiness that comes with landing a fine fish on an unassuming afternoon jaunt to the water.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM



pensacola, FL March 2022 Tide Chart Provided by Nix- Mar Point, Perdido Bay, FL - Sep 2021 Pensacola, FL 2022 www.USHarbors.com

Nix Point, Perdido Bay, FL - Sep 2021 High

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ft

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ft

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10:43 7 Mon

4

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12:03

1.1

5

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12:54

1.0

6

Mon

1:47

1.0

12:23

0.0

7

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2:47

0.9

12:42

0.1

8

Wed

4:05

0.7

12:49

0.2

9

Thu

4:19 0.6 6:11 0.6 12:30 Owned and operated locally for 25 years

0.3

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4:00

0.7

19 Sat 1:45

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4:18

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3:29 21 Mon

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11:56 10 Thu

Eddie English

12

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Co., Inc. 4:57 1.0 • Custom Boat Trailers 5:53 1.0 • Trailer Repair 7:05 1.1 • Trailer Parts 8:29 1.1

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9:55

1.1

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11:11

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0.5 3:26always 0.7 free.9:30 Quotes are

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0.6 5:21 0.6 11:35 (850) 623-4353

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5724 U.S. 90 Milton, FL 32583 3:23www.facebook.com/eddieenglishcompany 0.9 3:41 https://eddie-english-co-inc.business.site 0.9

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6:55 11:41 6:58 0.2 9:30

0.36:54 10:56 6:59

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SINCE 1981

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6:43 103 New Warrington Road

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march 2022

6:26

11:10

11:41

14 THE EMERALD COAST

7:13

11:55YOUR 0.2HOMETOWN 6:35 6:51 AUTO DEALERSHIP

0.8

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6:05 1:45 5:53 3:29

8:062:15 -0.2 0.8 7:05

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3:23

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27

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Sun 1:09 4:10 1.21.0

30 Wed 11:12

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26

0.0

-0.1 0.26:07 0.710:4412:49

-0.4 -0.4

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11:10 0.3 6:29 Wed 1:45 3:26 0.40.6 8:075:21 0.2 0.6 6:4311:350.3 0.26:53 9:18 0.9 7:00 0.3

1:45 0.2 0.7

30

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19

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4:00 1.10.7 12:03 1:58 4:18 0.9

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22 12:11

ft

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Set 12:54

Wed 6:11 8:29 1.21.1 5:02

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ft

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at 8am Monday-Friday 12:17 until 6pm 1.0 Saturday 1:16 from 0.9 8am - 12pm

2

22 Tue 5:13 23

Open 2:15

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High AM

www.USHarbors.comwww.USHarbors.co

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petemoore.com

Pensacola, Florida | (850) 456-7000

Moo

6:29


march madness

on the beach

ors.com

Moon

I

Mike Smith Smitty's Surf Fishing www.smittyssurffishing.com FB: @SmittysSurfFishing IN: @smittys_surf_fishing

f you fished through the winter, then you know what I’m talking about when I say surf fishing was tough. However, if you braved the conditions, I hope you were rewarded with some monster fish. But now it’s time to shake off those winter blues because SPRING is here. That’s right folks, this is what we have been waiting for; warmer days are here to get those lethargic fish moving again. March marks the return of some of our favorite species and we are going to tackle (pun intended) each one. While many people are focused on their March Madness brackets, surf anglers are waiting for that first limit of pompano to be reported. That’s right, large schools of pompano are starting to run the beaches again. While many had success through the winter targeting these silver medallions, spring is the time to get serious. Your standard double drop rig baited with your

Where's

the

FISH?

Capt. Brian Demo Avid Surf Angler

Host of “Finding Demo Surf Fishing” Podcast

S

o how many times were you skunked last month? Please don't fret because it isn't you! I know I said try new things (a few times actually), and though you have, the fishing has just been well, off. What's the deal you may be asking (please ask)? I have a few theories that might bring forth some light on this. With our recent cold snaps and odd storms rolling through, it has wreaked havoc on how the fish typically react. We went from warm in December to hello winter in January nearly overnight. The temperatures seemed to have leveled out, and with that air temp holding, our water temp has seemed to do the same. When it's too cold, the fish don't need to eat nearly as much (I think they are lazy, but I can't blame them). So that tasty lure you're

favorite bait will be sure to entice these fish to bite. I prefer to use synthetic baits such as FishGum or Fishbites when targeting pompano, just for the ease of carrying the bait. You can cut up a few bags and store them in small containers easily stored in a backpack or tackle bag. In these early stages of the spring run, the best method is to move around to target these schools. A ten-foot rod paired with a 4000-size reel spooled with 15-20 lb. braid is a perfect combo to keep you mobile. Another spring favorite is Spanish Mackerel, and they are starting to show up at the piers in good number. Targeting these feisty fish provides the angler hours of entertainment and excellent table fare. I prefer to use an eight-foot rod paired with a 4000-size reel spooled with 15-20 lb. braid. When targeting these toothy critters, the critical thing to remember is to use bite protection such as heavier mono leader or wire. The go-to lure is your standard Gotcha plug, with a fast and erratic retrieve. Another favorite is the bubble rig. Whether you use a shiny lure or the typical straw rig, trail it about 12-18 inches behind the bubble. The bubble filled with water gives you some weight to cast lighter lures and also creates some splash action to mimic feeding fish. This is a deadly combo when targeting Spanish! As I said, March is the month we’ve been patiently waiting for all winter. The fish are starting to move and it’s the catalyst we need to catapult us into, which can be defined, as the hottest fishing month along the Gulf Coast, April. Let me tell you, you are not going to want to miss that forecast. Until next month folks, may your lines be tight and coolers be full!

throwing near them, though pretty, is just not worth the energy to attack it. When they do pass by and are hungry, they have been slapping their mouths around fresh dead peeled shrimp. You might want to try throwing some out on a Carolina or knocker rig and be patient. I'd also recommend throwing it a bit shorter than you think. Keep it within the first 30 yards and preferably in a deeper hole. You might find that something was hungry after all! While we are here, let's talk water temperature and that happy place that fish like to hang out. Have you searched online to see the opportune water temperatures for the fish you are seeking? One source tells me that Pompano want 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit. We are a bit out of the zone, with us being at a sweltering 63-65 degrees in the water now. But that doesn't mean they aren't there. It just means that it's not opportune. Bluefish, however, like 50-68 degrees, so there is a better target possibly! I found this information on www. finefishing.com, but there are plenty of sources out there. Worth checking out to get a plan together. Let's talk about what's been biting and being reported. The black drum are still hanging around on the backside of the bar. They seem to love this colder water and have been putting smiles on surf anglers' faces all of 2022 so far! These monsters are a blast to catch and make for great pictures. Please keep in mind, though, that they are super breeders when they get to that size (and likely wholly full of worms). Get that picture, and then get them back in the water to be caught another day. If you're not wearing waders, do the right thing and get wet so you can be sure to get a good revive and kick-off. March will bring some nice changes with warmer temperatures and sunshine (I hope). That also means that the water temperature will start rising, so those fish that went up into the canals and streams are going to start making their way back down. Time to set up those ambush points and get ready to fill the freezer. I'll be out there getting my skills sharpened for the upcoming tournament season. Hopefully, I'll cross paths with you at the Pompano Showdown, hosted by Lost Key Outdoors in Perdido Key. It's going to be a good time for sure!

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march 2022

the emerald coast 15


t s a o C d l a r e Em B O A G A R R D B ark Provided by Kyle Mac's Sh s Fishing Charters & Excursion Co-Publisher Capt. Je remy Russell with his 21' speckle d trout

Bri Basford with her la white trout in Pensaco

Provided by Smitty's Surf Fishing

Kasen Williamson in Okaloosa County

Gabrielle Barnes of Lady Luck Adventures Photo provided by Lionel James of Lions Tale Adventures

If you have a catch to brag about, send your picture and caption to: capt.elizabeth@coastalanglermagazine.com


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’d heard good things, so on a recent Sunday morning I drove to Pompano to see all the work the city has done to improve the pier and the surrounding area. I was pleasantly surprised by how tasteful and inviting the results are so far. Originally constructed in the early 1960s, the newly titled Fisher Family Pier now sports an up-to-date entrance comfortably showcased between two attractive oceanfront restaurants. The whole waterfront area has been rebranded as the Pompano Beach Fishing Village. There’s a new visitor center and a six-story parking garage a short walk away on Pier Street (NE 2nd Avenue). Streetscape improvements along

By James P. Goss

Pompano Beach Boulevard include a bricked boardwalk, contemporary streetlights, and other eye-catching design elements. The centerpiece continues to be the pier, revamped to resemble a fish: a pompano, of course. At the pier’s eastern end, the rounded shape of the fish’s head features a mouth and an eye gazing southeast. In addition to new wood decking and railings, there are fish prep areas and built-in metal fishing rod holders. Blue sail awnings fly overhead. Artists’ renderings of tropical fish— kingfish, bluefin tuna, false albacore, pinfish, bottlenose dolphin, hammerhead sharks—pop up between the railings. As I wandered the pier, a fisherman adjusting

his lure told me, “I usually get here around seven in the morning and leave around nine. I got here late today. If I catch anything, I’ll be lucky.” As all anglers know, good fishing depends on a variety of fickle factors in addition to the time of day… or night. These include weather (cold fronts, prevailing winds), tides and currents, species’ particular habits and migration patterns. Clear or murky water plays a role, as do reef features and ocean floor contours. Ocean health depends on a delicate balance: an adequate supply of nutrients, minimal pollution and species diversity—including the presence of apex predators like sharks. Another angler had a line in near a small school of needlefish. Hoping to attract Spanish mackerel, he used a Got-Cha lure. He confided, “They like clear water when the air temperature is a little bit chilly.” Over the many years he’s fished the Pompano pier, he’s caught a lot of snapper and hooked three types of sharks: blacktip, reef and nurse. But he hasn’t seen too many pompano around lately. “They don’t like a city named after them,” he joked. In a more serious tone, he wondered about the effects of all the recent construction. To help address this type of environmental concern, contractors added structures to the ocean floor to augment the existing reef. Still, the fisherman said many popular South Florida fishing spots, including the Pompano Beach pier, are getting “fished out.” The challenge of maintaining adequate stocks of fish is an ongoing concern the world over. Along with millions of dollars spent on physical upgrades to the pier itself, habitat work will hopefully ensure the fish keep showing up.

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THE

’HOOS

ARE STILL OUT THERE By CAM Staff

16 FLORIDA

MARCH 2022

W

ahoo are a favorite fish of any angler who has ever been hooked up to one. They are incredibly fast, sleek and powerful. The initial blistering run is enough to hook anyone. With line pouring off the reel, instinct begs you to stanch the flow. Just hold on. The fight is predictable. After that run, the fish will most likely turn back to the boat, shaking its head to throw the hook. Then it’s a sprint to pick up line. In the boat, the beauty of the fish will amaze you. Perfectly camouflaged in blue water, a wahoo’s silvery belly gives way to a dark blue back with undulating cobalt blue bars falling vertically down its sides. If you can look past that weird toothy beak, it is a gorgeous fish. Photos never do it justice, as the color fades as soon as you take them from the water. What doesn’t fade is the excitement this species brings to the table. They are mackerel, but they don’t taste like it. Wahoo meat is snow white, firm and has a mild taste sometimes compared to albacore. It’s a tremendous sportfish that travels in loose schools and sometimes feeds in packs. Find one and you’ll likely find several hanging and feeding near blue water structure. They move and feed with the bait, migrating to stay in the water temps they prefer, 70 degrees and higher. Wahoo are notoriously unpredictable. They are streaky feeders, and might not eat unless time of day, tides and moon phases align just right. Late winter is the best time to catch them off northeast Florida, when they will be feeding on the ledges with a bite that sometimes lasts into April. Expect decent numbers of fish from 35 to 60 pounds, and every year a few fish show up heavier than 80 pounds. Down in South Florida, wahoo can be found on the edge of the Gulf Stream, with peak fishing occurring late spring through summer. During that same time period, anglers in the Keys will be targeting smaller wahoo, averaging 25 pounds, on floating debris. But arguably the best wahoo fishing in this part of the world is the Bahamas. Here there is a shot at triple-digit fish, and good numbers of fish in the 40-pound range are the norm. Winter is best from the northern Bahamas around the Abacos and farther south, around the San Salvador humps. In the Gulf, wahoo season is also in winter, but winter brings with it foul weather. Early spring is a favorite time of many captains because the fish are still around and you can actually get to them. They’ll be hunting in packs and following baitfish. There’s a good chance at some 30- to 50-pounders this time of year, and 80- or 90-pound fish are not unheard of.

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FLORIDA 17


OKEECHOBEE SHORTCUT CLOSED FOR REPAIRS

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oaters making the trip between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico via the shortcut through Lake Okeechobee will be forced to take the long way around for the next couple months. The St. Lucie Lock and Dam was closed and dewatered for maintenance Jan. 4. The “Okeechobee shortcut” is expected to re-open by April. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District also announced temporary closure of some recreational facilities at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam. The St. Lucie Visitor Center, lock observation decks and the St. Lucie North Recreation Area will be closed until the project is complete. The St. Lucie South Campground will remain open. “The safety of our employees, volunteers and visitors remains our top priority. Equipment and materials are currently being staged at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam in preparation for the upcoming dewatering operation and lock repairs,” said Tammy Cleveland, deputy chief of the South Florida Operations. “We know that the St. Lucie Lock and Dam is a very popular recreational area for the local community and visitors. This the first major maintenance to be performed on this lock in 26 years, and we apologize for any inconvenience during this temporary closure.” According to Ed Killer, with Treasure Coast Newspapers, closure of the Okeechobee shortcut creates a roughly 320-mile detour around Florida’s southern tip for mariners travelling between the Atlantic and the Gulf. Last year, more than 3,000 boats passed through the St. Lucie Lock. For more information, visit: www.saj.usace.army.mil/VisitorCenters/.

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To Introduce You to Spring in the Keys

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he transition into spring can be unpredictable, as it brings dramatic changes to the fishery and obeys no written calendar. Migration, water temperatures and spawning create unique variables this time of year. As the exchange of targeted species swings from winter to spring, each day can be an opportunity to pioneer the new season. The fishery can change overnight in the coming weeks, and you never know when you will stumble across an abundance of fish that haven’t been seen in months. The Florida Keys, this month, will see more permit, cobia and pompano, while also welcoming the start of our world-class tarpon fishery. During the seasonal transition, there will be an overlap, when iconic spring species, such as permit and tarpon, will be chewing along with the sailfish that favor the shallow reefs in winter. Permit harvest season closes in the Keys at the end of March. Although the permit is respected as a game fish, and socially encouraged to be released, it does yield fillets of decent size and of excellent tablefare. Targeting permit can be a little more of a challenge than your average “send-out-the-shrimp” fishing. Whether you are sight casting to a school of them or floating a crab over a wreck, their bite is a

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little bit different than most fish. For a drag-screaming, hard-fighting fish, such as the mighty permit, one might expect them to crush the bait with force. However, permit can suck a hook clean, like a ninja cowfish, without drawing much attention. Learning their bite, especially when freelining in heavy current, can take a bit of practice, but it is absolutely worth the investment. Targeting this species offers a little extra for the angler who has it all. They definitely aren’t top of the beginner’s list, but they absolutely should be top of the bucket list. Crabs are king for permit fishing. Hook a crab on the edge of its shell, avoiding any interference with its back two legs, the swimmerets, so that it can move naturally in the water. Sight casting can be productive with a crab on a jighead, but if you just want to soak a crab over a wreck while fishing for other species, skip the jighead and affix a float up the leader. Put the float as far up the leader as you can stand to have it for casting, and I mean the standing-on-the-bow, swinging-the-momentum-like-you’re-fly fishing kind of casting. Combat different current scenarios by adding split-shot to the leader.

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No matter what time of year, the Florida Keys always have an incredible fishery. Each day can produce once-in-a-lifetime sightings of epic species. It is worth noting that regardless of weather, season, time of day, bananas on the boat, or a small zombie apocalypse, the snapper are always snapping! Quinlyn Haddon captains boats with Blue Magic Charters, in Marathon, Florida. Call her at (504) 920-6342 and check her out on social media @captainquinlyn.

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t’s been more than 100 years since the last Morgan Silver Dollar was struck for circulation. With a well-earned reputation as the coin that helped build the Wild West, preferred by cowboys, ranchers, outlaws as the “hard currency” they wanted in their saddle bags, the Morgan is one of the most revered, most-collected vintage U.S. Silver Dollars ever. Struck in 90% silver from 1878 to 1904, then again in 1921, these silver dollars came to be known by the name of their designer, George T. Morgan. They were also nicknamed “cartwheels” because of their large weight and size.

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary with Legal Tender Morgans

Honoring the 100th anniversary of the last year the Morgan Silver Dollar was minted, the U.S. Mint struck five different versions in 2021, paying tribute to each of the mints that struck the coin. The coins here honor the historic New Orleans Mint, a U.S. Mint branch from 1838–1861 and again from 1879–1909. These coins, featuring an “O” privy mark, a small differentiating mark, were struck in Philadelphia since the New Orleans Mint no longer exists. These beautiful coins are differO PRIVY MARK ent than the originals for two reasons. First,

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MARCH IS THE TURN-AROUND MONTH

The early part of the month will feature very cold water temps around the inlets and river mouths, and keep the trout, drum (redfish) and flounder a little on the sluggish side, but that doesn’t seem to bother the shad, rock and cats. As a matter of fact, it kicks them into overdrive. It’s not water temperature so much as it is the length of daylight in the beginning of the month, but water temps do come into play by the end Tim Barefoot of March. The end of March will see the big spawning female speckled trout his has been a winter for the books, with cold temps, constant wind and sometimes too much rain keeping us arriving at the inlets and river mouths, and the drum bite will be on from the offshore grounds weekend after weekend. In light of fire. This is the time of year when you stand to catch an egg-filled gator trout, but for goodness sakes, take some this, let’s talk about some of the things that brought a lot of good photos and dimensions/weight us to the dance, the anadromous fish that are coming home and let her go do her spawn. This can be in the month of March. the time of year for some great topwater/ If you live on the East Coast, white and hickory shad, popping cork trout and drum bites. striped bass and sturgeon are coming back to the place There are bites, then there are topwater they were born to spawn. March is traditionally a very bites. It’s exciting fishing to say the least. windy month, so on the days we can’t get offshore, there is March will also produce tuna, a safe haven up in the river for some entertainment. Truly, dolphin and wahoo when you can get some of the best to them. The wind will keep us inside memories I have a lot during March, but whenever the were made up seas lay down enough to get offshore, the river. While go for it. This can be the time to catch a not the best stud wahoo and numbers of tuna. Find table fare, white a temperature break and/or the bait, and and hickory you’ll find the wahoo and tuna. They are shad are right on the move and chewing. up there at I don’t care what the wind is doing, I the top of the can always find somewhere to get a bite entertainment and grin in this turn-around month we list. Other fish call March. that have always been at the top See more from Capt. Tim Barefoot of my favorite spring entertainment list are striped bass (rock) and blue at barefootcatsandtackle.com catfish. They come back to the upper reaches of the river to spawn in and rigandjig.com. large numbers.

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Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-Approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. Suzuki, the Suzuki “S” ECSTAR and Suzuki model and product names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. © 2021 Suzuki Marine USA, LLC.

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PHOTO BY SEIGO SAITO/B.A.S.S.

At Hartwell, Stage is Set for 2022 Bassmaster Classic By TAM Staff

F

or months the field has been set for the big show. From March 4-6, some of the world’s top professional bass anglers will fish South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, vying for a championship in the 2022 Bassmaster Classic. Upstate South Carolina will play host to the field of 55 professional anglers as well as hordes of fans, who will attend daily weigh-ins at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville and morning takeoffs at Green Pond Landing & Event Center, near Anderson. The annual Bassmaster

Classic Outdoors Expo will take place each day at the Greenville Convention Center. As for the fishing, Hartwell is familiar to the anglers. The 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk will mark the fourth time the tournament has been held on the 56,000-acre reservoir. The fishery is renowned for excellent spotted and largemouth bass fishing. Early March is typically a transition period on upstate lakes, when bass begin moving up in preparation for the spawn. Weather will have

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everything to do with how successful anglers will fish. The two normal patterns that set up that time of year are either a deeper bite on ditches and points in 30 to 60 feet of water, or a shallower bite when bass move up into the 5- to 20-foot range to stage next to the spawning flats. The prespawn bite can provide excellent numbers of fish as well as some solid size, which could potentially produce fast action and heavy sacks for Classic competitors. Lake Hartwell’s bass eat a lot of blueback herring, and Hartwell tournaments are responsible for the rise of the underspin as popular bass lure. If the fish are deep, it’s likely underspins, shaky heads and football jigs will see a lot of time in the water. If fish are shallow, jerkbaits, jigs and red crankbaits are Hartwell staples. Each of the three previous Classics have provided action-packed finishes. In 2008, Texas pro Alton Jones Sr. went into the final day with little more than a pound lead, but managed to hold off the rest of the field and claim his only Classic trophy. In 2015, when temperatures dipped as low as 9 degrees, hometown favorite Casey Ashley, of South Carolina, came from behind on the final day to win his only title. Then in 2018, young Alabama pro Jordan Lee jumped from sixth place on the final day to win his second-straight Classic. Fans turned out in droves for all three visits, creating an electric atmosphere for the weigh-ins and packing the Expo all three days. For information on fishing Upcountry South Carolina, visit FishUpcountrySC.com.

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rom humble beginnings in a home office five years ago, GaugeSaver has flourished on word-of-mouth and happy customers. The company has found great, hardworking friends to help the business grow, and a year ago expanded into a commercial property at 5049 Hwy 17-S in Green Cove Springs, Fla. They fixed up a 1,500-square-foot building for a main office and technician space, and recently constructed a 2,500-square-foot rigging shop. The plan is to grow into this space and offer electronic installs, repairs, etc. Happy customers are the key to GaugeSaver’s growth. Eric Clayton and his wife Tammy believe in their service so much that they both left 25-plus-year IT careers to grow the brand. They now do more than just gauge restorations. They remanufacture replacement parts for Yamaha, Mercury and Suzuki gauges. They restore LCDs for many devices and most major manufacturers including Garmin, Raymarine, Furuno, Simrad, iCOM, Volvo, Honda, Humminbird, SeaDoo, Kawasaki, and more. They can restore almost anything that has an LCD. This includes VHFS, Chartplotters, AutoPilots, Jet Skis and Side-By-Sides. GaugeSaver can even replace LCD assemblies with aftermarket or OEM parts to keep electronics out of landfills. GaugeSaver was founded to extend the lifespan of electronics and save people money. Every week they are learning new ways to do so. They offer Dealer Discounts for friends in the industry. Check out Gaugesaver.com (or drop by and meet the shop dog, Jeb) to see if WWW.GAUGESAVER.COM GaugeSaver can save you money!

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DEXTER SURGE ACTUATORS

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exter’s complete line of surge actuators are highly engineered, easy to use, and go through rigorous testing to ensure that you get to your destination safely. Available in capacities from 6,600 lbs. to 20,000 lbs. in both disc brake and drum brake varieties, Dexter surge actuators provide smooth and powerful operation. All you need to do is replace the trailer’s standard tongue coupler with a surge actuator and add hydraulic brake end units. The “surge” or “push” of the trailer toward the tow vehicle during deceleration automatically synchronizes the trailer brakes with the tow vehicle brakes. As the trailer pushes against the tow vehicle, the actuator compresses and applies force to its master cylinder, which supplies hydraulic pressure to the trailer’s brakes. As a trusted leader in the Marine Industry, Dexter also outfitted its surge actuators with corrosion-resistant rollers and bushings to create smoother movements and added longevity. Tow with WWW.DEXTERAXLE.COM confidence – Demand Dexter!

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NATIONAL 21


WILD SALMON THREATENED BY INTERBREEDING WITH FARMED FISH

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nterbreeding between farmed salmon and wild populations in Norway is changing the lifecycle of wild salmon, according to a report from the website Phys.org. Researchers with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and Rådgivende Biologer studied scale growth patterns in thousands of salmon taken from rivers in Norway from 2010 to 2017. They looked at the impact of escaped farmed salmon breeding with wild salmon by collecting scales from 6,900 adult wild Atlantic salmon in 105 Norwegian rivers. The researchers conducted genetic tests on the scales to learn the genetic history of the fish. The researchers found that both farmed salmon and wild salmon with farmed ancestry mature and age at a faster rate and return to rivers earlier to spawn. It was hypothesized this accelerated maturation process puts salmon at a higher risk of predation because they venture into saltwater earlier, when they are less likely to evade capture by sharks and halibut. Prior studies have indicated that salmon with farmed ancestry are less afraid of predators. The study suggests interbreeding of farmed and wild salmon will result in reductions in wild populations, which has already been observed in some areas. To read the entire report, see phys.org

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