Coastal Angler Magazine - May / North Central Florida-Nature Coast

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

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BOOST YOUR CATCH w/RezBoostTM Technology

Interested in getting the most out of your own trusted transducer, or not sure you’re ready for the expense of installing a new CHIRP transducer? Furuno has a solution that will get the very best performance from your traditional narrowband transducer. Our RezBoostTM Fish Finders deliver clearer images than ever before, we’re talking up to 8x sharper. Whether it’s NavNet TZtouch2 or the FCV588/FCV628 stand-alone Fish Finders, RezBoostTM will boost your catch!

Get up to 8x sharper resolution, using a standard narrow band transducer, to more clearly define fish targets.

Assess individual fish size and depth based on echo strength for fish from 4 inches to over 6 feet.

Identify the sea floor composition from four types (Rocks/Sand/Gravel/Mud).

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Electronics GARMIN INREACH EXPLORER+ Going where the fish are often means exploring places where communication becomes very difficult. Whether you’re far offshore, deep in a marshy backwater or high up a remote mountain stream, wouldn’t it be reassuring to know you can connect with someone in the event of an emergency? Or you might just need to let someone know where the fish are biting? The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is a handheld GPS navigator and satellite communicator that allows you to explore anywhere and communicate everywhere. It is a rugged, compact unit that uses 100 percent global Iridium coverage for two-way text messaging and tracking anywhere in the world. Navigate with detailed, preloaded TOPO maps, follow routes, mark waypoints and find your way back with a high-detail bread-crumb trail. Using GPS tracking, you can easily share your location with family, friends, social media or emergency responders. In case of emergency, the interactive SOS allows you to communicate back and forth and receive confirmation that help is on the way. For added capability, use the free Earthmate app to pair your inReach Explorer+ with mobile devices and access unlimited maps, aerial imagery, NOAA charts, weather and more.

WWW.GARMIN.COM FURUNO DFF3D Turn your NavNet TZtouch or TZtouch2 MFD into a multi-beam sonar that can see 120 degrees port to starboard, allowing you to see the depth and direction fish schools are moving, while displaying the seabed condition in real time. Furuno’s DFF3D gives you real-time 120-degree port-starboard view of the water column and seabed in deeper than 650 feet of water, allowing you to find fish in deep water faster than conventional

single-beam sounders. Cross-Section displays the real-time sea column echo in 120 degrees port and starboard. This mode aids in understanding the distribution of baitfish and water column conditions. The 3D Sounder History provides an intuitive and easyto-understand 3D image of the seafloor, along with fish school icons. A single or triple-direction fishfinder image can be displayed. The triple beam display helps you understand the depth of fish and seabed condition in each direction, as well as the direction target fish are moving. Side scan clearly displays the shape of structure to port and starboard as a high definition image.

WWW.FURUNO.COM STANDARD HORIZON EXPLORER GX1700 GPS VHF RADIO The GX1700 makes DSC easy. With an internal 12 Channel GPS built into the front panel, there is no need to hassle with wiring the radio to a GPS for DSC. Out of the box and ready to go, DSC calling, position sharing, waypoint navigation and navigation to DSC distress calls can all be performed with just a few simple steps. The Explorer GPS VHF radio has a compact rear case of only 3.5 inches. The Built-In WAAS GPS receiver and antenna give flexibility to flush mount the radio in tight areas. The GX1700 is capable of entering and saving up to 100 waypoints, which may be navigated to by using a unique navigation compass display that shows bearing and distance to the waypoint. GX1700 is an ITU-R M493 Class D class VHF with a separate Channel 70 receiver, which allows DSC calls to be received even when listening to communications. The DSC DISTRESS function transmits a digital MAYDAY including vessel identification, latitude/longitude and time, to facilitate prompt response. Other features include a big, bold display; RAM3+ remote mic capability, easy position sharing, Clearvoice noise reduction technology, programmable channel names, NOAA Weather channels and Weather Alert. And it’s all backed by a 3-year waterproof warranty.

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Product Review ACR ELECTRONICS RESQLINK PLB

At 4.6 ounces, the ResQLink distress beacon weighs less than a couple of energy bars, and it’s smaller than the cell phone in your pocket. Small and mighty, the ResQLink PLB is a full-powered, GPS-enabled rescue beacon designed for anglers, pilots and backcountry sportsmen. With three levels of integrated signal technology—GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability—the ResQLink PLB quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites. A built-in strobe light provides visibility during night rescues. Even in extreme conditions and situations, the ResQLink activates easily. With its powerful 66-channel GPS, the ResQLink guides rescuers to within 100 meters of your position. And, in the continental U.S., search and rescue personnel are typically alerted in as little as five minutes. Other features include: no subscription fees, self-test and GPS-test features and typical performance 30 hours. If you have to use your ResQLink PLB, ACR will replace it free of charge.

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JL AUDIO MEDIAMASTER 100S BLACK EDITION The MM100s-BE is hitting the market just in time for summer. This latest Black Edition of JL Audio’s MediaMaster was introduced with an updated user interface that offers enhanced volume control flexibility and four fully variable zones, each with independent feature/control options; Volume, Tone, and Naming. NMEA 2000 interconnectivity is built into it and equipped with a NMEA2K Connector to integrate into existing networks, enabling MFD control functionality with Lowrance, Simrad and Garmin. Designed for today’s modern media environment, the MM100s-BE features a Digital AM/FM/Weather Band Tuner, Bluetooth connectivity, separate line level AUX and USB/iPhone inputs, and it’s SiriusXM-Ready. Available with an optional MMR-20BE Wired Remote. The MM100s-BE is a premium, single-chassis source unit with superb audio performance, excellent ergonomics and advanced audio features, specifically designed for marine applications. Check it out at http://www.jlaudio.com/. Available at HIGH TECH MARINE in Hialeah, Fla. 305-883-9700.

WWW.HIGHTECHMARINE.COM ANGLER’S PAL ELECTRONICS MOUNTS AND TROLLING MOTOR STABILIZERS

Boaters and anglers invest a small fortune in their equipment. Fishermen, for example, know that quality sonar, GPS, chart plotters and electric motors are vital tools that enhance their experience. For that reason, MarineTech Products, manufactures the Angler’s Pal line of electronics mounts and trolling motor stabilizers. Angler’s Pal mounts are designed to withstand the harsh marine environment and provide rock solid stability with minimal space requirements. The patented universal Ball Locking Device provides 360-degree adjustability and the strength to support the heaviest equipment without “drift.” The Angler’s Pal Trolling Motor Mounts feature a unique rubber lock-down strap that protects your trolling motor from accidental deployment or excessive vibration that can damage the shaft. Overall length: 10” and now THE NEW 14” model for longer shafts and deeper gunnels. They are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and hardanodized aluminum for fresh and saltwater use. They are available in a variety of lengths, and all Angler’s Pal mounts can be easily removed for storage. Angler’s Pal also manufactures 700 and 800 Series Rod Holders. For information, contact Marine Tech Products at 1 651-4862010.

WWW.ANGLERSPAL.COM

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BIG BEND : Mike McNamara • (850) 510-7919 • captmike@coastalanglermagazine.com BREVARD : David String • (321) 684-5888 • dstring@coastalanglermagazine.com DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA BEACH : Don Meadows • (321) 436-5895 • donm@coastalanglermagazine.com FLORIDA KEYS : Cliff Lumpkin • (305) 849-9093 • cliff@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT LAUDERDALE : Gene Dyer • (954) 680-3900 • gene@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT MYERS : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER MIAMI : Scott Deal • (561) 945-6999 • scott@coastalanglermagazine.com Monica Isaza-Deal • (561) 945-8899 • monica@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER ORLANDO : Phillip & Giselle Wolf • (407) 790-9515 • phillip@coastalanglermagazine.com LAKELAND & SUMTER : Mary Brasher • (352) 598-4219 • maryf@coastalanglermagazine.com NAPLES : Mike Weber • (414) 531-4172 • mikew@coastalanglermagazine.com NC FLORIDA/NATURE COAST : Cary & Lynn Crutchfield • (352) 372-4237 • crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com NE FLORIDA : Danny Patrick • (904) 742-4696 • danny@coastalanglermagazine.com PANAMA CITY/FORGOTTEN COAST : Randy Cnota • (229) 834-7880 • randyc@coastalanglermagazine.com PALM BEACH COUNTY : Barbara Ryan • (561) 373-8040 • barbara@coastalanglermagazine.com SARASOTA : Phil Prevoir • (239) 257-4684 • pprevoir@coastalanglermagazine.com TAMPA BAY : Chuck Atkins • (239) 464-5153 • chuck@coastalanglermagazine.com TREASURE COAST : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com

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INTERNATIONAL BAHAMAS : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Disclaimer: Coastal Angler Magazine / The Angler Magazine will not be held liable for injuries incurred while partaking in activities described herein, or for claims made against products or services provided by advertisers.

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Garmin Introduces

W

hether it’s by land, air or sea, Garmin has made a name for itself as the industry leader in navigational electronics. Its popular and varied GPSMAP product line offers the perfect tool for anyone who needs to know where they’re going. In November, Garmin brought powerful new tools to the realm of marine electronics with the introduction of several new networking chartplotters and combination models to the GPSMAP line. Unveiled at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, these units lured in boaters and anglers with high-end features at a more than reasonable price point. “These new GPSMAPs are designed for the budget-conscious customer who desires premium features typically found only in a higher-end product,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “We’ve packed these plotters with industry-leading features, builtin conveniences, and we’ve added two new screen sizes to our lineup—a 9-inch touchscreen and a 12-inch keyed—to offer something for every boater.” Ranging in size from 7- to 12-inches, these new plotters are available with and without built-in sonar.

gration, and a 10Hz GPS/GLONASS receiver for smooth on-screen navigation. These compact plotters offer full-network compatibility for the Garmin Marine Network, which allows support for sharing sonar, maps, user data, radar, IP cameras and Panoptix all-seeing sonar among multiple units. Plus, there’s NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 support for autopilots, digital switching, weather, VHF, AIS and other sensors. Anglers, cruisers and sailors alike will benefit from the xs series that comes equipped with built-in 1kW traditional CHIRP sonar and CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar capability for a near-picture quality view of what’s beneath the boat. Preloaded premium mapping features can be found on the GPSMAP 742/742xs and the GPSMAP 942/942xs, including both BlueChart g2 HD charts for the U.S., Canada and Bahamas and LakeVü HD maps. The GPSMAP 722/722xs and GPSMAP 922/922xs come preloaded with a worldwide basemap for general reference with support for optional mapping available at garmin.com.

GPSMAP 7x2/9x2 and GPSMAP 7x2xs/9x2xs Touchscreen Series

GPSMAP 10x2xsv/12x2xsv and GPSMAP 10x2/12x2 and Keyed Series

The GPSMAP 7x2/9x2 series plotters are 7- and 9-inch sunlight-readable touchscreen chartplotters perfect for any boater. The xs series offers the perfect solution for anglers with chartplotter/sonar combination units. These compact and powerful units are exactly what’s needed when functionality is essential and cockpit or deck space is at a premium. Building on the popularity of the 7-inch touchscreen Garmin pioneered in 2010, this series introduces a 9-inch touchscreen to the Garmin line. Both serve customers who value screen size as a compelling option. They feature builtin wireless connectivity for Garmin mobile apps and VIRB action camera inte10

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For those who prefer using a keypad, the all-in-one solutions offered by the new 10-inch GPSMAP 10x2xsv and the 12-inch GPSMAP 12xsv can’t be beat. With an all-new industrial design, these combos feature a large, sunlight-readable screen coupled with a keypad interface and new multifunction rotary control knob that offers precise, simple control for easy menu navigation and setting control, even in rough water. These units also offer four user-programmable hot keys for one-touch access to favorite features and functions. In addition to GPS and connectivity features also found in the GPSMAP 7x2/9x2xs series, the GPSMAP 10x2xsv and GPSMAP 12x2xsv also offer impressive sonar capabilities with built-in

CHIRP sonar, CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü as well as support for Panoptix all-seeing sonar. Other premium Garmin sonar modules are also available, including two new CHIRP transducer options–the GT8HW-IH and GT15MTM. The GPSMAP 1042xs/1242xs come preloaded with BlueChart g2 coastal charts and U.S. LakeVü HD, while the GPSMAP 1022xs/1222xs offer a worldwide basemap. Two non-sonar versions, the GPSMAP 1022 and GPSMAP 1222 are also available with a preloaded worldwide basemap.

Advanced Features For Sailors

Premium sailing features have also been integrated into both new series, offering laylines, tidal information, enhanced wind rose, a current slider and other elements that prove beneficial to sailors. All new models also offer integrated ANT support for use with the quatix 3 marine smartwatch, the Garmin Nautix in-view display, gWind Wireless 2 transducer, GNX Wind marine instrument and wireless remote controls. Additionally, all sonar-enabled models feature built-in Quickdraw Contours software, a free, easy-to-use tool that lets mariners instantly create personalized HD maps with 1-foot contours on any body of water.

An Attractive Price Point

The GPSMAP 7x2/9x2 and xs series will range from $799.99 to $1299.99, while the GPSMAP 10x2/12x2xsv and non-xsv series will be priced from $1699.99 to $2999.99. This is exceptionally affordable pricing for top-quality electronics with so many sophisticated yet easy-to-use features. What more could you expect from Garmin, the company that was recently named Manufacturer of the Year for the second year in a row by the National Marine Electronics Association. For a full list of features and more information, visit garmin.com/newmarine.

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Adjustable cap with brim UV-blocking polarized sunglasses

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Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

or nearly a century, Eagle Claw has provided premium hooks for all kinds of anglers using American steel and designing and manufacturing them right here in the U.S.A. Founded in 1925 in Denver, Colo., Eagle Claw is extremely proud of its long history of American-made fish hooks. And it is also proud of the high-quality product it produces. Trokar Eagle Claw’s Trokar hooks offer a competitive advantage for serious saltwater competitors. These premium quality hooks offer a faster, deeper, surer point penetration that requires half the pressure of the competition. Manufactured using cold forged high-carbon American-Made steel, they offer better durability and stronger holds for hard-fighting, big-game species. Trokar hooks are surgically sharpened, and their triple-sided points are regarded as the most innovative, sharpest, and most durable on the market today. The Platinum Black finish is designed to withstand repeated use in saltwater and harsh marine conditions. There are more than 20 models of Trokar hooks available for fresh and saltwater. A highlight of the Trokar saltwater line is the TK197 Primal Circle Hook, which is an awesome all-purpose bait hook with an offset, light-wire design. Made of high-carbon steel wire for strength and durability, this hook has a highly durable point and a salt-resistant coating. It offers stronger hold for battling fast and hard-fighting big game fish, and it is a dream come true for serious competition anglers who fish for serious saltwater species. Lazer Sharp Eagle Claw’s Lazer Sharp hooks are designed to be “Sharper, Stronger, Longer,” which means the patented Lazer Sharp needlepoint and forged technology ensures a sharper, stronger, longer hold than the leading competition. Lazer Sharp hooks feature uniquely blended coatings—Sea Guard, Platinum Black and Nickel— which are designed to be more durable and abrasion resistant after repeated use in saltwater. There are more than 30 Lazer Sharp saltwater models available. The L2004EL has become a staple on the boats of big-time billfish anglers. They are approved by the Billfish Foundation for tournament use, and were the original and once the only tournament-approved circle sea hook. The design of this non-offset, circle sea, with a wide gap, light wire and a forged point, results in more solid hook-ups and a much higher rate of fish hooked in the corner of the mouth, which equates to fewer escaping fish as well as less-stressful releases. To this day, the L2004EL is still the single best option for pro and amateur billfish tournament anglers looking for proven performance stemming from a decade of making champions out of competitors. Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle, Co. is an American-based company that has been designing and manufacturing innovative, high-quality fishhooks and fishing equipment for more than 90 years. Its family of brands includes Eagle Claw, Lazer Sharp, TroKar, Wright & McGill and Shappell. For more information about Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle Co. and its family of brands, visit www.eagleclaw.com, find them on Facebook at facebook. com/eagleclaw/, facebook.com/TroKarHooks/ and facebook. com/shappellcorp/ or call 720-941-8700.

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ON THE COVER Editor’s Note:

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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Costa Rica Sailfish

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The great shot of a Pacific sailfish that graces Pacific Sails the covers of this month’s Coastal Angler In Costa Rica Electronics Edition editions comes from Costa Rica Pro Staff member Francisco Mejias. Francisco is one of the great captains who provide monthly Striped Bass forecasts for our local Costa Rica edition, Are Running Local and he captures some stunning photography as well. Knowing one’s way around a camera is important for getting cover-worthy shots. And it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a target-rich environment like Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific coast to snap photos of trophy fish. Inside this month’s magazine, Francisco and several other Costa Rica Pro Staff members came together to share the Pacific sailfish experience with our readers. From smaller boats, they pull spreads for sails that can top 200 pounds. The techniques and tools for catching and releasing them safely are laid out in the article, and they are techniques honed by the knowledge that can be gathered during 50-sailfish days. No kidding. The fishing down there can be that good. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCISCO MEJIAS, VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Hudson River Striped Bass

FREE

All over the country, wherever striped bass Striped Bass live, spring incites migrations of these bruisers Are Running up the rivers to spawn. This is the time of year when very large fish can be caught in skinny water. In the Southeast, runs of landlocked Electronics stripes can be roughly timed by the blooming Edition Local of the dogwoods. In the Northeast, anglers Picky-Trout Tactics await the arrival of the Alewives. Dave Maneri, of Tivoli, N.Y., caught the big striper on the covers of this month’s The Angler editions. His buddy Paul Hughes Jr. snapped the photo while they were fishing the striped bass run on the Hudson River, which feeds the Atlantic Ocean at New York City. It was an epic day for the two anglers. They caught multiple fish, including the cover fish and another one about the same size, which Paul is holding in the photo that appears with the article. In that article, Dave tells us all about the Hudson River striped bass run and how he goes about catching big stripers from the shore as well as from a boat. The uninformed might assume there’s no fishing to be done in such close proximity to one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world. But striped bass and baitfish still run up the Hudson each year to spawn, just like they have since time immemorial. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL HUGHES JR. VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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By Pro Staff Costa Rica • Photos by Francisco Mejias

T

he Pacific sailfish is one of the most sought after offshore game fish in Costa Rica. Growing larger than their Atlantic

counterpart, sailfish in Costa Rica average 60 to 80 pounds, but big ones can surpass 200 pounds! They are migratory, with the main concentration of fish arriving in our area of the Central Pacific as the dry season sets in the end of December. They move away as the wet season kicks in during early May. Even though this is the main migration, there are always sailfish present in our waters year round. We fish from smaller boats, so we use the traditional five-rod setup. A combination of natural baits and lures are used, and our main baits are ballyhoo. Our lures of choice are the Magna series from Santos. Variations of pink, lumo and blue combined with a Trokar hook are deadly combinations. If the bite is slow, we often sew a belly flap or strip bait into the lures for a more enticing bait. On the outriggers, we use teasers. A squid chain in pink on one side and a bigger lure like a Santos Carolina Seastalker on the other is a good start. The shotgun gets a Santos lure as well as the long rigger. The short rigger and the two corners are set up with naked swimming ballyhoos on Trokar 7/0 circle hooks. It is also handy to have a mullet, horse ballyhoo or tuna

rigged and ready to go as a pitch bait in case a marlin decides to crash the party. Once the fish is caught it is time for a few photos. This is a critical part of the process, as it involves fish handling. Even though some boats still bring up a sailfish for a photo, it is highly recommended to not do so, as it can be extremely harmful to the fish. It is the process of pulling the fish over the rail of the boat that causes problems. The protective mucus covering is scraped off, leaving an area of skin exposed to bacterial and fungal attack. This can result in death of the fish at a later time. Leave the fish in the water, and with a good pair of AFTCO gloves, grab the outer part of the bill and push the fish as far out from the boat as possible. Keep the head of the fish in the water as much as possible, and lift it briefly for a good photo. Take the shot from the tail end of the fish looking forward or from above if possible. Alternatively, grab the front part of the sail, pull it up and hold the bill with your other hand. Make sure the bill is always pointing away from you and not at you. Take the photo from the front of the fish. If you have never been to Costa Rica fishing, it is definitely worth it and you will be hooked! Pro Staff Costa Rica provides monthly reports for Coastal Angler Magazine’s Costa Rica edition. Search out Pro Staff Costa Rica on Facebook for more great photography, videos and fishing content.

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Spring Striped Bass Run The Hudson River By Nick Carter

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ach spring, through the Hudson River’s mouth at bustling New York Harbor, a massive spawning migration of Atlantic stripers pushes some 150 miles upstream to the Federal Dam at Troy, N.Y. In this long stretch of tidally influenced river, striped bass show up when water temps reach the 60s. Dave Maneri, of Tivoli, N.Y., said the trick is to keep up with the migration and put yourself in the right place at the right time to intercept pods of transient stripers. “They move in big schools,” Maneri said. “Some days they’re there and you can catch them; other days they’re not. You gotta stay on the reports. They’re running the whole river, so you could travel to where the fish are or wait until they’re where you are.” Smaller schoolie striped bass show up first. They come with the spawning alewives, which are baitfish commonly called herring. Schoolies remain in the river for a couple months some years, and there’s also a year-round resident population. But Maneri said the big cows remain only for a week or two each season. They are always on the move, and connecting with them can lead to unbelievable action with big fish measuring past the 40-inch mark with weights heavier than 30 pounds. Fishing bait is generally the most productive tactic. The best bait is herring pulled right out of the river, either live or chunked. Most locals use a scap net to catch herring. A scap net is essentially a 4’x4’ dip net. The schooling herring will follow a swimbait right up to the net where they are captured. Maneri fishes his herring off the bottom using medium and medium-heavy rods with baitrunner-style reels that allow fish to run with the bait on free spool before the angler strikes to set the hook and engage the drag. He employs a main line of 30-pound braid with a 1 ½-foot leader of 15- to 20-pound fluorocarbon. A 7/0 Gamakatsu Octopus should be hooked through the bait’s mouth, and the whole rig is kept down with a 2- or 3-ounce slide swivel teardrop sinker. Maneri said stripers don’t relate to any kind of structure on their spawning run, so the good spots are the drop offs, channels and shallows where baitfish might be funneled. Obviously, a boat gives anglers the ability to move and seek out fish. But fishing from shore is also productive. When he fishes from the shore, Maneri uses rod holders made from PVC pipe and rebar. They can be wedged into rip-rap to free up the angler while waiting on a bite. And the bite can be a tricky thing. Maneri said these stripers have a knack for spitting the bait. One thing is for sure, though; when the hook sets solid and the drag is engaged, a big striped bass in heavy current is a formidable opponent. Dave Maneri is a team member of Catskill Outdoors. Look them up on Facebook.

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Tips For Catching Picky Trout

By Charlie Warfield • Photo by John Winkler, redhouseflyfishing.com

T

he upper end of the Delaware River, and more specifically the West Branch of the Delaware in the Catskill Mountains, is a favorite of many fly anglers in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York. It can also be frustrating place, as it holds some very picky trout. The river has a reputation for crystal clear water, and because it is a bottom-release tailwater, it has a very consistent temperature, which makes for great hatches and healthy fish year round. It is known for being very technical, and this is just a nice way of saying it will sometimes make you want to pull your hair out. The first time I fished it, I was tested, even frustrated by this beautiful waterway. But besides the beautiful mountain setting and endless hatches, it is in part the challenge that drove me to go back time after time. I persisted and figured out ways of tricking the beautiful native fish. I learned lessons there that have made me a better angler. The following are some insights that will give you a leg up when you go fish the Delaware or any other technical stream. Downstream Presentation: Many anglers learned to cast upstream and let the fly drift down. But when fishing for spooky or educated fish, this method can sometimes leave you frustrated. It’s harder to get a good, long drift with a downstream presentation, but many times it is your best bet. Next time you’re having a hard time getting a take, cast out at about 90 degrees to the bank, and quickly give an upstream mend, this will help you keep a drag free drift for as long as possible. Keep mending as often as needed, letting the fly swing to its full downstream position. Sweep-Style Hook Set: The downstream presentation should be matched with a sweep-style hook set. To use this technique, swing the rod downstream and strip the line at the same time, this will pull the line through the water, creating tension and giving a good hook set. By swinging the rod downstream, you are also pulling the hook into the corner of the fish’s mouth rather than pulling it up and away from the fish. Slow Down Your Hook Set: Ok, we have all done it before. It’s a tough day on the water and all of the sudden you get a strike, BAM you set the hook… and nothing. I have heard people say things like, “Next time, set the hook faster.” But most of the time the opposite is true. A good technique is to wait one second and then give the rod a gentle lift or sweep. Match the Hatch: Picky fish know what they want to eat. There can be significant variation in color, size and body shape in the same species of fly from region to region, and there are many subspecies for each type of fly we fish. So do your homework. I suggest hiring a local guide or at least stopping in at the local fly shop. It is good to support the community, and you can never beat local knowledge.

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FLORIDA

By Randy Cnota

F

olks are ramping up for grouper season. If you’re not geared up and properly prepared, you might be one of the many people at the dock talking about the one that got away. Here are some tips that work well when grouper are the target. Grouper are notorious for shattering an angler’s hopes of a fresh grouper dinner. Often, bait must be presented very close to the reefs grouper inhabit, and the reef is where they run the second they eat your bait. If they get back in their hole, it’s often game over! I try to up my odds of landing grouper by building leaders that can withstand the line-gnawing reefs. My grouper rig is simple; it consists of a 6- to 8-foot long leader of 300-pound-test monofilament with a 9/0 to 11/0 circle hook. Above that, I have a 4- to 8-ounce slip-sinker on a 12-inch leader of 300-pound monofilament. These two pieces are connected by a 250-pound-test barrel swivel. All swivels and the hooks are attached to the line using 1.9 mm crimp sleeves. Start your leader production by cutting the desired length of line for the hook leader. Crimp your hook to one end and a swivel to the other. Next cut a 12-inch piece of line and crimp a swivel to one end. Slide your weight onto the line, and then attach the opposite end to the swivel on the long leader. Be sure to crimp the center portion of the sleeve and then work your crimping tool toward the edge of the sleeve, but leave a slight flaring on the edges. If you crimp the edge of the sleeve, it can cut into your line. A fighting rod of 5’8” or longer, rated for line up to 200-pound test will do in most cases. My reel of choice is the Shimano Torium 30HG spooled with 65-pound-test braided line. The 6.2:1 gear ratio makes it fast and powerful enough to move big grouper in a hurry. The goal is to keep them out of the reef, but if they do get back to their hole, you’re prepared with a leader that can survive the fight. When I hooked the gag grouper in this picture, he immediately ran

back into his hole in the reef. For a few minutes he wouldn’t budge. I simply held pressure on him for a while and bounced the weight up and down. Then I just let the line go slack for a few minutes. Suddenly, he came out and it was game on again! I think when this happens the fish have forgotten they were hooked and decide to come back out of their holes. Other times, I’ve literally yanked these bruisers right out of their lairs. Either way, you need gear that will withstand the power of the fish and the perils of the reef. Required items to build your own grouper-busting leader: • 9/0 to 11/0 circle hook • Two 250-pound-test barrel swivels • Four 1.9 mm crimping sleeves • 10 feet of 300-pound-test mono • Crimping tool Randy Cnota is the co-publisher of Coastal Angler/The Angler Magazine’s Panama City/Forgotten Coast edition.

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Fine Tuning Fishing

By Patrick Sebile

M

any years ago I was a guide, making a living by taking anglers fishing all around the world—well, in 40 countries at least. I specialized in inshore and nearshore fishing, with some bluewater-specific trips. Besides that, I fished even more destinations just for fun or when I was sent to write articles for magazines. In total, I’ve fished in 64 different countries. Why do I tell you all this? Well, when I was focusing a lot on my lodges in Morocco, Guinea Bissau and Ivory coast, where I spent years guiding, it gave me the chance to learn little by little the best spots and how to fish them. But the majority of places where I traveled to fish, I only had a few days to find the hot spots before receiving a group of anglers. When they arrived, I wanted them to have the best chances of doing well and having fun. I didn’t have much time, usually three days up to a week, to seek out key places. In many cases, a local guide would give me hints; a good tip is always useful in that regard. But other than a direction and the approximate location of a day beacon, there was not much more helpful information out there. These areas had to be finetuned by reading and understanding them. These are two key steps for any successful fishing trip. The primary tool for achieving these two steps is the combination of GPS and fishfinder. Most of the time I travelled with a portable unit, just in case there weren’t electronics on the boats I was supposed to be using, and also in case they weren’t working properly. I experienced that problem a number of times in remote locations and developing countries. With this powerful technology, suddenly the bottom shape and depth were illuminated on the screen… and in my mind. I was picturing it as a three-dimensional image as best as I was able. The bottom structure and the currents were key to understanding water flow, which gives clues of where the food will pass through and where different fish species hold in the current or hidden from it. At that time, I remember dreaming of glasses that would see into the depths, turning the liquid into an invisible substance like the air, to actually see the fish and the bottom. This is a dream I believe has existed since the first boatman went on the water, or even before. Now it has pretty much become reality thanks to the incredible electronics of today. They show us the sea floor exactly as it is, and record true bottom shape and depth on maps thanks to Navionics. We can even see the fish down there. A new age of fishing is here thanks to this revolution. Now it’s possible to know, when fishing a new spot or an old one, just what it looks like under the waves. It’s even possible to target a fish and drop or cast a lure right in front of it. This is fine-tuned fishing at its best.

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Our offshore banks Chasing Tarpon generate more interest.

From Big Pine sKey knab erohsffo ruO

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By Nick Carter

T

here is no fish more iconically associated with the Florida Keys than tarpon. The allure of hooking into one of the ocean’s most powerful and aerobatic fish in skinny water draws anglers from all over the world to test their mettle on the flats and in the bays the silver king inhabits. Those who desire to concentrate singly-mindedly on that pursuit would be well served to spend some time at Big Pine Key. At mile marker 33 on Highway 1, Big Pine is situated on the top end of the Lower Keys, far enough from the bustling tourist activity of Key West and slap in the middle of some of the best tarpon fishing in the world. Capt. Nate Wheeler, of Waypoint Fishing Charters, specializes in these prehistoric beasts. Although he also runs jam-up inshore and offshore trips for all the awesome fishing the area has to offer, staying on top of often-difficult tarpon is a constant pursuit. Capt. Nate said smaller tarpon can be found year-round, but the action begins when water temperatures break the 72-degree mark. This is the magic temperature at which tarpon begin to feed, and the warm-up coincides with a large influx of big migrating tarpon. Generally there is some consistency to the bite beginning in mid to late April each year. This year, Nate said the Keys experienced a “Marchuary,” which means cool weather hung around longer than usual. As a result, tarpon fishing was a little slow in the early season, but by mid-April water temps had risen into the mid 70s and the silver king began to feed. “Tarpon are a real finicky fish. They are very sensitive to conditions,” Capt. Nate said. “It can be feast or famine, and that’s why guides do so well as compared to the do-it-yourself angler. We’ve spent years following them, and if they’re here, we know where they are.” The limestone strata of the Lower Keys and the north to south alignment of the islands have created a unique habitat of channels, shallow bays, flats and mangrove islands. Nate said laid-up tarpon can often be found on the flats and in shallow bays. It is an early season staple. This laid-up behavior, in which big tarpon lie at rest just under the surface, is something the waters around Big Pine Key have become known for. “Laid-up fish in the bays is the one time that fly fishermen have an advantage,” Nate said. Sight fishing for big, easily spooked fish when they aren’t actively feeding is best done with delicate presentations. In water seemingly too shallow for the size of the fish, floating lines and pinpoint accuracy with casts become paramount. That challenge, as well as the potentially explosive results of a take, are what many anglers live for. But there are easier ways to do it for those who want to maximize

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their chances of experiencing that explosion of activity. In spring and summer, big pods of tarpon push into the bridge channels. The Bahia Honda and Seven Mile bridges just east of Big Pine Key become an epicenter for anglers seeking the flashes and rolls of active tarpon. They can be caught on artificials and flies, but suspending and drifting a blue crab beneath a float offers as close to a guaranteed hookup as exists in tarpon fishing. Nate said fishing the tide windows is critical to maximizing chances of a bite. “We crush them in the summertime,” Nate said. “Especially on the fly.” That statement might have been directed toward the worm hatch. In summer, when tarpon are thick in the channel, the world’s most famous palolo worm hatch occurs at Bahia Honda. No one has it exactly figured out, but somehow the tide and moon phases trigger thousands of 3-inch long burnt orange sea worms to wriggle to the surface to reproduce. Tarpon go out of their minds when palolo worms swarm in the thousands. Giant fish can be seen gulping the little morsels on the surface and sometimes rising completely out of the water for them. Just to witness it is a spectacle. For those lucky enough to encounter it with a rod in hand, it is something else. But if baking in the summer sun is something to be avoided, Capt. Nate threw out one more option for anglers who want to tangle with a silver king. “The most consistent way to get them is at night, after dark,” he said. Tarpon need to eat to feed their massive bodies. During the daytime, that feeding is mainly opportunistic, an “it’s there so I might as well eat it” scenario. Nighttime is generally when tarpon actively seek out their meals and feed most aggressively. Capt. Nate said he’s had some tremendous evenings catching small tarpon as well as 40- to 50-pounders fishing with artificials and live bait. So, those are a few of the ways anglers can get their tarpon fix during the spring and summer out of Big Pine Key. Probably the most important piece of advice is to hire a guide for the best chance of achieving your goal of catching this notoriously finicky beast. s“Usually r ef fo y eK eniPbite gi Bpretty , sl aohconsistently S n a ci r e mat A the ot bridges, yeK eo”oCapt. L m oNate rF they’ll na nifilrthey’re am ,hsnot ifliasthere, morwe’ll F .hsifollow femagthem emitto -githe b fobays htlaand ew the a said. d “But flats andhfind t ailothem G dnwherever a kcajrebthey ma are. dez” is-tluav ot pot pu hsifgnik

ni fCapt. lesruoNate y t isWheeler op e d e mand oc Waypoint o S .p e e d Fishing n wod rCharters ep uo r Gat Contact 305-394-2177 .nruor tercaptnatewheeler@aol.com, ni hcum os teg ll’uoY .syand eK rsee ewothe L swebsite ’adirolFat www.waypointfishing.net. 2 2 73 . 2 78 . 0 0 8 .1 s yek r ewol / m oc. s yek - afl

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4/17/17 1:36 PM


Our offshore banks generate more interest.

From Looe Key to American Shoals, Big Pine Key offers a wealth of big-time gamefish. From sailfish, marlin and kingfish up top to vault-sized amberjack and Goliath Grouper down deep. So come deposit yourself in Florida’s Lower Keys. You’ll get so much in return. fla-keys.com/lowerkeys 1.800.872.3722 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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QUICK DROP Line Guide

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FLORIDA

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10

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FISH & FISHING

MAKE IT COUNT

Y

MARK SOSIN

ou’ve heard it said before. The key to catching fish centers on presentation, presentation, presentation. Too many anglers nod in agreement, but fail to focus on it constantly. Whether you prefer natural bait or artificials, the best offering will bomb unless it looks realistic and natural to your quarry. Whether you are staring eyeball to eyeball with the fish of your dreams or simply covering the water with blind cast after blind cast, it all necks down to your ability to make your bait or lure tempt a fish into striking. My father was the consummate example. His lure of choice was a ¼-ounce or 3/8-ounce yellow Upperman bucktail. Dad would put a half-dozen of them in his jacket pocket and challenge dozens of species in saltwater or fresh. That artificial didn’t look like it would catch anything, yet Dad could outfish anyone in the boat with him. Professional guides were amazed what he could do with that lure. He was perfect proof that presentation was the key rather than the choice of lure. Almost all of his casts were blind, but somehow he managed to put that bucktail where the fish were and in a manner that they would eat it. No matter how hard I tried year after year, I have never come close to catching as many fish as he could on that bucktail. He never understood the technicalities of fish behavior. As an example, fish holding in any type of current face into it, expecting their food to be swept to them by the flow of water. Even in shallow water, predators tend to work into the current or across it. It’s essential to know where in the water column the species you seek happens to be. If you had to ask a successful angler one question, find out how deep the water was where he caught his fish. You don’t have to know the spot as long as you learn the depth. And remember, a fish hugging the bottom is not going to rise very far to inhale a bait. There are also places I refer to as seats in a restaurant. These are

very precise spots where a fish can hold easily with a minimum of current and then dart out to grab food being pushed along by the flow of water. If you catch a fish in a particular spot today, it could be a seat in the restaurant. By tomorrow or the day after, you can bet that another fish will be in that exact same spot. Predators do not expect to be attacked by their prey. Any retrieve that drags a bait toward your target will spook the larger fish. Your offering has to look like it is trying to escape. That also holds when you cast toward a particular spot where you think a fish is holding. If your bait or lure lands too close, it will scare your quarry. Instead, cast slightly away from the spot and let the current or your retrieve drag the bait past where your target is. No matter what bait or lure you choose, it still centers on presentation. When you present your offering correctly, your catch rate will rise and the smile on your face will telegraph the results.

For more Mark Sosin visit

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welcome. Fishing grounds are located just offshore of the two host marinas. There are no long runs to get to the fish. The two-leg tournament begins in Varadero June 5-8. Boats fish from the Marina Gaviota, the beautiful, modern 1,100-slip marina located on the tip of the Varadero peninsula. From Varadero, boats travel 90 miles west to Marina Hemingway in Havana for the second leg. Visas, flights and accommodations can be arranged by Cuba Travel Services, the travel company for the Gamefish Grande. Contact Marlen Batista for assistance. Marlen Batista Product Assistant/Specialist Cuba Travel Services 10 NW 42 Avenue, Suite 400 Miami, FL 33126 Email: marlen@cubatravelservices.com Office/Fax: 305-929-8790

H

ave you ever wanted to fish in Cuba? Fishing grounds that were once untouchable are now open to anglers! It is easy to take your boat to Cuba and fish. Simply file Form 3300 with the U.S. Coast Guard. They will approve your travel to Cuban waters and away you go! One of the best things about Cuba is its proximity to south Florida. Taking your center console can be a simple trip. You don’t need to have a sportfish to compete in the Gamefish Grande tournament this June–center consoles are

Participants will fish for three days in Varadero and then have a day to tour and experience Cuba before fishing the final three days in Havana. In an effort to preserve the future of big game fishing in Cuba, the Gamefish Grande is an all-release tournament. For online entry, rules and travel resources, visit www.gamefishgrande.com. Schedule of Events June 5: Arrive Marina Gaviota, Varadero Captain’s Meeting and Dinner June 6-8: Fishing Days June 8: Awards Dinner June 9: Travel to Marina Hemingway Tour Cuba (optional) June 10: Havana Captain’s Meeting and Dinner June 11-13: Fishing Days June 13: Awards Dinner For online registration go to: https://www.regonline.com/gamefishgrande2017registration To access Form 3300 go to: https://www.uscg.mil/d7/docs/Cuban%20permitCG3300.pdf

FISH THE 2ND ANNUAL GAMEFISH GRANDE IN CUBA Varadero: June 5 – 8, 2017 Havana: June 10 – 13, 2017

12

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JOIN US IN CUBA! REGISTER NOW AT GAMEFISHGRANDE.COM!

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urrent Productions is excited to announce The Florida Boat Show at Halifax Harbor and Marina May 19-21 in Daytona Beach. The marine industry will come together to highlight new boats and exciting festivities. Halifax Harbor will come alive for a whole weekend of family fun. Power boats, sailboats, kayaks and marine accessories of all types will be featured throughout the 4 acres of dry park space and ‘in-water’ marina dock. The area’s industry leaders will be showcasing their best for the boating and fishing enthusiasts of the Southeast. Included in the $10 adult paid admission, all attendees will have access to the following exciting features in 2017: • New Boats and marine accessories for all types of boating • Boating Safety and Seminars • A Fishing Village hosted by pros and guides

• and Vendors GALORE!

• The Dock Jam Seafood Music Festival (Saturday and Sunday) • Cold Beers—sponsored by Budweiser • LIVE Music – Saturday & Sunday including Brent Byrd, J Collins, Emma Moseley Band, Hayfire, DJ Bash, Hot Stuff - Donna Summer, Chieforia, Propaganjah, Groove Coalition, Diamond Dixie and Divided Hwy • Stand Up Paddleboard and Kayak Race and Demos • Hands-on Sailing Techniques • Boat Show Bikini Contest • World Famous Easy Tiki Bar with great specialty drinks and happy hour each morning from 10am-noon. • Variety of SEAFOOD Food Trucks including Willy T’s Crabshack, Marco’s Seafood, Big Island Bowls, Liberty Foods. Foodies, don’t worry, we have Manny’s Cuban Truck, Treemendous BBQ and Eat n Run American Grill. • Children under 16 are FREE

DATE: May 19-21 TIMES: Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. LOCATION: Halifax Harbor and Marina 450 Basin St. Daytona Beach, FL 32114 CONTACT INFORMATION: www.thefloridaboatshow.com; Facebook Page: The Florida Boat Show www.thedockjam.com; Facebook Page: The Dock Jam Seafood Music Festival

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN UNDERWATER ADVENTURES Catch the true spirit of the natural Florida Gulf Coast lifestyle in Crystal River. Whether you are looking for freshwater fishing, a calm day of inshore angling, or the thrill of the offshore—Citrus County has got what you need. Now’s the time to kick off those shoes, get your feet wet, and catch an adventure.

Download our FREE visitor’s guide at discovercrystalriverfl.com/visitors-guide, or call 800.587.6667 to learn more.

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CA_HM

A Reminder To Renew Gulf Reef Surveys

Photo courtesy of Larry McGuire, Show Me The Fish Charters

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napper and grouper seasons are opening, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding anglers who plan to fish the Gulf of Mexico that it is time to sign up for or renew participation in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey. Participation in the survey is for anglers who plan to fish from a private vessel for red and vermilion snapper; gag, red and black grouper; greater amberjack banded rudderfish; almaco jack; and gray triggerfish. To renew online, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. Renewing the survey does not renew a fishing license. Anglers who do not plan to fish for these reef species in the Gulf of Mexico are encouraged not to renew participation in the Gulf Reef Survey. By only sampling anglers who plan on fishing for these species, Florida is improving recreational data collection. Contact FWC at marine@myfwc.com with questions regarding the Gulf Reef Survey.

Thank you to all our wonderful sponsors!

352-284-1377

www.ReelingForKids.com

KICK-OFF EVENT May 11, 2017 Touchdown Terrace Live Entertainment

Proceeds Benefit the

OF ALACHUA COUNTY

2-DAY TOURNAMENT June 2nd & 3rd, 2017 Steinhatchee, FL

$30,000 IN CASH PRIZES 4 NORTH FLORIDA

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4/17/17 2:18 PM


COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

MAY 2017 EDITION

Find Your Outdoors Here!

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

North Central FL/Nature Coast Staff

ALACHUA, MARION, COLUMBIA, GILCHRIST, BRADFORD, DIXIE, LEVY AND CITRUS COUNTIES

Cary Crutchfield

SALES

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

A

MAY

pril showers? We saw one decent rain the whole month of April. Maybe (hopefully!) this year we will get May showers. April 1st, we attended the Spring Festival in Horseshoe Beach. They seem to have pretty much recovered from Hurricane Hermine. The restaurant has reopened in a new/safer location and there is a new apparel shop. On April 15th, we enjoyed the Fly In, in Cross City. Two bi-planes performed death defying stunts and there was also an old car show and many venders. It was a great show! In the centerfold, pages 12 and 13, I am reprinting an article, CATCHING AIR, Those Magnificent Jumping Suwannee Sturgeon, by Ken Sulak. We first ran this article in 2012. It is a very interesting and enjoyable read, and worth a reprint! You might also like the crocodilian info on page 6. This month’s recipe, Shrimp with Cauliflower Grits and Arugula, on page 17, was fun to make and good to eat. The grits are grated cauliflower. Check it out! Cary isn’t a lover of grits, but he does like cauliflower with cheese, and he really likes cauliflower grits. We have some storage space for rent in our building on SR 349, about 13 miles north of Old Town. See page 20. Please remember to thank the people at the location where you picked up this FREE magazine you are holding, and don’t forget to let our advertisers know how much you appreciate them. No advertisers, equals no Coastal Angler. (Now that’s a scary thought!) Get outside and enjoy this gorgeous, low humidity weather. Heat and high humidity are just days away. A great way to enjoy this weather is on the water with one of our very knowledgeable/experienced guides. Don’t forget to do something special for your mother on May 14th! VISIT MY NEW WEBSITE, CoastalAnglerMag. com/NC-Florida. Tell me what you think. Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy Bruce Butler Cliff Clark John Freeze Noel Kuhn Gary Simpson Capt. Dan Clymer Capt. Tom Cushman Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Jimbo Keith Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Clay Shidler Capt. Brian Smith Capt. Dan Smith Capt. Craig Spitznogle

CONTACT INFORMATION

crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-372-4237

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District

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KEATON BEACH

FLORIDA SUWANNEE RIVER WATERFRONT

FOR SALE 43 acres (+or-) 1100 feet (+or-) on Suwannee River in Lafayette County at US 27, across river from Branford. Heavily wooded, perfect for residence, camp ground or hunting lodge. Elec. and well.

Zack Brice with a nice trout, 4/2

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Cary A. Crutchfield Registered Real Estate Broker GRI and CRS Designations

352.372.4237

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1M

2Tu

3W

4Th

5F

6Sa 7Su

8M

12:25 AM 7:03 AM 12:11 PM 5:52 PM 1:25 AM 8:13 AM 1:17 PM 7:00 PM 2:35 AM 9:28 AM 2:41 PM 8:29 PM 3:50 AM 10:35 AM 4:14 PM 10:04 PM 4:58 AM 11:25 AM 5:30 PM 11:25 PM 5:52 AM 12:04 PM 6:26 PM 12:26 AM 6:36 AM 12:37 PM 7:10 PM 1:15 AM 7:13 AM 1:07 PM 7:49 PM

-0.3 2.9 1.6 3.7 0.0 2.7 1.7 3.4 0.3 2.8 1.7 3.1 0.5 2.9 1.5 3.0 0.6 3.2 1.1 3.1 0.7 3.4 0.7 3.3 0.7 3.6 0.3 3.4 0.8 3.8 0.1

HERNANDO BEACH

MAY 2017

9Tu

Time Height

1:58 AM 7:47 AM 1:36 PM 8:24 PM 10W 2:36 AM 8:18 AM 2:03 PM 8:57 PM 11Th 3:13 AM 8:49 AM 2:31 PM 9:29 PM 12F 3:49 AM 9:21 AM 3:00 PM 10:01 PM 13Sa 4:25 AM 9:53 AM 3:29 PM 10:34 PM 14Su 5:03 AM 10:27 AM 4:01 PM 11:09 PM 15M 5:43 AM 11:04 AM 4:37 PM 11:48 PM 16Tu 6:29 AM 11:49 AM 5:20 PM

3.4 0.9 3.9 -0.1 3.4 1.0 4.0 -0.2 3.4 1.1 4.0 -0.3 3.3 1.2 4.0 -0.2 3.3 1.3 4.0 -0.2 3.2 1.4 4.0 -0.1 3.1 1.5 3.9 0.1 3.0 1.6 3.7

KINGS BAY

High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min

High Tide 2 hrs, 20 min Low Tide 3 hrs, 7 min

CRYSTAL RIVER

WITHLACOOCHEE ENT

High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min

High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min

CEDAR KEY

Time Height

17W 12:34 AM 7:24 AM 12:45 PM 6:14 PM 18Th 1:28 AM 8:26 AM 1:56 PM 7:27 PM 19F 2:33 AM 9:29 AM 3:17 PM 8:57 PM 20Sa 3:42 AM 10:24 AM 4:34 PM 10:24 PM 21Su 4:48 AM 11:12 AM 5:39 PM 11:38 PM 22M 5:46 AM 11:54 AM 6:33 PM 23Tu 12:41 AM 6:38 AM 12:33 PM 7:23 PM 24W 1:38 AM 7:25 AM 1:12 PM 8:11 PM

Time Height

25Th 2:32 AM 8:09 AM 1:51 PM 8:57 PM 26F 3:23 AM 8:52 AM 2:31 PM 9:44 PM 27Sa 4:13 AM 9:36 AM 3:13 PM 10:32 PM 28Su 5:03 AM 10:21 AM 3:58 PM 11:20 PM 29M 5:54 AM 11:09 AM 4:47 PM 30Tu 12:09 AM 6:46 AM 12:02 PM 5:42 PM 31W 1:01 AM 7:41 AM 1:05 PM 6:48 PM

3.7 1.2 4.4 -0.8 3.7 1.3 4.5 -0.9 3.6 1.4 4.5 -0.8 3.4 1.5 4.4 -0.5 3.3 1.6 4.2 -0.2 3.1 1.7 3.8 0.2 3.1 1.7 3.5

HOMOSASSA RIVER ENT

HORSESHOE BEACH

SUWANNEE ENT

STEINHATCHEE RIVER ENT

High Tide 4 hr, 30 min Low Tide 5 hr, 41 min High Tide 6 min Low Tide 18 min

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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0.2 2.9 1.7 3.5 0.4 3.0 1.7 3.2 0.6 3.1 1.6 3.1 0.7 3.3 1.2 3.2 0.8 3.5 0.8 3.3 0.8 3.8 0.2 3.5 0.9 4.0 -0.2 3.7 1.0 4.3 -0.6

rout took a major hit with the front which slammed us April 6-9th, but things are beginning to get back to normal as of this writing (April 15th) with water temps back to 72 degrees, after plummeting to 63 last week. Trout are hitting in 6 plus feet for folks bouncing Assassin Electric Chicken, Sweet Pea and Opening Night Sea Shads. Some are taking Z-mans in "Houdini" pattern, while others have caught nice trout and reds on MirrOlure's Soft-Dines in 91,18, and 09 patterns. My One More Cast Charters have landed trout, reds & flounder and Dwayne Dominey of Columbus, we even had a keeper cobia on April GA with a nice 23 in. trout. 9th for Ken Parsons of Valdosta, Ga. Ken got him on the trout rig, Original Cajun Thunder. 4 to 5 feet I fish live bait which is spooled up of water had been my magic, but like with Trik Fish ten-pound test Game I mentioned, we have shifted a little Green line. We have caught most of deeper as of late. Reds have not been reliable; our fish on live pinfish under Back Bay Thunders while several nice but with all the fresh water, it’s not trout and a couple of flounder have surprising that they are moving taken the Assassin Elite shiner in the around. I will expect to catch more Wakasagi pattern fished under an reds in May with Thunder-Spins and with Intruder Hex Spoons and Sleighs. Look for mullet and work the areas where they are flopping around. In the meantime.....Let's Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 27 years! www.onemorecast.net 850.838.7541

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

MAY 2017

Curt Barnett of Columbus, GA with a great 20 in. speck!

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FLORIDA WATERWAYS

T

St. Marys River

he river that forms the border between Florida and Georgia is the St. Marys. Officially, like most place names in America, it does not have an apostrophe, although many people put one in the second word. The 126-milelong waterway takes its name By Kevin McCarthy from a Spanish mission, Santa Maria, which stood on Amelia Island near the ocean. The river takes water from the Pinhook Swamp in Florida and the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, and flows south, then east, then north, and finally southeast, just south of the town of St. Marys in Georgia and to the north of Amelia Island in Florida, to the Atlantic Ocean. The powerful ocean causes tidal fluctuations fifty miles up the quiet river. Because of the strategic location of the river, the British established forts there in the 18th century, and federal troops fighting the Seminole Indians in the 19th century did the same. Confederate troops also set up camps near the river during the Civil War. Commercial loggers used the shallow river in the 1800s and early 1900s, and farmers raised cotton, indigo, and rice in the river basin until other areas of Florida drew the farmers away, to places near deeper rivers. What may surprise boaters today is the presence of nuclear submarines, near the mouth of the river. The subs are based at King’s Bay near the river and can easily get out into the Atlantic, but are protected from storms by the inland docking facilities. The river was in the news in 2007 because of a huge wildfire, the Bugaboo Scrub Fire, which burned up much timber near the St. Marys. The fire actually jumped the river and burned much of the forest in Florida’s Baker and Columbia counties, in what officials called the largest forest fire in the history of the state. Fishing can be very good in the St. Marys,

especially because the river has so little pollution. One can find flounder, redfish, sheepshead, speckled sea trout, and other ocean fish in the tidal parts of the river near the ocean, and also bluegill, red-breasted sunfish, and striped bass in the freshwaters away from the ocean. In fact, some sixty species of freshwater fish can be found in the river. If fishermen want a relatively undisturbed Florida river in which they can drop their lines with good assurance of a nice catch, the St. Marys is a great choice. However, be aware which side you’re fishing on, even in the middle of the river, since Georgia and Florida have different fishing regulations, depending on exactly where you are fishing.

A guided-missile submarine near the St. Marys

Kevin McCarthy, the author of The Galata Bridge in Istanbul 2016 (available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

The winding St. Marys River U.S. Highway 17 spans the river near Georgia

This blue bridge goes ove

r the St. Marys

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Map of the St Marys River

MAY 2017

A shrimp boat on Amelia Island near the river’s mouth NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3

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WELCOME TO THE

NATURE COAST

C

Frederick Snell, Broker Associate

itrus County is known for waterfront living at its best. We have it all: rivers, canals, and bays with access to the Gulf of Mexico, even lakes and estuaries where a variety of exotic fish, birds and wildlife cohabitate. Work or play, Citrus boasts numerous amenities, unique to Florida’s Nature Coast, that make it a wonderful place to visit or call home. Chassahowitzka, Homosassa, Crystal River, and Inverness, all have easy access to pristine waterways, with city and county boat launches. The barge canal, located on the

Northwest end of the county, offers excellent fishing, boating, and other water activities to explore. For the avid fisherman, Citrus County’s many bodies of water, host fishing tournaments throughout the year. For biking, hiking, and even horseback riding enthusiasts, Rails to Trails, spans a stretch of paved trail-ways, from the northern most end of the county, continuing on down to the heart of Tampa Bay. Located between Orlando and Tampa, many choose Citrus County as their forever destination because of its rare blend of

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coastal, central geography and indoor/ outdoor amenities. With worldrenowned golf courses and master planned communities, the county offers a slice of paradise, catering to all lifestyles, at all price points. Coldwell Banker Next Generation Realty, offers a variety of waterfront properties for sale county-wide, on the many bodies of water accessible in Citrus. Whether you’re looking for vacant land, the waterfront home of your dreams, or something in between, contact our community experts for all of your real estate needs!

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CRYSTAL RIVER

PROFESSIONAL FIREARM TRAINING

OCALA CARRY

May Madness

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he magical month of May, is often heralded as the start of the summer fishing season and that couldn’t be closer to the truth. Both the inshore and offshore fisheries begin to crank up as the water temps reach the optimal 75 degree mark. Many species such as cobia, tripletail and tarpon will begin to arrive as the baitfish migrate north, and settle into their summer locations. On the inshore side of things, we are targeting the trout on the deeper grass flats from 4 to 6 feet deep, over patchy grass and sand bottom. Typically, we fish soft plastic jigs, both on the bottom and under a popping cork with a DOA C.A.L series paddle tail on a 1/8th ounce jig head, being a favorite option in colors glow and alewife. This same set-up also works well for Spanish mackerel and pompano that inhabit these same flats. The redfish and snook bite will continue to stay strong, both in the backcountry and around the outside islands, with both live pinfish and live shrimp being good options to tempt these

awesome fish. With such a wide variety of inshore species available this time of year, it can be difficult to be prepared for everything that Protection and Security you may encounter, but having a for Your Investment set of 10, 20, and 40lb class set-ups, you will be able to handle anything from a 12 ounce trout, to 150 pound (352) 690-2313 4707 NW 44th Ave sharks. On the offshore front, the snapper BoatRVStorage.com Ocala, FL 34482 and grouper bite should be firing on all cylinders, as we all anticipate the June 1st opening day, for the mighty gag grouper and red snapper. Barracuda Quarter Page Ad R7.indd 1 12/14/16 Mangrove snapper, grunts, kingfish and cobia, will all try their best to fill the void in the fish box, between now and then. Hard bottom and rock piles will be the best areas to start your hunt with live shrimp and frozen squid being top bait choices for bottom fish. Hang a chum block over the side to help attract other species in the area with a live pinfish or ballyhoo being a great choice to freeline back to hook up a big dawg.

Discover the backwaters of Crystal River

Capt. Clay Shidler ClayShidler@Yahoo.com

10:39 AM

Spring is the perfect time to explore the waters of Crystal River, FL. From kayak and canoe tours to dive lessons and pontoon rides,

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can meet all of your watersport needs Crystal River Kayak Company and Dive Center 352.795.2255 | http://www.crystalriverkayakcompany.com/ For a full list of Chamber members that provide outdoor recreational fun, visit us online at www.citruscountychamber.com

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Alligators, crocodiles get active this time of year. A

concerns with an alligator or crocodile s spring posing a threat to people, pets or weather property, to call the FWC’s Nuisance replaces cold Alligator Hotline at 866-FWCwinter, Florida’s GATOR (392-4286). alligators and Alligators and crocodiles are an crocodiles important part of Florida’s heritage become active. and play a valuable role in the habitats The Florida Fish where they live. For more information and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on alligators and crocodiles, visit once again reminds state residents and MyFWC.com/Alligator visitors to be cautious when having fun in and around water. Florida is home to two native crocodilians: the American alligator, which is found in all 67 counties; and the American crocodile, which may be found in coastal areas of the Keys and in southeast and southwest Florida. Both species have shared Florida’s waters with people for centuries. The FWC recommends keeping pets away from the water. There are other precautionary measures people should take to reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators and crocodiles, and they are available in the Living with Alligators brochure at MyFWC. com/Alligator and the Living with Crocodiles brochure at MyFWC.com/ Top-American Crocodile Middle-Spectacled Caiman Crocodile. The FWC advises people who have Bottom-American Alligator

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MAY 2017

STEINHATCHEE These are the days

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pril fishing is hard to beat, but May is actually an improvement! Why? Our pelagic species are here and making a fuss. Spanish mackerel, kingfish and cobia are off our coastline. Spanish mackerel will surprise attack—cutoff—those fishing for trout on the flats. But for those fishermen trolling around bait pods, or in and around Little Bank with spoons or flashy jigs with a trace of #1 wire leader, the Spanish attacks are expected and thwarted to the sound of singing drags and happy anglers. It is worth the thrill. No need to fill the box with Spanish as they are best eaten fresh. When frozen, Spanish turn into cat food. For the big thrill, you know when line peels off the reel at a prolonged high pitched sound that makes the adrenaline spike, troll for kingfish with large spoons, plugs and such with a trace of #80 mono leader or #3-5 wire. The most productive areas are around the bait pods dimpling the surface, early in the mornings and evening from 20 feet on out. If you’re used to catching Florida snapper and sea bass hand over fist, then trolling may seem at first long in the tooth. The bite doesn’t happen the instant the bait hits the water. So first try trolling in short bursts. When you see a good area for kingfish, once the lures are out, give the troll thirty minutes. Don’t let the trolling become boring. Another idea is to have trolling rods ready so when you’re going from A to B, it easy to set the lures out and things don’t seem so random. Here is the kicker, when it happens, a kingfish strikes and runs out a hundred yards of line in a blink, you’ll find yourself trolling for longer periods of time in anticipation for the next strike. It is addictive.

Cobia—my favorite fish—are happening in May! Use fresh livebait over and around structure for the best results. You don’t actually fish for cobia; you hunt them. That means, taking the time to collect fresh live-bait—blue runners are most excellent—and bouncing around from one marker to the next, one artificial reef to the next, one wreck to the next, etc., pitching out bait on a hopeful line. And backing up the live-bait with a bucktailed jig. Battling one good cobia in a day is worthy of all the effort to me. But cobia usually cruise in small pods, so if you find one, there will be others. May is one of the best months for good fishing out of Steinhatchee. Get your gear ready, and your butt in gear, and come on. Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

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HORSESHOE BEACH The Bite is on

Casey C. with a nice upper-slot red.

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etween fronts and the wind, fishing is staying consistently good. The trout-bite has really picked up, and the short-trout are on the grass flats, pretty much everywhere, they are supposed to be. When your trout fishing catching 5 to 10 shorts, to one legal-size fish is common. When you are having to cull little ones along the way to get a limit, it is very important to handle your small trout with care. These are the fish that we will be enjoying in the future. I know it doesn’t seem important to some, that grab a fish, yank the hooks out and throw it back in the water, but consider this, the easier you are with these juveniles, the better chance they have at survival. I hear people say we must have caught 50 shorts. Well that’s fifty fish that have been grabbed, dehooked and thrown back. Wonder what the survial rate is for these fish? Another big NONO is, grabbing these fish with a towel. The towel removes the slime from the fish. That slime is an outer protectant that helps keep these fish safe from disease. Its easiest to hold the fish around, and just under the gills lightly with your bare hand, remove the hook, and place the fish back into the water. While you’re there, just rinse your hands off and then dry them with the towel. Fish are being caught on a multitude of baits right now, Fish are hungry and not quite as selective. The flats are filling up with bait; mullet, pinfish, and shrimp are

always a best bet. Bigger trout are being caught a little closer to shore and have still been holding in the pothole bottoms and near the grass lines. Red fishing is great. Catching 4 to 5 quality fish in a day’s trip is average; some days catching more. Quality slot fish are being caught. South of Horseshoe around the long bar and booger bars, the outside bars and grass point along the outer shoreline and creek mouths, is a great place to start. North of Horseshoe, Stuart point, Drum Point and all along that shoreline is a good bet. Take your time getting into these places and work them slowly. Water has been super clear and the fish have been super spooky. I just want to stop and thank everyone for making our Spring Festival a great success this year. A big thanks to the library staff for putting together our festival. We had great vendors and a good crowd. It was the first day of the Shrimp Boat opening and everyone is really excited to have it back. The food is great, just as it was before. Salty Shoe Apparel had its grand opening and was a successful day. Everyone has been so supportive of the new things happening in Horseshoe. Until next month keep your lines tight and salt between your toes…

up a couple of our mobile homes for the future. When the proposed power plant starts construction, there will not be enough rentals to go around! We also have a rental management department.

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DW&D BAIT HOUSE 12831 Whiddon Ave Cedar Key, FL 352-543-6109 352-222-9383 CEDAR KEY PADDLING 12293 SR 24 Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@Yahoo.com ALACHUA FARM AND LUMBER 114101 NW 145th Ave. Alachua, FL 32616 386-462-3003 www.AlachuaFarmandLumber. com

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SUWANNEE RIVER/CEDAR KEY

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ey There folks, I sure hope y'all are enjoying this summer weather. By now, everything is in full-swing with water temperatures staying steady in the upper 70's. The Cedar Key flats are alive with action! The trout-bite is pretty good on both incoming and outgoing tides and they are still holding in 3 to 5 feet of water. The B52 Super Sounder with the Bass Assassin tail in the sea shad pattern, still produces the numbers of keeper trout, while topwater baits produce the really big ones on the shallow flats when the tide is low.

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The reds are still making their presence known along and along. Around the islands, cut mullet is still your best bet for getting bit. If you are the type who likes to throw artificial, a gold spoon is working well around the oyster bars. The Spanish mackerel are also showing at Sea Horse reef and on the flats around the islands. Trolling plugs or jigs will work great on the reef. Suwannee River is producing some nice bass around the bonnets. Buzz baits early in the morning or late in the evening are producing some big ones. Also, trick worms rigged Texas style around the wood, is also working great, just about any time of day. Well folks, I know I sound like a broken record, but this is what I do day in and day out and it just works for me. I hope y'all enjoyed the report and like always, get outside and enjoy what God has given us!

Like us on Facebook! We serve fresh local Cedar Key oysters and clams. Try our delicious Gator. We get it directly from the Gator Man himself.

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Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters Capt.Jimbo Keith 352-535-5083

MAY 2017

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CEDAR KEY PADDLING

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ello Everybody! May is here already! I cannot believe how fast these years are flying by. I hope you are spending time with your family and friends out on the water. May is, and always has been, my busiest month out of the year, and I surely am glad to see everyone out, spending time making memories. With this time of the year, there will always be an extra idiot or two also out on the water. I can call them idiots because I am 99.9% positive these fools can't read. Anyway, please watch out for them and give each other plenty of space. Let's talk fishing. I am writing this forecast in the middle of April, and every minute that goes by, more and more targeted fish species are swimming into our keys. Tons of bait everywhere, so make sure you have an arsenal with you. If you can pick up some fresh mullet, I highly recommend this for you redfish hunters. A nice bite-size chunk,

sitting on the bottom around the grasses and oysters, should put up a good fight. If you are working the more open waters for trout and mackerel, those live big minnows are to die for. Fish those under your favorite color Cajun Thunder. Last and my favorite, the Tripletail. If you are spot and stalking these beasts, all you need is a 2/0 or 3/0 hook through the bottom and upper lips of your live minnow. Get a little meat on the hook so it doesn't rip off easily, but not too much where you kill it. If you toss this close by, it's all but over unless you are that friend who can't NET THE FISH ALREADY! We know who that friend is; we all have one. Well that about wraps it up. I hope what I wrote helps your day in some way. Take a kid fishing! Check us out on Istagram @thereal_c_world Capt. Daniel | Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

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CATCHING AIR

Those Magnificent Jumping Suwannee Sturgeons By Ken Sulak, Fish Biologist APPROVED BY USGS

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t starts deep at the bottom of the dark silent river – 3 to 4 powerful tail beats and three sharp acoustic clicks. Then a sudden upturn of the body and the fish explodes upward, 100 pounds going vertical, catching air, lots of air. A good jump can power a big fish 6-9 feet into the air. You have to be quick to get a photo; hang time is only about a second. But an accomplished jump by a big old Suwannee River Gulf sturgeon is impressive, a magnificent display of power. The exit is almost vertical, the tail continues to beat back and forth as the fish rises. Then comes a half-twist of the body, sometimes a full 180 degree twist, followed by that signature loud body smack on the surface, a sturgeon version of the belly-flop. Nothing else on the river sounds like it. If you happen to be close by, the report is really impressive – if not downright scary. In the calm of the night, when the air is still and narry a boat is stirring, that startling report can be heard from a mile or more away, even further underwater by another sturgeon. A loud splash upon re-entry isn’t the end of the sequence. At the peak of its jump, the big fish gulps air, refilling its long swimbladder. Hitting the water, it immediately powers down deep, emitting one more sharp snapping sound on the way down, disappearing into the deep for another day. No, it is not the same fish jumping repeatedly in the same spot, but hundreds of fish in the same area, each jumping about once a day, most commonly in the early morning. Jumping is rarely a solitary event. And, it is Gulf sturgeons of all sizes (1 to 8 feet long) that join in the show. In mid-summer, June and early July before the thunderstorm season really gets rolling, jumps can occur as frequently as 6-10 times per minute in the best areas. The inexperienced juveniles may not quite have it down exactly, sometimes coming out at odd angles, or forgetting to do the body twist. Then, some of the biggest fish occasionally seem to lack enthusiasm, only getting halfway out

of the water, then flopping sideways. Regardless of size or skill, jumping is an essential part of life for the Gulf sturgeon. But, jumping has nothing to do with shedding parasites, capturing prey, spawning courtship, reacting to boat noise, or attacking fishing boats. Sturgeons have been around and most likely jumping for over 100 million years, long before humans arrived on the scene, and long before mankind invented boats and motors. Before sturgeons were commercially fished, before dams blocked their migrations, and before pollution devastated fish population, sturgeons existed in truly astounding numbers. Even in colonial days, when sturgeons were the dominant large fishes inhabiting North American rivers, jumping was in full swing. The colonial naturalist, Mark Catesby , observing Atlantic sturgeon jumping in the Savannah River in the early 1700s summed it up very elegantly: "...in May, June and July, the rivers abound with them [sturgeons], at which time it is surprising, though very common to see such large fish elated in the air, by their leaping some yards out of the water; this they do in an erect posture, and fall on their sides, which repeated percussions are loudly heard some miles distance in still evenings; it is also by this leaping action that many of them are taken, for as some particular parts of the rivers afford them most food, to those places they resort in greater plenty. Here the inhabitants (as the Indians taught them) place their canoes and boats, that when the sturgeon leap, these boats and canoes may receive them at their fall. It is dangerous passing over these leaping holes, as they are called, many a canoe, and small boat having been overset by the fall of a sturgeon into it." Using underwater acoustic investigations near Manatee Springs in 2011, the USGS Sturgeon Quest research team has learned that

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sturgeons ‘talk’ to each other. They communicate by producing loud sharp snaps, often emitted in an evenly-spaced series of three: snapsnap-snap. For about a mile of river, the deep channel below Manatee Springs serves as a sturgeon summer ‘holding’ area, one of about ten such holding areas in the entire river. Put a high-end hydrophone in the water when no boats are around and what you hear are lots of snapping sounds – punctuated by those loud jumping sounds. In 2011, our Sturgeon Quest team recorded these snapping sounds and discovered that each snap has the same characteristic wave form, frequency, and duration. By strange coincidence, a few days later, a diver called to report hearing repeated snaps or clicks while diving near Troy Springs. He initially suspected a gear malfunction, but nothing seemed amiss. Then he realized that the chorus of snapping sounds had to be coming from a group of nearby sturgeons. Nice visual confirmation that those snapping sounds are Gulf sturgeon vocalizations.

Yes, you might see a sturgeon jump just about anywhere up and down the river. But the real action is in these deeper holding areas. If you do not have a boat, the State Park pier at Manatee Springs is a great place to view jumping sturgeons. Another is from the old railroad trestle crossing the Suwannee just north of Old Town, now part of a hiking and biking path. Hundreds of these great river beasts congregate, hanging out deep, resting for the season after a winter of intense feeding out in the Gulf. They like it deep and dark, where they can rest without bucking the strong surface current, down where secretive sturgeons can hide in the tea-dark water. Sturgeons do not feed in summer, so they are rarely hooked by anglers. If they did not jump, you would never know that the Suwannee is home to about 15,000 impressively large fish. No, they are not seeking refuge from summertime warm water. That is an old myth, borrowed from up north where midsummer water temperatures are a real problem for cold-water fishes, adapted to

northern waters. Down here in Florida, those sturgeons have been around for maybe 50,000-100,000 years, certainly since the end of the last ice age (15,000 years ago). Gulf sturgeons are nicely adapted to our warmer waters. These aren’t snowbirds suffering in the Florida heat. They can handle summer water temperatures up to 90 degrees, no problem. But the Suwannee normally hovers around 75-80 degrees in summer, rarely heating up like other Gulf sturgeon rivers. Sturgeons actually begin to settle into holding areas in early spring, when the river is still cold. Carrying a lot of fat from 5-6 months of winter feeding, they congregate in long deep runs below deeper holes, hovering down below the current where the swimming is easy. Each holding areas is a safe haven for hundreds of sturgeons, April through September, where they can hang out and slowly digest 20 percent of their body mass without feeding. Particularly during periods of low water, sturgeons concentrate in these deep holding areas. Jumping activity gets intense then –and so does the level of sturgeon communication by clicking sound production. But loitering in the deep, conserving energy, hovering just about the bottom, requires neutral buoyancy. In the same way that a SCUBA diver stays neutral by inflating his buoyancy compensator (BC), a sturgeon must somehow do the same thing. Running almost the length of the body, the long swimbladder serves the same purpose. A long duct connects the swimbladder to the gut, enabling the fish to refill its version of a ‘BC’ by gulping air. But, although the duct can be constricted, air is gradually lost, absorbed into the body tissues. At some point, about once a day, the sturgeon ‘BC’ needs refilling. The fish gets antsy wasting energy trying to stay neutrally bouyant at depth. And that’s when it suddenly accelerates and rockets to the surface. OK, but why not just swim slowly to the surface, stick the head up, and take a mouthful of air? The problem then is getting back down to the bottom with a freshly re-inflated bladder. It is practically impossible to dive back to the bottom with a full BC, and nature did not provide these

ancient fish with dive weights. The solution is to get as much elevation as possible, gulp air, then hit the water hard and power back down to the bottom. And that is exactly what sturgeons do. But nature is rarely satisfied with solving one problem at a time. In most fish species, jumping is either a means of escaping larger predators, or a means of capturing smaller prey. In the Gulf sturgeon, jumping is a necessary part of life, to keep that swimbladder full and functional. Nature has found a second use for sturgeon jumping – group communication. Those ancient sturgeons behave more like herd mammals than like modern schooling fishes. Some Russian scientists say they are not really fish at all, but something else altogether. Sturgeon jumps, accompanied by a series of underwater snap sounds before and after, form a characteristic sequence, what scientists call ‘a fixed behavioral pattern’. It would be tough to prove scientifically, but is seems inevitable to conclude that those magnificent sturgeons with their impressive jumps are simply letting each other know where the group is hanging out. Just like herd of cattle loosely hanging out together in a field, mooing to let each other know the right place to be. People either love or hate them, describing the ancient armored torpedo-shaped fish as either really nifty or truly ugly, either a delight to behold or a nuisance to powerboating on the Suwannee River . Either way, it is difficult not to be impressed by the aerial acrobatics of an armored 6-foot long sturgeon, and by the loud report when that fish hits the water. And, it is equally difficult not to be impressed with how nature has solved two very different problems at once. An ancient escape pattern, jumping to avoid being eaten, has evolved into a way to control underwater buoyancy, and simultaneously a means of acoustic communication. Why do sturgeons jump you ask? Now you know! ‘Sturgeon Quest’ leader, U.S. Geological Survey, Gainesville, FL

Catesby, M. 1731. The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Vol. 1. London. Boaters – be safe, when the sturgeon are flying, don’t power full-tilt mid-river through a holding area. Instead, slow down and hug the shore. Those jumpers need depth to accelerate, so most jumps occur away from the shoreline.

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Coast, and now is the time to dustoff your heavier tackle. May brings some of the larger species that our area has to offer. Tarpon, cobia and kingfish have arrived and these big three will give you a fight, you will not soon forget. For the inshore and offshore anglers, it’s tough to beat a cobia for a great tug of war. Channel markers, wrecks, artificial reefs and your high-profile grouper structures, are ideal locations to target cobia. Inshore channel markers are always worth a look and many times cobia can be seen just below the surface, circling the structure. With the absence of fishing pressure on the offshore locations, due to the recent grouper regulations, there should be plenty of hefty cobia for those willing to make a run. Chumming brings them right to the boat, and a live pinfish on a bottom rig, and one up top, will have the water column covered.

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set here and anglers from all over the world come to test their skill against the mighty silver king. The flats to the south of Homosassa, are primarily for fly anglers and this is a specialized fishery. As the fish start migrating north, usually by mid June, the oyster bar cuts in Crystal Bay will be an ideal spot to free line a live pinfish and put a tarpon in the air. On the inshore scene, the trout and red fish will be a good bet as well. The trout will start becoming less structure orientated, and spread out over spotty bottom. The spotty bottom of the sand and grass mix, ranging from 5 to 10 feet, will be the productive area. 1/8oz DOA cal shad tail jigs in the glow color is hard to beat and I prefer the chartreuse color jig head to be a great combination. On days when there’s little breeze, try a jig and cork rig combination. The sound of the clacking cork in the deeper water, usually draws the larger trout to your bait. For locating red fish, start on the outside rocky points and preferably an incoming tide. As the tide floods in, the fish move right onto the rocks and a free lined live shrimp, pinfish or a fresh piece of cut mullet will get a hook up. If there are mullet jumping on a particular point, anchor up and give it a try. Mullet jumping is an excellent indication that there’s red fish around. As always, feel free to contact me with any other questions about the area. Good Fishing!

Thurs., March 31 before 1:00pm 4/1-4/29/16 more reasons The kingfish will be in good Thurs., Marchnumbers, 31 before 1:00pm SHRIMP as well in the 30 to 60 foot CCC NOTIONS range. Light drags, wire leader and

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MAY 2017

plenty of line capacity is necessary to tackle a smoker king. Trolling a variety of plugs or spoons, works well for those wanting use artificials. Anchoring up over live bottom, and using an assortment of live and dead baits, such as threadfin herring, cigar minnows or a frisky live blue runner, is kingfish candy. Keep an eye on the horizon for the skiing fish, blasting through baitfish schools, to help you locate schooling fish. Homosassa is world-renowned for its tarpon fishing, and now it the time of year history is made. Many fly-fishing world records have been

Capt. Dan Clymer www.crystalriver-fishing.com 352.418.2160

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M

ay is a great time of year to be on the water. Everything has come back to life, and out of the creeks. You will find bait everywhere you look and fish around it. Be sure to do a good once-over on your boat before you hit the water, especially if it has been sitting for a while. If you need to have anything repaired, or just your yearly maintenance, go see my friends at AAA Outboards in Crystal River. They will get you fixed up right, and get you out on the water fast.

The redfish in our area have been plentiful and hungry. The area around Drum Island has been holding great numbers. If you are like me, and are on the water before the sun is, pick up a Mirrolure topwater plug and work the oyster bars and any rock bottom you can find. This will produce some spot tails and snook as well. Once the sun gets up, I have been switching off to a Zman diezel minnowz on a 3/8 oz Fish Head dude jig head. I have been using a steady retrieve, varying the speed until I see what the fish are wanting to see. As clear as the water is right now, you are going to want to stick to more natural colors and use a smaller fluorocarbon leader. This will put more fish in the Yeti, I guarantee it. This time of year I also keep a bigger rod with a black Hoagy eel tide on in the boat. The cobia are

cruising the flats and around the channel markers. It helps to always be prepared. You don’t want to miss an opportunity at one of these explosive fish. A live pinfish will also work. The trout bite is also going strong. I like to get in the 3 to 4 ft range and pick up a mirrodine early in the morning. The harder you twitch these baits, the more action you get out of them, so don’t be afraid to put some muscle into it. If they are shying away from the mirrodine, pick up a Zman Trout Trick in the fried chicken or shrimp po-boy pattern. Pair this with a ¼ oz trout eye jig head and work the bottom. This has been my go-to bait as of late, and has produced some big numbers. If you have any questions about our area, or you want to book a charter with me, please give me a call and go check out my new website www.floridaflatscharterco. com. Tarpon season is also in full swing and I do run trips in St. Pete, so if you are interested, let me know because they fill up fast. Until next month have fun, be safe and take your kids fishing.

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TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

M

ay is here, and (hopefully) spring has finally sprung. On my last trip out, I caught sight of my favorite spring-time fish the ever, popular Cobia. As the water temperature starts to rise, and stays risen, I mean, how many more cold fronts can there be? But as the weather becomes more consistent, the coming soon to a bay near you, one of the most fun game fish out there the cobia. You gotta love a fish who feels about boats, the way I feel about dentists, when they see one, they run! Just when you think you've won the battle, Mr."C" spots your yak, and takes off on a line-peeling run, over and over again. A battle with a good size cobia on light tackle, is defiantly an epic event. Now I know, that all you avid anglers already know this, but for the newbie's, if you are lucky enough to land a cobia, I know the impulse for that photo op is running high, but a word to the wise, do not hug or otherwise pull a cobia into your lap. They have a line of razor sharp spines running down their back and they will ruin your day, or depending on your grip, make you a soprano. (OUCH) Cobia typically come inshore in the spring, and can be seen cruising along the surface or following rays. They will congregate around the deeper holes out in the flats, and are usually ready to hit whatever you want to throw at them. This of course, me being me, means the Zara Spook jr. (love that top water bite) but I've had them hit spoons, jigs, Mirro-dine, popping corks, etc.

As you may have guessed by now, if they want to eat, they're not finicky, I like that in a fish! They seem to bite best on a calm day (or maybe I can just see them easier.) and on the mid-incoming to flood-tide. So check the weather, and get out there dude!! I have now healed from my procedure, funny they call it that, I mean, I wake up with a zipper in my leg. I think that I would call it surgery, but what do I know! It's great to be back on the water. (My son even remarked that he'd never seen me so pale, lol). We had a good day with limits in three species, trout ,reds, and black drum, all checking in. However, the real kicker to the day, was when I paddled back into a narrow creek, we're talking around 4 feet across, that opens into a wide shallow bay. As I approached the mouth on an outgoing tide, the water was around 8 to 10 inches deep, and absolutely lit up with schooling reds!! A few of them spooked and were rocking my boat in the narrow channel and I'm grinning from ear to ear. I love it when a plan comes together. Well, I caught a couple and left. I want them to be there next trip! To wrap this up, it's great to be back to share my adventures and misadventures with you again. Bruce Butler owns and operates Indian Bay Outfitters and guides saltwater kayak charters all over Hernando County. You can reach Bruce at 352 428-5347 or visit his website: IndianBayOutfitters.com

SHRIMP WITH CAULIFLOWER GRITS & ARUGULA

Thank you to The Crab Plant for the beautiful shrimp. Visit their Fresh Seafood Market or enjoy Cooked Seafood to go. You are welcome to sit at their table and view beautiful Kings Bay while you enjoy your delicious, freshly prepared meal, watching manatees, dolphins, pelicans and boats. Or, you can carry it home; your choice. Open Tues-Thurs 10:00-5:30, Fri-Sat 10:00-8:00. 201 NW 5th St. Crystal River 352-795-4700.

COOKING DIRECTIONS

(serves 4)

1. Marinate the Shrimp: Place the shrimp in a large zip lock bag. Mix seasonings and add to bag. (We don’t like hot spices so I only added garlic powder.) Toss the shrimp in the bag until shrimp are well coated. 2. Make the cauliflower grits: To get 4 cups of riced cauliflower, you will need 1 average cauliflower. Separate the florets, cutting away the core. Cut into small enough pieces to fit into the entry tube of your food processor. Using the grater blade, pulse a couple pieces at a time. If you don’t own a processor, you can use a box grater.

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until it begins to soften. Add the milk and continue cooking, stirring frequently until cauliflower is very soft and cauliflower has absorbed most of the milk. Stir in the cream and the goat cheese and simmer, stirring, until very creamy. Cover and keep warm. 3. Cook the arugula: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute’ until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the arugula and saute’ until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from skillet and keep warm. 4. Cook the shrimp: In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute’ until fully cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 5. To serve: Place a quarter of the cauliflower on each plate, top with a quarter shrimp and a quarter of the arugula on the side. Cary doesn’t like grits but does like cauliflower, so he really likes this dish, and cauliflower is a healthy alternative to grits. Cary doesn’t like grits but does like cauliflower, so he really likes this dish, and cauliflower is a healthy alternative to grits.

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INGREDIENTS

• 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1 tablespoon paprika • 2 teaspoons garlic powder • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper • 4 cups riced cauliflower • 2 tablespoons butter • 1 cup whole milk • ¼ cup heavy cream • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese • salt and pepper to taste • 4 cups packed arugula (or spinach) • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2-3 garlic cloves thinly sliced • salt and pepper

Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida MAY 2017

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lright forest-fishing-folks, break out the sunscreen because the heat is on—and so is the bite. Cloudy days will be your best bet for an all day slug-fest; while sunny days will guarantee a sunrise and sunset bite. Night fishing is a great way to beat the heat and is especially good around the full moon, which is May 10th. Bass will be hiding under the shade of lily pads, bonnet pads, and other cover. To locate productive areas, keep moving and throw weight-less swimbaits until you get strikes or spook fish. Once you locate a productive area, slow down and fish that area thoroughly, with a worm or craw-style pitching bait. Top-water frogs will draw explosive strikes during sunrise and sunset, and live shiners will help catch the more finicky bass that won't eat lures. Lake Bryant and Lake Kerr are the best for good numbers, while the dams at Rodman and Moss Bluff will produce the heavier bass.

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Catfish fishing, heats up in the summer and is a great choice for some some night-time action. Most people use chicken livers or worms for bait, but I like to catch a few bream, then use their bellies and guts as bait for the cats—saving the thicker meat of the bream for the fryer. Cut-bait stays on the hook better, so it's easier to cast and less likely to be picked off by smaller fish. Cut shiners work as well. Lake Eaton, Sharpes Ferry Bridge, and Rodman dam are the go-to spots for shore-side anglers. Channel cats are the best tasting, but any of them will

make for a great fish fry! If you're looking for a really hard fight, then gar is always a dependable choice. Ocklawaha River has the biggest of these dinosaurs, and Eureka bridge is a great place to start for boaters or shore-side anglers. Use cut-bait, a couple inches under a bobber, to intercept them as they come up to gulp air from the surface. Make sure to use a heavy leader or straight braid; these guys have super sharp teeth. When you see your bobber going down, let them eat for a while before setting the hook. A lot of times they will drop it once or twice before actually swallowing it. Be careful when handling these fish because they can be dangerous. Wrap a towel around their beak and hold on tight. Big fish are being caught everywhere, and there's plenty left to catch. A long-sleeved fishing shirt and brimmed hat will protect you from the sun, and bug spray will keep the mosquitoes off you during sunset. Remember to leave the forest cleaner than when you got there and always practice conservation. This place is special! Let's keep it that way. John Freeze | 352-216-5798 Swampsurf@embarqmail.com

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ongtime North Florida freshwater anglers have learned to watch rainfall closely. We’ve endured long dry stretches in the not-so-distant past, that caused plenty of problems with access onto our already naturally-shallow lakes, and I guess that has made us a bit “gun shy” when the rain gets scarce. Several months ago, a several-year run of healthy, ‘normal’ precipitation numbers started to look less healthy, and now we’re seeing enough lowwater-related problems to remind us of those bleak times. At present, most of our lakes remain accessible-but extra care is required to launch a sizable fishing boat onto some. At present (in mid-April), a boat put in at Orange Lake’s Marjorie Rawlings Park can certainly make it out, but folks have learned that trollingmotoring through the access canal from ramp to lake, beats churning through it with their outboards. On the other hand, most local boaters consider Newnans Lake too far gone to try with anything but the tiniest vessel. But fishers going to the extra bit of trouble to launch onto our natural lakes, are still pulling in very good catches of bass and pan fish. And the bluegill fishing will only improve for a couple more months. Most bream specialists agree that the ‘full’ and ‘new’ moon phases in

month

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May and June probably mark the peak gatherings of bedding bluegills. Right now, Orange and Lochloosa are producing big bluegills and warmouths for fishers dropping crickets or grass shrimp around lily pads and little islands of floating vegetation. Of course, the arrival of low lake levels makes us more appreciative of the impoundments. The stabilized Rodman and Rousseau reservoirs offer area freshwater fishers dependable access—no matter how low the natural lakes may fall. Similarly, the St. John’s River never falls too low…and the big north-flowing river is another good hot-weather bet for both bass and bream fishing. Ditto the smaller Suwannee, over to the west. This summer, the North Florida freshwater angler might well face a slightly-shorter list of good fishproducing destinations than usual. But rest assured, there will be plenty of good choices---and he will not have a lot of trouble locating plenty of bass and bream. Gary Simpson Gary’s Tackle Box 352-372-1791 Garystacklebox.com garystacklebox@gmail.com

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SUWANNEE

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armer weather is definitely turning the fish on. Seven casts and five redfish. Five spots on this one . Cassie had a great day All smiles! Trout and redfish are running the bars. Look for oysters and rock piles. Use a live bait; they work better! Offshore, the bite is strong. Mangrove snapper and sheepshead are still available Spanish mackerel and kingfish are showing up.

It won't be long, and we will be shooting grouper In our neighborhood. Cobia and large Goliath grouper are holding up on the offshore wrecks, so get out there and book a dive charter! See what Suwannee has to offer. Rig it up charters Capt. Cliff Clark | 1(352)362-1463

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ST. AUGUSTINE

M

ay is one of my favorite months for fishing in Northeast Florida. The inshore fish (redfish, trout, flounder, drum, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, etc.) will be on the feed with the influx of baitfish (finger mullet and pogies). With warming air and water temps, the nearshore fishing should be firing up as well with huge jacks, cobia, and maybe even a tarpon or two--all waiting to put up that fight of a lifetime. Inshore the redfish will be crushing the finger mullet, and that means a top-water plug, especially at first and last light, will be the go-to lure of choice. Look for large concentrations of mullet, and toss your plugs around them. There's sure to be a redfish lurking around, looking for an easy snack. Once the sun gets higher in the sky, I like to switch to a search bait this time of year. The water will become fairly murky, and a lure that makes some noise will be a good way to get the redfish's attention. Some of my favorites are spoons, twitchbaits, and one of my favorites, the spinner bait. My clients and I have caught a ton of big redfish on the Slayer Inc. line of spinners. You can pair them up with a soft plastic like a Slayer Inc. paddle tail for a deadly combination. Of course, a popping cork with a shrimp or mud minnow will catch its fair share of reds this month as well. May has always been a “gator”

trout month for me. A top-water plug will account for some of the bigger trout catches. The outgoing tide along the ICW banks should be loaded with trout, especially if the baitfish are around. Once the day heats up a bit, I like to fish a 1/4-ounce jighead paired with a soft plastic for the trout. Use a twitchtwitch-pause method, and most of the time they'll hit it on the pause. A free-lined live shrimp with a small pinch-weight, a few inches above it, is a great way to catch some trout too. The flounder bite has been consistent all year and will be a good bet. Some of the bigger springtime flatties will start to show in the inlets. Use a finger mullet or big mud minnow pinned to a jighead or fish-finder rig. Bounce the minnow (or mullet) along the rocks at the area inlets to find some of the big "doormats". May could be a good month to get out and take a look for the cobia. Even if the manta rays have moved on, the cobia will be on the pogy pods, along with quite a few heavy hitters like big jacks, sharks, and maybe even a tarpon or two, if the water warms up enough. The weather is so nice this time of year!, even if the fish aren’t biting, so get out there! Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

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SURF & PIER

MAY 2017

T

his month will offer us some of the best surf fishing of the year. It is all about the water temperature and clarity. This temperature only happens twice a year, which is in the spring and fall. If you get to your favorite spot on the beach, and the water looks like “chocolate milk” or “Yoo-hoo” don’t even unpack. It is time to get back in your vehicle and go to your second choice of spots. Murky surf usually only produces stingrays and catfish. Here is another great tip. It does not matter if we are talking about Nassau Sound or Ponce Inlet, the water is always clearer on one side of the inlet versus the other. In the past I have talked about my favorite four baits to target pompano, whiting, black drum, and redfish. They are clams, sand fleas, shrimp, and blue crab. However, if you want to target a bigger variety of fish, then the go-to bait is shrimp. Almost every fish that swims in our surf will eat a shrimp. Fresher the better, is the golden rule. Either FDS, (fresh dead shrimp), or FKS, (fresh killed shrimp), is

your best bet. Fresh killed shrimp, is buying live shrimp, then putting them on ice with no water. Use a plastic container to keep then out of the chlorine ice water. Recently, I landed eleven different species using only FKS. They were croaker, redfish, spadefish, sailcat, whiting, bluefish, pompano, bonnet head, black drum, trout, and flounder! The hook-size and shrimp-size have a huge impact on your success. I catch almost all of my fish on a 2/0 circle hook with about one inch of shrimp. Remember, it is really hard to catch fish with a small mouth, whiting, with a large hook and a whole shrimp. However, it is a blast to catch a really big fish on a small hook using small bait. Go now and get you some pompano before the warm water in June sends them migrating all the way to North Carolina. See you on the beach!

To set up your own surf fishing adventure or long distance casting lesson please visit

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or a state with millions of residents and visitors who fish, one can find a number of Florida towns named after fish. Tarpon Springs in Pinellas County, for example, took its name from the many tarpon seen in the area. Florida place names from Native American phrases that referred to fish include Charlie Apopka Creek in Hardee County, which meant “trout- or bass-eating place” in an old Native American language. The same Creek word “apopka” is found in Citrus County’s name of Lake Tsala Apopka, meaning “a place for eating trout/bass.” Olustee in Baker County has a name that derives from the Seminole–Creek word “oklasti,” meaning “blackfish.” The former site of Charley Emathla in Marion County was named after a Seminole of the same name who agreed to federal efforts to move the Native Americans to the West, and that led to his execution by Seminoles led by Osceola, who did not want his followers to emigrate. The name of the Native American, Charley Emathla, and of the site comes from a Creek word meaning “trout.” Fisheating Creek in Highlands and Glades counties has a name derived from a Seminole phrase meaning “the creek where fish are eaten.” Someone thought the community of

Fisheating Creek needed a more “dignified” name and changed it to Tasmania. Devilfish Key in Lee County takes its name from a large manta ray, called the Devilfish (see photo). The key/island took its name from a large, 30-foot-wide devilfish President Theodore Roosevelt caught near Captiva Key in the early 1900s. After an allday battle with the fish, the president beached the creature on a small island in Blind Pass, an event that gave the name Devilfish to that island from then on. An unusual name that derives from a method of cooking fish is Pass-A-Grille Beach in Pinellas County. Allen Morris, in “Florida Place Names,” wrote that the English spelling of the site goes back to the French “Passeaux-Grilleurs” and referred to the fact that fishermen there who “passed over/crossed” the island stopped to “grill/cook” their meals. Pompano Beach in Broward County has a name going back to a survey party for the Florida East Coast Railway who were treated by a local family to a pompano dinner. To inform future survey parties about the delicious fish

they ate there, the surveyors wrote the word “pompano” on their charts. Those who later followed thought that “pompano” referred to the name of the settlement, added “Beach,” and the name stuck. Fish-sounding names that were not named after fish, include Fish Island, which was named during the British control of Florida (1763 – 1783) in St. Johns County after Jesse Fish, an important resident of the area. If some of this sounds fishy to you, check out the definite “Florida Place Names” mentioned above. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “South Florida Waterways” (2013 - available at amazon.com for $7), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com. For more on Kevin McCarthy, go to

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ach spring, anglers are greeted with big winds, big tides and small baitfish. There is no time when the size of your lure is more important than the spring season. With the abundance of small baitfish in the water, it can be difficult to get the attention of your target species, especially when you are fishing with artificial lures. It is very common to find game fish gorging themselves on tiny glass minnows. This is routinely evident when you land a fish and they spit up these miniature meals. As anglers, we have two obstacles here: the sheer amount of forage in the water competing with your lure and the small size of the lure required. What I have found to be the most successful tactic is to use the smallest lure I can cast and appropriately present to the fish. Both hard and soft lures can be effective. Another key to success is color. I prefer a white-and-silver combination that closely matches the available forage. I like to fish these lures on the edge of large bait balls when possible. I try to keep my lure on the edge or under the school to let the fish focus on a single target rather than a large mass. Using a slow-sinking lure is also an advantage this time of the year. A lure that will suspend or sink slowly is ideal. This allows the predator time to target the lure and also gives the appearance that the lure is a wounded baitfish, which is always a plus. When the bait is this thick, every advantage to stand out is needed, but you still need to match the forage in size and color. The use of tandem rigs can allow a couple of advantages. Casting two smaller lures could equal the weight of one of your typical offerings. This allows you to cast farther and still have the appropriate size lure. Rigging two small silver spoons with a white bucktail is a great combination when fishing glass minnow schools. I also like to use a small floater diver with a small spoon trailer. The diving action in conjunction with the added weight of the spoon is a unique combination of action to entice a strike. Downsizing your lure presentation in the spring can definitely upsize your catch.

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By Chris Beardsley

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imple for me means dumbing down my gear and dumbing down my approach. There are endless articles surrounding what bait to use, which rod is the most sensitive or casts the farthest and which reel provides the smoothest or strongest drag. Everyone has their favorite and my recommendation is to use it. For most inshore fishing a 7- to 10-foot medium to medium-heavy rod and a good reel that will hold 200 yards of 15-pound monofilament fits the bill perfectly. There are many other options regarding hook shape, leader material, line weight, rod constructions, etc. It can get complicated and overwhelming. Use what you’re the most comfortable and confident with, and go fishing. My favorite is a 7-foot medium-heavy rod and a 5000 series reel spooled with 15-pound Trilene Big Game mono. The business end consists of a 2-foot fluorocarbon leader and 2/0 circle hook rigged below

a swivel and a 1- to 3-ounce barrel or pyramid sinker. Tipped with a live shrimp, this simple fish-finder rig can be left to soak or dragged slowly across the bottom. I have found this to be very effective around oyster bars or grass flats and also extremely deadly fishing in the surf. One of my favorite techniques is to tip my fish-finder rig with a live, whole shrimp. I’ve used bits and pieces of shrimp, sand fleas, assorted cut bait with varying and sometimes very good success, but it seems the whole shrimp is just too much to pass up for most fish. It’s like that house you go to on Halloween that’s giving away the large size Snickers bars; you just have to get one. The whole live shrimp is like that Snickers bar, and fish just have to have one. Another simple addition is a popping cork. The ubiquitous bobber is familiar to anyone who has soaked a worm. Besides, the visual of a bobber disappearing below the waves is great fun. For pelagics in the surf or bull reds in the bay, the popping cork is a great addition to any tackle box. Artificial baits are hard to beat when fishing at daybreak or just before the sun starts to make some heat. A trusty gold spoon is by far the best lure for getting the attention of virtually anything that swims. It produces in salt and fresh water and is a common denominator in most tackle boxes. Trout love them, and it is my preferred method for putting one or more of those beautiful fish in the cooler. Granted, I have enough Gotchas, Gulps and Goofys to float a battleship, but some of my most successful days have been with the most basic setup. While it’s easy to get caught up buying the latest and greatest gear, it isn’t necessary. I love looking at and sometimes buying something new and shiny, but I often find myself going back to the old standbys because sometimes simple is better. Chris is a freelance writer from Wisconsin with an obsession for all things saltwater. Though growing up hunting and fishing in Wisconsin, an introduction to Florida’s Forgotten Coast provided a new outlet and exciting new challenges for anything with a forked tail.

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By Steve Daniel here is nothing that gets my blood boiling like seeing a bass club killing bass released at their weigh ins. The top tournaments in the country pride themselves in having a 100 percent release rate, which is hard to achieve in the hot summer months. Here are my thoughts on conducting a summer weigh in. • Never allow anglers to use their own bags. No more than three official bags should be available. What this does is ensure bass come straight from the livewell to the scales. It eliminates time spent standing in line, when the bass are sitting in a bag with no aeration.

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• In the summer months, try to have an earlier weigh in, say 1 p.m. instead of the normal 3 p.m. Most summer fish are caught in the morning, and riding them around in boats the last hours of a tournament is the reason for a lot of the weak and dead bass. Remember, a weak fish usually dies later even if it was alive at the scales. • Get bass back into the water as soon as possible with the least amount of stress.

Tips For A Healthy Livewell

• Get fresh water in the morning and use a catch-and-release chemical. Put a bag of ice in the well if it’s hot. Ice in a cooler can be used later in the day. • Only recirculate water from the morning. Never run warm water from the lake into the well. • Use a scale to keep up with your catch. This will keep you from dragging bass out of the comfort of your well-maintained livewell for culling. • If you hook a fish deep, cut the hook off and leave it in the bass. The bass will do much better than you trying to remove it and possibly cutting a gill. • This is my last tip, and it works great in the summer here on lake Okeechobee where the water gets as hot as 96 degrees. I use an air pump, the same one I use to keep live bait alive. I hook it up to the trolling motor batteries. The pump, a Power Bubbles, is the size of a small brick and has two air lines that I run to the livewell. I put the air pump in a soft cooler with ice packs. It pumps cold air from my Techni Ice cooler into the livewell. At the end of the day, bass are harder to catch in the livewell than they were in Lake Okeechobee. An extremely successful professional bass tournament angler, Steve Daniel is a 30-year veteran Okeechobee guide and the voice of Okeechobee fishing on WRVO Radio Network 1’s Hooked up with Steve and Deb. Check out the show at www.renoviolaoutdoors.com. Contact Steve and Deb at stevedaniel84@yahoo.com or 239-5602704.

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he importance of modern electronics in bass fishing can’t be overstated. Having the best, and more importantly knowing how to use it, is crucial to the competitive angler. For weekenders, you’ll enjoy trips more when catching fish, so I think everyone needs good GPS units, maps and sonar. There are a lot of very smart people working at the electronics companies, and they continue to provide great advancements. I work closely with Raymarine, which is owned by FLIR. I’ve run their units since turning pro and

seeing on my electronics. How many times have you seen fish on the screen and thought they were the target species only to spend time fishing for them and they end up being something else? In a bass tournament, I don’t need to spend time targeting walleye or pike. This integration of the camera as another tool in the same system is very handy. Chalk it up to Raymarine and Aqua Vu for making that possible. New to the market from Raymarine are the Axiom units with 3D. I got to see them in

absolutely love their products. I run three of their units on my boat. On the bow, I have mounted an ES128. I also have an ES128 on the console next to an ES127. Having these units really eliminates fishing a lot of unproductive water. With GPS and charts, they are incredibly useful for navigation. They also display Chirp Downvision, which is Raymarine’s sonar fishfinder. I can do a scan of an area and know where the baitfish and the fish themselves are instead of going on history and fishing blind. These tools are invaluable for any angler, and these days competitive anglers cannot compete without good navigation and sonar equipment. Another great thing about Raymarine is that my Aqua Vu Multi-Vu camera displays on my unit. It’s an underwater camera that helps me determine the actual species of fish I am

action at the Bassmaster Classic last month, and what I saw was crazy cool. I think it’s going to be the next level. It’s called RealVision 3D sonar and paints a real-time, three-dimensional picture. It’s a lot easier to tell how far fish are holding off the bottom and how they’re relating to certain structure. It’s a new look that we haven’t seen, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it very soon. The Raymarine Dragonfly series is one for those of you with smaller craft. All of their units are great value, but the Dragonfly puts a lot of technology in your hands at a very low price. There are models from 4 inches to 7 inches and you’ll absolutely thank me for telling you about these if you fish from a kayak, jonboat or other small craft. There’s never been a better time technology-wise to fish and I, for one, am thankful for that.

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oing on vacation and trying to decide where your next excursion should be? Fort Myers and Sanibel, Fla. offer something for everyone. Beaches, hiking, kayaking, fishing, camping, birdwatching and shelling abound here. With mild temperatures and low humidity, outside is Photo courtesy of Capt. Terry Fisher/ where you want to be Fish Face Charters after being cooped up through the winter! If fishing is your activity of choice, you have made a great decision. You can take the whole family, only those interested or go it alone. Your best bet for a great day on the water is to hire a professional captain or guide. You can go out on a private charter, where you and your family are the only ones on board, or you may choose a “head boat” where there will be 50 other people fishing with you. Either way, almost everything needed will be provided—boat, license, rod and reel, bait, and a good time. Usually the only things not included are sunscreen and alcoholic beverages. Make sure you ask what is included, just to make sure. Charter guides usually specialize in a certain type of fishing. Inshore fishing trips will have you fishing the flats, mangroves and back-bays. The advantage of inshore fishing is it is usually a more active fishing day, and a windy day won’t ruin your day of fishing. Your guide will move to

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estled in the south Georgia pines just southwest of Adel, Ga. is 3,500 acres of sportsman’s paradise known as Live Oak Plantation. Campbell Roberts and I arrived with Ranger bass boat in tow via a fence-lined, well-manicured slice of green earth that led us to the lodge at Live Oak Plantation. This is where we met our expert bass fishing guide, Max Gresham. Max is a seasoned bass angler and a member of the Valdosta State Blazers bass fishing team. Max perfectly planned our day of bass fishing. With 10 ponds and more than 500 acres of fishable water to choose from, he had his sights

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set on two main bodies of water that had been producing quantity as well as quality bass for the past several days. What a breathtaking sight it was as we traveled the winding road past Jim’s Backyard Pond just as the fog was lifting off the water. We made our way to our first destination, Gator Pond and launched at about 7:45 a.m. Yes, there is a reason they call it Gator Pond and yes, we did see a couple of resident gators. The pond was impeccable, with its splendor of bass cover including grass, dollar pads, lily pads and submerged timber. We had a deck full of rods with an arsenal of big bass lures tied on: buzzbaits, frogs, flukes, trick worms and jigs. Campbell was first to hook up on 3-pound bass swimming a fluke across visible grass structure. Max and I followed with several bass including two massive topwater explosions on frogs that resulted in the big bass of the day. Gator Pond was very good to us that morning, yielding about 25 bass in about four hours. We took a break and headed back to the lodge for a quick lunch and then it was back to fishing. This time we launched the boat in Outback Pond. This pond was heavy in willow trees, laydowns and grass. The bass numbers rose quickly in this pond, one after another. The action was nonstop, cast after cast, bass after bass. We located a ball of baitfish, and the bass were close by. The fluke bite was the strongest around these schoolers, and we managed to bag another 40 bass in about four hours. We all caught our fair share of bass on both of these fine bodies of water. You would need a week or two to thoroughly fish all the beautiful ponds Live Oak Plantation has to offer. When you visit, you must stay and dine at the lodge. The lodge will accommodate up to 12 guests in 10 rooms. There is a conference center that will accommodate groups up to 20. In addition to some of the best bass fishing in the state, Live Oak Plantation offers quail, deer and turkey hunting. They also offer tower pheasant shoots. For additional recreation, there is a well-manicured golf course that has three greens and three tee boxes per hole that allows for nine different holes of golf, and there is also a driving range. For additional Information on Live Oak Plantation, visit their websites www.fishliveoak.com and www.huntliveoak.com or call direct at 800-682-4868. Live Oak Plantation is located at 675 Plantation Road, Adel, GA 31620.

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UNDER THE SEA 26

Diving in Tonga with my new PLB

A

fter several years of traveling for work, I had enough frequent flyer miles to take my family to Australia to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. After returning home, we heard on the news that two Americans had accidentally been left at sea by the same dive operator we had chartered. The crew miscounted when tracking divers, and by the time the search began, they most likely suffered a slow, agonizing death. That nightmare incident was portrayed in a Hollywood movie. Unfortunately, these “left-at-sea” stories are not uncommon. Boats can become incapacitated; divers can get caught in a current; the possibilities are endless. According to U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers, the key to getting rescued is to make yourself visible. A whistle or Dive Alert air horn might be enough to catch the attention of your boat if it is nearby. If lost, it helps if you are wearing a brightly colored wetsuit hood or deploy a brightly colored safety sausage. Even better, you can carry signaling devices such as flares, a mirror (requires sun), or glow sticks (at night). A small LED dive flashlight or strobe can be seen from afar—especially if the USCG is searching with night vision goggles. But what if your boat sank and no one was called? What if you are in a country where there is no coast guard? These thoughts rattled around in my head before a recent trip to a remote island off of Tonga. Fortunately, advances in technology continue to provide new solutions. PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) on the market today are small, waterproof devices designed to alert search and rescue services of your location anywhere in the world. When activated, it transmits a message on the 406 MHz distress frequency which is monitored by the COSPASSARSAT satellite system. The alert is relayed to the nearest Rescue Coordination Center. Once in the area, rescue services pinpoint your location using the 121.5 MHz homing transmitter. Unlike EPIRBs, which are registered to a specific vessel, a PLB is registered to a person and can be carried wherever you go. Before my trip, I bought an ACR ResQLink PLB from Bass Pro for

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$249. It can be used on land or sea, but divers need to know that taking it deeper than 5 meters could cause the device to activate due to pressure changes, so it should either be secured to a flag float on the surface or stored in a dive canister if taken underwater. The increased peace of mind was well worth the price. There are several similar products on the market. The Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1 operates in a similar manner. Nautilus Lifeline makes a “Marine Rescue GPS” which broadcasts a distress message to all AIS equipped ships up to 34 miles away and to the marine radio on your own vessel. The ultimate survival tool is your ability to keep calm and maintain a positive attitude while taking action to make yourself visible. Prepare ahead of time, and your chances of rescue are very good. Safe diving! Sheri Daye is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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CAPTAINS OF FISHER GUIDING 28

A CAPTAIN AND HIS LUCKY LADY, FISHING THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

BY LUKE CAMBELL

R

obert Mitchell hasn’t stopped chasing marlin since childhood, when he would see the species or its larger-finned counterpart, the sailfish, mounted on walls of seafood restaurants. After catching plenty wall-worthy fish in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico over the years, Robert chose the Virgin Islands to begin living his dream as a charter captain. Now, he takes guests on his boat, The Lucky Lady, to catch marlin and other trophy fish surrounding St. Thomas and St. John. After visiting St. Thomas frequently over the last 10 years, local mainstays on the island have helped Capt. Mitchell settle in since moving there permanently in January. Mitchell said, “Jimmy Loveland has been great to go over to and get advice. Getting to talk to a legend like Jimmy has been fantastic. Jim on the Black Pearl (a fellow USVI sportfishing charter) came over and welcomed me into town. He is a good guy, and I would do anything for these two people.” The name Jimmy Loveland may be familiar to those who follow sportfishing. Loveland founded Marlin Magazine and the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament that runs every August in St. Thomas. In addition to advice from fellow anglers, Lady Luck has loyally followed Capt. Mitchell to teach him the nuances of fishing here. Mitchell explained, “Everywhere I have fished, I have been blessed with good luck in finding boils, birds and porpoise. Birds down here are very few. When you see a bird, you better follow it. When you see the porpoise, you might make one or two passes, but that’s it. The lonely bird has been far more successful. The other places I have fished, you looked for a flock of birds and when following the porpoise, you were just about guaranteed a tuna strike.”

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Another key difference anglers find in the Virgin Islands is distance. In contrast to other destinations Mitchell has fished, the boat ride is short. The South Drop is 6 miles from dock, and the North Drop is only 20 miles. These drops are famous. While fishing, Mitchell has watched the bottom drop from 90 to deeper than 3,000 feet in a matter of minutes. Paying close attention, and staying over the intended depth is important. Capt. Mitchell described a recent trip aboard The Lucky Lady when that awareness paid off for anglers. They started the day trolling around a FAD (fish-attracting device) when four out of six lines hit on a school of blackfin tuna. They put their spread out again, started trolling, and then the line popped with a 180-pound blue marlin. The group also caught a wahoo of about 45 pounds and a 25-pound kingfish. “It was a great day on the boat, and everybody got a chance to sit in the (fighting) chair and take a turn,” said the new captain. Luke Cambell is a co-founder of Fisher Guiding, an online marketplace to find and book fishing guides, which is proud to partner with Capt. Mitchell and The Lucky Lady.

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C

ustom rod building has entered an era of resurgence, with new components, fresh design concepts, and, most importantly, a broad base of sophisticated anglers and creative rod builders driving developments on multiple levels. Today’s avid angler understands the importance of the rod with respect to a given approach or technique. Credit this recognition in large part to the broader segmentation of the markets for fishing rods and lines. Anglers have a much broader selection of both to choose from. More importantly, they have learned to discriminate and apply the right variations to the proper settings. With better understanding and experience, a fisherman begins to dial in on the nuances that make a rod better suited to the technique and personal preferences. Custom rod makers can give an angler everything he wants from essential components to bells and whistles. While “personalization,” artistry and uniqueness drove custom rod making in the past, functionality and comfort are driving custom rod projects today. “I used to have three to five rods that I would use for a given technique,” recalls bass tournament angler and rod builder Chris Adams of Mud Hole Custom Tackle and a member of the Winn Grips pro staff. “One had the guides I liked. Another had a more comfortable reel seat that added to the rod’s sensitivity, but it didn’t have the backbone or action I wanted. Another had the right power and action but didn’t have the components I liked. I realized the easiest way for me to get everything I wanted into one rod was to build it myself, the way I wanted it!” Adams notes that rod grips from Winn (www.winngrips.com) factor into

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many rod-making decisions. The comfort and tackiness of these all-weather grips provide sure-handed angler control. Bass fishermen have driven a lot of technique-specific rod customization. But more and more saltwater anglers are tailoring rods to their task. Many saltwater anglers have taken up custom rod building as hobby or a basement business to build their own rod arsenals. Classes in rod building are available across the country. At the Saltwater Fishing Expo in Somerset, New Jersey, in March, the custom rod craze was evident. Fishermen were building rods for everything from flounder fishing to trolling for big game species. Saltwater anglers often have a more complex set of needs, from guides resistant to corrosion to rod handles that provide adequate control and comfort. A lot of attention at the Winn booth centered around the sneak preview of new tapered rod grips for heavy-duty saltwater fishing, available in multiple lengths and diameters, and the new Winn Rod Handle System. Winn also unveiled a durable and versatile extension of its very popular overwrap, Winn Superior Rod Wrap. Like its predecessor, it can be the primary material in an original rod handle or applied over an existing cork or EVA grip. Winn also will expand its Saltwater Straight Cylinder line of 1.25-inch diameter grips this summer with black grips ranging to 18 inches in length. Get to know a rod builder in your area to create the perfect rod for any technique or style of fishing. Or take up the practice yourself!

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ack when everyone else was rocking a 3.5-inch grayscale fishfinder, Gary sported a color 7. He always seemed to catch fish. One day I had the nerve to ask him, “Hey Gary, how much did that thing cost?” “More than the kayak,” was the deadpan response. That was years ago. Since then, sonars are more and more capable and feature rich, for less scratch. A Lowrance Hook-7 will run you $449, much less than the kayak. Downscan and side imagining are commonplace. Over time, screen sizes grew until Gary was no longer the exception, he was the rule. So how big is too big? The answer depends on your bank balance and risk tolerance as well as the water you fish and the kayak you captain. Five to 7 inches seems like the sweet spot for kayak use. The screens are wide enough to offer high-resolution readability, yet compact enough to stay out of the way of a cast—or your foot. These days the better question might be, “How big is the transducer?” For peak performance, it’s best to mount a modern transducer in direct contact with the water. Some transducers require adapters such as the Lowrance Ready Total Scan plate to fit properly. Alternatively, kayak anglers can go the MacGyver route and craft their own adapters. Where there’s a will and fish to be caught, there’s a way. Just ask Gary.

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price2017 by another retailer in the U.S. within the past 180 days. MAY NATIONAL 33 Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other

meaning of “Compare” or "comp at" should be implied. For more information, go toHarborFreight.com or see store associate.

4/17/17 3:04 PM PM 4/6/17 4:35


suzuki spring savings Three Limited Time Offers Make A Good Deal Even Better Suzuki Gives You All Three So You Don’t Have To Choose One Or The Other

Buy a new Suzuki outboard from 25 to 300 horsepower and take advantage of not just one, but ALL THREE Suzuki Spring promotional offers.

Add cash rebates on select models and you can get up to $800 cash back. Plus our Repower Financing is available at attractive interest rates (on approved credit.*)

Just say, “Gimme Six!” and you’ll get six years of product protection. That’s right, you’ll get Suzuki’s three-year limited warranty and Suzuki’s 3-Year Extended Protection Plan at no extra charge.

See your participating Suzuki Marine dealer today and find out how you can get the ultimate deal on the Ultimate 4-Stroke Outboard.

Six Years of Protection at no extra charge on all new outboards 25 to 300 HP.

Cash Rebates on select models. See your dealer for details.

REPOWER FINANCE

Rates as low as 5.99% on new Suzuki outboards (OAC).*

For details and the name of your nearest participating Suzuki Marine dealer, visit www.suzukimarine.com

Gimme Six Extended Protection promo is applicable to new Suzuki Outboard Motors from 25 to 300 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17 in accordance with the promotion by a Participating Authorized Suzuki Marine dealer in the continental US and Alaska to a purchasing customer who resides in the continental US or Alaska. Customer should expect to receive an acknowledgement letter and full copy of contract including terms, conditions and wallet card from Suzuki Extended Protection within 90 days of purchase. If an acknowledgement letter is not received in time period stated, contact Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. – Marine Marketing via email: marinepromo@suz.com. The Gimme Six Promotion is available for pleasure use only, and is not redeemable for cash. Cash Rebates apply to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki Outboard Motors made between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine.com. Customer and participating Dealer must fill out the appropriate rebate form at time of sale. Customer will have the choice to either apply the cash rebate against the original dealer invoice (Suzuki will credit Dealer parts account) or have a check sent directly to the customer. There are no model substitutions, benefit substitutions, rain checks, or extensions. Suzuki reserves the right to change or cancel these promotions at any time without notice or obligation. * Financing offers available through Synchrony Retail Finance. As low as 5.99% APR financing for 60 months on new and unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. “Gimme Six”, the Suzuki “S” and model names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2017 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

34

NATIONAL

MAY 2017

CANGL_NAT3-NAT42.indd 34 SZ_Q2Promo_1PG_WIPv2.indd 1

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

4/17/17 3:04 PM 3/12/17 5:04 PM


You could get a discount when you combine your auto and boat policies.

for your boat geico.com | 1-800-865-4846 | Local Office Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Multi-Policy Discount available to auto insureds that have purchased a boat policy through the GEICO Marine Insurance Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Š 2017 GEICO

COMMON CVRS_0517.indd 3

4/17/17 12:07 PM


© 2017 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries

THIS SEEMS TO BE THE PLACE WHERE ALL THE FISH HANG OUT. I THINK I’LL DROP IN.

12”

PROGRAMMABLE

HOT KEYS

PRELOADED

BUILT-IN

BLUECHART® G2 + LAKEVUU¨ HD CHIRP SONAR + CLEARVUU¨ + SIDEVU¨

GPSMAP® 1242xsv

COMMON CVRS_0517.indd 4 Coastal Fishing Ad_US-8.125x10.875-CoatalAngler.indd 1 17-MCJT512 GPSMAP 1224xsv

4/17/17 PM 3/8/17 12:07 9:13 AM


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