Coastal Angler Magazine | February 2021 | Lakeland And Sumpter Edition

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LAKELAND & SUMTER EDITION

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FLOUNDER KAYAKING FOR 'HOOS & SAILS! PHOTO COURTESY OF MALLORY HENDRIX INSTAGRAM: @MALLORY_HENDRIX VOLUME 26 • ISSUE 311

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F R A N C H I S E

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A V A I L A B L E

FEBRUARY 2021

W O R L D W I D E


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Why Are Dealers Hoarding These 100-Year-Old U.S. Silver Dollars?

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hen it comes to collecting, few coins are as coveted as the first and last of a series. And when big anniversaries for those “firsts” and “lasts” come around, these coins become even more coveted. Take, for example, the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars. These 90% pure silver coins were the last of their kind, a special one-year-only resurrection of the classic Wild West Silver Dollar. Three years prior, the Pittman Act authorized the melting of more than 270 million Morgan Silver Dollars so their silver could be sold to our allies in the United Kingdom. Facing our own Silver Dollar shortage, the world’s favorite vintage U.S. Silver Dollar was brought back for one year only while the U.S. Mint worked on its successor, the Peace Silver Dollar.

Dealers Begin Stockpiling Last-Year Morgans

Knowing what we’ve told you about special anniversaries, dealers around the country are preparing for a surge in demand. 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar—the last-yearof-issue for the most popular vintage U.S. Silver Dollar ever minted. But slow-moving collectors may be disappointed in what they find when they seek out these coins. Since the days of the Pittman Act, millions more U.S. Silver Dollars have been melted or worn down in commerce. It’s been estimated that as few as 15% of all the Morgan Dollars ever minted have survived to the present day. That number grows smaller each year, with private hoards now accounting for virtually all the surviving Morgan Silver Dollars. And that was before silver values started to rise...

Interest in Silver Is on the Rise

19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 LY G T T V C N B R R Y E LY G JU AU SEP OC NO DE JA FE MA AP MA JUN JU AU

Silver Trend Chart: Prices based on monthly averages. ©2020, AMS

As you can see from the chart on the left, in 2020, we’ve seen daily silver prices close as low as $12.01 per ounce and as high as $28.33 per ounce. That rise in value has led to a sharp increase in buyers’ interest in silver. We’re already seeing a surge of interest from collectors wanting to add vintage Morgan Silver Dollars to their collections. But at what price?

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Find & Catch Deep Winter Flounder

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

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PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOCKIN TAIL LURES

o all flounder migrate offshore during the winter? I can’t be certain, but I have caught them in every month of the year. Those latewinter catches may have been flounder that never left, or they might be some that returned early. But one thing is for sure, during cold weather is when I have caught my largest flounder. Let it be known that I am a lure fisherman at heart, but if you want to consistently target the largest flounder this time of year, live and dead bait rule supreme. A large mullet or shad in the 6-inch range is ideal. Any type of fishfinder rig will suffice with the appropriate weight for the depth of water and strength of current you are fishing. You just need enough weight to keep your bait in contact with the bottom, where flounder live. The method I use for flounder catching is to keep the bait in constant contact with the bottom. Pointing the rod tip toward the water and utilizing a sweeping motion, I twitch my rod, kicking up mud and sand to create a trail of dust that attracts fish. This way I can cover some water in search of a hungry doormat. Once I feel the first tap from the flounder, I pause. I wait patiently for the second and usually a quick third tap. Then I give it a solid hook-set! Flounder will hold on to a bait longer than most inshore species, and they don’t always engulf it all at once. I feel they want to injure their meal before swallowing it, which is why it pays to be patient and wait until they’ve got the hook in their mouth before driving the point home. The best area to target the largest of the species is near structure, specifically bulkheads. Flounder like to bed down next to seawalls, where baitfish have fewer angles of escape. Other structure like rock jetties are also great areas to try. On an outgoing tide, I target drain openings where high tide flows out of the marshes. These drains can be small, 1 to 2 feet of width is all it takes. As long as the marsh behind the drain has enough water to hold bait, it’s perfect. Flounder will stage at the opening of a large drain as well, but no drain is too small, and I feel the smaller ones can easily be dismissed and easily missed. One final note is on tide direction and strength. During a strong outgoing tide, flounder use the tide as easy transportation to open water and focus more on swimming than feeding. I tend to avoid the strong outgoing tide when targeting migrating flounder. Be safe, stay warm, and get out there to catch the largest flounder of your life.

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KAYAKING FOR

A DAY OF DOUBLES By Brian Nelli

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n offshore kayak fishing, many of the milestones we pursue come in the form of knocking off “bucket list” fish. Sailfish is at the top of that list for a lot of anglers in South Florida. The sailfish is a great achievement, but there is one fish that many either write off as improbable or just a dream. That fish is the wahoo. One of the fastest fish in the ocean, it bounces around in kayak anglers’ heads with the question of could today be the day. I’ve been a South Florida kayak fishing guide since 2010. Here, where the currents of the Gulf Stream swing so close to coast, it is possible to launch a kayak from the beach in pursuit of offshore species. I have been fortunate to assist clients in catching multiple wahoo over the years. To give an idea of how special this is, my best year for wahoo saw just six of these speedy fish landed in 150 offshore kayak trips. Now what do you think the chances are of catching two in one trip? How about two at the same time? That is where our story begins. Two days after the December new moon phase, winds were light and the ocean was flat calm. My two clients and I were running live goggle eyes on 60-pound wire stinger rigs tied to 40-pound Yozuri Hybrid Line. We were geared with Shimano Spheros 10k reels paired with Crowder Rods E-Namic 6’6” 15- to 40-pound rods. At dawn, we headed roughly a mile from shore and started slow trolling. All hell broke loose within the first hour. It was a double hook-up on sailfish! The fish pulled my two clients in opposite directions. After screaming directions and running back and forth to each angler, we managed to secure both fish for a great photo before release. That sailfish double already made it a great day, but there was more to come.

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We regrouped and got baits back out in search of another bite. At about 11 a.m., we approached a slight rip line near 150 feet of water. There was very little current and next to no surface action for most of the day, so we slowed down to stick in the rip area. Ten minutes in, I noticed one rod bounce hard and then take off. It was a good high-speed run and then line went slack. I screamed to keep reeling no matter what, as this is typical for a wahoo strike. Sure enough, the fish came tight again for another run to the bottom. As I yelled to one angler, the other client’s rod started bouncing. He reeled down, and there was head thrashing on surface. The fish circled the yak twice, and I

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gaffed the 29-pound wahoo within minutes. Once we got that one, I knew by its behavior the first fish was going to be a wahoo, as well. I was excited and shaking. I’ve been hunting a double wahoo for a decade or more. Ten minutes later, with that first fish safely in-hand, I let out a scream heard round the world, “We did it! DOUBLE WAHOO!” Brian Nelli operates Pushin’ Water Kayak Charters offering inshore and offshore kayak fishing trips out of South Florida. Contact him at Brian@tckayakfishing.com and check out his website at www.tckayakfishing.com.

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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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earlier, the biggest trout caught during February and March will eat crappie-sized jigs… so, there goes that theory. For the most part, though, I like bigger shrimp to eliminate as many of the dink trout bites as possible, but even the dinks will give the biggest shrimp you throw a whack. When you miss a bite, I always say, “don’t Tim Barefoot worry about it, it’s a dink.” Trout always eat a shrimp from behind, so they can fold the shrimp up and swallow it with the horn going forward. his is the time of year when the inshore bite can slow down or get hot as a firecracker, especially for speckled trout. Always. A missed bite usually means the fish didn’t have a mouth large Right now, bait size can make all the difference between enough to “inhale” your shrimp backwards. Another key ingredient stacking ’em up and getting to getting bites in cold water skunked. Live baits are is the speed of the retrieve. really the best bet when This is a perfect situation to things get tough, but for use a sliding cork or a fixedhard-headed anglers—like depth cork. For example: If me—who prefer artificials, you’re in water 6 feet deep it’s important to use smaller and you want to slow the profile baits and slow down bait way down, set the stop the retrieve considerably. at 5 feet and just let the As a matter of fact, I cork stand up and drift the know a guy who scales same speed as the current, down to crappie-size or if there is no current, jigs through the coldest just barely slow-take a stretches of February and wind on the reel to keep March. the bait moving forward. I prefer a smaller Don’t twitch the bait, just version of the same shrimp barely move it forward, and I always use. I normally always use a shrimp scent throw the 4-inch shrimp on like Pro Cure Shrimp. a jig head, but when it gets cold, I like the 3-inch size. There is not a time of the year when fish won’t eat a shrimp; there’s only a Videos for this style fishing will soon be available at: few weeks of the year when they won’t eat the 4-inch version. The reason I normally throw the bigger shrimp is that the old saying, BAREFOOTCATSANDTACKLE.COM “bigger bait, bigger fish” kind of holds true for seatrout. But like I said

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Uniquely American stone ignites romance

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n May 18, 1980, the once-slumbering Mount St. Helens erupted in the Pacific Northwest. It was the most impressive display of nature’s power in North America’s recorded history. But even more impressive is what emerged from the chaos... a spectacular new creation born of ancient minerals named Helenite. Its lush, vivid color and amazing story instantly captured the attention of jewelry connoisseurs worldwide. You can now have four carats of the world’s newest stone for an absolutely unbelievable price. Known as America’s emerald, Helenite makes it possible to give her a stone that’s brighter and has more fire than any emerald without paying the exorbitant price. In fact, this many carats of an emerald that looks this perfect and glows this green would cost you upwards of $80,000. Your more beautiful and much more affordable option features a perfect teardrop of Helenite set in gold-covered sterling silver suspended from a chain accented with even more verdant Helenite. Limited Reserves. As one of the largest EXCLUSIVE gemstone dealers in the world, we buy more carats of Helenite than anyone, which lets us give you a great price. However, this much gorgeous green Helenite Earrings for this price won’t last long. Don’t miss out. Helenite is only found in -a one section of Washington State, so with purchase of call today! Helenite Necklace Romance guaranteed or your money back. Experience the scintillating beauty of the Helenite Teardrop Necklace for 30 days and if she isn’t completely in love with it send it back for a full refund of the item price. You can even keep the stud earrings as our thank you for giving us a try.

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Winter Surf Fishing Forecast

W

ith beach erosion from the fall hurricanes, some areas of the Treasure Coast have developed a sandbar. To get to the best water, surf casters need to think about getting their baits farther out past the sandbar. You’ll need to go across the sandbar with longer casts by using heavy spoons or jigs or wade across the trough and fish from the sandbar. On low tide, you absolutely need to fish from the sandbar to get good results. Surf cast with 3/8-ounce chartreuse jig with a 4-inch plastic bait in pearl white. One- or 2-ounce silver crocodile spoons are another good choice, and you can cast them a mile. Bait schools have been sporadic recently, so look for birds to locate feeding fish. No birds, no fish. Schools of jacks, mackerel and bluefish are cruising the beach. They are in the trough early in the morning on medium to high tides. It’s best to fish the trough at around 7 a.m., when the sun rises. If cold weather has kept you out of the surf or from getting out to the sandbar, consider using neoprene waders. Waders are also great for fishing the Indian River Lagoon. There are a lot of jacks in the lagoon right now, with larger ones hanging around the bridges and deeper water. Pompano are being caught on sand fleas and fish bites on the incoming tide from Fort Pierce Inlet to the St. Lucie Inlet. Some are nice sized, but the numbers aren’t great. Whiting and croaker are being caught on shrimp, sand fleas and cut bait. I’ve caught some on small jigs and spoons at high tide around the trough. There are a lot of beach accesses from Fort Pierce Inlet to Bathtub Beach and St. Lucie Inlet. Although Bathtub Beach is closed, the St. Lucie inlet is within walking distance from other beach accesses. Stop and look for bird or bait activity before you decide to fish. Although the feeders are in the trough early in the morning, you’ll need to find baitfish to have success during the day. I use a medium-action, 7-foot spinning rod and 10- to 20-pound braid. I like white line, for its visibility, and I use a 30- or 40-pound fluorocarbon leader in the winter months. Make sure you retie your lure after catching a few mackerel, ladyfish or bluefish so you don’t lose the big one because of frayed line.

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THE PERFECT GRIP By John Saporito

A

handle is much more than just the part by which you hold the rod. It is the conduit that transmits strikes to your hands and the trusted grip that ensures a hold on the fish of your dreams. But not all handles are created equal, and each material has strengths and weaknesses. Whether buying a factory rod, building your own or having a custom rod built for you, it pays to know which handle style is the best choice for the job. This primer will give you a “grip” on which one is right for you. EVA Foam: Foam handles are common across all types of fishing rods. They are inexpensive and durable, making them a go-to option for anglers. However, foam is neither the most comfortable choice nor the best in terms of grip. It can become slippery when wet or after handling fish. It also lacks true sensitivity, muffling what is transmitted from hook to hand rather than delivering it directly. Cork: A fan favorite, cork is as comfortable as it is elegant. However, it is less durable and more expensive than foam. A lightweight material, cork offers good sensitivity and a solid grip—even when wet. Split Grip: A split grip is simply a handle that is partly covered with foam, cork or another material, and partly left bare. The narrow diameter of the naked rod won’t tire out a hand over long periods

of use and allows for maximum sensitivity, translating whatever is happening on the end of the line to the hand as efficiently as possible. Lacking coverage of their entire length, split grips are also very lightweight. The gripping potential depends on the material. The main concern of split grips is durability, as the unprotected portion is damaged more easily than a fully covered handle. Cork Tape: A favorite of surf fishermen, cork tape offers an incredibly reliable grip under all conditions. Its “sandpaper” texture may scare some anglers off, but it is actually quite comfortable. Cork tape is durable, although it may need replacing after seasons of use—much like the grip on a golf club. It promotes good sensitivity due to the thin and firm nature of the material. It is perhaps the most underutilized handle type of all. Heat-Shrink Vinyl: A cork-tape lookalike, vinyl permits excellent sensitivity, is comfortable, and provides good gripping grip materials are available for the rods that meet ability. It is both durable and inexpensive. Many anglers turn to heat-shrink vinyl as an easy your needs. Then, the decision will practically make itself. replacement for worn handles on well-used rods. In the end, selecting a handle doesn’t need to be a confusing affair. Evaluate which qualities you Lifelong fisherman and student of predatory fish, seek in a rod, how the rod will be used, and which visit John Saporito online at guerillaangling.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

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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 Clays2Raise Sporting Clay Fundraiser Super Bowl Party Page 5 Tournament & Events Lunker Lovin’ Smackdown Page 6 Learn To Fly Fish

Page 8 Blackjack Sporting Clays Amenities Page 9 Photo Of The Month Page 10 2021 FL Pikebike Nationals Page 14-15 Polk County Map Page 16 Find Us Here

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, Hunter Towery

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 & Community Events 2/4-7 58th Annual Tom Lause Dixie Imperial Polk Gun Club thechief022@gmail.com 2/5 ASPE Shoot/Ocala Rotary Club at Blackjack Sporting Clays. All courses will be closed to the public until 1pm. www.blackjackclays.com 2/6 Journey Men Shoot at Blackjack Sporting Clays. Orange Course will be closed to the Public until 1pm. www.blackjackclays.com 2/6 Tampa Bay Jr. Bassmasters Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack. jcraighead@sstlift.com 2/12 Perfect Deed Homes Shoot at Blackjack Sporting Clays. Orange Course will be closed until 1pm. www.blackjackclays.com 2/13 SPRING TRAINING DAY KICK-OFF 10am-3pm Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center dennis@visitcentralflorida.org 2/13 Bay Area Bassmaster Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack garywford@yahoo.com 2/13 Elite Pro-Team Trail Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack Charlie Wynperle (813)382-2187

The Lunker Lovin’ Smackdown February 19-21st

2/13 Florida Bass League Tournament on Lake Parker out of Lake Parker Park floridabassleague.com

Join us as the Bonfire Series kicks off with the The Lunker Lovin’ Smackdown. Proceeds for the event will benefit Keep Polk County Beautiful as we will have activities and events including a Lake Kissimmee State Park cleanup.

2/13 Fishing Misfits Tournament on Lake Walk in Water out of the Public Ramp Call Harry (863) 397-6597 or Larry (863)287-2864

Register at guyharveycampmack.com

2/13 Happy Hookers Fishing Club Tournament on Lake Panasoffkee out of Coleman’s Landing Dewayne (352)434-9101

2/13-14 MacDill Bassbusters Tournament on Crooked Lake out of Little Crooked. Terrie B (517)499-0338 2/14 Xtreme Bass Series Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack xbsmike@verizon.net 2/17 Takedown Eventures Event at Blackjack Sporting Clays. Blue Course will be closed until 3pm. Orange and Black Courses will be open all day. www.blackjackclays.com

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2/19-21 Bonfire Series & Festival on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack www.GuyHarveyCampMack.com 2/20 Sumter Byway Shoot Orange Course will be closed to the Public until 1pm. www.blackjackclays.com 2/21 Xtreme Bass Series Tournament on the Winter Haven Chain Ramp TBD xbsmike@verizon.net 2/21 Registered Trap Shoot Imperial Polk Gun Club thechiefo22@gmail. com 2/25 Villages Trap Skeet & Sporting Clays Club Shoot at Blackjack Sporting Clays. Orange Course closed to the Public until 1pm. www. blackjackclays.com 2/26 Scott Strong Event at Blackjack Sporting Clays. All Courses will be closed to the Public until 1pm. www.blackjackclays.com 2/27 FICAP Shoot at Blackjack Sporting Clays. Orange Course will be closed to the Public until 1pm. www.blackjackclays.com 2/27-28 Lakeland Bassmasters Team Tournament on the Harris Chain out of Hickory Pt. Contact Jayson Hooven (727)260-2368 2/28 Water Hawgs Bass Club Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain out of Camp Mack www.GuyHarveyCampMack.com 2/28 Lake Wales Po’Boys Tournament on the Winter Haven Chain out of Old Shipp Ramp Contact Don Smith (863)604-6347

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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FEBRUARY 2021

POLK & SUMTER 5


Fly Fishing Austin & Central Texas By: Aaron Reed

Reviewed by: Chris O’Byrne Losing sight of my bass popper in an explosion of dark water near a shaded, weedy edge is a great reward. I go after that thrill like a… well… like a bass after a popper. But bass take most of their prey below the surface. So, I use various flies, including many that are usually cast to trout. Here are some favorites, beginning with the Wooly Bugger. Ok, that’s pretty standard. But the modular nature of the Wooly Bugger puts it in any discussion of flies. Chris Kinkaid favors a white chenille bugger with a gold bead. And the Thin Mint variation on a #6 hook has tricked more than one bass for Hunter Towery. My own adaptation is the Pace Road Bugger. I tie synthetic materials on extra-long dry fly hooks, then fish them on ponds with a three weight. Flying insects live in still water lakes as well as in moving waters. So, their imitations attract bass. In my area, Hare’s ear nymphs fill a great deal of space in the fly boxes of bass anglers. I often tie these with my dog’s fur as a substitute for the good stuff, it works just as well. Another trout nymph, the simple zebra midge scores in late spring when innocuous swarms of midges that didn’t get eaten underwater float around boat ramps. Both of these nymphs tied on bent long shank streamer hooks build flies that seem to attract more attention in the big waters where bass live. And I sometimes use colored wire and maybe a collar of peacock hurl to increase the attractiveness of my zebra midges. I present both flies in water approximately five feet deep, allowing them to sink as much as I can stand. Then I strip slowly to mimic an insect wriggling up from the bottom and struggling through its shuck. But, when they are stripped quickly during crisp, refreshing weather bluegill attack these flies like linebackers chasing a scrambling quarterback. Royal Coachman flies occupy several spots in the “sure thing” area of my pond fishing fly box. They imitate various insects resting on the surface, and after you begin stripping, they’ll rise and fall slowly like a weak fry or an emerging insect. Using trout flies does not have to mean small bass. Bulky and weighted TeQueelys attract hawgs. Measure the depth of the water, cast and let the fly sink. Then strip. Slowly at first, then quickly. Or, tie bulky but lightweight streamers with Flymen Fishing Company Fish-Masks and Orvis Dragon Tails. Cast one of these danglers over a point. Then let it sink a while. Then strip it back like you’re afraid the fish will steal it! When the top water bite is on, try a Hippie Stomper. The designer, Andrew Grillos, says the synthetic materials allow him to catch fish all day long by presenting his terrestrial with small twitches. Combining a Hippie Stomper with one of the nymph flies in a dropper rig works like a worm under a bobber for a beginner, but also allows experts to expand their chances to hook up. Trout flies are all over the angling world. Take one with you on your next trip to bass water.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA REGION FORECAST February bass fishing in Florida is traditionally an all-time fan favorite. This is the month when you “typically” get the bigger waves of pre and post spawn bass moving across the flats but they are totally weather dependent. The Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a slightly warmer than normal month for average temps with not too much rain early on so hopefully that holds true. When we are fishing out on the Kissimmee Chain running out of Camp Mack, a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort we’re definitely wanting to start our mornings on the flats. One thing that never gets old is running the river and turning the corner around a point to find the sun showing us the first faint glimpse of light, and half-way expecting to see Chief Osceola sitting on a stump as we pass by... The best part of this for our guests - and me - is that we should have a solid topwater bite rolling as we hit our first stop of the day. I like fishing an area I know has lots of shell beds along with some eel grass and scattered hydrilla along with some “holes” or a river channel not too far away. Most likely when you put all those pieces of the puzzle together, you’ll have a lot of bait, and where there is bait there’s bass. I’m partial to Spooks, Pop’r style baits, Gambler EZ-Swimmers, and flukes for this style fishing. Later in the day you’ll always want to have some sort of Senko, Ribbon Tail, or larger creature bait on for working the reed heads and pads. Over in Winter Haven fishing the South Chain we’re going to find fish in the same pre and post spawn conditions but we’ll approach them slightly differently. On a couple lakes we’ll normally find some topwater bites and these are easy to pick up with flukes and your favorite topwater. The best way to approach these lakes is using your electronics scanning for grass, bait, and bass. But when doing this, please be courteous of other boats and try not to just run over the line they are fishing. Sorry, but it’s happened WAY too often the past month or two. Back to the bass, have your allotment of belly-weighted Swim baits, Jerkbaits, and traps on hand, they will serve you well. If the wind is blowing and you’re in the middle of a front you’ll need to hit the “spot lock” on your trolling motor and work a Texas-rigged speed vibe or Ribbon Tail Worm on top of the hydrilla very, very, very, very slowly. 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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FEBRUARY’S FISHING CONJECTURE February can deliver a Nature Coast angler some challenging fishing situations. Think about it. (1) this month is the latter part of Winter. So, with it we still can have a little bad weather. And with it brings the cold east winds, and temps, both air and water. (current water temp at writing is 58 degrees). (2) The (6month) closure of Grouper. Possibly longer. YUK! What the heck are our offshore guys supposed to do? From the outside, kind a looks bleak, no? However, from the inside not to despair, if you Grandad, Son, still choose to do some angling in this neck of the and Grandson woods, it can be worthwhile. from Wisconsin. 3 So, let’s cover some species we can target generations of angling. and KEEP shall we decide to venture into some Doesn’t get any better than this nice 22” angling. Starting with the fresh scene. Some spotted sea trout. of the best bass and crappie fishing will be this month. Now is the time to utilize those frisky shiners for your wall hanger. Right now, the shiners are friskier, stay alive longer because of the cooler temps, and bass love em’. The Specks, (Crappie), won’t forsake a good lively minnow coupled with a jig. On the salty pond side: Like I mentioned earlier, forget about the Grouper, unless you just enjoy catching and not keeping. There are the Trout, Black Drum, Sheepshead, Redfish, Mangrove Snapper and Mullet for the eating kind. And then throw in the ever prevalent at this time, the Ladyfish and Jacks which are fun to catch and abundant at this appointed time. You can find and catch most all of these up near the headsprings of the rivers and the mouths before it empties in the gulf. Be safe, and good Submitted By: Capt. Rick Burns fishing. Real Burns Charters • 352-201-6111 Homosassafishingguide.com • www.reelburns.com

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KISSIMMEE CHAIN FISHING FORECAST As predicted by long range weather forecasters, multiple cold fronts have been pounding the entire State this year. This makes fishing on any body of water difficult at best. Cold water temperatures by itself really doesn’t have much of an effect on fish as long as it is consistent. The problems start when there is rapid changes in water temperatures. This coupled with rapid changes in barometric pressure and it’s pretty much lights out. Throw in a 25mph wind and a full moon cycle that’s game over. Since Nick Sangricco with I’m not a stay at home type of guy, I’ve had to develop a 5lb fatty from Lake a sense of humor and a ton of patience when it Rosalie. comes to fishing the Kissimmee Chain under those conditions. There are things that you can do to help you even the odds. Protected coves with heavy pads and grass in 4’ of water. Your best option here is a really stout rod 1/2-2oz. weight with a black blue craw. Start flipping. If you think you’re working it too slow, slow down more. Your second option is to find the deepest water you can find; around here that’s the canals and the Kissimmee River. Deeper moving water cools and heats at a much slower rate providing a much more stable environment for the fish also negating the effect of using barometer. Carolina rigs, weightless senkos, swimbaits and deep diving crankbaits will produce the best result. Again, a slower presentation is more desirable for getting bites. Many Northeners are fishing with shiners at this time. I would not be sitting around casting waiting for the Bass to come to you. Slow trolling in the canals will most likely be your better option. Submitted By: Capt Dave Ochs Kissimmee Chain Fishing (863) 589-6295 Back Water Fishing Adventures Lake Wales, FL 33898

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FEBRUARY 2021

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Lake Wales Area 20. Sweet Ella’s Produce 863-223-8775 326 FL-60, Lake Wales, FL 33853

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 863-589-6295 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

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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

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Vincent Canabal got this shot of a lemon shark swimming gracefully over a shallow reef.

SHARK

AWARENESS W

By John Lidington

intertime is shark time off south Florida’s Atlantic coast! Yearround populations of lemon, bull and reef sharks swell as thousands of migrating blacktip sharks move through. The concentration of hammerheads, which feed on blacktips, also goes up. If you poll dive tourists on what marine animals they most want to see, you’ll find sharks at the top of the list. In Palm Beach County, Pura Vida Divers focuses on February as “Shark Month.” This “sharky” time maximizes the probability divers will encounter sharks in the wild. But for those who want more than a passing encounter, February is a great time to take the PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty course. Anyone diving in the ocean will have some thought of sharks lurking

in the back of their mind. But whether of curiosity, anxiety or excitement, these thoughts generally center on shark behavior. When they think of sharks, few divers relate those thoughts to a need for conservation. The shark conservation course aims to change that. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains the “red list” of species threatened with extinction. Of the 1,000 or so shark and ray species, over 30 percent are on that red list. Unfortunately, it’s a downhill trend. In 2019, the IUCN increased the threat level of both the great hammerhead and scalloped hammerhead from “Endangered” to “Critically Endangered” (their highest threat classification) and jumped the oceanic whitetip two levels to “Critically Endangered” from its 2015 ranking of “Vulnerable.” The shark conservation course includes a morning classroom session, followed by a two-tank charter dive in the afternoon. “The course revolves around creating diver awareness of sharks, the threats they face, and the conservation initiatives that strive to protect them,” said Jillian, Pura Vida Divers’ Director of Training. “Students will learn about these themes during the classroom session, along with details about local shark species. Once students have a baseline understanding of sharks as a whole, they’ll learn more about why shark populations are declining and what they can do to make a difference.” After the classroom session, students will head out on two dives. The dives are planned to maximize the chance of shark encounters in a natural setting. “The course is tailored to local shark species, which divers will aim to see and study during the specialty dives,” Jillian said. “Typically, these dives take place at deeper sites—the 70- to 90-foot wrecks and reefs—since that’s where we tend to see more sharks. Since winter is prime shark season, we’re usually lucky enough to see sharks on most dives. As we drift along the reefs or wrecks, students will find and identify different shark species, observe their natural behavior, and identify potential threats.” Nitrox is recommended, though not required, for these dives. If you aren’t enriched-air certified yet, ask about that, too. Contact Pura Vida Divers at (561) 840-8750 and see their website at www.puravidadivers.com.

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Gyotaku G yotaku is a Japanese art form that replicates a catch with a print made from the actual fish. Gyotaku artists can produce a beautiful representation of your catch at a fraction of the cost of traditional taxidermy, and the final product might also compliment your home better than a giant 3D mount. Even better, you can attempt this art for yourself. While providing the satisfaction of catching and memorializing the fish yourself, if you’re quick enough with the process, you can still enjoy eating it. You will need: • A fish • Acrylic paint and paintbrushes • Paper towel • Rice paper or cloth After a long day on the water, the last thing you’ll want to do is start painting a fish. The sooner you get to a print, the better the final product will be. However, it is fine to leave your catch on ice overnight or even freeze it. If you freeze it, make sure it’s as flat as possible and its fins aren’t squished. Fins damage easily when shoved up against the back of the freezer. When you’re ready to start, the first step is to dry the fish. Open all the fins and dry out all the crevices. The drier the fish is, the more readily it will receive paint and transfer it back to your canvas. Next, use rolls of paper towels to prop open and extend the dorsal, pelvic and anal fins and tail. Use bits of paper towel shoved into the gills to give them depth in the final product, as well as propping up the pectoral fin for the same reason. Consider colors of the fish for your paints as well as for which color

16 FLORIDA

FEBRUARY 2021

By Capt. Quinlyn Haddon

paper or cloth you want to use for the background. Then cut a manageable sized piece. Typically, white or black backgrounds produce the best outcome. Apply paint directly to the fish while standing above it. Keep in mind that you want to achieve a two-dimensional image. If you paint too far over the top of its head or too far under its belly, your final image will look obese. This is especially important to keep in mind with rounder fish, like tuna. Have fun with all the details, and don’t forget the eyeball and even small amounts of paint on the teeth. Next, lay the cloth or paper over the painted fish and rub your fingers over it, starting from the center and working to the edges. Be delicate and thorough, touching every ridge on every fin, every contour, every scale and every tooth you painted. Slowly peel off the paper or cloth, let it dry, and then touch up the details. Any fish works for this process, but ones with more pronounced scales, like a snapper, produce a much more detailed print. Capt. Quinlyn Haddon guides with Reel Lucky Fishing Charters out of St. Petersburg, Fla. Contact them at (504) 920-6342.

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Impressive IGFA

By CAM Staff

2020 World Records R

ecords are made to be broken, and with so many species and line-class records out there for anglers to chase, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is constantly updating its records. Here’s a quick look at some of the most impressive IGFA records caught and confirmed in 2020.

JUDY LANGENHOVEN Giant African threadfin inhabit waters of the Atlantic coast of Africa and grow quite large. The IGFA all-tackle world record weighed more than 122 pounds. Last July, Judy Langenhoven used a McCarthy paddletail and 30-lb. test to land a 93-pound,11-ounce behemoth from Angola’s Kwanza River. It took her more than an hour to subdue the beast, which set a new Women’s 30-lb. line class record.

JULIETH CASTRO SANCHEZ

RAY YAMAO A big brown trout from Japan might be the most impressive salmonid record from 2020. Angler Ray Yamoa caught the monster 26-lb., 10-oz. brown on Aug. 8, while trolling an Ora Minnow plug on Japan’s Lake Shikotsu. Averaging 870 feet deep, Shikotsu is a 30-squaremile caldera lake that maintains stable temperatures year-round thanks to volcanic influence. It is most famous among anglers for salmon, but it obviously grows big trout, too. Yamoa’s giant brown trout set a new 30-lb. line class world record.

EMILY ROSE HANZLIK

How’d you like to haul up something like this on your next bottom-fishing trip? Julieth Castro Sanchez was jigging a Williamson jig out of Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica when a giant Pacific cubera snapper yanked on her line. The big snapper weighed in at 70 pounds, 8 ounces, which was good enough for a new Women’s 50-pound line class record. The all-tackle world record, caught off Costa Rica in 1988, weighed 78 pounds, 12 ounces.

Hanzlik is a 15-year-old fishing fanatic with 29 IGFA world records to her name. In 2020, she tallied two records that have already been accepted by IGFA, and her third of the year was still pending at presstime. Last June was good to Hanzlik. On June 12, she set a new women’s 20-lb. line class record with a 22-lb., 6-oz. grass carp from the canals of West Palm Beach, Fla. Then, on June 23, she set the junior class record for jack crevalle at 32 lbs., 10 oz. The jack crevalle Hanzlik is holding in this photo is a pending record. If accepted by IGFA, this 35-lb., 6-oz. jack will be a new women’s 50-lb. line class world record. Hanzlik caught it fishing from the shore in West Palm Beach. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BTT

The Deal With

WESTERN DRY ROCKS

A

bout 10 miles southwest of Key West, Western Dry Rocks is an area of reef and rocks known for large spawning aggregations of permit and various snapper and grouper species. Its proximity to Key West as well as the dependable nature of the fishery make it a popular fishing spot, especially for charter captains and private anglers in search of

bountiful half-day trips. Over the past few months, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission (FWC) has been mulling a seasonal closure at Western Dry Rocks to allow some of these spawning aggregations to go unmolested by angling pressure. Most recently, FWC held workshops and gathered public input on a proposal to close fishing at a 1-square-mile area at Western Dry Rocks from May through June for the next five years. This time period is the heart of the season when several species congregate to spawn in a relatively small area, which leads to the kind of spectacular fishing that can do damage to overall populations. Western Dry Rocks is a unique environment where it is thought these aggregations play a role in supporting fish populations throughout the Florida Keys and up into nearshore waters of South Florida. Swirling ocean currents collect fish eggs and larvae and carry them northeast up the coast, where they are deposited. Also, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) has conducted tagging studies, which show permit from throughout the Lower Keys travel up to 50 miles to the annual aggregation at Western Dry Rocks. FWC data shows angler effort absolutely centers around known aggregation areas, which makes sense. Numerous Keys fishing guides are understandably unhappy about the prospect of a closure. Permit, yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper and gray snapper are all known to aggregate at Western Dry Rocks from April through July. Other species, such as black, Nassau and gag groupers, aggregate at Western Dry Rocks during the cooler months, and they are already protected by seasonal bag limits. BTT has called out for an even longer, four-month closure from April to July at Western Dry Rocks, to encompass the entire spawning season for permit. Permit harvest is already closed throughout the Keys from April through July; however, BTT studies show up to 39 percent of hooked permit at Western Dry Rocks were eaten by sharks before they made it to the boat. “When spawning aggregations are protected, the predictable outcomes are more abundant fish populations with a greater abundance of larger fish in the surrounding area,” reads the BTT press release. At presstime, FWC was collecting public input prior to taking action on the proposal for a seasonal closure at Western Dry Rocks.

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lounder regulations on Florida’s Atlantic coast will be tightened as part of a package designed to restore flounder numbers. Both increased size limits and reduced bag numbers were approved at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s December meeting. The regulations changes become effective on March 1, 2021. A stock status update suggested the flounder fishery statewide has been in a general declining trend in recent years and is likely overfished and undergoing overfishing on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Other south Atlantic and Gulf states have also reported declines in flounder populations and have been making their own regulation changes. Changes include: • Extend all FWC flounder regulations into federal waters. • Increase the minimum size limit from 12 inches to 14 inches total length. • Reduce recreational daily bag limit from 10 to five fish per person. • Establish an Oct. 15 – Nov. 30 recreational closed season. • For commercial harvesters using allowable gear: Establish a commercial trip and vessel limit of 150 fish from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 fish from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30. • Modify incidental bycatch limit for commercial harvesters using non-allowable gear from 50 pounds to 50 fish per trip. • Create a federal waters trawl bycatch limit of 150 flounder per trip from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 fish per trip from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30. Learn more about flounder regulations at MyFWC.com/Marine.

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elebrate the fight against invasive lionfish at the seventh-annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Festival May 15-16 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar in Harbor Walk Village, Destin. Activities will include fillet demonstrations; family-friendly games and activities; art, diving and conservation booths; and the world’s largest lionfish spearfishing tournament, the Emerald Coast Open. Satisfy your taste buds by visiting any of the participating locations of Lionfish Restaurant Week May 10-14 to try this delicious invasive. The event is currently seeking vendors for the festival and divers for the tournament. Booth space is being implemented to abide by COVID-19 guidelines and allow for social distancing. Learn more by visiting FWCReefRangers.com. Divers interested in competing in the Emerald Coast Open lionfish tournament should register at EmeraldCoastOpen.com. The tournament is currently seeking sponsors and volunteers. The state’s 2021 Lionfish Challenge removal incentive program will begin May 21 and continue through Labor Day, Sept. 6. More details on how to get rewarded for your harvest is coming soon to FWCReefRangers.com.

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Catch A Florida Memory Closed On Banner Year

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ast year was record setting for the state’s Catch a Florida Memory program. The FWC angler-recognition program sent out a thank you to nearly 1,400 program participants who have sent in more than 15,000 submissions for recognition of about 2,800 achievements over the years. One headline-making fish in 2020 was a monster catch coming out of the 2020 Pelagic Shamrock Shootout in Palm Beach in March. The first fish to hit the scales in the tournament was a 194.8-pound big eye tuna caught by Team HYJENX. The species didn’t qualify for the tournament, but it did qualify Anthony Beau Kelly and his fishing buddies for a Florida state record. The monster tuna measured 71 inches in length. Catch a Florida Memory also recognized three new additions to their Grand Slam Tier 1 list. Grand Slams require anglers to catch three specified species in a 24-hour period. There are nine different Grand Slams anglers can pursue for different habitats and styles of fishing. Those appearing on the Grand Slam Tier 1 list must achieve three Grand Slams. Richard Brundage, John Dobbins and George Saridakis landed on the Tier 1 list in 2020. Dobbins qualified with several Family Grand Slams, a Bay and Estuary Grand Slam and multiple Inshore Grand Slams, while Saridakis got on the list with a Reefs and Rubble Grand Slam, an Inshore Grand Slam and a Family Grand Slam. Brundage made the list, with an Inshore Grand Slam, Family Grand Slam and Shoreline Grand Slam. Adam Ball and JD Malone became the second and third anglers to ever reach the Saltwater Fish Life List 50-Fish Club, which is quite an achievement. The two anglers have landed some special catches like Malone’s bull red drum earlier this year and Ball’s yellowfin tuna from back in 1986. It was a

24 FLORIDA

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This 194.8-pound state-record big eye tuna was caught during the 2020 Pelagic Shamrock Shootout.

spectacular adventure for both anglers to reach this milestone. Lastly, Catch a Florida Memory saw countless anglers reach the Life List 10-Fish Club in 2020. This is exciting because it shows new anglers catching a diverse array of saltwater species, not just the same few. In fact, the over 5,200 fish that were submitted in 2020 by nearly 700 different anglers reached close to 1,000 achievements. Find out how to participate by visiting CatchaFloridaMemory.com. Follow the action at the Catch a Florida Memory Facebook page.

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ulf of Mexico anglers have a couple new reasons to be excited as we head into the spring and summer fishing seasons. NOAA is looking at loosening regulations for both Gulf red snapper and gray triggerfish. That should help fill some coolers for bottom-fishers who’ve found it’s sometimes tough these days to catch anything other than snapper and triggerfish. New catch level recommendations for red snapper are expected in time for

the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s April 2021 meeting, which should provide time for adjustments prior to the traditional summer peak in recreational snapper fishing. This good news is the result of a massive study called “The Great Red Snapper Count,” a $10-million, congressionally funded, independent stock assessment initiated in 2016 and conducted by 21 scientists and 12 institutions across the Gulf. The Great Red Snapper Count showed red snapper are far more abundant than previously estimated using the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review stock assessment process that has been used to all but shut down snapper seasons over the last decade. The Great Red Snapper Count estimates that for 2-year-old-plus red snapper there are 23 million off Texas, 29 million off Louisiana, 10 million off Mississippi and Alabama, and 48 million off Florida. It also showed that large fish are comparatively more abundant in the western Gulf than the eastern Gulf. NOAA’s plan is to integrate the Great Red Snapper Count’s findings into its interim analysis for Gulf red snapper. It is worth noting that even though anglers and researchers are seeing more and larger red snapper, the spawning potential of the population is still below the original target of NOAA’s rebuilding plan. Adjustments to the state-specific catch limits are being considered to account for the harvest monitoring programs used by each state. Loosened restrictions on gray triggerfish are being considered following an interim analysis, using video surveys to estimate abundance, that showed the stock size has been increasing, especially in the eastern Gulf, and that catch limits can be increased. The Gulf Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee recommended increasing the gray triggerfish acceptable biological catch limit to 456,900 pounds whole weight, which allows an increase in the gray triggerfish annual catch limit. Action is expected prior to the end of the 2021 recreational fishing season. The Council is also considering modifications to the gray triggerfish recreational fixed closed seasons and will consider that action in a separate framework action that will also address changes to the vermilion snapper recreational bag limit.

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FEBRUARY 2021

NATIONAL 13


TIPS FOR DIALING ’EM IN

By Nick Carter

A

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here’s no mistaking it when a monster striped bass blows up on the surface. At a slow troll just after first light, you can almost feel it’s going to happen. Behind a planer board, the stinger-hooked gizzard shad begins to struggle. Anticipation goes through the roof as the bait flees for its life. “When you see that big shad get exploded on, it’s like a bowling ball dropped out of the sky,” said Shane Goebel, of Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. “The planer board streaks across the water, and it’s on! There’s really nothing else like it.” Goebel has watched this scene take place hundreds of times while guiding the mountain lakes that straddle the Georgia/North Carolina border. He knows what it takes to boat striped bass in the 30- to 40-plus-pound range. Here are Goebel’s tips for dialing in the big-fish bite: 1) Fish Trophy Striper Season: Giants are caught year-round, but fate favors the uncomfortable angler. When the water is cold, baitfish and big stripers are forced into the shallows in search of warmer water. They push out of the main lake and into the backs of creeks and rivers, where big fish are more predictable than when they’ve got the whole lake to roam. 2) Offer Them Everything: By putting out a large spread of different baits, you’re more likely to troll a preferred meal past that big girl’s nose. Goebel fishes as many baits as the confines of a 14 NATIONAL

FEBRUARY 2021

creek allow. He might run a couple planer boards out each side of the boat, a couple freelines off the stern and a couple of balloon baits way in back. He staggers distance and depth to cover water both horizontally and vertically. Goebel fishes a mix of baits, too. Big gizzard shad and rainbow trout are big striper baits, but when blueback herring are the predominant forage, he’ll fish all three at the same time. You never know which bait will get hit. 3) Stay With the Baitfish: You’re probably sick of hearing this, but… “find the bait, and you’ll find the fish.”

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Goebel starts cold mornings in the backs of the creeks looking for baitfish. When he sees what he likes, he deploys his spread and works from the shallows out to the creek mouth as the day advances to follow the movement of baitfish and stripers. On some lakes, diving birds are a dead giveaway. Keep binoculars on the console to scout for gulls. Also, especially on warmer days, don’t be afraid to drop downlines if you mark bait deep in a creek mouth. 4) Keep a Pitch Rod Ready: Goebel keeps lightweight spinning rods rigged and ready with Flukes and Redfins. Those casting rods come in handy when feeding breaks loose on the surface. It’s quicker and easier to cast lures to visible fish than it is to steer a trolling spread over them. And nothing beats fighting a big striper on light tackle. Check out Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service at bigolfish.com.


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ome days you battle the fish. Some days you battle the elements. Some days you battle both. You know the kind of day. The one that’s chilly, windy and choppy, with spray everywhere. But you’re determined to stay out until you get a few hits. These are the times GILLZ gear was made for. Innovative gear, with performance in every stitch, is designed with a single goal: for you to be able to fish better, longer and harder— in total comfort! Take the Pro Series Full Zip Storm Fleece. Engineered with air pockets embedded in the fabric, it provides insulation and temperature regulation while keeping the hoodie lightweight. This soft, warm hoodie can handle light rain, boat spray and features four-way stretch comfort, three zippered front pockets, a rear key pocket, and is fully lined. The Waterman Pant is ideal on cooler days. Extensively field-tested on the ocean, these pants are made with heavy-duty polyester, yet are amazingly lightweight and durable. Add a quick-dry, stretch fabric for maximum comfort, UV 50+ sun protection, water-repellant coating, security zipper pockets, and these may become your favorite fishing pant. Whatever the conditions, GILLZ has www.gillz-gear.com the gear.

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TACTICS FOR TOUGH DELAYED HARVEST TROUT E By CAM Staff

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ven in the depths of winter, there is trout action to be found on delayed harvest (DH) streams where state agencies stock trout heavily under catch-and-release regulations. DH stretches offer high densities of trout that grow progressively wilder through winter into spring. And while stocked trout are renowned for their gullibility, they can also be difficult at times. Bill Stranahan, a veteran guide with Southeastern Anglers has a few tricks up his sleeve for catching DH trout. Bugger Time: “Wooly Buggers are so important this time of year,” Stranahan said. “You’re looking for that reaction strike. Swing and strip. Keep it moving.” Olive and black are perennial favorite colors whenever and wherever, and for winter fishing he prefers smaller Buggers in sizes 6 to 10. The primary DH stretches he fishes are Tennessee’s Hiwassee tailrace and the Tellico River, which is a freestone. They are very different fisheries, yet swinging and stripping Buggers is pretty much universally productive. Get Down On It: If catching numbers of fish is the goal, nymphing is normally the best tactic. When the trout are less active—especially when they’re holed up in deeper, slower runs during a cold snap—it might be the only way to catch fish. The key to catching fish in these conditions is depth. Trout won’t move far to feed when they’re hunkered down, so getting your nymphs down to them is imperative. Stranahan likes a weighted Pat’s Rubber Legs, or a similar heavy stonefly nymph in sizes 6 to 10. It’s a big buggy-looking mouthful, and it’s also a great anchor fly to fish in tandem with other nymphs. Depending on what the fish want, the Pat’s could be fished below “junk food” like a Squirmy Worm, a mop or egg pattern, or flashy attractor nymphs like a Rainbow Warrior or Lightning Bug. Or, if trout want something more natural, the Pat’s could anchor a small black stonefly nymph, a Hare’s Ear or a Prince. Again, depth is the key, so Stranahan likes a good sliding indicator that’s easy to adjust. Judge the depth of each hole, and try to get your anchor fly to drift just off the bottom. Headhunting: “Depending on how froggy you feel as an angler on a given day, you can go out running and gunning with big streamers,” Stranahan said. On a large tailwater or in deep holes on a smaller stream, big streamers have a way of turning the biggest fish. A big Zonker, a Swimmin’ Jimmy, a Zoo Cougar or one of Kelly Galloup’s other articulated patterns make a commotion when fished on sinking line. You’re trying to get their attention. If you don’t get chased in one hole, switch something up and move until you find what’s working. Sticking to the plan is important, though. You’re hunting a few fish large and aggressive enough to eat a raucous fly. Check out Southeastern Anglers at www.southeasternanglers.com.

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ong recognized for strength, smoothness and durability, PENN Battle spinning reels are revered as reliable workhorses. With upgraded gears and technology, new Battle III spinning reels and combos offer enhanced performance for inshore, offshore and surf fishing, while remaining one of the most accessible reels available. The Battle III is equipped with PENN’s proprietary CNC Gear Technology, which ensures pinion and drive gears are cut to exact tolerances using premium metals. The PENN HT-100 Carbon Fiber Drag System is smooth under the strain of hard-fighting saltwater fish. With a full-metal body and sideplate, Battle III reels stand up to the harsh marine environment. These features make Battle III extremely durable and high performing across a wide range of applications, at a price point that encourages anglers to get down and dirty with fish. Additional features include a superline-ready spool, line capacity rings for easy reference and 5+1 sealed, stainless ball bearings. Battle III comes in nine sizes, from 1000 to 10000. Three high-speed configurations, designated by an eye-catching red-and-black trim package, are also available. Battle III Combos feature graphite composite blanks with updated actions for inshore models, PENN Dura-Guides and a Sea-Guide double locking nut reel seat. Also new for 2020 are two new travel models, which include a case, reel and spare spool. If you’re looking for high-end performance and durability at a surprisingly low cost, check out PENN’s new Battle III reels and combos. They’ll serve you for years in the surf, on the deck of a skiff www.pennfishing.com or out on the open blue.

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ebuting the Hinged Pontoon Anchoring Solution and Retractable Tritoon Anchoring Solution at Pennsylvania’s Lake Youghiogheny, E-Z Anchor Puller president Aaron Knopp and system installer Don Snyder spoke about and demonstrated the ease-of-use of these two permanent solutions. Underneath the crossmembers of a 24-foot Playbouy pontoon, a Hero EX-1 drum anchor winch was paired with the Hinged Solution, while the Retractable Solution was retrofitted to the 24-foot SouthBay tritoon sporting the Hero EX-2. Read on to discover the similarities and differences between these two innovative solutions that anyone can install! Aesthetics: The difference between the two is a matter of visibility; the Hinged protrudes ever-so-slightly underneath the deck in order to lift and drop the river anchor out of the water, whereas the Retractable remains completely invisible until it slides out from underneath the boat to release anchor, rode and chain in one sweeping motion. While some prefer to see the river or mushroom anchor lifted and held by the Hinged, a waterproof, wifi camera is also available so the operator can watch their Hero EX-1, EX-2 or Patriot EZ-1 deploy the rode from their smartphone. Mechanics: Each system’s operational differences lie within hollow-tube raceways. While the Hinged system has a folding bow roller that lifts when the anchor makes contact, the Retractable system has an internal spring that compresses with deployment and retrieval. Installation: For the Hinged solution, place the bow roller head so it protrudes slightly from under the deck. Keep trailering in mind, and plot where the best-suited location is in tangent when trafficking your boat to and from the water. The sleeve of the hollow raceway, which is immediately connected to the hinged bow roller’s head, is placed directly on the edge of the bullnose/front of the decking bracket that secures the square hollow raceway

Scan the QR code with your smartphone to watch the full review of the Hinged and Retractable solutions’ performance, installation, drum winch stats and more.

to the vessel’s crossmembers. For the Retractable, install the raceway 10 to 12 inches from the front of the boat. Both solutions have four drilled holes at the opposite end of the solution (the drum winch end) to allow for further flexibility when mounting to the crossmembers of the boat. Hardware: Both solution kits come with a universal underside mounting plate with pre-drilled holes for the winch selected. Elongated slots are designed to fit any crossmember, no matter how close or far apart they may be. Additional mounting hardware includes required mounting brackets, hex bolts, lock nuts and flat washers. Both solution raceways have several predrilled holes to correctly locate the included mounting tabs and brackets to the crossmembers, and both can be powered by the Hero EX-1, EX-2 or Patriot EZ-1. The drum anchor winch of choice is sold separately.

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NATIONAL 23


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4-1/2" Angle Grinder

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Compare to Ironton 61451 $22.99

56%

Use Online & In-Store

*56291813 * LIMIT 4 - Exp. 3/3/21* 56291813

ITEM 69645/60625 shown

$

$

$

ITEM 56621/56622/56623/56624 shown

Use Online & In-Store

*56293492 * LIMIT 1 - Exp. 3/3/21* 56293492

115

Compare to ShelterLogic 76377 $290.75

199Use Online & In-Store 99 ITEM 62859/63055/62860 shown

99 *56312091* LIMIT 1 - Exp. 3/3/21*

ITEM 61277/63881

3/8" Drive 1/2" Drive

$

ITEM 62431/63882 shown

Compare to Husky H2DTWA $89.97

9

*56323345* 56323345

LIMIT 4 - Exp. 3/3/21*

*Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 3/3/21.

hft_coastalangler_0221_M-REG176349.indd 1

Compare to Neocraft 60635 $51.45

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*56282372 * LIMIT 3 - Exp. 3/3/21* 56282372

ITEM 62515/66911 shown

SUPER COUPON (4094)

230

ITEM 60363/69730 shown

Use Online & In-Store

*56299466 * LIMIT 3 - Exp. 3/3/21* 56299466

Compare to Honda GX200UT2QX2 $329.99

ITEM 68121/69727 CALIFORNIA ONLY

69

99

Save Compare to Ironton 54123 $84.99

29%

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*56301321 * LIMIT 2 - Exp. 3/3/21* 56301321

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5999

$ 99

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1,100+ Stores Nationwide • HarborFreight.com

99

99

2500 lb. Capacity Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control

YOUR CHOICE

1999

$

$

ITEM 68998/63248 64080/64263 shown

$

88%

1999 27

$

(2580)

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ITEM 61276/63880

18" Working Platform Step Stool

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Compare to Anvil A137HOS $75.88

$

1/4" Drive

(5547 )

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Click-Type Torque Wrenches

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$ 99 $ 12499

60%

40

56252177

6.5 HP (212 CC) OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine

3999

(4271)

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56312091

56277684

2999

SUPER COUPON

10 ft. x 17 ft. Portable Garage

174

*56277684 * LIMIT 1 - Exp. 3/3/21*

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(2259)

$

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ITEM 64031, 64722, 64030, 64721, 64061, 64720, 56429

10499

SUPER COUPON

$

Compare to Snap-on Blue-Point KRBC10TBPES $830

$

94

Compare to Powerbuilt 647593 $135.27

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*56252177 * LIMIT 3 - Exp. 3/3/21*

ITEM 63750/56810/63181 shown

61%

130 Piece Tool Kit with Case

99

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Compare to Game Winner FSGWHE1030 $24.99

(4522)

Rapid Pump® 3 Ton Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack

$

1499

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(1116) 1 SELLING JACKS IN AMERICA

(2535)

1199

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#

9

YOUR CHOICE OF 7 COLORS

630

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$ 99 $ 99 13

Side tray sold separately.

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ITEM 69269/97080 shown

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19999

23999

LIMIT 1 - Exp. 3/3/21*

$

(1878)

$

Hot Dog

Compare to Porter-Cable PCFP02003 $98.62

*56231627 * LIMIT 1 - Exp. 3/3/21*

$

1899

ITEM 60637 61615 shown

59%

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30", 5 Drawer Mechanic's Cart

99

56208312

SUPER COUPON 0.50 cal. Metal Ammo Can

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10

$

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*56208312*

ITEM 64008/64011 shown

52%

(5605)

29 Piece Titanium Drill Bit Set

Contents not included.

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56231627

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3 Gallon, 100 PSI Oil-Free Air Compressors

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79

ITEM 64520

(4565)

5499

$

158

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$

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ITEM 56862

56214959

99

Case contents and locks not included.

Tan

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*56209438 * *56214959 * LIMIT 4 - Exp. 3/3/21* LIMIT 4 - Exp. 3/3/21* 56209438

(828)

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73%

Compare to Go Green Power GG-113-30LPOP $14.99

Exp. 3/3/21*

Model 9800

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4

$ 99

$

56203480

Waterproof Protective Rifle Cases

$ 99

4

$ 99

3999

*56203480*

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250 Lumen Pop-Up Lantern

3

CA DOJ Compliant

LIMIT 3 ITEM 61319/64073/64145/63958 shown

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(4480)

$ 99

60%

2

$ 89

Compare to Energizer HDB32EH $15.98

*56338012*

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40" x 72" Moving Blanket

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89 ¢

Wheel kit and battery sold separately.

Compare to Honda EM6500SXK2AT $2,929

34999 $

2,279

ITEM 63969/63968 CALIFORNIA ONLY

27999

Save

(5636)

$

$

99

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SUPER COUPON

Compare to Pratt Retail Specialties HDMOVBLAN $9.98

$

64999 699 $

WHILE SUPPLIES LAST

66%

10 Gun Electronic Security Safe

(972)

Less Than 30¢ per Mask

$ 99

Swivel Lens Headlamp

(373)

9000w Max. Starting Extra Long Life Gas Powered Generator

YOUR CHOICE OF COLOR

$ 99

(4614)

S

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

SAVE 94%

4 AMP High Frequency Battery Charger/Maintainer

27

$ 99 $ 3999 Save $

ITEM 61297/63476/61840 shown

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*56328352* 56328352

LIMIT 1 - Exp. 3/3/21*

83

Compare to Snap-on EEBM500A $111

ITEM 63350

Use Online & In-Store

*56329809* 56329809

LIMIT 3 - Exp. 3/3/21*

Pricing, promotions, and availability may vary by location and at www.harborfreight.com and are subject to change without notice. We reserve the right to limit quantities. “Compare to” advertised price means that the specified comparison, which is an item with the same or similar function, was advertised for sale at or above the “Compare to” price by another national retailer in the U.S. within the past 90 days. Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other meaning of “Compare to” should be implied. Although we make every effort to assure that our prices and products are advertised as accurately as possible, we are only human and in the event an error is made, we reserve the right to correct it.

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