Coastal Angler Magazine | September 2022 | Miami Edition

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Drop Shot Gear: Picking the right setup for a drop shot doesn’t have to be too difficult. I like a rod around 7 foot with a medium or a medium heavy action like the 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’1M. Pair up a 3,000 sized reel with some 10lb. Seaguar Smackdown braid and a 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website

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There are a few different styles of baits you can use on the drop shot, depending on what your fish are feeding on. This is what I usually base my bait and color choices off of. I usually throw a small finesse worm like the 13 Fishing Joy Stick Ultra Thin or a baitfish-style bait like the 13 Fishing Vertigo minnow. Both baits are small in size and can really pick up some bites when the fishing is tough.Bait color is important, but I like to keep things fairly simple. I typically throw a green pumpkin or a black-and-blue worm style bait. For the baitfish-style lure, I stick with whites or natural baitfish colors. Remember, you are trying to be as finesse as possible to trick a bass that’s not hungry into biting, so something simple and natural will excel. This technique has worked wonders for me all across the country. From down South in Florida all the way up to New York, bass eat this rig up everywhere. Next time you’re on the lake and the bite is tough, downsize your presentation and drag a drop shot around. It will pick up a few more bites.



The water can be a little warm this time of year, and it makes bass finicky. When the bite gets tough, a drop shot flat out gets bit. It catches fish everywhere I go, and every angler should have the technique in their arsenal.There are a few reasons a drop shot can out-perform other techniques this time of year. The first of these is because of how versatile you can be with it. I have thrown a drop shot around rock, wood, grass and even in completely open water. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass will all pick up a drop-shot rig, so it’s a great option regardless of what part of the country you fish or what species you target.Another factor that makes this technique excel when other things aren’t working is it’s effective on heavily pressured and sluggish fish. Sometimes getting these fish to bite calls for light line and a smaller profile bait. The dropshot rig consists of a fluorocarbon leader leading to a hook of your choosing then, below the hook, about 12 inches of line tied to a drop shot weight on the end. This creates a rig that keeps your bait up off the bottom and drives finicky bass crazy.

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By Nick Carter

“They’re not smart fish. If they’re turned on, they’re going to eat. If they’re not, it may be five hours before they do,” he said. “But there’s going to be 30 to 40 minutes on the tide when those snook are eating. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into it. If one is interested, they all are.”

Before the Transition

Agiant snook should be on every angler’s bucket list. They’re big, they’re strong and they’re aggressive. Southern Florida boasts the most prolific snook fisheries in the world, and Capt. Patrick Smith, of Swamp to Sea Guide Service, operates in the heart of one of the best. Swamp to Sea fishes throughout Palm Beach County up to Stuart, Fla. At times, the snook fishing can be so good that the prospect is almost mundane for Capt. Smith. “If I’ve got clients who want to catch the snook of a lifetime, we’ll go out to the inlet and let them catch one or two. Then we’ll go do something else,” he said. “It’s cool to check a big snook off the list, but light tackle is”Smith’s nonchalance about catching snook 35 to 43 inches long and up to 25 pounds is an attitude geared toward conservation of a species he loves. When big females congregate in the inlets to spawn around the full moons of summer, they are easy targets for anglers armed with big live baits like perch and croakers.

Throughout the summer, snook are catch-and-release-only to protect spawning fish. On the Atlantic side, snook harvest opens Sept. 1, with a 28- to 32-inch slot limit. Capt. Smith said the spawning pattern lasts well into September most years, but the big females are over the slot and must be released, anyway. He is more concerned with the beatings these fish take all summer long. His solution is to limit the number of fish he targets and to gear up heavy. Smith fishes 10,000 size reels on 50- to 100-lb. rods. He runs 80-lb. braid to a 60-lb. fluorocarbon leader and locks down the drag. The weakest link is an 8/0 thin wire circle hook, which is easier on the fish but must be changed out Heavyfrequently.gear combats a big snook’s propensity for bulldogging into structure. It also shortens the length of the fight to lessen the likelihood of fish succumbing to exhaustion or sharks. Smith said these large spawners can be 25 years and older. He urged anglers to handle them carefully for release and never to hold them vertically by their mouths.Ifyou’re looking for a snook to eat, there’s plenty of opportunity for that also. Between the moons some of the snook spread out to the bridges, docks and deep holes. The smaller, slot-sized males become more interested in feeding. Also, the mullet run will kick in toward the end of September. When mullet schools show up, everything from the fish to the anglers switch over to chasing bait. Contact Capt. Patrick Smith through his website


Although I prefer lures over bait, success rates lean toward live shrimp or finfish this time of year. Depending on conditions, these can be free-lined, Carolina rigged, or fished under a loud popping cork. A free-lined shrimp tossed near a granite jetty is a good bet on any day. Stepping away from the live version, cut mullet or shad can be winners for a big pull from a red, black drum or shark. A circle hook Carolina rigged on the bottom can entice those large predators to strike. This is a great method if you have kids aboard.

Work with what Mother Nature gives you. Here on the upper Texas coast, we’ve had about seven years of excessive rainfall which, in general terms, made some of our bays unfishable for most of that time. Due to excessive fresh water, those of us who like to fish where the tributaries enter into the bays had to seek new areas where the salinity levels were suitable for speckled trout. This year, things are back to normal, and we need to relearn old patterns and work with what Mother Nature is giving us.

The Texas heat and drought are one for the record books and can make a day on the water unpleasant if you plan to stay much past noon, but there are some methods to help you be productive until things start to cool off. Many of the estuaries that were impacted by the floods are some of our deeper bay systems, and that is a good thing this time of year. Heading out early will greatly increase your odds and give you more time on the water while it is cool, relatively speaking. I have found these bays have been forgotten by some, and they’ve never been fished by those new to our sport, which makes for less crowds on the water. I target the deeper reefs in the upper stretches of the bay near the rivers. Locating new washouts can also pay off, and those are not on the maps or public knowledge, so doing a little recon before you head out on each trip can make for a more productive day.

Although the temps are still high, you can have a successful day on the water if you modify your techniques. Remember to apply sunblock before you leave the dock, wear appropriate protective clothing and drink plenty of water. Stay safe and have fun!

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik



As always, the jetties are a favorite. The high current and cooler Gulf water attract every fish species that swims in our bays and nearshore waters. It’s not uncommon to catch some offshore fish there as well; it happens every year.

Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures, and the owner of

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The IGFA world record redfish weighed in at 94 lbs. 2 oz. It was caught off the North Carolina Outer Banks in 1984.



Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 51 IGFA world records in various categories. She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part time Bowfin Guide Service as well as fishing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her on Social Media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors.


By Emily Rose Hanzlik

n September, with the famed mullet run in full swing, big bull redfish will be following schools of mullet and feeding heavily. It’s one of the best times of year to hook up with a bull red, and my favorite place to target them is in the Sebastian Inlet. Red drum, more commonly known as redfish, are a familiar species to most saltwater anglers. With beautiful coppercolored scales fading into a white belly, their distinctive mark is an eye spot at the base of the tail. Catching a red with multiple black spots is a true honor for many inshore and nearshore anglers. This eye spot is not merely a decoration, it also serves as a defense mechanism to confuse predators into thinking a redfish’s tail is its Reds can be found on the coasts of Mexico all the way to Cape Cod, Mass. Their habitats can vary widely due to redfish being euryhaline, which means they tolerate a wide range of salinity. Redfish are typically a nearshore species, meaning they can be found in estuaries, bays, mudflats, oyster beds and off of beaches. Young redfish prefer estuaries, where there is an abundance of prey as well as protection from larger predators. Once they reach about three years old, they tend to move off of the beaches into coastal areas. Once redfish reach maturity, at three or four years, they begin spawning. Their spawning season usually takes place from mid-August to mid-November; however, this may vary due to temperatures and other factors. Redfish usually congregate to spawn near or inside tidal inlets or fast-flowing water to ensure as many eggs as possible are fertilized. Males produce a drumming sound to attract females by contracting their muscles to vibrate their swim bladders. Females produce one-half to two million eggs per season. Most eggs do not make it to the safety of bay areas. During the mullet run, large schools of redfish follow migrating mullet. The easiest way to target these fish is to drop a live mullet below the main school of mullet. If you’re specifically targeting bull reds, you’ll want to give it a go at night. Drifting large chunks of ladyfish on an outgoing current will almost always produce a large fish. Occasionally, you will come across large schools of redfish feeding on the surface at the mouth of the inlet on an outgoing tide. When this occurs, use topwater plugs, swimbaits and large jigs. In the backcountry around the mangroves, gold spoons, live shrimp and small crabs work best.


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T hose looking for some new numbers to fish off Mexico Beach now have them thanks to CCA Florida, Duke Energy and the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association. In May, the organizations teamed up to deploy four 38,000-pound and four 5,000-pound artificial reef modules off Mexico Beach. They are calling the new honeyhole “The Duke Energy/CCA Florida Reef.” The eight reef modules were deployed by Walter Marine at the prepermitted Sherman Site, an area known for attracting red and gray snappers, amberjack, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, gag grouper and cobia. These specific reef structures, ranging in height from 8 to 25 feet, provide greater habit diversity while attracting fish and appealing to recreational anglers. The reef site is located offshore 11 miles west of Mexico Beach at approximately 29º 55.384, -85º 40.765.

Since 2018, CCA Florida and Duke Energy have released more than 110,000 redfish along Florida’s Gulf Coast in effort to relieve the declining population. The Duke Energy/CCA Florida Reef deployment is an expansion of its collaboration and symbolizes its continued dedication to enhancing Florida’s marine habitat and expanding fishing opportunities for local anglers.

New Artificial Reef Deployed Off Mexico Beach

“Improving and creating sustainable fisheries, coastal habitats and waterways is CCA Florida’s purpose,” CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski said. “Today’s reef deployment is an extension of that commitment and also of our partnership with Duke Energy – signifying our mutual dedication to protecting Florida’s marine habitat for today and generations to come.”

Artificial reefs initiate the development of natural, thriving habitats for various species of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life, such as smaller organisms that are vital food sources for other marine species, with the overall goal to create an ever-evolving ecosystem while enhancing fisheries and improving water quality.


“Duke Energy Florida recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship and the economic benefit it provides to the communities we serve,” Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president said. “We are proud to invest in CCA Florida’s work with the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association to bring this new artificial reef to Mexico Beach, a win for marine life, local anglers and outdoor enthusiasts along Florida’s West Coast.”

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E verything offshore will start to notice when water temps drop a little at the end of the month, and even more obvious will be shorter daylight hours. All the fish we pursue will start thinking about one of three things: spawning, gorging to fatten up for winter or migrating back south. I’m most concerned with the grouper/snapper complex and the wahoo, so this puts my fishing in overdrive for the next few months. Groupers and snappers will be hot as a firecracker until after Christmas. Wahoo fishing will be at the peak by then as well. Another species I like to stay tuned into are the beeliners (vermillion snapper). When you stay in touch with these guys, you pretty much stay in touch with everything, because everything out there loves to eat a beeliner. The full moon is going to be on Saturday, Sept. 10. This will be a good time to spend the night at the break and have the livewell full to fish just before dawn. Beeliners will chew hard during this full moon, and the bite will shut down as soon as the moon disappears on the western horizon. If you can keep the bright lights going all night, the squid and the biggest, fattest beeliners will be readily available for the taking. When you have these two things gathered up in mass, you definitely have the wahoo and grouper there also. This is a good reason to keep the light line out with a fresh squid or a Boston mackerel just past where the light disappears into the dark water.

The only problem is the kings are there too. You may like to catch kings, and I apologize for that last sentence, but if I catch a king, it’s accidental. A lot of folks don’t even consider fishing at night, and certainly not fishing the light line at night, but it can be extremely effective for wahoo and kings. The first wahoo I ever caught from an anchored boat was at night, and it was a heck of an experience. We saw the fish swim under the lights, and I quickly put out a live beeliner. The beeliner swam away from the boat, and just as he got to the dark water, we saw the bite. I was instantly addicted to this style of bottom fishing and light lining versus just trolling for wahoo, tuna and dolphin. Dolphin will not eat at night, normally, but the night bite for tuna can be good. The stack of beeliners is the main thing I’m looking for as a good starting point for a place to fish. Gags and scamps will definitely go with the food (beeliners) until the beginning or middle of October. Then the gags will leave the beeliners to migrate inshore in search of cigs and sardines and to spawn. For more information, see

Tim Barefoot

The South Atlantic fishery seems to be in a situation similar to what the Gulf fishery faced a few years ago. Following years of ridiculously short red snapper seasons to rebuild the stock, anglers on the water report red snapper so thick that it’s the only species they can catch. These fish must be released, despite the high likelihood they will succumb to pressure-related injuries. Ultimately these discards count against fishermen.

“Now, on top of a short red snapper season, it is our understanding that there are discussions about broad area or season closures of all bottom fishing to stop red snapper encounters altogether,” reads the letter. “This decision would be crippling economically for our states that rely heavily on our coastal Legislatorseconomy.”havecalled on NOAA to hold off on area closure consideration until data from the ongoing South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count can be considered. Results of this study, which began in 2021, are expected by 2025.


Here we go again. The hubbub over federal management of red snapper seems never ending. Most recently, Southeastern legislators penned a letter asking NOAA to suspend consideration of area closures in the South Atlantic. Meanwhile, legislators from states on the Gulf of Mexico are pushing back against new proposed federal regulations. Both groups contend the federal government is not using “the best available science” in management decisions.

It’s worth noting that last year’s data from a similar study, the Gulf of Mexico Great Red Snapper Count, indicated there were up to three times as many red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico as the numbers federal managers were using to make management decisions. On that note, Gulf legislators are not pleased with how “more accurate” state data is being calibrated into the “fundamentally flawed” MRIP data that federal managers have used to set regulations for years. The “data calibration framework” included within proposed rule changes would result in reductions of the state annual catch limit for some states and increases for others. State annual catch limits would increase for Florida and Louisiana by 100,000 and 50,000 pounds, respectively. Texas’ limit would remain the same, while Alabama and Mississippi’s limits would decrease by 586,000 and 95,000 pounds, respectively.Theproposal would also increase the overall red snapper overfishing limit from 15.5 million pounds to 25.6 million, while increasing the acceptable biological catch from 15.1 million to 15.4 million. That might sound pretty good for anglers; however, legislators pointed out that this would reduce allowable catch from 97 percent to 60 percent of the sustainable limit.


“By requiring the states to calibrate their more accurate—and NMFS certified—catch data to an outdated and fundamentally flawed MRIP, NMFS has failed to find an effective solution and is not making decisions based on the best available science while refusing to appropriately integrate the new data,” reads a letter from legislators. For more information on the continued political wrangling over red snapper, visit

Proper guide placement makes a difference, as well. On some rods, the first guide is too close to the reel and/or the legs holding the rod to the blank are too short. This creates an angle at which the line hits the guide and adds drag to the line and lure. This simple detail can reduce casting distance as much as 10 percent. If you find a rod you really like, but the first guide is not seated properly, consider moving the guide. On the reel side, I prefer a slightly conic spool that dumps and winds line evenly. That is pretty much all you need from a reel dedicated to long distance. For line, stick to braid for its smaller diameter. I prefer braid with a smooth finish without coating. When distance is what matters most, do not hesitate to drop 25 to 50 percent lighter line than what you would normally use. For example, 40-lb. braid is common when surf fishing for striped bass. If you need longer casts to reach the fish, it is worth dropping to 30or even 20-lb. test. If you’re using a heavy lure, tie in a shock head 50 to 100 percent stronger to absorb the impact of the cast.

W e’ve talked a lot in this column over the last few months about lures that help achieve long-distance casts. Now, I’d like to cover the rest of the equipment that will help you cast farther and reach more fish.The first key element is the rod. When it comes to casting for distance, you want a fast-action rod. This is true if you are a surf angler, a boat angler targeting fast-moving tuna, or an inshore angler targeting shallow-water reds and trout that are easy to spook. The more flexible your rod is, the less momentum it will impart to the lure. Make sure your blank is stiff. Rod blanks come with a lure weight range. Most of the time the optimal lure weight for casting distance is between 1/2 and 2/3 of the weight the rod is rated for. So, for a 2- to 6-ounce rod rating, the best weight for long casts is typically 3 to 4 ounces. A rod rated for 3/8 to 1 ½ ounces usually casts farthest with a 3/4 to 1 ounce lure. Choose a rod that matches the lures you’ll be throwing. The rod handle is also a big deal when it comes to distance. For a spinning rod, you want the length of a forearm, plus a fist, between the reel seat and the butt of the rod. Length gives you leverage, but you don’t want it to be too long. For surf-casting rods, about 1 ½ times the length of your forearm seemsHigh-qualitybest. guides also make a big difference in how far you can cast. Typically you’re going to have to spend more for quality guides, but consider it an investment that results in consistently longer casts.



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The first key element is the rod. When it comes to casting for distance, you want a fast-action rod. This is true if you are a surf angler, a boat angler targeting fast-moving tuna, or an inshore angler targeting shallow-water reds and trout that are easy to spook. The more flexible your rod is, the less momentum it will impart to the lure. Make sure your blank is stiff. Rod blanks come with a lure weight range. Most of the time the optimal lure weight for casting distance is between 1/2 and 2/3 it to be too long. For surf-casting rods, about 1 ½ times the length of your forearm seems best. High-quality guides also make a big difference in how far you can cast. Typically you’re going to have to spend more for quality guides, but consider it an investment that results in consistently longer casts. Proper guide placement makes a difference, as well. On some rods, the first guide is too close to the reel and/or the legs holding the rod to the blank are too short. This creates an angle at which the line hits the guide and adds drag to the line and lure. This simple detail can reduce casting distance as much as 10 percent. If you find a rod you really like, but the first guide is not seated properly, consider moving the guide. On the reel side, I prefer a slightly conic spool that dumps and winds line evenly. That is pretty much all you need from a reel dedicated to long distance. For line, stick to braid for its smaller diameter. I prefer braid with a smooth finish without coating. When distance is what matters most, do not hesitate to drop 25 to 50 percent lighter line than what you would normally use. For example, 40-lb. braid is common when surf fishing for striped bass. If you need longer casts to reach the fish, it is worth dropping to 30- or even 20-lb. test. If you’re using a heavy lure, tie in a shock head 50 to 100 award-winning designer of innovative lures and fishing gear. Check out his creations at The 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.

the last few months about lures that help achieve longdistance casts. Now, I’d like to cover the rest of the equipment that will help you cast farther and reach more fish.

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New Okuma ECS Custom rods are designed for the harsh environment east coast fishermen face daily. They are constructed with a hybrid 24ton carbon and e-glass blank that features Okuma’s UFR-II: Ultimate Flex Reinforcement rod tip technology for the ultimate in lifting power. With spinning, casting and trolling rods, the new ECS Custom series will adorn the back of your boat nicely. There are two spinning rods in the lineup with a 6’ Heavy and 6’6” Medium Heavy. Three casting rods for live bait and bottom fishing come in 6’ Heavy, 6’6” X-Heavy and 7’ Medium actions. There are also two trolling configurations. Two rods feature Roller Stripper and Roller Tip. These rods come in a 6’4” Medium Heavy and 6’ Heavy action. The other two trolling rods feature all roller guides and are both 6’ Heavy and X-Heavy actions. With the brute strength and drag-ripping speed anglers see on the east coast, Okuma went with only high-end components on the ECS Custom rods. All spinning and casting rods feature ALPS deep press 316-grade stainless steel guide frames with zirconium inserts. Models with All Roller Guides feature ALPS RX Series Rollers as well as Sea Guide Neptune Adjustable Rod Butts. All ECS Custom rods feature machined aluminum, anodized rod gimbals. For more information on ECS Custom Rods please visit your local retailer.




Okuma’s new Salina spinning reels are lightweight, ready for battle, and designed for inshore and offshore duty. These reels are constructed of Okuma’s LITECAST body material which is 15 percent lighter than die cast aluminum. They are built for everything from light inshore to heavy offshore, and they’re perfect for high-speed vertical jigging or all-day casting.The Salina features a 6HPB +1RB corrosion-resistant stainless-steel ball bearing system with a full grease pack and waterproof seals. Salina’s Hybrid Carbonite and Japanese felt Dual Force Drag system puts out over 33 pounds of drag. With Okuma’s HDGII: High-Density Main Gear and precision machine cut brass pinion gear, you will get a smooth retrieve cast after cast. Okuma also uses a machined aluminum, screw-in handle arm with a machined aluminum twotone anodized ball handle knob. The three larger size reels feature a manual bail trip Therefunction.aresix models of Salina. The 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000 size reels feature high-speed 5.8:1 gear ratios. The 8,000, 10,000 and 14,000 size reels feature standard gear ratios of 5.4:1. All models have an interchangeable screw-in handle system that can be changed from left to right-hand retrieve. For more information on Salina Spinning reels, visit your local retailer.


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Marine Store has factory certified technicians. Always 100-percent honest and all quotes are final with no hidden fees or charges. Atlantic Marine Store is more than a repower center with parts, accessories, audio, as well as service, repair and warranty work.

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The key to nding sh in September is locating moving water and shade. It’s that simple. Water temperature this time of year is at its hottest levels, into the upper 80’s. e oxygen levels are lower which drives the sh into deeper water and slows their movements down a lot. Moving water will help combat this, as it will be more oxygenated, and it makes it easier for sh to gobble up a passing minnow or bait with less e ort. For the sh in general the hotter months are all about conserving energy and doing just enough to stay alive. With that being said, we are almost through the hottest days of the summer and the temps should begin to mellow out towards the end of the month. is means the shing can begin transitioning from slower moving, deep diving baits, to more of mid water column moderate action technique and maybe even the occasional top water arti cial baits. Our go to arti cial bait, hands down, are the 3DR-X Series by Yo-Zuri. ey literally o er a lure that every sh in our waters will strike. From their top water pencils and poppers, to their suspending mid-level jerk baits and deep diving crank baits, they all combine realistic 3D features, internal sounds and superior durability that will help you land more sh. Having an assortment of these lures to play with will help you nd what is working best on a given day. e good news is that Yo-Zuri made these lures with the anglers budget in mind. ese lures are only $7.99 each. As usual, you can expect to target peacock bass, tarpon, snook and clown knife sh more regularly this time of year on bridges, shady areas and structure. Fish in water no less than 5 feet deep. Look for schools of minnows being attacked and any disturbances in the water from nearby rolling tarpon or clowns coming up for oxygen. e summer rain showers can also be helpful. I have had some stellar times on the water shing just a er a heavy downpour. I think this has to do with the rains cooling e ect on the water perhaps a boost in oxygen levels but it may also be due to the increase in barometric pressure. For some reason it’s like ipping a switch in the sh’s brain. It seems to make them all want to start to feed. A good summer rain can brie y drop the water temps a few degrees giving the sh a much-needed boost in energy to start feeding. Ideally you want to start making cast as soon as the rain li s and the conditions outside are safe enough. e last place you want to be is in the middle of a thunderstorm with a Carbon-Fiber rod in your hand making you a perfect target for lightning to strike. Poppers work especially well a er a heavy rain, mimicking sh feeding on the surface. Nothing triggers a bite more than water splashing creating movement in the water and capturing the attention of any nearby predators.


Bonus Tips: Big baits for big sh is the key to getting that wall mounter you have been dreaming about. Big sh are at the top of the food chain. ey are not going to be out all day searching for minnows and other small baits that would consume most if not all their energy. Big sh for the most part sit around all day in the best shaded spots just waiting for that big meal to come to them. Large Golden shiners or 5 inch or larger baits will do the trick. Keep in mind when your targeting monster sh, you won’t be hooking into lots of sh and enjoying all day action. But, when one does strike, be ready to rock and roll and make him pay!

shing or check out our website

Remember fellow anglers, we all need to do our part to ensure quality shing in Miami for our future generations to enjoy for many years to come. Please leave the areas you’re shing in the same way you found them if not better and always practice safe catch and release whenever possible.

Captain Mike Tojdowski Urban Legends Fishing Charters Call/Text 305-998-3375 / @Urbanlegends



Check out Bouncer’s new book “I’m not done yet” on Amazon


Note from the Editors and Publishers of Coastal Angler Magazine about Captain Bouncer: Captain Bouncer Smith is a legendary Captain in South Florida, and might we add an amazing fisherman. Although he is now retired he continues to contribute to the magazine and continues to share his vast wealth of fishing experience through a new series of books he has released called The Bouncer Smith Chronicles. All three books are currently available on Amazon. We would encourage you to look them up and enjoy them as we have! This Man is part of our South Florida fishing heritage and part of the Coastal Angler family. Please consider supporting him so that he can continue to share the wisdom of 50 plus years of sportfishing experience in South Florida.

I sure had tough shing this past month. Darrell Keith, owner of HydroGlow sh lights and I met in Cedar Key Florida to sh with Jim Keith pursuing triple tail and other fun shing. We met Jim under the threat of heavy rain and discussed canceling the trip. I voted to go try our luck and won the vote. I thought! We searched far and wide, to the north for triple tail around clam bed markers and channel markers, but to no avail. en we made a quick visit to a dependable snook spot. No bites. We were chased from there by incoming rain. We ran back to the marina to hide from a driving rain and booming thunder. As that storm moved on, Jim kept trying everything to get us on some sh. Darrell caught a rat red and I jumped a baby snook. From there it was try here for snook, try there for trout. …Snook, trout, triple tail, please something! A er almost 6 hours, Jim declared defeat. Darrell was a clear winner. He caught 4 trout, a red sh, a lady sh and a cat sh. I caught a 6 or 7 inch trout and Jim caught 2 trout and a cat sh. From there Darrell and I next met at ICAST, one of the largest shing conferences in the world. is is an event like no other, with new lures, reels, rods, and shing electronics. If it’s for shing, it is in the Orlando Convention Center. Plus I got to see hundreds of old friends and made new ones. In the HydroGlow booth sales were rampant. As the convention ended I headed to Vero Beach to visit my sister and then the next day sh with bass master Mike Arnoldy. My shing luck sure carried on. Mike and I shed Head Waters for about 5 hours, without a sh. On his early trip he caught over a dozen bass. Oh well, onward to Jacksonville. I met up with longtime friend Ubbie Adams and we joined with our good friend and Guide Leon in Palm Valley. Hey! My luck changed! We caught several red sh and gray snapper and a few croakers. I even caught a couple of sharks. Personally, if a sh, shark or otherwise ghts good, I’m having fun. So ended a great shing excursion. So, let’s look at September. SNOOK season is here!!! Hit the inlets with Xrap 20s and 30s to troll at the beginning of every shing trip. Take o those treble hooks and replace them with any of the fairly new “lure” inline J hooks. For a serious snook trip, load the live well with live baits such as pin sh, herring, pilchards, sardines, pig sh, croakers or tomtates. A Jupiter rig will keep your bait near the bottom as you dri along the inlet. Go to the app Fish Rules to con rm current size and bag limits. In the new era of South Florida o shore shing look for much better mahi shing. Frequently the late summers and falls have become prime mahi time. Let’s hope this improvement is a sign of things to come. By late September we should be enjoying the fall mullet migration. We should see great action from snook, tarpon, jacks, sharks, blue sh and big lady sh along the beaches and intercoastal waterway. On the reef the mullet migration signals a migration of mutton snappers and yellowtail along reef edges. Again, use Fish Rules to check size and bag limits on all your catches. Let’s have a little cooler weather and NO tropical storms to abuse our communities. By all means treat released sh in the best way for their survival. Keep ‘em wet!


Traveling by Capt. Bouncer Smith Boy!

Capt Bouncer captbouncer@bellsouth.net305-439-2475Smith




On the days I’m not in Flamingo I might be o shore looking for mahi. For the mahi, I tend to do what is called the run and gun method. I run o shore and search until we nd some nice patches, a dirty current rip, birds working on sh or some debris. Once we get on the sh, I’ll have my anglers either pitch 1oz bucktail jigs, cut bait or toss live pilchards if we have. Another thing I like to do with my clients during this time, is sh the reef for yellowtail. We’ll typically sh for about half a day since this is a quick trip to the grocery store. Finding the right bottom is key! You want to nd a nice reef that has life and then anchor up current and ahead of it. is helps to bring up the sh that are on it once you put your chum in the water. e Humminbird Coast Master chip has been very helpful for me in nding new reefs and areas to sh in South Florida. e details of the contour of the bottom, rocks, holes, reefs are perfectly outlined on your map display thanks to this chip. ere’s an old saying that goes, “If you chum, they will come!” and that is true!

September seems to me like it’s one of the hottest months of the year. Come September, I’m usually guiding all over South Florida. I’ll be shing in Flamingo one day, o shore for mahi the next, and on the reef catching yellowtail the following day. Most of my clients during this time want to catch sh, be on the water, but don’t want to be in the extreme heat for too long. So let’s talk a little bit about what to expect and some “how to’s” for shing in September. If you can handle the bugs at the marina in the morning and the heat as the sun comes up, Flamingo in September o ers an awesome snook and red sh bite. is time of the year I like to start my mornings early, shing the beach shorelines, using top water plugs for snook around Middle Cape and North Cape. Depending on the tide and how dirty the water is around the Cape, I might push up the coast a bit until I nd the clean water. Once the sun gets high, I’ll transition to either live pin sh or pilchards under popping corks. I also like weedless jig heads rigged with a gulp shrimp or paddle tail. Along the mangrove shorelines west of Bradley Key up to Middle Cape you may nd good numbers of smaller and medium size snook. You will also nd good numbers of nice red sh in this area. A popping cork rigged with a live shrimp never fails. Also, keep your eyes open for any free- oating tripletail, they’re out there in good numbers!


by NestorAlvisa

@hooked_on_HookedOnFlamingo.comAlvisaamingo_charters786.387.2443 FLAMINGO

I’ll place a block of 25lb chum in my chum bag and let it do its job. I’ll typically go through about 50-75lbs of chum depending on the current that day. Once the yellowtail come up to the chum block, a small jig head or bare hook rigged with silverside or squid will do the trick. One of the upsides to staying local to Miami on one of these trips is that once you’re done or it gets too hot you can always go right to a sandbar and enjoy the rest of your day in the water cooling o !


8 MIAMI SEPT. 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM by Raymond Muniz, Capt. Jax September is here and I’ve got all the snapper shing out of my system. Now it’s time to go a er monster sh! Ever since I was a kid, I have always wanted to catch a really big sh, a monster sh! e biggest monster sh around was the shark!

Most shermen hate sharks because when targeting the prize sh, the sharks seem to always eat the big ones. e Man in the grey suit… Nothing is worst then hooking that trophy sh and then pulling in just the bloody severed head. Being a tackle store owner, I love sharks. ey are constantly cutting lines, eating hooks, swallowing sinkers and vertical jigs and expensive slow pitch rigs and swivels and other lures. ey also account for about 90% of people who get spooled and come wandering into the shop with bare reels. e shark is sometimes called the poor man’s game sh. All you need is a metal leader and a hook and you can catch a shark. Now, if you do it like we do it, you are going to need some gear. I love land-based shark shing. e rst thing you will need is your “shore based shark shing permit.” is you can nd on the FWC website. Next thing you’ll need is a giant rod and reel. Old Penn senator reels would be your cheapest option, I would go with a 12/0 or 14/0 if you are looking for bigger sharks. e senators hold a ton of line but don’t have much power. If you really want to do this land base shark shing thing, then get yourself a 130 size 2 speed reel. e Shimano Tiagra has the loudest clicker, so I would go with that one. Now you need a conventional rod. Try to get a 130 class rod in case you hook up with King Kong. e rod length is super important depending on where you are shing. If you are shing the bridges, you will want a 10

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPT 2022 MIAMI 9 Capt. Jax Captain Jax Bait and Tackle 490c E 4th Ave, Hialeah, FL 33010 @captainjaxmiami786.300.5362 rod, if from land you can use a shorter rod. Now you need line. I used 800 yards of 200 lb. Beyond Braid followed by 200 yards of 200 lb. mono top shot for abrasion resistance. Next on the list would be the wire leader rig. If you want to make them yourself all you need is #19 AFW wire, an 800 lb. swivel and a Mustad 39931np-bn 16/0 hook. If you want to buy the rig premade, come on over to Captain Jax Bait and Tackle, we make them in-house. e leader length depends on where you are shing. If you are shing from the beach, you want a 12-15 foot leader. If from a bridge, you can get away with a 3-6 foot leader. e last thing you need are sinkers. Some of us old heads still use rocks tied to mono. We tie the end of the mono to the hook so when the shark bites the bait it cuts the mono o and now you are only ghting the shark not the rock. e new guys use giant spider weights. ey both work. e rock is free… Bait of choice, any sh will work for bait but if you are looking for Big Moe or Old Hitler you will need BIG baits!!! We use whole stingrays, whole cudas, amber jack, jack cravelle. Now that you got the gear lets talk technique. You will need a way to deploy your bait. If you are on the beach you are going to need a kayak. If you are on a bridge you just oat it out and let the current take it. If you need a visual of what I’m talking about go to the YouTube channel SHARKIN WITH SEAWEED. He explains exactly what I’m talking about. Lastly my favorite thing about shark shing is the by catch. I have caught my biggest, tarpon, stingray, eagle ray, Goliath grouper and jack crevalle by accident because they ate my shark baits.


COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPT 2022 MIAMI 11 Hey! As you visit or patronize any of our advertisers… please mention that you saw them in their local

Lo siguiente en la lista sería el aparejo de líder de alambre; si quieres hacerlos tú mismo, sólo necesitas hilo AFW del nº 19, un eslabón giratorio de 800 libras y un anzuelo Mustad 39931np-bn del 16/0. En cambio, si pre eres comprarlo, ven al Captain Jax Bait and Tackle, donde los hacemos nosotros mismos. La longitud dependerá del lugar en el que estés pescando; por ejemplo, si pescas desde la playa querrás un líder de 12-15 pies, pero si lo haces desde un puente, puedes utilizar un bajo de línea de 3 a 6 pies.


El Shimano Tiagra tiene el clicker más ruidoso, así que yo elegiría ese. Ahora, necesitas una caña convencional, así que intenta conseguir una caña de clase 130 por si te enganchas a King Kong; la longitud de la caña es muy importante dependiendo del lugar donde vayas a pescar, por ello, si estás pescando en los puentes querrás una caña de 10 pies y si es desde tierra puedes usar una más corta. También necesitas el sedal; yo utilicé 800 yardas de Beyond Braid de 200 libras, seguidas de 200 yardas de mono top shot de 200 libras para la resistencia a la abrasión.

by Raymond Muniz, Capt. Jax Ha llegado septiembre y ya me he quitado de encima toda la pesca de pargos. Ahora es el momento de ir a por los peces monstruosos.


Desde que era un niño, siempre he querido pescar un pez realmente grande, un pez monstruo y en el top de esta categoría se encuentra nada más que el tiburón. La mayoría de los pescadores odian a los tiburones, porque cuando se trata de pescar los peces más valiosos, los tiburones parecen comérselos primero. No hay nada peor que enganchar ese precioso pez trofeo y luego sacar sólo la maldita cabeza a medio comer. Como propietario de una tienda de aparejos, me encantan los tiburones. Están constantemente cortando líneas, comiendo anzuelos, tragándose plomadas y plantillas verticales, además de costosos aparejos de lanzamiento lento y eslabones giratorios, entre otros. Ellos representan el 90% de la gente que se queda sin carrete y entra en la tienda en busca de más. A veces se re eren al Tiburón como el pez que se entretiene con los pobres hombres. Todo lo que necesitas, para entrar en un día de juego con este pez, es un líder metálico y un anzuelo. Ahora bien, si lo haces como nosotros, vas a necesitar algún equipo. Me encanta la pesca de tiburones en tierra, así que lo primero que necesitarás es tu “permiso de pesca de tiburones en tierra”, que puedes encontrar en la página web de la FWC. Lo siguiente que en la lista es una caña y un carrete gigantes; los viejos carretes Penn Senator serán la opción más barata, yo elegiría un 12/0 o 14/0 si se quiere a los tiburones más grandes; estos carretes aguantan una tonelada de línea, pero no tienen mucha potencia. Si realmente quieres hacer esto de la pesca de tiburones en tierra, entonces consigue un carrete de tamaño 130 y 2 velocidades.

Lo último que necesitas son plomadas. Algunos de nosotros, los veteranos, todavía utilizamos piedras atadas al mono; atamos el extremo del mono al anzuelo, de modo que cuando el tiburón muerde el cebo, corta el mono y ahora sólo estás luchando contra el tiburón y no contra la roca. Los nuevos usan pesos de araña gigante y ambos funcionan. Cualquier pez funcionará como cebo, pero si estás buscando al Gran Moe o al Viejo Hitler necesitarás cebos GRANDES. Nosotros usamos rayas enteras, cudas enteras, el amberjack japonés y el jurel toro. Ahora que tienes el equipo vamos a hablar de la técnica. Necesitarás una manera de desplegar tu cebo; si estás en la playa vas a necesitar un kayak y si estás en un puente, sólo tienes que otar y dejar que la corriente lo lleve. Para tener una visión de lo que estoy hablando, ve al canal de YouTube SHARKIN WITH SEAWEED, donde encontrarás una explicación detallada. Por último, lo que más me gusta de la pesca de tiburones es la captura. He capturado mi mayor, sábalo, raya, raya águila, mero Goliat y jurel toro por accidente, porque comieron mis cebos de tiburón. No es para los débiles de corazón o los mal preparados.

Captain Jax Bait and Tackle 490c E 4th Ave, Hialeah, FL 33010 • 786.300.5362 @captainjaxmiami


La mayoría de mis clientes durante este tiempo quieren estar en el agua y pescar, pero sin sobreexponerse a la altas temperaturas; por ello, en esta edición, hablaremos sobre algunos tips para la pesca y sobre que esperar en el agua durante este caluroso mes. Si puedes soportar los insectos en la marina y el calor cuando sale el sol, Flamingo ofrece una impresionante picada de róbalo y gallineta. En esta época del año me gusta empezar mis mañanas temprano, pescando en las costas de la playa y utilizando tapones de agua superior para atrapar róbalos alrededor de Middle Cape y North Cape. Dependiendo de la marea, y de lo sucia que esté el agua alrededor del Cabo, puede que suba un poco por la costa hasta encontrar el agua limpia.

@hooked_on_ amingo_charters Hooked On Flamingo 786.387.2443Charters FLAMINGO

A lo largo de las costas de los manglares al oeste de Bradley Key hasta Middle Cape se pueden encontrar un buen número de róbalos de tamaño pequeño y mediano, así como gallinetas.

by NestorAlvisa Septiembre me parece uno de los meses más calurosos del año. Cuando llega septiembre, suelo estar moviéndome por todo el sur de Florida. Un día estoy pescando en Flamingo, al día siguiente en alta mar y después en el arrecife pescando rabiles.


Una vez que el sol esté alto, pasaré a utilizar pececillos vivos o sardinas con corchos; también me gustan las cabezas de jigs sin algas, montadas con una gamba gulp o una cola de pala. Un corcho de pesca equipado con un camarón vivo nunca falla, además, no sobra mantener los ojos abiertos por si hay algún triplete otando en el agua ¡Hay un buen número de ellos otando allí afuera! Los días que no estoy en Flamingo, puedo estar en alta mar buscando Mahi – Mahi (conocidos también como pez dorado) . Para estos peces, tiendo a hacer lo que se llama el método de “correr y disparar”; en otras palabras, corro mar adentro y busco hasta encontrar algunos parches agradables, una corriente de retorno sucia, pájaros asechando o algunos desechos. Una vez que se encuentran los peces, hago que mis pescadores lancen jigs de cola de ciervo de 1 onza, cebos cortados o lancen sardinas vivas si tenemos.

En mi caso, pongo un bloque de 25 libras de cebo en mi bolsa y dejo que haga su trabajo. Normalmente utilizo entre 50 y 75 libras de cebo, dependiendo de la corriente de ese día. Una vez que el rabo amarillo se acerca al bloque de carnada, una pequeña plantilla o un anzuelo desnudo con un pejerrey o un calamar son su cientes.

Una de las ventajas de permanecer en la zona de Miami en uno de estos viajes es que, una vez que haya terminado la pesca o el calor sea demasiado, se puede ir directamente a un banco de arena y disfrutar del resto del día en el agua para refrescarse. Alvisa

Otra cosa que me gusta hacer con mis clientes durante este tiempo, es pescar en el arrecife en busca de pargos cola amarilla. Normalmente pescamos durante medio día y encontrar el fondo adecuado es la clave. Hay que encontrar un buen arrecife que tenga vida y luego anclar en la corriente y por delante de ella; esto ayuda a subir a los peces una vez que pones tu carnada en el agua. El chip Humminbird Coast Master me ha sido muy útil para encontrar nuevos arrecifes y zonas para pescar en el sur de Florida; los detalles del contorno del fondo, las rocas, los agujeros y los arrecifes están perfectamente delineados en la pantalla del mapa gracias a este chip. Hay un viejo refrán que dice: “¡Si haces carnada, ellos vendrán!” y eso es totalmente cierto.

Una buena lluvia de verano puede hacer descender brevemente la temperatura del agua unos cuantos grados, lo que da a los peces un impulso de energía muy necesario para empezar a alimentarse. Lo ideal es empezar a lanzar tan pronto como la lluvia se levante y las condiciones exteriores sean lo su cientemente seguras, pues el último lugar en el que quieres estar es en medio de una tormenta y con una caña de bra de carbono en la mano, que te convierte en un objetivo perfecto para la caída de un rayo.

Como es habitual, en esta época del año se puede pescar con mayor regularidad lubinas, sábalos, róbalos y peces cuchillo en puentes, zonas de sombra y estructuras. Los recomendable es pescar en aguas de no menos de 5 pies de profundidad y buscar los bancos de pececillos que son atacados o que presentan cualquier perturbación en el agua, por ejemplo sábalos rodantes cercanos o peces payaso que suben a la super cie en busca de oxígeno. Los chubascos de verano también pueden ser útiles.

He tenido algunos momentos estelares pescando justo después de un fuerte aguacero.

Creo que esto tiene que ver con el efecto de enfriamiento que las lluvias tienen en el agua, un posible impulso en los niveles de oxígeno o incluso debido al aumento de la presión barométrica. Sea cual sea la razón, es como si se activara un interruptor en el cerebro de los peces: parece que todos quieren empezar a alimentarse.

La clave para encontrar peces en septiembre es localizar el agua en movimiento y la sombra. Es así de sencillo. La temperatura del agua en esta época del año está en sus niveles más altos (hasta 80 °F o 26 °C) y los niveles de oxígeno también son más bajos, lo que lleva a los peces a buscar aguas más profundas y ralentiza considerablemente sus movimientos. El agua en movimiento ayudará a combatir esto, ya que estará más oxigenada y facilita que los peces engullan un pececillo o un cebo que pase con menos esfuerzo. Para los peces, en general, los meses más calurosos consisten en conservar la energía y hacer lo justo para mantenerse con vida. Dicho esto, casi hemos pasado los días más calurosos del verano y las temperaturas deberían empezar a suavizarse hacia nales de mes. Esto signi ca que la pesca puede comenzar la transición de aguas más lentas y profundas, a una acción moderada y ocasionalmente más super cial. Nuestro cebo arti cial preferido, sin duda, es la serie 3DR-X de Yo-Zuri, pues ofrecen literalmente un señuelo que cada pez en nuestras aguas golpeará. Desde sus lápices de agua superior y poppers, a sus jerk baits de nivel medio en suspensión y crank baits de inmersión profunda, todos ellos combinan características realistas en 3D, sonidos internos y una durabilidad superior que le ayudará a conseguir más peces. Tener un surtido de estos señuelos para jugar le ayudará a encontrar lo que mejor funciona en un día determinado. La buena noticia es que Yo-Zuri ha hecho estos señuelos pensando en el presupuesto de los pescadores y cuestan sólo 7,99 dólares cada uno.


Después de una lluvia intensa, los poppers funcionan especialmente bien imitando a los peces que se alimentan en la superficie, no hay nada que desencadene más una picada que el chapoteo del agua creando movimiento y captando la atención de cualquier depredador cercano. Como nota nal quiero recordar a todos nuestros amigos pescadores, que tenemos una gran responsabilidad para garantizar la calidad de la pesca en Miami y que las futuras generaciones puedan disfrutarla durante muchos años. Por favor, deje las zonas de pesca de la misma manera que las encontró (o incluso mejor) y practique tanto la captura como liberación segura siempre que sea posible.

Consejos adicionales: Los cebos grandes son la clave para atrapar peces de gran tamaño y conseguir ese montaje de pared con el que has estado soñando. Los peces grandes están en la cima de la cadena alimentaria y no van a estar todo el día buscando pececillos y otros cebos pequeños. Estos peces, en su mayoría, se sientan todo el día en los mejores lugares con sombra, esperando que la gran comida venga a ellos. Las grandes carpas doradas (conocidas también como doraros brillantes) o los cebos de 5 pulgadas en adelante harán el truco. Tenga en cuenta que cuando su objetivo es un pez monstruoso, no enganchará a muchos y pasarás gran parte del día expectante en el agua; pero, cuando uno nalmente pique, prepárate para la acción y hazlo pagar.

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The first pink-tagged bass was caught by Florida angler Dale Dew from Lake Griffin on May 22. Florida angler RJ Crawford caught the second pink-tagged bass from Newnans Lake on June 11. Both anglers were awarded $5,000 Bass Pro gift cards and $1,000 AFTCO gift cards. They will also be entered in a drawing for an additional $10,000, which will be awarded at a ceremony this fall.

With a deadline of Sept. 30, eight tagged largemouths worth thousands of dollars are still swimming in Florida waters.In celebration of Season 10 of FWC’s TrophyCatch big bass program, FWC tagged 10 largemouth bass with bright pink tags in Florida lakes. Just two of those pink-tagged largemouths had been caught as of presstime, so eight are still out there waiting for anglers to catch them and collect thousands of dollars worth of gift cards.

The eight remaining pink-tagged bass are still swimming in the following Florida waterbodies: Lake George, Lake Talquin, Lake Walk-in-Water, Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Lake Trafford, Lake Istokpoga, Lake Rousseau and Johns Lake. With the 10-Tag promotion ending Sept. 30, FWC is dropping hints by way of online maps showing the area where each of the remaining bass were tagged. These new tagging maps of the remaining lakes could lead lucky anglers to the pink-taggedThroughbass.Florida bass telemetry and tagging studies, FWC biologists have found that where a largemouth bass is tagged and released can frequently coincide with where an angler catches the same bass weeks, months or even yearsDewlater.caught his 10-Tag bass within yards of where the fish was released with its pink tag in Lake Griffin. Of course, these hints come with a caveat: while bass can be predictable, there are many exceptions to their typical home range patterns and some bass are not homebodies at all. In contrast to Dew’s catch, the second reported 10-Tag bass caught by RJ Crawford in Newnans Lake was more than 3 miles from where it was tagged. These hints don’t eliminate water in which a 10-Tag bass might be found but should be treated as higher-probability areas. View each of the ranges on the maps located on the 10-Tag Celebration web page. For more information, go Bass Worth Thousands in Lakes

Still Swim

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Apply for a Grant to Support School Fishing Clubs

The Florida Sport Fish Restoration R3 Fishing Grant will award up to 40 high school fishing clubs or teams $500 to assist with club expenses and the purchase of fishing licenses or gear for participants. Participating clubs and teams will receive an updated educational curriculum comprised of lessons and activities on fisheries conservation and resource management, plus a chance to win prizes by completing the program’s Conservation Project.“The School Fishing Club program is an important program for teaching the next generation of anglers about ethical angling and conservation in Florida,” said Director of Marine Fisheries Management Jessica McCawley. “I look forward to seeing the hard work and creativity each club puts into their conservation project activities each year to help preserve the health and quality of aquatic habitats.”

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The grant program is open to new or existing freshwater and/or saltwater fishing clubs or teams at public, private and charter schools throughout Florida. To be considered for the grant, school fishing clubs or teams must have a minimum of five members and be represented by a school faculty member or parent who will follow the provided instructor’s manual.Thedeadline for submitting applications is Sept. 16, 2022 at 5 p.m. The application can be found online at by scrolling down to “Florida’s R3 Fishing Grant Program.” Applicants can complete the form online or download the application to submit by mail or e-mail. Submit the downloaded applications to or mail them to: FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management Attn: School Fishing Club Program Grant 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee, FL 32399. The 2022-23 School Fishing Club Program is supported by partners including Mud Hole Custom Tackle, Pure Fishing, Coastal Conservation Association and Baitstick Fishing. For more information, contact Brandon Stys at


B ack-to-school season is underway and Florida parents, teachers and school staff can apply for funding to support school fishing clubs for students. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) 2022-23 School Fishing Club Program, previously named the High School Fishing Program, offers school fishing clubs or teams the opportunity to apply for the Florida R3 Fishing Grant. The application period is open until Sept. 16. This grant program is focused on engaging youth anglers to ensure the future of fishing in Florida.

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• Find Your Spot: The most common advice on finding a good scalloping area is to look for the boats. It’s good advice. The flotilla bearing diver-down flags is hard to miss when you find it. Be courteous, give everyone plenty of room and drive the boat slowly, keeping an eye out for swimmers.

• Keep Them Alive: Storing scallops in a livewell is a great idea if you’ve got one. They can also be kept in a cooler of ice, but be careful to drain the freshwater out of the cooler as the ice melts because it will kill your scallops. You want them to be living right up until you clean them.

• Clean Them Quickly: An alternative to keeping scallops alive is to just clean them right away. There should be at least one person in the boat at all times, and this person can clean the scallops while the rest of the team is searching. Scallops open up when they are put on ice, so chunk them in a cooler and clean them while you’re on the water. You can discard the shells into the bay.

• Search in a Pattern: Some divers search in a grid by swimming a straight line out from the boat and then moving sideways 5 or 10 yards before returning to the boat in a straight line. This way you’ll always be looking at fresh bottom.

For more information, including complete rules and regulations, go to

Bay scallop season is winding down along the west coast of Florida. In most zones it will continue well into September, so here are some tips to help you have fun on the water and maybe pick up a last-minute limit.

TIPS FOR BETTER SCALLOPING By CAM Staff Charters.FishingGrassRockofcourtesyPhoto

• Be Sure to Hydrate and keep yourself greased up with sunscreen. Also, know the seasons, limits and safety regulations for the area you’re scallop hunting.

One trick to finding productive bottom is to pull a keen-eyed diver on a rope at idle speed. This will help cover water quickly, and once old eagle eye spots a few, you can put out the anchor.

• Slow Down: If you find one scallop, slow down and search the area thoroughly. There’s usually another one nearby.

• Hunt the Slack Tides: Finding scallops is generally easiest on a slack tide during calm days when currents are minimal. When the water is still, seagrass stands up straight, and it’s easier to spot scallops at the base of the grass.•Look in the Sand: Pay attention to those sandy potholes on the grass flats. Scallops like grass, but they are easier to see against a sandy bottom. Many times, if you spot one on the sand, there will be several in the grass around it.


schools of mullet as they move down the coast. These are perfect feeding areas for gamefish because they provide ambush points as well structure to herd mullet against. Loud and Proud: When it comes to fishing artificials, anything that resembles a mullet is likely to get slammed around actively feeding fish. The hard part is getting marauding fish to notice your lure among thousands of real mullet. This is the time to make a commotion. Early in the mornings, loud topwater plugs that pop, walk-the-dog and throw a lot of water around will get noticed. When the topwater bite slows, it’s time to break out sub-surface plugs, spoons or paddletails on jigheads. Cast around the edges of the bait pods, because gamefish often target baitfish that stray from the pod.

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Bait is Everywhere: Live bait is king when it comes to getting bit. A single good throw of the cast net should provide all the bait you need once you find a good school of mullet. Many anglers prefer fishing 5- to 8-inch mullet, because they’re small enough to cast and they’ll draw strikes from fish of all sizes. However, if big tarpon are pounding a bait school, some anglers swear a foot-long mullet catches bigger fish. Either way, freelined mullet are tough to beat. Gamefish look for isolated and injured baits on the outside of the school. Your mullet, hooked just behind the anal fin, will look like the perfect meal as it struggles to stay near the surface. For more on the mullet run, go to



Check the Pinch Points: Seawalls, rocky shorelines, jetties and any other structure that juts from the shore will consolidate and channel

D epending on where you fish on Florida’s east coast, the mullet schools have either already arrived or they are on the way. Each fall, mullet flood down the coast in an enormous migration to their spawning grounds off south Florida. Along the way, they are assaulted by everything that eats fish. It’s a special time to be an angler. Here are some of the basics of fishing the mullet run to help you get in on the action.

Find the Bait: Giant schools of bait pull all of the gamefish out of their summer patterns. Tarpon, redfish, snook, jacks, flounder, sharks, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more transition from whatever they were doing and begin tailing and herding mullet pods. The predatory fish move with their food source. As an angler, you’re wasting your time if you’re not on top of the action.From a boat or from the beach, keep moving until you see fishy looking water. It’s unmistakable when you witness mullet fleeing from leaping jacks and tarpon, but the action can sometimes be harder to spot. Wear your polarized shades, keep the sun at your back and look for diving birds and the ripples of nervous water. There will be gamefish wherever there are huge schools of bait. Also, stay current with mullet activity in your area by sharing information with other anglers and being a regular at the local bait shops.

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For as much as we do know about the ocean and the species we love to pursue as anglers, it’s amazing the things still left to be discovered. A scientific paper recently published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences presents evidence that the Slope Sea off the northeastern coast of the United States is a major spawning ground for Atlantic bluefin tuna. The Slope Sea is an area of the Atlantic bounded to the north and west by the northeast United States Continental Shelf and to the south by the Gulf Stream. Science to this point had identified two populations of Atlantic bluefins. One returns to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn and another spawns in the Mediterranean Sea. A 2016 paper established the Slope Sea as a third spawning ground for the species, and this most recent research suggests the Slope Sea is a good place to be a larval bluefin. Researchers used plankton nets to collect larvae in the Slope Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. They compared larval growth in the two regions by studying larval otoliths, which are small bones found in the heads of tuna. Researchers also conducted larval transport simulations to estimate the movement of larvae floating in ocean currents forward and backward in time to evaluate the origin of the larvae. What they found was evidence that Slope Sea tuna larvae grow at a similar rate as those in the Gulf of Mexico. The paper notes that an additional spawning site likely offers resilience for the species in the face of harvest as well as climate change. For more information, read the research at



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Florida angler John Kelly seems to have figured out how to catch big snook with a fly rod. According to the International Game Fish Association, Kelly caught this beautiful 88-centimeter (almost 35inch) snook with a crab pattern on the Indian River Lagoon on July 28. Snook longer than 40 inches are caught pretty regularly from Florida waters, so this one isn’t a true monster. However, IGFA said it could potentially set the all-tackle length fly world record for the species, replacing Kelly’s own record for an 86-centimeter snook he caught in early June. On top of that, Kelly submitted another application for a 91-centimeter snook he landed in early August. These potential records are currently pending and under review by IGFA. Records or not, it’s probably safe to say that Kelly has something figured out about targeting slob snook with fly tackle. For more information, go to a

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The Tennessee River’s WHITE BLUE CATS

Scenic City has three captains who specialize in guiding anglers to catfish. They’ve encountered four of these white catfish since 2018. Simms keeps records of his catches, and he estimated Scenic City catches about 5,000 catfish a year. While one white catfish in 5,000 caught is hardly good odds, it’s a lot better than one in a million. This one stretch of river is producing more of these strange fish than anywhere else we’ve heard of.

On June 28, 15-year-old Edwards Tarumianz caught a gorgeous, almost pure white blue catfish on the Tennessee River near downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. It was the latest in a string of such fish to come from one small stretch of river. While catching a white catfish has been likened to winning the lottery, it seems the odds are much higher on the Tennessee River below Chickamauga Dam.“It’s become pretty clear to us that we’ve got a little recessive gene floating around in the river right here in the Chattanooga vicinity,” said Richard Simms, owner of Scenic City Fishing Charters. “I actually saw another one just a week or so ago. A guy, just a regular fisherman, caught a piebald. So, yeah, we’ve got a recessive gene floating around.”

White catfish are rare anomalies that never fail to set social media abuzz each time an angler catches one. In most instances, biologists attribute the looks of these beautiful pinkishwhite fish to leucism, a genetic trait that results in reduced pigmentation and the pale, sometimes patchy coloration they display.


Contact Scenic City Fishing Charters via




Paylor said a rule of thumb is to troll live baits at around 2 miles per hour. When you get a bite, the rod slams down and the reel starts screaming. Make sure your drag is not set too tightly or it’ll be over.You’ll get a nice long run when the fish is first hooked. The smaller fish of less than 20 pounds will run out of energy pretty soon. Bigger ones, from 30 to 50 pounds, won’t tire as readily, and the real monsters may do it a few times before they tire. Keep your drag set light and let the fish do its thing; follow it with the boat if necessary. A fish (besides sharks) that is the bane of king mackerel anglers is the amberjack. If you troll near any high spot, usually the top of a shipwreck, there may be a school of them there. Their detractors call them “reef donkeys” with disdain. When you are trolling with a carefully prepared trolling rig and putting in hours looking for trophy kings, one of these bad boys can mess you up. Tournament anglers especially dislike them. If you are out trolling for kings and a school of amberjacks show up in your trolling spread, don’t get mad. Have fun! These fish are a blast and hit topwater plugs with abandon. Cast soda-bottlestyle poppers in the 5- to 6-inch-long range such as the Rapala Magnum Xplode or the Yozuri Bull Pop, retrieve them with a big pull and a pause to make a huge splash, and be prepared for an amazing display. Often a group of them will come up together and slash at it with reckless abandon until one finally gets hooked. Be prepared with a heavy casting rod. I’ve caught them on 12-weight fly rods with the biggest popper I could make. They can show up at any time over any wreck or reef. You just have to be ready. If you’re not fishing in a tournament, why not go have fun with them instead of cursing at them. They will come in fast, hit hard and then keep you occupied for about 20 minutes while they try to pull you out of the boat. This article was reprinted from

By Capt. Gordon Churchill


With their aggressive nature, willingness to hit almost anything, and ability to make drag screaming runs when first hooked, king mackerel are just a bunch of fun. Because of these qualities, there is a king mackerel tournament somewhere almost every weekend. Plenty of boats head out in pursuit of them from every port, and plenty of tackle dedicated to them is sold in coastal shops.

Gamefish Royalty

“They are so consistent with their yearly patterns that if you caught them in a spot in previous years, they are probably going to be there again,” he said.

He recommends using a sea surface temperature chart and seeing where the water is hovering in the 70-degree range and starting your day at a reef or wreck in that zone. If you see bait working—and especially if you see kings feeding—give it a serious shot. If you have seen kings feeding in open water, you’ll never forget what it looks like; they skyrocket out of the water like a submarine-launched missile.

To get an idea of what a day chasing kings is like, I spoke Capt. Matt Paylor, of Sound-N-Sea Charters in Morehead City, N.C. For gear, he likes a 7-foot, live-bait trolling rod with a Shimano TLD reel filled to the brim with 20-pound line. Smaller, school-sized kings eagerly hit trolled spoons and frozen cigar minnows, and you can catch a lot of them.When 10- to 20-pounders are hanging out around a structure, such as artificial reefs, wrecks or ledges, casting to them with swimming plugs and topwaters can lead to fast action. For a challenge, try a 10-weight fly rod rigged with a sinking line and a big streamer fly attached to a wireAleader.20-pound king mackerel can make a fly reel sing, Paylor said, however, if you want to get the big ones, you have to use live bait. His go-to is live menhaden, but he also uses live bluefish in the 2to 3-pound range. For trolling live bait, tie 15 feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon to the end of your main line, and to that attach a double hook live bait rig made with No. 5 single-strand wire and size 4 “quad strong” trebleCapt.hooks.Paylor said kings are very predictable.


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An angler from New Jersey caught a North Carolina state record for cubera snapper on Aug. 3. Thomas Madsen caught the 58-pound, 8-ounce fish offshore of Hatteras while fishing with Capt. Tyler Fleetwood and Sea Dream FishingMadsen’sCharters.big fish measured 49.5 inches total length and had a 41-inch girth. He caught it using a Shimano jigging rod, and a Diawa Saltist reel with 80-pound test. It replaces the previous record, which weighed 58 pounds and was caught off Beaufort Inlet in 2016.The IGFA all-tackle world record for Atlantic cubera snapper was caught off Louisiana in June of 2007 by Marion Rose. It weighed 124 pounds 12 ounces. For more information on North Carolina state records, find the State Saltwater Records webpage at

“Until I caught this guy, I didn’t even know [xanthic bass] existed,” Chrenko wrote in a Facebook post. “For someone that lives and breathes fishing for smallmouth, this is one I’ll remember my entire life… I can only imagine that this little guy had to overcome crazy odds to survive the first couple of years of his life from predation. Being neon-orange would make for a tough life as a small freshwater fish.” Chrenko released his orange smallie after taking a few photos. For more weird fish, go to

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Xanthochromistic fish are orange because the red pigmentation in their skin is replaced by yellow pigmentation.

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This is not someone’s escaped goldfish; it’s a bright orange smallmouth bass. Angler Josh Chrenko caught the rare genetic anomaly this summer from the Muskegon River in Michigan. Biologists explained that the fish’s odd coloration is due to a rare genetic condition called xanthochromism, which— like albinism or leucism—is usually caused by a recessive gene.

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