Coastal Angler Magazine | April 2024 | Naples/Marco Island/Everglades/Bonita Springs Edition

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Whether your vessel options are limited or you just want to spice up your inshore fshing experience, fshing from a kayak should not be overlooked as a possibility. When done correctly, it is some of the most exciting fshing. It can also be modifed for the extreme, or an entirely leisure day on the water.

Kayaking is how I fell in love with fshing. Of all the diferent ways I have gone about it, I have enjoyed them all. From packing a lunch and fshing my way to an island for a picnic and a swim, to drifing backcountry mangroves other vessels cannot access, to cruising dock lights at night, or deploying in

1,300 feet of water seeking yellowfn tuna of of the oil rigs, kayak fshing is versatile with endless possibilities.

Tis type of fshing can be dangerous, and its especially important to know your limitations and be overly prepared. Currents and wind change quickly and afect your return trip. Make sure to check tides and weather before venturing or drifing too far. Paddling against the current while battling the extreme heat can put you in a bad situation very quickly. Make sure to have a small anchor onboard as well. Obviously, this will come in handy for fshing, and it can also provide an opportunity to rest if exhaustion is getting the best of you.

Decking out your rig for fshing is an art form, and there are many ways to go about it. Prioritize having a cooler attached to the back over all else. You do not want to get dehydrated out there. Aferall, you are the motor of the vessel, and should be well maintained just like any other motor.

Afx everything to your kayak with the expectation of getting fipped. Of course, do everything to keep yourself from that situation, but things happen. Use dry-storage bags, and clip everything to the kayak itself. Most kayaks are designed to make this a straightforward process.

Fishing artifcials will simplify your set up, but sometimes afer all the paddling, its nice to relax and toss out some live bait. A bait bucket on a rope with shrimp, that can be tossed out between paddles, should be all you need. For more extreme fshing, modify a PVC pipe with holes drilled into it to hold live baitfsh.

Use common sense and check local regulations. Protect yourself from the sun during the day, be properly lit at night, and stay out of high-trafc boating areas and channels. You are also required to carry a PFD and a sound producing device, such as a whistle.

Once you have hit the full safety checklist, go out there and experience the possibilities that kayak fshing has to ofer. Fishing from a kayak will intensify the tug even with smaller fsh you hook up to, so hang on and enjoy the aquatic sleigh ride.

Capt. Quinlyn Haddon guides with Sweet E’Nuf Charters out of Marathon, Fla. See, @captainquinlyn or call (504) 920-6342.

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Hybrid striped bass are the Franken-fsh of anglers’ dreams. Also known as wipers, sunshine bass and other names, they are hatchery-produced crossbreeds of white bass and striped bass. Tey are stocked into reservoirs across the country for angler enjoyment.

Central Georgia’s Lake Oconee is a hybrid hot spot. Georgia stocks hundreds of thousands of hybrids in the lake, and conventional anglers get afer them with live baits, jigging spoons, bucktails and trolling lures.

Capt. Wayne Moore, of Oconee on the Fly guide service, is probably the only guy you’ll see on Oconee waving a fy rod from his center console. While he admits conventional tactics are more efective, there are three situations when fy fshing is both productive and a boatload of fun.

Oconee is a 19,000-acre impoundment about an hour and a half drive east of Atlanta. Te lake backs up behind a pump-back dam that creates currents that are key to a good hybrid bite. Moore said there is ofen a good afernoon bite when the dam kicks on and hybrids move onto main-lake points to chase threadfn shad. Afer locating bait and fsh with electronics, Moore goes to work on them with 8-weight fy rods and intermediate sinktip lines. He fshes a cadence of fve short strips and a pause with a 2-inch long white/chartreuse Clouser on a 5-foot leader of 12- to 15-pound


When the bite is hot, a good angler might boat 8 to 10 fsh, and 4- to 6-pound hybrids are not uncommon. “A 6-pound hybrid is going to fght like a 10-pound striper,” Moore said.

A fy rod is also fun for the mid-lake morning bite. When the water starts moving, hybrids herd shad to the surface and blow up on them in a frenzy. Te action only lasts an hour, but the bite is consistent for two or three weeks during the May shad spawn.

With thousands of newly hatched shad in the water, Cowen’s Somethin’ Else, and Cowen’s Coyote are Moore’s go-to fies. Henry Cowen is a legendary angler and fy tier who developed patterns specifcally for striped bass in Georgia waters. His fies work just as well on hybrids.

Night fshing under the lights is another situation when Moore would rather use a fy rod.

“We don’t have a lot of lit docks here, but the

ones that are lit will be covered with fsh,” he said. Casts must be precise, and the fghts are technical, so Moore reserves night trips for experienced fy fshers.

“You better have that 15-pound leader. A 6-pound hybrid will give you a run for your money,” he said. “Tey’ll run you right back under that dock.”

With the May schooling bite approaching, it’s worth making plans to visit Oconee now…or try these tactics on your local hybrid reservoir.

Contact Wayne Moore at (404) 317-9556 or and check out Oconee on the Fly at

Cast Lures in a Mitzi Tournament


May 10th & 11th, 2024

Online Registration:

Captain’s Meeting

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Friday May 10th - 6pm to 7pm

Lines In: Saturday, May 11 - 7:30am

Lines Out: Saturday, May 11 - 3:30pm


Curly’s Cofee

Saturday, May 11th - 3:30pm to 6pm

Awards Banquet

Marathon Yacht Club

Saturday, May 11th - 7pm

Sunday Honor Our Moms

Always in our Hearts JB!

18th Annual Mother’s Day Dolphin Tournament

An Angler TournamentAngler Entry Fee is a Donation


Ladies, Junior (16 and under), Weekend Warrior and Pro Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in all categories

Contact Chris Todd Young at 305-797-5779

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Trophy bass fshing in Alachua County was already good. With recently approved regulations intended to grow trophy bass, many anglers and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are hoping it will get even better.

Orange Lake and Lochloosa Lake will both be managed under new regulations, which prohibit killing or possessing any black bass that is 20 inches or longer. Also, the new rules require the use of non-ofset circle hooks when fshing with natural baits longer than 3 inches in length. Te regulations are designed to allow trophy bass to remain in the lakes to grow larger and to minimize injury to fsh caught with natural baits. Bass ofen swallow live baits prior to the hook set, and circle hooks are designed so they are more likely than other hook styles to hook fsh in the lip, rather than in the gullet.

“Florida bass need to have the right genetics and waterbody conditions to grow for a long time,” said FWC Commissioner Gary Lester. “Orange Lake is unique, like in its fuctuations in water levels, that makes ideal conditions for bass to reach record sizes.”

Indeed, Orange Lake has established itself as one of the top trophy bass lakes in the state. It produces numerous 10-plus-pound largemouth bass every year, as documented by the Florida TrophyCatch program. Already in 2024, anglers have caught, released and reported eight 10-pluspounders to the program, and this fgure doesn’t include all the fsh caught by anglers who don’t participate in TrophyCatch. Te largest Orange Lake bass this year, so far, was a monster 13-pound, 4-ounce fsh caught by Luke Bolling on Feb. 15.

Lochloosa is not as much of a trophy bass factory as its sister lake, but it does pump out several 8- to 11-pounders for the Trophy Catch program each year. Both lakes are in Alachua County southwest of Gainesville.

Tese regulations changes support FWC’s eforts to grow larger trophy

bass across the state and allow bass in these lakes to reach their maximum growth potential.

For more information, visit
12-year-old Luke Bolling caught this 13-plus-pound Orange Lake bass in February.


In my years of fshing the Indian River Lagoon, some of my best fshing has been wading.

Tere’s nothing like being in the water with the fsh. It provides advantages you don’t have in a boat. Wading is the most silent and efective way to fsh shallow water. Tere are lots of places you can access the lagoon, and all of them have fsh.

WADERS : You need a pair of chest waders because of the changing water quality, and you can get a good pair for less than $100. Waders protect you from underwater obstacles as well as cold or dirty water. In Florida, neoprene waders are too hot for most of the year. I prefer vinyl waders. If it’s cold, you can wear jogging pants under them.

Waders come with boots attached or sof shoe, which require rubber boots to wear over them. Make sure you don’t get the boot size too small. Wading boots can be very uncomfortable if they are too tight. Wear socks and get a larger boot.

GEAR: I recommend a good spinning reel with a 9- or 10-foot rod for longer casting. I use braided line because it’s strong and the smaller diameter of the line is better for casting. I use 6to 10-pound braid most of the time with 2-foot fuorocarbon leader. I use a 25-pound leader but have used 20- to 40-pound leaders in diferent situations. Carry extra leaders and lures in case your line breaks.

My main lures are search lures for making lots of casts and covering wide areas of water quickly. My favorite lure is a ¼-ounce jig with a sof-plastic body. I use D.O.A. jigs with a chartreuse head rigged with a pearl white paddletail (D.O.A. Shad Tail). It swims but is not erratic, and it’s easy for fsh to locate by sight and vibration. Te other search lures I use are shallow-running crankbaits (Yo-Zuri Inshore in pearl white), topwater lures (Skitterwalk/Zara Spook or Chug Plug), and spoons (Johnson silver or gold). Te jig covers shallow and deep water and can be skipped under piers and mangroves.

WIND: Too much wind, and it’s too hard to fsh. Not enough wind, and the fsh are hard to catch. It’s easier to fsh with the wind at your back because you can cast farther. To get the right wind, you can fsh either the east side or the west side of the lagoon. Most of the time there is an easterly wind. If it’s too windy, fsh around the Stuart bridges, which almost completely block the wind.

LOCATIONS: I wade the southern Indian River Lagoon from Sebastian to Jupiter, mostly between Fort Pierce and Stuart. Here are my favorite spots:

West Side—Walton Road (intersection with Indian River Rd) and Walton Scrub; Midway Road and Old Fort Park in Fort Pierce; and both Stuart Bridges.

April Fishing Forecast:

There’s still a pompano bite on the beaches and in the lagoon. Jig from the bridges or wade while fan casting with jigs. Look for birds and bait to fnd bluefsh, jacks and ladyfsh. Snook will still be deep, but on warm days they will run the beach from the inlets and be around the deeper piers in the lagoon. Redfsh are around the deeper piers.

East Side—Bear Point then Blind Creek in Fort Pierce; North and South Herman’s Bay in St. Lucie; and both Stuart Bridges.

Richard L. Matteson is a long-time contributor to Coastal Angler Magazine who reports for the Stuart Rod and Reel Club.

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Predators of the Dark

It’s no secret that sharks have practically taken over the Ten Thousand Islands. Each venture out there guarantees encounters with these beasts, at least one but possibly more. But sometimes, you’re just in the mood to fight a shark. For shark fans like myself, it’s always cool to see them up close, even if they like to take our gamefish from us. They’re tough and put up a hard fight, but once you successfully bring one in, your exhaustion is met with reward.

Recently we’ve dived into island-camping, and as a result, night fishing has been popular among our activities. My first time was quite the adventure. Despite having to deal with mosquitos, the trip was an awesome experience. The freedom of being unplugged from social media paired with making good memories outdoors is what it’s all about. Night fishing was the highlight of the trip, where cut mullet and ladyfish served as irresistible treats for the hungry tax men. Each night we drove the boats a little ways from shore so we could drop our bait into deeper water. Then once back on shore, we placed our rods in the holders and moved to the campfire, keeping an ear out for any signs of screaming drags.

As we waited for any rod to go off, we gathered by the campfire, enjoying music, grilling burgers, and sharing conversations and laughs. Soon enough, the distinctive sound of a rod going off would interrupt us. We all would sprint towards the rod holders, pulling out flashlights directed at the water. Even if it wasn’t your rod going off, everyone still shared the excitement.

Throughout our two-night stay, we managed to successfully hook a few sharks. Some gave us a quick and clean cut, while others met us face to face. Too bad we didn’t have wire leader with us! Unfortunately, our fluorocarbon leader gave them the perfect opportunity to cut the line if it was in the right spot.

Throughout our trip, as each shark neared the shore, we erupted with excitement. We met a couple feisty ones that weren’t too happy about getting pulled away from more dinner. We had to be careful around those, as we didn’t want to get bit. After capturing the moments with photos, removing hooks, and ensuring a safe release, we watched them swim back to their habitat - a surreal experience to witness. It’s a small reminder of how much marine life is out there, and how many sharks may be hidden under the surface near us. While a little fear strikes me when I see them, I have an undeniable respect for these intense and inspiring creatures.


Wonderful World of Fishing

The month of April is the beginning of the tarpon migration to Southwest Florida from the Mexico Gulf via the Florida Straits. This sets the stage for one of the ‘Greatest Migration Shows on Earth’! This spectacular, natural display of God’s Gift to anglers is one of the biggest tarpon migration on planet earth. Even though the migration starts early April and last through June, Boca Grande Pass (‘Pass’) is the epicenter during the month of May. Whether fisherman or not, this natural display of wildlife beauty is worth a boat ride to the ‘Pass’, if only to experience. Each spring, thousands of these prehistoric fish make their appearance in the ‘Pass’ to mate, to replenish, to grow and survive the next generation.

Pr ior to this however, April tarpon will be found cruising northward and along the beaches. They are cruising the passes, such as Wiggins, Big Carlos, Redfish and Captiva Passes and numerous areas of Pine Island Sound. These fish are migrating in schools from the south and are feeding on various baits in their paths. Live/dead ‘baits of choice’ include blue crab, mullet, pinfish, threadfin, pilchard, mackerel and catfish fillets. Effective techniques include weighted presentations on the seabed or under corks/floats. Use strong equipment, such as 6000-8000 series reels with at least 30-40lb. line rated rods. I use 65lb. rated test line and 60-80lb. rated leaders to do the job. Also, use 6/0-9/0 circle hooks.

INSHORE: fishing was good in March and should continue. With the higher tides, stronger currents and more bait fishes, fishing in April should prove to be excellent. While snook, redfish and seatrout remain closed to harvest the excitement of targeting and landing these species will offer a tremendous amount of enjoyment together with memories of a lifetime. Practice makes perfect, so get out there, locate the fishing holes and when the harvests open, you will be ready to have a ‘fish’ fry with your friends and family. Many times, it’s the ‘hunt’, not the kill that provide the better experiences and memories. I applaud the FWC for strictly managing the harvest quotas and seasons that protect all species. Especially, with all of the boats and anglers putting lots of pressure on our estuaries and offshore reefs.

Ex pect to catch seatrout, spanish mackerel, pompano, jack crevalle and ladyfish on the deeper grass flats in open waters. Snook should be plentiful in the passes, just off the beaches, around docks and mangrove islands as water levels begin to rise higher offering boater’s access to more fishing spots. Artificial presentations with paddle tails, spoons and top water will all produce. Live shrimp and bait fish will produce the most catches.

Redfish should be easier to locate on the high side of the tides in the shallows close to, in and around spoil islands as well as oyster shoals. A few sheepshead may still linger around seawalls, piles and docks while many will revert to reef structures offshore in deeper water as the water temperatures continue to rise. Black drum will be found around bridges and docks fed by currents from passes and channels.

OFFSHORE: will offer anglers more success than the winter months as migratory species such as, permit, cobia, blackfin and kingfish make their appearances in open water, but more so around reef structures. Decent size mangrove snapper and lane snapper should be plentiful in depths of 45 or more feet. Larger grouper and snapper will require a trek of about forty miles offshore to fish waters in 85-110 feet. To make a fishing adventure of the latter, one should have a boat with at least a one hundred-fifty (150) mile fuel range, equipped with a VHF radio and other back up satellite communication system. Wind will dictate when and if one should go or not.

My charters produce a lot of fish both inshore and offshore and I do a lot of ‘Captain for Hire’ (by the hour) on both inshore and offshore vessels. Some of my catches are posted regularly on Facebook and Instagram by 1st Mate Vicki. In my fishing articles, I provide accounts of the charters along with stories of my clients and pictures of their catches. I love teaching people when, where, and how to catch fish on my vessel or theirs. I actually mark the fishing spots and locations for them so as to ensure that their future adventures are productive.

This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters LLC wishing everyone tight lines and safe boating. Contact me at 239-357-6829 or email me at to book a charter on my vessel or yours. I am available as ‘Captain for Hire’ on your vessel (by the hour). Check out my website at

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Transitioning to Spring

It’s been a tough winter this year with seemingly nonstop cold fronts keeping it windy and sometimes rough offshore, but we’ve been getting the job done! Finally, winter is behind us and we are headed into spring and it is time to dust off the tarpon gear and get ready for an awesome springtime bite.

Backwater has been steadily producing the usual wintertime suspects. There have been plenty of sheepshead around, with some very large fish making it boat side. For bait of choice, pass crabs or shrimp have been our go-to. In addition to sheepshead, the trout and pompano bite has been equally as impressive. Most of the trout in the Estero Bay/ Wiggins area have been smaller, but some nice fish have been making an appearance as well. After the horrendous 2019 red tide decimated the trout population, it’s encouraging to see so many trout repopulating the bays. Look for trout and pompano on the flats or in channels, especially where there is a drop-off or shelf. Jigs, with or without a shrimp tip, have been working the best for us. There are also some snook and redfish around, with an occasional juvenile tarpon hookup as well.

Nearshore has also been producing. The wrecks and reefs inside of 9 miles have had schools of cobia hanging around. Some days they are

obvious, and you can actually site fish them and other days they make their presence less known, but they are certainly there. Cobia will eat a wide variety of baits, but I typically have the best luck with large pilchards or threadfins. The wrecks have also had permit on them, with some giant fish in the schools. We put one in the boat last month that was over 40 inches long, just shy of the all-tackle permit world record. Permit have great eyesight, so minimal tackle and a light leader are the key to get them to bite. Along with cobia and permit, there have been a variety of other target species including mangrove snapper, sheepshead, and snook inhabiting the nearshore areas.

Offshore has been producing as well. Red grouper season is open, and for those who are willing to make the run, the bite has been excellent. Gag grouper have also been prevalent; however, their season remains closed. No problem with some fun, hard fighting catch and release fishing though. The snapper bite offshore has been stellar. Mangrove, yellowtail and especially lanes have been filling the coolers. The lane snapper have been especially big this year, with many fish 12-18 inches hitting the ice. If you get the opportunity, the night snapper fishing has been especially good this past month.

Looking forward to spring, get ready for warmer temperatures and water, meaning we should transition into the spring fishing season. Tarpon will begin to show up in large numbers, so make sure you are ready for them. In addition, more permit will continue to arrive as the water beings to warm up. We will also start to see snook moving from their wintertime backwater hangouts to the passes and beaches. Sight fishing them on the beaches is one of my favorite fishing styles and can be as equally effective from either boat or on foot.

The fishing has been great and should continue to pick up as we move into spring, and assuming we don’t get a red tide, this should be an awesome spring season! Call (239)285-7710 today to book your trip with Pale Horse Fishing Charters!

Horse FC |
8 NAPLES | APRIL 2024 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/NAPLES/ NAPLES MARCO ISLAND April/2024 • 25°58’N 81°44’W April/2024 • 26°8’N 81°48’W 3125 Bayshore Dr., Naples, FL 34112 239.417.0141 9148 Bonita Beach Rd., Bonita Springs, FL 34135 239.262.2940 Marco, Big Marco River, FL - Apr 2024 Date High Low AM ft PM ft AM ft PM ft Rise Set Moon 1 Mon 8:28 1.6 5:41 2.4 1:05 0.0 11:02A 1.6 7:16 7:45 2 Tue 9:57 1.7 7:33 2.4 2:21 0.0 1:51 1.6 7:14 7:45 3 Wed 10:55 1.8 9:13 2.4 3:33 -0.1 3:23 1.4 7:13 7:46 4 Thu 11:28 2.0 10:33 2.6 4:36 -0.2 4:34 1.1 7:12 7:46 5 Fri 11:58 2.2 11:38 2.7 5:27 -0.2 5:30 0.7 7:11 7:46 6 Sat 12:29 2.4 6:11 -0.2 6:20 0.2 7:10 7:47 7 Sun 12:36 2.8 1:00 2.6 6:52 0.0 7:09 -0.2 7:09 7:47 8 Mon 1:31 2.8 1:33 2.8 7:33 0.2 7:58 -0.5 7:08 7:48 9 Tue 2:26 2.7 2:07 2.9 8:12 0.5 8:46 -0.7 7:07 7:48 10 Wed 3:19 2.6 2:41 3.0 8:51 0.8 9:34 -0.7 7:06 7:49 11 Thu 4:13 2.4 3:17 2.9 9:29 1.0 10:23 -0.6 7:05 7:49 12 Fri 5:10 2.1 3:55 2.8 10:08 1.2 11:16 -0.4 7:04 7:50 13 Sat 6:16 1.9 4:38 2.6 10:49 1.4 7:03 7:50 14 Sun 7:35 1.8 5:40 2.4 12:18 -0.2 11:43A 1.5 7:02 7:51 15 Mon 9:14 1.7 7:05 2.3 1:27 0.1 1:05 1.6 7:01 7:51 16 Tue 10:42 1.8 8:26 2.2 2:38 0.2 2:29 1.5 7:00 7:52 17 Wed 11:13 1.9 9:41 2.2 3:45 0.3 3:45 1.3 6:59 7:52 18 Thu 11:30 2.0 10:47 2.3 4:39 0.3 4:44 1.0 6:58 7:53 19 Fri 11:49 2.1 11:40 2.4 5:21 0.3 5:29 0.8 6:58 7:53 20 Sat 12:11 2.2 5:57 0.4 6:09 0.5 6:57 7:54 21 Sun 12:26 2.4 12:35 2.4 6:30 0.5 6:46 0.2 6:56 7:54 22 Mon 1:09 2.5 1:00 2.5 7:03 0.6 7:23 0.0 6:55 7:55 23 Tue 1:52 2.5 1:25 2.6 7:35 0.8 8:00 -0.2 6:54 7:55 24 Wed 2:34 2.4 1:49 2.6 8:07 1.0 8:38 -0.3 6:53 7:56 25 Thu 3:17 2.4 2:10 2.6 8:39 1.1 9:16 -0.3 6:52 7:56 26 Fri 4:01 2.2 2:32 2.7 9:08 1.3 9:58 -0.3 6:51 7:57 27 Sat 4:50 2.1 3:00 2.7 9:36 1.4 10:44 -0.3 6:51 7:57 28 Sun 5:49 2.0 3:37 2.7 10:04 1.5 11:40 -0.2 6:50 7:58 29 Mon 6:59 1.9 4:25 2.6 10:41 1.6 6:49 7:58 30 Tue 8:06 1.9 5:39 2.5 12:46 -0.1 12:10 1.7 6:48 7:59 Naples, FL - Apr 2024 Date High Low AM ft PM ft AM ft PM ft Rise Set Moon 1 Mon 4:31 2.5 12:22 0.0 7:16 7:45 2 Tue 6:16 2.5 1:38 -0.1 7:15 7:45 3 Wed 10:37 2.0 8:28 2.6 2:45 -0.2 2:52 1.7 7:14 7:46 4 Thu 10:58 2.2 9:49 2.8 3:43 -0.2 3:54 1.3 7:13 7:46 5 Fri 11:21 2.4 10:53 2.9 4:35 -0.2 4:47 0.9 7:12 7:47 6 Sat 11:45 2.6 11:47 3.0 5:21 -0.1 5:35 0.4 7:11 7:47 7 Sun 12:09 2.8 6:04 0.1 6:21 -0.1 7:09 7:48 8 Mon 12:37 3.0 12:34 2.9 6:44 0.3 7:08 -0.4 7:08 7:48 9 Tue 1:28 2.9 1:00 3.0 7:23 0.6 7:55 -0.7 7:07 7:49 10 Wed 2:21 2.6 1:29 3.1 8:01 0.9 8:43 -0.7 7:06 7:49 11 Thu 3:17 2.4 2:01 3.0 8:37 1.2 9:33 -0.6 7:05 7:50 12 Fri 4:18 2.1 2:39 2.9 9:12 1.4 10:27 -0.4 7:04 7:50 13 Sat 5:28 1.9 3:26 2.7 9:44 1.6 11:28 -0.2 7:03 7:51 14 Sun 7:04 1.8 4:36 2.5 9:16 1.8 7:02 7:51 15 Mon 10:45 1.9 6:28 2.3 12:39 0.1 12:47 1.8 7:01 7:52 16 Tue 11:04 2.0 7:56 2.3 1:49 0.2 2:23 1.7 7:01 7:52 17 Wed 11:08 2.1 9:10 2.3 2:50 0.3 3:29 1.5 7:00 7:53 18 Thu 10:54 2.2 10:13 2.4 3:43 0.4 4:18 1.2 6:59 7:53 19 Fri 11:02 2.4 11:02 2.5 4:28 0.5 4:58 0.9 6:58 7:54 20 Sat 11:20 2.5 11:43 2.5 5:07 0.6 5:33 0.6 6:57 7:54 21 Sun 11:41 2.7 5:41 0.7 6:06 0.4 6:56 7:55 22 Mon 12:19 2.5 12:03 2.8 6:13 0.8 6:39 0.1 6:55 7:55 23 Tue 12:55 2.5 12:22 2.8 6:42 1.0 7:13 -0.1 6:54 7:56 24 Wed 1:33 2.4 12:39 2.9 7:09 1.1 7:49 -0.2 6:53 7:56 25 Thu 2:15 2.3 12:54 2.9 7:34 1.2 8:28 -0.3 6:52 7:57 26 Fri 3:04 2.2 1:15 2.9 7:57 1.4 9:10 -0.3 6:52 7:57 27 Sat 4:01 2.1 1:45 2.9 8:20 1.5 9:57 -0.3 6:51 7:58 28 Sun 5:09 2.0 2:25 2.9 8:48 1.7 10:52 -0.2 6:50 7:58 29 Mon 6:26 2.0 3:17 2.8 9:25 1.8 11:58 -0.1 6:49 7:59 30 Tue 7:38 2.0 4:29 2.7 10:39 1.9 6:48 7:59


FACEBOOK.COM/CAMNAPLES/ | APRIL 2024 | NAPLES 9 EVERGLADES April/2024 • 25°51’N 81°23’W 1150 Hamilton Lane Chokoloskee, FL 34138 239-695-2414 April/2024 • 26°17’N 81°49’W WIGGINS PASS Bonita Springs (239)992-0169 East Naples (239)775-2150 Naples (239)262-2940 Founders Square (239)387-1958 Golden Gate (239)455-3400 Marco Island (239)642-7444 Follow us on Facebook and sign up for email offers at Wiggins Pass, Cocohatchee River, FL - Apr 2024 Date High Low AM ft PM ft AM ft PM ft Rise Set Moon 1 Mon 5:15 2.0 1:21 0.0 7:16 7:45 2 Tue 7:00 1.9 2:37 -0.1 7:15 7:46 3 Wed 11:21 1.6 9:12 2.0 3:44 -0.1 3:51 1.2 7:14 7:46 4 Thu 11:42 1.7 10:33 2.1 4:42 -0.2 4:53 1.0 7:13 7:47 5 Fri 12:05P 1.8 11:37 2.3 5:34 -0.1 5:46 0.6 7:11 7:47 6 Sat 12:29 2.0 6:20 -0.1 6:34 0.3 7:10 7:48 7 Sun 12:31 2.3 12:53 2.1 7:03 0.1 7:20 -0.1 7:09 7:48 8 Mon 1:21 2.3 1:18 2.3 7:43 0.3 8:07 -0.3 7:08 7:48 9 Tue 2:12 2.2 1:44 2.3 8:22 0.5 8:54 -0.5 7:07 7:49 10 Wed 3:05 2.0 2:13 2.4 9:00 0.7 9:42 -0.5 7:06 7:49 11 Thu 4:01 1.8 2:45 2.3 9:36 0.9 10:32 -0.5 7:05 7:50 12 Fri 5:02 1.6 3:23 2.2 10:11 1.0 11:26 -0.3 7:04 7:50 13 Sat 6:12 1.5 4:10 2.1 10:43 1.2 7:03 7:51 14 Sun 7:48 1.4 5:20 1.9 12:27 -0.1 10:15A 1.3 7:02 7:51 15 Mon 11:29 1.5 7:12 1.8 1:38 0.0 1:46 1.3 7:01 7:52 16 Tue 11:48 1.6 8:40 1.8 2:48 0.2 3:22 1.2 7:00 7:52 17 Wed 11:52 1.6 9:54 1.8 3:49 0.2 4:28 1.1 6:59 7:53 18 Thu 11:38 1.7 10:57 1.9 4:42 0.3 5:17 0.9 6:59 7:53 19 Fri 11:46 1.8 11:46 1.9 5:27 0.3 5:57 0.7 6:58 7:54 20 Sat 12:04 1.9 6:06 0.4 6:32 0.5 6:57 7:54 21 Sun 12:27 2.0 12:25 2.0 6:40 0.5 7:05 0.3 6:56 7:55 22 Mon 1:03 2.0 12:47 2.1 7:12 0.6 7:38 0.1 6:55 7:55 23 Tue 1:39 1.9 1:06 2.2 7:41 0.7 8:12 -0.1 6:54 7:56 24 Wed 2:17 1.9 1:23 2.2 8:08 0.8 8:48 -0.2 6:53 7:56 25 Thu 2:59 1.8 1:38 2.2 8:33 0.9 9:27 -0.2 6:52 7:57 26 Fri 3:48 1.7 1:59 2.2 8:56 1.0 10:09 -0.2 6:51 7:58 27 Sat 4:45 1.6 2:29 2.2 9:19 1.1 10:56 -0.2 6:51 7:58 28 Sun 5:53 1.5 3:09 2.2 9:47 1.2 11:51 -0.2 6:50 7:59 29 Mon 7:10 1.5 4:01 2.1 10:24 1.3 6:49 7:59 30 Tue 8:22 1.6 5:13 2.0 12:57 -0.1 11:38A 1.4 6:48 8:00 Everglades City, FL - Apr 2024 Date High Low AM ft PM ft AM ft PM ft Rise Set Moon 1 Mon 10:29 1.7 6:56 2.5 3:48 0.0 1:03 1.0 7:14 7:43 2 Tue 2:29P 1.9 8:41 2.5 5:04 0.0 4:43 1.1 7:13 7:44 3 Wed 1:02P 2.0 10:53 2.6 6:11 -0.1 6:18 1.0 7:12 7:44 4 Thu 1:23 2.2 7:09 -0.1 7:20 0.8 7:11 7:45 5 Fri 12:14 2.7 1:46 2.4 8:01 -0.1 8:13 0.5 7:10 7:45 6 Sat 1:18 2.9 2:10 2.6 8:47 -0.1 9:01 0.2 7:09 7:46 7 Sun 2:12 3.0 2:34 2.7 9:30 0.1 9:47 0.0 7:08 7:46 8 Mon 3:02 3.0 2:59 2.9 10:10 0.2 10:34 -0.2 7:07 7:46 9 Tue 3:53 2.8 3:25 3.0 10:49 0.4 11:21 -0.4 7:06 7:47 10 Wed 4:46 2.6 3:54 3.1 11:27 0.5 7:05 7:47 11 Thu 5:42 2.3 4:26 3.0 12:09 -0.4 12:03 0.7 7:04 7:48 12 Fri 6:43 2.1 5:04 2.9 12:59 -0.4 12:38 0.8 7:03 7:48 13 Sat 7:53 1.9 5:51 2.7 1:53 -0.2 1:10 0.9 7:02 7:49 14 Sun 9:29 1.8 7:01 2.5 2:54 -0.1 12:42 1.0 7:01 7:49 15 Mon 1:10P 1.9 8:53 2.3 4:05 0.0 4:13 1.1 7:00 7:50 16 Tue 1:29P 2.0 10:21 2.3 5:15 0.1 5:49 1.0 6:59 7:50 17 Wed 1:33P 2.1 11:35 2.3 6:16 0.2 6:55 0.8 6:58 7:51 18 Thu 1:19 2.2 7:09 0.2 7:44 0.7 6:57 7:51 19 Fri 12:38 2.4 1:27 2.4 7:54 0.3 8:24 0.5 6:56 7:52 20 Sat 1:27 2.5 1:45 2.5 8:33 0.3 8:59 0.4 6:55 7:52 21 Sun 2:08 2.5 2:06 2.6 9:07 0.4 9:32 0.2 6:55 7:53 22 Mon 2:44 2.5 2:28 2.7 9:39 0.5 10:05 0.1 6:54 7:53 23 Tue 3:20 2.5 2:47 2.8 10:08 0.5 10:39 0.0 6:53 7:54 24 Wed 3:58 2.4 3:04 2.8 10:35 0.6 11:15 -0.1 6:52 7:54 25 Thu 4:40 2.3 3:19 2.9 11:00 0.7 11:54 -0.2 6:51 7:55 26 Fri 5:29 2.2 3:40 2.9 11:23 0.8 6:50 7:55 27 Sat 6:26 2.1 4:10 2.9 12:36 -0.2 11:46A 0.9 6:49 7:56 28 Sun 7:34 2.0 4:50 2.8 1:23 -0.2 12:14 0.9 6:49 7:56 29 Mon 8:51 2.0 5:42 2.8 2:18 -0.1 12:51 1.0 6:48 7:57 30 Tue 10:03 2.0 6:54 2.6 3:24 -0.1 2:05 1.1 6:47 7:57
Kelly Rd
Myers, FL 33908 239.267.6857

In the Kitchen with Jessica

Fishing holds a special place in my heart as well as cooking. I’ve always been interested in the Catch, Clean, Cook videos on YouTube to learn new recipes and new fishing and cooking ideas. The thrill of getting the fish and working for them combined with the excitement of getting to take them home to feed your family and friends with your own special touch in the kitchen is unmatched. The fishing doesn’t end when you dock the boat this way. This goes way back to when I was a little girl growing up fishing with my dad and grandpa and watching my grandma and my mom cook it. I love presenting the cooked (or uncooked) fish in a beautiful way to respect the fish’s life, too. A quote that I heard from Landshark Outdoors that has always stuck with me is “There are no trash fish, just trash cooks!” So don’t be afraid to try out new recipes with fish that some people may say is “trash” or “no good.” You would be surprised at how actually good they are if cooked and served properly! The more you play around and learn more in the kitchen, the more fun it’ll get. For example, when people think of king fish all they think is “oh smoke it or throw it away” well, if you plate it up from the grill with a nice teriyaki marinade, you probably wouldn’t even know it was king fish. Same with so many others. You just have to get the feel of how thin/thick to cut them and how long to cook them. This is a hobby of mine that I pray continues to flourish for years to come. My dad use to always say “let’s go catching!” So, I challenge you to keep your next catch (if legal) and find a fun way to prepare it. Good luck and happy fishing!

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Invasive Species

Lionfish, tiger prawns, zebra mussels oh my! What does each one of these aquatic critters have in common? They are all nonnative species that have been spotted in the United States and when introduced ecosystems outside of their native range, can negatively impact humans, the environment or the economy giving them the notorious label of “invasive.” We all know an example of an invasive species but what exactly are these organisms that contribute over $120 billion annually in damage to the United States economy? Invasive species are nonnative by definition and occur outside its geographic range, these organisms were introduced by people either intentionally or unintentionally and do/can cause harm to the environment, economy, or humans. If the organism is not from here and is not causing harm, you got yourself a nonnative, which when kept under the right conditions can be our harmless pets, favorite food and prized landscaping!

When do nonnative species become a REAL problem? When these organisms become established in our environment meaning a selfreproducing population and once that happens, they are often here to stay and so are the issues they create for land managers, local ecosystems and costs associated with research and removal. So, what’s the answer? Education, prevention, early detection rapid response and removal! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the most effective way to battle invaders from taking hold is to not release them out to begin with. Some of these introductions may have been by accident through unprocessed shipping materials, adverse weather, escapees etc. which may be hard to foresee but legislation, research and municipal

ordinances can help reduce the chances of unintentional introductions. Education on the impacts of invasive species can help prevent folks from considering releasing their pets or choosing plant species that are legal and have less of a chance of getting out of hand and out of the yard. Programs like Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events take unwanted pets and find homes for them while of the plant side, checking out local ordinances and Florida Friendly Landscaping recommendations could help reduce our ecological footprint. Letting researchers know sightings of new invasive species using tools like IveGot1 app can get managers to an area and prevent that nonnative species from becoming established.

Next up removal efforts! Folks can get involved in roundups and wrangles, tackling anything from the marine lionfish, freshwater fish species, trees or weeds! Working groups like CISMAS (cooperative invasive species management areas) put on events like the 2024 SWFL CISMA Invasive Fish Roundup where the public can help take a bite of the freshwater fish problem in our area. During the 2023 event 91 anglers brought in over 5,639 invasive freshwater fish weighing it at a whopping 2,648 pounds! During the event data was collected to benefit research and fish were used for educational purposes, consumed by the anglers and anything unclaimed was used in compost. This year’s event which will take place from April 26th-28th is gearing up to be the best yet! Participating anglers can receive prizes and during the weigh-in on April 28th there will be plenty of fun educational stations and activities. Spread invasive species awareness today and for more information about the invasive freshwater fish roundup check out

Michael Sipos is the Florida Sea Grant agent for UF/IFAS Extension Collier County. Contact him at For more fishy content and updates on upcoming educational programs, please check out for links to the Collier County Sea Grant Facebook page, YouTube Channel, Instagram listing, UF/IFAS blog and more!

April 26th-28th, 2024! have a chance to win AMAZING PRIZES! Competition Categories Heaviest Aggregate Catch Invasive Slam (Most species) Heaviest Fish Prizes Fishing lures for all junior anglers Draw string bags for all anglers Top prizes to be announced Fun Activities Fish printing Filet demonstration Educational booths Rules • Adult and Junior (<16) Divisions • Up to 4 anglers per team • All legal methods of take allowed • All fish must be captured between 4/26-4/28/24 Weigh-In Sunday April 28th 12pm-3pm Bass Pro Shops, Gulf Coast Town Center, Fort Myers Help save our waters and Registration $10 per adult angler Free for junior anglers Must register by 7am, April 26th More information at: Or by scanning the QR code *All proceeds go to the Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area INVASIVE FISH ROUND UP
These guys had a blast reeling this big smoker kingfish, w/ The Main One charters. Indiana’s Mike Haas was all smiles with all the fish he was catching in Boca Grande. A little sporty out there, but the permit bite was hot w/ Pale Horse Fishing Charters! 30” Red on 8 lb braid and a gold spoon for Earl Horecky near Useppa Island. Hoosier Angler Gus Saucerman nails this snook in Boca Grande. George Peters of Bonita Springs with a Pompano from the Wiggins Pass area. Curt Graber w/ two nice African Pompano, 55 miles offshore of Sarasota, tight lines! John Posthumus with a bite after 3 hours of nothing!!
Submit pics to: or text to 239.595.8265 Photos submitted Courtesy of Coastal Angler Readers and Contributing Writers
A very nice 24” tripletail caught off of Anna Maria Island, FL by Max Lee.
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The second season of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Triple Treat Trowdown runs from March 1 to Sept. 29, and Triple Treat Club members have a chance to win an awesome fshing kayak bundle valued at more than $4,500.


Te Trowdown is a part of FWC’s Catch a Florida Memory, which is intended to enhance and increase participation in saltwater fshing. Te Triple Treat Club is for anglers who have achieved all three of Catch a Florida Memory’s recognition programs: Saltwater Grand Slam, Saltwater Reel Big Fish and Saltwater Life List 10 Fish Club. Anglers who reach Triple Treat Club status will be entered into a drawing for the kayak bundle afer the Trowdown season ends on Sept. 29. Anglers who are already in the Triple Treat Club will receive a drawing entry for each new recognition they earn during the challenge period.

“Building of of last year’s successful season, we are excited to announce Season 2 of Catch a Florida Memory’s Triple Treat Trowdown with an even bigger prize from our generous sponsors,” said Jessica McCawley, director of Marine Fisheries Management. “We encourage anglers to get out on the water, make Florida memories and help conserve fsheries by targeting a diversity of species.”

One lucky angler will be randomly drawn to win a top-of-the-line kayak fshing bundle valued at over $4,500. Tis bundle includes a Bonafde P127 kayak, a premium Mustad fshing gear bundle and kayak safety kit. Te award is made possible by Bonafde, Mustad and Russ Vorhis Insurance AgencyState Farm.

Find out how to qualify for the drawing at

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While working for his father’s transformer company, Deltona Transformers, in the 80s, Mike Prelec Sr. identifed an opportunity to provide a smarter battery charging solution to the bass fshing industry. Subsequently, Mike Sr. and the engineers at Deltran designed and built the global brand Deltran BatteryTender®, a leader in battery chargers and accessories.

Fast forward 40 years, and Mike Sr. parlayed his experience with electronics to test and scrutinize a new generation of high-quality, fast-charging lithium batteries. Mike established a central Florida test lab and began ordering samples from several overseas manufacturers. Even the platinumtier manufacturers provided varying quality in components, cells, boards and overall inconsistent construction. Several years later, with a select group of top-tier vendors, Florida Lithium was launched to provide bestin-class deep cycle-dual purpose (800 cranking amps) LifePO4 batteries that meet or exceed all Mercury requirements for lithium batteries. Today, Florida Lithium’s product line ranges from 12V, 36V and 48V batteries, providing versatile options for cranking, house electronics, or trolling motor applications. Teir DeLand warehouse is available for pickups Monday through Friday (by appointment only), and they ofer shipping nationwide. Florida Lithium also provides batteries and accessories to marine dealers, boat builders and marine service/repair shops throughout the Southeast.

Tere is no doubt you can fnd cheap lithium batteries on Amazon or other marketplaces, but when push comes to shove, some of those poorly constructed batteries will fail, leaving you with a very expensive paperweight and the inability to get anyone (stateside) on the phone. Florida Lithium’s customer support team actually speaks English, and in the event you reach their voicemail, a member of the team will respond in a timely manner.

Florida Lithium is proud to provide Florida-based customer service and technical support, coupled with a no-nonsense fx, repair or replace warranty. Lead-acid batteries are quickly becoming a thing of the past. If you are looking for a powerful, lightweight and reliable battery upgrade, Florida Lithium has you covered. Teir team is made up of Florida-based boaters and fsherman, and they understand what’s required to maximize your on-the-water experience.

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Jimmy Johnson Dishes on quEst foR tHE RINg

Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week is an annual South Florida event that is renowned for a guaranteed milliondollar-plus purse. It’s the largest guaranteed prize for fshing in the world, so far as we are aware. Te “real prize” is the chance for one team to win diamond-studded Super Bowl-caliber rings that rival any awarded by the NFL.

Te event’s namesake is, of course, legendary Hall of Fame football coach Jimmy Johnson, who is now a fxture in the South Florida fshing community. I had a chance to sit down with Coach to pick his brain about the tournament.

Johnson grew up on the Gulf Coast of Texas and loved saltwater from the get-go. “Daddy had a little14 foot wooden boat in Galveston,” he recalled. Johnson fshed as a child and developed a passion during his time as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

“I liked to get out in the boat early and fsh by myself,” he said. “I found fshing to be so peaceful as opposed to the stress of coaching pro football. I just love it. I have caught and released fve blue marlin by myself… but my favorite fsh is the wahoo because they just scream. I’ll fast troll with lures or slow troll with a ballyhoo and a cigar weight.”

Coach Johnson’s tournament started as a local Florida Keys event.

“Well, it started as a small tournament in the Keys centered around my restaurant, Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill,” he said. “Since bringing on the crew at Fish Hard Events, it has become the enormous experience it is today.”

Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week, or JJFISHWEEK, includes the main event, the two-day Catch & Release ‘Quest for the Ring’ Championship, featuring a $1 million guaranteed purse; JJ’s National Sportfsh Tournament, for the meat fsh afcionados; and the inviteonly Hard Rock Invitational.

Tis year’s JJFISHWEEK concluded March 9 with an awards ceremony at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Coveted championship rings were awarded to Owner Sandra MacMillan, Capt. John Louis Dudas and Team Sandman, aboard a 63-foot Spencer, which earned them a cool $300,000. Tis marks Sandman’s third championship, having clinched the title in 2018 and 2020.

Obviously, the money and fshing are big-time, but Johnson likes how the event engages the fshing community and gives back. Tis year’s event raised more than $100,000 for the CI Foundation, which will be gifed to its charitable benefciaries.

“I love the people that it brings together,” he said. “We also have a number of charities that we support. My son has the Tranquil Shores Foundation, which is a drug and alcohol abuse center. He’s got a foundation for people who can’t aford treatment.”

Te next stop for Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring is an inaugural Atlantic City, New Jersey tournament July 14-20. Next year’s Florida event is slated for March 4-8, 2025. For more information

Scott Goodman is Co-publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine/Miami.

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As the seasons change, so should your fshing locations and tactics. In my quest to target larger trout and reds, I modify my approach slightly versus what I have been doing for the past three or four months. However, depending on the weather, spring can be a tricky time to fnd solid and repeatable patterns. With the water temperature swings, the fsh begin to move from winter to spring areas. But a slight cold front will send them right back to their winter patterns, and it will keep you on your toes.

Te frst major transition is from mud to a frmer sand bottom. In my area, the prominent structure will still be grass, but the base sediment will change. If your area structure is shell or rocks, you will still want to fnd harder sand. According to biologists, the primary reason for this is the winter forage, primarily mullet, fnd their food source in the mud during the colder months. We all know fsh follow the bait, and that is why we target trout and reds on sofer bottoms in the winter. As the water warms, the next generation of perch shrimp and other species hatch and will be found in structure with a frm bottom. In my area, that will be grass.

Now that we know where to fsh, let’s cover the how. In spring, staying tight to the cover is important. It is imperative for juvenile forage to stay in tight schools and intermingled in the structure for survival. Keeping your lure near the grass, shell, or wherever you are fshing will be critical to success. I target the borders where sand and grass meet. Each area will vary depending on if it is predominantly sand or grass. If it is mostly grass, I concentrate my eforts casting into the grass and working my lure into the sand, paying attention to the edge and giving the fsh time to fnd my lure at that intersection. On the other hand, if it is mostly sand, I will target the grass patches and once again the edge.

Spring allows us to utilize a wide range of lures. Sof plastics danced along the bottom or topwaters skated across the surface can both be efective, depending on the mood of the fsh. Tis will be determined by water temp and the passing of late-season cool fronts.

Whatever lure you decide to use, concentrate on the edges of the available cover to increase your odds of having a productive day. As always, take a kid fshing; you just might learn something.

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

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Spring is one of my favorite times of year for many species on the inshore menu, including red drum, snook and trout. I usually fsh at night for several reasons including my “day job,” which keeps me occupied for a vast majority of daylight hours. I guess I could become a weekend warrior, but I’ve noticed the best weather typically doesn’t occur on weekends. Tere’s an old saying that goes something like this: “You know what happens afer two days of really crappy weather?”


All joking aside, I believe the best bite for older, wiser, heavily pressured fsh is at night. Tey’re a little more at ease afer the sun goes down and the boat trafc lets up. Tis is when the big girls let their guard down and come back into shallower water to feed. Wherever you fnd shrimp and small mullet along the edges is a good place to take advantage of aggressively feeding redfsh, trout or snook afer dark. Te patterns are similar for all of them.

Just before dark is a good time to get situated to the rising or falling tide and the water clarity, which might be afected by

frequent rains this time of year. Get used to your surroundings and how fast the current is running. Keep the lights low, and allow your night vision to kick in as darkness settles.

Music on the boat is fun, but this is a situation when you’ll want to be quiet. Don’t play the radio loud or stomp around on the deck. Close your coolers and hatches quietly. Try not to talk are laugh too loud. Sound travels extremely well in the water, and when the rest of the world is quiet, the noise you make is even more startling to the fsh.

I don’t even use “spot lock” on the trolling motor at night in shallow water. I think fsh have learned to associate the sound of trolling motors with the presence of a boats and humans… just saying. Make your own choice here.

Color selection is a very important at night. Dark colors, especially with shrimp lures, work better at night, especially when there is a bright moon. It might sound crazy, but dark colors are silhouetted by the moonlight and are easier for fsh to see. Dark brown, purple and black can be extremely hot on nights with a full or nearly full moon.

I’m partial to shrimp imitations, and a lot of times I’ll suspend one under a glowin-the-dark cork for night fshing. Tat cork carries it along perfectly with the current and you can keep your eyes on where your bait is, which is one of the difculties of fshing at night.

If you’re like me and have a job that keeps you occupied during the day, consider fshing the second shif. You might be pleasantly surprised.

See more from Tim Barefoot at

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Cobia are robust, daring, and always up for a challenge. You know you’re in for some fun when you spot them cruising near the surface, sometimes in pairs or groups, hounding baitfsh like a wolfpack or drawn in by curiosity at the action around your boat. If you’re geared up and ready for them, a little fnesse will have you luring them in like a pro.

Location is key. When fshing for cobia in the backcountry here in the Florida Keys, we look for them to be around structures, wrecks and foating debris, ofen roaming the same areas in groups. Tey’re not pickiest eaters. Pitch a live bait out in front of them, and they’ll usually eat it, and we’ve also had great success with a Savage Gear RTF 3D Shrimp.

Te action when using these Savage Gear shrimps is a hard jerking lif, then letting your shrimp fall, mimicking a shrimp’s natural actions. For the battle, the optimal gear is at least a 4500 reel, but you really don’t need more than a 6500, and we always trust our Penn Authority and pair it with a medium/medium-light Carnage III Rod for maximum control and power.

Te most important thing to remember when hooking a cobia is to be ready, as it’s very common to spot “following” cobia. Tey ofen travel together and like to investigate what your hooked cobia is doing and eating. Tese “followers” can lead to an epic double header, but only if you have enough rods rigged and ready on the boat and hands to cast them.

Cobia are known for powerful runs, ofen scoping up and switching directions in a split second. Keep calm, adjust your drag, and let them exhaust themselves. Stay alert as you reel in your cobia, as they are known for sudden maneuvers, and will sometimes dart under the boat in a heartbeat. And the fght doesn’t end even afer you’ve gafed a cobia. Exercise caution when you bring them over the rail and onto the deck because they ofen cause havoc on the boat. It’s best to tire them out completely during the fght to minimize potential damage.

Since regulations frequently change with cobia, staying informed is important. One keeper cobia can feed a lot of people. Teir meat is known for its steak-like texture and delicate favor, perfect for a mouthwatering sear with butter and seasoning.

For the best shot at spotting a cobia, consider booking a full-day charter. Tis helps your chances to see one, and the timing should be pretty solid for in the upcoming weeks.

Book a charter at and follow their cobia adventures at “Bean Sportfshing TV” on YouTube.

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Along with blooms on the trees and frogspawn in the ponds, the annual rites of spring include an uptick in anglers reporting heavyweight catches.

A spate of recent record catches marks the transition to longer days, warmer weather and spring-spawning species putting on weight. In Indiana, an angler caught a monster 8-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth bass that crushed the existing state record by a pound. In Kentucky and Georgia, two anglers boated big yellow perch. Te Kentucky perch set a new state record, while the Georgia fsh earned the angler a tie for the heaviest perch ever caught in the Peach State.

In Indiana, angler Rex Remington caught his big pre-spawn smallie on March 3 at Monroe Reservoir. Te fsh was weighed on certifed scales in the presence of Indiana DNR ofcials before being released. Te new record was adopted a couple weeks later and is listed at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, beating a record that had stood since 1992. Te all-tackle world record smallmouth weighed 11 pounds, 15 ounces. It was caught from Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee in 1955.

Smaller, but no-less-impressive, Lynn Bumgardner caught his 1.58-pound Kentuckyrecord yellow perch at Lake Barkley on March 2. It beat the existing 1.44-pound record caught in 2010. He was trolling grubs for crappie and knew

he had a heavy fsh when it hit, but he didn’t realize it was a potential record perch until it surfaced. Te fsh was 14.25 inches long.

Tey must grow perch bigger in Georgia. On Feb. 18, Emerson Mulhall caught a huge 16-inchlong, 2-pound, 9-ounce yellow perch that tied the existing state record set in 2013. Mulhall, who usually bass fshes at north Georgia’s Lake Burton was initially confused, because the fsh he’d hooked didn’t fght like a bass. When he realized it was a perch, his father convinced him to get of the lake and go get it weighed on certifed scales.

Te all-tackle world record yellow perch is reported by IGFA to have weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces. Tat fsh was caught in New Jersey in 1865.

For more record fsh, go to




In some parts of the country, the bass spawn is already coming to an end like it is down here in Florida. In others the post-spawn might not start up for another couple months. Regardless of your phase, this post-spawn fshing tip should help you dial in your fshery when the time is right for you.

One thing is the same for every fshery and every species of bass afer they spawn, they are hungry! Tis can create some awesome and fun fshing opportunities. Post-spawn bass have provided some of my best days on the water.

Typically, afer the largemouth bass spawn, there are other fsh that begin their spawn. I’m not a scientist, but I’m sure this has a lot to do with the specifc timing of why bass do their thing when they do. In most areas of the southern United States, bluegill and ofentimes shad start to spawn very shortly afer the bass fnish up. Afer a long couple weeks or months protecting eggs in the shallows, bass use every advantage they can to feed when these baitfsh group up, and this can make for some fun fshing.

Smallmouth bass and spotted bass in the post-spawn phase are very similar to largemouths when it comes to taking

advantage of bait schools. I have seen them group up and attack shad, perch and alewife schools and any other bait that is readily available. Typically, I do a lot of my searching for these things with my electronics and forward-facing sonar, which is a very helpful tool for learning fsh activity and seeing what’s going on under the surface of the water.

Most of the time you don’t necessarily need electronics. You can use clues visible to the naked eye to help you fnd this “feed” that is going on. Birds feeding on the water is an awesome sign of a feeding frenzy, and it’s one thing I always look for. Also, always keep your eyes peeled for fsh blowing up on the surface or shad fickering under the surface. Sometimes the very smallest clue can lead you to much larger picture. Birds standing on specifc banks, the sound of bluegill popping around vegetation, anything that clues you in to bait in the area usually means the bass aren’t very far away.

Hopefully this tip will help you when the fsh in your area get into the post-spawn feed. Find the bait, and you will fnd the bass!

I try to imitate the prevalent baitfsh with whatever kind of lure I’m throwing. For bluegill eaters, I will throw a frog or a swimjig in bluegill colors. For shad eaters, I will throw white or silver topwaters and crankbaits.

Always match the hatch if possible. Good luck out there this season, and tight lines!

Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at

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With gag grouper closed until late summer for many of us, it is time to be out looking for red grouper to fll our tacos this spring and summer. Fortunately, they are aggressive eaters if you’re willing to make the extra efort to go to their feeding grounds. In general, to get to decentsized reds, you’ll need to head a bit farther out, with the best fshing being found in 80 feet or deeper, especially as the water warms. You are still looking for the same type of environment; Swiss cheese bottom, ledges and artifcial reefs can all hold good numbers of quality fsh.

Te tactics are the same and simple. Tey will eat dead or live bait in most cases. Tat said, I found a combination of the two to be the best bet. I like to start with “stinky bait.” Dropping some frozen squid or menhaden is a great way to get the bite going. Once the bite starts, which is usually quickly if they are around, I like to switch to palm-size live pinfsh to entice the bigger fsh. While dead bait and jigs will certainly get you keepers, the larger fsh are quicker to hit a live bait.

Rigs are simple. Circle hooks must be used with natural bait and 5/0 to 7/0 hooks will do the trick. I prefer to use about 2 feet of leader, then a swivel and my weight, and a knocker rig will also work. A minimum of 50-pound fuorocarbon leader is recommended, as they will run for a hole in the rocks once hooked. Keep a close eye on your leaders, as they tend to get chafed when the fshing is good.

Even though red grouper are typically smaller than gags, I still use my goto big grouper set up, as at these depths you could get a big gag or other sea monster. Fortunately, new lighter combos like the Accurate BV600 reel and 70H rod make a full day of fshing more fun and less fatiguing. Tese two-speed reels have a patented twin drag that will stop the hardiest of fsh, and with that winching power you can use a lighter more parabolic rods to handle the biggest of bottom fsh. Line is important too. Te lack of stretch in braid is a must for landing big grouper. A minimum of 65-pound test, and a metered braid like the Nomad Panderra 8x is great for knowing how close you are to the bottom. Moreover, these rods are sensitive enough to do double duty as trolling rods for kings, sails and mahi.

While they might not be quite as big as some of their cousins, red grouper are great table fare, and it is hard to turn down a grouper taco, no matter what variety it is.

Will Schmidt is a seasoned tournament angler who has been writing about fshing from more than two decades.

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