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Venice, Louisiana:

A Paddler's Heaven

Local

Bass Pro

Mike Iaconelli

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

Talks Kayaks Inshore

PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF SCHNEIDER VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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

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The cover of this month’s Coastal Angler Venice, Louisiana: editions features a gorgeous Louisiana red A Paddler's caught by Kaku pro-staffer and Louisiana Heaven tuna captain Jeff Schneider while fishing from the deck of a Kahuna SUP. There is perhaps no better place in the world to chase redfish from a paddle-powered boat Local Bass Pro Mike Iaconelli than Venice, Louisiana. Kaku’s president Talks Kayaks Inshore Kevin Hawkins tells us all about it in this issue. With thousands upon thousands of acres of marshland situated around the mouth of the Mississippi Delta, it is a paradise for inshore species and the anglers who target them. There are so many options for kayak and paddleboard anglers around Venice. They range from mothership trips out in the Gulf of Mexico for big cobia, jacks and bull reds to easier hand-launch expeditions off the side of the road in Venice, where marsh ponds and canals in tall grass make it easier to find fishing out of the wind. No matter where or how one decides to deploy a little plastic boat in the waters around the Delta, the fishing will be fantastic. It truly is heaven for anglers under paddle power.

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Professional bass tournament angler and Mike Iaconelli TV personality Mike Iaconelli is one of the most recognized anglers in the world. The 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion and 2006 Make New Lures Angler of the Year, “Ike” can claim to have won Confidence Lures Local almost every major award in professional bass fishing. But he’s also a self-described fish-head, who will fish anywhere, any way for anything that will pull on the other end of a line. It’s fitting that the rig pulling his stateof-the-art Bass Cat boat also has a Hobie kayak strapped to the roof for quick and easy, on-the-spot fun fishing. In this month’s magazine, Ike tells us about his love of kayak fishing in a question-and-answer session that delves into some of the tools and techniques he uses inshore. Ike is one of the best bass fishermen in the world, and his tournament skills translate well to saltwater. The cover of this month’s The Angler Magazines is of “Ike” with a good redfish caught while filming for his TV show “Going Ike” in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. We interviewed him in the run-up to this year’s Bassmaster Classic, and taking a moment to talk kayaks seemed a breathe of fresh air for him during crunch time. Talks Kayaks Inshore

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Kayakin’ The Spring

By Patrick Sebile

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ife is getting vibrant. Things are warming up, and spring is here. As a ritual long established, I feel the need to be close to nature. And to me there’s no better way to experience the feeling of life awakening than riding a kayak with a rod in my hand. I have fished and guided from all kinds of boats, from small skiffs to majestic deep-sea vessels, but a small plastic shell puts me right next to the fish, my hands always a few inches from the water’s surface. It’s not a money matter, as I own boats. Perhaps it is the challenge? I definitively spend more time each year fishing from my skiff or bass boat, and surely catch more fish from these boats. They are true fishing machines, helping me cover lots of water to find fish. And they can carry all the gear necessary for any situation. On my kayak, I have to think effectively about what my needs are and carefully consider every single thing I will bring onboard. It’s a good way to find the balance between needs and wants. So how do I fish while kayaking? In freshwater and saltwater, my approach is to slowly and surely cover every spot. In a kayak, I am much more aware of, and more capable of, targeting the places where fish hide. Superbly silent, my Pro Angler carries me at the edge of two worlds, above the surface where we

live and the liquid world, which holds the object of all our passions. My kayak tackle boxes have a variety of carefully selected key lures that will help in different situations and environments, nothing more than what I will need. I carry Magic Swimmers, hard for open water and soft for heavy cover and structure. A Flatt Shad snagless is effective in both open and snaggy areas. Twitch baits like the Stick Shadd definitely go into my box, as they are needed if fish are active. A handful of plastic worms, a couple of bucktails, and then a topwater or a pivot frog will complete this set to fish from a ’yak. Seated just above the water, gliding silently with gentle movements of my feet on the pedals, rod in hand and with eyes searching, I use the smooth approach to get as close as I can to the spot or to the fish. Then all that’s left is a short but accurate cast. Proximity also gives me greater enjoyment of seeing the fish and seeing it bite. That’s why I love kayak fishing this time of the year. And you never know; I may let my lures sit in the tackle box and simply hook a shiner or a shrimp and let it swim. Or maybe I won’t even do a thing, just watch the water and the life that surrounds it—just enjoy life… and a kayak ride. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

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Mike Iaconelli Talks Kayaks And Redfish

Editor Nick Carter had the chance to interview professional bass angler Mike Iaconelli just before the Bassmaster Classic. We didn’t want to jinx Ike by talking about the Classic, so we asked the Hobie pro about his love of kayak fishing.

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hat’s the appeal in stepping down from the deck of a bass boat into a kayak? Ike: Growing up in southern New Jersey, I consider myself a small-boat angler first. Many of my early childhood experiences fishing involved fishing from the bank, rowing a small jonboat or paddling a canoe. Kayak fishing fills a huge niche in my fishing life. Outside of competitive bass tournament fishing, I’m still a huge fish head. That means fishing for all freshwater and saltwater species in my down time. When I’m fun fishing or filming for TV shows, I love to access remote places that I can’t get into with my full size bass boat. Kayak fishing is also a HUGE breath of fresh air to leave behind the big boat and all of the time and preparation that go along with launching and running that boat. With your tournament schedule, do you get to spend much time on the salt? Ike: I definitely try to go inshore and offshore fishing each fall when the tournament season concludes. This past fall, I spent a week in Port Fourchon, Louisiana hanging out at Hobie Worlds 6 and filming a kayak fishing episode for season two of my TV show, Going Ike, which premiers this spring on the Pursuit Channel! I had a great time catching big redfish and trout, plus it was awesome meeting the Hobie World Championship competitors from all over the world who love fishing as much as I do. I also had a chance to go offshore fishing with my buddy Ish Monroe in San Francisco during November. We were mainly targeting lingcod, and it was an amazing day of fishing! Where do you put your kayak in and what do you fish for in New Jersey? Ike: I mostly fish the small lake behind my house, which has largemouth bass, northern chain pickerel, crappie and sunfish. My son, Vegas, got a brand new Hobie kayak from Santa for Christmas this year. The fish in our lake better watch out this summer! I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family and pursuing exciting new fishing adventures. How do redfish compare to “green fish?” Ike: Anyone who has caught a big redfish would agree that they are definitely more powerful and are a very aggressive fish in general. One of my favorite things about targeting redfish is that most of the time I can focus on shallow-water power-fishing techniques and search for active, feeding reds. With the “green fish,” there are a lot of times that I have to slow down and present a bait to them slowly such as with a jig, worm or finesse fishing.

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What skills, techniques and gear from your bass arsenal translate well to inshore? Ike: Casting accuracy/ presentation, reading tides and powerfishing techniques are the first three that come to my mind. Often when I’m inshore fishing, I am targeting fish that are relating to a grass edge or current break. If I can make accurate, quiet casts, there’s a good chance I’m going to catch more fish! Having grown up fishing the Delaware River, which can have up to a 7-foot tide swing between low and high tides, I’ve spent much of my life learning how fish position based on the tide level and current. This experience translates extremely well to inshore fishing…. I bring a lot of traditional power-fishing gear that you’d also find in my Bass Cat boat when I’m fishing for bass: Abu Garcia “Ike” Series Rods, Berkley Trilene braided/ monofilament/ fluorocarbon fishing lines, Rapala Skitter Walk and Skitter V topwaters, VMC jigheads, and Berkley Powerbait and Gulp swimbaits, grubs, and more soft plastics. How is your Hobie rigged out? Ike: I have a Power Pole Micro Anchor to stop the kayak on a dime. This is a very crucial piece of equipment, which allows me to quickly stop and fish an area without the kayak drifting with the current or wind. This is huge when you are fishing specific targets such as points, current breaks, laydowns, docks and more. I also have a Lowrance HDS 9 Touch unit, a storage crate for my Flambeau Zerust tackle boxes and tackle bags, landing net, rod holders, and of course, Hobie’s Mirage Drive pedals so I can keep my hands fishing instead of paddling! Electronics play a huge role on the bass tournament scene, what’re your thoughts on electronics in kayaks? Ike: Electronics play just as huge of a role in kayak fishing. I really use it the same as with my Bass Cat boat! As I just mentioned, I run a Lowrance HDS 9 Touch unit on my Hobie for its GPS/ sonar abilities. I rely heavily on the information I can gather from the Lowrance such as mapping/ bottom contours, reading the water temperature, and using the sonar for locating fish, cover and structure to name a few. I may mount a Hydrowave on the Hobie as well soon. It’s another great innovation in electronics, and I use it often in my boat to fire up fish. I’m always interested in adding tools to my boat or kayak that help me catch more fish!

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By Nick Carter - Photos Courtesy of Kaku

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f there’s a heaven for folks who fish from paddle-powered boats, it must look a lot like Venice, Louisiana. This narrow spit of marshland at the Mississippi River Delta is a maze of canals and bays that flush into the Gulf of Mexico with fecundity born of joining waters. Channels and marsh ponds tucked into thousands of acres of wetlands make it the perfect habitat for redfish, seatrout, flounder and other species. It’s like the landscape was designed for fishing and exploring with a paddle. Kevin Hawkins was born and raised in Tarpon Springs, Fla. He is the president of Kaku Kayaks & Paddleboards but calls himself the company’s chief pro-staffer. He prides himself on the amount of fishing he does and designs his boats on experience. Venice is one of his favorite testing grounds. Whether its launching roadside into the marsh, a trip outside the pass from remote Port Eads or a mothership expedition to the Gulf ’s famous oil rigs, it’s the perfect setting to test his boats. It doesn’t hurt that the fishing is awesome. When the seas aren’t too rough, there’s no adventure quite like a mothership trip out to the oilrigs in search of cobia, kingfish and bull reds. Kaku pro-staffer Capt. Jeff Schneider is also a tuna captain who runs a 36-foot Contender when he’s not paddling a small plastic boat. With kayaks loaded, it’s about an hour and a half run from Venice Marina out to 50-foot-deep rigs in West Bay. Hawkins described a day he fished with Schneider, and although the primary target was cobia, a big 45-inch redfish was the highlight. Armed with big 5000 reels and 40- to 50-pound tackle, they dropped Kaku Wahoo kayaks into 2- to 3-foot seas. Even on the stable fishing platform, Hawkins said it might have been a bit much for new paddlers. For a veteran it was fun. “It’s awesome, man. I love paddling a good kayak in that stuff and busting over big waves,” said Hawkins. “When it gets rough like that, it’s fun.” They fished a series of four or five structures linked by a bridge, which gave space to paddle around and explore. Hawkins said he paddled right up to the corner of a pier, dropped his jig straight down and began back paddling before jigging. That’s when the big bull red ate. “When you’re in the shallows and they pull you around, they call that the Cajun sleigh ride,” Hawkins said. “When you’re in deep water like that, he heads straight down. He was pulling me, and that kayak was smashing straight down on those waves. It was pretty intense.” Invariably, fish seek something to wrap the line around, and only by kicking off a beam was Hawkins able to keep himself from going

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under the rig and losing the fish. He gave a piece of advice for battling big fish from a kayak in deep water. “Keep the tip of the rod toward the front of the boat,” he said. “When the rod goes to the side, that’s when you run the risk of flipping.” If an open-water mothership trip seems a little much, Port Eads sits on the southernmost tip of Louisiana, right at the end of the Mississippi River. It’s only accessible by boat, and reasonable prices buy lodging and good meals. Also known as South Pass, the location is a few minutes paddle from the open Gulf and offers excellent fishing for big jacks, reds, cobia, blacktip sharks and any number of other species big enough to warrant medium-heavy rods, 3000 to 4000 reels and 30- to 40-pound-test lines. Hawkins likes artificials and prefers Slayer Inc.’s Sinister Swim Tail rigged on a 4/0 jig head. For him, sinking bait outside the pass would detract from the reason he fishes from kayaks and SUPs in the first place. “Kayaks are about stalking and hunting the fish,” he said. “You’ve got to use your instincts to find them. I don’t like to just sit on a hole and fish bait.” It’s as much fun as you can have sitting down… or standing up if seas are calm enough for an SUP like Kaku’s Kahuna, which is specifically designed for fishing. But perhaps the best bet for calm waters is a third Venice option, to launch roadside. Highway 23 runs from New Orleans to Venice, and Tidewater Road is where the pavement ends. There are any number of places to hand-launch a kayak or paddleboard. Hawkins mentioned Yellow Cotton Bay as well as a series of marsh ponds and cuts at a circular canal known as The Pinwheel. Once you find fish off the grass edges, it’s probably the best inshore action in the world, and it’s easily accessible to paddlers. Popping cork rigs are a no-brainer, but Hawkins said once you get tired of catching scads of rat reds and trout, it’s time to switch to the paddletail rig he likes to fish outside the pass. “We’re looking for the big ones,” he said. “You’ve still got to be ready for the big ones. No matter where I am in Venice, I’ve got a 30-pound rig.” For more information on Kaku Kayaks & SUPs, see kakukayak. com.

To learn more about fishing from a Kahuna Paddleboard, go to

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The 12.5′ length of the Wahoo helps ensure stability. The Wahoo spans 33″ wide, great for fishing! Weighing only 74 lbs, the Wahoo is WWW.kakukayak.com lightweight, but incredibly stable. The Wahoo has a capacity of 400lbs.

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The Most Versatile Paddle Craft… Ever! The new Kahuna offers extreme stability, versatility and durability. Mount coolers, seats, storage boxes, rod holders and more to its rugged frame. It’s the first paddle craft of its kind to offer fully integrated mounting for the Micro Power Pole Shallow Water Anchor!

THE DAY’S BIG CATCH SHOULD BE YOUR ONLY FOCUS Insurance coverage through BoatU.S. makes for a great start to what could be an epic day of fishing. Our policies are designed with coverages custom-made for Anglers and include 24/7 claims service from boating experts. • Agreed Value Coverage for Your Boat, Engine(s) and Boating Equipment • Broad Cruising Areas • Charter and Guide Coverage Options Available • Coverage for Fishing Gear • Tournament Coverage • Water Towing and Roadside Assistance from TowBoatU.S. – the Nation’s Largest Fleet

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Paddlesports Product Review COVERALLS KAYAK COVER

CREEKKOOLER FLOATING COOLER

Who says kayak covers need to be bulky and thick? CoverAlls kayak covers deliver protection, strength and durability in a lightweight, tough material that keeps your kayak clean and dry year-round. Protect your kayak from nature and the elements. Prevent dirt, debris, pollen and leaves from piling up in the cockpit and seat. Block bugs and critters before they move in. Keep water out with material that’s not just water-resistant—it’s water-PROOF. Our covers are also UV-resistant to preserve your kayak’s hull and rigging from the sun’s damaging rays. Best of all, CoverAlls kayak covers are a breeze to use. They slip on quickly, draw closed with a single poly cord and cam lock—not zippers—and get snug with durable Velcro straps. There’s even a built-in red flag for transport. The cover slips off easily and stows neatly in an included compact stuff bag that even fits in most deck hatches. Spend more time with a rod and reel and less time with a hose and scrub brush. See how much better protection can be at www.coveralls.biz!

Space is always at a premium when you’re on the water in a paddle-powered vessel. Whether it’s a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, a lack of stowage often forces us to leave behind the things not absolutely necessary for the activity at hand. On a larger boat where there’s plenty of room, many anglers wouldn’t think of going fishing without a cooler full of iced-down beverages. With the new Creekkooler, those navigating under paddle power can have the same luxury. The Creekkooler is an innovative floating cooler designed with dual-wall construction and top-quality insulation to retain ice and keep things cold for extended periods. Its shape cuts through the water, limiting drag and allowing it to be pulled easily behind a boat. Creekkooler has a 30-quart capacity and will hold 30 12-ounce cans and 20 pounds of ice. It has four drink holders on deck and a 1/8-turn watertight lid that makes it a great tool for extra dry storage, too. Whether it’s for keeping drinks cold during a day on the water with buddies, packing in provisions for a multi-day float trip, or extra dry storage for the stuff you need but don’t have room in the boat for, Creekkooler is an innovative new product that will make your excursion under paddle power more comfortable.

WWW.COVERALLS.BIZ

KANOOLERPRODUCTS.COM

WHALEBACK PADDLEBOARDS TORTUGA

When I’m not in the studio or at the racetrack, I’m fishing. Every chance I get. I recently started SUP fishing, and the 12’6” Tortuga by Whaleback Paddleboards is a real game changer. At 12’6” x 34” x 10.5”, with twin pontoons, the stability is ridiculous. I can walk nose to tail and all around the rails to reel in fish from any direction. Its 3-inch side bite tracking fins allow me to squeeze into shallow flats, and its maneuverability and stability is great offshore as well. With a fullcoverage, water-resistant traction pad, the deck space is unmatched. And its 28 customizable

By Matt Nix, Racin’ Nation Radio

WWW.WHALEBACKPADDLEBOARDS.COM

JACKSON KAYAK KRAKEN 13.5

Jackson Kayak’s Kraken 13.5 is an all-new option for paddlers looking to tackle big water. Based on The Kraken 15.5 platform, the 13.5 sheds some length for more maneuverability but with all the punch of its big brother. This kayak, just like the original, is designed for the most challenging paddling environments and intended for the offshore and big-lake kayak angler. It’s a natural follow up to the first collaborative design between legendary kayak angler, Jim Sammons and Jackson Kayak’s design team led by Tony Lee. The new Kraken 13.5 is a boat shaped and built to accommodate those hitting the open water in a nimble, smaller footprint but still capable of big water management. It’s designed for punching through surf, handling rough offshore currents, swells, beach landings and those who desire ultimate performance and maneuverability. With more features than can be listed, Jackson has considered all the needs of bigwater anglers and packed them thoughtfully into this kayak. Its great-tracking hull has the speed to cover miles and the volume and storage to carry you and your gear comfortably on long outings. 16

inserts and deck tie downs let me rig up my YakAttack lean post, rod holders, GPS and paddle holder and still have room for the cooler, cup holder and lawn chair. Because let’s face it, nothing’s better than celebrating a good catch with a cold one. Whether you’re an experienced SUP fisherman or just getting started, the 12’6’ Tortuga is the board for you. It sets you up with everything you need. You just have to find the fish. All Whaleback boards are made in the USA. Visit www.whalebackpaddleboards.com or call 561-3361612 for a dealer near you.

PAU HANA BIG EZ ANGLER At 11 feet long and available in both 32 and 36 inches of width, Pau Hana’s Big EZ Angler is built to be stable, the perfect platform for fighting any game fish. This paddleboard is derived from the classic Big EZ, and is shaped to provide anglers the balance they need while remaining easy to maneuver in shallow water without disrupting fish underneath. It is lightweight at just over 30-pounds, which means it is easy to launch anywhere there’s a place to carry it to the water. It can be rigged up for any kind of fishing, can handle heavy loads and carry all the gear you need. With a soft and stylish deck and space in between the pieces for water drainage, the Angler comes pre-equipped with 25 multiple threaded mount attachment points using Pau Hana’s innovative SeaMount System. Coolers, tackle boxes, anchors, nets, rod holders, paddle clips, lights and anything else an angler needs can be easily mounted on deck. The Big EZ Angler is a real teak paddleboard with the capacity to carry everything an angler needs and provide a stable platform to fish from.

WWW.PAUHANASURFCO.COM WWW.JACKSONKAYAK.COM APRIL 2017 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Paddlesports Product Review RAM MOUNTING SYSTEMS Whether you are on a lake, stream, whitewater, inlet or ocean, kayaking is all about adaptability. RAM has created a complete line of rust-resistant mounting solutions for kayaks that allow anglers to mount items where they are needed. RAM Mounting systems offer the widest selection of kayak fishing accessories to adapt to a wide range of fishing scenarios. With a patented ball-and-socket design, RAM mounts allow anglers to mount almost anything at the perfect angle. This provides flexibility to mount equipment within reach, but out of the way. RAM’s kayak mounts and fishing accessories are rugged, compact, and have no sharp edges or points. All of our kayak mounts are backed by a lifetime warranty and are made in the USA. RAM mounts are the solution for mounting anything you might need on the water. A full line of rod holders covers everything from fly rods to conventional baitcasters and spinning rods of all sizes. Electronics, like fishfinders, chartplotters, phones, tablets and cameras can be mounted securely where they are needed. RAM even has a special system for mounting transducers for depthfinders. If there is something that needs to be mounted on a kayak, chances are RAM has thought of it and designed a product to hold it.

WWW.RAMMOUNT.COM

THE SKIMMER KAYAK MOTOR KIT Paddle fatigue getting to you? Want to motorize your kayak or canoe? There’s no need to pay $2,000 for a motorized kayak. Watercraft Technologies’ The Skimmer is a simple system for motorizing your kayak or canoe, and it costs less than $400. It is a lightweight, portable motor that mounts easily to your stern. Just snap it on when you need it. Fishing has never been easier, safer and more convenient. Go farther and save your energy for fishing! Increase your range! Catch more fish! The Skimmer weighs only 6 pounds. It’s 12v battery operated. There are easy controls for steering and motor lift. It’s environmentally safe, with no pollution, oil or gas spills. The Skimmer is made for saltwater, but does great in brackish or fresh water. It is able to propel a craft 2-4 knots and lasts two to five hours per charge. Imagine running your kayak at that speed and that long with zero effort! This propulsion system is great for people who want to get on the water and not worry about paddling hard into a swift current or strong wind. It is also great for those with shoulder, back or elbow issues. This kayak trolling motor kit carries a one-year, full parts replacement policy. See The Skimmer in action and order online at www.kayaktrollingmotor.com or order by phone at 631-848-3119.

WWW.KAYAKTROLLINGMOTOR.COM

MALIBU X-WING CONSOLE

Storage is a huge issue when all the gear you need at hand must fit in a space the size of your legs and lap. Malibu’s X-Wing Console is a fantastic option for storing and organizing gear in the cockpit of a kayak. Mounting of electronics, rod holders and other accessories can all be accomplished on one unit without drilling unnecessary holes in a kayak’s deck. A dry-storage compartment included in the unit makes the perfect place for valuables as well as being a great place for a battery. The X-Wing slides back and forth on a track mounted to the gunnel, so placement can be customized on the fly so it’s there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t. It’s also completely removable for storage and transportation. The X-Wing fits Malibu Kayaks, and modifications and adapters can be used to make the console fit other brands.

WWW.MALIBUKAYAKS.COM

YAKGEAR COOLER SEAT A cooler is one of the most valuable tools in most anglers’ arsenals. It goes everywhere and serves as a refrigerator, stepladder, poling platform, storage box and even a seat. YakGear’s Cooler Seat and Rigging Kit allows anglers to turn their cooler into a more comfortable and practical seating platform. Perfect for fishing, paddling, camping, tailgating and hunting, the YakGear Cooler Seat and Rigging Kit consists of the YakGear Sting Ray Seat and the necessary hardware to mount and secure the seat to a cooler. The kit is compatible with all coolers that feature “Front Locking Holes” including Yeti, Grizzly, Engel, Yukon, Icehole, some of the Bison models, and many more. The YakGear Sting Ray Seat features built-in back braces, which allow rigid back support without pressure from an exterior backrest. While most seats slouch down or fold over, the YakGear back braces hold the seat in place. As an additional feature, the seat has an aggressive non-slip pad to prevent unwarranted movement while sitting.

YAKGEAR.COM APRIL 2017

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NEW KOMODO SS REELS & SHADOW STALKER GULF COAST RODS Powered by aluminum framing, stainless steel drive and high-output Carbonite drag, Komodo SS reels in 350 and 450 sizes are instant favorites. Compact and comfortable with enough line capacity for incredible versatility inshore and offshore.Œ•ŒShadow Stalker Gulf Coast 1-piece rod actions deliver superior sensitivity and back it with OC-9 carbon reinforcement for amazing strength when the fish of a lifetime strikes. okumafishingusa.com

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FLY FISHING A Modern Take On Booking Fishing Guides And Charters

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a better way. In April 2016, Fisher Guiding was founded. Since then, Hill has been working full time to turn his dream of easy one-stop shopping for charters and guided trips into reality. Fisher Guiding is a web-based service that lets anglers book trips with guides and charters online. It allows potential customers to search, review, message and pay guides all through an easy-to-use website. This service allows guides and captains to advertise and book clients based on available dates. It makes payment hassle free and allows guides and captains to market to customers in a way never before available. For some independent guides, the local fly shop is the only avenue available for them to book clients. Fisher Guiding is looking to supplement and modernize by offering a variety of scheduling and booking tools. Right now, Fisher Guiding currently has booking options from Alaska to the East Coast, Bahamas, Belize and Costa Rica. Although the consumer website just launched eight days ago, Fisher is already off to a great start with trips booked and new guides joining daily making for a constantly growing community. “Ultimately, the goal is to have guides and charters representing every market and fishing destination in the USA and around the world,” said Hill. It will be interesting to see how Fisher Guiding impacts the industry. The advantages are obvious for guides and charter services, but the greatest benefit may be for the consumer. Customers can read reviews and even message guides right through the website. Booking and paying for trips can be handled in two easy steps. While all change forces adaptation, a more competitive and transparent system will serve both the professionals and consumers. Ultimately the goal of Fisher Guiding is to make guides and charters more accessible to the public and contribute to the growth of the sport. A high tide will raise all the boats. See for yourself at www.fisherguiding.com.

FLY FISHING

ooking fishing guides and charters has not really changed at all for 50 years, so the industry is ripe for change and improvement. That is what Edward Hill—founder of Fisher Guiding– thought before launching his online service for guides and captains and the anglers who use them. Hill worked at Front Range Anglers before By Charlie Warfield graduating from the University of Colorado. There he saw firsthand how the guiding business worked in the local area. After school, he did private sector work in Washington, D.C., but after a couple years felt the need for a change and a new challenge. He began planning a trip to the Everglades with his father to do some fishing and reflection. Hill began searching the Internet for local guides. He was frustrated by the lack of information and the hoops he had to jump through to get hold of a guide. He had to look up guides and then call them for available dates and rates. It was a hassle, and it then turned out the guides he tracked down didn’t have the dates available he was looking for. Hill thought there must be

CHOOSING THE CORRECT BAITFISH FLY

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f you look in many fly anglers’ boxes, you will see a huge array of flies in all shapes, sizes and colors. However, having the one correct fly in the box is the key to fishing success. Picking the correct flies for any saltwater fly fishing situation is key to whether or not you’ll be catching fish. Walking into a fly shop and looking into the fly bins can prove mindboggling to the uninitiated. The bins are filled with so many flies with which the fledgling saltwater fly fisher has little or no knowledge. Saltwater flies differ from their freshwater cousins in size and dress. Sometimes, like the kid in a candy store who is more influenced by the attractive wrapper than its contents, the beginning saltwater fly angler often chooses the eye-candy, over-dressed flies far too bulky to resemble a baitfish or a crab, flies that hook fishermen rather than fish.

Baitfish patterns

I believe a sparsely dressed baitfish pattern is preferable to a bulked up flashy fly. Why? The sparsely dressed fly will have a more natural look than will an all-too-spruced-up fly. Also, my experience has shown that a fish is far less selective when presented the sparsely dressed fly. The fly is only an imitation, a hint, of what the fish is feeding on, producing in the fish a reflexive action to strike. Perhaps one of the most important parts of the saltwater fly is its large eye that resembles closely the good-sized eyes on baitfish such as sardines, pilchards, and anchovies. Game fish zero in on that oversized eye when chasing and feeding on baitfish. Focusing on that eye results in fewer lost meals.

Color

Natural colors work best. Olive green, browns, tans and

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FLY FISHING Upstate New York

Bass On The Fly! By Mathew DeRosa

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t was a very successful spring steelhead season on New York’s Salmon River. Approaching the tail end of the season, a friend and I made a “last chance” trip in hopes of finding a few final drop-back steelhead left in the system. We fished the lower section of the river, near Lake Ontario, to increase our chances of a tight line. It was one of those days when spring starts meshing into summer. The sun was shining with a few high clouds, the warm breeze was 70 degrees, and we had the river to ourselves. For an angler, being outside and fishing in a short sleeve shirt with no one around should be enough to call any day a success. This day was about to get better. As we cast into a river with increasing water temps and a majority of the steelhead already back in Lake Ontario, our expectations of a tight line were low. Soon enough, as we launched large flies

into the water, the addicting tight line grabs began. These fierce strikes were not steelhead, but hungry smallmouth bass. We enjoyed a full day on the river swinging 4-plus-inch flies and catching more than 25 smallmouth bass apiece. Are you a bass fisherman? Have you experienced the power of a bass on a fly rod? Smallmouth and largemouth bass will aggressively hunt down prey, which makes catching them on a fly rod extremely enjoyable. The late spring and early summer months are perfect to experience bass on the fly in Upstate New York. Altmar, N.Y. is on the Salmon River a short drive from the Tug Hill Sportsman Club. Both the Salmon River and the Tug Hill Sportsman’s Club are great places to learn how to fly fish and test your skills on bass. The beautiful scenery and vast expanse of meandering clear water make the Salmon River a top-priority fishing location in late spring. Favorable river conditions draw in large numbers of smallmouth bass. The river has more than 12 miles of public fishing property, and you can fish all day without encountering another angler. Smallmouth enter the river in April to spawn and remain in the system until September. Average Salmon River smallmouth bass range from 2 to 3 pounds; some weigh more than 5 pounds. Bass are present the entire length of the river from Altmar to the Douglaston Salmon Run. Tug Hill Sportsman Club The Tug Hill Sportsman Club is located on 450 acres of gently rolling land and is home to four lakes. The lakes make up about 45 acres of pristine largemouth bass-infested water. New to fly fishing or experienced, the opportunity to catch a world-class largemouth is there. The fish in these small lakes have had unpressured feeding, growing and reproductive conditions as the property has been carefully managed for more than 25 years. The goal is to provide guests with the highest quality angling. Enjoy Tailwater Lodge’s relaxing accommodations and fish the Tug Hill Sporting Club with Zero Limit Adventures! Matthew DeRosa is a guide with Zero Limit Adventures. For more information on the Tug Hill Sportsman’s Club and Zero Limit Adventures, visit www.zerolimitadventures.com.

whites are all great color combos for baitfish patterns. You should, however, carry a selection of blue and white, red and white and, of course, chartreuse and white in your fly box.

Size

Depending on what type of fish you’re pursuing, the size of your flies will vary. But, in most saltwater fly fishing situations, you’ll also need baitfish patterns that range from a small anchovy patterns in size 6 to large sardine or pilchard patterns in size 2/0. Remember, just as it is on the spring creek or on the large river, it’s all about matching the hatch, weather it’s insects or baitfish.

For more flyfishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

35 Acres of Private Access to the World-Renowned Salmon River 42 Luxurious Accommodations On-Site Bar and Restaurant • Daily Hot Breakfast Included Salmon River, Altmar, NY 315-298-3434

TailwaterLodge.com

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You could get a discount when you combine your auto and boat policies.

for your boat geico.com | 1-800-865-4846 | Local Office Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Multi-Policy Discount available to auto insureds that have purchased a boat policy through the GEICO Marine Insurance Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2017 GEICO

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FLORIDA

Elite Series Anglers Visit The Big O

By Steve Daniel, the voice of Okeechobee fishing

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hen Bassmasters Elite Series competitors came to the Big O in February, they went all out to showcase our great fishing. In the end, Timmy Horton came out on top. He did most of his fishing with a jig in the bulrushes on the south end of the lake. He knew if the wind got up it could spell trouble, and it did. Even though he carried a 7-pound lead into the final day, it would be nerve racking to finish the job. He ran back to the Harney Pond area and caught 12 pounds to win by about a pound over Tennessee angler Ott Defoe.

At the weigh in, Horton’s daughter showed up with a pizza box, and no one knew what that was all about, but my wife Deb and I knew; we were there. Horton won an event on New York’s Lake Champlain several years ago. On the final day he made a long run, over 60 miles, to catch a 20-pound bag. The only way he could lose the event was if the weather got bad and he could not get back to the weigh in on time. Being aware of this, he returned early and tied his boat to the dock. Rules state that an angler can’t leave the boat unless there’s an emergency. After approval from Tripp Welden, tournament director, Horton’s cameraman, who was his observer and could not get out of the boat either, ordered a large pizza to the boat. They enjoyed a long afternoon tied to the dock. Here on Okeechobee, Horton also enjoyed a big lead going into the last day. The plan was to go to the south end, get a heavy bag and return early to have an early lunch tied to the dock. It didn’t happen that way. The wind got up and changed the area he was fishing, and it took Horton until 11:30 a.m. to even catch his first bass. In the end, Horton caught enough to win, and the rest is history, but that is what the box of pizza was all about. I bet the pizza got cold waiting the docks. With water levels falling here on the Big O, we will be fishing some really shallow water going into April. Here is a tip: Get a 4-foot stick and keep it by the driver’s seat to feel the bottom. If you feel sand and the water is deep enough to get on plain, you will be fine. If the bottom feels hard, keep idling out until you have deeper water. Use a little common sense. Fishing in April will be incredible. An extremely successful professional bass tournament angler, Steve Daniel is 30-year veteran Okeechobee guide and the voice of Okeechobee fishing on WRVO Radio Network 1’s Hooked Up With Steve and Deb. Check out the show at www.renoviolaoutdoors.com

To learn more about fishing in the Big O, go to

ANGLERLIFE.CO

BEACHMARINEPRODUCTS.COM

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DINNER AND

A SHOW By Michael Landress

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riskly driven by warm sea breezes, we drifted in 26-fathoms—three grizzled and oft impatient anglers awaiting a bite. Biker Brad and I chartered Capt. Chris Le-Mieux and his 27foot Conch Cruiser out of Boynton Beach with expectations of catching summer dolphin. Joggling in 2-foot seas, Chris set the lines. After a few minutes, we noticed the spinning rod baited with a lively threadfin at the transom presenting a tad odd. The monofilament was loosely wrapped around the reel’s handle and bail. The line was straight down from the rod tip and disappeared beneath the Conch Cruiser. Chris seized the rod and quickly untangled the quandary then began a feverish retrieval of slack line. A tenacious, girly mahi gobbled the jittery herring then torpedoed toward the vessel. I reached for the camera in an effort to capture images of her aerial assault for freedom, but missed the opportunity because Chris forced the straining rod in my face barking, “REEL . . . REEL . . . REEL!” We watched in awe as the flailing dolphin rocketed through the air twisting and turning with great energy. Perhaps, the mahi is the prettiest fish in the world’s oceans. The brilliant harlequin green and cyber yellow of its lit skin, embellished with ultramarine specks in contrast with blue water, is spectacular. Having missed two epic jumps, I couldn’t resist the temptation. I passed

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the rod to Brad so I could focus on capturing the final flurry of vaults with a camera. But, as quickly as the acrobatic breaches had begun, they ceased. The worn dolphin laggardly cruised near the surface. Her brilliant color quickly faded as she succumbed to a well-placed, razor sharp gaff. Wild-eyed and grinning from ear to ear like yellow cartoon sponges, we extended our gratitude for the show by welcoming her aboard for a dinner engagement. Dinner and a show is how we roll!

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FISH THE GREATER JACKSONVILLE KINGFISH TOURNAMENT

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ingfish anglers will converge on Jacksonville the week of July 17 for the 37th edition of the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. Steve Thompson, Captain of the Sea Snake, will once again serve as tournament chairman. With more than 30 years of experience on the SKA circuit, he brings unique insight to the Jacksonville tournament. The traditional two-day, Thursday/Friday format returns this year. Each angling boat will be allowed to weigh one fish Thursday and up to two fish Friday. Boats that made a wrong turn on day one still have a fighting chance on day two. Also returning is the single-engine class, where payouts go to the top 10 largest fish only. This year’s event, unlike last year, will not pay big fish or aggregate. The wildly popular ladies division will be expanded for 2017 and payouts will go out to the top 10 largest fish caught by ladies. Last year there were more ladies than ever arriving at the weigh scales, and with expanded payouts more are expected this year. As usual, there will be fun for all the kiddos. Junior anglers will have their own offshore day on the boats on Tuesday, and there will be a juniors dock tournament. As bonus prizes, there will be treasure chest drawings. Every boat that weighs a fish on Friday will receive a treasure chest key. Lucky keys open one of 10 treasure chests valued at more than $700 each! With donated fish, organizers will

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also be handing out tickets for $100 drawings. Again this year, an awesome gas-powered, customized golf cart will be raffled off. This isn’t your grandad’s golf cart; this one has 14-inch offroad tires, a Yamaha gas engine, Bluetooth sound system and lights all around. It is worth more than $9,000, and raffle tickets can be purchased with a $10 donation. New this year is a traveling angler prize, where one lucky angler from outside of 75 miles of Jacksonville will win cash. This is for the heaviest king outside the perimeter. It’s this, especially for an entry fee of only $345. just another way Jacksonville On top of all that, there is the seafood festival. Marine Charities and the GJKT says thanks for Don’t forget to visit Ship2Shore, the tournament’s fishing with us. And let’s not forget the grand prize. Once seafood vendor, and enjoy some fresh cooked again, the GJKT is proud to award, for the seafood. Make plans now to attend this year’s event. heaviest kingfish of the tournament, a Contender 22 Sport boat, powered by a 250 hp Yamaha 4 The weather is predictable in July, and big fish stroke outboard. Sitting on a brand new Trailer, are always plentiful. Over the years, several with a custom T-top by Pelagic Fabrications and tournament winners have come from within 5 a custom boat cover made by Mousa’s Auto & miles of the inlet. Marine trim shop, this To learn more about last years event, go to prize is valued at more than $86,000 dollars. No one offers a prize value like

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ishing in the Big Pine Key area can be the experience of a lifetime. The areas around Big Pine Key have a deep history that includes a large range of visits by famous explorers, pirates and American industrialists. Hundreds of years ago Native American tribes made frequent visits to harvest the Florida Keys’ rich abundance of seafood the area provided. Now many years later and well into the 21st century the combination of flowing Gulf Stream waters, coral reefs, lush mangrove islands, shallow flats and a complex interconnection of deep channels make this area unlike anywhere else in the world. Due to the ability to easily access both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the variety of fishing is absolutely endless. Directly offshore is the famous Looe Key Reef. Tournament sport

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By Capt. Nate Wheeler

fishing boats often travel many miles to target a great sailfish bite off these reefs. Other pelagic gamefish such as black fin tuna, dolphin and speedy/yummy wahoo can also be targeted. Big schools of the very tasty reef fish such as mutton, mangrove, lane and yellowtail snappers are plentiful in these areas. Between May 1 and Dec. 31, grouper is open to harvest. Very nice black, gag, and red groupers can be caught around all sorts of bottom ranging from inshore patches close to shore all the way to the outer reef. If the inshore gamefish are your preference, there may be no better location in the world than Big Pine Key area. Close proximity to the famous Bahia Honda Bridge provides some of the best live bait tarpon action in all of the Keys. The shorelines, channels and bays in the area provide some of the very best habitat there is to target these giants with a fly rod. Endless amounts of shallow flats in close proximity to deep channels provide miles and miles of habitat for much sought after permit and bonefish. You could fish a lifetime in the area and only discover half of what the region is capable of providing. No matter what style of fishing you prefer, no matter what time of year, Big Pine Key is an incredible area capable of catering to both the diehard enthusiast and the casual recreational angler! Contact Capt. Nate Wheeler and Waypoint Fishing Charters at 305394-2177 or captnatewheeler@aol.com, and see the website at www. waypointfishing.net.

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Big Pine Key has it all. A pole, guys wearing sunglasses and nonstop action. Bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook. You can look, you can hoot and holler, you can even touch. And it always ends happily, with a great release. fla-keys.com/lowerkeys 1.800.872.3722

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Center sp Rookie Wins FLW Tour on Harris Chain

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ot a newcomer to the bass-tournament crowd but a rookie this season on the FLW Tour, Enigma Pro Bradley Dortch came from fifth place to win the third stop on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Fla. Unlike a lot of the top finishers who were sight fishing for bedding bass, Dortch caught his fish on championship Sunday switching between a lipless crankbait and a large plastic worm in junebug color to sack up 22-2 pounds of Florida largemouths. Starting the day off with a 7-pounder and a fish nearly 4 pounds right behind it proved that deciding to go winding instead of pitching a soft stick bait to grass and lily pads was a great idea. His gut instinct was right. He figured a lot of the fish had moved due to the incoming front. The decision to move as well as picking up a large worm late in the morning and making a long casts to catch a second bass of nearly 7 pounds was right-on. Dortch sacked up his huge bag on FLW Live with the huge smile on his face while the current leader Debary Florida native, John Cox was struggling to get his bedding fish to bite. In the end, Dortch bested the three-day leader by about 4 pounds to take home the Tour Trophy and a $100,000 grand check. All the while, another well-known Florida pro, J.T. Kenny, was having a great day, bringing a huge 27-pound-plus sack to the scale. It was the tournament’s largest five-fish limit, and Kenny came all the way from tenth place to take second, less than 2 pounds behind Dortch. Only the top five anglers had the FLW-Live cameras on board, so the updates to the FLW site were coming in via an I-Pad from the Marshall onboard J.T. Kenny’s boat. Kenny’s huge sack had him on the hotseat until Dortch brought his 22-pound plus sack to the scale. The three-day leader, Mud Hole Custom Tackle Pro John Cox was last to the weigh scale, and after a tough day1:14 trying get1several bedAirline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 PM to Page

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ding fish in the 5-pound-plus class to bite, he brought in a limit of just over 14 pounds. He ended up placing third right behind Kenny. The “Angler of the Year” points leader, FLW Pro Brian Thrift, ended up in sixth place after finishing second in the last three tournaments he has fished. This makes five straight top-10 finishes for Thrift, which is the longest streak for any tour angler since Kevin Van Dam had 10 in a row. With his tournament win, Dortch has now earned 500 total Angler of the Year points on the season and is in second place in the coveted Rookie of the Year (ROY) race. Justin Atkins, of Florence, Ala., the current ROY leader, is one spot ahead of Dortch with 502.

To watch his announced win, go to

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

3/20/17 3:22 PM


SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

McDonald Wins IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Event at Punta Gorda

Photo courtesy of Hobie Fishing

M

ike McDonald, of Sarasota, Fla., measured a combined limit of 55.13 inches to win the first 2017 regular-season event for the Florida West Division of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing in early March at Punta Gorda, Fla. Over his seven years fishing the IFA Kayak Tour, McDonald has racked up an impressive list of first-place and runner-up finishes. High winds caused McDonald to abandon his original plans and head to his home waters of Sarasota to put in his kayak. “I fished the boat division the day before and the wind was blowing so hard it blew out all the water where we wanted to fish,” said McDonald. “So I felt comfortable fishing my home turf on Sunday.” The angler launched from Durante Park and located baitfish via diving pelicans. His first cast with a topwater bait hooked an 18-inch trout. Looking to upgrade his trout, McDonald casted again and hooked into a large snook. “I figured I would take another cast and hooked the biggest snook of my life,” said McDonald. “I was bound and determined to catch him, but he ended up cutting me off after 10 minutes.” After retying, McDonald landed a 24-inch trout. Thinking he would not be able to upgrade any more, he made his way across the bay in search of redfish. On his first cast, the angler pulled in a 31-inch redfish. “At this point in time, I hadn’t made a cast without catching a fish,” McDonald said. “I was very lucky. I couldn’t do anything wrong today except lose that snook.” McDonald won the $1,500 first-place prize, $420 in Anglers Advantage Cash, $250 from Power-Pole, the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award and the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award along with $100 credit for Berkley’s website for catching his 31-inch redfish with Berkley Gulp!. Derek Engle, of Spring Hill, Fla., measured a combined 49.88 inches to win the $1,000 second-place prize. Engle concentrated in the Tampa and

Sarasota areas, fishing potholes with plastics and hardbaits. The angler added $315 in Angler Advantage cash. Third-place finisher David Shields, of Erdenheim, Pennsylvania, measured a total of 47.75 inches for a total of $477. Although the wind howled and the water was lower than he expected, Shields stuck with his plan and fished hard. The angler fished around Pine Island and traveled approximately 4 miles. “I threw a gold spoon, topwater and a jerkshad at creek mouths and small potholes,” said Shields. “I was very excited to catch two fish in these conditions.” While the IFA Kayak Tour is usually dominated by local anglers, some fishermen are willing to travel long distances to get their redfish tournament fix. Shield flew in from Philadelphia to fish, and his winnings helped pay for his mini vacation. The IFA Kayak Fishing Tour events are catch-photograph-release tournaments with low entry fees and minimal travel requirements. For information, visit www.ifatours.com.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Fishing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

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ne of the many places tarpon. The usual in Florida that offers a fee for each car wide variety of fishing on the piers is $4, plus $4 for experience is near the Sunshine each adult. As evidenced in the Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay. photo here, one can also find Officially known as the Bob kayakers fishing near the piers Graham Sunshine Skyway as well as boaters in differentBridge, the structure is almost sized fishing boats. 22,000 feet long and can be The piers may be too high a little unnerving for vehicle for some fishermen, and so passengers going on I-275 there are many legal spots for between St. Petersburg and those who want to fish from Terra Ceia in Manatee County. shore. One can find deep More than 50,000 vehicles channels near those spots, and travel over it every day. snook have been known to Built in 1987 to replace an congregate there. The warmer older bridge that was partly times of the year are popular destroyed in a ship collision in for migrating fish. 1980, the new bridge rises 180 feet over the water. After the U.S. Coast Guard cutter “Blackthorn” collided with a freighter, “Capricorn,” in 1980, 23 Coast Guardsmen lost their lives. One can see a memorial to the “Blackthorn” in a park at the northern end of the bridge. After the cutter was raised, officials decided they could not use the ship again and allowed it to be taken out into the Gulf to be scuttled, after which it became an artificial reef for recreational diving and fishing. Today, one can find Because several million fishermen using the western people are within driving fishing piers at the Sunshine distance of the piers, those Skyway Bridge, although large places are popular for many trucks, recreational vehicles, anglers. One can also see and trailers are not allowed. The fishermen wading along the piers are open 24 hours a day. flats in search of some keepers. One can buy fishing supplies, When I’ve been there, I have bait and drinks on the piers, looked up at the vehicles as well as free copies of the speeding along the bridge high latest fishing regulations. No above the water and wondered alcoholic beverages or pets are how many of the passengers allowed on the piers. Promoters look down with envy at the of fishing there claim that the fishermen enjoying a day on, at, approaches to the old bridge or in the water trying their luck are the longest fishing pier in to catch some good fighting the world, and therefore one fish. can find dozens of anglers there Kevin McCarthy, the on any given day. award-winning author of Among the fish species “South Florida Waterways” found near the piers are black (2013 - available at amazon. sea bass, cobia, grouper, com for $7), can be reached at king mackerel, pompano, ceyhankevin@gmail.com. red snapper, sheepshead, For more on Kevin McCarthy, go to snook, Spanish GOBOATBOUND.COM mackerel and

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

3/20/17 1:34 PM


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

Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor TARPON TIME IN SW FLORIDA

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arm waters have dominated our area all winter long and Tarpon are here in good numbers. I do not profess to be a tarpon expert, but I feel really good about my client’s chances of hooking up and/or catching a Silver King. I have hooked up and caught my share of these fighting fish. There are a lot of different fishing techniques utilized to target them. One effective technique is to fish off the outer islands (Sanibel and Captiva). My range is anywhere from 1 to 10 miles out. I look for ‘rolling’ fish (or other boats fishing for them) and position myself upstream in an effort to be in the area as they move northward toward me. I place presentations behind the boat with one under a balloon or big cork and the other on the bottom. I utilize my Minn-Kota trolling motor to hold the baits in place anywhere from 40’ to 90’ behind the vessel (one presentation short and one presentation long). Shark and tarpon alike will be receptive to the above strategy, offering the possibility of additional angling action. To increase shark hookups, simply cut the baits to draw a little bit of blood and chum cut baits from time to time. The baits I use consist of live threadfins, pinfish, mullet or ladyfish under the balloon or cork with a 3 to 4 foot 100 lb. fluorocarbon leader. Balloons are better as the fish will not tangle the lines around the cork. I place a dead pinfish, mullet, catfish fillet or ladyfish on the bottom presentation. I keep the bait on the seabed by placing a 1oz. ‘folding’ pinch weight approximately 3ft. above a 7/0 circle hook (I prefer the larger circle hooks over the small ones, regardless of the presentation). This technique may be used in Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound as well. Inside passes

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By Capt. Terry Fisher

will offer plenty of opportunity. Those that do not have vessels with trolling motors, anchor down. Another effective presentation is to find a school of ‘rolling’ tarpon and ‘free-line’ threadfins to them. This may be done both offshore and inshore. The tarpon can be anywhere. The problem with this technique, is that usually there will be plenty of other boats targeting the same school and getting a ‘hookup’ may be few and far between, if any! I am reminded of the old, western pictures, whereby the Indians surround the wagon train. Nonetheless, watching the rolling tarpon may be worth the experience in itself, especially for those who have never seen them. Naturally, while Boca Grande may be the ‘centerpiece’ of tarpon action for many, it is not for the ‘faint of heart’. Numerous boats scramble for position, constantly moving and relocating for the opportunity to spot them on their sonars and dropping jigs to them, while others cast threadfins at the big rolling schools of giant tarpon. Know and understand the rules for fishing this pass, as only 3 anglers are allowed to have lines in the water at once and ‘snagging’ is prohibited. However, it may be worth experiencing and witnessing for those who have never fished Boca Grande Pass! Unfortunately, only one or two, out of approximately ten hook ups, result in landing one of these sought-after game fish. I prefer to fish early morning for tarpon. I like to combine my April tarpon charters with an afternoon of ‘back-county’ fishing for snook and redfish. This way, anglers get plenty of diversification and a lot better opportunity to catch game fish. I find this works really well for those who prefer not to spend 8 hours chasing tarpon. In regards to equipment, my arsenal consists of Shimano 8000 and Penn 6000 series reels loaded with 65lb braid. The rods are 20-40lb. rated butt strength and are 8ft. long. The reason I use and recommend 8’ rods, are for maneuvering around the boat, over the center console and motor when a fish is on. As mentioned earlier, I attach a 100lb. fluorocarbon leader the length of the fish I expect to catch. My circle hooks run anywhere from 7/0 to 9/0. The baits of choice are mentioned above. Anglers not able or interested in fishing

exclusively for tarpon are not to be discouraged. There are plenty of small ‘resident’ and ‘migratory’ tarpon willing to take shrimp, artificial and small baitfish presentations on the flats and around the mangroves. I have hooked and caught a number of tarpon in the canals of Cape Coral, on the flats of Pine Island Sound, and around mangrove areas while fishing for redfish, snook and seatrout. These tarpon are usually smaller, but will put up a good fight and test any angler’s ability on lighter tackle. This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing everyone ‘tighter’ lines in April, regardless of the species you are fishing for. Hopefully a tarpon will be added to your ‘fishing folio’. I am available as Captain for Hire on your vessel by the hour or contact me at 239357-6829 to schedule a fishing charter on my new Pathfinder 23 HPS for the species of your choice. Email any request to fishfacecharters@ yahoo.com or check out my website at www. fishfacecharters.com for charter information. Check out my regular fishing reports for the area at wwwgoboatingflorida.com under the section of ‘blogs and tips’.

More information for a trip offshore or inshore may be obtained by contacting me at fishfacecharters@yahoo.com or by calling me direct at 239-357-6829. Check out my website at wwwfishfacecharters.com for more articles and charter information, including ‘Captain for Hire’.

3/19/2017 3:28:26 PM


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GULF & INTRACOASTAL FISHING

FISHIN’ FRANK

S

harks are here all year, but just like snowbirds, many of them head south for the winter months. One fun and tasty shark, that is plentiful, is one of the hammerhead sharks, the bonnethead or when you have northern visitors, the shovelhead. Sounds more Tarzan like to say shovelhead. Somehow bonnethead does not have the same ring to it. So, these are hammerheads which grow to about 4 feet long, and start having babies (females at 32” and males at 24”) having 4 to 12 pups each year. I guess the guys just can’t wait. Believe it or not bonnets are one of the most caught sharks in the U.S. I guess you should know how to catch one. A popping cork with a live shrimp is the best way to catch shovelnose sharks, or a shrimp on the bottom. Bonnets or shovelnose like shrimp, it is their favorite food. I have caught a few while using baitfish, but 94% of what I have caught is with a shrimp.  Most bonnet sharks are caught while people are trout fishing on the flats or just outside the bar.  There is a picture of me holding a bonnet shark and that is the way to grab a shark by the back of the head. When you get the shark next to the boat, with your good hand, right hand for right handed people, left for left handed. Now grab your leader-I use the bleeding leaders from A.F.W. 2/0 for these sharks.  If I can lift the shark up easily I will, if it is too heavy, I remove the hook in

the water and let it go. Or bring out the gaff if I am going to eat it, but a gaff will ruin the gills of the sharks, so do not catch and release with a gaff. If I can lift it, I hold it by the leader with my right hand and then quickly after it settles down, grab the dorsal fin, it makes being Tarzan “grabbing sharks” easier when you do it a little at a time. After I have my finger on the dorsal, I then switch to grab the shark by the back of the head. Cool thing about shark skin is it is smooth as silk if you run your hand from the head towards the tail and UN-real rough if you try to rub tail to head. Funny thing, it is the most aero-dynamic surface known to man. They molded shark skin and that is what the skin of a stealth bomber airplane feels like. OK, are they good to eat? Yes, they are. I fillet them and I will get to how you should prepare your shark for dinner and you don’t even need to buy it a suit. (To read how Frank prepares and cooks his shark go to http:// c o ast a l ang l e r mag . c om / for t myers/ ) OK, now you can go out and catch your shark dinner. Best places to find shovelnose sharks is on the flats, but I often look for them on the sides of the I.C.W. Hope you have fun, enjoy your trip.

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FORT MYERS

fishfacecharters@yahoo.com 239-357-6829

Fishin’ Franks Bait & Tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail Charlotte Harbor FL 33980 941-625-3888 - Fishin’ Franks Tackle Shop 14531 N. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, 33903 239-634-1043 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2017 | FORT MYERS 3

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Ladies SW Florida Fishing By: Vicki Fisher

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absolutely LOVE spring! April is another favorite month of mine as I look out my office window I notice that all of my bushes are blooming, the grass has turned a beautiful lush green, I can hear the birds singing and the sea breeze is perfect! This month my daughter is marrying the love of her life in Dallas and I am so excited to share this special day with her and the rest of our family.

She too loves to fish and explore the outdoors. She was so excited to give me a call and tell me that her fiancé gave her a fly rod and waders so she can join him in the trout streams! They have an older Pathfinder that is loaded with all the equipment for fishing and enjoy taking the boat on the local lakes in Texas and fish for large and small mouth bass and stripers. She has been practicing the “10 and 2” method with her fly rod in hopes to angle in a nice fish on her own using her new rod! I will keep you posted. Have you ever been at the beach at sunrise? Felt the calmness of nature at the waters edge? Total silence, peace and serenity. If you have not experienced this I would suggest you add this to your bucket list. I will admit that

it takes preparation and planning, but I believe it’s worth every minute. I love to look for shells, so the tide movement is important to me. I pick a day where high tide is in the wee morning hours, before or at daybreak, so that as the tide turns and starts to recede I am there all set up and ready to find what was washed ashore with the high tide. The night before I go ahead and pack the car with my chair, cooler, snacks, and beach umbrella, so I’m ready to get up and go! For those of you who enjoy fishing from the beach, don’t forget your rod and tackle box! On early morning beach trips I use top water lures, as there should be plenty of fish along the beach at daybreak getting their fill of the baitfish that followed the tide inshore. It is a wonderful way to start the day and by 10 or 11 you can pack up before it gets crazy and full of people and head

home feeling renewed. I would love to hear from those of you that follow my suggestions and share your success, with either shelling or fishing at sunrise! This is First Mate Vicki Fisher, of Fish Face Charters, LLC., sending you warm sunshine and colorful gardens in the coming month! If I can be of assistance please do not hesitate to call me at (727) 534-9071 or email fishfacecharters@yahoo.com.

Let me know how I can assist you!

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Tiffany@MiloffAubuchonRealty.com | 239.989.3198 4 FORT MYERS | APRIL 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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April

D&D MATLACHA

By: Capt. Bart Marx

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pril the water is warming up and things are starting to change. The snook are starting to move in their pre-spawn in search of food. The sharks are starting to move inshore looking for food, scanning the flats close to the ICW. Trout and pompano along the outside edges of the sand bars. These guys still can be harvested with a shrimp and popping cork. I like to drift and cast across the sand spots and grass where the trout like to hang to ambush an unsuspecting bait. There can be cobia swimming along the outside of the bar, following big rays or sea cows as they scare baits as they swim along. You can sight fish them and cast something live or artificial, to try and harvest one of these brown shark-looking critters. They fight like crazy and are very good table fare. That’s a look at the inshore. Now, let’s take a look at the offshore possibilities. When the bait begins its northerly migration the Spanish and kings will be in hot pursuit. Kings- you can troll for them- one method is with some planers with spoons that are close to the size of the baits around. Another method is to make your own king rigs and use live bait near an artificial reef that is holding bait. Catch some live bait with a sabiki rig and keep them alive to accomplish this reel smoking task. The nickname

for king mackerel is smoker. They are great to eat. We cut them in inch-thick steaks and soak them in teriyaki overnight and cook then on the grill. They taste like more. Out on the close reefs there will be some gulf flounder on the outside edges of the artificial reefs in the sand. The mangrove snapper will be a great target species at night, as the days start getting warmer. I like to get there before dark and get the boat ready and get chumming to draw them to you. Try and anchor on the up current side a few yards away from the structure, as to draw them up to the surface- this is a blast. You can use your redfish rods to catch these guys, use as light a leader you can to produce more bites, they have very good site. Chum some greenbacks or sardines, use the same for bait, also some shrimp and squid this is all frozen stuff. As the bite slows, try something live like shrimp, greenies or pinfish. In the southern part of our area there may be a few silver kings showing up following bait up the beach, with the big grey eating machines sharks not far behind. Bottom fishing natural structure ledges and divots with hard bottom, you can get porgies and grouper.

BAIT & TACKLE

The BIGGEST SHRIMP On Pine Island!

21st Annual LCEC United Way Fishing Tournament

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n April 15, 2017, LCEC will host the 21th Annual LCEC United Way Fishing Tournament. This tournament has raised nearly $400,000 for the United Way since it began in 1996! Anglers come from throughout the state to participate in this popular tournament which features great fishing, delicious food and a HUGE raffle with hundreds of prizes awarded including an LCEC retired 2009 Ford Ranger truck! This year, the tournament will also include a silent raffle with great catches from jewelry to theater tickets to stays on Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island! The LCEC United Way Fishing Tournament is being held at some of Southwest Florida’s best fishing locations; Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor and surrounding waters. The cost per person is $65 before April Capt. Bart Marx can go with 12 and $75 thereafter. There is a student rate of $50 before April 12 and $55 thereafter. College students must have current you on your boat show you some college identification to qualify for this rate. A things about our area, to shorten mandatory captain’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. the time of your learning curve. on April 14 at D & D Matlacha Bait and Tackle. All Or if you have guests coming participants will receive a commemorative longfrom the cold areas to and fish sleeve shirt and a delicious home-cooked BBQ meal! Meals for guests and non-fisherman can be you may e-mail captbart@ purchased for $5 during weigh-in. alphaomegacharters.com or cart LCEC is extremely grateful to employees, return Capt. Bart Marx at 941-979-6517. fishermen, vendors and local businesses for their And always remember singing continued support over the years. For details on drags and tight lines make me prizes, donations or entry into the tournament, visit https://uw.lcec.net/SitePages/Fish.aspx, contact smile.   fish@lcec.net, or call Dana Nicloy at 239-656-2122. Don’t miss this chance to reel in fish, fun and funds for the United Way!    COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2017 | FORT MYERS 5

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3/19/2017 3:28:31 PM


CHANGE

By: Capt. Sam O’Briant

Please visit our website for details: ArcherAirboatTours.com ONLY local airboat rides, tours and fishing trips available

A Nate Maynard 239.699.1129 maynardexcursions@gmail.com www.maynardcharterstours.com

DISCOUNT FOR MILITARY AND FIRST RESPONDERS

By John Cassani

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pril is historically the driest month of the year. It’s also a key month for the greater Charlotte Harbor estuarine system as various fish and shellfish reproduce during the spring season. Due to abnormally dry conditions, the upper river areas have become excessively salty affecting tape grass recovery. Tape grass is native to Florida and reproduces with runners. Under dry and elevated salinity conditions, it is not unusual to see marine fish species venturing unusually far upstream in many of the tributaries. This does not mean that conditions are optimal for reproduction. The

lack of freshwater inflow is not due entirely to dry conditions since upstream lake releases from Lake Okeechobee are depended on for some level of flow to the Caloosahatchee estuary, but overallocation of stored fresh water to consumptive uses contributes to the problem. Red tide continues to threaten coastal areas, but have been largely restricted to areas north of Boca Grande. The Calusa Waterkeeper is recruiting volunteer rangers to help monitor local waters. For more information visit www. CalusaWaterkeeper.org. For reporting fish kills, pollution events or other water quality issues please call 239-444-8584.

Photo credit to FWC

pril has finally arrived and we are in the midst of changing from our winter season, which almost did not occur, to our summer season. Yes, it is true. This month we will still have the schools of pelagic fishes passing by offshore with a few entering the estuarial system.  We should expect to see an increase in Spanish mackerel especially around the passes.  We could also see schools of little tunny and cobia heading north.  The cobia may very well head inside, so look for them under larger rays, around crab trap lines, and by the buoy post. As warm as this year has been, snook should already have made it out to the barrier islands and the mangrove Islands.  Blind Pass and the sea wall by South Seas Plantation resort are good places to start.  If you choose the latter and have never been there, sit outside and watch how it is worked before you try to fit in.  There is plenty of room but one person who tries to buck the drift can mess everybody up.  This month should also bring back all the schools of bait fish and when that occurs what becomes the topic of conversation?  Tarpon! Tarpon! Tarpon! Yes, it is now officially tarpon season.  You ask where you should look for these monsters?  The answer is just about anywhere you would like.  They will  be in Pine Island Sound just off Saint James City.  If not there look in the back country, maybe across from Redfish Pass. If the outside is your preference, then Knapp’s Point off the Sun Dial

Resort in maybe 20 feet of water could work. Schools of tarpon tend to work their way up the coast in a daisy chain fashion.  If you see a group of boats working a school, you are welcome to join in, but please do not run through the middle .  This will spook the fish and greatly perturb the fishermen.  The best thing is to go around and get ahead of the school.  Then wait for it to come to you.  This way everyone is happy. There are several ways to fish for the silver king.  You can soak catfish or mullet cut in half on the bottom.  Some even use Spanish mackerel, but be sure they are legal size and brought out with you.  Otherwise if the Florida Wildlife Commission officer or other enforcement agency happens to board you, there could be a citation in your future. Another bait would be live thread fins or pinfish etc.  You may want to run them under a cork.  Then, if you are a non-traditionalist, you may want to use a jig.  Check the laws for where you are fishing for their legality. Once you have bowed to the king and landed your prize, remember you cannot legally take them out of the water.  Your pictures must be taken from the side of the boat. It is time to enjoy the kids and get them out there fishing.  Spring break is here.

Capt. Sam is a local licensed guide for hire who may be reached at 239-994-1495 or captainobriant@gmail.com

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

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3/19/2017 3:28:32 PM


Paddlin’ & Fishin’ Baits vs. Lures By: Dan Carns

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ayak fishing presents a number of challenges when it comes to fishing with lures or bait. Kayakers tend to favor lures as a rule. I’ve personally found artificials (as they are called) to be very effective in shallow water. Top water and suspending twitch baits, followed by soft plastics with a jig head are three of the most popular. These are very effective in skinny water as the fish will always see or hear them. One disadvantage to overcome is your low angle of sight, it takes real practice to feel the action on the end of your line. Top water action is imparted by the angle and twitch at the tip of your rod and while you may be great at this from the beach or boat, you will need to relearn this from the seat of your kayak. Another thing that effects lure action is that your kayak is either moving toward or away from the lure unless you’re anchored. Lures are a great way to search for fish as you can cast a lot and in any direction, they are also easy to store and transport. I find traditional tackle boxes hard to use in a kayak, so I prefer a soft sided tackle bag with individual cases. While fishing with lures requires patience, practice and time, once mastered is highly rewarding. Fortunately for us the three main shallow water fish here in S.W. Florida, snook, redfish and spotted sea trout, will all take an artificial lure most of the time. Watching a redfish rise on a top water plug is perhaps the pinnacle

of artificial, shallow w a t e r fishing! Live or frozen bait can be a challenge to the k a y a k angler but is easy to overcome. M o s t kayaks have a place in the back for a sheet rock bucket and a simple battery run aerator. This is really all most kayakers will need, a few dozen shrimp and maybe a few finger mullet or pinfish. As a reminder, please tip your local bait guy or gal, as they are up as early, if not earlier than you are to provide you with bait! You will find over time that fishing with live bait also increases the number of kinds of fish you’ll catch here. At Gulf Coast Kayak our guided trips are focused on the educational side, so while we supply all the gear including rods, reels and lures, we also try to include some live bait to help our clients understand the many ways to hook and fish with bait. The learning curve with bait is very small, a few simple lessons and tips regarding type of bait, local presentation and location and you’ll find your catch rate increasing. Frozen shrimp are a fine alternative to live bait and most stores will have a freezer full of them, just keep them frozen in your cooler until you need them. There is a saying here that if you want to catch fish, bring bait! Regardless of fishing method, every trip is a chance to practice, observe and learn from experience. It’s a wild world - get out there!

• Kayaks & Paddleboards • Fishing Charters • Rentals & Lessons • Guided Eco Tours

• Kayak Fishing Trips • Waterfront Retail location • Dolphin & Manatee Tours • Families Welcome

239-283-1125 www.GulfCoastKayak.com 4120 Pine Island Rd NW Matlacha, FL 33993

MATLACHA

3771 Palm Beach Blvd. Ft. Myers, FL (239) 694-2185

Fishman Dan Gulf Coast Kayak, 4120 Pine Island Rd NW, Matlacha, FL 33993 Phone: 239-283-1125 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2017 | FORT MYERS 7

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3/19/2017 3:28:34 PM


Product Spotlight: NuCanoe and Gulfside Marine

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uCanoe makes two models of kayaks, the Pursuit and the Frontier. The Pursuit is an awesome blend of speed and stability, with a wide, open deck that is packed with integrated features and a Custom-Height 360 Pinnacle Seat whose performance and comfort are unmatched. This boat will take you into skinny water, open water, moving water with comfort to take your fishing or paddling trips to new levels. The Pursuit can be rigged up or completely stripped down, depending on your needs. The Pursuit has a length of 13.5’, beam width of 35”, draft of 3”, and weighs 82 pounds. It is an entirely new fishing kayak. The Frontier is the ultimate hybrid kayak, designed from the hull up for serious anglers and hunters.   Whether

you are fly fishing in salt water, bass fishing in a river, or hunting in the marshes, the Frontier fishing kayak will maximize your experience. The Frontier sets a new standard for stability in a kayak with a wide Cast & Blast Deck. Face the action and easily access your gear with 360-degree mobility. Go solo in style or tandem with room to spare.  Position seats where you want and outfit the Frontier just how you like with the 172” of Freedom Track. Surprisingly easy to paddle and completely comfortable, the Frontier knows no limits. This kayak is 12’ in length, has a 41” beam, weighs 77 pounds and can seat 1-3 people. The Frontier’s versatile and customizable design puts you in control.  No two anglers are exactly alike, and your fishing craft shouldn’t be either. You know what you want and where you want it. Go ahead, build your custom fishing craft, just as you like it. Purchase your NuCanoe locally at Gulfside Marine, Matlacha, FL Gulfside Marine is located in beautiful Matlacha, FL. With over 22 years of combined experience in the Marine Industry, they are proud to be a full-service marina on the water. In addition to offering fiberglass work from simple to full transom replacements, wiring and

rigging, and detailing, their Marine Certified Technicians offer service and repair on all major brands and makes of outboard marine engines. They are proud to be a full-service Honda Retailer serving all of Southwest Florida offering everything from the ever popular 2.3 hp to the 250 hp power house! In addition to being a Honda and NuCanoe retailer, they also sell Key Largo and Caravelle boats. Superior quality, reliability, technology and fuel efficiency have made Honda an automotive legend and you will find those same strengths in Gulfside Marine!

Gulfside Marine 4440 Pine Island Rd NW, Matlacha, FL 33993 239-282-0443 info@GulfSideMarine.com

8 FORT MYERS | APRIL 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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3/19/2017 3:28:35 PM


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2017 | FORT MYERS 9

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3/19/2017 3:28:36 PM


Rules of the Road for Boaters By Dave Sully, Lee County Sheriff ’s VOICE Volunteer

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n an effort to keep everyone informed, a fairly recent change in the law was enacted in Cape Coral in the popular Northwest Spreader Canal and Creek system. According to Cape Coral Marine Unit Sgt. Kurt Fundermark, in July of 2016, the State of Florida recognized that waterway as a manatee zone, turning the entire system into a slow speed, minimum wake area. He noted, “Residents of the area, living north of Pine Island Road and West of Burnt Store Road, who may be using the canal system, need to be aware of the slow speed minimum wake law to avoid possible citations, and to maintain a safe boating environment.” “Slow speed” is not a part of the average boater’s lexicon, but, as we have emphasized in the past, there are places where exhaustive research has determined that “slow” is a necessary evil. While “slow speed” is commonly defined as “fully settled in the water producing minimum wake,” Sgt. Fundermark offered a more precise appraisal, explaining that a vessel needs to be fully settled with no rise to the bow as the vessel moves through the water and producing a wake that is not rolling over itself or creating white caps as the wake moves through the water.  Based on different vessel and

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hull construction, some vessels produce less or more wake at different speeds. He suggested that adopting that explanation should keep all vessels within the slow speed minimum wake standards. Assuming that boaters get the “drift” on the definition of slow speed, the next challenge is to make the public aware of the new rules. Fundermark noted that the effort is ongoing, but there is always a small percentage who decide they are going to do what they want, regardless of the regulations.  He added, “I have been writing tickets for speed. We have been doing stops for warnings. We want to get the word out because the fear is that some people might not know that the law changed because there had to be coordination with the State Legislature to change all the signs. Based on the intelligence that they had, they put seven signs in the system. There are more than twenty-two miles of canals and seven signs. Maybe there are people who live in a place where they see only one or two of those signs. We’ll do the enforcement, but we want boaters to be informed if they aren’t already aware of the change. We’re going to do some public information booths. We’ll be at the Burnt Store boat ramp, the Burnt Store Publix and the 7 Eleven. We’ll be out there for several days handing out explanatory paraphernalia. When it comes to enforcement, we will cite violators when we need to.” The attached map was done while the law was still in proposal stage, but has the NW Spreader area outlined in red. Go to www.coastalanglermag.com/fort-myers to read the complete version of the article.

MINER

PAWN

CALL: 656-4653

10 FORT MYERS | APRIL 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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3/19/2017 3:28:37 PM


Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail By: Mike Hammond

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ith many spring breakers focused on beach areas, this month’s Calusa Blueway feature looks inland in Lee County to the picturesque Telegraph Creek. This Caloosahatchee River tributary has garnered attention lately as paddlers post photos of llamas, exotic goats, and even the occasional zebra, on their social media pages after paddling here. The eclectic collection of animals on private property combined with access to massive preserves make Telegraph Creek a memorable paddle. While the W.P. Franklin Locks Recreation Area is located less than a mile up river, many paddlers launch at the creek’s bridge on North River Road (78). Paddling south from the bridge will take you to the river. To the north, you can paddle into Lee County Conservation 20/20’s Bob Janes and Telegraph Creek Preserves. The preserves combined represent

more than 7,000 acres and border B a b c o c k Ranch. The opportunities to observe native wildlife are great, but it is the exotic animals that seem to get the majority of attention. Maybe that is because they are the most cooperative. Paddlers I know who have paddled Telegraph have come back with photos of a herd of llamas relaxing by the water. The creek itself is interesting as well. Live Oak branches dip down so low that paddlers have to do the limbo or paddle around them. It is all part of Telegraph Creek’s charm. For a shaded “only in Florida” paddle far from the Spring Break crowds, Telegraph Creek is a great choice. Find out more at: www.calusablueway.com. 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.

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

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

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Recommended

Local Bait & Tackle Shops D&D MATLACHA BAIT & TACKLE

3922 Pine Island Road • Matlacha, FL 33993 239-282-9122 • www.PineIslandBait.com

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

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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

3/19/2017 3:28:39 PM


Bottom Painting By: Ron Gorka

Boat, RV & Trailer

Service, Sales & Storage

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ewcomers to Southwest Florida, and new to boating in the salt waters of the gulf and estuaries, can be taken by surprise to find it necessary to coat boat hulls below the water line with an “anti-fouling” paint. Commonly referred to as “bottom painting” this application is required if a boat is to rest in salt water for several days or more. Bottom painting with a product such as Interlux Fiberglass Bottomkote ACT will prevent marine growth on hulls and exposed areas of tab controls, outdrives and outboard motor shafts. Properly applied bottom paint should provide protection for a year or longer for boats that will be in salt water full time and even longer if a boat will only be docked occasionally. While bottom painting a small craft can be a DIY job, care must be taken to properly prepare the surfaces by sanding and/or priming and carefully following the paint manufacturer’s directions regarding application. Generally two or more coats of bottom paint are called for and it is important to respect the prescribed dry time between coats. Boats that have been left in salt water for any length of time are likely to have accumulated marine growth in the form of barnacles and other shelled creatures that have more or less permanently affixed themselves to all uncoated underwater surfaces. Barnacle covered hulls will produce a great deal of drag and will result in loss of speed and wasted fuel. Removing barnacles is a challenge and it is likely the affected surfaces will remain pitted to some extent

despite your best efforts. Start the removal process by power washing all surfaces. Power Washing is most effective in removing loosely attached creatures if the hull is first allowed to dry for several weeks. After power washing, the surfaces should be scraped with a putty knife or paint scraper like device. The last bits can possibly be removed with the application of muriatic or hydrochloric acid. Be sure to wash the boat thoroughly after acid treatment. Note: Sanding is, for the most part, ineffective in barnacle removal. It should be apparent that, whether removing barnacles, bottom painting a boat for the first time or repainting a previously treated hull, these are onerous tasks. The boat is likely to be either in the water, on a boat lift or on a boat trailer and must be either overturned or placed on boat stands. Lying on ones back, sanding and painting for hours under a boat might be a chore best left to professionals at a boat yard! For professional barnacle removal and/or bottom painting, please consider using our services at Sunset Dreams, Boat Service, Storage and Sales at 5149 Pine Island Road, ¼ mile East of the 4 way stop at Pine Island Center.

5149 Pine Island Road, 1/4 mile East of the 4 Way Stop at Pine Island Center • Competitive rates • Secure facility under surveillance • Regulated 24 hour access for customers • Conveniently located near multiple boat ramps • Engine flush/wash down area

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• Outboard Engine Service. • Re-Powers by Suzuki. • Power Pole Sales, Service, Installation. • Mechanical Repair & Maintenance. • Boat trailer repairs. • Boat Bottom Cleaning & Painting • Boat Detailing. • Boat & RV Storage • Consignment Sales • Stop by for a quote on the services you need. • We take pride in delivering high quality work. Hours: Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm

Phone: (239) 283-4843 Fax: (239) 282-8451 Sales: Ron@sunsetdreams.com Service: Mark@sunsetdreams.com

www.sunsetdreams.com Like us on Facebook: “Sunset Dreams” COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2017 | FORT MYERS 13

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3/19/2017 3:28:40 PM


The Best Angler Photos From Southwest Florida!

Jo hn & Co lb y Fl ow er s

Cade F. & Colby F. & Cash S.

Steve Storli e w/ his group er

ris Osce ola turk ey hunt with Red Eye Safa

Photos submitted courtesy of: Capt. Bart Marx Capt. Joel Brandenburg Capt. Larry McGuire

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

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

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Bill Jack son of Sage Lake , MI 21” Shee pshe ad from PGI cana ls

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

3/19/2017 3:28:44 PM


Charlotte Harbor

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his month begins what’s considered the beginning of some of our best fishing. Springtime is always a great time to be on the water as the water temperature is warming, but the air temperature’s still comfortable. It’s transition time as some of our favorite game fish are on the move and are looking to eat after the slim pickings of winter. With this winter producing moderate temperatures, it’s really not surprising that what we like to call “spring

By: Capt. Mike Manis

fishing” began a bit early and the patterns that I like to start working around April have been in full gear since last month. I’ll typically make my way out of backcountry creek systems and start to work more open water. I’ll stick close to outside shorelines, but it’s not unusual to find both redfish and snook holding off the shoreline. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself poling tight to the mangroves while spotting fish moving off from outside the boat. Moreover, these were always the larger fish. This is the case throughout the bays and sounds that border Charlotte Harbor. Now, I like working the east side and spend as much time as I can from Pirate Harbor down to Matlacha. There is plenty of shoreline and lots of deep cuts with good current. The Wall should also fish well and I’ve had lots of good days inside Turtle Bay. Keep in mind, it will probably remain windy this month and I realize

it’s more comfortable fishing a lee shoreline. However, I’ve had some of my best days working the windy shoreline as the wind and waves were pushing bait up onto the shoreline and snook, redfish, and trout all seemed to be staged up and waiting. If you find yourself on the East or West Wall and are looking for a change of pace, don’t hesitate to drop off the bar and spend some time casting for cobia. Pompano are still around and the hard bottom just off Cape Haze is one of the best spots around. In the same area, small black tip sharks can be found all along the entire bar that runs from Cape Haze Point to Cayo Pelau at the base of Gasparilla Sound. Spanish mackerel should be scattered all over the harbor. The easiest way to find one of these schools is to find the birds. Lastly, keep an eye out for tarpon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the upper harbor around the ladyfish and spanish mackerel. 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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16 FORT MYERS | APRIL 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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3/19/2017 3:28:48 PM


Peace River – Charlotte Harbor By: Capt. Dave Stephens

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would like to talk about how we struggled to get through winter. The big problem with that is we’re in sunny SW Florida. We did have a couple cool days, but for the most part we had a very mild winter. It did drop the water temperatures enough to shut the Snook down. However, our water temperatures are back above 75 degrees and Charlotte Harbor is

alive! This is by far one of my favorite times of year to target Snook. The opportunities are endless during the spring, from the rivers to the flats. I grew up fishing the Peace River, so this time of year I find myself fishing that area a lot. Normally the rivers hold good numbers of Snook till the end of April. However, if we have an early rainy season, it will push them to salty water. Summer is spawning season and these guys require a high salinity level to have a successful spawn. My preferred bait this time of year is Scaled Sardines, AKA Pilchards, Greenbacks, Whitebait or Shiners. It seems everyone has their own name for them. You cannot buy these guys at your local bait shop, so you are going to have to put in some work. Another great bait is Pinfish, and yes you can buy

these guys. Check with your local bait shops for availability. During the spring our water much cleaner, so I suggest using a fluorocarbon leader. I normally use 30# teamed up with a 2/0 circle hook. My rod and reel of choice is a St. Croix Tide Master 7’ Med. Power Fast action with a Daiwa Saltist spooled with 15# J braid line. I find this combo works very well for all the inshore fish. I have also landed Tarpon up to 30-40# on this set up. The redfish bite has been consistent this spring also. I have been having my best success around the creek mouths on the outgoing tides. As the tide gets lower, pot holes and flats close to the creek mouths have been producing. On the incoming tide, mangrove shorelines have been producing good numbers of fish. Pilchards and pinfish have been working very well. Shrimp have also been working very well, as it’s hard for a red to refuse a shrimp.

Keep your eyes open for Cobia this time of year also. It never fails, I always get caught unprepared. These guys just seem to show up out of nowhere. The bars along major grass flats is a great place to find cruising fish. Anything that stirs up the bottom will get their attention. I’ve caught these guys on a wide variety of baits. Anything from a large shrimp to a piece of cut bait. Also look for big rays and Manatees. Deep water and structure such as channel markers will also hold fish. When looking in the deeper water look for bait schools. As we get further into spring and summer, look for the fishing to continue to heat up. If you are looking for a great day fishing on Charlotte Harbor give me a call or send me an email and we will customize a private charter that best fits your party’s needs. Capt. Dave Stephens, 941-916-5769, www.backbayxtremes.com

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3/19/2017 3:28:49 PM


A Hunter’s Crown Jewel!

Licensed Captain & Naturalist:

By: Wayne Nichols

• Inshore • Nearshore • Wreck/Reef Fishing • Nature Tours w/ detail Narration

S

PUNTA GORDA/

CHARLOTTE HARBOR

20400 Veterans Blvd, Port Charlotte FL 33954 www.underwaterfishlight.com

pring time in Florida, to local and out of state hunters, only means one thing, turkey season! Here in South Florida we have the highly-prized Osceola, the crown jewel of the grand slam for turkey hunters nationwide. While Osceola’s can be found statewide, to get a true Osceola most hunters favor hunting mid to South Florida to guarantee they’re not a hybrid or Eastern strain turkey. Success on an Osceola hunt is earned at every step. While many hunters opt for a public land do-it-yourself hunt on wildlife management areas, few are successful. While it is a very rewarding hunt if you bag one, the odds just are not in their favor. That’s where local guides such as myself come into play. Local hunting guides and outfitters play a huge role in a successful hunt. From knocking on doors of private landowners and securing hunting rights to countless hours in the field scouting. Using a local guide doesn’t guarantee you a successful hunt, but greatly increases the hunter’s odds in bagging a trophy bird. Prices range from $1000$3000 depending on outfitters you hunt with, what they offersuch as lodging and meals, and landowner fees. Make sure to ask plenty of questions when choosing outfitters: how long have they been hunting? success rates? how many hunts do they conduct yearly? how much property do they have access to? what do they offer? And references?. More money does not always mean a better hunt. I myself guarantee an

opp or tu n it y at a true Osceola on your hunt, but that doesn’t mean you will harvest one, it simply means you will see or hear turkeys, but it’s still up to you the hunter to coax them into range! Most outfitters offer to call the birds for you or let you do it yourself, this is entirely up to the hunter’s discretion. Most guides know their turkeys and what they’ll respond to thus getting them into range for their clients. Florida is one of the few states that allows about any type of hunting method for turkey, from rifles and shotguns to black powder, pistols, bows, and crossbows and seasons generally run from the first weekend of March through April 24 the for South and Central zones. Time for me to hit the woods, stay safe out there! For questions or advice, I can be reached at waynenichols75@ gmail.com RedEyeSafaris.com or Red Eye Safaris on Facebook, 863-990-7650.

Miranda Nichols, learning from the best-her daddy

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

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Orange Dealer Days at Creel Tractor! Celebrating over 45 years Serving the Fort Myers and surrounding areas!

April 14, 2017 Creel Tractor invites you in to help them celebrate. To thank you for your years of support, there will be ride and drive comparisons, food and drinks, special pricing with 0% interest and prize giveaways! Please come by and join the Orange Dealer Days Celebration!

Celebrating 45 Years in Business!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | APRIL 2017 | FORT MYERS 19

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‘Tis the Season for Tarpon By: JoEllen K. Wilson, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

(taken by Capt. Edward Glorioso) - JoEllen with a boatside tarpon in Charlotte Harbor.

T

his time of year, the snowbirds are beginning their migration north and the tarpon are moving in. Typically, we see large schools of tarpon moving in on the Gulf coast as the weather begins to warm. Since we’ve been having such mild winters, these schools have been showing up earlier and earlier. Once they arrive in our waters, adult tarpon form large aggregations along the beaches and near the passes where they

and hatch into larvae known as leptocephalus. Numerous scientific studies have provided information that show tarpon spawn offshore. First, tarpon larvae that are only a day or two old have been collected offshore by (taken by Shane Smith)​- Adult (taken by JoEllen Wilson) - Daisy scientists sampling plankton. chaining is thought by scientists to be spawning tarpon are at least 8 years They then use data on ocean old and can live (and continue to a pre-spawning behavior. currents to determine from spawn) up to 80 years old. where that larvae drifted in one or two days. This reveals gear up for spawning. One pounds. Since a female can the spawning location. Tracking phenomenon – known by anglers carry millions of eggs, and the as “daisy chaining” – occurs when bigger she is the more eggs she of adult tarpon by satellite tags dozens of tarpon form circular can hold, it is thought that larger has revealed offshore movements head-to-tail formations, while tarpon are females. This hasn’t on new and full moons. These anglers pitch crabs or their best been examined scientifically, tarpon have made dives to >300 fly pattern into the ring. This is however. Tarpon are relatively feet, followed by rapid ascents to believed to be a pre-spawning late bloomers when compared to the surface. We think that this is behavior that gets them revved other estuarine fishes and don’t when they release the eggs and up before the spawn. reach sexual maturity until 8-10 sperm. Bonefish, which are closely This is also the time of year years old. And since they are also related to tarpon, have a similar when anglers tend to see the capable of living a long time – up offshore spawning strategy that largest tarpon, exceeding 100 to 80 years – negative impacts to includes a deep dive followed by a young tarpon, such as habitat loss rapid ascent. Scientists think the and degradation, will affect the rapid change in pressure during the ascent toward the surface adult fishery for decades. The tarpon that have collected, helps the females expel their eggs. Sadly, one of the likely along the beaches and in the passes, move offshore to spawn spawning locations that has been near the full and new moons in identified by these studies is at early summer. So, a pass that was the site of the Deepwater Horizon full of tarpon one day might be Oil spill in 2010. Because we empty the next because the tarpon have so little information on are offshore spawning. The first tarpon spawning and the larvae, full moon in June is typically one scientists don’t know the impact of the top spawning moons, and the oil spill had on tarpon anglers know that just prior to spawning and larval recruitment tarpon moving offshore to spawn, that year, or how it has affected and just after they return, the bite the fishery. Clearly, more research is on. However, not every tarpon is needed. Although the ocean will head offshore to spawn for a may seem vast, human impacts new or full moon because they can affect tarpon at all life stages. may have already spawned or Anglers, when out fishing remain inshore to feed, to build and you are catching juvenile up more reproductive material tarpon (12” and under), if for a future spawn. you could please email me a Once offshore, tarpon release pic of your catch and where their sperm and eggs into the caught, you will be helping open water – known as broadcast spawning. The eggs are only BTT with their juvenile tarpon viable and buoyant in salty water, research. Please handle these so if a female tarpon happens to juveniles with care. jwilson@ release her eggs in freshwater they bonefishtarpontrust.org won’t be viable. The broadcast eggs and sperm come together in the water column, where only a fraction of the eggs are fertilized

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

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Catching Snook from a Kayak – By Eric Henson

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atching snook from a kayak can be lots of fun, whether it’s pitching baits on the beaches, stalking them on the flats or trolling creeks and rivers. There are many ways to target them from a kayak. These fish are constantly on the move, so it really comes down to finding a location where there are good numbers depending on the time of year. Snook are extremely temperature sensitive. This is one of the main reasons they are constantly moving. Their migration ranges from offshore reefs and beaches, all the way back into where creeks and rivers turn to freshwater. Once you’ve zeroed in on their location, you better have the right gear and tactics to get the job done. My personal favorite way to target them is with artificial lures. I try to match what they are eating at that specific time of year. If it is during the shrimp run, I use a life-like softplastic shrimp called a Monster 3X X-MOVE. For the mullet run, I use a Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Series Twitchbait (SS). For the white bait run I use Mirrodines or paddle tails. And for flies I do the same thing… “match the hatch.” My

absolute favorite way to target them is with topwater lures and flies. Where I do most of my fishing around Sarasota, Fla., spring finds snook in a transition. They will be fattening up as they make their way into the passes, beaches and nearshore reefs for the big summer spawn. A lot of people will paddle into the passes and get close to some type of structure to target these fish. Dropping a live finger mullet, ladyfish or pinfish near structure on a circle hook that matches the size of the bait is a recipe for success. Make sure to use nothing less than 30-pound fluorocarbon leader because their sharp gill plates will cut through lesser line like butter. I enjoy hitting dock or bridge lights in the passes on the full and new moons. Most of the time you will see them stacked around the lights. If they are hanging near the surface, I will first pitch topwater lures like Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil at them. If that doesn’t get the bite, I will watch the type and size of bait passing through the light. Then I will

Eric Henson is the owner of Casting Kayaks LLC, a guided kayak fishing company out of Sarasota, Fla. He specializes in inshore light tackle or fly fishing from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. Check out his website www.CastingKayaks.com or give him a call at 941-504-1349.

free line a similar size and color soft plastic like the Monster 3X BIG-M or X-SWIM. If the fish are hanging a little deeper, I will add weight to get it in the strike zone. Be sure to look for larger snook lurking in the shadow lines. Although targeting these fish in the passes from kayaks can be lots of fun, the water can be rushing at times, and I always take safety precautions. Wearing a life jacket at all times and the buddy system work best. Know your limits.

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

of Braid I

Photo Courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

The POWER

often tell people the power of braid will instantly make them better fishermen. I truly believe that. In last month’s article, I mentioned a very popular slow-sinking lure that everyone raved about but that I could not catch a fish with. Well, the power of braid changed that.

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Somewhere in the 1990s, I jumped on the bandwagon and bought several of these popular slow-sinking lures. I read all of the articles that were written about it and tried to follow the directions on how to properly fish it, especially in the winter for large speckled trout. Occasionally, I would catch a fish or two, but most cast came back empty handed. Fast-forward about 10 years, and one day while wade fishing Shamrock Cove in Texas’ Corpus Christi Bay with three friends, it all changed. We were lined up walking this grass flat and throwing the same famous lure. Yes, I was throwing the lure I had not been able to catch many fish on for over a decade. I tied one on because a buddy said he had been killing the trout on it. I waded alongside the three of them watching them catch trout after trout. As frustration settled in, I started to mimic my friend closest to me. I would cast within 10 yards of his cast and mirror his rod movement. I still didn’t catch a fish, while he continued to do so. By now I was completely clueless on why I couldn’t work this lure properly. I ask him to cast his lure a few feet in front of and several yards past me. Once it passed by, I could see the movement of the lure and how it twitched, paused and darted. I made my next cast in a direction where I could clearly see my lure moving through the water. No matter how vigorously I worked my rod, my lure moved almost in a straight line through the water. What I discovered was I was the only one not using braid. The non-stretch and sensitivity of the braid is what made the lure twitch and dart to attract the fish. On my next trip, I was spooled up with braid, and finally caught fish on this famous lure. Simply by using braid, I became a better fisherman, and this lure soon became one of my favorites. There are still instances when I do not use braid, but for those who have not tried it, or have not tried it in years, spool up with the newest braid technology. It can instantly make you a better fisherman. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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3/20/17 1:34 PM


r spread ACR ELECTRONICS GLOBALFIX V4 Global leader in safety and survival technologies, ACR Electronics, Inc., recently released the GlobalFIX V4 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). ACR has taken its world-renowned EPIRB manufacturing expertise to create one of the highest quality and lowest-cost EPIRBs available. The GlobalFIX V4 is competitively priced and offers tremendous value with new features. Notable features include: user-replaceable battery with a 10year battery life, internal 66 channel GPS, a four LED array strobe light, and a new wrist strap for handsfree carrying in an emergency evacuation. The GlobalFIX V4 applies three levels of integrated signal technology: an internal GPS for pinpoint positioning, a powerful 406 MHz distress alert, and 121.5 MHz homing capability to effectively conclude final stages of rescue. The on-board GPS can quickly pinpoint the sender’s position to within 100 meters. As search-and-rescue personnel are deployed, a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light guide rescuers to the beacon’s exact position. For more than 60 years, ACR has been designing and manufacturing quality products to save lives. The new GlobalFIX V4 has gone through months of independent testing to ensure the design, functionality and performance live up to the ACR standard of excellence. The GlobalFIX V4 is also compact enough to be stored in your ACR RapidDitch abandon-ship bag along with all of your other safety gear. For mariners who want an EPIRB with longer operational life and more output power, ACR will continue to offer the GlobalFix iPRO and PRO range of EPIRBs.

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3/20/17 3:22 PM


Bimini Bliss At The Inaugural World Resorts Bimini Wahoo Challenge

By Travis Cartwright

A

tense silence filled the Resorts World Bimini marina. A crowd of onlookers sat near the weighing station waiting for the next boat to arrive. Anglers from across the United States had descended on the tiny island of Bimini for the Inaugural Resorts World Wahoo Challenge Feb. 2-5. There were 25 boats, with men and women from as far away as Texas battling it out for the top prize of $35,000. Everyone at the weigh-station lingered anxiously, sipping on free rum punches and Kalik, the native beer of the Bahamas. Suddenly the silence was broken by a boisterous sound. It was music, more specifically a guitar solo. Someone was blaring George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” loudly. As Team Bad Habits idled into the marina, an angler on deck was rocking out to the music, beer in hand. A group

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bikini-clad girls flocked to the men. It was obvious that Bad Habits was having a good day. “We went out early and kept hunting,” one of the men said. “It was a lot of fun being out there.” The team caught several wahoo, and they found mahi-mahi too. The event was sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Resorts World Bimini and the Bahamas Ocean Sports Authority. Team Who’s Your Daddy from Miami, Fla. caught an 80.3-pound wahoo on the first day of the tournament. Who’s Your Daddy took first place with a total combined weight of 261.5 pounds. Second place went to Bad Habits with a total weight of 248.6 pounds. Third place went to Fishin’ A Loan with a total weight of 191.3 pounds. The tournament was a celebration of all things Bahamian, and the anglers were treated to authentic Bahamian food, drinks, music and hospitality. Bimini consists of two main islands, North Bimini and South Bimini, and numerous cays just 50 miles south of Florida. It has a history of entertaining fishermen. People use golf carts to get around on North Bimini, as the island is only 7 miles long. Many visitors even rent bicycles and spend their days having picnics on the island’s gorgeous beaches. Bimini is no stranger to hosting lively and exciting events or personalities. The Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon believed the fountain of youth was located somewhere on the island. Many famous Americans visited the island during the 1960s and 70s, too, including Ernest Hemmingway, Jimmy Buffet and Martin Luther King. King, the late great civil rights leader, wrote parts of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Bimini. He stayed at the Bimini Big Game Club. The legendary Bimini Big Game Club, located in Alice Town, caters to visitors in search of world-class fishing experiences that range from bonefishing and deep sea fishing, and there’s incredible shark diving as well. Today, Bimini hosts scores of visitors in search of their own fountain of youth. The island, with its close-knit community, offers an escape from the modern world.

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*The $250 Air/Cruise Ferry Credit offer is based on single or double occupancy bookings from the U.S. and Canada only. Hotel accommodations must be pre-booked/made before arrival with both parties in the same booking. One instant $300 fuel credit per stay at a certified and participating marina combined with a 4-night minimum consecutive stay. All offers available for stays at participating BOIPB member hotels. Not combinable with any other credit promotions. These offers are subject to availability and may be changed or cancelled at any time. Please visit OutIslandsAnglers.com for full terms and conditions.

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3/20/17 3:23 PM


Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo Celebrates 10th Anniversary April 22-23

S

Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

heri Daye, producer of the 10th Annual Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo announced the popular water sports expo, which features exhibits, seminars, demos, marine art and more, will return to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center April 2223. What began as a small charity event has evolved over the past decade and flourished into an exciting, two-day event. The 2017 Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo will exceed 65,000 square feet, host 160 exhibitors and anticipates 5,000 attendees. Highlights include seminars and exhibits on freediving, scuba, spearfishing, fishing, marine art, underwater photography and videography, paddle boarding, adventure travel and more. The popular Kids Zone will offer face painting, art classes and crab races. The event offers activities for the whole family to enjoy. Attendees will be fascinated by the variety of celebrity speakers like TV personality Manny Puig and other experts who are a “who’s who” in the underwater worlds of freediving, spearfishing, photography, video and more. Hands-on workshops offer proven techniques and include: Yoga Session, Lionfish Preparation and Sampling, Marine Art Printmaking, Fish Filleting Demos, How to Hunt Off Your SUP and more. “I’m thrilled to be celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. We strive to offer an exciting atmosphere where like-minded ocean lovers and watersport enthusiasts of all ages can meet up and socialize,” said Daye. “I’ve crafted the expo be both educational and entertaining, where attendees can learn about latest techniques and products, shop for great deals, listen to the best speakers and network with one another.” For marine art fans, The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo has one of the most impressive collections—from the world-renowned to the local scene with artists such as Carey Chen, Don Ray, Randall Scott, Jason Mathias and many more. Returning exhibitors include Aqua Lung, Mares, Cressi, SEAC,

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PADI, Pelagic, Bass Pro, YETI, Florida Freedivers, Island Water Sports, Nautical Ventures, Wong Spearguns and many more. The Expo is pleased to welcome several new exhibitors such as NAUI, Reef Photo and Video, and Coco View Resort. Adding to the excitement, the Expo also has state-of-the-art water toys, kayaks and Contender Boats. The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo is known for its high-energy crowds and fun vibe. The diverse crowd includes visitors, experts and exhibitors from all over the world who flock to Fort Lauderdale for its desirable and central location. Water-lovers can also take advantage of the year-round tropical weather and warm waters. Entry is $20 at the door and includes a free goodie bag (while supplies last) and free entry to the Saturday night After-Party at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Courtyard Marriott. For more information, visit www. TheBlueWild.com or check out a video from last year at...

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Make reel memories. Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, and the northernmost point of the South Florida Reef, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways and natural environment 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, salt water or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

Plan your trip at discovermartin.com

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A TRIBUTE TO

Legendary Boat Builder

Curt Whiticar

“Millennium is a leader in our industry and makes quality products that I’m proud to represent!” - BILL DANCE Bill Dance Outdoors

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BOAT SEAT From left are Coastal Angler Magazine Co-Publisher Gary Guertin, Curt Whiticar and Jim Dragseth, president of Whiticar Boat Works. Photo courtesy of CAM/Treasure Coast.

By Ed Killer, Outdoors columnist for USA Today Network

O

ver the course of a life spanning more than a century, Curt Whiticar earned quite the reputation. He was the patriarch of the Stuart family best known for building classic sport fishing boats and died March 7 of prolonged congestive heart failure and kidney issues. He was 106.  “Through his life, he touched so many people’s lives,” remembered his son John Whiticar, 67, of Jensen Beach. “He was one for getting things done. And he was so proficient at whatever he would set about to accomplish.” George Curtis Whiticar was born Feb. 13, 1911 to Capt. Add Whiticar, a commercial fisherman and charter captain who fished out of New Jersey. Curt Whiticar was the oldest of three brothers who all followed in their father’s fishing footsteps. They took paying customers on fishing adventures through the St. Lucie Inlet. But when customers were thin, they fished commercially. Curt Whiticar’s dad first came to Stuart to scout the bluefish and Spanish mackerel commercial fishery in 1917. The family settled in Stuart full time in 1926. Curt Whiticar built his first boat in 1921, and by the late 1930s had begun to make a name for the family with his craftsmanship. By the 1950s, his boats were in demand by anglers who wanted boats built to handle the sometimes-choppy Treasure Coast offshore waters. Whiticar boats were known for a sharp entry bow and steep deadrise, which made them perfect for slicing into a 4- to 5-foot-high wave. More than 60 Whiticar boats have been built since Whiticar assembled his first. Capt. V.J. Bell, of Stuart, ran the Bone Shaker, a 40-foot Whiticar, for Stuart’s Joe Lehner for more than 10 years. “It was a great headsea boat which was Whiticar Boats’ claim to fame,” said Bell. “It had a sharp entry, and ran really well into a sea or a chop. And once we got to where we were going, it was a fish-raising machine. It had a clean wash, small propellers. It was a very strong boat, too, overbuilt, if anything.” Bell was one of many Stuart-area captains to come to the area from the Delmarva Peninsula. Many of them came as mates working for Capt. Ray Parker, who owned a red-hulled Whiticar named Hobo. They stayed for the great sailfishing—a sport fishery pioneered by Whiticar and his family. They were among the first in the area to promote conservation of sailfish. The Whiticars were also among those who founded the Stuart Sailfish Club. Whiticar retired from boat building in 1986 at age 75. He received a number of awards and recognition for his service as a craftsman and a leader in conservation. Last month, he was inducted into the International Game Fish Association’s Captain and Crew Hall of Fame. There will be a celebration of Whiticar’s life April 9 at Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach. In lieu of flowers, the family asks to make contributions in his name to the Stuart Sailfish Club, the Stuart Heritage Museum or Treasure Coast Hospice.

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What to Wearipsum Lorem WheN KAYAK FISHING

By Nick Paul Carter Lebowitz By

J

im Salazar has been kayak fishing Southern California since the 1990s. He’s old school. Floridian Brandon Barton started in 2010. He’s from the new school. Both are elite-level Hobie fishing team members, a pair of Top Guns. For Salazar, the water is sizzling when it hits the relatively frigid 70s. He dresses accordingly, in a shorty farmer john wetsuit worn over a pair of fishing board shorts. For UV protection, he tops the ensemble with a hooded polyester sun shirt. His feet have it easy. “In the summer you can’t get me out of my flip flops,” he said. Where Salazar is traditional, Barton is modern. Comfort in hot weather and protection from insects are Barton’s major concerns. In the summer and spring he wears lightweight nylon fishing pants paired with a long-sleeve sun shirt. He tops them with a hat and a neck gaiter—popularly known as a buff. “The sun beats down on the water. I keep my whole body covered up,” he said. Some warm water anglers wear shoes made for the water. Barton prefers to slather sunscreen on his bare feet. If he’s fishing offshore or for dinosaurs, he adds fingerless fishing gloves. “For tarpon and sailfish, you need some hand protection,” he added. Although they fish in different climates, both pros avoid cotton. They dress for the conditions in clothing built to shed water and dry fast. You should too. Photo: Brandon Barton dressed for the warm Florida climate in lightweight sun-protective fishing clothes. Photo courtesy Brandon Barton.

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Tackle Corner:

By Mike Pehanich

Angling for comfort and joint health

O

nce upon a time, fishing was deemed a passive, even contemplative game, a quiet pastime spent under a straw hat and a warming sun. No more! Modern angling is an active endeavor generally characterized by energetic casts, and plenty of them. The aggressive style of the modern angler takes its toll on the body with back, wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries. “As we get older, our bodies kind of fall apart,” said Bassmaster Elite Series angler Mark Menendez during an outing on Kentucky Lake. Menendez has developed tendinitis in his elbow. “I have had to figure out ways to fish that are less taxing on my body.” He has changed technique and equipment to reduce the wear. He fishes soft swimbaits like the Strike King Shadalicious far more these days, working them on relatively light spinning tackle and line testing no more than 10 pounds. It’s effective and easier on his elbow. The other adjustments he makes relate to his tackle. He lauds the Winn grips now featured on Lew’s Custom Lite, Lew’s Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick and Lew’s Mach Speed Stick rods. “The advantage to the angler is that the Winn grip adheres to your hand, but it’s not sticky,” he explained. “It just makes you feel you have a good grip on your rod and reel. The grips also allow me to make longer casts because I have better control of my rod and reel.” Musky and saltwater anglers are also taking advantage of the “tacky” feel and security of the non-slip polymer to protect against joint stress. Eavesdrop on a group of musky fishers for long and you’re bound to hear complaints of sore elbows and forearms. Many musky anglers are building custom rods with Winn grips, employing larger 1.25-inch Straight Taper split grips or a Straight Taper fore

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grip coupled with a 15-inch Straight Cylinder Saltwater grip capped with a fighting butt to extend the rear handle to 18-plus inches. Winn will add a new 18-inch grip to the Saltwater line this spring. Builders of custom surf and offshore rods are already making plans for its use. But oversized grips and rod wraps are finding favor with other anglers, too. At the Bassmaster Elite Series event at Lake Okeechobee in February, anglers with arthritic hands and joint issues noticed the booth Winn shared with North Fork Bait & Tackle owner and rod builder Steve Keller, who also operates a Winn Authorized Service Center at his store in Jensen Beach, Fla. Arthritis sufferers noted their preference for larger grip diameters to ease gripping pressure. The 1.25-inch Winn grips caught their attention, as did the array of offerings in the Winn Superior Rod Wrap line of overwraps, which enable the angler to put a layer of non-slip Winn polymer over existing cork or EVA grips. Winn grips and rod wraps (www.winngrips.com) are available in a wide range of sizes and colors. The Winn interchangeable grip system offers an endless combination of configurations.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER LEARN CONFIDENCE IN NEW TECHNIQUES

BRANDON LESTER

G

rowing up in southern middle Tennessee, I was fortunate to have a lot of really good fisheries within a couple hours of my house. I had my choice between the Tennessee River lakes like Guntersville, Wheeler and Wilson or the typical highland reservoirs located in the hills of Tennessee. I spent many days fishing club events and absorbing every bit of knowledge I could. It helped me become a versatile angler and to stay in tune with the seasonal movements of bass. These things helped prepare me for the situations I would later face on

the Bassmaster Elite Series. I remember my very first Elite Series event. It was at Lake Seminole. I had never been to the lake and didn’t know a thing about it. After a tough first day of practice, I ran way up the Flint River to see if I could find something up there all to myself. What I found was a couple of small backwaters with clear water and fish that were setting up to spawn. These places had been completely overlooked, and I finished 21st in that tournament. I caught almost every fish on a floating worm, something that is very popular during the spawn around my home waters. That tournament and many others since have taught me that no matter where you go in the country, or what body of water you’re on, there will always be something that fits your fishing style. It may not always be the winning pattern,

but more times than not, I would rather be fishing for fewer fish with more confidence. The very best lure in any tackle box is confidence. But this doesn’t mean I stubbornly sticking to the same techniques I’m comfortable with. Successful tournament anglers must keep up with the latest trends. Lures, line, rods, reels and everything else are constantly evolving. It helps to stay on the forefront. As I travel the country, I learn a lot of new techniques and about new baits that work in particular regions. Every time I go to a tournament and a new technique arises that I’m not familiar with, the first thing I do when I get home is take it to a nearby lake and try to learn it. When trying to learn something new, it’s best to do it in areas you know hold fish. A good example of this was at the first Elite Series event of this year at Lake Cherokee. Cherokee is in east Tennessee, but it is much different than my home waters. There is a hot new trend among the locals there called the “Damiki rig” that is dynamite for catching smallmouth relating to baitfish. It is a small fluke-style lure rigged on a Lake Erie-style jig head that allows for precise placement of the lure at depth. I had heard about the rig leading up to the tournament and tried it in practice, but I never could figure it out. Our tournament was actually won on that rig, and several of the top guys were doing it. After that tournament was over, I spent the next day on my home lake with nothing but that rig. I wanted to learn everything there was to know about it. I went on to catch some big smallmouth on my home lake with it, and although I still don’t consider myself an expert, I feel like I can catch them on it next time the opportunity arises.

Get more tips from Lester at

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Endless Fishing Opportunities

In Marathon

By Capt. Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters Marathon, the very heart of the Florida Keys, offers fishing options as vast as the crystal blue waters that surround the islands. to experience the exhilaration of big game sport fishing closer to shore and easier on your budget. Rounding out the sport fishing options in Marathon are bonefish, snook, Goliath grouper, permit and barracuda. Each challenging in its own right and all worthy of a place of honor on your trophy wall.

F

ill Your Trophy Wall With visions of Ernest Hemingway’s exploits in their heads, adventurers flock to Marathon from around the globe to fulfill their dreams of catching the sportfish of a lifetime. The offshore deep blue waters are the realm of the mighty swordfish, who live in the 1,500-plus-foot depths. Fishing for swordfish is highly technical and is best done with an electric set-up. While a magnificent creature to display above the fireplace, swordfish are also prized for their food value. Closer inshore are sailfish, which are unsurpassed in their size range for combined strength and spectacle. These silver speedsters, with their distinctive blue fan-shaped fin, are free-roamers that seem to prefer the coral reef areas. They are best fished for where their favorite foods are plentiful, such as along weed lines or around schools of blue runners, goggle eyes or pilchards. Perhaps the most elusive of all the sportfish in the Marathon waters is the Silver King. The tarpon that visit the Middle Florida Keys each spring love to hang out at bridge passes, where their food of choice is easily obtainable. These areas are known for their relative calm conditions, making tarpon fishing a comfortable experience for all anglers, even those prone to seasickness. Using light spinning tackle and circle hooks, fishing for tarpon is about as sporting as it gets. And, to hook one and chase it through the bridge pilings, hoping to be rewarded with a few jumps and maybe a picture at the side of the boat is an unforgettable experience. With a plethora of media coverage of sharks, catch-and-release fishing for them has become increasingly popular. The Marathon area sees a vast spectrum of sharks, including lemons, blacktips, bulls, blacknoses, nurse, spinners, hammerheads and tigers. These range in size from little guys to behemoths at 12 to 15 feet in length. Light tackle, shallow water angling for sharks in the Middle Florida Keys presents the opportunity 30

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Fill Your Dinner Plate When it comes to catching fish with a top-quality food value, you’d be hard-pressed to find a greater bounty than contained in the waters surrounding Marathon. On the Atlantic coral reefs and wrecks, snapper of all variety are plentiful for the taking year-round. Yellowtails, mangroves, muttons and lanes offer endless rod-bending entertainment and fill the bellies of hungry anglers at the end of the day. Grouper – blacks, reds and gags – are ever-present as well, although they tend to retreat to deeper waters during the summer heat. Additionally, the season is closed for them from January 1 to May 1. There are many more species that provide high-quality table fare – too many to list – but include amberjack, cobia, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cero mackerel, pompano and on and on. Marathon’s offshore waters are fishing central for pelagic species that provide angling excitement. Venture 26 miles out to the Marathon Humps and you will be in tuna heaven. Blackfin and skipjack tuna are abundant year-round, and the only thing that can prevent you from getting there to catch them on any given day are the winds. But, on a calm day, the ride out and back is comfortable and the catching typically rapid-fire. Dolphin (mahi) and wahoo roam the open sea in a continuous hunt for food. Anglers seek them along weed lines and around any sort of floating debris. Feeding birds, particularly frigates, also indicate their presence. The spectacle of the blue and yellow blaze of a dolphin or the blue and white zebra-like stripes of a wahoo on the end of your line is indelible. Entertain The Family. There’s nothing finer for family bonding than spending quality time together on the water, away from the interruptions of everyday life. Marathon boasts multiple venues that are ideal for a day of family fun fishing. The patch reefs, Hawk Channel, the Seven Mile Bridge and the nearshore bay waters are chock-full of fun-catching fish. Snapper, hogfish, porgy, yellowjack, maybe even grouper, keep the rods bent with tasty rewards at the end of the day. Just for fun, there are sharks, barracuda, jacks and more. Catch ’em and release ’em and on to the next! So, whether you’re looking to fill your trophy wall or your dinner plate, or just have a great day out with the family, Marathon offers the fishing opportunities to make your dreams come true. Capt. Chris Johnson specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters, docked at Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club in Marathon. You can reach him at 305-743-5305, http://SeaSquaredCharters.com and http://Facebook. com/MarathonFishing.

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Register For

The Bahamas Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament

A

Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

nglers with the guts to mix big-game tournament fishing with kayaking will head to beautiful Grand Bahama this month to compete in the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament April 2023. This two-day kayak fishing tournament will attract anglers and their family members from all over the world for a chance to win more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, and all to help raise funds for the Humane Society of Grand Bahama. There will be free entertainment, food, drinks, a huge raffle and lots of fun for the entire family! “This event, now in its fourth year, has gained tremendous interest and notoriety for anglers and sporting enthusiasts from throughout the USA, Canada, China and Brazil. We have seen the competition grow each year from 40 anglers in our inaugural year in 2014 to some 280 participants last year,” said Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) spokesman Richard Treco, Sr. “The high level of competition, coupled with our incredible on-island authentic cultural experiences and diverse product offering, makes this event most attractive for the seasoned as well as relatively new to the sport, angler.” Joe Hector, of Extreme Kayak Fishing International and organizer of the event, said he is excited to work with The BMOT on this tournament, and is particularly pleased with its rapid growth. “The Bahamas Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament truly is the gold standard for kayak fishing in the world, as it provides everything into one great getaway: fun and family adventures, awesome fishing from white and blue marlins to huge mutton snappers, friendly people and the most beautiful destination in the world,” said Hector. Pre- and post-tournament packages range from $595 triple or qua-

druple occupancy for a three nights stay to $1,370 single occupancy for a seven nights stay, which includes tournament registration, hotel accommodations at the Flamingo Bay Hotel and Marina, round-trip transportation for the angler and his/her kayak from Port Everglades to Grand Bahama, a cocktail reception and awards dinner. Fish caught during the tournament will be given to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, Flamingo Bay Hotel and Marina, and volunteers assisting with the project. For more information or to register for the tournament, visit www. extremekayakfishing.com or call 954-661-0175.

To learn more about the event and how to register, go to

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UNDER THE SEA

SLINGS AND POLESPEARS

from companies have challenged this SHERI DAYE traditional design by changing the here’s a fun retro-movement taking hand position. The place in spearfishing—a trend toward Headhunter Guerilla primitive hunting gear. Slings and Sling has a comfortable polespears are used in places that do not allow trigger mechanisms, such as Bermuda or the grip, which transfers the weight load from Bahamas, but they are growing in popularity the wrist and distributes the force throughout the forearm. Sea Archer slings look like an outside these regions too. This could be attributed to the new Sling/ underwater bow and arrow. The user holds Polespear category for world records, run by the body of the sling just as they would with a the International Underwater Spearfishing bow and arrow. There’s nothing more beautiful Association (IUSA). However, I suspect the than watching a skilled underwater hunter real reason is that many hunters appreciate using a sling and hitting the mark with a freethe challenge and simplicity, not unlike land- flying shaft! Polespears are another fun option. hunters opting for bow-and-arrow over rifles. It’s a beautiful art form that evokes images of They can be made of fiberglass, aluminum Indians using extreme stealth and having great or carbon fiber. The tip can have a flopper, three-prong paralyzer tip or a slip-tip. Neritic respect for their prey. Slings and polespears are great tools for Diving company makes polespears with someone who is either learning how to spearfish interchangeable sections that can be assembled or interested in improving their hunting skills. in different length configurations. Users may Compared to modern spearguns, they force a choose to use a shorter polespear when hunting diver to become calmer and stealthier because in dirtier water or in tight spaces. When diving of their shorter range. One must slow down and in deep clear water, fish may not be cooperative study the behavior of fish in order to get closer and a longer polespear may be desired. The to them. While both slings and polespears are ability to quickly construct your weapon of powered using rubber bands without trigger choice is one of the best recent innovations, along with magnetic slip-tips that don’t fall off mechanisms, these two styles differ. Slings, sometimes called “Hawaiian slings,” while diving. I must admit that I can’t help feeling a are similar to a slingshot where the band is pulled back to launch the spear. Traditionally, smug sense of satisfaction when I land an the shooter was a tubular-shaped piece of wood elusive fish with a simple stick and rubber with a hole drilled down the center so the shaft band. Regardless if you are a novice or could slide through when being launched professional, primitive hunting offers a forward by the band. Recent innovations fun and entertaining challenge. Why not

T

Charles Duffie with a polespeared hogfish. Photo by James Ferrara.

add another skill to your spearfishing resume and another choice in your toolkit? It will double your fun and make you a better hunter! Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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Spearfishing Course for Freedivers

By Capt. Chad Carney Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

I

n 2016, Freediving Instructors International (FII) presented their new spearfishing course at The Blue Wild Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. If you’re new to spearfishing or a veteran, this wealthof-knowledge course, from many of the world’s best spearfishermen and freedivers will be invaluable. All students must already have a Level 1 freediving certification from an internationally recognized agency. FII founder Martin Stepanek, and freediving instructors John Dornellas and Cameron Kirkconnell, wrote the textbook for the course, called FII Spearfishing. The first course was taught by Martin and John at Florida Freedivers, Jonathan and Kelsey Dickinson’s dive shop in North Palm Beach, Fla. just days before The Blue Wild. Jonathan became a FII Spearfishing Instructor in September and taught the course to most of his staff and several customers since. The classroom section of the course runs a half day and is packed with great content including spearfishing ethics, freediving safety, location safety about dive planning, site obstructions, currents, marine animals, divers and boats. Information about spearfishing gear, it’s handling and use is covered thoroughly along with underwater hunting skills and techniques. The second half of the day is the pool training, where speargun handling and float line training is hands-on. The provided spearguns are unique in that they can be loaded in the water with total safety, because their shafts are completely stationary, as they are permanently bolted to the muzzles and mechanisms. Otherwise, the spearguns are fully functional and allow the best practice for pool or confined water training. Hunting styles and tricks are also taught and practiced in the pool around a portable artificial reef at the pool bottom where students will stalk a foam fish. Certification is completed with the classroom and pool session, along with a written test. A day of real ocean spearfishing is an option and may vary from location to location, but in the Palm Beaches, Jonathan says they plan for a day of spearfishing in moderate depths where water entries with gear can be polished, and also float lines can be used in currents. Reefs with low structure are available for stalking with, aspetto and agguatto techniques. The photo is Jonathan Dickinson with a recent 70-pound amberjack!

Check out www.floridafreedivers.com and www.freedivinginstructors.com for more information about the course and spearfishing and freediving equipment. Capt. Chad Carney runs diving and spearfishing charters in southeast Florida and can be reached at 727-4237775 or chad.carney@yahoo.com.

To learn more about Florida Free Divers, go to

Nothing gets you closer to the fish than your small craft. And nothing anchors you better than a Power-Pole Micro anchor made just for your vessel. Add the Micro Battery Pak and you’re ready to go wherever adventure takes you.

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FISH & FISHING

THE LIGHT WAND MARK SOSIN

L

earning to fish a fly in saltwater adds a new and extremely challenging dimension to the sport. Light-wand enthusiasts on the marine scene don’t have to trip over tradition that sometimes limits the thinking and performance of their brethren who focus attention solely on trout and salmon. There are differences. When you work over fish in a stream, you often have ample time to contemplate the situation, change flies if the first one doesn’t work, and even try several approaches. Even a shoreline largemouth bass lays claim to a stationary feeding station near a log or under the lip of a lily pad. Saltwater critters remain on the move, probing and prowling continuously or they hold on a seat in the restaurant until the water level rises or falls a certain amount. Then, they change position. If you happen to spot your quarry, you only have seconds to get a fly in front of it. The first cast has to count. Simple hesitation can cause you to miss the opportunity. When you are blind casting, it’s important to read the water and recognize another set of signals. Predators frequently follow a feeding rhythm tied directly to the stage of the tide. Since they are not restricted to a few deep pools or the tail end of a run, finding them and presenting a fly with accuracy requires detailed knowledge of their habits and habitat. Casting in saltwater demands a bit more distance than it does in many freshwater settings. False casting becomes a handicap when you’re trying to drop a fly in the path of a cruising gamefish. You won’t have time to admire the tight loops or match the distance to the target precisely before dropping the fly gently on the skin of the water. The repeated surges of a powerful marine denizen tethered to flyline, leader and backing, or the task of driving a fly into the wind and in front of a cruising fish have no parallels in other forms of angling. Once experienced, these challenges trigger an insatiable appetite that demands more.

For smaller species of fish, a 9-weight fly rod that is 9-feet long would be my first choice. The reel should be single action, hold adequate backing, and left or right hand retrieve. You should turn the handle with your primary hand rather than what many fly fishermen do today. With a 9-weight rod, the reel should hold at least 200 yards of 20-pound dacron or braid. The second outfit for larger fish starts with a 12-weight or 13-weight rod and a reel that holds at least 275 yards of backing. Again, if you are right handed, choose a right hand retrieve. If you’re new to fly fishing, the time to break out the fly rod is when fishing is very good and your chances of success are boosted. It pays to keep it rigged and handy all the time. Let me warn you that catching fish on a fly rod becomes addictive. Once you start hooking fish on the light wand you will also be hooked.

For more Mark Sosin visit

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3/20/17 3:40 PM


UR-Cut

FIELD TEST

DEXTER UR-CUT FILLET KNIFE

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A slippery knife can make filleting fish a difficult chore. Dexter UR-Cut Fillet knives were designed to eliminate this problem, while providing comfort and control by custom molding the grip to a user’s hand. Coastal Angler put Dexter’s design to the test at the docks with a cooler full of sheepshead, which are known to be difficult to clean. The customization involves boiling the handle before dipping it in cold water and gripping it tightly so the owner’s grip is impressed on the handle. With attention to thumb position during the process, we were able to customize the grip to the exact position our fillet men prefer. It took just a few minutes, and the result was a well-balanced tool that felt secure and comfortable in the hand. Then we took our blades to the cutting table. Dexters are known for maintaining a super-sharp edge, and having just the right amount of flexibility. Past experience has taught us they are also easy to sharpen. We were not surprised to find the blade on our new UR-Cut knives performed flawlessly working along spines and ribcages. Our hands and the table were coated in slime, and this is where the URCut showed why it is more than just a good knife. We intentionally created a slippery situation by not washing down, and the non-slip properties of the custom handles performed as advertised. For more information, visit...

UR-Cut features the same legendary DEXSTEEL, super-sharp edge, and just-right flexibility that you are used to with Dexter... 1.Dip handle in boiling water for 2 minutes. 2. Dip in cold water for 1 second. 3. Grip and form handle for 10 seconds. 4. Put back in cold water for 10 seconds and your done.

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O/B MOTOR BRACKET Mounts to your existing swim platform

RATED FOR 2 & 4-STROKE ENGINES UP TO 15 HP OR 132 LBS.

ADD SOME KICK WITH PANTHER’S ALL-NEW SWIM PLATFORM O/B MOTOR BRACKET Transform your boat into a fishing machine and make trolling for your favorite species more efficient and productive. www.MarineTechProducts.com

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PANTHER SWIM PLATFORM OUTBOARD MOTOR BRACKET Now, with the new Panther Swim Platform Outboard Motor Bracket you can transform the family boat or even the work boat into a fishing machine. The convenience of having a kicker motor makes slow trolling for your favorite species much more efficient and productive. The new bracket easily mounts to most swim platforms and features three levels of convenient height adjustment to accommodate most platform heights and motor shaft lengths, for optimal prop depth and performance. • Rated for two- and four-stroke motors up to 20 hp with max motor weight of 195 pounds • Constructed of black powder coat aluminum • Comes complete with transom support bar for weight support torque resistance For more information, contact MarineTech Products at 1 651-486-2010 or visit

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ost anglers would probably enjoy a shopping spree in the fishing section of the local Walmart. An Ohio man allegedly helped himself to not one, but two free-ofcharge shopping sprees last October, and has now been charged with stealing an estimated $3,800 worth of fishing gear, according to NBC affiliate WLWT. Warren County, Ohio prosecutor David Fornshell told reporters that Derrick Marcum, “pretty much cleared out the aisle.” According to the WLWT report, Marcum was arrested last October when he attempted to carry two backpacks stuffed with fishing gear out of an Ohio Walmart. He was arrested that same day for the theft of $1,300 worth of gear. But it wasn’t until recently that investigators connected that incident with another theft that occurred the previous day at another Ohio Walmart. Marcum allegedly filled five plastic bins with tackle and then proceeded to the self-checkout, where he paid only for the bins. Investigators valued that heist at about $2,500. A grand jury indicted Marcum, and he waits in jail for his arraignment, according to reports. Jail time seems a pretty steep price, even for thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear.

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suzuki spring savings Three Limited Time Offers Make A Good Deal Even Better Suzuki Gives You All Three So You Don’t Have To Choose One Or The Other

Buy a new Suzuki outboard from 25 to 300 horsepower and take advantage of not just one, but ALL THREE Suzuki Spring promotional offers.

Add cash rebates on select models and you can get up to $800 cash back. Plus our Repower Financing is available at attractive interest rates (on approved credit.*)

Just say, “Gimme Six!” and you’ll get six years of product protection. That’s right, you’ll get Suzuki’s three-year limited warranty and Suzuki’s 3-Year Extended Protection Plan at no extra charge.

See your participating Suzuki Marine dealer today and find out how you can get the ultimate deal on the Ultimate 4-Stroke Outboard.

Six Years of Protection at no extra charge on all new outboards 25 to 300 HP.

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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 4/01/17 and 6/30/17 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 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. 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 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. “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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Coastal Angler Magazine - April / Fort Myers/Cape Coral/Charlotte Harbor  

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

Coastal Angler Magazine - April / Fort Myers/Cape Coral/Charlotte Harbor  

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