Coastal Angler Magazine - February / North Central Florida

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

FREE Gulf

Rods &

Tuna

Reels Reviews

At Night

Fish

Tales From Costa Rica

Skeeter Celebrates

70

th

Anniversary PHOTO COURTESY OF RANDY KING VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 276

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

A V A I L A B L E

FEBRUARY 2018

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FAMILY LEGENDS

and fish tales

BUILT FOR THAT

210 FSH ® SERIES

Go where no other boat has gone before. With powerful twin TR-1® Yamaha Marine Engines, ample storage and comfortable bow seating, the all-new 210 FSH provides the shallow-water capability to get to those hard-to-reach fishing spots and the versatility to enjoy watersports with your family.

210 FSH®

210 FSH® Deluxe

210 FSH® Sport

YA M A H A B OAT S . C O M

©2018 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved. Follow instructional materials and obey all laws. Drive responsibly, wearing protective apparel. Always drive within your capabilities, allowing time and distance for maneuvers, and respect others around you. Don’t drink and drive. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT YAMAHABOATS.COM OR CALL 1.800.88.YAMAHA.

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2018 242CC

FISHING FOCUSED FAMILY FRIENDLY “Sailfish Boats are truly versatile. A great fishing boat and a great family boat all in one.”

2018 220CC ® Exclusive Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) Hull for Performance, Safety & Stability ® 10 year Structural Warranty ® SailTech Construction: 100% Composite, Reinforced with Kevlar® & Carbon Fiber ® Lifetime No-Rot Guarantee ® Bow To Stern Intelligent Ergonomic Design with Premium Finishes ® Family Friendly Features for Fun, Comfort and Safety

www.SailfishBoats.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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THE NEXT GREAT THE NEXT GREAT

HAVALON HAVALON INNOVATION INNOVATION HAS LANDED. HAS LANDED.

QUIK-CHANGE II ™ Interchangeable Fixed Blade™ QUIK-CHANGE Cutlery System II Interchangeable Fixed Blade Cutlery System9” FILLET 7” FILLET 9” FILLET 5” FILLET 7” FILLET 3” SERRATED 5” FILLET 3” SERRATED

Easy Blade Release System Easy Blade Release System

Opens For Easy Cleaning

KN IVES

Opens For Easy Cleaning

KN IVES

COMING SPRING 2018 COMING SPRING 2018 4

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Rugged Canvas Roll Pack Rugged Canvas Roll Pack

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BLEED TRIM

SAFETY

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

FLORIDA

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

flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com

SOUTHEAST

ATLANTA : Bob & Brenda Rice • (706) 614-8231 • bobr@theanglermagazine.com CHARLESTON : Jane A. Redden • (205) 725-9616 • jane@coastalanglermagazine.com

Sam Buckareff • (843) 607-8629 • sam@coastalanglermagazine.com

CHARLOTTE/PIEDMONT : Mark & Haley Alberghini • (704) 651-1934 • mark@theanglermagazine.com

COME JOIN OUR TEAM Dear Reader, “Coastal Angler” and our freshwater component “The Angler” magazines are looking to expand our franchise footprint to include numerous Gulf Coast region markets. Having become the largest outdoor publication on the Eastern Seaboard, we’re now ready to continue our expansion westerly all the way to California and northerly to the Great Lakes and beyond. Our franchise system enables localized editions of the magazine to be managed and developed by our franchisee/co-publishers. Publishing your localized edition of either Coastal Angler Magazine or The Angler Magazine can be exceptionally enriching and financially rewarding. Our ideal candidate may never have been involved in publishing before. They would, however, be passionately involved in the outdoors. Obsessive anglers often make great fishing magazine franchisees.

COLUMBIA/MIDLANDS : John Lux • (803) 807-6885 • jlux@theanglermagazine.com MYRTLE BEACH : Mike Masiero • (732) 674-3019 • mmasiero@coastalanglermagazine.com SW GEORGIA : Bob & Brenda Rice • (706) 614-8231 • bobr@theanglermagazine.com TIDEWATER/OUTER BANKS : John Tiger • (757) 707-9654 • john.tiger@coastalanglermagazine.com

Laura Tiger • (757) 707-9655 • laura@coastalanglermagazine.com

WESTERN NC : Debra & Joe Woody • (828) 775-9663 • woody@theanglermagazine.com WILMINGTON/MOREHEAD : Kenny Ritter • (910) 550-9094 • kenny@coastalanglermagazine.com

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

Your new career is just a phone call or email away.

GULF COAST MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST : Adam Nelson • (228) 627-5903 • anelson@coastalanglermagazine.com

This is a chance to own your own business but not be all on your own. Our training and support systems enable our co-publishers to quickly establish their localized edition of the magazine into a viable local business. If you think you would enjoy a career centered around the outdoors and fishing, you owe it to yourself to check out our franchise opportunities. Our expansion goals have numerous territories now available.

Toby Nelson • (228) 623-1761 • tnelson@coastalanglermagazine.com

Best regards,

NEW ORLEANS : Dr. Dave Dunaway • (225) 400-8156 • nola@coastalanglermagazine.com

GREAT LAKES WEST MICHIGAN : Phil Belsito • (616) 957-1714 • phil@theanglermagazine.com

INTERNATIONAL PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com COSTA RICA : Mike Erickson • (561) 262-2242 • mike@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Disclaimer: Coastal Angler Magazine / The Angler Magazine will not be held liable for injuries incurred while partaking in activities described herein, or for claims made against products or services provided by advertisers. SAFETY

Ben Martin Editor in Chief info@coastalanglermagazine.com

1-888-800-9794

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By CAM Staff

F

ast and stable, with a needle nose that reminded people of a mosquito buzzing over southern waters, the world’s first bass boat was the 1948 brainchild of Shreveport, Louisiana’s Holmes Thurmond. That first Skeeter boat, made of molded marine plywood, caught on quickly with local anglers. It launched the brand

that today, 70 years later, is still renowned for building innovative boats designed specifically for the needs of recreational anglers. Cary Crutchfield, co-publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine’s North Central Florida edition, owns one of those early Skeeter boats. When he bought his first Skeeter in the 1960s, the company was already leading the way in what became an industry-wide transition to fiberglass. His was a 15-foot model with stick steering up front that was powered by a 35hp outboard. “It’s real easy to fish from, and it’s just a neat 6

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looking boat,” Crutchfield said of those early flat-bottomed Skeeters. “It’s narrow, and the way the sides turn up to the cockpit makes it very stable to move around in.” With today’s bass boats, a 250hp Yamaha seems like a necessity to even compete on the tournament circuits. Back then, a Skeeter with a 35hp was capable of reaching speeds in excess of 30 mph. It was a fishing boat superior to any that came before it. The Super Skeeter arose as the boat for serious anglers fishing the large, newly constructed man-made reservoirs that have since fueled the sport. Crutchfield sold his 15-footer in the 1980s and almost immediately began kicking himself. He missed the narrow profile and shallow draft, along with kind of stability that allows him to stand comfortably and pole into very tight places. It wasn’t long before he ran into another old Skeeter he had to have, this one a 14-footer, originally powered by a 25hp outboard that has since been replaced by a 1950s model 12hp. Even with that old motor, it still gets around pretty quickly, and Crutchfield said it’s still the perfect small fishing boat where he launches on the Suwannee River. With the spirit of innovation that gave rise to that first bass boat and an open ear to the new requirements of early bass tournaments, Skeeter grew and evolved with the sport. The Skeeter Hawk did away with the characteristic pointed bow, which allowed for a smoother ride and a raised casting platform. In the 1970s, after moving into its current plant in Kilgore, Texas, Skeeter rolled the dice and introduced the legendary Wrangler to the bass fishing world. Rated for 150hp with a V-bottom, it was an odd and new style that absolutely dominated the competition in performance. It became the template that led to the high-performance fishing machines that roar

around our reservoirs today. In 2018, Skeeter Performance Fishing Boats is celebrating its 70th year of providing anglers with exceptional fishing boats. With modern technology and computer design capabilities, it has continued to lead the industry with innovations such as the first production composite bass boat, the ZX202, in the mid-1990s. The venerable ZX series, in all its versions, has been a staple in the bass tournament world for more then three decades. But listening to the needs of the fishermen who are its customers, Skeeter branched out to produce deep-v boats for walleye tournament anglers on the big lakes of the north, as well as bay boats for saltwater anglers. Skeeter’s acquisition by Yamaha in 1996 brought new resources to the table and advances followed. In 2001, Skeeter again set a new standard for the industry with its Torque Transfer Transom and Stringer System, which provides lift to the entire keel, while eliminating stress on the on the transom, deck, hull and sides. Through all the advancements, Skeeter boats bear little resemblance to Thurmond’s first bass boat. But the same concept, to design perfect

fishing boats for fishermen, is evident throughout Skeeter’s product line. Whether it’s on southern reservoirs, the big northern lakes or the bays and backwaters of the Gulf of Mexico, Skeeter has a nimble, fast and extremely fishable boat perfect for the kind of fishing you do.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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IT’S MORE THAN JUST A BOAT. IT’S A LIFESTYLE.

STANDARD FEATURES INCLUDE: Center console command center Abundant bow & floor storage Lowrance® Elite 9 Ti touch 40 gallon rear livewell/baitwell Deluxe lean post w/vertical rod holders 14 gallon console baitwell New upholstery styling ...and much more!

ENGINEERED TO BE THE ULTIMATE BAY BOAT Ultimate in the way you get to the fish, with a durability that is unsurpassed. Engineering this one was a dream come true. We put everything you need right at your fingertips to provide you with a true fishing machine. For additional information please visit SkeeterBoats.com/SX240.

$42,995* 2O18 SX21O WITH

YAMAHA VF15OXA

ACTUAL SALES PRICE DETERMINED BY DEALER. PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE FREIGHT, DEALER PREP & T.T.L.

NATIONALLY ADVERTISED PRICE BEFORE REBATE

$

43,495

+

MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE

$

52,060

u

STANDARD FEATURES INCLUDE: White Pro Series 2 Power-Pole® Abundant bow & floor storage Center console command center 25 gallon rear livewell/baitwell Leaning post with vertical rod holders 14 gallon console baitwell ...and much more! 8” setback plate

THE BEST RIDE AT THE BEST VALUE It’s true you really can have it all without spending it all. The SX210 is just the right fit for any situation. Family fun and weekend getaways make this boat a hero. For additional information please visit SkeeterBoats.com/SX210.

UP TO

INSTANT REBATE

*

LIMITED TIME OFFER INSTANT REBATE APPLIED AT TIME OF FINAL SALE BY DEALER.

VALID JANUARY 1-MARCH 31, 2018

LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY Limited Lifetime Structural Warranty 10 Year Limited Transferable Structural Warranty 3 Year Limited Component Warranty

Visit SkeeterBoats.com to locate your nearest Skeeter Dealer. Nationally Advertised Price; actual sales price determined by dealer. Price does not include freight, dealer prep, and T.T.L.. uManufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Prices may vary due to supply, location, freight etc. Actual prices are set by the dealer. *Terms and Conditions: Nationally Advertised Price for 2018 SX210 with $1500 Rebate. Consumer benefit for purchasing a new (unused, not previously warranty registered) eligible MY 2018 and prior boat from 1/1/18- 3/31/18 is an instant rebate applied at time of final sale by dealer, at no extra cost to consumer. Actual rebate amount is determined by model selected. NO BENEFIT SUBSTITUTIONS. Promotion is only applicable from authorized participating Skeeter dealers in the U.S.A. and Canada sold to purchasing consumers residing in the U.S.A. and Canada. Promotion is limited to available stock in dealer inventory that is sold, PDI completed, delivered and warranty registered in accordance with Skeeter’s promotion and warranty registration req uirements during applicable dates. No model substitutions, benefit substitutions, extensions or rain checks will be allowed. Not redeemable for cash. Boats sold or provided for commercial, camp, resort, rental, promotional/ demo, government agency, competition, tournament or sponsorship use are not eligible. This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other Skeeter offer or discounts. Some exceptions may apply. See authorized, participating Skeeter dealer for complete details. Skeeter reserves the right to change or cancel this promotion at any time. Other restrictions and conditions apply. ©2018 Skeeter Products, Inc. All rights reserved. This document contains many of Skeeter’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement. Remember to observe all applicable boating laws. Never drink and ride. Dress properly with a USCG approved flotation device and protective gear. +

LOOK FOR US AT THE MIAMI INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW AT BOOTH A112 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Rods & Reels

G. LOOMIS/SHIMANO CONQUEST

PENN CONFLICT II

PENN redesigned its smooth and durable Conflict reel to bring anglers the Conflict II, the most lightweight PENN reel ever made. It is a superior reel, perfectly suited to inshore applications. True to its origins, the Conflict II features stealthy cosmetics and a smooth and reliable HT-100 carbon fiber drag system. The RR30 Rigid Resin body and rotor are extremely lightweight and durable, and with the redesign, the Conflict II is 20 percent lighter than the first-generation Conflict. Internally, the Conflict II is updated with PENN’s CNC Gear Technology and high quality stainless steel ball bearings, making it the ultimate PENN inshore reel. With the Superline Spool, no backing is needed because of the rubber gasket that keeps superlines from slipping. Other key features include: Slow Oscillation – Leveline System, 7+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearing system and line capacity rings.

WWW.PENNFISHING.COM

ST. CROIX LEGEND TOURNAMENT INSHORE

8

What do you get when you mix proven G. Loomis rod design with Shimano technology? You get Conquest, a line of 12 awesome bass rods, purposebuilt for different conditions and techniques. The new Conquest series includes eight casting rods with G. Loomis’ original “Mag Bass” fast-action tapers and four “Spin/Jig” fast-action spinning rods. With Shimano’s Spiral X and Hi-Power X processes, the blanks are rolled to exact G. Loomis specifications before being handfinished in G. Loomis’ Woodland, Wash. facility. With this partnership, engineers believe they have produced the most technologically advanced rods on the water. They are lightweight and offer anglers a whole new set of performance standards. Some of the benefits anglers will experience are: more accurate casts, increased fighting power, solid leverage for hook sets and reduced rod twist for rod control and durability. The casting rods are fitted with G. Loomis’ “skeleton” reel seats on full-cork contoured grips. The spinning rods feature split grips and Shimano’s CI4 reel seats. Blank-through-handle design on both versions adds sensitivity, as do the Fuji Torzite guides and a durable SIC Titanium tip guide. Whether you’re pitching jigs in thick cover or prospecting open water for smallies, high-performance Conquest rods will help you catch more bass.

WWW.GLOOMIS.COM

PENN INTERNATIONAL VI

Legend Tournament Inshore rods are the blending of the inimitable sensitivity, power and durability of St Croix’s Legend Tournament Bass and Walleye series with components and technology suited for saltwater environments. With good looks and a high-performance feel, the Legend Tournament Inshore was awarded Best Saltwater rod at ICAST 2017. The eye-catching “Belize Blue” blanks are crafted of SCIV graphite using Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology and engineered to eliminate all transitional points, which fosters smooth action, increased strength and sensitivity. They are surprisingly lightweight, yet durable, and are equipped with a Fuji TVS blank touch reel seat on spinning rods and PTS blank-touch reel seat with builtin hoods on casting models. These new Fuji seats are designed to stand-up to the pressure of hard-fighting inshore species. Kigan Master Hand Zero Tangle guides and a Kigan titanium hook keeper provide 100 percent corrosion protection.

After nearly 15 years, the PENN International big game reel will get a makeover. The reel that has become legendary for fulfilling angler dreams offshore has been refined and modernized to once again redefine big game reels. The PENN International VI series features many upgrades including a weight reduction on key sizes, a new silent anti-reverse and a more refined/ adjustable Dura-Drag system. The new series features 28 models in both gold and silver, single speed and two-speed, wide and narrow. Made in the U.S.A. of domestic and imported components at the historic PENN Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company building in Philadelphia, the International VI will give anglers the edge in chasing that trophy of a lifetime. Key features include: Machined and anodized aluminum body and side plates, stainless steel main and pinion gears, Quick-Shift II two-speed system, sealed DuraDrag system, Versa-Strike Adjustable Strike stop, double-dog ratchet anti-reverse and line capacity rings.

STCROIXRODS.COM

WWW.PENNFISHING.COM

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Product Reviews

TSUNAMI ARMR

MUD HOLE TURN KEY KITS Avid anglers who want to take their fishing to the next level owe it to themselves to check out Mud Hole Custom Tackle’s rod building kits. They include everything needed for anglers to construct their own high-end custom fishing rods. Mud Hole is offering an amazing value on its Inshore Turnkey Kit, which includes all the tools and materials to build a custom inshore rod perfect for trout and redfish. The kit features the extremely popular and versatile MHX SJ842 rod blank. This 7’0” medium-light power rod features a fast action for throwing soft plastics and topwater lures at wary flats fish. Along with the blank, the kit comes with a matched guide set, handle kit and everything from the CRB wrapper, a CRB rod dryer and ProPaste and ProKote Rod Finish and all the tools needed to craft your own custom rod. Visit www.mudhole.com and check out all our Turn Key Kit options or simply Google: Mud Hole Turnkey.

Super smooth and well built, the Tsunami ARMR is lightweight, high-performance spinning reel available in 3000/4000 and 5000/6000 sizes. The Tsunami ARMR has a sleek design and features

high-end components to provide smooth and durable operation for fighting and casting. The lightweight, solid aluminum body combined with hybrid, corrosion resistant carbon infused side plates and rotor and a double anodized ported aluminum spool are what keep this reel feather light in the hand all day long. Seven high-precision, shielded stainless steel ball bearings allow full support to all free-moving parts during the toughest fight or retrieve after retrieve. The look and feel of the Tsunami ARMR reel, enhanced by a light, durable EVA handle knob and braid-ready spool is what separates these high-performance reels from the competition.

WWW.BIMINIBAYOUTFITTERS.COM

WWW.MUDHOLE.COM

SHIMANO SUSTAIN HOOKER ELECTRIC REELS Hooker Electric continues to raise the bar with the fastest, lightest and best looking electric reels on the market, along with second-to-none customer service. The top seller in 2017 was their 80 motor that features level wind and auto stop, mounted on the Shimano Tiagra 80WA. The auto stop feature allows the angler to set the reel to stop winding at any interval, including just before your terminal tackle reaches the rod tip. With both 12- and 24-volt functionality, there is no need for a converter box. Its full variable speed allows line retrieval at up to 500 feet per minute, which makes checking your bait from 1,800 feet a breeze. It also includes bluetooth connectivity, allowing the angler to control the reel through Hooker Electric’s iPhone app, ReelTime. If you’re feeling sporty, the reel can also be used manually, so you can feel the fight. New for 2018, Hooker Electric now offers custom colors in silver, black, blue and even pink. For more information, go to www.hookerelectric.com or give them a call at 954-530-6908.

WWW.HOOKERELECTRIC.COM

T h e Best New Saltwater Reel winner at ICAST 2017, Shimano’s Sustain might just be the best new spinning reel for freshwater or salt. The Sustain series comes in four sizes suitable for everything from finesse baits for bass, to stripers and even small billfish. In all sizes, the reel’s Hagane aluminum body construction gives it a solid feel, and the Shimano Magnumlite low inertia rotor provides sensitive, light rotation and a light start up, which allows anglers to instantly begin the retrieve. Shimano’s Hagane gear has already made waves in the industry for its incredibly smooth operation. The exclusive technology used to engineer the cold forged aluminum drive also makes it extremely strong and durable. The X-Protect feature, which should be of particular interest to saltwater anglers but is relevant in any wet fishing conditions, is a threelipped rubber seal system that offers exceptional water resistance. With Cross Carbon Drag, eight shielded anti-rust ball bearings, and a one-way roller bearing to stop handle backplay, Shimano went in whole hog to produce these award-winning reels. Whether you fish freshwater or salt, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better spinning reel.

FISH.SHIMANO.COM

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MOTOR UPGRADES ARE AVAILABLE

Marine Wintertime Blowout $209* mon

G2968 Key Largo 160cc

G2661 Key Largo 1800 cc

40 HP Motor

90 HP Motor

WAS $23,849 NOW $15,999

WAS $37,749 NOW $25,999

$194* mon

90 HP Motor

G3149 Caravelle 16EBo 70 HP Motor

WAS $30,746 NOW $19,799

$299* mon thly

thly

G2849 Key Largo 2000

G2646 Key Largo 210LX

WAS $50,787 NOW $35,990

WAS $59,266 NOW $36,990

150 HP Motor

140 HP Motor

WAS $35,833 NOW $23,999

thly

$279* mon

thly

G3068 Caravelle 19EBo

$164* mon

thly

thly

$377* mon

$306* mon

$368* mon

thly

thly

G3010 Key Largo 220BAY

G3054 Razon 238PF

140 HP Motor

200 HP Motor

WAS $61,517 NOW $39,599

WAS $78,605 NOW $49,599

thly

G3081 Razor 247UR 200 HP Motor

WAS $71,288 NOW $48,499

www.factorydirectmarine.com *payments calculated at 180 months for well qualified buyers with 20% down. Please note: Prices do not include freight, dealer make ready, and rigging. Pictures may not reflect actual unit and/or available inventory. Price and payment do not include sales tax or fees. Not responsible for typographical errors.

Ridgeland, SC, 401 Sycamore Drive, 844-280-9753 | Panama City, FL, 8308 Panama City Beach Pkwy, 844-278-2510 Charlotte, NC | 9204 N Lakebrook Road | 980-267-5597 | Rockwood,TN, 2475 Westel Road, 844-271-9582 Hamburg, PA, 20 Industrial Drive , 844-247-1678 | West Coxsackie, NY, 12634 Route 9 West, 844-276-8649

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All trademarks mentioned are owned by, or licensed to, the AkzoNobel group of companies. © AkzoNobel 2017.

$136* mon


For over a century, a league of canned crusaders have been fighting to keep boats safe from barnacles, slime, algae and other aquatic evils that rob your boat of its true performance. With advanced know-how and unique capabilities, each antifouling is tailored to different conditions, and has the power to defeat fouling in all its forms. Micron® Extra leads the charge in all waters. Using its signature dual-protection with boosting Biolux® technology, it provides high-quality, multi-season protection that survives hauling and relaunch without the need for repainting. For super-powered antifouling protection and proven performance, choose Interlux®.

All trademarks mentioned are owned by, or licensed to, the AkzoNobel group of companies. © AkzoNobel 2017.

The hero your boat deserves!

8953/1217

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Drifting For

Nighttime Yellowfin On Gulf Floaters

By Nick Carter

Y

ellowfin tuna are some of the most sought after gamefish in the world. They are the ahi tuna on the menus at restaurants and sushi bars, and in the water they have the speed and power to wear down anglers and break gear. The signature “spiral” that tuna commence in the waning moments of a fight is responsible for untold numbers of broken lines and broken hearts. After battling 30 mph runs for 20 minutes or more, the weary angler, captain and crew face one final test, a team effort to survive the spiral and get the fish on deck. These tense moments, when a big yellowfin turns sideways and begins to circle, using its body’s mass as leverage, are the most critical minutes of the fight. If the line even touches the boat, it will snap, and the circling fish provides many opportunities for this to happen. These moments are the reason Randy King, of Paparda Rey Fishing Charters out of Galveston, Texas, says the main limitation on their catch is the ability of the angler. The captain, Kenneth Doxey, is solid. He has been running their 54-foot Bertram and their 35-foot Cabo for more than a decade. He was the 2016 recipient

of the Houston Big Game Fishing Club’s Jim Peachey Award. The crew is also top-notch, which leaves the angler as the potential weak link. The good news is there will likely be multiple opportunities on one of their overnight trips to deep-water oil platforms off Texas. King said a great trip with six anglers would yield a dozen yellowfin tuna in the 40- to 120-pound range, and that doesn’t include the shots anglers will have at mahi-mahi, wahoo, marlin and blackfin tuna. Out of Galveston, it’s 100 miles or more into the Gulf of Mexico to reach the enormous floating gas and oil structures off the edge of the Continental Shelf. These deep-water facilities, known as “floaters,” create their own food chain, consolidating bait and gamefish from miles around. On a typical 36- or 48-hour trip, don’t plan on sleeping much. The floaters are brightly lit at night, which is when the tuna fishing is best. After identifying fish on the sonar, chumming and drift fishing with 30-pound-class tackle is usually the most productive method for yellowfin. “Sometimes the tuna will start breaching,” said King. “They’ll jump in the air like king mackerel.” It’s for these occasions, when fish are on the surface, that big spinning rigs armed with poppers are

kept on deck. Drifting and pulling poppers while chugging back up-current to start a new drift goes on all night long. At dawn, the bait rods come in, and it’s time to start trolling. The primary daylight targets are marlin, sailfish, wahoo and dolphin. Between night and day, it equates to a whole lot of big fish packed into a weekend at sea. It’s a grand adventure, and a meat trip of epic proportions in the Gulf of Mexico. Check out Paparda Rey at www.offshorebiggame.com. Information on the Houston Big Game Fishing Club can be found at www.hbgfc.com.

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By Capt. Larry Conley

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f you’re new to fishing out of the Fort Myers, Fla. area, it can be very technical. It can also be very good. Knowing water depths for a certain fish can help you. Grouper typically reside in the 70- to 120-foot depths, and it changes with the water temps and the time of year. Red snapper will be in depths of 140 feet or more. Lane snapper are great table fare and can be found in 40 to 50 feet or deeper. This year we’ve caught more and bigger lanes than I have seen in eight years. Look for hard bottom areas; learn to use your sonar. If it works as you’re running it helps a lot. Watch your screen continuously as you get past 40 feet of water. I’m not going give out a bunch of numbers, but if you watch the sonar you’re going to find a lot of lane snapper in 45 to 65

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feet of water. As you’re running out, watch for rocky ledges, as they will hold mangrove snapper, gag grouper and white grunts. If I spot a new area as I’m running, I’ll mark it on the GPS and label it “RO.” I’ll know it as a run over. If it looks really good, like a bunch of lanes, I sometimes label it “WOW.” That way I know to look for lanes on a future trip. As I get in 40 feet or so, I’ll watch the radar and sonar more than out in front of the boat, and that’s how I’ve found many new spots. I might not fish them for months out, and I’ll delete the ones that don’t produce. As for bait, squid, threadfin and herring are the best and cheapest. Live shrimp work, but it’s one bite and the shrimp is gone, which adds up. Chum with cut threadfin. Cut them small, as you don’t want to fill the fish up. Just give them a taste to get them interested. A few of the best spots I’ve found are “potholes.” I found them by going slowly from one spot to another, watching the bottom machine. In 74 feet of water, I saw the bottom drop just 2 feet and then come back up after 20 yards to form a pothole. I saw what looked like one fish. One more red grouper was more than I had at the time, so I anchored. It took a few minutes, but the bottom came alive and we caught 15 keeper red grouper! That pothole was one of the best places I ever found. So, I continued looking for places that seemed the same and found about a dozen of these potholes. I keep records of the keepers for each spot on the GPS, and I can’t tell you enough how important those records are. When it gets tough, go to the high-numbered spots. Capt. Larry Conley and Reel-Ality Sportfishing offers inshore, offshore, and deep-sea fishing out of Fort Myers. The Reel-Ality offers various trips as well as tournament charters and is licensed to carry up to 6 passengers. Call 239-980-3880, visit www.reelalitysportfishing.com/ contact.html, and check them out on Facebook.

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By Capt. Ryan Drygas

A

n early morning departure from Key West Harbor puts the motor vessel Reel Time, a 45-foot Sea Hunter, right in the middle of 8- to 10-foot seas. The owner of the boat has been running sea trials for the last few days and has been comfortable running the boat throughout the trip, but has not yet handled seas of this magnitude. The owner made a decision to pass the helm to Paul Myrtetus, a member of the Sea Hunter team, and told him to start heading north. Myrtetus has been a part of several sea trials and is comfortable running

vessels in all types of conditions. After setting his course, Myrtetus began picking up speed and cutting through the swells. Usually, Myrtetus would be standing at the helm with his back resting on the edge of the seat. However, with the design and hydraulic integration of the Llebroc helm chair, he was more than comfortable running the course while remaining seated. In fact, Paul turned around to see the rest of the crew sitting down, as well. Anyone familiar with running in rough seas will tell you it was an unusual sight. Rough seas make for a rough ride, and the lack of a quality seat can cause back injuries quite easily from bottoming out in a chair. The 45foot Sea Hunter was fitted with Llebroc chairs, and the reasoning is quite obvious. Not only was everyone sitting down while running through 8- to 10-foot seas, they were laughing together, joking and enjoying watching wave after wave crashing over the decks and splashing against the window. After four days and 800 miles on the water, the sea trial was complete. Not only was the owner more than satisfied with his new boat, he was also injury free and has another sea story under his belt. Time after time, Llebroc has stood the test and passed with flying colors. Myrtetus is convinced Llebroc is the industry leader in seating and has helped return clients re-outfit their boats to Llebroc chairs. As a former member of the Coast Guard, I can personally recall stories of running in rough seas and bottoming out in helm chairs. The static and dynamic forces that affect the boat and the people inside are tremendous. Not only can they damage your vessel, but they can also have a lasting effect on your body. The equipment with which you outfit your boat determines the performance of your vessel as well as the enjoyment of your voyage. When looking for a comfortable ride, choose comfort, choose durability, choose Llebroc.

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Granted, you might not be nearly as fanatical as some, but there is a certain level of commitment to the two sports of kayaking and fishing that is necessary if you want to be more successful. Kayak anglers tend to be a solitary sort, but it helps to fish in a group and observe what works for other anglers. Group fishing will also shorten your learning curve, as it will expose you to places, species and alternate techniques that might have taken you years to learn on your own. I’m a lifelong fisherman who struggled badly when I moved here

By Dan Carns

A

s in most things, there is a learning curve in kayak fishing. I’ve observed this curve with many of my clients. These folks have become frequent guests on many of my own fishing exploits, as I try to fish new spots often. The curve starts with the basics: where to keep your paddle, how to handle a fish at the side of the kayak, when and where to launch. As the months turn to years, the curve starts to flatten out as most people start to repeat the things that make them successful. Part of this learning curve could be the simple act of tying knots. Don’t be intimidated by knot tying, as it will certainly increase your catch rate. Make the time to sit at your picnic table with your electronic pad open and find a knot website. Tie a couple of basic knots, choose simple knots at first, repeat them over and over until you can do it without really thinking about it. Same is true for a particular lure; only this time sit in your kayak in your favorite fishing hole and use the same lure repeatedly until you really understand what tricks excite the fish, this could take 20 or 30 repeat visits or knot tying sessions. The point is that you must learn each and every detail in order to master this sport, and even then there is learning to be done.

many years ago until I hired a guide to take me and my buddy Jim out into Pine Island sound. We spent the entire day in our kayaks, and while we didn’t catch a lot of fish, our guide clued me in on the habitats, lures, gear and techniques needed to find fish. After that trip, my learning curve looked like an arrow pointed straight up! I’m lucky enough to fish with folks from around the world and find that I’m still picking up tricks and tips. Granted, given enough time, you can go it alone. But if you want to shorten your learning curve, find a local outfitter, take some lessons kayaking, maybe even a water safety course, fish in a group or hire a local guide! Fishman Dan guides for Gulf Coast Kayaks in beautiful Matlacha, Fla. and can be booked by calling 239-283-1125. Follow Gulf Coast Kayak on Facebook and Instagram. Marine Sporting Goods, Inc. 386-752-2500 www.mcduffiemarine.com 1866 West US 90, Lake City, FL

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E By Tom Karrow PhDc, MES

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here are two major misconceptions about fly fishing. The first is that fly fishing is limited to surface fishing, a stereotype born from motion pictures like “A River Runs Through It,” where trout are caught on dry flies. The second misconception is that only small fish can be caught on flies. Both assumptions could not be further from the truth, especially with advances in technology. Fly anglers can now readily present flies to fish at considerable depths, and stout 10, 11, 12 and heavier weight rods can tackle very large fish. Even lighter fly rods, with appropriate pressure and angler handling, can turn shockingly large fish. Remember, the largest whales on this planet eat some of the smallest foods; the same often applies to fish. Despite technological advances that allow for fly fishing successes in deep water, shallow water sight fishing is my favorite, and shallow water is not limited to small fish! Indeed, the fish I remember most are those that I saw in shallow waters, resting in shade during the peak of the day in warm summer months, or in the sunshine on cool winter days. Many of these memorable fish were large fish, cruising mangrove shorelines in search of easy prey. While I was not always successful in catching and releasing these fish, it is these memories that stand out. Shallow water is brought on by changes in bottom structure, but also in the availability of water. In marine environments, water availability is largely dependent on tides and it is the bottom of the tide, an hour either side of a low, that interests me most. I like some moving tide; I like a change in tide, and with low tides, fish are forced from protective structures like mangroves, docks, creeks or flats into deeper water where predators more easily roam. The narrow convergence between deep water, and what were the shallows, is where a lot of the action takes place. Careful scanning with good polarized sunglasses and a stealthy approach often reveals subtle clues to fish activity. Look for “nervous” water, wakes, pushes, busting bait, changes in color, or even fins, as fish search for food, attempt to avoid predation, and follow tides either out or back in. If all else fails, follow the birds. Shorebirds do exactly what fish do, but are far more easily seen. Birds like egrets, spoonbills, herons and gulls will work tide edges, often revealing locations of bait, depth changes and currents – the exact locations that predatory fish like bonefish, snook and redfish seek.

Shallow-water fly fishing is not easy. Fish are far more wary in shallow water. Sound, vibrations and other disturbances are more pronounced, and fish are more likely to feel unnatural pressures. Stealth is needed more than ever. Very careful poling or gentle wading, light, delicate presentations, smaller, lighter flies and long fine leaders all help give anglers an edge in these conditions. I like to use a lighter rod, like a 5-, 6- or 7-weight, as the lines for these rods are thinner and create fewer disturbances on the water. I also like softer, slower rods. I like to lead fish more, to minimize false casts, and to use fly lines that have longer forward tapers for more delicate presentations. Specialty fly lines built for bonefishing are good general-purpose lines for these applications, regardless of destination or species. As I compose this piece, watching snow accumulate on the windowsills, I fondly recall a large snook that I fooled in Florida last summer. The tide had just turned and was beginning to come in. A rush of cooler water was invigorating lethargic fish smothered by tropical sunshine, while previously inaccessible areas were becoming inundated and allowing access for predators. The fish was cruising into the tide, and I placed my fly well in front of her, up on the beach, actually. As the fish neared where I thought it would intercept my fly, I gave the line a single slow strip. I introduced my fly to the water, and I watched in awe as the large female snook surged forward. She swirled in the clear water, and her large mouth engulfed my fly. I strip set and she was on. For a real thrill in angling, give fly fishing in shallow waters a try. Consider a guide who will greatly advance your successes and learning, and remember that big fish live in shallow water too! Tom Karrow is a doctoral candidate researching bonefishing sustainability in The Bahamas. He is sponsored by R.L. Winston Fly Rods, Nautilus Reels, FishPond, RIO Fly Lines, 12 Weight, Costa Sunglasses and World Angling. For more information on his research, see http://tomkarrow.wix.com/bahamas-guide-tek. Tom can be contacted at tkarrow@uwaterloo.ca

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

I

n early November, my buddy and I set out to fish some shallow flats in our kayaks. The water and air temperatures were near the 80-degree mark in south Texas. The area we had available to us only had a few inches of tidal flow predicted. When saltwater fishing, current is at the top of the list for catching requirements, but when the tide doesn’t provide it, find something that will. I had not fished this area in three years, and since that time hurricane Harvey changed a few things from the vehicle access point to my favorite hole, which isn’t a hole anymore. Needless to say, this was going to be a scouting mission as well as a fishing trip. We made our way to our first stop, which was a large knee- to waist-deep grass flat with a deep channel running down one side that is separated by a few spoil islands. We anchored up at the tip of a spoil island and casted to the channel. Although there was an abundance of bait, we didn’t get a strike. Off to plan B, my old honey hole. Once there, I realized the sweet spot was no longer, but we fished the area thoroughly since bait was present. We managed only a few strikes and a couple small trout. Knowing that the fish were inactive and that the tide was weak, I searched for an area where the wind might help drive a little more water flow to get the fish feeding. We headed back to the vicinity of our first stop, which was a flat the shape of a football field with the wind blowing from one endzone to the other. On the downwind side, there were a few small islands with breaks between them. Due to the wind, these breaks

funneled stronger water movement onto a small shallow flat. This flat didn’t have more bait than the other areas, but it did have water movement, which sparked the bite. We spent several hours in this tiny area catching reds and speckled trout. We used the same lures and presentation as we did earlier in the day. Soft plastic topwater jerk baits in pearl accounted for the more aggressive fish, but they were the smaller ones in this area. All of our larger fish came on slow-sinking paddle shad. Targeting the potholes and letting the lures slowly sink at the edge of the sand-to-grass transition drew the better strikes.

Photo courtesy of Capt. Tim Cutting

When fishing on less than desirable tides, remember to seek out locations that can offer it a push. Funnels and choke points are always a good bet, even if they are subtle. The water depth was the same on both sides and in between the islands, but it gave that little push the fish needed. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

Boat Show Season -- See You at Your Local Boat Show

www.

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252.235.2461 CANGL_FIL1-FIL4.indd 2

1/17/18 12:16 PM


COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

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

FEBRUARY 2018 EDITION

Find Your Outdoors Here! North Central Florida Nature Coast Staff SALES

Cary Crutchfield

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

Baby, it’s cold outside, and getting colder; but I’m not going to complain too much. God might grab me up while I sleep and drop me in Michigan, and then I would have cold to complain about. Ice fishing anyone? This month’s recipe on page 2, is a fast and easy dish, perfect for a cold February night. I just put together some shrimp and fish with what I had on hand, served it over rice and it turned out pretty good. I’ll call it Shrimp and Fish with Tomatoes Over Rice. We have two new advertising partners, Capt. Jason Lowe, fishing guide in Cedar Key; see page 11. Also on page 11, Over Built Barns, Inc., located in Cross City. Making an encore appearance, B&B Marine in Lake City. He has some great buys on used boats. See page 16. We have a new writer for our HORSESHOE BEACH. See page 7 for Captain Brett Selph’s forecast. Give him a call or send him an email and let him know that he is appreciated. All of our writers would love to hear from you. They are busy folks and take time out of their lives to write for us each month. When you visit our advertising partners, be sure to thank them. If not for their financial investment, there would be no Coastal Angler, for you to read. (What a terrifying thought!) Do you sell a product or offer a service that you want everyone to know about? We distribute 11,000 copies to eight counties. Call me. Don’t forget to thank the business where you picked up this awesome FREE magazine. Let them know how much you appreciate their sharing a little bit of their space for our display. See page 20 for our list of distribution locations. Please send me your fishing photos, or any photos of you and your kids enjoying the outdoors. STAY WARM! Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy Bruce Butler John Freeze Noel Kuhn Gary Simpson Capt. Jason Clark Capt. Dan Clymer Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Stacy Horak Capt. Jimbo Keith Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Brett Selph Capt. Clay Shidler Capt. Brian Smith Capt. Dan Smith

CONTACT INFORMATION

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District

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SHRIMP AND FISH WITH TOMATOES OVER RICE

FLORIDA SUWANNEE RIVER WATERFRONT

FOR SALE

(A tummy warming dish for a cold February night)

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

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

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

352.372.4237

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1Th

2F

3Sa

4Su

5M

6Tu 7W

1:38 AM 8:43 AM 3:06 PM 8:40 PM 2:27 AM 9:22 AM 3:39 PM 9:25 PM 3:14 AM 9:59 AM 4:10 PM 10:10 PM 4:02 AM 10:34 AM 4:42 PM 10:56 PM 4:51 AM 11:08 AM 5:14 PM 11:45 PM 5:46 AM 11:43 AM 5:51 PM 12:41 AM 6:51 AM 12:23 PM 6:34 PM

4.0 -1.1 3.2 0.6 4.0 -0.9 3.2 0.5 3.8 -0.6 3.3 0.3 3.5 -0.2 3.3 0.3 3.1 0.3 3.3 0.3 2.7 0.7 3.2 0.4 2.4 1.0 3.2

HERNANDO BEACH

FEBRUARY 2018

8Th

Time Height

1:49 AM 8:14 AM 1:15 PM 7:28 PM 9F 3:10 AM 9:52 AM 2:26 PM 8:33 PM 10Sa 4:29 AM 11:17 AM 3:49 PM 9:41 PM 11Su 5:29 AM 12:11 PM 4:59 PM 10:42 PM 12M 6:15 AM 12:51 PM 5:54 PM 11:34 PM 13Tu 6:53 AM 1:24 PM 6:39 PM 14W 12:19 AM 7:26 AM 1:53 PM 7:19 PM

0.4 2.1 1.3 3.1 0.3 2.1 1.6 3.1 0.1 2.3 1.6 3.1 -0.1 2.5 1.5 3.2 -0.3 2.7 1.3 3.4 -0.4 2.8 1.1 3.5 -0.5 3.0 0.9

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

15Th 1:00 AM 7:57 AM 2:20 PM 7:57 PM 16F 1:38 AM 8:26 AM 2:45 PM 8:33 PM 17Sa 2:16 AM 8:56 AM 3:10 PM 9:09 PM 18Su 2:54 AM 9:25 AM 3:35 PM 9:46 PM 19M 3:34 AM 9:57 AM 4:01 PM 10:26 PM 20Tu 4:18 AM 10:30 AM 4:31 PM 11:11 PM 21W 5:10 AM 11:07 AM 5:07 PM

Time Height

22Th 12:05 AM 6:16 AM 11:51 AM 5:52 PM 23F 1:13 AM 7:44 AM 12:50 PM 6:52 PM 24Sa 2:38 AM 9:30 AM 2:14 PM 8:11 PM 25Su 4:05 AM 11:04 AM 3:48 PM 9:34 PM 26M 5:17 AM 12:06 PM 5:06 PM 10:48 PM 27Tu 6:13 AM 12:50 PM 6:06 PM 11:51 PM 28W 7:00 AM 1:27 PM 6:57 PM

0.1 2.6 0.9 3.4 0.1 2.3 1.3 3.3 0.0 2.3 1.6 3.3 -0.2 2.5 1.6 3.4 -0.5 2.8 1.4 3.6 -0.8 3.0 1.1 3.8 -0.9 3.2 0.7

HOMOSASSA RIVER ENT

HORSESHOE BEACH

SUWANNEE ENT

STEINHATCHEE RIVER ENT

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

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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3.6 -0.5 3.1 0.7 3.6 -0.5 3.2 0.6 3.6 -0.4 3.3 0.4 3.5 -0.3 3.4 0.3 3.4 -0.1 3.4 0.2 3.2 0.2 3.5 0.1 2.9 0.5 3.5

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

FEBRUARY 2018

COOKING DIRECTIONS

Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. Add to skillet, onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook, stirring often until vegetables soften. Cut fish or chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to vegetables. Cook a couple of minutes and add garlic. Cook another minute. Add wine, (if using) and stock, stirring and scraping to loosen browned bits. Add diced tomatoes. Simmer until about ½ of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in okra and shrimp. Cover and cook for about three minutes on low. Serve over rice and top with crumpled bacon and parsley.

INGREDIENTS • 4 slices bacon • 1 cup chopped onion • 1 cup chopped celery • ½ cup chopped green pepper • 4 garlic cloves chopped • salt & pepper • ¼ cup dry white wine (optional) • ½ can (about 1 cup) diced tomatoes • 1 cup thinly sliced okra • 1 pinch crushed red pepper • ½ cup stock, fish or chicken (I used turkey.) • 12 large shrimp • small boneless fish fillet (4 oz.) or • small boneless, skinless chicken breast (4 oz.) • cooked rice for two • parsley for garnish.

Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

1/16/18 6:15 PM


FLORIDA WATERWAYS

The Ochlockonee River

T

he Ochlockonee River, pronounced “oak-LOCK-knee,” is a river in North Florida that’s great for fishing and boating. Beginning in Georgia and running south for 206 miles, it passes through very scenic parts of the Panhandle and has earned the title of “Outstanding Florida Water.” Before entering Apalachee Bay in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, the river forms the eastern boundary of By Kevin McCarthy three Florida counties (Gadsden, Liberty, and Franklin) and the western boundary of two others (Leon and Wakulla). Because the river passes through a state forest (Talquin), a state park (Lake Talquin), and a national forest (Apalachicola), many miles of undeveloped banks have allowed a wide variety of fish to flourish. The variety of fish is due to a mixture of fresh, brackish, and salt water near its mouth, an area whose tidal effects bring saltwater fish up its course. The river flows first into Ochlockonee Bay and then into Apalachee Bay and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. The river has seen a variety of historic events. Native-Americans attacked a family there in the Second Seminole War. Federal troops built several forts (Stansbury and Virginia Braden – named after an officer’s wife who died of yellow fever). Union gunboats in the Civil War used the river to destroy salt works. Blockade runners brought in supplies to the Confederates. Union troops attacked a Confederate fishery at Mashes Island. Federal forces also used the river to move Native Americans to the Gulf of Mexico for shipment to the so-called Indian Territory out west. Today, while canoers can tool along a canoe trail in various parts of the river, fishermen can catch bass, bream, catfish, and perch along the river. Scientists have counted

over seventy species of native freshwater fish. When the river flows into Lake Talquin, fishermen have had much success in catching record-size pickerel and black crappie. The richness of the estuary near the river’s mouth provides a breeding ground for many species of fish and shellfish. The squeamish also need to be alert for the eastern common kingsnake, the water moccasin, and the banded watersnake. Because of occasional flooding, much organic material flows south to the estuary near its mouth. And the river does carry much sand and clay to Ochlocknee Bay. The drainage from dairy and swine farms into the river in Georgia has led to some deterioration of the water quality in the northern part of the river, but the parks and forests toward the south have helped better the quality. Unlike the Apalachicola River, which has really serious pollution problems, the Ochlocknee is a gem of a river in North Florida.

d in the Panhandle.

The river has several different colors.

Kevin McCarthy, the author of The Gainesville, Florida Police Department: An Illustrated History 2017 - (available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

Aerial view of the flooded river

The river in Gadsden Cou nty will sometimes flood.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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The Ochlocknee is locate

One of the bridges that crosses the river

h of Panacea. The Ochlockonee Bay Bridge is sout FEBRUARY 2018 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3

1/16/18 6:15 PM


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1/16/18 6:16 PM


CRYSTAL RIVER Cold Water Critters

F

ebruary brings around some of the most fun fishing of the year for both families and expert anglers alike. The cold temps stack trout, redfish and sheepshead on the many rock piles along the Crystal River, and these fish can be easy targets if you know where to look. Deep water is one of the keys to being successful and this can sometime mean fishing in deep creeks and holes in the backcountry surrounding Crystal River and the Florida Barge Canal. Live shrimp and gold spoons can be top redfish producers during the late winter and early spring, before the water temps begin to climb and the fish scatter. Water temperatures below 60 degrees, triggers most inshore species to gather, either to spawn or to stay warm. Sheepshead will gather in rocky holes in creeks, and also push offshore to rock piles in 25 to 55 feet of water, where they will gather to spawn around the full moon. Live shrimp and small assorted crabs on a knocker rig is the go-to rig with a #2 hook and 1 ounce egg sinker.

Fishing around rocks and ledges will bring the best results with the Crystal River Artificial Reef being ground zero for this fishery. Along with sheepshead, anglers can expect to catch grouper, grunts, sea bass and an assortment of snapper. Trying to catch redfish and trout in January was frustratingly difficult with the bitter cold temperatures, but as soon as the water temperatures reach the mid 50s, expect the fish to really start biting hard during the warm spells between fronts. Capt. Clay Shidler ClayShidler@Yahoo.com

Available in 17', 20', 22' and 24'

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FEBRUARY 2018

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 5

1/16/18 6:16 PM


STEINHATCHEE

I

Room for Rent-Storage Only

Approximately 600 square feet | North SR 349

$

Old Town

250.00/ month

352.542.0356

The Sheepshead are Coming

don’t know how our northern neighbors can stand fishing in the dead of winter? I’ve seen it on TV and my feet got cold. However, some of those fishing shacks are pretty elaborate. Hunting season, cold weather and asinine offshore regulation creates a lot of fishing room on the Gulf. Trout, in the river during the cold spurts, motivates hearty fishermen to try their luck. Trout run with trout of similar size. Therefore, if you’re catching short trout, it is best to move. The main reason is that even if the trout is handled very gently, it is unlikely to survive, because the natural slim is removed and they succumb to disease. If you handle any trout with a rag, it is best to smash its head in before releasing, to save it a miserable death. Using topwater baits around the creek mouths generally selects out the smaller fish. Red fish are a much sturdier fish. Sport fishing for them after limiting, is not as harmful to the fish. Again, use top-water baits around the creeks or a chunk of mullet around oyster beds.

Croaker and whiting load up in the deeper holes of the river. Use a smaller long shank hook, baited with shrimp pieces and just enough weight to hold the bottom. Are these glamour fish? Absolutely yes, when fried golden brown and served with your favorite side dishes. They are extremely kid cooperative. Hint? Weather and moon phase dependent, the sheepshead will begin romancing the stone bottoms and artificial reefs that dot the near shore. Shrimp and fiddler crabs (if available) are the go-to baits. A sturdy long shank hooks helps with hook removal. They are spawning and easily caught. However, raping the fishery during spawn is ignorantly short sighted and will eventually lead to more regulations. And, it won’t kill you to toss the pregnant females back. Killing one large female sheepshead is removing millions of eggs from the spawn. Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

(352) 493-0878 Fax (352) 493-0879

Val’s Complete Auto Repair Inc.

Motel and Campground Accommodations

MV#:60926

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

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 6 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

CAM_NCFL_0218.indd 6

FEBRUARY 2018

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

1/16/18 6:16 PM


HORSESHOE BEACH

John James with a nice slot red.

H

aving a Blast on Big Trout As the fog is slowly lifting off the water to reveal a cold, calm winter morning, we drift over the grass flats in one and a half feet of water, looking for, and right there, is what we are looking for, as a big crushing top-water strike takes place! “Quick pitch that suspending twitching shad to him.” I said, as the bait lands 3 feet past, and well to the left. “That is good, give it two short jerks to the starboard side, and let it start to drop. One, two and yep, get ready, and let it fall!” Okay, here she comes as the wake rolls around, and Wow, perfectly performed from the cast to the hook-set, as a solid 4-pound trout is pulled along-side the boat. “Good job, nice fish.”, awesome smiles, and a few photos take place. For the last couple weeks, that is how my charters were getting nice catches of trout and big reds. On the warming trends, after the cold fronts moved through in January, the trout fishing was on fire here in Horseshoe. We all know that during the winter months, it is hard to get live bait, and with that said, I would like to take the opportunity to let you know about some of my favorite soft plastic baits. It is Stinky Fingers Bait Co.’s sponge Baits. The past December and January here, at Up-the-limit, we have been blistering big trout and reds in the Big Bend waters. We had several limited-out days and a few of those days we ended up with several 4 to 5-pound trout and top-of-the-slot reds. Almost all were caught using

Chris Erwin with a nice caught&-released red snapper. stinky fingers baits. The not so well known secret, is the that bait has a sponge inside that releases scent as it is pulled through the water, or when a fish strikes. This scent creates a super aggressive recovery strike if the fish missed it, or you happen to be site casting, and got a little too excited and quick on hook-set. Top tips for trout this month will be to target 1½ to 3 feet of water on an incoming tide, as this shallow water will warm fast and hold good quality fish as the sun gets up. Set up with a twitching shad, rigged weedless, with an Owner 5167W-705 Twist lock Light-Weighted 5/0 (1/16 or 3/32 oz) fishing hook to 18 inches of 15 pound test fluorocarbon leader line. The weighted hook will give you a bit more casting distance, and still allow the bait to fish, like a suspending bait rather than a sinking. With each cast, make 4 to 6 slow cranks, and then give the shad a good 4 to 6-inch twitch. Twitch it 2 to 3 times in a row; then return to a slow retrieve. This technique should create some reaction strike as well as put more fish in the boat on any given day. Again, during the winter season, keep a watch on the weather for warming trends, it only takes one good sunny day and few degrees rise in water temps (push 55 to 57 or 58 degrees) to put dormant fish in a feeding pattern. Until Next Month “Keep you lines tight and the wind to your back”. Capt. Brett UpTheLimitFishingadv@Yahoo.com 352 498-6029

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 7

1/16/18 6:16 PM


8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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FEBRUARY 2018

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1/16/18 6:16 PM


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WIGGLERS BAIT & TACKLE 14499 East Hwy 40 Silver Springs, FL 34488 352.625.1156 AnneReynolds06ar@gmail.com CEDAR KEY MARINA 12780 SR 24 PO Box 744 Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-543-6148 www.CedarKeyMarina.net

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

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CAM_NCFL_0218.indd 9

FEBRUARY 2018

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 9

1/16/18 6:16 PM


SUWANNEE RIVER/CEDAR KEY

H

420 Dock Street Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-543-5142 steamerscedarkey.com info@steamerscedarkey.com Like us on Facebook! We will cook your catch. We serve fresh local Cedar Key oysters and clams. Try our delicious Gator. We get it directly from the Gator Man himself.

Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3pm-7pm 2-4-1 Wells 1/2 Price Wine $2.50 Bud Light, Miller Lite, Yuengling

10 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

CAM_NCFL_0218.indd 10

FEBRUARY 2018

ey there folks, It’s a great time of year for us fishermen, NOT! The time of year we get the honey-do-list caught up, and our equipment ready for the spring. There are a few fish biting in the Cedar Key area, most of which are in the creeks and off shore. To start with, the trout and redfish bite has been pretty decent way up the creeks. Live shrimp or live mud minnows seems to be working well. These areas are primarily fished from air boats, but every now and then you can get a kicker boat in the spots if you learn your way. Off shore, the sheep head bite is turning on. The Gainesville offshore reef is starting to load up with the big spawner fish. Also, any rocks in 10 to 25 feet of water, should have fish on them. The easiest way to fish them in the deep water is with a simple knocker rig. The only thing you need is a 1/2oz egg sinker and a 2/O long shank hook. Put the sinker on first, then tie the hook on and let the sinker rest right down on the hook. Now, add a pinch of shrimp or a fiddler crab and you’re ready to go! Just a little reminder, that Spring is just around the corner and hunting season is over. Get those wheel bearings packed, check your steering cables, cranking battery, and trailer lights. This is a few things that will make your first trip back to the water a little better. Also, if you haven’t used your rods for a few

weeks; get them out and also give them a little love. Well guys, like always get outdoors and enjoy what God has made for us. Capt.Jimbo Keith FishCedarKey.com Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters 352-535-5083

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

1/16/18 6:16 PM


CEDAR KEY PADDLING

S

o far this year, it has been very cold and the water temperatures have dropped to the point where there has been a fish loss. I am hopeful that as I write this forecast, that things have warmed up and the bite has gotten better. For instance, we have been struggling to get live bait like shrimp, due to their burying themselves in the sand, so they can survive these water temperatures. At the same time, the shrimp boats are having to be careful not to waste all their spare fuel, and wear and tear on their boats and equipment, to chase after them with no success. Plastics are a great option in these conditions. Make sure you pack an arsenal, meaning multiple colors of jig heads and multiple colors and styles of plastics. I like gulp because they are flavored and have so many different varieties. If you know you're in the right area, for instance

a nice grass flat where trout and flounder should be feeding, make sure you “pizza slice” the area with your casts—three foot slices. No bites, then switch it up. Try lots of combos and colors to find out what will unfreeze their jaws. I like a pearl white swimming mullet to start, and bounce it off the bottom back to me. A number of different species do like this setup. I am constantly working on what works and where, so please feel free to stop in the shop for the latest. And please always find a way to take a kid fishing! Capt. Daniel | Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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FEBRUARY 2018

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 11

1/16/18 6:16 PM


River Coast Realty, Inc

INGLIS/YANKEETOWN

352-302-3114 • Fax 352-447-0001 84 Highway 40 West Inglis, Florida sunnyp45@bellsouth.net www.Yankeetownwaterfront.com This home is a dream for the outdoor enthusiast. It offers all the best and is great for entertaining. Home has been totally remodeled from top to bottom. New flooring, new windows, new roof over back addition, saltwater pool in courtyard with privacy fencing and screening. Charmer!

s

s WOW! Country home not far

from many amenities. Saltwater, freshwater fishing and boat ramps within 10 miles. Many new things such as paint, new 24 x 30 workshop/garage, pool pump, landscaping, fencing, water softener and purifier and more. A must see!

F

ebruary should bring us the start of the warming trend, and we shouldn’t have to deal with the constant cold fronts pushing through, and putting these fish in a funk. This month is the time we can find some extremely good trout, but please be mindful that is month

the major spawn for them, so please would release most of what you catch. The redfish will be hanging out in every creek where you find good structure, and a little deeper water. I rely heavily on an Aquadream spoon and a Zman scented streakz when I am creek fishing. You need to pay close attention to the tides. If you are in a kicker boat, you can end up stuck, so unless you are in a mud boat or air boat, know when to make your exit. The trout will also be sucked in tight. I like to pick up a mirrolure mirrodine or Paul Brown for them. You want some with a little slower presentation with the colder water temps. I will key in on potholes or drop-offs around oyster bars where they congregate. Live shrimp is also a go-to if they are being stingy and not eating artificial baits. Another good option for this time of year is sheephead. If you are interested in chasing these great table fair with a sweet smile, you need to get in touch with my buddy Capt. Eric Hastey. He is the new guy in town who specializes in the offshore deal and can put you on a pile of these guys. If you are ready for your adventure on the Nature Coast, give me a call and book your trip today. This is really the time of year to be on the water. Until next month have fun, be safe and take your kids fishing. Capt. Craig Spitznogle www.floridaflatscharterco.com Florida Flats Charter Company (352)445-4978

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FISHING THE NATURE COAST FLATS

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ey everyone, I hope everyone is surviving the cold this winter. As I write, it's currently 29 degrees, and some parts of Florida are expecting snow. So down to business, the reds have pretty much moved to the creeks out

here. The best time to target them is low tide when you can target them in areas that still hold water. Please be careful though, this time of year low tides, are extra low. Sheepshead are in full force and can be found near drop-offs and structure in about 25 feet of water. My clients have even caught a few around the keys. I've been using a simple bottom rig with a half-ounce egg weight and a 6 to 8-inch leader with a 4/0 circle hook, baited with shrimp. This winter, my clients have been slaying the flounder and what we call "gator trout"; Snake Key has held a lot of both. In this cold, action baits have really slowed down, so I start having everyone jig the bottom with live shrimp, or 3 inch gulp. When targeting flounder, one thing I always do is, with every cast, move over a few feet, and keep that up until the bottom grabs back. Flounder may not be the best fighting fish out there; they are however, one great eating fish. Well, I hope this information helps y'all out. Stay warm and stay safe out there. Hope to see y'all on the water.

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TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

his month’s column is about survival tips for winter fishing, apologies, and a fishing story. I know in some of my articles, I have dealt with recreational sites, but let’s be honest, I’m primarily a fishing fanatic, though I do enjoy a good paddling on occasion. These last cold snaps killed off some of our snook population, but still offer some great fishing opportunities! So, if you were as crazy as we were to go out in the cold snaps, here are some tips to beat the cold. First, like Mom always told you, “dress warm”. Layers of clothes work best. Waders, hip boots or such help keep your feet from freezing, and a trick from Uncle Lew, put a heat pack in the bottom of each boot and you’ll be good for several hours. Be sure to let some air in on occasion to allow the pack to work properly. Another great idea, because for me, it’s always my hands that suffer, is to use Playtex gloves or something similar, under your regular gloves, and put Ben-Gay on your hands. Don’t laugh. It works! As to apologies, on a past trip out, we three hardy souls, hit the frigid water, in the midst of the cold snap. My friend, Brian, had no waders, so I brought him a pair of my old ones to use. I swear to God, I didn't know they had a hole in them. He suffered the first couple of hours before he had to head in. They say they can save most of the toes, so I can’t understand why he’s complaining. No, he’s fine - once he got feeling back in his feet. Anybody want to buy some used waders? (Sold, As Is.) Anyway, on a recent trip to Hernando Counties pristine shores, my buddy Lew, and I set out to do a little spring fishing. This area of the coast is loaded with springs fed by the Floridian aquifer. Weekie Wachee and the Chaz to mention a couple. As the gulf temp drops, the fish head for

warmer waters and can stack up. We put in at one of my favorite spots and worked our way across the bay and picked up some nice trout on a mixed bag of lures, top water on a Zara spook Jr., in bone, mirro-dine, little john in glow and Lew's favorite, Gulp glow shrimp. All worked well. Paddling back to the spring, I couldn't get the old Jeannie C. Reilly song Harper valley PTA out of my head, it had played the day before on a country channel and I was wishing it would go away. As we set up at the spring the bite was a little slow, and I somehow let loose with a verse from Harper Valley, and wham, I hooked into a nice black drum. I'm thinking I'm on to something; another verse, another blackie. Lew is shaking his head and refusing to join me in a chorus (his loss). Seven drum later he finally caught his first fish. I accused him of humming it but he won't admit it. We were primarily fishing straight down the spring with live shrimp. At about 25 to 30-foot depth, this is kind of neat, considering that a few feet to either side you could get out and walk. The sides were producing some nice reds, one over thirty, a twenty-nine and two nice keepers. As I hummed one more verse of Harper Valley, I landed a dogfish, a rod and reel combo that someone had recently lost, at which point Lew started muttering something about karma to which I replied, "The day my momma socked it to the Harper Valley PTA". If you've made it this far, I 'd like to say “Hi” to everyone in the Big Bend area as well as all my friends here on the Nature Coast. Tight lines Y'all, Bruce Bruce Butler | "Stumbling Gypsy" (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters.com Web: www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

Dalton Phillips from Old Town, FL caught and released this nice red fish in Steinhatchee.

Capt. Jason Clark In The Slot Fishing | 352-639-3209 Capt.jasonclark@gmail.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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ello Citrus County Anglers, it’s been a chilly winter and you know what that means - it’s Sheepshead Time! February is when our sheepshead season is going strong on the days you can go offshore a bit. Just about every piece of hard bottom from 5 feet of water to 30 feet of water, will be holding

concentrations of sheepshead. This time of year begins their spawning period for the next couple of months and they are quite aggressive. Small shrimp or small pieces of shrimp on knocker rigs around the various structures are all that’s needed for success. I always strongly encourage keeping just a couple, as I stated earlier, they are spawning. Myself and several other guides that target sheepshead, area only keep 5 per person, instead of the overwhelming 15 a person that is the law. I truly believe this will keep our winter

time fishery going strong for years to come and we all know how tricky cleaning a sheepshead is anyway. For the trout fisherman, think hard bottom as well. Trout will be staging in holes and depressions adjacent to rock bars, rock flats and oyster bars. Slow suspending plugs and soft plastics, are ideal lures for targeting them. If you find one trout, there will generally be more in the same area; so work the area thoroughly and slowly. On the 20 knot NE wind days, that February is known for; sometimes you can’t leave the safety and comfort of the river. That being said, a couple dozen shrimp, jig heads and a rocky point with current flow; can save the day. One can have a mixed bag catch and only burn a couple gallons of gas. Black drum, mangrove snapper, trout, and red fish can all be found in the same areas. Depending on the frequency and intensity of the fronts, fish closer to the head waters of the rivers on the chilly days and towards the river mouths if it’s been warm for quite a while. I always like to mention, if it just too cold or the weather is too lousy, do a little maintenance in preparation for Spring. Service the engine and boat trailer, clean up the tackle box and re-spool those reels with some fresh line. Almost everyone is using some type of braided line these days. Keep in mind, you can reverse the line on your reels and save a few $$$$; if you want to take time to do so. Good Fishing!

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352-628-7639

2560 S. Suncoast Blvd. Homosassa, FL 34448

FEBRUARY 2018

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STA-SEA’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

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hese freezing temperatures do not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon so let’s talk cold. I have a love-hate relationship with the cold weather! And this year has been brutal. I pulled a redfish in a couple days ago that felt like a block of ice. You'll have to wear five times the amount of clothing you normally wear, cover your face, cover your ears, wear extra socks, wear gloves. When you take your gloves off to release your catch, it feels like hypothermia will surely take over. That's what stinks about the cold weather. What is amazing about the cold weather is the fishing! You can go find your pile of rocks and the water is so clear you can actually see all of the fish and the structure that they're living in. It is absolutely incredible. You can drop your bait and see the fish attack it. It looks like your fishing in an aquarium. The sheep head bite has been on fire. Every structure I go to is holding these monster convicts. My rig of choice is a j hook in size 2, a 1/2 oz.

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egg lead, a short leader (usually 12 to18 in) because you can feel the bite better. They have been devouring the smaller size live shrimp. You can also use fiddler crabs with the same set-up. The redfish bite has been fantastic. They are freezing but they are still hungry. I’ve seen some unlucky victims of this cold snap, but not as many as I expected. It’s not over yet so I’m hoping the fish that are more susceptible to these freezing temps will make their way into warmer waters. I’ve seen these waters dipping down into the midforties, and that is cold for us warm water fishermen. Bundle up, bring a thermos of some warm coffee or hot chocolate and get out there. Take advantage of these conditions and target the species that are biting. Sheephead, tripletail, trout and even redfish. Tight lines and I'll see you on the water! Charter Fishing with Captain Stacy 352-553-3604 Freeinajeep@yahoo.com Facebook: CaptainStacy Horak

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FEBRUARY 2018

ow that hunting and holiday seasons are behind us, fishers welcome the true “most wonderful time of the year”, especially freshwater fishers focused on big bass. Our nicely-filled fresh waters will soon be producing large mouths at a hectic pace, but at present -- not so much. Truth is, despite their great looks, even the best anglers say our best bass waters have been strangely unproductive. And so, a February forecast will be just that -- a guess based on present conditions and the February productivity through recent years. Orange Lake, for instance, put bass out better last year than it had in several years. It might be stuck in neutral right now, but it’s a good bet that by the time you’re reading this, the wellloved lake will again be worth a trip. If you’re looking for a starting point, try spinnerbaits and soft plastics in north end lily pad and hydrilla beds. The Lochloosa forecast is similar, and the same north-endpads-and-grass thing again applies. There’s plenty of reason to hope that the Cross Creek waterway between Orange and Lochloosa will be wide open and easily navigable for the first February in a while. Lake Santa Fe is also unusually high at the start of spawning season. This is both good, and bad for bassers, as the beds in deep maiden cane will be tough to see, but blind casting the flooded cypresses between the boat docks usually produces well during a high-water bass spawn. For bass fans, Lake George falls on the negative side this year. The big lake is not only still high from Hurricane Irma, it’s also a good bit darker than usual. To boot, the much-loved fields of eelgrass that run for miles along the west shore are much thinner in spots. In others, it’s gone. The month doesn’t start with a great bass fishing promise for folks determined to score a Lake George giant. The hottest ticket might actually be smaller lakes and ponds that were all but forgotten during their recent low-water past. We have plenty of indication that their neglected lunkers might really show out this year. Here’s one reason we

feel this way: Hawthorne bass angler, Jeff Kyle walked into Gary’s Tackle Box with quite a fetching fish story. His roll started on Christmas Eve while fishing an unnamed Putnam County pond with his buddy, Sam Drake. Casting Texas-rigged Senko-style plastics, Kyle hooked a good fish that would weigh 8.34 on his handheld digital scale, but that was just the start. He followed that fish up with whoppers weighing 9.14 and 9.28 before their release. After a Christmas Eve like that, you know where Jeff Kyle was on Christmas Day, and on Christmas Day, he hooked another big bass. When his fishing partner that day, Johnny Simpkins of Hawthorne, slid the net under this one, the men knew they had a giant. At 12.30-pounds, they were not wrong. After releasing four pre-spawn TrophyCatch entries over two late December days, Kyle wondered how good his secret spot might be when the spawn does begin. Like a true bass angler, he mused, “Maybe we’ll get the bigger ones”. Gary Simpson Gary’s Tackle Box 352-372-1791 Garystacklebox.com garystacklebox@gmail.com

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KEATON BEACH

CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

Dallas Riffle of Clermont, Fl. with a trout from December 2017

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ell, forest fishers, it's been one heck of a cold winter so far, but I can assure you that the fish are still biting. No matter what species you're after, just remember to SLOW your fishing way down on those nasty cold days. Take your time at each spot, and keep searching until you find good quality fish. Specks (crappie) have always been a little tricky for me to figure out. Don't get me wrong; I've had good days in the past. However, I've also had several days where I came in with one or two fish, and someone at the boat ramp had a cooler full! I realize now, that those people had found a big school. Most of the bigger schools are found on deep water ledges (6 to 10 feet). If you don't have a depth finder, just drop your line to the bottom for a quick depth check. Tip: Specks school up MORE, the colder it gets. As far as baits go, nothing beats a live minnow. For artificial baits, I started hooking plastic minnows through the back (instead of the front), and I've been getting a lot more bites lately. Little changes can make a huge difference. If you’re drifting or trolling, add enough weight to keep your bait down. You want it hovering close to the bottom. Lake Bryant is always a dependable speck lake; and I fish it a lot. The Ocklawaha River though, is loaded with good spots. There are endless lily pad fields and fallen branches to fish, along this 74 mile-long river. I usually stay closer to Silver Springs when it's really cold. If you don't have a good running boat or a kayak; you can always fish off the shore at Sharpes Ferry Bridge, and many other spots. A cane-pole will help you "bump" your bait in hard to reach

areas. For the trophy-bass hunters out here, I would suggest picking up some shiners. Largemouth are super chunky this month, but you'll have to put an easy meal right on there nose (quietly), to get them to bite. Slowly trolling the outer edge of grass lines, is the best way to search for productive areas. When you catch a big one, you can drop anchor. There are sure to be more close by. If you insist on using lures; remember to make extra long casts, and retrieve your bait slower than usual. Bass fishing can be tough during winter, but spawn season is right around the corner! Catfish and panfish are targeted at Rodman Dam and Moss Bluff this time of year. Live redworms are the bait of choice, and multiple rods will help get more bites. Bottom fishing is key. Keep an eye on the weather, so you can plan trips for the nicer days. Bluebird skies are my favorite. The full moon is March 1st; and a few days before that, is a great time for a sunset bite. We have some awesome spots here. Get outdoors and enjoy!

John Varner of Columbus, Ga. with a nice trout in the clearer water. S-L-O-W is the key to success in February, and most folks just can't fish that slow. Me, I will wait till it warms up and will start booking trips the first of March. Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 28 years! www.onemorecast.net 850.838.7541

Nick Phillips from Old Town, FL caught and released this huge gar while fishing on the Suwannee River.

John Freeze | 352-216-5798 Swampsurf@embarqmail.com

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ebruary is a tough month at Keaton, with the last week of the month a possible good fish out on the Gulf. You'll be looking for 55 degrees holding overnight, and moving up with a warming trend to catch trout on the flats. It just depends on the weather of course. Until then, if you do the creeks thing, then try on the second coldest day of the front for each passage, and fish suspending baits like MirrOlures MirrOdines, Catch 2000's, Catch Juniors and SoftDines. Trout will feed an hour or two, depending on which tides you choose. Look for trout on the Northwest banks and creek turns, where the sun has a chance to warm the water. Meanwhile, reds will be in the creeks with more short fish than keepers, caught on a variety of baits including gold Intruder Spoons and Assassin plastics sprayed with BANG in the "shrimp" flavor. Synthetics will also take reds in February, with darker baits taking more fish than white and chartreuse

FEBRUARY 2018

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ST. AUGUSTINE

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et ready this month, for some of the most exciting fishing our area has to offer. Its sight-fishing time! After last year’s hurricane and subsequent rainfall, the water has been murkier than normal, making sight-fishing conditions tough. But now, after the cold snap in early January, water temps have been in the low 50s, which usually means clear water and great sightfishing conditions. The reds will be schooling up big time in the clear, cold water. Not only will the redfish be schooled up, but the black drum, sheepshead, and trout will be as well. When trying to locate the schooled-up reds, start on the lower tide stages (a negative low tide is even better) as it tends to get the reds more grouped up. Flats and creeks with an abundance of oyster bars and dark mud, are great places to look. Something else I've noticed over the years, is that redfish tend to hang out in areas where the small mullet are this time of year. There's not a ton of baitfish around right now, but if you find them, you'll most likely find the reds as well. Another area to look for schooledup reds is in the back of some of the bigger creeks off the ICW. Just about all the creeks from Palm Valley to Matanzas Inlet, will hold a good amount of reds this time of year. Slowly make your way as far back as possible, closely eyeing around the exposed oyster bars on the low tide, and you're more than likely going to run into some big reds. I almost exclusively toss artificial baits at the reds this time of year. My go-to setup is a paddle tail by Slayer Inc. rigged on an 1/8oz Slayer Inc. jighead. It seems to be the right size

and is small enough to not spook the fish when cast near them. It’s nice to toss the paddle tails in a lighter color this time of year, because you are able to clearly see where your lure is in the water in relation to the fish, which makes sight-fishing that much easier. If targeting drum or trout, fish the deeper holes in the creeks and the ICW. There will be a lot of nice slotsized drum around, but the trout have been a little on the smaller side. The drum will readily eat fresh dead shrimp or crab on the bottom while the trout will like some, more lively. My go-to setups for trout right now are a free-lined live shrimp or a paddle tail like mentioned above. Whether you're fishing for drum or trout, if you find one, you're probably in the right spot to catch some more, as they too tend to school in big numbers this month. The sheepshead bite has been good the past few months and should continue to go strong. The old faithful fiddler crab on a fish finder rig will account for quite a few catches, but one less popular, but effective way to catch the real monster "heads", is to use a halved or quartered blue crab, especially at our inlet rocks. …Tight Lines! Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

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o south young man! Women too! Our water temperature has now dropped into the 50’s! So - do not waste you precious time, energy and money, surf or pier fishing here, in North Florida, at least until the water temps rise above 60, and maybe even 64. How far south do you need to go? Well, that is a moving target. My target is 70 degrees. Here are a couple of websites that will help you plan a successful road trip south. The most important thing is the water temp. Just search the web for “SST charts” which stands for seasurface-temperature-charts. There are several good ones. My favorite is the web address that contains Rutgers.edu. Next in importance, is the wind and weather. Winter cold fronts rolling out of Canada can ruin even a South Florida road trip. My favorite site to use is intellicast. com. There you can see current and future wind speeds. Look for the break where the speeds are below 15 MPH, and warm out of the south or southeast for best beach conditions. There are plenty of sites in regard

to the weather. I have had very good luck with wunderground.com. If you put it all together with wind, weather, and water temp, you are just about guaranteed a day of fun. Last week I drove my charter 3.5 hours south to Vero Beach. The very first cast was a nice fat pompano. For the next four hours, we caught whiting, pompano, redfish, and blacktip sharks. If a road trip is not in your future, maybe maintenance can help you. What kind? Start with the most important, which is your reels! Salt spray is deadly on your equipment. Use this down-time to break down your reels, and clean and lube every part and piece. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, them send them off to the manufacture for a thorough cleaning. This will ensure that you have a fun spring run. That sure beats a crusty reel that you have not touched since November! This is also a great time to improve your long-distance casting. I can meet you at an athletic field if you would like to learn how to cast 300 feet, 400 feet, and beyond. One of my students has now broken 500 feet! This is not pie in the sky. All my surf casters have reached at least 300 feet. Tight lines!

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 FEBRUARY 2018

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By Randy “C-Note” Cnota

I

f you’ve ever found yourself fishing for largemouths after a bitter cold front has blown into your area, then you might be familiar with how tough northern winds can make it to fill a livewell. All tournament anglers know these fronts wait until the night before the competition to crash the feeding-frenzy of the days prior to an event. There is hope in this situation, and it doesn’t involve finesse presentations. It requires you to break out your heaviest sticks and braid (65 lb. minimum) as well as your stoutest hooks and beefiest weights. It’s time to present your bait where many fear to go… under the floating grass mats. I have an 11 pounder, two 10 pounders and probably over 100 in the 5- to 8-lb. range to my credit using this technique. Mats of grass in the South consist of wide variety of aquatic vegetation. Where I fish most, they consist of hydrilla, a submergent grass that grows to the surface, and hyacinth, a floating vegetation. The hydrilla acts as a base that holds the hyacinth in place. This makes for a bass sanctuary similar to your home in that it has walls and a ceiling. The trick to presenting your bait to these cold fish hiding under the mats is to crash it through their roof (the hyacinth) using a large tungsten steel weight. The exact size is dependent upon the thickness of the mat, but you want a weight that penetrates without too much effort. I usually opt for a 1 ¾-ounce, as the bass will be heading for the deepest recesses of the mat. This is also a place that many anglers fail to target because it can be quite a chore to penetrate and doubly difficult to extract a fish… especially a big fish. This is why we use heavy rods, lines and hooks. The most popular baits to present to these fish are small craw or creature type baits. I find Gambler Chigger Craws or Burner Craws work great, but there’s no shortage of baits to choose from. Color is always a personal preference, but I’ve had the best results using hues of green like watermelon-red and green pumpkin for clear water and dark hues like black/blue or junebug for darker water. As for the technique, simply put, you have to get the bait through the roof and into the bass’ house so he can eat it, but there are too many subtleties to discuss here. Once a bass bites, you have to get him out so again… NO WIMPY TACKLE! If you’ve never punched mats, I suggest you go out with someone with experience. Commit to spending a lot of time punching the mats, and set out with a variety of weights, hooks and lures to experiment and fine tune your technique. And don’t forget the camera; most fish hauled out of these places are picture-worthy. Capt. Randy Cnota is the publisher of the Panama City/Forgotten Coast edition of Coastal Angler Magazine.

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ore tight lines in 2018! No self-respecting fisherman would argue with a resolution like that, and few kids would turn down an invitation to get out and cast a line. In January’s Issue, I expressed the importance that adults play in mentoring and facilitating opportunities for kids getting out on the water and enjoying this pastime. Aside from spending quality time together and making memories with friends and family, passing on this torch will directly impact the future of fishing. Our fathers and grandfathers enjoyed a time of plenty out on the water with miles and miles of natural beauty as a backdrop. As the years progressed, fishermen had to deal with the increasing negative effects that growth, expansion, pollution and greed have cast on our waters. However, the greatest danger to our sport today is the decline

in fisher-kids, the voices of tomorrow. Today’s culture has shifted from earlier years with technology consuming a large portion of a kid’s life. Digital communication is a fitting use of technology with today’s busy lifestyle, but it isn’t a substitute for rubbing shoulders, surrounded by the great outdoors. The time spent here will be etched in your memory for a lifetime, and the lessons learned will prove invaluable. In addition, when a child develops a love for fishing, they will become ambassadors for the sport and fight to protect the resources for future generations. Access to fishing holes comes in many forms, for both the novice and more experienced angler, from kayaking through estuaries and fishing from shore, to venturing offshore in bigger boats. In my most recent outing, I explored Pellicer Creek in St. Augustine, Fla. with the help of local fishing guide, Capt. Bart Swab from Action Kayak Adventures. Capt. Bart prides himself in teaching kids all about kayak fishing and the most successful techniques. We met up at the ramp at 1 p.m. to catch the incoming tide. Within 10 minutes, we had the kayaks in the water and began the paddle down the creek. As we approached some oyster bars, we anchored up and began fishing the area with jig heads and shrimp. When the tide turned, I caught a few nice black drum and released two small redfish. Moving along to another set of oyster bars, I took time to admire the peaceful scenery that surrounded me. The tall grass along the banks of this winding creek was picture perfect, and on my next cast, a beautiful snook inhaled the shrimp. I eased her to the side of the kayak for a quick picture and release. My very first snook was followed by a trout and a few more black drum as the sun began to set. Paddling back, my mind filled with thoughts of returning to these backcountry waters. Cory Gurman is a freshman at Ponte Vedra High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Besides reveling in the great outdoors, Cory enjoys spending time with his three golden retrievers and rooting for the Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Instagram @fishhunter1119.

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Progressive Miami International Boat Show Drops Anchor Feb. 15-19

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et ready to experience the five biggest days in boating, when the 2018 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show fills up the Miami Marine Park & Stadium with newest and best in boating Feb. 15-19. New Sail and VIP areas will enhance this year’s show, which will be held over President’s Day weekend. Now in its 77th year, the event is expected to draw an estimated 100,000 boating enthusiasts. This year, sail will join power in one location, creating the ultimate destination for boat lovers from around the globe. The Progressive Insurance Strictly Sail Miami moves to Miami Marine Stadium, where boaters and sailors alike will have the opportunity to browse, board and buy more than 1,400 boats in-water and on-land on Virginia Key. From sport fishing boats and high performance boats to personal watercraft and wake sport boats, family cruisers, sailboats and luxury yachts, there is something for every lifestyle and budget. The latest marine technology and fishing accessories will also be on display, making the Miami Boat Show a can’t miss winter destination for those with a taste for life on the water. “Miami’s favorite Boat Show is back, bringing the best in boating and accessories from around the globe,” said Larry Berryman, manager for the 2018 show. “We have all new boats—including worldwide model debuts, more yachts and larger boats than ever before, and every leading boat brand and major engine manufacturer on site. There truly is something for every lifestyle and budget. ” Compare and try before you buy! If

you’re looking to get out on the water, the Miami Boat Show will offer sea trials, where interested shoppers can take the boat of their dreams for a spin in Miami’s open waters. This year, more boat exhibitors will participate, giving boat buyers a chance to testdrive a number of options to find the perfect fit. In addition, following last year’s popular sold-out on-water boating skills workshops, the show will offer its Discover Boating Hands-On Skills Training with more daily power boating and sailing courses. Space is limited; advance registration is recommended. “Center console and sport fishing boats are the bread and butter of our show,” said Berryman. “Buyers will be able to go for a ride on the water and then browse thousands of marine products and accessories featuring the latest innovations and cutting-edge technologies, as well as an entire tent dedicated to fishing.” Attendees seeking the VIP treatment will have access to the new, all-inclusive VIP experience, which includes one-day entry to the show and all its features, as well as complimentary food, drink and entertainment within an exclusive luxury VIP deck offering unparalleled views of Miami and the show. Travel to the show by land or sea! With the streamlining of the show’s venues into one location also comes the streamlining of transportation options. The Miami Boat Show will offer seamless transportation to and from Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin by water taxi and shuttle bus, and include more convenient parking options on Virginia Key. www.miamiboatshow.com

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By Capt. James Marko

M

y day started like any other, another early morning shark charter. My clients, two Canadian men on vacation, had no idea about what they were about to encounter. If you aren’t familiar with the migration patterns in Boca Grande, on Florida’s west coast near Fort Myers, sharks follow the yearly tarpon migration starting in mid-spring. The day began with us running roughly 3 miles offshore toward a trough that has been known to hold sharks. I did some rigging and got our baits in the water. Shark fishing is often a waiting game, and so our wait began. It didn’t last long. Within five minutes the Okuma 8000 Series was screaming from the rod holder, with no end in sight. The adrenaline started pumping, and I immediately started pulling up the anchor and prepared for a serious fight with a serious fish. With the boat in position, we started the chase. Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 8/1/14I 1:14 PM motor, Page 1 and the fight When we finally caught up to the1shark, cut the

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was on. The next two hours were full of reeling, swear words and sweat. We were dragged over 3 miles of ocean. With my clients at the point of exhaustion, it seemed that the shark was ready to give in, but not without one last run. Finally, we saw gray on the surface. With the shark next to the boat, I recognized it was a spinner shark. I immediately noted that this shark was huge for its species. Spinners are known to be jumpers, but this shark never breached the surface because of its size. My mind went right to the IGFA record. Thankfully, I had enough cell signal to Google the current record, even after the shark dragged us further offshore. The record was 205 pounds. I knew this shark was bigger than that. I made some quick phone calls and realized I would most likely have to kill the fish to get the record. I am usually a catch and release fisherman, so I was against brining the fish in, as were my clients. It took three of us to bring the fish into the boat to get a photo for bragging rights. I primarily deal with the Goliath grouper species, doing research for Florida Fish and Wildlife. This fish was comparable to the 300-pound Goliaths I catch regularly. After a few pictures and measurements, she became green again. She helped herself into the water and swam right off. We estimated the fish to be in the 260- to 270-pound range with a length of plus-8 feet. I loved seeing my client’s faces and reactions throughout the whole fight. All and all, it was just another day at the office. Capt. Marko specializes in Goliath grouper fishing and fishes waters from Sanibel through Boca Grande. Follow his daily catches on Instagram @captjamesmarko and Facebook. See www.goliathfishing.com for trip and contact information.

For more fishing with Capt. Marko, go to

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Telling Good Fish Stories By Matt Jorn

Laura Price of Lexington, N.C. and a nice Dorado caught with the FishingNosara Explorer on Dec. 5, 2017.

“W

hat did you catch today?” It is a question asked at every marina, boat ramp and backyard dock in the world every day of the fishing calendar. This is your chance to hold up your catch, your fillet bag or your digital camera. It is a chance to reveal (or conceal) details regarding where and how you snared your prey. It is also the chance to spin a wonderful tale of the leviathan that you fought for hours, had right next to the boat, and locked eyes with only to have it spit the hook/break the leader/get caught on the props/ pull you overboard… we’ve all been there! Even the master angler and author Ernest Hemingway’s beloved “The Old Man and the Sea” is a fish tale, featuring the angler we all wish we were losing the fish we all wish we could catch.

The craft of embellishing your catch is a time-honored tradition; however as the curator of the FishingNosara Costa Rica Fishing Report, I take umbrage with the 21st century version of the fish story. For the last seven years, I have documented every one of the 2,000plus trips run by the Nosara, Costa Rica based fishing team. Each report is meticulously checked for accuracy, including the angler’s names, trip date, fish caught, and (most importantly) photographs of the catches. I also encourage my clients to offer their own stories from the fishing experience. In December 2017, we hosted Laura and Michael Price. Here’s what Laura wrote: “My husband and I went out today on the Explorer. We had an AMAZING time!!! We ended the day with six mahi mahi caught with one mahi mahi, one tuna and one marlin getting away. Phenomenal crew! We loved every minute of it!” Here is another example, this time from angler Kevin Bahr: “We went with Capt. William and his mate Johnny. They were very professional and ready to ensure we had a successful outing on May 12. The weather was pretty sketchy, but we were able to locate the fish and ended up with a freezer full of ahi and mahi mahi. We cut our day short due to the weather, but our crew was willing to stay out longer if we wanted to. Despite the weather, it was a great day!” Everyone knows that the Internet is a place where the line between fact and fiction is often blurry; from politics, to sports, to fishing—it is not always easy to separate the truth, from an opinion, from a sales pitch. For instance, a quick glance at a competing Central American fishing charter’s report looks like this: Dec 27, 3 sailfish, 6 mahi-mahi, 1 marlin. Dec 28, 7 sailfish, 2 marlin. Dec 29, 5 mahi-mahi, 3 yellowfin tuna, 1 sailfish. Who is this helping? Why no details, no photos? Is this for search engines, the illiterate, or the lazy? I put it to all anglers in the 21st century posting online: Tell me a good fish story or log-off.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT INTERLUX MICRON EXTRA ANTI-FOULING PAINT Anglers across the country will be glad to hear that Micron Extra—the classleading antifouling that delivers consistent, multiseason protection against all forms of fouling—is back in stock, thanks to the renewed manufacturing of one of its raw ingredients. Providing boaters with the signature proven performance of the Interlux Micron range, Micron Extra uses Biolux technology to achieve complete protection against shell, weed and slime fouling in all waters fresh and salt. By combining the slime-blocking capabilities of Biolux with a controlled solubility copolymer that releases active ingredients steadily over time, Micron Extra achieves long-lasting, full-spectrum defense against fouling organisms. This copolymer matrix gradually wears away like a layer of soap as the boat moves through water, via a steady polishing process. The result is a continuous, regulated delivery of biocides from each freshly exposed layer, ensuring consistent, long-lasting performance and maximum efficiency. Micron Extra retains full antifouling effectiveness when hauled, and can be relaunched without repainting. Stop by your local shipstore or boatyard and ask for Micron Extra, available in both quarts and gallons, and in all popular colors.

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Take a

ROD BUILDING CLASS

Charlotte, NC

2/3/2018

Orlando, FL

3/17/2018

Boston, MA

4/7/2018

Houston, TX

4/21/2018

Orlando, FL

6/2/2018

Mobile, AL

8/25/2018

Register at:

WWW.MUDHOLE.COM/CLASSES MUDHOLE.COM/TURNKEY 18

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GAME CHANGER FishSUP FS126

Sea Eagle® Inflatable FishSUP™ FS126 -

The Stand-Up Paddleboard Designed Especially For Anglers • 12’6” x 40” x 6” provides incredible stability • Heavy duty 2 layer drop stitch construction • Motormount for up to 55lb thrust motor • 15 D-Rings for gear & leash • Paddle standing or sitting • Packs down to 45” x 15” x 10” For a FREE Catalog 800-944-7496 M-F 9-5 EST Dept CS028B 19 N Columbia St, Ste 1, Port Jefferson, NY 11777

SEA EAGLE FISHSUP FS126

By CAM Staff • Photo Courtesy of Sea Eagle Boats Last spring we introduced you to Sea Eagle’s FishSUP FS126, an inflatable stand-up paddleboard with which we were initially quite impressed. A year later, we’re fully convinced this super-stable, lightweight fishing machine is worth the praise. “I’m thrilled with its performance,” said Coastal Angler’s Tom Schlichter. “I’ve fished it from Long Island, N.Y. to the Florida Keys in everything from mangroves to bulrushes and boulder fields, and it’s come through unscathed.” At 12’6”x40” the FishSUP FS126 is both spacious and tough enough to work hardened shorelines. Heavy duty .90 drop stitch material covers the top, bottom and sides for superior protection against punctures and a 90”x18” thick camo EVA pad adds additional buffering while providing a non-slip foot bed. An integral 36-inch ruler makes fish measurement a snap. It fits in a trunk for easy transport, fully inflates in under 10 minutes, and has smartly positioned D-rings to secure a host of standard and optional fishing accessories including a swivel seat with Scotty rod holders, battery, 34-lb thrust electric motor, and forward mesh storage box with tube-style rod holders. “I love the stability, toughness and versatility of this platform,” said Schlichter. “You can stand, sit or kneel while casting, fish in freshwater or saltwater, and even add an optional Watersnake Venom 34 electric trolling motor.” Prices range from $799 for a basic start-up kit to $1,149 for a Pro Motor and Fishing Rig package. FOR MORE INFO,

VISIT WWW.SEAEAGLE.COM OR CALL 1-800-748-8066.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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FRESHWATER

THE XTREME 20 BOAT, MOTOR, TRAILER

38,950

FR $

TORTUGA SIDE CONSOLE BOAT, MOTOR, TRAILER

19,950

FR $

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20

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CANGL_NAT3-NAT26.indd 20

B

eginning Feb. 1, crappie anglers will have the chance to win part of $172,000 in cash prizes being awarded in the 2018 Weiss Lake Crappie Rodeo in Alabama. More than 1,000 pink-tagged crappie were released into the reservoir on the Alabama/Georgia border. Each of those fish has been sponsored by a local merchant or individual, and tags carry cash prizes ranging from $50 to $10,000. The rodeo, being conducted by the Weiss Lake Improvement Association, will run Feb. 1 through April 15. A highlight new to this year’s event is the One Day Crappie Champion Tournament, which will be held March 31. Guaranteed payout for first place is $2,500, and Big Fish will award $1,000 in this 100-percent payback event. There will be a free fish fry at the weigh-ins. For more information, visit www.weisslakeimprovementassociation.org.

8/12/17 6:12 PM

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1/17/18 5:06 PM


GET A GRIP • Safer • Easier • Better

Made in USA

Don’t settle for imitations!

The Fish Grip is a fish landing device that was developed by avid anglers. The goal was to find a safer way to land a fish — safer for the fish AND the angler.

The Fish Grip will help you land fish!

601.368.8982

www.TheF ishGrip.biz

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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EXPERIENCE THE

FIGHT! Full Variable Speed Control Powerful Brushless Motor Retains Handle Function Digital Line Counter Auto Stop, 12/24VDC Compact & Sleek Design

855-HOOK-ONE 22

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UNDER THE SEA

Speargun Basics

L

ike enthusiasts of any sport, if you stay with spearfishing long enough, you become intimately familiar with every detail of your equipment. Here’s an overview of what a newbie might want to know before buying that first speargun. Most spearguns are powered by bands, normally between one and three bands. There are two main types. The American style is recognized by the wood stock and is durable, sturdy and easy to load. The Eurogun style has a tubular shaped barrel, rear handle, and a thinner shaft well suited for freediving and smaller fish. In either case, spearguns are equipped with a trigger mechanism. The back end of the shaft engages into the trigger mechanism. Once the bands are loaded, the trigger is pulled and the shaft flies out due to the pulling load of the bands. You do not want to overload a gun by putting more bands than what it’s designed for as it could make the gun inaccurate or unsafe. Most spearguns now include a reel. This is especially needed if freediving and/or spearing larger fish, so the gun is not yanked out of your hands. If spearing a very large fish such as a tuna, which could spool your line in a matter of seconds, a line and float are required so the diver can pull it in from the surface. Shafts come in different lengths and diameters to match the gun, and spearos look for the perfect shaft—one that will not bend, not rust, fly straight in the water, and with a barb that will hold the fish securely. It’s wise to always carry a spare shaft or two on the boat, in case a shaft gets bent or lost. Like shafts, the bands are also replaced periodically, and it’s a good idea to carry spares in case one breaks. When bands get old, they start to get crack lines, or the wishbones can begin to fray, so it’s best to replace them before one snaps. There’s a wider variety of speargun brands than ever on the

market. These include: Wong, AB Biller, Riffe, Hammerhead, Cressi, SEAC, Mares, Rob Allen, Koah, Mako, JBL and more. If you want help selecting your first gun, see if you can find a mentor to help you select one that matches local conditions. Dive shops that specialize in spearfishing can also help. These include Austin’s in Miami, Fla.; Freedivers in Palm Beach, Fla.; James & Josephs in San Diego, Cali.; Freedive Shop in Sacramento, Cali.; and others. There are also Sheri Daye descends with a Wong speargun. custom gun builders who will work with you directly, give you advice, and design a gun to your specs—such as Wong Spearguns from Hawaii or Sea Sniper from California. Good luck and happy hunting! 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.

For more Sheri Daye, go to

CAMSPEARFISHING.COM

The Professional Choice For 200 Years SOFGRIP Knives SG132N-10 10” Sportfishing Knife SG133-8 8” Fillet Knife

Ultra-Sharp Holds The Edge Sharpens Quickly Proprietary Steel Ergonomic Handles Made in U.S.A.

Available at your local and online dealer.

dexteroutdoors.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT OUTDOOR EDGE REEL-FLEX

CO

H

ITEM

119 FT. LB Over the last 30 years, Outdoor Edge has become known as a leading knife brand among hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. So, what took them so long to enter the fishing world? They were looking for the perfect combination of edge retention, blade flex and handle ergonomics – which they clearly accomplished with their new Reel-Flex fillet knives. Outdoor Edge’s new Reel-Flex knives are crafted from German 4116 stainless steel that is known for its corrosion resistance and excellent edge retention. The blades provide a consistent medium flex during use and are taper ground to eliminate friction and promote an effortless cut. Available in 6-inch, 7.5-inch and 9.5-inch blade lengths, the Reel-Flex series was designed for all fresh and saltwater species. The handles incorporate Jerry Hossom’s iconic tactical design and ergonomics with the safety and function fishermen need.

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1/17/18 1/3/18 5:07 2:12 PM


SUZUKI MAKES IT EASY AS

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