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

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

L

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

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Photo Courtesy of Al Stewart Photography

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

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


It’s the Honda of Outboards. Literally.

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

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


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

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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Eleuthera, Bahamas

FREE

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

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

COASTALA NGLERMA G.COM

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Southeastern Mountain Trout

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA EDITION

FREE

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

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

F R A N C H I S E

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

FISHING WITH UNICOI OUTFITTERS

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

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DECEMBER 2016

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

FLY FISHING

ON THE COVER

CASTING FOR THE REDFISH GAME: PART ONE

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

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

DECEMBER 2016

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Gift Ideas FOR ANGLERS

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

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

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

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SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Playing To Winter Tendencies

Photo courtesy of Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters

By CAM Staff

I

t’s deep winter. And while the folks in south Florida may be slamming sailfish, the rest of the country is cold. Those of us who can’t stand to stay inside are sitting in a duck blind, looking down at a hole in the ice or slogging it out trying to catch the few sluggish fish wintertime allows. Regardless of their slowed metabolisms, fish need to eat. Whether you’re fishing fresh or salt, lake, river, bayou or bay, fish have cold-weather tendencies anglers can exploit. While wintertime might never offer the kind of incredible bites one might find in fall or spring, it is still possible to experience great fishing. The most important consideration is weather. A warming trend of two or more days often puts fish in the mood to move up and feed. If at all possible, plan trips around these warming trends. When it’s not possible, seek out warmer water. Rock and metal radiate the sun’s heat into surrounding water. When the sun is shining, areas around rock and metal structure will often be several degrees warmer than the surroundings, which draws in fish and makes them more likely to feed. Warmth should also be a consideration in the time of day you fish. Often, the middle of the day or the early afternoon will provide the best bite of the day because the sun has had time to warm the shallows. It is generally true that fish move deeper when it’s cold, but it is not unusual to find the best feeding activity in the warmer shallows. The same warm-water theory is a consideration when choosing a destination. Think of the warm-water discharge from power plants in Tampa Bay or on countless inland reservoirs. Freshwater trout anglers should look to the tailwaters, which maintain a relatively stable water temperature year round. Covering water, finding fish and a feeding pattern are more important to success during the winter months than at any other time of year. If they are available, targeting locations where water conditions remain consistent and predictable is a best bet, even if those conditions are artificially maintained. Presentation becomes extremely important when fish are sluggish. Regardless of species, fish seek to fill their energy needs while expending the

least amount of energy possible. There are differing schools of thought about whether fishing large baits or small baits works better in cold water, and dependent on the species and countless other variables, either tactic could prove effective. One thing is for sure though, from predator to prey, everything alive in the water moves less and becomes less aggressive when it’s cold. Anglers should fish slowly and methodically with the intent of putting the bait directly in front of a fish and leaving it there. With soft plastics or jigs, this often means using less weight to slow the fall of baits through the strike zone. The best hardbaits will be suspending baits that get into the strike zone and stay there. Even with live or cut baits, anglers should downsize line to reduce its visibility and give a more natural look. When fish aren’t as aggressive, they have more time to examine an offering before they commit.

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FISH ON A PLAQUE

W

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

where the fish lies. In 1955, on the hundredth anniversary of the demise of the fish, the local newspaper had a long tribute to the most famous resident of the village, a tribute that included these words: “He did no great deeds, nor did he change the world for the better or for the worse.” And these: “Though the guns are silent and the

flags unhoisted, let us now acclaim him who in a century of change and violence has occasionally reminded men of tenderer things! Perhaps from those secret depths where good fish go when their swimming days are o’er, the Old Fish gazes up at us today, a gleam of pride in his cold unblinking eye. Old Fish, we salute you! May your fame endure forever.” Not bad for a finny creature that died in 1855. May our descendants remember each of us in similar praise long after we have left this earthly life. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “The Galata Bridge in Istanbul” (2016), can be reached at ceyhankevin@ gmail.com.

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COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE • FT. MYERS EDITION • Publishers: Nadeen Welch & Phil Prevoir

Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor INSHORE FISHING SW FLORIDA WATERS IS GOOD YEAR AROUND

T

here are two main questions on the minds of most fishermen and lady anglers. 1. What kind of fish can they expect to catch? 2. What are the better months to catch them? In short, the answer to both questions is: everything, with few seasonal exceptions! These questions are more prevalent during the winter months. Virtually every species of fish resides here year around. However, during seasonal changes, some become less in number and smaller in size, while others become greater in number and bigger in size. Below is a twelve (12) month (‘quarterly’) outline of what one may expect to catch, by targeting species most available at any given time of the year. During winter months (DecemberFebruary), big sheepshead migrate from their gulf haunts to infiltrate the back waters of Pine Island Sound, including taking up residency in shallower waters around piles, docks and rock structures. These fish are spawning and eat shrimp and fiddler crabs. They are great eating and will provide plenty of action on light tackle. Spanish Mackerel will migrate here and will be greater in number and size compared to

1216_LOC_FtMyers.indd 1

December 2016

By Capt. Terry Fisher

summer and fall seasons. Seatrout have a tendency to be larger. Flounder becomes a target fish for some east coast visitors. Pompano are here in good numbers as well. Springtime (March-May) brings warmer weather and warmer water. Big tarpon and spawning snook are just off the beaches and in the passes of the outer islands. Redfish become more active, but many will be smaller in size (Rat Reds) than those of late summer and fall season. Triple Tail and cobia begin to migrate throughout the waters. Jacks, small sheepshead, mangrove snappers, flounder and lady fish make up the balance providing lots of action. Regardless of the species, the fish are very aggressive, as if to celebrate spring fever! Summertime (June-August) starts to produce smaller Seatrout, better Redfish action and the end of Tarpon season. Big Tarpon will migrate north with fewer and smaller ones remaining. Snook continue to be good off the beaches, in the mangroves, river and creek mouths. Jack Crevalle will be everywhere in big numbers and sizes, providing lots of action. They chase glass minnows all over Pine Island Sound and in the canals. They will hit most any presentation when on an eating binge. Fall (September-November) represents good months for everything but big tarpon. Fall fishing is subject only to the cool fronts and the high winds of November. This season may be the most productive of all. The weather is pleasant and the water temperatures seem to satisfy every species of fish that inhabit our fishery. Redfish and snook become the targeted game fish of many anglers. Big redfish are inshore from the gulf to spawn and eat. They begin to depart back to the gulf waters with deeper depths after a couple of November cold fronts. Shrimp and baitfish

(Pilchards, Threadfin and Pinfish) will be available throughout the year and will fluctuate in size and numbers, depending on the season. Bait selections, including artificial presentations, will for the most part determine ones success when ‘fishing the tides’. Every month in SW Florida has good fishing for those who are respectful and aware of seasonal change. Those encouraged by this article will hopefully begin to enjoy fishing year around in SW Florida.

This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing everyone a ‘Fish of a Lifetime’! Feel free to contact me via email at fishfacecharters@yahoo.com with any questions or charter requests. You can also call me direct at 239-357-6829 to book your charter or for immediate assistance. Check out my website at www. fishfacecharters.com for more fishing tips and reports. I am also available as ‘Captain for Hire’ (by the hour) on your vessel for navigation/safety instructions, fishing locations and techniques.

11/17/2016 5:50:00 PM


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SEASONAL TRANSITION

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FORT MYERS

e are in a seasonal transition here in southwest Florida and the implications for fish and wildlife and water quality will bring change as well. As most everyone is aware, our coastal systems were heavily impacted this year. The damage resulted from historic and partly out of season rainfall driven by the el nino phenomena and a management system that could not cope with all the demands of it. The abrupt change from too much runoff to not enough occurs almost every year and stalls the recovery of water bodies in the region, especially the estuarine systems that depend on the right mix of fresh and saltwater. Already it appears this year will be no exception due to the lack of rainfall. Some areas have not seen rain for over three weeks. The contrasting hydrology reeks

havoc on the ecology of the estuaries and not only affects reproductive success of important sport and commercial fish species, but impacts their habitats, particularly seagrass, creating a potentially longer and more serious impediment to recovery. The Caloosahatchee Waterkeeper program is stepping up its ability to monitor and communicate the events and conditions of our regional network of waters. Generous donations to the program are helping to recruit an army of Waterkeeper Rangers working in specific regions. The observations and monitoring results will be posted on our web site for public viewing and coordinated with the appropriate authorities. The map below identifies the seven regions where Waterkeeper volunteers will monitor the water. If you have a boat and would be interested in becoming a Ranger and working with the Waterkeeper program please send your contact information to: Riverwatch@ caloosahatchee.org

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HOLIDAY FISHING

By Capt. Sam O’Briant

W

e have almost made it through another year.  It is time to start working our promise to ourselves for next year.  It could be “I will work harder on job or around the house so I can spend more time fishing” or something to that effect.  Whatever your resolutions are, be sure to include more time with kids for fishing and teaching them how to enjoy their time on the water. Over the last two or three months, hope you were able to get into one of many schools of redfish.  So in December where can we find a redfish?  To start with, look along the mangrove lined shores of the many islands and creeks in Pine Island Sound.  They will be cruising along them, looking for crabs and other invertebrates that live among the mangrove roots.  I would suggest using cut bait as a first choice, since redfish are scent hunters mainly.    Since the water has cooled into the mid-seventies, snook have mostly retreated from the barrier islands and passes.  They have moved up the creeks and around inland islands.  As long as the water temperatures remain in the seventies or upper sixties, the snook will be there for us to catch and release.  If you can find live bait I would suggest using it, but shrimp and lures will work if you have to drop back to second best.  If the water temperatures drop in the lower 60s snook become very lethargic.  They can almost be picked up and any lower they will die.   Now that winter is here, trout become even more important to us.  They will be found over the grass flats, sandbars, and oyster

 

1216_LOC_FtMyers.indd 6

bars.  If the water temperature has cooled off much, you will need to slow your retrieve down if you are using lures.  During the winter months, trout tend to slow their movement down.  They are still around everywhere you normally find them; however they do not always catch your presentation if you do not slow it down.   A fish that has been mostly absent from the area during the summer, but is starting to make a reappearance is the sheepshead.  For our new northern friends this is not the same sheepshead that you have up north.  This one is quite tasty. Look for sheepshead around pilings and mangrove roots or anywhere you find barnacles.  They can be rather tricky to catch.  The best way is to use a small hook and small piece of bait.  They have a tendency to suck the bait in, spit it out to get rid of the shell and then suck it back in.  Be ready to set the hook on the first bite.   Since Christmas is at the end of the month, it is time to start thinking about what to give your favorite fisherman.  Go to your local bait shop and talk to them.  They will take time to talk to you and help you decide what would fit your budget best.  Do not be afraid to ask a question if you do not understand what they are saying.  Believe me they are used to it.  Also with Christmas coming, it means Christmas break for the kids.  It is never too early to start thinking about taking them fishing, also the grandkids if they come to see you.

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11/17/2016 5:50:08 PM


Paddlin’ & Fishin’ By: Dan Carns

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0 kayakers attended the captains meeting, graciously held at the Point Ybel Brewing Company (great beer) in Ft Myers, followed by a beautiful Saturday for yak fishing. Sunny, cool start, light wind and a dropping tide seemed to favor many anglers. Weigh in at the Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha, Fl. was also well attended, with live music, food, and raffles, all for the local Candlelighter’s benefit and of course beer! I had very little time to prepare for this tournament, so my plan was to go with what I know. Just outside of the Pineland Marina, within a 10-minute paddle, is a fishery like no other in all of Florida. This turtle grass covered flat, bordered by a boating channel and a mile-long natural creek called Big Jim Creek holds Snook, Trout and Reds almost year round. You will need to visit this place month after month, year after year to really understand the fish and their patterns. On tournament day I saw no less than 10 kayaks being launched from the Pineland Marina on Pine Island and the free yak launch across the street from the Randall Research complex. Yet not one of these boats traveled to

this spot, so I had the place to myself. What unfolded before me was unexpected, tailing Reds, young Snook popping bait on the shoreline, and as the sun warmed this flat up, the trout began to slurp bait in about 2 feet of water! When everything you offer either spooks the fish or fails to entice them you must change tactics. So lessons from my friend Wayne (the Cracker) who can out fish me 10 to 1 - with this simple but deadly popping cork, red jig-head tipped with a white Mr. twister curly tailed grub, and shrimp was my go to choice. Neither you nor the fish have ever seen anything like this in the water, but it works. I calmly and quietly re-rigged one rod and started fishing again. This tournament is referred to as an inshore slam series (Trout, Snook and Redfish) and by 9 o’clock I had caught, photographed and released all three species on this fishing rig. The remainder of my morning was spent upgrading the size of these fish on plastics, top water and the cork rig. I missed a few big snook hits, but managed a respectful 6th place finish. Special thanks to Bryan and Diana from Gulf Coast Kayak for organizing this event, as well as Mike Hammond, Lee County Parks and Recreation. The top five prize winners: 1st David McCleaf, 2nd David Shields, 3rd Dan McKitrick, 4th Mike Lahn, 5th Matt Harvel It’s a wild world-get out there!

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11/17/2016 5:50:15 PM


Charlotte County Fairgrounds: January 12-15th, 2017

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Charlotte County Fairgrounds 2333 El Jobean Road (Route 776) Port Charlotte, FL 33948 Presented By: The Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association

11/17/2016 5:50:21 PM


Rules of the Road for Boaters By Dave Sully,

Lee County Sheriff ’s VOICE Volunteer

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atlacha Pass is the area east of Pine Island, between Pine Island and Cape Coral, extending north from San Carlos Bay to Charlotte Harbor. It is a wide expanse of mostly shallow water, which is popular with fisherman and provides a route north, which stays relatively calm in windy conditions compared to the more turbulent gulf side run, outside Sanibel and Captiva. The ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) offers a third route north and south. The strength of the breeze often determines which route boaters take. For those heading north and then east, Matlacha Pass is definitely the choice. Having said that, it should be noted that navigating the Matlacha Pass is no cakewalk. Boaters need to be aware that care must be exercised to remain in the channels. Unlike the Miserable Mile and many other channels, which are fairly straight and well-marked, the very expanse of Matlacha Pass can give one a false sense of security, which can get you in trouble in a hurry. For one thing, the area outside the channel is a slow speed manatee zone year-round, unlike other areas which carry seasonal designations. Because of the size of the pass, it is tempting to be over zealous with the throttle, which can draw the attention of the Lee County Sheriff ’s Marine Division, not to mention unsuspecting manatees, which can fall victim to the practice. More subtle, perhaps, is the reality that the channel through the pass is decidedly not straight. Along with a phalanx of steel power poles, sheathed in concrete bases, which extend across the

channel near the southern end, the channel often zig-zags wildly, making it a challenge to locate the markers and then navigate to the next ones. The challenge is more daunting north of the Matlacha Bridge where channel markers aren’t as numerous. The system of markers was not employed to confound boaters. Venturing outside the markers puts boaters at risk of running into shallow water oyster beds and sand bars, which is why the channels are marked the way they are. Not only can that be dangerous to your equipment, but the sudden stop can be hazardous to your health, not mention your wallet if you get hung up and have to call Tow Boat US or Sea Tow. Recently that premise was played out in real time, as, while on patrol in the pass, Sergeant Kendall Wiseley and I stopped two boats that were speeding outside the channel. After pointing out the error of their ways, they were given official warnings and allowed to proceed. A scant fifteen minutes later, as we continued north, we came upon one of the boats we had stopped, which was ensconced on a sand bar. He assured us he would be able to get back under way, and we took him at his word, but there was more than a little irony in the encounter after he assured us he understood our admonition about staying in the channel. Bottom line- The Matlacha Pass is a great short cut for those heading north from Ft. Myers, but knowledge of the area and its potential dangers is essential, along with complying with the slow speed manatee zones outside the markers. Also, traveling that route at night would not be advisable to those new to the area or those uninitiated in the art of following channels. 

Frozen Bait, Live Bait, Lures, Jigs, Nets, and Much More! Custom Rods, Rod Repair & Reel Servicing & Repair Boat Sales & Boat Storage 405 NE Pine Island Rd Cape Coral, FL 33909 capetoolandtackle.com 239-574-6950 Monday - Saturday 9am. Until 6pm. Sunday 10am. Until 4pm

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | FORT MYERS 11

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11/17/2016 5:50:24 PM


Naughty or Nice? By: Misty Wells

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he holidays are upon us and it’s time to figure out who has been naughty or nice. Like most folks we are always looking for unique and affordable gift ideas to get those special people in our lives. Although most of us probably deserve coal in our stockings, I have come up with some fun gift ideas that are not going to break the bank. There are all kinds of new technology in the outdoor world, and unless you still have a flip phone, you know about all the cool new fishing apps out there. My favorite is a free app called “fishbrain. For a few dollars a month you can upgrade to a premium membership and see what people are catching right where you want to fish and you can get exact fishing positions. Download the free app then add a premium membership for a great, interactive and inexpensive holiday gift. Another great gift idea is the “Mystery Tackle Box”; it’s a fun way to explore new fishing products through getting a new random box each month. The mystery to me was, “am I going to really want the products in the box?” The great news is yes, there are things in the boxes you can’t even purchase in stores yet. I love my Mystery Tackle Box and get excited each month it shows up at the door, I can’t wait to tear it open. Starting at $15.00 a month, you can order just for a month, 3 months or up to 12 months it’s up to you and your budget.

This summer at ICAST I was on the lookout for something new and different, and I found it, Kula Coolers. What is so great about this cooler is that it can hold up to five gallons, can easily be carried with a shoulder strap, has a round seat, a drain on the bottom, a built in bottle opener, a one handed latch and sticky feet on the bottom that keeps it from sliding around. The price is about $225, but these coolers will last forever, and on top of it you get a five year warranty. You can use these coolers for everything you might use a five-gallon bucket for a step stool, campfire seat, bait well, watertight storage, cast net bin, rod holder, picnic basket, scallop bucket and of course, as a vessel for food and drinks. Happy Holidays to all the “Coastal Angler” readers. I hope that you cherish what is really important this holiday season, loved ones, family, friends and fishing. Misty Wells is a founder of “A Reel Future”, a non-profit organization devoted to sharing knowledge and passion of fishing and the great outdoors to future generations and foster kids in need. She is the host of the national radio and television show “Let’s Take It Outside”, outdoor professional, writer and adventure guide for fishing and hunting trips. Mrs. Wells also sponsors the Clearwater High School Fishing Club. For show information or be a guest, go to www.mistywells.com

Ladies SW Florida Fishing By: Vicki Fisher

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e welcome December with beautiful fall temperatures and less humidity! With the strong sea breeze and a lack of rain, we are experiencing less water in the back country, therefore, it has forced us to fish on the high tides in order to get back where the big fish are. I had the opportunity to join a few of our charters in November and the big bull redfish were still here fattening up before they migrate offshore to the deeper waters for the winter months. I also noticed that larger Sheepshead are appearing around docks and pilings. In order to be successful yearround with fishing, you must educate yourself on their habits and changes in their habitats. Over the years I have received a few books that are both informative and fun to read, on the sport of fishing and the different species I like to target. The Redfish Book by Frank Sargeant, as well as his book on Snook and Trout can be found in most book stores and can help you understand the habits and techniques used to catch them! With the upcoming Holidays I have been researching products that are available for the lady angler. Many of us enjoy different

sports not only for the exercise, but also for all of the accessories that we can add to our closets! In the past few months I have noticed more rods that are tailored to we ladies in beautiful colors, such as hot pink, pearl pink, turquoise and purple to name a few. Sperry shoes come in a wide variety of colors and metallic. They are both fashionable and provide good traction while on a vessel. Shimano makes my favorite rod and reel and I lean more towards light tackle, because I enjoy the ‘fight of the fish’ and feeling the resistance that light tackle provides. When I’m heading out on the water for a day of fishing, I want to be comfortable, but also want to feel good about my appearance when we stop for lunch/dinner on our way home! I lean towards the skorts that are offered by many lines of clothing for women and always layer my tops so that I can get some sun during the day and then throw on a layer with sleeves when the sun sets. There are many advertisers here in the Coastal Angler that offer a full line of accessories and gear for we ladies! Add a few items to your list this Holiday season. Take some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and head out with your favorite fisherman and make some memories! Ladies…let’s go fishing! If I can be of any help or assistance feel free to contact me via email at fishfacecharters@yahoo.com or call my cellphone (727) 5349071.  I will enjoy sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm of the sport of fishing!  Until next month, this is First Mate Vicki Fisher, reminding you to keep your lines tight!

12 FORT MYERS | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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GULF & INTRACOASTAL FISHING

CHARLOTTE HARBOR

FISHIN’ FRANK

CAPT. MIKE MANIS

rout fishing is one of the most Famous of Florida’s game fish. I have uncovered a few things about the Spotted/Speckled Sea Trout. Take for instance how long a Trout lives on average. As usual, the females out live the males by almost two-thirds as long. Male Sea Trout live an average of 3 years growing to about 18 inches. Females live 5 years, getting to mid-20 inch range. Now consider that the age is an average. Sea Trout can live a bit longer and reach up to the state record size, which is 17.7 pounds. Now I don’t know, but I would think that put the Trout in the 34-inch size range. Making it I say well over the 5-year-old age slot. Sea Trout are part of the drum family why? I think because some do make a slight grunting noise. November and December are two of the best trout fishing months in south Florida, Ok Jan, Feb and March can be great as well. But December is one of the best. Keeping a Trout- should you release a big trout or eat it? Well, from what I found out about age and things, I would say keep that big Trout. However, if that big ole 28-inch trout has eggs in it, release it gently. But truth be told it will soon die of old age and so do not feel bad in the case of big trout when it comes to taking them home for Dinner.  Eating Sea Trout- Now if you have a deep fryer, buy a box of instant pancake or waffle mix. Where it says water, add a beer, yes but it must be a real beer. Try one of the small breweries with an alcohol of at least 5% maybe more I like the ones with 11% add real beer flavor. Mix as directed and put into a larger bowl over size. Cut the trout fillets into chunks and pat them dry, and place them in the bowl. Stir them gently and then deep fry to golden brown, Hey I just made myself hungry. Bad news about Sea Troutthe same problem as red grouper, sail-cats and black drum- they get parasites. They look like, well, a super-giant sperm with a large white head and long thin squiggly tail. Now if you eat fish, you have eaten one at one time or another. These parasites do not harm humans even if eaten YUK alive. They are the young of the shark parasites, which leave the fish by the scales near the tail at this time of year and go to find a shark to

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use as a host. Warm weather and or summer time it is very likely to see them in the meat of a trout. At this time of year not so likely and just cut them out and go on. Unless the fish is just full of them and that is even too disgusting for even me, in the garbage with it, but a couple of them pull them out get over yourself and enjoy the meal. Trout will hit lures on the surface or jigs hopped across the flats, how is that for the Trout? Now this is weird- if you are using s lure with two treble hooks the catch & release ratio could be as high as 97% success. With a single hook jig, it drops to 91% What? This freaked me out until I thought about it The single hook jig is much more likely to be farther down in the mouth of a fish than a lure with two treble hooks. I think the best thing would be the new Rapala lures with two single hooks, which keeps the fish from getting it too far into its mouth and no real damage from the extra point of the treble hooks. I believe Rapala got this one dead on. Great job Rapala! I will let you go with a last thought. A sea rout grows up with shrimp as its primary diet. Not until they get about 16 inches do they even think about eating bait fish. Shrimp is the number one bait for trout, but if you are looking for only the big-giant ones, switch to bait fish. For the largest trout, mullet is the thing trout over 25-inches are most looking for, really? Hey I checked all over the place. Yes, I guess that is true. Anyway, stop by our new store in North fort Myers and say hi, I would like to meet you. Tell me if a am right, wrong, full of it, or doing ok. Fishin’ Franks Bait & Tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail Charlotte Harbor FL 33980  941-625-3888 Fishin’ Franks Tackle Shop 14531 N. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, 33903 239-634-1043

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ight now, if possible I’d have my gear ready and waiting for those few short openings. By that, I mean waiting between the fronts for those perfect days that make living in southwest Florida special. And even though I need at least a sweatshirt , now I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. In fact, I like to wait till late morning to let the sun warm things up. Like last month, I’ll continue working the same pattern for redfish and trout; but now, I’ll even push farther up my favorite backcountry creek systems. Basically, I’m following the fish. With reduced rain and cooler water, salinity and oxygen increases back here providing good habitat as well as a refuge from the windswept open flats. Also, after a cool night the sun will warm the shallow water over the darker mud and sand bottom quicker here than on open flats. The combination of low clear water will increase sight-fishing opportunities as there isn’t enough water for fish to get deep into the mangroves. I like a morning or early afternoon incoming tide coming off a negative low. Fish will work their way with the tide to warm up and feed. I’ll look for them laid up off the shoreline in deeper sand depressions. If there’s enough water, I’ll still pole shorelines, but it’s the sand holes off the shoreline that hold the best numbers of fish. The baitfish so prevalent most of the year is scarce. Scaled sardines migrate offshore looking for more stable water temperature. Being a natural nursery, these estuarine creek systems provide a decent array of prey albeit of a smaller source like silversides, killifish, shrimp, and crabs. As a result, I’ll throw small, #1 or #2, baitfish and shrimp patterns. Most days, dealing with a strong northeast breeze, I like to work areas that provide as much lee as possible. Out of Punta Gorda, I like to concentrate within Charlotte Harbor State Park on the east side between Alligator Creek and Pirate Harbor. Here, the labyrinth of creek systems can keep me busy all winter. I’ll even push as far back as the mosquito ditches. North, towards the top of the harbor, I also like extensive area that includes the Myakka Cutoff, Tippecanoe Bay and Muddy Cove. Sheepshead are a good bet around docks and piers. If the wind is really cranking, the Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte canals hold good numbers. When calm, the artificial reef outside Alligator Creek is a great spot. Cut shrimp works well. 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

11/17/2016 5:50:26 PM


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14 FORT MYERS | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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The Best Angler Photos From Southwest Florida!

M ax H. - ki ng fis h of f An na M ar ia Is la nd Aaro n H.-5 YO w/ 3# bass

Ta te E. -R ed gr ou pe r of f An na M ar ia Is la nd

Photos submitted courtesy of: Capt. Bart Marx Capt. Jon Black Capt. Joel Brandenburg Capt. Larry McGuire 1216_LOC_FtMyers.indd 15

Capt. Neil Eisner Capt. Mike Manis Capt. Terry Fisher Capt. Roger Newton

Capt Neil Eisn er Este ro Bay Redf ish

Send us a photo of your catch to: camftmyers@gmail.com - please include your name, location of where caught, type & size of fish and we’ll do our best to include you in our next edition

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11/17/2016 5:50:36 PM


POMPANO MADNESS IN TAMPA BAY

VIMS Photo

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

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

For More Pompano fishing Tampa Bay, go to

CAMFISHING.CO

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or 23 years, the Old Salt Foundation’s King of the Beach tournaments have been drawing anglers to fish the west coast of Florida’s mackerel runs. It has developed into one of Florida’s premier kingfish tournaments with big payouts and a dedicated following of anglers who are not necessarily professional kingfishers. Each year, when water temperatures begin to drop around the time daylight savings kicks in, big schools of king mackerel move down the coast along west Florida’s beaches toward their wintering grounds in the Keys. The King of the Beach Fall tournament is designed to intercept this migration, and the tournament incites a migration of anglers to Madeira Beach. The 2016 Fall King of the Beach hosted 477 teams of anglers from across the Southeast. A total of 236 king and Spanish mackerel were weighed in on the stage on Saturday, Nov. 5. With a dramatic weigh-in late in the day, Team Loaded Down anglers Kyle and Jenny Applefield topped the leader board with a 44.70-pound kingfish that earned them the King of the Beach crown and more than $70,000 in prize money. Organizers are now looking forward to the annual Old Salt Spring King of the Beach Tournament to catch the mackerel when they’re moving back north. Tournament dates are April 27-29. For more information, go to oldsaltfishing.org.

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11/18/16 2:10 PM


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DECEMBER 2016

FLORIDA 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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M

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

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

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

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

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

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

I

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

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

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

DECEMBER 2016

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

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

T

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

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

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

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

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UNDER THE SEA

SPEARFISHING WORLD RECORDS SHERI DAYE

M

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

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

For more Sheri Daye, go to

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• Regional Reports • Featured Articles • Fishing Tips • Giveaways

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Team MHX finds Success in 2016

H

FLW Photo

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

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

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How Does Harbor Freight Sell GREAT QUALITY Tools at the LOWEST Prices?

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

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Coastal Angler Magazine-Dec. / Fort Myers-Cape Coral-Charlotte Harbor