Coastal Angler Magazine | July 2022 | Mississippi Gulf Coast Edition

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MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST EDITION

FREE @CAMTAMagazine

ICAST

2022

Orlando, FL JULY 19-22

39th Annual

KINGFISH TOURNAMENT

JACKS

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FROM THE

AUG. 5-6

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Summertime

SNAPPER TIME! PHOTO COURTESY OF: CAPT. KURT TILLMAN / IG: @CAPTAIN_KURT_T APP.FISHINGCHAOS.COM/CHARTER/CAPTAIN-KURT-CHARTERS VOLUME 27 • ISSUE 328

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4 NATIONAL

JULY 2022

’GILLS, ERS ’CRACK

e m i t r e Summ AND

By Nick Carter

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! N U F

very now and then, it’s good to rediscover what ushered you into fishing in the first place. For many of us, it all began with small ponds and eager bream. The simplicity of just catching fish, without concern for size or species, is a pursuit that brings back a certain child-like joy. It’s even more fun when you take a kid. Witnessing the light of discovery and pride pass over a child’s face turns untangling lines and dodging errant casts into a labor of love. It doesn’t need to be difficult. If you time it right and have a good place to go, it’s easy to load a stringer full of fat bluegills or redear sunfish in a hurry. They are easy to clean, and they are delicious dredged in a seasoned cornmeal-flour mixture and fried crispy. The traditional preparation is to behead them, gut them and scale them, which yields those great crunchy fins. They can also be filleted for folks who don’t like picking through bones, and the resulting bream nuggets make tasty fish sandwiches or tacos. Throughout the spring and summer, bluegills return to the beds to spawn around each full moon. They spawn in groups, so their fanned-out beds look like honeycombs on the shallow bottom. Shallow flats with a sand or gravel bottom are the preferred areas, and they pile up on these beds for three days or so on either side of the full moon. In all but the most dingy water, you can see the beds on the bottom. Once you find them, the same spots will provide fast action year after year. A cricket under a bobber and a long cane pole is probably the way your grandfather yanked ’gills off the beds. If your young angler is competent with an ultralight spinning combo, a 1/32-oz. crappie jig can also be deadly when reeled steadily across the beds. Fly rodders can wear them out with a small popping bug or small streamer. Redear sunfish, also known as shellcrackers, can be more difficult to locate and catch than bluegills, but it’s worth it once you find them. They are the heavyweights of the bream world and regularly grow up to a pound or two. They fight very hard on light tackle. Shellcrackers spawn in early spring and prefer similar areas to bluegills, only deeper. Their beds can be difficult to find because they are usually too deep to see, and they don’t spawn throughout the summer. When they are on the beds they are very aggressive and will hit small jigs, spinners and flies. When they move off the beds, it’s time to switch to live bait. Shellcrackers feed near the bottom on snails and mollusks. After the spawn, they move off the banks to feed around grass or submerged structure like stumps and treetops. A red-wiggler, either slowly dragged across the bottom with some split-shot or a lightweight dropshot rig are both effective for ’crackers. Once you find one, you can usually find several.

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Red Snapper

The Official Fish of Summer Vacation By CAM Staff

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ed snapper should be the official fish of summer vacation. These hard-fighting and delicious reef fish are the traditional driving force behind the Gulf of Mexico charter fishing industry. The season dates are set to align with the arrival of tourists seeking fun in the sun, and whether you’re pulling your own boat to the Gulf for a week-long fishing expedition or you plan to hire a captain for a day on the water with the kids, here’s a state-by-state look at what you need to know to get in on the action.

Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. At least one de-hooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks. A descending device or venting tool that is rigged and ready for use is required when fishing for reef fish in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal For-Hire Season

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Gulf-wide, most of the recreational catch of Gulf red snapper comes from federal waters, which begin 9 miles offshore for purposes of reef fish management. Charter operations targeting red snapper and other reef fish in federal waters must have a federal for-hire reef fish permit to fish federal waters. The 2022 red snapper season for federally permitted vessels began June 1 and will close on Aug. 19. The bag limit is two fish per person with a 16-inch minimum length limit. Captain and crew may not retain a bag limit. Each state sets its own regulations for private anglers in state and federal waters as well as for charter boats in state waters. FLORIDA: Florida’s season opened June 17 and will run through July 31. Florida has also set aside the following weekends for snapper harvest in fall: Oct. 8-9, Oct. 15-16, Oct. 22-23, Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 25-27. The bag limit is two fish per person, per day with a 16-inch minimum length. The open season includes the These seasons apply to recreational anglers fishing from private vessels Monday of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. The season in Florida Gulf state and federal waters. For-hire operations that do not have will remain open until recreational landings approach Louisiana’s allocation. a federal reef fish permit may also participate in the season but are limited to Anglers must have a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP) to fishing for red snapper in state waters only. All anglers who intend to fish for fish for or possess red snapper and electronically report their catch via the or harvest certain reef fish, including red snapper, from a private vessel are ROLP app or the ROLP website. required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation. MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi’s red snapper season opened for private ALABAMA: The season for private and state-licensed charter vessels recreational anglers and state for-hire vessels on May 27, with a mid-season opened May 27 in Alabama state and federal waters. The season consists of closure date of July 4. The mid-season closure allows for compilation of four-day weekends, Friday through Monday, until the private angler quota landings to examine a potential season extension. is projected to be met. The daily bag limit is two per person, per day with a The season will be open seven days a week in both state and federal waters minimum size limit of 16 inches. and will close if the annual catch target for recreational anglers is reached. One angler per vessel, per trip is required to report through the MDMR Alabama uses Snapper Check to monitor landings during the season and provide weekly updates at outdooralabama.com. Anglers must have an Tails n’ Scales system. The daily bag limit is two fish per person with a 16-inch length limit. Alabama Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement. The owner or operator of each vessel is required to complete one landing TEXAS: The private recreational angler red snapper season in federal report per trip through Snapper Check prior to removing red snapper from waters of Texas opened June 1. Red snapper fishing is open year-round in the boat or the boat from the water. Red snapper caught from non-powered state waters. The bag limit in federal waters is two fish per person daily, with vessels, piers and the shoreline are also required to be reported through a 16-inch minimum size limit. In state waters, the limit is four fish per person Snapper Check. A landing report may be submitted through Snapper Check daily with a 15-inch minimum. Red snapper caught in federal waters count in the Outdoor AL app, which is available at outdooralabama.com. as part of the state bag limit. No more than two red snapper in federal waters LOUISIANA: The season opened May 27 in state and federal waters of and four red snapper in state waters may be in your possession while fishing. Louisiana. It will run weekends only (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) with a For more information, go to gulfcouncil.org. daily bag limit of three per person and a 16-inch minimum size limit. 6 NATIONAL JULYfish 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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ong-casting lures are not limited to one shape or style, and that is a good thing. Distance is sometimes important in reaching fish, and a specific action or type of lure is important in convincing them to bite. Here’s a look at several lure styles and the pros and cons of fishing them. Diamond Jig: The first longdistance lure ever was likely the diamond jig and other elongated metal spoons. Originally designed for handline jigging, it just turned out that this lure’s shape allows it to cut through the air to reach great distances. This one is always worth carrying. It allows you to cover a lot of water and cast in high winds pretty well. This said, the diamond jig being made of metal makes the lure size relatively small compared to its weight. It’s not the best option when fish are looking for larger prey. Topwater: Nothing is more exciting and eye opening than topwater action. When water explodes with snapping mouths as predators gobble prey on top, it gives you an obvious target to cast a lure to. Poppers, pencils, chuggers and walkers all belong to the noble

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or a fast retrieve. In most situations, I prefer topwaters that sink at rest. They draw those exciting topwater strikes, and they regularly achieve 50 percent or longer cast distance than PATRICK SEBILE floating lures. Swimming Plugs: This category includes race of lures that we all love just about anything with swimming action. I to fish because they are fun, group billed minnows, hard swimbaits, darters, especially when you can cast bottleneck swimplugs and others into this to fish that are feeding actively and visibly. category. I do not, however, consider soft-plastic swimbaits such as a paddletail/jigheads to be distancecasting lures. Like topwaters, floating versions of these plugs are common, but they limit the distance you can cast. Longdistance “rocket” or “bullet” models are typically heavier and sink at rest. They have the ability to reach fish far from the boat or shore, and they will also draw strikes right at your feet. A key point about sinking distance-dedicated lures is they cast much better into wind than floating models, and this matters because the bite is often best—especially for large fish—when the wind is in your face and the water is white. Next issue we’ll dig into the Floating topwater lures are traditional, but appendices and lure designs for long distance. they don’t cast the farthest. Some topwaters Legendary angler Patrick Sebile is a world are designed to be fished at the surface, rather than on top of it. These sinking and/or heavily record holder and an award-winning designer loaded lures significantly improve range, and of innovative lures and fishing gear. Check out his creations at abandofanglers.com. they can be worked on top thanks to design

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NATIONAL 9


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39TH NASSAU SPORT FISHING ASSOCIATION KINGFISH TOURNEY IS AUG. 6

ig-time kingfish tournament action returns to Fernandina Beach, Fla. this August with the 39th Annual Nassau Sport Fishing Association Kingfish Tournament and Fishing Rodeo. This Southern Kingfish Association-sanctioned event is slated for Saturday, Aug. 6 with Fernandina Harbor Marina as headquarters. There’s up to $10,000 on the line for first place in the Kingfish Division, and with eight different species in inshore and offshore divisions of the rodeo, there’s a shot at the leaderboard no matter what style of fishing you prefer. There are also Single Engine Boat,HOURS: Lady Angler and Youth Angler Divisions. FISHING For Division, early bird entry is just $350 6:30the AM Kingfish – 5 PM through July2-5 15. WEIGH-IN: WEIGH 5 PMThe entry fee rises to $400 from July 16 through AWARDS:Aug. 7 PM4. The on-site fee is $450. For the Rodeo Division, early bird entry is just $100 through July 15. Then it’s PUBLIC INVITED/FOOD NVITED/FOOD $125 through Aug. 4 and $150 on-site. Anglers may choose to ENTERTAINMENT fish either division or both, so make your plans and get ready for SILENT AUCTION one of the hottest tournaments of the season. Boat numbers will be issued Friday Aug. 5 from 3 to 7 p.m., and then $ at 7 p.m. at Fernandina Harbor ST will be held INGFISH a mandatory IVISIONcaptains meeting LACE (BASED ON 100 PAID BOATS WITH 80% PAYOUTa.m. ) Marina. Fishing begins at 6:30 on Saturday, Aug. 6, with all boats SINGLE ENGINErequired BOATback , LADY NGLER OUTH ANGLER at theAdocks by AND 5 p.m.YThe public is invited to come take part in THROUGH food, live entertainment and Asilent as boats EARLY BIRD ENTRY IS $350 JULY 15 TH . T HEN $400 THROUGH UGUST 4auctions TH , T HEN $450 ON-SITE.and fish return to the docks for the weigh-in. The scales open at 2 p.m. The awards ceremony will begin after weigh-ins. ODEO IVISION PECIES AID Proceeds from the tournament go to benefit the Nassau Sport Fishing (BASED ON 100 PAID BOATS WITH 80% PAYOUT) Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and ST ND in the Nassau County promoting area while adhering to $ saltwater fishing $ LACE LACE state, federal and local regulations, to encourage compliance with rules of EARLY BIRD ENTRY IS $100 THROUGH JULY 15 . THEN members $125 THROUGHand AUGUST , THEN $150 ON-SITEand . to promote youth water safety byTHclub the4THgeneral public, related community activities. If you or your company are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, contact NSFA at Info@nsfafish.net. NSFA meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at Kraft Athletic Club on Amelia Island. Anyone interested in joining should visit the website at NSFAFISH.net.

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BAMA BOAT THREE-PEATS AT MGCBC

By Capt. Dave Lear

O

wner/angler Nick Pratt, Capt. Chris Hood and the It Just Takes Time team swept the blue marlin divisions by weighing the only qualifier during the 2022 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic. The 763.6-pound blue gave the team an unprecedented third consecutive win. That feat has never been accomplished in the 26-year history of the Classic or in any other Gulf Coast big game tournament. It Just Takes Time, a 72 Viking based in Orange Beach, Ala., took home a payout of $630,985 for the marlin tournament award, crew division and all

marlin optional entry categories. The total prize purse this year’s event was $1.36 million. Quantified, a 64 Spencer with Capt. Justin Drummond at the helm, had an impressive showing, too. Angler Cyler Pape wound in the top dolphin at 37 pounds and the team released three sailfish and three white marlin to score 1,500 points in the release division. With tournament and optional entries, the team earned a payout of $140,060. The top release boat with four blue marlin on its ledger (2,400 points) was Ramble On, a 67 Billy Horton run by Capt. Shannon Allman. With an optional dolphin entry (25.9 pounds), the team won $120,170 for the tournament. Shock Wave, a 69 Spencer with Capt. Shelby Johnson on the throttles, scored three blue marlin in the release division, good for a check totaling $47,025 in optional entries. Sunrise, a 53 Guthrie (Capt. Billy Blount) also had three blue marlin releases, along with the third-place dolphin (Chris King/32.8 pounds), a 102.4-pound tuna and a wahoo optional, good for a $42,065 payout. Angler Drew Phillips outlasted a yellowfin tuna weighing 206.9 pounds after a 45-minute fight. Phillips was fishing aboard Second Wind, a 72 F&S run by Capt. Marlin Brown. The team earned $36,695 for that record catch. Rising Sons’ two optional entry tuna (52.1 and 50.9 pounds) paid out $34,650 for angler Evan Crochet and Capt. Toby Berthelot and the team. Rising Sons is a 58 Viking based in Orange Beach. Capt. Dennis Bennett and the Destin team aboard Salt Shaker (58 Viking) capitalized on two blues and a white marlin release in the Catch and Release Division. That score earned the team $32,760. Owner/angler Timothy O’Brien on Panhandler scored the second-place dolphin at 36.1 pounds. Capt. Nick Millsap was at the helm of the 63 Hatteras. With the tournament award and optional entries, that fish was worth $22,864. Iona Louise was the first boat to weigh on Saturday and the 52.5-pound wahoo they hoisted aloft held on to take first place in the division. Capt. Clip Hopkins runs the 58 Hatteras and Christopher Nolan for the angler. A total of 73 boats and 360 anglers competed in the 2022 MGCBC. The fleet caught 56 blue marlin, eight white marlin and three sailfish. In the game fish categories, 29 yellowfin tuna were weighed, along with eight dolphin and five wahoo. For complete results, see mgcbc.com.

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n Landi o t s y e 3K

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By Nathan Rich he temperatures are heating up here along the Gulf Coast and the fishing sure is showing it. This month we are going to discuss three keys to landing more fish this summer!

TIMING IS EVERYTHING! I cannot stress the importance enough with being in the right place at the right time! Summertime feeding windows are short and if you miss them, you will be in for a tough day. There will be four primary feeding windows; sunrise, sunset and the beginning of the outgoing and incoming tides. Your sunrise and sunset feeding windows will be the best lasting between 30 minutes to an hour and your tide swing windows will be shorter lasting around 15 minutes or so. Location, Location, Location! Picking the right locations for summertime fishing is gold and I’m about to drop some NUGGETS! When the water temperatures creep up mid to high 80s fish, tend to keep their traveling distances significantly lower, therefore

Mississippi gulf COAST 4 2MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST

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they will not venture far from cooler water to find food. There are two areas I focus on when searching for summertime fish. The first is shallow flats in close proximity to deep ledges. I have caught more trout over 5 pounds following this pattern than I can remember! The second spot I focus on are docks near shallow water flats. These docks provide good shade and cover; fish will feed close to these docks then retreat back in the shadows for cooler water and cover. SIZE DEFINITELY MATTERS! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true, SIZE MATTERS and you’re in luck! For summertime fish, smaller is better! When our water temperatures creep up in the high 80s, fish begin to lose their big appetite. To put it into perspective, if you have been outside in the sun all day would you prefer a heavy meal or something a little more on the lighter side? You would probably opt for something a little lighter. These fish are not much different, big bait forces a fishes metabolism to work harder to break it down which causes them to be even more uncomfortable with the already warm water temperatures. The best approach is a finesse presentation such as a HK Custom Tackle Fluke or a 3.5” paddle tail worked slowly on a 1/8oz jig head. I hope you all find these tips helpful. You can always visit our Youtube channel “Southern Salt Kayak Fishing” where there are over 100 videos that go in depth on everything inshore fishing! You can also subscribe to our Patreon Channel “Southern Salt Kayak Fishing” on Patreon.com. This is a site where we do complete breakdowns on google earth to show you the latest fishing trends around the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

JUly 2022 • THEANGLERMAG.COM NOVEMBER 2021 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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Fishin'

in July

Forecast by Sonny Schindler

J

uly is just a cool month. No, the temperature is not cool, but the fishing is. Pretty much everything and everywhere is productive. With this being the first year we are not fighting spillway openings and low salinity, things are going very well. We expect that Eastern side of the Louisiana Marsh to stay productive. From Isle au Pitre all the way down to comfort island should be fishy. I'm not saying you won't smash the trout and redfish midday, but we typically do much better in the first 2 hours after sunrise. The big waves of Shrimp, pogies, rain minnows and finger mullet should point the way to the fish. If you know your water, always fish the birds and slicks in the shallowest -Inshore water first. The marsh is absolutely covered up in trout, but those 10-11 -Offshore inch fish will wear you out. We always seem to find the better keepers in shallower water. Live shrimp under a Boat Monkey popping cork is an -Corporate excellent tool to locate fish. When the bite turns on, trade the live bait for a Trips soft plastic(MATRIX or Vudu). The big bull reds have been very thick. Areas with a lot of mullet, or -Multi-Boat white trout have consistently held bulls. This holds true right off the beaches in Bay St Louis. There will likely be jack crevalle and sharks mixed in as well. I always bring a big spinning rod on the boat(Okuma Coronado 65 on a 6 foot SCT rod). When the big boys show up, I'm always ready. Our boats are seeing triple tails daily. As the summer progresses, the size should increase. We always save our biggest live shrimp for the ride in. Check everything you pass(buoys, pipes, poles, trash), sooner or later you'll see one. Set the alarm clock early, and bring plenty of snacks and water. As always, have fun and be safe.

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Biloxi, MS - Jul 2022 High

Date

ft

Low PM

ft

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ft

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Fri

12:08

2.0

10:46

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5:55

8:02

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11:15

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5:56

8:02

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1:14

1.8

11:36

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5:56

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Mon

1:40

1.5

11:46

0.1

5:57

8:02

5

Tue

1:49

1.3

11:33

0.3

5:57

8:02

6

Wed

10:29

1.0

10:25

0.5

5:57

8:02

7

Thu

7:46

1.1

5:41

0.4

5:58

8:02

8

Fri

7:15

1.4

5:14

0.0

5:58

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9

Sat

7:24

1.7

5:47

-0.4

5:59

8:02

10

Sun

7:57

2.1

6:32

-0.7

5:59

8:01

11

Mon

8:42

2.3

7:24

-0.9

6:00

8:01

12

Tue

9:35

2.5

8:19

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6:00

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13

Wed

10:31

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-1.0

6:01

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14

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11:27

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12:22

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16

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1:12

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6:03

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1:55

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6:03

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2:17

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6:27

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6:21

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8:00

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25

Mon

8:43

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26

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9:28

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8:07

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10:12

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28

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10:53

2.1

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11:30

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6:10

7:52

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12:05

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12:37

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10:21

0.2

6:12

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AM

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ft

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Frying fish:

i p p i s s i s s i M

Kitchen Delights Contributed by: Sean Varone

Fried Flounder Sandwiches

F

lounder love the warm water that early summer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast brings. Even a novice angler won't have a problem catching their limit (10) of flounder. Abundant in the rivers, bayous, and out front on the beaches, these tasty but delicate fish are quick to bite both artificial baits and live baits, such as shrimp or minnows. Fish sandwiches are a simple and fantastic way to enjoy freshly caught flounder. Don't forget the pickles and hot sauce!

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Flounder filets(6) Zatarain's New Orleans Style Fish Fri Seasoned breading mix Eggs(2) Splash of milk Oil for frying Creole seasoning of choice Sandwich build: French streak rolls or bun of choice Lettuce, shredded Tomato, sliced (slices may need halving to fit on rolls) Pickles, bias sliced mayonnaise or Tartar sauce J. Lee's hot sauce

Heat oil to 350 degrees in Dutch oven and set up a breading station. I like to use two long, shallow Tupperwarelike containers for breading. Fill one container generously with fish fry and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite creole seasoning mix. Crack two eggs into second container. Whisk in a couple tbsp of milk, making sure the eggs and milk are thoroughly combined. Then season the wet mix as you seasoned the dry mix. Whisk the seasoning in with gusto! It tends to separate from the egg/milk mixture. If wet mix seems low on volume, add another egg and whisk away. Make sure the flounder is patted dry with paper towels. Do your best to remove any excess moisture from the filets. Moisture prevents the breading from sticking to the fish and doesn't allow the coating to crisp properly. Double check the oil's temperature, as too hot or too cool oil won't provide a crispy, golden crust.

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Now it's time to fry! Coat a filet with dry fish fry, and shake off any excess. Next, dip the filet into wet mixture. Dredge the eggy filet into the dry fish fry again, coating thoroughly. Gently slip filet into hot oil. Three or four filets is the most that should fry at a time to avoid overcrowding the Dutch oven. Of course your pan/pot/fryer size will dictate the size of your batches. Flounder is done when the filets float to the top of the oil. They will be a light, golden brown. Carefully place cooked filets on paper towels to drain while the rest of the flounder is being fried.

Sandwich building: Split rolls leaving an edge attached. I don't toast the steak rolls because their texture is such a perfect match for fried flounder and crisp vegetables. Smear a generous amount of your favorite mayonnaise or tartar sauce on both sides of the roll. Add pickle slices and plenty of lettuce shreds to bottom bun. Top with two slices of tomato, then flounder filet. Finish with a few shakes of J. Lee's hot sauce over the flounder before closing the roll. Enjoy! I've been known to use two founder filets for a double flounder sandwich; don't hesitate to do the same if your filets are particularly thin.

1

10 M


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13

MISSISSI



CATCH HARD-FIGHTING

JACKS

On Top or On Bottom

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID JUNQUERA (IG: DAVID_ROCCA_)

are widespread in the Atlantic. They inhabit the western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Uruguay and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Juvenile jack crevalle live inshore, where they prefer moving water of upstream currents. They thrive in a wide range of salinity and are often found in brackish waters and sometimes freshwater canals. Adults, on the other hand, usually move out of the estuaries and occupy currents, reefs and other nearshore and offshore structure, generally within the bounds of the continental shelf. Large individuals can absolutely be caught in shallow inshore areas, but deep-water jacks are usually larger. The largest IGFA-recorded jack crevalle weighed 66 pounds, 2 ounces and was caught out of Angola off the western coast of Africa. When food, such as mullet, is abundant, jacks get excited and will chase prey right up on the sand, against seawalls or into a boat. In open water, they herd baitfish into a mass before plowing through it from all sides. I target monster jacks from the beach or an inlet. Fishing with live bait on the bottom is the easiest method. I drop baits in the deep trough, just on the backside of a sandbar. Baits in the 10- to 12-inch range work best for bigger fish, and I prefer using whatever baitfish is around. My favorite for jacks is needlefish. If you’re looking for more of a challenge as well as heart-stopping explosions, try fishing topwater plugs. David Junquera is a dedicated plugchucker from West Palm Beach. Using topwater lures, he has landed 23 jack crevalle heavier than 40 pounds. His heaviest to-date weighed 46.3 pounds. Junquera said time of day, winds, tides, migrations and location of bait are all crucial factors for successfully targeting jacks with topwater plugs. Anglers should get out and explore to determine the best patterns for the areas they fish. At a minimum, Junquera recommends a 6500-size spinning reel with By Emily Rose Hanzlik 50-pound braid and an 80-pound leader. Junquera prefers to throw lures that outh Florida boasts some of the best surf fishing in the world. High are 6.5 to 8 inches long. The faster you work the plug, the more strikes you’ll profile species are regular catches from the beaches of the sunshine state’s earn, he said. A whip retrieve is ideal. southern Atlantic coast. The jack crevalle is one of my favorites. It is a Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 51 IGFA world records in various categories. fierce, stubborn and dynamic gamefish that can be caught bottom fishing with She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part time Bowfin live bait or by casting plugs. Whichever method you choose, you’re sure to Guide Service as well as fishing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her have a battle on your hands once you hook up. on Social Media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors. Shore-based fishing for jack crevalle is not limited to Florida. These fish

S

14 NATIONAL

JULY 2022

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LESTER WINS ELITE TOURNEY WITH SNEAKY PATTERN AT PICKWICK By TAM Staff

O

ver the years, Brandon Lester has become known as one of the most consistent anglers in tournament bass fishing. Yet, in nine seasons on tour, an Elite Series win has eluded him… until now. The Tennessee pro and former The Angler Magazine columnist won his first Elite Series tournament on Lake Pickwick in early June. He did it in spectacular fashion, weighing a four-day total of 20 bass for 86 pounds, 1 ounce. He beat out the next closest competitor by almost 6 pounds. Pickwick is a long 43,000-acre Tennessee River impoundment that runs north from Alabama into Tennessee along the Alabama/Mississippi border. It is renowned for excellent largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing, and in summer dam-driven river currents combine with the lake’s many offshore humps and ledges to produce some pretty consistent patterns. Threadfin and gizzard shad make up the majority of the forage base, so big flutter spoons, large deep-diving crankbaits and swimbaits are summertime staples. Lester said he knows the Pickwick ledge bite well and that doing something just a little different from everyone else put him on a sneaky pattern with some less-pressured fish. “It was shellbed, and where the current rolled up on that bar, from 8 feet to 4 feet, there was a hard spot,” he said. “The fish were sitting up on that spot. It was small, maybe three times the size of my boat. It was a typical Tennessee River feeding spot, right off the main river. There was a ton of bait in there — gizzard shad, threadfin shad. It was the perfect combination.” Most of Lester’s fish came on a Strike King 4.0 crankbait in chartreuse shad. He also fished a Berkley MaxScent Magnum Hit Worm in plum apple

Neko rigged with a 1/8-ounce nail weight. His sacks topped 20 pounds each day of the tournament, and the morning bite was key for him. A 6-pound, 13-ounce largemouth caught with a football jig anchored his sack on Day 3, and he entered Championship Sunday with a 3.5-pound lead. On Sunday, he poured on the gas, catching 22 pounds, 14 ounces, which earned him the VMC Monster Bag of the tournament. In the morning, he caught 17 pounds within the first half hour of fishing. He culled a few fish and then shut the door on the competition with 6-pounder caught at about 1 p.m. from a main-river ledge that dropped from 14 to 21 feet. He caught that fish on a Scrounger head with a 5-inch Castaic Jerky J, which is a bait that hadn’t produced all week. “This is unreal,” he said. “That Open win, I was super proud of it. It’s a stacked field in the Opens. But an Elite Series win is next level. I guess it’s between an Opens win and a Classic win. That’s the only thing that can top it. These are the greatest bass fishermen in the world.” The $100,000 first-place prize at Pickwick pushed Lester’s career Bassmaster earnings past $1 million. For more information, visit www.bassmaster.com.

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JULY 2022

NATIONAL 15


Enter To Win!

SOUTH

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FOR SNAPPER

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PHOTO COURTESY OF ecreational SHOW ME THE FISH CHARTERS harvest of red snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic will be two days long this year. The July 8-9 season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 8, 2022, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 10, 2022. The season is for Atlantic waters off North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The recreational bag limit is one red snapper per person per day. Captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit. There are no minimum or maximum size limits. Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper/grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: • Use of a dehooking tool is required. • The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hookand-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. • A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line).

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ICAST 2022 ROLLS INTO ORLANDO JULY 19-22

I

t first glance, this fish might look like a deformed dolphinfish (mahi-mahi), but it’s not. It’s a pompano dolphinfish, and it’s a new North Carolina state record and a potential world record. Charles Kenneth Noonan, of Sumter, S.C., caught the 11-pound, 5.4-ounce fish at an abandoned raft, about 42 miles off Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina on June 8. Noonan said he is applying to the IGFA for certification of the fish as the all-tackle world record. The current certified world record pompano dolphinfish weighed 8-pounds, 8-ounces, and was caught off Maryland in 2008. Noonan’s fish measured 30.5 inches fork length and had a 17.25-inch girth. He was fishing with Capt. Tyler Hailey and First Mate Bailey Auten of Salt Fever Guide Service in Ocean Isle Beach. They were aboard the Glory Daze, a 37-foot Freeman Boatworks Catamaran.

CAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show, will spread out across the expansive floor of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. July 19-22, showcasing the latest innovations in gear, tackle, accessories and apparel. From Super Tuesday on July 19 to the final bell on Friday, July 22, it’s almost a full week of events that have become a cornerstone of the sportfishing industry. From seminars and “learning lunches” to a show floor jam packed with quality exhibitors displaying the products that will drive the industry in the coming year, ICAST is the place to make valuable connections and stay on top of the trends in fishing. Many companies choose to roll out their latest innovations at ICAST each year, and the New Product Showcase is a chance for them to shine a spotlight on their latest and greatest. These new products are the hottest new lures, tackle, clothing, electronics and gear that anglers will be purchasing in the coming year. ICAST is the one-stop shop for retailers and manufacturers to connect in-person and make valuable business relationships. Orlando’s world-class dining, lodging and entertainment will be bustling with the movers-and-shakers and the up-and-comers of the industry, as the sportfishing world convenes to determine what drives the next year in fishing.

For more information North Carolina state records fish, visit ncwildlife.org.

For more information, go to www.ICASTfishing.org.

TEEN ANGLER CATCHES PENDING WORLD RECORD

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JULY 2022

NATIONAL 17


SLOW DOWN AND COVER THE ENTIRE WATER COLUMN

Tim Barefoot

I

’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: wahoo and tuna don’t wear Maui Jims. They use depth to regulate the amount of sunlight they are exposed to. So, while normal trolling at 6 to 8 knots and high-speed trolling at 15 to 20 knots are good things at first light and up to 10:30 or 11 a.m., it’s time to slow down once the sun gets directly overhead. I slow it to a crawl and even fish some baits down deep under a sliding cork on the drift. Spreading baits across the water column is the best way to continue that morning bite when the midday doldrums arrive. Darker colored baits like red-and-black or purple-andblack work well when fish are looking up to feed. The dark silhouettes of darker colored baits show up well against the bright surface. Yet, it doesn’t make sense to continue trying to convince fish to come to the surface to eat a bait 50 or 75 feet above them. When pelagics drop down in the water column, it’s better to put a bait right in the

“strike zone” where they are. There are several baits that provide a natural presentation down deep, but a big

beautiful squid checks all the boxes on this one. Squid rise to the surface at night and descend to the depths as the sun gets higher… just like the fish. This is the natural choice, as you are trying to match the hatch, so to speak. There is nothing in all the seven oceans of the

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world that is more common than the squid. Squid could, and should be called the “rice of the oceans.” Frozen squid are readily available for bait, and everything in the ocean eats them. I have the ultimate example of this as one day we were on anchor grouper fishing when a couple of nice dolphin swam under the boat 20 to 30 feet below. I could tell they were nice ones and started throwing out cigar minnows and sardines to get them fired up. They didn’t want any part of the free minnows. So, I pulled out a whole frozen squid and hooked it up on light tackle and threw it out about 50 feet. I just let it start sinking. After all the minnows they let go by and sink out of sight, the biggest one of the pair saw that sinking squid and inhaled it! It just goes to show, they will eat a squid when all else fails. The other good news is a squid is so easy to rig to swim perfectly. Whether you are fishing a natural frozen squid, a live one or an artificial one, just slow down a little to allow the bait to get down to the level where the fish are staged during the middle of the day for some serious bites. See more from Tim Barefoot at barefootctasandtackle.com.

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COLUMBIA

BANS SPORTFISHING By CAM Staff

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olumbia recently banned sportfishing. That should serve as an eye opener even for anglers who have never considered travelling to fish. A potential destination fishery, with rivers famous for exotic species like peacock bass and a coastline that boasts excellent fisheries for roosterfish, tuna, marlin, sailfish and cubera snapper, has decided that catch-and-release fishing is cruelty to animals and has deemed the practice unconstitutional. With an 8-1 vote in favor, the ruling came down from the Columbia Congressional

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Court in May with a plan to begin enforcement next year. The court, which is roughly equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court, decided that while commercial, artisanal and subsistence fishing remain constitutional, catching fish and returning them to the water should be banned. If you catch a fish, you must kill it in order for the catch to be legal. It’s enough to scramble the brains of anglers and conservationists. Anyone who has paid a lick of attention has watched the rise of catch-and-release lead to the rebound of coastal and inland fisheries around the world. At presstime, Columbians were voting to elect their president, with Gustavo Petro, an extreme leftwing candidate by U.S. standards, leading in a runoff election against Rodolfo Hernandez, a businessman and former city mayor running on an anticorruption platform. Columbian attorneys are already contesting the sportfishing ban, but if Petro wins the election there’s a good chance parts of the ruling will be enacted. Columbian lawyer Luis Guillermo Valez Cabrera lambasted the ruling in op-ed for the website La Republica, saying the ruling “may be the stupidest decision a constitutional court has made in recent history. It’s really laughable.” “What the court wants to tell us is that, since we do not know if the fish can suffer, to protect the environment, we must prohibit sportfishing,” Cabrera wrote. “The possible impact on the environment is due to commercial fishing and artisanal fishing, practices that were not constitutionally prohibited. Think of the meshes, the dynamite and the dragnets that kill anything, sentient or not.” While this court’s ruling might be easy to write off as nonsense from a nation more well-known for corruption and cocaine than anything else, it’s a reminder that hunters and anglers must remain vigilant. Germany banned catch-and-release fishing in the 1990s, and the animal rights movement has successfully restricted hunting in many places around the globe, including in Columbia. As with most political debates, money is the key. Politicians who’ve never held a fishing rod need to realize that fish in the water can be far more valuable economically than they are served up at restaurants. Just ask Costa Rica, which boasts of a recreational fishery that generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually. For more information, see the July issue of The Angler Video Magazine at VidMag.com.

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By Nick Carter

EPA MOVES TO PROTECT THE WORLD’S LARGEST SOCKEYE RUN

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ebble Mine, a proposed mining development in the headwaters feeding Bristol Bay, Alaska, is in the news again. The latest development in this two-decade struggle is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to veto the project under authority of the Clean Water Act. It is a next step toward establishing lasting protections for the largest remaining salmon fishery in the world. The Pebble deposit is an enormous accumulation of gold, copper and molybdenum in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushgak rivers, which feed Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage. In 2001, the first steps toward mining the deposit began, and ever since it has been a source of controversy as mining rights have changed hands through several multi-national corporations and actual development of a massive

open-pit mine has been tied up in red tape. At stake is one of the few remaining truly pristine areas on the planet. Back in 2005, my wife and I spent a glorious week with Alaska Sportman’s Lodge fishing the Kvichak, Nushgak and several other rivers in the Bristol Bay drainage. It was a once-in-a-lifetime type experience in the most beautiful and unspoiled place I’ve ever been. The fishing was phenomenal and featured 40-plus-pound king salmon, a sockeye salmon run so thick you could have walked across their backs, 30-inch rainbow trout in their native waters, as well as grayling and Dolly Varden in places where anglers share water with brown bears, moose and bald eagles. Getting there is difficult and expensive, but the experience is highly recommended for anyone interested in arguably the best fly fishing destination in the world. But there’s more to it than a recreational fishery so good it will spoil you. Bristol Bay is also the most important salmon fishery on earth. It provides half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon. If your local grocery store carries “wildcaught sockeye salmon,” there’s a good chance it was caught by Bristol Bay’s commercial anglers. According to Bristol Bay Defense Fund, the unspoiled natural resources of the region support a $2.2 billion economy that employs tens of thousands of people in commercial fishing, hunting, sportfishing, outdoor recreation and tourism. Earlier this year, Alaska Department of Fish and Game projected 2022 will be the second record-breaking year in a row for Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon run. The estimate calls for 73.4 million fish to swim up area rivers to spawn. This annual run supports an amazing ecosystem that has for time immemorial thrived on the transfer of nutrients far inland from the ocean. And while proponents of the Pebble Mine likely speak the truth in their assertion that a mine would bring added wealth and jobs to the region, it would come at the potential expense of a natural phenomenon that perpetually and sustainably supports humans as well as the native flora and fauna. EPA’s public comment period on the proposed veto is open until July 5. To get involved, go to www.epa.gov/bristolbay.

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NATIONAL 21


THE GULF’S PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOCKIN TAIL LURES

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hen the surf is on, it can be some of the best and easiest fishing around. For those in the know, we keep a keen eye on the beachfront starting in May and when the conditions are right, we make sure not to miss it! During July, the shrimp migration hits the beachfront and many hungry predators are following on their tails. Trout in the 5- to 8-pound range are not uncommon while trout shorter than 20 inches are found in large schools. There are many productive tactics that can land you a hefty stringer of these speckled beauties from live shrimp and finfish to an array of artificial lures. I prefer the latter, and here are some of my favorites. Topwater! There is no beating a topwater eruption as the sun is peeking over the horizon. I use a wide range of plug sizes and let the size of the seas determine what I throw. I like a larger heavier lure when the surf is rough. When it is flat, a small or large can be effective. Switching out the standard trebles to single circle hooks is a good approach to lessen the chance of injuring yourself. Bouncing around in the surf trying to land a stout surf trout can lead to an accidental hook in you. Singles also save time unhooking, which leads to more time fishing and catching. Slow-sinking hard baits with rattles also make it into my box when heading into the suds. I like to cast these lures out and let them sink for a few seconds. Most of them have a relatively slow sink rate, so I give them a little time to get lower in the water column. A series of fast twitches followed by a pause usually draws their attention. Many solid trout have fallen for the old faithful ¾- to 1-ounce silver spoon. The presentation is as simple as it gets. Cast and reel; that’s it. This inexpensive lure is an attention getter for sure and casts like a bullet. I typically start my day before sunrise. During the course of my wade, I will hit all structure from a foot deep to eight feet deep. I give equal attention to the depth of the guts to the top of the bars. I see a lot of fishermen go straight out to the second or third gut and stay there the entire time. You will miss many opportunities if you choose to do this. The fish are not always in that gut. At times, I only catch them on top of the bar. Start early, broaden your target area, be safe and catch fish! Surf ’s Down!

The Return of a FROM THE BEACH By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

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

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ripletail have long been a prized target for anglers in the Southern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and they are gaining popularity farther north. A big 16-pound, 12-ounce tripletail caught from Chesapeake Bay last summer was recently certified as a Virginia state record. A press release from Virginia’s Marine Resources Commission suggested the rise in popularity of sight fishing for cobia is also pushing tripletail into the spotlight. Richard H. Stuart Jr., of King George, Va., and his father, Richard Sr., were sight fishing for cobia in southern Chesapeake Bay last July 23 when they spotted a flash in the water and decided to pursue it. On approach, they identified the fish as a tripletail on the surface. Richard Jr. convinced it to eat on the second cast of a 2-ounce cobia jig. Tripletail are not a new arrival to Chesapeake Bay, but with the rise in the popularity of sight fishing for cobia, encounters are increasing. Along the Atlantic Coast tripletail have been collected as far north as Massachusetts but are rarely found north of the Chesapeake Bay. Their flesh has been compared to other mild-tasting white-fleshed fish like snapper and grouper. The IGFA all-tackle world record for tripletail was caught off Zululand, South Africa in 1989. It weighed 42 pounds, 5 ounces. For more information, go to mrc.virginia.gov. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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