Coastal Angler Magazine | April 2021 | Lakeland & Sumter Edition

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LAKELAND & SUMTER EDITION

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BIG FISH SMALL LURES

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KITE! PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE DALTON INSTAGRAM: @BOMBCHELLE_FISHING

VOLUME 26 • ISSUE 314

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM

F R A N C H I S E

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A V A I L A B L E

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MAY 2021


Secrets of a Billionaire Revealed “Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.” — wisdom from the most successful investor of all time

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Jackpot! Hoard of 1881-S Morgan Silver Dollars Found & Secured Mintage accounts for only 1.94% of all Morgan Silver Dollars Struck!

In 1859, Nevada’s Comstock Lode was discovered, and soon its rich silver ore made its way across the nation, including to the respected San Francisco Mint—the U.S. Mint branch known by collectors as the source of some of the finest U.S. coins ever struck. That includes the 1881 Morgan Silver Dollar, which exhibits crisp details, blazing luster, and the iconic “S” mint mark of the San Francisco Mint. Now you have the chance to add these historic, 90% pure U.S. silver coins to your collection!

Here’s the breakdown: in 1881, just 4.25% of the total Morgan series was struck. Less than half of those coins came from San Francisco. In the end, the 1881-S Morgan Silver Dollar accounts for just 1.94% of the entire series—and that’s before the mass meltings that have left so few coins for collectors to secure. And we can expect that even fewer of the survivors are of collector grade...

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(MS63) condition by NGC/PCGS

 Sealed in protective holder  1881-S accounts for just 1.94% of all Morgans Struck

Actual size is 38.1 mm

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)! Grading service varies. The condition of these coins are as though they were struck yesterday, despite being minted 140 years ago to circulate in commerce! And yet they have survived with a quality level of eye appeal that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

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1881-S Date

The Morgan Silver Dollar was struck from 1878 to 1904, and again in 1921. In the 100 years since, most of these beautiful U.S. Silver Dollars have been worn out or melted down for their silver. It’s estimated that as little as 15% of all Morgans struck exist today in any condition. Even fewer come from this particular mintage.

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 Historic Morgan Silver Dollars  Minted in San Francisco  1881 date  140 years old  26.73 grams of 90% fine silver  Hefty 38.1 mm diameter  Certified collector Mint State-63

The Morgan Silver Dollar is the most popular and iconic vintage U.S. coin. They were the Silver Dollars of the Wild West, going on countless untold adventures in dusty saddlebags across the nation. Finding a hoard of Morgans doesn’t happen often—and when it does, it’s a big deal. So when we came across a recent hoard of 549 Morgan Silver Dollars—all struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1881—it was like hitting the jackpot!

Morgans from the San Francisco Mint

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The 1881-S Silver 1881-S Morgan Morgan Dollar accounts 1.94% of the entire series for just 1.94% of all Morgans struck. Don’t miss out. Call 1-888-324-9125 and use the special offer code below to secure yours today while our limited supply lasts!

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THE BASICS

By Michelle Dalton

Flying OF

Kites T

here’s something about kite fishing for big pelagic gamefish that gets me going. Flying kites presents baits with a natural appearance and allows you to cover lots of water for higher catch rates. Also, the technique provides the ultimate adrenaline rush, as you get to watch the strike happen. For those unfamiliar with kite fishing, let’s go over the basics. Captains consider everything from water color and clarity to baitfish and birds to determine where to start fishing. I like fishing edges, where water color turns green to a deep blue, usually somewhere in 100 to 300 feet of water. There are different kite designs for different wind velocities. Kites are typically launched and retrieved with electric reels. Launching kites is not a piece of cake, but with the right equipment, patience and steady winds, a beginner can practice and perfect the skill. Attached to your kite line are three release clips.

Each clip is assigned to a rod. An experienced crew will fish three live baits off one kite, with each reel’s line clipped to the main kite line. Although it seems like a potential tangled mess, it’s rather organized. For the bait lines, I use high-capacity baitcasting reels spooled with 20- or 30-pound monofilament. Attached to the mono, above the leader, there are a few terminal tackle items that make up your rigs.

First, a ceramic ring is attached to the kite line using release clips. Next, a neon float dangles in the sky above each bait to help track them from a distance. From there, a small egg sinker maintains the vertical drop that keeps baits at the surface. Finally, a bead separates the sinker from your leader. Your leader depends on the targeted species. For the toothy critters, I use an 18-inch wire leader connected to fluorocarbon with an Albright knot and a 7/0 live bait hook. For sailfish, I use 10 to 12 feet of 60-pound fluorocarbon leader with a 7/0 circle hook. By paying attention and adjusting the lines, the angler keeps the baits on the surface where they make the slight commotion predators find irresistible. The rigs suspend in air above the baits, completely out of sight of the fish. I prefer fishing goggle-eyes, threadfin herring and sardines. Healthy bait is far more likely to be eaten. Ahead of tournaments, my team and I spend weeks feeding and nurturing bait to keep it healthy. If you’re fortunate enough to hook a sailfish, don’t immediately clear the other lines. Sailfish often travel in groups. Leave those other baits in the water for a chance at additional bites. Traditionally, when winds start to die at the end of spring, the number of boats trolling offshore grows. However, kite fishing goes on year-round in South Florida. Even with very little wind, a kite will fly with the help of a helium balloon. Next time your friends want to troll around offshore, tell them to “go fly a kite!” Michelle Dalton books charters through her social media pages: @Bombchelle_fishing.

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on ply. ce mer ect ely. ng. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

MAY 2021

NATIONAL 7


Humbled

ON THE DAVIDSON By Nick Carter

T

he Davidson River in Brevard, N.C. is one of the most widely publicized trout streams in the Southeast. It’s a challenging fishery with beautiful water that holds some very nice fish. Part of the Davidson’s appeal, or its main drawback, is easy access. The river flows roadside through most its publicly accessible length. There is small water in the headwaters accessible only by foot, but for the most part it is a park-and-fish kind of place. On a gorgeous summer weekend, a buddy and I heeded advice from the guys at Davidson River Outfitters to join the dawn patrol. We arrived on

the river at first light to find a pod of big fish, maybe four or five in the 16- to 20-inch range, hovering near the bottom of a bellybutton-deep run. They were clearly visible in low summer flows. For the next hour, we worked the run together, one or the other of us making the same drift repeatedly as the other man tied on a new fly. It was a challenge that bordered on infuriating to see those trout, an occasional belly flash belying the fact that they were eating… just not what we offered. We tried everything, right down to a size 22 red midge pupa recommended at the fly shop. Finally, because we had tried everything else, I

tied on a white Woolly Bugger—another Davidson River staple. Just twitching it through the hole, a fish we had not previously seen streaked from the periphery to slam the streamer. Those big fish didn’t even flinch as I stripped in a pretty 11-inch brown. As I released the fish, an older gentleman waded down the side of the run. He glanced out at the pod of big fish still sitting on the bottom. “Wasn’t the one you were after, was it?” he asked. My response was to offer him a shot at the run. He declined. “Don’t want any part of it,” he grumbled. “Spent all afternoon yesterday standing right where you are.” That’s a snapshot of what fishing the catch-andrelease, fly fishing only section of the Davidson is like. The river is full of fish—and some big ones. It is also frequently full of anglers. The steady pressure makes trout wise. Of course, there’s always a guy who lights up Internet message boards with a photo of a big old bruiser. He’ll give advice like, “Use a little split-shot to get it down,” but I suspect there’s more to it. Pressured fish are on guard. Catching them requires perfect presentation of the perfect fly and also being in the right place at that right time. Arriving early, staying late and fishing hard makes it more likely you’ll be there when a 2-foot-long trout makes a mistake. This story is an abbreviated excerpt from the book “Flyfisher’s Guide to North Carolina & Georgia,” which includes maps and GPS coordinates to access points for all the region’s best trout fisheries. Purchase the book on Amazon or by contacting the author at nsc8957@gmail.com.

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“Rooted” GET

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he Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. This jungle-like paradise provides crucial habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like manatees, American crocodiles and Florida panthers. It is a truly amazing land and seascape, and it’s home to an awesome angling experience like no other: an encounter with the “Silver King,” one of Nature’s most acrobatic and striking underwater wonders. Tarpon (Megalops), in brief, are like an enormous silver bullet. They are powerful, explosive and acrobatic fighters, with the stamina of an Energizer bunny. Due to their tolerance of a wide range of water salinity, tarpon swim the canals and ponds of south Florida. I’ve caught juveniles in freshwater ponds, so I’ve sampled the pure power of the species. But catching a true behemoth has long been on my bucket list. To achieve this, I traveled to Flamingo, the southernmost headquarters of Everglades National Park, in Monroe County, Fla. There I met Sam Root, an exceptionally knowledgeable Miami-based

By Rosemary J. White

IN THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES

fisherman and media personality who has traveled the world to test his fishing skills. I’ve admired Root’s media work, and have been fortunate to collaborate with him through companies like Mustad, Savage Gear and many TV platforms. On this trip, we set out to test the Savage Gear Pulse Tail Mullet and Pulse Tail Ballyhoo. These swimbaits are engineered to look and move like the baitfish they resemble, and are molded with Savage Gear’s pulse tail. The tail has a patent-pending split rear kicker that allows realistic swimming action fast or slow. The bait also features “line-through” rigging that allows the soft-plastic bait to slide up the line during the fight, giving the fish less leverage to throw the hook. With the aerial tendencies of tarpon, this is a pretty good feature to have. We launched out of Everglades National Park quickly to avoid being air lifted from the ramp by mosquitoes. The scenery was breathtaking. Winding through the narrow canals was like trekking through the Amazon. We arrived at our spot with the moon to the west and the sunrise to the east, both simultaneously visible. That was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

The action began immediately! We hooked multiple tarpon and got a first-hand perspective of why the line-through technology is helpful. An unobstructed fight, both from the lack of structure and the lack of a lure in the fish’s mouth makes for a pure battle of strength and endurance, on both sides of the rod. The acrobatics and sheer power of these fish as they launched into the air was mind blowing. At one point, it was all I could do to hold on as Root engaged the motor in pursuit of a monster tarpon with the reel screaming in my hands. After we exhausted ourselves—and several fish—we headed into the preserve canals to sightsee. We were ecstatic to get a glimpse of the American crocodile. The Everglades is the only place on Earth where both alligators and crocodiles coexist. When Root said it was time to “call it,” I cringed. I could have gotten lost for days fishing in the unparalleled landscape. The Everglades is a mix of different habitats including freshwater, brackish and salt, an angler’s paradise. I longed for more time to explore.

For more information on Savage Gear and their products, Sam does instructional “how to” videos on his Instagram @scssam. Follow Rosemary White @roasty194 for her fishing adventures that feature destinations throughout Florida and @daryn.white.fishing for photography.


Bow and pray.

Tarpon season in The Florida Keys is all about timing, skill and luck of the draw. Hook up and be ready to bow to the king. Stay tight and pray all those hours in the gym weren’t for naught. Whether you come just for thrills or to top your personal best, don’t miss the opportunity to experience true piscatorial bliss. fla-keys.com 1.800.fla.keys For the latest protocols on health & safety in The Florida Keys, please visit our website.


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SHRIMP: THE BAIT OF ALL BAITS

4) Shrimp (weedless, or as it comes out of the package) without a jig head I can go anywhere there are shrimp and catch trout, drum, snook and more with a very small tackle box. It’s the universal bait. My favorite is just the shrimp on the Barefoot Jig without a cork, but under the fixed and sliding cork is sometimes just the ticket. You can use the sliding cork Tim Barefoot around docks and snags at an irresistibly slow speed. The reason it works ears ago, I was obsessed with live bait of all kinds. I kept livewells so well is the jig head is balanced and will maintain a perfect horizontal with mullet, shrimp, pinfish and cigar minnows. I spent a lot of position with or without a cork. time tending to bait and battling the otters at the marina. My inshore bait of choice was the live shrimp… hands down. Live mullets will get the bite, no question, but the shrimp is simply irresistible. I would spend hours and hours catching, housing and feeding bait. I was just about at the end of my inshore live bait road when along came the DOA shrimp. I love everything about that soft plastic shrimp body. It’s pretty tough, looks just like a real shrimp and can be made to work in every single situation including depth, grass/roots and current when used with the correct hardware. I have to admit there are times when I may catch a few more fish with live shrimp, but I can carry my entire inshore tackle The key is to make the shrimp look like a real shrimp. box now in just a few small trays of jig heads, DOA shrimp A live shrimp does not move around stern- or bow-heavy. colors and a bottle of Pro Cure shrimp scent. It’s extremely A live shrimp moves thru the water slowly in a perfectly easy to just plug a DOA body on the jig, apply a liberal horizontal position. Just look at them in the livewell or at a amount of Pro Cure shrimp scent on the legs and underside, tackle shop that sells live shrimp. That’s the reason the DOA and start fishing. I have so much faith in this combination. catches so many fish: it swims horizontally. It’s just a given; they will eat it when properly presented. The weedless version of this shrimp can be extremely I could write several pages of this article regarding the effective for fish tailing in the grass or around mangrove different applications, but I’ll be brief. roots. This is one reason to keep one rigged and ready and I keep four rods rigged with shrimp: always moving around quietly. For videos of these variations, 1) Shrimp body on a 3/8-ounce Barefoot Jig. visit my website and click on “videos” 2) Shrimp under a fixed cork about 20 inches deep on a 3/8 oz. Barefoot Jig. For more from Capt. Tim Barefoot, visit 3) Shrimp under a sliding cork on a 3/8-ounce barefootcatsandtackle.com. Barefoot Jig (to suspend over shell beds).

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Summer-Long, Statewide Fishing Competition Launches May 29 C CA Florida, the state’s leading marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy organization, will begin the seventh-annual CCA Florida STAR competition May 29. The summer-long event invites anglers and non-anglers to participate and win prizes valued at $500,000, including boats, motors, scholarships and more. Launched in 2015, Florida STAR focuses on conservation with its catch, photo and release format, conservation division and unique garbage division. Additionally, STAR is driven by its smartphone app, which allows participants to upload competition photos, eliminating the requirement to harvest or transport fish. “In the past six years, it’s been amazing to see STAR participants catch more fish, practice catch and release and support recovery efforts—all to conserve and enhance our state’s coastal waters and marine resources.” CCA Florida STAR Director Leiza Fitzgerald said. “But, what’s been just as exciting, is awarding more than $1.2 million in prizes, including $600,000 in youth scholarships, to the thousands of STAR registrants.” 2021 STAR features 17 divisions targeting 12 inshore and offshore species. STAR’s signature divisions include the West Marine STAR Tagged redfish, and prizes in this division are a Contender Boats 22 Sport, Pathfinder Boats 2200 TRS and Spyder 19FX Vapor all powered by Yamaha Outboards. For the first two youth anglers who win this division, prizes include two Salt Marsh Skiff 1656 tiller boats powered with Yamaha Outboards, trailers, Minn Kota trolling motors and Humminbird electronics. The other signature division, the Tigress Outrigger & Gear Tagged Dolphin Division, offers one winner a $10,000 cash prize or scholarship to the STAR registrant and CCA Florida member who catches the first

tagged dolphin. Dolphin are captured, tagged and released off the Florida Keys by the Dolphin Research program implemented by the Beyond Our Shores foundation. With a focus on inclusion of anglers of all skill levels, every fish an angler catches counts in STAR’s Power Pole Conservation Division. This division makes each participant a citizen biologist by documenting catches in the app with data to be utilized in research. Engagement of youth is another priority of STAR, and CCA Florida youth members (ages 6 to 17) can participate in the competition for free. Kids are encouraged to submit entries in the Youth Scholarship Division presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors for an opportunity to win one of 12 scholarships with a total value of $100,000. Youth may also garner community service hours by gathering trash and disposing of it properly in the Costa Kick Plastic Trash Division or even win a new boat, motor and trailer by catching a West Marine tagged redfish. Other divisions include ladies, kayak, guides and more. Since most division winners are determined by a random drawing, it is about submitting qualifying entries for an opportunity to be drawn as a winner. Registration is open throughout the competition and ends Sept. 6. To register for STAR 2021 or receive additional information on divisions, prizes and more, visit ccaflstar.com or Facebook.

Because every fish could be a winner!

CATCH. PHOTO. RELEASE. WIN. MAY 29 TO SEPTEMBER 6 CCA Florida STAR is the largest family-friendly saltwater fishing competition in Florida, and it’s unlike traditional fishing tournaments.

• $500,000 in Prizes & Scholarships

• West Marine Tagged Redfish Prizes Include Boat, Motor & Trailer Packages • 1st Tagged Tigress Dolphin/Mahi Mahi Wins $10,000 cash • 101 days of fishing $40 entry for current CCA members. All others add $35 for one year membership.

• Prizes for Additional Non-Tagged Non Species Snook, Trout, Redfish, Grouper, Kingfish, Dolphin, Tarpon & Lionfish

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or the first time in decades, there’s an old-school inshore grand slam tournament slated for South Florida. The first Herman Lucerne Biscayne Legends Classic, presented by Hell’s Bay Boatworks, will launch on Biscayne Bay July 7-8 thanks to The Herman Lucerne Memorial Foundation and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. Twenty-five teams will compete in an exciting one-day contest, chasing bonefish, permit and tarpon in what is perhaps the greatest urban inshore fishery on earth. Registration is open now, and space is limited.

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PERFECT THE

FAST CAST for Expedient Accuracy By Stu Apte

EDITOR’S NOTE: Legendary fly fisherman Stu Apte has fished worldwide for anything that swims for more than 70 years. Here he shares some tips on sight casting.

H

ow would you like to go after an elephant armed with a BB gun? In theory, that is what we attempt to do when we go after 100-poundplus tarpon—or any other fish you can see and must quickly cast to before they see you—with a fly rod and a comparatively light leader tippet. The difference is, you can’t get an elephant with a BB gun, but you can catch all kinds of 100-pound-plus fish with a fly rod using a comparatively light tippet. All you must do is learn to implement the proper fish fighting techniques, and how to get your cast to the fish with speed and accuracy. I started developing and teaching this back in the late 1950s and early 1960s when I was a backcountry guide in the Florida Keys. I will try to describe how to do the fast cast: If you are right-handed, you will have the fly rod in your right hand and carefully hold the fly by the hook pointing away from you in the first finger and thumb of your left hand. I generally fish at least a 12-foot leader, so this is a little easier for people with a shorter leader. You should have approximately 8 or 10 feet of fly line out of the rod tip.

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Do a forward roll cast in the air, without letting the fly or line hit the water. Abruptly stop it before it reaches its zenith, and then shoot a little line on your back cast, once again stopping it before it reaches the end of the cast. This should load your rod enough to make a 50- or 60-foot presentation, sometimes even a 70-foot cast without even a full false cast. Yes, this is something you must practice for accuracy, but once you get it down and it is not difficult, you will catch more fish by doing a fast cast than anything else I can teach. Now, it is important to dress your line with Line Speed so it will flow through the guides easily. Depending on where I’m fishing and the quality of the surface water, I might have to dry and redress my fly line four or five times during the day. So I keep Loon Outdoors Line Speed or Stream Line nearby so I can use it in my Loon Outdoors Line Cleaning Tool. Reprinted with permission from Loon Outdoors: loonoutdoors.com.

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WACKY RIG FOR THE STAGES OF THE SPAWN By Tyler Woolcott

W

hen bass flock to the banks this time of year, it draws in a lot of anglers. Many times, it’s possible to locate big bass in the shallows, but it can be tough to make them bite because of pressure on heavily fished lakes. A wacky-rigged Senko is one of my favorite techniques in this situation. I slow down, stay farther off a spawning area and pick it apart with a finesse approach some anglers won’t try. A wacky worm flat out gets bit. Whether it’s a Senko-style bait or a Trick Worm, the size of fish I’m targeting and water clarity play a huge role in the decision. On a clear body of water with spotted and largemouth bass, I throw a smaller 4- to 5-inch worm. When the target is primarily largemouth, I throw a larger 6-inch Senko or a Magnum Trick Worm. Throwing the wacky worm is a more finesse approach, and it’s also versatile. A wacky-rigged worm is easy to throw and skip around docks, wood, grass, open water or any bank bass are attracted to. You catch fish spawning around the cover, those about to spawn and those finished up and looking to feed. People get overwhelmed in over-thinking color choice. I stick to more natural colors like green pumpkins and baitfish colors because, at the end of the day, you are trying to use finesse and present something natural. I often stick a nail weight in the larger end of the worm to get the bait into the strike zone faster and keep it there. Depending on depth, I use a 1/32- or 3/32-ounce WOO! Tungsten Nail Weight. Whether you’re fishing a tournament for $100,000 or just out fun fishing, getting a bite on a tough day can boost confidence and tell you you’re in a good area. I keep a wacky worm rigged at all times, and I throw it anywhere from

Florida to the Great Lakes when I’m struggling for a bite, especially on a highly pressured fishery.

Wacky Worm Gear A wacky worm calls for a spinning rod. Lighter line and a rod you can use to skip the bait helps put it where the guy fishing the bank ahead of you couldn’t with his baitcaster. I use a 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’1” Medium Fast action rod paired with a 3000-size reel. This rod is ideal. It is short enough to make accurate casts and skips. It has a medium action to reel into a fish and keep him on without pulling the hook. The fast tip helps you feel bites and work the bait appropriately. I use between a size 2 and a 1/0 Hayabusa Spin Muscle guard hook, depending on the size of the bait. My line of choice is a 10-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid in lime green. Depending on water clarity, I fish an 8- to 12-pound Seaguar Tatsu leader. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at tylerwoolcottfishing.com.

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F L O R I D A

red sn more estima using the Gu fishery Fo results lawma many the So traditi angler by exc South U. annou Atlant Th the Un Christ estima that ar Th largely includ of the for fish


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he congressionally funded Great Red Snapper Count released findings in March that showed red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico are more than three times as abundant as estimates NOAA Fisheries has been using to set seasons and bag limits for the Gulf ’s most important recreational fishery. Following on the heels of staggering results from this independent study, lawmakers now want to know how many red snapper there really are in the South Atlantic fishery. Based on traditional estimates, recreational anglers have in recent years been limited by exceptionally strict regulations. The South Atlantic red snapper season was just four days long in 2020. U.S. Reps. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) announced $3.3 million in federal funding in late March to launch a South Atlantic study modeled after the Gulf ’s Great Red Snapper Count. The South Atlantic study will be a 30-month project conducted between the University of Florida, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and NOAA Fisheries. Like the Great Red Snapper Count, it will estimate red snapper numbers over a wide-ranging area, including habitats that are not currently targeted by traditional fisheries surveys. The increased estimates provided by the Great Red Snapper Count were largely due to the study of low-relief, flat-bottomed areas, which are not included in traditional estimates derived largely from catch data. The results of the South Atlantic study will provide a better understanding of the fishery for fisheries managers.

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ampa angler Christian Greico scored a pretty good payday fishing the recent MLF Toyota Series Harris Chain event. Not only did he chalk a solid tenth-place finish, he caught a tagged largemouth that tacked an additional $5,000 prize onto his tournament winnings of $4,150, which included Big Fish for the event. The tagged fish, a 9-pound, 12-ounce giant, was the headliner fish in the Apopka Fish Challenge, which features cash prizes for anglers who catch fish of various species that were previously tagged by FWC biologists. The big bass was named “Jim Thomas” after the Winter Garden environmentalist who founded the conservation organization Friends of Lake Apopka (FOLA). After the tournament, Greico contacted FWC about his “Jim Thomas” catch and was awarded a $2,500 prize from FOLA and an additional $2,500 from Bass Pro Shops for his approval of the fish into TrophyCatch. The Lake Apopka Fish Challenge offers anglers the chance to catch a tagged fish in Lake Apopka and return the tag to the FWC for a prize from FOLA. The fish challenge is also a study to see if the competition elicits changes to angler behavior and increases fishing efforts on Lake Apopka. Although “Jim Thomas” has been caught, there are still thousands of dollars’ worth of prize fish swimming around Lake Apopka. Tagged bass, bream and specks representing about $5,000 more in prizes are swimming the lake, so don’t stop fishing! The event began in January and will conclude on May 31. The TrophyCatch program rewards anglers who provide documentation of their catch and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier in Florida. The FWC encourages anglers to join TrophyCatch to become citizen scientists and assist in the management and the conservation of Florida’s freshwater fisheries. The associated TrophyCare program promotes best handling practices for trophy bass to ensure that each TrophyCatch bass is released alive. Check out Greico’s video of the actual landing of “Jim Thomas” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_G0-bxAN20.

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If you have a suggestion for a distribution location for Coastal Angler Magazine, please let me know. You can view all 35 magazines in the U.S., including The Bahamas, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands at www.CoastalAnglerMagazine.com Please feel free to send me any fishing photos and comments about the magazine-I would love to hear from you!

E dition Highlights & Business Spotlight Page 2-3 Sumter County Map Page 4 Tournament & Events Page 6 Learn To Fly Fish

Page 10 7th Annual Panfish Challenge Page 14-15 Polk County Map Page 16 Find Us Here

Page 9 Photo Of The Month

Polk & Sumter Edition Staff: Sales, Editing & Production- Mary Brasher Graphic Arts & Design - PPP Graphic Design Distribution - Mary & Larry Brasher, Joyce & Capt Dave Ochs Media Mgr - Patrick Powers Contributing Writers - Jim Veal Jr, Capt Dave Ochs, Capt. Scott Taylor, Capt Rick Burns, Chris O’Byrne, Capt Bobby Woodard

Facebook -CoastalAnglerMagazineLakelandVicinity • Twitter - @camlakeland • Instagram- camlakeland • Youtube- CAM Sumpter Lakeland Each month I will bring you the latest and best knowledge for you to put to good use. I also invite you to share my passion for this area and if you would like to become a contributing writer contact us. You can read our magazine online anytime or sign up for a free digital subscription. Just visit our website and never miss an issue! CoastalAnglerMag.com.

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Homosassa Area 1-Capt. Rick Burns 352-201-6111 8975 W. Halls River Rd • Homosassa, FL 34448 www.RealBurns.com Oxford Area 2- Oxford Mower & Repair 352-748-7485 • 352-748-7490 3185 E CR 466 • Oxford FL 34484 Landscaping Repair Service/ Outdoor Power Equipment Store Lake Panasoffkee 3- Pana Vista Lodge 352-793-2061 3417 Co Rd 421• Lake Panasoffkee, FL 33538 www.panavistalodge.com 4- Catfish Johnnys 863-793-2083 2396 N County Rd 470 • Lake Panasoffkee, FL 33538 www.CatfishJohnnyRestaurant.com Bushnell Area 5- Sumter Realty 352-793-3202 239 N Main St • Bushnell FL 33513 Agent Evan Merritt 6- Canada Meds 352-569-1484 512 N Main St • Bushnell, FL 33513-5112 7- Devine Family Jewelry and Pawn 352-444-2058 8271 W C-48 • Bushnell, Fl 33513 8- ParGas 352-793-1982 1452 W C 48, Bushnell, FL 33513 www.pargas.com 9- Papaw’s Country Store 352-793-1080 8271 W C-48 • Bushnell, Fl 33513 Deli, Groceries, Beer, Live Bait, Tackle, LP Gas Follow us on Facebook

The Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway Organization began as a Community Action Group in March 2009 in partnership with the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce with the express purpose of improving the southern entrance to Sumter County, therefore enhancing the visitor experience to the National Cemetary. The Veteran’s Memorial Hwy was designated soon afterwards, and pursuit of a Florida Scenic Hwy designation began. A Corridor Advocacy Group (CAG) began meeting with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Five Scenic Highways Coordinator in order to pursue the “scenic” classification for a series of roads within Sumter County that encompass the communities of Webster, Bushnell, Sumterville, Lake Panasoffkee, Carlson, Rutland and the surrounding areas. The roads that comprise the 62-mile Byway traverse rural communities, pastoral farmlands, cattle ranches, parklands, lush hardwood hammock, and floodplain forests within the Withlacoochee River Watershed. The corridor highlights the scenic view and rich heritage of Sumter County through byway travel. Attractions along the Byway include the General James Van Fleet Trail State Park, Richloam Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Florida National Cemetary, Lake Panasoffkee, Withlacoochee River and the Half Moon Wildlife Management Area. The Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway Organization is a grass roots organization committed to altering their vision for the byway based on a multi-year work plan. The SSHBO consists of volunteers who are passionate about the heritage, traditions, recreational and scenic resources fo their community. They work with their partners to showcase these resources, educate the community and advocate for community-based decision making that protects and enhances these resources. Find out how to partner, be a sponsor, or donate at www.sumterbyway.com.

Webster Area 10- Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway, Inc. 352-267-8801 P.O. Box 6 • Webster, FL 33597 www.sumterbyway.com/ sumterbyway@gmail.com Sumterville Area 11- Blackjack Sporting Clays 352-569-9469 3372 County Road 526 • Sumterville, FL 33585 blackjackclays.com • info@blackjackdays.com Dale Walker Owner/Operator Webster Area 12- Webster Hardware & Farm Supply Ace 352-793-4831 120 N. Market Blvd. • Webster, FL 33597 www.WebsterFarmSupply.com Wildwood Area 13- M&M Old Hickory Smokehouse Bar-B-Q 352-399-6597 7993 NE 7th Path DR • Wildwood, FL 34785

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Your Polk & Sumter Tournament News

TARPON TIME Cash in on Nature Coast Silver Avid angler and Williston Fl. native Derek with his trophy Gator Trout. Makes ya think when a fish would eat a 2” plug, Mirrodine by Mirrorlure something that is half its size tells me if a trout was 5’ long I would probably never get in the water!

Our resident home boys being the trout and reds will still be obliging in May as they surely did in April. I and other guides had several trips during April, getting our limits of the fine eating saltwater speckled sea trout. Spanish mackerel will still be around and eager to take your tackle. The cobia for May will be here in full force, as we already had a few boated last month. And the bonnet heads and spinner sharks will take the same offering as the trout.

You know it’s nice to know and to have a friend of 50+ years like this gentleman Ronnie Barwick. (Ugh we’re all getting old.) We both grew up and met at church in lake county and loved to fish. As we grow older and grew apart it’s also great to know we can still meet with that one common bond of angling. Thanks for a great day Ronnie. Pictured from the left, Ron and Capt. Rick Burns.

However, the “reeeel deal” for our Homosassa and Crystal River area in May will be the kickoff of the peak season for the silver king, which will last through June. They start to show up on the shallow 3’ to 7’ gin clear flats as early as late April if the water along the Coast reaches and maintains about 75 degrees. Citrus County resident and Lady angler Carrie Lawson displaying one fine Crystal River Pompano.

80 % of my charters during the peak May and June tarpon season will be with the fly rod. It’s the epitome of sportfishing. There’s nothing like seeing, casting and fooling a 150-to-200-pound fish into taking a clump of chicken feathers tied on a hook. We use a lot of toad, apte 1 and 2, Homosassa specials, and cockroach patterns to achieve most of the hookups. If the long rod isn’t your game, we’ll throw the conventional setup to em. A good Penn 65 or 7500 on a matched slammer rod, along with a frisky pinfish, or active crab will most assuredly do the trick. During May and June I’m offering trips that consist of ½ trip tarpon, ½ trip redfish. I’ve found that if you’re going to stick a tarpon, it’ll be between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. After that, the sun gets high and bright and they head off into deeper water for the most part. Then it’s time to go bust a red or 3. If interested, give me a holler, and will go cash in on some silver. Submitted By: Capt. Rick Burns Real Burns Charters • 352-201-6111 Homosassafishingguide.com • www.reelburns.com

5/1 Outcasts Bass Club Tournament on Lake June in Winter Haven out of H.L. Bishop Park www.outcasts. floridatournamentreport.com 5/1 Tampa Bay Jr. Bassmasters Tournament on the Winter Haven Chain out of G. Roe Park tbjbcinfo@gmail.com 5/2 Tampa Pro Bass Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Lester www.tampaprobass.com 5/8 Fishing Misfits Bass Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Port Hatchineha 5/8 West Coast Couples Bass Tournament on Lake Pierce out of Jennings Fish Camp Contact Randy Crocker (813)927-0738 5/9 Xtreme Bass Series Camp Mack xbsmike@verizon. net 5/15 Bonfire Series & Festival on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack www.guyharveycampmack.com 5/15 Rebel Boys Bass Club Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Coleman’s Landing Contact: Ken Singletary (863)561-7607 or Randy Lowe (863)262-0139 5/15 Dixie Country Bass Club Tournament on Lake June in Winter Haven out of H.L. Bishop www. dixiecountrybassclub.wordpress.com 5/22 Elite Pro Team Tour Bass Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack Contact Charlie Wynperle (813)382-2187 5/22 Lakeland Bassmasters Team Bass Tournament on Lake Parker out of Lake Parker Park mkeeble@hotmail. com 5/22 North Tampa Bass Club Tournament on Walk in Water out of the Public Ramp www.northtampabassclub. com 5/23 Elite One-Man Tour Bass Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack contact@ tohomarine.com 5/29-30 Lakeland Bassmasters Tournament on Lake Okeechobee out of Harney Pond mkeeble@hotmail.com 5/30 Xtreme Bass Series Tournament on Lake Panasoffkee out of Tracy’s Point xbsmike@verizon.net

4 POLK & SUMTER

MAY 2021

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Blazing Bass Challenge May 14-16th Join us for the BBC featuring a 1- Day Tournament and the lighting of our Friday Night Blazing Bass Sculpture for the Bonfire Party. Register at guyharveycampmack.com

“Show Liberty” Monster Truck

FOR HIRE! “Salute to the Troops” Monster Truck at YOUR Special Event. $80 Donation Per Day Appreciated Call Martin (352)250-0534

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POLK & SUMTER 5


The Electronic Hook Using your GPS Motor’s Anchor By: Chris O’Byrne

It’s like the old economics question, “What would you save it there were a fire in your house?” If you force me to get rid of fishing gear, I would give away backing (ok, not such a big sacrifice) rods, hook sharpeners, nippers, shirts with big pockets and cool Velcro tabs, and my fly-tying vise before I would part with my Global Positioning The author sets the anchor. System (GPS) guided trolling motor. After three years using one as the only motor on my sixteen-foot boat, I rely on it almost as much as the boat itself. One of my favorite functions is the “anchor.” As fly fishers, you can benefit from this information age technology too. If you are new to GPS motors, there are a few concepts to keep in mind. The first concept is, “Forward.” When you engage the anchor function, your motor will turn the bow into the current/wind. That is forward. As long as you stay at anchor, the motor will maneuver the boat based on that bearing. Next, boats on GPS anchors move uniquely. Your boat will swivel on the pivot point of the motor, similar to a boat on traditional ground tackle. But it will also move forward, right, left, and even backward. Then, when the boat has been moved by the wind/current, the motor will adjust the boat’s position on its own. You have given it the instructions, but the motor will move the boat whether you and your guests are ready or not. With these concepts in mind, you should always; Wear your PFD. The subtle corrections the motor will make are rather strong if you are not ready. They can easily move the deck The Electronic Hook keeping us on the fish. out from under your feet if you are standing on the gunwale, thinking about the fish. Prepare the boat before you anchor. Slow it down as much as possible and point it into the wind/current. This will dampen the inputs the motor will make when you push the ‘anchor’ button. Then adjust your motor power to the lowest setting. When you begin to move the boat again, the prop will turn at the previous power setting. If it was full blast, the boat might take off without you. Once the motor takes over, follow the movements of your boat and predict the corrections the motor will make. Keep in mind the direction that the motor thinks is forward. Then, notice if you’ve drifted from the landmarks you wanted to fish. Other clues are the motor spinning and humming just before engaging. When you learn to predict the motor’s adjustments, communicate. Your guests will be surprised by the odd movements, so let them know with a description like, “We’re about to move.” When you master this technology, everyone will have more fun staying on the fish.

6 POLK & SUMTER

MAY 2021

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CENTRAL FLORIDA REGION FORECAST One of the things I love about fishing in Central Florida in May is that the lakes are not too hot yet, and the bass are out schooling chasing bait all over the place whether it’s on grass flats, deep water, or up in the jungle fishing in “the junk.” On most lakes from Lake Kissimmee to the Winter Haven Chains we can catch a lot of fish each trip along with quality big fish each time out. This is where all the fun starts because the fishing will be hot, hot, hot. What we do best is making That being said, let’s start out on Lake memories for a lifetime! Kissimmee and the Kissimmee River fishing out of Camp Mack. So far for this time of year the lake levels have been lower than normal regulation than they were last year because of the lack of rain fall and the US Army Corps. The shad and shiners are spawning so that means plenty of extra bait fish for the bass to school up on. To you and I that translates to an awe-some opportunity for catching a lot of bass on topwater baits. This year the bass have been more “selective” during the different bait fish spawns and stages from wanting bigger gold-colored baits for chasing shiners to a silver or white smaller profile for the shad. It’s truly an occupational hazard to try to over analyze what a bass is doing but hey, that’s what I do. If you see bass chasing smaller bait, throw a smaller white/silver bait. If you see them running shiners, throw a bigger gold/black bait. Simple. Heading back closer to the heart of Polk County and the Winter Haven Chains it is still a big-time summer pattern in the mornings, it’s just a slightly different pattern with different bait being the main forage. Here, white bait, shad, smaller glass minnows, whatever you want to call them are the main forage on a lot of the small-er springfed lakes. There are still some wild shiners in these waters, along with tons of bluegill and specks but the bass mostly chase the minnows and shad in the mornings. I love having the original Pop-R, flukes, and smaller swimbaits tied-on for this time of year. You’ll see “wolf packs” just roaming around chasing bait to the surface and you can catch a ton of fish if you are patient and select your casts well. I’m normally fishing deeper in 8’ out to 20+ feet of water over grass this time of year and we catch a lot of good fish. Here on these lakes, keep your colors more natu-ral if fishing the spring fed lakes and keep it bright or dark in the offcolored wa-ters. Submitted By: Capt. Scotty Taylor TMC Guide Services, llc • 855-354-8433 Scott@TMCGuideService.com • TMCGuideService.com Capt. Scott is the official guide for VisitCentralFlorida.org & Guy Harvey Camp Mack Lodge, Marina & RV Resort

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POLK & SUMTER 7


CHARLOTTE HARBOR FISHING FORECAST Snook fishing has been consistent in the rivers, creeks, bays and flats. They have been eating white bait really well. The big push of Spring bait is here and it has been consistent on markers and deep water structure. I have had some reports of bait on the flats but I have not personally looked for it in the shallow water yet. Red fish have been biting well both on the flats and under docks in residential canals. Grouper and Snapper continue to bite on the deeper water structure in and around the bay. When fishing docks I really like to use either shrimp or white bait with a jig head. The weight of the jig head depends on water depth and current but I prefer just enough weight to help with casting the bait deep under the dock and so it sinks and holds on the bottom. There has also been a good number of Kingfish that have been caught in the bay and on the nearshore reefs. You can slow troll live bait, large plugs or spoons behind planers. My preferred method is to anchor on a structure that’s holding bait and chum with live and cut bait. Areas like the Egmont Shipping Channel, St Pete Reef and nearshore reefs off Anna Maria are typical Kingfish spots. Looking ahead, April and May tends to be a great time for me in regards to Snook fishing. Over the years I’ve caught more Snook in April than any other month. I fish around the mouths of rivers, creeks and bays that have good current flow. The big Snook will stage up and feed heavily before moving out onto the flats and towards the beaches and passes for their Summer spawn. My number two target in April is usually Trout. It’s a great time to target trophy gator Trout. When specifically targeting the big breeder Trout I like to fish as shallow as I can stealthily get, sometimes even wading to them. The larger Trout are usually loners up in the shallows. I like to throw live white bait or a 3” paddle tail swimbait in white and silver glitter. It’s also always a good idea to fish in and around the Mullet schools as they will stir up the bottom and the predator fish will be feeding in the “muds'' created by the Mullet. Also in April I will always have at least a couple Tarpon rods in the boat and I dedicate a little time of each trip to start looking for some signs of Tarpon showing up. Usually there are enough resident Tarpon coming out of the rivers to present decent opportunities at hooking up. For these early Tarpon I like using live Mullet or Morraja under a cork float. As I write this there are plenty of Tarpon around for a legitimate shot at catching one. Speaking of Tarpon, dates are booking fast for the 2021 season. I only have three days available for May and June is starting to fill as well. So call now to reserve your chance to catch the majestic Silver King. Capt. Bobby Woodard www.Captain-Bobby.com • 863-224-1418

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MAY 2021

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KISSIMMEE CHAIN FISHING FORECAST It’s been a long time since the fishing in Central Florida has been really good and consistent day-to-day. I look for May to be some really good fishing on the Kissimmee Chain. For Crappie fishing, the canals should offer good catch numbers and some really big slabs. Heavy populations of Threadfin Shad in the canals will ensure them throughout the Summer. Casting slip cork rigs set at 6’-8’ tipped with a minnow works best. While your fishing the canals, you may want to try throwing a 1/2oz. Caroline rig with a night crawler or Chicken Liver for some Mike Rudd with a 7lb 9oz really fine Catfishing. Bluegill and Shell Cracker caught on a Senko. fishing should continue to be very good around isolated lily pads. Bass fishing should continue to improve as large numbers of Bass are moving into the cover almost daily. Large Trophy class Bass are late moving up this year mostly because of flexuating weather patterns throughout the Winter. Late spawning will happen throughout the full moon cycles for May and June. All the lakes in the Chain are producing good catches of Bass on a daily basis. Isolated pads and hydrilla clumps are the preferred cover for the Bass at this time. Weightless senkos and finess worms lead the way and shad colored spinnerbiats with willow leaf blades are deadly at this time. Submitted By: Capt Dave Ochs Kissimmee Chain Fishing (863) 589-6295 Back Water Fishing Adventures Lake Wales, FL 33898

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POLK & SUMTER 9


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10 POLK & SUMTER

MAY 2021

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Boat/Personal Watercraft/Canoe/Kayak/SUP Dealers Manufacturers/ New & Consignment Sales/Golf Carts Hillman Motors Inc. 2701 Havendale Blvd. NW Winter Haven FL 33881 863-967-4628 • www.hillmanmotors.net M-F 9-7, Sat 9-5 Closed Sunday

Millers Fiberglass Repair 1505 S. Lake Shipp Dr. Winter Haven, FL 33880 863-551-1551 bobby.mfr@gmail.com We Now Have A Certified Marine Technician Offering Service Repair On Outboard Motors. Your ONE STOP-SHOP For All Your Fiberglass Needs! . Family Run & Operated Since 2003 . Our Team is Certified In Gelcoat & Polyflake Repairs. No Job Is Too Big Or Too Small.

Our Family Serving Yours Since 1989 Central Florida’s Official Stingray Boats Dealer Factory Authorized Suzuki Marine Dealer Financing Available Gary’s Boating Center 15520 Hwy 27 • Lake Wales, FL 33859 863-638-0537 • 863-638-0527 Fax www.GarysBoating.com

Central Florida Trolling Motor Sales & Repairs

3780 Hwy 92 East • Lakeland, FL 33801 863-666-2248 • Fax 863-667-0213 cftm3780@yahoo.com www.cftmr.com

Carolina Skiff Mercury & Yamaha Outboards Bennington Boats Hewitt Boat Lifts & Dock Systems

M&M Old Hickory Smokehouse Bar-B-Q 7993 NE 7th Dr. Behind the Sunoco Mon & Tue Closed • Wed - Sun 11am-6pm 352-399-6597 Pulled Pork, Ribs, 1/2 Chicken, Beef Brisket, Fried Fish. Pulled Pork Sandwich, Rib Basket, Brisket Sandwich, Smoked Beef Sausage and Italian Sausage. Sides include: Corn on the Cob, Green Beans, Potato Salad, Collard Greens, Coleslaw, Fries or Baked Beans. We also provide Meat Only Combo’s! Disabled Veteran Owned Blackjack Sporting Clays 3372 County Road 526 • Sumtervile, Fl 33585 352-569-9469 • blackjackclays.com Blackjack Sporting Clays is proud to offer incredible amenities to both the public and private groups/events: 38 Stations; 3 Courses, Sub Gauge Course, Five Stand, Trap & Skeet, Cart & Gun Rental, Large Pavilions/Porch, Clubhouse, Merchandise, Paved Cart Paths, Bulk Clay Packages Sweet Ella’s Produce 326 State Road 60 E • Lake Wales Florida 863-223-8775

A unique, family owned indoor produce store which offers a LARGE VARIETY OF LOCAL fresh fruits, vegetables and Amish products. NOW Carrying: Gemma’s Jams!

Check out our weekly specials on facebook! Factory Warranty Service for Minn Kota, Cannon Downriggers, Lowrance Ghost Motors, Motor Guide.

Erwine’s Marine 250 S. Scenic Hwy • Frostproof, FL 33843 863-635-4492 www.ErwinesMarine.com Come in to check out our new line of Lowe's Jon Boats

Yamaha - Evinrude - Mercury - MerCruiser Volvo Penta - Avalon - Magic Tilt - Exide Technologies Power-Pole - Teleflex Marine Starcraft Marine - Engel Coolers & Tumblers

Pana Vista Lodge 3417 Co Rd 421 • Lake Panasoffkee, FL 33538 352-793-2061 www.panavistalodge.com Cottages - Rv Camp Ground Hook-Ups - Camping - Boat Sales & Service. JohnsonEvinrude Motors Sales & Service. Boat Rentals Pontoon Rentals - Licenses - Bait - Ice - Gas Ramp

Action Watersports 402 Progress Rd • Auburndale, FL 33823 Ph: 863-967-4148 The brands we offer: Hobie • Jackson • RTM Perception • Feel Free • Wilderness Systems Ocean Kayak • Old Town • Hurricane • Kiwi • Solo Skiff • Evoke • Pau Hana • Amundsen are all leaders in the Kayak, Fishing, and Stand Up Paddle Board industries. Our accessories are sure to make your water experience more fun and safe. Alligators Unlimited Airboat Nature Tours Captain John Wathey 863-696-0313 14400 Reese Dr. • Lake Wales, Fl 33898 airboatnaturetours.com Our Airboats are the “Real Deal” not 20+ passenger Air-Busses! This guarantees your EVERGLADES AIRBOAT TOUR to be personal and powerful!


Bait & Tackle Shops/Outfitters/Apparel Taylor Made Charters & Guide Service Central Florida & Great Lakes Bass Fishing Capt. Scott Taylor USCG Licensed Captian The Official Guide for VisitCentralFlorida.Org & Guy Harvey Camp Mack Lodge, Marina & RV Resort Scott@TMCGuideService.com 855-354-8433 Bridgemasters 2131 Highway 60 E • Lake Wales, FL 33898 Phone: 863-676-1009 • Fax: 863-679-1638 www.fishermanscandystore.com

AMPED LITHIUM OUTDOOR BATTERIES SOLD AT BRIDGEMASTER! Phillips Bait & Tackle 3780 Hwy. 92E • Lakeland, FL 33801 863-666-2248 cftm3780@yahoo.com Follow us on Facebook and Instagram Live Bait: Cricket - Worms - Minnows - Shiners. Large selection of Bitter’s Baits, Gambler. Lew’s, Halo, Bull Bay and Favorite Fishing rods are in stock.

Stones Bait & Tackle 2049 E Edgewood Drive • Lakeland, Fl 33803 863-940-4898 Instagram: Stones Outhouse Follow us on Facebook & Instagram A Variety of Freshwater Rods & Reels Avaiable: NEW Abu Garcia Revo X Spinning Rods & Shimano SLX Rods . Large Selection of Strike King, Zoom & Gambler Baits. HUGE Apparel Sale- Save BIG!! Now Available- Stone’s Bulk Senko’s 25Ct/50CT/100CT

Big Fish Bait & Tackle 6908 US Hwy 98 North • Lakeland Fl 33809 863-815-9492 wwww.CentralFloridaAngling.com Bob Woodard-Owner Live Bait- Rod & Reel Repairs

Stretch Outdoors Discount Outfitters 848 W Daughtery Rd. • Lakeland, FL 33389 863-608-1513 We Now Carry Googan Baits!

Come In And Check Out Our New Lew’s and Abu Garcia Fishing Reels and Great Selection of Gambler and Bitter’s Baits. We also Carry Fitgzerald Rods and A Variety of Fitzgerald Fishing Products and 13 Fishing Products! Guy Harvey Camp Mack Lodge, Marina & RV Resort 14900 Camp Mack Rd • Lake Wales, Fl 33898

863-696-1108 www.GuyHarveyCampMack.com

Always Good Fishing - Airboat Nature Tours RV Camping - Trophy Bass Fishing - Cabin Rentals Liars Motel - Home Sales

Ron’s Tackle Box The Old Angler’s Antique Gallery 380 S. Lake Shore Way • Lake Alfred, FL 33850 863-956-4990 • Fax 863-956-2525 imareellady2@aol.com Live Bait & Tackle - Cast Nets - Sportswear- Gifts & Decor Mon - Th 6AM - 6PM • Fri & Sat 6AM - 7PM

Back Water Fishing Adventures Captain Dave Ochs Guide, Professional Angler Lake Wales Fl 33898 Cell: 863-455-6886 Overdue Adventures FL. “Cracker” Fishing Style Family Fishing, Shore Lunches, Waterside Dining Snorkeling Trips, Scalloping Trips, Egmont Key Day Trips Capt. Daryl Brown First Mate: Joy Brown 518 Main Street • Auburndale, FL 33823 863-559-4480

Scalloping Charter

Fly’Em High Charters

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Reel Burns Charters Homosassafishingguide.com 352-201-6111 Manatee Charter

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Lakeland Area 1- Big Fish Bait & Tackle 863-815-9492 6908 US Hwy 98 North • Lakeland FL 33809 wwww.CentralFloridaAngling.com

Lake Alfred Area 17-Ron’s Tackle Box,LLC 863-956-4990 380 S. Lake Shore Way • Lake Alfred, FL 33850 www.ronstacklebox.com

2-Champs Sports Grill 863-647-5900 6645 S. Florida Ave • Lakeland, FL 33813 www.ChampsToGo.com

Haines City Area 18- Hoppy’s Marine 863-439-7616 31499 Highway 27 • Haines City, FL 33844 www.HoppysMarine.com

3- LineX Of Lakeland 863-581-9173 3000 State Road 37 S. • Mulberry, FL 33860 www.linexoflakeland.com 4-Phillips Bait & Tackle 863-666-2248 3780 US-92 • Lakeland, FL 33801 www.CentralFloridaTrollingMotor.com 5-Stone’s Bait & Tackle 863-940-4898 2049 E Edgewood Drive • Lakeland, FL 33803 6- Stretch Outdoors Discount Outfitters 863-608-1513 848 W Daughtery Road • Lakeland, FL 33389 Auburndale Area 7- Action Watersports 863-967-4148 402 Progress Rd • Auburndale, FL 33823 www.ActionWatersports.net

Bartow Area 19- Spurlows 863-635-0240 1264 N Broadway Ave • Bartow, FL 33830 SpurlowsOutdoorOutfitters.com Lake Wales Area 20. Sweet Ella’s Produce 863-223-8775 326 FL-60, Lake Wales, FL 33853 21- Bridgemasters 863-676-1009 2131 FL-60 • Lake Wales, FL 33898 www.fishermanscandystore.com 22- Capt Dave Och’s Backwater Fishing Adventure 863-589-6295 Lake Wales, Fl 33538 23- Gary’s Boating Center 863-638-0537 15520 Highway 27 • Lake Wales, FL 33859 www.GarysBoating.com

8-Overdue Adventures 863-559-4480 Auburndale, FL 33823 Winter Haven Area 9. Caribbean Bait & Tackle 863-292-9755 1004 N Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven, FL 33880

24-Guy Harvey Camp Mack Lodge, Marina & RV Resort 863-696-1108 14900 Camp Mack Rd • Lake Wales, FL 33898 www.GuyHarveyCampMack.com

10-Capt. Scott Taylor 855-354-8433 Official Guide for VisitCentralFlorida.org & Camp Mack’s River Resort Scott@TMCGuideService.com

Frostproof Area 25- Erwine’s Marine 863-635-4492 250 S. Scenic Hwy • Frostproof, FL 33843 www.ErwinesMarine.com

11-Hillman Motors Inc. 863-967-4628 2701 Havendale Blvd. NW • Winter Haven FL 33881 www.hillmanmotors.net 12- Marine Supply of Winter Haven 863-297-7003 1700 3rd St SW • Winter Haven, FL 33880 www.MarineSupplyBoats.com

Placida Area 26-Fly Em High Charters 863-224-1418 Capt Bobby Woodard 6499 Gasparilla Rd • Placida, FL 33946 www.Captain-Bobby.com

13- Millers Fiberglass 863-551-1551 1505 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven, FL 33880 www.facebook.com/Millers-Fiberglass-Repair-157407427716301 14- Polk Tractor 863-967-0651 3450 Havendale Blvd NW • Winter Haven, FL 33881 www.PolkTractorco.com 15-RKY Seafood 863-294-2300 175 Ave A NW • Winter Haven, FL 33880 16-Sweetwater Guide Service 863-837-7028 336 Magnolia Ave • Winter Haven, FL 33880

14 POLK & SUMTER

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Support Your Local Polk County Businesses!

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POLK & SUMTER 15


You Can Find Us Here

Bubbaques Bull Bay Tackle Company Central Fl Trolling Paid Supporters of the Magazine Champs Sports Grill Auburndale Ciao Bella Lake Alfred Action Watersports Crowder Ace Hardware Gary’s Oyster Bar & Grill Auburndale Library Curtis Design Harvest Meat Market Best Western Inn & Suites Extended Stay America Ron’s Tackle Box Hamptons Clubhouse Fish City Grill The Lake Alfred Chamber of Fun Bike Center Marathon Commerce Overdue Adventures Gino’s Barber Pizza Connection Grill Smith Lake Wales Pro Nails Harvey’s All Star Grill Sal’s Pizza Hibbett Sports Alligator’s Unlimited The Twisted Crab Hooters Brandi’s Barber & Beauty Townsend Motors Inc. Huntington Hills Golf & Bridgemaster Traders Pawn Country Club Camp Lester Walmart Jin Jin Chinese Cherry Pocket Restaurant Just Move Crazy Fish Bar & Grill Winter Haven King’s Wok Dyer Chevy AAMCO Transmission LaQuinta Inn Florida’s Natural Visitor’s Andy Thornals Laundry Center Ard’s Awning, Inc. LineX of Lakeland Gary’s Boats B&W Exhaust Pro MoJo’s Restaurant Caribbean Bay Bait/Tackle/ Grape Hammock New Moon Japanese Rest Guy Harvey Camp Mack Rest. Off The Wall Adventures & Lodge, Marina & RV Resort Outfitters Cypresswood Golf Club Harvest Meat Market Dairy Queen Old Salt Marine Jay Bee’s Rest Fields Equip. Outcast Watersports Jennings Fish Camp Harry’s Old Place Phillips Bait & Tackle Juniors Fish Market Hillman Motors Pinch A Penny Lake Haven Bait Howard Johnson Hotel Red Top Pit Stop Lake Market Jeep Russell’s Western Wear Leadfeather Guns & Archery Lake Wales Country Club Sandpiper Golf Club Liars Lair Saloon Marine Supply Shoot Straight McKibben Powersports Miller’s Fiberglass Repair Shooter’s Honda Mobil Gas 1200 3rd St SW Sky Powersports Oakley Trucking Old Man Franks Stones Bait & Tackle O’Reilly Auto Parts Oyster Bar Stretch Outdoors Pizzanos Pizza Polk Tractor Tint Masters Quality Boats RKY Seafood Market Topatio’s Mexicano Rest. San Diego’s Mexican Grill & Ridge Glass & Mirror Tropical Smoothie Cafe Rural King Sports Bar Tubes’n’Hoses of Lakeland Shiner’s Unlimited Schacks BBQ Uncle Nick’s Spurlows Scores Family Sports Cafe Walmart 98N State Park Tanner’s Lakeside Walmart S. Fl. Ave The Twisted Prop Bar & Grill Sunoco Wedgewood Golf Club Sweet Ella’s Produce Walmart Winners Circle The Port Rest West Marine XYZ Liquor Vinny’s Smoke-n-Grill Weikert Ford Davenport Highlands Davenport’s Ale House Bamboo Wok US 98 Frostproof Dicks Sporting Goods Posner Gator’s Dockside Anchor Down Bait & Tackle Center Hungry Crab Juicy Seafood Bagwell’s Bushnell Chamber of Commerce & Bar Optimum RV Crowder Ace Hardware Mannino’s Pizza Anglers Tackle Shack Erwines Marine Polk Outpost 27 Beef O Brady’s Posner Park Chrysler/Jeep/ Frostproof Mobile Village Blueberry Hill RV Indian Estates Dodge Breezy Oaks Good Sam Park Korky’s Kountry Store & Ramada Bronson’s Camp Outlaw at Saloon Rickert Properties Indian Bow Little Dixie Mart Way Out West Bushnell Medical Clinic Mini Mart Citgo Bushnell Pharmacy Haines City Byrd Insurance Agency Lakeland Chamber of Commerce Canada Meds of Sumter 716 Burgers & Brew China Park County Adventure Archery Lakeland Devine Jewelry & Pawn Hoppy’s Marine Ariana Barber Shop Pilot Love’s Travel Stop Ridgewood Lake Golf Club Baymont Papaw’s Country Store Big Fish Bait & Tackle Walmart ParGas Brewlands Bar & Grill Red Oak RV Broadway Food & Gas Sumter County Realty 16 POLK & SUMTER

MAY 2021

The Wood Shed Walmart

River Ranch Westgate River Ranch

Panasoffkee AA Discount Beverage Big Bass Grill Lakefront Restaurant and Marina Big Cypress Fish Camp Catfish Johnny’s Countryside RV Idylwild Fish Camp Kal’s Food Lake Panasoffkee Realty Lake Panasoffkee RV Village Mo’s Rest. CR Pan Hardware Pana Vista Lodge Shell Spirit Truck Stop Sumter Co. Chamber of Com. The Dam Pub The Inside Out Grill Thousand Palms RV Resort Tom & Jerry’s Swamp Boat Tours Tracy Pt Fish Camp

Webster Country Village Power Equipment Dough J’s Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway, Inc The Webster Westside Flea Market Webster Ace Hardware & Farm Supply

Babson Park Crooked Bass MiniMacs Wildwood A Cut Above Polish Shop Chrome Shop Crevalle Boats Cover All Storage Dani’s Sports Bar & Grill Hungry Howies M&M Old Hickory Smokehouse BBQ My RV Storage Old Salt Marine Salty Boats SPARR SpyderMX T/A Truck Stop Traditions Antique Mall Wildwood Antique Mall Wildwood RV Village The Villages Buffalo’s Barbershop Beef O’ Brady’s SouthernTrace Plaza Dickey’s BBQ Pit (Traverse Trail) No. 1 Chinese (Traverse Trail) Custom Apparel & Gifts Hampton Inn Lighthouse Seafood Shell Streetrod Productions The Villages Fishing Club Walmart Winn Dixie (Burnsed Blvd) Oxford Oxford Mower & Repair

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Dundee

Chilton Signs

Sumterville

Blackjack Sporting Clays Show Liberty Monster Truck


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MAY 2021

NORTH FLORIDA 5


SURF FISHIN’ WITH A SABIKI RIG

By Chris Beardsley

F

ishing the surf is a grab bag when it comes to tackle and whatever is biting. I’ve been fishing the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico for more than 20 years, and I try to be prepared for virtually anything. My tackle box is like so many others. It holds DOAs, various swimbaits and paddletail combos, drop rigs, assorted jigs and weights and some twitch baits and poppers to shake things up. Like I said, I like to be prepared, and my attack is varied. I like to throw cut bait on a big rig for drum and sharks using a 2/O or 3/O circle hook on a fish-finder rig or a drop shot tipped with live pinfish. This is a great setup and can lead to some exciting rod bends. A cast net is great for gathering baitfish by the bucket, but a Sabiki tipped with a marble-sized piece of frozen shrimp is a great alternative. It’s no secret that Sabiki rigs are excellent for catching baitfish. Vertical jigging them is a common offshore tactic that can be equally effective inshore and from the beach. Pinfish, and the like, are small, so keeping the bait small is ideal. A side note, fishing a Sabiki can make fishing a lot of fun for kids since pinfish, croakers and catfish—oh, the catfish—are quick to strike and within easy casting distance from the beach; typically no farther than the first cut. Keep in mind, however, that they are also excellent bait stealers. Be prepared to rebait often. I like the smaller Sabiki rigs with size 14 hooks and just enough weight to keep it anchored. The colors of choice are hot pink and chartreuse with metallic matching skirts. Likely, most color combinations will work; just remember to keep the hooks relative to the size fish you’re after. The action can be fast and furious, and once discovered the Sabiki rig will fill your pinfish quota quickly. Surprisingly, the Sabiki catches more than just pinfish and other bait.

Bluefish, flounder, small jacks, shark, slot trout and whiting are all eager diners. Whiting, in particular, fall for this diminutive offering, and it’s a great way to fill a cooler. Since first trying Sabiki surf fishing, the variety and sheer volume of fish we’ve caught has left an impression. It could be argued that some days the bite is on, and an old boot would be equally effective… maybe. On the other hand, some of the largest whiting I’ve seen have been pulled from the surf using a Sabiki. Fishing the surf is a grab bag when it comes to tackle and whatever is biting, and I like to be prepared. With that said, I have no intentions of replacing my DOAs, swimbaits, etc. with a box of Sabikis. Instead, the Sabiki is now a permanent fixture in my surf fishing arsenal and something I’ll be sure to have on hand whenever I go. For more surf fishing tactics from Chris Beardsley, go to coastalanglermag.com.

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MAY 2021

LIONFISH FESTIVAL SLATED FOR MAY 15-16

S

how up in Destin and have a great time pitching in with the fight against invasive lionfish at the seventhannual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Festival May 15-16. Held on the docks at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar and HarborWalk Village in Destin, festival activities include fillet demonstrations; familyfriendly games and activities; art, diving and conservation booths; and the world’s largest lionfish spearfishing tournament, the Emerald Coast Open. For more information, go to FWCReefRangers.com.

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SCREAMIN’ REELS TOURNAMENT SLATED FOR JUNE 11-13

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omen, men and teens are invited to a non-intimidating Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing Screamin’ Reels tournament with education June 11-13 in Islamorada. Hosted by the nonprofit Ladies Let’s Go Fishing Foundation, the tournament kicks off on Friday with a presentation on offshore fishing and conservation, plus a meet and greet from 6-8 p.m. at The Tavernier Elks Club. Saturday and Sunday is fishing, learning on the water and friendly angler competition for inshore and offshore species, departing from Whale Harbor Marina, Islamorada. Participants can fish from their own boats or

charters supplied by the organization. Prizes will be awarded to individual anglers, including Penn combos, art prints and other fishing items, presented on Sunday upon the return of boats at Whale Harbor. Prizes for inshore and offshore species and releases include Heaviest Fish Overall, Offshore Billfish Release, Party Boat award, Junior Angler, Longest Inshore Fish, Wild Card prizes and more. This tournament offers easy rules and is perfect for novice anglers. Charter boats fill quickly, so early registration is encouraged. Registration is $89 early entry, $99 regular per adult angler, $45 for teens and includes about $20 in gifts. Featured on national network television and more, the series is supported by major partners including Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation, Take Me Fishing, Vamos a Pescar, Mercury, Magic Tilt trailers, Shearwater Boats, Power-Pole, Penn, TACO Metals, Lowrance and Fish Florida. Largest Annual Sponsors are Freedom Boat Club, ICOM, CCA Florida STAR, Bob’s Machine Shop, AFTCO, Costa, Smith Optics, Frogg Toggs, Hubbards Marina, Star Brite and Future Angler Foundation. Local sponsors are Breezy Palms, Jeanne Towne of Fidelity Real Estate and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. Annual and class-specific contributors are listed on the website. 2021 LLGF event plans with fishing offered schedule includes: • May 15-16: Gulf Coast Inshore Saltwater Weekend Seminar • June 11-13: Keys Fishing Learning on the Water Inshore/ Offshore • Oct. 15-17: Keys Saltwater Weekend Seminar Inshore/Offshore • Nov. 20-21: St. Augustine Surf Fishing Academy Bimini Bahamas boat trip, Virtual meetings and more TBA For more information, go to www.ladiesletsgofishing.com and www.facebook.com/ladiesletsgofishing.

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Only $89 per person to enter. Charter fishing additional for Saturday & Sunday. Can't make it? Check out the LLGF’s Fishing Fever Tournament on October 15-17, with full-day instructional & hands-on seminar on Saturday! Fishing Friday & Sunday.

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SOUTH FLORIDA’S EXOTIC

ALIEN FISH By Ryan Izquierdo

@RYAN_IZQ

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UIERDO PH

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he clown knifefish looks like guide, of Swamp to Sea Guide Service, in south it escaped from a mad scientist’s Florida to talk about his history with this amazing laboratory. Originally from tropical species. Here’s what he wrote: “I remember over 25 years ago when my mom Asia, it is one of the non-native species that have taken hold in Florida waters. With its would drive me around to the local tackle shops long knife-shaped body and black spots, it is a so I could speak with shop hands and check for beautiful species that anglers from all over the new pictures on the wall. On occasion, we would see a Polaroid tacked up with a giant silver alien world travel to target in south Florida. Clown knifefish are powerful and agile. fish with black dots all over it. When you asked They offer explosive thrashing jumps similar the guy at the counter what they caught it on, to tarpon, and are nearly impossible for most the response was always the same: a Gambler anglers to land without a net. I caught my first red shad worm, because that’s all you fished if clown knifefish when I moved to Palm Beach you weren’t using live bluegill. County 10 years ago. My biggest clown knifefish weighed more than 12 pounds. I caught it while fishing with my buddy Capt. Bill Lepree. It ate the last shad in the livewell as we were eating Publix subs. After some drag screaming runs, it got wrapped around bridge pilings and broke the line as it swam backward into the net. I once made a “Catch & Cook “Everything has made a Clown Knifefish” Youtube video. complete rebound since then. We’ve Let’s just say they’re not as tasty as learned to catch them consistently they are fun to catch. on bait, artificials and even a few on Any of the ponds and canals fly. I’ve managed to build a successful connected to Lake Ida in Palm guide business with clients calling Beach County are good places to from around the world to target target clown knifefish. I use light clown knife fish. fluorocarbon line, a small octopus Capt. Patrick Smith holds the world-record 14.5-pound clown “In 2018, I was lucky to have a hook and live shiners, shad or knife fish for Michael Donvito, the client who caught it. client catch the current IGFA record bluegill. They can also be caught PHOTO COURTESY OF SWAMP TO SEA GUIDE SERVICE. at 14.5 pounds. I’m sure that record on artificials and fly. Small white “It took another 15 years or so before I will fall any day, as we are seeing some absolute swimbaits, bladed baits and small hair jigs all work, and you’ll likely catch peacock and finally got my hands on a real clown myself. giants out there.” largemouth bass, along with many other exotic Unfortunately, it was during the freeze of 2010, Follow Ryan Izquierdo on Youtube when the canals were full of dead ones, along species when targeting clown knife fish. (RyanIzFishing) and Instagram @ryan_izquierdo I reached out to my buddy Capt. Patrick with dead peacock bass, shad and just about to check out his fishing adventures. Smith, a world-record holding clown knifefish everything else.


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GET SET FOR A

Summer Diving OF

By John Lidington

S

ummer is just around the corner. As temperature and humidity climb and seas calm, the best place to be is underwater! Now is the time to prepare, so your diving plans can proceed smoothly when the season gets hot. When do your tanks’ VIPs expire? If it’s during the busy summer season, schedule a VIP now. What about their hydro dates? Again, if the date is near, do it now. Hydrostatic testing will usually take them out of commission for several days. Don’t be without them when you really want to be diving. While you’re checking them, put fresh o-ring in the regulator seats, too. When was your regulator last overhauled? If it has been more than a year or 100 dives, it’s time for an annual service. But even with regular maintenance, problems can still occur when salt crystals, corrosion or plain old grit get where they shouldn’t be. If your regulator is still within a year from the last service, some simple checks will help catch developing problems now, before they impact your summer diving. Mount your regulator onto a tank, turn the air on, then off. Tank pressure should read constant for at least an hour. If it falls, air is leaking from the system and you need to do a careful bubble check of the regulator and all hoses to locate the problem. With air still off, gently inhale through each second stage mouthpiece. If they don’t hold vacuum, there’s an exhaust valve problem. Don’t forget your BCD. Exhaust valves and dump valves can get stuck when sitting idle for a while and may sometimes tear when used. After checking all those valves, inflate your BCD fully. Will it stay fully inflated overnight? If not, more thorough servicing is needed. Okay, your gear is set. But are you ready to dive? Summer is the best time for visiting Palm Beach County’s wrecks, reefs, turtles and Goliath groupers. That means drift diving. If you are new to drift diving, or want to refresh your skills, join Pura Vida Divers for a one-day PADI Drift Diver course. This class is scheduled every Saturday in May. Students will complete an independent online e-learning component, then do a classroom review before heading out for a two-tank dive to put skills into practice. On Sundays, follow up with the PADI Delayed Surface Marker Buoy Diver course. This one-day course covers the advantages and techniques to deploy your surface marker buoy (or “safety sausage”) on a line from depth. During busy summer boat traffic, a surface indicator is essential as divers begin their ascent. Both courses can be completed in one weekend. Contact Pura Vida Divers at (561) 840-8750, or visit www.puravidadivers.com.

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OYSTER REEF DEPLOYED IN CHARLOTTE HARBOR

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ater quality, marine fisheries and recreational angling are set to get a boost after two dump truck loads of oyster shells were deployed in Turtle Bay in Charlotte Harbor last month. CCA Florida partnered with Ingman Marine, Abbott Construction, Lee Reefs, SanibelCaptiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), Capt. Jay Withers, Placida Point LLC, Clermont Oyster Bar and Lake County Solid Waste Division to make the project a reality. Abbott Construction hauled dried-out oyster shells from CCA Florida’s Oyster Recycling Program in Astatula to a staging area in Placida. The materials were loaded on a barge and deployed in Turtle Bay at a pre-permitted location. “This is a unique partnership involving a huge amount of support from the community as well as our sponsors and members,” CCA Florida COO Adam Miller said. “With all the water quality issues Charlotte Harbor is facing, it is important to partner together and do what we can to help restore the water quality, seagrasses and marine life.” The oyster shells, donated by Clermont Oyster Bar, are dried for six months to kill potential pathogens and will, over time, form a new oyster reef. “With an estimated 85 percent loss of oyster reefs worldwide, efforts for restoration must be made a priority all around the state, ” said CCA Florida Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration Frank Gidus. In the near future, SCCF and Lee Reefs plan to deploy fossilized shell at the same site to serve as a host structure for new oyster growth. Oyster reefs filter pollutants, reduce turbidity and create habitat for a variety of marine species.

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THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE BITE Berkley Saltwater Gulp! Continues to Outshine Live Bait for Coastal Anglers

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ll along the coast, as the highways near the busiest launch ramps, the bait shop signs announcing what’s for sale reinforce what most anglers already know: natural bait does a good job of catching fish. Live baitfish and live shrimp are almost always on the bait shop menu as they present the most natural food source. But even the frozen slabs of baitfish and chunks of cut bait that are also widely sold—baits which have no action to them whatsoever—are eaten by saltwater species if presented the right way. But why? The answer is simple, as it all pertains to one of the most misunderstood senses in fish biology: a fish’s sense of smell. It’s this sense of smell that inspired the development of Berkley Saltwater

Gulp!, the line of baits that has transformed saltwater fishing with their effectiveness, ease of use and value. For as effective as live or cut bait can be in saltwater fishing, it’s far from the perfect solution. Live bait can be very expensive and difficult to keep alive. Unused bait becomes a treat for pushy pelicans or gets dumped into the water. Presented with a problem, the scientists at Berkley set out to find a solution. Fish smell on the parts-per-billion level, the equivalent of a single drop of water in an Olympicsized swimming pool. This powerful sense of smell is extremely important to a fish’s ability to feed. Fish rely upon their sense of smell because they live in an aquatic environment filled with particles


and debris that can look like food. Their noses tell fish the difference between food and other organic compounds. Berkley scientists set out to make the first artificial bait that really appealed to a fish’s sense of smell. The first step was getting scent to disperse from a soft bait. While fish attractants and scents are nothing new, all of the competitive versions were oil-based. And just like the old adage reminds us, oil and water don’t mix. An oil-based scent that is smelly to a human has no effectiveness on fish since it is not soluble in water. That’s why Gulp! scents are water-based. The water-based scent formula, now known as Berkley Gulp! and which has since become synonymous with saltwater fishing across the country, caught more fish than live bait in headto-head tests. This scent, combined with the proprietary material used in Berkley Gulp! baits, disperses scent 400 times more effectively than any other soft bait, meaning it creates a scent field that is easily detected by fish and which continues to expand as the bait is retrieved. “I started really using Gulp! in about 2007, a few years after it came out,” said Capt. Jot Owens, who operates out of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., where he specializes in putting his clients on big redfish, flounder and other species. “And from the first year I started fishing with Gulp!, we were catching more and bigger flounder than we had ever caught before—and we were fishing in the same areas we had always been fishing. I don’t

know what the magic formula is, but it really wakes fish up.” Capt. Owens said he prefers Berkley Saltwater Gulp! for a host of species, but especially for redfish and flounder. His go-to set up for flounder varies slightly depending on whether he’s fishing inshore or farther out. The set up consists of a 6-inch Saltwater Gulp! Jerk Shad (Chartreuse/Pepper/ Neon or Firetiger) on a 3/8-ounce long-shank jig head. Because Gulp! baits are wet inside and out, they can come unrigged, so Capt. Owens relies on a Berkley Fusion19 jig that has lead lips and a wire hook to keep his Jerk Shad rigged properly. When fishing inshore, he uses a medium-fast Fenwick HMG Inshore paired with a Size 2500 or 3000 PENN Battle III DX spinning reel, which is spooled with 15-pound braid and a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. Farther out, he will increase the line size to a 20-pound braid mainline and a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader spooled onto a Size 3500 PENN Spinfisher. “Just make sure the bait is bouncing on bottom; I’m typically jigging with the rod tip pretty high,” Capt. Owens said. “It’s not that you won’t get bit dragging it on the bottom, but the bait is more effective bouncing up and down.” For redfish, Capt. Owens has his clients using 3- or 4-inch Gulp! Shrimp (Sugar Spice Glow or Chartreuse) on a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jig head, increasing the weight of the jig based on fishing depth and current. The rest of his redfish set up is similar to that of his inshore rig for flounder:

medium-fast Fenwick HMG Inshore paired with a Size 2500 or 3000 PENN Battle III DX spinning reel, which is spooled with 15-pound braid and a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. “The best retrieve is a hop-hop; let it sit for a second or two then give it another hop-hop,” Capt. Owens said. “Redfish are really bottom feeders, so they’ll almost always hit it on the drop or while it’s sitting on bottom for the brief pause. The way the Berkley Saltwater Gulp! Shrimp is putting out scent, redfish pick it up with the same excitement as they would a hunk of cut bait even though it’s not moving.”


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Troll and Watch Bottom for Spring Grouper By CAM Staff

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t’s a lot more fun to fill fish boxes when the various Gulf and Atlantic grouper seasons open in spring. These days, advances in electronics have made finding good grouper bottom easier than ever. There is, however, a trade-off. In the good old days, captains precisely timed their courses out of the pass in hopes of coming off throttle near a fish-producing rock pile. Before GPS and sonar, the best indicators of productive bottom were boats already there and catching fish. Successful anglers even welcomed new PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL LAFOSSE boats to the party, reasoning that more baits in the water served to excite fish into feeding. In case you didn’t notice, that’s not the way things work any more. Now any yahoo with a boat can plug coordinates into their navigation system and sleepwalk straight to a ledge or wreck. Community holes and artificial reefs are crowded and sometimes picked clean of fish. To avoid this, a good set of numbers is a jealously guarded secret. Camaraderie on the open sea is officially a thing of the past when picking up and moving off productive bottom is a logical step to avoid being marked in the mapping system of a passing vessel. We’ve traded open sharing of information for technological advancements the old salts couldn’t have dreamed of. With advanced radar, sonar, mapping and GPS, it’s up to the angler to spend time on the water to locate their own magic numbers. With grouper seasons opening in state and federal waters off the southern states, most species have finished with the peak of spawning. They have begun moving to deeper water and are hungry to feed-up and regain what was lost to the rigors of the spawn. However, grouper are also spread out more thinly right now than they are when they group up on deep-water structure in summer. You might not have to run as far to reach productive bottom, but you will likely have to do more spot-hopping to fill the boxes. It’s a good time of year to troll. Some fish will still be shallow enough to target with deep-diving lures. Using planers and downriggers, it’s possible to get lures down to 60 feet or deeper, and some very deep-diving plugs can get down to 40 feet on their own with the right braided line. This allows you to cover ground on and around those ledge coordinates you have marked. It’s a throwback to the olds days, when trolling up a grouper was the method for finding an area to stop and drop baits. If you keep an eye on the bottom machine, you might even spot a small formation you didn’t know was there. These small blips are the honeyholes that produce when the larger reefs and structure succumb to constant fishing pressure. Don’t care for boat rides and watching rods? Traditional bottom fishing may still be the best method. Check your shallower coordinates as you head out this time of year. Many boats ride right over good structure on the way to their deeper summer spots. Reefs or rocks as shallow as 40 feet will hold fish before they head out to their mid-summer haunts. Just be sure to drop some chum down upstream of the structure to bring them out of their hidey-holes. See your state’s saltwater fishing regulations to determine which species of grouper are open for harvest where you fish.

16 NATIONAL

MAY 2021

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NATIONAL 17


On the Swordfish Ledge

off Marathon

By Capt. Quinlyn Haddon

I

f you’ve ever been swordfishing out of Marathon, Fla., chances are you were deep dropping the same area I was in April, when the U.S. Coast Guard ticketed us for fishing in Bahamian waters. Dropping for swordfish is exhausting. Staring mindlessly at one single rod tip, it’s easy to lose your mind questioning if every other wave was a bite. It is also possible to spend an entire day doing the crazy-eyed swordfish rod stare and never get a nibble. During a slow drift along the ledge in 1,800 feet of water, our luck finally changed. A flock of diving terns approached and crossed behind the

boat. We opened bails on the flat lines and let pinfish swim toward the commotion. Immediately we hooked up and stole a school of mahi from under the birds. With four mahi hooked up along the port side, we had just begun the assembly line from hook to killbox when we were informed the U.S. Coast Guard was about to board our boat. Approaching from starboard to accommodate our fishing, three “Coasties” boarded to conduct a routine safety check. After about half an hour with our official guests on board, we finished with the school of mahi and decided to reel up the sword line. We activated the electric reel, and— distracted by our visitors—it took a moment to

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realize we were hooked up. The Coasties were going to have to put a pin in it. “Hang on fellas; we’re hooked up!” For the next half hour, we didn’t hear a word from our visitors. As the fish began to surface, the line scoped out underneath the Coast Guard cutter raft. We radioed asking them to move. After a lot of chaos and tight boat maneuvering, we landed the 150-pound swordfish with the Coast Guard on board. They even took the catch photos. It was all high fives and celebration until they asked us for our Bahamian fishing licenses and informed us we were illegally fishing in the Bahamian Exclusive Economic Zone. Later on, extensive research by Steve Steenstra, owner of Blue Magic Charters, revealed the Bahamian EEZ line runs about 24 miles from land, straight across the U.S. sword ledge. None of us, not even our GPS mapping knew about this line. A law enacted some 40 years ago had just been enforced for the first time. We were the first vessel cited. As I understand it, after visiting the Coast Guard Station in Key West, the EEZ line was drawn straight down the middle by default. Now that they’re enforcing it, recreational swordfishing from the Keys is threatened, along with the livelihoods it supports. As the situation unfolds, it would be wise to stay up to date before venturing offshore from the Keys. Capt. Quinlyn Haddon and Blue Magic Charters are following this situation closely. Contact her at (504) 920-6342 or through Instagram @CaptainQuinlyn and @BlueMagicCharters.



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ach spring, inshore anglers are greeted with big winds, big tides and small baitfish. There is no time where the size of your lure can make or break your trip more than the spring season. With the abundance of small baitfish in the water, it can be difficult to get the attention of your target species, especially when you are fishing with artificial lures. It is also very common to find gamefish gorging themselves on tiny glass minnows. This is routinely evident when you land a fish and they spit up these miniature meals. As anglers, we have two obstacles here: the sheer amount of forage in the water competing with your lure and the small size of the lure required. What I have found to be the most successful tactic is to use the smallest lure I can cast and appropriately present to the fish. Both hard and soft lures can be effective. Another key to success is color. I prefer a white-and-silver combination that closely matches the natural forage. I like to fish these lures on the edge of large bait balls when possible. I try to keep my lure on the edge or under the school to let the fish focus on a single target rather than a large mass.

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

Using a slow-sinking lure is an advantage at this time of the year. A lure that will suspend or slow-sink is ideal. This allows the predator time to target your lure, and it also gives the appearance of a wounded baitfish, which is always a plus. When the bait is this thick, your lure needs to stand out, but you still need to match the forage in size and color. The use of tandem rigs allows for a couple of advantages. Casting two smaller lures could equal the weight of one of your typical offerings. This allows you to cast farther and still have the appropriate size lure. Rigging two small silver spoons with white bucktails is a great combination when fishing glass minnow schools. I also like to use a small floater/ diver with a small spoon trailer. The diving action in conjunction with the added weight of the spoon is a unique combination of action to entice strikes. Downsizing your lure presentation in spring can definitely up-size your catch. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOCKIN TAIL LURES

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“For Me, It’s a Fishing Tool”

The 2021 Must-Have Anchoring System

“T

he easiest way I can explain ‘boat position’: if you’re at the baseball game, you’re either playing—which is fishing—or you’re watching the game, which means you’re not…” Capt. Mickey Brelsford decided he’d rather be in the game than on the sidelines, so installing the Rebel EZ-5 became a no-brainer after researching product information and helpful documents on the company website, then calling the drum anchor winch plate design that allows the drum to free-spool when the manufacturer’s technical support team for additional pointers. clutch plate is disengaged. To get that “ good, solid anchoring In the past, using a windlass yielded poor retrieval results position,” press and hold the “raise/power up” side of the and left no room for customization, like adding special button for about five seconds: this will cause the clutch plate to attachments or splicing rope and chain. Now, Capt. Brelsford once again rotate, but this time clamping down on the drum says his Rebel free-fall unit is the perfect fishing tool, providing and holding the boat at anchor. him a “good, solid anchoring position.” “Once I deploy my anchor and it goes into a free-fall, it’s “I don’t know how many times I’ve been on boats where straight down to the bottom as quick as it can go…” Brelsford [the line is] hanging up, snarling, getting knotted up in the said. “And then, once I set the anchor, I can free-line out as windlass or shredding line.” Brelsford said. much anchor rode as I need: that’s what I call ‘boat position’.” A retired policeman, Capt. Brelsford enjoys his time fishing As an added bonus, the Rebel drum anchor winch is near the coast of St. James City, Fla. on his 37-foot “Nostalgic compatible with an E-Z Anchor Puller wireless long-range Lady”: a 1981 Hatteras Sportfish that carries 300 feet of ⅝-inch remote, which controls your drum anchor winch from rope and 20 feet of heavy-duty chain. After adding a pulpit to anywhere on the boat. Capt. Brelsford purchased his on the his vessel, Capt. Brelsford used to pull up all his rope by hand, wasting time company website, ezanchorpuller.com. and energy on multiple retrieval and deployment attempts as he tried to find “This [unit] here—don’t worry about it—it just rolls right on and keeps on the perfect “boat position.” rollin’. That’s what it is: E-Z!” Unlike E-Z Anchor Puller Mfg. Co’s two direct drive series (the Hero To learn more, call 1-800-800-1640 or visit ezanchorpuller.com. and Patriot series), the Rebel drum anchor winch has a clutch and friction

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22 NATIONAL

MAY 2021

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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