Coastal Angler Magazine | December 2021 | Lakeland & Sumter Edition

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LAKELAND & SUMTER EDITION

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PHOTO CREDIT: BEAN SPORTFISHING, LLC INSTAGRAM: @BNMBEAN VOLUME 26 • ISSUE 321

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F R A N C H I S E

O P P O R T U N I T I E S

A V A I L A B L E

DECEMBER 2021

W O R L D W I D E


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deep waters it was designed to explore and it’s sporty screw-down crown can take the pressure in stride. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. If you are not completely convinced you got excellence for less, simply return the Explorer Dive Watch within 30 days for a refund of the item price. At Stauer, we never leave our customers high and dry. Limited Edition. Sure you could give your hard-earned money to those other guys, but why would you? We’ve got the thinking man’s timepiece right here. This watch takes six months to engineer and it’s already making waves, so we can’t guarantee it will be around for long. Call today, and experience how good it feels to get true luxury for less.

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LOAD THE BOAT WITH

WINTER CRAPPIE

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ake a look at what guide Tony Adams does during the winter on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula. With all the slab crappie he catches this time of year, it’s worth considering a fish fry for Christmas or New Year’s festivities. Gone are the days when crappie fishing was a springtime-only endeavor. Anglers have figured out how to pattern these swimming fish sandwiches year-round, and Adams has them dialed in on Eufaula. It’s a pattern that probably translates well to many reservoirs across the South. Lake Eufaula is an impoundment of the Chattahoochee River that stretches out to more than 45,000 acres on the southern end of the Alabama/Georgia border. Centered around the town Eufaula, Ala., hard winter is usually shortlived. Instead of being hunkered down in the depths this time of year, Eufaula crappie are still in a fall feed-up mode. “Lake Eufaula doesn’t get as cold as a lot of lakes. They’re chasing shad in the mouths of the creeks or on the flats in 8 to 10 feet of water,” Adams said. “It’s one of the best times of year to catch bigger fish. They’ve pushed up out of

By TAM Staff

the depths to feed and put on fat to take them through the winter into the spawn.” Adams said loading a cooler with fillets can be pretty easy in these conditions. The fish might be as scattered as crappie get, but they are actively feeding. This makes catching them easy once you find them. Adams has a milk-run of brush piles in different locations and depths. His Humminbird electronics tell him quickly whether or not a location is holding fish. Once fish are located, most of Adam’s clients prefer to fish old school. Jigs catch fish, he said, but most of his anglers prefer fishing minnows the way their grandfathers taught them. Adams’ War Eagle boat is equipped with three Hi-Tek rod holders in front of each angler’s seat. His 10-foot B‘n’M rods are rigged with spinning reels and 6-pound high-visibility line. On the business end, he ties on a No. 2 hook for a lip-hooked minnow and pinches a splitshot about a foot up the line. He Spot-Locks the trolling motor over active brush and lets his anglers go to work tightlining. Sometimes, when it’s windy, he’ll add another split-shot to keep the lines from bowing.

“If you fish all three rods at different depths, you can figure out what depth they’re biting at,” Adams said. “Then you can leave all your baits at that depth.” Anglers should watch rod tips, of course, but keeping an eye on that high-vis. line is also important. Sometimes fish swim up after eating, and you’ll only notice that by watching the line. Give Adams a call if you’d rather be heating up oil than a grill on New Year’s Day. Contact Tony Adams through his Facebook page—Gone Fishing With Tony—or by calling him at (334) 695-3003.

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EASY FISHING AND FAST LIMITS OUT OF

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ish are everywhere in the Florida Keys. From big pelagics on offshore humps to vast backcountry flats teeming with tarpon and permit, the options are so varied that decisionmaking can be difficult. Throw in wrecks, reefs, bridges and ledges, and one boat just isn’t enough to do it all. If you wanted to experience all the fishing the Keys have to offer, you’d need several different types of vessels. Joel Brandenburg, of Ana Banana Fishing Company, understands this. Based in Marathon, he’s pulled together a fleet of boats and the captains to fish it all. With five boats ranging from a 53-foot Hatteras to a 24-foot Hanson, they are equipped to chase big game at the famous Marathon Humps and beyond, and also to fish skinny backwater flats and everything in between. The options are enough to make a visiting angler’s head spin, but Joel will be your guide. Putting clients on fish runs in his blood. When his son Jojo Brandenburg earned a master captains license about five years ago, it extended the family business into its third generation. They’ve had a “no-fish, no-pay” policy for more than 20 years, and in all that time they’ve only had to honor it three times. Joel certainly dialed up a good option when I contacted him on short notice this fall. I was looking for a quick half-day while on family vacation in Islamorada. With the winds up on the Atlantic, he suggested a backcountry trip. We’d trade the excitement of blackfin tuna, mahi mahi and sailfish for fast snapper action. That was just fine with

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By Nick Carter

my 10-year-old son and me. Back home, the boy is a bream slayer. “It’s like crappie fishing on steroids,” Joel said as he lowered a chum bag off the stern. We had run 13 miles over skinny water into Florida Bay to anchor off a small wooded island called East Bahia Honda. The boat bobbed at the edge of a deep channel that cuts through the flat like a green vein. The action began immediately. On light tackle, we pitched baits and hauled in mangrove snappers as quickly as we could turn to get another pilchard or ballyhoo chunk from first-mate Eddie Traylor. With a five-fish limit per person, we threw back a bunch of fish and filled the cooler with a quick limit of the chunkiest mangos. Then we bumped around a while, waiting for the tide to turn and throwing Cuda Tubes to wood structure. Casting and working a lure for the visual thrill of a barracuda streaking from cover is a lot of fun. It was tough to put the rods down when Joel suggested we go check out the bridge. On the way in, we got a good look at an endangered hawksbill sea turtle. Anchored near Fred—the storied Australian pine tree that grows from the roadbed of the Old Seven Mile Bridge—we chummed and pitched pilchards into the tide that rushed between pilings. Joel knew we’d get into some yellowtail snapper, and he was hoping for some yellow jacks and maybe a big shark. “Best as I can tell, yellow jacks started showing up around here about 12 to 15 years ago,” Joel said. “I’m happy to have them. They fight like jack crevalle and taste like tuna.” Yellow jacks average 5 pounds around the bridges, but they reach weights in the 15-

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S T s to 20-pound range, Joel said. We didn’t boat any yellow jacks, but a big jack crevalle ran the boy around the rails twice, and a nice mutton snapper went into the box along with some keeper yellowtails. When the bite slowed, Joel took us to the docks at Castaway Watefront Restaurant in Marathon with a lot more than a fish supper. They’ll cook your catch any way you want, and it was the perfect end to a day on the water. If you’re looking for a winter get-away, it’s hard to beat winter fishing in the Keys. Joel said they’re targeting sailfish and blackfin tuna and high-speed trolling for wahoo right now. Snapper, grouper and other species are biting on the wrecks, reefs, ledges, bridges and flats. The cobia will show up on the Gulf side in January and February.

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Contact Ana Banana Fishing Company through their website at anabananafishing.com.

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ON THE DEERFIELD BEACH PIER By James P. Goss

A

s a small South Florida city, Deerfield Beach has many notable attractions. One of them is the International Fishing Pier. Depending on the season, schools of small fish cluster among the pilings, while along the ocean bottom stingrays, tarpon, turtles and moon jellyfish swim slowly by. Schools of baitfish swirl below and cloud the water. On some mornings, the outer end of the pier is crowded with fishermen, hunched over the railings with their tackle and gear. Down below, the small bodies of fish fleck the water with silver, while larger fish breach the surface in a slow curving motion. If there is a noticeable shift of energy in the air, this usually means some very large fish have arrived. This day, the excitement builds quickly when the

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bonita are running. “Vinny, can we get a line soon?” a fisherman asked one recent morning. Vinny is a large man—larger than most of the others standing nearby. A bright bandana wrapped low on his forehead, Vinnie focused on his fishing line sloping over the railing, where it sagged into the water. Nearby, the fishermen’s casts made a low whir, followed by a faint tuck, tuck as lures dropped beneath the water’s surface. The sound shifted as the mood in the air changed, from mild indifference to anticipation to high animation. A man in flip-flops ran toward the fishermen huddled near the hut. The men were gathering more closely together, their five-gallon buckets, tackle boxes, nets, buoys, rolling bait tanks, coolers, and various unused fishing rods standing at the ready nearby. On a bollard, a curious grackle pecked at a plastic bag of shrimp. “Get back! Get back! Get back!” one man shouted, his voice full of urgency, while another wheeled his cart of bucket and fishing rods toward the focal point of activity. Two fishermen had reeled in a bonita, which flopped desperately on the sun-splashed deck. A grizzled fisherman in the crowd spoke to his friend, a middle-aged woman with a towel draped over her head. “I want you to take this fish home to your mother,” he said, approaching the two anglers, offering pliers to cut the lure. Perhaps he knew the two men. Or he was somehow skilled enough to strike a quick arrangement with them: the gift of their catch. “It’s good to do things for others,” he said to the woman. When she asked what kind of fish it was, he told her, “It’s a bonita,” adding a translation: “Beautiful.” Carrying the dead fish in a plastic bag, the woman left the pier to walk into town. The mood on the pier remained energized. More fish were caught, the bonita piling up. A man yelled, “I’ve never seen so many fish on one pier!” An online fishing report said that boat catches offshore in varied depths of water were netting swordfish and mahi-mahi. And on the pier, the fishermen continued to feel the optimism that accompanies a beautiful day on the water.

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has turned into a full-on quest, in which Storin (a.k.a. Bean) designed his own micro-rod and is using it to catch some impressive fish. “We were bored during covid, and we took out a bunch of those little ice fishing rods,” he said. “We wanted to see if we could maybe catch a tarpon with them.” Viewers of Storin’s Youtube channel, Bean Screen TV, ate it up. It was entertaining, and it spurred Bean to design his own Bean Pole, which he sells on his website beansportfishing.com. “It’s so fun. No matter what, the rod just bends and it won’t break,” Bean said. “As long as you’ve got the right line on it, you can land almost any fish in the ocean with it if you’ve got enough patience and fishing skill. “No matter what you hook, it feels like a monster,” he continued. “You could hook a 12-inch mangrove snapper, and it feels like a monster.” But Bean wasn’t content with mangos. He wants to test the limits of his new rods on true monsters of the deep. Bean Poles are intentionally noodle-stick flexible. He said the key to the design process was “to make them as bendy as possible, so they don’t break.” The reel seats, however, are designed to hold some serious gear. Bean usually fishes a 4,000-size spinning reel with 20-pound braid, but he’s gone as heavy as a 6,000-size reel and 60-pound line when pursuing big tarpon and sharks. He said the rod is capable of holding a 10,000-size spinning reel for folks who might want even heavier tackle. So far, Bean has caught tarpon close to 100 pounds, an 8-foot lemon shark, keeper cobia, giant barracuda, king mackerel, a 30-plus-pound By CAM Staff African pompano, blackfin tuna, mahi-mahi, juvenile goliath grouper and more with the Bean Pole. “The next thing we want to do is catch a sailfish,” he said… “and a giant goliath grouper.” In case you were wondering, Bean has normal gear, and he doesn’t force charter clients to fish Bean Poles. He does, however, keep one on e’ve heard of fishing light tackle, but this seems a little board… just in case. ridiculous… ridiculously fun! Capt. Brandon Storin, who fishes out of the legendary Bud Contact Brandon “Bean” Storin through his website N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Fla. has taken light tackle fishing to the beansportfishing.com, and check out his YouTube channel, extreme. What started as a lark—toying with ice fishing rods in the Keys— Bean Screen TV, to see the Bean Pole in action.

FISH RIDICULOUSLY LIGHT TACKLE

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FLORIDA 2021

LOCATION 7


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Coming to Orlando Jan. 5-7

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urf Expo is gearing up for its upcoming in-person trade show to be held Jan. 5-7, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. at the West Hall of the Orange County Convention Center. Surf Expo’s January show has become known as a one-stop shop to preview and get a first-hand look at the latest and greatest apparel and accessories that will lead the industry in 2022. A few of the brands featured in the Bluewater section are AFTCO, HUK, Pure Lure, Reel Life, Jeep by Buck Wear, Fish Hard Gear, Boat Builders Trading, Saltwater Born, Habit Outdoors, Fish Hard Gear, Unsalted Coast and Marsh Wear. Other brands in the show include Salty Crew, Costa, AVID, ANETIK, REEL Skipper, Chums, SMITH Optica, Aqualung, O’Neill and many more. There are quite a few new brands you’ll find in Bluewater making their Surf Expo debut, including Bajio eyewear, Fireside Outdoor, Red Bobber Fishing Gear, Kahuna Wagons, RUMPLE and more. The Bluewater section was designed with the buyer in mind—so they can see all the key inshore and offshore apparel and accessory brands in one location. They’ll find products ranging from lifestyle and technical apparel to footwear, outerwear, sportswear, t-shirts, sunglasses, outdoor apparel and gear and lots more.

Steven “Fish” Fisher, Surf Expo’s senior buyer relations manager works directly with buyers from marinas, outfitters, boat dealers and bait and tackle shops. “There’s a definite need for product. People from Florida and across the U.S. as well as the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and all over the globe are registering and excited to come,” he said. “We staged two safe and successful shows in 2021, and we’ll continue to evolve our health and safety plan to keep those practices in place as we head into 2022 shows,” said Roy Turner, Surf Expo show director. “We want our exhibiting brands and retailers to feel confident in returning to our show. Surf Expo will continue to assemble the right mix of brands, new products and events for inspiration and camaraderie that can’t be produced digitally.” Features of the show will include the Bluewater Lounge, plus fashion shows, live seminars, the Surf Expo Industry Party and happy hours. Surf Expo will be announcing its full line up of special events in the coming weeks. Registration is free for qualified buyers. For more information, contact steven.fisher@surfexpo.com. For more information on the upcoming show, visit www.surfexpo.com.

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witnessed a scenario a few weeks ago that when analyzed might help us all catch more fish. I was fishing a familiar cove, drifting my kayak across grass flats mixed in with sand potholes. This area typically holds clear water, and on low-wind days such as this, it should have been exceptionally clear. The farther I drifted across the area, the more I noticed dinginess in the water. This area of the cove had a small island perpendicular with the shoreline and a 15-yard gap in between. I saw small mullet pushing up on the edge of the island. At that point, I decided to anchor my kayak and work the area thoroughly with my rattling soft-plastic paddletail. This area was 1 to 2 feet deep and mostly carpeted with grass with just a few sand potholes. To keep from fouling my jig on the grass, I was burning the lure just under the surface. I unexpectedly hooked up with a nice redfish that came out of the water to inhale my copper and silver soft plastic! Due to the redfish mouth being on the bottom of their head, they put on a nice show while attacking a lure on or near the surface. I caught a dozen or so reds in this area using the same retrieve, and about half of them came out of the water or created a whitewater attack to strike. I was also able to sight cast to a few that swam through in groups of two or three. As the bite started to taper, I noticed the water had begun to clear up. This led me analyze the situation a little more. This area is not known for a lot of tidal movement, and typically you can’t see the water move, as was the case on this day. However, the tide was incoming, which created the silty water, and this slight movement was also pushing the small mullet against the island. Once the water cleared, I realized the tide had slowed or stopped, and as that happened the mullet began to scatter through the cove. I still managed to pick up a few more reds and some trout, but not until I started to drift other areas of the cove. Hindsight is 20/20, and I didn’t put all the pieces together until the end, but it was a great lesson I will use in the future. Even though I could not see the movement of the water, the dirty water was a clear sign of the incoming tide. The bait was reacting to the rising water, and that’s the reason the fish were feeding in that area. I hope this story helps you out in the future. I will remember what I learned that day and apply it. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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LAKE PANASOFFKEE • BUSHNELL • WILDWOOD • SUMTERVILLE • WEBSTER • THE VILLAGES OXFORD • COLEMAN • MULBERRY • BARTOW • LAKELAND • POLK CITY • AUBURNDALE EAGLE LAKE • WINTER HAVEN • LAKE ALFRED • HAINES CITY • DAVENPORT • LAKE HAMILTON DUNDEE • LAKE WALES • HILLCREST HEIGHTS • FROSTPROOF • FORT MEADE

Owner: CAPT. MARY BRASHER

352-598-4219

MaryF@CoastalAnglerMagazine.Com

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 2nd Annual Fish In The Pan Byway Tournament Results

Page 10 Holiday Happenings Photo Of The Month

Page 6-9 Holiday Gift Guide

Page 14-15 Polk County Map Page 16 Find Us Here

Welcome Music Realy

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, Allen Wyatt, 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.

Best Fishing Days December 4th- December 18th

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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 5- Big Bass Grill Lakefront Restaurant and Marina 352-793-8150 965 Co Rd 439 • Lake Panasoffkee, FL 33538 www.bigbassgrill.com 6- Shrimp’s On The Lake 352-569-4583 907 CR 439B • Lake Panasoffkee, Fl 33538 www.shrimpsonthelake.com Bushnell Area 7- Sumter Realty 352-793-3202 239 N Main St • Bushnell FL 33513 Agent Evan Merritt 8- Canada Meds 352-569-1484 512 N Main St • Bushnell, FL 33513-5112 9- Devine Family Jewelry and Pawn 352-444-2058 8271 W C-48 • Bushnell, Fl 33513

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.

10- ParGas 352-793-1982 1452 W C 48, Bushnell, FL 33513 www.pargas.com 11- 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 Webster Area 12- Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway, Inc. 352-267-8801 P.O. Box 6 • Webster, FL 33597 www.sumterbyway.com/ sumterbyway@gmail.com 13- Webster Hardware & Farm Supply Ace 352-793-4831 120 N. Market Blvd. • Webster, FL 33597 www.WebsterFarmSupply.com Sumterville Area 14- Blackjack Sporting Clays 352-569-9469 3372 County Road 526 • Sumterville, FL 33585 blackjackclays.com • info@blackjackdays.com Dale Walker Owner/Operator Wildwood Area 15- M&M Old Hickory Smokehouse Bar-B-Q 352-399-6597 7993 NE 7th Path DR • Wildwood, FL 34785

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Support Your Local Sumter County Businesses!


RESULTS FOR THE

FISHING AREA WATERS THE WHAT, WHEN, WHERE & HOW

Top Left: 1st Place Jim Clements with Dawn Cary of the Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway Committee. Jim also won Big Bass! Top Right: 2nd Place Liam Cary and Jose Garcia with Dawn Cary of the Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway Committee Bottom Left: 3rd Place Alan Dunaway with Dawn Cary of the Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway Committee

A Special Thank You To All Our Sponsors: Lunch Sponsor: Great Lakes Carpet & Tile of Wildwood Media Sponsor: Coastal Angler Magazine and Tangent Media Gold Sponsor: Pana Vista Lodge Silver Sponsor: Big Bass Grill Restaurant & Marina of Lake Panasoffkee Catfish Johnny’s Restaurant of Lake Panasoffkee Sumter Realty of Bushnell Bronze Sponsor: Iserve Home Care. Dough J’s of Webster, Webster Hardware & Farm Supply Ace, Par-Gas of Bushnell, Pana Vista Lodge, Connor’s Gift of Inverness, Shooter’s World of The Villages, Phillip’s Bait & Tackle of Lakeland, Bridgemasters of Lake Wales, Stretch Outdoors of Lakeland, Hoppy’s Marine of Lake Wales, Capt Dave Ochs of Back Water Fishing Adventures, Lake Wales, Ron’s Tackle Box of Lake Alfred

Many folks have approached me regarding what species we have in our area , and when and how to go about seeking and/or catching them. For space sake I can’t go into great detail, however I have compiled some general information that may aid in someone’s quest for our inshore nature coast species of fish. And, April is some of the best fishing Big Winter Trout such as this nice of the whole year. 24-1/2” 4lb’er can be expected. Many folks have approached me regarding what species we have in our area, and when and how to go about seeking and/or catching them. For space sake I can’t go into great detail, however I have compiled some general information that may aid in someone’s quest for our inshore nature coast species of fish. And, April is some of the best fishing of the whole year. WHAT: Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Cobia, Macks, Sharks, etc. WHEN: Spring. All day for Trout, Reds, Cobia, Macks. Summer Early morning for Trout, Reds, Cobia, Macks Mid-day for Sharks. Late afternoon for Reds. Fall. All day for Reds, Trout, Macks. WHERE: Yankeetown to Hernando Beach. Yankeetown, Around Chambers Island, Captain Joe Island, Deadman Key, Drum Island, Nuke Plant, Around Discharge Canal Especially Fall And Winter, Crystal River, Tin Pan Gap, Crystal Bay Oyster Bars, Sandy Hook, Mangrove Point, Gomez Rocks, Bear Island, Ozella Backcountry, Homosassa, Rock Island Flats, St. Martin River, St. Martin Keys, Ship Rock, Salt River, Homosassa Bay, Mason Creek, Blue Bay Islands, Chassahowitzka Chass Pt, Northwest Keys, Chass Bay, Pompano Key, Black Rock, Bird Island, Saddle Key, Crawl Key, Hernando Beach. Higgenbotham Rocks, Wall Creek, Oklahoma Flats, Northwest Rocks, Rocks North And South Of Channel. HOW: Conventional Light tackle spinning gear. And bait casters. Models using 8 to 20LB. lines. Bait casters are basically winches on rods. Good for bigger strong and long running fish. Cobia, Sharks, etc. Good for live or dead baiting. Spinning gear better for casting all day. Throws lighter artificials farther. Casts better and farther against the wind. Better for superbraid lines. Rods in the 7 to 7 1/2 ‘length. Extra casting distance matters in shallow water. Find the baitfish, you’ll find the game fish. Trout love grass. Look for sea grass and turtle grass beds. Look for depressions, flats, or rises in the bottom. Spotty bottom. Cast to and around the sandy potholes, especially for trout. Remember 2 things. Reds and Rocks. Reds love rocky oystery terrain. Find rocky points mixed with shell bottom next to muddy bottom, These Alaska natives enjoyed hauling in a nice mess of trout. you’ll find reds and never pass up casting to points. Fish the incoming tide for better results. Use jigs in white, root beer, chartreuse, silver, under a popping cork for trout. Top water plugs early and late. Top dogs spitnimage, chug bugs, Johnny rattlers, etc. For reds use gold spoons, in ¼ and ½ oz. for soft plastics, use white, new penny, gold, and assassins. Also, the new thunder spin for reds is awesome. Utilizes flash, vibration, different colors, and weedless. Remember, this is only the reds and trout because they’re the most popular. Works as well for other species, but some specific tactics are different for the Cobes, Macks, and Sharks. Submitted By: Capt. Rick Burns Real Burns Charters • 352-201-6111 Homosassafishingguide.com • www.reelburns.com

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The 2021 Taste of Winter Haven “Eat Out to Help Out” Dining Passport is still available! For just $50 you can receive a booklet filled with $10 off coupons to area restaurants, bars and caterers. Coupons will be good until December 31, 2021. The list of participating restaurants is below ($130 value)! Arabellas Ristorante KFC Auburndale Tanner's Lakeside Culver's Mediterranean Fresh Grill Tempo 1930 Elite Catering Company Old Man Franks The Catering Co of Central Florida Duke's Brewhouse Richard's Coffees Fire Restaurant Smoothie Squad We are thrilled to be hosting Taste of Winter Haven in 2022 as an in-person event!! Taste of Winter Haven is an evening event focused on giving the community an opportunity to taste local cuisine, beer, and wine while enjoying live music. Taste of Winter Haven will take place at Venue 650. You must be 21 or older to attend. Early bird tickets are $35. Price will increase on January 17th and the day of.

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DECEMBER 2021

POLK & SUMTER 5


GIFT IDEAS FOR ANGLERS

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DECEMBER 2021

POLK & SUMTER 7


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


CENTRAL FLORIDA REGION FORECAST

CHARLOTTE HARBOR FISHING FORECAST

Another Awesome Winter Haven South Chain Bass Welcome to December in Florida where the weather changes and we have all four seasons from 0500 till 1700 each day, that would be from 5AM - 5PM for all the civies out there. According to the Farmer’s Almanac December will be milder to warm with but not as much rain but we’ll see what happens. These are not necessarily bad things if we know how to approach these conditions, if that forecast holds true. So, let’s figure out what will be happening this month with the bass fishing in both Winter Haven and over on the Kissimmee Chain. In Winter Haven on the South Chain and many of the other lakes around town cooler evenings have brought the lake temps down which will mean we will start seeing the bass transition to the shallower grass lines. Keep in mind, if a big cold front crashes on us quickly, those fish will retreat and find warmer water until things stabilize again. It’s hard to give you a concrete answer on what’s going to come about of course, but I’m going to have jerkbaits, swimjigs, and swimbaits tied-on at all times if the Almanac is correct. For me and my guests, we can work them at a variety of depth ranges and speeds, and have several colors from the natural “watermelons”, maybe something black & blue, to whatever your favorite color may be. Over on Lake Kissimmee and the Chain, the “stable” temps will be very welcome, and the rain even more so. As of mid-November, the lakes were at extremely low water levels and caution is advised for those who have not fished here before, or been gone for the summer. There is a deriving project between Cypress and the Toho canal that boats are not able to head north and lock through right now. I’m not going to be sitting in one spot for very long if the forecast holds true. I’m going to be on the move checking everything from the “deep water” shell beds, to the outside grasslines with - again “deeper” water adjacent, to the thicker hydrilla mats until we know what Mother Nature is really going to throw at us. 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

Cooler water temps have made Fall fishing in Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor Red Hot! Large Redfish schools have been feeding well on the grass flats around potholes and oyster bars. As we move into the colder months, I’ll begin to see more redfish in the residential canals seeking warmth from the muddy bottoms and concrete seawalls. A slow-moving bait like a shrimp with a split shot fished near the bottom will usually entice a bite. Snook have been active on mangrove shorelines and points as well. My favorite bait is a live scaled sardine freelined in the current. As we move forward look for the snook to continue their migration into the rivers, creeks, and back bays in preparation for winter. These shallower and darker bottom areas will heat up faster and retain heat better as the sun raises each day. When the water temp drops so does a Snook’s metabolism so a slower moving bait like a shrimp or even a dead bait on the bottom will often do the trick. However, if you have a warming trend after a cold front and know where there are some snook stacked up don’t be afraid to show up with well full of scaled sardines. The cooler water has also fired up the inshore Grouper. The season closes on December 31 but until they should be readily available on any piece of structure in the bay. I prefer to anchor up current and drift live pinfish back with little to know weight. Generally, you’ll know quickly if there are grouper present. I tend to not stay in one spot long if we’re not getting bites. There are plenty of areas in the bay you can target such as rock piles and channel ledges. If you’re not sure where to go you can troll the main shipping channel with stretch 30’s or my preference is #3 planers with a 4oz bucktail jig and a big grub tail. If you’re trolling and get a bit hit your MOB button on the gps and mark the spot. This way you can fine tune your troll or even go back and drop baits down to those spots. Another colder water favorite of mine is Sheepshead. I like to use live shrimp or fiddler crabs with a small split shot and cast it around structure like bridge pilings, rock piles, docks, and seawalls. I have also begun booking trips for Tarpon season 2022 which begins in April. If you’re on the hunt for Christmas presents a gift certificate for a Tarpon Charter in beautiful World Famous Boca Grande makes a wonderful gift!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

Submitted By: Capt. Bobby Woodard www.Captain-Bobby.com • 863-224-1418

DECEMBER 2021

POLK & SUMTER 9


Polk & Sumter

12/2 Lakeland Christmas Parade 6pm-8pm Downtown Lakeland 12/3 Martina McBride: The Joy of Christmas 7-10 The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center The Villages. 12/4 Chain of Lakes Christmas Boat Parade 6:30-9:30 12/4 Lake Panasoffkee Annual Christmas Parade 10-1 12/10 Christmas In The Village Florida Fly Wheelers Antique Fort Meade 12/10-11 Bartow Christmas Parade 6pm-8pm Main St/Downtown 12/11 Dundee Candy Cane Christmas Parade 6pm-8pm Dundee Community Center 12/11 Mulberry's Christmas Parade 6pm-7pm Spence Park 12/11 Lake Panasoffkee’s Lighted Boat Parade 12/17 Haines City Christmas Parade 7pm Haines City 12/17 Cirque Musica’s Holiday Spectacular Sharon L Morse Performing Arts Ctr The Villages

KISSIMMEE CHAIN FISHING FORECAST Look for the Kissimmee Chain to produce some monster Bass this month. Although the morning bite should remain a little on the slow side, that late afternoon bite should get your attention. Buck Bass are still biting decent in the cover- specifically in the Kissimmee grass in 4’-6’ of water. In the late afternoon the females are moving into the shallow and actively chasing Bluegills, Julia with a 9lb caught gizzard shad and shiners. Look for this on a Senko. trend to continue through February. This is good news if you’re pulling or casting wild shiners this Winter. If you’re casting artificals, spinner baits in white or bluegill pattern should be consistent catchers this Winter. Deep diving crankbaits in green gizzard shad in the canals should also be very effective. In the afternoon, flukes and senkos fished weightless in the shallows should be devastating on the big Bass. Color on your soft plastic baits should be based on water clarity and cloud cover. On cloudy days and murky water clarity, it’s pretty hard to beat black with blue glitter. On sunny days and good water clarity, it’s junebug, watermelon red, or green pumpkin hands down, the best colors by far. Crappie fishing during the day can be decent this month. Jigging a 1/16oz jig white with a minnow or a white grub in the pads or hydrilla should be very effective. At night, 13’ of water with a slip cork rig and minnow set at 7’-8’ should do alot of damage. The two lakes I favor for Crappie is Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie. In my opinion, they are the two best crappie lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Also, the Kissimmee River should not be overlooked this month for Bass and Catfish.

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Submitted By: Capt Dave Ochs Kissimmee Chain Fishing (863) 455-6886 Back Water Fishing Adventures • Lake Wales, FL 33898

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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

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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

21- Bridgemasters 863-676-1009 2131 FL-60 • Lake Wales, FL 33898 www.fishermanscandystore.com 22- Capt Dave Och’s Backwater Fishing Adventure 863-455-6886 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

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11-Hillman Motors Inc. 863-967-4628 2701 Havendale Blvd. NW • Winter Haven FL 33881 www.hillmanmotors.net

Frostproof Area 26- Erwine’s Marine 863-635-4492 250 S. Scenic Hwy • Frostproof, FL 33843 www.ErwinesMarine.com

12- Marine Supply of Winter Haven 863-297-7003 1700 3rd St SW • Winter Haven, FL 33880 www.MarineSupplyBoats.com 13- Millers Fiberglass 863-551-1551 1505 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven, FL 33880 www.facebook.com/Millers-Fiberglass-Repair-157407427716301

Placida Area 27-Fly Em High Charters 863-224-1418 Capt Bobby Woodard 6499 Gasparilla Rd • Placida, FL 33946 www.Captain-Bobby.com

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

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PHOTO BY AARON ADAMS

A TIME AND PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

here is no comparison to anchoring versus drifting for grouper fishing. Catching grouper and big snapper consistently requires you to set up in one location. But there is a time and place for everything. Bear with me… For grouper and big snapper fishing, you have to anchor or use a long-shank, GPS trolling motor—like a Rhodan—to keep your boat in place. I have talked about this in previous articles. You need to “set the table” for the gags, reds and scamps. While anchored with 4 or 5 anglers onboard, we send down several rounds of whole squid, regardless of what comes up. Whole squid dropped on Decoy Jigs create a chum slick on the bottom directly below the boat. After three or four rounds of these “freebie” squid offerings, we send down the live baits on Decoy Jigs. This is more than grouper and big snapper can mentally digest. They see a live bait caught by a crab or squid. It’s a Happy Meal to them. To do this effectively, your boat must remain in a fixed position. There are now a few brands of powerful, long-shank, GPSequipped electric trolling motors on the market that allow offshore anglers the same benefits enjoyed for years by inshore and freshwater anglers. These machines allow you to anchor “virtually” or set a heading, among other things. They are an absolute gamechanger. I use a Rhodan, so that’s what I’ll call it. Using the Rhodan alone is my preferred method. It will keep you in one spot, and it’s so much easier than anchoring in deep water. It is accurate, fast, effortless and time efficient. If the water is too deep or the current is running too hard, we will sometimes drift with the Rhodan. From barely in gear up to full speed, we use the trolling motor to slow the drift. This creates a good situation in which to drop baits for bottom fish while flying a kite out of the back of the boat. The Rhodan keeps the bow pointed into the wind or current, allowing you to deploy kites with live baits while also bottom fishing. It’s possible to fish for pelegics like wahoo and dolphin while catching bottom fish at the same time. The kite will work the Rhodan hard and reduce battery life, so keep this in mind. A traditional anchor allows you to fly a kite with baits out for wahoo, while also bottom fishing without taxing the Rhodan to keep the boat in a fixed position. This combo, however, can only be used with a light wind. If the wind or current are up, a slow drift with the Rhodan is the best way to drop baits while tending the kite and float baits. Like I said, there is a time and condition for one or all of the combos, but I’m sometimes old-school, and you just can’t beat an anchor for grouper fishing when the water depth and current speed are right. For more information and instructional videos, go to barefootcatsandtackle.com.

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By Richard Matteson

PHOTO BY AARON ADAMS

LIFE IS A BEACH

December Surf Fishing Forecast

T

he beach is coming alive with the cooler weather, and the seasonal fish, which include Spanish mackerel, bluefish and pompano, are showing up in numbers here on Florida’s Treasure Coast. There have been some spectacular fishing days with 20-plus mackerel and numbers of jacks, some heavier than 15 pounds. The pompano are here, and although most are small, some keeper-size have been caught in the surf and from the bridges in the Indian River Lagoon. Birds and schools of fish have been following large pods of bait swimming just outside the trough. One reason for the increased activity are higher king tides, which eliminate issues with sandbars left from previous hurricanes. The tides are a couple feet higher than they were this summer. One- and 2-ounce Crocodile Spoons in silver and gold with a single hook are producing great results. I usually use a 3/8-ounce D.O.A. jig in chartreuse color with a 4-inch pearl Shad Tail. Even if the mackerel aren’t schooling at the moment, there are still lots of jacks and ladyfish around the trough. I use 10- to 20-pound white braid with a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. I like short leaders of 14 inches or shorter, which keeps the double uni-knot connecting the braid to leader from the first eyelet on the rod. I always use a 6 ½- or 7-foot rod with some backbone to land larger fish like tarpon and snook. The standard surf reel is a spinning reel with enough braid (100 yards over mono backing) to land bigger fish. If you are fishing in the Treasure Coast area, now is the time to take your boat out the St. Lucie Inlet and go about a mile south to the Peck’s Lake area known as Kingfish Hole to catch schooling Spanish mackerel. Use a thick leader of 80-pound fluorocarbon or a wire leader, and expect non-stop mackerel action. Use small spoons or jigs, and move them fast near the top of the water. Look for boats following the schools to locate the best fishing. Snook are still hitting in the surf on jigs and live bait with the best action near high tide. The best snook fishing is morning and evening. Remember to fish around the trough; casting out way past the trough is wasted time when fishing for snook. As always, look for birds to find the bait, and the fish will be there. The surf is rough and the tides are high. Time to go fishing. Richard Matteson is a long-time contributor to Coastal Angler Magazine and staff writer for the Stuart Rod and Reel Club.

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BE PREPARED For Hazards Of All Kinds

By Capt. Randy Cnota

R

ecently, I was enjoying a quiet morning on the boat, all by myself, catching several fish in a remote place on the lower end of the Apalachicola River system. The bass were chomping on my top-water jerkbait like they’d never seen one before, and I got complacent while dehooking one. The fish made a sudden, violent shake and suddenly I had two hooks in my hand with a flopping fish on the jerk-bait’s third hook. This is

one of the many hazards anglers should be prepared for when they occur; and hazards WILL occur, it’s just a matter of time. Being an old experienced salt, the removal of those hooks from my hand was not that big of a deal; it just took some time because I was alone and had only one hand to use. Had that happened to an angler who’s never had a hook in his hand, it might have been a different story. Imagine this happening to your child, an elderly person or a loved one… would you know what to do? Obvious hazards like foul weather, high winds and extreme cold are easy to negotiate as a recreational angler; you just don’t go that day! It’s the calm, pleasant, inviting days when you least expect some hazardous event to take place that they seem to occur. My intent is to inspire you to prepare for the unexpected as best you can. There are way too many hazardous scenarios that could play out in a day of fishing, so the following is just an overview of a strategy. People getting hooked, cut or falling in or out of a boat are likely the most common hazards anglers experience. Make sure everyone on board knows exactly where lifejackets and throw cushions are located and how and why to use them. Lifejackets are obvious, but some might not realize the importance of the throw cushion. When someone falls overboard, it’s imperative that someone keeps their eyes on him to maintain his location and get a cushion tossed to him immediately! You’d be surprised how quickly this scenario can turn bad, so make sure all aboard know the drill. A basic first-aid kit on board is a good start for tending to cuts, sprains and burns, but be sure to take the next step and keep a few extra items like duct tape, rescue tape, zip ties, super glue etc. Also, make sure you know how to remove hooks and be able to determine if a hooked situation is something that can be treated on the water or if a trip to the ER is required. As a licensed Captain and retired military, I’ve had plenty of training with first aid, CPR and other emergency matters, but many folks on the water have not. If you captain a vessel, be sure to get this kind of training. You owe it to the people who rely on you out there. For more information, go to coastalanglermag.com.

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FLORIDA 2021

LOCATION 19


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DECEMBER SEASONS UPDATE

D

ecember is time to shift gears for inshore anglers in Florida. Snook seasons close and flounder harvest opens up this month. New for 2021, flounder harvest was closed for 45 days this year during the fall run. Many anglers look forward to fall as peak time to catch big doormat flounder, which is why the closure occurred when flounder populations are most susceptible to recreational and commercial anglers. The Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 harvest closure was intended to combat what FWC called a statewide decline in flounder populations. Other Gulf and Atlantic states took similar measures. Starting Dec. 1, flounder harvest is allowed with a 14-inch minimum size limit and a daily bag limit of five fish per person. These regulations apply in state and federal waters off Florida. The Gulf snook season closure date is Dec. 1, and snook harvest will remain closed through the end of February in Gulf state and adjacent federal waters. The Atlantic snook season is closed Dec. 15 through Jan. 31 in state and adjacent federal waters. Special regulations for different zones exist for this species, so be sure to check current regulations online at MyFWC.com. On the Gulf side, from Sarasota Bay through Gordon Pass in Collier County, snook will remain catch-and-release through May 31, 2022.

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291.7 POUNDS WINS BIMINI WAHOO MAYHEM

I

n case you’re wondering where the wahoo are in their annual migrations, the action at this year’s Bimini Wahoo Mayhem tournament might provide a clue. With fishing days on Nov. 5 and 6, a fleet of 21 boats didn’t necessarily wear them out, but they brought plenty of ’hoos to the scales. The invitationonly tournament is billed as the highest-paying wahoo tournament in the Bahamas, and it’s held during the historic peak of the season in one of the world’s most prolific wahoo destinations. There are no tournament boundaries, so teams range all over the islands in search of big wahoo. More than $192,000 was paid out after Day 2. The big first-place winner was Finnikki, which brought a very respectable 291.7 pounds to the scales. In a distant second place, Rake & Scrape weighed 148 pounds. The tournament’s Big Fish was a 58.9 pounder caught by Rake & Scrape on Day 1. For more information and complete results, go to www.meatmayhemtournaments.com.

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Bad to the Bone Full tang stainless steel blade with natural bone handle —now ONLY $79!

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he very best hunting knives possess a perfect balance of form and function. They’re carefully constructed from fine materials, but also have that little something extra to connect the owner with nature. If you’re on the hunt for a knife that combines impeccable craftsmanship with a sense of wonder, the $79 Huntsman Blade is the trophy you’re looking for. The blade is full tang, meaning it doesn’t stop at the handle but extends to the length of the grip for the ultimate in strength. The blade is made from 420 surgical steel, famed for its sharpness and its resistance to corrosion. The handle is made from genuine natural bone, and features decorative wood spacers and a hand-carved motif of two overlapping feathers— a reminder for you to respect and connect with the natural world. This fusion of substance and style can garner a high price tag out in the marketplace. In fact, we found full tang, stainless steel blades with bone handles in excess of $2,000. Well, that won’t cut it around here. We have mastered the hunt for the best deal, and in turn pass the spoils on to our customers. But we don’t stop there. While supplies last, we’ll include a pair of $99 8x21 power compact binoculars and a genuine leather sheath FREE when you purchase the Huntsman Blade. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in your hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the impeccable craftsmanship. If you don’t feel like we cut you a fair deal, send it back within 30 days for a complete refund of the item price. Limited Reserves. A deal like this won’t last long. We have only 1120 Huntsman Blades for this ad only. Don’t let this BONUS! Call today and beauty slip through your fingers. Call today! you’ll also receive this

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shown *Discount is only for customers who useNot the offer code versus the actual size. listed original Stauer.com price.

California residents please call 1-800-333-2045 regarding Proposition 65 regulations before purchasing this product. • 12" overall length; 6 ¹⁄2" stainless steel full tang blade • Genuine bone handle with brass hand guard & bolsters • Includes genuine leather sheath

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CHANGES COMING FOR GULF OF MEXICO REGULATIONS

FWC PHOTO

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he Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is considering changes that might affect regulations for recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico. The council is the regional authority charged with managing fisheries in federal waters of the Gulf, and it met Oct. 25-28 in Orange Beach, Alabama. The following is a summary of actions from that meeting. Cobia: The Gulf Group cobia stock is managed jointly with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and includes both the Gulf Zone and Florida East Coast Zone. A recent stock assessment showed Gulf Group cobia are not overfished but are experiencing overfishing. The Gulf Council chose to reduce Gulf Group Cobia stock overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch, and annual catch limits with an increasing yield stream for the years 2021-2023. The bottom line for anglers is: the council chose to retain the 36-inch fork length minimum size limit for cobia, reduce the daily possession limit to one fish per person and create a twofish vessel limit for both commercial and recreational sectors in the Gulf Zone. In the Florida East Coast Zone, the council decided to increase the minimum size limit to 36-inches fork length, reduce the daily possession limit to one fish per person, and create a two-fish vessel limit for both commercial and recreational sectors. These changes must be agreed upon by

the South Atlantic Council before they are submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for approval and implementation. Red Grouper: The Council took final action to increase the red grouper overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits and annual catch targets. This recommendation, if implemented by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, would set the stage for a loosening in regulations for red grouper. King Mackerel: A recent update stock assessment determined king mackerel is not overfished or experiencing overfishing. However, the spawning stock biomass was found to be below the level necessary to achieve maximum sustainable yield. The Gulf Council chose to retain the 24-

inch minimum size limit for king mackerel. The South Atlantic Council, which jointly manages the mackerel fishery, opted for a 22-inch fork length minimum size limit. The councils will have to reach agreement. Greater Amberjack: Greater amberjack is both overfished and experiencing overfishing. Catch-limit reductions are likely to come soon. Gag Grouper: Gag is both overfished and experiencing overfishing. A recent assessment indicated that a lack of males might be having an effect on the productivity of the stock. The council indicated it is not in favor of total closure. Catch-limit reductions are being considered. Vermilion Snapper: Increased vermilion snapper catch limits are being considered. A recent stock assessment determined that vermilion snapper is neither overfished or experiencing overfishing. After hearing public comment, which cautioned against increasing catch limits dramatically, the council recommended staff include alternatives with smaller increases than were recommended. The council selected a preferred alternative that would increase the vermilion snapper overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch, and annual catch. The Council will solicit public comment before taking final action.

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–N

For more information, visit gulfcouncil.org.

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oing over the top on jewelry doesn’t have to mean going overboard on the cost. We’re in the business of oohs and ahhs without the ouch, which is why we can bring you a genuine sky blue topaz ring for a price that simply can’t be beat.

You could spend nearly a $1,000 on a sterling silver ring set with a blue topaz stone. But, with Stauer in your corner, the sky’s the limit for affording the extraordinary. Priced at just $39, you can treat her to the Sky Blue Topaz Ring set in .925 sterling silver and save your money and your love life all at the same time. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Indulge in the Sky Blue Topaz Ring for 30 days. If you aren’t perfectly happy, send it back for a full refund of the item price.

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Your Insider Offer Code: TTR187-01 Please use this code when you order to receive your special discount. † Special price only for customers using the offer code versus the price on Stauer.com without your offer code.

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KEEP IT GENUINE PRECISION PROTECTION

Whether you take your boat out to the lake or the ocean, your 4-stroke outboard needs ECSTAR Suzuki Semi-Synthetic Engine Oil so it can run long and strong. ECSTAR features special additives that protect the engine in harsh salt and fresh water environments, advanced detergents that keep engine parts clean, and viscosity index improvements that help the engine start in cold conditions. No matter where your next boat ride takes you, go confidently with ECSTAR.

RUN LONG. RUN CLEAN. RUN STRONG.

Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-Approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. Suzuki, the Suzuki “S” ECSTAR and Suzuki model and product names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. © 2021 Suzuki Marine USA, LLC.

SZ Q3 ECSTAR HALF HORIZONTAL CSTL ANGLR 7-16-21.indd 1

7/16/2021 9:56:33 AM

DOMETIC MARINE SEASTAR STANDARD TRIM TABS

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nveiled in late September, the new SeaStar Standard Trim Tabs feature an intelligent actuator system and intuitive dial controller that put precision ride control at the fingertips of today’s boaters. The dial controller at the heart of this system provides a level of control and precision not possible with tactile switches. While this controller is intelligent, it couldn’t be simpler for the boater to understand and use. The boater just turns the dial in the direction he wants to level the boat, and the actuators respond quickly and precisely to adjust the ride. There are also single-press Bow Up and Bow Down inputs for manual adjustment, and a Favorite Button that lets boaters easily save a desired tab position. This makes it easy to return to a boat’s “sweet spot” ride position with the

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touch of a finger. The s y s t e m’s Home Button quickly moves tabs to the home position. Further simplifying operation are LEDs that indicate port and starboard tab positions. The dial controller also features Auto Brightness that senses ambient light conditions and adjusts the dial brightness for optimum visibility. Dometic’s all-electric actuators reduce complexity of the system while increasing longterm reliability. For instant response, quieter operation and a better boating experience, these actuators feature a planetary gearbox, hightorque DC motor and freewheeling Ball Screw

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Dometic Marine has set a new standard for trim tab performance and ease of use with its new SeaStar Standard Trim Tab system.

mechanism. For reliable performance over the long run, these actuators feature rugged housing with a simple two-piece design to minimize possible water intrusion points. They also feature dual housing seals, a rear seal in a protected bushing area, and a wiper that removes particles from the shaft and protects the rear seal. Heavy-duty 12 gauge 304 stainless steel tabs complete the system. They feature 316 stainless steel marine grade fasteners, heavy-duty 14 gauge stainless steel hinges and sturdy ¼-inchthick hinge pins for added strength.

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RED GROUPER

GIVE THE GIFT OF

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ROD BUILDING

49-year-old angler from Kingsland, Georgia landed a big red grouper off the Georgia coast on Oct. 4 that crushed the existing state record by nearly seven pounds. Bruce C. Bartlett Jr.’s 26-pound, 6.4-ounce fish measured 34.5 inches in length. It was certified by Georgia DNR and broke the existing record of 19 pounds, 7 ounces, which was caught by John Wren in 2012. The IGFA all-tackle world record weighed 42 pounds, 4 ounces. It was caught in 1997 off St. Augustine, Florida. Bartlett landed the red grouper using a 5-foot, 8-inch Ugly Stik Tiger rod with Shimano Torium reel with 65-pound Power Pro line using a live cigar minnow as bait. His terminal rig was a fish finder sinker slide with an 8-ounce bank sinker to a 100-pound barrel swivel, followed by a 60-pound fluorocarbon leader and 6/0 Eagle Claw circle hook. He was fishing east of Navy Tower R4, about 60 miles off of Cumberland Island, Georgia, aboard his boat Fishslaya Duece.

MUDHOLE.COM GET A FREE CATALOG! MUDHOLE.cOM/CATALOG

For the current list of Georgia saltwater fishing records, as well as information on how to submit a catch, visit CoastalGaDNR.org/SaltwaterRecords.

3 AM

Made in USA

TOURNAMENT BASS RETURN TO THEIR CATCH LOCATION

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ost bass released after tournament weigh-ins eventually return to the area where they caught. This interesting tidbit came from a research project conducted on Big Rideau Lake and was reported on by the nonprofit organization Blue Fish Canada. According to the report, researchers used acoustic tags to look into the survival rates and behaviors of bass after they were released at the weigh-in site. Over three tournaments, 88 largemouth and smallmouth bass were tagged before release. Their movements were tracked using sensors placed throughout the lake. Researchers selected each of the fish in the study based on whether the angler could accurately provide a location where the fish was caught. Upon release, the fish piled up within 300 meters of the release site for a short time before dispersing back toward the main lake. All of the bass eventually left the area. It took largemouths an average of 4.6 days to leave. The smallmouths were gone within a day. One of the researchers, Dr. Steven J. Cooke, told Blue Fish Canada’s Lawrence Gunther that each of the bass caught and tagged eventually returned to the area where they were originally caught. That’s pretty amazing, especially considering the size of the lake, which has a surface acreage of more than 100 square miles.

For more information on this study, go to bluefishcanada.ca.. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 201667_DOA_7.14_CAL ad_Coastal Angler_3.75x5.indd 1

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DECEMBER 2021

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This big Wels was caught from Italy’s Po River in 2015 by Italian angler Dino Ferrari. It measured 8.8 feet long and weighed more than 265 pounds.

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MEET THE WELS CATFISH Europe’s Freshwater Monster By TAM Staff

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n late October, news of a giant wels catfish caught from Spain’s Ebro River made the rounds on the Internet. The fish, caught by British angler Mark Steward-Brown, weighed 234 pounds, according to Field & Stream. It was a monster fish, but it fell well short of the record for wels catfish. Although they are rare, it seems fish heavier than 200 pounds are caught every year in European fisheries. Fish heavier than 100 pounds are commonplace. Wels have a long time to grow during a lifespan of 50 years or more. The IGFA all-tackle world record was caught from Italy’s Po River in 2010. It measured longer than 9 feet in length and weighed 297 pounds. Fish like that are a good reason for hardcore catfish anglers to look into a European vacation. In U.S. waters, an angler might spend a lifetime pursuing a blue catfish heavier than 100 pounds. According to Field & Stream, Steward-Brown caught four fish heavier than 100 pounds during his first day fishing in Spain. Spain’s Ebro River, especially at Mequinenza Reservoir in the northeastern corner of the country, is renowned for good numbers of big fish. In northern Italy, the Po River and its delta on the Adriatic Sea, produced the world record as well as some other huge fish over the years. In France, the Rhone River and several of its tributaries have earned a reputation for big catfish. A Google search will reveal guide services and “holiday packages” offered for all of these destination fisheries and more. From an angler’s perspective, Wels are interesting species for more than just their massive size. Like all catfish, they are bottom feeders. They like stinky bait, and are often caught on pre-made bait-pellet rigs. However, they are also voracious predators with giant mouths. Many anglers prefer to pursue them with large, loud lures. Wels have poor eyesight, so vibration and noise are important. Their natural diet is made up mostly of earthworms, mollusks, insects and fish. As they grow larger, they begin feeding on anything they can fit in their mouths. Frogs, mice, rats and aquatic birds are all prey items. In southwestern France, an isolated population of Wels has learned to ambush pigeons on land, like orcas attack seals on the beach. That should be the cue for some innovative fly tyer to twist up an ultra-realistic pigeon fly. For more information, go to www.coastalanglermag.com.

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Each of these coins is recognized for its breathtaking beauty, and for its stability, even in unstable times, since each coin is backed by its government for weight, purity and legal tender value. 2021 American Silver Eagle: The Silver Eagle is the single most popular coin in the world and it’s about to change forever. This 2021 Silver Eagle features the final appearance of the Heraldic Eagle reverse design by the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, John Mercanti. Struck in 99.9% fine silver at the U.S. Mint. 2021 South African Krugerrand: The Krugerrand continues to be the best known, most respected numismatic coin brand in the world. Struck in 99.9% fine silver at the South African Mint.

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GovMint.com • 14101 Southcross Dr. W., Suite 175, Dept. WRD145-01, Burnsville, Minnesota 55337 GovMint.com® is a retail distributor of coin and currency issues and is not affiliated with the U.S. government. The collectible coin market is unregulated, highly speculative and involves risk. GovMint.com reserves the right to decline to consummate any sale, within its discretion, including due to pricing errors. Prices, facts, figures and populations deemed accurate as of the date of publication but may change significantly over time. All purchases are expressly conditioned upon your acceptance of GovMint.com’s Terms and Conditions (www.govmint.com/terms-conditions or call 1-800-721-0320); to decline, return your purchase pursuant to GovMint.com’s Return Policy. © 2021 GovMint.com. All rights reserved.


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HOOKED ON™ SUZUKI TECHNOLOGY

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THE CHOICE IS YOURS SUZUKI’S SELECTIVE ROTATION TECHNOLOGY Suzuki has achieved what no other outboard manufacturer has done and provided a simple way to setup dual, triple, and even quad engine applications (150HP and up). This cutting-edge Selective Rotation technology provides the ability for the consumer to select regular or counter rotation into a single outboard model. This technology adds ease of use and overall resale value for the life of the motor.

SUZUKI’S SELECTIVE ROTATION

YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY

5 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY applies to qualifying purchases of Suzuki outboard motors sold and delivered to the retail purchaser, for pleasure (non-commercial) use only, from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. See Suzuki Limited Warranty for additional details. Suzuki, the “S” logo, and Suzuki model and product names are Suzuki Trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2021 Suzuki Marine USA, LLC. All rights reserved.


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