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

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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Venice, Louisiana:

A Paddler's Heaven

Local

Bass Pro

Mike Iaconelli

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

Talks Kayaks Inshore

PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF SCHNEIDER VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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

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The cover of this month’s Coastal Angler Venice, Louisiana: editions features a gorgeous Louisiana red A Paddler's caught by Kaku pro-staffer and Louisiana Heaven tuna captain Jeff Schneider while fishing from the deck of a Kahuna SUP. There is perhaps no better place in the world to chase redfish from a paddle-powered boat Local Bass Pro Mike Iaconelli than Venice, Louisiana. Kaku’s president Talks Kayaks Inshore Kevin Hawkins tells us all about it in this issue. With thousands upon thousands of acres of marshland situated around the mouth of the Mississippi Delta, it is a paradise for inshore species and the anglers who target them. There are so many options for kayak and paddleboard anglers around Venice. They range from mothership trips out in the Gulf of Mexico for big cobia, jacks and bull reds to easier hand-launch expeditions off the side of the road in Venice, where marsh ponds and canals in tall grass make it easier to find fishing out of the wind. No matter where or how one decides to deploy a little plastic boat in the waters around the Delta, the fishing will be fantastic. It truly is heaven for anglers under paddle power.

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Bass Pro Mike Iaconelli: Down Off The Deck

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Professional bass tournament angler and Mike Iaconelli TV personality Mike Iaconelli is one of the most recognized anglers in the world. The 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion and 2006 Make New Lures Angler of the Year, “Ike” can claim to have won Confidence Lures Local almost every major award in professional bass fishing. But he’s also a self-described fish-head, who will fish anywhere, any way for anything that will pull on the other end of a line. It’s fitting that the rig pulling his stateof-the-art Bass Cat boat also has a Hobie kayak strapped to the roof for quick and easy, on-the-spot fun fishing. In this month’s magazine, Ike tells us about his love of kayak fishing in a question-and-answer session that delves into some of the tools and techniques he uses inshore. Ike is one of the best bass fishermen in the world, and his tournament skills translate well to saltwater. The cover of this month’s The Angler Magazines is of “Ike” with a good redfish caught while filming for his TV show “Going Ike” in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. We interviewed him in the run-up to this year’s Bassmaster Classic, and taking a moment to talk kayaks seemed a breathe of fresh air for him during crunch time. Talks Kayaks Inshore

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Kayakin’ The Spring

By Patrick Sebile

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ife is getting vibrant. Things are warming up, and spring is here. As a ritual long established, I feel the need to be close to nature. And to me there’s no better way to experience the feeling of life awakening than riding a kayak with a rod in my hand. I have fished and guided from all kinds of boats, from small skiffs to majestic deep-sea vessels, but a small plastic shell puts me right next to the fish, my hands always a few inches from the water’s surface. It’s not a money matter, as I own boats. Perhaps it is the challenge? I definitively spend more time each year fishing from my skiff or bass boat, and surely catch more fish from these boats. They are true fishing machines, helping me cover lots of water to find fish. And they can carry all the gear necessary for any situation. On my kayak, I have to think effectively about what my needs are and carefully consider every single thing I will bring onboard. It’s a good way to find the balance between needs and wants. So how do I fish while kayaking? In freshwater and saltwater, my approach is to slowly and surely cover every spot. In a kayak, I am much more aware of, and more capable of, targeting the places where fish hide. Superbly silent, my Pro Angler carries me at the edge of two worlds, above the surface where we

live and the liquid world, which holds the object of all our passions. My kayak tackle boxes have a variety of carefully selected key lures that will help in different situations and environments, nothing more than what I will need. I carry Magic Swimmers, hard for open water and soft for heavy cover and structure. A Flatt Shad snagless is effective in both open and snaggy areas. Twitch baits like the Stick Shadd definitely go into my box, as they are needed if fish are active. A handful of plastic worms, a couple of bucktails, and then a topwater or a pivot frog will complete this set to fish from a ’yak. Seated just above the water, gliding silently with gentle movements of my feet on the pedals, rod in hand and with eyes searching, I use the smooth approach to get as close as I can to the spot or to the fish. Then all that’s left is a short but accurate cast. Proximity also gives me greater enjoyment of seeing the fish and seeing it bite. That’s why I love kayak fishing this time of the year. And you never know; I may let my lures sit in the tackle box and simply hook a shiner or a shrimp and let it swim. Or maybe I won’t even do a thing, just watch the water and the life that surrounds it—just enjoy life… and a kayak ride. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

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Mike Iaconelli Talks Kayaks And Redfish

Editor Nick Carter had the chance to interview professional bass angler Mike Iaconelli just before the Bassmaster Classic. We didn’t want to jinx Ike by talking about the Classic, so we asked the Hobie pro about his love of kayak fishing.

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hat’s the appeal in stepping down from the deck of a bass boat into a kayak? Ike: Growing up in southern New Jersey, I consider myself a small-boat angler first. Many of my early childhood experiences fishing involved fishing from the bank, rowing a small jonboat or paddling a canoe. Kayak fishing fills a huge niche in my fishing life. Outside of competitive bass tournament fishing, I’m still a huge fish head. That means fishing for all freshwater and saltwater species in my down time. When I’m fun fishing or filming for TV shows, I love to access remote places that I can’t get into with my full size bass boat. Kayak fishing is also a HUGE breath of fresh air to leave behind the big boat and all of the time and preparation that go along with launching and running that boat. With your tournament schedule, do you get to spend much time on the salt? Ike: I definitely try to go inshore and offshore fishing each fall when the tournament season concludes. This past fall, I spent a week in Port Fourchon, Louisiana hanging out at Hobie Worlds 6 and filming a kayak fishing episode for season two of my TV show, Going Ike, which premiers this spring on the Pursuit Channel! I had a great time catching big redfish and trout, plus it was awesome meeting the Hobie World Championship competitors from all over the world who love fishing as much as I do. I also had a chance to go offshore fishing with my buddy Ish Monroe in San Francisco during November. We were mainly targeting lingcod, and it was an amazing day of fishing! Where do you put your kayak in and what do you fish for in New Jersey? Ike: I mostly fish the small lake behind my house, which has largemouth bass, northern chain pickerel, crappie and sunfish. My son, Vegas, got a brand new Hobie kayak from Santa for Christmas this year. The fish in our lake better watch out this summer! I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family and pursuing exciting new fishing adventures. How do redfish compare to “green fish?” Ike: Anyone who has caught a big redfish would agree that they are definitely more powerful and are a very aggressive fish in general. One of my favorite things about targeting redfish is that most of the time I can focus on shallow-water power-fishing techniques and search for active, feeding reds. With the “green fish,” there are a lot of times that I have to slow down and present a bait to them slowly such as with a jig, worm or finesse fishing.

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What skills, techniques and gear from your bass arsenal translate well to inshore? Ike: Casting accuracy/ presentation, reading tides and powerfishing techniques are the first three that come to my mind. Often when I’m inshore fishing, I am targeting fish that are relating to a grass edge or current break. If I can make accurate, quiet casts, there’s a good chance I’m going to catch more fish! Having grown up fishing the Delaware River, which can have up to a 7-foot tide swing between low and high tides, I’ve spent much of my life learning how fish position based on the tide level and current. This experience translates extremely well to inshore fishing…. I bring a lot of traditional power-fishing gear that you’d also find in my Bass Cat boat when I’m fishing for bass: Abu Garcia “Ike” Series Rods, Berkley Trilene braided/ monofilament/ fluorocarbon fishing lines, Rapala Skitter Walk and Skitter V topwaters, VMC jigheads, and Berkley Powerbait and Gulp swimbaits, grubs, and more soft plastics. How is your Hobie rigged out? Ike: I have a Power Pole Micro Anchor to stop the kayak on a dime. This is a very crucial piece of equipment, which allows me to quickly stop and fish an area without the kayak drifting with the current or wind. This is huge when you are fishing specific targets such as points, current breaks, laydowns, docks and more. I also have a Lowrance HDS 9 Touch unit, a storage crate for my Flambeau Zerust tackle boxes and tackle bags, landing net, rod holders, and of course, Hobie’s Mirage Drive pedals so I can keep my hands fishing instead of paddling! Electronics play a huge role on the bass tournament scene, what’re your thoughts on electronics in kayaks? Ike: Electronics play just as huge of a role in kayak fishing. I really use it the same as with my Bass Cat boat! As I just mentioned, I run a Lowrance HDS 9 Touch unit on my Hobie for its GPS/ sonar abilities. I rely heavily on the information I can gather from the Lowrance such as mapping/ bottom contours, reading the water temperature, and using the sonar for locating fish, cover and structure to name a few. I may mount a Hydrowave on the Hobie as well soon. It’s another great innovation in electronics, and I use it often in my boat to fire up fish. I’m always interested in adding tools to my boat or kayak that help me catch more fish!

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By Nick Carter - Photos Courtesy of Kaku

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f there’s a heaven for folks who fish from paddle-powered boats, it must look a lot like Venice, Louisiana. This narrow spit of marshland at the Mississippi River Delta is a maze of canals and bays that flush into the Gulf of Mexico with fecundity born of joining waters. Channels and marsh ponds tucked into thousands of acres of wetlands make it the perfect habitat for redfish, seatrout, flounder and other species. It’s like the landscape was designed for fishing and exploring with a paddle. Kevin Hawkins was born and raised in Tarpon Springs, Fla. He is the president of Kaku Kayaks & Paddleboards but calls himself the company’s chief pro-staffer. He prides himself on the amount of fishing he does and designs his boats on experience. Venice is one of his favorite testing grounds. Whether its launching roadside into the marsh, a trip outside the pass from remote Port Eads or a mothership expedition to the Gulf ’s famous oil rigs, it’s the perfect setting to test his boats. It doesn’t hurt that the fishing is awesome. When the seas aren’t too rough, there’s no adventure quite like a mothership trip out to the oilrigs in search of cobia, kingfish and bull reds. Kaku pro-staffer Capt. Jeff Schneider is also a tuna captain who runs a 36-foot Contender when he’s not paddling a small plastic boat. With kayaks loaded, it’s about an hour and a half run from Venice Marina out to 50-foot-deep rigs in West Bay. Hawkins described a day he fished with Schneider, and although the primary target was cobia, a big 45-inch redfish was the highlight. Armed with big 5000 reels and 40- to 50-pound tackle, they dropped Kaku Wahoo kayaks into 2- to 3-foot seas. Even on the stable fishing platform, Hawkins said it might have been a bit much for new paddlers. For a veteran it was fun. “It’s awesome, man. I love paddling a good kayak in that stuff and busting over big waves,” said Hawkins. “When it gets rough like that, it’s fun.” They fished a series of four or five structures linked by a bridge, which gave space to paddle around and explore. Hawkins said he paddled right up to the corner of a pier, dropped his jig straight down and began back paddling before jigging. That’s when the big bull red ate. “When you’re in the shallows and they pull you around, they call that the Cajun sleigh ride,” Hawkins said. “When you’re in deep water like that, he heads straight down. He was pulling me, and that kayak was smashing straight down on those waves. It was pretty intense.” Invariably, fish seek something to wrap the line around, and only by kicking off a beam was Hawkins able to keep himself from going

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under the rig and losing the fish. He gave a piece of advice for battling big fish from a kayak in deep water. “Keep the tip of the rod toward the front of the boat,” he said. “When the rod goes to the side, that’s when you run the risk of flipping.” If an open-water mothership trip seems a little much, Port Eads sits on the southernmost tip of Louisiana, right at the end of the Mississippi River. It’s only accessible by boat, and reasonable prices buy lodging and good meals. Also known as South Pass, the location is a few minutes paddle from the open Gulf and offers excellent fishing for big jacks, reds, cobia, blacktip sharks and any number of other species big enough to warrant medium-heavy rods, 3000 to 4000 reels and 30- to 40-pound-test lines. Hawkins likes artificials and prefers Slayer Inc.’s Sinister Swim Tail rigged on a 4/0 jig head. For him, sinking bait outside the pass would detract from the reason he fishes from kayaks and SUPs in the first place. “Kayaks are about stalking and hunting the fish,” he said. “You’ve got to use your instincts to find them. I don’t like to just sit on a hole and fish bait.” It’s as much fun as you can have sitting down… or standing up if seas are calm enough for an SUP like Kaku’s Kahuna, which is specifically designed for fishing. But perhaps the best bet for calm waters is a third Venice option, to launch roadside. Highway 23 runs from New Orleans to Venice, and Tidewater Road is where the pavement ends. There are any number of places to hand-launch a kayak or paddleboard. Hawkins mentioned Yellow Cotton Bay as well as a series of marsh ponds and cuts at a circular canal known as The Pinwheel. Once you find fish off the grass edges, it’s probably the best inshore action in the world, and it’s easily accessible to paddlers. Popping cork rigs are a no-brainer, but Hawkins said once you get tired of catching scads of rat reds and trout, it’s time to switch to the paddletail rig he likes to fish outside the pass. “We’re looking for the big ones,” he said. “You’ve still got to be ready for the big ones. No matter where I am in Venice, I’ve got a 30-pound rig.” For more information on Kaku Kayaks & SUPs, see kakukayak. com.

To learn more about fishing from a Kahuna Paddleboard, go to

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The 12.5′ length of the Wahoo helps ensure stability. The Wahoo spans 33″ wide, great for fishing! Weighing only 74 lbs, the Wahoo is WWW.kakukayak.com lightweight, but incredibly stable. The Wahoo has a capacity of 400lbs.

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The Most Versatile Paddle Craft… Ever! The new Kahuna offers extreme stability, versatility and durability. Mount coolers, seats, storage boxes, rod holders and more to its rugged frame. It’s the first paddle craft of its kind to offer fully integrated mounting for the Micro Power Pole Shallow Water Anchor!

THE DAY’S BIG CATCH SHOULD BE YOUR ONLY FOCUS Insurance coverage through BoatU.S. makes for a great start to what could be an epic day of fishing. Our policies are designed with coverages custom-made for Anglers and include 24/7 claims service from boating experts. • Agreed Value Coverage for Your Boat, Engine(s) and Boating Equipment • Broad Cruising Areas • Charter and Guide Coverage Options Available • Coverage for Fishing Gear • Tournament Coverage • Water Towing and Roadside Assistance from TowBoatU.S. – the Nation’s Largest Fleet

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Paddlesports Product Review COVERALLS KAYAK COVER

CREEKKOOLER FLOATING COOLER

Who says kayak covers need to be bulky and thick? CoverAlls kayak covers deliver protection, strength and durability in a lightweight, tough material that keeps your kayak clean and dry year-round. Protect your kayak from nature and the elements. Prevent dirt, debris, pollen and leaves from piling up in the cockpit and seat. Block bugs and critters before they move in. Keep water out with material that’s not just water-resistant—it’s water-PROOF. Our covers are also UV-resistant to preserve your kayak’s hull and rigging from the sun’s damaging rays. Best of all, CoverAlls kayak covers are a breeze to use. They slip on quickly, draw closed with a single poly cord and cam lock—not zippers—and get snug with durable Velcro straps. There’s even a built-in red flag for transport. The cover slips off easily and stows neatly in an included compact stuff bag that even fits in most deck hatches. Spend more time with a rod and reel and less time with a hose and scrub brush. See how much better protection can be at www.coveralls.biz!

Space is always at a premium when you’re on the water in a paddle-powered vessel. Whether it’s a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, a lack of stowage often forces us to leave behind the things not absolutely necessary for the activity at hand. On a larger boat where there’s plenty of room, many anglers wouldn’t think of going fishing without a cooler full of iced-down beverages. With the new Creekkooler, those navigating under paddle power can have the same luxury. The Creekkooler is an innovative floating cooler designed with dual-wall construction and top-quality insulation to retain ice and keep things cold for extended periods. Its shape cuts through the water, limiting drag and allowing it to be pulled easily behind a boat. Creekkooler has a 30-quart capacity and will hold 30 12-ounce cans and 20 pounds of ice. It has four drink holders on deck and a 1/8-turn watertight lid that makes it a great tool for extra dry storage, too. Whether it’s for keeping drinks cold during a day on the water with buddies, packing in provisions for a multi-day float trip, or extra dry storage for the stuff you need but don’t have room in the boat for, Creekkooler is an innovative new product that will make your excursion under paddle power more comfortable.

WWW.COVERALLS.BIZ

KANOOLERPRODUCTS.COM

WHALEBACK PADDLEBOARDS TORTUGA

When I’m not in the studio or at the racetrack, I’m fishing. Every chance I get. I recently started SUP fishing, and the 12’6” Tortuga by Whaleback Paddleboards is a real game changer. At 12’6” x 34” x 10.5”, with twin pontoons, the stability is ridiculous. I can walk nose to tail and all around the rails to reel in fish from any direction. Its 3-inch side bite tracking fins allow me to squeeze into shallow flats, and its maneuverability and stability is great offshore as well. With a fullcoverage, water-resistant traction pad, the deck space is unmatched. And its 28 customizable

By Matt Nix, Racin’ Nation Radio

WWW.WHALEBACKPADDLEBOARDS.COM

JACKSON KAYAK KRAKEN 13.5

Jackson Kayak’s Kraken 13.5 is an all-new option for paddlers looking to tackle big water. Based on The Kraken 15.5 platform, the 13.5 sheds some length for more maneuverability but with all the punch of its big brother. This kayak, just like the original, is designed for the most challenging paddling environments and intended for the offshore and big-lake kayak angler. It’s a natural follow up to the first collaborative design between legendary kayak angler, Jim Sammons and Jackson Kayak’s design team led by Tony Lee. The new Kraken 13.5 is a boat shaped and built to accommodate those hitting the open water in a nimble, smaller footprint but still capable of big water management. It’s designed for punching through surf, handling rough offshore currents, swells, beach landings and those who desire ultimate performance and maneuverability. With more features than can be listed, Jackson has considered all the needs of bigwater anglers and packed them thoughtfully into this kayak. Its great-tracking hull has the speed to cover miles and the volume and storage to carry you and your gear comfortably on long outings. 16

inserts and deck tie downs let me rig up my YakAttack lean post, rod holders, GPS and paddle holder and still have room for the cooler, cup holder and lawn chair. Because let’s face it, nothing’s better than celebrating a good catch with a cold one. Whether you’re an experienced SUP fisherman or just getting started, the 12’6’ Tortuga is the board for you. It sets you up with everything you need. You just have to find the fish. All Whaleback boards are made in the USA. Visit www.whalebackpaddleboards.com or call 561-3361612 for a dealer near you.

PAU HANA BIG EZ ANGLER At 11 feet long and available in both 32 and 36 inches of width, Pau Hana’s Big EZ Angler is built to be stable, the perfect platform for fighting any game fish. This paddleboard is derived from the classic Big EZ, and is shaped to provide anglers the balance they need while remaining easy to maneuver in shallow water without disrupting fish underneath. It is lightweight at just over 30-pounds, which means it is easy to launch anywhere there’s a place to carry it to the water. It can be rigged up for any kind of fishing, can handle heavy loads and carry all the gear you need. With a soft and stylish deck and space in between the pieces for water drainage, the Angler comes pre-equipped with 25 multiple threaded mount attachment points using Pau Hana’s innovative SeaMount System. Coolers, tackle boxes, anchors, nets, rod holders, paddle clips, lights and anything else an angler needs can be easily mounted on deck. The Big EZ Angler is a real teak paddleboard with the capacity to carry everything an angler needs and provide a stable platform to fish from.

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Paddlesports Product Review RAM MOUNTING SYSTEMS Whether you are on a lake, stream, whitewater, inlet or ocean, kayaking is all about adaptability. RAM has created a complete line of rust-resistant mounting solutions for kayaks that allow anglers to mount items where they are needed. RAM Mounting systems offer the widest selection of kayak fishing accessories to adapt to a wide range of fishing scenarios. With a patented ball-and-socket design, RAM mounts allow anglers to mount almost anything at the perfect angle. This provides flexibility to mount equipment within reach, but out of the way. RAM’s kayak mounts and fishing accessories are rugged, compact, and have no sharp edges or points. All of our kayak mounts are backed by a lifetime warranty and are made in the USA. RAM mounts are the solution for mounting anything you might need on the water. A full line of rod holders covers everything from fly rods to conventional baitcasters and spinning rods of all sizes. Electronics, like fishfinders, chartplotters, phones, tablets and cameras can be mounted securely where they are needed. RAM even has a special system for mounting transducers for depthfinders. If there is something that needs to be mounted on a kayak, chances are RAM has thought of it and designed a product to hold it.

WWW.RAMMOUNT.COM

THE SKIMMER KAYAK MOTOR KIT Paddle fatigue getting to you? Want to motorize your kayak or canoe? There’s no need to pay $2,000 for a motorized kayak. Watercraft Technologies’ The Skimmer is a simple system for motorizing your kayak or canoe, and it costs less than $400. It is a lightweight, portable motor that mounts easily to your stern. Just snap it on when you need it. Fishing has never been easier, safer and more convenient. Go farther and save your energy for fishing! Increase your range! Catch more fish! The Skimmer weighs only 6 pounds. It’s 12v battery operated. There are easy controls for steering and motor lift. It’s environmentally safe, with no pollution, oil or gas spills. The Skimmer is made for saltwater, but does great in brackish or fresh water. It is able to propel a craft 2-4 knots and lasts two to five hours per charge. Imagine running your kayak at that speed and that long with zero effort! This propulsion system is great for people who want to get on the water and not worry about paddling hard into a swift current or strong wind. It is also great for those with shoulder, back or elbow issues. This kayak trolling motor kit carries a one-year, full parts replacement policy. See The Skimmer in action and order online at www.kayaktrollingmotor.com or order by phone at 631-848-3119.

WWW.KAYAKTROLLINGMOTOR.COM

MALIBU X-WING CONSOLE

Storage is a huge issue when all the gear you need at hand must fit in a space the size of your legs and lap. Malibu’s X-Wing Console is a fantastic option for storing and organizing gear in the cockpit of a kayak. Mounting of electronics, rod holders and other accessories can all be accomplished on one unit without drilling unnecessary holes in a kayak’s deck. A dry-storage compartment included in the unit makes the perfect place for valuables as well as being a great place for a battery. The X-Wing slides back and forth on a track mounted to the gunnel, so placement can be customized on the fly so it’s there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t. It’s also completely removable for storage and transportation. The X-Wing fits Malibu Kayaks, and modifications and adapters can be used to make the console fit other brands.

WWW.MALIBUKAYAKS.COM

YAKGEAR COOLER SEAT A cooler is one of the most valuable tools in most anglers’ arsenals. It goes everywhere and serves as a refrigerator, stepladder, poling platform, storage box and even a seat. YakGear’s Cooler Seat and Rigging Kit allows anglers to turn their cooler into a more comfortable and practical seating platform. Perfect for fishing, paddling, camping, tailgating and hunting, the YakGear Cooler Seat and Rigging Kit consists of the YakGear Sting Ray Seat and the necessary hardware to mount and secure the seat to a cooler. The kit is compatible with all coolers that feature “Front Locking Holes” including Yeti, Grizzly, Engel, Yukon, Icehole, some of the Bison models, and many more. The YakGear Sting Ray Seat features built-in back braces, which allow rigid back support without pressure from an exterior backrest. While most seats slouch down or fold over, the YakGear back braces hold the seat in place. As an additional feature, the seat has an aggressive non-slip pad to prevent unwarranted movement while sitting.

YAKGEAR.COM APRIL 2017

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NEW KOMODO SS REELS & SHADOW STALKER GULF COAST RODS Powered by aluminum framing, stainless steel drive and high-output Carbonite drag, Komodo SS reels in 350 and 450 sizes are instant favorites. Compact and comfortable with enough line capacity for incredible versatility inshore and offshore. • Shadow Stalker Gulf Coast 1-piece rod actions deliver superior sensitivity and back it with OC-9 carbon reinforcement for amazing strength when the fish of a lifetime strikes. okumafishingusa.com

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FLY FISHING A Modern Take On Booking Fishing Guides And Charters

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a better way. In April 2016, Fisher Guiding was founded. Since then, Hill has been working full time to turn his dream of easy one-stop shopping for charters and guided trips into reality. Fisher Guiding is a web-based service that lets anglers book trips with guides and charters online. It allows potential customers to search, review, message and pay guides all through an easy-to-use website. This service allows guides and captains to advertise and book clients based on available dates. It makes payment hassle free and allows guides and captains to market to customers in a way never before available. For some independent guides, the local fly shop is the only avenue available for them to book clients. Fisher Guiding is looking to supplement and modernize by offering a variety of scheduling and booking tools. Right now, Fisher Guiding currently has booking options from Alaska to the East Coast, Bahamas, Belize and Costa Rica. Although the consumer website just launched eight days ago, Fisher is already off to a great start with trips booked and new guides joining daily making for a constantly growing community. “Ultimately, the goal is to have guides and charters representing every market and fishing destination in the USA and around the world,” said Hill. It will be interesting to see how Fisher Guiding impacts the industry. The advantages are obvious for guides and charter services, but the greatest benefit may be for the consumer. Customers can read reviews and even message guides right through the website. Booking and paying for trips can be handled in two easy steps. While all change forces adaptation, a more competitive and transparent system will serve both the professionals and consumers. Ultimately the goal of Fisher Guiding is to make guides and charters more accessible to the public and contribute to the growth of the sport. A high tide will raise all the boats. See for yourself at www.fisherguiding.com.

FLY FISHING

ooking fishing guides and charters has not really changed at all for 50 years, so the industry is ripe for change and improvement. That is what Edward Hill—founder of Fisher Guiding– thought before launching his online service for guides and captains and the anglers who use them. Hill worked at Front Range Anglers before By Charlie Warfield graduating from the University of Colorado. There he saw firsthand how the guiding business worked in the local area. After school, he did private sector work in Washington, D.C., but after a couple years felt the need for a change and a new challenge. He began planning a trip to the Everglades with his father to do some fishing and reflection. Hill began searching the Internet for local guides. He was frustrated by the lack of information and the hoops he had to jump through to get hold of a guide. He had to look up guides and then call them for available dates and rates. It was a hassle, and it then turned out the guides he tracked down didn’t have the dates available he was looking for. Hill thought there must be

CHOOSING THE CORRECT BAITFISH FLY

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f you look in many fly anglers’ boxes, you will see a huge array of flies in all shapes, sizes and colors. However, having the one correct fly in the box is the key to fishing success. Picking the correct flies for any saltwater fly fishing situation is key to whether or not you’ll be catching fish. Walking into a fly shop and looking into the fly bins can prove mindboggling to the uninitiated. The bins are filled with so many flies with which the fledgling saltwater fly fisher has little or no knowledge. Saltwater flies differ from their freshwater cousins in size and dress. Sometimes, like the kid in a candy store who is more influenced by the attractive wrapper than its contents, the beginning saltwater fly angler often chooses the eye-candy, over-dressed flies far too bulky to resemble a baitfish or a crab, flies that hook fishermen rather than fish.

Baitfish patterns

I believe a sparsely dressed baitfish pattern is preferable to a bulked up flashy fly. Why? The sparsely dressed fly will have a more natural look than will an all-too-spruced-up fly. Also, my experience has shown that a fish is far less selective when presented the sparsely dressed fly. The fly is only an imitation, a hint, of what the fish is feeding on, producing in the fish a reflexive action to strike. Perhaps one of the most important parts of the saltwater fly is its large eye that resembles closely the good-sized eyes on baitfish such as sardines, pilchards, and anchovies. Game fish zero in on that oversized eye when chasing and feeding on baitfish. Focusing on that eye results in fewer lost meals.

Color

Natural colors work best. Olive green, browns, tans and

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FLY FISHING Upstate New York

Bass On The Fly! By Mathew DeRosa

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t was a very successful spring steelhead season on New York’s Salmon River. Approaching the tail end of the season, a friend and I made a “last chance” trip in hopes of finding a few final drop-back steelhead left in the system. We fished the lower section of the river, near Lake Ontario, to increase our chances of a tight line. It was one of those days when spring starts meshing into summer. The sun was shining with a few high clouds, the warm breeze was 70 degrees, and we had the river to ourselves. For an angler, being outside and fishing in a short sleeve shirt with no one around should be enough to call any day a success. This day was about to get better. As we cast into a river with increasing water temps and a majority of the steelhead already back in Lake Ontario, our expectations of a tight line were low. Soon enough, as we launched large flies

into the water, the addicting tight line grabs began. These fierce strikes were not steelhead, but hungry smallmouth bass. We enjoyed a full day on the river swinging 4-plus-inch flies and catching more than 25 smallmouth bass apiece. Are you a bass fisherman? Have you experienced the power of a bass on a fly rod? Smallmouth and largemouth bass will aggressively hunt down prey, which makes catching them on a fly rod extremely enjoyable. The late spring and early summer months are perfect to experience bass on the fly in Upstate New York. Altmar, N.Y. is on the Salmon River a short drive from the Tug Hill Sportsman Club. Both the Salmon River and the Tug Hill Sportsman’s Club are great places to learn how to fly fish and test your skills on bass. The beautiful scenery and vast expanse of meandering clear water make the Salmon River a top-priority fishing location in late spring. Favorable river conditions draw in large numbers of smallmouth bass. The river has more than 12 miles of public fishing property, and you can fish all day without encountering another angler. Smallmouth enter the river in April to spawn and remain in the system until September. Average Salmon River smallmouth bass range from 2 to 3 pounds; some weigh more than 5 pounds. Bass are present the entire length of the river from Altmar to the Douglaston Salmon Run. Tug Hill Sportsman Club The Tug Hill Sportsman Club is located on 450 acres of gently rolling land and is home to four lakes. The lakes make up about 45 acres of pristine largemouth bass-infested water. New to fly fishing or experienced, the opportunity to catch a world-class largemouth is there. The fish in these small lakes have had unpressured feeding, growing and reproductive conditions as the property has been carefully managed for more than 25 years. The goal is to provide guests with the highest quality angling. Enjoy Tailwater Lodge’s relaxing accommodations and fish the Tug Hill Sporting Club with Zero Limit Adventures! Matthew DeRosa is a guide with Zero Limit Adventures. For more information on the Tug Hill Sportsman’s Club and Zero Limit Adventures, visit www.zerolimitadventures.com.

whites are all great color combos for baitfish patterns. You should, however, carry a selection of blue and white, red and white and, of course, chartreuse and white in your fly box.

Size

Depending on what type of fish you’re pursuing, the size of your flies will vary. But, in most saltwater fly fishing situations, you’ll also need baitfish patterns that range from a small anchovy patterns in size 6 to large sardine or pilchard patterns in size 2/0. Remember, just as it is on the spring creek or on the large river, it’s all about matching the hatch, weather it’s insects or baitfish.

For more flyfishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

35 Acres of Private Access to the World-Renowned Salmon River 42 Luxurious Accommodations On-Site Bar and Restaurant • Daily Hot Breakfast Included Salmon River, Altmar, NY 315-298-3434

TailwaterLodge.com

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

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

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FLORIDA

Elite Series Anglers Visit The Big O

By Steve Daniel, the voice of Okeechobee fishing

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hen Bassmasters Elite Series competitors came to the Big O in February, they went all out to showcase our great fishing. In the end, Timmy Horton came out on top. He did most of his fishing with a jig in the bulrushes on the south end of the lake. He knew if the wind got up it could spell trouble, and it did. Even though he carried a 7-pound lead into the final day, it would be nerve racking to finish the job. He ran back to the Harney Pond area and caught 12 pounds to win by about a pound over Tennessee angler Ott Defoe.

At the weigh in, Horton’s daughter showed up with a pizza box, and no one knew what that was all about, but my wife Deb and I knew; we were there. Horton won an event on New York’s Lake Champlain several years ago. On the final day he made a long run, over 60 miles, to catch a 20-pound bag. The only way he could lose the event was if the weather got bad and he could not get back to the weigh in on time. Being aware of this, he returned early and tied his boat to the dock. Rules state that an angler can’t leave the boat unless there’s an emergency. After approval from Tripp Welden, tournament director, Horton’s cameraman, who was his observer and could not get out of the boat either, ordered a large pizza to the boat. They enjoyed a long afternoon tied to the dock. Here on Okeechobee, Horton also enjoyed a big lead going into the last day. The plan was to go to the south end, get a heavy bag and return early to have an early lunch tied to the dock. It didn’t happen that way. The wind got up and changed the area he was fishing, and it took Horton until 11:30 a.m. to even catch his first bass. In the end, Horton caught enough to win, and the rest is history, but that is what the box of pizza was all about. I bet the pizza got cold waiting the docks. With water levels falling here on the Big O, we will be fishing some really shallow water going into April. Here is a tip: Get a 4-foot stick and keep it by the driver’s seat to feel the bottom. If you feel sand and the water is deep enough to get on plain, you will be fine. If the bottom feels hard, keep idling out until you have deeper water. Use a little common sense. Fishing in April will be incredible. An extremely successful professional bass tournament angler, Steve Daniel is 30-year veteran Okeechobee guide and the voice of Okeechobee fishing on WRVO Radio Network 1’s Hooked Up With Steve and Deb. Check out the show at www.renoviolaoutdoors.com

To learn more about fishing in the Big O, go to

ANGLERLIFE.CO

BEACHMARINEPRODUCTS.COM

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DINNER AND

A SHOW By Michael Landress

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riskly driven by warm sea breezes, we drifted in 26-fathoms—three grizzled and oft impatient anglers awaiting a bite. Biker Brad and I chartered Capt. Chris Le-Mieux and his 27foot Conch Cruiser out of Boynton Beach with expectations of catching summer dolphin. Joggling in 2-foot seas, Chris set the lines. After a few minutes, we noticed the spinning rod baited with a lively threadfin at the transom presenting a tad odd. The monofilament was loosely wrapped around the reel’s handle and bail. The line was straight down from the rod tip and disappeared beneath the Conch Cruiser. Chris seized the rod and quickly untangled the quandary then began a feverish retrieval of slack line. A tenacious, girly mahi gobbled the jittery herring then torpedoed toward the vessel. I reached for the camera in an effort to capture images of her aerial assault for freedom, but missed the opportunity because Chris forced the straining rod in my face barking, “REEL . . . REEL . . . REEL!” We watched in awe as the flailing dolphin rocketed through the air twisting and turning with great energy. Perhaps, the mahi is the prettiest fish in the world’s oceans. The brilliant harlequin green and cyber yellow of its lit skin, embellished with ultramarine specks in contrast with blue water, is spectacular. Having missed two epic jumps, I couldn’t resist the temptation. I passed

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the rod to Brad so I could focus on capturing the final flurry of vaults with a camera. But, as quickly as the acrobatic breaches had begun, they ceased. The worn dolphin laggardly cruised near the surface. Her brilliant color quickly faded as she succumbed to a well-placed, razor sharp gaff. Wild-eyed and grinning from ear to ear like yellow cartoon sponges, we extended our gratitude for the show by welcoming her aboard for a dinner engagement. Dinner and a show is how we roll!

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FISH THE GREATER JACKSONVILLE KINGFISH TOURNAMENT

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ingfish anglers will converge on Jacksonville the week of July 17 for the 37th edition of the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. Steve Thompson, Captain of the Sea Snake, will once again serve as tournament chairman. With more than 30 years of experience on the SKA circuit, he brings unique insight to the Jacksonville tournament. The traditional two-day, Thursday/Friday format returns this year. Each angling boat will be allowed to weigh one fish Thursday and up to two fish Friday. Boats that made a wrong turn on day one still have a fighting chance on day two. Also returning is the single-engine class, where payouts go to the top 10 largest fish only. This year’s event, unlike last year, will not pay big fish or aggregate. The wildly popular ladies division will be expanded for 2017 and payouts will go out to the top 10 largest fish caught by ladies. Last year there were more ladies than ever arriving at the weigh scales, and with expanded payouts more are expected this year. As usual, there will be fun for all the kiddos. Junior anglers will have their own offshore day on the boats on Tuesday, and there will be a juniors dock tournament. As bonus prizes, there will be treasure chest drawings. Every boat that weighs a fish on Friday will receive a treasure chest key. Lucky keys open one of 10 treasure chests valued at more than $700 each! With donated fish, organizers will

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also be handing out tickets for $100 drawings. Again this year, an awesome gas-powered, customized golf cart will be raffled off. This isn’t your grandad’s golf cart; this one has 14-inch offroad tires, a Yamaha gas engine, Bluetooth sound system and lights all around. It is worth more than $9,000, and raffle tickets can be purchased with a $10 donation. New this year is a traveling angler prize, where one lucky angler from outside of 75 miles of Jacksonville will win cash. This is for the heaviest king outside the perimeter. It’s this, especially for an entry fee of only $345. just another way Jacksonville On top of all that, there is the seafood festival. Marine Charities and the GJKT says thanks for Don’t forget to visit Ship2Shore, the tournament’s fishing with us. And let’s not forget the grand prize. Once seafood vendor, and enjoy some fresh cooked again, the GJKT is proud to award, for the seafood. Make plans now to attend this year’s event. heaviest kingfish of the tournament, a Contender 22 Sport boat, powered by a 250 hp Yamaha 4 The weather is predictable in July, and big fish stroke outboard. Sitting on a brand new Trailer, are always plentiful. Over the years, several with a custom T-top by Pelagic Fabrications and tournament winners have come from within 5 a custom boat cover made by Mousa’s Auto & miles of the inlet. Marine trim shop, this To learn more about last years event, go to prize is valued at more than $86,000 dollars. No one offers a prize value like

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ishing in the Big Pine Key area can be the experience of a lifetime. The areas around Big Pine Key have a deep history that includes a large range of visits by famous explorers, pirates and American industrialists. Hundreds of years ago Native American tribes made frequent visits to harvest the Florida Keys’ rich abundance of seafood the area provided. Now many years later and well into the 21st century the combination of flowing Gulf Stream waters, coral reefs, lush mangrove islands, shallow flats and a complex interconnection of deep channels make this area unlike anywhere else in the world. Due to the ability to easily access both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the variety of fishing is absolutely endless. Directly offshore is the famous Looe Key Reef. Tournament sport

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fishing boats often travel many miles to target a great sailfish bite off these reefs. Other pelagic gamefish such as black fin tuna, dolphin and speedy/yummy wahoo can also be targeted. Big schools of the very tasty reef fish such as mutton, mangrove, lane and yellowtail snappers are plentiful in these areas. Between May 1 and Dec. 31, grouper is open to harvest. Very nice black, gag, and red groupers can be caught around all sorts of bottom ranging from inshore patches close to shore all the way to the outer reef. If the inshore gamefish are your preference, there may be no better location in the world than Big Pine Key area. Close proximity to the famous Bahia Honda Bridge provides some of the best live bait tarpon action in all of the Keys. The shorelines, channels and bays in the area provide some of the very best habitat there is to target these giants with a fly rod. Endless amounts of shallow flats in close proximity to deep channels provide miles and miles of habitat for much sought after permit and bonefish. You could fish a lifetime in the area and only discover half of what the region is capable of providing. No matter what style of fishing you prefer, no matter what time of year, Big Pine Key is an incredible area capable of catering to both the diehard enthusiast and the casual recreational angler! Contact Capt. Nate Wheeler and Waypoint Fishing Charters at 305394-2177 or captnatewheeler@aol.com, and see the website at www. waypointfishing.net.

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Center sp Rookie Wins FLW Tour on Harris Chain

N

ot a newcomer to the bass-tournament crowd but a rookie this season on the FLW Tour, Enigma Pro Bradley Dortch came from fifth place to win the third stop on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Fla. Unlike a lot of the top finishers who were sight fishing for bedding bass, Dortch caught his fish on championship Sunday switching between a lipless crankbait and a large plastic worm in junebug color to sack up 22-2 pounds of Florida largemouths. Starting the day off with a 7-pounder and a fish nearly 4 pounds right behind it proved that deciding to go winding instead of pitching a soft stick bait to grass and lily pads was a great idea. His gut instinct was right. He figured a lot of the fish had moved due to the incoming front. The decision to move as well as picking up a large worm late in the morning and making a long casts to catch a second bass of nearly 7 pounds was right-on. Dortch sacked up his huge bag on FLW Live with the huge smile on his face while the current leader Debary Florida native, John Cox was struggling to get his bedding fish to bite. In the end, Dortch bested the three-day leader by about 4 pounds to take home the Tour Trophy and a $100,000 grand check. All the while, another well-known Florida pro, J.T. Kenny, was having a great day, bringing a huge 27-pound-plus sack to the scale. It was the tournament’s largest five-fish limit, and Kenny came all the way from tenth place to take second, less than 2 pounds behind Dortch. Only the top five anglers had the FLW-Live cameras on board, so the updates to the FLW site were coming in via an I-Pad from the Marshall onboard J.T. Kenny’s boat. Kenny’s huge sack had him on the hotseat until Dortch brought his 22-pound plus sack to the scale. The three-day leader, Mud Hole Custom Tackle Pro John Cox was last to the weigh scale, and after a tough day1:14 trying get1several bedAirline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 PM to Page

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ding fish in the 5-pound-plus class to bite, he brought in a limit of just over 14 pounds. He ended up placing third right behind Kenny. The “Angler of the Year” points leader, FLW Pro Brian Thrift, ended up in sixth place after finishing second in the last three tournaments he has fished. This makes five straight top-10 finishes for Thrift, which is the longest streak for any tour angler since Kevin Van Dam had 10 in a row. With his tournament win, Dortch has now earned 500 total Angler of the Year points on the season and is in second place in the coveted Rookie of the Year (ROY) race. Justin Atkins, of Florence, Ala., the current ROY leader, is one spot ahead of Dortch with 502.

To watch his announced win, go to

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3/20/17 3:22 PM


NORTH FLORIDA

COLOR Me Caught…Choosing Lure COLORS

E

veryone has their go to lure or fly, that certain color and pattern that always gets the job done. But why is that one lure so effective? Is it the color, shape, action or just the fact that you have confidence in it? Undoubtedly it is a combination of all of the above, especially when you consider what the fish sees. The colors fish can see are limited by the light absorbing characteristics of water as well as the amount of light and the water clarity. In water, the longest color wavelengths are absorbed first. Red is affected nearly immediately, transitioning to a shade of gray within depths of just 15 feet in clear water. The absorption continues in the order of the color spectrum to affect orange, yellow, green and finally blue. It is important to note color absorption occurs both vertically and horizontally. No matter the depth, red will appear gray to a fish that is 15 feet away from the lure. The distance is shortened in stained water. Conversely, with blue being visible to about 90 feet in clear open water, it will show up pretty well. So does that mean color has little bearing? Absolutely not; while colors might not pop bright and vivid, they have a profound effect on contrast. This might be of even more importance in fishing. Many anglers have discovered that dark colors work better at night, in low light and in dirty water. This may seem counter-intuitive, but consider that fish see the contrast of a bait to its surroundings. Using baits with two colors boosts the contrast when fishing in turbid

By Will Robinson

water. Colors, shapes and patterns are likely more important when fishing a particular run. If you are fishing the mullet run or a menhaden migration, matching the natural appearance of the food is pretty important. How to put this to use: • Black is generally the most visible color and creates the best contrast in low visibility. • Create contrast by using dark colors next to light colors. In dirty water or lowlight situations, more contrast is better. Bright clear conditions call for less contrast. • When using lures deep, use blues and greens as they are the last colors absorbed. • Consider the visible colors of natural prey at the depth you will be fishing and match that, not the surface colors. Studies show that fish react to specific colors. Maybe it is a color that occurs during mating or a color that triggers another response. However, what fish see and react to varies species to species. Also, unlike humans, fish can see ultraviolet light, which leads to options when tying flies or using skirted lures. Many materials can bring this into play. There is no doubt that color plays an important role in lure selection. Utilizing colors that show up at the depth you are fishing is a good strategy. Also, use colors that create contrast and make your bait visible under the conditions you are fishing. Will Robinson is an accomplished tournament angler and has been writing and hosting fishing shows for nearly two decades.

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3/20/17 11:33 AM


Fishing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

O

ne of the many places in Florida that offers a wide variety of fishing experience is near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay. Officially known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the structure is almost 22,000 feet long and can be a little unnerving for vehicle passengers going on I-275 between St. Petersburg and Terra Ceia in Manatee County. More than 50,000 vehicles travel over it every day. Built in 1987 to replace an older bridge that was partly destroyed in a ship collision in 1980, the new bridge rises 180 feet over the water. After the U.S. Coast Guard cutter “Blackthorn” collided with a freighter, “Capricorn,” in 1980, 23 Coast Guardsmen lost their lives. One can see a memorial to the “Blackthorn” in a park at the northern end of the bridge. After the cutter was raised, officials decided they could not use the ship again and allowed it to be taken out into the Gulf to be scuttled, after which it became an artificial reef for recreational diving and fishing. Today, one can find fishermen using the western fishing piers at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, although large trucks, recreational vehicles, and trailers are not allowed. The piers are open 24 hours a day. One can buy fishing supplies, bait and drinks on the piers, as well as free copies of the latest fishing regulations.

No alcoholic beverages or pets are allowed on the piers. Promoters of fishing there claim

that the approaches to the old bridge are the longest fishing pier in the world, and therefore one can find dozens of anglers there on any

given day. Among the fish species found near the piers are black sea bass, cobia, grouper, king mackerel, pompano, red snapper, sheepshead, snook, Spanish mackerel and tarpon. The usual fee for each car on the piers is $4, plus $4 for each adult. As evidenced in the photo here, one can also find kayakers fishing near the piers as well as boaters in different-sized fishing boats. The piers may be too high for some fishermen, and so there are many legal spots for those who want to fish from shore. One can find deep channels near those spots, and snook have been known to congregate there. The warmer times of the year are popular for migrating fish. Because several million people are within driving distance of the piers, those places are popular for many anglers. One can also see fishermen wading along the flats in search of some keepers. When I’ve been there, I have looked up at the vehicles speeding along the bridge high above the water and wondered how many of the passengers look down with envy at the fishermen enjoying a day on, at, or in the water trying their luck to catch some good fighting fish. 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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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

APRIL 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

W

APRIL

According to my calendar, “Spring has Sprung”, however it has felt like spring since the middle of January, except for a couple of days of winter in midMarch. I really would not mind a few more cool days before summer hits. Summer is so hot and lasts for so long. New advertising partner Suwannee Realty Vacation Rentals, om page 21. Call Sonya Reed to rent a beautiful condo in Suwannee. Fun activities in our area this month, include a festival in Horseshoe Beach on April 1st, a free Ski Show on the 8th in Fanning Springs, and a Fly-In in Cross City on the 15th. This month’s recipe Shrimp, Spinach and Wild Rice on page 15, is a delicious, nutritious blending of flavors. Tomatoes are also included, so this dish is also very colorful. Now that spring has arrived, our guides’ calendars will be filling up fast. If you want a special fishing experience, give them a call. After your trip, send me some pictures and tell me about your trip. A guided fishing trip might be the perfect Mother’s Day gift for that special mother who loves fishing! Visit our new website, www.CoastalAnglerMag.com/NC-Florida. Let me know what you think.

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

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

CONTACT INFORMATION

crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-372-4237

Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

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

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N O I T TTEN Birds!

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TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1Sa 2Su

3M

4Tu

5W

6Th

7F 8Sa

6:02 AM 11:34 AM 5:19 PM 12:38 AM 7:06 AM 12:21 PM 6:08 PM 1:43 AM 8:27 AM 1:22 PM 7:13 PM 3:03 AM 10:04 AM 2:50 PM 8:42 PM 4:29 AM 11:24 AM 4:29 PM 10:19 PM 5:40 AM 12:16 PM 5:47 PM 11:38 PM 6:33 AM 12:53 PM 6:44 PM 12:39 AM 7:15 AM 1:24 PM 7:29 PM

3.0 1.1 3.8 -0.3 2.7 1.4 3.6 -0.1 2.5 1.6 3.4 0.2 2.5 1.7 3.2 0.2 2.6 1.6 3.1 0.1 2.9 1.2 3.2 0.1 3.1 0.8 3.4 0.1 3.4 0.4

HERNANDO BEACH

APRIL 2017

9Su

Time Height

1:27 AM 7:50 AM 1:51 PM 8:08 PM 10M 2:09 AM 8:22 AM 2:17 PM 8:44 PM 11Tu 2:48 AM 8:52 AM 2:43 PM 9:18 PM 12W 3:24 AM 9:21 AM 3:08 PM 9:50 PM 13Th 4:00 AM 9:49 AM 3:34 PM 10:22 PM 14F 4:37 AM 10:18 AM 4:01 PM 10:55 PM 15Sa 5:15 AM 10:49 AM 4:30 PM 11:31 PM 16Su 5:58 AM 11:23 AM 5:04 PM

3.5 0.1 3.5 0.1 3.5 0.3 3.7 -0.1 3.5 0.4 3.7 -0.2 3.5 0.6 3.8 -0.2 3.3 0.8 3.8 -0.2 3.2 0.9 3.8 -0.2 3.0 1.1 3.8 -0.1 2.9 1.3 3.7

KINGS BAY

High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min

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

CRYSTAL RIVER

WITHLACOOCHEE ENT

High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min

High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min

CEDAR KEY

Time Height

17M

18Tu

19W

20Th

21F

22Sa 23Su

24M

12:12 AM 6:50 AM 12:04 PM 5:45 PM 1:03 AM 7:56 AM 1:01 PM 6:40 PM 2:08 AM 9:15 AM 2:20 PM 7:58 PM 3:25 AM 10:29 AM 3:50 PM 9:32 PM 4:39 AM 11:25 AM 5:08 PM 10:53 PM 5:41 AM 12:08 PM 6:08 PM 12:00 AM 6:31 AM 12:44 PM 6:58 PM 12:57 AM 7:15 AM 1:17 PM 7:44 PM

Time Height

25Tu 1:49 AM 7:57 AM 1:50 PM 8:27 PM 26W 2:38 AM 8:36 AM 2:23 PM 9:11 PM 27Th 3:27 AM 9:16 AM 2:57 PM 9:56 PM 28F 4:16 AM 9:55 AM 3:34 PM 10:42 PM 29Sa 5:07 AM 10:36 AM 4:14 PM 11:31 PM 30Su 6:02 AM 11:20 AM 4:59 PM

3.7 0.4 3.9 -0.4 3.8 0.6 4.1 -0.7 3.7 0.8 4.2 -0.8 3.6 1.0 4.2 -0.8 3.3 1.2 4.2 -0.6 3.1 1.4 4.0

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

CAM_NCFL_0417.indd 2

0.1 2.7 1.5 3.5 0.3 2.6 1.7 3.3 0.4 2.6 1.8 3.1 0.5 2.7 1.7 3.0 0.5 3.0 1.3 3.2 0.4 3.2 0.9 3.4 0.3 3.5 0.4 3.6 0.3 3.7 0.0

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

APRIL 2017

T

he trout have been trying their best to come out of their long winter's nap, but the weather just won't quite hold and keeps the water temps 70 + degrees, like they want it to be. We have caught trout on live pinfish and live shrimp both under Back Bay Thunders on March 8, with a couple of reds caught on hard jerkbaits. Water temps will be down in the low sixties when I go tomorrow (Today is March 13.) due to a current cold front, our last of the year I hope. Most of the trout have been in 3 feet, with few coming from less and no keepers, in over 4 feet. I suspect the general population of trout is still off shore (deeper than 5 feet) and waiting on the "call" to come Billy Pillow of Perry, Fl. with a in to the less than 4 foot haunts. We trout taken on Paul Brown Spehave also caught keeper trout on Assassin's New Salty Snacks, on the cial 3/1/17 Paul Brown Devils, the Paul Brown Strangely enough, we were Soft-Dines and on MirrOdines. catching a Spanish mackerel on each The best of the hard plug fishing trip in February and early March, so looks like it will be in April, with they may be downright plentiful in hard jerkbaits, like Bite-A-Bait April, if current trends hold true. fighters, Bomber Long, and Cordell Looking forward to being able to Redfins, bringing in good trout this catch fish on just almost anything month. Later in the month, I would you wish to toss at them, and April expect to catch trout and reds on should hold that promise. stickbaits,such as Zara Spooks, Top In the meantime.....Let's Go Dog Juniors, Top Pups and SheDogs Fishing! as water temps hold 70 plus degrees overnight. Pat McGriff dba One More Cast Reds have been scattered mostly guide service for 26 years! and laying up around rocks and www.onemorecast.net bars seeking where the warmth of 850.838.7541 the sun has warmed these shallow areas. We have caught them on Bite-A-Baits and on Soft Dines so far. April will see jig spinners, such as Thunder-Spins and Cajun Flash taking larger reds.

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3/19/17 4:17 PM


FLORIDA WATERWAYS

O

The Ocklawaha River

ne of the most beautiful, but beleaguered rivers in North Central Florida, is the Ocklawaha, a 100-mile-long waterway that is the largest tributary of the St. Johns River. It was once, in the 1960s, supposed to be part of the ill-conceived By Kevin McCarthy Cross Florida Barge Canal, but was spared destruction when the canal project was discontinued in 1971. The Rodman Dam, near the St. Johns, blocks the natural flow of the Ocklawaha and forms the Rodman Reservoir/Lake Ocklawaha, but environmentalists have been fighting for years to dismantle the dam and restore the river’s natural flow. The name of the Ocklawaha goes back to a Creek Indian word meaning “muddy,” an appropriate name, since the river is not as crystal clear as some waterways in the state. The river suffers occasionally from pollution caused by discharges from incoming streams and man-made canals, as well as from the polluted Lake Apopka near Orlando. Visitors from Jacksonville and Palatka used to go by narrow steamboat up the Ocklawaha to Silver Springs, but hydrilla and submerged logs make such trips a thing of the past. Such personages as Thomas Edison, Ulysses S. Grant, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Harriet Beecher Stowe made the trip, but the coming of the railroad in the 1880s, and the difficulties of maintaining the river, led to the demise of those trips. A painting by famed artist Christopher Still, entitled “The Okeehumkee on the Oklawaha” – with a variant spelling of the river’s name – hangs in the Florida House of Representatives and depicts a steamboat on the river in the 1880s. The Florida Defenders of the Environment, which environmentalist Marjorie Harris Carr founded in 1969, monitors the river and lobbies for its restoration, but others are opposed to its

restoration. On any given day, one can see canoers, kayakers, boaters, and fishermen enjoying one of the area’s relatively unknown waterways. Along the way, one can see a sign for Payne’s Landing, where representatives of both the U.S. Department of War, and the Seminole Indians, signed the Treaty of Payne’s Landing (1832) that was supposed to result in the removal of Native Americans in the area, to a reservation west of the Mississippi River. Instead, it led to the Second Seminole War (1835 to 1842), in which Seminole leaders like Osceola led many Native Americans to revolt against the U.S. government. My knowledgeable guide on the Ocklawaha was Captain Karen Chadwick (http://northstarcharters.net/), from whom I learned much about this fascinating waterway. Be sure to ask her about the famous shoot-out in the town of Ocklawaha, near the river in 1935 between the F.B.I. and the notorious “Ma Barker.” Kevin McCarthy, the author of North Florida Waterways 2013 - (available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.com.

A local resident watching

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boaters APRIL 2017

Ocklawaha River Map The river boat “Okeehumkee” of Hart's Line on the Ocklawaha River

A docking post for the ill-fated canal

One of the side waterways

One of many scenic spots along the river NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3

3/19/17 4:17 PM


WELCOME TO THE

NATURE COAST

C

Frederick Snell, Broker Associate

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

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hen most people think of flats fishing in Florida, the top three species that come to mind are trout, redfish and snook, “The Inshore Slam”. In the Nature Coast region, April is one of the best months to target these three species, and here are my best tips for being successful at catching an inshore slam, using artificial baits. Trout: The trout have made their push out to the open grass flats, west of Crystal River and Ozello, much to the delight of most anglers who enjoy drifting and catching these fish, using several different methods in 3 to 5 feet of water. The most popular method is to cast ahead of the drifting boat with a popping cork and jig combo. Several companies, including DOA Lures, offer a premade version of this rig that can be a very effective trout catcher. A “Pop-PopPause” retrieve is sure to get the attention of any speckled trout in the area. To target the bigger trout, try drifting a live pinfish on a circle hook behind the boat as you drift, although this rig may not get as much action, you stand a good chance of catching a trophy on the larger live bait. Redfish: Look for the Redfish to begin showing up on the outside islands that have rocky points or hard bottom near the mangrove edges. As we get closer to May, the spring high tides will give anglers more time up in the shallow

water to hunt hungry reds. A Mirrolure Lil John on a 1/8 ounce jig head can be one of the most consistent baits for this application, as it works well as both a sight fishing bait and search bait, when probing schools of mullet. Live shrimp always get the nod once a school of reds has been located, and it is time to commence the catching.

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Snook: Snook is not a species that everyone thinks about when they head to Crystal River to catch some dinner, but we do have a fantastic fishery for anglers in the know. I typically fish around the mouths of creeks or rivers when targeting them and my bait of choice, is either the Unfair Lures Rip N Slash 90 in color Pearl Olive (02) or the DOA Glow Jerkbait rigged with a live bait hook in the nose. Any spot that has a high current flow has the potential to hold a monster line sider, especially if oyster bars or rocks are nearby. Look for these fish harassing finger mullet or needle fish on the surface, and when they hit your lure, hold on tight for a spirited fight. As Spring shows up in full force, and more and more boaters are on the water, remember to be courteous to other anglers on the water and show the same respect that you expect to receive while enjoying our great resource.

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APRIL 2017

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STEINHATCHEE

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April is Nice

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L-R Ben, owner of Steinhatchee Bait and Tackle, Bobby, Cole, Bryant, Chris and Capt B. The Ring Family (right) has been fishing with us since Chris was a little 'fella. Now he is graduating!

I

am often asked, what is my favorite month to fish. April is in the top ten—any month is my favorite time to fish. April is when the Gulf rolls out the welcome mat for our southern pelagic species. The welcome mat, is actually massive pods of baitfish, that invites Spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobia B ES 0 0 Tsuch 1 and PRtoIour r e CEcoast. The influx of v s t O food also excites S our local reef fish a F o T B H E y alit to actively feed. It all has to do with Y E ARwater temperatures. icles Fina warming n c & Veh le! i n Avai MARINE-SPORTING GOODS, INC. Marine Sporting Goods, Inc. lableg Flats5 fishing blooms in April. ! I-7 386-752-2500 For Sa Medical will be hitting 386-752-2500 Trout and LC redfish Center www.mcduffiemarine.com almost anything tossed their way. www.mcduffiemarine.com This is, thanks to the return of 1866 West US 90, Lake City, FL Office OT Max to the flats. The best bait is HE SP pinfish ! G Boat N I ATV confidence. ANC March 7, 8, 9, 10, 2013 Sale There is nothing more exciting— Office Max Parking Lot, West US Hwy. 90 at least in the world of fishing—than Lake City, FL n: Thursday, March 7th seeing a school of baitfish being fed thru Sunday, March 10th upon. Baitfish scattering from the Fina surface, like reverse rain with fish n : Thursday - Saturday Avai cing vaulting out after them. Spanish lable 9 am to 6 pm ! Sunday 9 am to 4 pm mackerel tearing through a wad gets THAT WE ARE NOW me so jacked up I can’t wait to toss tion: a small silver spoon into the mix. wy. 90 West YOUR LAKE CITY Custom Golf Carts fice Max Parking Lot The turbo blast of line peeling off e g u H ross from Lake City Mall MERCURY DEALER. the spool is addictive. Some say, “I don’t like eating Spanish.” “Shut Rebates up and let yourself have some fun. Quality You haven’t missed a meal.” Spanish mackerel can only be enjoyed fresh.

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Frozen Spanish mackerel is called cat food. On the tails of the Spanish come the kingfish. They eat the baitfish and the Spanish. If you’ve never had the thrill of having over a hundred yards of line zipped from a reel in a blink, you need the experience. Two excellent tactics are to cast a live bait—blue runners are best, or troll Spanish mackerel, imitating plugs around the schools of baitfish in late April. It may take some time, but it is time well spent. Please don’t forget the gaff. My favorite fish—cobia will be making their first appearances in April. Trout fishermen will get the first unexpected tangle with them. “I hung a cobia this morning but it broke off ”, says a trout fisherman flipping a jig on ten-pound test. He didn’t give himself a chance. Here’s a chance, hook a pinfish under a cork and float it behind the boat on a large spinning combo. Please don’t forget a large landing net.

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3/19/17 4:17 PM


HORSESHOE BEACH What Drives You?

I

was having a discussion with a friend the other day, a friend who is not a fisherman. He has a son who is taking up the sport/enjoyment of fishing. We were pondering what it is that is so addictive about going out, and catching the same species of fish over and over, whether it’s a redfish, trout, bass, or redbellies. He did say he could see the excitement of maybe a huge tuna, a sailfish, or marlin, etc., but what was so great about catching a speckled trout, or a 100000 trout over a lifetime? Hmmm. Well, I began to look at what it is about fishing that is so addictive. Is it watching the sunrise above the horizon early in the morning and watching the shadows move across the marsh? Is it the strategy that you tried to put together all week to try to gain the edge on that upper slot redfish? Is it the excitement you feel when you see your Cajun thunder go down? For the true anglers, is it the anticipation of the rod getting slammed by a hunger predator? Is it just a day of relaxation on the water with the family, or is it a daily passion that runs through your veins.? I’m sure it’s a combination of many things. Whatever it is to you, it is special. It is God given, and it is cherished by all of us. The next time you load up and head out to go fishing, slow down and ponder what it is that keeps your enthusiasm going to hook up on that next fish. Now talking about fishing, April is here. Springtime has sprung. The fish are showing up on the flats and with the mild winter, I’m looking for a healthy spring fishery. Red fishing has been good and the

upper slot fish are showing up. With water temperatures warming and an abundance of finger mullet, Redfish should be on hard bottom, grass points and along the shorelines. Trout will be on the flats, easily targeted along good grass flats, and potholes in the grass. Fishing a mirrordine or suspending lure is always a good bet. A soft plastic, such as a gulp shrimp or DOA under a Cajun Thunder with a jig head, 18 to 20 inches below the floating ticker, is always a great bet for the novice angler, and usually boats a great catch of fish. This time of year, we are right around the corner to seeing some cobia and tripletail, around some structure, such as marker buoys and crab trap balls. Looking forward to a great year in Horseshoe Beach. Things are really looking exciting for the year to come. Come visit us. If you are looking for a charter captain to take you and show you a good time on the water, please give us a call. We have some accommodations available, and you can also contact the Marina or Compass Realty for overnight rentals. You have to stop by the Shrimpboat restaurant and get full on locally caught seafood, and stop next door at Salty Shoe Apparel, to outfit you with the latest Horseshoe apparel. Runnin Out Charters is open for business, Let us take you out and put you on some fish. Until next month keep those lines tight.

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8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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APRIL 2017

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FLORAL CITY OCKLAWAHA BAIT & TACKLE BAIT & TACKLE OUTFITTERS 13600 East CR 25 7737 S. Old Floral City Rd. Ocklawaha, FL 32179 Floral City, FL 34436 352-816-5853 352-423-1507 FloralCityBaitAndTackle.com WIGGLER’S BAIT AND TACKLE TWIN RIVERS MARINA 14383 East SR 40 2880 N Seabreeze Point Silver Springs, FL 34488 Crystal River, FL 34429 352.625.1156 352-795-3552 myasnana@aol.com TwinRiversMarina.com CEDAR KEY MARINA 44 TACKLE CO. 12780 SR 24 PO Box 744 2421 Hwy 44 West Cedar Key, FL 32625 Inverness, FL 34453 352-543-6148 352.726.6100 www.CedarKeyMarina.net www.44Tackle.com ACE HARDWARE GARY’S TACKLE BOX OF HIGH SPRINGS 5721 NW 13th St 18482 High Springs Main St. Gainesville, FL High Springs, FL 32643 352-489-2397 386-454-0622 HighSprings40@Windstream.net

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APRIL 2017

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

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 9

3/19/17 4:17 PM


SUWANNEE RIVER/CEDAR KEY

H

ey there folks, I hope y’all are loving this spring weather, because the fish surely are. The trout bite in Cedar Key is as good as it gets. The grass is starting to come back great right now, and with the water temps rising fast, it will keep growing. Just about all the flats in 2 to 4 feet of water will hold fish. Keeper fish will congregate on certain flats that hold the most bait, so don’t be afraid to move around till you catch a few keepers in an area. The B52 Super Sounder corks rigged with a Saltwater Assassin jig are great search baits. Don’t forget to pop these rigs, because they rattle for a reason. The sheepshead bite is pretty strong around the full moon when they are ganged up to spawn. The artificial reefs in 15 to 20 feet of water are loaded this time of year. A piece of shrimp or live fiddler crab

420 Dock Street Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-543-5142

will be your best bait. The redfish are also loving the warmer water and are getting more active every day. The creeks east of Cedar Key are pretty good right now, as the fish are making their move from the holes to the creek mouths. They should be gathering up on the points that have good oyster beds or rocks. Be careful if you decide to head that way, because it is very rocky. The grass points toward Suwannee will also be loading up. Same as to the east, the points that have some oyster on them seem to hold the numbers of fish. Well good luck folks and like I always say, get outside and enjoy what God has made for us. Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters Capt.Jimbo Keith 352-535-5083

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

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10 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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3/19/17 4:17 PM


CEDAR KEY PADDLING

H

appy April! Do not get fooled this month into not spending some time on the water, chasing them tails. The weather is right; the water is right; so let's make some great memories. Let's talk about planning; well planned and the didn't plan. Let's pick on the folks that do not plan-out their fishing trip. I see it all the time. They roll into the shop asking, what and where. What is biting and what are they biting on? Then there is the where. Where are they biting and where the heck did all the water go? They were ready to fish, but there was a northeastern on a negative tide. I do feel bad because you can tell they were excited and probably had been thinking about going for a long time, to end up spending money and time at the wrong time, which brings me to my favorite people, and they always ask the same what and where, but before they come, they ask the all important when. Cedar Key paddling is some of the absolute best in the state, if you get the right answers on the when. I will tell you, if you focus on the six

hours surrounding the high tide, you should always have safe water levels and fish, to fish for. There are two rules that go with that six hour window. The first is, do not mess with the three hours after high tide in our back waters. You do not want

to get out of your boat unless you are stepping onto white sand, because of mud you can sink up to your neck in, and oysters that are razor sharp with nasty bacteria. If you get stuck on the out-going tide too late, you might be starting your own survivor show till the tide comes back in. The second rule is, as soon as you have enough water on the incoming, it's cool to start, because every minute that goes by, you are gaining water. There of course are some other smart things to do when coming to Cedar Key to play on the water, like where is it okay to park and launch? For all that and your what and wheres, please do not hesitate to stop by the shop and ask. We are here to help in any way that we can. Don't forget to get that kid off the game and phone. Let's all take them fishing this season! @thereal_c_world Capt. Daniel | Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

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4/1-4/29/16 CCC NOTIONS

one of our prime months for fishing, and just about every species we have to offer is a possibility. From trout, red fish, mackerel, tripletail, cobia, grouper, etc. It’s time to go fishing! Cobia will be making an appearance as April comes around. Keep and eye out when cruising the flats and running by channel markers. I always like to have a stout spinning rod accessible, rigged with a large soft plastic jerk bait, for when a cobia is seen. Lead the cobia by a couple feet, and began aggressively twitching the bait. Be ready for the strike. This is sight fishing at its finest. Our most popular inshore species, the speckled trout, can be found in the shallow hard bottom areas, near shore rock piles, and spoil islands. For targeting the shallow locations such as rock flats and oyster bars, I have great success with DOA soft plastic glow colored jerks baits; deadly combo shrimp cork rigs and MirrOlure MirrOdines. The near shore rock piles between Homosassa and Crystal River, in 5 to 8 feet of water, will be holding schools of trout as well. 1/8th oz jig heads rigged with MirrOlure Lil’ Johns and DOA cal shad tail soft plastics are a recipe for success. Fish around the rock piles and any cast could bring trout, sea bass, flounder, grouper, etc. It’s really fun fishing. Red fish can be scattered form the outside points to the backcountry. It’s best to cover some water until

you start seeing fish, as opposed to anchoring up and point fishing. Once fish are located, there will be more around and you will likely be in the zone. Spoons, jerk baits and select sized live shrimp will keep the rod bent. Gag grouper season is still closed for taking a fish home for the table. However, there’s so many around, it’s fun to catch, take some pictures and release, and maybe find that new secret spot. Red grouper are another option while running offshore, and I suggest targeting the 60 to 70 foot depth range. Remember, red grouper prefer more live bottom, lower profile structures, as opposed to gag grouper which seem to concentrate on high relief locations. Frozen baits, such as threadfin herring and sardines are good to get bite going, then send down the lively ones. Also, king fish will be migrating through the area as well. While offshore, troll Yo-zuri crystal minnows or mag minnows rigged with a foot of wire leader around your grouper locations. Watch for sky rocketing kings, and you’ll know you’re in the right area. As always, feel fee to contact me with any other questions about the area. Good fishing!

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APRIL 2017

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

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inally, we are starting to get our water back from the wintertime low tides, and the temperature is staying in the short weather range. I love this time of year. When the water temp stays around 74 degrees, the gulf seems to come alive. There is bait everywhere and the game fish seem to eat anything you put in front of them. I hate leaving the water this time of year. You will have days where the action is non-stop, from the first cast to the last. The redfish and the snook are coming out of the creeks, and back out of the creek mouths, and back onto the flats. I like to concentrate on the outer oyster bars and points south of the barge canal, around Drum Island. I will pick up a mirrolure topwater first thing in the morning, and throw it until about 9 or 10, when the sun has gotten up in the sky. Once the bite has gone sub surface, I will pick up a zman paddler z or diezel minnow z rigged weedless on an ez keeper hook or a fish head dude jig head. Use a steady retrieve, but vary your speed until you figure out what the fish are looking for. The trout are back out on the grass flats. Look for them in about 3 feet of water. This time of year, it is hard to beat a mirrolure mirrodine. This suspending twitch bait is deadly. A zman trout trick on a trout eye jig head will also get the job done and put plenty of fish in the boat. Keep your eyes open around the deeper channel makers and on the flats for cruising cobia. They are going to start showing up in good numbers this month. You can target them with a zman mag swimmer or a live pinfish. If you are ready for an amazing

day on the water in our area, give me a call or go check out my new website, www.floridaflatscharterco. com and schedule your trip. Until next month, be safe, have fun and take your kids fishing. Capt. Craig Spitznogle Florida Flats Charter Company (352)445-4978

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SHRIMP, SPINACH AND WILD RICE

TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

W

elcome back yak fans. April is upon us and what a year it's been so far!! I'll tell you what, if I could press the do over button for 2017, I think I would and we're only four months in. I'll give you the reason why, my 90-year-old father was in the hospital, my grandson broke his arm, and my daughter was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Then when I went in for a minor procedure to help with the blood flow in my leg, and they told me it was a low invasive procedure, and that I'd feel the difference the next day. Silly me, I thought they meant for the better!! I came to after seven hours of surgery with a new incision in my leg, and couldn't walk for nearly a week. The great news is, they are not done. Now, you see why I want to hit replay. This year's been crazy. However, the good news is, I hit the water before all the fun began, and so here's what's happening. Snook is open again, and I made a road trip to Little Sarasota Bay, putting in at Vamo. My friend and fellow guide, Eric Henson, gave me a report on snook, and recommended a new lure to try (sort of). What he was using was my trusty Zara spook junior, but in chrome, and I'll tell you what, color matters. I was working both spooks, my Old Faithful in bone silver, and the new one. The chrome was lighting up everything; needle fish, trout, and snook, blowing up on almost every cast. I can't wait to try it out on my home turf. Locally, trout, reds and black drum been doing well, though snook have been a little slow. On a recent trip, I was fishing

with my longtime fishing buddy Lew, and couldn’t figure out why he was catching more trout than I was, and to be honest, I was getting a little annoyed. We were both using soft plastics on a jig head. He was using his favorite four-inch glow, chartreuse shrimp, and I was using a mirro lure Littlejohn in molting. Okay, I know that the gulp products are very effective, but Jeez!! Then, I noticed that after every retrieve, he turned sideways in his yak. I asked what he was doing, “Nothing.” he replied. This went on for a bit. I asked again. He grinned and showed me he was using the gulp alive spray in the crab scent to recharge bait before each cast, and it was working!! The gulp sprays come in flavors such a shrimp, garlic, and crab, but I'll tell you, the crab is the bomb. I picked some up at Bass Pro Shop on my way back from Sarasota, and I can't wait to see how it will work for me, that is of course, when the doctors tell me I can launch a boat again. To tell you the truth, I think I was happier with a sore leg. That's it for this month's "tackle tips " and if you get a chance to try either of the tips this month, please let me know how they work. As I said, I'm off the water for a bit and would appreciate some vicarious living, with some decent reports. See you next month. 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

IF YOU ADVERTISED HERE

11,000

READERS WOULD HAVE SEEN YOUR AD. Contact Lynn Crutchfield 352-372-4237 crutch@coastalanglerncf.com for more information

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 10:008:00. 201 NW 5th St. Crystal River 352-795-4700.

COOKING DIRECTIONS (serves 2)

• Cook rice according to directions. • Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper. Depending on size of shrimp, cook one to two minutes per side. Remove to plate and keep warm.

• • • • • • • • • • •

¼ cup wild rice ¼ cup brown rice 1 pound shrimp 2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper 4 tablespoons butter 4 chopped green onions 2 cloves minced garlic 1 cup chopped tomatoes ¼ cup chicken broth 1 bag fresh spinach

• Lower heat to medium and melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Add green onions and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more, being careful not to burn. Add tomatoes, broth and 2 tablespoons butter and simmer one minute. Add spinach and cook about 1 minute, until spinach is wilted. Mix in wild and brown rice and serve with shrimp.

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INGREDIENTS

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

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 15

3/19/17 4:17 PM


SIGNS BANNERS Copies Fax

Forms Letterhead We also offer apparel and promotional items. Envelopes Business Cards Brochures Newsletters & More Invitations Located in Chiefland Shopping Center Wedding & Graduation 208 N Main Street, Chiefland, FL 32626

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16 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

S

pring has sprung and the yearly cycle is off to a great start. Water levels are low, but the fish are still hungry. Speckled perch (specs) filled our coolers through the winter and huge spawning bass kept us searching shorelines for the catch of a lifetime. Now it's time for the rest of the freshwater crew to join in. Warmouth and catfish are both great species to begin targeting this month, if you're looking to have a fish fry. Warmouth like to stay close to fallen branches or cypress tree roots in 1 to 3 feet of water, while catfish usually stay along the outer edges of lily pad patches in 3 to 6 feet of water. Live worms will get the bite, and a cane pole will help reach further into pad fields without getting snagged. Sharpes Ferry bridge is loaded with both of these fish and has plenty of room for anglers to spread out along the Ocklawaha River's edge.

Largemouth bass have finished their spawning process and are feeding heavily to fatten up. A weightless stickworm (senko) in watermelon red color will catch any hungry bass, it falls in front of right now. Cast into the middle of smaller, isolated lily pad patches, and give your rod tip a couple bumps. If you don't get a bite within the first few seconds, reel in and cast to the next patch. The more water you cover, the more bass you will catch. Heavy braided line will help land big fish out of thicker weeds. Lake George and Rodman Reservoir are famous for producing giant bass, but the lesser known Halfmoon Lake is reporting some giant catches as well this year. Sunfish and bluegill,(bream) spawn right after bass, so the biggest ones of the year will be caught in the next couple months. Use red worms or bread balls around the same lily pad patches you would expect bass to be in. Bream love to eat bass eggs, so if you find old bass beds, then you

a

know lots of fat bream are close by. Lake Eaton and Moss Bluff are the best spots for shoreside anglers to fill a cooler. Hybrid striped bass are one of the most fun and best eating fish of the forest. Rodman Dam and the St. John's River have always been the go-to spots, but Lake Bryant is starting to prove itself as a worthy competitor. Small shiners or minnows are the preferred bait, and beetle spins or crappie jigs are the preferred lures. Stripers usually school up 100 yards or so from the water's edge of Bryant in 6 to10 feet of water. One pounders are common, but many people have reported catching 3 to 5 pounders recently. As the weather warms up into summer, more fish species will come out to play. Having multiple rods rigged up with different techniques will help ensure an exciting day of forest fun, and keep your bellies full of delicious fried fish! Please remember to practice conservation, and keep our woods clean of trash, so that generations to come may enjoy the beauty of nature as well. John Freeze | 352-216-5798 Swampsurf@embarqmail.com

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ne thing about compiling an April fishing report, there’s always plenty going on. From here in Gainesville, whether you’re looking east or west, north or south, there is great fishing to be found. To our east of course, there’s the Atlantic Ocean. Some head east out from the inlets and ride around 50 miles to “the rolldown”, the sheer drop off into a thousand feet of water, but most of our eastward-leaning fishers, settle for the beaches or the salty inland waters of the Intracoastal Waterway. Perhaps strangely, a good many more local anglers, fishermen and women living smack in the middle of the state, prefer fishing the salty gulf waters to our west. And then, of course, you have the mighty army of freshwater enthusiasts bouncing around our rivers, lakes, and ponds. In April, every one of these choices is fully in play. Now, following is the best of “what’s happening now” in each direction from us here at Gary’s. The happiest east coast fishers presently are surf anglers, casting from the beaches recently altered by Hurricane Matthew. Using shrimp, sand fleas, and Fishbites Strips on beaches from St. Augustine down to Flagler Beach, they are pulling in whiting, bluefish, redfish, and pompano. Some say that April is the number one month for pompano in the surf. Fast gulf action is the rule throughout the long stretch of coast from Homosassa up to Steinhatchee. Trout are back on the grass flats, and redfish are abundant on shell bars and grassy points at high tide. By

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now, Spanish mackerel have arrived in numbers on the deep flats and reefs a few miles offshore. Folks who enjoy a stronger pull will be able to find kingfish and cobia. Bottom fishers will find grouper on rocky bottom, but strict federal regulations have wreaked havoc with the oncenumerous grouper fans. Their levels are lower than we would like, but our nearby fresh waters have produced very well this year. By April, the speckled perch (crappie) spawn is likely finished, but now bluegill are gathering to spawn, and their bedding sessions will continue, peaking at the ‘full’ and ‘new’ moons, throughout the summer. At present, our bream specialists have pretty much ‘lost’ Newnans, one of their favorite lakes, to low water, but then they’ve gained Orange Lake, an old favorite, now making a big fish-producing comeback, following its near-disappearance, thanks to a famous sinkhole de-watering, a few years back. Bass are still spawning for a short while, and nearly any weedless lure pulled through shallow brush or vegetation. is subject to being eaten by a bigmouth. So far this season, our best bass lakes seem to be Santa Fe, Rodman and Rousseau Reservoirs. The St. John’s River has also turned out a lot of fine fish. Plenty of April fish to be caught here in North Florida, for sure. Gary Simpson Gary’s Tackle Box 352-372-1791 Garystacklebox.com garystacklebox@gmail.com

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APRIL 2017

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APRIL 2017

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SUWANNEE

S

pring is here and the fish know it! Warmer temperatures have the fish biting. Sheepshead are everywhere. Make the short run out to the offshore artificial rock piles. You will be glad you did. Expect get broke off, because Spanish mackerel are also swimming with the convicts. The bait hatch is well underway. It definitely looks like it is going to be a great spring. If the weather and wind are keeping you on the hill, a must-do is to take your fishing buddy to eat breakfast. Suwannee Marina is the

place to do just that! Sit back enjoy your meal and tell tall tales. Oh my word, what good food. Then take a ride down the Dixie main line. Old Florida at its best. Need a place to stay for the night Or week, Bills Fish Camp is a great for place to do just that too! Great folks and all the amenities a fisherman could need! Get out there and see what Suwannee has to offer, and book a fish or dive charter. Rig it up charters Capt. Cliff Clark | 1(352)362-1463

Motel and Campground Accommodations

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63 219th St. Suwannee, Florida • 352-542-7086 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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ST. AUGUSTINE

W

hat an awesome time of year for fishing, and for just being on the water in Northeast Florida. The weather is about as nice as it gets. The inshore fish (redfish, trout, flounder, drum, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, etc.) will be on the feed with the influx of baitfish (finger mullet and pogies). With warming air and water temps, the nearshore fishing should be firing up as well, with huge jacks, cobia, and maybe even a tripletail or two. Inshore, the redfish will be crushing the finger mullet, and that means a top-water plug, especially at first and last light, will be the go-to lure of choice. Look for large concentrations of mullet and toss your plugs around them. There's sure to be a redfish lurking around looking for an easy snack. Once the sun gets higher in the sky, I like to switch to a search bait this time of year. Some of my favorites are spoons, twitchbaits, and one of my favorites, the spinner bait. My clients and I have caught a ton of big redfish on the Slayer Inc. line of spinners. Of course, a popping cork with a shrimp or mud minnow will catch its fair share of reds this month as well. April has always been a great “gator” trout month for me. A topwater plug will account for some of

the bigger trout catches this month. The outgoing tide along the ICW banks should be loaded with trout, especially if the baitfish are around. Once the day heats up a bit, I like to fish a 1/4-ounce Slayer Inc. jighead paired with a soft plastic for the trout. Use a twitch, twitch, pause method and most of the time they'll hit it on the pause. A free-lined live shrimp with a small pinch weight a few inches above it, is a great way to catch some trout too. The inlets will come alive with all kinds of fast hitting fish this month. Look for jacks, blues, ladyfish, and Spanish macs to be on the feed, around all the area inlets. Crankbaits, spoons, and just about anything that's moving fast through the water will catch these fish. Nearshore, the cobia will be along the beaches following the manta rays. The magic water temp seems to be somewhere between the high 60’s and low 70’s. Pick a calm sunny day, and have your shot at some of the most fun sight-fishing Northeast Florida has to offer. Also, be sure to bring a few live shrimp when hitting the beach, as there may be a few tripletail hanging around as well. Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

Stephen and Spencer. Very proud of their catch of sheep head. 22 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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3/19/17 4:18 PM


SURF & PIER

Dixie Salvage Auto & Truck Parts Foreign & Domestic Scott Ambrose 21214 S.E. Hwy-19 Old Town, FL 32680

352-498-7000 1-800-226-7077 Fax 352-498-8012

DixieAutoSAlvAge@bellSouth.net www.DixieSAlvAge.net

W

ow, this is the earliest spring run ever! What a wacky winter or the lack of a winter. Because of that, the pompano arrived at least a month early. This month is shaping up as the best April ever in the 40 years I’ve been surf fishing. All of my favorites are on fire! Black drum, redfish, whiting, pompano, and the blacktips that eat them, are all in the surf. Let us start with the right bait. Fresh shrimp will get the job done, but for more success, let’s match the hatch. Right now, my go-to baits are clams and sand fleas. Fresh clams can be found at the better seafood markets. Live sand fleas can only be acquired from the surf. The best beaches to catch sand fleas on are the ones with soft sand. My favorite beaches from north to south are American, Ponte Vedra, and Flagler. If you have never caught sand fleas successfully, try watching my friend’s YouTube video, Catching Sand Flea by 311Pope. Jerry, aka 311Pope, also has other informative videos on surf fishing that will help you.

My favorite way to fish clams and fleas are on a double dropper rig with 2/0 circle hooks. Fish can be finicky, so I always start off with a flea on the top hook, and a clam on the bottom. Then I pay attention to what hook produces fish. Sometimes, they will prefer one bait over the other, ten to one. When that happens, I will switch to the better bait on both hooks. Here is my pro tip of the month; to keep track of what baits you put on what hooks, use where they swim in the water column. Of my four go-to baits, shrimp swim the highest, then sand fleas, then crabs, and finally deep in the sand are clams. So, put them on your double dropper rigs in that order, until you see a pattern on which bait works the best for that day. Then you will match the hatch!

To set up your own surf fishing adventure or long distance casting lesson please visit www.thesurfangler.com or call Noel at 904-945-0660

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Find Your Copy of

COASTAL ANGLER at These Locations (and many more)

GAINESVILLE

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

of Braid I

Photo Courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

The POWER

often tell people the power of braid will instantly make them better fishermen. I truly believe that. In last month’s article, I mentioned a very popular slow-sinking lure that everyone raved about but that I could not catch a fish with. Well, the power of braid changed that.

Somewhere in the 1990s, I jumped on the bandwagon and bought several of these popular slow-sinking lures. I read all of the articles that were written about it and tried to follow the directions on how to properly fish it, especially in the winter for large speckled trout. Occasionally, I would catch a fish or two, but most cast came back empty handed. Fast-forward about 10 years, and one day while wade fishing Shamrock Cove in Texas’ Corpus Christi Bay with three friends, it all changed. We were lined up walking this grass flat and throwing the same famous lure. Yes, I was throwing the lure I had not been able to catch many fish on for over a decade. I tied one on because a buddy said he had been killing the trout on it. I waded alongside the three of them watching them catch trout after trout. As frustration settled in, I started to mimic my friend closest to me. I would cast within 10 yards of his cast and mirror his rod movement. I still didn’t catch a fish, while he continued to do so. By now I was completely clueless on why I couldn’t work this lure properly. I ask him to cast his lure a few feet in front of and several yards past me. Once it passed by, I could see the movement of the lure and how it twitched, paused and darted. I made my next cast in a direction where I could clearly see my lure moving through the water. No matter how vigorously I worked my rod, my lure moved almost in a straight line through the water. What I discovered was I was the only one not using braid. The non-stretch and sensitivity of the braid is what made the lure twitch and dart to attract the fish. On my next trip, I was spooled up with braid, and finally caught fish on this famous lure. Simply by using braid, I became a better fisherman, and this lure soon became one of my favorites. There are still instances when I do not use braid, but for those who have not tried it, or have not tried it in years, spool up with the newest braid technology. It can instantly make you a better fisherman. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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r spread ACR ELECTRONICS GLOBALFIX V4 Global leader in safety and survival technologies, ACR Electronics, Inc., recently released the GlobalFIX V4 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). ACR has taken its world-renowned EPIRB manufacturing expertise to create one of the highest quality and lowest-cost EPIRBs available. The GlobalFIX V4 is competitively priced and offers tremendous value with new features. Notable features include: user-replaceable battery with a 10year battery life, internal 66 channel GPS, a four LED array strobe light, and a new wrist strap for handsfree carrying in an emergency evacuation. The GlobalFIX V4 applies three levels of integrated signal technology: an internal GPS for pinpoint positioning, a powerful 406 MHz distress alert, and 121.5 MHz homing capability to effectively conclude final stages of rescue. The on-board GPS can quickly pinpoint the sender’s position to within 100 meters. As search-and-rescue personnel are deployed, a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light guide rescuers to the beacon’s exact position. For more than 60 years, ACR has been designing and manufacturing quality products to save lives. The new GlobalFIX V4 has gone through months of independent testing to ensure the design, functionality and performance live up to the ACR standard of excellence. The GlobalFIX V4 is also compact enough to be stored in your ACR RapidDitch abandon-ship bag along with all of your other safety gear. For mariners who want an EPIRB with longer operational life and more output power, ACR will continue to offer the GlobalFix iPRO and PRO range of EPIRBs.

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Bimini Bliss At The Inaugural World Resorts Bimini Wahoo Challenge

By Travis Cartwright

A

tense silence filled the Resorts World Bimini marina. A crowd of onlookers sat near the weighing station waiting for the next boat to arrive. Anglers from across the United States had descended on the tiny island of Bimini for the Inaugural Resorts World Wahoo Challenge Feb. 2-5. There were 25 boats, with men and women from as far away as Texas battling it out for the top prize of $35,000. Everyone at the weigh-station lingered anxiously, sipping on free rum punches and Kalik, the native beer of the Bahamas. Suddenly the silence was broken by a boisterous sound. It was music, more specifically a guitar solo. Someone was blaring George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” loudly. As Team Bad Habits idled into the marina, an angler on deck was rocking out to the music, beer in hand. A group

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bikini-clad girls flocked to the men. It was obvious that Bad Habits was having a good day. “We went out early and kept hunting,” one of the men said. “It was a lot of fun being out there.” The team caught several wahoo, and they found mahi-mahi too. The event was sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Resorts World Bimini and the Bahamas Ocean Sports Authority. Team Who’s Your Daddy from Miami, Fla. caught an 80.3-pound wahoo on the first day of the tournament. Who’s Your Daddy took first place with a total combined weight of 261.5 pounds. Second place went to Bad Habits with a total weight of 248.6 pounds. Third place went to Fishin’ A Loan with a total weight of 191.3 pounds. The tournament was a celebration of all things Bahamian, and the anglers were treated to authentic Bahamian food, drinks, music and hospitality. Bimini consists of two main islands, North Bimini and South Bimini, and numerous cays just 50 miles south of Florida. It has a history of entertaining fishermen. People use golf carts to get around on North Bimini, as the island is only 7 miles long. Many visitors even rent bicycles and spend their days having picnics on the island’s gorgeous beaches. Bimini is no stranger to hosting lively and exciting events or personalities. The Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon believed the fountain of youth was located somewhere on the island. Many famous Americans visited the island during the 1960s and 70s, too, including Ernest Hemmingway, Jimmy Buffet and Martin Luther King. King, the late great civil rights leader, wrote parts of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Bimini. He stayed at the Bimini Big Game Club. The legendary Bimini Big Game Club, located in Alice Town, caters to visitors in search of world-class fishing experiences that range from bonefishing and deep sea fishing, and there’s incredible shark diving as well. Today, Bimini hosts scores of visitors in search of their own fountain of youth. The island, with its close-knit community, offers an escape from the modern world.

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3/20/17 3:23 PM


Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo Celebrates 10th Anniversary April 22-23

S

Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

heri Daye, producer of the 10th Annual Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo announced the popular water sports expo, which features exhibits, seminars, demos, marine art and more, will return to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center April 2223. What began as a small charity event has evolved over the past decade and flourished into an exciting, two-day event. The 2017 Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo will exceed 65,000 square feet, host 160 exhibitors and anticipates 5,000 attendees. Highlights include seminars and exhibits on freediving, scuba, spearfishing, fishing, marine art, underwater photography and videography, paddle boarding, adventure travel and more. The popular Kids Zone will offer face painting, art classes and crab races. The event offers activities for the whole family to enjoy. Attendees will be fascinated by the variety of celebrity speakers like TV personality Manny Puig and other experts who are a “who’s who” in the underwater worlds of freediving, spearfishing, photography, video and more. Hands-on workshops offer proven techniques and include: Yoga Session, Lionfish Preparation and Sampling, Marine Art Printmaking, Fish Filleting Demos, How to Hunt Off Your SUP and more. “I’m thrilled to be celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. We strive to offer an exciting atmosphere where like-minded ocean lovers and watersport enthusiasts of all ages can meet up and socialize,” said Daye. “I’ve crafted the expo be both educational and entertaining, where attendees can learn about latest techniques and products, shop for great deals, listen to the best speakers and network with one another.” For marine art fans, The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo has one of the most impressive collections—from the world-renowned to the local scene with artists such as Carey Chen, Don Ray, Randall Scott, Jason Mathias and many more. Returning exhibitors include Aqua Lung, Mares, Cressi, SEAC,

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PADI, Pelagic, Bass Pro, YETI, Florida Freedivers, Island Water Sports, Nautical Ventures, Wong Spearguns and many more. The Expo is pleased to welcome several new exhibitors such as NAUI, Reef Photo and Video, and Coco View Resort. Adding to the excitement, the Expo also has state-of-the-art water toys, kayaks and Contender Boats. The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo is known for its high-energy crowds and fun vibe. The diverse crowd includes visitors, experts and exhibitors from all over the world who flock to Fort Lauderdale for its desirable and central location. Water-lovers can also take advantage of the year-round tropical weather and warm waters. Entry is $20 at the door and includes a free goodie bag (while supplies last) and free entry to the Saturday night After-Party at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Courtyard Marriott. For more information, visit www. TheBlueWild.com or check out a video from last year at...

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Make reel memories. Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, and the northernmost point of the South Florida Reef, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways and natural environment 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, salt water or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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A TRIBUTE TO

Legendary Boat Builder

Curt Whiticar

“Millennium is a leader in our industry and makes quality products that I’m proud to represent!” - BILL DANCE Bill Dance Outdoors

1OO

BOAT SEAT From left are Coastal Angler Magazine Co-Publisher Gary Guertin, Curt Whiticar and Jim Dragseth, president of Whiticar Boat Works. Photo courtesy of CAM/Treasure Coast.

By Ed Killer, Outdoors columnist for USA Today Network

O

ver the course of a life spanning more than a century, Curt Whiticar earned quite the reputation. He was the patriarch of the Stuart family best known for building classic sport fishing boats and died March 7 of prolonged congestive heart failure and kidney issues. He was 106. “Through his life, he touched so many people’s lives,” remembered his son John Whiticar, 67, of Jensen Beach. “He was one for getting things done. And he was so proficient at whatever he would set about to accomplish.” George Curtis Whiticar was born Feb. 13, 1911 to Capt. Add Whiticar, a commercial fisherman and charter captain who fished out of New Jersey. Curt Whiticar was the oldest of three brothers who all followed in their father’s fishing footsteps. They took paying customers on fishing adventures through the St. Lucie Inlet. But when customers were thin, they fished commercially. Curt Whiticar’s dad first came to Stuart to scout the bluefish and Spanish mackerel commercial fishery in 1917. The family settled in Stuart full time in 1926. Curt Whiticar built his first boat in 1921, and by the late 1930s had begun to make a name for the family with his craftsmanship. By the 1950s, his boats were in demand by anglers who wanted boats built to handle the sometimes-choppy Treasure Coast offshore waters. Whiticar boats were known for a sharp entry bow and steep deadrise, which made them perfect for slicing into a 4- to 5-foot-high wave. More than 60 Whiticar boats have been built since Whiticar assembled his first. Capt. V.J. Bell, of Stuart, ran the Bone Shaker, a 40-foot Whiticar, for Stuart’s Joe Lehner for more than 10 years. “It was a great headsea boat which was Whiticar Boats’ claim to fame,” said Bell. “It had a sharp entry, and ran really well into a sea or a chop. And once we got to where we were going, it was a fish-raising machine. It had a clean wash, small propellers. It was a very strong boat, too, overbuilt, if anything.” Bell was one of many Stuart-area captains to come to the area from the Delmarva Peninsula. Many of them came as mates working for Capt. Ray Parker, who owned a red-hulled Whiticar named Hobo. They stayed for the great sailfishing—a sport fishery pioneered by Whiticar and his family. They were among the first in the area to promote conservation of sailfish. The Whiticars were also among those who founded the Stuart Sailfish Club. Whiticar retired from boat building in 1986 at age 75. He received a number of awards and recognition for his service as a craftsman and a leader in conservation. Last month, he was inducted into the International Game Fish Association’s Captain and Crew Hall of Fame. There will be a celebration of Whiticar’s life April 9 at Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach. In lieu of flowers, the family asks to make contributions in his name to the Stuart Sailfish Club, the Stuart Heritage Museum or Treasure Coast Hospice.

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What to Wearipsum Lorem WheN KAYAK FISHING

By Nick Paul Carter Lebowitz By

J

im Salazar has been kayak fishing Southern California since the 1990s. He’s old school. Floridian Brandon Barton started in 2010. He’s from the new school. Both are elite-level Hobie fishing team members, a pair of Top Guns. For Salazar, the water is sizzling when it hits the relatively frigid 70s. He dresses accordingly, in a shorty farmer john wetsuit worn over a pair of fishing board shorts. For UV protection, he tops the ensemble with a hooded polyester sun shirt. His feet have it easy. “In the summer you can’t get me out of my flip flops,” he said. Where Salazar is traditional, Barton is modern. Comfort in hot weather and protection from insects are Barton’s major concerns. In the summer and spring he wears lightweight nylon fishing pants paired with a long-sleeve sun shirt. He tops them with a hat and a neck gaiter—popularly known as a buff. “The sun beats down on the water. I keep my whole body covered up,” he said. Some warm water anglers wear shoes made for the water. Barton prefers to slather sunscreen on his bare feet. If he’s fishing offshore or for dinosaurs, he adds fingerless fishing gloves. “For tarpon and sailfish, you need some hand protection,” he added. Although they fish in different climates, both pros avoid cotton. They dress for the conditions in clothing built to shed water and dry fast. You should too. Photo: Brandon Barton dressed for the warm Florida climate in lightweight sun-protective fishing clothes. Photo courtesy Brandon Barton.

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Tackle Corner:

By Mike Pehanich

Angling for comfort and joint health

O

nce upon a time, fishing was deemed a passive, even contemplative game, a quiet pastime spent under a straw hat and a warming sun. No more! Modern angling is an active endeavor generally characterized by energetic casts, and plenty of them. The aggressive style of the modern angler takes its toll on the body with back, wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries. “As we get older, our bodies kind of fall apart,” said Bassmaster Elite Series angler Mark Menendez during an outing on Kentucky Lake. Menendez has developed tendinitis in his elbow. “I have had to figure out ways to fish that are less taxing on my body.” He has changed technique and equipment to reduce the wear. He fishes soft swimbaits like the Strike King Shadalicious far more these days, working them on relatively light spinning tackle and line testing no more than 10 pounds. It’s effective and easier on his elbow. The other adjustments he makes relate to his tackle. He lauds the Winn grips now featured on Lew’s Custom Lite, Lew’s Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick and Lew’s Mach Speed Stick rods. “The advantage to the angler is that the Winn grip adheres to your hand, but it’s not sticky,” he explained. “It just makes you feel you have a good grip on your rod and reel. The grips also allow me to make longer casts because I have better control of my rod and reel.” Musky and saltwater anglers are also taking advantage of the “tacky” feel and security of the non-slip polymer to protect against joint stress. Eavesdrop on a group of musky fishers for long and you’re bound to hear complaints of sore elbows and forearms. Many musky anglers are building custom rods with Winn grips, employing larger 1.25-inch Straight Taper split grips or a Straight Taper fore

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grip coupled with a 15-inch Straight Cylinder Saltwater grip capped with a fighting butt to extend the rear handle to 18-plus inches. Winn will add a new 18-inch grip to the Saltwater line this spring. Builders of custom surf and offshore rods are already making plans for its use. But oversized grips and rod wraps are finding favor with other anglers, too. At the Bassmaster Elite Series event at Lake Okeechobee in February, anglers with arthritic hands and joint issues noticed the booth Winn shared with North Fork Bait & Tackle owner and rod builder Steve Keller, who also operates a Winn Authorized Service Center at his store in Jensen Beach, Fla. Arthritis sufferers noted their preference for larger grip diameters to ease gripping pressure. The 1.25-inch Winn grips caught their attention, as did the array of offerings in the Winn Superior Rod Wrap line of overwraps, which enable the angler to put a layer of non-slip Winn polymer over existing cork or EVA grips. Winn grips and rod wraps (www.winngrips.com) are available in a wide range of sizes and colors. The Winn interchangeable grip system offers an endless combination of configurations.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER LEARN CONFIDENCE IN NEW TECHNIQUES

BRANDON LESTER

G

rowing up in southern middle Tennessee, I was fortunate to have a lot of really good fisheries within a couple hours of my house. I had my choice between the Tennessee River lakes like Guntersville, Wheeler and Wilson or the typical highland reservoirs located in the hills of Tennessee. I spent many days fishing club events and absorbing every bit of knowledge I could. It helped me become a versatile angler and to stay in tune with the seasonal movements of bass. These things helped prepare me for the situations I would later face on

the Bassmaster Elite Series. I remember my very first Elite Series event. It was at Lake Seminole. I had never been to the lake and didn’t know a thing about it. After a tough first day of practice, I ran way up the Flint River to see if I could find something up there all to myself. What I found was a couple of small backwaters with clear water and fish that were setting up to spawn. These places had been completely overlooked, and I finished 21st in that tournament. I caught almost every fish on a floating worm, something that is very popular during the spawn around my home waters. That tournament and many others since have taught me that no matter where you go in the country, or what body of water you’re on, there will always be something that fits your fishing style. It may not always be the winning pattern,

but more times than not, I would rather be fishing for fewer fish with more confidence. The very best lure in any tackle box is confidence. But this doesn’t mean I stubbornly sticking to the same techniques I’m comfortable with. Successful tournament anglers must keep up with the latest trends. Lures, line, rods, reels and everything else are constantly evolving. It helps to stay on the forefront. As I travel the country, I learn a lot of new techniques and about new baits that work in particular regions. Every time I go to a tournament and a new technique arises that I’m not familiar with, the first thing I do when I get home is take it to a nearby lake and try to learn it. When trying to learn something new, it’s best to do it in areas you know hold fish. A good example of this was at the first Elite Series event of this year at Lake Cherokee. Cherokee is in east Tennessee, but it is much different than my home waters. There is a hot new trend among the locals there called the “Damiki rig” that is dynamite for catching smallmouth relating to baitfish. It is a small fluke-style lure rigged on a Lake Erie-style jig head that allows for precise placement of the lure at depth. I had heard about the rig leading up to the tournament and tried it in practice, but I never could figure it out. Our tournament was actually won on that rig, and several of the top guys were doing it. After that tournament was over, I spent the next day on my home lake with nothing but that rig. I wanted to learn everything there was to know about it. I went on to catch some big smallmouth on my home lake with it, and although I still don’t consider myself an expert, I feel like I can catch them on it next time the opportunity arises.

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Endless Fishing Opportunities

In Marathon

By Capt. Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters Marathon, the very heart of the Florida Keys, offers fishing options as vast as the crystal blue waters that surround the islands. to experience the exhilaration of big game sport fishing closer to shore and easier on your budget. Rounding out the sport fishing options in Marathon are bonefish, snook, Goliath grouper, permit and barracuda. Each challenging in its own right and all worthy of a place of honor on your trophy wall.

F

ill Your Trophy Wall With visions of Ernest Hemingway’s exploits in their heads, adventurers flock to Marathon from around the globe to fulfill their dreams of catching the sportfish of a lifetime. The offshore deep blue waters are the realm of the mighty swordfish, who live in the 1,500-plus-foot depths. Fishing for swordfish is highly technical and is best done with an electric set-up. While a magnificent creature to display above the fireplace, swordfish are also prized for their food value. Closer inshore are sailfish, which are unsurpassed in their size range for combined strength and spectacle. These silver speedsters, with their distinctive blue fan-shaped fin, are free-roamers that seem to prefer the coral reef areas. They are best fished for where their favorite foods are plentiful, such as along weed lines or around schools of blue runners, goggle eyes or pilchards. Perhaps the most elusive of all the sportfish in the Marathon waters is the Silver King. The tarpon that visit the Middle Florida Keys each spring love to hang out at bridge passes, where their food of choice is easily obtainable. These areas are known for their relative calm conditions, making tarpon fishing a comfortable experience for all anglers, even those prone to seasickness. Using light spinning tackle and circle hooks, fishing for tarpon is about as sporting as it gets. And, to hook one and chase it through the bridge pilings, hoping to be rewarded with a few jumps and maybe a picture at the side of the boat is an unforgettable experience. With a plethora of media coverage of sharks, catch-and-release fishing for them has become increasingly popular. The Marathon area sees a vast spectrum of sharks, including lemons, blacktips, bulls, blacknoses, nurse, spinners, hammerheads and tigers. These range in size from little guys to behemoths at 12 to 15 feet in length. Light tackle, shallow water angling for sharks in the Middle Florida Keys presents the opportunity 30

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Fill Your Dinner Plate When it comes to catching fish with a top-quality food value, you’d be hard-pressed to find a greater bounty than contained in the waters surrounding Marathon. On the Atlantic coral reefs and wrecks, snapper of all variety are plentiful for the taking year-round. Yellowtails, mangroves, muttons and lanes offer endless rod-bending entertainment and fill the bellies of hungry anglers at the end of the day. Grouper – blacks, reds and gags – are ever-present as well, although they tend to retreat to deeper waters during the summer heat. Additionally, the season is closed for them from January 1 to May 1. There are many more species that provide high-quality table fare – too many to list – but include amberjack, cobia, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cero mackerel, pompano and on and on. Marathon’s offshore waters are fishing central for pelagic species that provide angling excitement. Venture 26 miles out to the Marathon Humps and you will be in tuna heaven. Blackfin and skipjack tuna are abundant year-round, and the only thing that can prevent you from getting there to catch them on any given day are the winds. But, on a calm day, the ride out and back is comfortable and the catching typically rapid-fire. Dolphin (mahi) and wahoo roam the open sea in a continuous hunt for food. Anglers seek them along weed lines and around any sort of floating debris. Feeding birds, particularly frigates, also indicate their presence. The spectacle of the blue and yellow blaze of a dolphin or the blue and white zebra-like stripes of a wahoo on the end of your line is indelible. Entertain The Family. There’s nothing finer for family bonding than spending quality time together on the water, away from the interruptions of everyday life. Marathon boasts multiple venues that are ideal for a day of family fun fishing. The patch reefs, Hawk Channel, the Seven Mile Bridge and the nearshore bay waters are chock-full of fun-catching fish. Snapper, hogfish, porgy, yellowjack, maybe even grouper, keep the rods bent with tasty rewards at the end of the day. Just for fun, there are sharks, barracuda, jacks and more. Catch ’em and release ’em and on to the next! So, whether you’re looking to fill your trophy wall or your dinner plate, or just have a great day out with the family, Marathon offers the fishing opportunities to make your dreams come true. Capt. Chris Johnson specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters, docked at Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club in Marathon. You can reach him at 305-743-5305, http://SeaSquaredCharters.com and http://Facebook. com/MarathonFishing.

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Register For

The Bahamas Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament

A

Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

nglers with the guts to mix big-game tournament fishing with kayaking will head to beautiful Grand Bahama this month to compete in the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament April 2023. This two-day kayak fishing tournament will attract anglers and their family members from all over the world for a chance to win more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, and all to help raise funds for the Humane Society of Grand Bahama. There will be free entertainment, food, drinks, a huge raffle and lots of fun for the entire family! “This event, now in its fourth year, has gained tremendous interest and notoriety for anglers and sporting enthusiasts from throughout the USA, Canada, China and Brazil. We have seen the competition grow each year from 40 anglers in our inaugural year in 2014 to some 280 participants last year,” said Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) spokesman Richard Treco, Sr. “The high level of competition, coupled with our incredible on-island authentic cultural experiences and diverse product offering, makes this event most attractive for the seasoned as well as relatively new to the sport, angler.” Joe Hector, of Extreme Kayak Fishing International and organizer of the event, said he is excited to work with The BMOT on this tournament, and is particularly pleased with its rapid growth. “The Bahamas Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament truly is the gold standard for kayak fishing in the world, as it provides everything into one great getaway: fun and family adventures, awesome fishing from white and blue marlins to huge mutton snappers, friendly people and the most beautiful destination in the world,” said Hector. Pre- and post-tournament packages range from $595 triple or qua-

druple occupancy for a three nights stay to $1,370 single occupancy for a seven nights stay, which includes tournament registration, hotel accommodations at the Flamingo Bay Hotel and Marina, round-trip transportation for the angler and his/her kayak from Port Everglades to Grand Bahama, a cocktail reception and awards dinner. Fish caught during the tournament will be given to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, Flamingo Bay Hotel and Marina, and volunteers assisting with the project. For more information or to register for the tournament, visit www. extremekayakfishing.com or call 954-661-0175.

To learn more about the event and how to register, go to

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UNDER THE SEA

SLINGS AND POLESPEARS

from companies have challenged this SHERI DAYE traditional design by changing the here’s a fun retro-movement taking hand position. The place in spearfishing—a trend toward Headhunter Guerilla primitive hunting gear. Slings and Sling has a comfortable polespears are used in places that do not allow trigger mechanisms, such as Bermuda or the grip, which transfers the weight load from Bahamas, but they are growing in popularity the wrist and distributes the force throughout the forearm. Sea Archer slings look like an outside these regions too. This could be attributed to the new Sling/ underwater bow and arrow. The user holds Polespear category for world records, run by the body of the sling just as they would with a the International Underwater Spearfishing bow and arrow. There’s nothing more beautiful Association (IUSA). However, I suspect the than watching a skilled underwater hunter real reason is that many hunters appreciate using a sling and hitting the mark with a freethe challenge and simplicity, not unlike land- flying shaft! Polespears are another fun option. hunters opting for bow-and-arrow over rifles. It’s a beautiful art form that evokes images of They can be made of fiberglass, aluminum Indians using extreme stealth and having great or carbon fiber. The tip can have a flopper, three-prong paralyzer tip or a slip-tip. Neritic respect for their prey. Slings and polespears are great tools for Diving company makes polespears with someone who is either learning how to spearfish interchangeable sections that can be assembled or interested in improving their hunting skills. in different length configurations. Users may Compared to modern spearguns, they force a choose to use a shorter polespear when hunting diver to become calmer and stealthier because in dirtier water or in tight spaces. When diving of their shorter range. One must slow down and in deep clear water, fish may not be cooperative study the behavior of fish in order to get closer and a longer polespear may be desired. The to them. While both slings and polespears are ability to quickly construct your weapon of powered using rubber bands without trigger choice is one of the best recent innovations, along with magnetic slip-tips that don’t fall off mechanisms, these two styles differ. Slings, sometimes called “Hawaiian slings,” while diving. I must admit that I can’t help feeling a are similar to a slingshot where the band is pulled back to launch the spear. Traditionally, smug sense of satisfaction when I land an the shooter was a tubular-shaped piece of wood elusive fish with a simple stick and rubber with a hole drilled down the center so the shaft band. Regardless if you are a novice or could slide through when being launched professional, primitive hunting offers a forward by the band. Recent innovations fun and entertaining challenge. Why not

T

Charles Duffie with a polespeared hogfish. Photo by James Ferrara.

add another skill to your spearfishing resume and another choice in your toolkit? It will double your fun and make you a better hunter! Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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Spearfishing Course for Freedivers

By Capt. Chad Carney Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

I

n 2016, Freediving Instructors International (FII) presented their new spearfishing course at The Blue Wild Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. If you’re new to spearfishing or a veteran, this wealthof-knowledge course, from many of the world’s best spearfishermen and freedivers will be invaluable. All students must already have a Level 1 freediving certification from an internationally recognized agency. FII founder Martin Stepanek, and freediving instructors John Dornellas and Cameron Kirkconnell, wrote the textbook for the course, called FII Spearfishing. The first course was taught by Martin and John at Florida Freedivers, Jonathan and Kelsey Dickinson’s dive shop in North Palm Beach, Fla. just days before The Blue Wild. Jonathan became a FII Spearfishing Instructor in September and taught the course to most of his staff and several customers since. The classroom section of the course runs a half day and is packed with great content including spearfishing ethics, freediving safety, location safety about dive planning, site obstructions, currents, marine animals, divers and boats. Information about spearfishing gear, it’s handling and use is covered thoroughly along with underwater hunting skills and techniques. The second half of the day is the pool training, where speargun handling and float line training is hands-on. The provided spearguns are unique in that they can be loaded in the water with total safety, because their shafts are completely stationary, as they are permanently bolted to the muzzles and mechanisms. Otherwise, the spearguns are fully functional and allow the best practice for pool or confined water training. Hunting styles and tricks are also taught and practiced in the pool around a portable artificial reef at the pool bottom where students will stalk a foam fish. Certification is completed with the classroom and pool session, along with a written test. A day of real ocean spearfishing is an option and may vary from location to location, but in the Palm Beaches, Jonathan says they plan for a day of spearfishing in moderate depths where water entries with gear can be polished, and also float lines can be used in currents. Reefs with low structure are available for stalking with, aspetto and agguatto techniques. The photo is Jonathan Dickinson with a recent 70-pound amberjack!

Check out www.floridafreedivers.com and www.freedivinginstructors.com for more information about the course and spearfishing and freediving equipment. Capt. Chad Carney runs diving and spearfishing charters in southeast Florida and can be reached at 727-4237775 or chad.carney@yahoo.com.

To learn more about Florida Free Divers, go to

Nothing gets you closer to the fish than your small craft. And nothing anchors you better than a Power-Pole Micro anchor made just for your vessel. Add the Micro Battery Pak and you’re ready to go wherever adventure takes you.

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FISH & FISHING

THE LIGHT WAND MARK SOSIN

L

earning to fish a fly in saltwater adds a new and extremely challenging dimension to the sport. Light-wand enthusiasts on the marine scene don’t have to trip over tradition that sometimes limits the thinking and performance of their brethren who focus attention solely on trout and salmon. There are differences. When you work over fish in a stream, you often have ample time to contemplate the situation, change flies if the first one doesn’t work, and even try several approaches. Even a shoreline largemouth bass lays claim to a stationary feeding station near a log or under the lip of a lily pad. Saltwater critters remain on the move, probing and prowling continuously or they hold on a seat in the restaurant until the water level rises or falls a certain amount. Then, they change position. If you happen to spot your quarry, you only have seconds to get a fly in front of it. The first cast has to count. Simple hesitation can cause you to miss the opportunity. When you are blind casting, it’s important to read the water and recognize another set of signals. Predators frequently follow a feeding rhythm tied directly to the stage of the tide. Since they are not restricted to a few deep pools or the tail end of a run, finding them and presenting a fly with accuracy requires detailed knowledge of their habits and habitat. Casting in saltwater demands a bit more distance than it does in many freshwater settings. False casting becomes a handicap when you’re trying to drop a fly in the path of a cruising gamefish. You won’t have time to admire the tight loops or match the distance to the target precisely before dropping the fly gently on the skin of the water. The repeated surges of a powerful marine denizen tethered to flyline, leader and backing, or the task of driving a fly into the wind and in front of a cruising fish have no parallels in other forms of angling. Once experienced, these challenges trigger an insatiable appetite that demands more.

For smaller species of fish, a 9-weight fly rod that is 9-feet long would be my first choice. The reel should be single action, hold adequate backing, and left or right hand retrieve. You should turn the handle with your primary hand rather than what many fly fishermen do today. With a 9-weight rod, the reel should hold at least 200 yards of 20-pound dacron or braid. The second outfit for larger fish starts with a 12-weight or 13-weight rod and a reel that holds at least 275 yards of backing. Again, if you are right handed, choose a right hand retrieve. If you’re new to fly fishing, the time to break out the fly rod is when fishing is very good and your chances of success are boosted. It pays to keep it rigged and handy all the time. Let me warn you that catching fish on a fly rod becomes addictive. Once you start hooking fish on the light wand you will also be hooked.

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A slippery knife can make filleting fish a difficult chore. Dexter UR-Cut Fillet knives were designed to eliminate this problem, while providing comfort and control by custom molding the grip to a user’s hand. Coastal Angler put Dexter’s design to the test at the docks with a cooler full of sheepshead, which are known to be difficult to clean. The customization involves boiling the handle before dipping it in cold water and gripping it tightly so the owner’s grip is impressed on the handle. With attention to thumb position during the process, we were able to customize the grip to the exact position our fillet men prefer. It took just a few minutes, and the result was a well-balanced tool that felt secure and comfortable in the hand. Then we took our blades to the cutting table. Dexters are known for maintaining a super-sharp edge, and having just the right amount of flexibility. Past experience has taught us they are also easy to sharpen. We were not surprised to find the blade on our new UR-Cut knives performed flawlessly working along spines and ribcages. Our hands and the table were coated in slime, and this is where the URCut showed why it is more than just a good knife. We intentionally created a slippery situation by not washing down, and the non-slip properties of the custom handles performed as advertised. For more information, visit...

UR-Cut features the same legendary DEXSTEEL, super-sharp edge, and just-right flexibility that you are used to with Dexter... 1.Dip handle in boiling water for 2 minutes. 2. Dip in cold water for 1 second. 3. Grip and form handle for 10 seconds. 4. Put back in cold water for 10 seconds and your done.

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PANTHER SWIM PLATFORM OUTBOARD MOTOR BRACKET Now, with the new Panther Swim Platform Outboard Motor Bracket you can transform the family boat or even the work boat into a fishing machine. The convenience of having a kicker motor makes slow trolling for your favorite species much more efficient and productive. The new bracket easily mounts to most swim platforms and features three levels of convenient height adjustment to accommodate most platform heights and motor shaft lengths, for optimal prop depth and performance. • Rated for two- and four-stroke motors up to 20 hp with max motor weight of 195 pounds • Constructed of black powder coat aluminum • Comes complete with transom support bar for weight support torque resistance For more information, contact MarineTech Products at 1 651-486-2010 or visit

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ost anglers would probably enjoy a shopping spree in the fishing section of the local Walmart. An Ohio man allegedly helped himself to not one, but two free-ofcharge shopping sprees last October, and has now been charged with stealing an estimated $3,800 worth of fishing gear, according to NBC affiliate WLWT. Warren County, Ohio prosecutor David Fornshell told reporters that Derrick Marcum, “pretty much cleared out the aisle.” According to the WLWT report, Marcum was arrested last October when he attempted to carry two backpacks stuffed with fishing gear out of an Ohio Walmart. He was arrested that same day for the theft of $1,300 worth of gear. But it wasn’t until recently that investigators connected that incident with another theft that occurred the previous day at another Ohio Walmart. Marcum allegedly filled five plastic bins with tackle and then proceeded to the self-checkout, where he paid only for the bins. Investigators valued that heist at about $2,500. A grand jury indicted Marcum, and he waits in jail for his arraignment, according to reports. Jail time seems a pretty steep price, even for thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear.

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

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

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

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

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

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