Coastal Angler Magazine | April 2022 | Mississippi Gulf Coast Edition

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MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST EDITION

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BIG FISH IN LITTLE PLASTIC BOATS

PELAGIC HUNTING TOOLS

DOWNSIZE FOR INSHORE ACTION VOLUME 27 • ISSUE 325

PHOTO COURTESY OF JUSTIN HOOVER IG: @REDFISHING321 / YOUTUBE: THE BACKWATER ANGLER

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SIGHT FISHING By Nick Carter

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“It’s about as close to Florida as you can get. You’re nglers are drawn to SUPs for many reasons. For Justin Hoover, the allure immersed in the mangroves,” Hoover said. “Most of a paddleboard is the style of fishing it of the time I’m alone for 10 or 12 hours a day on a paddleboard because nobody can reach where I’m at. allows. Hoover is from Brevard County, Florida. The fish… they’ve never seen people. It makes it really For more than 30 years, he has explored easy for me, and it makes it really enjoyable.” Hoover only targets fish he sees and studies their the backwaters and flats of central Florida’s Atlantic coast, where big fish push into super body language before making a cast. He can tell by skinny water that’s inaccessible to conventional looking if a fish is likely to eat his lure, particularly redfish, which clamp down their fins and “snake” along boats. “There’s nothing else better. It’s literally the shoreline when they’re actively feeding. “I’m looking for wakes, pushes, busts on the hunting, almost by foot,” he said of his passion. “I draft 2 inches. It makes it easier to travel to places shoreline and tails. If I’m not seeing any of that or you can’t reach, especially those back areas where seeing something that gives me that feeling there could big redfish will go back and pretty much retire for be a fish in this pocket, I’m moving on,” he said. Covering water quickly is Hoover’s primary tactic. the rest of their life.” Hoover’s platform of choice is a LIVE He advised newcomers to the sport to keep moving. “Cover the ground. That’s the easiest way to catch Watersports L2Fish board. It is a 12-foot catamaranstyle SUP that is super quiet and stable. He is a fish,” he said. “Don’t get stuck in one spot on a certain minimalist in terms of gear, preferring to hit the group of fish. Just constantly keep moving. You’ll end water with just a pocket full of lures, three rods up finding that fish that’s going to bite.” His favorite targets are redfish, snook, tarpon and and a cooler that serves as a seat and dry storage. He does most of his fishing with a medium-light black drum. “When I go out, all of them are on the list,” Hoover spinning rod and also carries a heavy spinning rod in case he sees a really big fish as well as a fly said. “I’m going down the line. I’m going straight to rod for subtle presentations. The lures he fishes their house, knocking on the door and saying, ‘Hey, are are mostly ultra-realistic Chasebaits soft plastics. you hungry today?’ If not, then I’m moving on to the He rarely throws topwater because the water is next fish.” It sounds like a lot of fun. so shallow that fish can’t get an angle on surface baits. Check out Justin Hoover on Facebook, Instagram and watch his Youtube channel The Backwater Angler.


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Suzuki Unveils New V6 for Performance Boats S uzuki Marine previewed the new flagship of its SS (Sport Series) motors at the Bassmaster Classic in March. This new engine, the DF250SS V6 4-Stroke, is a high-performance outboard engineered to deliver extra kick for today’s performance-based boats. It is sized and designed for bass boats, bay boats and shallowwater applications. New for 2022, the DF250ATSS is the first SS Series outboard to feature compatibility with Suzuki’s state-of-the-art Suzuki Precision Control (SPC) electronic shift and throttle system that will integrate with Suzuki’s Digital Pro-Pedal Foot Throttle. Suzuki SS outboards were created to bring powerful hole shot, strong mid-range pull and great fuel economy to anglers and boaters. Now, by integrating with Suzuki’s proven SPC system, boaters can add crisp, responsive shifting, silky smooth acceleration and sports car-like operation to the mix. In addition to Suzuki’s SPC integration, the new DF250SS features a new lower unit gear case with an asymmetrically designed skeg. This new design slices through the water efficiently for improved performance, while providing enhanced steering stability. Inside this streamlined case are powerful gears for delivering plenty of low-end torque and the ability to swing a larger propeller.

More options include the newly updated intake system, the updated Thrust Mount system to reduce engine vibration and deliver stable operation under high loads, and a new line of Watergrip propellers designed to enhance overall performance. The new Suzuki Big-Block V6 engine design ensures that the DF250ATSS not only delivers exhilarating hole shot, but also eye-watering acceleration all the way to wide-open throttle. Today’s premium performance boats need to look as good as they perform, and the new DF250SS also includes a new revised cowling design that features additional louvers, upper cover grips and new updated “SS” graphics. Suzuki continues with the popular Matte Black color as well as Suzuki’s optional new White. It is available in 20” (L) and 25” (XL) shaft lengths to accommodate different boat styles. In addition to the new DF250ATSS model, Suzuki is also adding a new 115hp SS outboard for 2022. Suzuki’s new DF115SS outboard is ideal for smaller bass boats, aluminum fishing boats, flats skiffs and other vessels that need high performance with light weight. With this latest inline 4-cylinder model added to the line-up, Suzuki Marine now offers a range of high-performance SS Series outboards in 115hp, 200hp and 250hp.

Like all Suzuki 4-stroke outboards, these new SS Series models are backed by the company’s leading 5-Year Limited Factory Warranty, providing anglers with the ultimate in confidence and security. To learn more about the new 250hp and 115hp additions to Suzuki’s popular SS Series family— or the company’s complete line of technically advanced 4-stroke outboards from 2.5 to 350 horsepower — contact Suzuki Marine USA headquarters at (813) 687-7200 or visit www.suzukimarine.com.

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APRIL 2022

NATIONAL 7


BIG FISH Kayak Catch & Release

Y

ou’ve done it! Thousands of casts, dozens of early alarms, countless cups of coffee, and now there’s a monster fish on the hook, and from your kayak, no less! It’s a feat to be proud of. However, if you plan on releasing that fish, your attention should soon turn to proper handling techniques, which ensure safety for you and the fish. A sprinkle of chaos is expected when bringing a big fish into a small, plastic boat, but a few easy steps can ensure the fish goes home safely.

1. Keep Them Wet! Regardless of species, once you’ve netted or attached lip-grips to a fish, keep them in the water as much as possible. This is always true if you need to set up a camera, grab pliers or lay out a measuring board, and it’s especially important in summer months, when release mortality increases due to warmer water. I prefer to use lip grips on bigger catches, since it mitigates the need to untangle a large, fired up fish from a net. Storing commonly used tools nearby is also key, particularly in a kayak where space is limited. Once you’re set up, it’s time for a photo or a measurement!

:

By Matt Stone

2. Holding Techniques If there’s one thing anglers universally love, it’s the “hero shot.” You know, the one where you and maybe your buddy grin widely while posing with a monster catch. I’m a big fan of hero shots, and of taking them properly. Handling the fish safely is key here, and that means keeping hands away from their gills, holding them horizontally and supporting their belly. Never weigh big fish vertically on a scale. This point is often debated in angling circles, and I respect both schools of thought, but I go with horizontal holds because I think the photos come out better. With length and girth measurements, you can figure out a rough weight, anyway. Now, smile big and grab that picture… and no straight-arming!

3. Respect and Revive Properly reviving big catches is important. It ensures continuity of strong genetics, allows a future angler a chance at the same fish, and it simply feels good knowing you’ve encountered an incredible animal and returned it home safely. Face the fish into current, open its mouth, and if possible, pedal or paddle your kayak to get water flowing over their gills. Revival can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. A fish is ready to go when it raises its dorsal spines and lightly clamps onto your hand, or straight up kicks off and swims away like a rocket. If you don’t already emphasize this process, I encourage you to not only take revival time, but to enjoy it! Thank the fish, watch them swim off and get casting again! Everyone should have a process for catch-and-release fishing. Above all, if you plan on releasing a fish, show it respect and reverence for the experience it has given you. Matt Stone is a teacher from Chester, Conn. and a pro staffer for Old Town and Daiwa as well as a member of the Black Hall Outfitters Fishing Team. Check him out on Instagram @sunrisekayakfishing.


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APRIL 2022

NATIONAL 9


YAMAHA 210 FSH

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here’s something unmistakably cool about the iconic design of center console boats. They are the sports utility vehicle of the boating world. Yamaha’s 210 FSH center console boats are a modern take on the classic center console design, focusing on greater versatility made possible by Yamaha’s patented jet-drive technology. Unlike other center console brands with outboard motors that dominate the stern, the 210’s dual engines and driveline are housed in the hull underneath the captain’s leaning post, providing a true 360-degree experience perfect for fishing. And because no outboard motor lower units are protruding under the boat, the shallow draft can get you in and out of places that other center console boats can’t access. These boats include all the features fishing enthusiasts require as well as family features perfect for an entire day out on the water to include watersports, swimming and lounging – all in the same boat and at a competitive price starting under $46,000. The 210 FSH is available in two variations, the 210 FSH Deluxe and 210 FSH Sport. The 210 FSH Deluxe comes with wiring for dual batteries, stainless steel rub-rail, head compartment curtain, a trolling motor mount, and premium seating/cushions. The 210 FSH Sport comes with Deluxe features and the addition of a custom T-top. Both models come with Yamaha’s award-winning TR-1 High Output marine engines. Located under the starboard bow seat is an insulated fish locker, and there is a dedicated locker for a full-size Danforth anchor. There is more storage below the port bow seat, in the sole, and inside two large consoles. In front of the helm console is more seating, and the console lifts to reveal an extra deep, large storage area that can also serve as a changing room or a head compartment. The helm is thoughtfully designed with convenient access to all boat control switches, a locking glove box, and an open area to flush mount electronics such as a fishfinder, a GPS unit and other marine electronics. The 210 FSH comes equipped with Yamaha’s 4.3-inch Connext Touchscreen Display, which is NMEA compatible to send vital engine information to third-party electronics. The transom area on the FSH Series is unlike any other center console

10 NATIONAL

APRIL 2022

SPECIFICATIONS Yamaha 210 FSH LENGTH: 21’ 3” WEIGHT: 3,003 lbs. BEAM: 8’ 6” DRAFT: 17” DEADRISE: 20 degree SEATING CAPACITY: 10 FUEL CAPACITY: 50 Gallons boat on the market. Since the engine and drive train are mounted in the hull, the entire back of the boat is open for unobstructed casting, towing and enjoying activities at the stern. Moreover, the boat’s leaning post is convertible and can be flipped back toward the helm for added comfort and versatility. The 210 FSH features Yamaha’s signature two-tier swim platform that sits low at the water’s edge. A retractable stern ladder makes reboarding after swimming a breeze. The transom also includes a tow eye for watersports. And like all Yamaha boats, the 210 FSH features Yamaha’s patented clean-out ports that allow for removing debris from the jet pump without having to get in the water or swim under the boat. VISIT WWW.YAMAHABOATS.COM TO LEARN MORE.

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APRIL 2022

NATIONAL 11


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April 2022 or S f s c i t Ta c

ing T n w a p

I

rout

t is time to put away the bibs and long johns, and trade them for shorts and flip-flops. Spring is finally here!

The water temps are rising and the trout are moving. It is time to leave the muddy creeks and rivers, and head to the sand flats! With the warming of the water temps, comes the migration of Speckled Trout. These Speckled Trout headed deep into the creeks and rivers in search of warmth and now that the water temps have risen to a comfortable level the trout are on the move looking for good areas to spawn. With that being said, there are certain areas and tactics that you can utilize to maximize your success this spring! Where to Look There are 3 key elements that Speckled Trout look for when searching for an area to bed. These elements are heavy salt content, sandy bottom, and a clean area. In other words, you really want to be targeting these Speckled Trout on large sand flats such as those that surround Horn Island and Deer Island. Stay away from areas that contain a muddy bottom or that are cluttered with drift wood, debris and even rocks and oyster beds. The Right Approach Once Speckled Trout are on their bed, it is important to note that these trout have one thing in mind and that is protecting their eggs from predators. Feeding becomes secondary to them and in fact, they will not venture far from their bed when they are searching for food. With this in mind we want to adjust our approach and tactics in order to trigger reaction bites. For the live bait anglers out there, your best option for bait will be Croakers

2 Mississippi gulf COAST

april 2022

or Pinfish. Both Croakers and Pinfish feed on the eggs of trout, if a trout senses these bait fish close to their beds they will eat them without hesitation! There are a few ways to rig these bait fish. Perhaps the most popular way is to put them on a Carolina Rig, which anchors the bait in one position. However, I prefer to free line these bait fish, which allows them to move freely across the flat. This method allows the baitfish to cover more ground around the flat and increases my chances of running across spawning trout. For the artificial anglers, lures with a slow presentation are the way to go. There are a few killer options available that are sure to get the job done! My personal favorite is the HK Custom Tackle Fluke. This is a 5” fluke that rigged on a 1/16 oz. Deathgrip jig head is DEADLY! The 1/16oz jig head allows for a very slow and natural decent which is key in triggering bites from spawning trout. Another great option is a Mirrodine 17MR. The Mirrodine 17MR is a suspending twitch bait that is amazing at mimicking small baitfish and can be worked with long pauses between twitching, which is deadly at getting a reaction strike! For more tips, trips, and tutorials for everything inshore fishing be sure to check out our Youtube channel “Southern Salt Kayak Fishing”. Until next time, remember to always keep safety in mind, be courteous to your fellow anglers and keep conservation at the forefront!

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MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST 5 13


Fishin'

in April

Forecast by Sonny Schindler

B

Assuming we still have a "normal" April on the nearshore fishing een waiting on a good "Normal" April for several years. Between the spillway openings and the river floodings, we haven't had a too, get ready for some fun. As the sheepshead head offshore, the black drum will pile in. You'll also see speckled trout, redfish and a few other salty April in a while. critters on the nearshore reefs and bridges too. We love those tasty 2-5 I'm gonna keep the glass half full And plan for an April like the good old days. We are gonna work pound "puppy drum", they are unbelievable table fare. Another treat GULF COASTALANGLERMAG.COM THEANGLERMAG.COM is the massive "Sea• Monster" black drum. Some of these fish push 50 the northern 2andMISSISSIPPI eastern sides ofCOAST the Biloxi NOVEMBER Marsh. We 2021 look for gulls, pelicans and or diving terns. If we get lucky, we are gonna find schools POUNDS! On a light tackle set up, it's a real treat. Love or dead shrimp of bay chovies, along with big trout and bull reds. If you're an area with work very well fished on the bottom. Get out there and enjoy it. Bring the kiddos, or newbie. these fish attracting bait fish, you'll know it. When you pop your Boat As always, have fun and be safe. Monkey popping cork, you'll see them shower each pop. If you find bay chovies, worth the area thoroughly. On calmer early mornings, the top water is stellar amongst those bay chovies. Opening night, holy joley or any clearer soft plastics work well too.

MISSISSIPPIgulf GULFCOAST COAST NOVEMBER COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 62 Mississippi april 2022 2021COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 2 MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST NOVEMBER 2021 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 2 MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST NOVEMBER 2021 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 2 MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST NOVEMBER 2021 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Offshore Report Derek Stiglet Nelson Outdoors Pro-Staff

Of April2022 2021 April January 2022 D Nelson

Grouper fishing is a more slow pace and relaxing fishing technique. Bottom fishing for grouper, tilefish or other bottom dwelling fish can be exciting due to the wide variety of fish species you may catch such as this Snowy Grouper. Depending on the size fish you are targeting, you will have to determine what size rod/reel outfits you’ll need to use. Stand up hand crank tackle or electric reels are the typical outfits ill use targeting grouper and other bottom fish. If I want to catch numerous fish on one drop especially in deeper waters, G I’ll rig up bottom rig with branch connections with size relaxing fis 8/0-9/0 circles at the end of each. This saves alot of energy instead of hand cranking from thesh deeper depths tilefi or o over and over again. On shallower waters around 200due the w 250ft if I want to catch one grouper atto a time, ill sometimes rig up a single hook Carolina style rig on a handthis such as crank conventional reel with an egg weight, leader and you the same 8/0- 9/0 circle hooks. After are rigging up the tar tackle ill tip the hooks with a whole, fresh squid or a ou rod/reel Nelson Outdoors live bait. Once I mark my location and the fish, I’ll send or el to the bottom and reel up about is your one stop shop the bait all the way tackle in the area, it won’t take long to get for all your hunting and 3-6ft. If the fish are geting grou a strike. Prepare with plenty of terminal tackle and baits fishing needs. numerous fi as you’ll tend to have alot of hangups on bottom struc2034 Market St. tures and will have to sacrifice the tackle and re-rig to I’ll rig up bo Pascagoula, Ms 39567 make another drop.

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8/0-9/0 circ ergy instea over and ov 250ft if I wa

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Kitchen Delights i p p i s s i s Mis Contributed by: Aaron Kopp

April Recipe: Double Battered Trout Almondine Fish Sticks

A

pril is one of the best months for fishing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When weather conditions cooperate, Speckled Trout are plentiful. Attentive anglers can catch nice size speckled trout without burning a lot of gas. This is my goto recipe when I catch trout in the 18” to 20” range. I love this recipe because it puts a nice crust on the fried fillets without overpowering the flavor of the trout unlike store bought fish fry tends to do. Additionally, it’s a great weeknight meal, a crowd pleaser for the kids, and a vast improvement from store bought fish sticks!

Method (Serves 3-4):

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • •

1. 1.Large trout fillets typically need to be sliced down into smaller portions to allow for easy cooking in the fryer. Cut fillets according to your crowd’s preference removing the blood line. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 2. Collect three dredge pans for battering your fish. 3. In the first pan, place All-Purpose Flour, Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne. This is where most of the seasoning for your fish will come from, so err on the side of seasoning heavy in this pan. 4. In the second pan, beat eggs and milk together until fully mixed. 5. In the third pan, spread the almond flour. 6. In sequence, dredge your trout fillets in the seasoned All-Purpose Flour, followed by the egg wash, and lastly the almond flour. Coat all surfaces and cracks of the fish and place aside to allow coating to stick to fish. 7. In a deep walled Dutch oven, place 3-4” of cooking oil and heat oil to 375°F. 8. Drop fish in hot oil 1-2 fillets at a time. Each time fish is dropped, the oil temp will drop, so don’t place too many fillets at a time. 9. Cook fillets until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool, and season with flakey sea salt.

3-4 Large Speckled Trout Fillets 1 Cup All Purpose Flour 1 Cup Almond Flour 1 Tbsp. Salt 1 Tbsp. Pepper ½ tsp. Cayenne 2-3 Eggs ½ Cup Milk 1 Bottle of Vegetable, Canola, or other Frying Oil Salt and Pepper to Taste

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www.USHarbors.com

Biloxi, MS - Apr 2022

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B I L O X I T I D E C H A R T

High

Date

Low

AM

ft

PM

ft

AM

ft

PM

ft

Rise

Set

Fri

1:51

0.9

11:58A

1.0

5:53

0.8

7:36

0.3

6:42

7:15

2

Sat

11:58

1.3

8:53

0.1

6:41

7:16

3

Sun

12:16

1.5

10:00

0.0

6:40

7:16

4

Mon

12:42

1.7

11:03

-0.1

6:39

7:17

5

Tue

1:13

1.8

6:38

7:17

6

Wed

1:50

1.9

12:06

-0.2

6:36

7:18

7

Thu

2:35

1.9

1:12

-0.2

6:35

7:19

8

Fri

3:28

1.8

2:16

-0.2

6:34

7:19

9

Sat

4:31

1.8

3:16

-0.2

6:33

7:20

10

Sun

5:46

1.7

4:08

-0.1

6:32

7:21

11

Mon

7:10

1.6

4:52

0.0

6:31

7:21

12

Tue

8:40

1.5

5:27

0.1

6:29

7:22

13

Wed

10:15

1.3

5:51

0.3

6:28

7:22

14

Thu

12:36

0.9

5:59

0.6

4:28

0.7

6:27

7:23

15

Fri

12:06

1.1

11:23A

1.1

5:34

0.9

6:16

0.5

6:26

7:24

16

Sat

11:06

1.4

7:36

0.2

6:25

7:24

17

Sun

11:18

1.7

8:49

-0.1

6:24

7:25

18

Mon

11:47

2.0

10:02

-0.3

6:23

7:26

19

Tue

12:27

2.3

11:17

-0.5

6:22

7:26

20

Wed

1:15

2.4

6:21

7:27

21

Thu

2:09

2.4

12:32

-0.6

6:20

7:28

22

Fri

3:09

2.3

1:44

-0.5

6:19

7:28

23

Sat

4:15

2.1

2:51

-0.4

6:18

7:29

24

Sun

5:31

1.9

3:49

-0.2

6:17

7:30

25

Mon

7:09

1.6

4:36

0.0

6:16

7:30

26

Tue

9:27

1.3

5:05

0.4

6:15

7:31

27

Wed

12:05

1.0

5:03

0.7

5:28

0.8

6:14

7:31

28

Thu

12:26

1.0

10:53A

1.3

3:46

1.0

6:47

0.5

6:13

7:32

29

Fri

10:37

1.5

7:42

0.3

6:12

7:33

30

Sat

10:47

1.8

8:28

0.1

6:11

7:33

1

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Kitchen Delights i p p i s s i s s i M Contributed by: Sean Varone

April Recipe: Blackened Redfish

R

edfish is plentiful and an easy catch on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When paired with cheesy grits and a quick, acidic sauce, one can prepare a meal fit for a special occasion or a quiet evening at home with loved ones. This recipe is easily adjustable to suit one’s spice preferences as well. Enjoy!

*Must use a large iron skillet; best cooked outside

Ingredients: • • •

Method (Serves 3-4):

4 redfish filets 1-2 sticks butter, melted Paul Prudhomme’s Redfish Magic seasoning blend or make your own

1. Preheat iron skillet in oven or over grill, cannot get it too hot so don’t worry 2. Dip filets in butter then generously coat w/seasoning mix on each side. Lay on a platter as you work 3. Place filets, 1 or 2 at a time, in hot skillet. Careful so you avoid a flare up 4. Flip when fish is opaque on edges, around 2-3 mins depending on thickness, and when underside is charred 5. Pour around a tbsp of melted butter over flipped filet and cook for additional 2-3 mins 6. Transfer to baking sheet in oven to keep warm and repeat blackening process with remaining filets

Blackening season mix: • • • • • • •

2 tbsp paprika 1 tbsp granulated garlic ½ tsp dried thyme ½ tsp oregano 1 tbs salt 1 tsp black pepper ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Serve with gri ts and a beurre Cajun sauce!

1

P

10 M

April Recipe: Beurre Cajun (sauce):

April Recipe: Cheesy Grits

*Use heavy saute pan

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

• • • • • • • • •

• •

Stick of butter, cubed ½ lb. headless jumbo shrimp, peeled ½ cup dry white wine ½ lemon, juiced 1 clove garlic minced 2 or 3 green onions, sliced ¼ cup andouille sausage, sliced Dash of J. Lee’s hot sauce Redfish Magic seasoning

• • •

1. 2. 3. 4.

Combine sausage, garlic, onions in pan and cook for 2-3 mins Add wine, lemon juice, hot sauce, and shrimp to pan Sautee for around 5 mins until liquid is reduced by half Swirl pan gently and constantly while adding chunks of butter until all butter is used. Do not use a metal spoon or metal whisk because the hot spots may cause the sauce to break 5. Remove from heat and season with Redfish Magic

Serve with fish! 14 MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST

APRIL 2022

*Use Southern Kitchen Stone Ground Grits and a heavy bottomed gallon stock pot

1 cup grits 4 cups chicken stock (you can use stock plus whole milk to equal 4 cups of liquid) Salt, white pepper ½ lb gouda, shredded 4tbsp butter

1. Add liquids to stock pot. Season with salt and pepper. Liquid should be fairly salty. Bring to low boil over med-high flame 2. Slowly whisk in grits and return to boil 3. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 mins, stirring frequently 4. Remove from heat and add butter and cheese. 5. Check seasoning before serving.

Great with seafood and blackened dishes

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Gorenflo's 36th Annual

COBIA TOURNAMENT April 30th - May 1st 2022

APRIL 22ND CAPTAIN’S MEETING FOR ONE DAY SHOOTOUT

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COBIA May TOURNAMENT 3rd - May 4th 2014 Gorenflo's 28th 27th Annual

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The Flint River: N AT I V E F I S H I N T H E I R N AT I V E W AT E R S By Nick Carter

T

he fight didn’t last long, maybe a couple of minutes, but it was exciting. Between bulldog runs, the fish broke the surface and walked on water, shaking its head in anger. When Kent Edmonds steered the fish out of the current and brought it to hand, a broad grin broke across the man’s face. He lifted a chunky shoal bass for appraisal before release. It was a decent fish, maybe 14 inches. Still, on a 6-weight fly rod, the strength of the fight rivaled that of a largemouth twice its size. Shoal bass are aggressive and pugnacious. They are an intriguing sport fish native to just one Southeastern river system.

Shoal Bass Fishing for “shoalies” is so much fun. They exhibit the aggression of any black bass, yet their preferred habitat is the swift-water shoals other bass avoid. Like trout, they hover in eddies and dart out to grab prey adrift in the current. They readily attack topwater lures and flies and grow to record weights approaching 9 pounds. Anglers regularly catch 2- to 5-pound shoal bass, and the largest fish reach lengths up to 24 inches. A new Georgia record was caught from the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, Ga. in December. It weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces. The IGFA world record was an 8-pound, 12-ounce monster caught from Florida’s Apalachicola River. With all that going for it, the relative anonymity of shoal bass is due to geography. There is only one small slice of the world where they exist. The species is native 14 NATIONAL

APRIL 2022

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to the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin, which drains portions of Georgia and Alabama down to the Gulf of Mexico through the Florida panhandle. They are a very cool fish that would be in serious trouble if not for one stretch of Georgia river. Extensive damming has turned ACF River Basin into a series of reservoirs. Shoal bass still exist in pockets across the entire drainage, but habitat alterations have allowed non-natives like spotted and smallmouth bass to out-compete and interbreed with shoal bass. The upper Flint River is the largest remaining stretch of unaltered native shoal bass habitat. It is arguably the best shoal bass fishery in the world.

The Flint River Edmonds has guided fly fishers on the Flint for about 30 years, and while he won’t admit it, he’s largely responsible for the river’s sterling reputation as a fishery. In rural Upson County, Ga., the Flint is like a snapshot back in time. It twists through pine forests of the middle Georgia countryside, undammed for some 220 miles. There’s a sweet spot for fly fishers in the middle of this long run at a geologic formation known as the Fall Line. The Fall Line is the coastline of an ancient sea that cuts a 20-mile-wide swath of rapid elevation loss across the region. For the Flint, the Fall Line features a 45-mile stretch of river with shoal-broken habitat perfect for wading anglers and shoal bass. Contact Kent Edmonds through his website www.flyfishga.com.


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t was a perfect late autumn day in the northern Rockies. Not a cloud in the sky, and just enough cool in the air to stir up nostalgic memories of my trip into the backwoods. This year, though, was different. I was going it solo. My two buddies, pleading work responsibilities, backed out at the last minute. So, armed with my trusty knife, I set out for adventure.

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strength and durability of this knife. And the hand carved, natural bone handle ensures you won’t lose your grip even in the most dire of circumstances. I also made certain to give it a great price. After all, you should be able to get your point across without getting stuck with a high price. Make sure to act quickly. The Grizzly Hunting Knife has been such a hit that we’re having trouble keeping it in stock. Our first release of more than 1,200 SOLD OUT in TWO DAYS! After months of waiting on our artisans, we've finally gotten some knives back in stock. Only 1,337 are available at this price, and half of them have already sold! Knife Specifications: • Stick tang 420 surgical stainless steel blade; 7 ¼" blade; 12" overall • Hand carved natural brown and yellow bone handle • Brass hand guard, spacers and end cap • FREE genuine tooled leather sheath included (a $49 value!) The Grizzly Hunting Knife $249 $79* + S&P California residents please call 1-800-333-2045 regarding Proposition 65 regulations before purchasing this product. *Special price only for customers using the offer code.

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ver the years, Hooker Electric has a proven track record of dreaming up innovative new products to make fishing easier and more productive. Their Live Bait Tube Bucket is another instance of designers coming up with a simple yet effective solution for a problem many anglers face. The Hooker Electric Complete Portable Live Bait System keeps live baits frisky and ready for deployment all day long. This patent-pending live bait system uses an internal pump and simple plumbing to circulate water inside a tricked-out 5-gallon bucket. The water flows over tubes, where it is cooled and aerated, while air bubbles are bled off to assure baits remain lively and ready to fish for hours. The system is portable and comes preinstalled with 10-inch short tubes for smaller pre-hooked baits like gogs, threadfins, sardines, pilchards, hardtails, pogies and mullets. Optional 15-inch tubes keep larger pre-rigged Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, speedos, Boston/tinker mackerel and blue runners ready for action. All components are easily serviceable, and the tuna tubes are removable. The Hooker Electric bucket includes a non-skid grip base to eliminate spills and protect precious surfaces from scratches. The Hooker Electric portable live bait bucket system is designed for mobility. It can be used in fresh or saltwater. HOOKERELECTRIC.COM

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PELAGIC HUNTING WITH THE CORRECT TOOLS

T

Tim Barefoot

here are correct tools for any project, and we have to use our time wisely. First and foremost, I think water temperature is a key to finding the wahoo and tuna consistently. I know it costs a few bucks, but you can subscribe to some sites (not promoting any here) that will give you a very clear picture of where you can find a degree or two temperature break on the edge. Once you narrow down a distance and heading for the desired water temps, you then need to locate the bait. Granted, there are times when the fish will not be on the bait visible on the recorder or on the surface, but just oriented on structure and/or temperature break. This is when it gets down to visible and electronic hunting. There are electronics available that can locate individual and groups of birds at long distances. This is always a good thing to find. If you have a few birds working an area, chances are they are there because the bait is there. Again, I know this electronic equipment is costly, but it’s yet another tool that can narrow down the search for wahoo, tuna and dolphin.

Then there are tools we possess as humans such as good eyesight (good binoculars) and judgement. If you see a noticeable water color change, birds and/or fish feeding on the surface, weed lines and floating objects, chances are, you’ve found the correct general area. A lot of these floating objects will hold bait and fish, especially wahoo and dolphin. After narrowing down an area where the fish will likely be in due to temperature, depth, structure etc., this is when I prefer to high-speed troll. High-speed trolling is another tool to locate the fish, and not a tool to use all day! This is true for wahoo, especially. Once you get a bite, mark that location on the chart. Now it’s time to go back to that area and go to work on ’em. By this time of day, the sun is up pretty good, and the surface bite might slow down a little bit. Like I’ve always said, the fish don’t have Maui Jim’s shades, so they use depth to get the correct amount of light they want. They look up to see bait at, or near the surface like flyers, tinker, cigs and sardines. They also look down for the squid down deep. This is the reason the planer rod is typically the one that produces in the middle of the day. When the sun is high in the sky, it’s time to go deep with your baits. You can’t always catch them where you want to. You have to catch them where they are... down deep. Visit barefootcatsandtackle.com, and look for “featured video” or Coastal Angler Magazine to see the videos related to this article.

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ason Christie finally did it. In early March, he won the Bassmaster Classic on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell and was named champion of the biggest event in tournament bass fishing. In two previous Classics, Christie has held the lead headed into the final day of the tournament, once with a more than 6-pound lead and once with a 4-pound lead. Both times he came up short. This year, he found himself tied for the lead with newcomer Kyle Welcher after Day 2. “Honestly, when I was sitting at the door waiting to come in and weigh my fish, I thought I had given it away again,” said Christie. “Stetson Blaylock had just weighed in a big bag, and Kyle Welcher used to be a professional poker player, so I knew he had more than what he was saying. “I knew it was gonna be close. I honestly thought there could be a tie, and that was scary for me because I didn’t have any fish left.” After Welcher weighed in and took over the “Hot Seat” from Stetson Blaylock, who had just weighed the largest bag of the tournament, Welcher and Christie stood side by side as the largest crowd in the event’s history cheered awaiting the final tally. On the stage, Christie’s five-bass limit of 17 pounds, 9 ounces was 5 ounces heavier than Welcher’s bag of 17 pounds 4 ounces. Known as one of the best power-fishermen in the world, Christie utilized a 5/8-ounce War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu Jig with a Yum Craw Chunk in green pumpkin/purple. He used a green pumpkin/orange jig until the final day when he switched to straight green pumpkin because he “banged all of the other ones off docks” until they were unusable. He caught most of his fish on the final day fishing shallow docks in 1 to 3 feet of depth in clearer water where most of the other angler were not fishing. He liked the heavier jig due to its faster rate of fall, which drew reaction strikes. Christie, who returned to the Bassmaster Elite Series a year ago after as short tenure with MLF Fishing, was looking hard for redemption in this year’s Classic. Maybe beginning tied on the final day took some of the pressure off, because the third time was a charm for Christie, who took home a $300,000 purse for his win that pushed his total career earnings to over $1,668,000. Welcher earned $50,000 for finishing second with 53-11, and Blaylock earned $47,000 in third place with 53-5, which includes a $7,000 bonus for his Sunday catch of 20-9 that ranked as the Rapala Monster Bag of the Week. South Carolina pro Brandon Cobb earned $2,500 for overall Berkley Big Bass of the Week with the 6-12 largemouth he caught on Day 2. Phil Wolf is the co-publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine’s Orlando edition.

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