Coastal Angler Magazine - Feb. / Miami

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EDITOR : Nick Carter • editorial@coastalanglermagazine.com WEBMASTER : Dmitriy Pislyagin • webmaster@coastalanglermagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Corporate Headquarters info@coastalanglermagazine.com • 888-800-9794 BIG BEND : Mike McNamara • (850) 510-7919 • captmike@coastalanglermagazine.com BREVARD : David String • (321) 684-5888 • dstring@coastalanglermagazine.com DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA BEACH : Don Meadows • (407) 960-2340 • donm@coastalanglermagazine.com FLORIDA KEYS : Ed Gocher • (305) 587-9101 • ed@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT LAUDERDALE : Gene Dyer • (954) 680-3900 • gene@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT MYERS : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER MIAMI : Scott Deal • (561) 945-6999 • scott@coastalanglermagazine.com Monica Isaza-Deal • (561) 945-8899 • monica@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER ORLANDO : Phillip & Giselle Wolf • (407) 790-9515 • phillip@coastalanglermagazine.com LAKELAND & SUMTER : Mary Flaitz • (352) 598-4219 • maryf@coastalanglermagazine.com NAPLES : Mike Weber • (414) 531-4172 • mikew@coastalanglermagazine.com NC FLORIDA/NATURE COAST : Cary & Lynn Crutchfield • (352) 372-4237 • crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com NE FLORIDA : Danny Patrick • (904) 742-4696 • danny@coastalanglermagazine.com OKEECHOBEE : Ken Gabryel • (863) 532-3671 • keng@coastalanglermagazine.com PANAMA CITY/FORGOTTEN COAST : Randy Cnota • (229) 834-7880 • randyc@coastalanglermagazine.com PALM BEACH COUNTY : Barbara Ryan • (561) 373-8040 • barbara@coastalanglermagazine.com SARASOTA : Phil Prevoir • (239) 257-4684 • pprevoir@coastalanglermagazine.com TAMPA BAY : Chuck Atkins • (239) 464-5153 • chuck@coastalanglermagazine.com TREASURE COAST : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com

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Catching Winter Cobia In The Keys By John Steinhorst

F

ebruary through April offers some of the most productive fishing of the year in the Florida Keys. An amazing variety of migratory fish species travel to the Keys as cold water temperatures push them south in the Gulf of Mexico and on the east coast. The most convenient place to base a Keys fishing adventure is directly out of Marathon, which comfortably rests in the middle of this tropical island chain. Marathon encompasses a unique collection of islands, creating the ideal boating and family destination with access to both ocean and gulf waters but far enough from the crowded streets of Key West. Capt. Chris Morrison, a 20-year Keys veteran who guides out of Marathon, enjoys hooking excited anglers up with these hungry migrating species, which include record-breaking cobia, king and Spanish mackerel, trophy sailfish and several species of jacks. Versatility is the name of the game, and options are abundant. Most often the best plan is to just decide where you want to fish, from the immense Gulf or blue ocean waters to the many reefs and wrecks surrounding the islands. Then be ready for anything when you get there. There are several techniques that work for each species, and Morrison utilizes a wide variety to keep his 8

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Temple Fork Outfitters’ Gary Loomis Inshore boat, although cobia sometimes swim with bull sharks and rays. Start drifting live shrimp back Series rods bending and his clients smiling. Live bait and jigs are most productive to with light monofilament leader and small hooks, ensure positive results. Pinfish and live shrimp and you are bound to get action from one of are among the easiest to obtain, since most local several species of snapper. If you start getting bit bait shops carry them. Deep jigs, such as butterfly off clean, add a piece of leader wire and you will types, and ¼- to 1-ounce bucktails are essential likely get hooked into a cero or king mackerel. to carry in your arsenal. For catching cobia, If you decide to fish the bay or gulf side of the present the pinfish on ocean-side wrecks and Keys island chain, you might want to anchor reefs as well as Gulf waters from 15 to 100 feet in 10 to 15 feet of water and hang that chum using the same rig for grouper down deep. Limit bag for landing Spanish mackerel. Head out to is one per person with a 33-inch size minimum. deeper Gulf waters and expect more cobia, king On sunny days, Morrison likes to spot cobia mackerel, and goliath and gag grouper. The with his polarized sunglasses from the tower of wintertime fishing action in the Florida Keys will his SeaVee boat above the reef line or in blue be sure to heat up your reel. If you need an expert light-tackle fishing water when a color change edge is present. When you see a cobia on the surface, cast the bait in guide, Capt. Chris Morrison has guided anglers front with no weight and at least 60-pound to more than 100 world records and received monofilament leader. Wire is usually necessary a Lifetime Achievement Award from the on your jigs as king, Spanish, and cero mackerel International Game Fishing Association. Visit are numerous throughout these prime fishing www.captchris.com for more info. grounds. John Steinhorst has contributed to many If you do not have a guide, the reef line on the ocean side from 25 to 40 feet is a good place publications during the last 20 years and can to start. Anchor and hang a chum bag over the be contacted at www.JohnSteinhorst.wix.com/ IslandMedia. side with ground-up frozen baitfish. Chum brings the For more Cobia fishing in the Keys, go to party to the back of your COASTALANGLERSALTWATER.COM

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Captain Fantastic.

How have so many of Marathon’s light-tackle guides achieved super-hero status? Because whether it’s tailers in the shallows, migrating tarpon out front or snook and redfish out back, our professional captains come to the rescue by putting you onto some amazing angling action. fla-keys.com/marathon 1.800.262.7284 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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RodsandReels Product Review AVET REELS SXJ 6/4 RAPTOR Since 1999, Avet Reels has been bringing to the market revolutionary reel designs that set the standard for performance. Their innovative SXJ 6/4 Raptor lever drag casting reel features Avet’s patented dual carbon fiber drag system, which produces twice the drag of the original Avet reels. The powerful system features adjustable strike pre-set and a strike stop button to prevent accidental advancement. The reel’s one-piece frame is precision machined 6061 T-6 marine grade aluminum with stainless steel components and is anodized for superior corrosion resistance. An offset machined handle arm reduces center-line profile and cranking wobble and is capped with a comfortable soft-touch handle knob. The two-speed transmission has a user-friendly shifting mechanism. Avet’s silent dog and gear anti-reverse system and M.C. Cast adjustable magnetic anti-backlash cast control system, both patented, are some of the most innovative and reliable in the industry. The SXJ 6/4 Raptor has nine stainless ball bearings, an alarm clicker and a light, narrow spool designed for optimal jig casting efficiency and less line leveling on the retrieve. It’s proudly made in the U.S.A.

CANYON REELS EX-80 TWO SPEED TROLLING REEL In case you hadn’t heard, Canyon Reels has redesigned its powerful EX-80 Two Speed Trolling Reel to give anglers the edge when pulling spreads for huge fish. The original EX-80 was extensively tested and matched up very well against the giants off the Northeast coast. When the captains made suggestions, Canyon listened, and the result is an even better EX-80, which features multiple upgrades that make it smoother, and easier to use. The EX-80 is a monster reel. It boasts a max drag of 105 pounds at strike and more than 155 pounds at full drag. A pre-set feature allows for accurate drag settings with an easy one-touch shifter. Upgrades include additional harness lugs that provide better balance control, an all new double drag system for drag runs that are even smoother than the original, and an oversized T-bar handle for additional cranking power. Several other improvements have also been made to increase the durability of this already remarkable reel. The end result is an incredibly smooth and user-friendly reel with the power to stop any fish in the ocean.

WWW.AVETREELS.NET

WWW.CANYONREELS.COM

ENIGMA HPT TITANIUM CASTING RODS

JP ROSS BEAVER MEADOW

Enigma Fishing is raising the bar on performance, while lowering the price point. Every aspect of their HPT Titanium Casting Rods were designed with extreme attention to detail. These high-performance tournament level rods are designed with premium, ultra-light Japanese Toray Carbon proprietary blend blanks. The HPT rods were designed and tested with input from professional anglers such as three-time Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year, Aaron Martens. Enigma Fishing has customized and precision balanced each individual HPT rod to be ultra functional, exceptionally beautiful and tailored to exacting actions and specifications demanded by today’s tournament anglers. All rods feature premium American Tackle components, including the multiaward winning MicroWave Line Control System, which increases casting distance and accuracy. The blank-through reel seats offer finger-to-blank contact for unparalleled sensitivity and incredible ergonomics and palmable comfort, while further reducing weight as well. Premium cork grips balance out each rod perfectly! Enigma Fishing’s new HPT series features a sleek black rod blank, cork handles, stylish purple wraps and chrome accents. Delivering technique-specific performance second-to-none, the all-new HPT series raises the bar for all others!

WWW.ENIGMAFISHING.COM

MUD HOLE TURNKEY INSHORE ROD KIT

The JP Ross Beaver Meadow is a fly rod meticulously designed to fish the beaver dams and plunge pools of small trout streams where an 11-inch fish is a trophy. That’s not to say this rod can’t handle an 18-inch brown on big water, but blue lines are where it shines. It is a short, sensitive rod with the feel needed for the gentlest of nibbles but enough power to reach out 50-plus feet with a hopper-dropper rig. The Beaver Meadow is available in a 5’ 2/3-weight, two-piece and a 6’6” 2/3-weight four-piece for fishing small streams with wet flies and dry flies. The 6’6” also has the ability to cast medium weighted streamers. The 7’6” 4-weight four-piece, the 7’9” 3-weight fourPhoto by Draper White piece, and the 8’0” 5-weight four-piece all have the shorter length required for tight quarters but the backbone to land larger fish and cast streamers and multi-fly rigs. JP Ross rods are custom-made by hand in Upstate New York. Each rod is made to order, so the details are exquisite, and components can be customized from the grip and reel seat to the guides and thread color. The Technology used to achieve this awesome balance of sensitivity and power is breakthrough technology, the joining of carbon fiber and fiberglass that JP Ross calls Carbon Silica Hybrid interface. It makes a beautiful casting and wonderfully sensitive rod.

WWW.JPROSSFLYRODS.COM

Mud Hole Custom Tackle is offering amazing value with its inshore fishing rod building kit. This turnkey kit includes everything you need to build your own custom inshore trout and redfish fishing rod. The kit features the extremely popular and versatile SJ842 rod blank. This 7’0” medium-light power rod features a fast action for throwing soft plastics and topwater lures at wary flats fish. Along with the blank, the kit includes a matched guide set, handle kit and everything from the CRB Wrapper, a CRB rod dryer and ProPaste and ProKote Rod Finish along with all the tools needed to build your own custom rod. This is a great set for the avid fisherman who wants to take his or her fishing to the next level. To get started custom building your own high quality rod, visit www.mudhole.com and check out all our Turn Key Kit options or simply Google: Mud Hole Turnkey.

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RodsandReels Product Review OKUMA KOMODO SS BAITCAST REELS

The original Komodo 350 size baitcast reel has been the recipient of tremendous accolades. It is considered an extremely tough reel and an excellent value. For 2017, the Komodo family welcomes the Komodo SS, featuring a new 450 size and stainless steel drive system. The Komodo SS is built around a heavy-duty stainless steel main gear, pinion gear, drive shaft and spool shaft to deliver an internal foundation of unrelenting strength and corrosion-resistance. Komodo SS reels use rigid, machined aluminum frame and spool, aluminum side plates, high-output Carbonite drag system capable of a maximum drag output of 30 pounds, and updated 6-pin Velocity Cast Control System. Performance features include six or seven (depending upon size) stainless steel High Performance Bearings, plus roller bearing, for outstanding corrosionresistance. The synchronized level-wind system does not disengage for casting, which allows it to maintain alignment at all times and eliminated drag pressure spikes when using braided lines. Bait clickers are standard on all models. The Komodo SS series includes two sizes, 350 and 450. The 350 size includes a 6.4:1 gear ratio and maximum drag output of 25 pounds. There are four models in the 350 size. The 450-size Komodo is available in a 6.3:1 gear ratio and a hyperfast 7.1:1 ratio. Komodo SS series baitcast reels are covered by the Okuma 3-Year Limited Warranty.

WWW.OKUMAFISHING.COM

UGLY STIK BIGWATER SERIES Ugly Stik has refreshed its iconic Bigwater series with all-new Ugly Tuff saltwater guides and an updated look. Beginning with Ugly Tech construction, the Bigwater series maintains the toughness for which all Ugly Stiks are known. One-piece Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides eliminate insert pop-outs and provide durability and corrosion resistance for those harsh saltwater applications. The Bigwater series retains the traditional Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for more strength at the tip of the rod. Comfortable EVA handles and conventional reel seats give anglers a non-slip, comfortable grip no matter the conditions. The fly, standup, downrigger/dipsy diver, surf, spinning and casting models have also been upgraded to include a standard seven-year limited warranty. Four Bigwater spinning combos and two trolling combos for downrigger applications are also available. The combos feature a graphite spinning reel, available in sizes 50, 60 and 70, and have a durable aluminum spool. The reel featured on the Bigwater downrigger combos is a size 30 line counter round reel with a metal handle and power knob.

PENN SLAMMER III The Penn Slammer III, which won Best of Show in the saltwater reel category at iCast 2016, is the reintroduction of the heavy-duty reel that has become trusted by charter captains around the world. Slammer III reels feature a new IPX6 Sealed System, which keeps water out of the gear box and drag system in heavy spray and sea conditions. An updated Slammer Drag System now utilizes a proprietary Dura-Drag material. With the computer-controlled CNC gear technology system, the precision brass main, pinion and oscillation gears are individually machined for exact tolerances to provide the smoothest operation. Eight models of the Slammer III are available, ranging in size from 3500 to 10500 models. Gear ratios range from 6.2:1 with 37 inches of line retrieve on the smaller reels to 4.2:1 with 43 inches of line retrieve on the largest. Maximum drags start at 30lbs in the smaller models and run to 60lbs on the largest. The oversized reel handle grip gives the angler added control during the fight. The 3500 Slammer III is the smallest of the family weighing 13.9oz while the 10500 weighs 43.1oz.

WWW.PENNFISHING.COM

DANCO BAIT STIK Danco’s Bait Stik is the original rod and reel combo developed specifically for catching bait with a sabiki rig, and it is still the best. The rod in this combo is 7’3” and features two-piece construction with an extra-hard phenolic tip for superior strength and extreme sensitivity. Comfortable EVA grips and a gimbal butt with cover means anglers will be yanking bait from the water with ease. Anyone who has ever tried to store a sabiki rigs knows the frustration of attempting to keep them from becoming a tangled mess. With the Bait Stik, that is not a problem. While not in use, the sabiki rig can be safely and conveniently stored inside the rod, which is a huge plus. The combo comes with either a casting or spinning reel. The spinning reel comes with an anodized aluminum spool, a graphite body and rotor and an oversized eggshaped knob. The casting reel has an aluminum body and side covers, brass gearing and a star drag. Catching bait has never been so easy. When the bait tank is full, rinse everything down with fresh water, store the sabiki rig in the rod and forget about it. Look for the Danco Bait Stik in your tackle store.

WWW.SHAKESPEARE-FISHING.COM

OCEAN 2 RIVER TOURNAMENT COMBO

ZEBCO BIG CAT SERIES Zebco is launching an impressive offering of beefedup rods and reels called “Big Cat” to accommodate serious value-minded anglers who passionately pursue catfish. The spincast reels are built with a titanium nitride plated stainless steel spinnerhead to add durability and reduce friction. Big Cat XT conventional-style reels will likely be the top pick for the most avid trophy hunters from the Mississippi River to Santee Cooper and all waters in between. Two conventional reels will be offered. The Big Cat XT 30 conventional trolling reel will hold 455 yards of 30-pound test. The Big Cat XT 350 round baitcasting reel holds 200 yards of 20-pound test. Worth noting is that a headlamp handy for nighttime catfishing will be free to consumers who purchase rods and reels within the very affordable Big Cat and Big Cat XT series.

WWW.ZEBCO.COM

Ocean 2 River (O2R) Tournament spinning combos are designed to perform to the exacting standards of serious tournament anglers while standing up to the grueling conditions and treatment offered up by hard-core fishermen in the marine environment. The IM-7 fast action graphite rods come with Seaguide Atlas Performance aluminum oxide guides, comfortable cork split grips and a graphite reel seat with a cork inlay and cushioned stainless steel hoods. These rods combine strength with sensitivity and excellent casting power. They are available in medium and medium heavy weights to suit a range of line and lure weights. The reels feature a solid aluminum frame, graphite side covers and rotor and a double anodized aluminum spool to stand up to the saltwater environment. A 5.1:1 gear ratio is suitable for fishing a wide range of lures all day long without wearing out the angler’s wrists and hands. Stainless ball bearings and a comfortable oversized T-knob provide for longer casts, smoother drag runs and comfort while fighting fish. Look for the O2R combo and other fine Danco products in your tackle store.

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ON THE COVER

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Editor’s Note:

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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE The Florida Keys, Marathon

FREE

BIG BEND EDITION

The February edition of Coastal Angler Magazine features a cover image of Capt. James Platt with a 35-pound cobia he landed onboard a SeaVee boat about 10 miles out from Marathon’s Tarpon Creek Marina on the ocean side of the Florida Keys. The photo was provided by Capt. Chris Morrison of Keys Light Tackle Fishing Charters, who Local was fishing with Platt when they caught a limit of cobia, along with king mackerel, mangrove snapper and grouper. Morrison uses medium-heavy, Gary Loomis-designed Inshore Series rods from Temple Fork Outfitters along with 30-pound test Cortland Master Braid line to handle cobia and many species he targets in winter months. Home to the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge, Marathon is a group of tropical islands perfectly situated in the middle of the Florida Keys island chain. This ideal boating and family destination offers easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, Everglades and Gulf of Mexico waters for an amazing diversity. Wintertime in the Florida Keys means anglers see large numbers of migratory fish such as cobia, king and Spanish mackerel, wahoo, sailfish and blackfin tuna pushed down from colder northern waters. Marathon is an excellent destination to base your Keys vacation for an unforgettable adventure. See writer John Steinhorst’s article on winter and early spring fishing out of Marathon in this month’s issue. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 265

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Ice Fishing On Golden Pond, New Hampshire

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This month’s cover image for The Angler Magazine was taken by Chuck Fritz on the ice at Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. Old Timers might remember the 1981 movie “On Golden Pond.” It was filmed on Squam Lake, and the most interesting storyline in the film had to be the cantankerous Local character Norman’s obsession with catching a humongous rainbow trout named Walter. Squam Lake looks a lot different with a layer of ice over it than it does in the movie, which was shot in the summer. The fishing is still good, though. Just ask Tim Moore, the ice fishing guide who was photographed for the cover with a pretty yellow perch he caught through a hole in the ice. The ice fishing season on Squam and nearby Lake Winnipesaukee generally runs from January through March each year, and anglers target giant white perch and lake trout as well as smallmouth bass, crappie, sunfish and yellow perch. If there’s anyone out there who knows where Walter is hiding after all these years, it has to be Tim. See Tim’s story inside this months issue and check out his website at www.timmooreoutdoors.com. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 264

F R A N C H I S E

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MERCURY MARINE’S VESSELVIEW MOBILE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

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ercury Marine’s VesselView Mobile app is now available for free download on the App Store and Google Play in North America. Available for iOS and Android mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, the VesselView Mobile app instantly provides users access to their boat’s SmartCraft digital data in the palm of their hand. The product recently won a prestigious IBEX innovation award. The VesselView Mobile module, which is needed to fully utilize the app, is available for purchase at participating Mercury Marine dealers, from the VesselView Mobile app or on www.vesselviewmobile.com. The product is compatible with all Mercury SmartCraftcapable engines built since 2003. One module supports single through quad engine applications. SmartCraft is a fully integrated suite of digital technologies, including marine gauges, sensors, vessel systems and computercontrolled features, giving users a higher level of control over their boat’s propulsion and electrical systems. Now, with Mercury Marine’s VesselView Mobile, users can see SmartCraft engine data right on the screen of their mobile device. The app also includes useful new features such as Fuel Information, Maintenance Reminders, Mapping, Performance Summary, and Fault Code Diagnostics. VesselView Mobile makes preparing for and spending a day on the water easier, safer 14

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and more enjoyable by letting users perform the following functions from their mobile device: • Connect to the SmartCraft data network in your boat from your iOS or Android mobile device via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0) • See SmartCraft engine parameters like engine hours, fuel burn, water temperature, battery voltage, RPM, etc. (parameters available are specific to each engine family). • Get fault code diagnostic information so you know and understand if that fault is something to be addressed when you return to the dock, or is more urgent. • Fuel Management provides accurate fuel usage data along with fuel remaining plus indicates time and distance to empty when the user enters fuel added via the app. • Locate your nearest Mercury Marine dealer • Get points of interest information for your body of water, including fuel and restaurant locations, and more • Record a moment on the water for future reference • Access checklists associated with your boating lifestyle • Get maintenance reminders and access historical maintenance information logs. Mercury Marine’s VesselView Mobile app also provides users with a Web-based account that gives them and their preferred dealer app and module will be on display at the 2017 an even deeper connection to their boat. The Miami International Boat Show.

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Core Concepts Make

Ice Fishing Easier By Tim Moore

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pending hours on a frozen lake isn’t easy. Your body works overtime just to stay warm. Then, add the activity level that often accompanies ice fishing, such as drilling or chiseling holes and chasing tip up flags, and it can be downright exhausting. The degree of difficulty extreme cold temperatures add to fishing is what keeps most people from trying ice fishing. While there is a ton of gear designed to make ice fishing easier, core concepts, such as efficiency and mobility go a long way to make ice fishing easy enough for even the most warm blooded people. When you strengthen your core muscles with exercise, you train the rest of your 16

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muscles to work in harmony, which leads to better balance and stability. The same can be said for ice fishing. Exercising core concepts on a regular basis not only improves technique and lure control, but ice fishing actually becomes easier. The hottest new lures and trending techniques might catch a few fish, but they do little to improve your ability as an angler, especially when everything is frozen. Efficiency is arguably the foundation of any core. A highly efficient ice angler accomplishes more tasks in a shorter amount of time, and therefore catches more fish. Being efficient means eliminating unnecessary steps. Fewer steps means more time fishing, and more time fishing means more fish caught. Every second you spend with your line out of the water is time spent not catching fish. Efficiency begins off the ice. There are many things you can do before you leave your house that will make you more efficient. Start by leaving equipment and lures you won’t need at home. If you’re going fishing for panfish and you have larger rods mixed in with panfish rods, you will have extra gear to deal with on the ice. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you’re fishing in subzero temperatures and the rods you need get tangled with the rods you don’t need. Rigging multiple rods with different lures before you leave your house will also reduce steps on the ice. Then you can cycle through pre-rigged rods rather than tie new jigs in the cold, wind or snow. Have you ever seen the deck of a tournament bass angler’s boat? They have many rods rigged with different lures so they don’t have to re-tie while they are fishing. The same goes for ice fishing, especially when it’s freezing out. The work you do at home pays off on the ice, but there is more you can do while fishing to make things easier, such as putting gear back in its place when you’re not using it. Then when you want to move you have less equipment to put away. Sometimes we are so

excited to get fishing that we tend to lay gear on the ice when we are done using it rather than put it back where it belongs. By the time we decide to move there is gear all over the place, which makes moving harder. The Godfather of modern ice fishing Dave Genz always says, “If it’s easy you’ll do it.” Focus on ways to make everything easier and you will be more productive. The little things add up. Just as backpackers try to shave ounces off their packs to make hiking easier, successful ice anglers are always trying to shave off unnecessary tasks to make fishing easier. The equipment you use also contributes to your efficiency. A Vexilar sonar flasher removes a lot of the guesswork. Figuring out if there are fish under you and their depth could take hours without a flasher. A sonar flasher is easy to use. It will instantly show you the entire water column including the bottom, your jig, and anything else that shows up under you, such as a fish. All in real time! Clam Outdoors makes a number of items specifically designed to make certain tasks easier on the ice. Prices range from a few dollars into the $1,000 range. The simple lowcost products often make a big difference. The Clam Can allows you to carry bait in your pocket. Not a big thing, but it makes a huge difference when it’s cold. Rod Slicks keep ice rods from getting tangled, and Fish Trap shelters get you out of the cold quickly and allow you to move around easier. The parts all have a sum that equals success. Mobility is another important core element of ice fishing. Mobility allows you to cover more water, which allows you to put your lure in front of more fish. Think of ice fishing the same way you do when open water fishing. We rarely head out onto the water and cast in the same spot over and over again. Ice fishing is no different. Every hole you drill is a cast. Make more casts and you’ll catch more fish. If you make a lot of casts in an area and don’t catch anything, move to another area and repeat. Give yourself a time limit, and don’t stay in the same area if you’re not catching fish. Ice Fishing doesn’t have to be cold and difficult. Core concepts that make ice fishing easier also make it more fun. Establish a routine and it will become second nature. By constantly thinking of ways to strengthen your core, you make ice fishing easier. Before you know it, you will be catching more fish than ever before. And who doesn’t love catching more fish? Tim Moore is a full-time licensed fishing guide in New Hampshire. He owns Tim Moore Outdoors and the New England Ice Fishing Academy. For more information visit www. TimMooreOutdoors.com. For more Tim Moore, go to

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Introducing the Element F21: As low as $25,499* Our largest center console to date, we designed the new Element F21 to be three things; fishable, versatile and affordable. We started with our proven M-Hull™ design, giving it a deeper entry for even more seaworthiness. Then we gave it the features anglers demand to make sure it was serious about catching fish—plus options should you choose to expand your activities. Its most attractive feature could be its price. Shop if you must… we’re pretty sure you’ll end up here. Go to bayliner.com to learn more.

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or those seeking ultimate enjoyment at one of the world’s largest and greatest boat shows, the VIP Experience is the hot ticket for the 2017 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Feb. 16-20. In its second year at the iconic Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, the show will offer more boats, large yachts, marine product debuts, transportation options, dining and fun than ever before. There will be excitement for everyone, but those who prefer more of an upscale experience should treat themselves to the VIP Experience. With ticket packages ranging from $70 to $100 per day, guests will enjoy exclusive access to

the VIP Lounge aboard a 111-foot luxury yacht docked at Pier 9 among more than 100 of the biggest and most extravagant motor, cruising and super yachts ever displayed at the show. The VIP Experience includes upscale dining and beverage service, live music daily, an air conditioned indoor lounge, an open sky deck with stunning views, private restrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and an array of complimentary services and luxury product displays. All of this comes on top of what the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show is recognized for: a worldclass boat-show experience for more than 100,000 attendees and exhibitors. This year’s show will be the best ever. Organizers anticipate more than 1,300 new boats on display with more new model debuts than ever before. What’s more, the number of boats in-water is expanding to an estimated 550 boats and yachts— all located in the show’s state-of-the-art marina. From sport fishing boats and high performance boats, to personal watercraft and wake sport boats, family cruisers and luxury yachts, there is something for every lifestyle. The show will also once again offer sea trials, where shoppers can take boats out for a spin. This year, more boat exhibitors will participate, giving boat buyers a chance to test-drive a number of options. And be sure to come hungry and thirsty. A highlight of the 2017 show is an enhanced food and beverage program featuring more than 150 options ranging from luxe to casual fare. Whether you choose to come by water taxi, shuttle bus or car, the show offers seamless transportation to and from the show as well as ample and convenient parking options. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the show. Regular admission packages range from $25 to $100 for multiple days, and children younger than 15 are free. For more information, go to www.MiamiBoatShow.com. To learn more about last years boat show, go to

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AN AUTUMN SAIL STORY By Michael Landress

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e blasted through the Boynton Inlet on the first full day of fall and set lines in 33 fathoms near one of the many reefs just a short pelican’s glide offshore. It was ramp-to-reef in minutes for the five of us, Capt. Chris Lemieux, Carson, Jeff, Mike and his father-in-law, Joe. It’s one of the many perks we enjoy fishing out of Boynton Beach, also known as the Gateway to the Gulf Stream. Our goal this day was modest, to catch and release Florida’s premier game fish for our senior angler, Joe. During his 84 years, Joe had never battled a sailfish. Unfortunately, any hope of doing so on the reef was quickly trammeled by a school of ravenous rainbow runners that pillaged our lively baits at an astonishing rate. A relative of the greater amberjack, rainbows are feisty on hook and line, but offered no food value for the men of this vainglorious crew. We decided to run farther offshore into deeper water to hunt the harlequin green and yellow denizens of the deep—dolphin! After a short run on a flat

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sea, we arrived at a large patch of pelagic weed drifting in 800 feet of 86-degree water. Baitfish soon rained down upon the blue water after being violently wacked from a cozy dip net by the well-placed palm of our determined captain. After a few minutes, it became evident this seemingly perfect, floating asylum harbored zilch predators. Then, a dark silhouette suddenly appeared against the morning glare 50 feet from the bow of the Conch Cruiser. Shark or marlin I thought. “Sail, sail, sail!” we screamed like school boys. It was Florida’s fish, the sleek marauder that we sought earlier on the reef. As she laggardly cruised on the surface with sail raised, Chris pitched a live threadfin herring a few feet in front of her… a perfect cast. Enticed by the presentation, she gobbled the bait and the fight was on. Lit-up and furiously angry, she raced across the ocean at warp speed. Chris barked for Joe to take the rod, and the grizzled angler complied. After 20 arduous minutes, first mate Carson captured leader and the billfish was free. Underwater GOPRO footage indicated a successful release as her large symmetrical tail propelled her into the depths. There is no photographic evidence of Joe’s multiple naps later that day, but more importantly a fine and weary man was able to complete one of the items on his (chum) bucket list: dueling an autumn sail! For a great sailfish catch fight, go to

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By Gene Dyer

and deep drop fishing for yelloweye snapper, blackfin snapper, queen snapper and mystic grouper. Even when the east winds are howling in the spring and summer months, comfortable fishing conditions exist on the leeward side of the island. When the wind lays down, The Bridge is a short 16-mile run from the marina. The Bridge runs from the southern tip of Eleuthera to the northern tip of Little San Salvador. It’s a 9-mile underwater ledge that averages depths of 200 feet between the two islands with drop offs to 800 feet on the Exuma Sound side and 3,000 feet on the Atlantic Ocean side. Big wahoo, dolphin and yellowfin tuna can be expected here, and you never know when a blue marlin will show up in your spread. The resort offers world class accommodations in the form of 14 two-story, luxury villas with views of both the sunrise and sunset. There is also a well-stocked ship’s store, a new waterfront restaurant, bar and swimming pool. The marina is a state-of-the-art, Blue Flag awarded facility with average depths of 12 to 14 feet that is flushed on every tide making the waters crystal clear. All slips have 30 and 50 amp power and water with dockage for vessels up to 200 feet. There’s a full fuel dock with both gasoline and diesel. Pump out services are also available. Getting here is relatively easy, as there are several carriers with daily flights to and from Nassau. From Nassau, it’s a very short flight to Rock Sound, which is just 30 miles from the cape. Both Bahamas Air and Pineapple Air offer service to and from Rock Sound several days a week. Watermakers Air offers direct service from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to and from Rock Sound four times per week. From Rock sound, a cab ride will cost you about $70. There are also car rentals available. The Stuart Sailfish Club, in its 75th year, has announced a Flotilla to Cape Eleuthera for May 5 to May 14. Fifteen member boats have already signed up. If you would like to participate in the Flotilla to the cape, you must be a member of the club. Family memberships are available for just $200. For more information, visit the club’s website at www.stuartsailfishclub.com. For more information on the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, go to www. capeeleuthera.com.

ESCAPE TO THE CAPE

T

hose living in South Florida are fortunate to have Bimini and West End, Grand Bahama a short boat ride from the shoreline. But there’s an undiscovered jewel of the Out Islands within reach for those looking for something more. Just 56 miles southeast of Nassau, lies the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina. From bonefish on the flats to blue marlin on The Bridge, this special place is no less than paradise. Just outside the marina in the Exuma Sound, you will find some of the best yellowtail snapper fishing on the planet, consistent gaffer dolphin action

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SWIMMING WITH SHARKS

can systematically decimate their food sources by feeding so much in one area that they permanently impact the ability of that food source to regenerate. Sharks act as a regulatory body in these instances through their mere presence. Just by having a shark around, fish and other animals are forced to expand their hunting or grazing grounds and seek out food over larger areas, where their impact will be less dramatic. Sharks play such an integral role to the health of marine ecosystems that studies have found a decline in their populations results in a correlating decline of many commercially significant fish species, including those, like tuna, that are a favorite on our dinner plates. Without sharks in our local waters, we would not be able to enjoy the wide variety of fish species and marine animals that we take for granted. As anglers, there are easy ways to “fish friendly” Photo by Melissa Johnson • A scuba diver watches as two when it comes to sharks. If you’re fishing from shore, try Lemon Sharks swim by on a local reef. to keep the shark in water as you release it so they can maintain a constant flow of water through their gills. If very February at Pura Vida Divers, we dedicate a month to it’s hard to remove a hook from the shark, it’s better to cut the line than shedding light onto one of our favorite, but often overlooked, marine animals: sharks. As scuba divers and nature enthusiasts, we spend more time exerting yourself and stressing the animal. Using non-stainless circle hooks helps lower the longevity of the hook rely on this keystone species to help hold in place the precious balance of underwater, which is beneficial to hammerheads and other species that life that allows our coral reef systems to thrive. Sharks are an easy scapegoat, portrayed by films and most media as are particularly susceptible to exhaustion during catch and release. Helping preserve shark populations is one step towards ensuring aggressive predators. In reality, sharks play an important role policing and that the activities and ecosystems we enjoy today remain healthy for even strengthening the populations of their prey. Sharks are opportunistic predators that feed on old, weakened or generations to come. If you’re interested in learning more about sharks or conservation sick fish. This in turn ensures that only the healthiest members of a fish population reproduce, overall strengthening a species gene pool. efforts, we invite you to join us on Friday, Feb. 24 for a fascinating Similarly, by targeting prey made weaker by disease, sharks help prevent presentation by Angela Smith of Shark Team One. The event will be hosted at Pura Vida Divers, and details can be found on our website at the rapid spreading of that disease through a school. If fish or other marine species thrive without a predatory threat, they www.puravidadivers.com.

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Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, and the northernmost point of the South Florida Reef, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways and natural environment make it a mecca for fishermen and nautical explorers year-round. An array of unique shops, fine restaurants, great golf courses and quiet beaches make a day ashore fun, too. Inshore, offshore, salt water or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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Center sp By Richard L. Matteson Jr.
 Stuart Rod & Reel Club Staff

Don’t Chase Rust, Protect Your Gear! Save your Fishing Rods, Reels, Tackle Boxes & Especially your Boat!

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ading puts you in the water with the fish. You are now part of their element, and this gives you an advantage over a noisy boat with a motor or trolling motor and anglers bumping around on it. As a wader you can silently fish under piers and under mangrove branches where boats can’t go or even approach without spooking the fish. Winds and Tide When you wade the lagoon, you need to know the tide and the wind. You don’t want to fish during a slack tide, and you might not want to fish if it’s too windy. You might want to fish out of the wind or with the wind at your back. The tide determines if you fish shallow or deep as well as where the fish are.

Finding Fish 
As you enter the water, start looking for signs of bait and fish activity. Look for birds on the water or over the water. Use search lures like C.A.L. jigs that can be cast and retrieved quickly and cover a lot of water area. Use heavier jigs in windy conditions. Move quickly without making noise. Vary the speed of retrieve. Fast retrieves in the top of the water column catch ladyfish, jacks and snook, but you might miss trout, redfish and flounder. When you find fish, slow down and fish the area carefully.

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Areas To Wade The South Indian River Lagoon The South Indian River area I fish stretches from Vero Beach to Stuart. The Bridges: Fort Pierce has two bridges. The north bridge has a boat ramp on the east side from which you can wade, and there’s an area across the bridge from Little Jim’s on either side of the second boat ramp. The south Fort Pierce bridge has an area on the east side that stretches to the inlet. South of the bridge on the west side is a fishing area. In Stuart, the north bridge (Jensen Causeway) can be waded on either side and the same is true of the south Stuart bridge (Earnest Lyons). There are two bridges on the St. Lucie River, but they are hard to access for waders. The Shoreline: My favorite wading areas are Walton Road (Port St. Lucie), Walton Scrub, Midway (Ft. Pierce), and Wilcox Road (Vero Beach). On the east side there’s Herman’s Bay (PSL) and Bear Point (Ft. Pierce). 
Be Respectful Remember the pier owners have the access rights to their piers and don’t want waders parking along the pier areas without permission because it blocks their view of the lagoon. 

Happy wading! For more wading in the Indian River Lagoon, go to

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Chasing Big Bulls In BC By Cam Sigler Jr.

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ack in 2014, I went north of the Canadian border to fish for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout with Gordon Silverthorne, who owns the Kootenay Fly Shop in Fernie, British Columbia. This area west of Calgary is littered with good waters. I have taken large groups up to fish the Elk and surrounding rivers with him. It was on these trips that I found myself focused on catching bull trout. Big bulls on a fly became my quest. I had caught many, up to nine in a day, but had yet to break the 27-inch mark. Bull trout are in the char family with brook trout and Dolly Varden. They range from northern parts of California and Nevada in the south to the Northern Territories of Canada and East to Montana and Alberta. They can grow in excess of 40 inches long and to weights heavier than 30 pounds. They migrate up and down systems based on food sources and into feeder creeks to spawn. They typically inhabit waters that stay under 59 degrees and are one of the most sensitive of the chars, requiring pristine waters to thrive. They are recognized as endangered in most states and protected in most systems in the provinces. A bull trout of 12 pounds might be 10 years old. I was back in Fernie in 2015 chasing trout with a few friends. As usual, we had good fishing for beautiful cutthroats, but I was chasing bulls. We spent a few days on the Elk River and caught a few bulls longer than 20 inches, but not in great numbers. My attention turned to a small pristine river south of Fernie called the Wigwam. In the past I had sent anglers from my groups there, but because of limited daily access, I had not fished it myself. Access is difficult. From the parking area, it’s 800 feet down to the river. It’s a hang-onto-trees steep. It reminded me of some streams I guided in Alaska, cold and clear enough to see pebbles 20 feet deep. The first hole was full of bull trout. After many casts, I landed one longer than 30 inches. As a group, we

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caught many cutts that averaged about 16 inches and juvenile bulls of the 19-inch variety. In conversation, Gordon spoke of the nearby Kootenay River bull trout fishery and about setting up an operation there. The Kootenay is a glacial-fed river formed by runoff and feeder streams primarily out of Kootenay National Park above Cranbrook, Canada. I told him to count me in for an expedition that fall. It didn’t happen because of a landslide in the river’s headwaters that blew the river out for an entire season. It’s tough to fish a fly without visibility. Because of water levels and clarity, the window for fly fishing the Kootenay is about six weeks in fall, if you are lucky. I finally got my chance to fish it in late October of 2016. Author Tom Boyd, who is writing a book on all the char species, and I made the 6-hour drive north from my second home in Washington to a tent camp Gordon and big-game outfitter Eric Grinnell had erected on the river. The camp was great, complete with a stove in every tent and a generator for lights. It was located a good distance between put-in points, and we saw only four other boats over three days. The four of us had a terrific time. We saw a few deer on the river and kept an eye out for grizzly and black bears but saw no evidence of them. I did wake one night to the sound of wolves howling in the distance. Water levels dropped over the three days we fished, and the water cleared even more. The weather was clear and cold. The fishing is primarily from 16-foot boats with outboard jet pumps. The river is braided and skinny in places, so the driver must pay attention. It is glacial fed and there are quarter-mile log jams on the banks. When this river is running 15 feet above the level we fished at, it must be roaring. This is a 7- to 9-weight show with sink tips. I have caught many bulls dead drifting a rabbit strip or synthetic-based fly that swims with this method. This trip, stripping seemed to work the best. We

were on the tail end of the kokanee salmon spawn. Once spawned out, these landlocked sockeye salmon float downriver, and the bull trout key on the spent fish. So we threw lots of 10-inch flies. Bull trout are very aggressive and opportunistic. They have to be in these systems. Bulls can move daily, but once we found them in a section they readily took most flies we threw. Bull trout, like many trout, like structure. Snags, logs, and big rocks in the river often hold them. I caught the biggest fish of our trip on the last cast of the last day in a tail out. It topped 29 inches and took a crawfish pattern I tie for smallmouth. We caught a few juvenile bulls in the 19-inch range and a few cutthroat, but our average bull trout was about 23 inches. I saw a few fish that were clearly bigger than our biggest catch. My guess is there are bulls in the Kootenay pushing the 40-inch mark. The largest we heard of on a fly weighed about 30 pounds. The bull trout fishery in the U.S. and Canada is fragile. I suggest chasing them sooner than later. If you decide to fish the Kootenay next fall, look for the guy holding up the 35-inch fish. Hopefully that’s me, as I will keep going back. For information or to set up a trip, contact Gordon Silverthorne at info@kootenayflyshop.com.

For more Bull Trout Fishing in BC, go to

FISHORDIE.CO

1/18/17 2:08 PM


A WINTER WADE

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik • Photo Courtesy of My Coast Outdoors

A FLY FISHING

s we idled away from the dock on a mild mid-winter morning, we all anticipated that telltale thump of a solid wintertime trout. Although the fall and winter weather had been mild, the big trout had already started finding their way to the normal winter feeding areas where we hoped to intercept them. Armed with slow-sinking soft plastics, we were confident we would be giving our cameras a workout on this trip. As we quietly drifted into our first and what would be our only stop of the day, we noticed a lone angler had beat us to our target area. Showing him the

CHOOSING A SALTWATER FLY ROD

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hoosing the right fly rod is a personal choice. There are so many rods and various rod actions (fast, moderate, tip flex, full flex, slow etc.) that selecting a rod can be very confusing. It’s confusing to me, and I live a breathe this stuff! Rod Length: 9 feet or Shorter? In most saltwater fly fishing situations the 9-foot rod is standard. It provides enough length to keep a back cast off the water, to pick up fly line off the water to redirect a cast and is the best option for making longer casts. However, in recent years many companies have developed wonderful fly rods that are much shorter and can cast with the best 9-footers on the market. The new short rods are 7 to 8 feet in length and have a moderate (slow) action. The combination of a shorter rod and slower action make these rods a deadly tool when casting larger flies and poppers at close range. Fly fishing for redfish, baby tarpon or other fish that hold tight to cover does not require long casts. And when making short cast, the short rod is a more accurate tool. The Grip And Feel Find a fly rod that feels good while you’re holding it. The feel can be the difference between casting the rod well and not. I have picked up some very high-end rods with grips that felt like tree trunks. I believe a grip with a narrower diameter is best because it allows you to feel the rod load much better. Rod Guides The guides on a fly rod are an important part of the overall

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courtesy he deserved, we anchored up short of the sweet spot and made our first wade out deeper. We pecked away at some mediumsized specks and kept an eye on the lone angler who we felt had the upper hand based on location. We watched him land one trout before he boarded his skiff and slowly idled out of the area. Although we had more action in deeper water than he had up shallow, we still decided to ease into our original planned area as the rising sun increased the water temp on the shallow flat. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the baitfish became more active and helped fine tune our target areas to cast. The water here was shin deep and clear with the bottom structure composed of soft mud with abundant grass and potholes. Using a white, slow-sinking paddle shad, I was slowly swimming it across the flat, pausing to let it slowly descend, and then I’d continue the retrieve and repeat. On one pause, I felt that telltale solid thump and then listened to the drag scream after the hookset. They were here! This was our first solid fish of the day, a thick-shoulder 6-pound trout. After a quick photo and release, we continued to ease down the shoreline sight casting to potholes or mullet. The next strike was hit and run, with the fish staying low and burning drag. After spinning me around a few times, I landed a solid upper-slot red. After several hours on this wade, I finally saw what I had been looking for, fleeing mullet at the edge of a pothole. A few cranks of the reel handle and I was hooked up. Not what I anticipated, but it was a medium-sized trout. I made a second cast to the same pothole, reeled my lure to the far edge and as soon as it paused it was inhaled! This trout sent foaming water sailing through the air while shaking her massive head. She tail walked four times before I had her close enough to verify her true size. The icing on the cake, an 8-pound trout in clear shin-deep water on a south Texas grass flat. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com. For more wading in the Texas winter waters, go to

PEACEFULWATERS.CO performance. Many rods today are equipped with flexible snake guides, better known as REC Recoil guides, that are lighter than standard snake guides. These REC guides allow the rod to flex between the stripping guides’ footings for a more efficient transfer of energy during the cast. These REC guides add to the rod’s casting performance, creating greater line speed. Another added bonus to these REC guides is they will bend and not break if bumped on a boat rail. Rod Action Rod actions vary greatly. It’s kind of comparing apples and oranges. Some anglers prefer a fast action; some prefer a moderate action. There are benefits to both, but for the beginning or intermediate fly angler, a moderate action rod is the best choice. A moderate action rod will cover a wide spectrum of casting situations and is easier to cast and cast efficiently into a stiff wind. These rods also load a fly line using more of the fly rods taper, making it easier for the angler to feel the rod load. You can always purchase a fast action rod down the road as your skills progress. Rod Balance So, now that you have picked out that perfect saltwater stick, ask yourself… How does it feel in my hand? Is the rod tip heavy? Is the rod butt heavy? Does the rod feel too heavy overall? Too light? These are all question that need to be answered. The best rod is the one that feels well balanced from tip to butt. Balance the rod on your index finger at the top of the full wells grip. A well-balanced rod will balance evenly on your index finger. This is a fly rod’s sweet spot. It will be the optimum place for the thumb of your casting hand every time you cast.

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

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1/18/17 2:08 PM


GREATER MIAMI GREATER MIAMI February 2017

www.coastalanglermag.com/miami

FEBRUARY 16-20, 2017 MIAMI MARINE STADIUM PARK & BASIN

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO CATCH? One of the questions I get most often is: “What can I expect to catch”? The truth is that fishing and what we target revolves around conditions. During February, we typically do a lot of live bait fishing for sailfish, dolphin, kingfish, and tuna. Unfortunately, some of these fish can be hard to find when the conditions aren’t favorable. Ideally, we are looking for winds from a northerly or easterly quadrant, clean blue water, and a strong north current. Occasionally, we run out to the fishing grounds to find green water and little to no current. What happens next? We could go through the motions but the results may not be as favorable as we’d like. The best option in this scenario is to switch game plans and fish deeper over reefs and wrecks that don’t get hit as often. Exactly what you catch depends largely on how deep and the type of bottom you drop on. You’ll have to plan this ahead of time so that you can bring along the right tackle and bait. I normally carry at least two

stout bottom rods rigged with 50-65 lb. braided line and a lighter outfit rigged also rigged with braided line. It is also important to carry a variety of heavy and light wire circle hooks, leader material from 50-80 lb. test, and various sizes of swivels. Some of the fish you might find include but are not limited to various species of snapper, grouper, tilefish, and jacks. It is important to know what you might find at a spot before you drop on it. If you’re targeting tilefish you’ll want to try dropping in depths from 300’ to 700’ and look for soft muddy bottom. Tilefish are caught close to the bottom on squid or other types of strip baits. Because tilefish are found so deep many anglers prefer to target them using electric reels but with todays’ lines and high speed reels, many are catching them on conventional tackle. More common targets of the deep are snapper, grouper, and jacks. Nothing can save a charter trip like a hard fighting AJ. Although many local anglers take them for granted,

these fish are a great sport, especially for those new to saltwater fishing. All of the jack species (amberjack, almaco jack, and yellow jack) will aggressively eat live bait and artificials like vertical jigs. The best places to find these fish is over high relief structure in depths from about 180’-400’. The key is to drop your bait up current of the structure and drift back over the fish. If you’re using live bait you’ll need to use enough lead to keep the bait near the bottom and a leader of at least 20’. Your bait should be tied to a beefy 7/0 or 8/0 circle hook. Snapper and grouper are often caught using similar techniques with a couple differences. First, snapper and grouper are often found a bit shallower in depths from 120’-280’. Second, unlike jacks, snapper and grouper tend to stray away from the structure and often are found around smaller reefs, wreck, and areas of hard bottom. Use these tips and techniques and avoid getting skunked when you run into less than ideal conditions. You might not catch a sailfish

or slammer dolphin but you might be rewarded with a great dinner and a great battle. Again, the key is to leave the dock prepared for anything that may come your way. Well, that’s pretty much it for right now. I will be conducting several fishing seminars at the Bass Pro Shops in Miami. Topics, dates, and times will be announced both on my FACEBOOK page and website (link below). Also, don’t forget that you can keep up with all of the action by following us on FACEBOOK, Instagram, and Twitter. If you like watching some of the action, be sure to check out my YOUTUBE page for the latest video additions.

Capt. Orlando Muniz Nomad Fishing Charters www.fishingchartermiami.com (786) 266-0171

Sponsors and friends: Mercury Marine, Bass Pro Shops, Offshore Angler, Tracker Marine, Gray Taxidermy, Baitmasters, Orca Coolers, SeaDek, Costa Del Mar, and Yo-Zuri.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM ANGLERMAG.COM FEBRUARY MIAMI 1 FISHING FORECASTS & TIPS • TIDE TABLES • EVENTS •• THE CAPTAIN’S CORNER • EN2017 ESPAÑOL!


FISHING THE EVERGLADES

Greater Miami Publisher’s Corner With a new year also come new things, we have launched our mini-website! Make sure to log on to find updates on events, outdoor activities and much more: www. coastalanglermag.com/miami February is great month with the Miami International Boat Show. This big event will take place at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin. We hope to see all our readers and advertisers there! Scott and Monica Deal Like us on Facebook and follow us on instagram @coastalanglermagazinemiami

2 MIAMI

FEBRUARY 2017

I hope everyone is off to a good start in 2017and getting out on the water. The last few weeks I have spent most of my time fishing Everglades National Park out of Flamingo and Chokoloskee, but have also squeezed in a few night trips chasing snook and tarpon in Miami. So far, the New Year has brought us some mild weather in South Florida, which most of the time means a lot of action from our targeted species. Although we are still a couple of cold fronts away from having a good strong shrimp run in Miami, there has been some shrimp flowing through Biscayne Bay out to the cuts. The last few weeks I have fished the bridges in Miami with clients that wanted to target tarpon with a fly rod. The tarpon will stack up underneath the bridges waiting for the tide to bring them their next meal. This style of fishing is one of the most exciting ways to fish for tarpon because of the vicious

bites and epic battles you can with the lights of downtown Miami in the background. You get to sight fish these tarpon and they will devour anything that looks like a shrimp to them. I like throwing a Shiminnow style fly on a 1/0 or 2/10 hook. What a lot of people don’t realize in South Florida is how good the fishing can be in Everglades National Park, which we are lucky enough to have in our own back yard. Flamingo lies about an hour and a half drive from Miami and on certain occasions can be some of the best sight fishing in the world. The northerly wind that we typically have with passing fronts this time of year makes it an ideal situation for sight fishing with a fly rod. After the fronts pass through South Florida, the water in the glades can turn crystal clear, and that makes it easier to hunt fish in very shallow

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water. This situation has played itself out the last few trips with lots of redfish and snook being released. The addicting part of fly fishing Everglades National Park is the plethora of species you can catch on fly in one day. On any given day, you can have shots on tarpon, redfish, snook, trout, tripletail, black drum, and the list goes on. Truly a special place to spend a day!

Capt. Jason Sullivan Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide www.RisingTideCharters.com RisingTideCharters@gmail.com (954) 864-0592 Scott Madtine holding a tarpon


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM

FEBRUARY 2017

MIAMI 3


FISHING FORECAST

Grace Gillis

The Sailfishing continues to improve as the water’s temperature has dropped into the 60’s. The most productive days have been when the wind is coming out of the north or northeast and there is good north current. Some days have been great for mackerel fishing as well in the 60-150' range with big Spanish & king mackerel and Bonito chewing up the bait. We’re catching them on live-bait and while trolling. A few

Mahi are still jumping on the lines, with some weighing upwards of 40 lbs. Although we are not targeting Mahi exclusively, we still manage to catch a few when searching out the sailfish. While bottom fishing we have been able to bring up some cobia to the boat. To catch these powerful fish you are going to want to use heavy tackle. This is because cobia can make strong runs and love going into or under structures that can break your line. I recommend using 40 to 60 lb. line. You should begin with around 50 lb. line and if no bites maybe go down to 40 lb. line. If you are getting big bites that are breaking your line then I suggest trying a 60 lb. line.

Grace Gillis

President, Lamar Loius Curry Middle School Fishing Club

When you fish with one of our captains or visit one of our advertisers make sure to tell them you saw their ad in

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Here is John from Naples with a healthy Miami snook.

NEW MODEL 22' Here we are in the middle of winter in Miami and so far it’s been a mild one with crisp nights in the 60’s and highs in the high 70’s and low 80’s. So what’s on tap for this month? I’m glad you asked! The most fun you can have this month is fishing the patch reefs in the 15-30 foot depths from outside Key Biscayne to the south end of Ceasar’s Creek. This is potluck fishing that is an absolute blast with plenty of keepers for the dinner table. The way to locate these patch reefs is to head out under good visibility and look for the dark patches of reef mixed in with the white sand bottom. Once you locate a patch reef make sure to treat it with care. What do I mean? Well, don’t run over the patch scaring all the fish and don’t anchor on it and ruin the reef. The goal here is to anchor over the sand and a long cast away from the actual patch. This allows you to avoid spooking the fish, damaging the reef and drawing fish away from the patch where you can fight them without losing them to the bottom. Once properly anchored on a patch I like to chum down current towards the patch and draw the fish out. A single block of chum at a time should be fine but take a couple of blocks with you in case you locate a good patch and stay longer than expected.

There are a number of species that inhabit these patch reefs this month and the list is a good one. Expect to catch mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, grouper (closed season), hog fish (closed season), mackerel and big progies. The bait of choice here is live pilchards, live shrimp and ballyhoo plugs. Keep the ballyhoo plugs on the bottom for mutton snapper and grouper and freeline the live pilchards and shrimp back into the chum slick. Once you locate a good patch and the action starts it is non-stop rod bending fun. As for tackle, I like to stick with permit and tarpon tackle which means medium heavy rods with 30 lb braid and heavy rods with 50 lb braid. I keep the larger rods for the grouper and the medium rods for everything else. If you want to get sporty then break out the bonefish rods and use those with the live shrimp. Once you go lighter you’ll have a blast but you’ll miss a few bruisers along the way. So there you have it, my best bet for February fishing so get out there and have some fun!

Capt. Mo Estevez

www.MiamiBoneFishing.com (786) 853-1409 Instagram @MiamiBoneFishing

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Coastal Angler Magazine en espanol

ARRECIFES CORALINOS Por Andrés Rodriguez

Un arrecife coralino, arrecife de coral, o coral reef, es un ecosistema marino muy complejo, conformado por miles de especies y grupos de especies cuyo cuerpo tiene por lo general gran proporción de carbonato de calcio. El grupo de especies mas destacado en un arrecife es el de los corales propiamente (científicamente, los celenterados), las esponjas (esponjiarios), las algas calcáreas (algas que han fijado carbonato de calcio en su

estructura), macroalgas y conchas o caracoles (científicamente moluscos), que en conjunto conforman una estructura muy bio-diversa, compleja, colorida, maciza, voluminosa. Los arrecifes se ubican paralelo a las costas en mares tropicales y forman un muro o barrera que resistente a las olas, corrientes y a la erosión del mar en general. Un arrecife coralino puede tener desde unos pocos metros hasta varios cientos de millas de longitud,

como es el caso de la gran barrera australiana o las barreras ubicadas frente a Belice-México y los que rodean gran parte del archipiélago cubano. El sostén de la estructura lo aportan los celenterados (principalmente los corales duros o hermatípicos) y las algas calcáreas, por lo que sólo se pueden formar en mares tropicales y subtropicales (a más de 20º Centígrados de temperatura), en zonas de luz abundante (eufóricas, a menos de 200 metros de profundidad) y en los márgenes occidentales de los océanos, donde el carbonato de calcio no se hace soluble. Los arrecifes de coral conformanecosistemas de muy alta productividad biológica y muy alta biodiversidad. Se ubican cerca de las costas y se conocen arrecifes costeros (asentados a menos de 2 millas náuticas de la costa), atolones (en forma de anillos, porque se forman principalmente en el Pacifico, alrededor de islas volcánicas en sumersión, como describiera Charles Darwin) y de barrera (hasta con varios cientos de millas náuticas, ubicados paralelos a la costa y con una laguna costera que los separa de la línea de la costa

propiamente dicha). El crecimiento de los corales y demás organismos que conforman el arrecife se detiene exactamente por debajo de la superficie (claro, son organismos marinos) y por ello, cuando nos acercamos a una costa con arrecifes, vemos un rompiente de olas a cierta distancia de la orilla. Hasta la época de la navegación a vela, en especial en la era de los grandes descubrimientos después del viaje de Cristóbal Colon, los arrecifes fueron la pesadilla de los navegantes, y en miles de ocasiones, sus carabelas, naos, galeones, balandros, bergantines, etc., terminaron hechos trizas contra aquellos muros de coral ubicados exactamente por debajo de la superficie, como si estuvieran al acecho. Por eso es que hoy, muchos de los descubrimientos de tesoros hundidos, ocurren en áreas de arrecifes coralinos. Un arrecife costero, presenta una estructura casi esquemática. Ello implica la ubicación de ciertas especies en una posición como en franjas o cinturones, lo que científicamente se llama zonación de las especies. De esta manera que cada tipo de especie

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GRAMP’S CRAMPS By Cliff Kunde se ubica en una situación y profunANOTHER GLORY HOLE didad propia. El coral cuernos o asta We truly enjoy the cool winters de alce (Acropora palmata) por lo of South Florida. The fishing changgeneral es el que vemos mas próxies and hunting season kicks into mo a la superficie. En una posición high gear. Any sane person begins intermedia se distribuye el coral de to spend more time in the woods astas de ciervo (Acropora cervicoror waters where nobody is honking nis). Mientras, los corales cerebro, at them and fresh food is for the que son mas macizos (Diploria labtaking. The costs can be minimal yrintiformis) se sitúan en la parte and the rewards fantastic, especialmas profunda. Rodeando el arrecife, ly if your wife is a good cook and podemos encontrar fondos de abanis sporting enough to seek out the icos de mar, gorgonias o sea fan (por “Glory Holes” with you. She also ejemplo: Muricia muricata) y extenshares her culinary delights with sos flats o seibadales o bajos, donde the world, right here in this publiabunda la hierba de tortuga (Thalacation under Gram’s Jams. sia testudinum). Algunas especies When I get the word for an item de coral, pueden estar en toda la or have a fresh catch, she works it columna (los corales de fuego: Milinto a delightful evening around lepora complanata y M. alcicornis), lo the diner table. This is the season cual puede recordar muy bien todo for larger shrimp and her desire for submarinista que los ha tocado, a exa new twist on a local staple sent cepción de las manos. El uso del trame scrambling for an old Glory je isotérmico y guantes puede evitar Hole. Some of you probably know esa intensa sensación de quemazón this hole or one like it; there are que provocan, pero en la actualidad, literally hundreds of them that get las indicaciones del buceo responspassed up by thousands of comable señalan que no se deben tocar muters each day. A prudent outlos corales, no porque nos puedan doorsmen constantly watches for dañar, sino porque nosotros los poCoastal Angler - Deering Seafood Festival 2017game Final.pdftrails 1 1/12/2017 6:17:00flowing PM or water for demos afectar a ellos.

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the best opportunities for success. The birds usually give away fishing spots where the bait is congregating or ponds and fences that cause game to alter their patterns. This time, shrimp was the request and a trip to where we have been many times was in order. We used to frequent the little creek often when our son, Nick, was younger. He really enjoyed building a fire at sunset and setting up the adventure. We would bring medium weight spin gear and shrimp nets, a tarp for the ground and old moving blankets if it was cold enough to curl up. When the tide began to flow through this creek, the shrimp would show up on their migration. We would hand dip the shrimp and separate the big boys to cook over the fire, the rest were put in a bucket to flat line out in the current for fish. It usually didn’t take long for a trout or snook to grace our stringer and mangrove snapps were available if you put a small weight on our lines and cast over to the holes. Those were some great evenings, BBQ shrimp a little wine, the kind you drink not the hum of mosqui-

tos, not that they didn’t visit us each evening. Nick was just a small boy at the time, but he learned to clean shrimp pretty well in the dark. Every once in a while a croc would slide by to keep us on our toes. They never stuck around after a flashlight beam illuminated them for a minute or two. By 10ish it was time to go, we usually brought a bag of popcorn for the kid to snack on while motivating home, that boy could finish the corn and fall asleep faster than we could get home and we always had to carry him in. Now he is in the mid thirties and he could carry me in if I fell asleep in the back seat. We don’t visit that spot much lately, but the memories are still vivid. The Glory Holes are still abundant and the gobs of folks that pass them by, never knowing what waits there is mind-boggling. The tackle shops won’t tell you about them. The people that know of them won’t tell you about them and they are on every map of the area you can read. Some folks are so focused on their own directions that they miss the whole world as they go by, think about it for 2017.

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February is a tough month for some fishing, but, some fishing can be great. Evening tarpon fishing is easy and very productive. A bucket of live shrimp and a couple of twenty pound outfits and you are ready to go. Inlets and along beaches are prime spots to search out the silver kings. Lures and flies will fool Shrimp dipping fun the tarpon and thrill the casters too. shallow water cobia may have to Look for snapper, trout, snook the fill the gap. In waters from 550 and mackerel dining on the mi- to 720 feet deep will produce some grating shrimp as well. Bridges and taste meals after some solid crankinlets will be the spots to watch. ing or using your Hooker electric You might get to scoop a bucket of reel to catch some golden tilefish. shrimp on the right night. We look forward to seeing you at Offshore, the sailfish will thrill the Miami International Boatshow after cold fronts and torture anglers and the Keys “Saltwater Sportsman” on calm days. Kingfish could be fishing seminar. good on live baits from forty to one hundred fifty feet. If we get flat calm Capt. Bouncer weather, then go catch a swordfish. www.captbouncer.com Shallow water grouper season is CaptBouncer@bellsouth.net closed, so patch reef snappers and (305) 439-2475

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SAILFISH RESEARCH

SAILFISH TRAVEL TO VACATION HOT SPOTS Field research study reveals seasonal patterns on sailfish migration Data on the migration patterns of sailfish has been scarce, until now. A three-year field research study published in Scientific Reports Nature has provided groundbreaking data on the behavior, population connectivity and biophysical interactions of sailfish, a species that provides nutritional, economic and cultural benefits for artisanal fishing communities. “Like us, sailfish like the vacation hot spots of Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Florida, the Bahamas and South America,” said Dr. Molly Lutcavage, director of the Large Pelagics Research Center and Research Professor, School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts Boston, who led the team of researchers. “Isla Mujeres and the Yucatan Peninsula are a major hub and hotspots for sailfish. They feed here in late winter and spring. Then they go off on a year-long migration or ‘road trips’ to various productive coastal regions in the West Atlantic, including to a region off the northeast coast of Brazil. The sailfish that journeyed to Brazil eventually returned to the Isla Mujeres region.” The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), the Large Pelagics Research Center and Virgin Unite funded the study. “We applaud the efforts of the research team and sponsors,” said GHOF’s Executive Director Greg Jacoski. “The findings are extremely important as we continue to fund scientific research aimed at the conservation of marine wildlife, specifically large, pelagic fish like sailfish.” Dr. Lutcavage and study co-authors Dr. Chi (Tim) Lam, assistant research professor, School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts Boston; Benjamin Galuardi, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration statistician; Emily Chandler, research scientist/ program manager at Large Pelagics Research Center; and Captain Anthony Mendillo from Keen M. International Sportfishing deployed 34 popup satellite archival tags or 10 MIAMI

FEBRUARY 2017

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PSATs (each valued at approximately $4,000) on sailfish off the coast of Isla Mujeres. The popup tags enabled the research team to construct way points for sailfish journeys, allowing them to begin to examine connectivity between sailfish fisheries hotspots. “This represented the longest deployments of PSATs on sailfish to date,” adds Dr. Lam. “Electronic tagging offers information that can help us understand movements, migrations and behavior without needing fishermen to recapture a fish. Migration behavior revealed by popup tags then supports better interpretations of patterns in fisheries-dependent data, such as the catch, which is data that stock assessments heavily rely on.” Sailfish were monitored for up to one year and displayed mostly shelf associated activity, occupancy of the Yucatán current near Isla Mujeres for up to five months, and then they dispersed from the Yucatán to preyrich coastal areas in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and along the South American coast. Tracking missions of sufficient duration revealed previously undetected connectivity between western Atlantic sailfish fisheries and pelagic longline catches. It also highlighted how fishery independent tagging can improve understanding of sailfish migrations and behavior for assessment and management. The entire study can be viewed here: https://goo.gl/dX3mab and the scientific paper only here http://www. nature.com/articles/srep38163. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. The GHOF also funds affiliated researchers working to better understand our ocean ecosystem and educators helping to foster the next era of marine conservationists. The GHOF will help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a properly balanced ocean ecosystem.

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GREATER MIAMI PUBLISHERS Scott Deal Monica Isaza-Deal DESIGN CLD Creative, LLC DISTRIBUTION Shevere, Inc.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Capt. Bouncer Smith Capt. Jason Sullivan Capt. Mo Estevez Capt. Orlando Muniz Andrés Rodriguez Grace Gillis Cliff Kunde Janet Kunde

FOR ADVERTISING AND EDITORIAL INFO 561-945-8899 • monica@coastalanglermagazine.com

BEST FISHING ADVENTURES! Fishing is guaranteed! We’ll offer a free replacement charter!

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Imagos Sport Fishing Team www. imagossportfishing.com • E-mail: imagos33@gmail.com (305) 496-8759 • 9610 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL

GRAM’S JAMS SHRIMP FRANCESE By Janet Kunde The winter has arrived and my husband enjoys going shrimping. This year, shrimp is the word for what he has caught, as in small. Thank goodness Golden Rule Seafood is not far. Enjoy! • 1¾ lbs extra-large shrimp peeled & deveined (about 20) • 4 large eggs • Kosher salt & ground pepper • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley • Pure olive oil for frying • 1½ cups all-purpose flour • 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth

CAPTAIN’S CORNER

• ¾ cup dry white wine • Juice of 1½ lemons • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces • 1 large garlic clove finely minced • 2 5-ounce packages baby spinach

Butterfly the shrimp and pat dry. Whisk the eggs with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 tablespoon parsley in a bowl. Heat about 1/8 inch olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, dredge the shrimp in the flour, dip in the egg mixture and add to the skillet cut-side down; fry, turning until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. In a separate small skillet sauté the minced garlic until just heated through, do not brown. Pour out any oil from the skillet and wipe clean. Add the broth, wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook until the sauce is slightly reduced, 4 minutes. Push the tomatoes to one side; whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Stir in the shrimp and the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Season spinach with salt and pepper and steam it 3-5 minutes. Serve the shrimp over the spinach and top with the sauce. For a heartier meal add a small pasta or rice on the bottom.

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ing a Snook ld o h n o n n a h S Jason Sullivan t. p a C h it w g fishin

Out at s ea on No mad Fish ing Char with Cap ters t. Orland o Muniz

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A DREAM WEDDING

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From left, Capt. Kevin Rose and Capt. Judy Helmey officiated and witnessed the wedding of Erin Bodnar and Casey Maday, of Des Moines, Iowa, aboard the Miss Judy Too before catching a pile of fish for the reception.

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ove and the smell of sheepshead were in the air on Jan. 6 aboard the Miss Judy Too out of Savannah, Ga. It was a dream wedding for bride Erin Bodnar and groom Casey Maday, of Des Moines, Iowa. The couple got hitched while bobbing over an artificial reef off the coast of Georgia with captains from Miss Judy Charters officiating and witnessing the event. “It was a grand day for a wedding and fishing,” wrote Capt. Judy Helmey in a special edition of her weekly fishing report. She added that it was a, “one fiddler one fish kind of a catching deal.” And it’s a good thing the bite was so hot. After the ceremony, the newlyweds and the crew burned through 267 fiddler crabs to boat this mixed bag of sheepshead and black drum. They were on a mission, because fish is on the menu for the couple’s wedding reception back in Iowa.

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Marsh Harbour, Abaco features its share of quaint resorts, including the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina the Sandpiper Inn and Cottage and Four Winds Cottages. Treasure Cay boasts the luxury Treasure Cay Beach, Marina and Golf Resort, a highend spot frequented by celebrities. Out on the flats, the water is still, a perfect mirror reflecting the cloudy sky. It is a gorgeous day to bonefish. Albury maneuvers through the flats like only a native could. He swerves through tightly packed mangroves at breakneck speeds until we reach the spot. At that moment, he cuts the engine and begins poling the boat. I sit at the bow, rod in hand with shrimp for bait. Albury surveys the waters and points out a bonefish at my two-o’clock. I cast my line but miss. “Throw it out again,” Albury says. I cast again and reel it in just enough. Suddenly, a splash on the surface and a tight line tell me the fish has the bait. We fight for a moment until I reel him to the edge of the boat. Albury grabs him and turns him on his back sending the fish into a catatonic state. There is excitement onboard. As we surveyed for another catch, I explained to Albury that my father is a bonefish guide in Crooked Island. “I love fishing,” I say to him. “You know if you love fishing once you hook a fish,” Albury says. “If that doesn’t excite you, nothing will.” Interested fishermen can reach Jody at jodysbonefishing.com.

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e set out on a small boat shortly after 8 a.m. on a warm Wednesday morning. For Jody Albury, this is just another day of bonefishing in Abaco, Bahamas. He’s been a professional guide for 10 years, but an avid fisherman since he was a boy. Jody, a quiet yet jovial Abaconian, has serviced fishing enthusiast from the around the world. He quit his day job to make a living doing what he loves, bonefishing. Abaco, one of the 700 islands of The Bahamas, is regarded as one of the world’s premier destinations for bonefishing. Thousands of anglers descend on the Abacos during the winter months in search of the elusive gray ghost. The island and its cays are in the northeast Bahamas 91 miles northeast of Nassau, Bahamas, a 20-minute plane ride, and 120 miles from Miami or an hour plane ride with flights from American Eagle and Silver Airways, to name a few. The Abacos are made up of nearly a dozen cays. Unlike most other islands in The Bahamas, visitors can take a ferry to the various cays including Hope Town, Green Turtle Cay and Great Guana Cay. Some rent yachts or other boats and sail the cays themselves. My first stop in Abaco was Hope Town with its scenic beaches and historic candy striped lighthouse. Hope Town features a small community where most everyone moves around by golf cart or bicycle. The island is quiet yet filled with life, hotels, small properties and bed and breakfasts. The architecture features colonial design, a lingering tradition from the Loyalists who settled in the Abacos centuries ago. Hope Town fuses rustic charm with modern advances. It’s easy to sit on a hammock under two palm trees and watch Netflix.

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SWEET STICKS:

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n nearly 20 years of kayak fishing, I’ve seen the boats radically change. These days they are purpose-built for angling, and much more stable and forgiving. On the other hand, the thinking on what makes a good kayak rod has scarcely evolved. There’s been little need. For most applications, off-the-shelf gear made for the general fishing market works fine. A standard bass or flats quiver will suit you well whether you’re fishing from a ’yak, a powerboat or the shore, although the adjustable butt of Manley Rods’ offerings is a nice feature. It’s only when you get to big game that the need for specialized kayak sticks is magnified. Let’s cover the big exception: the rod tip. When landing a fish from a kayak, you’d do well to have some glass for shock absorption. High-sticking is almost inevitable. Most big game kayak anglers fight their fish while sitting. An intermediate length butt is an advantage, something on the order of 12 to 13 inches, about 2 to 4 inches shorter than normal. That’s just right for tucking into your belly while seated. A strong backbone is a plus for easier fish management, particularly when the battle is in its closing stages. Rod length is a matter of preference. It’s nice to have enough reach to get the tip around the bow, but it isn’t strictly necessary. If you’re hooked up and you point your rod tip at the bow, the fish will pull the kayak around to face it.

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COOL WATER SUSPENDERS

water, but they will still have an eye on what’s going on, as a prey in their stomach is still necessary to fuel them. What I like to do is fish slowly, twitching suspending baits once or twice between long pauses. And sometimes these pauses are truly long pauses. I’ve found that’s one thing most people have a hard time doing. Most are unable to pass the two or three second mark without feeling the need to twitch their bait again. When I’m on a spot that’s worth it, or if I catch a By Patrick Sebile glimpse of a nice fish, I will hold my suspending Stick Shadd still for up to 30 seconds. It might feel like an eternity; it might feel worthless, but some of my best inshore catches came on such long, 15- to 30-second pauses. I keep the rod tip down close to the water, and I don’t rely on feeling a bite. I leave a little slack in my line, no more than 6 or 8 inches, and watch the line very closely. Most of the time the bite is just a tiny tap that is hard to feel but very easy to see on the line. If the line moves just an inch or two, that’s it. Set the hook without delay. You might be surprised at the trophy fish you’ll catch with such minimal action. Another technique that produces well for me on cold water is simply to cast and retrieve my suspending twitch bait super slowly. I sometimes retrieve it so slowly that it This nice trout was caught in Vero Beach, Fla. on a suspending Stick Shadd 114 using won’t even have any side-to-side action at all. Yep, you very minimal action and long pauses. read that right. Just the lure moving through the water straight ahead and slowly is the right presentation on o matter where you are in North America, winter brings cold winds some days. In cold water it will often out-produce the and sore throats to all. And the effect is even more brutal on fish than typical action-packed movement of this type of bait. men. Immersed in the water, in an unstable environment that changes It may seem surprising, but it’s efficient. In both cases, a suspending bait quickly, they have no choice but to exist the best they can where they are. is key, as well as the patience and confidence to resist working it too quickly There’s no option for fish to go on a cruise in the Bahamas to tan their or erratically. scales in the tropical sun. And the shallow-water inhabitants feel the impact Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing even more than the deep-water ones, given that the skinny depth they live (www.sebile.com). in can drop in temperature sharply. Their behavior can turn sluggish, but For more tips on cold water fishing, go to they still need to feed. It is therefore crucial to adjust the lure’s action to their temperature-driven mood. Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 1:14 PM Page 1 Seatrout and redfish will dive into grass to limit their exposure to colder

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By Brandon Tourigny Brandon Tourigny with an Everglades bass caught on a Lefty’s Deceiver.

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f all the different methods of fishing, fly fishing has a reputation for being one of the more overpriced methods for landing fish. With all of the extremely high-end rod and reel brands in the fly fishing world, it can be a little disheartening for those trying to get started. As a broke college student who has to also buy food, gas and textbooks, purchasing the newest Sage rod and Tibor reel just wasn’t in the budget for me. Since not fly fishing wasn’t an option, I had to find ways to get quality gear at a more reasonable price. Here are a few brands I personally like that have proven to be affordable and reliable pieces of equipment for me. Temple Fork Outfitters produces some fine rods for the money. With all their rods ranging from under $100 to around $450 for their most expensive rod, it’s not hard to find a rod in their line that fits your budget. A rod I highly recommend is the TFO Mangrove. This rod comes in sizes from a 4 weight all the way up to a 12 weight, costing anywhere from $250 to $300. Another thing TFO has going for them is their no-nonsense lifetime warranty. A good warranty is something a lot of fly rod makers provide, and it is an important consideration because rods break. For reels, the best deal I’ve seen are actually some of the off-brand reels found on Amazon and produced by brands like Piscifun or WetFly. The thing about fly reels is you don’t need them to cast. Until you get a fish on and need a smooth drag or to pick up line quickly, all they do is store line. If your targets are panfish, small bass or seatrout, it’s likely you will seldom even need a reel except to hold your line. On the other hand, if you expect to do battle with bonefish, tarpon or redfish, a good reel becomes very important. Although they don’t carry the prestige of the American-made reel companies, reels like the Piscifun Sword are made from 100 percent CNC machined aluminum, and based on my experience and the testimony of other fly fishermen, these reels hold up considerably well. When you also factor in that most of these reels come in under $100, it’s hard to find a reason to not at least give these reels a try. If you are a stickler for only buying American products, I would suggest taking a look at the Waterworks-Lamson Liquid and Remix which both come in at $160 or less and are both assembled in Lamson’s factory in Idaho. At the end of the day, fish don’t care how shiny or expensive your equipment is. The only thing that matters is if you can present a fly to them in a manner realistic enough for them to eat it. So, if you’ve been hit by this incurable disease called fly fishing but can’t afford the high prices, there’s no need to fear thanks to affordable and highperforming rods and reels

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SHERI DAYE

peargun selection is one of the most hotly debated topics on spearfishing forums. Fortunately, there are many great brands nowadays – such as Wong, AB Biller, Riffe, Hammerhead, Cressi, SEAC, Mares, Rob Allen, Koah, Mako, JBL and more. Over the last century, spearfishing equipment has evolved from very simple muscle-powered slings and polespears, made with wood and rubber bands, to the modern-day spearguns equipped with a trigger mechanism and more exotic materials. Interestingly, slings and polespear are making a comeback—but that’s a topic for another month—so let’s concentrate on how to select a modern-day speargun. If you walk into your local dive shop, you will notice there are two main categories of band-powered spearguns: the American style, usually recognized by the wood stock, and the Eurogun, which has a tubular shaped barrel and a rear handle. The Eurogun originated in Europe where most spearfishing is freedive-only, fairly deep, and for small, easily spooked fish. Hence these spearguns have a low-profile, streamlined design and thinner shafts. If you are diving in similar conditions, the Eurogun style might be for you. On the other hand, if you want a sturdy, durable and easy-to-load gun that will handle bigger fish, you might lean toward the American/wood-style gun. This is also the style used for big powerful tuna guns, because they can be ballasted and accommodate up to six bands. There’s also a hybrid design, which incorporates the best elements of both with wood stock in the back and a carbon fiber tube in the front. Once you’ve chosen between styles, the next question is length. Most Eurogun sizes are 90 to 160 centimeters, and most American guns are between 36 and 65 inches. So, with the conversion from centimeters to inches, they have pretty much the same length range. If you are diving in low visibility or hunting in rocks like they have in California or Rhode Island, you would choose a shorter gun. If you are hunting spooky fish in clear waters like mutton snappers in Florida, you would opt for a longer gun. If you are just getting started and expect to dive in variable visibility, 130 centimeters or 50 inches would be a good medium length for an all-around reef gun.

Sheri Daye hunts with a Wong Hybrid Speargun. Photo by Joe Marino.

Here are some additional tips: 1) Join a local spearfishing club and learn from the more experienced people. Observe what equipment they use and ask for advice. 22) Shop at a dive store that caters to spearfishing. They carry more choices and have experienced personnel to help you choose. These include Austin’s in Miami; Florida Freedivers in Palm Beach; James & Josephs in San Diego, Calif.; Freedive Shop in Sacramento, Calif. and more. 3) Check out the custom-gun builders. There are some high-quality builders who will work with you directly, give you advice, and design it to your specs—such as Wong Spearguns from Hawaii or Sea Sniper from California. Most importantly, you should pick a style that suits you and the conditions you dive in. Chances are you will get hooked and add more spearguns to your arsenal in the future! Follow “Sheri Daye” & “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” April 22-23, 2017 – Ft. Lauderdale - Instagram and Facebook.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER THE REBIRTH OF 8- TO 10FOOT BASS RODS BRANDON LESTER

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ver since I can remember, there has been a rule in B.A.S.S. tournaments barring the use of rods longer than 8 feet. To my knowledge, it is because Dee Thomas and other Californians were using 10-foot and longer rods for “flipping” when the technique was first invented. Evidently the powersthat-be back then didn’t like this new way of fishing, so they banned the use of long rods. At the conclusion of 2016, B.A.S.S. decided to change this rule and allow us to use any rod up to 10 feet in length. Bass fishing has evolved

they fight. The extra rod length will help keep the line tight during the fight, giving the fish less opportunity to escape. For the small wooden crankbaits, the longer rod gives control over how deep the bait dives. Hold the rod tip up, and the bait dives shallower. Stick a couple feet of the blank in the water, and it runs deeper. Add longer casting distance and you will be hitting depths never before achieved with some baits. A longer rod will also be beneficial for flipping and pitching. We all know what

tremendously in the past several years, and there is no doubt this rule change will be another big breakthrough. Will long rods become the norm in everyone’s boat? I don’t think so, but I believe these rods will have a time and place in bass fishing. I have been busy building and testing a few of these longer rods with the guys at Mud Hole Custom Tackle. We’ve made encouraging findings. The first long rod I built is a 8’6” medium power spinning rod. I wanted a rod to cast small, wooden crankbaits on light line for more distance. I also wanted this rod to act as a drop shot rod for open-water smallmouth fishing. Although I don’t see myself using this rod all the time for drop shotting, imagine a scenario where you are casting a drop shot in current and need that extra length to control the way the line drifts. Also, anyone who has ever fought a river smallmouth knows how hard

happens when we set the hook on a 12-inch bass with a 7’6” rod, well imagine what will happen when you set the hook on one with a 9-foot flipping stick. We’ll be jerking 3-pounders out of the thickest cover! When that 10-pounder bites, she might not be the one that got away anymore. There might be cases where a long flipping rod is more efficient, as well. The technique of flipping, as it was done originally, by stripping line through the guides and never using the reel, will probably come back to light because we can now use a rod long enough put a bait where it needs to go. I will be building a long flipping stick before the elite series heads to Lake Okeechobee. What better place to try it out than the land of the giants? Keep tabs on 8-foot-plus rod building by visiting www. MudHole.com, and hit me up on Facebook with any questions.

Get more tips from Lester at

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Surprising Winter is the Best Planting Time

I am often asked when is the best time to plant fruiting plants. My answer is usually the same; the best time is 20 years ago or today. The second best time to plant is during the winter months. Plants are dormant, and can be easily shipped and planted with no stress on the plant because there is not a lot of maintenance once the plant or tree has been planted. Simply dig a good hole, water thoroughly

at planting, and take the rest of the winter off. Even though there are no signs of growth above ground, the root systems will have time to get adjusted to their new location and begin to initiate new root growth. There are plenty of advantages of growing your own edibles. First of all, you know what has been done over the course of the growing season from a chemical stand point. Second, the fruit just taste

better coming out of your home orchard versus buying fruit from the grocers that have little to no flavors. Thirdly, it is good for your soul and you will feel more connected to the environment and nature. Whether it is an apple tree, muscadine vine or a blueberry bush; now is the time to plant. Let’s Grow Together. Greg Ison, Ison’s Nursery and Vineyards, 800733-0324, www.isons.com

“ I had the chance to test the new Bossman TailSpotter and I must say I was very impressed. I’ve run a lot of boats in my career and this boat is as good if not better than anything I’ve driven.” Capt. Mike Hakala, Aqua Dream Lures

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ackle geeks have climbed high rungs of reel optimization for decades. Their basic game remains the same today: super-tune fishing reels by adding premium components and applying best cleaning and maintenance practices. But better materials and technology have elevated expectations of what fishing reels can be made to do. Russ Lane, who has earned six appearances in the Bassmaster Classic, took his habitual tackle tinkering to high-tech heights several seasons back. Lane today replaces standard reel parts with premium components that extend reel life and enable spools to spin at dazzling RPMs. What’s the fisherman’s takeaway after these reel transformations? The clearest advantages are longer casting distances, better control, heightened casting accuracy, and improved feel and sensitivity. Some premium reel components—strikingly colorful multi-textured reel knobs and anodized star drags and cast control caps, for example—can practically turn reels into showpieces, too. “Fishermen can’t believe what custom components can add to a reel’s capability,” said Noah Arroyo, owner of Off the Hook Reels. “And some fishermen are just as attracted to the unique colors and finishes you can bring to a reel and the rich look of premium parts.” Consider replacing standard reel parts with these upgrades: • Ceramic bearings – Ceramic bearings or ceramic hybrid bearings (the latter feature ceramic balls in a stainless steel or plastic cage) can elevate reel performance dramatically. Ceramic bearings can range up to 60 percent lighter than stainless steel bearings. They generate less heat and lower vibration levels, too, reducing friction as the spool revolves. Spool RPMs may climb dramatically, extending casting distance and improving accuracy by reducing the effort required to execute a cast. They also possess five times the life expectancy of stainless steel bearings. The one downside is that they produce a very audible hum, a turn-off to some anglers. HawgTech promotes its ABEC-7 hybrid bearings in nylon cages as allowing “a more free spinning bearing that also runs quieter.” • Carbon Fiber Reel Handles – Lightweight carbon fiber reel arms are

the most common reel upgrade. The difference in weight and sensitivity from conventional reel handles is discernible. They also give a sleek, skeletal look to the reel. • Winn Reel Knobs – Reel knobs made from Winn’s patented WinnDry polymer deliver the same all-weather “tacky” feel and security that Winn grips bring to fishing rods. “The Winn knobs available from HawgTech are so good, your grip never slips even when hands are wet or coated with fish slime,” said Arroyo. Two of Lew’s Best of Show awards at ICAST 2016 featured fishing reels with Winn reel knobs. HawgTech offers these knobs in several bold colors. • Anodized Aluminum Star Drags, Cast Control Caps – Colorful anodized aluminum can give a reel an “auto show” glow. You can go with matching or complementary color options for star drag controls, cast control caps and related parts. Maintenance steps: Of course, flashy parts alone won’t optimize reel performance. Make sure the internal workings of your reel are flawlessly cleaned and lubricated, too. “You have to optimize everything when you super-tune. Polish and clean ends and shafts and pinion gears,” said Arroyo. “When you do and then add your ceramic bearings and premium parts, you really end up with a great piece of machinery.”

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TAUTEN LINEWELDER Sick of having to learn and tie complex knots? The Tauten LineWelder creates a weld that is actually stronger than any knot. The device creates a “sleeve” of thermoplastic polymer around both ends of a looped line, holding the loop in place without bending or weakening the line. Knots weaken the line, and most lines’ strengths are rated with a knot, so using a Tauten LineWelder in place of tying a knot lets you get a connection that’s stronger than the advertised strength of most lines! The process is quick, easy, consistent and doesn’t require you to tie complicated knots. It’s perfect for new fishermen or veteran anglers who don’t want to bother with finicky knot tying. Just loop the line in the device, pull it taut and push the button to create a weld. This device can help fishermen who don’t want to tie complicated knots by removing the need entirely and allowing anglers to focus on the sport they love. The LineWelder works best on 10- to 12-pound-test monofilament nylon and fluorocarbon lines and 10- to 50-pound-test braided lines. Using an experimental technique, it can even join braided lines with monofilament nylon or fluorocarbon leaders to eliminate the need for a swivel. Accessories to weld a wider variety of lines are currently in development and will be available in the future. Visit tauten.com for more information and to see videos of the LineWelder in action. The Tauten customer service staff is always eager to answer any questions, so don’t hesitate to contact them.

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DEXTER UR-CUT FILLET KNIFE Dexter UR-Cut Fillet knives are the only fillet knives that allow you to custom mold the handle to your hand. UR-Cut provides the ultimate in comfort and control and is virtually non-slip in your hand. It’s simple and takes only minutes to customize UR-Cut to fit your hand. First, grip the handle and determine your grip position, paying attention to your thumb position. Dip and completely submerge the handle in boiling water for 2 minutes. Make sure the pot is deep enough so the handle does not contact the bottom or the sides of the pot. Then dip in cold water for 1 second, grip, squeeze, and hold the handle for 10 seconds. Dip back in cold water for 10 seconds and let cool. You now have a custom fillet knife, molded to fit your hand. Just like other Dexter knives, UR-Cut features the same legendary DEXTSTEEL blade, with super-sharp edges that are easy to re-sharpen and have just-right flexibility. UR-Cut fillet knives are made in the U.S.A. and are available in 6”, 7” and 8” lengths. Available at your local and online retailer. For more information and to view all Dexter fishing knives visit dexteroutdoors.com.

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A DIFFERENT APPROACH MARK SOSIN

A

small sign on the corner of my attorney’s desk warns his clients to “Assume Nothing.” That caveat is just as valid on the water as it is in the practice of law. If an angler does not start catching fish within minutes of arriving at a spot, he begins to assume that his quarry must be elsewhere. The assumption, of course, is that he has chosen the right bait or lure and presented it in a natural and appealing manner to a fish that is ready to eat. A fish’s behavioral patterns, honed over eons, follow very specific guidelines with few deviations. Anything that differs from the norm instinctively alerts a fish that something may be amiss and it thinks of its own safety first. Regardless of size, a predator does not expect to be charged or attacked by its prey no matter how small the prey is in relation to the predator. That’s why a 3-inch fly made of feathers can spook a 100-pound fish. And remember that fish do not feed constantly for a variety of reasons. Most species use tidal currents, water flow, or the neck of a funnel to their advantage as they search for food. They either hold facing the current, swim against the flow, or work across it. Whenever you present a bait or lure, it should be upcurrent from where you expect the fish to be so that your offering appears to go with the flow. That tenet even applies when you are casting to a cruising fish. The more natural the presentation, the better the chance of a strike. Your quarry automatically measures energy tradeoff. The idea is to exploit each situation so they will expend the least amount of energy for the value received. That translates into the fact that they frequently refuse to chase a bait or lure very far before turning away. An ambush feeder merely wants to dart out, grab its prey and return to its lair. Bottom denizens follow a similar practice. If your offering isn’t close to the sea floor, it’s difficult to get them to swim toward the surface to get it. Successful bottom bouncing starts upcurrent and allows the bait to drag along in the productive zone. Once it sweeps above the quarry, the potential for getting a strike diminishes rapidly. Water temperature enters the energy tradeoff equation. In cold or even cool water, fish react sluggishly because the water temperature slows down their metabolism. It might even force them out of their usual lair in search of warmer water. In those situations, choose baits or lures that are easy for a fish to catch and slow down the retrieve or the trolling speed. And remember, in cooler water it takes fish longer to digest food so they feed less frequently. Those who catch fish consistently study and comprehend the basics of feeding strategy. You can be sure that the behavioral patterns of each species are not about to change. That puts the onus on you to modify your tactics until you uncover the combination that works. Before you abandon a spot because you think it doesn’t hold fish, make sure you have explored the full gamut of options. If you do make any assumptions, convince yourself that a fish is looking at your bait or lure right now. The results might surprise you.

For More Mark Sosin Visit

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NEW INTERLUX MICRON WA BOAT PAINT Micron WA (Water-Activated) is the newest addition to the AkzoNobel’s Interlux industry leading Micron Technology product range. It is a showcase antifouling paint that offers long-lasting, multi-seasonal protection in a water-based formulation. Micron WA combines powerful antifouling performance while reducing impact on the environment, leaving a smooth, clean hull. This paint is ideal for cruise, power and sailboats and suitable for all waters. Using a novel paint technology called Water Activated Matrix, Micron WA delivers a crisp, vibrant color and uniform appearance to provide a striking, attractive finish, while at the same time efficiently releasing the active ingredients to deliver powerful antifouling performance. More information is available at: www.yachtpaint.com/usa/diy/ products/antifouling/micron-wa.aspx

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