Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2021 | Mississippi Edition

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MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST EDITION

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BIG FISH SMALL LURES

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KITE! PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE DALTON INSTAGRAM: @BOMBCHELLE_FISHING

VOLUME 26 • ISSUE 314

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM

F R A N C H I S E

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

A V A I L A B L E

W O R L D W I D E

MAY 2021


Secrets of a Billionaire Revealed “Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.” — wisdom from the most successful investor of all time

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Jackpot! Hoard of 1881-S Morgan Silver Dollars Found & Secured Mintage accounts for only 1.94% of all Morgan Silver Dollars Struck!

In 1859, Nevada’s Comstock Lode was discovered, and soon its rich silver ore made its way across the nation, including to the respected San Francisco Mint—the U.S. Mint branch known by collectors as the source of some of the finest U.S. coins ever struck. That includes the 1881 Morgan Silver Dollar, which exhibits crisp details, blazing luster, and the iconic “S” mint mark of the San Francisco Mint. Now you have the chance to add these historic, 90% pure U.S. silver coins to your collection!

Here’s the breakdown: in 1881, just 4.25% of the total Morgan series was struck. Less than half of those coins came from San Francisco. In the end, the 1881-S Morgan Silver Dollar accounts for just 1.94% of the entire series—and that’s before the mass meltings that have left so few coins for collectors to secure. And we can expect that even fewer of the survivors are of collector grade...

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(MS63) condition by NGC/PCGS

 Sealed in protective holder  1881-S accounts for just 1.94% of all Morgans Struck

Actual size is 38.1 mm

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)! Grading service varies. The condition of these coins are as though they were struck yesterday, despite being minted 140 years ago to circulate in commerce! And yet they have survived with a quality level of eye appeal that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

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The Morgan Silver Dollar was struck from 1878 to 1904, and again in 1921. In the 100 years since, most of these beautiful U.S. Silver Dollars have been worn out or melted down for their silver. It’s estimated that as little as 15% of all Morgans struck exist today in any condition. Even fewer come from this particular mintage.

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The Morgan Silver Dollar is the most popular and iconic vintage U.S. coin. They were the Silver Dollars of the Wild West, going on countless untold adventures in dusty saddlebags across the nation. Finding a hoard of Morgans doesn’t happen often—and when it does, it’s a big deal. So when we came across a recent hoard of 549 Morgan Silver Dollars—all struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1881—it was like hitting the jackpot!

Morgans from the San Francisco Mint

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THE BASICS

By Michelle Dalton

Flying OF

Kites T

here’s something about kite fishing for big pelagic gamefish that gets me going. Flying kites presents baits with a natural appearance and allows you to cover lots of water for higher catch rates. Also, the technique provides the ultimate adrenaline rush, as you get to watch the strike happen. For those unfamiliar with kite fishing, let’s go over the basics. Captains consider everything from water color and clarity to baitfish and birds to determine where to start fishing. I like fishing edges, where water color turns green to a deep blue, usually somewhere in 100 to 300 feet of water. There are different kite designs for different wind velocities. Kites are typically launched and retrieved with electric reels. Launching kites is not a piece of cake, but with the right equipment, patience and steady winds, a beginner can practice and perfect the skill. Attached to your kite line are three release clips.

Each clip is assigned to a rod. An experienced crew will fish three live baits off one kite, with each reel’s line clipped to the main kite line. Although it seems like a potential tangled mess, it’s rather organized. For the bait lines, I use high-capacity baitcasting reels spooled with 20- or 30-pound monofilament. Attached to the mono, above the leader, there are a few terminal tackle items that make up your rigs.

First, a ceramic ring is attached to the kite line using release clips. Next, a neon float dangles in the sky above each bait to help track them from a distance. From there, a small egg sinker maintains the vertical drop that keeps baits at the surface. Finally, a bead separates the sinker from your leader. Your leader depends on the targeted species. For the toothy critters, I use an 18-inch wire leader connected to fluorocarbon with an Albright knot and a 7/0 live bait hook. For sailfish, I use 10 to 12 feet of 60-pound fluorocarbon leader with a 7/0 circle hook. By paying attention and adjusting the lines, the angler keeps the baits on the surface where they make the slight commotion predators find irresistible. The rigs suspend in air above the baits, completely out of sight of the fish. I prefer fishing goggle-eyes, threadfin herring and sardines. Healthy bait is far more likely to be eaten. Ahead of tournaments, my team and I spend weeks feeding and nurturing bait to keep it healthy. If you’re fortunate enough to hook a sailfish, don’t immediately clear the other lines. Sailfish often travel in groups. Leave those other baits in the water for a chance at additional bites. Traditionally, when winds start to die at the end of spring, the number of boats trolling offshore grows. However, kite fishing goes on year-round in South Florida. Even with very little wind, a kite will fly with the help of a helium balloon. Next time your friends want to troll around offshore, tell them to “go fly a kite!” Michelle Dalton books charters through her social media pages: @Bombchelle_fishing.

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on ply. ce mer ect ely. ng. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

MAY 2021

NATIONAL 7


Humbled

ON THE DAVIDSON By Nick Carter

T

he Davidson River in Brevard, N.C. is one of the most widely publicized trout streams in the Southeast. It’s a challenging fishery with beautiful water that holds some very nice fish. Part of the Davidson’s appeal, or its main drawback, is easy access. The river flows roadside through most its publicly accessible length. There is small water in the headwaters accessible only by foot, but for the most part it is a park-and-fish kind of place. On a gorgeous summer weekend, a buddy and I heeded advice from the guys at Davidson River Outfitters to join the dawn patrol. We arrived on

the river at first light to find a pod of big fish, maybe four or five in the 16- to 20-inch range, hovering near the bottom of a bellybutton-deep run. They were clearly visible in low summer flows. For the next hour, we worked the run together, one or the other of us making the same drift repeatedly as the other man tied on a new fly. It was a challenge that bordered on infuriating to see those trout, an occasional belly flash belying the fact that they were eating… just not what we offered. We tried everything, right down to a size 22 red midge pupa recommended at the fly shop. Finally, because we had tried everything else, I

tied on a white Woolly Bugger—another Davidson River staple. Just twitching it through the hole, a fish we had not previously seen streaked from the periphery to slam the streamer. Those big fish didn’t even flinch as I stripped in a pretty 11-inch brown. As I released the fish, an older gentleman waded down the side of the run. He glanced out at the pod of big fish still sitting on the bottom. “Wasn’t the one you were after, was it?” he asked. My response was to offer him a shot at the run. He declined. “Don’t want any part of it,” he grumbled. “Spent all afternoon yesterday standing right where you are.” That’s a snapshot of what fishing the catch-andrelease, fly fishing only section of the Davidson is like. The river is full of fish—and some big ones. It is also frequently full of anglers. The steady pressure makes trout wise. Of course, there’s always a guy who lights up Internet message boards with a photo of a big old bruiser. He’ll give advice like, “Use a little split-shot to get it down,” but I suspect there’s more to it. Pressured fish are on guard. Catching them requires perfect presentation of the perfect fly and also being in the right place at that right time. Arriving early, staying late and fishing hard makes it more likely you’ll be there when a 2-foot-long trout makes a mistake. This story is an abbreviated excerpt from the book “Flyfisher’s Guide to North Carolina & Georgia,” which includes maps and GPS coordinates to access points for all the region’s best trout fisheries. Purchase the book on Amazon or by contacting the author at nsc8957@gmail.com.

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Spring has Sprung and MAY is finally here! We are very excited for the big schools of speckled trout. Typically they will follow the waves of shrimp. The easiest way to find them is follow the diving birds. Our main areas of focus will be the Eastern and northern sides of the Biloxi Marsh. The triple tails should be making there way in this month. Be sure and keep an eye out for any buoy, pole, floating debris, etc. Just get a live shrimp near it, and hang on! So far this year, we have seen some decent numbers of flounder. Considering we haven’t seen many flounders for the past several years, we are hoping this a positive sign of things to come. Typically, just about everything is gonna be fishy this months. The LA Marsh, the nearshore reefs, the Bay, the islands, you name it. The bait shops, launches and water are all gonna be busy. Please be respectful of others space, property and time. If you need help, please ask for it.

As Always, Have Fun and Be Safe

Publishers: Rocky Brooks

To Advertise With Us: Rocky@coastalanglermagazine.com

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MAY 2021

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST 1


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Offshore Report Derek Stiglet Nelson Outdoors Pro-Staff

May 2021

It’s now May and the Cobia migration is getting into full swing along the Mississippi coastal area along with the spring weather and warmer water temperatures. Anglers will start to see a higher concentration of fish as they continue to make their way west. The local Cobia tournaments continue on through the first weekend of June as the fishing only gets better. Schools of Cobia will stick around any of our fish haven wrecks and artificial reefs and also around rig structure and navigational bouys in search for food. Their diet can consist of crabs, squid and other live baits that tend to congregate around the structures and reefs. I tend to rig for Cobia with my Penn Spinfisher 7500 or 8500 class reels or Penn Fathom Conventional reels. I’ll spool the Spinfishers with 65-80lb Power Pro Super Slick braid and the Fathom reels with 40-50lb Momoi Diamond Monofilament and both will have a 3-4ft length of 60-80lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon leader with a 6/0-8/0 Mistras 3x strong circle hook for different size baits that I may be using. Also having Cobia jigs handy is a plus for casting to the fish to get them to strike. Having a few different size setups can be handy depending on the size of the fish that you may come across. I will typically use dead squid, cigar Minnows or live baits as my go to baits. The Cobia is a brute fighter and will fight until the end. Their typical head shaking action makes for an interesting fight so pay attention to your drag and tackle rigging and keep your gear serviced and maintained periodically.

Nelson Outdoors is your one stop shop for all your hunting and fishing needs. 2034 Market St. Pascagoula, Ms 39567

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MAY 2021

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST 7


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Fishing for Big Trout at Night A lot of people think when fishing for trout at night, you need to be near lights. While they aren’t wrong, most my success has come from fishing some of my daytime spots that have lots of bait, tight coves near a point, and faster moving water, and not really near any lights what so ever. I don’t care how dark it is out or how dirty the water is, I’ve caught them at night in all of it! They see and feel vibrations more than you will ever know. Big Trout can be much more aggressive at night and tend to hit much harder. I like fast working a Paul Brown Soft Dine XL, Double D, or fast reeling a Tiger Matrix Shad. I’m trying to keep the bait 3”-6” under the water so the fish sees the bait profile from the sides or underneath. It’s worked very well for me in the past. Go try it and report back on the Coastal Angler Mississippi Fishing Report Page and post some pictures!

Rocky Brooks

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Setup for success The foundation to fishing for any species starts with the proper rigs and setups. There are thousands of articles and videos out there that highlight different rigs and setups for targeting inshore species. The setups that I am going to discuss are the rigs that I use daily to target Redfish, Flounder and Speckled Trout around the Mobile Bay and surrounding Gulf Coast. You can also visit our Youtube Channel, “Southern Salt Kayak Fishing” where we have several videos going in depth about these rigs and setups. The key components to any good setup include the rod, reel, line and leader. The rod serves as the back bone and selecting the right one for the job will increase distance and accuracy all while ensuring enough power to bring in the fish! The reel gives you the right amount of drag and line capacity all while keeping the weight of your setup low enough as to be comfortable and not fatigue the angler. Choosing the right line and size also plays a huge role in getting further casts all while ensuring enough power to direct the fish to the boat. The leader is the lifeline of your inshore setup making sure that your line does not get broke off from toothy fish or sharp barnacles around pilings, all while keeping your line undetected by finicky fish.

Redfish

The main setup that I use to target Redfish starts with a 7’ medium heavy, fast action rod. This rod gives me plenty of backbone to pull in upper slot reds, as well as bull reds. I find that 3000 – 4000 size reels are perfect for redfish. They provide enough drag and spool capacity to fight almost any size redfish. The line that I prefer here is 20 – 30 pound braid paired up with 20 – 30 pound Fluorocarbon Leader. The size of the line will depend on the areas you plan of fishing. If you are fishing Flats and marsh systems 20-pound test is plenty. However, if you plan to fish structure such as docks and bridge pilings you might want to use 30-pound test to winch those fish out of the structure. This setup is great for throwing artificial lures such as Spoons, crankbaits, and soft plastics on a 3/8 oz jig head. This setup also works exceptionally well for live bait on popping corks and Carolina rigs.

Speckled Trout

For Speckled Trout, our setup is going to be much lighter than that of a redfish setup. For this setup, we are going to use a 7’ medium light, fast action rod. We are throwing a lighter rod here because the weight of our lures will be much smaller and it takes a lot less force to turn the head of a Speckled Trout. The reel size here will be a 2500, which is the perfect size for catching any size trout. The line size here is going to be 10-pound braid paired with 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. 10-pound test provides enough strength to get these fish to the boat, all while allowing us to cast significantly further and having a more natural presentation on artificial lures. The fluorocarbon leader here should be approximately 3-4 feet long and attached to the mainline with a uni to uni knot. This setup is perfect for throwing soft plastics and jerk baits weighing between 1/16 - 1/4oz, as well as free lining live bait.

Flounder

For Flounder, my favorite setup is one directly in between my Redfish and Speckled Trout setups. For this setup, I am going to go with a 7’ medium, extra fast rod tip. The medium rod strength here gives me a large range of options for jig head weight, allowing me to throw anything from a 1/8-1/2oz jig head accurately. The extra fast tip allows me to get a very quick and hard hook set which is essential for getting these fish in the boat. The reel size here is going to be anything between 2000-3000. Line size for flounder will be 20-pound braid paired with 20-pound fluorocarbon leader tied to the mainline with a uni to uni knot. This setup will cover almost any range of style for flounder fishing, as well as serve as a good back up redfish setup.

Conclusion

Using the right setup can mean the difference in hooking and landing these fish or going home and telling everyone about the one that got away. Be sure to check us out on Youtube at Southern Salt Kayak Fishing where you can directly reach out to us and ask any questions that you may have. Until next time tight lines and stay safe!

Tight Lines,

Nathan Rich COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

MAY 2021

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, e . e

6

program GEICO

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TASTE

FISH SMELL 1000X BETTER THAN WE DO. Underwater. In current. And even in nutrient-dense saltwater, fish can pick up a scent at the parts per billion level. Think that’s impressive? How about a bait with the ability to trick that sense of smell into believing it is even better than real food. In scientific tests, Gulp!® proved so effective on saltwater gamefish, it actually outfished real bait time and time again. Not only does the scent outperform real and artificial bait, it has 400 times the scent dispersion of the best competing soft plastic bait. Now, Gulp! is available in all of the most popular sizes, colors and actions, including the new Firetail options. Berkley® Gulp! We’ve done the science, now you catch the fish. berkley-fishing.com ©2020 Pure Fishing, Inc.


THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE BITE Berkley Saltwater Gulp! Continues to Outshine Live Bait for Coastal Anglers

A

ll along the coast, as the highways near the busiest launch ramps, the bait shop signs announcing what’s for sale reinforce what most anglers already know: natural bait does a good job of catching fish. Live baitfish and live shrimp are almost always on the bait shop menu as they present the most natural food source. But even the frozen slabs of baitfish and chunks of cut bait that are also widely sold—baits which have no action to them whatsoever—are eaten by saltwater species if presented the right way. But why? The answer is simple, as it all pertains to one of the most misunderstood senses in fish biology: a fish’s sense of smell. It’s this sense of smell that inspired the development of Berkley Saltwater

Gulp!, the line of baits that has transformed saltwater fishing with their effectiveness, ease of use and value. For as effective as live or cut bait can be in saltwater fishing, it’s far from the perfect solution. Live bait can be very expensive and difficult to keep alive. Unused bait becomes a treat for pushy pelicans or gets dumped into the water. Presented with a problem, the scientists at Berkley set out to find a solution. Fish smell on the parts-per-billion level, the equivalent of a single drop of water in an Olympicsized swimming pool. This powerful sense of smell is extremely important to a fish’s ability to feed. Fish rely upon their sense of smell because they live in an aquatic environment filled with particles


and debris that can look like food. Their noses tell fish the difference between food and other organic compounds. Berkley scientists set out to make the first artificial bait that really appealed to a fish’s sense of smell. The first step was getting scent to disperse from a soft bait. While fish attractants and scents are nothing new, all of the competitive versions were oil-based. And just like the old adage reminds us, oil and water don’t mix. An oil-based scent that is smelly to a human has no effectiveness on fish since it is not soluble in water. That’s why Gulp! scents are water-based. The water-based scent formula, now known as Berkley Gulp! and which has since become synonymous with saltwater fishing across the country, caught more fish than live bait in headto-head tests. This scent, combined with the proprietary material used in Berkley Gulp! baits, disperses scent 400 times more effectively than any other soft bait, meaning it creates a scent field that is easily detected by fish and which continues to expand as the bait is retrieved. “I started really using Gulp! in about 2007, a few years after it came out,” said Capt. Jot Owens, who operates out of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., where he specializes in putting his clients on big redfish, flounder and other species. “And from the first year I started fishing with Gulp!, we were catching more and bigger flounder than we had ever caught before—and we were fishing in the same areas we had always been fishing. I don’t

know what the magic formula is, but it really wakes fish up.” Capt. Owens said he prefers Berkley Saltwater Gulp! for a host of species, but especially for redfish and flounder. His go-to set up for flounder varies slightly depending on whether he’s fishing inshore or farther out. The set up consists of a 6-inch Saltwater Gulp! Jerk Shad (Chartreuse/Pepper/ Neon or Firetiger) on a 3/8-ounce long-shank jig head. Because Gulp! baits are wet inside and out, they can come unrigged, so Capt. Owens relies on a Berkley Fusion19 jig that has lead lips and a wire hook to keep his Jerk Shad rigged properly. When fishing inshore, he uses a medium-fast Fenwick HMG Inshore paired with a Size 2500 or 3000 PENN Battle III DX spinning reel, which is spooled with 15-pound braid and a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. Farther out, he will increase the line size to a 20-pound braid mainline and a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader spooled onto a Size 3500 PENN Spinfisher. “Just make sure the bait is bouncing on bottom; I’m typically jigging with the rod tip pretty high,” Capt. Owens said. “It’s not that you won’t get bit dragging it on the bottom, but the bait is more effective bouncing up and down.” For redfish, Capt. Owens has his clients using 3- or 4-inch Gulp! Shrimp (Sugar Spice Glow or Chartreuse) on a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jig head, increasing the weight of the jig based on fishing depth and current. The rest of his redfish set up is similar to that of his inshore rig for flounder:

medium-fast Fenwick HMG Inshore paired with a Size 2500 or 3000 PENN Battle III DX spinning reel, which is spooled with 15-pound braid and a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. “The best retrieve is a hop-hop; let it sit for a second or two then give it another hop-hop,” Capt. Owens said. “Redfish are really bottom feeders, so they’ll almost always hit it on the drop or while it’s sitting on bottom for the brief pause. The way the Berkley Saltwater Gulp! Shrimp is putting out scent, redfish pick it up with the same excitement as they would a hunk of cut bait even though it’s not moving.”


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t’s a lot more fun to fill fish boxes when the various Gulf and Atlantic grouper seasons open in spring. These days, advances in electronics have made finding good grouper bottom easier than ever. There is, however, a trade-off. In the good old days, captains precisely timed their courses out of the pass in hopes of coming off throttle near a fish-producing rock pile. Before GPS and sonar, the best indicators of productive bottom were boats already there and catching fish. Successful anglers even welcomed new PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL LAFOSSE boats to the party, reasoning that more baits in the water served to excite fish into feeding. In case you didn’t notice, that’s not the way things work any more. Now any yahoo with a boat can plug coordinates into their navigation system and sleepwalk straight to a ledge or wreck. Community holes and artificial reefs are crowded and sometimes picked clean of fish. To avoid this, a good set of numbers is a jealously guarded secret. Camaraderie on the open sea is officially a thing of the past when picking up and moving off productive bottom is a logical step to avoid being marked in the mapping system of a passing vessel. We’ve traded open sharing of information for technological advancements the old salts couldn’t have dreamed of. With advanced radar, sonar, mapping and GPS, it’s up to the angler to spend time on the water to locate their own magic numbers. With grouper seasons opening in state and federal waters off the southern states, most species have finished with the peak of spawning. They have begun moving to deeper water and are hungry to feed-up and regain what was lost to the rigors of the spawn. However, grouper are also spread out more thinly right now than they are when they group up on deep-water structure in summer. You might not have to run as far to reach productive bottom, but you will likely have to do more spot-hopping to fill the boxes. It’s a good time of year to troll. Some fish will still be shallow enough to target with deep-diving lures. Using planers and downriggers, it’s possible to get lures down to 60 feet or deeper, and some very deep-diving plugs can get down to 40 feet on their own with the right braided line. This allows you to cover ground on and around those ledge coordinates you have marked. It’s a throwback to the olds days, when trolling up a grouper was the method for finding an area to stop and drop baits. If you keep an eye on the bottom machine, you might even spot a small formation you didn’t know was there. These small blips are the honeyholes that produce when the larger reefs and structure succumb to constant fishing pressure. Don’t care for boat rides and watching rods? Traditional bottom fishing may still be the best method. Check your shallower coordinates as you head out this time of year. Many boats ride right over good structure on the way to their deeper summer spots. Reefs or rocks as shallow as 40 feet will hold fish before they head out to their mid-summer haunts. Just be sure to drop some chum down upstream of the structure to bring them out of their hidey-holes. See your state’s saltwater fishing regulations to determine which species of grouper are open for harvest where you fish.

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MAY 2021

NATIONAL 17


On the Swordfish Ledge

off Marathon

By Capt. Quinlyn Haddon

I

f you’ve ever been swordfishing out of Marathon, Fla., chances are you were deep dropping the same area I was in April, when the U.S. Coast Guard ticketed us for fishing in Bahamian waters. Dropping for swordfish is exhausting. Staring mindlessly at one single rod tip, it’s easy to lose your mind questioning if every other wave was a bite. It is also possible to spend an entire day doing the crazy-eyed swordfish rod stare and never get a nibble. During a slow drift along the ledge in 1,800 feet of water, our luck finally changed. A flock of diving terns approached and crossed behind the

boat. We opened bails on the flat lines and let pinfish swim toward the commotion. Immediately we hooked up and stole a school of mahi from under the birds. With four mahi hooked up along the port side, we had just begun the assembly line from hook to killbox when we were informed the U.S. Coast Guard was about to board our boat. Approaching from starboard to accommodate our fishing, three “Coasties” boarded to conduct a routine safety check. After about half an hour with our official guests on board, we finished with the school of mahi and decided to reel up the sword line. We activated the electric reel, and— distracted by our visitors—it took a moment to

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realize we were hooked up. The Coasties were going to have to put a pin in it. “Hang on fellas; we’re hooked up!” For the next half hour, we didn’t hear a word from our visitors. As the fish began to surface, the line scoped out underneath the Coast Guard cutter raft. We radioed asking them to move. After a lot of chaos and tight boat maneuvering, we landed the 150-pound swordfish with the Coast Guard on board. They even took the catch photos. It was all high fives and celebration until they asked us for our Bahamian fishing licenses and informed us we were illegally fishing in the Bahamian Exclusive Economic Zone. Later on, extensive research by Steve Steenstra, owner of Blue Magic Charters, revealed the Bahamian EEZ line runs about 24 miles from land, straight across the U.S. sword ledge. None of us, not even our GPS mapping knew about this line. A law enacted some 40 years ago had just been enforced for the first time. We were the first vessel cited. As I understand it, after visiting the Coast Guard Station in Key West, the EEZ line was drawn straight down the middle by default. Now that they’re enforcing it, recreational swordfishing from the Keys is threatened, along with the livelihoods it supports. As the situation unfolds, it would be wise to stay up to date before venturing offshore from the Keys. Capt. Quinlyn Haddon and Blue Magic Charters are following this situation closely. Contact her at (504) 920-6342 or through Instagram @CaptainQuinlyn and @BlueMagicCharters.



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ach spring, inshore anglers are greeted with big winds, big tides and small baitfish. There is no time where the size of your lure can make or break your trip more than the spring season. With the abundance of small baitfish in the water, it can be difficult to get the attention of your target species, especially when you are fishing with artificial lures. It is also very common to find gamefish gorging themselves on tiny glass minnows. This is routinely evident when you land a fish and they spit up these miniature meals. As anglers, we have two obstacles here: the sheer amount of forage in the water competing with your lure and the small size of the lure required. What I have found to be the most successful tactic is to use the smallest lure I can cast and appropriately present to the fish. Both hard and soft lures can be effective. Another key to success is color. I prefer a white-and-silver combination that closely matches the natural forage. I like to fish these lures on the edge of large bait balls when possible. I try to keep my lure on the edge or under the school to let the fish focus on a single target rather than a large mass.

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

Using a slow-sinking lure is an advantage at this time of the year. A lure that will suspend or slow-sink is ideal. This allows the predator time to target your lure, and it also gives the appearance of a wounded baitfish, which is always a plus. When the bait is this thick, your lure needs to stand out, but you still need to match the forage in size and color. The use of tandem rigs allows for a couple of advantages. Casting two smaller lures could equal the weight of one of your typical offerings. This allows you to cast farther and still have the appropriate size lure. Rigging two small silver spoons with white bucktails is a great combination when fishing glass minnow schools. I also like to use a small floater/ diver with a small spoon trailer. The diving action in conjunction with the added weight of the spoon is a unique combination of action to entice strikes. Downsizing your lure presentation in spring can definitely up-size your catch. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOCKIN TAIL LURES

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MAY 2021

NATIONAL 21


“For Me, It’s a Fishing Tool”

The 2021 Must-Have Anchoring System

“T

he easiest way I can explain ‘boat position’: if you’re at the baseball game, you’re either playing—which is fishing—or you’re watching the game, which means you’re not…” Capt. Mickey Brelsford decided he’d rather be in the game than on the sidelines, so installing the Rebel EZ-5 became a no-brainer after researching product information and helpful documents on the company website, then calling the drum anchor winch plate design that allows the drum to free-spool when the manufacturer’s technical support team for additional pointers. clutch plate is disengaged. To get that “ good, solid anchoring In the past, using a windlass yielded poor retrieval results position,” press and hold the “raise/power up” side of the and left no room for customization, like adding special button for about five seconds: this will cause the clutch plate to attachments or splicing rope and chain. Now, Capt. Brelsford once again rotate, but this time clamping down on the drum says his Rebel free-fall unit is the perfect fishing tool, providing and holding the boat at anchor. him a “good, solid anchoring position.” “Once I deploy my anchor and it goes into a free-fall, it’s “I don’t know how many times I’ve been on boats where straight down to the bottom as quick as it can go…” Brelsford [the line is] hanging up, snarling, getting knotted up in the said. “And then, once I set the anchor, I can free-line out as windlass or shredding line.” Brelsford said. much anchor rode as I need: that’s what I call ‘boat position’.” A retired policeman, Capt. Brelsford enjoys his time fishing As an added bonus, the Rebel drum anchor winch is near the coast of St. James City, Fla. on his 37-foot “Nostalgic compatible with an E-Z Anchor Puller wireless long-range Lady”: a 1981 Hatteras Sportfish that carries 300 feet of ⅝-inch remote, which controls your drum anchor winch from rope and 20 feet of heavy-duty chain. After adding a pulpit to anywhere on the boat. Capt. Brelsford purchased his on the his vessel, Capt. Brelsford used to pull up all his rope by hand, wasting time company website, ezanchorpuller.com. and energy on multiple retrieval and deployment attempts as he tried to find “This [unit] here—don’t worry about it—it just rolls right on and keeps on the perfect “boat position.” rollin’. That’s what it is: E-Z!” Unlike E-Z Anchor Puller Mfg. Co’s two direct drive series (the Hero To learn more, call 1-800-800-1640 or visit ezanchorpuller.com. and Patriot series), the Rebel drum anchor winch has a clutch and friction

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MAY 2021

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