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FORT MYERS/CAPE CORAL/CHARLOTTE HARBOR EDITION

FREE

GEAR

Win a

Guide

chance to fish

with Skye Burkhardt

Nosara Billfish

Bonito

On The Fly

PHOTO COURTESY OF TUCKER HARRIS @MACH1TUCK VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 275

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RADAR

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Target AnalyzerTM function, facilitated by Doppler technology, immediately alerts you to targets (displayed in red) that pose a threat to your vessel. Simultaneously track up to 100 moving targets, displaying their speed & course vectors.

RezBoostTM beam sharpening displays higher resolution targets, similar to those from a large open array antenna.

DRS4D-NXT & DRS6A-NXT Doppler Solid State Radar Experience The

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THE NEXT GREAT GREAT THE NEXT

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EDITOR IN CHIEF : Ben Martin • camads@coastalanglermagazine.com VICE PRESIDENT : Tracy Patterson • tracy@coastalanglermagazine.com ART DIRECTOR : Rebecca Snowden • graphics@coastalanglermagazine.com EDITORIAL COORDINATOR : Nick Carter • editorial@coastalanglermagazine.com WEBMASTER : Dmitriy Pislyagin • webmaster@coastalanglermagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Corporate Headquarters info@coastalanglermagazine.com • 888-800-9794

Anglers Wanted Dear Reader,

FLORIDA

BIG BEND : Mike McNamara • (850) 510-7919 • captmike@coastalanglermagazine.com BREVARD : David String • (321) 684-5888 • dstring@coastalanglermagazine.com DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA BEACH : Don Meadows • (321) 436-5895 • donm@coastalanglermagazine.com EMERALD COAST/DESTIN/PENSACOLA : Scott Risher • (850) 428-0996 • srisher@coastalanglermagazine.com FLORIDA KEYS : Cliff Lumpkin • (305) 849-9093 • cliff@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT LAUDERDALE : Gene Dyer • (954) 680-3900 • gene@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT MYERS : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER MIAMI : Scott Deal • (561) 945-6999 • scott@coastalanglermagazine.com Monica Isaza-Deal • (561) 945-8899 • monica@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER ORLANDO : Phillip & Giselle Wolf • (407) 790-9515 • phillip@coastalanglermagazine.com LAKELAND & SUMTER : Mary Brasher • (352) 598-4219 • maryf@coastalanglermagazine.com NAPLES : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com NC FLORIDA/NATURE COAST : Cary & Lynn Crutchfield • (352) 372-4237 • crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com NE FLORIDA : Danny Patrick • (904) 742-4696 • danny@coastalanglermagazine.com PANAMA CITY/FORGOTTEN COAST : Randy Cnota • (229) 834-7880 • randyc@coastalanglermagazine.com PALM BEACH COUNTY : Barbara Ryan • (561) 373-8040 • barbara@coastalanglermagazine.com SARASOTA : Phil Prevoir • (239) 257-4684 • pprevoir@coastalanglermagazine.com TAMPA BAY : Chuck Atkins • (239) 464-5153 • chuck@coastalanglermagazine.com TREASURE COAST : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com

SOUTHEAST

ATLANTA : Bob & Brenda Rice • (706) 614-8231 • bobr@theanglermagazine.com CHARLESTON : Jane A. Redden • (205) 725-9616 • jane@coastalanglermagazine.com Sam Buckareff • (843) 607-8629 • sam@coastalanglermagazine.com CHARLOTTE/PIEDMONT : Mark & Haley Alberghini • (704) 651-1934 • mark@theanglermagazine.com COLUMBIA/MIDLANDS : John Lux • (803) 807-6885 • jlux@theanglermagazine.com MYRTLE BEACH : Mike Masiero • (732) 674-3019 • mmasiero@coastalanglermagazine.com SW GEORGIA : Bob & Brenda Rice • (706) 614-8231 • bobr@theanglermagazine.com TIDEWATER/OUTER BANKS : John Tiger • (757) 707-9654 • john.tiger@coastalanglermagazine.com Laura Seitz • (757) 707-9655 • laura@coastalanglermagazine.com UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA : Gregg Thompson • (864) 542-3112 • gregg@theanglermagazine.com WESTERN NC : Debra & Joe Woody • (828) 775-9663 • woody@theanglermagazine.com WILMINGTON/MOREHEAD : Kenny Ritter • (910) 550-9094 • kenny@coastalanglermagazine.com

NORTHEAST BOSTON : George Regan • (617) 488-2842 • boston@coastalanglermagazine.com LONG ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 • lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com CONNECTICUT/RHODE ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com

GULF COAST

GALVESTON/MATAGORDA/UPPER COAST : Chanci & David Mowry • (713) 446-7395 • chancim@coastalanglermagazine.com • davidm@coastalanglermagazine.com MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST : Adam Nelson • (228) 627-5903 • anelson@coastalanglermagazine.com Toby Nelson • (228) 623-1761 • tnelson@coastalanglermagazine.com NEW ORLEANS : Dr. Dave Dunaway • (225) 400-8156 • nola@coastalanglermagazine.com

GREAT LAKES WEST MICHIGAN : Phil Belsito • (616) 957-1714 • phil@theanglermagazine.com

INTERNATIONAL PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com COSTA RICA : Mike Erickson • (561) 262-2242 • mike@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2017-2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Disclaimer: Coastal Angler Magazine / The Angler Magazine will not be held liable for injuries incurred while partaking in activities described herein, or for claims made against products or services provided by advertisers.

Coastal Angler Magazine and its freshwater component The Angler Magazine are both part of a unique franchise publishing model developed 10 years ago by duplicating the working elements of the local Coastal Angler Magazine that had been publishing since 1996 in Melbourne, Fla. Today, there are more than 30 franchise locations throughout the Continental U.S., Costa Rica and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are now one of the largest, most widely read outdoor publications in the country. Guess what? We’re not done yet. Our goal is to have more than 100 franchise editions throughout the U.S. and abroad. We’ve tweaked and refined our systems over the last 10 years, and now we are ready to continue our expansion.

Let’s Grow Again! If you (or someone you know) loves the outdoors and would be comfortable running your own business, please contact us for more information about joining our franchise team. Best regards,

Ben Martin Editor in Chief info@coastalanglermagazine.com

1-888-800-9794

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WE BUILD FUN INTO 26 FEET OF PURE EVERY NAUTICSTAR! FISHING JOY SPORT THE ALL NEW 265XTS DECKS

Step up to NauticStar’s biggest bay boat, the all new 265XTS – Xtreme Tournament Series. The carefully designed hull and deck is optimized for performance, functionality and fishability that will give you capabilities never before seen in a bay boat. Inshore or offshore, the STAR Performance hull is designed to minimize draft for skinny fishing and provide a forgiving ride through tight open chops and coastal swells. Check out all the incredible standard and innovative features of the 265XTS on our website.

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Researchers Embark On $10 Million Gulf Red Snapper Study By CAM Staff

W

ith the ongoing debate over red snapper population estimates in the Gulf of Mexico, researchers from the University of Florida have received a $10 million grant to hopefully settle the dispute and determine what the snapper population actually is. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service and Sea Grant are funding the study, which will be conducted over two years by UF associate professors Robert Ahrens and Will Patterson along with researchers from other institutions from around the Southeast. Currently under a federal recovery plan, the Gulf red snapper fishery has been considered overfished since the 1980s by the federal government. Under the recovery plan, coastal communities and businesses, such as charter boat operations and all the others that benefit from money spent by anglers, have been hurt by extremely limited opportunities to harvest this important recreational and commercial species. All the while, recreational anglers and biologists with Gulf state wildlife agencies have been pointing to flaws in the formal stock assessments. And the structure of the allowed catch has created a rift between recreational and commercial fishermen. Over the vast Gulf of Mexico, it will be one of the largest and most ambitious fish studies ever conducted, and even with $10 million in funding, there are those who doubt the study will achieve its goal of a population estimate with a coefficient variation of 30 percent, according to a UF release. Meeting the requirement would require numerous supplementary samples until the numbers contract into the accept-

Jeff and Payton Oney caught their limit of beautiful Gulf red snapper as well as red and gag grouper and other reef fish while fishing off Anna Maria Island with Capt. Larry McGuire and Show Me The Fish Charters. able range of variance between locations. Researchers will use methods beyond catch data in their study. Remote operated vehicles, camera sleds, acoustics and divers will play a role in producing the estimate. Researchers will also be capturing some fish and taking fin clips to develop genetic tags to be used in future estimates. Along with the snapper study, there is excitement over additional information that can be gathered in a study of this size. The distribution and size of other reef fish, as well as the invasive lionfish are of particular interest.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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GEAR GUIDE Beach Marine Products Bay Buddy Bait pens by Beach Marine Products are not your average bait cages. Built by engineers and hard-core anglers, every care was taken to design bait pens that are rugged, durable, convenient for the angler, and stress-free for the bait. They feature a sloped-bottom design and industry-changing false bottom, making recapturing your bait easy. Heavy duty aluminum construction with zinc anode assures a durable product. All hardware is stainless steel and doubled up. The pens are powder coated with no sharp edges to injure or red nose baits. Large oversize doors allow access for cast nets and large dip nets. Beach Bait Pens come in many different shapes and sizes. Their smallest pen is the Bay Buddy, which is ideal for holding shrimp, crabs and multiple species of live baitfish. The Bay Buddy is 20 inches wide by 18 inches deep.

beachmarineproducts.com

Kaku Kayak Wahoo 10.5 With the release of their new Wahoo 10.5, Kaku Kayak is building on its reputation of excellent stability and performance with a more compact boat that retains all the features and performance of the larger Wahoo 12.5. The Wahoo 10.5 tracks extremely well for a shorter kayak, is easy to stand in and responds to tight turns easily. It has all the features of its older brother, the Wahoo 12.5, with plenty of gear tracks, a raised aluminum seat and integrated mounting for the Power Pole Micro. It is also rudder ready and comes standard with a great looking deck pad. It is an extremely versatile fishing kayak that offers a stable, roomy platform for standing to cast or sight fish. There is also plenty of storage in the bow hatch, rear tankwell and a rear day hatch.

kakukayak.com

Wilderness Systems Kayak Krate Wilderness Systems has built a reputation for producing some of the finest fishing kayaks available. The fishability of their boats is improved with a unique and useful line of accessories designed to help anglers fish harder and more efficiently. The Wilderness Kayak Krate is the ultimate tankwell storage option. The Kayak Krate sophisticates tankwell storage with superior function and a sleek look that make storing and accessing gear hassle-free. An open main compartment accommodates larger gear and tackle boxes and features removable dividers. Smaller items can be stowed in the secondary lid storage. Functional and durable inside and out, the Kayak Krate is blow-molded, water resistant, is easily lashed down and comes with four rod holders.

wildernesssystems.com

Tsunami Forged 12 Lever Drag Reel Tsunami recently introduced its new FORGED 12 lever drag reel. It’s a larger and more powerful version of the popular FORGED 10, and it’s perfect for jigging, bottom fishing and live baiting. The Tsunami FORGED 12 is built to catch the strongest saltwater game fish. Its powder-forged frame is lightweight and precision machined for braided line tolerances and strength. The hardened high-precision stainless steel 4.3:1 ratio drive and pinion gears are strong, tough, and operate smoothly. The completely disengaged “floating” spool rides freely on two shielded stainless steel ball bearings mounted to a spool shaft, giving the FORGED extreme free-spool and maximum castability. The instant anti-reverse bearing, along with two failsafe backup dogs, ensure strong, sure hooksets with no line loss. That is when the smooth, powerful carbon fiber drag comes into play, giving you all the fighting control you need. Look for Tsunami’s FORGED 12 online and at your favorite sporting goods retailer.

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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GEAR GUIDE Vexilar FishPhone Vexilar has launched a game changer in the underwater camera market. The FishPhone takes Vexilar’s proven Fish Scout camera technology and uses an innovative new WiFi transmitting system to send high quality video directly to your smartphone or tablet. FishPhone turns your smart phone or tablet into a fully functional underwater camera monitor by creating its own 100-foot WiFi hotspot that can be shared with friends or kept secure. The FishPhone works anywhere in the world, and you don’t need cell phone coverage to use it. The free software app works with both Android and IOS systems. The FishPhone comes with a unique holder and battery pack system that makes it easy to carry and manage 50 feet of cable. The camera used in the FishPhone system is a Sony Color/ B&W camera that automatically shifts from color to black and white when light conditions are limited.

vexilar.com

Native Eyewear Eddyline Native’s Eddyline model features a wood Trilaminate construction with silver polarized Reflex lenses. These shades are ideal for inshore adventures since they weigh less than an ounce, and their eight-base curvature fits your face perfectly while blocking side light with thicker temple arms. All Native Eyewear lenses are polarized, impact and scratch resistant, include Cushional non-slip nose and temple pads and come with a limited lifetime warranty. Whether you’re hitting the backcountry or going to the inlet, you need a pair of Natives!

Nativeyewear.com

Dexter SOFGRIP Knives Dexter has been famous for their SOFGRIP white-handle knives for years. It’s a handle other companies try to duplicate but can’t match. The handle is soft to the grip, ergonomically perfect in your hand, and the patented textured pattern makes it slip free. The blades are made of DEXSTEEL, a high-carbon, high-alloy stain free steel that is ultra-sharp out of the package, holds its edge and can be easily re-sharpened. Dexter has been manufacturing knives in the U.S.A. for nearly 200 years. They offer proven quality, proven designs and proven reliability. That’s why Dexter is the No. 1 choice for fishermen. The SOFGRIP comes in a large selection of designs and sizes.

dexteroutdoors.com

Phenix Rods RTS Inshore Whether you’re fishing the flats for trout and snook or pulling big reds from the mangroves, Phenix Rods’ new RTS inshore line has the power to deliver. Super light weight and sturdy, RTS rods feature a T-40 carbon fiber blank with Phenix’s own Nanolite resins that produce excellent sensitivity, while retaining the backbone to fight big hard-pulling reds and snook. The RTS series utilizes the new Phenix Essex T-Ring premium carbide guides with Ring Lock to FrameLok technology and premium high density EVA and cork blend grips, with a carbon reel seat. The RTS series, meaning “reds, trout and snook,” promises to be the lightest, most sensitive inshore rod on the market. It offers 5 casting and 5 spinning models to fit your needs.

phenixrods.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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8 CIGARS

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YOUR PERSONAL LIFEGUARD...

ALWAYS ON - NEVER INTRUSIVE

FREEDOM WITH SAFETY The MOB+™ is a life-saving device for your boat. It provides greater freedom of movement than a traditional kill switch, and stops the engine should you fall overboard. Connect up to 4 people at the same time.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT FELL MARINE MOB+ WIRELESS MAN OVERBOARD SYSTEM

Fell Marine has developed a man overboard system that promises to replace the traditional kill-switch lanyard. The MOB+ Wireless Man OverBoard system is an innovative, ABYC compliant, life-saving safety device for your boat. It provides greater freedom of movement than a traditional kill-switch lanyard, and stops the engine should you fall overboard. But its capabilities extend way beyond that. Up to four xFOB’s can be connected to the xHUB at the same time, with one unit acting as the captain’s stop unit, and the additional three as alarm units for passengers. The system consists of an easy to install xHUB (mounted on or near the boat console) and a wearable xFOB. The two communicate wirelessly with each other and stop the engine when the xFOB is submerged in water or is beyond range of the xHUB. The xFOB can be worn on your wrist, around your neck, or clipped to your PFD using xBAND or xTAG accessories. The waterproof xFOB has more than 300 hours of battery life and is powered by an easy to change standard coin cell battery. The xHUB connects to your boat power (12V-24V) and to your engine-stopping system. The system is intuitive and easy to use, and it is compatible with all major outboard and most sterndrive engines.

WWW.FELLMARINE.COM

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Center sp By Matt Jorn

“I

’ve heard people say ‘A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work,’” said Master Capt. William Mendoza with his trademark wry smile, “I’m not really sure I know the difference.” Capt. Mendoza is a Costa Rica-based charter captain with 30 years of experience. Since 2009 he has run over 250 trips a year on the Wanderer for the FishingNosara team from his home port on the north Pacific coast, making him the busiest charter captain in all of Central America. This area has become a hot spot for anglers because of the nearby bluewater and virtually non-existent commercial pressure; in fact the Costa Rican government has mandated that all commercial fishing must be done at minimum 60 miles from shore. The main fear of men like Captain Mendoza is: will this fishery last? Many have heard stories of Cabo Blanco, Peru and its famous “Marlin Boulevard”. In the 1950s this area produced the most granders in the world, including a 1,560-lb. black marlin catch that is still the world record. Now Cabo Blanco is a ghost town, due to human conceit and greed.

The argument still rages as to why. Some say it was overfishing of the apex predators like marlin and swordfish by sport-fishermen, while others maintain the government opened up the feeder fish, mostly sardines, for overharvesting. Let’s look at the problem from both ends of the food chain. The Costa Rican government enforces their 60-mile line vigorously and is very strong against unlicensed commercial operations. These efforts maintain a healthy number of feeder fish. At the apex level, the preservation of billfish has been spearheaded by groups like the International Billfish Foundation and the IGFA. Costa Rica has also taken the lead in this effort by prohibiting sportsmen from removing billfish from the water (no hero shots allowed) and by banning the sale of meat from marlin and sailfish. “The advantage of catch-and-release billfishing is mainly economical,” noted Capt. Mendoza. “Essentially, we want to create a market where these apex predators are more valuable swimming in the ocean than they are on the scale at a fish market.” On average, a full day of marlin fishing costs $900 and provides renewable income for the captains and mates. Conversely, the value of the same fish at an unlicensed fish market can be as low as pennies per pound. Charter fishing lies somewhere in between the bottom-line driven world of commercial fishing and the fun-loving experience of recreational fishing. “A good charter trip should be fun, productive and educational, especially for novice anglers,” said Capt. Mendoza. “These trips can bring together multiple generations, as fishing tactics are handed down from grandfather to father, father to son.” Capt. Mendoza knows all about that. This season, his 22-year-old son joined him in the mate position on the Wanderer to continue the family legacy. By operating under common-sense regulations, the fishing in Nosara should stay strong for generations to come “The ocean provides me with a livelihood, and I want to protect her the way she’s protected me. My idea of a perfect day is catch billfish, get a nice photo, set it free, and get the lines back out there again. Clearly that’s not a bad day at work.” concluded Capt. Mendoza.

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FLORIDA

By Jennifer Granneman

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o you live on St. Joseph or St. Andrew Bay and have a privately owned dock or a way to get out on the bay (e.g. kayak, boat, paddleboard)? The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is looking for volunteer scallop-sitters. FWC staff will provide you with juvenile scallops and a predator-exclusion cage. We ask that you either hang your cage with scallops from your dock or place your cage in the bay. Additionally, volunteers will be asked to clean their scallops once a month from April 2018-January 2019. We will provide cages, scallops and training to you during our Florida Sea Grant-sponsored scallop restoration workshops taking place in April 2018. If you are interested in volunteering, email us at BayScallops@MyFWC. com. This project is part of an effort that began in 2016 by FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to restore bay scallops in Florida’s Panhandle. Bay scallops play a big role in the economies of many coastal Florida towns, and this project is intended to increase scallop abundance and

recreational fishing opportunities in the Florida Panhandle. The goal is to both increase depleted scallop populations in some bays and reintroduce scallops in other suitable areas from which scallops have disappeared. While we only ask volunteers to participate for a period of nine months, the project itself will last until 2026. It is funded by restoration money set aside after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This project will boost other restoration efforts already in place. Prior to the 2016 and 2017 scallop season, FWC staff enlisted the help of community members in Port St. Joe to collect scallops prior to the opening of the scallop season and place them in cages in a no-entry zone in St. Joseph Bay. In addition, each year FWC collects adult scallops from St. Joseph Bay and brings them to a hatchery, which provides juvenile scallops the following year. There are currently about 50 cages holding both wild and hatchery-produced scallops in the no-entry zone in St. Joseph Bay. Placing scallops in cages protects them from predators and from people harvesting scallops and increases the likelihood scallops will successfully produce offspring during spawning season. Although we have made progress in our efforts to restore scallops, we think this project would be more successful with additional help from the communities around St. Joseph and St. Andrew Bays. To summarize, the only requirements to participate in this program are: • Live near St. Andrew or St. Joseph Bay from April 2018 - January 2019 • Have access to the bay: either a private dock, boat, or kayak • Be willing and able to care for and clean scallops once a month from April 2018 – January 2019 • Attend or view via webinar our scallop-restoration workshop in April 2018 We hope that partnering with the community on this project will increase our chances of successfully restoring scallops to St. Joseph and St. Andrew Bays. If you are interested in volunteering, email us at BayScallops@MyFWC.com. Jennifer Granneman, an Associate Research Scientist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, can be reached at Jennifer. Granneman@MyFWC.com.

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ith new Sail and VIP areas, the 2018 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show drops anchor at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin from Feb. 15-19. The five biggest days in boating will dock over President’s Day weekend, attracting an estimated 100,000 boating enthusiasts to experience the show, which is now in its 77th year. Creating the ultimate destination for boating enthusiasts from around the globe, sail will join power in one location, as the Progressive Insurance Strictly Sail Miami moves to Miami Marine Stadium, where boaters and sailors alike will have the opportunity to browse, board and buy more than 1,400 boats in-water and on-land on Virginia Key. From sport fishing boats and high performance boats to personal watercraft and wake sport boats, family cruisers, sailboats and luxury yachts, there is something for every lifestyle and budget. The latest marine technology and fishing accessories will also be on display, making the Miami Boat Show a can’t miss winter destination for those with a taste for life on the water. “Miami’s favorite Boat Show is back, bringing the best in boating and accessories from around the globe,” said Larry Berryman, manager for the 2018 show. “We have all new boats—including worldwide model debuts,

more yachts and larger boats than ever before, and every leading boat brand and major engine manufacturer on site. There truly is something for every lifestyle and budget. ” Compare and try before you buy! If you’re looking to get out on the water, the Miami Boat Show will offer sea trials, where interested shoppers can take the boat of their dreams for a spin in Miami’s open waters. This year, more boat exhibitors will participate, giving boat buyers a chance to test-drive a number of options to find the perfect fit. In addition, following last year’s popular sold-out on-water boating skills workshops, the show will offer its Discover Boating Hands-On Skills Training with more daily power boating and sailing courses. Space is limited; advance registration is recommended. “Center console and sport fishing boats are the bread and butter of our show,” said Berryman. “Buyers will be able to go for a ride on the water and then browse thousands of marine products and accessories featuring the latest innovations and cutting-edge technologies, as well as an entire tent dedicated to fishing.” Attendees seeking the VIP treatment will have access to the new, all-inclusive VIP experience, which includes one-day entry to the show and all its features, as well as complimentary food, drink and entertainment within an exclusive luxury VIP deck offering unparalleled views of Miami and the show. Travel to the show by land or sea! With the streamlining of the show’s venues into one location also comes the streamlining of transportation options. The Miami Boat Show will offer seamless transportation to and from Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin by water taxi and shuttle bus, and include more convenient parking options on Virginia Key. www.miamiboatshow.com

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t the age of 15, fishing has become as much a part of my life as the food that sustains me. Addicted? Obsessed? Crazed? Yes, yes and yes… Thanks dad! My first experience with fishing was at the age of four while cobia fishing with my dad out of Destin, Fla. The plan was to head out and try to intercept migrating fish early in the season. I spent the day going back and forth between playing with the eels in the livewell and watching Power Rangers on my portable DVD player. Although we never found the cobia, the highlight for me (aside from the eels and Power Rangers) was reeling in a small grouper from 30 feet below the surface. I remember that day as an exciting, fun-filled adventure which ended with me asking, with a big smile on my face, “When are we going again?” Years have passed since my indoctrination. Since then, there have been countless fishing adventures, experiences and learned lessons, all of which have led me here today; writing my first column and sharing with you the first part of what it means to “Take a Kid Fishing.” The significance of this much-used catch phrase is far reaching and encompasses everything from strengthening bonds to protecting our oceans for future generations. This sport presents opportunities on all levels, from the novice angler to the most experienced. However, kids rely heavily on adults to facilitate opportunities for them, to mentor and show them the way. We are the future of fishing; we need adults to help us be the voices of tomorrow. My most recent outing took place out of Crystal River, Fla. We

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hen a team of Kaku Kayak pro-staffers took their boats out at Flamingo in Florida’s Everglades National Park, they were hoping to catch some tarpon or big snook for promotional material on the new Kaku VooDoo. What they ended up catching was perfect testament to the boat’s stability as a fishing platform. For many, the idea of doing battle from a standup paddleboard (SUP) with a nearly 5-foot-long bull shark might seem ridiculous. The VooDoo passed this test with flying colors, which belies the fact that the boat is not really an SUP in its truest form. Kaku owner Kevin Hawkins has designed a boat that melds the best aspects of an SUP, a kayak and a micro-skiff. Flamingo was still a mess of downed trees and debris from Hurricane Irma when the four pro-staffers launched in early December. With channels to the backwater blocked, they were forced to paddle outside into Florida Bay, to fish some small mangrove islands. With a steady wind pushing it, the outgoing tide was ripping, Hawkins said. They hadn’t found the fish they were looking for, so they Power Poled down in a group to snack, talk and soak a cut mullet. “Out of nowhere, this shark jumped up right out of the water so close it splashed one of our kayaks,” Hawkins said. “We couldn’t figure out why a shark would act like that if it wasn’t chasing bait or something.” From aboard a VooDoo, pro-staffer Preston Haytac had an idea. He asked to see the cut-bait rod from the rod-holder on another team member’s boat. He cranked up the slack, and a sleigh ride ensued. “The shark must have grabbed the bait and run right toward our boats,” Hawkins said. It only took about five minutes for Haytac to battle the beast to the side of his VooDoo. Hoisting it onto the deck for the hero shot was an ordeal in itself, and further testament to the boat’s stability. It was an exciting catch that seems unimaginable from the deck of an SUP. Of course, even though it’s got the wide-open deck and stand-up capabilities of an SUP, Hawkins doesn’t really consider it an SUP. At 13 feet long, with a width of 35 inches, and weighing less than 80 pounds, the boat boasts off-the-charts stability and paddles well from seated or standing positions. The design of the chair makes the Voodoo a fantastic sight-fishing vessel. Without need for adjustment, the chair offers two seating positions and can be used as a sight-casting/poling platform. It can be adjusted forward or back on tracks to suit angler preference, load and water conditions. The vessel’s stern also sets it apart. It features five molded-in Power Pole mounts to allow for single or dual Power Pole Micros, and the options also include the ability to motorize the VooDoo along with those Power Pole mounts. Check out all of the capabilities of Kaku’s new VooDoo at kakukayak.com.

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SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

By Capt. Roan Z.

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ingfish season has come again to southwest Florida waters, and for fly fishers and conventional anglers alike, these super speedsters offer exciting action. Kingfish are migratory and follow water temperature and baitfish migrations, but they are also structure related. Structure such as wrecks or reefs or just hard bottom areas in the Gulf of Mexico will hold concentrations of baitfish, which in turn congregate the kingfish. This makes them a great target for fly anglers, and if you have ever hooked a 30-lb. king on a 9- or 10-weight fly rod, you will quickly know why they are popular. You will need to equip yourself with at least an 8-weight fly rod and reel, but no more than a 10-weight. The reel needs to hold a minimum of

200 yards of backing and have a very sound saltwater drag system. When these fish take a fly, the first run can be at blinding speeds. I have seen lesser-quality reels explode under the heat and strain. Also, you never know what other creatures are lurking with kingfish, especially if you are on some type of a wreck structure. We have caught false albacore, sharks and amberjack, along with other species. I recommend either an intermediate sinking fly line or a 250- to 350-grain sink-tip line. A sturdy fly leader should be about 8 feet long and consist of a 50-lb.-test butt section, 2 to 3 feet of 40-lb. and 2 to 3 feet of 30-lb. You can use a 20-lb. class, but that is up to you. Connect to the class section a foot-long piece of coffee-colored wire, like Malin in size 4 or 5 attached with an Albright knot and a haywire twist to the fly, which rounds out the rig. Synthetic baitfish flies from 3 to 6 inches on 3/0 to 4/0 size hooks and in various colors can be used. I suggest weighted patterns of the same flies tied on jig hooks to be included in your arsenal. Now, how do you go about catching these critters? My favorite way is to load up my livewells with frisky pilchards and travel to my secret fishing spot offshore. This can be an artificial reef or some type of hard bottom, wreck or just structure that can be as close as a couple miles out and as far as 40 miles. Usually bait and tackle shops are good sources of where the highest concentrations of fish are. I like to power drift with my trolling motor down so I can control my speed over my target spot. Starting up-wind makes it is easier to cast as I cross over the area pitching stunned pilchards to hopefully send silver rockets skying out of the water. Make long casts, letting the fly settle a bit and use a somewhat slow retrieve, pausing occasionally. Strip the fly all the way back to the boat, because on many occasions I’ve had fish take right at the boat. If nothing happens on the first drift, change the angle of the drift and try again. Sometimes fish will hold off one side of the structure or the other. Contact Capt. Roan Z. at Mike’s Bait House on Danford Street in Naples. Phone: 239-775-2248 or cell: 239-269-4426. See www. indianpassoutfitters.com and www.mikesbaithouse.com.

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By Russ Jones

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lorida is a tale of two worlds. Southern Florida, a region that begins somewhere between Orlando and Ocala, is vastly different than communities to the north and along the Panhandle. What some call Old Florida, these towns established way before Mickey Mouse took up residence at Disney World in Orlando. Following Mickey came other theme parks, high rise condominium complexes, and Lamborghinis that forever changed the southern part of the Sunshine State, but communities to the north found a way to maintain a semblance of what attracted so many years ago. In a region known as the Forgotten Coast, Apalachicola rests in the middle of the Panhandle on Florida’s northwest coast in southern Franklin County. The greater Apalachicola region is one of the earliest populated areas in Florida, dating back to 1831. The coastal communities of Apalachicola, St. George Island and Eastpoint, the heart of the Forgotten Coast, offer an authentic taste of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Houseboats at River Watch Just a block from the main shopping and dining district of Apalachicola is Houseboats at River Watch on Water Street. Proprietor Karen Hoff offers four floating homes with waterfront views of the Apalachicola River. One is a 500-square-foot home named “Rebels’ Rest” (VRBO – 1029857) that boasts magnificent sunrises and sunsets, a daily parade of fishing boats, and a variety of wildlife that rivaled any National Geographic episode. Karen moved from New Jersey in 2012 as a tourist looking for permanent housing. Attracted to the history of Apalachicola, she purchased the home she was renting and the accompanying marina. Since then she’s added three other floating homes ranging in sizes. “People come visit because they are seeking something low key,” she said. “They like the adventure of it and looking for a place they can watch the river traffic, the wildlife and relax.” Each home features a fully equipped kitchen, cable television, the Internet, comfortable beds, general living space and a deck overlooking the river. Oh, and fishing rods. Because most of the fish you might catch off the deck are likely going to be gafftopsail catfish, you’ll need a guide to find trophy fish and varieties worthy of the dinner table. Fishing Off St. Vincent Born and raised in Apalachicola, Capt. Rudy Gay operates Apalachicola Charters. Years ago, Capt. Rudy’s family members were caretakers for St. Vincent Island, one of four barrier islands close to the mouth of the Apalachicola River. In 1968, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased the island for $2.2 million from Henry and Alfred Loomis. The 9-mile-long island was converted into a National Wildlife Refuge. Gay often guides fisherman off the shores of St. Vincent in his 24’ Kenner searching for redfish, speckled trout, flounder and sheepshead, using shrimp as bait. “There is a natural beauty here. It’s very pristine,” said Gay. “We don’t have trash floating around in the water. There is a lot of good fishing in this area.” Tripletail – Love At First Bite Capt. Jonathan Creamer has fished for tripletail since he was a

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kid. With a bumper crop of this great gamefish in Apalachicola Bay over the last few years, it has come into the spotlight for anglers with fly rods as well as conventional tackle. Aboard Capt. Jonathan’s 24’ Glasstream, we ran an extensive circuit of vertical structure seeking out tripletails where they hold. Capt. Jonathan guides through several lines of crab traps—about 50 in all. The rig we fished was a simple live shrimp under a popping cork. “You need to get the bait as close to the trap as possible without getting snagged,” said Creamer. “Pop the line. That rattles the cork and attracts the tripletail.” Tripletail must be at least 15 inches long to keep. “The tripletail puts the grouper to shame,” said Capt. Jonathan. “It’s been like a highway down here of people trying it out. It’s become very popular lately.” Apalachicola River Cruises Capt. Skip Shiver is a fifth-generation Franklin County resident who grew up on the water. After years in the offshore charter industry, law enforcement and as a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer, Skip launched Apalachicola River Cruises. Capt. Skip leads tours aboard the restored “Miss America,” a Dutch-built beauty straight from the Netherlands. Skip’s love and knowledge for the area and its waters are unmatched. During his tours across the brackish river, Skip points out the importance of the marshes to the ecosystem. “As water comes down it floods our flood planes,” said Shiver. “It picks up the nutrients and sediments that have been waiting for the high waters.” Those nutrients then feed the oyster beds for which Apalachicola is known. Passengers get to see the natural beauty of the Apalachicola River and learn about the area from the vantage point of Skip’s boat. While Apalachicola rests in the Sunshine State’s so-called Forgotten Coast, the quaintness of this piece of Old Florida leaves lasting memories. This southern town with a strong maritime culture is the complete package, leaving visitors longing for more – hook, line, sinker and oyster. For more information, contact the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center at 850-653-9419 or info@apalachicolabay.org.

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stronger, tide levels become higher and water begins to warm. Look for Tarpon off Ft. Myers Beach and the beaches of outer ANNUAL SWFL INSHORE islands. They will move in and out of the passes to Pine Island FISHING GUIDE Sound and Charlotte Harbor. They move with the baits and (by Species) the tides. The ‘sure fire’ bet on big Tarpon is the month of May. Snook; warmer waters move these fish from the rivers and by Capt. Terry Fisher creeks out through the passes and just off the beaches. Look very ‘New Year’ brings forth two basic questions: for good numbers and sizes around docks, mangroves where 1) What’s biting? the currents are strong. These 2) What can we expect to catch? structure ‘oriented’ fish will be Every time I am asked either of these two queries, I hear very active and aggressive after or see in the angler’s voice or ‘faces’, the hope and desire that I a long winter. mention their favorite or ‘bucket’ list species, regardless of the Redfish: will move from time of year. The thing that keeps us all going (regardless of mouth creeks and river the answer), is that most anglers believe ‘all things are possible’ locations to deep holes in Pine and they are willing to give it a try. As a full time fishing guide, Island Sound and Matlacha I know this to be true. In reality, it is water temperature, wind Pass. Backcountry ‘Red-fishing’ speed, wind direction and tides that determine what anglers are should pick up as these fish ‘most likely to catch’. In other words, it is the ‘time of year’ that move into the shallows of Pine will dictate which species will bite and be caught. Island Sound and around the Virtually every specie of fish that roam our waters reside here mangrove islands due to higher year around, with few exceptions. However, seasonal patterns tide levels. Sizes of schools have a serious, diverse effect on migration, spawning, habitats and fish will be smaller than and fish habits. Throughout the year some species become less those of late summer and early fall. The number of catches in number and smaller in size, while others become more in will begin to improve during these months, due simply to the number and larger in size. Below is my ‘ANNUAL INSHORE accessibility to ‘back country’ locations. FISHING GUIDE’ presented in ‘quarterly’ increments as to Triple Tail and Cobia; both are migratory. Look for Triple ‘what is biting’ and ‘what one most likely will catch and when’: Tail along the crab buoys off shore. Cobia may be found JANUARY- MARCH inshore and offshore (around reefs), including Charlotte Sheepshead; the bigger fish migrate from the gulf waters and Harbor. infiltrate docks, sea walls, mangroves in the shallower waters Mangrove Snappers; these are year around fish along the of the Boca Grande Pass, N. Captiva Pass, Redfish Pass as well mangroves, but the larger ones will be found on the offshore as creeks and backwaters of Pine Island Sound. These fish will reefs and wrecks. be spawning. They dine on shrimps and Fiddler Crabs. They Ladyfish: year around and a lot of fun to catch but not good to provide hours of fun on light tackle and are a great tasting fare. eat! These are the ‘go to’ species for inshore anglers during the first Flounder: are not plentiful, but a good catch. Fish where quarter of the year. there is current that creates a hard bottom. Spanish Mackerel: these migratory fish may be found in JULY-SEPTEMBER good sizes and numbers (schools) where the baitfish (Pilchards, Redfish; this is the time to focus on Redfish. The water will Threadfins, Glass Minnows) are. Watch for diving birds and warm and attract this species from the gulf to inshore habitats odds are the Mackerel will be feeding in that area. The mackerel to eat and spawn. will reside where the baitfish Snook; is always around. They are one of the species that are, inshore and offshore. can actually be targeted twelve months out of the year. They Seatrout; larger fish will are plentiful and are receptive to artificial presentations, live inhabit the grass flats in 3 to shrimps, Pinfish, Ladyfish, Pilchards and Threadfins. 6ft. of water. Look for murky, Seatrout; the action will remain good throughout these green color water, indicating summer months. However, overall, they will be small. that Turtle and other grasses Mangrove Snappers; work the passes for bigger fish. To get dominate the seabed. the really big ones, offshore is the key. Pompano; schools will pass OCTOBER-DECEMBER in and around the open Redfish; October will most likely be the month for the waters of Charlotte Harbor, largest of this species. The ‘Bull Reds’, as we call them, may Pine Island Sound in areas reach upwards of 40 inches. where the bottom is hard, Snook: is the ‘all things are possible species’, meaning the water column is deeper opportunity for them exists year around. and the current is strong. Black Drum: this is a cousin of the Redfish and a powerful Occasionally, they will pass foe. They will most likely hold in deeper inshore holes (i.e. through the grass flats during under docks and rock structure, including bridge piles). their migration. Pompano/Spanish Mackerel: will begin migrating through Jack Crevalle; these fish will run in schools and will be huge, our waters as water temperatures start to cool. especially in the creeks, canals and rivers. They will feed on This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters at www.fishfacecharters. anything that gets in their way. They feed on schools of Glass com. Call 239-357-6829 or email fishfacecharters@yahoo.com for charter Minnows. reservations. I am also available as ‘Captain for Hire’ on your vessel (by the APRIL-JUNE hour) for safety, navigational and fishing locations and techniques to insure your every fishing trip is a success. Tarpon; these are the months when currents become

E

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Family Fishing Fun Trolling for a Good Time he winter months T in Florida bring big surprises when it comes

to inshore fishing, like monster gag grouper, snook and tarpon. Yes, you heard me right, you can catch all of these species and more right now, slow trolling in about 20 feet of water. As the water temps cool off the bait and smaller fish move inshore, guess who is right behind them gag grouper. I have always heard about folks trolling for grouper, but I had to check it out first hand for myself. You have read some of my stories about taking an 80-mile run off-shore to catch some big grouper, well right now you can catch them in Tampa Bay. Trolling in the Bay is pretty easy to be honest and here is a list of things you need. Get a rod with a 4/O reel, you will need a #3 planer, 3 and 4 oz lead heads with a 6-inch curly tail Pumpkin Jig, that’s my personal favorite. The diversity of fish you will catch will amaze you! We caught 5 different species trolling with this set up. Right away we started catching some short gag grouper and then they started getting bigger and before the night was over, we caught that big 14 lbs. gag grouper, he was a fighter. My daughter Hudson “jumped” a 150 lbs. tarpon that launched himself about 5-feet in the air, then almost landed in the boat. We came across a school of tarpon after that and she started hooking a few smaller tarpon and several Spanish mackerel. I proceeded to catch a really nice 31 inch snook that I took a quick photo with and released back into the Bay to catch another day. I was amazed at the diversity of the fish you can catch in the Bay right now and really how simple it was. We did not hook any on our trip, but there are also some monster kingfish in the Bay and around the Skyway right now that are great to smoke and make some Fresh Fish dip for everyone. For a great day on the water, go slow trolling. You won’t regret it and you might catch some pretty amazing fish. Tight Lines and Happy Holidays, Misty Misty Wells Host of the National Radio & TV show “Let’s Take It Outside” airing on the Pursuit Channel 2018. Outdoor Pro –Writer & Adventure Guide for Fishing & Hunting trips. Founder of “A Reel Future for show info or be a guest go to www.mistywells.com

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Rules of the Road for Boaters

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by Dave Sully ee County waterways have their own versions of Times L Square, with one of the most telling being the well-marked “slow speed” channel at the entrance to the Caloosahatchee

River in the area around Little Shell and Big Shell Islands. On most weekends conditions during “rush hour” (morning and evening), boat traffic is traditionally heaviest, as it is part of the Intracoastal Waterway, and it’s the gateway to all the coastal waters for boats traveling the river. What makes the area trying is that lies in the midst of a broad swath of shallow water manatee zones, making this channel the only exit from the river that can be traversed by medium (roughly 18 to 30 feet) and large boats (30 feet plus), plus the fact that the “slow zone” is long, (close to a mile), beginning just east of Little Shell Island and extending just past Big Shell Island. For folks eager to get to open water where they can go “hammer down,” it can be frustrating to putt putt along. Add to that the mixture of boats of all sizes occupying the same narrow space and you have a recipe for impatience and a challenge to navigate. Fifty foot cruisers and 15 foot skiffs often find themselves in close quarters during busy times, which tests the mettle of even the most experienced boatman, which actually makes the “slow speed” (fully settled in the water with minimum wake) a necessity even if it wasn’t a manatee zone. The rule of thumb, recommended by the Lee County Sheriff ’s Marine Division, which often maintains a presence in the area, is “go with the flow.” Most local boaters comply with the restricted speed in that channel. If you find yourself passing other boats, you can almost be sure you are not in compliance. When the area is experiencing high traffic, try to be courteous to the smaller craft, which will be challenged to maintain course due to the sheer numbers of other boats. Once you clear the slow speed zone on both ends, signs will indicate your options. If you are exiting the river for open water, you may resume normal operation. If you’re going up river, the next stretch will allow you to increase your speed to 25 MPH. Please observe posted speeds as you proceed. Once you get to crack the throttle, the memory of the tedious trek past Big Shell and Little Shell will vanish, and the fun will begin again in earnest.

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Change your Approach

by Capt. Dave Stephens

Well fellow anglers, it’s that time of year to put the cast nets up and get the shrimp tackle out. Water temperatures have steadily fallen enough that most of our game fish no longer want to chase their meal. This time of year I hear people talking that the fishing is bad, however I strongly disagree. The biggest secret to having a successful day, when the water is cooler, is to change your approach. Luckily Charlotte Harbor has plenty of other game fish that are not effected as much by the changing weather. On the top of my list would be trout. In my opinion, this can be one of the best times to target these guys. This is the time of year to start looking for fish in deeper water, over six feet, like creeks and rivers that have good current flow and depth. In these areas, a shrimp on a jig head will be my bait of choice. The color of your jig head is very much a personal preference. My go to color is chartreuse, though I have also had great luck with white and red. In an area with high current flow, you might want to use a heavier jig. In most situations, I use 1/8oz. I don’t like to pin it to the bottom, but bounce along with the current. While you’re searching the local creeks for trout, you might also find yourself pulling on some redfish. These guys also move into the creeks and rivers, though most of the ones you’ll catch will be undersized. On warm sunny days, the deeper potholes will be very productive. I like to suspend a shrimp on a jig head under the good old’ popping cork, it seems to do the job for me. Sheepshead are also targeted during the winter months. These bait thieves take a little practice to catch. Shrimp are great baits, you can also use fiddler crabs and sand fleas. Structure is the key to locate sheepshead. I like to fish around old crusty docks and bridge pilings. A small circle hook and enough weight to hold the bottom works very well. To start a good sheepshead bite around heavily crusted piles, just scrape the sides of the pilings to get barnacle pieces chummed into the water or chum directly with crushed oyster shells or shrimp shells into the water. Once the bite starts the action should attract the other sheepshead in the area, along with a few other forage type fish. So, if someone tells you the fishing is bad during the winter months, just remember having a great day of fishing this time of year is very possible; you just have to change things up, be flexible and slow down.

If you would like to experience some of Southwest Florida’s finest fishing, give us a call or send an email. All of our charters are private and customized to fit you and your party’s needs. Capt. Dave Stephens 941-916-5769 www.backbayxtremes.com FACEBOOK.COM/COASTALANGLERMAGAZINEFTMYERS/ | JANUARY 2018 | FORT MYERS 7


Hiring a Guide by Dan Carns hen you are learning how to fish or fishing in a new area, W there are some distinct advantages to using a guide service. When I arrived in SW Florida many years ago catching fish was

a haphazard effort at best. Understanding the tides, weather conditions and the types of lures or baits was a bit of a mystery, was I in the right location, did I have the right setup, was it the right time of day or the proper tide? Everything changed on the day I hired a fellow from Punta Gorda and we launched into Pine Island Sound. I use that lesson on every trip, recognizing that each client has an expectation of success! Those expectations need to be managed by your guide and by you as well. The keys to success lie in being patient and following the advice of your guide. Often, I will fish along- side a client and have them imitate my line retrieval and the speed or cadence of a particular lure. If a guide tells you to cast 50 feet directly • Kayaks & Paddleboards • Kayak Fishing Trips in front of you, it’s important to follow that advice as they may see or hear something that you’ve not quite learned yet. Our • Fishing Charters • Waterfront Retail location goal at Gulf Coast Kayak is to make sure that the next time • Rentals & Lessons • Dolphin & Manatee Tours you’re on the water without a guide, you have a much better • Guided Eco Tours • Families Welcome understanding of the conditions, locations and types of lures and or baits to use for a particular species of fish. 239-283-1125 www.GulfCoastKayak.com If you have ever hired a guide before it was probably in a boat with a Captain and maybe a First Mate. They will often 4120 Pine Island Rd NW Matlacha, FL 33993 cast or even rebait your line, but in kayak fishing you and the LOWE’s New 1/4 Brokerage Ad-120917.qxp_Layout 1 12/9/17 1:40 PM Page 1 guide are separated, so most of the work is on your end. This is a real advantage, in some ways, as you will learn from you own mistakes and successes as the day wears on. I will often tie up with a client and spend some time working on knots, leader setups and lure selections or bait hooking options. Make sure that if you have certain goals, that your guide knows what they are as nobody wants to be disappointed at the end of a trip and certainly not your guide. Often several weeks after what I felt was a so-so trip I’ll receive a note telling me what a great time they had and how they are now catching more fish than ever before. Catching fish is your goal, helping you to understand the big picture is our goal! Remember that Kayak fishing is two sports in one and if you are just learning both, you may want to take one or two kayak lessons prior to your fishing trip!

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A Paddling MiniVacation by Mike Hammond ith cooler weather here, camping along the Calusa Blueway W becomes a delight. One of our favorite campgrounds is Caloosahatchee Regional Park (CRP), which just recently reopened after being closed due to Hurricane Irma damage. In addition to shady primitive campsites, this 768-acre park has hiking trails, off-road cycling trails, a fishing pier, floating dock, kayak rentals and other amenities. If you would like to rent a kayak or launch your own, you need to call at least 24 hours in advance to make arrangements. Park staff is often busy in the field and can be challenging to locate if not scheduled to meet you. The launch has a small beach and floating dock for paddlers. While standing on the dock, I have seen tarpon, snook, bass and stingrays. Back when I was involved in Lee County Parks & Recreation’s summer camp program, I took many kids paddling from here and they became experts at catching catfish, which is always fun for camp counselors and parents. As with many of my paddling trips, the wind or current decides which way I start my paddle from this park. To the

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east, there is Cypress Creek, Bedman Creek and a large oxbow to explore. Oxbows are what is left of the original path of the winding river before it was dredged relatively straight. On busy weekends, these often offer some solitude from the motorized watercraft. Live oak branches covered in Spanish moss extend across the water, creating shade for the paddlers. These are some of the best areas to observe wildlife on the river. To the west lies more oxbows and their islands and Hickey Creek. It is about a 1.7-mile paddle from CRP to the mouth of Hickey Creek. From there, it is a little under 2 additional miles until you get to the Hickey Creek Mitigation Park (HCMP) takeout. Many paddlers navigate here from CRP to hike and explore the 2,600-plus-acre preserve before returning to CRP. Because the HCMP takeout is far from the parking lot, we do not recommend beginning or ending your trip here. Whether you are going out for a day trip or making a weekend out of it, paddling from Caloosahatchee Regional Park is a fun way to take a paddling mini vacation in your own backyard. For a complete schedule and registration information, please go to: https:// paddleguru.com/races/BattleontheBlueway2017 Mike Hammond is based in Fort Myers, Florida, and is a staff member at Lee County Parks & Recreation. He is the Calusa Blueway coordinator for Lee County.

(877) 488-0638 1901 S.Tamiami Tr. Unit D Venice, FL 34293

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Personalize your Fishing Experience

by Shug Clawson

ONITA TACKLE opened their doors December 1st on B Bonita Beach Road just off Route 41 towards the Gulf. The store is brought forward for today’s discerning fisherman by

Shug Clawson, who searches for the best tackle and bait to bring you success. The store specializes in custom built fishing rods; spinning, conventional and fly. In addition, in-house rod repairs are available for tips and guides. Refinements in rod design over the past 20 years have been amazing. Some of the refinements enhance the performance of the fishing rod while others just make it more personal. The rods can be built with custom foam patterned grips, colored reel seats, abalone inlays, and marbling to make them unique. Live bait, frozen bait, and a broad assortment of fishing tackle are available for purchase. From Owner, Mustad and VMC to companies like Izorline, 13Fishing, and Xzone swim baits, we are constantly on the search for new tackle and equipment to make you successful. Our driving principle is to help you catch fish and supply the best Florida and American made tackle at a great price. We don’t just want customers, we want people to feel like family. If the weather says NO Fishing that’s ok, come in anyways, grab a coke and chat. We look forward to helping create YOUR best FISHING EXPERIENCE.

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No Bananas! by Capt. James Marko o Bananas! I’ve always told N my clients to never bring my worst enemy on the water...the

banana. I know it may sound crazy but this amazing fruit has caused me more hassle than anything else on my boat. Call it superstition, call it bad luck, but I hate them on my boat. I won’t even eat one before I go on the boat. I’m sure some of you have heard about the banana myth, but in this month’s article I’m going to give you some history on the notorious banana myth. First the spider myth back in the 1700’s, when shiploads of bananas were being brought over from Africa, they were loaded with small spiders and do you know when spiders are most active? At night. So, imagine sailors carrying the banana cargo when they go to bed for the evening, they get bitten by these poisonous African spiders, and no one can figure out why the crew is dying. When they finally arrive in their destination port with a big chunk of their crew dead, you can see just how easy a rumor could spread that bananas were bad luck on board. Second, back in the 1700s, all boats were made of wood. It was said that some banana- rich areas of Africa and the Caribbean had some of the most destructive wood-eating

termites in the world. So, you can imagine that sometimes these termites would cling to the banana trees as they were dragged across the land to the docks where they were loaded on the ship. When the termites realized that they were in a wooden ship it was madness. Needless to say, the termites went to town on the wooden ship, causing tons of damage and in some cases eating holes in the hull that were not repairable. Third, is my experience, when clients have brought this vicious fruit, I’ve had several rods and reels damaged. I once ran aground on an oyster bed that I’ve driven around my whole life. I once had a client Goliath Grouper fishing, waiting for a bite, when all of sudden his buddy whips out a banana. I immediately yank it from his hand and toss it off my boat. Within seconds after tossing the banana off the vessel, we hooked up and landed a 300-pound Goliath. So, in other words, I HATE BANANAS only on my boat or any time I go fishing. You can take your risk with the banana myth, but I’m going to play it safe. If we’ve learned anything from history, it’s bananas and boats don’t mix. Until next month, tight lines. Remember to follow us on Instagram @captjamesmarko & FB https://www. facebook.com/james.markovits?fref=search for our daily catches. Check out our website as well at www.Goliathfishing.com for trip information and contact information.

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Pirate Harbor the spot is and then how far out to the sand bar. The next time I come back when the tide is up, I know where to anchor the boat so I am not sitting on top of the fish I want to catch. Another hint is you can get your boat much shallower than you think by how you load your things. First, off take everything out of the storage lockers and cubby holes, with no by Fishin’ Frank bait keep the live well off and no water in it. Now Dan Ferraris the back of the take as much as possible from hile yes, they did map almost the whole of the western U.S., boat and move it to the front. The back of the boat you can take a page from them and map Doug Jeffries the flats. During this time of year the water can get with the motor is already heavier than the front. Very slow idle speed is what it takes to learn the bottom. really low, add to that east or north east winds and the water This is a trick I have used for years to get me one step ahead levels on the flats can get so low it is mostly sand. While that may not be great for fishing, it is great for learning. On the very with my fishing and more important my catching. Knowing the bottom features and the fish will get you more consistent hooklowest of tides you see the holes, instead of guessing where the ups. deep spots or pot holes are you can see them, with your own eyes and that is very cool. On the days when I go out for a Lewis and Clark I take a rod with a paddle tail shad on it and maybe have a top water Zara Spook with me. It is too much to ask not to have a rod with you. Now, I do not take bait, that is too much temptation and I can resist anything but temptation. The other thing I have is binoculars; why? Often, I cannot get onto the flats I wish to explore, so I have to get as close as I can and look out with the binoculars. Charlotte Harbor has sand bars that run up both the east and west sides of the Harbor, separating the open harbor from the flats. You read stories about fishing the pot holes on the flats and how many fish are caught doing this. How do you find them? This is the best way I know. And pick land marks, like a tall tree on an island or a marker. Often when fishing the east Fishing’ Franks Bait & Tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail, Charlotte Harbor, FL 33980, side I will count how many islands north of the entrance into

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12 FORT MYERS | JANUARY 2018 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/FORT-MYERS/


Adventures in Boating

By Tiffany Packard

I

n 2004 I moved to SW Florida to pursue a real estate career. Like every other newcomer, I was attracted to the waterfront “paradise” and everything the area has to offer including outdoor experiences, fishing, kayaking, SUPing (Stand up Paddle), pristine beaches, mangroves, wildlife encounters- I was hooked. One of my favorite real estate challenges is finding the right waterfront property to match my avid boating clientele. For a long time, I helped boaters find their dream home, but something was missing—I had the dream location, all I needed was my very own boat! So, I finally took the plunge and I purchased a dinged up 20-foot Hurricane Deck Boat. It was perfect—plenty of room for refreshments, family, fishing gear, and my pets, too. Come time for our maiden voyage, I loaded the gear—fishing poles, cooler full of beverages, sunscreen, towels—what could possibly go wrong? I found out that beginner’s luck does not apply to boating, so come time for us to head out, the boat won’t start. Try as I may the darn thing won’t turn over. Picture this, a bunch of eager, clueless adults stranded

in a boat slip for hours trying to troubleshoot. One of us was Googling the Owner’s Manual, another was adding oil, someone was checking and double checking the gas lines, but NOTHING would work. Hours later I figured it out. You see, apparently, there’s a thing called a “KILL” switch on boats. It’s a safety feature that I was not aware of. Well mine works perfectly J If you’re looking for a boating expert, I am not your first mate, but one thing I do know is how to find you the right waterfront property where can park that boat. So, if you’re looking for the right waterfront property or your dream home, I’m your Realtor! Until the next Adventure…

Signed, Tiffany Packard Waterfront Property Expert and Novice Boater

Let me know how I can assist you!

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What’s Out There

by Capt. Bart Marx

Happy New Year fellow anglers, have you made your new list of accomplishments? Yea Emit Smith, in his speech into the Hall of Fame, said if your list is not written down they are only dreams, they become goals when you write them down and check them off when you accomplish them. With that said, Happy New Year to all. Another new calendar year to see what the fishing community can harvest.

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Offshore his month, as the waters drop in temperature into the 60’s, the sheepshead and flounder will be around the close-toshore reefs out to 45’. Shrimp would be a great choice of baits for these species. The joke is for the sheepshead is to set the hook just before they bite. In the past, one side of the boat would be catching flounder and on the other sheepshead; fun stuff. There should be plenty of snappers to harvest too, lanes and mangroves. Depending on the water temperature and the bait, there may still be some king mackerel to harvest. If you are one to go deep, 80+’ Aj’s, check the regulations though. Inshore this month with the cooler waters the trout bite should be good using almost any type baits. The trout will hit top-water, suspending baits, and gulp under a cork and even a shrimp under a popping cork. Depending on the area you are fishing, you may have a pompano grab one of your shrimp too. Redfish along the edges and near the mouths of the creeks. Also around the bridges in the rivers, using some blue crabs, you can tangle up with some black drum.

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14 FORT MYERS | JANUARY 2018 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/FORT-MYERS/


Hard to Say I

by Capt. Mike Manis

n many ways, this is a period of contrasts where it can be difficult to find a routine. Sure, the mornings are consistently cool and tides are definitely low. But for the most part, the wind seems to keep me guessing. It’s like there are two types of distinct days right now. Of course, these are determined by cold fronts and it’s either blowing or it’s really nice. On the better days when everything lays down and presents a chamber of commerce type day, it’s as good as it gets and our options really open up. On the other hand, when it’s howling, the best we can hope for is keeping the wind at our back and trying to work lee shorelines.

On the calm days between fronts, I like to take advantage of spots and fisheries that are out in open water. Try taking a run to the crab trap buoys just off the beach and keep an eye out for tripletail. I’ve thrown flies and plastics at these guys; but, the best bait going is live shrimp. It’s also not unusual to see Bonita out here and don’t hesitate to take a look inside Boca Grande Pass as it can also hold some good numbers. If you want to get into the backing on your fly reel, try hooking up to a Bonita. The beaches can also be good. In fact, if you don’t have access to a boat, this is one of the best times of year to fish from shore. Sheepshead, whiting, pompano, and black drum are all possibilities. Just inside the passes, the Boca Grande and Placida trestles are loaded with sheepshead. A bit further inshore, pompano should be on bar systems throughout the harbor. Cape Haze Point is your best bet. However, just outside the bar along the southern end of the west wall is good, as well as across the harbor on the east side from Pirate Harbor all the way down past Burnt Store. I also like looking off the bar outside Bokeelia, at the northern end of Pine Island. When it’s blowing, to keep run time at a minimum, I prefer spots that aren’t too far from a ramp. I’ll generally load at Pineland Marina in Pine Island Sound, or Ponce Park in Punta Gorda. If you can get into the flats in any one of these areas, there are redfish, spotted sea trout, and flounder. Out of Pineland, the entire east side below the ramp is good; but difficult to access without a shallow draft boat. From Ponce Park, there’s a maze of small islands between Alligator Creek and Pirate Harbor that provide lots of opportunities for the small skiff. Until next month, good tides. Captain Michael Manis is a U.S.G.C. Licensed captain and has been teaching the sport of fly and light tackle angling since 2002. He lives in Punta Gorda, Florida and can be reached at www.puntagordaflycharters.com. FACEBOOK.COM/COASTALANGLERMAGAZINEFTMYERS/ | JANUARY 2018 | FORT MYERS 15


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Family Fishing Fun

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y thirteen-year-old son Andrewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent interest in bow fishing has been an education and a joy to me. He asked for and received a bow fishing arrow and reel for his birthday last spring, and attached it to his compound bow that he uses to hunt deer. Soon afterward he had managed to shoot several fish, and now usually brings his bow when we go fishing. Unlike archery hunting for big game on land, where it is unusual to get more than one shot per weekend, bow fishing will often provide the archer with a dozen shots in less than an hour. It is very challenging and many shots result in a miss, but it is also very rewarding and one wellplaced shot can provide an exciting, white water struggle with a fish that may not have been willing to bite a hook, but will end up in the cooler anyway. Young men are not usually known for their patience, and using a bow and arrow to hunt fish can be a welcomed relief from the sitting and waiting that traditional hook and line fishing sometimes requires. Another difference fishing with a bow is that you need to be able to see the fish, which usually means getting high enough

above the water that you can look down at the fish. This is usually accomplished by standing in the front of a boat, or on a sea wall or dock. A cast net may be more effective than the arrow, but usually the reason that we fish is for the experience and the challenge and not only for the taking of the most fish possible. Besides, there are also many situations when the arrow can take fish that a cast net could not. A large sheepshead in deep water is usually fast enough that it will swim out from under a net that is thrown over it, but an arrow has the speed needed to reach that same fish before it can react. Archery teaches responsibility, it is a deadly weapon that must be treated with respect, the shooter must never lose sight of safety when making a shot. It is not uncommon to have to hold your fire because the shot that is offered by the fish, would require the archer to shoot in an unsafe direction. One drawback to bow fishing is the fact that catch and release is not usually a realistic option, so the shooter must be certain that the intended target is a legal fish both in species and size. Many saltwater gamefish may not be taken with a bow, and of the species that can be taken, minimum size requirements still apply. It is shameful to kill fish wastefully and it can be very expensive to keep undersized or illegally obtained fish. Bow fishing is a fun and exciting way that my family and I spend time together, give it a try and see what you think! Rick Bennett Broker/ Bennett Realty Services LLC. (941)962-0517

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Plenty of Fish Around

by Capt. Sam Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Briant

appy New Year, hope all your dreams came true in 2017 and H a bright outlook for 2018. January and February generally mean that we can expect

some of the lowest tides of the year, which can present some big problems for us. On the other hand, this can translate into a great opportunity to get out and explore our best fishing areas in more detail on a very low tide. It will help us get an idea of what the lay of the land is like and the trails the fish may be traveling. You will be able to pick out the deeper holes and even find some places that are only a few inches deeper than the surrounding land. Remember fish are cold blooded and on hot or cold days the few inches may make the difference in whether you hook up or go home empty. A quick reminder, if you do go exploring for future fishing holes, go slow and keep your motor down. That way when you hit ground you are still floating and can raise the motor, turn around, and leave. Sheepshead have moved in with the cooler water. Look for them around oyster bars and any obstacle that is covered with

barnacles. These table delights will take a small piece of shrimp, whether on a bare hook or on a small jig head. This same small jig head tipped with shrimp will also work for pompano. Redfish schools have broken up but they are still around. Look for them under the mangroves and over the oyster bars. Cut bait or shrimp will work best for them since they are odor feeders and not sight feeders. As a general rule, anytime you are working the mangrove shoreline, the further under them you can drift, the better chances you have. All the trout will be on the grass flats. Perhaps a little later in the day may work better, as the grass flats will tend to heat up faster as the sun climbs. Here again if you drift a shrimp or minnow under a cork you should do just fine. If a lure is your choice, be sure to slow your retrieves down. When you think you are doing just right, reduce that speed in half again and you are probably there. Bouncing a grub tail off the bottom is a good bet when using the above method. If you see a flock of birds working an area, there is a good possibility that they are over either a school of Spanish mackerel or ladyfish. Either one will give you a nice fight and Spanish are good eating. Regardless of what your fish of choice is, they are still here. You will probably have to work a little harder to find them, but they are here. Good luck and keep safe. Capt. Sam is a local licensed guide for hire who may be reached at 239-994-1495 or captainobriant@gmail.com

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The Best Angler Photos From Southwest Florida!

Wyatt Hodson (L) and Jake Gilles ® catching tilapia in Charlotte Co. Nice job, boys!

Rob Mauceli with a nice black grouper, while spearfishing!

JoGene w/ a nice catch

Happy catch with Capt. Terry Fisher

Not to be outdone by her husband, Amber Molle lands a big mahi as well!

A January tailer w/ Punta Gorda Fly Charters

Photos submitted courtesy of: Capt. Bart Marx Capt. James Marko Capt. Larry Conley Capt. Mike Manis

Capt. Neil Eisner Capt. Terry Fisher Capt. Dave Stephens

24 FORT MYERS | JANUARY 2018 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/FORT-MYERS/

Getting it done in the cold weather!

Derek Molle (of Underwater Fish Light) w/ a nice mahi

Bob McGuire & Alex Alexandro of Ft. Myers, 4 Gag Grouper caught in Pine Island Sound with Capt. Dave Hoke out of Four Winds Marina.

Text your fish pics to 239-595-8265 or email them to camftmyers@gmail.com. Please include your name, type, size, and location where fish was caught and we will do our best to get you on the board.


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he International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was honored on Sat., Oct. 28, in a ceremony held at the new IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mo. The 2017 inductees include Rick Clunn, Larry Dahlberg, Peter Fithian, Mike Levitt, and Dr. Eric Prince. These anglers join 116 fishing greats in the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame. Rick Clunn is a four-time Bassmaster Classic winner and is a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. When he’s not fishing, Clunn shares his love of the sport with children across America. He was recognized for his endless enthusiasm for bass fishing, his unmatched four decades of winning B.A.S.S. events and his amazing bass fishing prowess. Larry Dahlberg has fished for more than 50 years in 80 countries and is the host of The Hunt for Big Fish. He created the unique Dahlberg Diver fly and is responsible for many other fishing innovations. He’s received the Henshall Award by the Federation of Fly Fishers, is

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a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the 1999 IGFA Conservation Award. Dahlberg is recognized for his lifetime of fishing innovations, his award-winning television career and his conservation efforts. Peter Fithian is best known as the founder of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT), the “Grandfather” of all billfish fishing tournaments. The HIBT is one of the longest running tournaments of all time and the birthplace of countless innovations in angling tactics, tournament management and billfish conservation. Fithian also founded the Pacific Ocean Research Foundation (PORF) to learn more about Pacific blue marlin, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Japan Game Fish Association (JGFA). Fithian is recognized by the IGFA for his lifelong commitment to improve tournament sport fishing and for his efforts in conservation. Mike Levitt developed a passion for light tackle in the 1960s, which led him to the IGFA. He has held 16 world records, including light tackle records for black and white marlin. A former Chairman of the IGFA, Levitt spearheaded efforts to build the IGFA Headquarters in Dania Beach, Fla. Levitt led the design and financing of a succession of custom sport fishing boats, which helped to develop the prototype for boats widely used today. The IGFA recognizes Levitt for his angling achievements, charitable acts and innovations in sport fishing. Dr. Eric Prince is considered one of the world’s top fisheries scientists, and is an angler, researcher and proponent for the sport of fishing. He’s had a 35-year career as a billfish biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Dr. Prince has been a driving force in the Adopt a Billfish satellite tagging program and a leading researcher and proponent of the use of circle hooks. He’s served conservation through his research and helping to create The Billfish Foundation, which earned him the IGFA Conservation Award in 2016. Prince is recognized by the IGFA for his research on important recreational species to ensure sustainable management.

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Endeavor exhibited its catamarans at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show and the St. Petersburg Boat Show to rave reviews and great success. Show attendees explored the ArrowCat 420, ArrowCat 320, Endeavour 500, Endeavour 450 and the Endeavour 340. New owners were welcomed to the ArrowCat and Endeavour family, and word is an Endeavour 500 is taking on the Great Loop and an ArrowCat 420 will be out cruising, fishing and exploring Florida waterways. Plan on visiting the Endeavor and ArrowCat display at the Miami International Boat Show Feb. 15-19. In Development

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ndeavour Corporation—home of ArrowCat Performance and Endeavour Luxury Cruising Catamarans—has some exciting news for 2018. With several spectacular new models in the works, they are opening up their boatyard to the public and showing off their boats at the Miami International Boat Show. Open House & Demo Days Jan. 12-13

Save the date for Endeavor’s Open House & Demo Days Jan. 12-13. The Endeavor Boatyard in sunny St. Petersburg, Fla. will be opened to the public, allowing visitors the opportunity to tour various catamarans at their leisure. No reservations are needed, but those interested in a particular model should let Endeavor know in advance. For those ready to take the next step, demonstration rides will be offered, but those require advance reservations. These will be on a limited basis, and more details on how to sign up will appear soon on the Endeavor website. For directions to the Endeavour Boatyard and to see current models, visit www.endeavourcats.com.

All new catamarans are in development this year to fill the needs of boaters. ArrowCat 421: An open flybridge model suited for the weather and conditions found in Florida and the East Coast. Naval architects have just about finished the drawings and should anyone have input or would like to see the first draft, please let Endeavor know. ArrowCat 321: This is a version suited for the East Coast and Gulf Coast. Instead of an enclosed salon/helm area, the new 321 will be open with fiberglass hardtop and half-windshield to enjoy the great outdoors. Endeavour 440: One of Endeavor’s most popular hulls is getting a makeover with a redesign of the topsides. The 440’s stately presence is giving way to a more updated style from the rub rail up, while making more efficient and effective use of the topsides space. Better yet, they are now offering outboards as a new power option! More information and registration information will be coming soon for the Open House and Demo Days at the marina. Keep an eye on endeavorcats.com or contact Endeavor at 877-ARROW99, info@ arrowcat.com or info@endeavorcats.com.

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By Capt. Randy Cnota

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ecently, I was enjoying a quiet morning on the boat, all by myself, catching several fish in a remote place on the lower end of the Apalachicola River system. The bass were chomping on my topwater jerkbait like they’d never seen one before, and I got complacent while de-hooking one. The fish made a sudden, violent shake and suddenly I had two hooks in my hand with a flopping fish on the jerkbait’s third hook. This is one of the many hazards anglers should be prepared for when they occur; and hazards WILL occur, it’s just a matter of time. Being an old experienced salt, the removal of those hooks from my hand was not that big of a deal; it just took some time because I was alone and had only one hand to use. Had that happened to an angler who’s never had a hook in his hand, it might have been a different story. Imagine this happening to your child, an elderly person or a loved one… would you know what to do? Obvious hazards like foul weather, high winds and extreme cold are easy to negotiate as a recreational angler; you just don’t go that day! It’s the calm, pleasant, inviting days when you least expect some hazardous event to take place that they seem to occur. My intent is to inspire you to prepare for the unexpected as best you can. There are way too many hazardous scenarios that could play out in a day of fishing, so the following is just an overview of a strategy. People getting hooked, cut or falling in or out of a boat are likely the most common hazards anglers experience. Make sure everyone on board knows exactly where lifejackets and throw cushions are located and how and why to use them. Lifejackets are obvious, but some might not realize the importance of the throw

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inter is a very important time for the southern California saltwater fly fisherman. This time of year means transition, and with this transition comes the seasonal migration of Pacific bonito to the nearshore waters off southern California. Although SoCal has a yearround population of bonito, many of the fish who take up residence here from early fall and through winter are the larger pelagic bonito that trek to our coast from southern waters. These fish can range in size between 5 to 15 pounds and are probably the hardest fighting fish readily available to fly fishermen off the southern

can be put in the path of the moving fish. The fly tackle best suited for bonito fishing includes 9-foot, 6- to 10-weight rods matched with a good directdrive saltwater fly reel with a minimum of 120 yards of 20to 30-lb. Dacron backing. In terms of fly lines, a shooting head with a built-in running line in weights of 175 to 350 grains will work best. Tippets should be 8 to 12 pounds, and abrasion-resistant fluorocarbon works wonders on leader-shy fish. As for flies, Clousers, Deceivers, Crazy Charlies and any anchovy pattern in sizes

California coast. These fish are found both inshore and offshore, however, most of the offshore bonito are in 30 fathoms (150 feet) or less. When fishing for openwater bonito, the angler’s best approach is to look for birds and schools working along current or temperature breaks. Once these areas are found, look for bonito chasing anchovies or sardines near the surface. Bonito can be very shy, so cutting the engine and sidling up on the fish is very important. Once the boat is in position, a 40- to 80-foot cast placed to the outside edge of the schooling fish is best. The angler should make sure the fish are moving either toward the skiff or in a crossing direction so the cast

8 through 2 will do the trick. Color is an important factor, so match the fly color to the color of the bait being taken. Green/ white and blue/white are great choices, however, chartreuse/ white is always a great attractor color. Fighting a bonito once it is hooked is an exciting and sometimes exhausting experience for the fly angler. Because the bonito is built like a mini rocket, it will make some amazing runs and will usually take line well into the angler’s backing. It’s worth a trip to southern California where fly anglers can take part in the famous bonito run.

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n their profession, surgeons require the most accurate and precise cutting tools. Professional taxidermists figured out long ago that a scalpel is the best tool for carefully cutting through all kinds of fish and animal hides. Now sportsmen can enjoy the same level of precision in knives designed to be taken into the field or out on the water. Havalon has revolutionized the market for sportsmen’s knives with surgical-edge technology redesigned for use by hunters and anglers. And they know their business. Havalon’s parent company, Havel, provided surgical cutlery to doctors and hospitals long before they brought them to the outdoors market. What Havalon dreamed up was a line of high quality folding and now fixed-blade knives that feature replaceable surgical-quality cutting edges. Whether gutting and skinning game or filleting fish, sportsmen can now enjoy the advantages of a scalpel edge in the field. And the easily replaceable blades not only ensure the knife will be scalpel sharp and ready for use without any sharpening, it opens up the opportunity for one knife to serve many purposes by switching out the style of the blade. Need a fine-bladed fillet knife that doubles as a limb saw and game-skinner, Havalon has you covered with products like the Havalon Hydra Kit, which includes 17 blades in seven different styles to fill all your needs with one tool. The latest innovation from Havalon, which every angler should have in the arsenal is the Havalon Talon. Set to hit the market this spring, the Talon is the first high-quality, surgically sharp, longest lasting replaceable fixed blade knife system. The Talon provides a firm, safe grip on heavier, stronger, larger sized

versions of the company’s already proven fillet blades, as well as a few new ones. It is the most versatile and sharpest “in-the-wild” quick-change cutlery set there is. A military-grade polymer handle has many functional features, from a Easy-Clean opening chamber to a super easy, strong and safe Quik-Change II Thumb Release Blade System. Within a water resistant roll-up pack, the Talon Fishing Pack includes the Talon handle, a serrated blade, two 5-inch fillet blades and a 7-inch fillet blade. A separately sold 9-inch fillet blade is also available. Professional captains, guides and outfitters have already discovered the benefits of using surgical-grade cutlery in the field and on the water, making Havalon a staple in the market for serious outdoorsmen. Which leaves the question: Why wouldn’t you want the most precise, accurate and versatile cutting tools in your pack or on the deck? Check out all the innovative tools Havalon has to offer at www.havalon.com.

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UNDER THE SEA 18

King of Sling – Art Pinder

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n the spearfishing community, there is one man everyone agrees deserves the title of “legend.” That is Art Pinder. Art was born in Miami in 1929, the fourth of five children. He looked up to his father and older brothers and wanted to follow in their footsteps. His father was an outdoorsman and worked his way up to captain of the Miami Beach lifeguards. Naturally, the children grew up around the water, and they learned to hunt at a very young age with homemade equipment. Their slings were different from modern spearguns, and consisted of a free-flying shaft inserted into a cylindrical wooden “shooter.” Similar to a slingshot, the shaft was powered by pulling a band back and letting go. This primitive form is making a comeback, and is the only allowable method of spearfishing in the Bahamas. The Pinder brothers dove and speared at a time when the ocean was considered mysterious and dangerous. The brothers dominated and won every tournament. Meanwhile, Art worked as a lifeguard and crewed for big-game fishermen such as Walter Clay, Bob Stewart and Tommy Gifford. He later served in the U.S. Coast Guard, stationed at the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse. In the water, Art accomplished feats that might never be duplicated. He slinged a 7-foot sailfish, a 135-pound cubera snapper and a 584-pound Goliath grouper. Outside of spearfishing, he was credited with saving many lives, including a challenging rescue of 23 people whose boat had capsized in rough waters. As Art became known for his spearfishing achievements, opportunities arose. He appeared in magazine and TV ads for liquor companies even though he didn’t drink. He graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1955 and was featured in a three-part series. His most uncomfortable assignment was modeling Jantzen bathing suits. They paid more in one day than he got in a whole month of lifeguarding, so he put up with the embarrassment. He did

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several shoots with Frank Gifford (NFL MVP), Bob Cousy (NBA MVP) and Ken Venturi (golfer). Art wondered why they picked him alongside these sports giants, though he did believe spearfishing combined the best of many sports. It required strength and coordination, involved body contact with 300-pound fish, had danger and excitement—all set against a backdrop of unimaginable beauty. In later life, Art became a pilot, a professional captain and a business owner, and he never stopped Above: Even later in spearfishing. I had life, Art Pinder could the honor of diving capture fish like a with him in his 20-year-old. Photo by sunset years, when Chad Carney. he could still capture Left: Art Pinder fish like a 20-yearappeared on the cover old. Art passed away of Sports Illustrated in 2014 at the age of in 1955. 84 and is survived by his loving wife, Alice. Rest in peace, Art. 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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ome people don’t go fishing when it’s cold. That’s a huge mistake. Some of my most memorable days on the water have come this time of the year. If you outfit yourself properly, it will increase your winter fishing success astronomically. The Proper Gear First, dress properly. Layers are important, but don’t bulk up so much that it affects your mobility. I start with thermals, both the shirt and pants. My next layer is jeans and a thick hooded sweatshirt. I sometimes add a fleece jacket and then put on an outer-layer suit. You want a suit that blocks the wind and is waterproof. There are a lot of good Gore-Tex suits on the market. Headgear is also important. A fleece beanie and a neck gaiter make all the difference. A good pair of thick socks, boots and a pair of gloves, and you will be good to go. Last winter, a friend and I went fishing when it was 12 degrees. We caught 19 smallmouth. It was

cold, but we were dressed properly and had the lake to ourselves. Use Proper Equipment Fishing tackle needs to be finetuned for winter. First, I use Winn grips on all the rods I build. Most gloves have a sticky grip material on the palms. When that material meets the Winn material, it gives you unbelievable grip on your rod; it does the same for bare hands. Winn also has a new product called Winn Reel Sleeves. They are made of the same great grip material and slide over the handles of your reel. When it comes to finicky fish in the winter, you can’t afford for your hand to slip off the reel for a split second. I will have Reel Sleeves on every reel I own for the 2018 season. Check out all the Winn products and custom rod building materials at www.mudhole.com. Winter is a great time to learn how to build your own rods for 2018.

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FISH & FISHING 22

Words Of Wisdom MARK SOSIN

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id you ever wonder how leading charter captains produce consistent catches on a daily basis in heavily fished waters. I asked a long-time friend of mine who chartered for years out of a center console, and I think you’ll find his answer of interest. By the way, his methods can be adapted to any segment of coastline and a wide variety of species. Success centers on three primary approaches. You must constantly cover the maximum amount of water with your baits. They must be fished in a totally natural manner. And, baits must be kept in the productive zone or proper depth as long as possible. One way of doing this is to fish two or three baits from a kite or two kites. By using small weights in a corner of each kite, you can keep them spread so that they do not tangle in the air. For the starboard kite, the weight goes in the upper right hand corner and just the opposite for the port kite. Assuming the seas are moderate, start by positioning upwind from the spot you want to fish. By working the engines between neutral and reverse, you can back into the wind when necessary to keep the boat at a predetermined depth. This allows the baits to hang directly below the kites and look natural. Currents will push the boat over new areas. While the kites are flying, this skipper streams a couple of flat lines 50 to 125 feet from the boat. Finally, he works two more lines, one at a depth of 50 feet and the second at a depth of 75 or 80 feet. Rougher seas dictate the use of sea anchors and they also make sense when maintaining a specific depth is not paramount. A single sea anchor tied off midships will keep the boat broadside to the wind or current. One off the bow and a second off the stern is an even better setup. At times, this captain will drag a frozen block of chum in a mesh bag in front of one or two of the baits. All this is a lot of work, but you are covering close to 100 yards of water from

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a depth of 100 feet to the surface, and this approach can produce strikes when many anglers go fishless. Weekenders often wonder why professional skippers succeed day after day, even with boats all around them. Some observers simply suggest that regulars know the spots. That’s partially true, but there is much more to the total package. It takes continuous effort to tend all those rods, monitor conditions, and handle the boat all at the same time. You can certainly get by with less, but in the tradeoff, you can expect fewer fish. Whether you decide to follow this method, modify this skipper’s approaches to your needs, or you decide you really don’t want to work that hard, you can’t overlook the obvious. Aggressive anglers catch more fish consistently, even when Lady Luck isn’t sitting on their shoulders.

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Customer Rating

MODEL: BRS9LED-B

LIMIT 1 - Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase. Coupon good at our stores, HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 5/1/18. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day.

*52005090 * 52005090

26", 4 DRAWER TOOL CART

RAYOVAC

ITEM 69111 63599/62522/62573 63875/63884/63886 63888/69052 shown

2

$ 99

COMPARE TO

MODEL: 1125220

LIMIT 3 - Coupon valid through 5/1/18*

ANY PURCHASE

3-1/2" SUPER BRIGHT ALUMINUM FLASHLIGHT

ITEM 61840/61297/63476/61258 shown

*51990436 * 51990436

HUSKY

WITH

• Weighs 14.3 lbs. • 11-1/8" L x 4-1/2" H

NOW

COMPARE TO

COMPARE TO

SUPER COUPON

2500 LB. ELECTRIC WINCH WITH WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROL

• Weighs 73 lbs. Customer Rating $

FREE

M-REG130503_CoastalAnglerMagazine

SUPER COUPON

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At Harbor Freight Tools, the “Compare to” price means that the specified comparison, which is an item with the same or similar function, was advertised for sale at or above the “Compare to” price by another national retailer in the U.S. within the past 90 days. Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other meaning of “Compare to” should be implied. For more information, go to HarborFreight.com or see store associate.

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SUZUKI MAKES IT EASY AS

1-2-3

1. Six Years of Protection at no extra charge on all new outboards 25 to 350 HP.

2. SEL

These are limited time offers. See your participating Suzuki Marine dealer for all the details or visit www.suzukimarine.com.

N SO S NG ARD AVI TBO T S I OU TANUZUK INSECT S

Instant Savings of up to $800 on select models. See your dealer for details.

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

REPOWER FINANCE

Gimme Six Extended Protection promo is applicable to new Suzuki Outboard Motors from 25 to 350 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 01/01/18 and 03/31/18 in accordance with the promotion by a Participating Authorized Suzuki Marine dealer in the continental US and Alaska to a purchasing customer who resides in the continental US or Alaska. Customer should expect to receive an acknowledgement letter and full copy of contract including terms, conditions and wallet card from Suzuki Extended Protection within 90 days of purchase. If an acknowledgement letter is not received in time period stated, contact Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. – Marine Marketing via email: marinepromo@suz.com. The Gimme Six Promotion is available for pleasure use only, and is not redeemable for cash. Instant Savings apply to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki Outboard Motors made between 01/01/18 and 03/31/18. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine.com. Customer and participating Dealer must fill out the appropriate form at time of sale. Instant Savings will be applied against the original dealer invoice (Suzuki will credit Dealer parts account). There are no model substitutions, benefit substitutions, rain checks, or extensions. Suzuki reserves the right to change or cancel these promotions at any time without notice or obligation. * Financing offers available through Synchrony Retail Finance. As low as 5.99% APR financing for 60 months on new and unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 01/01/18 and 03/31/18. “Gimme Six”, the Suzuki “S” and model names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2018 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

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The Angler Magazine - January / Fort myers  
The Angler Magazine - January / Fort myers  

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