Coastal Angler Magazine - September / North Central Florida

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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Fall's Topwater Bonanza No-Pressure Grouper

Local

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL LAFOSSE VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 271

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Target AnalyzerTM function, facilitated by Doppler technology, immediately alerts you to targets (displayed in red) that pose a threat to your vessel. Simultaneously track up to 100 moving targets, displaying their speed & course vectors.

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EDITOR IN CHIEF : Ben Martin • camads@coastalanglermagazine.com VICE PRESIDENT : Tracy Patterson • tracy@coastalanglermagazine.com ART DIRECTOR : Rebecca Snowden • graphics@coastalanglermagazine.com EDITORIAL COORDINATOR : Nick Carter • editorial@coastalanglermagazine.com WEBMASTER : Dmitriy Pislyagin • webmaster@coastalanglermagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Corporate Headquarters info@coastalanglermagazine.com • 888-800-9794

FLORIDA

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 : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@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

MARINE-GRADE BOAT COVERS

T-Tops

SOUTHEAST

ATLANTA/SW GEORGIA : Bob & Brenda Rice • (706) 614-8231 • bobr@theanglermagazine.com CHARLESTON : Jane A. Redden • (205) 725-9616 • jane@coastalanglermagazine.com Sam Buckareff • (843) 607-8629 • sam@coastalanglermagazine.com CHARLOTTE/PIEDMONT : Mark & Haley Alberghini • (704) 651-1934 • mark@theanglermagazine.com MYRTLE BEACH : Mike Masiero • (732) 674-3019 • mmasiero@coastalanglermagazine.com TIDEWATER/OUTER BANKS : John Tiger • (757) 707-9654 • john.tiger@coastalanglermagazine.com Laura Seitz • (757) 707-9655 • laura@coastalanglermagazine.com UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA : Gregg Thompson • (864) 542-3112 • gregg@theanglermagazine.com WESTERN NC : Debra & Joe Woody • (828) 775-9663 • woody@theanglermagazine.com WILMINGTON/MOREHEAD : Kenny Ritter • (910) 550-9094 • kenny@coastalanglermagazine.com

Chairs & Seats

NORTHEAST BOSTON : George Regan • (617) 488-2842 • boston@coastalanglermagazine.com LONG ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 • lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com CONNECTICUT / RHODE ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com

GULF COAST

GALVESTON/MATAGORDA/UPPER COAST : Chanci & David Mowry • (713) 446-7395 • chancim@coastalanglermagazine.com • davidm@coastalanglermagazine.com MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST : Adam Nelson • (228) 627-5903 • anelson@coastalanglermagazine.com Toby Nelson • (228) 623-1761 • tnelson@coastalanglermagazine.com NEW ORLEANS : Dr. Dave Dunaway • (225) 400-8156 • nola@coastalanglermagazine.com

GREAT LAKES

UPSTATE NEW YORK : Frank Geremski • (518) 898-6484 • frankie@theanglermagazine.com WEST MICHIGAN : Phil Belsito • (616) 957-1714 • phil@theanglermagazine.com

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 COSTA RICA : Mike Erickson • (561) 262-2242 • mike@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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no pressure

Gulf Grouper By CAM Staff

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rystal LaFosse fishes a lot. She’s traveled to destination fisheries around the world. Everywhere she’s been has its own allure, but she said when it comes to catching fish, nowhere compares to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. What would you expect to hear from a Louisiana girl? Cajun Tackle in Lake Charles, La. is the family business, which Crystal operates with her brother and her parents. She is the founder and director of the Salty Catch Fishing Rodeo in Lake Charles and director of the Tuna & Swordfish Challenge at Hurricane Hole in Grand Isle, La. Even with so much fishing in her work life, she relishes the opportunity to launch out of Lake Charles with family, friends and her 6-year-old son Cardyn. Despite the excellent inshore opportunities nearby in the maze of waterways and Calcasieu Lake, Crystal’s favorite destination is well over 100 miles out in the Gulf in grouper water. West Louisiana doesn’t enjoy the same proximity to deep water as destinations to the east. With runs inside 50 miles out of Venice or Grand Isle, anglers flock to the deep-water rigs and rock bottom where the edge of the Continental Shelf provides dramatic depth changes. Out of Lake Charles, it’s a 110- to 130-mile run to reach the 200-foot depths and prime grouper territory. However, those willing to make longer runs will find bottom that hasn’t already been picked clean by other anglers. “Most people don’t come here to target grouper because the run offshore is so far,” Crystal said, “but that also makes it good because the area is not over-fished.” Yellowedge, gag, and strawberry grouper are some of Crystal’s personal favorites, but she said it’s always fun when the rod tip bends over and you really don’t know what you’re bringing up. Regardless of the species, grouper are some of the best eating fish in the sea, and loading the box with delicious fish is half the fun. “There’s nothing better than cranking in a huge Warsaw grouper. That’s just the best!” she said. The challenge of strapping on a harness and battling a big Warsaw is enough to test anyone’s strength and endurance. Reeling up a 200-plus-pounder is on Crystal’s to-do list. “Typically the big grouper hang on the up-current side of the rigs in 200 to 250 feet of water,” Crystal said. “Bottom fishing, you’re looking for rock or reef formations, drop offs and drastic water depth changes. Usually anything over 200 feet is good grouper territory.” For Crystal, “anything over 200 feet” is sometimes 500 feet or deeper, when you never know what’s going to come up on the end of the line. Her rigs account for the dark waters at these depths with lights that mimic the bioluminescence of squid and attract grouper. “There are several ways to deep drop, and grouper rigs can be made with one to five hooks, ” she said. “Typically when you’re targeting a big warsaw, it’s with an 18/0 or 20/0 circle hook rig with glowing lights, a 3- to 5-pound weight and live bait around the oil rigs. I make my own three-hook rigs using 8/0 or 10/0 circle hooks, glow in the dark squid, lights, and topped with dead squid bait… You can use the 3-5 hook rigs around structure or just bottom fishing on rock piles. “The glow squid are from Offshore Angler, Fathom Offshore, and many other brands. The LED deep-drop lights range in colors of blue,

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red, green or disco, and there are many different brands from Offshore Angler or Lindgren-Pitman, which we have a selection of at Cajun Tackle,” she continued. “These lights and glow squid attract the grouper in the deep dark water. The squid are put on just above the hook, so when you add your bait it’s glowing right above it. The light is added about a foot above the rig and attached with a snap swivel or rubber band.” As much as anything, heading offshore is an opportunity to explore. Crystal said she and her friends all have the same standard coordinates marked on their electronics, but everyone has their favorites, and she’s had a few trips when they ran up on new bottom that turned out to be great. “We have spent time seeking out new numbers to mark, and that just keeps it interesting,” she said. “Keeping the depthfinder on while running from spot to spot, paying attention to any changes in depth and bottom, you can really find some good spots. The ocean is such a wonderful place, and there are so many new things to explore. I think that’s what keeps me coming back. Every trip is different and special in its own way.” When she’s not fishing, Crystal LaFosse can be found working the shop at Cajun Tackle in Lake Charles, La. After a successful second-annual Salty Catch Fishing Rodeo in July, the Tuna & Swordfish Challenge is coming up Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Hurricane Hole Resort and Marina in Grand Isle. Follow Crystal’s adventures on Instagram @crystallafosse.

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Mountain Lakes Are Calling

By Nick Carter eering into clear-green water from the casting deck, frantic movement is the first thing to catch your eye. As a morning fog evaporates, rolling mountains rise up all around and the sun breaks through to reveal small groups of blueback herring. They dart back and forth, skittering near the surface to evade or confuse predators below. Then it happens. It starts with a few scattered topwater hits and intensifies. By the time you look up from impaling the nose of a blueback from the bait tank, there is an acre of water boiling. Big hybrid bass herd herring around the cove. The trolling motor whirrs to keep you in casting range. For the next few hours the action came in flurries, with multiple anglers battling through double and triple hook-ups whenever baits encountered a school of hungry hybrids. Some fish came on multiple downlines arrayed in rod holders. The most exciting takes

P

were on the pitch rods, lightweight rigs kept ready for surfacing fish. Either way, the key to drawing strikes was a lively bait, and this is the style of fishing you’ll experience with Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. They fish the gorgeous mountain lakes on both sides of the Georgia, North Carolina border. This trip was on Lake Chatuge, a 7,200-acre impoundment of the Hiawassee River that stretches 13 miles from Hayesville, N.C. south to Hiawassee, Ga. The lake is known for big spotted and hybrid bass. If you’ve never battled a hybrid approaching double digits on light tackle, it makes reeling in a 10-pound largemouth seem comparable to fighting a wet shoe. The same could be said for most of the species guides Shane Goebel and Darren Hughes pursue. Big Ol’ Fish concentrates on three lakes in the region and plans trips based on where the current bite is best. Southwest of Chatuge, Lake Nottely is a 4,200-acre impoundment of the Nottely River. Its primary draw is trophy striped bass. Stripers from 20 to 40 pounds show up regularly on this reservoir outside Blairsville, Ga. The elusive 50-plus-pounder is what everyone seeks, and very lucky anglers just might find it trolling bluebacks, big gizzard shad or trout. Those who prefer counting fish to weighing them will find fast action on Lake Hiwassee near Murphy, N.C. It is a 6,000-acre reservoir in the same drainage, which for some reason is spelled differently in North Carolina. Lake Hiwassee features breathtaking cliff formations and spectacular fishing for smallmouths that reach 6 pounds and larger, as well as big walleye and striper. Over a couple action-packed trips with Darren and Shane on their The Angler Magazine-wrapped Carolina Skiff, one couldn’t help ask why they don’t fish artificials when the bite gets so hot. Their answer, almost in unison, was: “Because we like catching lots of fish.” That sentiment is hard to argue with, but it’s worth noting that Darren owns Hughes General Store in Blairsville, the area’s primary purveyor of live baits. Rumor has it they make a mean biscuit. Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service can be found online at bigolfish.com. Call them at 828-361-2021.

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Micron : Generations of Innovation ®

The innovation continues… We are excited to introduce Micron WA as the newest addition to the Micron Technology family. Micron WA is a multi-seasonal, polishing, water-based antifouling with the unique Water Activated matrix. This novel paint technology delivers a crisp color, and premium long lasting protection for all waters! The Micron Technology family offers a range of premium products that meets your needs while delivering true and proven performance. For generations Micron Technology has been protecting boats coast to coast by improving fuel efficiencies while reducing paint build up through controlled polishing. Whatever the year, you know you’ll always have the latest and best in Micron Technology. Visit our website for more information – yachtpaint.com

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FOUL WEATHE ExOfficio Camino Convertible Pant-Short

Huk Next Level Kryptek All Weather Bib

Perfect storm, meet the perfect bib. Huk’s Next Level Bib is built to keep Mother Nature at bay. They start with a lightweight stretch 3-layer, waterproof 10,000mm/Breathable 5000g shell. It’s 100 percent waterproof and windproof, which keeps all the elements out while maintaining best-in-class breathability. All the seams are taped and zippers welded to keep them from leaking. Non-binding and high-stretch, the bib is exceptionally comfortable and gives the wearer a full range of motion. Zip side entry allows for easy on and off, and there’s a zip fly for… well, you know. Gear can be kept handy in a large waterproof tape-welded chest pocket or dual front-thigh bellowed cargo pockets. There’s an internal mesh chest pouch pocket for items you keep close to your heart. Articulated knees are reinforced for durability. Velcro side tabs attached to a rear belt system and boot hem zippers allow the wearer to completely customize the fit. Elastic Huk-branded shoulder straps also optimize comfort. With Huk’s Next Level Bib, there is no such thing as bad weather.

www.hukgear.com Dakine Caliber Jacket The Caliber Jacket is Dakine’s go anywhere, do anything rain jacket. The company’s most technical men’s everyday jacket, the Caliber is sure to become an everyday, lightweight layer for guys who enjoy any type of outdoor adventure. Don’t let the good-looking modern tailored fit fool you. This is a hard-core weatherproof jacket with a waterproof shell that features fully seam-sealed, breathable construction with waterproof zippers and a helmetcompatible cinch hood to keep moisture out. Mechanical stretch 2.5 Layer construction provides a 20K/20K rating, which means this outer layer provides a wide range of motion with superb waterproof breathability. Underarm pit zips provide added ventilation for temperature regulation. Anglers will appreciate bomb-proof zippers that will stand up to the roughest marine environments and the clean exterior, which limits linegrabbing and tangling potential. Notable fit features include an extended back hem, articulated sleeves and adjustable cuffs. An invisible zippered media chest pocket keeps your electronic gadgetry safe, dry and secure. Dakine is based in the windy and wet Pacific Northwest, and the Caliber jacket is designed to keep wearers comfortable and dry in just those conditions.

ExOfficio prides itself on high-performance apparel for travel and adventure, and their technical clothing might as well be custommade for anglers. Their Sol Cool line is designed for the sun, and the Camino Convertible Pant-Short is perfect to keep you comfortable whether you’re wetwading a mountain stream, casting from the deck of a bass boat or poling the Bermudian flats. The benefits of zip-off legs are obvious for anyone who has spent any time on the water, and UPF 50 sun protection is essential for long days in the sun. The jade-infused Nycott fabric with Teflon Shield+ is very durable, stands up to rough treatment and even feels cool to the touch. Silvadur anti-bacterial technology helps eliminate odor, so you’ll smell fresher when you come off the water. The Camino Convertible Pant-Short features two security zip cargo pockets, a cell phone pouch inside the right leg pocket, two security zip back pockets, zippered leg hems, full inseam gusset, contoured tricot-lined waistband and an indestructible button system. All lengths zip off to an 8.5-inch short. And weighing just 10.5 ounces, you might forget you’re wearing pants.

www.exofficio.com Xtratuf Legacy 2.0 Engineered to withstand the world’s toughest conditions, the Legacy 2.0 is a hardcore fishing boot 50 years in the making. The latest addition to XTRATUF’s iconic legacy collection features an advanced new outsole that surpasses the SRC slip resistance rating, a textured heel for easy on/off that won’t get caught in gill nets and a contoured toppling binding so it does not rub harshly against calves. Acid- and chemicalresistant uppers along with shin and bib guards keep fishermen protected while a Polyurethane insole ensures comfort for long days on deck. All boots within the Legacy collection are 100 percent waterproof with unique performance features. Each boot is made with XTRATUF’s signature triple dipping technique, which creates a seamless barrier that is highly resistant to many organic and inorganic acids, chemicals and contaminants. The latex neoprene is ozone resistant and is softer, lighter and far more pliable than ordinary rubber. Cushioned insoles with arch support help fight fatigue and stress on the legs and back. All XTRATUF Legacy boots come with a non-marking, slip-resistant Chevron outsole that provides unparalleled traction on any surface in the most extreme conditions.

www.xtratufboots.com

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HER GEAR Sherpa Nilgiri Pant

If they’ll keep you comfortable in the Himalayas, they’ll keep you comfortable anywhere. Sherpa’s Nilgiris are the perfect soft-shell pant for any outdoor activity in cold conditions.

If there’s anyone who knows how to stay warm in bitter cold conditions, it’s waterfowlers, who view frigid temperatures as invitation to go out into the field. Heybo’s Delta Vest is designed to protect you from bitter winds on those cold-weather days. This classic-cut piece features Realtree Max 5 camo, a vertical zippered pocket on the left chest, and two lower zippered pockets. The Delta Vest is built to be worn in the field or as a casual piece. With a full zip front, the Delta Vest features 100 percent poly fleece to keep your core warm while allowing freedom of movement for your arms. Even in damp conditions, this moisture wicking garment will keep you warm. The Delta vest may have been designed for duck hunting, but any outdoorsman will appreciate the warmth and functionality of this versatile vest.

www.heybooutdoors.com

Stretchy and quiet, Nilgiris keep you feeling warm, dry and comfortable even as you work up a sweat. They are made of a three-layer softshell laminate and lined with a light, soft fleece, so they provide breathable, durable, wind and water repellant shelter for your legs. They are also stretchy, which means moving in them feels unrestricted and effortless. Wear them with a base-layer or on their own to suit conditions.

The North Face Men’s Venture 2 Jacket The Venture 2 Jacket is an unlined, packable, weatherproof rain jacket that is perfect for year-round use. Whether you’re in the backcountry of the Florida Keys or the Blue Ridge Mountains, this lightweight, waterproof and windproof jacket will be there to protect you from the elements when you need it.

The Three-layer softshell laminate is highly breathable and wind- and water-proof. A gusseted crotch accommodates a full and natural range of motion. Three zip pockets—two hand and one thigh—keep essentials handy. Long, twoway, ankle zippers allow for venting and easy on and off over boots. An integrated, adjustable belt customizes the fit, and there are no seams on top of the knees to chafe or cause discomfort. These pants are functional enough to keep you happy in the harshest conditions and comfortable enough to wear around the house.

www. sherpaadventuregear. co.uk Under Armour Storm Surge The Storm Surge is exactly the lightweight rain jacket one would expect from Under Armour, a company devoted to designing high-performance apparel. Unbelievably lightweight and packable, the Storm Surge is a jacket that is easy to keep on-hand, whether in a pack or stowed in a box, which means it is the jacket that will be there when those pop-up thunderstorms roll over the water. UA’s Storm technology has created a shell that is 100 percent waterproof, with fully taped seams to keep the wearer dry in wet weather. And this piece of gear does not sacrifice breathability. A 10K/10K rating means the Storm Surge has found a good balance between keeping water out while allowing airflow For those warm, humid days, when some rain jackets just leave you wet with sweat instead of rain, on-demand zip vents under the arms provide additional breathability to keep the wearer cool and dry. On cool mornings, windproof materials and construction block out the breeze with 2.5 layer bonded fabric and a durable, smooth exterior. The Storm Surge has a loose, fuller cut for complete comfort and a full range of motion. Adjustable cuffs and a bungee hem keep moisture from creeping in, while zippered hand pockets keep gear safe.

www.underarmour.com

Heybo Delta Vest-Max 5

The North Face’s DryVent 2.5L technology utilizes a polyurethane coating that is remarkably waterproof, breathable and durable to create a jacket for active pursuits where light weight and packability are essential. An inner layer finished with dry touch print helps raise the fabric from the skin for comfort and to enable quick transfer of vapor to the outside. The Venture 2 also packs up small into its own pocket. In short, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, this jacket is designed to be there to keep you dry and comfortable. A relaxed fit and adjustable hood provide a full range of motion as well as room for extra layers, hats or helmets. Pit-zip venting increases breathability. Hand pockets are covered and zippered to store gear safe and dry. Adjustable Velcro cuff tabs keep water from running down your arm while casting, and a hem cinch-cord stops wetness from coming in from below. With a durable yet breathable ripstop exterior, it is likely the wearer will never need to use The North Face’s legendary lifetime warranty.

www.northface.com HammerHead Mahi Mahi Ahi Gloves The HammerHead Dentex, Mahi Mahi Ahi gloves are protection on “rear-knuckle” steroids! Hammerhead has taken its best-selling red Dentex cutresistant gloves and added a thick coat of “EKP” or Enhanced Knuckle Protection to create the perfect gloves for spearfishing and lobstering. Dentex gloves were already the No. 1 best-selling protective gloves for warm water. Made from special UHMW ANSI Level 5 fabrics, they are light, flexible and offer incredible cut and puncture resistant protection up to 15 times stronger than steel. With chemical- and heat-resistant Nitrile Grip coating, you’ll never lose your grip on pole spears, rocks, fillet knives, lobster snares or with any application where extra grip is desired. With the addition of EKP, Hammerhead has brought a new and improved glove to the marketplace that offers complete protection for the front as well as the back of your hands and especially your knuckles.

www.hammerheadspearguns.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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What’s It Like to Live in a Log Cabin?

By Ben Martin • Editor in Chief

View time-lapsed video at www.blueridgelogcabins.net As an outdoor enthusiast, I’m naturally drawn to the aesthetic charm of log cabins. I have enjoyed numerous stays and vacations in log cabins over the years. Living in one on a long term or even potentially permanent basis is an intriguing thought for me. With that question in mind, I set out to speak with individuals who have taken that step, just to get their honest opinions, before I make the leap to a log cabin as my permanent residence. My first call was to Mark Alberghini, our Charlotte, North Carolina co-publisher. He and his family have been living in a log cabin for more than 20 years. According to Mark, returning to his cabin after a stressfilled day in the publishing business offers an immediate calming effect. He went on to say that living in a log cabin has left him less interested in vacations than at any other time in his life. His now-grown daughters tell him they are always pleased to return to the log cabin for holidays and family events, and that it seems to have created a deeper sense of tradition than many of their friends who live in conventional homes seem to experience.

I then contacted several Blue Ridge Log Cabin homeowners to see how they compared the experience of log cabin living to conventional homes. Jerry and Carol Clark, who recently moved into their Blue Ridge Log Cabin, said the experience of returning to their log home is much more enjoyable than that of their previous conventional homes. Blue Ridge Log Cabin owner and high school principle Charlie Burry informed us that, “As a high school principle, I value regular downtime away from the pressures of my job.” In that regard, Mr. Burry went on to say, “My wife and I greatly enjoy the peace and relaxation afforded by log-home living verses a conventional home.” Jim Austin, another Blue Ridge Log Cabin owner, commented, “several years ago we decided to change our lifestyle and head out of the hustle and bustle of city life and settle for the quiet and serene country life. We found the perfect wooded location in the foothills of the Appalachians, complete with a little stream running through it. These past five years have been fantastic. We couldn’t have picked a better location or company to build our home. We absolutely love the quietness of the woods in which deer and turkey abound. The sound of our little creek in the morning mist seems heaven sent. Perfect setting, perfect cabin. We love it and wouldn’t change cabin living for the world.” Throughout the numerous interviews that were conducted, the response was always the same. Those homeowners who had changed from a conventional home to a log cabin unanimously agreed, the feeling of contentment, relaxation and satisfaction with the log home was far superior to that of their conventional home. Had this little research project been a survey, it would have seemed artificially skewed. Rarely will you find 100 percent of your survey group in agreement on nearly any subject. In this inquiry, every single person, without exception, agreed that they would never trade log-home living for a conventional home. That’s what it’s like to live in a log cabin.

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FLORIDA

T

he Islands of he Bahamas are like paradise for a boater! The best time to go is when some event is happening and with a shallow-draft boat to really enjoy all the gorgeous islands. There is no better time than during the July Regatta Time in the Abacos. It is one party after another, moving from island to island. I have made this journey close to a dozen times on various vessels. This year we took my wave-piercing catamaran, the 33’ SkeeterCat. Selection of guests for a long trip like this is very important. Never take a first-time boater, even if he or she is a friend. A portable freezer is a great option for longer trips. We borrowed a friend’s Engel 43-quart unit that uses 2.5 amps at 12volts and maintained it with a 65-watt solar panel. We cooked all our meals onboard and had gourmet dinners of filet mignon, barbecue chicken and fresh grouper and mutton snapper we caught. We took off from Palm City, Fla. and crossed the Gulf Stream in 15to 18-knot headwinds. It was a bit bouncy. We checked in at West End on Grand Bahama at lunchtime. After clearing customs, we ran down to Mangrove Cay Island, where we had a nice refreshing swim in crystal

clear water. We covered 130 miles that day. Next day, we made it to Hope Town and joined the party in Hope Town Inn. They had music, dancing, food and the most spectacular view of the open Atlantic. We anchored in the sound before following the racing fleet from Hope Town to Guana Cay, Treasure Cay and Green Turtle Cay. Some of our friends were racing, so we were the “chase boat.” After each race, there was a party with live entertainment and trophy presentation with the sponsored free bar. There is a lay day between each race to recuperate and sail to the next island. On these lay days, we took excursions to visit other local high spots and snorkeled at Pelican Coral Park, Elbow Cay and Manjack Cay, where some friendly stingrays and a nurse sharks come up to you expecting to be fed. Feeding them is a no-no. We ran down to Little Harbor to visit Pete’s Pub & Gallery and see some fantastic bronze art by Pete Johnston and other artisans. The entrance to the harbor at low tide is 2.5 feet, and the docks were full, except near the beach. A dock in very shallow water was just perfect for the beachable SkeeterCat. The ultimate sponsored party was on the last day of the Regatta at Fiddle Cay, called “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” More than 3,000 people and probably over 500 boats made this the biggest sandbar party ever. They served free hamburgers, rum drinks and cold beer. After two weeks of fun, we had to return to reality. Our return trip was uneventful, with flat seas and smooth running. We tried high speed trolling, but all I ended up with was losing two nice lures. The weather was perfect. The parties were fantastic. There were great food, great friends, great diving, and the boat ran perfectly. It was truly an adventure in paradise. Tom Mestrits designed and built the SkeeterCat 33 Power Catamaran. For more information on the SkeeterCat 33, see the ad in this magazine or go to www.StuartYachtSales.com under “Power Boats For Sale.” For more on the ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ event, go to

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Team Murderized, out of Grand Bahama, took top team honors in last year’s tournament with 11 fish weighing a total of 292.5 pounds, to take home $15,000 in cash winnings.

B

imini Big Game Club Resort and Marina, host to some of The Bahamas’ most legendary fishing tournaments, is pleased to announce that Wahoo Smackdown IX will take place Nov. 9-12. The ever-popular and authentic Bahamian offshore tournament, led by longtime Bimini Big Game Club dockmaster, Capt. Robbie Smith, has drawn thousands of anglers to the island since its inception and has become an annual tradition for many. With more than 50 record-setting catches from the waters that surround the island, Bimini has earned its title of Sport Fishing Capital of the World and, come winter, is considered a prime location for wahoo due to its position in the Gulf Stream.

Wahoo Smackdown IX is slated to kick off Nov. 9 with a captain’s meeting and conclude on Nov. 12 with an awards gala. Registration fee is $1,500 per boat and includes four anglers, tournament shirts and entry to social events. Additional anglers (over four) are $250 each. Extra social tickets are $150 each. Total payout is $25,000 based on 25 registered boats. Registration fee is 100 percent refundable if the tournament is canceled due to weather. A $300 instant credit will be issued for entries that book both hotel and boat slip for a minimum of a four consecutive nights. The $300 credit can be used in the restaurant or applied to the total resort bill. Sponsors include American Beverage Marketers www.masterofmixes.com as the Title Sponsor, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage (Sands) www.bahamianbrewery.com, artist David Dunleavy www. dunleavyart.com and Tropic Ocean Airways www.flytropic.com. To register, please visit www.wahoosmackdown.net. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Beth Watson at BWatson@biggameclubbimini.com or (954) 462-3400. Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, in Alice Town, Bimini, The Bahamas, is a popular, internationally-regarded boutique Out Island resort less than 50 miles from south Florida. The property features 51 guest rooms & suites, a 75-slip full-service marina, a dive center with daily dives, rental equipment, a variety of scuba diving lessons and specialty training courses and a freshwater swimming pool. The Big Game Bar & Grill is the most popular restaurant in Bimini, serving American and Bahamian cuisine with all-day dining from a second-floor vantage point overlooking the marina and bonefish flats of Alice Town. Bimini is known for world class beaches, fishing and diving and is a family-friendly destination with many on-the-water activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling and boating. For more information on the Big Game Club Resort & Marina, go to www.biggameclubbimini.com.

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T

here is a pretty little waterway in St. Petersburg, Fla., called Frenchman’s Creek that boaters and fishermen have been frequenting for years. Those who have been there might wonder who the “Frenchman” was who was memorialized in the creek’s name. If those boaters and fishermen are bird lovers, they will not be pleased to learn that the namesake of the creek was a really despicable bird hunter named Jean Chevelier.

fashions in their hats. The Frenchman also somehow got his name on Chevelier Bay in the Ten Thousand Islands, very near to Watson’s Place on the southwestern coast of the state and near where the famous Loren “Totch” Brown lived and hunted. Chevelier and his cronies wantonly killed thousands of roseate spoonbills, egrets, herons and hawks. Thank goodness conservationists like Marjory

His real name was Alfred Lechevelier (nicknamed Jean Chevelier for some unknown reason), and he bought the Maximo Point in St. Petersburg, a picturesque point that is now the site of Maximo Park. Michael Grunwald, in a really good book about an important source of water in Florida, “The Swamp,” 2007, called Chevelier “Florida’s most notorious plumer.” And Jack Davis, in his recently published book, “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” (2017), noted that “the healthiest spot on earth was anything but that for birds” after Chevelier arrived in the 1880s. The Frenchman, who apparently came from Montreal or Paris, tried and almost succeeded in wiping out the plumed birds of St. Petersburg and the Everglades before sending on the feathers and sometimes the complete dead bodies of thousands, maybe millions, of birds to milliners in New York and Europe so that women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries could have the latest

Stoneman Douglas and even Harriet Beecher Stowe helped stop the mass killing of the birds. The Tamiami Trail was built by the Chevelier Corporation, also named after one of the worst hunters that ever came to the state. The 1958 movie entitled “Wind across the Everglades” had Burl Ives portray the plume hunter. It’s interesting how such a pleasant-sounding French name, Chevelier, has a sordid history behind it. Anyway, those who fish Frenchman’s Creek might not be pleased at the origin of the name, but they would surely be happy to know that the “Journal of the American Medical Association” in 1885 named Maximo Point the “healthiest place… of any portion of Florida.” I have not had the privilege of fishing in the creek, but my son, who lives nearby, likes the park and the creek. 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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he Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation breathed new life into south Florida’s marine ecosystems with a massive artificial reef deployment about a mile and a half offshore of the Jupiter Inlet in August. The $500,000 deployment is the largest ever conducted by a private foundation on Florida’s east coast. While the sheer size of this deployment is impressive, what makes this project unique is the design of the artificial reef modules, as they mimic natural reefs. Additionally, these reef modules cause scouring along the ocean floor, which exposes bedrock and aids in the recruitment of algae, soft corals and sponges. The modules weigh 4 tons each, and 134 of them were deployed on Aug. 9 along with 1,000 tons of boulders. ENGEL, the leader in AC/DC fridges and freezers, high performance roto-molded coolers, vacuum insulated drinkware, outdoor adventure gear and soft-sided coolers, and No Shoes Reefs—a joint venture of ENGEL and Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation—participated in the historic deployment. The venture was partly funded by dollars raised by No Shoes Reefs, which donates a portion of the sales of No Shoes Nation-branded products to building artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and surrounding rivers and waterways. “Anyone who lives in south Florida enjoys our magnificent waterways, ” said Paul Kabalin, CEO of ENGEL Coolers. “Because ENGEL calls south Florida our home, we feel passionate about protecting our coral reefs, and creating new reefs, which are vital for so many marine species and for the protection of our shores. The No Shoes Reefs brand and associated products exist solely to ensure organizations like the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation can continue restoring, creating and deploying reef modules to ensure our ecosystems thrive. We are very excited to have played an integral role in this recent record-breaking deployment, which will undoubtedly breathe new life into our fragile marine habitats.” ENGEL Coolers Vice President, Mike Dixon, who serves as a board member for the South East Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI), is very passionate about ENGEL’s role in reef creation and preservation. “Partnering with the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation represented the most immediate and impactful opportunity to aid the SEFCRI (www.southeastfloridareefs.net) region,” Dixon explained. “This large coral reef tract in southeast Florida is lesser known compared to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and faces significant challenges, water quality issues, and sedimentation threats from beach “nourishment” and port expansions being primary among them. Placing this material in this ideal location allows for both the artificial and natural elements to aggregate reef life and allow a vibrant ecosystem to take shape where there previously was barren sand.” For more information about No Shoes Reefs, or to purchase a limited edition No Shoes Reefs shirt or hat, visit noshoesreefs.org. The t-shirts and hats feature the No Shoes Reefs logo, as well as the No Shoes Nation skull and cross bones. Close to 40 percent of the proceeds from sales of these items goes to support the reefs. Look for future No Shoes Reefs products from ENGEL in the future.

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By Terry Gibson • Photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia/flickr

I

have needed an on-the-water tow three times over the last five years. Each of my experiences with maritime towing services has been prompt and professional. I believe that’s what most boaters find when caught in a bad situation. That’s why I was shocked when a friend who is a maritime attorney told me several horror stories of people being taken advantage of by price-gouging towing and salvage companies. After calling dozens of guides, fishing clubs and boating clubs, I realized that price gouging occurs more than rarely, and that few boat owners understand even the basics of towing and salvage law. There is a gap in consumer protections that incentivizes some maritime salvage and towing services to take advantage of boat owners experiencing trouble on the water. Unscrupulous salvers swoop in to help, but then leave boat owners with outrageous bills, which are often based on the value of the boat, not the service performed. With tactics that range from claiming simple assistance as a “salvage” job to embracing deceptive marketing practices, operators prey on unsuspecting boaters with surprise charges and questionable practices. Again, while most marine salvers are honest, hard-working folks, mari-

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1. Be prepared: The best way to avoid needing to call for help is to be prepared before you head out. Ensure your boat is properly maintained. Make sure you have enough fuel. Leave emergency communication lines open. Stay well stocked with a hand pump and other emergency tools. As an added measure, you can also take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard. A specialist will check out your boat and provide safety tips and recommendations, free of charge. 2. Read your contracts: Many boaters have memberships with companies that provide emergency services. Some insurance policies even cover membership for these services, reimburse boat owners for expenses and pay salvage claims. It’s important to review those contracts and know what a policy covers—and what it does not cover. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because that knowledge may save thousands of dollars down the line. 3. Beware of “salvage” claims: If your boat experiences an emergency, you may get an offer of help from another vessel or a maritime salvage and towing company. Before you accept assistance, always try to negotiate a fixed fee. This will eliminate the possibility of pricing uncertainty or a costly “salvage” claim. It may seem like common sense, but remember what really matters during an emergency. Minor mechanical issues can be resolved, but when things start to get out of hand, call for help sooner than later. Be prepared with proper safety equipment, because you never know when you might need it. When it comes to on-the-water assistance, information is the most important tool to avoid being taken advantage of. A basic understanding of maritime towing and salvage law helps boat owners make informed decisions when emergency strikes. Terry Gibson is an outdoor journalist, conservation and consumer-protection advocate based in Jensen Beach, Fla. He has served in a many editorial capacities for leading fishing media.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

I

BRANDON LESTER

finished sixth in the recent Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont using a fairly new technique called the “Ned rig” and a dropshot. The Ned has been out for a couple of years now, but I just picked it up and started fishing it this past spring. I haven’t put it down since, and I can assure you the Ned is here to stay. When I first saw it, I wondered under what circumstance would it be any better than a shaky head or a drop shot. Let me explain it like this: A mechanic has a whole box full of tools. Some of those tools can serve multiple purposes, but there will always be one tool that does each job the best. The Ned rig is a tool you better have in your bass fishing box. The Ned rig really shines when fish are on a clean bottom in pretty clear water. The rig itself is basically a mushroomstyle jighead with an exposed hook. The exposed hook makes it tough to use in cover. Start by looking for banks or flats where the bottom is fairly clean with some isolated targets that hold fish. These objects could be mooring buoys, big rocks, stumps, or really anything for the fish to get around. Although the Ned is a fairly slow way to fish, you can still cover water once you figure out the targets the fish are holding on. I’ve also had success fishing the Ned on bluff-type banks in the winter and early spring. This is especially good on lakes with smallmouth or spotted bass, but I’ve caught all three species on this rig. The way I fish the Ned is simple. All you do is let it fall to the bottom on a slack

line. Watch your line as it’s falling, as sometimes they will grab it on the fall. Once the bait hits the bottom, tighten your line and shake your rod tip. All you’re doing is shaking the bait in place, not moving it forward. Once you’ve shaken it, move the bait toward you a foot or two and do the same thing. Most of your bites will come on the initial fall or the first or second time you shake it, so don’t waste too much time on a cast. Many times you won’t feel the bite, so it is

important to use a line you can see to detect a fish swimming off with the bait. The right rod, reel, line, jighead and bait are the key to making this technique work. I start with an MHXEPS81-MLXF rod that is 6’9” in length and medium-light action. I like a pretty soft rod so I can throw that light jighead a long way. Use a good quality 2500-size spinning reel filled with 10-lb. Vicious Hi-Vis yellow braid for your main line with a 6- to 8-foot leader of 8-lb. Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon. I use the new Mustad Grip Pin Ned jigheads. I mostly between a 1/8-ounce, but they are made up to 1/4 ounce with 1/0, 2/0 or 3/0 hooks. I use an X-Zone Lures True Center Stick cut in half for almost all of my Ned-rigging.

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By Capt. Randy Cnota

T

his year, anglers heading out of C-Quarters Marina in Carrabelle, Fla. to catch the winning kingfish were met with challenging weather and high seas. On Sunday, storms rolled through the area making it extremely hard for smaller boats to reach the fertile fishing grounds. The winning team was “BillCollector.” Capt. Page Pitman, of Crawfordville, Fla., steered his 34’ Hydra Sport Custom to victory by concentrating his efforts on finding the right live bait and presenting it in the right manner. His son Gage Pitman hauled in the 47-pound smoker king for the win. No doubt, dad was proud! Capt. Pitman offered few details about how the winning fish was caught, but he recommends anglers try different techniques for bagging giant kings... hmmm? Avery Anderson won the youth division with a 10.3-pound king, and Kate Clark with Team Barnes Capital Group won the ladies division. Rob Grabemann of the Leukemia Research Foundation noted that, thanks in part to this event, new technology has rounded the corner in the treatment of leukemia, and they’re closer to a cure than ever before. Donations to the foundation totaled $50,000 for this year’s event, bringing the total to more than $915,000 raised over the Shootout’s history. The $1M goal is well within reach. The good people that plan, conduct and support this event continue their hard work and commitment in preparation for next year’s event to be held Aug. 3-5, 2018.

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C-Quarters Marina Carrabelle, FL

ABOVE: First-place team “Bill Collector” with their winning 47-pound king. Team members were Todd and Jessica Welch, Gage Pitman, David Bramblett and Page Pitman. Top right: Kingfish Shootout’s Youth Division winner was Avery Anderson, of Register, Ga., with his 10.3-pound king.

Come out to compete, spectate or help support this event in any way you can. You’ll be glad you did. It’s a great time, a great cause and it all happens in a beautiful place. Let’s go fishing for a cure! For more info, visit www.c-quartersmarina. com or call (850) 697-8400.

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By Patrick Sebile

I

t’s the perfect time of year for energized tuna, the tarpon of a lifetime or a big fat striper. What these fish and a few others have in common is they swallow prey whole. They do not bite it like a wahoo, barracuda or bluefish. That means the whole baitfish is getting sucked into a bucket-wide mouth. The same thing happens to the lure you’ll be using. Most hard baits have two or three treble hooks. The problem with this setup is large fish and lengthy fights can cause those tiny hooks to open up or tear from a fish’s lip. We all know this loss hurts. The bigger the fish, the worse it hurts and the more likely it is to happen. I came up with a solution for this scenario several years ago while targeting giant tarpon on the west coast of Africa. I adapted my hard baits to use a single large hook. It resulted in the successful landing of more big fish than with the original hardware. Both regular J hooks and circle hooks can be used. With a J hook there is a need to set the hook as usual. With a circle hook, the angler

should just keep cranking and allow the fish’s run to set the hook. Circle hooks work well, they usually hook a fish in the jaw and they rarely pull out. The drawback is not everyone is accustomed to circle hooks, and learning the technique when a big fish bites can result in heartbreak. To optimize this modification, I recommend lures that are sinking or fast sinking, as their balance won’t be altered too much by the removal of the treble hooks. Some floating or suspending lures also work well with this rig. Some might think this alteration would result in missed bites… and this is true. But the fish missed are typically small ones, or toothy critters like bluefish and ’cudas. In the middle of the night when I’m fishing for striped bass, it generally makes me happy to miss the chompers that peck at a lure’s tail. When the fish I’m targeting shows up, one that’s capable of swallowing the whole bait, the hook-set is typically solid, and with a much larger hook secured in the jaw. This gives the angler the ability to horse the fish, and it also makes unhooking a lot less dangerous. Here’s how I alter to my hard baits when pursuing powerful fish: • Pick up your favorite lure, a heavy-duty barrel swivel, a big J hook or circle hook and a bag of skirt collars. • Remove the treble hooks and their split rings. Keep or add a nose split ring. • Run the hook point through one eye of the swivel. There must be some wiggle room, but not too much. • Slide a skirt collar over the barb. This will secure the lure on the hook. • Attach the nose split ring to the swivel’s other eye. That’s it. Now the lure is ready to hook and do battle with larger, more powerful fish. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

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By Erika Zambello

M

onitoring Coordinator Brandy Foley stood at the Pilcher Park boat ramp, watching clouds gather over the Choctawhatchee Bay. She and other Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) staff had just finished another day of measuring seagrass abundance and escaped the water just before a summer storm unleashed wind and rain across the horizon. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, three of them hopped in and out of the boat at each study site, pulling on snorkels and masks to dive into shallow water and take stock of the bay’s seagrass. Throughout the year, the CBA team will complete close to 40 seagrass survey sites. Seagrasses form a critical component of life in the Choctawhatchee Bay and throughout Florida. They are a direct food source for sea turtles and crabs, provide habitat and protection for juvenile sport fish species, like sheepshead and redfish, while increasing water clarity and dissolved

oxygen content. Seagrasses reduce shoreline erosion, current, and wave intensity. In fact, 70 percent of Florida fishery species spend at least part of their lives in the safety of seagrass beds. “Not only are these seagrass beds important to the organisms that use it as a source of habitat, protection and nutrients, but seagrass beds are critical to our local economy. With Destin holding the largest fishing fleet in one port in North America, the health of our local bay and seagrass beds form the pinnacle of our local success,” Foley explained. Unfortunately, the bay has been losing seagrass since sporadic measurement began in the 1950s. Seagrass needs clear water to capture the sun’s energy for photosynthesis, and cloudy water due to sediment runoff or nutrient-caused algal blooms can kill them. Boats driving through seagrass beds can rip out the stems, creating long prop scars visible from the air. A report conducted between CBA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), estimates that in 2007 seagrass in the Choctawhatchee Bay had decreased by 55 percent. Foley and her team continue to monitor the seagrass trends, while her partners at CBA take aim at reducing pollution and sedimentation that threaten seagrasses. July found Restoration Coordinator Rachel Gwin hipdeep in Alaqua Bayou, building an oyster reef to reduce shoreline erosion. Near Destin, Education Coordinator Brittany Tate worked with a group of students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. On hands and knees, the kids planted smooth cordgrass into burlap bags full of soil, future components of a living shoreline along Mattie Kelly Park. Once these salt marsh grasses take root, they will provide additional habitat while reducing pollution and sediment runoff. CBA is not alone in its efforts. Eglin Air Force Base—the largest landowner in the region—has undertaken ambitious restoration projects on their property, from road paving and shoreline vegetation plantings to stream stabilization. All their efforts have combined to reduce erosion and pollution runoff into the bay. Throughout the heat of the summer and into October, Foley and her team will continue their surveys. In an effort to update seagrass estimates in the Choctawhatchee Bay, CBA works closely with the FWRI to collect extensive data on seagrass, water quality and sediment, part of a larger Florida Panhandle-wide estuary seagrass study. The more seagrass we as a community can help recover, the healthier our Choctawhatchee Bay will become!

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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

SEPTEMBER 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

S

SEPTEMBER

eptember is finally here and that means October, and cooler temps can’t be far behind. I am ready! I do love all the rain but my swamp is still pretty much dry. (So where did all these mosquitos come from?) I guess it will take a tropical depression or hurricane to put some water in my swamp. Gator hunting started Aug. 15th. If you were lucky enough to score a permit, and you need some expert help, give us a call. Cary has about 30 years of experience and all the necessary gator hunting equipment and we can provide references. This month’s recipe, Grouper Cheeks with Sautéed Shrimp and Parmesan Cream on page 19, was inspired by a yummy dish at a popular chain restaurant. Cary said that I nailed it. The name of the restaurant isn’t DiamondMonday or SapphireSunday! Have you visited Coastal Angler’s website lately? If not you have missed a lot. www.CoastalAnglerAnglerMagazine. com. Let me know what you think. When you pick up your monthly copy of Coastal Angler, please remember to thank the great folks who give us a little space for distribution. Don’t forget to thank our advertisers and our writers would really, really appreciate hearing from you. You can ask them a question or just let them know how much you appreciate their contribution to the best FREE outdoor magazine in the world! 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 John Freeze Cary Simpson Capt. Dan Clymer Capt. Tom Cushman Capt. Jimbo Keith Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Brian Smith Capt. Dan Smith Capt. Craig Spitznogle

CONTACT INFORMATION

crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-372-4237 www.CoastalAnglerMag.com/NC-Florida

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District

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TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

W

elcome back yak fans, this month, I'm resurrecting my article from November 2009 to celebrate the rich history of Florida's Nature coast. Located off US 19, at the southern end of Hernando County, Aripeka is a refreshing step back into time. Aripeka was founded around 1873, and is named after a Miccosukee Warrior, "Alektco", meaning Medicine Chief, who lead his people for over 100 years. He most likely wasn’t a chief at birth, but still had a pretty good lifespan for back then. He was also known

as Sam Jones, and his camp was said to be about seven miles south of Aripeka. Other notables to have passed through the area, were Ponce de Leon, around 1513 and Hernando De Soto, around 1539. As I wasn't on shore to greet them, this writer cannot verify the validity of these claims, but I can verify that the legendary Babe Ruth was a regular visitor from 1919 through the mid 1930’s, and probably helped to start the belief that Aripeka is a quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem. The Babe was a cane pole fisherman, who was introduced to

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1F 2Sa

3Su

4M

5Tu

6W

7Th

8F

4:39 AM 10:36 AM 6:06 PM 12:36 AM 5:45 AM 11:37 AM 6:52 PM 1:15 AM 6:38 AM 12:29 PM 7:30 PM 1:49 AM 7:23 AM 1:14 PM 8:05 PM 2:19 AM 8:04 AM 1:55 PM 8:38 PM 2:48 AM 8:43 AM 2:36 PM 9:11 PM 3:15 AM 9:21 AM 3:17 PM 9:45 PM 3:43 AM 10:01 AM 3:59 PM 10:19 PM

2.0 3.7 0.7 3.1 1.8 3.9 0.5 3.3 1.6 4.0 0.3 3.5 1.3 4.2 0.2 3.6 1.1 4.3 0.2 3.7 0.9 4.3 0.3 3.8 0.7 4.3 0.4 3.9 0.5 4.1 0.6

HERNANDO BEACH

SEPTEMBER 2017

9Sa

10Su

11M 12Tu

13W

14Th

15F 16Sa

Time Height

4:12 AM 10:43 AM 4:45 PM 10:54 PM 4:44 AM 11:28 AM 5:36 PM 11:33 PM 5:21 AM 12:21 PM 6:36 PM 12:17 AM 6:07 AM 1:24 PM 7:52 PM 1:12 AM 7:06 AM 2:43 PM 9:27 PM 2:28 AM 8:26 AM 4:11 PM 11:00 PM 3:58 AM 9:55 AM 5:29 PM 12:06 AM 5:19 AM 11:14 AM 6:29 PM

4.0 0.4 3.9 0.9 4.1 0.4 3.6 1.2 4.1 0.4 3.3 1.5 4.0 0.5 3.0 1.8 3.8 0.6 2.9 2.0 3.7 0.6 3.0 2.0 3.8 0.4 3.2 1.8 3.9 0.2

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

17Su 12:53 AM 6:22 AM 12:18 PM 7:16 PM 18M 1:30 AM 7:13 AM 1:11 PM 7:57 PM 19Tu 2:02 AM 7:58 AM 1:58 PM 8:33 PM 20W 2:31 AM 8:39 AM 2:40 PM 9:06 PM 21Th 2:59 AM 9:17 AM 3:21 PM 9:38 PM 22F 3:27 AM 9:54 AM 4:00 PM 10:08 PM 23Sa 3:54 AM 10:30 AM 4:40 PM 10:38 PM

Time Height

24Su 4:22 AM 11:06 AM 5:21 PM 11:09 PM 25M 4:53 AM 11:45 AM 6:08 PM 11:44 PM 26Tu 5:28 AM 12:31 PM 7:04 PM 27W 12:26 AM 6:12 AM 1:28 PM 8:16 PM 28Th 1:23 AM 7:13 AM 2:42 PM 9:41 PM 29F 2:41 AM 8:35 AM 4:05 PM 10:55 PM 30Sa 4:07 AM 9:59 AM 5:15 PM 11:50 PM

3.9 0.4 3.5 1.3 3.9 0.5 3.2 1.5 3.8 0.7 3.0 1.7 3.6 0.8 2.8 1.9 3.4 0.9 2.8 2.0 3.3 0.9 2.9 1.9 3.4 0.8 3.1

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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3.4 1.4 4.1 0.1 3.6 1.1 4.2 0.1 3.7 0.8 4.3 0.2 3.8 0.5 4.2 0.4 3.9 0.4 4.1 0.6 3.9 0.3 3.9 0.9 3.9 0.3 3.7 1.1

a casting rod by Billy Conner. It is said that he had to learn to control his powerful right arm because his cast was stronger than the line that was available at the time, and many a plug was lost. Other notables to visit Aripeka were Jack Dempsey, who came there to train, and play poker with the Babe and his teammates in 1921. Also of interest, Wilber and Orville Wright were said to have visited there as well. Part of the reason for some of the visitors, is that Aripeka lays on a section of the old Dixie Highway, which from its inception in 1915 thru 1927, was the route our northern brethren took to get to such places as St. Pete and Miami. A section of the old road still exists off Aripeka Road, running toward Hudson. In 1976, renowned artist James Rosenquist moved to Aripeka and sadly, saw his home and studio destroyed by fire on April 26, 2008. And “OH MY GOD”, how did I miss this date line 1988, singer Anita Bryant returned from seclusion to sing at the Aripeka Elks Lodge. After hitting that pinnacle in her career, I'm told she never sang again, or that may be a rumor. OK, enough history; let’s move forward to present day. Aripeka sits at the mouth of Hammock Creek. Between the North and South forks, is Norfleets Fish Camp, the most popular store in Aripeka, but then again, it’s the only store in Aripeka. Norfleets has been there since the1940’s and is a must-see when you go. With memorabilia all over the walls, it’s a kick, and worth the trip all by its self. Overseen in the past by Carl Norfleet, purveyor of sage advice, and a joke or two, Carl is the unofficial Mayor of Aripeka, and a man I call my friend. Carl retired, so now he can spend all his time busting my chops. Not really, Carl's a great guy, and if you are

lucky enough to run into him, tell him I said “Hey”. I first started fishing around Aripeka in the mid 1980’s, and have found for the fisherman, or for those looking for a scenic view and a slice of Old Florida, that Aripeka is it. Going under the north bridge, you have springs and some beautiful scenery. On the outside to the south, you have Fillman Bayou, a well-known local fishing spot. To the north, you have my namesake, Indian Bay. Indian Bay is one of my favorite fishing spots. It’s teaming with reds, trout, snook, sheep head, and cobia. If you can’t catch a fish there, you should take up golf. There is usually a manatee or two on the paddle out, and Aripeka has several resident pods of Dolphin. I have some great photos of them and other wildlife on my website, www.IndianBayOutfitters.com. I also offer charters to there, and other locations on the Nature Coast. So, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at (352) 428-5347. Well, it’s about time to hit the water for this month. Bye for now and happy paddling. 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 Brian Kelly credit for the photos

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

SEPTEMBER 2017

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8/15/17 7:36 PM


FLORIDA WATERWAYS

The Mouth of the Suwannee River

A

fter the magnificent Suwannee River has meandered some 265 miles from Georgia in ever-increasing speed, it empties into the Gulf of Mexico, pouring billions of gallons of fresh water into the salty Gulf. It has been doing this for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Advocates for drier sections of the state further south have enviously eyed all that fresh water pouring into the Gulf and have suggested that By Kevin McCarthy much of it be diverted to quench the thirst of those living in South Florida, and even to irrigate the fields there. Those same advocates, have argued for a similar pumping of fresh water south from the Ocklawaha, the Withlacoochee, even the St. Johns, but so far defenders of our rivers have prevailed. The problem is that the growth in South and Central Florida sites is projected to outpace available ground-water in the relatively near future and their legislators will again press for a diversion of our rich waters to the south. This last part of the Suwannee is part of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (LSNWR), established in 1979, and consisting of 53,000 acres in one of the largest undeveloped river-delta estuarine systems in the United States. It includes twenty miles of the Suwannee River estuary, and twenty miles of coastline. The refuge is open all year round for wildlife observance, hiking, and photography. The fishing, hiking, and birdwatching in the area are very, very good. Islands near the mouth of the river have a fascinating history. Hog Island, for example, is a federally protected property and wildlife sanctuary. Probably named for the wild hogs that used to live on the island, an early Spanish mission to the Native Americans used to be there. Called Cofa in the early 1600s by the Spanish, the site would have been strategic for resupplying soldiers and

missionaries, as well as convenient for offloading ships in the Gulf. Cat Island in the estuary, has been the site of experiments by school children from Dixie County, who grow shellfish like cherrystone clams. The students pull in the mesh bags from the water, wash the bags thoroughly with fresh water, clean the growing clams, put them into larger bags, and return them to the water. The students monitor the salinity of the water, its temperature, and its purity. They will eventually harvest the clams, sell them to restaurants, and keep eighty percent of the money – with the other twenty percent going to the county for such programs. Not only do the students earn some money, but – more importantly – they learn the value of the estuary and the importance to keep it pure. Big Belcher Island, later called Odlund’s Island, was the home of one of the legendary personages on the river: Eric Odlund, the so-called “King of the Suwannee.” Before he died in 1941, he and his wife, Luella, raised many children, some of whom returned from living on the mainland, to eke out a living on the island. If you fish or boat near the mouth of our great river, you will see unspoiled nature around a rich estuary, which has been home to millions of sea creatures, including many species of fish, for thousands of years.

Sturgeon jumping in the

Suwannee

Straight Suwannee River near Branford

Kevin McCarthy, the author of Suwannee River Guidebook 2009 - (available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

s African American families watch boat on the Suwannee River (3247325281) in 1950 From FSA COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2017

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Map of Suwannee River with arrow pointing to its mouth

The river widens

Near the mouth of the Suwannee KMc NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3

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NATURE COAST

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CRYSTAL RIVER Beating the September Slump

I

n the past, the fishing in the late summer and early fall can be one of the more difficult times of year to be successful on the water, but if anglers are willing to change there tactics and target different species, they can still have a great time on the water and bring home some tasty fish for the dinner table. Fishing around the many shallow water water rock piles produces a great mixed bag this time of year, including mangrove snapper, grunts, mackerel, flounder, gag grouper, and the occasional cobia. The best way to fish these natural structures is to anchor up-current of a rock, and put out a chum bag to help ignite the bite, and then fish with either live or fresh dead shrimp on a 1/8ounce jig head. This setup will allow you to catch almost anything that swims around these rocks. As we get towards the end of September, more and more flounder will begin to show up around the rocks and these are some of the best

eating fish that you will find. On the inshore front, the redfish bite will continue to stay strong through the end of the month, with most of the fish being around the spoil islands and the exterior mangrove shorelines. Look for areas with lots of current and rocks, and fish with live pinfish, either on the bottom or under a cork. The trout bite continues to be frustrating with a few fish being caught in the back creeks, as well as offshore on the deep water grass flats. There hasn’t seemed to have been one area where the trout are really congregated. As always, if you adapt with the changing seasons, you can find yourself in the winners circle any day of the year. If you haven’t given the shallow water rock piles a try in the late summer, it can be a very enjoyable way to spend the day. Capt. Clay Shidler ClayShidler@Yahoo.com Adults $5—Children 12 and under FREE! Live Music  Frosty Margaritas  Live Mermaids!  Beer & Wine Garden  Paddleboard Rentals  Local Food Vendors  Free Kids’ Zone  Contests & Prizes  Exciting Vendors  Free Shuttles! Featuring custom mermaid tails by

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SEPTEMBER 2017

t’s still hot out there--the fishing and the air temps, but Fall is coming. How do you still beat the lingering heat? Get out at first light, or wait for the last few hours of daylight, right around dusk. Those hours are typically the best times to catch the fish feeding this time of year. It’s a great time of year to toss top-water plugs inshore, during those lower light conditions, and along the beach, the tarpon will be feeding early and late as well. One very important ingredient for catching fish this time of year, is to look for the bait. Whether it's finger mullet, shrimp, or pogys-if you find the bait--you'll find the fish. The bait can be easily located by looking for nervous water (small disruptions on the surface, similar to a very small boat wake). You can be sure that redfish, trout, and flounder will be hanging around the schools of bait, looking for an easy meal. Don't overlook the banks along the ICW on the lower tide stages this month. A lot of the baitfish will come out of the creeks and hang along those ICW banks, especially the ones that have oysters scattered on them. Again, the bigger fish will be in close pursuit. September brings one of the most unique and exciting ways to catch redfish on the First Coast. We will have some great "flood" tides this month and the reds will be up in the grass tailing away. You can use a trolling motor to scout out the best grass flats, but wading or poling your boat, is usually the most

effective way to catch the tailing reds. Start looking for the fish before the tide gets too high (usually at least an hour or two before the high tide, depending on how high it will get). Small plastic baits, like those made by Slayer Inc. will work great in the grass. Rig your lure weedless on a Slayer Inc. Penetrator hook and try to present it well in front of, or past the fish, and then slowly drag it towards him. A direct hit to a tailing red will usually send him darting off the flat, like an out of control torpedo. Sometimes, they are so focused on finding food, that they seem to never look up to find your lure. That's when a small glass rattle inserted into your soft plastic, or tied to your favorite fly, will do wonders to get their attention. This month will still be good to look for the silver kings to be feeding early in the morning, on the bait pods just off the beach. Free-line a pogy around the bait pods and hold on. You’ll also find some big tarpon behind the shrimp boats in the bycatch slicks. If the tarpon don't want to play, do some trolling along the beach for some line-screaming kingfish action (there will be plenty of them out there). There will also be plenty of smaller tarpon inshore in the canals and deeper creeks and flats. A back hooked free-lined finger mullet, a free lined select shrimp, or medium sized pogy, will all make for a great tarpon snack. Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

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HORSESHOE BEACH

Tom’s nephew. This is what it’s all about for Tom.

A great day spearfishing with Tom’s team.

here did the summer go? It has been a fun-filled several months in Horseshoe Beach. Scallop season has been very good and kept plenty of folks on the water, when it seems too hot to do anything else. Water clarity hasn’t been great south of Pepperfish Keys, but it hasn’t slowed us down. Luckily, the area north of Pepperfish, held a ton of scallops all year long, and gave most people “who are serious about scavenging in the water” a full day’s limit. With the recent heavy rain, and the woods full of fresh water running off into the Gulf, I’m sure that it’s going to wrap up scalloping about the time the season ends. We sure don’t have anything to complain about there. I’ve seen scallop season last a lot shorter time due to Mother Nature. Offshore fishing has been a lot of fun this year. The extension of red snapper season was a great blessing and surely makes those trips offshore worthwhile. We have consistently been able to catch a limit of snapper and come home with some grouper, cobia and other fish, making a good haul and a great box of fish on most trips. Even though snapper season is coming to an end, I hope everyone who was able, enjoyed pulling these fish off the bottom. Continue to be diligent and stayed informed and ready to send a message next year, when it comes time for decisions to be made about our ARS season. This year has been a great opportunity to educate yourself on how government works, when it comes to regulation of our public resources. Inshore fishing hasn’t been all that hot, except for temperature hot. Offshore grass beds have produced some nice trout. These fish should start moving into the shallower grass flats through the month of September and October. When we start to see a slight temperature

change, start fishing deeper outside grass, and move shallower until you find the fish. Cajun thunder rigged with about 18 to 20 inches of fluorocarbon underneath it, and a live shrimp or gulp shrimp, should get it done. Redfish are just starting to show up in decent numbers, and later this month and October, are prime months to target redfish. Outer bars, grass point and creek mouths should produce a limit of redfish. Keep informed; there is a lot of momentum behind a four-year moratorium on redfish. Other areas along the Gulf Coast are experiencing supposed decreased redfish numbers. There is momentum to shut it down for several years. One per person is fair to me, and I wish we could get some more enforcement of the One-Fish Law. I know a lot of you are not much in favor of seeing heavy FWC patrol, however, there is a lot of overfishing of redfish and anglers coming to the hill, exceeding the limit. Some of these people have fish in the freezer, that have been in there for months. I’m the first to support eating fish, especially a redfish grilled on the half shell, but fresh is best! Now you have my opinionated comment for this month. Fall is near and its starts a favorite time of the year to fish for many of us. Horseshoe has an awesome inshore fishery, and this is the time of year to see it at its best. Spend some time enjoying seeking out new areas to fish, being responsible with laws and conservation and remember, we all want this to be available for future generations to come. Horseshoe is a great place to see the beautiful sunsets, shrimp boats and a very simple, quiet way of life. Come see us.

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ey there folks; the summer vacation has come and gone, and just like last year, the fish have really turned on. The redfish bite has been awesome the last couple days. Just about everyday, we have caught some nice keepers. We are catching most of them on cut mullet, fished right on the bottom. The fish are biting on both the incoming and outgoing tide. There is tons of bait around the oyster bars, and when the fish are active, you will see them striking at the bait. Then, all you need to do is set up, and get your baits in the water. We have also been catching some nice snook, while redfishing around the oyster bars and sandy holes. Most of them are over the slot size, but there are some slot fish showing up. This year make sure you get your snook permit because they are great table fare. They also seem to be where there is a lot of moving current. The trout bite is still slow, but should be turning on anytime, with the water temps. starting to cool down. They will slowly start moving

back to the flats around the islands. We will still be using the Double X Tackles B52 super sounder with a 1/4 oz Jim's jig beneath it. The color will depend on the water color. My favorites are the Saltwater Assassin's Green Moon and Stinky Pink. They have a fairly new color, called Orange Glow, and it seems to be working great in stained water. Well folks I just want to encourage y'all to still get on the water any chance you get, because it's an awesome time of year. Hope this has helped y'all out, and as always, get outside and enjoy what God has made for us! Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters Capt.Jimbo Keith 352-535-5083

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CEDAR KEY PADDLING

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ello everybody! I hope all is well--and it is in Cedar key Florida! Well at least, better than last year. Hurricane Hermine’s damage is about all fixed, better than ever, so please do not hesitate to come visit and wet a line. Late July and August were phenomenal for red fish. There was a variety of different tackle and baits that did well, but by far, the best was a Cajon Thunder, with about two feet of fluorocarbon, a 3/0 J hook and a live large minnow or pin fish. If there were a redfish there, they couldn't stand it, and not only hit it, but hit it hard! I had the pleasure of taking out a few friends and some new friends here recently, and there are very few things I love more than watching and listening to the funny sounds someone makes when they hook into their first monster red. Google maps is an amazing free app on all smart phones. Do yourself a favor and pull it up, switch the

screen to satellite. You can zoom in and even see under the water. Now when you get into the fish you like, drop a pin on that spot. Screen shot it, and later go back on a bigger screen and see if you can see why they are there, and if you do, look around and see if you see any other areas that look the same. It is a great tool to help you find your next honey-hole. Hopefully those big ol’ gator trout are out and about doing their thing, and don't forget to swing in the shop for the latest hot spots and tricks. Always find a way to take a kid fishing! Check us out on Instagram @thereal_c_world and Facebook Capt. Daniel | Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

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rouper Diggers--this is the month we’ve been waiting for. September starts off our fall grouper season and the shorter days and slightly cooling water temperature; puts the gag grouper in an aggressive feeding mood. Ledges, rock piles, artificial reefs, and wrecks, from 10 to 70 feet, will hold better numbers of grouper. Many of the offshore locations have been a little slow this year from the summer hot water temperatures. However, there should be some hefty gags ready for a one-on-one battle, taking up residence on your favorite grouper structures in the coming weeks. Depending on the floating grass, this time of year is ideal for tolling large, lipped plugs over your favorite grouper bottom. Experiment with natural and bright color combinations to see what flavor the grouper area wants. For the bottom fisherman, always start the bite with frozen sardines or threadfin herring, and then send down that frisky live pinfish and “hold on”. On the inshore scene, the speckled trout will start moving back inshore from their deep summer haunts. Look for shallow “yellow” hard bottom areas in 3 to 4 feet of water, with kelp grass growing on it. The grass has been growing all summer and is a haven for both bait fish and trout. DOA deadly combos with the glow or holographic root beer shrimp combinations are very effective. September is always a fantastic red fish month. Many of the largest fish of the year are encountered now, and the early fall time of year; one can have double digit days. Cut baits such as mullet and lady fish are hard to beat, as well as free-lined live shrimp will get the job done. Islands with good current flow and

limestone bottom are always good starting points. Be ready for a snook or two to bend the rod as well. They are feeding aggressively for the upcoming cooler months and are always a welcomed surprise. Another best bet with the cooling water temperatures are Spanish mackerel. Look for them harassing bait fish over hard bottom structures. Have a spoon or jig ready with a small piece of wire or at least 40lb fluorocarbon, to prevent cut-offs for when the occasion arises - you’ll have an instant hook up. Option two for mackerel, is to anchor up with a chum bag and free line some live shrimp on a #2 long shank hook for some drag screaming fun… Good Fishing! Capt. Dan Clymer | 352.418.2160 www.crystalriver-fishing.com

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eptember is upon us and the hot temps are still pounding us really hard. Make sure, if you are planning a day on the water, to bring plenty of drinking water or Gatorade and keep yourself hydrated. The fishing has been good here lately, but you need to be up and going early, or out just before the sun goes down, to key in on prime time. A bonus for this month is that snook season has reopened. This is probably my favorite fish to eat. It is not easy to find a slot snook, but if you do, it does make great table fare. I have been catching most of my fish south of the barge canal around the spoil islands. If you can find points with moving water and a deeper pocket around it, you will find some line siders. A mirrolure topwater or Zman scented streakz has been my bait-of-choice for these guys. The redfish have been hanging tight with the mullet schools. Find the schools, and you will find the redfish. The east side of Drum Island has been holding good numbers, but as I said, you need to be up and

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going early to get the jump on these guys. In the heat of the day, they will shut down. You can switch off to a piece of cut mullet and find a few, but you will have to weed through a ton of catfish. The grouper and red snapper bite is still going off in 40 feet and out. A piece of cut squid or sardine has been getting it done. A live pinfish has been producing bigger gag grouper, if you can get your hands on some. There are still a few days of scallop season left; it ends the 10th, so if you want to get your hands on some tasty shellfish, you can still cruise just south around Gomez rocks and pick up a good limit. I would focus in on the 3 to 5 foot range. Until next month, have fun, be safe and take your kids fishing. If you are interested in a trip in our area give me a call and let’s go catch some fish. Capt. Craig Spitznogle Florida Flats Charter Company www.floridaflatscharterco.com (352)445-4978

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STEINHATCHEE

KEATON BEACH

Family day, celebrating Savannah’s graduation from UF. Charlie, Savannah, Brian, Cindy, Gina and Brian.

Donna Osbborn of Monticello, Florida, with her first-ever trout, a 22 inch Sow.

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he trout and red fish fishing has been GREAT all summer, with the best bet to fish an incoming tide, a live pinfish under A Black Bay Thunder, rigged up on 34 inches of Trik Fish mono leader. I fish 7 feet 6 inch, Star Stellar Lite Fast Taper rods (SG817FT76), because they are very light in the hand, which allows my clients to cast all day with no fatigue; yet have the proper power and action to "Pop" the Thunder, and set the hook at distance. We combine a Star Aerial 4000 spinning reel with this rod, spooled-up with Trik Fish Game Green 10 lb. test mono, and a cast of 120 feet is easy with a nice breeze going.

John Ackert of Tallahassee, with a nice trout. A trip last week produced four of our better trout with Assassin soft plastics, in three styles. Mike Hardegree fished the Wakasagi Elite Shiner, the Candy Corn Sea Shad and the Fried Chicken 5 inch Shads, to land those two fish, along with a 14-Inch Black Sea Bass. We have caught several trout over 24 inches in the last few weeks, and expect to see more of the same in September. The "top" of the high tide, seems to produce our largest fish. As the currents wane, they seem to decide to feed when the balance of their tribe has already eaten, thus

Bob McManus of Live Oak, Florida, with a beautiful 25Inch trout, taken July 24, 2017.

on’t expect the change to be noticed at the beginning of the month, but by the end of September, you will feel the start of the fall season. It is something to look forward to. After the broil of summer—I didn’t realize my earlobes had sweat glands—a cool reprieve is indeed appreciated. So, what does it bring? It will start the march of our pelagic mackerel near the coast. At the end of the month, fattened up Spanish mackerel will be crashing bait pods on the near shore banks, such as Little Bank. These aren’t the spring run “razor” mackerel, rather the post-season big party boys. The best bet is to toss flashy jigs, spoons or plugs early in the morning, or late in the evening, into terrified bait pods. For the most success, use a combo that can cast for distance, and the reel has a smooth drag. Remember, lighter lines cast further. Some will think braided line. However, braid does not have inherent stretch of mono to absorb the ballistic runs of Spanish mackerel. The use of store bought wire leaders is the lazyman’s way of stating “I don’t want all the action I could have had, and I’ll trust my fishing success to the hands of fate,

reducing the competition at that time. Reds have been way off the hill with our last few, coming in 1 ½ to 2 miles off the grass, in 4 to 5 feet of water, mixed in with our trout bite. When the floating grass subsides, expect to catch reds on Intruder and Intruder II weedless spoons, Thunder-Spins and Sleighs. We have had great success with the NEW Cajun Copper color. Cooler temps in the evenings in September should move more reds back to the creek mouth and adjacent bars. Got into some fish-busting-bait the other day, using my ClarkSpoon rigged under a clear water-filled plastic, 2 1/2 inch bubble. We caught Jack Crevalle, lady fish, a couple of trout and a bluefish, before they moved on. I prefer the sizes #0 and #00 ClarkSpoons for this rig. You simply cast out past the melee, and retrieve, reeling as fast as you can, with your rod tip up at the 10 o'clock position. They will run you down; so don't slow it down! Meanwhile…Let’s Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 28 years! www.onemorecast.net 850.838.7541 Trey and Rachel with grouper

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Capt. B, Trey, Rachael, Josh, Sammy, Karen, Sami Jo from a mindless machine, using the cheapest materials available.” Take half an hour, go online, and learn how to tie line directly to wire, and wire to a snap swivel, using quality hardware. You’ll be happy you did, and your friends will be impressed. Just saying… The Spanish mackerel will be roaring around for a couple of months. They will soon be joined by their larger cousin, the kingfish. For kingfish trolling, weighted or unweighted spoons, or shallow diving plugs around the bait, is a good tactic. Also, if you can stand it, slow trolling live bait. I’ll try to remember to detail that next month. Red snapper will be open the first four days of September. Any hard bottom, fifty-five feet or greater, is over loaded with the delicious fish. Gag grouper are mixed in, try using bigger baits, such as a butterflied pinfish to get the bait past the snapper. After red snapper season closes, and you are targeting just grouper, you may need to move often to avoid catching and killing them. Why are snapper regulated so harshly? I guess they are over abundant. That doesn’t make sense either, does it? Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

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NORTH CENTRAL FL

Water all the way into the parking lot at Power’s Park on Newnan’s Lake.

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ummers come--and summers go. On the fishing scene, things are rarely terribly different, one to the next. This summer, on the other hand, brought a huge, wet surprise to the North Florida fisher. At the start of hot weather, you really had to work, in order to launch a boat onto some of our favorite lakes. On a lateMay trip to Newnan’s Lake, I swore off trying to put my boat into the lake just east of Gainesville, where water at both boat ramps was just inches deep. And I couldn’t help but wonder when I might be able to access the closest water to my home again. Neither I nor any of my freshwater fishing buddies, it turns out, had to wait long. On the heels of the driest spring season here in decades, came the wettest summer on record. Ragsto-riches anglers started catching bass, speckled perch, and bream on the quickly-rising waters right away. Surprisingly, at this writing in midAugust, the speck bite has held up best, and Orange and Newnan’s are the top-producing lakes. Gainesville crappie specialist Brian Roe came into the store a couple of days ago for fresh line on his ultralight spinning

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reels. He had launched at Newnan’s that morning and eased out to a favorite open-lake area, now four feet deeper than two months earlier. Roe rigged several outfits with crappie jigs in various colors, set them at varying depths, and started slow-trolling. In short order, he had narrowed down two speck-catching key--how deep the fish were hanging, and which colors they preferred that morning. By 9:30, Roe had pulled in 45 specks. Ten were sizable slabs of a poundand-a-half or so. He said that, on this day, the fish had gone for green, blue, and pink jigs best. Bluegill fans, too, are taking advantage of the new Opportunity-cane-poling with crickets, worms, and grass shrimp to pull big bream from around the flooded Newnan’s cypresses. Lily pad beds on Lochloosa have also yielded big numbers of big bream. The Dog Days freshwater fishing in North Central Florida has been way above average, thanks to the rainiest summer in a hundred years. Gary Simpson | Gary’s Tackle Box 352-372-1791 | Garystacklebox.com garystacklebox@gmail.com

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CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

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ow, Forest Fishers, this summer has been one heck of a rainy season so far! Water levels are way up, and the shore-line is lush and green. The bug population is booming as well, so there's plenty for the fish to eat. The summer time bass fishing continues to impress. There's a lot more water and cover to search through, so moving baits will help you find fish. Soft plastic swimbaits are the key to success, but make sure to have a senko or trickworm rigged up, and ready to throw at missed strikes. This one-two punch combo is the most important trick you can use to hook finicky fish. Top-water frogs are also working great during low light conditions, and of course, nothing beats a lively shiner. Target shallow cover at sunrise or sunset, and focus on deeper cover during the midday heat. All the backwoods lakes are showing good numbers of quality bass, as well as the private dock areas of Lake George and Astor. The catfish fishing, along the Ocklawaha River, also continues to be going strong. River bends and creek mouths are the best places to try when looking for new spots. The Eureka Bridge, and Rodman Dam areas, are producing hefty channel cats, whereas the Sharpe’s Ferry Bridge and Moss Bluff areas have better numbers of "butter cats" (bullhead catfish). Most people use chicken livers for bait, but I find them hard to keep on the hook. Beef kidneys are a great alternative (for panfish too), and will stay on a small hook better. Cut-bait, or even bacon will get the job done in a pinch. Now, whether or not you consider gar a trash fish, you have to admit they put up a darn good fight. Personally, I think they're awesome and taste great when fried! Lake Eaton is my choice for catching “Florida gar"; which is the smaller of the gar family, and average about 3 to 5 pounds. If you're looking for a serious battle, then long nose gar

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.

will give you all you can handle. They can be found on the flowing waters of the Ocklawaha and St. Johns River. You'll see them rolling when you're in the right spot. These dinosaurs get to over 40 pounds, and will test the limits of your tackle. Remember to use a heavy braid or steel leader, so you don't get cut off by their razor sharp teeth. I like to fish closer to the surface, by using a bobber, but they will eat off the bottom as well. Any bait fish, dead or alive, will get the bites. Make sure to let them chew for a while though, because they usually drop it a couple times before actually getting the hook down. Gar can live for hours out of the water, so be careful when handling them. A towel or rag, wrapped around the beak, will give you a place to hold and control these beasts. Lastly, shrimp season will be in full swing this month. Most people focus their cast-netting around the Palatka Bridge area, but large schools of shrimp can be found all along the St. Johns River. Call local bait shops, or go online, to find out where the biggest concentrations are, as they make their way down the river. The days around the full moon (Sept. 6) are great for both shrimping and fishing. As always, feel free to call me if you have any questions, and e-mail me pics of your catches if you'd like them to be featured in my report. John Freeze | 352-216-5798 Swampsurf@embarqmail.com

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GROUPER CHEEKS WITH SAUTEED SHRIMP AND PARMESAN CREAM

COOKING DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 2. Place grouper in oven-safe dish with low sides. Dot with butter. Season with seasoning of your choice. Mince the scallions, both white and green parts. Scatter the white parts over the fish. Bake until bubbly and fish flakes, about 10 minutes.

INGREDIENTS • Grouper Cheeks or Grouper Fillets • Shrimp (6 med., 4 lg. or 2 extra lg. per serving) • Seasoning of Choice (I chose Lemon Pepper and Seasoned Salt. • You might prefer Creole seasoning) • Scallions, two per serving • Thin White Sauce (Butter, Flour, Milk) • Parmesan Cheese Grated • Butter • Parsley chopped • Salt and Pepper

3. While fish cooks, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in small sauce pan. Add a couple tablespoons flour and blend. Add about ½ cup milk and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. When bubbly, add about ¼ cup Parmesan. Stir until cheese melts. Keep warm. 4. Just before fish is done, melt a tablespoon of butter in saute’ pan over med-high heat. (If shrimp are large, cut into bite sized pieces.) Season shrimp with salt and pepper and place in pan. Cook a couple minutes on each side. 5. On serving plate, place fish, top with shrimp, and green parts of scallions. Drizzle with Parmesan Cream sauce. Garnish with parsley. The inspiration for this dish, came from a favorite dish of mine at a popular restaurant chain. They season the fish in this dish with Creole seasoning. The name of the restaurant is not DiamondMonday. Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida SEPTEMBER 2017

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Bluewater Bait & Tackle Homosassa Marine Dan’s Clam Stand 7364 W Grover Cleve. Loves Motorsports Seagrass Resort Mike’s Trailers 2560 S US 19/98 LTD Motors

HIGH SPRINGS The Diner LTD Motors Alice’s Parkside Rest. Bennett’s True Value ACE Hardware

BRONSON Ace Hardware NAPA 809 E Hathway (US A 27) Do Right Cookin Drummond Bank

WILLISTON NAPA 412 E Noble (US 27) Grocery Depot Bubbaque’s Drummond Bank

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CEDAR KEY Cedar Key Marina II 12780 SR 24 Cedar Key Marina Dock Island Hotel DW&D Bait & Tackle 12831 Whiddon Ave. Drummond Bank Annie’s Café CK Paddling Steamers 420 Dock St. Chamber of Commerce The Market CK General Store Robinson’s Carlins Restaurant

INGLIS/YANKEETOWN Young Boats (Inglis) River Coast Realty NAPA (Inglis) 24 US 19/98 N Drummond Bank Capt Cove Outfitters 39 W SR 40 Shrimp Landing Riverside Inn 6301 Riverside Dr.

Coldwell Banker

155 Douglas St.-B Back Water Fins Marine Service Homosassa Spr Marina

INVERNESS McPherson’s Outdoors Apopka Marine Gulf to Lake Marine 700 S.Thompson. Ave. Fisherman’s Restaurant Wild Bill’s Air Boat Tours Stumpknockers Coach’s Nick Nicholas Ford 44 Tackle Co. Brown Water Airboats

FLORAL CITY Floral City Bait & Tackle Sleepy Hollow Resort L

Gary’s Tackle Box 5721 NW 13th St. Batteries Plus Zell’s Hardware AAA Refrigeration Play It Again Sports Lloyd Bailey Scuba The Short Stop Oak’s Pawn Hobby Town Winn-Dixie BubbaQue’s L&S Auto Trim 5721 NW 13th St Agri-Grow Equipment Ward’s Market The Donut Connection Sapp’s Pawn & Gun P&J Marine Sonny’s BBQ Mirage Manufacturing Town Tire Rapid Service Winn-Dixie FL Citizens Bank NF Express Care Care Spot Powder Coating of Gainesville Heritage Bank Dick’s Sporting Goods Drummond Bank

ALACHUA

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CRYSTAL RIVER Drummond Bank Moore Bait & Tackle Twin Rivers Marina Plantation Inn 9301 W Ft Landing Trail West Marine Coldwell Banker 6212 W Corporate Oaks Dr Pete’s Pier Rural King Dan’s Clam Stand 2315 N Sunshine Path AAA Marine Good Times Restaurant The Crab Plant American Pro Dive Seafood Seller Citrus County C of C 915 N Suncoast Blvd

If you have a suggestion for a distribution location for COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE, please let us know. We can be reached at 352-372-4237 or Crutch@CoastalAnglerMagazine.com. You can view all forty-plus magazines in the US, including the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands, at www.CoastalAnglerMagazine.com. 20 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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6. If the bird has swallowed the hook or is severely injured, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator from the list at MyFWC.com/unhook.

Photo by Carol Cassels

E

ven if you take precautionary steps to avoid it, sometimes you might hook a bird by accident. That’s when it’s important to remember—don’t cut the line and let the bird fly away with it attached. This can lead to entanglement, resulting in death of that bird and possibly others as well. Instead, follow these simple steps to unhook the bird: Reel. Remove. Release. 1. Wear safety glasses and enlist a partner for help. 2. Reel the bird in slowly and lift it from the water using a hoop net. 3. Grasp the bird by the head just behind the eyes and fold the wings against the body. For pelicans, hold the beak, keeping the mouth slightly open so it can breathe. Cover the bird’s head with a cloth to keep it calm. 4. Remove the barb and hook from the bird using pliers or clippers. If the bird is entangled, remove all line. 5. Release the bird (if healthy) by placing it on the ground near the water and allowing it to take off.

How else can you help a seabird or wading bird? 1. Don’t feed the birds, which teaches them to approach where they are more likely to be hooked. 2. Dispose of filleted bones where birds can’t get them—in a trash can with lid or at home. Bones of a filleted fish can tear throats, stomachs and intestines. 3. Cover bait buckets and take unused bait home. 4. Dispose of fishing line in a monofilament recycling bin or cut into small pieces and place in the trash. 5. Don’t leave your line unattended. 6. Cast carefully to avoid being snared on trees, bridge piles, power lines or obstacles. 7. Help others learn what to do when they accidentally hook a bird. It’s pretty easy, once you know how. More detailed information can be found at myfwc.com/unhook.

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SHALLOW WATER PERFORMANCE

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik • Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures.

W

e all know about finding and fishing areas where we see signs of “active bait.” Or, do we? The importance of bait in the area we are fishing has been drilled into our heads for decades, and with good reason. However, it is easy to get caught up in the “active” or “visible” aspect of the equation, and that can cost us some missed opportunities. On one particular fishing trip, I was kayaking in 2 to 3 feet of clear water. The area was a mix of three different types of sea grass, and the bottom was mostly firm with some softer areas and potholes. During the time I was fishing, I only saw three mullet casually flip over the course of several hours. Most fishermen would have left this area in a hurry due to the lack of active or visual surface bait activity. The thing about bait, is just because we don’t see it or see signs of it doesn’t mean it is not there. What I noticed that kept me in this area is that from time to time I would see several pinfish follow my soft plastic paddletail back to the kayak. This was the key that let me know there was bait in the area that increased the probability of larger predator fish also being there and feeding. When the pinfish would follow the smaller paddletail, it was like fishing with live bait without actually using it. There is no doubt in my mind that the school of bait helped attract the trout and reds to my lure. Although several other kayaks and boats came into the area, they all left after a few minutes. Not seeing what they wanted, they just burned by and didn’t stop. By following the subtle signs and sticking to the area, I was able to keep a limit of reds, release many more, and I caught and released a 28-inch trout. Not a bad day for not seeing any “active” bait. The next time you are on the water, peer a little deeper and have the patience to notice more than just the surface activity, or the lack of. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

7 NORTH FLORIDA

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FISH & FISHING

I

MARK SOSIN

never understood it. An angler hooks an unseen denizen of the deep that puts up an incredible battle before it is finally brought to boatside. When the fish is visible and the species can be identified, total disappointment masks the fisherman’s face. It doesn’t happen to be a desired species. Never mind the excitement and thrill of fighting it or the anticipation that it is going to be a highly prized catch. All that is forgotten. Instead, the person on the rod is almost apologetic for wasting time with this pathetic inhabitant. Sharks fall in this category. The thought of targeting these toothy critters makes too many anglers turn up their noses. Particularly in shallow water, sharks are capable of powerful performances with exceptionally long runs thrown in. In many situations, you have to follow them with a boat to avoid having them strip all the line off the reel. And, they are particularly challenging on tackle matched to the occasion. People ask me about the biggest fish I ever caught. It was a shark that weighed at least 1,500 pounds and ate a 250-pound black marlin in three bites. Fishing in Panama for black marlin, I caught a 350-pound mako shark that was reportedly the seventh one ever caught on Pinas Reef up to that time. It put up a better battle than a black marlin. At certain times of the year, schools of sharks tend to migrate close to the beaches along different parts of the coastlines. Tether a live bait to a hook, and the distress vibrations emanating from every frantic tailbeat radiate through the water with the authority of a bullhorn. Predators home in on this ringing of the dinner bell like a crew of half-starved lumberjacks. Toss a live bait along the fringes of the school, and you’re about to yell “fish on.” For the relatively light tackle enthusiast, you can enjoy exciting shark fishing on the slightly deeper flats or by chumming sharks in water depths from 6 to 12 feet where a tidal current is flowing. On

the flats, a live bait is a better choice, but you can cast a whole, dead bait in front of a cruising shark and elicit a strike. The presentation should be the same as if you were casting to a gamefish. Make sure the bait gets in front of the fish and is moving away from its jaws. If you are going to chum sharks, anchor the boat in the current and start tossing pieces of dead bait. As you chum, float a couple of live baits back there and just hold them a reasonable distance astern. This is a situation when you can use sporting tackle, but make sure the reel holds a full spool of line. You’ll need a fluorocarbon or monofilament abrasion leader of a few feet with a foot or two of single-strand wire at the end. If you pass up the opportunity to hook and battle sharks, you’re missing out on an exciting challenge. Sharks have accounted for some of my best fishing memories, and I know they can become memorable moments for you.

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By Capt. Randy Cnota By Patrick Morrow

A

s you pull onto the side of the road, you see mullet being chased by predators in the skinny waters of St. George Sound. You can’t help but grin because you know this area is inaccessible to most boats, and you’ll likely have it all to yourself. Redfish, trout, flounder, jack crevalle, pompano and so many more species are yours for the taking once you’ve settled into your kayak and floated away from land. There are more than 40 canoe/kayak launches in and around Franklin County, Fla. Most are found within Tate’s Hell State Forest or the Apalachicola National Forest.

The freedom kayaking offers anglers in this area is a refreshing alternative to motorized boating, and the amount of accessible waters seems endless. From the Carrabelle River to St. Vincent Sound, to include the Apalachicola River, Apalachicola Bay, St. George Sound and East Bay, these diverse ecosystems where fresh and salt waters meet create a kayak fisherman’s paradise. Slip your ’yak into Scipio Creek at the mouth of The Apalachicola River, paddle up the marsh and catch bass, trout and reds all in the same trip. Throw it in the Gulf of Mexico off of St. George Island and bag some pompano for the table; you can do both in the same day! You don’t have to be an expert kayaker to enjoy a day gliding across these pristine waters to cast for world-class fish or simply take in the amazing scenery; you don’t even have to own one. Places like Island Outfitters and Journeys have them for rent. Advice on how to catch what’s biting is always free, and they have all the gear you need for a successful day of fishing or just paddling. The fall version of the Apalachicola Paddle Jam festival will be held Oct. 6-8 in Apalachicola and on St. George Island. This threeday festival celebrates the Forgotten Coast through paddlesports, music and food, with events happening at various locations in Apalachicola and St. George Island. The highlight of the event will be an attempt by paddlers to break the world record for the largest floating kayak raft. For those with a competitive fishing edge, there will be a kayak fishing tournament. This event promises to be huge fun! If you’ve never experienced the peace and joy that kayaking can bring, add this to your bucket list and give it a go. There’s a reason this sport is growing so rapidly… it’s a blast, and this area is a kayaker’s paradise! Franklin County features multiple kayak and boat rental options. For a complete list of rentals, charters and supplies, visit

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By CAM Staff

T

he excitement is evident in Capt. Dallas Hopper’s voice when he starts rattling off the options for fall out of Key Largo. Coming off tremendous summer days with huge numbers of mahi-mahi, things begin to change up a little in September. The mahi are still there for the taking, but there are a few other bites that kick off this time of year. Dallas runs Fantastic II Charters with his father Capt. Justin Hopper. And while tourist traffic begins to fall off this time of year, the fishing only gets better. The weather in the keys is still gorgeous, and the seas are typically calm. Even beneath the surface, currents tend to drop off a little in early fall, which makes it one of the best times to head offshore to do some deep dropping. Out of Key Largo, it’s only about a 13-mile run to reach deep-water ledges from 300 to 600 feet deep. Using electric reels, or hand cranks for Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 8/1/14 1:14 1 those who want to test their mettle,1 dropping baitPM to Page the bottom is a fun way to load the boxes with delicious fish for the dinner table. The regular

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targets are porgi, vermillion snapper, yellow eye snapper and big snowy grouper. It’s a regular stop on Fantastic II trips when clients want to fill a cooler. “It can be red hot,” Dallas said. “When you’ve marked the fish, the rig barely has time to hit the bottom.” Blackfin tuna are another staple the Fantastic II counts on this time of year. They begin showing up in September on the humps and ledges as well as on the edges of the reefs in 200 to 400 feet of water. “They are an all-around great fish,” Dallas said. They taste good, they fight hard and they’re easy to catch.” Some days trolling big spreads of small lures on light tackle can lead to unbelievable action. Other days the best tactic is to drift and chum them up on the humps. These hard-fighting fish range from 2-pound footballs up to powerful 40-pounders, so anglers are often surprised to find themselves in epic battles on light tackle. Another surprise that might show up in mid to late September is wahoo. When trolling, the Fantastic II likes to pull a varied the spread that will tempt any fish that might be in the area. A ballyhoo on wire with a trolling weight is the ticket for picking up any wahoo that might be lurking. There’s nothing like a big ’hoo to make a good day great… except maybe sailfish showering bait. “It’s not uncommon to run into them crashing ballyhoo on the edge of the reef when we’re headed in or headed out,” Dallas said. Obviously a sight like that calls for an immediate change of plans. The sails show up like clockwork in mid to late September, and the bite gets better as the fall progresses. The Fantastic II guarantees fish. Find them online at charterkeylargo. com, or call 305-514-0211.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


See grown men cry.

From gill-rattling, fly-dispatching brawls in the backcountry to hook-straightening tugs of war offshore, Key Largo will put your spirit and your line to the test. And with tuna, mahi-mahi and muttons ocean side and cagey tarpon, permit and snook in Florida Bay and the Everglades, your fish rag just might turn into a crying towel. fla-keys.com/keylargo 1.800.822.1088 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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MCTKL-2941 Coastal Angler LO1 • September 2017

SEPTEMBER 2017

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Make reel memories.

By Chris Beardsley

T

Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways, natural environment and opportunity for diverse catches make it a mecca for fishermen and nautical explorers year-round. An array of unique shops, fine restaurants, great golf courses and quiet beaches make a day ashore fun, too. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

Plan your trip at discovermartin.com 18

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he spotted seatrout goes by many names including speckled trout, speckled, gator or just speck. Regardless of its colloquial tag, it can be found along the Atlantic coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Interestingly, spotted or speckled seatrout belong to the drum family and can be caught in the same general areas as their red and black cousins. Additionally, their willingness to hit on a variety of baits and the fact that they are excellent table fare makes the speckled trout a fan favorite. Just like their redfish relatives, speckled trout love flashy lures, but live shrimp rank high on the list of baits. Late spring and early summer, a Carolina or drop rig with a live shrimp or grunt is a simple and effective method for catching them in the surf, bays and estuaries. As summer progresses and water temperatures rise, lures and shrimp are still great but best fished during early morning hours. When the bite becomes less predictable, sometimes a complete change of tactics is required. A Doc’s Goofy Jig or similar offering can be productive, albeit a bit unorthodox. And just like fishing for pompano, I’ve found that tipping the jig with a shrimp head or tail and bouncing it off the bottom will coax even the most finicky fish into biting. Late summer, which includes September in most places seatrout live, requires a change in tactics once again, as warm water temperatures drive fish into deeper pockets. Look for holes or deeper ledges in the grass flats, and don’t overlook the drop-offs past the sandbars in the surf. A lazily retrieved gold spoon or Gotcha worked around shell beds will certainly catch fish, but keeping your lures away from the magnetic pull of the sharpest oysters is always the trick. When fishing spoons, the key is to reel just fast enough to make it wobble, then let it sink and bounce it off the bottom to kick up a little sand. Adding some action to your retrieve mimics a wounded baitfish or virtually anything edible that should probably be eaten. This is where a live shrimp or DOA suspended below a popping cork or float really shines. Use just enough weight that will allow the shrimp to swim or drift naturally. Ultimately, the fish will be where they are most comfortable. Fishing the flats during early morning hours is your best option, while targeting the deeper water edges later will be more productive. Getting into these areas undetected can make all the difference. Stealth is critical in the shallows, and a kayak allows you access to very skinny water virtually undetected. Additionally, a kayak is a slick addition to your fishing arsenal and is a fun way to get into areas where others might not venture. If you’re looking to try kayak fishing, a great place to start is Island Outfitters (www.sgioutfitters.com) on St. George Island, Fla. They are an authorized Hobie dealer with over 40 years experience with the gear, tackle and expertise to get you started.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


By Patrick Sebile

S

easons roll through one after another in the nature’s cycle. When we are in winter, we are thinking and wishing for the summer to come. Looking forward, dreaming ahead, planning for the next fishing season or for another trip in our beloved golden hole. The hot days of summer offer action in and out of the water, with holidays and vacations for many. Much has been said and written, and countless songs celebrate the summer. Indeed, summer is nice and I enjoy it, but it is just the precursor for what truly is the very best fishing season of the year, for many fish species, in many areas, in both freshwater and saltwater across North America. That season is now. Starting in September, going strong through October and into November, we anglers experience

the core of the core, the heart of the heart, of the fishing season. For many fish species, fall is the time to eat heavily and get fat to prepare for the sparse winter to come, because right after winter comes the spawning season for most. While cold winter water might lead to lethargy for some species, those that spawn in spring require the energy reserves to produce eggs and sperm. This takes a lot energy, so they must feed heavily in the fall, and take every opportunity to fill their stomachs. It’s a fantastic opportunity for anglers to cast lures or bait to fish that are more concerned with their next snack than anything else. In my homewaters on the Florida shoreline, snook and tarpon will be feeding ravenously on scads of mullet during the famous mullet run. At the same time, walleye will be raiding schools of minnows along the shorelines of a lake in Wisconsin. In Texas, largemouth bass will be ready for any chance to swallow a crawdad lurking around logs in a reservoir. Fat stripers will boil on bunker in their fleeing dance somewhere between the mainland and Cuttyhunk Island in Massachusetts, and calico bass will be involved in a mass killing baitfish along the California kelp lines. And this list could go on and on for countless species and fisheries across the continent. If I were able to build a year for fishing on my own terms, I would make six months just like September, six months like October, and I would add in a glimpse of November. I know this doesn’t add up to 12 months, but let me just dream. My perfect fishing year would mean it would now and forever be the best time of year. But enough of that, I need to take my hands from this keyboard and grab my rods. I suggest you do the same. The short window that is the best time of year has already begun.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

FLORIDA

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FWC Photo

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ach summer, biologists assess bay scallop populations along the Gulf coast of Florida, in open and closed recreational harvest areas from Pine Island Sound to St. Andrews Bay through adult population surveys. Scientists look at long-term trends in the abundance of scallops and present those findings to the Division of Marine Fisheries Management. Tracking the bay scallop population long term can be particularly tricky. With limited time to cover all of the state’s bay scallop habitats, molluscan fisheries biologists with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute are turning to other people who know a thing or two about scallops: recreational harvesters. Information they provide will be compiled to complement the researchers’ annual population data. If you’re a recreational harvester, become a citizen scientist by filling out the online abundance survey found at myfwc.com.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


By Steve Daniel

H

ow many times have you gotten up early to be the first boat on the lake, and then motor to your favorite spot in pitch darkness only to find the bass won’t even think about biting until daylight? Even if the fish don’t bite in the darkness, you still need to be there very early to catch as much of that early bite as possible. The same thing happens when you fish late in the evenings. The fish can be eating the paint off your baits, but when the sun is gone and the lake is in total darkness the bite stops just as abruptly as it started just before the sun went down. What is up with this? Is Okeechobee really that bad of a night-fishing lake. When I lived in Tennessee, we did a lot of night fishing in the summer, and it was great. Here on the Big O, the dif-

ference is we are usually fishing very shallow grassy water. In the daylight, all that grass is producing oxygen. When the light goes out, photosynthesis does not occur, and it seems just like the whole lake just goes to sleep. Now this is not to say that you can’t catch bass at night, but the shallow grassy areas are probably not the places you need to be fishing. The river or rim canals, or maybe the deep dynamite holes, might be a better option because these places don’t have all that grass pumping out oxygen all day long. Here is another observation: How many times have you been catching fish just before a storm and when the rains came the fish stopped biting? This has happened to me many times on Okeechobee, and I never really understood why. When I have a question that I don’t have the answer to, I go the experts. My friend Butch, who has done a lot of research on the effects of rainfall, asked me this, “just what is rain?” Rain is highly oxygenated water and is usually a lot colder than the water in the lake. When all this cold water falls in bucket loads on the warm lake water, it falls quickly to the bottom of the lake. Just what this does to the fish, I don’t know, the only thing I do know is the bite usually stops. There are a lot of things that we know and understand about our lakes and the fish we are trying to catch, but it is all the things we don’t know that make fishing the challenging sport it is. We never stop trying to figure out Mother Nature, but there will always be things we will never know. An Extremely successful professional bass tournament angler, Steve Daniel is a 30-plus-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 at stevedaniel84@yahoo.com or 239-560-2704.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

FLORIDA

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Photo courtesy of Show Me The Fish Charters

T

he University of Florida’s Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences program has ongoing several research projects studying the seasonal pattern and rates of movement of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico. Of particular interest is to determine the mixing rate of the Gulf stock with the South Atlantic stock, especially in known spawning areas off southern Florida. As a part of the study, greater amberjacks in the Gulf of Mexico are being tagged from southern Florida to the Louisiana coast. Fish are tagged on their left side with an external yellow anchor tag, and anglers are strongly encouraged to report the catch of any tagged fish. Information on the tags include a four-digit tag number as well as a web address and phone number to call and report catches. Information critical to the research is the date, time and location of capture. Exact GPS coordinates are very helpful, and to protect people’s honey holes, those numbers will not be released. Also important, to measure growth rate, is a fork length measurement accurate to 1/8 of an inch. Other helpful information the angler can collect is the weight and sex of the fish as well as the depth it was caught at, the gear that was used and the condition of the fish, particularly around the tag site. Information on fisheries and the movement of fish benefits fisheries managers as well as anglers. If you catch a tagged fish, take the time to jot down the information and report it.

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Catch a Florida Memory With 10-Year-Old Katlyn Paul

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ummer might be coming to a close, but for 10-year-old Katlyn Paul, this summer was one she’ll never forget. Katlyn submitted 10 different species to the 71-species Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Saltwater Fish Life List, one of three of FWC’s Catch a Florida Memory Saltwater Recognition programs. This qualified her for the first tier of the Saltwater Fish Life List Club. Shortly after, she also submitted a gray triggerfish to the Saltwater Reel Big Fish program, becoming the first angler to qualify for this species. In recognition of her efforts, she received FWC Catch a Florida Memory prize packs including T-shirts and certificates for each achievement. She will also receive two entries into a quarterly raffle drawing for fishing gear such as rods, reels and landing nets. Katlyn’s love of the water runs deep, and working on her life list is more about the experience than the recognition. “It’s really cool to go out with friends and see what’s out there,” Katlyn said. “It’s fun to see the water react,” referring to the varying sea conditions and changes in water coloration of nearby St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Katlyn caught her first fish, a gag grouper, when she was just three, and she was hooked. Today, she is still going strong, enjoying quality time with her dad, Devin, and getting to explore the marine environment around her. She’s even expressed an interest in pursuing a career in marine biology, following her passion to explore the unknown creatures of the deep. The Saltwater Fish Life List was developed as one way to encourage anglers to target a diversity of species, and according to Devin, that’s exactly what the life list has done for his family. “We’re chasing species that we wouldn’t go for otherwise; species that I haven’t fished for in years,” he said. To date, Katlyn has crossed spotted seatrout, ladyfish, dolphinfish, black sea bass, gag grouper, gray snapper, red drum, red snapper, Spanish mackerel and hardhead catfish off of her life list. Since she submitted her 10-fish application to the Saltwater Angler Recognition Program, she has also added a lane snapper, greater amberjack and her Saltwater Reel Big Fish qualifying gray triggerfish to her list of accomplishments. Can you catch up with Katlyn? Join her in participating not only in the Saltwater Fish Life List Club program, but also the FWC’s two other Saltwater Angler Recognition programs: Saltwater Reel Big Fish, which celebrates memorable-sized catches, and Saltwater Grand Slams, which awards anglers for catching three different specified species within a 24-hour period. You can also keep track of Katlyn’s pursuits on the Catch a Florida Memory Facebook page, Facebook.com/CatchaFLMemory. For more information visit CatchaFloridaMemory.com. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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By CAM Staff

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ver on the Suwannee River, there are so many sturgeon that boaters have to worry about colliding with them when they leap from the water. They are much more rare across the peninsula and farther south. That’s why Alex Gianniny, of Fort Pierce, was so surprised when he was called to identify another angler’s catch and found it was a big Atlantic Sturgeon. The fish was revived and released. Gianniny’s discovery happened last summer at Taylor Creek in Fort Pierce. This spring and summer, there have been at least a couple more sturgeon encounters in the same region. An angler caught and released one from the same Taylor Creek spillway in July. In April, a dead sturgeon washed up behind a home on the St. Lucie River in Palm City. Sturgeon are anadromous, which means they spend most of their time in saltwater and move into freshwater to spawn. They can live as long as 25 years and grow up to 300 pounds sucking up mollusks and other small bottom-dwelling critters. For this reason, sturgeon are rarely caught by anglers. They are encountered more frequently farther north but are very rare in south Florida. So, while catches of Atlantic sturgeon are rare, they do occur. Anglers should know that all three species of sturgeon in Florida—Gulf, Atlantic and shortnose—are protected from harvest by state and federal law. If you are lucky enough to accidentally catch one, enjoy the fight, but handle the fish with care and release it immediately.

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FRESHWATER

Spectacular Salmon Season is On! By Frank Geremski

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ake Ontario consistently produces some of the best Great Lakes salmon catches, and this year’s fishing has been nothing short of spectacular. Significant early summer rains brought high water, which stimulated a feeding frenzy for giant king salmon. Recent summers have endured dry weather, low water and thinner salmon runs. Both lake and river health was questioned during these dry years, but cool and plentiful rains have done wonders for this fishery. It’s prime time to tangle with beasts that have been tipping the scales over 30 pounds! The experts are excited about lake and river conditions in New York’s Oswego County, holder of 12 New York state and world records. Bob Mallory is an expert on Lake Ontario and Oswego Harbor, where he pursues his passion for trout and salmon. Here are Bob’s thoughts on the 2017 Salmon Season: “Fishing in the lake out of the port of Oswego has Tom Fernandez of The continued to get better every Tailwater Lodge with a trophy week as the season has proearly season King Salmon! gressed. The number of fish being hooked and caught right now is nothing short of amazing and points to a great river season. Trolling in the lake with downriggers and Dipsy Divers with flashers and flies has been my go-to method. In low light conditions, white eChip flashers with A-Tom-Mik Hammer flies is producing. In overcast conditions, try greens; brighter days favor chrome and Mountain Dew colors. As fish get closer to the pier head, J-plugs will produce.” Tom Fernandez and the team at The Tailwater Lodge on New York’s Salmon River have developed a premier fishing resort. Huge salmon can attract a crowd when they blast up shallow runs and riffles on this picturesque river. The Tailwater’s 35 acres of private access solves that issue, and they provide a top-notch fishing concierge service. Tom is looking forward to an early salmon season with these words: “As the nights get colder in Altmar, we can only think about one thing, trophy king salmon exploding outside our back door in the Schoolhouse Pool. This year we are expecting the run to start earlier than we have seen in the past few years, with kings and cohos in the river system from September through October until we get deep into steelhead season. The high levels of Lake Ontario, the consistent good flow through the Salmon River and fish staging outside Oswego and Mexico Point have all the necessary ingredients for one heck of a salmon season. If I were looking for a time to experience the trophy fish on the Salmon River with thinner crowds, warmer temps and explosive fish, I would think about making the early run this year.” To truly experience the salmon spawning process and have a great adventure with the family, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, N.Y. will hold their annual open house Sept. 23, where you can view the complete spawning cycle. To learn more about Oswego County fishing, go to www.visitoswegocounty/fishing.com. Phil Belsito of The Angler Magazine of West Michigan said Lake Michigan fish are large and plentiful also. Go to www.theanglermag.com, then select Great Lakes Region for reports from both Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario.

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he quick answer to this question is “probably not.” The ideal lens for the visual rigors of hunting is an amber lens, sometimes referred to as a copper lens. Not to make this more complicated than it needs to be, but a green lens is sometimes referred to as a G-15 or gray lens. Depending on the time of day and sun coverage, the gray (green) lens may also be a preferred option for hunting. As a hunter, I prefer the low-light sensitive amber lens. The majority of my opportunities seem to come either during the early morning or late afternoon to dusk windows, when light enhancement is preferable to light dispersal. The requirements of your fishing sunglasses are starkly different than your hunting glasses. Looking deep into the water is directly in contrast to seeing long range with limited light. Selecting the perfect hunting sunglasses normally takes a bit of trial and error. My best advice when selecting a new pair of hunting sunglasses is to purchase them from a dealer with a liberal return policy. Finding your best fit and lens requires a little work, but once you find your perfect pair you will find that they improve and enhance your hunting experience. If you need any further advice on selecting your perfect hunting lens, always feel free to contact me or anyone here at Fowler’s. We know sunglasses. Fowler’s Pharmacy, 864-288-5905; 864-288-5920

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Photo Courtesy of Jenny Lee Sportfishing/Facebook

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n late July, the attention of national news media turned briefly to a huge mako shark caught off the coast of New Jersey. The 12-foot-long, 926-pound shortfin mako outweighed the current state record by 70 pounds, but because the rod passed hands during the fight it will not be officially recognized as a new record. The big shark broke a rod in the fight to bring it aboard the 44-foot charter boat Jenny Lee, captained by Dave Bender. It happened during an overnight charter, drifting in 1,500 feet of water 100-miles out of Manasquan Inlet near the famous Hudson Canyon. Shortly after excitement began to fizzle over this great catch, information was released on a new tagging study that suggests shortfin mako sharks might be experiencing overfishing in the western North Atlantic. Researchers from Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), the University of Rhode Island and other colleagues followed 40 satellite-tagged sharks in real time and 12 of them, or 30 percent, were captured in fisheries. This information suggests the fishing mortality rates of shortfin mako sharks might be considerably higher than previously estimated using catches reported by fishermen, according to the press release. And despite their small sample size, researchers questioned the reliability of traditional data collection methods and expressed a serious concern over whether the current level of fishery catches for shortfin makos in the North Atlantic are sustainable.

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FLY FISHING

Lefty’s Deceiver By Carlos Hidalgo

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lthough he would deny it, Lefty Kreh is a legend. With great knowledge (he has authored or co-authored over 30 books and hundreds of magazine articles), boundless energy (he has performed countless lectures and casting demonstrations over the last 60+ years), down-home humor (a dumb person would “pick up a snake to kill a stick”), and showmanship (at casting demos, he finds a pretty woman and makes a cast that curls the fly line around her neck), Lefty has done more to popularize fly fishing than any other person in the last century. He has fished with Fidel Castro, Ted Williams and Ernest Hemmingway, but he hasn’t just witnessed fly fishing history, he has created it. His innovative fly casting techniques are used by millions of us today. Oh yeah, he also developed Lefty’s Deceiver, the best fly pattern ever devised. Lefty tied the first Deceiver during the late 1950s. He wanted a fly that was easy to cast, didn’t foul, looked like a baitfish and had great action in the water. The pattern can be easily described: a tail made up of several matching hackle or saddle feathers with a bucktail collar. Add flash material to either or both, eyes to

the head and some type of red material for the throat, as needed. The hook shank beneath the collar (the body) can be wrapped with the tying thread or a flashy material, like mylar tinsel or Diamond Braid. By the way, Lefty says the key to the pattern is to tie the collar at least as long as the rear of the hook, which keeps the hackle tail from wrapping around the hook. In appropriate sizes and colors, Lefty’s pattern has deceived just about every fish that swims, from four-inch bream to 400-pound billfish. Lefty’s Deceiver has even graced a U.S. Postal stamp. Lefty’s favorite Deceiver colors are chartreuse/white and yellow/ chartreuse. I tie them in many sizes and colors, and my favorite is tied in a Firetiger color scheme. This color works very well for many saltwater fish in sizes 1/0 to 3/0. It has also been very successful for me for peacock bass and largemouth bass in south Florida in size 2. I imagine smallies would jump all over it, too. Lefty’s Deceiver (Firetiger) Hook - Mustad 34007 or similar, size 2 to 3/0 Thread - fluorescent yellow Tail - two yellow and one yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with yellow Krystal Flash Body - yellow thread or Diamond Braid Collar - yellow bucktail with yellow Krystal flash and a small yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with green Krystal Flash and green bucktail Throat - orange bucktail, as long as the collar Head - fluorescent yellow, with painted orange/black eye, covered with five-minute epoxy Contact Carlos at cah6620@gmail.com to submit a pattern for consideration in this column or to order his book, “South Florida’s Peacock Bass.”

By John Rice

This is a simple tie and a very effective pattern for trout everywhere. Soft hackles are basically emerger patterns. They do not belong on the streambed like nymphs, so this fly should be dropped a foot or so off a nymph so it can suspend itself higher in the water column where an emerger belongs. Thread: 8/0 olive Abdomen: Olive goose biot Thorax: Tan superfine dubbing Hackle: Hungarian partridge Head: 8/0 Olive thread Hook: 1X long, size 18 Tiemco 3761 John Rice guides with Blackhawk Fly Fishing, which offers exceptional fishing for trophy trout in the north Georgia mountains. Contact john at jriceflyfishing@ gmail.com.

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UNDER THE SEA

before harvesting. Along with a closed mating season, this should keep the lobster population stable. 2. Mating season begins in the spring. Lobsters can be observed walking out of their holes in search of a mate, and males can be seen sparring for a lady’s affection. Mating season ends around August, here are a few good things about the fall season though egg-bearing females can be seen yearbesides cooler weather; one of them round. is the beginning of lobster season! 3. Males have proportionately larger legs and I dove with a commercial lobsterman for carapace, and females have a larger tail and extra a few years, and he was like a kid waiting pinchers on the abdomen to hold the eggs. for Santa. Teaming up with someone that Lobster tips from the master: knew where the good spots were gave me the 1. Let some air out of your BC, get your opportunity to spear some nice fish, but it buoyancy under control, and plant your knees in also gave me the opportunity to learn some the sand in front of the lobster. Your butt should tricks of the trade by watching a master not be up in the air! lobsterman at work. 2. Take your time and do not spook them. He First and foremost, you must learn said, “Lobsters are like cattle, you can herd them how to find lobsters. Fortunately, the same wherever you want, as long as you take your time.” territory that tends to hold fish life is also 3. The most common methods are the net good for lobstering. That is because life and tickle stick or looper, but there are some attracts life. When I was scuba diving beside interesting variations on the market now. Become Sheri Daye and Dave Earp display the results him and would see him approach an area of good at all of them, as some tools are better than of solid teamwork. the reef holding a school of fish fry, I knew others in certain situations. his senses were on high alert, and I’d start 4. When using a tickle stick, use aluminum looking for fish. Invariably, while he picked up instead of plastic. Lobsters do not respond as well a lobster or two, I would see a desirable fish. to plastic. Over the years, we honed the most efficient method for hunting as a 5. Be careful not to touch the antennas. Tap or nudge a lobster from buddy team. He focused on lobsters while I did all the spearfishing. He behind to move it into position and put the net over it. Measure the would tow the flag, which meant I could be faster and more streamlined carapace, check for eggs (by the way, extra skittish lobsters often have in the water while going after fish. We drifted with the current, parallel to eggs), then place in your catch bag, and enjoy your dinner! the reef, side-by-side. If he missed seeing a lobster, which was extremely Fall is in the air. Happy hunting! rare, I would bang my tank to alert him, and he would do the same with fish. Over the years, we became the best of friends and a formidable Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer hunting team. of The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow Lobster fun facts: “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram. 1. Lobsters reach sexual maturity in two to three years when the carapace is a little longer than 3 inches. Florida law requires a carapace For more Sheri Daye, go to to be longer than 3 inches, thus allowing lobsters a chance to reproduce

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