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For details and the name of your nearest participating Suzuki Marine dealer, visit www.suzukimarine.com 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 7/01/17 and 9/30/17 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 Outboard Motors made between 7/01/17 and 9/30/17. 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 Outboard Motors. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 7/01/17 and 9/30/17. “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. © 2017 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

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

FLORIDA

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

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

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

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

GREAT LAKES

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

INTERNATIONAL BAHAMAS : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2017. 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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Best Of By CAM Staff

Overall Best of Show - Bote Rover

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ach year, the fishing industry and anglers eagerly await ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show, to see what new rods, reels, lures, apparel and gadgets companies will roll out in the show’s New Product Showcase. For the gear-heads out there, it never disappoints. This year, 1,263 products, accessories and apparel were entered by 280 companies to compete for Best of Category awards in 26 different categories. The products were viewed and voted on at ICAST in Orlando on July 13. This year’s big winner was the Bote Rover, which took home Overall Best of Show. It also took top honors in the Boats and Watercraft category. It is a truly innovative little SUP/Skiff hybrid, powered by a small outboard to get you where you’re going. Once you get there, it gives you all the skinny-water and stealth capabilities of an SUP. The following is a list of all the other cool and innovative products that earned top honors in their categories. Boating Accessories: Yeti Coolers LoadOut Bucket With the LoadOut Bucket, Yeti has done for the lowly 5-gallon bucket what it did for the cooler. This injection-molded workhorse is Yeti tough and designed to exceed any need from the boat to the backyard. Eyewear: Costa Sunrise Mirror Lens Sunrise Mirror lenses are designed for low-light conditions. They let in 30 percent of the available light while maintaining 97 percent polarization for optimal performance and eye protection at dawn, dusk or on cloudy days.

Huk Attack

Footwear: Huk Performance Fishing Attack The Huk Attack is the most engineered, purpose-built fishing shoe ever created. It brings performance features for the serious fisherman with unique traction, bullet-proof durability and all-day comfort and support. Giftware: The Catch and Release Print Shop Actual Size An alternative to taxidermy, these fish prints are created to the exact length of your catch and stamped with your name and information about your catch. Lifestyle Apparel: Frogg Toggs Prym1 Series Pilot II Jacket and Bibs The Frogg Toggs Prym1 Series Pilot II Jacket and Bibs is the company’s camouflage style of its bombproof Pilot II. It is available in shoreline blue, silver mist and blackout options. Technical Apparel: Frogg Toggs Sierran Transition Wader A zippered, flip-out chest pocket, large multi-function pocket and exterior fly storage area allow these waders to fill double-duty as a chest pack for storage of fly fishing gear. Electronics: Humminbird Solix 15 Chirp Mega SI GPS Humminbird has achieved improved detail and target separation with Chirp Digital Sonar. With touch screen or keypad interface, the screen can be customized and viewed with up to four panels. Fishing Accessory: Yeti Coolers Panga Duffel The Panga Duffel is a hardcore drybag designed to withstand brutal treatment and be completely watertight. It is fully submersible, and Yeti called it a gear fortress. Fly Fishing Accessory: Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader Simms has built its most breathable and durable wader yet in its new G3 Guide, with four-layers of Gore-Tex fabric in the legs and three layers above the waist. They also feature a chest pocket, handwarmer pockets and built in utility tabs.

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Fishing Line: Berkley Fireline Ultra 8 With four times the abrasion resistance of its original Fireline, Berkley’s thermally fused Ultra 8 comes in a range from 4 pound test up to 30 pound test. FishSmart: Eagle Claw 2017 Flounder Sample Pack Eagle Claw jumps in for the conservation of summer flounder and catch and release with its 2017 Flouder Sample Pack. Kids’ Tackle: 13 Fishing Ambition Combo Designed specifically with the smaller size of a child in mind, but packed with some features required by serious anglers, these salt and freshwater combos are perfect for the little angler who is really into fishing. Tackle Management: Daiwa Tactical Backpack This tackle backpack is perfect for hiking into a stream, walking the banks of a pond, hauling down to the surf or for use as a quickgrab on your buddy’s boat. It is custom designed to hold all the gear an angler needs.

Saltwater Soft Lure: LIVETARGET Hollow Body Mullet The Hollow Body Mullet is sure to find a place in nearshore and inshore boxes and be deadly for sea trout, redfish, snook, flounder and striped bass. It is an incredibly detailed and lifelike walking bait with great action. Fly Reel: Pflueger Supreme QRS Fly Reel With its innovative Quick Release Spool, the Supreme QRS offers an interchangeable large-arbor cassette spool system. The polycarbonate cassettes are secured in the spool carrier by an advanced locking system enclosed by a full stainless steel and alloy construction. Freshwater Reel: Shimano Curado K Baitcasting Reel As if the Curado weren’t legendary enough, Shimano has improved on its venerable reel with the latest in Shimano technology, such as smooth, efficient, durable MicroModule gearing. It is available gear ratios up to 8.5:1. Saltwater Reel: Shimano Sustain Reels C4000/5000 Shimano’s Sustain Reels are a saltwater line of spinning reels that fits into the higher end of Shimano’s line. Featuring Shimano’s advanced Hagane technology, they are smooth, powerful and durable for anglers seeking to do battle with midsized saltwater species.

Terminal Tackle: Trapper Round Bend Treble With an innovative “trap,” the standard version of this odd-looking hook has proven itself by holding baits in place and keeping fish on the hook. The treble-hook version of the trapper is revolutionary. Freshwater Hard Lure: Savage Gear 3D Topwater Bat This crazy-looking bait plays on the nature of predatory species to strike on reaction. It is a hard, surface-walking bait 3D scanned to mimic a bat struggling in the water.

3D Topwater Bat

Saltwater Hard Lure: Rapala X-Rap Magnum 40 Did somebody say wahoo? The new X-Rap Magnum 40 dives consistently to 40 feet with aggressive swimming action. It can be trolled as fast as 13 knots without rolling or kicking out.

Rapala X-Rap Magnum 40

Freshwater Soft Lure: Lunkerhunt LP Prop Series The Lunkerhunt Prop Series combines the design of hollow-body soft plastics with modern prop technology previously found only on hard-body lures. The Prop Series features three body styles: The Prop Frog, The Prop Fish Sunfish and The Prop Fish Shad.

Rod & Reel Combo: Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool Combo This baitcast combo features Lew’s exclusive SLP Super Low Profile compact design in a premium 10-bearing Speed Spool reel with MSB Multi-Setting Brake dual cast control system. The combo’s onepiece IM8 graphite rod sports a Winn Dri-Tac splitgrip handle. Fly Fishing Rod: G. Loomis IMX-Pro Fly Rod G. Loomis’ IMX-Pro series was designed for professional guides. IMX-PRO MATRIX is a material that allows Loomis to use fewer wraps of graphite and build fast, responsive rods that are lighter and more sensitive without sacrificing power or durability. Freshwater Rod: 13 Fishing Fate Black With crisp action, incredible sensitivity and superb balance, the Fate Black offers the benefits of a Japanese 30T HTC blank, an innovative seamless reel seat, tanglefree guides with zirconia inserts, hybrid comfort grips and handles made of hand-selected Portuguese cork. Saltwater Rod: St. Croix Legend T o u r n a m e n t Inshore Legend Tournament Inshore rods are the blending of the sensitivity, power and durability found in St Croix’s existing Legend Tournament Bass and Walleye series with components and technology reserved for saltwater environments.

Lunkerhunt Prop series

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A boater’s paradise, Bay Point Marina is gently tucked away along the Grand Lagoon in Panama City Beach, Florida, yet conveniently located just five minutes from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and 15 minutes from the Intracoastal Waterway. Fortunately for patrons and guests, Bay Point Marina is also just minutes by boat from Shell Island, which offers excellent snorkeling, superb fishing and some of the most secluded beaches available in North Florida. This quiet, full-service marina offers worldclass facilities and services including 180 protected slips, housing for boats up to 125 feet and luxury pontoon boat rentals at a relaxing price.

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Alaska’s Can’t Miss

Freshwater Fishing Adventures

By Christopher Batin

A

laska sportfishing offers wilderness realized rather than imagined and quickens the pulse in all types of anglers, from panfishermen to veteran world anglers. When an angler returns from Alaska and shares an evening on the flats or at the catfish hole with friends, talk quickly turns from big catfish stories to Alaska fishing adventures. The reason is obvious. If you are searching for action, the roostertails of spray generated by a 50-pound chinook salmon on a five-jump run through shallow water will satisfy your need. If the sight of huge shad migrations have you tying on a lure in finger-fumbling fashion, wait until you view pristine rivers teeming with five species of Pacific salmon that are counted not by the thousands, but by the millions. Valdez anglers see the return of as many as 11 million pink salmon to intertidal waters. Choosing the right Alaska adventure is complex, with its various runs, timing and weather. Knowing when to go, where to go and with whom is key. I’ve fished and covered Alaska’s fishing for more than 42 years, and I’ve helped countless anglers find the trip best suited for them. Each angler has separate needs. In the freshwater realm, here are some of the top considerations for can’t miss adventure, fish-hooking action and personal service worthy of the Alaska experience. Interior Alaska

If you’re looking for a quiet place to fish, with scenery, comfortable cabins and located far from the crowds, drive down to Denali National Park and visit Kirk Martakis at Fish Denali. He offers several lakes on private property that offer about 3,000 wild rainbow trout to 31 inches and trophy-sized grayling. They cruise the lake like sharks, and the clear water makes sight casting to them with single-hook jigs, nymphs or topwater lures too much fun. It’s some of the best lake rainbow fishing I’ve experienced. Cozy, fully equipped cabins located at lakeside offer everything you’ll need for a multi-day stay, including Wi-Fi and multiple bedrooms. It’s a good choice for large families, fishing buddies or couples who want a quiet, laid-back trip with some of Alaska’s best scenery (www.Fishdenali.com). Float fishing offers a change of scenery around each turn in the river as well as great fishing opportunities. Alaska River Tours offers remote float trips along the road system, with neither the crowds nor the expense. Depending on the season, owner Reinhard “Reini” Neuhauser chooses the best rivers for grayling, trout, sheefish, pike, salmon and char. On overnight excursions, he provides tents, camping gear and boats. You arrive ready to fish. I recommend the overnight float, which makes the most of Alaska’s 19-plus hours of daylight. Fish when it’s light, and float during the remaining five hours from midnight to the 4 a.m. during the twilight period, when it’s still light enough to read. It’s a heady trip that is only surpassed by his camps and food served (www.akrivertours.com). The Kenai Peninsula For a quick day of fishing, the Kenai River offers big king salmon to 70plus pounds that sizzle drags. Guide Joe Connors was my instructor back in 10

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my college days, and he’s still as tough on catching fish as he was on me learning public speaking. He’s a long-time Kenai veteran, and his guides at Big Sky Charter and Fish Camp have a long-time, sterling reputation for helping anglers of all skill levels catch silver and sockeye salmon, char and rainbow trout in the 25- to 34-inch range. He offers comfortable riverside cabins, evening barbecues and a quiet place to enjoy the river (www.kenaiguide.com). Bristol Bay Bristol Bay lodges offer the crème de le crème of Alaska sportfishing in these western Alaska waters, where tens of millions of salmon move into various watersheds each year. A couple hundred lodges and camps offer a variety of services, from bare-basic outfitted trips to spectacular lodges with fly-out fishing, shore lunches, and gourmet meals. Mike Gorton runs Goodnews River Lodge, the only lodge located on the 400-milelong river that offers some of the best boat-accessible river fishing for silver salmon, rainbow trout and char you’ll find in the region. It is a mixed-bag fishery, where no matter the weather, you can fish. There wasn’t a stretch of the Goodnews when friend Mark Wade and I fished that didn’t have silver salmon hammering our flies and big rainbow trout swarming in numbers like piranhas. The guides have great people skills and are skilled in their knowledge of the river (www.goodnewsriverlodge. com). Southeast Alaska In southeast Alaska, Marlin Benedict, of Fish Wrangell, offers freshwater fishing for salmon, cutthroat trout and char in the remote, beautiful jungle streams of the Tongass National Forest. You don’t walk long distances here, as most of the good fishing is within a half mile or so of saltwater, which also guarantees fish as fresh as they come. The most fun in fishing these shallow waters is watching salmon attacking your fly or lure. Personal service is topnotch. (www.fishwrangell.com). Chris Batin is editor of The Alaska Angler and author of nine award-winning books and Alaska fishing DVDs. He is featured as an Alaska legend in a new book, “Alaska’s Greatest Outdoor Legends,” published by the University of Alaska Press. For over 40 years, he has run The Alaska Angler Information Service. Discover more at www.AlaskaAngler.com.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

HAMMERHEAD TUFF GRAB AMARRA

Hammerhead Tuff Grab spearfishing gloves are the toughest warmwater spearfishing gloves available. Tuff Grabs were designed in Hawaii for use in asspetto spearfishing, which involves the diver descending to the bottom and scratching up substrate to attract inquisitive fish. In this style of ambush diving, normal diving gloves only last weeks. Tuff Grabs last months, saving the diver money in the long run. A full 5-finger, 2mm neoprene glove with reinforced flexible amarra (synthetic suede) palm and double-stitched gripped reinforcements offer exceptional durability without sacrificing dexterity. Anti-Slip rubberized grips are sewn into each fingertip and palm, leaving the knuckles open for flexibility. Large batting-glove style Velcro enclosures keep the glove tight. Tuff Grabs are available in both Deep Reef and Pelagic Shatter camouflage to help make you the ultimate predator.

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Center sp Are Log Homes Practical? Why Buy a Log Home?

Log Cabin process. Each log is perfectly engineered in our state of the art, climate-controlled facility prior to construction. This precise engineering of the logs prior to construction also ensures a superior thermal mass. Prior to the Blue Ridge Log Cabin process, thermal mass was affected by less than airtight construction. Ensuring exact fitting and high thermal mass has enabled our log homes to be very competitively priced with traditional construction and traditional building thermal efficiency, making our log homes View time-lapsed video at www.blueridgelogcabins.net an exceptional value, both now and into the future. bviously the number one attribute for log home owners tends Ben Martin: You’ve mentioned the “manufacturing process.” to be the aesthetics. Log homes and the feel of real wood tend to create an ambiance that tends to suit the outdoor enthu- How is it that log homes would have a manufacturing process? Chip Smith: Blue Ridge Log Cabins is an innovator in the log siast more than the traditional American home. But what about the cost to build and maintain a log home? Is it practical? That’s the ques- home industry. We were recently voted on as one of “America’s Favorite Log Homes” by Log Cabin Hub. Our unique process of comtion that we asked Chip Smith, Owner of Blue Ridge Log Cabins. Ben Martin: Chip, some people would suggest that the cost of pletely engineering each log in our facility has enabled us to provide a consistency previously unavailable in the log home industry. This a log home is more than that of a traditional home. Is that correct? Chip Smith: There was a time when that would have been true has also enabled us to produce a more energy efficient log home. Eliminating the inconsistencies normally associated with log but today with our improved efficiencies in development and construction of a Blue Ridge Log Cabin the answer is no, they are not home construction has allowed us to create a better value for our more costly than a traditional home. This innovation in the actual customers and a more efficient building process. Beautiful log homes manufacturing of the logs themselves is at the core of the Blue Ridge do not have to cost more than traditional homes.

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FLORIDA

Florida’s Freshwater Odd-balls

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By Nick Carter

ith warm, nutrient-rich waters, south Florida’s system of freshwater lakes and canals makes perfect habitat for exotic species from all over the world. Regardless of how populations of these weird and sporting fish arrived, they are there to stay. Anglers might as well enjoy them. Darcie Arahill, a.k.a. Darcizzle Offshore, knows her way around these canal systems. She has a particular enthusiasm for Delray Beach, Fla.’s Lake Ida, which is a small water body in an extensive system along Florida’s southern Atlantic coast. She enjoys the excellent bass fishing, but perhaps more appealing are the exotics that happen to be fantastic gamefish. The following oddballs are some of Darcie’s favorites from a fishery unlike any other. Sunshine Bass: These hard-fighting fish are produced and stocked by the state to control shad populations. They are a hybrid cross between striped bass and white bass without the capability to reproduce. State agencies across the country stock their versions of sunshine bass, and regional variations are called hybrids, wipers, whiterock and palmetto bass. Sunshine bass offer the fight and some of the size of a striped bass, while displaying the aggressive feeding behavior and warm-water tolerance of white bass. Although the current strain being produced might not be capable of achieving the size of the more than 16-pound state record, Darcie said they catch plenty of 5 to 6 pounders. Sunshine bass will take artificials like bucktails and swimbaits, but Darcie said you’re better off fishing live American shad or shiners on a Carolina rig. Clown Knife Fish: Lake Ida, its northern sister Lake Osborne, and their canals are the only places in North America where anglers can pursue clown knife fish. These aquarium escapees have become a desired gamefish for those in the know. They are a flat, silvery fish with a snake-like tail. They can swim powerfully either forward or backward, which produces a unique fight. Darcie said these natives to tropical Asia jump like tarpon, and they have been recorded up to 10 pounds in Florida. A clown knife fish might eat a

swimbait, but Darcie said live shad or shiners are your best bet. Peacock Bass: A native to the Amazon River Basin, the butterfly peacock bass has driven many a grand adventure to South America. These gorgeous fish were introduced to Florida by the FWC in the 1980s to control invasive forage species. Anglers are glad to have them. Sensitivity to cool water keeps peacock bass in check. They thrive only in southeast Florida and grow to their largest size in the canals around Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where they’ve been documented up to 12 pounds. Darcie Arahill shows off a big clown knife fish. “They’re very aggressive, and they’re a beautiful fish to catch,” said Darcie. “They fight twice as hard as a largemouth.” Butterfly peacocks make it as far north as West Palm Beach, but cold snaps knock them back every few winters. They will hammer topwater baits and moving baits. Check out Darcie’s YouTube channel Darcizzle Offshore at www.youtube. com/user/DarcizzleOffshore.

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UNDER THE SEA

2. Use dangling flashers and chum to increase your chances of attracting them. 3. When you become aware of their presence, do not move a hair as they will disappear if they detect any change in your body language. here’s something about jumping into the blue 4. Do not look at them directly; they do not like eye contact. Use your abyss that gives some people the creeps. For best acting skills to imitate an innocent many, there’s an eerie sense of turtle who has no interest in wahoos. vulnerability knowing that “something” 5. Use a throw flasher to bring them in could materialize from any place at any closer, within range of your speargun. time out of the deep blue. For others, 6. Dive in with a slow and soft descent, the excitement of being able to hunt with your eyes and head turned elsewhere. different species propels them to set 7. If you have done everything correctly aside any doubts about venturing off the and they are still hanging around, extend reef and into new territory. your speargun slowly and take careful Spearfishing in water that is aim, because you will get one chance. hundreds or thousands of feet deep 8. Unless you are extremely confident is a completely different feeling than you can get the kill shot, aim for center reef hunting. For one, looking through mass where your chances of hitting the your mask into deep blue water can be Sheri Daye swims in a big wahoo. target are highest, but not too far back or disorienting when there is nothing for Photo by Vaeamuni Kama too low as a gut shot will result in a tearyour eyes to focus on—no reef, no cover, off. no frame of reference. But just when 9. Let the wahoo complete its initial you begin to wonder why you are floating around in this vast sea of run. The burst of energy with the spear, line and float in tow is impressive, nothingness, you suddenly become aware of another presence—a wahoo but the fish will tire quickly and to the point where you can pull it in by is floating beside you! No matter how hard you are looking, you never the float line. see them coming in; they just materialize out of nowhere. 10. Once you have your fish in hand, gloat, take pictures, show off, Wahoos are one of the most coveted fish for bluewater hunters. That grill and eat! is because they are stealthy, good-tasting and way smarter than you are. They can solve differential equations, calculate the exact range of your P.S. Bluewater spearfishing is thrilling but should only be done after speargun and read your mind. Their elusive nature and narrow body proper training and experience. shape provide a challenging target even for the most experienced of hunters. Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer Here are some tips for hunting this wary species: of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow 1. Use the right equipment. Bluewater spearguns have longer range “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram. and detachable terminal equipment, including shaft with slip-tip, float line and surface floatation. Do not use a reel gun unless you want to get For more Sheri Daye, go to spooled in seconds and lose your gun.

WAHOOS—WONDERFUL AND WILY

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Surf Angler Lands Enormous Brevard County Hammerhead

The perfect fishing knot is not a knot, but a weld!

By Wade Senti

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ur day began with a late start. We expected to drop our baits at sunrise, but arrived around 9 a.m. We quickly set up a sunshade tent, rolled the fishing cart down with our gear and carried the kayak to the spot. My family has fished the coastlines of Brevard County since the mid 1990s, long before kayaks became so popular, when you used surfboards to get your bait out well beyond the surf. My father has recorded some noteworthy catches with this technique using live bait on conventional reel setups. On this day, we picked up some frozen bonita from a local bait shop and were specifically targeting sharks for catch and release. I brought two heavy conventional reel setups, a spinning setup for tossing in the trough and a heavy surf rod for tossing lures into the surf. We planned for a long day of fishing in southern Melbourne Beach. I spread our rod holders down the beach, set up our rods and began arranging the fishing rigs. We use custom rigs for sharks. The one I used to beach an enormous hammerhead in early July consisted of a 20/0 circle hook (debarbed), 6 feet of 600-pound coated steel leader and approximately 10 feet of 300-pound mono shock leader. I’ve found debarbing circle hooks makes for easy and quick hook removal, especially with smaller sharks, such as blacktips. We took turns dropping the baits with our kayak, the shortest being about 175 yards and the longest around 250 yards off the beach. Our baits were secured by tying about 8 feet of breakaway biodegradable twine at the hook eye with a cement block piece at the end. The baits sat for five and a half hours before we got any action. At this point, I figured the crabs had picked apart our bonita and the day was done. We were cooling off in the water when my buddy’s, Pete Filiberto, Penn International 80w went off. He ran out of the water, but the bait had been taken. I saw a little activity with my rod, but figured a sea turtle had passed over the line. Less than five minutes later, that hypothesis had changed. The deeper drop proved worthy. My tuned-up Penn 12/0 Senator began screaming, and I told my buddy to grab the plate and belt, while I tightened my newly upgraded drag to full. We struggled to get the belt in place, so I ended up fighting with the rod butt in the sand; it was nature’s fighting chair. I kept the pressure throughout the struggle with my 125-pound Bullbuster mono line. The fight lasted approximately 30 minutes, standstill at times, but I never lost much gain. A few equipment malfunctions such as my handle grip coming loose and my shorts falling off didn’t stop me from successfully landing and quickly releasing the enormous hammerhead. I was exhausted. We did not have time to tag or measure it, but we believe it was at or over 10 feet in length.

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Gamefish Grande Tournaments Ply Cuban Waters

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he second annual Gamefish Grande Tournaments wrapped up June 13 in Havana, Cuba. The two-tournament series fished the fertile waters off the island nation, with teams releasing multiple blue and white marlin and sailfish. The first of the two tournaments was held out of Marina Gaviota, a 1,200-slip marina in the beautiful resort town Veradero, where teams were pampered by the hospitality of marina staff. Teams fished June 5-8 out of the marina, which sits at the midpoint of Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula east of Havana. Over three Hog Wild took first place at the June 10days, two blue marlin Team 13 Gamefish Grande in Havana. were released. First place honors went to team Seamaster, a 78’ Rybovich with owner Dan Devine fishing. The Seamaster released a blue marlin on day one to take home the top trophy. Second place went to Wayne Carmignani on the Hog Wild, a 52’ Viking. Wayne released a blue marlin on Team Seamaster won the June 5-8 Gamefish day three. The Hog Wild Grande tournament in Veradero. also released the largest dolphin of the tournament weighing 32.4 pounds. Participants in the Varadero tournament were treated to gourmet meals at the Kike-Kcho Restaurant where they dined on fresh lobster, giant prawns and paella. From Veradero, the teams travelled to Havana, where the fishing really picked up June 10-13. After checking in at Marina Hemingway, participants were treated to a Cuban dinner at El Laurel Restaurante. The fleet fished just offshore for three days and released seven blue marlin, 1 white marlin and five sailfish. Team Hog Wild, from Naples, Fla., placed first with five blue marlin, one white marlin and three sailfish released. William Ray, aboard his 43’ Ocean No Fly Zone, came in second, releasing two blue marlin. Blue Heron finished up the leaderboard with a third place win releasing two sailfish. According to the organizers, Marina Hemingway was an accommodating host for the event and made all participants feel welcome. Members of the Cuban Fishing Federation were onhand to help judge the releases. The top teams at each tournament received custom-designed trophies from tournament trophy sponsor King Sailfish Mounts. AIM Marine Group, which produces and manages Gamefish Grande, wished to thank sponsor Mantus Anchors, the official anchor of Gamefish Grande. Sponsor Cuba Travel Services provided T-shirts for the anglers and arranged travel, tours and accommodations for tournament guests. Zeidel & Co. supplied hats for the tournament as well as custom-printed burgees for each participating boat. Tournament sponsor RMK Merrill-Stevens awarded certificates to the winners of each tournament for haul out, power wash, yard services and a Pettit paint voucher. For more information on the Gamefish Grande, visit gamefishgrande.com and be sure to follow them on Facebook. To contact the Gamefish Grande, email jdudas@aimmedia.com.

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Make reel memories.

Fall Gag Season Approved For Four Counties

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FWC Photo

t its July meeting in Orlando, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved lengthening the Gulf of Mexico gag grouper recreational season in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties by opening the season Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The Commission also approved changing the gag grouper commercial minimum size limit in Gulf state waters from 22 to 24 inches. This size limit change is consistent with pending federal regulations. For the gag grouper recreational season, state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties are currently open from April 1 through June 30. The FWC received stakeholder requests for a longer season that would make fishing opportunities in the four-county area more comparable with the rest of the Gulf, where there is a seven-month season that runs June 1 through Dec. 31. “The regional management of this species has been a success story. Anglers have been able to fish for this species during more desired times of the year while still promoting conservation,” said Chairman Brian Yablonski. “We are excited that we can offer these additional fishing opportunities to Florida’s anglers.” The fall season from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 will be in place in time for anglers to participate this year. For more information or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways, natural environment and opportunity for diverse catches make it a mecca for fishermen and nautical explorers year-round. An array of unique shops, fine restaurants, great golf courses and quiet beaches make a day ashore fun, too. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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The water is shallow. The lessons run deep.

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ugust in the Upper Keys is full of options. One could find fast action on the reefs or dolphin offshore, but Capt. Greg Poland prefers the shallow stuff this time of year. Whether it’s classic skinny-water targets like bonefish, snook, tarpon, permit and redfish or huge sharks cruising the flats, Capt. Poland loves the thrill of fishing in less than 3 feet of water. With ocean-side flats on the front and Florida Bay and the Everglades National Park on the backside, one of the toughest decisions Poland faces each morning is which way to go. Aboard his skiff or his 25’ Contender Bay Boat—from GTB Boat Sales on Key Largo—all options are in-range, and the Everglades are just a 10-minute run from the docks. The whole area is a playground for the shallow-water angler. Permit and Bones: While bonefish show up on the flats on either side of the island, permit stick to the Atlantic side, either on the flats or out on the near-shore reefs. Capt. Poland said the best way to catch either species is with bait. For permit, he’ll fish a live crab on a 3/0 hook with a 7-foot spinning rod spooled with 15-pound monofilament and a

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20-pound fluorocarbon leader. For bonefish, Poland sizes down to 10- or 12-pound mono with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. He sight fishes for bonefish with live shrimp, but he also catches a lot of fish dead-bait fishing. The technique involves Power Poling down in an area where the bones should be. Capt. Poland then rigs a hook with a single live shrimp and a half of a dead one. “There’s a live shrimp that’s jumping around with a dead one that’s just sitting there smelling,” he said. It’s a remarkably effective technique. Tarpon and Snook: The bay side of Largo is a hot-bed for tarpon and snook. This time of year, there will be plenty of slotsized and larger snook along with juvenile tarpon from 2 to 4 feet in length around the mangroves. Capt. Poland starts his mornings cast-netting the preferred bait: pinfish and pilchards. Depending on conditions, he rigs them with or without a cork on a 3/0 or 4/0 hook and a 2-foot leader of 40- to 60-pound fluorocarbon. Then he goes looking for some moving water and pitches the baits around the mangroves. Even with 60-pound line, a 32-inch snook or a tailwalking 4-foot tarpon is a handful, especially in these snaggy, shallow environs. Sharks: Finally, and what Poland called “last, but definitely not least,” are big sharks.

Capt. Poland hung into his first big shark when he was just 10 years old and fishing Florida Bay on a guide trip with his dad. The captain tricked the fish into biting by dragging a dead ballyhoo in front of its nose. He then handed the rod over to a young, enthusiastic and impressionable boy. Poland has been doing the same thing ever since. “I wonder why I ever do anything else,” he said. “They’re big, they’re powerful and they’re fun.” With a heavy spinning rod or up to a 30w conventional setup, he fishes bait on an 8/0 circle hook and 4 feet of wire. The first order of business it to deploy a frozen block of chum. Then, if he’s caught a good live bait like a jack crevalle, he’ll fish it. If all he has is dead ballyhoo purchased at the bait shop, that works just as well when fished just like Poland saw the captain do it many years ago. On windy days, Poland sometimes even deploys a kite, just like the ones used offshore. He’ll bait it with a live blue runner, and wait for the show to begin. “There’s nothing like seeing a 10 foot lemon or hammerhead come up out of the water to eat that bait in 3 feet of water,” he said. Unless you go see for yourself, you’ll just have to believe that’s the truth. From offshore to the backcountry, Capt. Greg Poland is skilled in all the fishing the Florida Keys have to offer. Check out his website at www.gregpoland.com.

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The water is shallow. The lessons run deep.

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and westerly winds should keep water levels high enough to access remote areas around spoil islands holding these fish. Other than gold spoons and soft-scented baits, large live shrimp and an occasional cut pinfish are my baits of choice.

Summer Opportunities

by Capt. Terry Fisher

Summer time fishing can offer anglers great opportunity for a ‘fish of a lifetime’. Warm waters, higher and stronger tides will assist spawning and feeding activities for some of the most sought after, inshore/ offshore game fish that are inherent to our waters. Spawning snook will be swimming in and along the beach trenches of Ft. Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, North Captiva, Cayo Costa and Boca Grande. They will be active on both incoming and outgoing tides. They will also be found in any of the passes, especially early morning or late evening. Other than artificial presentations, live or cut baits of choice will include pilchards, pinfish and shrimp. I prefer to free-line live baits when in pursuit of these fish. Use hooks to match the size of the bait presentation (1/0-4/0) and have a substantial leader (30-40 lb. Fluorocarbon) to match the length of the largest fish you expect to catch (not necessarily the size you dream of catching). Be realistic, if you overcompensate, it will come with ‘penalty’. However, be advised that these fish can be substantial in size.

Seatrout are active, but for the most part are very small and will be for the next few months. I purchase ‘regular’ size shrimp for these fish. They are much less expensive by the 100 count ($15). Moreover, seatrout and ladyfish are not as ‘picky’ when it comes to bait sizes (when the bite is on, one will go through a lot of shrimp). Light tackle makes the smallest of fish enjoyable to catch.

Last month, I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Ben Martin of Indian Harbor Beach, Florida. Ben is the ‘Editor-in Chief ’ of Coastal Angler Magazine. Ben is an accomplished angler with ‘world-wide’ experience and success. His request for a charter came to me through Ft. Myers, Coastal Angler Franchise owner, Nadeen Welch of Cape Coral, Florida. Ben was to be in the area over a weekend and wanted to catch SW Florida snook and redfish while experiencing first hand the techniques I recommend and write about in an effort to assist Coastal Angler readers in catching more fish. The timing, in my opinion, was not the best in regards to current strengths and tide levels. This only added to the pressure already on me to ensure a successful experience for Mr. A few tarpon are still in Charlotte Harbor (up around the bridges). Martin. Nadeen was to accompany and take pictures of the catches. Some may be seen just off the beaches, anywhere from 50 yards to Talk about pressure! 5 miles out. If the water is dirty from strong westward winds, look for them further offshore. I recommend large live pinfish and small Nadeen and I departed for the water at 5:30 am. We were to pick

Ben up at a Cabbage Key rental unit around 7:30, after we had a chance to cast net for pilchards for the snook (we had purchased jumbo shrimp for the redfish from a reliable bait shop on our way to Pineland Marina). At 8:00 am, my phone rang and it was Ben wanting to know where we were and how the pilchard procurement was coming along. We were not far from him, but getting pilchards this time of year can be very tough (they are either not there in good numbers or too small to use). Nonetheless, I assured him that we were good on time (in regards to tide levels and movement) and would see him within 30 minutes. Fortunately, we chummed and netted just enough to work the morning incoming tide. Ben is pictured with a Snook he caught while free-lining a pilchard on a 1/0 circle hook.

As the morning progressed and the tide level increased toward Pineland (back country areas of Pine Island Sound), we relocated and changed strategy to catch redfish. We placed the jumbo shrimps on jig heads directly on the seabed along the mangroves and under popping crabs on 5/0 to 7/0 circle hooks for best results. I prefer to use 80lb. corks, with short leaders suspending the bait above dead wood, oyster fluorocarbon leader (the length of the fish). If fish do not bite, try using clusters and mangrove roots. No sexy or complicated presentations a lighter leader (40-60lb), especially when smaller tarpon are around. but effective. Ben is pictured with one of several redfish he caught. Ben and Nadeen are pictured together with one she caught. I enjoyed the Large Mangrove Snappers, Lane and Vermillion are on the reefs company and it was a pleasure to fish with two accomplished anglers. and will eat squid, shrimp and bait fish of all types and sizes (dead or They made my day and I hope I made theirs. alive). Hook on a jig head and drop. Use light fluorocarbon leaders (20-30lb) with 1/0-2/0 circle hooks for these species. These fish, along with permit have been active. I prefer crab with heavier leader for the This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters. Website: www.fishfacecharters. permit. The redfish bite is very good. I recommend fishing for them during the morning, regardless of any higher, afternoon and evening tides (the afternoon heat will put them down). Summer rains, light southerly

com. Feel free to contact me at 239-357-6829 or email me at fishfacecharters@ yahoo.com to schedule a charter to catch your ‘fish of a lifetime’. I am also available as ‘Captain for Hire’ (by the hour) on your vessel for safety, navigation, fishing techniques and actual locations to insure catching fish is a regular event. Check out my weekly fishing ‘blogs and tips’ at www.goboatingflorida.com.

2 FORT MYERS | AUGUST 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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tion, ent. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 3


Ladies SW Florida Fishing

by Vicki Fisher

the women are ‘just going to ride along’ as they are not really into fishing. Midway through the charter they have a rod in their hand, they’ve caught the most fish, and are ready to catch their fish of a lifetime! So… I’d like to encourage you to take some time and head to the water. I think you’ll find it relaxing, peaceful and therapeutic to get in touch with nature and all its wonder.

August is also that time of year when large numbers of big Snook and Bull Reds spawn and feed on the flats and in the back-country areas. The higher summer tides and favorable wind directions will ugust is the improve the opportunity at virtually every location from Ft. Myers perfect month to Beach up to Charlotte Harbor throughout Pine Island Sound. Here wind down from the are a few of the best strategies and tactics: hustle and bustle of Try to work the top half of the incoming and outgoing summertime and the 1) tides as this allows you access to more boating and fishing children being home from school. Our locations. Fish the higher tides of the month when possible and the weather here in SW 2) New and Full Moon phases. Florida tends to be HOT 3) Do not sit in one spot to long…if you haven’t had any and HUMID, therefore we start thinking action within 10 minutes move along and come back later at a about school supplies, different stage of the moving tide. Fish live bait, such as shrimp or threadfins, both on the backpacks, new schedules and everything that goes along with 4) bottom as well as under a cork. Cut pinfish work great as well. heading back to school. We have had the pleasure of meeting many new families that came to our area for vacation and wanted to spend a day on the water for some family fun and fishing. While spending It’s always a good idea to pick up a copy of the local Fishing 4-8 hours on our vessel we learn so much about their family and Regulations from your bait shop and keep on hand so that you it’s such a blessing to see the excitement and joy when they catch make sure your ‘bounty’ is legal. fish! Several of our junior anglers have become ‘pen pals’ and write to let us know how they’re doing and find out about the fishing! This is First Mate Vicki Fisher sending you all good luck for great summer fishing! This is just affirmation that they enjoyed their time out on the water I’d love to hear some of your fishing stories and success! Feel free to contact me with or if I can be of assistance at (239) 471-7332 or email fishfacecharters@ with Captain Terry and FISH FACE CHARTERS! So many times, questions yahoo.com

Take Your Time

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into a couple blue runners in between the snook and decided to drop them down for some Goliath or a shark. Within minutes we were hooked into a Goliath and I could tell by the rod bend it wasn’t small. The client who was a college football player was by Capt. James Marko struggling, so I hopped in and decided to help with the fish. After about 8 minutes of the toughest tug of war, with some cursing most people will never experience, we could finally see the fish about 20-ft down. After one last attempt to dive back down, we finally turned the head on the fish and he surfaced. It took us a couple seconds to catch our breath, but we set up a great photo with a fellow boater out on the water. We measured the fish to be around 412 pounds. After that I was kinda pumped and asked if I could drop a bait to see if there was another and they said go ahead. Within minutes I was hooked up on a beast. After about 5 minutes, the fish turned its head a lot easier and started to surface. When the fish came to surface, it is was so calm. The fish laid on its side allowed us to get measurements and a biopsy sample of the anal fin for DNA coding. After the measurements, we estimated it to 507 pounds. A true reef monster beside my boat I had to take this chance to swim with it. I jumped in the water, got a great photo and safely released the fish, while it swam with such grace down to had a trip this past month and my clients wanted to Reef fish. I took them the bottom of the ocean to rule the reef again. I use the Okuma Solterra to a local reef about 5 miles offshore. I used my Raymarine to find where 50w for my Goliath and a custom Dan James rod. Fishing Frank’s the fish were lighting up the screen and lined up our anchor position based locations and Okumafishingusa.com will carry the reel and you can on the current and structure. The clients dropped some pinfish to about 35ft contact Brady Nelson at DanJamesCustomRods.com (a local Ft. Myers business) for all your custom rod needs. while I set up the chum bag. Before I could get the bag set we were on! We started the day by catching slot snook 5 miles offshore, which is Remember to follow us on Instagram @captjamesmarko & FB https://www. always a blast. If you haven’t tried it, you need too. It’s like fighting red facebook.com/james.markovits?fref=search for our daily catches. Check out our website as well at www.Goliathfishing.com for trip information and contact snapper and all of a sudden, bam it’s a slot snook. Crazy stuff. We hooked

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 5


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Summer Fishing The Dog Days of Summer

by Capt. Sam O’Briant

N

ow we are entering August or what is known as the dog days of summer. What do we do when it becomes very hot and humid outside? We act like our other family member, our dog, and take a lot of naps. Well, the fish do exactly the same it seems.

The trout will move slightly away from the grass flats. The water becomes even hotter due to the darker background it provides. Specks may move from 3 ½ - 4 feet of water to over 6 – 8 feet. The earlier in the day, the shallower you can fish. As the day warms, if your bite has slowed or stopped, move out a little and try again. The odds are that the fish have not moved very far, just to a more hospitable area.

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Snook season is still closed. If you must catch a snook, look in the shade under the overhanging mangroves. They will be sitting there just waiting for food to go by. They are also very lazy. You can drift your bait just outside the overhang and they may never hit it. Then if the next cast happens to go under the bushes, you may hook up. Snook do know the area where they live. When hooked, you can watch them run back and forth between snags then if able, they will wrap you around one. Do not short change a snook’s ability or you will end up on the short end of the line.

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If the tarpon hold to their past habits, most of them have departed for parts west, far from us. This does not mean they all left. There will still be plenty around for our enjoyment. They will still be found in their normal haunts: the passes, off St. James City, Knapp’s Point and up river. Find the bait and you will probably find the fish. When you decide to try your luck, you should try using either ½ a catfish or mullet, a pass crab if you can get them, or live bait. Spanish mackerel halves have also been used, but be sure the mackerel came with you on the boat. Any you catch on the day of your trip must be brought to shore whole, thus you cannot cut one in half that day.

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Redfish, now if Louisiana would share some of theirs with us we could really have a great fishery! Although there are a lot of redfish around, it is quite often hard to find a lot of them and get one in the slot. Here again, I would look under the overhangs and in any shade. But instead of live bait, pieces of cut bait like pinfish, ladyfish, or mullet will work better. This is not to say live bait will not work. If you are lucky enough to hook a bull red under the trees or anywhere, hang on and be ready for a treat and a fight. Like fish, you need to be careful with the heat and sun also. Be sure to take precautions. Capt. Sam is a local licensed guide for hire who may be reached at 239-994-1495 or captainobriant@gmail.com

6 FORT MYERS | AUGUST 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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Protecting our Land and Waters by John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper

R

ecent initiatives by the Trump Administration have targeted various long-standing policies intended to conserve our natural resources. The reasoning is that resource protection rules and regulations negatively impact the economy. However, sportsmen have been staunch supporters of strong resource protection and have witnessed how the economy responds positively when fish and wildlife are robust and healthy. A survey conducted in June by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) of 1000 anglers and hunters throughout the U.S. confirms their commitment in support of conservation policies. The following are a few of the survey results: ◆ Ninety two percent agree that public lands that support clean water are positive economic drivers. ◆ Across party lines, eighty one percent consider themselves conservationists. ◆ Eighty three percent support applying the Clean Water Act (CWA) to smaller headwater streams and wetlands. Current proposals would eliminate such protections. ◆ Past laws including the CWA, Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act are overwhelmingly seen as positive by sportsmen. As you read this, the Federal government is actively working to reduce or dilute policies aimed at protecting our land and waters. Please consider contacting your Congressional representatives in support of strong policies important to anglers and other sportsmen. The full TRCP survey can be viewed at: http://www.trcp.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/TRCP-NatlSportsmens-Poll_Complete.pdf.

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Please support local efforts of the Calusa Waterkeeper to keep our waters clean and fishable. Contact us at http://www.calusawaterkeeper.org/ COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 7


Paddlin’ & Fishin’ Kayak Anchoring

by Dan Carns

A

nchoring seems simple enough. You arrive at your favorite spot, grab your anchor and toss it overboard. In truth, anchoring a boat or a kayak is integral to successful fishing. There are several options available to the kayaker here in S.W. Florida. The most common is the folding grapnel anchor, simple to use but must be used correctly. You need to use the locking ring to hold the arms in place or they will just fold up and ride along the bottom. Beware of the little 1.5 lbs canoe anchors, as the wind and tide will not let this anchor hold, use at least a 3 to 5 lb. size. Next up is the recently available fiberglass stick pin, a simple fiberglass rod with a T handle at the top to push into the soft bottom. It comes in various sizes depending on where you plan to fish, although you will only be able to use it in relatively shallow water (six feet or so). S.W. Florida is home to some amazing shallow water fishing and my five-foot stick pin is the best purchase I’ve made to date for my kayak! A word of advice, tie a foam float to the end of the rope so if it disconnects you will be able to find it in our tannin colored water! Finally, there is a new Mini Power Pole option available that quickly deploys at the touch of a button. Again, this is limited by the depth of the water and you may want to carry both pin style and the folding grapnel anchor. Keeping in mind that fish love to feed on moving tides and around quickly flowing pinch-points where the water is compressed between islands or oyster bars, in general, fish will be facing into the current and be expecting the bait to be coming from this direction. When anchoring, so as not to spook the fish, consider the distance you need to stay from these spots and how far you can cast, allowing your presentation to use this flowing water. Another thing to master is the point along the side of you kayak that you will use to tie off your anchor. Some kayaks have a trolley system with pulleys that allow you to move the anchor points by simply pulling the rope front to back. My kayak has plastic loop tie-offs on both sides, positioned one third from the front, in the middle of my yak and one third from the back. This gives me the best anchoring options for great hook sets and casting and allows me to change position by simply moving the clip to suit my needs. The next time you’re out, practice this and focus on how your kayak reacts to the tide and wind and you’ll soon be an expert at anchoring!

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Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail by Mike Hammond

T

Port Sanibel Marina

he Port Sanibel Marina is an often-overlooked paddle launch gem along the Calusa Blueway. I’m surprised each visit when I see there are few roof-racks in the parking lot (where parking is always free and accessible year-round). The marina is located on the mainland, about a mile before the Sanibel Causeway. Paddlers can launch from the concrete ramp or floating dock. The floating dock is occupied by YOLO Board Adventures - Sanibel, but they are happy to share space if asked. If you don’t have your own equipment, kayaks and canoes can be rented from the marina and YOLO offers standup paddleboard rentals, tours, and lessons on-site. Posing by Calusa Blueway sign The launch fee is $5, but I consider this a good deal, considering all the amenities and ease of access in these protected waters. There are nice bathrooms and the Port Sanibel Marina Ship Store has fishing tackle, live bait, snacks, beverages, hats, and just about anything else you’ll need or forget. There’s also ice cream, outdoor tables and rocking chairs to occupy the kids while packing up after your paddle. Amenities abound at this launch site but, my favorite thing is the nice thick Ben catching a mangrove snapper grass in the parking lot where I can stage my gear without it getting scratched or sand-covered. That’s a pretty big luxury to me. There’s also a fishing cleaning station and hoses for rinse off. There’s a great little fishing spot (a favorite of my son) straight off the ramp in a small mangrove cove. Or, you can head right, go under the bridge to Connie Mack Island and onto the Larry’s Lagoon paddling trail. The entire trail is wind-protected in Punta Rassa Cove. That’s a big plus for many novice paddlers and families with youngsters. It is a 2.5-mile marked trail through Fishing the flats right in front mangroves, past a manatee of the marina lagoon, and places like Stingray Bay and Mango’s Cove. Maps of the trail are provided in the ship store or you can download them from the Port Sanibel Marina webpage. The Port Sanibel Marina is easy access to great water with many amenities. My only warning is that paddlers could easily become spoiled here.

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For a complete schedule and registration information, please go to: https:// paddleguru.com/races/BattleontheBlueway2017 Mike Hammond is based in Fort Myers, Florida, and is a staff member at Lee County Parks & Recreation. He is the Calusa Blueway coordinator for Lee County. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 9


GULF & INTRACOASTAL FISHING by FISHIN’ FRANK

R

edfish are starting to reappear, even up on the Peace River and they are eating shrimp. There is a picture of my sister holding a barely legal redfish. If we were going to throw it back she would be holding the belly. But let’s face it, it did not survive; we ate it, so too much pressure on the jaw, least of its problems. Now, we were up river. The picture shows where we were and the thing that is hard to see is the tiny deep cut right along the shore line. On this point of Long Island, the sandbar comes out a couple hundred feet, but right next to the shore is this little deep place where the redfish cross from the main channel to the open area of Harbor Heights. I had a ½ once sinker in front of a swivel, slip style with a 2/0 octopus hook and 30 inches of 25-pound fluorocarbon leader. I was using a live shrimp about 3 inches long and had cast about 2 feet from the mangrove trees. Now I would have liked to get a bit closer to the trees, but with the sinker and the shrimp it helicopters and it is very easy to get snagged in the branches, so I was trying to stay out a bit.

GOLD

I hook sideways shrimp across the head. What that means is you can set the hook right as you feel the bite. If you tail hook a shrimp you need to count 1, 2, before setting the hook. Reds, like most fish, eat a shrimp head first, as they are easiest for the fish to swallow that way. When a shrimp is tail-hooked the redfish will take a second to spin it around in its mouth before swallowing. Set the hook too soon and your red swims away to bite another day. The sinker was not to hold it in place, but to give me casting distance; I needed the weight to get in close enough to where the redfish were. But, they are still very spooky, so even with the darker water I am staying back. Hence the weight/sinker. Now what I am looking for is that bit of deeper water next to the mangroves. This holds true right now whether you are on the east side or out on Gasparilla Sound, which by the way is getting loaded up with redfish. People have been talking all year about where are the reds? Well I can tell you I’m heading to the tailing flats for my next article. There are reports of hundreds of redfish there and I am excited about the chances to really have a 20-redfish trip. Yeah, OK it has been a while, I will let you know where and how. In the meantime, stop by and see us, and Good luck. Fishin Frank Fishing’ Franks Bait & Tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail, Charlotte Harbor, FL 33980, 941-625-3888 and 14531 N. Cleveland Ave., Ft. Myers, FL 33903 239-634-1043

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Variety in the Harbor by Capt. Bart Marx

A

ugust in Charlotte Harbor is hot, so make sure you have coolant for your anglers on board. This time of year, it is great to have a bimini top for shade or a T-top. In the afternoon when the sea breeze kicks in, there is a span of time when there is still humid air that is tough to handle, so shade, water, and a breeze made with your boat under way, can save the day. In the area of the ICW there are large schools of pin fish that will attract the redfish. They are search for food in preparation to spawn in the Gulf. This is a great time to bring your fly rod, to cast a pin fish pattern fly, to hook up and do battle with one of the Pit Bull Redfish, as Mark Sosin has named our Charlotte Harbor strain of reds. There will be snook that have spawned and working their way back to their general living quarters. They will be hungry and trying to regain their strength. There will be tarpon wandering up into the harbor searching for food also, searching for bait like threadfins, or ladyfish schools. You can spot schools of bait watching for terns diving or seagulls picking up scraps or anchovies. Out close to the Gulf there will be plenty of mangrove snapper to target. Some anglers like to drift the passes with shrimp or white bait to harvest these great table fare fish. The by-catch may be red or gag grouper drifting. There may be lots of fishing line on the bottom, so be alert as to how close you drift your bait to the bottom. Offshore, red grouper in the 70 to 90-foot range and you may even find some gags as well. Typically, red grouper will eat cut bait and gags will eat live, not a hard rule. We like to use sand perch / squirrel fish and

Hotchkiss clan with 2lb+ Lanes you can catch them in the 40 to 50-foot range on your way out, using smaller rigs with squid or shrimp for bait. As you harvest the baits you have some that may not survive in the live well. They go in the cooler for cut bait. The live ones you use for the gag. Hook one of these baits in the tail section and keep them about three feet off the bottom, this is like candy to them. And the ones in the cooler cut in chunks and sit on the bottom for the reds. On some of the closer reefs is where you could find some nice mangrove snapper and yellow tails. If you would like to go along with Capt. Bart Marx give me a call or e-mail captbart@alphaomegacharters.com Singing drags and tight lines make me smile. <*(((((>{

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 11


Big Fish, Fort Myers Beach

by Capt. Larry Conley

Reel-Ality Sportfishing Charters Capt. Larry Conley 4/6/8 hr trips, Inshore & Offshore, Kid friendly

239.980.3880 www.reel-alitysportfishing.com

I FORT MYERS

fishfacecharters@yahoo.com 239-357-6829

f you want to catch some big fish from Ft. Myers Beach, get on a 30 or 48-hour trip and go out a hundred miles or so and start fishing with us! We might only fish a spot for 15 minutes or so and if there is no action we’ll move on to the next spot and maybe stay for an hour or so. Sometimes the bottom machine will mark lots and lots of fish and all rods go off and everyone on board is catching fish. I’ve also seen everybody hooked up and everybody break off for one reason or another – you never know! Big fish are very strong and it’s a long way up from 193 feet or more. Weather plays a big part in fishing offshore. We like the winds to be light and sometimes you’re going to get rained on. Spool up fresh with 50-80lb test line. I prefer braided line over the mono as the stretch of mono makes it a little harder to feel the bite 190 feet down, 60lb leader is a good choice and circle hooks a must. Bring plenty of bait as you don’t want to run out! We bring about 75 lbs. of frozen threadfin and 10-12 lbs. of squid sometimes a hundred live pinfish too. If you buy pinfish, make sure they are lively with no red spots. Ask if they were netted or caught on hook and line hook and line is much better. A better idea is to catch your own using a little piece of shrimp on a size 16 hook works really well. Red snapper, red gag, and scamp grouper are common and mangrove yellowtail snapper are plentiful at night. If we happen to get a blackfin tuna, we clean it immediately and put it on ice as they are really good raw! On our last trip, it was a dead zone from 110-180 feet of water but 193 was a slam with red snapper and 108 feet was really good on the red grouper.

12 FORT MYERS | AUGUST 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


Recommended

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4839 Vincennes St Cape Coral, FL 33904 239-257-2446

405 NE Pine Island Rd Cape Coral, FL 33909 239-574-6950 • capetoolandtackle.com

4425-D Tamiami Trail • Charlotte Harbor, FL 33980 14531 N Cleveland Ave • North Fort Myers, FL 33903 941-625-3888 • fishinfranks.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 13


Safety Check by Ron Gorka

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ost boaters are well aware of the equipment and safety regulations established by the US Coastguard and State Law. Although most boats are properly equipped when initially purchased, it pays to do a safety check, at least on an annual basis, to assure compliance with state and federal regulations and provide peace of mind, knowing that you have done your best to protect yourself and your passengers. Due to changing regulations and loss and deterioration of equipment, few boaters can complete a thorough safety check without discovering deficiencies. Here’s a quick check list of safety gear requirements for a small vessel (16 to less than 26 feet): • A Type I, II or III device for each person on board, plus one throwable Type IV device. Note: Every person on board age 6 or under must wear their flotation device while the vessel is under way. Make sure each device is in good serviceable condition, including all straps etc. • One USCG approved B-1 type Fire Extinguisher. If your boat is powered and under 26’, has a built-in fuel tank, an inboard engine or a compartment where portable fuel tanks may be stored, you must carry a fire extinguisher. • A Visual Distress Signal (on the high sea or in coastal waters only). • A Sound Producing Device: Bell, Horn, Whistle etc. Having the equipment aboard is not sufficient. Make sure everything is in good working condition and the fire extinguisher is not out of date. In addition to the required equipment, experienced boaters will also equip their boat with an anchor and line, dock lines, a working bilge pump and an oar or paddle - don’t get caught up a creek without one! Safety regulations extend to navigation lighting. Make sure your red/green bow light is properly installed and in good working order. Many white stern or anchor lights are removable and stored in a compartment on the boat. Are you sure yours is at hand and in good working order? State regulations also require that a copy of your vessel registration is aboard when under way. Regulations will vary considerably based on size, type and class of vessel. For in-depth information on all classes of vessels, consult myfwc.com FWC.com or the US Coast Guard at uscgboating.org. New boaters and those unfamiliar with boating in coastal waters should take a refresher course in boat handling and navigation. Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a Boating Safety Education ID Card to legally operate a boat in Florida. Call me at Sunset Dreams, to get you on the water in a safe vessel! Safe Boating from Sunset Dreams, 5149 Pine Island Road NW at Pine Island Center, 33922, (239) 283-4843 Website: www.sunsetdreams.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/sunsetdreamsfl/

14 FORT MYERS | AUGUST 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


The Best Angler Photos From Southwest Florida!

gu est sho win g Joe l Bra nd en bu rg an d spe cs!

of som e

Ben nett Sho rt with his 34” sno ok (rel eas ed) cau ght off Cap tiva w/ Cap t. Ozz ie

Jo sh w it h a

Har bor with A bea utif ul tarp on in Cha rlot te t. Dav e Cap & s rter Cha me Bac kbay Xtre Step hen s.

ni ce sn oo k!

Fishing with Reel-Ality Sportfish ing out of Ft. Myers Beach!

Ethan Kelly, 11yo, w/ a 20” spotted sea trout caught in Sarasota Bay Caug ht his first snoo k in Este ro Bay!

Photos submitted courtesy of: Capt. Bart Marx Capt. James Marko Capt. Josh Roberts Capt. Larry Conley

M ike H or ne r

w / a BI G re d

sn ap pe r

Send us a photo of your catch to: camftmyers@gmail.com - please include Capt. Mike Manis your name, location of where caught, Capt. Neil Eisner type & size of fish and we’ll do our best to Capt. Terry Fisher include you in our next edition COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 15 Capt. Joel Brandenburg


Charlotte Harbor Where the Fish Stay Cool

by Capt. Mike Manis

B

eing the height of summer, this month is a good time to get out before the sun gets up. Redfish and snook fish best during the cooler morning period. Typically, the water temperature is so warm on the flats, I like fishing around outer bar systems adjacent to deeper cuts leading to the open harbor. Just like last month, I’ll still take a look around creek systems during rainy periods on high early morning outgoing tides; but overall, the cooler water adjacent to the open harbor is more consistent for the short available window before it gets too hot. That’s generally around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. The area from Cape Haze Point at

the southern end of the West Wall to Cayo Pelau at the bottom of Gasparilla Sound is good country. It’s one big bar with multiple cuts that come from both Bull and Turtle Bay. Just across the harbor, the

bar that runs from Jug Creek at the northern end of Pine Island Sound to Mondongo Island that lies adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway is good. Around both these bar systems, especially considering the tight window of opportunity, don’t hesitate to throw top water plugs right off the bat. Lots of floating grass is the only reason I wouldn’t pursue this bite. When the sun comes up, I might move to a floating twitch bait that runs just under the surface and towards the end of the morning a soft plastic paddle tail works great. Of course, I’d rather spend a few hours on the bow of my skiff with a fly rod during the calm early morning. A six or seven weight with a floating line and small weedless baitfish or clouser minnow would be my choice. Tarpon are also an option this month and the upper Harbor is the place to look. Anywhere between the mouth of the Myakka and Peace rivers and

down to the 20 foot hole should be good. Also, the bridges are good places to look and it’s not a bad idea to look up the Peace River around the I-75 Bridge. Look for rolling fish and a live threadfin or ladyfish is tough to beat. Blacktip sharks should be prevalent around many harbor channel markers and don’t be surprised if one runs off with that threadfin you’ve got soaking. The mangrove snapper bite should be consistent in all the Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte canals with the perimeter canals fishing best. Moreover, the artificial reefs off Alligator Creek and Cape Haze should hold good numbers of larger fish. Jack Crevalle are around and it’s not unusual to see them just about anywhere. They come and go quick; but in most cases any bait thrown in their path will get sucked up and they put up a great fight. Until next month, good tides.

Captain Michael Manis is a U.S.G.C. Licensed captain and has been teaching the sport of fly and light tackle angling since 2002. He lives in Punta Gorda, Florida and can be reached at www.puntagordaflycharters.com.

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but do have several small “thorns” on them. Firmly grab his head at this point and measure him in the water, if he’s “A Much-Needed Break” big enough, place him in your bag, if not release by Wayne Nichols him and find another ow’s everyone doing? August in South Florida is about one and try again. the same as living in Death Valley. Between the heat Lobster like to hang and humidity it’s just about unbearable to do daytime hunts out with their own, so this time of year and afternoon hunts often get rained out. usually you can catch a Alligator egg collection season is still in full swing and that limit in one spot. Some kinda work will flat out give you a heat stroke. It’s time for the ledges have hundreds Red Eye Safari’s crew to take a much needed break, so we’re in them while “Chuck off to the Keys for a different kind of hunting and our favorite holes” generally only time of the year, I’m talking about crustacean regulation!... have one or two, but they LOBSTER SEASON! Fun for you and your crew or great for are normally big boys. family outings! Now this is something to beat the heat, fun, The daily bag Iimit is 6 relaxing, and put some great eating groceries in the freezer! per person. This isn’t something that takes serious skill to achieve. Plenty I always have a speargun ready while diving because of local guides offer dive trips for lobster or you can go out hogfish and grouper haunt the same areas as lobster. It’s on your own. From coral heads and rock piles, bridges and always nice to bag a few fish as a bonus and nobody at ledges these guys aren’t too hard to find. With a lil practice the dinner table is gonna complain! Make sure you wear and patience, you can quickly become a bug catching guru! sunscreen and drink plenty of water, you can dehydrate All you really need is a mask and fins, net and tickle stick to without even knowing it. While diving cools you off, it’s easy catch them, and a dive flag for your safety so other boaters to forget that you are basically working out and you’re still in know you have people in the water. the sun. Once located place your tickle stick gently under his tail and sweep forward slowly, normally he’ll walk right out If you find yourself in the Keys this season and need a little help or some pointers, to you. At this point place your net behind him and fold it or even just wanna say hi, feel free to hit us up, and share your pictures with us, down over his body pinning him to the ground. Make sure 863-990-7650, Red Eye Safari’s on Facebook or web! We’ll be posting pics daily of our outings, good luck to everyone and stay safe! you’re wearing gloves as well. Our lobsters don’t have claws

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | AUGUST 2017 | FORT MYERS 17


action along with the river mouths. Thread herring and ladyfish have been getting hits. For you artificial guys, swim by Capt. Dave Stephens baits have also been ell, we have settled into our summer pattern here in South doing very well. West Florida. The weather is pretty much the same daily, The mangrove temperatures in 90’s and afternoon rain. Our water has been very snapper fishing has been doing very warm lately, so getting out early seems to help with the bite. It well. We’ve been also gives you an early start before the rain starts. bringing in our limit daily the past couple weeks. The deeper The snook fishing has been steady the last few weeks. We troughs along the mangroves have been doing well. On the have not been catching a lot of fish over 30”, but the numbers lower tides, look for fish in potholes and outside of bars. The have been very good. On our recent charters, we have been smaller bait has been working very well. I recommend dropping bringing an average of 50-60 snook to the boat on a half day. Most have been running in the 18-24” range. It will not be long down your leader and hook size. Also, drifting the passes have been doing well with some larger fish. This is a lot of fun with before some nicer fish will be moving back to the north end of the junior anglers. If the snapper don’t keep you busy, the small the harbor. Live bait has been the bait of choice. The sardines are running small this time of year, so you will need a weighted grouper will! With the warm water the redfish bite seems to be better on the float or split shots. The barrier islands have been holding good high incoming tide. Look for shorelines with shade, sardines and numbers of fish on the high tides. On the lower tides potholes pinfish seem to be the best bait. With all the ladyfish showing and bars have the best action. up, cut bait will also get their attention on these hot days. A little I’ve started seeing some schools of ladyfish schooling up in patience might be helpful on these guys. the harbor. In the next couple weeks, we should see more of this. Keep your eye out for tarpon hanging around these areas. As we get closer to fall, the tarpon will be following around If you are looking for a great day fishing on Charlotte Harbor, give me a call at the ladyfish, so I recommend keeping a larger rod on the boat. 941-916-5769 or contact me through our website: http://www.backbayextremes. I’ve been caught before unprepared and it’s not a good feeling. com and we will customize a private charter that best fits your party’s needs. Tight lines! Capt. Dave Stephens Also, the holes in the harbor have been seeing some tarpon

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18 FORT MYERS | AUGUST 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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outhwest Florida Christian Academy’s Booster Club is taking registrations now for the 7th annual SFCA Fall Slam Fishing Tournament. We want to invite our entire community out for this fun, family friendly tournament! Please visit www.sfcafallslam.com and register today! This two day event starts with a mandatory Captain’s Meeting on Friday, September 22, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. with dinner provided by PDQ. Awards dinner from Applebee’s will be Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 6:00 pm. Both events will be held at McGregor Baptist Church (Studio G, Stage 1), 3750 Colonial Blvd, Fort Myers, FL, 33966. There will also be a silent auction at the Awards Dinner. Additional Dinner and Auction tickets are available for $10 each. Don’t miss out on all of the auction action and family fun! On Saturday, September 23, 2017, honor start for the tournament is 7:00 a.m. Scales open at 10:00 a.m. with weigh-in closing at 3:00 p.m. all taking place on the beach of the Sanibel Causeway. Southwest Florida Christian Academy is a ministry of McGregor Baptist Church dedicated to excellence in education, empowering students to reach their educational goals and to exemplify Christ through a lifestyle of leadership, service, stewardship and worship. We are proud to say that 80% of our enrolled students

are involved in athletics. SFCA currently has 15 sports for both men and women. Each student-athlete will have a chance to contribute to the success of each team. Every athlete is coached to put themselves third, behind God and the needs of the team. This exciting event held each fall is to raise funds to enhance and keep up with the ever growing athletic programs and needs of the student athletes. Our current goal is to purchase permanent bleachers for our football/soccer field located at our campus. We are still looking for tournament sponsors and auction donations. You can go to www.sfcaflallslam.com or call 239-936-8865 to find out how you can become a sponsor and/or donate. The Booster Club would like to thank these businesses for supporting the 7th annual SFCA Fall Slam Fishing Tournament: Gold Sponsors – JG Ventures, Mortgage Warehouse, Culberson Agency. Silver Sponsors – Harden Custom Homes, Southern Engineering.US, Hawley Construction, Dr. Brian Doerr. White Sponsors – Publix Charities. Meal Sponsors - PDQ, Applebee’s. To learn more about Southwest Florida Christian Academy and its college prep academics, arts programs and premier athletics programs please go to www.swfca. com

20 FORT MYERS | AUGUST 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


Limited Fall Season For

Gulf Gray Triggerfish

A

t its July meeting in Orlando, FWC Photo the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several management changes for gray triggerfish caught in Gulf of Mexico state waters, including a limited fall season and several conservation measures. Due to the 2016 federal quota being exceeded, the Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season was closed in state and federal waters for all of 2017. After considering public testimony at the July 2017 meeting, the Commission directed staff to issue an executive order to reopen the fishery for a limited season this fall. Staff will issue another press release once the season has been determined. The season will also be posted online and will be found at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.” Approved federal consistency changes include (to go into effect only after federal regulations go into effect, likely sometime in 2018): • Decreasing the recreational daily bag limit from two to one fish per person. • Increasing the recreational size limit from 14 to 15 inches fork length. • Creating a January through February annual recreational closure in addition to the current June through July annual spawning closure. These federal consistency measures should help maintain fishing opportunities for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters for 2018 and the future. For more information on these changes or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

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Lobster Hunting:

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Photo by Melissa Johnson

ome Aug. 6, SCUBA divers, snorkelers and free divers will hit the water with bug-grabbing tools in hand for the start of the 2017 lobster season! Lobstering offers water-lovers the chance to take home a tasty meal, all while having fun in the south Florida sunshine. This year, keep these tips and tricks in mind as you search for these succulent crustaceans on our local reefs. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a new diver about to experience lobster season for the first time, following these key points will help ensure that you keep the reef healthy and undamaged so it remains a great habitat for future generations of lobster. 1) Choose the right tools: Every diver has their own unique lobster hunting setup, from nets and “tickle sticks” to snares. Since personal preference varies, it’s best to stop by your local dive shop— like Pura Vida Divers, on Singer Island, Palm Beach County, Fla., and talk to the staff about the benefits of each method. Remember,

every diver looking for lobster should also carry a gauge, and we recommend bringing along a sturdy mesh bag with a one-way opening to hold your catch. 2) Know the laws: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) enforces a few guidelines that help protect spiny lobster populations. Every SCUBA diver hunting for lobster must hold a valid saltwater fishing license, with a crawfish permit. You can purchase these licenses by visiting the FWC’s website at www.myfwc.com. 3) Measure your catch: To properly measure whether or not a lobster is within catch limits, place the inside edge of your gauge firmly between its eyes. Ensure that the lobster’s carapace (the top part of its shell) extends past the 3-inch mark of the gauge. If you are unsure how to measure a lobster, stop by the local dive shop for a lesson. 4) Perfect your skills: Lobster season offers divers a great reason to brush up on their underwater skills. Maintaining good buoyancy, watching for potentially harmful animals like scorpion fish, and knowing how to use your equipment to best snare a lobster will help keep you safe and ensure our reefs stay healthy and thriving. Need to brush up on your dive or buoyancy skills before hitting the water? Set up a refresher or a specialty class with your local dive shop. 5) Stay within catch limits: Perhaps the most important thing to remember during lobster season is that hunting responsibly will allow us to continue enjoying the fun of the catch for generations to come. Throughout most of south Florida, recreational divers are limited to a catch of six lobster per person per day. Be sure to check local guidelines, as limits may vary by county. Lobster season runs in Florida from Aug. 6 through March 31. Remember that Pura Vida Divers is dedicated to helping you have fun, stay safe, and take home an awesome catch! Pura Vida Divers is located at 2513 Beach Court, Singer Island, FL 33404. Visit their website www.PuraVidaDivers.com or call 561840-8750.

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Goliath Grouper Workshops To Discuss Possible Limited Harvest FWC Photo

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he Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has scheduled a series of workshops to gather public input on goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters. Share input and learn about the current status of goliath grouper by attending one of these workshops. Workshops will be from 5 to 8 p.m. local time: • July 31: Lake Worth, Lantana Road Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road. • Aug. 1: Key West, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd. • Aug. 2: Marathon, Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys, 1996 Overseas Highway. • Aug. 3: Key Largo, Murray Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Highway. • Aug. 8: Crystal River, Plantation on Crystal River, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail. • Aug. 9: Carrabelle, Franklin County Senior Citizens Center, 201 NW Ave. F. • Aug 16: Pensacola, Sanders Beach – Corinne Jones Resource Center, 913 S. I St. • Aug. 17: Panama City, Bland Conference Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive. • Oct. 9: Jacksonville, Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Blvd. • Oct. 10: Titusville, American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive. • Oct. 11: Stuart, Flagler Place, 201 SW Flagler Ave. • Oct. 12: Davie, Old Davie School Historical Museum, 6650 Griffin Road. • Oct. 16: Pinellas Park, Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, 9501 U.S. Highway 19 N. • Oct. 17: Port Charlotte, The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron St. • Oct. 18: Naples, Collier County Public Library - South Regional, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway. If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments. Staff is working on a virtual workshop that should be available in the near future. Additional details and updates to these meetings will be posted at MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops.”)

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In praise of the lowly mullet

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any Florida fishermen don’t think much of the mullet. For example, I know that once a year many Floridians stand at the state line and toss dead mullet into Alabama in the annual Mullet Toss hosted by Flora-Bama Beach Bar in Pensacola. But have you ever heard a fisherman say, “I’m going to go out and catch some mullet today?” And yet, mullet have been an important source of food in many countries since Roman times. There are many different kinds of the fish, maybe as many as 78 different species. They can put on quite a show when schools of them can be seen jumping out of the water either to escape predators down below or maybe to ingest oxygen-rich air. Smaller species of the fish, so called “finger mullets,” have been a favorite kind of bait. In some parts of the world, people eat mullet, but many in this country consider them too “muddy tasting” or “bottom feeders,” meaning that the fish will eat lots of junk found at the bottom of the waterway. However, even picky eaters may like them as a dip or smoked, a delicacy one can find near Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, including at temporary stands along the road, and also in other Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 1:14 PM fishing towns.

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Among the fish that like to take mullet baits are bluefish, jacks, mackerels and striped bass. In fact, many if not most predatory fish like such baits. And of Luke,” in which one of the characters used course, you may have seen brown pelicans “mullet head” for someone of diminished diving into schools of mullet right below smarts. I know that “Mullet Wrapper” is the the surface for a quick bite. Commercial fishermen go after mullet, not only for name of a newspaper in our Panhandle and some restaurants, but especially for in the Everglades. The latter newspaper ordinary fishermen wanting a break from shows an image of the paper wrapped frozen shrimp or artificial lures for their around a mullet, recalling the disparaging bait. Many of those fishing from our piers idea that some newspapers are only good or even on boats have come to prefer for wrapping up fish. But let’s give the mullet bait. I think my father used to use mullet its due as a nice-tasting delicacy mullet when he fished off the beach on and a very effective bait. New Jersey’s Long Beach Island. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning I’m still not sure why we use “mullet” to describe a guy’s hairstyle that is short at author of “South Florida Waterways” the front and sides, but long at the back. (2013 - available at amazon.com for $7), It may go back to the Beastie Boys, a hip- can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail. hop group that used “mullet” and “mullet com. head” in their 1994 song “Mullet Head.” For more on Kevin McCarthy, go to It also may go back to a Florida novel/ Page 1 movie, “Cool Hand

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Give me that stretch! Why Monofilament Line Is Still King By Randy Cnota

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n the world of fishing line, the choices can be overwhelming. High-end braid, fluorocarbon and other specialty hybrid lines can confuse people and make choosing the right line difficult. There’s no question that braid and fluorocarbon lines have an important place in most anglers’ arsenals and are specifically required for certain applications. But good old-fashioned monofilament will always be just as important to putting fish in the boat. While braid and fluorocarbon manufacturers tout the “little-to-no-stretch” characteristics of their products (as well they should), we shouldn’t overlook the importance of “stretch” and other characteristics that mono possesses. I recently spoke with Rick Snellgrove, owner of Howell Tackle in Panama City, Fla., about the role that mono continues to play in the fishing world. He helped me better understand its importance by pointing out some obvious facts about stretch, shock strength, buoyancy and cost, just to name a few. He offered many reasons why mono is still so important. When your line has to withstand the sudden impact of a bone-jarring strike or a fish thrashing next to the boat, mono is, without question, your best option because of the superior shock strength. As you fight a fish, the stretch characteristics reduce the possibility of the hook coming dislodged. A low-stretch line can cause the hook penetration point to widen or tear away. Mono’s stretch, or forgiveness, is a must if your reel has a sticky drag. Mono’s buoyancy makes it a no-brainer when throwing topwater and near-surface lures in most conditions. Sinking lines like fluorocarbon will kill the action of a surface plug. If you’ve ever had a big fish smash a chugging surface bait close to the boat, you might better appreciate all mono has to offer. The cost-factor is also a big deal when you have to change line on your reels. If you’re spooling large reels or smaller reels more frequently, it’s a huge cost difference. The thin diameter of braid means it requires more to fill a spool, and it’s considerably more expensive per yard. Here comes mono into play again; build a mono foundation under your braid to fill a portion of the spool on big reels. Line of any kind has to be changed regularly, and mono will save you big bucks! Rick at Howell Tackle is an authority on all things fishing and offers a huge variety of mono brands including Ande, Suffix, Hi Seas and Berkley. If you’re in the Panama City area, bring your reels to Howell Tackle (3100 West Hwy 98 Panama City, FL; (850) 785-8548) and let them spool you up.

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Rockin’ Bass In The Adirondacks By Rich Ortiz

Rich Ortiz, the “Fishin’ Musician,” shows off a nice Adirondacks largemouth. Check out Rich’s music and outdoor adventures at richortiz.com. Photo by Louis Torres Photography.

B

y the time I was 12 years old, I knew and fished at least two dozen bass waters, most of them from a canoe with my Pop. Usually there were no boat ramps, no houses and seldom another fisherman. That’s the beauty of the Adirondack region of Upstate New York. There’s tons of water and lots of fish. Often when the Adirondacks (ADKs) are mentioned in fishing circles, pristine secluded trout rivers or brook trout ponds come to mind. Our secret is that the ADKs have countless bass fishing options, as well, with any kind of water you could think of. Three renowned waters within my 30-minute fishing radius are perfect examples of the great bass fishing in our area. Lake George, Lake Champlain and Saratoga Lake provide varied and endless opportunities for both largemouth and smallmouth action, with a spectrum of habitats that could keep any bass enthusiast occupied for a lifetime. Additionally, if it’s a secluded canoe/kayak adventure you’re after, I dare say the ADKs have more backwoods bass waters on public land than any state I can think of. These woods are the same natural forests they were in 1885, when they were deemed untouchable thanks to Teddy Roosevelt. Imagine fishing secluded, crystal-clear waters with green mountains as a backdrop, moderate temperatures and a relaxing breeze. Since the founding of our country, these waters have provided sanctuary from the heat and congestion of the growing East Coast industrial cities. Summer retreats to the ADKs to fish and hunt were the norm, and coupling

these outdoor activities with attractions like Saratoga horse racing or a Lake George steamboat ride created traditions of the American summer vacation. Today, if you are serious about bass fishing, yet want to include family on the vacation, the Saratoga/Lake George area is the spot. I feel qualified to endorse the attractions, since when I am not fishing or hunting, I’m performing music at many of the area’s top resorts and restaurants. Though my profession as a traveling musician has allowed me to fish all over North America, my heart is still at home fishing the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. Let’s start with Lake George, which is a large deep-water lake that is the ultimate finesse bass water. This beautiful 32-mile-long glacially carved lake has rock shorelines and is speckled with islands that provide endless bass structure. Lake George has AAA reservoir water quality and is crystal clear. Light 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon line is a must while drop-shotting 30- to 50-foot rocky bottoms for big numbers of smallmouth and some nice 4-pound-plus fish. When drop-shotting I prefer natural presentation baits like the Berkley’s Gulp! Nemesis in the Smelt color. The lake temperature remains cool all year, and shaky-head worm presentations or small bass jigs will score a mix of largemouth and smallmouth in ultra-clear 20- to 40-foot depths. This is a great training ground for teaching your family or friends to fish. Shore fishing is a bonus, and many others and I make trophy catches all year from shore. I rely on my Costa sunglasses on this lake as much as my Lowrance Sonar. It’s so clear that I can watch strikes in 20 feet of water. I keep three pairs of Costas on board. I prefer yellow lenses for sunrise, low light and cloudy days. These lenses work wonders sighting fish and contrasting bottom structure. I use blue mirror on bright days and amber green mirror lenses for most other situations on the lake. Just to the north of Lake George, Lake Champlain offers everything a fisherman can imagine. Many experts rank Champlain among the top fisheries in the country for largemouth and smallmouth bass. You can fish just about any presentation in this vast lake, which combines natural and man-made structure like sunken ships, submerged train tracks and dock cribbings. My fishing concentrates on the southern end of the lake, where the water is usually very stained. Vast water chestnut beds yield many 5-pound-plus largemouth bass. Heavy abrasion-resistant line is a must; I prefer fluorocarbon or braid, depending on presentation. I normally punch the weeds with 1- or 2-ounce tungsten and big 10-inch Power Bait or Yum worms. Dark colors work best. Topwater and flipping are also go-to tactics, with countless backwaters providing breathtaking views and heart-pounding hook sets. To the south, Saratoga Lake is much smaller than George or Champlain. It is slightly stained and can be highly pressured but still provides large numbers of largemouth in the 3- to 5-pound range. Dense concentrations of cabbage and mixed milfoil create great opportunities for tossing plastics and jigs on the edges of long weed lines. Saratoga Lake’s close proximity to the City of Saratoga Springs makes it an ideal morning or evening getaway for those visiting during track season, which lasts through Labor Day. While the tourist season winds down, the fish really turn on, which make for some magical days in fall. The big lakes are great, but to me the gems of this area are the smaller lakes and ponds I learned to fish on. The unique chance to toss a lure to unpressured fish on public waters is a reality. The Adirondack Park features countless opportunities perfect for canoe and kayak fishing. With today’s lightweight watercraft, you can be alone with 2- to 5-pound bass after just a half-mile hike to numerous ponds and lakes. Many canoe and kayak waters are also roadside or within a state park. New York does a wonderful job providing trailhead access and parking areas for anglers with car-top boats. Research access at www.dec.ny.gov. The amount of good bass water in the Saratoga/Lake George is staggering. With its proximity to so many metropolitan centers, a short drive up I-87 can have you setting hooks on some beastly bass in no time.

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innesota’s Mille Lacs Lake has long been known for exceptional walleye fishing and ice fishing, but the smallmouth bass fishing on this more than 130,000-acre lake north of Minneapolis is what catapulted it to the top of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings. According to B.A.S.S. research, 20-pound five-fish limits of smallmouth bass are a regular occurrence, 30-pound sacks show up in some events, and two 36-pound limits were weighed in during events last fall. Those numbers are almost unbelievable on a smallmouth lake, considering a 36-pound limit would average out to more than 7 pounds per bass. Here’s the rundown of Bassmaster’s top-12 bass lakes in the nation: 1. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota 2. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas 3. Clear Lake, California 4. Shearon Harris Lake, North Carolina 5. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California 6. Lake Berryessa, California 7. Lake Erie, New York 8. Santee Cooper Lakes, South Carolina 9. Lake St. Clair, Michigan 10. Falcon Lake, Texas 11. Thousand Islands area St. Lawrence River, New York 12. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee

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Focus On Redfish In August By Tobin Strickland

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big question on all the Internet message boards lately is, “Where are the midrange trout in the heat of summer?” One of the indicators of either fishing too shallow or fishing in the wrong part of the bay for the season is catching mostly undersized trout. So, if you’re catching nothing but “dink” trout in August, fish deep structure with current. I don’t like catching dinks, so I’ll focus on upper-slot redfish and sight casting to the big shallow trout I see while I’m fishing for reds. The summer heat finally forces redfish to go in search of food in the marsh and grass flats. Shrimp are now mostly gone, except large white shrimp, so while there are main-bay, open-water redfish chasing those fish-big shrimp, some reds will now begin to work over juvenile white shrimp and shad in the marsh and grass flats. They’ll also be eating mullet and crabs when the opportunity presents itself. Redfish are simple. They use current to feed, and the faster you learn about where the niche is, the more consistent you’ll be catching redfish in shallow waters. Follow a current from a marsh cut to the bank of a marsh pond it’s flowing too, and you’ll find redfish. Also look for eddies behind structure and where the current edge crosses structure, and that’s good as well. Big trout are similar in the summer in shallow areas. They are there for the big mullet and to eat little trout but are in small niche areas of their own. Tobin created the TroutSupport.com weedless, snagless, long casting, walk the dog soft plastic for fishing shallow grass, shallow oysters, rocks, and mangrove where reds and snook live. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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MAKO SHARK ON THE FLY

I

f you’re looking for some spectacular fly fishing for toothy critters, mako sharks are tough to beat as a game fish. They can be found pretty much worldwide, but right now is the time of year to visit southern California, where shortfin mako sharks show up off the coast every year within easy range for fly rodders with a small skiff. The mako shark is one of saltwater fly fishing’s outstanding but unappreciated game fish. Found on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, a smaller mako in the 20- to 30-pound range can be the perfect-sized fish for the beginning saltwater fly fisherman. Of course, fishing for sharks is a tad different than fishing for bluegills in your Uncle Ned’s farm pond, and the equipment also differs. First, you’ll need a boat, preferably a boat over 18-feet that can handle fairly choppy seas. Most center-consoles will do; however, a skiff with a beam of 8 feet or wider and a not-too-deep V will settle in the water better and will reduce pitch and roll to a minimum, offering a much more stable casting platform. A good chum line is the most effective way of attracting makos to within casting distance of your boat. Chumming attracts the larger makos and will place you in the position of being able to sight-cast to them. Into a chum bag, place the belly sections or fresh carcasses of tuna, bluefish or bonito, then place the bag into a milk crate or 5-gallon bucket and lower this mess over the side. Then sit back and listen for the musical score from the movie “Jaws” to begin. You won’t have long to wait once that chum slick begins to spread. Ideally, you should use fresh carcasses, but store-bought chum will suffice. One bit of important advice: Less is more when chumming; you don’t need much; no matter how small the slick, a shark can smell it from

miles away. Now that you have the boat and chum, the next thing to do is find a mako. On the West Coast, we are fortunate to have the continental shelf only a few miles offshore. On the east coast, you’ll have to venture a bit farther offshore. Keep your eyes peeled for working birds and surface-busting bait; constantly check the water temperature looking for readings between 66 and 70 degrees. But, be patient when chumming. I will wait at least an hour or an hour and a half before moving to another spot, but there have been occasions when the sharks made their appearance within a few minutes of 1 ½ hours. Once in the slick, makos will stick around for most of the fishing day. Drifting allows you to cover more water and in the process, attract more makos to your boat. By choosing the right season, having the right chum and chumming the right areas, you can count on hooking and releasing a good number of makos during the course of a single day on the water.

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SCALLOP SEASON IS OPEN! DAVID MANEY, FOWLER’S SUNGLASSES

Value Versus Ego In Sunglasses

A

t Fowler’s, we know sunglasses. We sold more than 25,000 pairs last year, and we represent more than 30 companies, all clamoring for attention in the marketplace. This gives me intimate knowledge of most of what’s offered, and I have some insight to share on what makes a pair of sunglasses the right pair for you. There are two types of

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sunglasses shoppers. One views sunglasses as fashion accessories, to be matched to an outfit or activity. This is all well and good. Good-looking glasses do help you look cool. The second type of shopper, which is a group I have found many anglers fall into, is more interested in sunglasses as an essential tool. All-day comfort and performance are considerations that come before style or brand for people in this second group. If performance is more important to you than ego, do not lock yourself into one particular brand of glasses. They can range from $5 to $500, and all manufacturers promote their own bells and whistles. Sometimes you get what you pay for, other times you are paying for a brand logo on the side of the frame.

only maintain that performance for a year. The single most important consideration with frames is they are essential to fit and the resulting comfort for the wearer. This is why you should not be locked into a certain brand. Everyone’s face is different, and so are everyone’s sunglasses needs. Do not be a branded person, choose a pair of sunglasses that fits your face and your needs.

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1,000-Pound Tournament Hammerhead Shatters Texas Record Photo courtesy of Texas City La Marque Jaycees/Facebook nglers hauled some big sharks out of the Gulf of Mexico during this year’s Texas City Jaycees Tackle Time Fishing Tournament. Chief among those sharks was a 1,033-pound great hammerhead that shattered a 37-year-old Texas state record. Tim McClellan obviously took first place for the giant shark he entered in the annual fundraising tournament for the Texas City La Marque Jaycees. The tournament awards the top three fish in multiple inshore, offshore and youth divisions. This year, it ran June 30 – July 9, and 964-pound and 817-pound tiger sharks rounded out the top three in the shark division. McClellan’s fish beat out the 871-pound Texas state record great hammerhead, which was caught by Mark Johnson in July of 1980. The current IGFA world record great hammerhead weighed 1,280 pounds. It was caught from the other side of the Gulf by Bucky Dennis fishing out of Boca Grande, Fla. in May 2006. Texas City is on Galveston Bay, just southeast of Houston, and offers easy access to the open Gulf of Mexico through the pass between Galveston and Goat islands.

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Coastal Angler Magazine - August / Fort Myers  
Coastal Angler Magazine - August / Fort Myers  

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