Coastal Angler Magazine - August / North Central Florida

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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Best Of ICAST 1,000-lb. Hammerhead

Local

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

August Reds PHOTO COURTESY OF JUSTIN BALUCH OF YAZBECK VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 270

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

FLORIDA

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

SOUTHEAST

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

GULF COAST

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

GREAT LAKES

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

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

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Best Of By CAM Staff

Overall Best of Show - Bote Rover

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ach year, the fishing industry and anglers eagerly await ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show, to see what new rods, reels, lures, apparel and gadgets companies will roll out in the show’s New Product Showcase. For the gear-heads out there, it never disappoints. This year, 1,263 products, accessories and apparel were entered by 280 companies to compete for Best of Category awards in 26 different categories. The products were viewed and voted on at ICAST in Orlando on July 13. This year’s big winner was the Bote Rover, which took home Overall Best of Show. It also took top honors in the Boats and Watercraft category. It is a truly innovative little SUP/Skiff hybrid, powered by a small outboard to get you where you’re going. Once you get there, it gives you all the skinny-water and stealth capabilities of an SUP. The following is a list of all the other cool and innovative products that earned top honors in their categories. Boating Accessories: Yeti Coolers LoadOut Bucket With the LoadOut Bucket, Yeti has done for the lowly 5-gallon bucket what it did for the cooler. This injection-molded workhorse is Yeti tough and designed to exceed any need from the boat to the backyard. Eyewear: Costa Sunrise Mirror Lens Sunrise Mirror lenses are designed for low-light conditions. They let in 30 percent of the available light while maintaining 97 percent polarization for optimal performance and eye protection at dawn, dusk or on cloudy days.

Huk Attack

Footwear: Huk Performance Fishing Attack The Huk Attack is the most engineered, purpose-built fishing shoe ever created. It brings performance features for the serious fisherman with unique traction, bullet-proof durability and all-day comfort and support. Giftware: The Catch and Release Print Shop Actual Size An alternative to taxidermy, these fish prints are created to the exact length of your catch and stamped with your name and information about your catch. Lifestyle Apparel: Frogg Toggs Prym1 Series Pilot II Jacket and Bibs The Frogg Toggs Prym1 Series Pilot II Jacket and Bibs is the company’s camouflage style of its bombproof Pilot II. It is available in shoreline blue, silver mist and blackout options. Technical Apparel: Frogg Toggs Sierran Transition Wader A zippered, flip-out chest pocket, large multi-function pocket and exterior fly storage area allow these waders to fill double-duty as a chest pack for storage of fly fishing gear. Electronics: Humminbird Solix 15 Chirp Mega SI GPS Humminbird has achieved improved detail and target separation with Chirp Digital Sonar. With touch screen or keypad interface, the screen can be customized and viewed with up to four panels. Fishing Accessory: Yeti Coolers Panga Duffel The Panga Duffel is a hardcore drybag designed to withstand brutal treatment and be completely watertight. It is fully submersible, and Yeti called it a gear fortress. Fly Fishing Accessory: Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader Simms has built its most breathable and durable wader yet in its new G3 Guide, with four-layers of Gore-Tex fabric in the legs and three layers above the waist. They also feature a chest pocket, handwarmer pockets and built in utility tabs.

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Fishing Line: Berkley Fireline Ultra 8 With four times the abrasion resistance of its original Fireline, Berkley’s thermally fused Ultra 8 comes in a range from 4 pound test up to 30 pound test. FishSmart: Eagle Claw 2017 Flounder Sample Pack Eagle Claw jumps in for the conservation of summer flounder and catch and release with its 2017 Flouder Sample Pack. Kids’ Tackle: 13 Fishing Ambition Combo Designed specifically with the smaller size of a child in mind, but packed with some features required by serious anglers, these salt and freshwater combos are perfect for the little angler who is really into fishing. Tackle Management: Daiwa Tactical Backpack This tackle backpack is perfect for hiking into a stream, walking the banks of a pond, hauling down to the surf or for use as a quickgrab on your buddy’s boat. It is custom designed to hold all the gear an angler needs.

Saltwater Soft Lure: LIVETARGET Hollow Body Mullet The Hollow Body Mullet is sure to find a place in nearshore and inshore boxes and be deadly for sea trout, redfish, snook, flounder and striped bass. It is an incredibly detailed and lifelike walking bait with great action. Fly Reel: Pflueger Supreme QRS Fly Reel With its innovative Quick Release Spool, the Supreme QRS offers an interchangeable large-arbor cassette spool system. The polycarbonate cassettes are secured in the spool carrier by an advanced locking system enclosed by a full stainless steel and alloy construction. Freshwater Reel: Shimano Curado K Baitcasting Reel As if the Curado weren’t legendary enough, Shimano has improved on its venerable reel with the latest in Shimano technology, such as smooth, efficient, durable MicroModule gearing. It is available gear ratios up to 8.5:1. Saltwater Reel: Shimano Sustain Reels C4000/5000 Shimano’s Sustain Reels are a saltwater line of spinning reels that fits into the higher end of Shimano’s line. Featuring Shimano’s advanced Hagane technology, they are smooth, powerful and durable for anglers seeking to do battle with midsized saltwater species.

Terminal Tackle: Trapper Round Bend Treble With an innovative “trap,” the standard version of this odd-looking hook has proven itself by holding baits in place and keeping fish on the hook. The treble-hook version of the trapper is revolutionary. Freshwater Hard Lure: Savage Gear 3D Topwater Bat This crazy-looking bait plays on the nature of predatory species to strike on reaction. It is a hard, surface-walking bait 3D scanned to mimic a bat struggling in the water.

3D Topwater Bat

Saltwater Hard Lure: Rapala X-Rap Magnum 40 Did somebody say wahoo? The new X-Rap Magnum 40 dives consistently to 40 feet with aggressive swimming action. It can be trolled as fast as 13 knots without rolling or kicking out.

Rapala X-Rap Magnum 40

Freshwater Soft Lure: Lunkerhunt LP Prop Series The Lunkerhunt Prop Series combines the design of hollow-body soft plastics with modern prop technology previously found only on hard-body lures. The Prop Series features three body styles: The Prop Frog, The Prop Fish Sunfish and The Prop Fish Shad.

Rod & Reel Combo: Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool Combo This baitcast combo features Lew’s exclusive SLP Super Low Profile compact design in a premium 10-bearing Speed Spool reel with MSB Multi-Setting Brake dual cast control system. The combo’s onepiece IM8 graphite rod sports a Winn Dri-Tac splitgrip handle. Fly Fishing Rod: G. Loomis IMX-Pro Fly Rod G. Loomis’ IMX-Pro series was designed for professional guides. IMX-PRO MATRIX is a material that allows Loomis to use fewer wraps of graphite and build fast, responsive rods that are lighter and more sensitive without sacrificing power or durability. Freshwater Rod: 13 Fishing Fate Black With crisp action, incredible sensitivity and superb balance, the Fate Black offers the benefits of a Japanese 30T HTC blank, an innovative seamless reel seat, tanglefree guides with zirconia inserts, hybrid comfort grips and handles made of hand-selected Portuguese cork. Saltwater Rod: St. Croix Legend T o u r n a m e n t Inshore Legend Tournament Inshore rods are the blending of the sensitivity, power and durability found in St Croix’s existing Legend Tournament Bass and Walleye series with components and technology reserved for saltwater environments.

Lunkerhunt Prop series

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A boater’s paradise, Bay Point Marina is gently tucked away along the Grand Lagoon in Panama City Beach, Florida, yet conveniently located just five minutes from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and 15 minutes from the Intracoastal Waterway. Fortunately for patrons and guests, Bay Point Marina is also just minutes by boat from Shell Island, which offers excellent snorkeling, superb fishing and some of the most secluded beaches available in North Florida. This quiet, full-service marina offers worldclass facilities and services including 180 protected slips, housing for boats up to 125 feet and luxury pontoon boat rentals at a relaxing price.

Boating is our business. Having fun is yours!

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Alaska’s Can’t Miss

Freshwater Fishing Adventures

By Christopher Batin

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laska sportfishing offers wilderness realized rather than imagined and quickens the pulse in all types of anglers, from panfishermen to veteran world anglers. When an angler returns from Alaska and shares an evening on the flats or at the catfish hole with friends, talk quickly turns from big catfish stories to Alaska fishing adventures. The reason is obvious. If you are searching for action, the roostertails of spray generated by a 50-pound chinook salmon on a five-jump run through shallow water will satisfy your need. If the sight of huge shad migrations have you tying on a lure in finger-fumbling fashion, wait until you view pristine rivers teeming with five species of Pacific salmon that are counted not by the thousands, but by the millions. Valdez anglers see the return of as many as 11 million pink salmon to intertidal waters. Choosing the right Alaska adventure is complex, with its various runs, timing and weather. Knowing when to go, where to go and with whom is key. I’ve fished and covered Alaska’s fishing for more than 42 years, and I’ve helped countless anglers find the trip best suited for them. Each angler has separate needs. In the freshwater realm, here are some of the top considerations for can’t miss adventure, fish-hooking action and personal service worthy of the Alaska experience. Interior Alaska

If you’re looking for a quiet place to fish, with scenery, comfortable cabins and located far from the crowds, drive down to Denali National Park and visit Kirk Martakis at Fish Denali. He offers several lakes on private property that offer about 3,000 wild rainbow trout to 31 inches and trophy-sized grayling. They cruise the lake like sharks, and the clear water makes sight casting to them with single-hook jigs, nymphs or topwater lures too much fun. It’s some of the best lake rainbow fishing I’ve experienced. Cozy, fully equipped cabins located at lakeside offer everything you’ll need for a multi-day stay, including Wi-Fi and multiple bedrooms. It’s a good choice for large families, fishing buddies or couples who want a quiet, laid-back trip with some of Alaska’s best scenery (www.Fishdenali.com). Float fishing offers a change of scenery around each turn in the river as well as great fishing opportunities. Alaska River Tours offers remote float trips along the road system, with neither the crowds nor the expense. Depending on the season, owner Reinhard “Reini” Neuhauser chooses the best rivers for grayling, trout, sheefish, pike, salmon and char. On overnight excursions, he provides tents, camping gear and boats. You arrive ready to fish. I recommend the overnight float, which makes the most of Alaska’s 19-plus hours of daylight. Fish when it’s light, and float during the remaining five hours from midnight to the 4 a.m. during the twilight period, when it’s still light enough to read. It’s a heady trip that is only surpassed by his camps and food served (www.akrivertours.com). The Kenai Peninsula For a quick day of fishing, the Kenai River offers big king salmon to 70plus pounds that sizzle drags. Guide Joe Connors was my instructor back in 10

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my college days, and he’s still as tough on catching fish as he was on me learning public speaking. He’s a long-time Kenai veteran, and his guides at Big Sky Charter and Fish Camp have a long-time, sterling reputation for helping anglers of all skill levels catch silver and sockeye salmon, char and rainbow trout in the 25- to 34-inch range. He offers comfortable riverside cabins, evening barbecues and a quiet place to enjoy the river (www.kenaiguide.com). Bristol Bay Bristol Bay lodges offer the crème de le crème of Alaska sportfishing in these western Alaska waters, where tens of millions of salmon move into various watersheds each year. A couple hundred lodges and camps offer a variety of services, from bare-basic outfitted trips to spectacular lodges with fly-out fishing, shore lunches, and gourmet meals. Mike Gorton runs Goodnews River Lodge, the only lodge located on the 400-milelong river that offers some of the best boat-accessible river fishing for silver salmon, rainbow trout and char you’ll find in the region. It is a mixed-bag fishery, where no matter the weather, you can fish. There wasn’t a stretch of the Goodnews when friend Mark Wade and I fished that didn’t have silver salmon hammering our flies and big rainbow trout swarming in numbers like piranhas. The guides have great people skills and are skilled in their knowledge of the river (www.goodnewsriverlodge. com). Southeast Alaska In southeast Alaska, Marlin Benedict, of Fish Wrangell, offers freshwater fishing for salmon, cutthroat trout and char in the remote, beautiful jungle streams of the Tongass National Forest. You don’t walk long distances here, as most of the good fishing is within a half mile or so of saltwater, which also guarantees fish as fresh as they come. The most fun in fishing these shallow waters is watching salmon attacking your fly or lure. Personal service is topnotch. (www.fishwrangell.com). Chris Batin is editor of The Alaska Angler and author of nine award-winning books and Alaska fishing DVDs. He is featured as an Alaska legend in a new book, “Alaska’s Greatest Outdoor Legends,” published by the University of Alaska Press. For over 40 years, he has run The Alaska Angler Information Service. Discover more at www.AlaskaAngler.com.

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The all-electric Power-Pole Micro anchor is compact, virtually silent and drives the 3/4” Micro Spike at the push of a button. Add the rechargable Micro Battery Pak and you’re ready to go wherever adventure takes you. Get all the details and find a dealer near you at power-pole.com.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

HAMMERHEAD TUFF GRAB AMARRA

Hammerhead Tuff Grab spearfishing gloves are the toughest warmwater spearfishing gloves available. Tuff Grabs were designed in Hawaii for use in asspetto spearfishing, which involves the diver descending to the bottom and scratching up substrate to attract inquisitive fish. In this style of ambush diving, normal diving gloves only last weeks. Tuff Grabs last months, saving the diver money in the long run. A full 5-finger, 2mm neoprene glove with reinforced flexible amarra (synthetic suede) palm and double-stitched gripped reinforcements offer exceptional durability without sacrificing dexterity. Anti-Slip rubberized grips are sewn into each fingertip and palm, leaving the knuckles open for flexibility. Large batting-glove style Velcro enclosures keep the glove tight. Tuff Grabs are available in both Deep Reef and Pelagic Shatter camouflage to help make you the ultimate predator.

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MAVERICK DARIAN YOKOOJI HYBRID SPEARGUNS Darian Yokooji made his first speargun back in 1993 because he didn’t have money to buy one. Since then, his Hawaiian-made, handcrafted guns have become highly sought after by spearfishers around the world. All of Yokooji’s guns are handcrafted in small batches to ensure quality workmanship, and he uses only the finest materials to construct beautiful, durable spearguns that perform to the highest level. His best-selling guns are his Hybrid Signature line. Originally designed in 1996, this line offers the stability of wood with the maneuverability of a pipe gun. The latest rendition of this classic gun has been retooled through collaboration with Maverick America’s Mark Laboccetta to improve on the original body design, add a carbon fiber barrel and redesign the Delrin muzzle. It is an exceptional, versatile speargun available in lengths of 53, 55, 57 and 60 inches. Check out all the specs online.

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Center sp Are Log Homes Practical? Why Buy a Log Home?

Log Cabin process. Each log is perfectly engineered in our state of the art, climate-controlled facility prior to construction. This precise engineering of the logs prior to construction also ensures a superior thermal mass. Prior to the Blue Ridge Log Cabin process, thermal mass was affected by less than airtight construction. Ensuring exact fitting and high thermal mass has enabled our log homes to be very competitively priced with traditional construction and traditional building thermal efficiency, making our log homes View time-lapsed video at www.blueridgelogcabins.net an exceptional value, both now and into the future. bviously the number one attribute for log home owners tends Ben Martin: You’ve mentioned the “manufacturing process.” to be the aesthetics. Log homes and the feel of real wood tend to create an ambiance that tends to suit the outdoor enthu- How is it that log homes would have a manufacturing process? Chip Smith: Blue Ridge Log Cabins is an innovator in the log siast more than the traditional American home. But what about the cost to build and maintain a log home? Is it practical? That’s the ques- home industry. We were recently voted on as one of “America’s Favorite Log Homes” by Log Cabin Hub. Our unique process of comtion that we asked Chip Smith, Owner of Blue Ridge Log Cabins. Ben Martin: Chip, some people would suggest that the cost of pletely engineering each log in our facility has enabled us to provide a consistency previously unavailable in the log home industry. This a log home is more than that of a traditional home. Is that correct? Chip Smith: There was a time when that would have been true has also enabled us to produce a more energy efficient log home. Eliminating the inconsistencies normally associated with log but today with our improved efficiencies in development and construction of a Blue Ridge Log Cabin the answer is no, they are not home construction has allowed us to create a better value for our more costly than a traditional home. This innovation in the actual customers and a more efficient building process. Beautiful log homes manufacturing of the logs themselves is at the core of the Blue Ridge do not have to cost more than traditional homes.

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FLORIDA

Florida’s Freshwater Odd-balls

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By Nick Carter

ith warm, nutrient-rich waters, south Florida’s system of freshwater lakes and canals makes perfect habitat for exotic species from all over the world. Regardless of how populations of these weird and sporting fish arrived, they are there to stay. Anglers might as well enjoy them. Darcie Arahill, a.k.a. Darcizzle Offshore, knows her way around these canal systems. She has a particular enthusiasm for Delray Beach, Fla.’s Lake Ida, which is a small water body in an extensive system along Florida’s southern Atlantic coast. She enjoys the excellent bass fishing, but perhaps more appealing are the exotics that happen to be fantastic gamefish. The following oddballs are some of Darcie’s favorites from a fishery unlike any other. Sunshine Bass: These hard-fighting fish are produced and stocked by the state to control shad populations. They are a hybrid cross between striped bass and white bass without the capability to reproduce. State agencies across the country stock their versions of sunshine bass, and regional variations are called hybrids, wipers, whiterock and palmetto bass. Sunshine bass offer the fight and some of the size of a striped bass, while displaying the aggressive feeding behavior and warm-water tolerance of white bass. Although the current strain being produced might not be capable of achieving the size of the more than 16-pound state record, Darcie said they catch plenty of 5 to 6 pounders. Sunshine bass will take artificials like bucktails and swimbaits, but Darcie said you’re better off fishing live American shad or shiners on a Carolina rig. Clown Knife Fish: Lake Ida, its northern sister Lake Osborne, and their canals are the only places in North America where anglers can pursue clown knife fish. These aquarium escapees have become a desired gamefish for those in the know. They are a flat, silvery fish with a snake-like tail. They can swim powerfully either forward or backward, which produces a unique fight. Darcie said these natives to tropical Asia jump like tarpon, and they have been recorded up to 10 pounds in Florida. A clown knife fish might eat a

swimbait, but Darcie said live shad or shiners are your best bet. Peacock Bass: A native to the Amazon River Basin, the butterfly peacock bass has driven many a grand adventure to South America. These gorgeous fish were introduced to Florida by the FWC in the 1980s to control invasive forage species. Anglers are glad to have them. Sensitivity to cool water keeps peacock bass in check. They thrive only in southeast Florida and grow to their largest size in the canals around Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where they’ve been documented up to 12 pounds. Darcie Arahill shows off a big clown knife fish. “They’re very aggressive, and they’re a beautiful fish to catch,” said Darcie. “They fight twice as hard as a largemouth.” Butterfly peacocks make it as far north as West Palm Beach, but cold snaps knock them back every few winters. They will hammer topwater baits and moving baits. Check out Darcie’s YouTube channel Darcizzle Offshore at www.youtube. com/user/DarcizzleOffshore.

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UNDER THE SEA

2. Use dangling flashers and chum to increase your chances of attracting them. 3. When you become aware of their presence, do not move a hair as they will disappear if they detect any change in your body language. here’s something about jumping into the blue 4. Do not look at them directly; they do not like eye contact. Use your abyss that gives some people the creeps. For best acting skills to imitate an innocent many, there’s an eerie sense of turtle who has no interest in wahoos. vulnerability knowing that “something” 5. Use a throw flasher to bring them in could materialize from any place at any closer, within range of your speargun. time out of the deep blue. For others, 6. Dive in with a slow and soft descent, the excitement of being able to hunt with your eyes and head turned elsewhere. different species propels them to set 7. If you have done everything correctly aside any doubts about venturing off the and they are still hanging around, extend reef and into new territory. your speargun slowly and take careful Spearfishing in water that is aim, because you will get one chance. hundreds or thousands of feet deep 8. Unless you are extremely confident is a completely different feeling than you can get the kill shot, aim for center reef hunting. For one, looking through mass where your chances of hitting the your mask into deep blue water can be Sheri Daye swims in a big wahoo. target are highest, but not too far back or disorienting when there is nothing for Photo by Vaeamuni Kama too low as a gut shot will result in a tearyour eyes to focus on—no reef, no cover, off. no frame of reference. But just when 9. Let the wahoo complete its initial you begin to wonder why you are floating around in this vast sea of run. The burst of energy with the spear, line and float in tow is impressive, nothingness, you suddenly become aware of another presence—a wahoo but the fish will tire quickly and to the point where you can pull it in by is floating beside you! No matter how hard you are looking, you never the float line. see them coming in; they just materialize out of nowhere. 10. Once you have your fish in hand, gloat, take pictures, show off, Wahoos are one of the most coveted fish for bluewater hunters. That grill and eat! is because they are stealthy, good-tasting and way smarter than you are. They can solve differential equations, calculate the exact range of your P.S. Bluewater spearfishing is thrilling but should only be done after speargun and read your mind. Their elusive nature and narrow body proper training and experience. shape provide a challenging target even for the most experienced of hunters. Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer Here are some tips for hunting this wary species: of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow 1. Use the right equipment. Bluewater spearguns have longer range “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram. and detachable terminal equipment, including shaft with slip-tip, float line and surface floatation. Do not use a reel gun unless you want to get For more Sheri Daye, go to spooled in seconds and lose your gun.

WAHOOS—WONDERFUL AND WILY

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Surf Angler Lands Enormous Brevard County Hammerhead

The perfect fishing knot is not a knot, but a weld!

By Wade Senti

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ur day began with a late start. We expected to drop our baits at sunrise, but arrived around 9 a.m. We quickly set up a sunshade tent, rolled the fishing cart down with our gear and carried the kayak to the spot. My family has fished the coastlines of Brevard County since the mid 1990s, long before kayaks became so popular, when you used surfboards to get your bait out well beyond the surf. My father has recorded some noteworthy catches with this technique using live bait on conventional reel setups. On this day, we picked up some frozen bonita from a local bait shop and were specifically targeting sharks for catch and release. I brought two heavy conventional reel setups, a spinning setup for tossing in the trough and a heavy surf rod for tossing lures into the surf. We planned for a long day of fishing in southern Melbourne Beach. I spread our rod holders down the beach, set up our rods and began arranging the fishing rigs. We use custom rigs for sharks. The one I used to beach an enormous hammerhead in early July consisted of a 20/0 circle hook (debarbed), 6 feet of 600-pound coated steel leader and approximately 10 feet of 300-pound mono shock leader. I’ve found debarbing circle hooks makes for easy and quick hook removal, especially with smaller sharks, such as blacktips. We took turns dropping the baits with our kayak, the shortest being about 175 yards and the longest around 250 yards off the beach. Our baits were secured by tying about 8 feet of breakaway biodegradable twine at the hook eye with a cement block piece at the end. The baits sat for five and a half hours before we got any action. At this point, I figured the crabs had picked apart our bonita and the day was done. We were cooling off in the water when my buddy’s, Pete Filiberto, Penn International 80w went off. He ran out of the water, but the bait had been taken. I saw a little activity with my rod, but figured a sea turtle had passed over the line. Less than five minutes later, that hypothesis had changed. The deeper drop proved worthy. My tuned-up Penn 12/0 Senator began screaming, and I told my buddy to grab the plate and belt, while I tightened my newly upgraded drag to full. We struggled to get the belt in place, so I ended up fighting with the rod butt in the sand; it was nature’s fighting chair. I kept the pressure throughout the struggle with my 125-pound Bullbuster mono line. The fight lasted approximately 30 minutes, standstill at times, but I never lost much gain. A few equipment malfunctions such as my handle grip coming loose and my shorts falling off didn’t stop me from successfully landing and quickly releasing the enormous hammerhead. I was exhausted. We did not have time to tag or measure it, but we believe it was at or over 10 feet in length.

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Gamefish Grande Tournaments Ply Cuban Waters

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he second annual Gamefish Grande Tournaments wrapped up June 13 in Havana, Cuba. The two-tournament series fished the fertile waters off the island nation, with teams releasing multiple blue and white marlin and sailfish. The first of the two tournaments was held out of Marina Gaviota, a 1,200-slip marina in the beautiful resort town Veradero, where teams were pampered by the hospitality of marina staff. Teams fished June 5-8 out of the marina, which sits at the midpoint of Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula east of Havana. Over three Hog Wild took first place at the June 10days, two blue marlin Team 13 Gamefish Grande in Havana. were released. First place honors went to team Seamaster, a 78’ Rybovich with owner Dan Devine fishing. The Seamaster released a blue marlin on day one to take home the top trophy. Second place went to Wayne Carmignani on the Hog Wild, a 52’ Viking. Wayne released a blue marlin on Team Seamaster won the June 5-8 Gamefish day three. The Hog Wild Grande tournament in Veradero. also released the largest dolphin of the tournament weighing 32.4 pounds. Participants in the Varadero tournament were treated to gourmet meals at the Kike-Kcho Restaurant where they dined on fresh lobster, giant prawns and paella. From Veradero, the teams travelled to Havana, where the fishing really picked up June 10-13. After checking in at Marina Hemingway, participants were treated to a Cuban dinner at El Laurel Restaurante. The fleet fished just offshore for three days and released seven blue marlin, 1 white marlin and five sailfish. Team Hog Wild, from Naples, Fla., placed first with five blue marlin, one white marlin and three sailfish released. William Ray, aboard his 43’ Ocean No Fly Zone, came in second, releasing two blue marlin. Blue Heron finished up the leaderboard with a third place win releasing two sailfish. According to the organizers, Marina Hemingway was an accommodating host for the event and made all participants feel welcome. Members of the Cuban Fishing Federation were onhand to help judge the releases. The top teams at each tournament received custom-designed trophies from tournament trophy sponsor King Sailfish Mounts. AIM Marine Group, which produces and manages Gamefish Grande, wished to thank sponsor Mantus Anchors, the official anchor of Gamefish Grande. Sponsor Cuba Travel Services provided T-shirts for the anglers and arranged travel, tours and accommodations for tournament guests. Zeidel & Co. supplied hats for the tournament as well as custom-printed burgees for each participating boat. Tournament sponsor RMK Merrill-Stevens awarded certificates to the winners of each tournament for haul out, power wash, yard services and a Pettit paint voucher. For more information on the Gamefish Grande, visit gamefishgrande.com and be sure to follow them on Facebook. To contact the Gamefish Grande, email jdudas@aimmedia.com.

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Make reel memories.

Fall Gag Season Approved For Four Counties

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FWC Photo

t its July meeting in Orlando, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved lengthening the Gulf of Mexico gag grouper recreational season in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties by opening the season Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The Commission also approved changing the gag grouper commercial minimum size limit in Gulf state waters from 22 to 24 inches. This size limit change is consistent with pending federal regulations. For the gag grouper recreational season, state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties are currently open from April 1 through June 30. The FWC received stakeholder requests for a longer season that would make fishing opportunities in the four-county area more comparable with the rest of the Gulf, where there is a seven-month season that runs June 1 through Dec. 31. “The regional management of this species has been a success story. Anglers have been able to fish for this species during more desired times of the year while still promoting conservation,” said Chairman Brian Yablonski. “We are excited that we can offer these additional fishing opportunities to Florida’s anglers.” The fall season from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 will be in place in time for anglers to participate this year. For more information or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

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

Plan your trip at discovermartin.com 8

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The water is shallow. The lessons run deep.

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ugust in the Upper Keys is full of options. One could find fast action on the reefs or dolphin offshore, but Capt. Greg Poland prefers the shallow stuff this time of year. Whether it’s classic skinny-water targets like bonefish, snook, tarpon, permit and redfish or huge sharks cruising the flats, Capt. Poland loves the thrill of fishing in less than 3 feet of water. With ocean-side flats on the front and Florida Bay and the Everglades National Park on the backside, one of the toughest decisions Poland faces each morning is which way to go. Aboard his skiff or his 25’ Contender Bay Boat—from GTB Boat Sales on Key Largo—all options are in-range, and the Everglades are just a 10-minute run from the docks. The whole area is a playground for the shallow-water angler. Permit and Bones: While bonefish show up on the flats on either side of the island, permit stick to the Atlantic side, either on the flats or out on the near-shore reefs. Capt. Poland said the best way to catch either species is with bait. For permit, he’ll fish a live crab on a 3/0 hook with a 7-foot spinning rod spooled with 15-pound monofilament and a

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20-pound fluorocarbon leader. For bonefish, Poland sizes down to 10- or 12-pound mono with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. He sight fishes for bonefish with live shrimp, but he also catches a lot of fish dead-bait fishing. The technique involves Power Poling down in an area where the bones should be. Capt. Poland then rigs a hook with a single live shrimp and a half of a dead one. “There’s a live shrimp that’s jumping around with a dead one that’s just sitting there smelling,” he said. It’s a remarkably effective technique. Tarpon and Snook: The bay side of Largo is a hot-bed for tarpon and snook. This time of year, there will be plenty of slotsized and larger snook along with juvenile tarpon from 2 to 4 feet in length around the mangroves. Capt. Poland starts his mornings cast-netting the preferred bait: pinfish and pilchards. Depending on conditions, he rigs them with or without a cork on a 3/0 or 4/0 hook and a 2-foot leader of 40- to 60-pound fluorocarbon. Then he goes looking for some moving water and pitches the baits around the mangroves. Even with 60-pound line, a 32-inch snook or a tailwalking 4-foot tarpon is a handful, especially in these snaggy, shallow environs. Sharks: Finally, and what Poland called “last, but definitely not least,” are big sharks.

Capt. Poland hung into his first big shark when he was just 10 years old and fishing Florida Bay on a guide trip with his dad. The captain tricked the fish into biting by dragging a dead ballyhoo in front of its nose. He then handed the rod over to a young, enthusiastic and impressionable boy. Poland has been doing the same thing ever since. “I wonder why I ever do anything else,” he said. “They’re big, they’re powerful and they’re fun.” With a heavy spinning rod or up to a 30w conventional setup, he fishes bait on an 8/0 circle hook and 4 feet of wire. The first order of business it to deploy a frozen block of chum. Then, if he’s caught a good live bait like a jack crevalle, he’ll fish it. If all he has is dead ballyhoo purchased at the bait shop, that works just as well when fished just like Poland saw the captain do it many years ago. On windy days, Poland sometimes even deploys a kite, just like the ones used offshore. He’ll bait it with a live blue runner, and wait for the show to begin. “There’s nothing like seeing a 10 foot lemon or hammerhead come up out of the water to eat that bait in 3 feet of water,” he said. Unless you go see for yourself, you’ll just have to believe that’s the truth. From offshore to the backcountry, Capt. Greg Poland is skilled in all the fishing the Florida Keys have to offer. Check out his website at www.gregpoland.com.

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The water is shallow. The lessons run deep.

Key Largo’s backcountry guides are the best instructors in the business. Not only will they take you to the fish, they’ll give you an unforgettable history and science lesson along the way. From East Cape snook to Everglades reds to bonefish on Key Largo’s flats, come experience a day on the water that will last a lifetime. fla-keys.com/keylargo 1.800.822.1088 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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The Gator Den is a brand new, 12 room motel located at Angler’s Resort, on the Withlacoochee River, Dunnellon, FL. We have a Bait & Tackle Shop, Pontoon and Jon Boat Rentals, Airboat Tours and the Blue Gator Tiki Bar Restaurant, all on premise making this a fisherman’s getaway. 12189 S Williams St Dunnellon, FL 34432 | www.AnglersResort.us Motel: 352-489-2397 Restaurant: 352-465-1635 Boat Rentals: 352-489-2397

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AUGUST 2017

Contact George Ivey: (904) 476-7831 givey@hmy.com

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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

AUGUST 2017 EDITION

Find Your Outdoors Here!

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

North Central FL/Nature Coast Staff

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

Cary Crutchfield

SALES

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

J

AUGUST

uly was a blessed month for our family. On Thursday, the 13th, we became grandparents of a beautiful baby girl, Secelia ShyAnn with brothers Spencer and Stephen and Grandmother Crutchfield born to our son Stacy and daughter-in-law, Danielle. Secelia is perfect in every way, and a miracle in many ways. Her teenage brothers, Stephen and Spencer are thrilled, as are we all. I will be spending a lot of time in Crawfordville, just sitting and holding our little angel. See page 2 for pictures. With the arrival of August, our busy lives, get even busier. Gator hunting season opens August 15th, and as you know, Cary is a gator hunt guide. If you won the opportunity to purchase a license and tags, and need help, call us. See page 16. This month’s recipe, General Tso’s Shrimp is on page 2. I “cheated” and used bottled sauce and it was great. On page 16, you will find pictures and an informative article about the renovation of the Moss Bluff Dam on the Ocklawaha River. Last week Cary enjoyed a Suwannee River Ride-Along with Officer Travis Cooper and Investigator Terrynce Bing of FWC. See page 18. If you have not been scalloping yet this year, (and we haven’t) you still have all of August and into September to go get your share of these yummy morsels. If you need help, contact one of our guides. Most importantly, let our guides/ writers know how much you enjoy reading their columns. They would really appreciate an email or phone call from you and they would LOVE to take you fishing. SEND ME YOUR PHOTOS. Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy Bruce Butler John Freeze Capt. David Bickel Capt. Dan Clymer Capt. Tom Cushman Capt. Jimbo Keith Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Brian Smith Capt. Dan Smith Capt. Craig Spitznogle

CONTACT INFORMATION

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

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

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ANNOUNCEMENT

GENERAL TSO’S SHRIMP WITH BROCCOLI

Secelia ShyAnn with brothers, Spencer and Stephen and Grandmother Crutchfield

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

COOKING DIRECTIONS

July 13th, 2017

1. Cook rice and keep warm. Shell and devein shrimp and dry with paper towels.

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1Tu

2W 3Th

4F

5Sa

6Su

7M

8Tu

2:54 AM 9:10 AM 4:41 PM 11:07 PM 4:04 AM 10:12 AM 5:48 PM 12:16 AM 5:12 AM 11:09 AM 6:40 PM 1:08 AM 6:10 AM 12:01 PM 7:23 PM 1:49 AM 6:59 AM 12:47 PM 8:00 PM 2:25 AM 7:43 AM 1:28 PM 8:34 PM 2:57 AM 8:23 AM 2:07 PM 9:07 PM 3:27 AM 9:02 AM 2:46 PM 9:38 PM

1.9 3.7 1.0 2.8 2.0 3.8 0.7 3.0 2.0 3.9 0.5 3.2 1.9 4.0 0.3 3.3 1.8 4.2 0.2 3.4 1.6 4.3 0.1 3.5 1.5 4.3 0.0 3.6 1.4 4.3 0.1

HERNANDO BEACH

AUGUST 2017

9W

10Th

11F

12Sa

13Su 14M

15Tu

16W

Time Height

3:55 AM 9:40 AM 3:24 PM 10:11 PM 4:24 AM 10:20 AM 4:05 PM 10:44 PM 4:53 AM 11:01 AM 4:49 PM 11:19 PM 5:25 AM 11:47 AM 5:39 PM 11:58 PM 6:02 AM 12:40 PM 6:39 PM 12:41 AM 6:46 AM 1:45 PM 7:56 PM 1:35 AM 7:42 AM 3:03 PM 9:30 PM 2:45 AM 8:52 AM 4:28 PM 11:05 PM

3.7 1.2 4.3 0.2 3.8 1.1 4.2 0.3 3.8 1.0 4.0 0.5 3.9 0.9 3.8 0.8 3.9 0.9 3.4 1.2 3.9 0.9 3.1 1.6 3.9 0.8 3.0 1.9 3.9 0.6 3.0

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

17Th 4:07 AM 10:07 AM 5:44 PM 18F 12:21 AM 5:24 AM 11:18 AM 6:45 PM 19Sa 1:16 AM 6:28 AM 12:19 PM 7:35 PM 20Su 2:00 AM 7:22 AM 1:13 PM 8:20 PM 21M 2:37 AM 8:10 AM 2:03 PM 9:00 PM 22Tu 3:11 AM 8:54 AM 2:48 PM 9:37 PM 23W 3:42 AM 9:36 AM 3:32 PM 10:11 PM 24Th 4:11 AM 10:17 AM 4:14 PM 10:43 PM

Time Height

25F

26Sa

27Su 28M

29Tu

30W

31Th

4:41 AM 10:57 AM 4:57 PM 11:14 PM 5:10 AM 11:38 AM 5:43 PM 11:46 PM 5:43 AM 12:23 PM 6:34 PM 12:21 AM 6:20 AM 1:16 PM 7:37 PM 1:04 AM 7:07 AM 2:22 PM 8:58 PM 2:02 AM 8:09 AM 3:44 PM 10:28 PM 3:18 AM 9:24 AM 5:04 PM 11:43 PM

3.8 0.8 3.9 0.9 3.8 0.8 3.6 1.2 3.8 0.9 3.2 1.5 3.8 1.0 3.0 1.7 3.7 1.1 2.8 2.0 3.6 1.1 2.8 2.1 3.6 0.9 2.9

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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2.0 4.0 0.3 3.2 1.9 4.2 0.0 3.4 1.7 4.4 -0.2 3.6 1.5 4.5 -0.3 3.7 1.2 4.6 -0.2 3.7 1.0 4.5 0.0 3.8 0.9 4.4 0.3 3.8 0.8 4.1 0.6

2. In small pan, put 2 teaspoons oil. Add scallions and cook over low heat until soft. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add parsley and cook until wilted. Add General Tso’s Sauce and simmer until hot. Add a little water if it gets too thick. Steam broccoli until crisp/tender and keep warm.

INGREDIENTS • • • • • • • • • • • • •

16 to 20 lg. Shrimp (for two) Broccoli (for two) Salt and Pepper 1/3 cup cornstarch Rice (for two) ½ cup bottled General Tso’s Sauce & Glaze (Iron Chef) 4 Scallions chopped Parsley (Handful chopped) 2 Garlic cloves minced 2 Teaspoons oil Oil for skillet Sesame Seeds toasted Rice Noodles (optional)

3. Salt and pepper the shrimp and dredge in cornstarch. Into large skillet, pour in oil, about ¼ inch deep. Heat oil until very hot. Add shrimp; do not crowd. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. Serve shrimp over rice and broccoli and top with sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. If you like a little crunch (I do.) Sprinkle with canned rice noodles. This recipe is also great with chicken instead of shrimp and snow peas instead of broccoli. (If you are really in a hurry, skip the scallions, garlic and parsley. The bottled sauce is good on by itself.)

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

AUGUST 2017

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

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FLORIDA WATERWAYS

O

Waccasassa River

ne of the lesser-known, quieter rivers where I’ve had good luck in catching bass, is the Waccasassa in Levy County. It is only 29 miles long, and its watershed is a modest 610 square miles, two facts that may have kept away those fishermen who wanted to catch larger, more aggressive fish. In fact, most people who even know of the river probably gave it just a passing glance as they motored over a small bridge By Kevin McCarthy on a very quiet, uninhabited part of U.S. 19/98, near Gulf Hammock. Beginning at Blue Spring, four miles west of Bronson, the river takes much of its water from that second-magnitude spring, and then heads south, south-west to Waccasassa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, east of Cedar Key. The river and bay derive their name from a Seminole Indian phrase meaning “where there are cows” or “cattle range.” Hernando de Soto and his Spanish troops were probably the first Europeans to cross the river when they were marching north from Tampa Bay in 1539. The first white settlers to inhabit the area were soldiers stationed at Fort Jennings, near present-day Otter Creek. Other forts on the river that were meant to protect white settlers from the Indians in the mid-19th century, were the prosaically named Fort Number Three near the mouth of the river and Fort Number Eight, the latter of which was renamed Fort Waccasassa. Most of the river is only accessible by kayak or canoe. My fishing guide and I first accessed it by boat from the Gulf, on a cold December day, that turned out to be successful for catching fish. The river should remain pristine for the foreseeable future, since state-owned land surrounds it or – to a lesser degree – land owned by

a paper company. Such companies have to keep an unharvested stretch of land along the river. Waccasassa Bay State Preserve Park, is at the mouth of the river and has 31,000 acres of water and primitive, undisturbed land. Interestingly, during the Civil War, the bay was the scene of some action as shallow-draft Union boats captured a Confederate sloop, “Isabella,” in 1863. The Union boats were part of a blockade that was meant to isolate the west coast of Florida from supplying Confederate troops with food stuffs. So, if you want to visit and fish in a very quiet, undisturbed Florida river, try the Waccasassa. I was pleasantly surprised by the success I had there, and my guide and I had no other fishermen to disturb us. Kevin McCarthy, the author of “North Florida Waterways” (2013 available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

A picnic bench along the

Waccasassa.

Bridge section over the river on SR 24 near Bronson. The river is very peaceful.

The isolated river is a goo

d place for fishing. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM AUGUST 2017

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Levy County map with an arrow for river and bay.

Marsh and woods near the bay. NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3

7/17/17 5:56 PM


WELCOME TO THE C

Frederick Snell, Broker Associate

NATURE COAST

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

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AUGUST 2017

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CRYSTAL RIVER

PROFESSIONAL FIREARM TRAINING

OCALA CARRY

Summer heat

NRA Certified Instructors ph. 352.239.2889 OcalaCarry@gmail.com

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LADIES ONLY CLASSES AVAILABLE

Scalloping Season Opens July 1 in Citrus County

When it comes to scalloping, the Chamber has members that can help you with all of your needs::

Boat Rentals Charters Equipment

A

ugust is one of the hottest months of the year, but it can still be a great time to get out on the water and enjoy some family fun. Scalloping and fishing are the two most popular activities and they go hand in hand. The hot weather has the redfish, pushed out to the very outside islands, where they can easily be found on the afternoon high tides. My favorite rig for summer time redfish has been 3 feet of 30lb leader with a 3/0 circle hook and a 1/8 ounce egg sinker, with a chunk of cut bait or a half of a large pinfish, pitched to the up current side, of a point that shows good mullet activity. The scalloping has been awesome so far this year in 3 to 7 feet of water on the grass flats, west of Ozello and south of Gomez rocks. Reports have been that the further south you go towards the St Martins keys area, the more scallops there are to be found. Do remember that the limit on scallops is two gallons per person, or no more then ten gallons per boat. per day. On the offshore front, many guys are enjoying the hot mangrove snapper bite, as the mangrove

Restaurants Cook-YourCatch

Plan your scalloping excursion and find the resources you need at CitrusCountyChamber.com Click on “Scallop” under Featured Events

Photo credits: Discover Crystal River Florida

snapper are gathering up to spawn on the August full moon. Chumming around rock piles and wrecks in 40 to 90 feet of water, will get the snapper fired up, and ready to feed, with the average size being 15 to 22 inches long. I typically opt to free-line small live pinfish into the chum slick, to fool the biggest of the snappers. Always have a stinger rig at the ready for a kingfish while chumming. So, whether it is scalloping, inshore, or offshore fishing, there is plenty to do on the water in the middle of summer’s heat. Capt. Clay Shidler ClayShidler@Yahoo.com

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hew, where has the time gone? We have been so busy "Diggin' Reel Deep" here at Big Bend Adventures, that we lost all track of time. July has been great to us! Each and every time we have ventured out, the red snapper have “dove” into the boat! We have calls non-stop to book trips for our always awesome clients, to earn their keep in absolutely no time, and not have the frustration of releasing a dying fish. Grouper have substantially picked up! Finally, able to land. and limit-out on keeper red and gag grouper, is "Reely" amazing! One of our most recent extreme trips, produced some big beauties among the normal, but also important, vermilion, porgy, and mangrove, including a 16 pound snapper, 18 pound red grouper, 18 pound gag grouper, and a whopper gag, weighing in at 28 beautiful pounds of pure natural bliss!!! Live bait, squid and cut bait, all had their moments of enticing these guys! As our "slogan" says it all plain and simple, "Diggin' Reel Deep"!!! At

110+ miles and 150 to 200 foot of water, is where we are "Diggin Reel Deep" for these monsters. It’s nice to be able to take an anticipating group out there to practically load up on your grouper in 30 minutes to an hour, but then it hits me--its only 6 pm and you have clients paying for an overnight trip, and you have to rearrange some coolers and fish to make enough room for the night!!! But who could complain about that!? It's nice to always consider the possibilities and plan ahead. Speaking of planning--it's pertinent to make sure that you have all the proper safety equipment, stay on top of the weather forecasts (even though you do get surprised), and always practice safe boating. It makes the entire boating experience, when boaters are aware, alert, and courteous for themselves and others!!! So please be safe, be smart, and ENJOY!!! Get in touch with us if you would like to experience "Diggin' Reel Deep" for yourself. Catch Ya next month!!!! Capt.David Bickel bigbendadventures@gmail.com

AUGUST 2017

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HORSESHOE BEACH It’s hot and going to get hotter.

J

uly was a month we can look back on, and remember as being a great month to be in Horseshoe Beach, and fishing the Big Bend. It’s one of the hottest months of the year and people have flooded across the cattle gap to enjoy all the great things going on. Scalloping has been off the chain GOOD. Most people, who have spent a fair amount of time in the water, have been able to get a limit, or at least plenty to “stink up the grease”. The water has been a little murky south of Pepperfish this past month. It pushed a lot of boats north outside of Bull Cove and Tater Island. There has also been a ton of boats just south of Steinhatchee on the grass flats north of Rocky Creek. The water should clear up or be clear soon south of Pepperfish and around the Pretty Pole area. This area hasn’t seen the pressure that other areas have, but it’s just a matter of time for sure. Offshore grass flats have been producing a great trout bite. Finding offshore grass flats in 8 to 12 feet of water, bouncing a Gulp across the bottom with a ½ ounce jighead, works well for both speckled trout and a lot of healthy sand trout. The Spanish mackerel have been plentiful and will help remove your hook from your line with those sharp teeth. Trolling spotty bottoms with a small jig, or flashy plug attached to your line with a wire leader, can be a lot of fun on these hot days, and you can load the boat with Spanish.

If you read my article last month, you know I was very critical of the 3-day snapper season in federal waters. I had the opportunity to amend my article the night before it went to press, (after the decision was made to grant us Recreational Fishermen 39 days to fish federal water), but I chose not to change my article. The reason is, we still need to show gratitude for the 39-day season, but continue to be a voice and advocate for this and other public resources. I’m very happy and satisfied with the decision on the 39-day season. I’ve only missed 5 days so far, however, it was the pressure put on local and state officials, representing us that brought this about. Be aware that NOAA could easily use this year as a reason to close it next year, saying that the Recreational sector overfished their percentage of ARS this year, so don’t quit paying attention to the fishery and the decisions being made to control it. I can tell you that the Red Snapper fishery is alive and well. We have yet to struggle to catch our snapper limit in an easy day. We just need to continue to be diligent and continue to be fair to our fishery and stand up for what is the right thing to do by it. Horseshoe Beach has been busy and we enjoy this time of year with all the activity going on. We had a great 4th and already making plans for Labor Day; its right around the corner. Where does time go? It just seems to literally fly by. Come visit us in Horseshoe. We still have plenty of time to get some scallops, or come down for a good day of fishing. If we can help you in any way feel free to call, email me or contact Wendy at the Salty Shoe Apparel. Her number is in the add on this page. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer.

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AUGUST 2017

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TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

W

elcome back yak fans. This article is a milestone of sorts for me. August marks my 8th year of sharing my stories, tips, and tales. I mentioned it to my buddy, Lou, and his remark was, that, that means I'm getting old! I prefer to think of it as maturing like a fine wine. Yeah probably not! LMAO (does MD 20 20 mature, probably not) Here's to working my way to a decade, and thanks for reading. As the song says "and outside it starts raining”. Yep we're back in the old-school weather patterns, back in the day, you could pretty much figure on an afternoon shower, but this year has been ridiculous. Between that and the tides, I mean a low of 1.40 feet does not give the shallow minded of us many options, but never fear, fish can be found if you don't mind getting wet. Rain I don't mind, but lightning not so much! I've done my share of ducking for cover lately, in some impressive thunder showers, but that's another story (and would have a tendency, to make me appear none too bright) but we're here to talk about fishing, so here goes.

The reds are going to be for the most part right up against the grass line so an accurate cast is essential, Zara spooks, 4" gulp glow shrimp, and if you want to sit cut bait, have all been producing slot and oversized reds. One good method, if the terrain permits, is to set up on one end of the shore line and do a slow retrieve along the edge. It doesn't hurt to try both lures in this manner and then move to the next area. These higher tides allow us to go back in further and longer than usual, and the tidal basins and creeks have produced some black drum (on free-lined shrimp) as well as snook (trusty zara spook) and reds spook, gulp, bait all worked. The outside bite has been mixed. Some large line peeling jacks have been cruising and their always a good battle, as well as big sail cats, nailing my top-water; not exactly the target species, but oh well, it beats catching nothing, but not by much. The trout are taking advantage of the cooler water temperatures and are coming back in mirro-dine's, popping corks, and top-water are doing the trick, with upper and

over-slot trout being caught. The sharks are still here and moving around, even way back in the back waters. I mean it's a little startling to be a quarter mile back in the inside, and see a fin go cruising past you, but then again that's why I love this coast line with its miles of flats. You never know what you'll see next. By the way, it's raining as

I write this. Does anybody know where the plans for that Ark went? Tight lines and good hunting. Bruce Butler owns and operates Indian Bay Outfitters and guides saltwater kayak charters all over Hernando County. You can reach Bruce at 352 428-5347 or visit his website: IndianBayOutfitters.com

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AUGUST 2017

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ey There Folks, I hope y'all are enjoying the warm wet weather we've been having here in the Big Bend. The fishing inshore if off and on, kind of like the weather right now. One day they are feeding well and the next day they seem to have lock-jaw. The best bet for action right now is the popular redfish. There are quite of few lower-slot fish around the islands with a few upper-slots mixed in. I'm still using my go-to cut-mullet rig to catch them. It's a simple knocker rig fished right on the bottom. I use a 1/4 to 1/2 oz. egg sink slid down on a 4/0 Mustad circle hook. I know it’s very simple, but hey, it works. The trout bite seems to be OK on the deeper grass flats. The low incoming, seems to be the producing the keeper-size trout. We are still using the B52 super sounder with a Saltwater Assassin sea shad tail. A new color called orange glow, seems to be working well right now. So, you might want to pick some up next time you are out. The Spanish mackerel bite has been kind of tough, but there are a few good ones at Sea Horse reef. Casting jigs and trolling plugs

seem to produce the best numbers. Chumming seems to also draw them in, and who knows what else will show up in the chum line? Well folks I hope this will help y'all out on your next trip and as I always say, get outside and enjoy what God has made for us. Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters Capt.Jimbo Keith 352-535-5083

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.

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CEDAR KEY PADDLING

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he heat is on here at the end of July, heading into August. I hope everyone is staying hydrated and cool. Let's talk shrimp. Where did all the shrimp go? If you have found yourself frustrated because you cannot buy the bait shrimp you want, and or they are small, there is a reason. Every year around the 4th of July, the majority of the shrimp head off shore, leaving behind the much smaller shrimp. Try not to take it out your frustration on your local bait shops; believe me we do not like this situation either. Good news is, they should be back to normal, like every year, around September. If you are one of the many who do not get the bait shrimp you want, do not overlook the power of the live mud

minnows and pin fish. I have caught most of my biggest redfish on these two great baits. Other than that, it is a great time to work some new plastics and other flashy top-waters and spoons. Of course, scallop season is still in full swing. I hope that they, as I write, have made their way into our Cedar Key waters, ‘cause I am hungry for some of those delicious bite-sized pieces of heaven. When you come to Cedar Key, stop and ask for an accurate update on the best scalloping spots. Please be safe and always try to find a way to take a kid or two with you, when you are headed to your favorite fishing spot. Check us out at @thereal_c_world on Instagram and Facebook! Capt. Daniel | Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

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ugust is the time of year when red fishing really excels, and large schools can be targeted. Concentrate your efforts on the outer mangrove keys, spoil islands, and fish around the major moon phases. The last couple hours of the incoming tide are hard to beat, and remember a stealthy approach helps with success. Push pole or troll motor up to a likely spot, anchor down, and position yourself up-tide. Locate points with a hard lime stone bottom and plenty of mullet activity. Free line a live pinfish, or for a sure hook up, try a fresh piece of cut mullet or my favorite, cut lizard fish (yes, try it, it works great). For those who prefer artificials, a ¼ oz. gold spoon or a DOA C.A.L. jerkbait in the glow, or new penny color, rigged weedless is ideal for casting along the rocky structure.

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Gather the family, friends and get ready to cool off from the summer heat. Scallop season is still going strong and so far, the season is really good. Our vast area of crystal clear grass flats between the two rivers, is a haven for these tasty bivalves. Excellent starting locations are generally Gomez rocks off Crystal River and the flats just west of St. Martins Keys off Homosassa. Simple snorkeling gear, dive flag and a saltwater fishing license (for those 16 and older) is all that’s needed to harvest them. Check the current regulations and bag limits to ensure a fun day on the water. For plenty of action and mixed bag catches, the deep grass patches west of

the “Foul Area” in 8 to 12 feet of water, are always a summer time hot spot. To locate these deeper grass beds, let the sun get up a little, and run with the sun at your back. Look for the dark and light spots on the bottom. This “spotty” bottom (which is approximately 5 to 10 miles offshore) is the most productive area to target trout during the hot summer months. Flounder, black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, cobia and the list goes on… are all possibilities on any given day. Most of the steady gag grouper action has been starting in 42 feet on out. Typically, the grouper migrate a ways offshore during the hot summer and getting offshore a bit, may be necessary to find steady keeper sized gags. However, it’s always worth a quick stop on the shallower spots to see what’s down there, and a live frisky pin fish will usually let you know in a hurry if there’s a resident grouper nearby. The mangrove snapper will be holding on the same structures as the grouper, so have some lighter tackle on board to out-smart the snapper. Chumming brings the “mangos” off the structure and a free lined live shrimp on a 1/8th oz Hank Brown jig head will help add a couple extra groceries to the cooler. Another great idea is to have a stand-by rod, rigged with a jig or live pin fish, for a summer cobia that may come cruising by. As always, feel fee to contact me with any other questions about the area. Good fishing! Capt. Dan Clymer | 352.418.2160 www.crystalriver-fishing.com

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INGLIS/YANKEETOWN

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he water temperature is high, and the outside temps are even higher! This month, if you are an artificial guy like myself, you better be an early riser. Once the water temps get up in the middle of the day, you are going to need to switchoff to live or cut bait, or find the nearest tiki bar and have lunch. The artificial bite will pick back up in the afternoon, just before dark, but early morning is going to be your best bet.

The redfish around the spoil islands, just south of the barge canal, have been really good. I have been relying heavily on a Zman scented streakz. This is a soft plastic twitch bait. I will use a fast-paced retrieve, with short pauses in it. The bite has usually come on the pause. As I mentioned before, after about 11:00 in the morning, you need to start looking for a piece of cut mullet or ladyfish.

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These fish are going to be lethargic and all they are really going to eat an easy meal. Look for the snook in the deeper cuts around the same spoil islands. I have been able to get some great action with the top-water bite here lately. The mirrolure top dog jr. has been my go-to bait in this department. A white aquadream spoon will also produce good numbers. Offshore the grouper and snapper have been hanging out in the 45 to 55 foot range. I would chum heavy to produce better snapper numbers. The grouper are being caught on cut sardines but the bigger fish have come on live pinfish. Until next month, have fun be safe and take your kids fishing. Capt. Craig Spitznogle Florida Flats Charter Company www.floridaflatscharterco.com (352)445-4978

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STEINHATCHEE

KEATON BEACH

The Heat is On

Edyie and Gene Hollender, Patti Wilders, Dale Burd, Emily Boles and Preston, with Capt. Brian and Charlie.

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Joe Claborn Jr., with a nice trout taken late June 2017

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rout fishing has been GREAT, right through from June on into July. (today is July 13) We have continued to catch limits of trout and reds, despite the heat. Our Gulf water temps have been as high as 90 degrees, but the trout don't seem to care. Catch a breeze, and they keep biting! We have had our one-fish-over20-inches per angler as well, on almost every trip, including a 28inch trout taken on June 22 by Dawn Taylor of Perry. Dawn's fish weighed in at 6.1 pounds was in 3.5 feet of 89-degree water! Oh, and bit two hours after the flop.

Zach Bruchey, of Moultrie, Ga with a great trout. We are still catching our trout and reds on live pinfish, rigged up on a 34-inch leader of 30 lb. test TrikFish clear monofilament. (I have yet to find it necessary to use fluorocarbon as so many think is required?) I guess I just realized how many hundred, thousands of fish I had caught without using it before we had even heard of fluorocarbon. Don't misunderstand; I think it is great for snapper fishing, just not needed over our grass flats for trout and reds. 3.5 to 4.5 feet of water has

Joe Claborn Sr., with a 40inch cobia take on 10 lb. test TrikFish Game Green mono. produced limits, the last four trips out, just be sure you have sufficient current from your incoming tides to give the trout the oxygen needed to feed in these HOT conditions. Keep the pinfish fresh, a key to success which I cannot stress enough. August will hold more of the same, with trout already in their summer matinee seats, ready for the show. Reds have been scattered, but most have come from shallow water near the creek mouths, with a majority eating live pinfish, rigged under Back Bays etc. We have had a few nice reds eat the New Flats Intruder HEX II weedless spoons, in Copper and Cajun Copperas well. We caught two keeper cobias since last month's article and have seen some monster tarpon, but have not been hooked up on a "poon"— yet. We'll keep you posted. Meanwhile .....Let's Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 28 years! www.onemorecast.net 850.838.7541

he word August, must originate from some ancient language, meaning ‘time when skin leaks water’. It is one of the few times, I wish I had an inside job in a pleasant, thermally controlled environment full time on demand, looking out a window at those outside and think, “Dude, you’ve got to be hot”. Actually, I’d rather be fishing in the heat, than boxed in an air-conditioned office building, amongst the marching ants. Normally, I would write about fishing, but a palm-sized bivalve, called a scallop, usurps this month’s fishing. By the sheer number of people visiting Steinhatchee, and the flotilla of boats donning dive flags on the grass flats, the scallop is the number one August interest, and I can understand the interest. August is the scorcher month of the year, and even though the water temperature can reach into the 90's, flopping in with a fun purpose, surely beats the heat of staying above the waterline. Scalloping is an undersea Easter egg hunt in an enchanting environment. If finding a limit of scallops is your sole focus, then you need to open up your eyes and your mind. You’re snorkeling close-up to a living masterpiece; enjoy the view, take time to notice the subtle associations between the various flora and fauna. In doing so, you’ll not only better enjoy the experience as a

whole, but figure out that scallops a r e n ’ t scattered randomly over the grass flats, but are best collected in certain habitats. It is a game of Clue, that leads you to become a more successful scallop c o l l e c t o r . Boyette brothers, Always be Ryan and Dylan with c a u t i o u s , their red snappers. courteous and put safety first, and put up the dive flag high. Generally fishing, the best bite is early, or late in the day, regardless of what you’re fishing for. Mid-day can be the toughest time to fish, especially when conditions are slick calm. I believe slick calm conditions make the fish go to ‘sleep’. A chop on the water is a good thing, regardless if you’re fishing inshore or offshore. I’ve found while offshore fishing, when the water is glass, it is best to target competitive fish such as Florida snapper (grunts) and amberjack (out of season, but still fun to catch). Besides, if there is action, it seems anglers deal better with the heat. During calm periods, just drift-fish and don’t sweat the anchor. When you get hot, take a slow, cool breeze ride and bust out the water guns. All fish still eat in the heat. You just have to adapt.

"Heres to the Mears" Tiffany and Brett, share their Big Fish Honeymoon Adventure with Karlene, Stephen, Carl and Gina (not pictured).

Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

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he Ocala National Forest is filled with great places to fish. Even with so many options, Moss Bluff stands out as one the best spots the forest has to offer. Boaters can explore the Ocklawaha River from this launch point, while shoreside anglers have room to spread out around the lock and dam area. Quality fish are caught from shore regularly. Plus, bathrooms and picnic tables make it a great spot for families. It has something for everyone! The Ocklawaha is one of the only three rivers that flow from south to north. It's also the longest tributary of the entire St. Johns River Basin. Seemingly endless bends, filled with wildlife around every curve, make for an exciting boat ride. The word, Ocklawaha, actually translates into "crooked great water". If you head south from Moss Bluff, you will reach Lake Griffin (15 miles upriver) which is part of the Harris chain of lakes in Lake County. On the north side of the dam, the river winds its way through the National Forest until it reaches the St. Johns. The entire Ocklawaha River is 130 miles long and showcases Florida's natural beauty. If you've been to Moss Bluff lately, I'm sure you've noticed that the dam has stopped flowing, and there's some major construction taking place. Dams act like "fish magnets”, so obviously, people were concerned. Most of the local fishermen I spoke with, thought it was being removed! Thankfully, though, that's NOT the case. St. John's River Water Management is giving Moss Bluff Dam some much needed repairs, 1.7 million dollars worth! Steel walls were constructed on either side of the dam, and the water between, was drained out. Once the

area was dry, the two massive flow gates were then removed and inspected. Welders began to repair the damaged gates, while the foundation of the dam received a power wash and fresh coat of concrete. Bearings, cables, and other moving parts were put through inspection as well. "This project is a huge, but thankfully, it's going smoothly, so far," said Robin Harrell. "Structurally, the dam is in great shape for its age. We are on schedule to be flowing again by the end of August." Aside from the fishing aspect, dams are extremely important for regulating water levels. That way we can protect residential properties, as well as irrigate farm lands. Much appreciation goes to everyone involved, for their hard work and dedication. Moss Bluff is truly a special place. It's good to know we are working to keep it that way, for generations to come. John Freeze

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CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

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ell forest fishers, the summer's going great so far; plenty of rain and plenty of nice fish caught. The general rule of thumb is to plan your day trips for cloudy skies, and night trips for clear skies. The fishing can be tough on sunny days, but there's always a bite at sunrise and sunset. Smaller lakes are filling back up considerably, so bass are spreading out and exploring the new shoreline. Use finesse worms and topwater frogs to search the shallow grass and creeks. To find the BIGGINS,

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ver the 4th of July week end, Cary had the pleasure of a Suwannee River Ride-Along, with Officer Travis Cooper and Investigator Terrynce Bing, of FWC. Fortunately, his ride was uneventful. He observed several safety inspections and they slowly cruised the crowded sand bar, a location of occasional negative activity. Officer Cooper would like to remind you to be sure to have all your required safety equipment in good working order, and to wear a personal flotation device. Also, the law states that children under the age of six MUST wear a well-fitting life vest when on a vessel less than 26 feet in length. He also wants to stress the importance of a Designated Driver. We thank you Officer Cooper, and Investigator Bing, for all you do to try to keep us safe, as we enjoy our Florida Waterways.

look for deeper holes beside the shallow grassy areas, and fish that ledge. Trolling shiners along underwater ledges, is a popular summer technique that produces the majority of our trophy catches. Catfish fishing, is still going strong. The entire Ocklawaha River is producing good catches right now. Most shoreside anglers are favoring Rodman Dam, and for good reason. There's room to spread out, bathrooms close by, and anglers are catching big fish all around you. Moss Bluff Dam isn't scheduled to flow again until the end of this month, but there are still some fish to be caught on the south side of the dam. If you're a boater, then

you have endless spots to choose from on the Ocklawaha. Focus on river bends and creek entrances, to increase your odds. Chicken livers seem to be the favorite bait, but a lot of the biggest cats I've seen lately were caught on a live shiner. Cutbait also works in a pinch. Bluegill fishing was on fire last month! Panfish start their spawn around May or June in warm water lakes. but in the cooler rivers, they can spawn as late as September. If you find one of these spawning areas, you can catch fat "gills" until your arm falls off. Look for hard bottom (2 to 6 feet deep) with a mix of grass and lily pads. Red worms are the bait of choice, but bluegill are voracious feeders and will eat just about anything. Finally, the shrimp run on the St. John's River gets underway this month and will go on through September. You're allowed to harvest 5 gallons per vessel, no matter how many people are onboard. A saltwater fishing license is necessary. Go online for additional rules and regulations. Also, call local bait shops to find out where the biggest concentrations are, as they make their journey south to our neck of the woods. John Freeze | 352-216-5798 Swampsurf@embarqmail.com

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t its July meeting in Orlando, FWC Photo the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several management changes for gray triggerfish caught in Gulf of Mexico state waters, including a limited fall season and several conservation measures. Due to the 2016 federal quota being exceeded, the Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season was closed in state and federal waters for all of 2017. After considering public testimony at the July 2017 meeting, the Commission directed staff to issue an executive order to reopen the fishery for a limited season this fall. Staff will issue another press release once the season has been determined. The season will also be posted online and will be found at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.” Approved federal consistency changes include (to go into effect only after federal regulations go into effect, likely sometime in 2018): • Decreasing the recreational daily bag limit from two to one fish per person. • Increasing the recreational size limit from 14 to 15 inches fork length. • Creating a January through February annual recreational closure in addition to the current June through July annual spawning closure. These federal consistency measures should help maintain fishing opportunities for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters for 2018 and the future. For more information on these changes or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

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Lobster Hunting:

5 Tips for Success

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Photo by Melissa Johnson

ome Aug. 6, SCUBA divers, snorkelers and free divers will hit the water with bug-grabbing tools in hand for the start of the 2017 lobster season! Lobstering offers water-lovers the chance to take home a tasty meal, all while having fun in the south Florida sunshine. This year, keep these tips and tricks in mind as you search for these succulent crustaceans on our local reefs. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a new diver about to experience lobster season for the first time, following these key points will help ensure that you keep the reef healthy and undamaged so it remains a great habitat for future generations of lobster. 1) Choose the right tools: Every diver has their own unique lobster hunting setup, from nets and “tickle sticks” to snares. Since personal preference varies, it’s best to stop by your local dive shop— like Pura Vida Divers, on Singer Island, Palm Beach County, Fla., and talk to the staff about the benefits of each method. Remember,

every diver looking for lobster should also carry a gauge, and we recommend bringing along a sturdy mesh bag with a one-way opening to hold your catch. 2) Know the laws: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) enforces a few guidelines that help protect spiny lobster populations. Every SCUBA diver hunting for lobster must hold a valid saltwater fishing license, with a crawfish permit. You can purchase these licenses by visiting the FWC’s website at www.myfwc.com. 3) Measure your catch: To properly measure whether or not a lobster is within catch limits, place the inside edge of your gauge firmly between its eyes. Ensure that the lobster’s carapace (the top part of its shell) extends past the 3-inch mark of the gauge. If you are unsure how to measure a lobster, stop by the local dive shop for a lesson. 4) Perfect your skills: Lobster season offers divers a great reason to brush up on their underwater skills. Maintaining good buoyancy, watching for potentially harmful animals like scorpion fish, and knowing how to use your equipment to best snare a lobster will help keep you safe and ensure our reefs stay healthy and thriving. Need to brush up on your dive or buoyancy skills before hitting the water? Set up a refresher or a specialty class with your local dive shop. 5) Stay within catch limits: Perhaps the most important thing to remember during lobster season is that hunting responsibly will allow us to continue enjoying the fun of the catch for generations to come. Throughout most of south Florida, recreational divers are limited to a catch of six lobster per person per day. Be sure to check local guidelines, as limits may vary by county. Lobster season runs in Florida from Aug. 6 through March 31. Remember that Pura Vida Divers is dedicated to helping you have fun, stay safe, and take home an awesome catch! Pura Vida Divers is located at 2513 Beach Court, Singer Island, FL 33404. Visit their website www.PuraVidaDivers.com or call 561840-8750.

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Goliath Grouper Workshops To Discuss Possible Limited Harvest FWC Photo

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he Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has scheduled a series of workshops to gather public input on goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters. Share input and learn about the current status of goliath grouper by attending one of these workshops. Workshops will be from 5 to 8 p.m. local time: • July 31: Lake Worth, Lantana Road Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road. • Aug. 1: Key West, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd. • Aug. 2: Marathon, Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys, 1996 Overseas Highway. • Aug. 3: Key Largo, Murray Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Highway. • Aug. 8: Crystal River, Plantation on Crystal River, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail. • Aug. 9: Carrabelle, Franklin County Senior Citizens Center, 201 NW Ave. F. • Aug 16: Pensacola, Sanders Beach – Corinne Jones Resource Center, 913 S. I St. • Aug. 17: Panama City, Bland Conference Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive. • Oct. 9: Jacksonville, Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Blvd. • Oct. 10: Titusville, American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive. • Oct. 11: Stuart, Flagler Place, 201 SW Flagler Ave. • Oct. 12: Davie, Old Davie School Historical Museum, 6650 Griffin Road. • Oct. 16: Pinellas Park, Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, 9501 U.S. Highway 19 N. • Oct. 17: Port Charlotte, The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron St. • Oct. 18: Naples, Collier County Public Library - South Regional, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway. If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments. Staff is working on a virtual workshop that should be available in the near future. Additional details and updates to these meetings will be posted at MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops.”)

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In praise of the lowly mullet

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any Florida fishermen don’t think much of the mullet. For example, I know that once a year many Floridians stand at the state line and toss dead mullet into Alabama in the annual Mullet Toss hosted by Flora-Bama Beach Bar in Pensacola. But have you ever heard a fisherman say, “I’m going to go out and catch some mullet today?” And yet, mullet have been an important source of food in many countries since Roman times. There are many different kinds of the fish, maybe as many as 78 different species. They can put on quite a show when schools of them can be seen jumping out of the water either to escape predators down below or maybe to ingest oxygen-rich air. Smaller species of the fish, so called “finger mullets,” have been a favorite kind of bait. In some parts of the world, people eat mullet, but many in this country consider them too “muddy tasting” or “bottom feeders,” meaning that the fish will eat lots of junk found at the bottom of the waterway. However, even picky eaters may like them as a dip or smoked, a delicacy one can find near Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, including at temporary stands along the road, and also in other Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 1:14 PM fishing towns.

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Among the fish that like to take mullet baits are bluefish, jacks, mackerels and striped bass. In fact, many if not most predatory fish like such baits. And of Luke,” in which one of the characters used course, you may have seen brown pelicans “mullet head” for someone of diminished diving into schools of mullet right below smarts. I know that “Mullet Wrapper” is the the surface for a quick bite. Commercial fishermen go after mullet, not only for name of a newspaper in our Panhandle and some restaurants, but especially for in the Everglades. The latter newspaper ordinary fishermen wanting a break from shows an image of the paper wrapped frozen shrimp or artificial lures for their around a mullet, recalling the disparaging bait. Many of those fishing from our piers idea that some newspapers are only good or even on boats have come to prefer for wrapping up fish. But let’s give the mullet bait. I think my father used to use mullet its due as a nice-tasting delicacy mullet when he fished off the beach on and a very effective bait. New Jersey’s Long Beach Island. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning I’m still not sure why we use “mullet” to describe a guy’s hairstyle that is short at author of “South Florida Waterways” the front and sides, but long at the back. (2013 - available at amazon.com for $7), It may go back to the Beastie Boys, a hip- can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail. hop group that used “mullet” and “mullet com. head” in their 1994 song “Mullet Head.” For more on Kevin McCarthy, go to It also may go back to a Florida novel/ Page 1 movie, “Cool Hand

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Give me that stretch! Why Monofilament Line Is Still King By Randy Cnota

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n the world of fishing line, the choices can be overwhelming. High-end braid, fluorocarbon and other specialty hybrid lines can confuse people and make choosing the right line difficult. There’s no question that braid and fluorocarbon lines have an important place in most anglers’ arsenals and are specifically required for certain applications. But good old-fashioned monofilament will always be just as important to putting fish in the boat. While braid and fluorocarbon manufacturers tout the “little-to-no-stretch” characteristics of their products (as well they should), we shouldn’t overlook the importance of “stretch” and other characteristics that mono possesses. I recently spoke with Rick Snellgrove, owner of Howell Tackle in Panama City, Fla., about the role that mono continues to play in the fishing world. He helped me better understand its importance by pointing out some obvious facts about stretch, shock strength, buoyancy and cost, just to name a few. He offered many reasons why mono is still so important. When your line has to withstand the sudden impact of a bone-jarring strike or a fish thrashing next to the boat, mono is, without question, your best option because of the superior shock strength. As you fight a fish, the stretch characteristics reduce the possibility of the hook coming dislodged. A low-stretch line can cause the hook penetration point to widen or tear away. Mono’s stretch, or forgiveness, is a must if your reel has a sticky drag. Mono’s buoyancy makes it a no-brainer when throwing topwater and near-surface lures in most conditions. Sinking lines like fluorocarbon will kill the action of a surface plug. If you’ve ever had a big fish smash a chugging surface bait close to the boat, you might better appreciate all mono has to offer. The cost-factor is also a big deal when you have to change line on your reels. If you’re spooling large reels or smaller reels more frequently, it’s a huge cost difference. The thin diameter of braid means it requires more to fill a spool, and it’s considerably more expensive per yard. Here comes mono into play again; build a mono foundation under your braid to fill a portion of the spool on big reels. Line of any kind has to be changed regularly, and mono will save you big bucks! Rick at Howell Tackle is an authority on all things fishing and offers a huge variety of mono brands including Ande, Suffix, Hi Seas and Berkley. If you’re in the Panama City area, bring your reels to Howell Tackle (3100 West Hwy 98 Panama City, FL; (850) 785-8548) and let them spool you up.

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Rockin’ Bass In The Adirondacks By Rich Ortiz

Rich Ortiz, the “Fishin’ Musician,” shows off a nice Adirondacks largemouth. Check out Rich’s music and outdoor adventures at richortiz.com. Photo by Louis Torres Photography.

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y the time I was 12 years old, I knew and fished at least two dozen bass waters, most of them from a canoe with my Pop. Usually there were no boat ramps, no houses and seldom another fisherman. That’s the beauty of the Adirondack region of Upstate New York. There’s tons of water and lots of fish. Often when the Adirondacks (ADKs) are mentioned in fishing circles, pristine secluded trout rivers or brook trout ponds come to mind. Our secret is that the ADKs have countless bass fishing options, as well, with any kind of water you could think of. Three renowned waters within my 30-minute fishing radius are perfect examples of the great bass fishing in our area. Lake George, Lake Champlain and Saratoga Lake provide varied and endless opportunities for both largemouth and smallmouth action, with a spectrum of habitats that could keep any bass enthusiast occupied for a lifetime. Additionally, if it’s a secluded canoe/kayak adventure you’re after, I dare say the ADKs have more backwoods bass waters on public land than any state I can think of. These woods are the same natural forests they were in 1885, when they were deemed untouchable thanks to Teddy Roosevelt. Imagine fishing secluded, crystal-clear waters with green mountains as a backdrop, moderate temperatures and a relaxing breeze. Since the founding of our country, these waters have provided sanctuary from the heat and congestion of the growing East Coast industrial cities. Summer retreats to the ADKs to fish and hunt were the norm, and coupling

these outdoor activities with attractions like Saratoga horse racing or a Lake George steamboat ride created traditions of the American summer vacation. Today, if you are serious about bass fishing, yet want to include family on the vacation, the Saratoga/Lake George area is the spot. I feel qualified to endorse the attractions, since when I am not fishing or hunting, I’m performing music at many of the area’s top resorts and restaurants. Though my profession as a traveling musician has allowed me to fish all over North America, my heart is still at home fishing the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. Let’s start with Lake George, which is a large deep-water lake that is the ultimate finesse bass water. This beautiful 32-mile-long glacially carved lake has rock shorelines and is speckled with islands that provide endless bass structure. Lake George has AAA reservoir water quality and is crystal clear. Light 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon line is a must while drop-shotting 30- to 50-foot rocky bottoms for big numbers of smallmouth and some nice 4-pound-plus fish. When drop-shotting I prefer natural presentation baits like the Berkley’s Gulp! Nemesis in the Smelt color. The lake temperature remains cool all year, and shaky-head worm presentations or small bass jigs will score a mix of largemouth and smallmouth in ultra-clear 20- to 40-foot depths. This is a great training ground for teaching your family or friends to fish. Shore fishing is a bonus, and many others and I make trophy catches all year from shore. I rely on my Costa sunglasses on this lake as much as my Lowrance Sonar. It’s so clear that I can watch strikes in 20 feet of water. I keep three pairs of Costas on board. I prefer yellow lenses for sunrise, low light and cloudy days. These lenses work wonders sighting fish and contrasting bottom structure. I use blue mirror on bright days and amber green mirror lenses for most other situations on the lake. Just to the north of Lake George, Lake Champlain offers everything a fisherman can imagine. Many experts rank Champlain among the top fisheries in the country for largemouth and smallmouth bass. You can fish just about any presentation in this vast lake, which combines natural and man-made structure like sunken ships, submerged train tracks and dock cribbings. My fishing concentrates on the southern end of the lake, where the water is usually very stained. Vast water chestnut beds yield many 5-pound-plus largemouth bass. Heavy abrasion-resistant line is a must; I prefer fluorocarbon or braid, depending on presentation. I normally punch the weeds with 1- or 2-ounce tungsten and big 10-inch Power Bait or Yum worms. Dark colors work best. Topwater and flipping are also go-to tactics, with countless backwaters providing breathtaking views and heart-pounding hook sets. To the south, Saratoga Lake is much smaller than George or Champlain. It is slightly stained and can be highly pressured but still provides large numbers of largemouth in the 3- to 5-pound range. Dense concentrations of cabbage and mixed milfoil create great opportunities for tossing plastics and jigs on the edges of long weed lines. Saratoga Lake’s close proximity to the City of Saratoga Springs makes it an ideal morning or evening getaway for those visiting during track season, which lasts through Labor Day. While the tourist season winds down, the fish really turn on, which make for some magical days in fall. The big lakes are great, but to me the gems of this area are the smaller lakes and ponds I learned to fish on. The unique chance to toss a lure to unpressured fish on public waters is a reality. The Adirondack Park features countless opportunities perfect for canoe and kayak fishing. With today’s lightweight watercraft, you can be alone with 2- to 5-pound bass after just a half-mile hike to numerous ponds and lakes. Many canoe and kayak waters are also roadside or within a state park. New York does a wonderful job providing trailhead access and parking areas for anglers with car-top boats. Research access at www.dec.ny.gov. The amount of good bass water in the Saratoga/Lake George is staggering. With its proximity to so many metropolitan centers, a short drive up I-87 can have you setting hooks on some beastly bass in no time.

For an overview map of the area, go to

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FRESHWATER Mille Lacs Ranked No. 1 Bass Lake By B.A.S.S. Photo by Doug Kerr

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innesota’s Mille Lacs Lake has long been known for exceptional walleye fishing and ice fishing, but the smallmouth bass fishing on this more than 130,000-acre lake north of Minneapolis is what catapulted it to the top of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings. According to B.A.S.S. research, 20-pound five-fish limits of smallmouth bass are a regular occurrence, 30-pound sacks show up in some events, and two 36-pound limits were weighed in during events last fall. Those numbers are almost unbelievable on a smallmouth lake, considering a 36-pound limit would average out to more than 7 pounds per bass. Here’s the rundown of Bassmaster’s top-12 bass lakes in the nation: 1. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota 2. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas 3. Clear Lake, California 4. Shearon Harris Lake, North Carolina 5. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California 6. Lake Berryessa, California 7. Lake Erie, New York 8. Santee Cooper Lakes, South Carolina 9. Lake St. Clair, Michigan 10. Falcon Lake, Texas 11. Thousand Islands area St. Lawrence River, New York 12. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee

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Focus On Redfish In August By Tobin Strickland

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big question on all the Internet message boards lately is, “Where are the midrange trout in the heat of summer?” One of the indicators of either fishing too shallow or fishing in the wrong part of the bay for the season is catching mostly undersized trout. So, if you’re catching nothing but “dink” trout in August, fish deep structure with current. I don’t like catching dinks, so I’ll focus on upper-slot redfish and sight casting to the big shallow trout I see while I’m fishing for reds. The summer heat finally forces redfish to go in search of food in the marsh and grass flats. Shrimp are now mostly gone, except large white shrimp, so while there are main-bay, open-water redfish chasing those fish-big shrimp, some reds will now begin to work over juvenile white shrimp and shad in the marsh and grass flats. They’ll also be eating mullet and crabs when the opportunity presents itself. Redfish are simple. They use current to feed, and the faster you learn about where the niche is, the more consistent you’ll be catching redfish in shallow waters. Follow a current from a marsh cut to the bank of a marsh pond it’s flowing too, and you’ll find redfish. Also look for eddies behind structure and where the current edge crosses structure, and that’s good as well. Big trout are similar in the summer in shallow areas. They are there for the big mullet and to eat little trout but are in small niche areas of their own. Tobin created the TroutSupport.com weedless, snagless, long casting, walk the dog soft plastic for fishing shallow grass, shallow oysters, rocks, and mangrove where reds and snook live. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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MAKO SHARK ON THE FLY

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f you’re looking for some spectacular fly fishing for toothy critters, mako sharks are tough to beat as a game fish. They can be found pretty much worldwide, but right now is the time of year to visit southern California, where shortfin mako sharks show up off the coast every year within easy range for fly rodders with a small skiff. The mako shark is one of saltwater fly fishing’s outstanding but unappreciated game fish. Found on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, a smaller mako in the 20- to 30-pound range can be the perfect-sized fish for the beginning saltwater fly fisherman. Of course, fishing for sharks is a tad different than fishing for bluegills in your Uncle Ned’s farm pond, and the equipment also differs. First, you’ll need a boat, preferably a boat over 18-feet that can handle fairly choppy seas. Most center-consoles will do; however, a skiff with a beam of 8 feet or wider and a not-too-deep V will settle in the water better and will reduce pitch and roll to a minimum, offering a much more stable casting platform. A good chum line is the most effective way of attracting makos to within casting distance of your boat. Chumming attracts the larger makos and will place you in the position of being able to sight-cast to them. Into a chum bag, place the belly sections or fresh carcasses of tuna, bluefish or bonito, then place the bag into a milk crate or 5-gallon bucket and lower this mess over the side. Then sit back and listen for the musical score from the movie “Jaws” to begin. You won’t have long to wait once that chum slick begins to spread. Ideally, you should use fresh carcasses, but store-bought chum will suffice. One bit of important advice: Less is more when chumming; you don’t need much; no matter how small the slick, a shark can smell it from

miles away. Now that you have the boat and chum, the next thing to do is find a mako. On the West Coast, we are fortunate to have the continental shelf only a few miles offshore. On the east coast, you’ll have to venture a bit farther offshore. Keep your eyes peeled for working birds and surface-busting bait; constantly check the water temperature looking for readings between 66 and 70 degrees. But, be patient when chumming. I will wait at least an hour or an hour and a half before moving to another spot, but there have been occasions when the sharks made their appearance within a few minutes of 1 ½ hours. Once in the slick, makos will stick around for most of the fishing day. Drifting allows you to cover more water and in the process, attract more makos to your boat. By choosing the right season, having the right chum and chumming the right areas, you can count on hooking and releasing a good number of makos during the course of a single day on the water.

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SCALLOP SEASON IS OPEN! DAVID MANEY, FOWLER’S SUNGLASSES

Value Versus Ego In Sunglasses

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t Fowler’s, we know sunglasses. We sold more than 25,000 pairs last year, and we represent more than 30 companies, all clamoring for attention in the marketplace. This gives me intimate knowledge of most of what’s offered, and I have some insight to share on what makes a pair of sunglasses the right pair for you. There are two types of

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Realize that frames represent very little in the cost of production for a pair of sunglasses. What you are paying for--or should be paying for-in an expensive pair of glasses is lens technology. A better set of lenses is going to cost more and last longer. Those inexpensive glasses with sprayon lens protection will serve you almost as well as the expensive ones off the shelf, but they might

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A 71-Room Lodge with Meeting Rooms • Group Rates Available Located 30 miles south of Tallahassee • Just minutes to the Gulf of Mexico Restaurant & Bar for Private Events • Banquet and Meeting Rooms for Groups Boat Parking Available • Centrally located for several Nature Tours

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sunglasses shoppers. One views sunglasses as fashion accessories, to be matched to an outfit or activity. This is all well and good. Good-looking glasses do help you look cool. The second type of shopper, which is a group I have found many anglers fall into, is more interested in sunglasses as an essential tool. All-day comfort and performance are considerations that come before style or brand for people in this second group. If performance is more important to you than ego, do not lock yourself into one particular brand of glasses. They can range from $5 to $500, and all manufacturers promote their own bells and whistles. Sometimes you get what you pay for, other times you are paying for a brand logo on the side of the frame.

only maintain that performance for a year. The single most important consideration with frames is they are essential to fit and the resulting comfort for the wearer. This is why you should not be locked into a certain brand. Everyone’s face is different, and so are everyone’s sunglasses needs. Do not be a branded person, choose a pair of sunglasses that fits your face and your needs.

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David Maney is an expert in the general field of Sunglasses. He has appeared in Southern Living Magazine, USA Today and US. World Report. Fowler’s is a longtime leader in the sunglasses industry. For more information on Fowler’s and David Maney, visit www.fowlerssunglasses.com or call 888-340-9021.

6 Reasons Why Fowler’s Sells More Sunglasses than Anyone Else in the U.S. Over 250,000 Pairs Sold #1. Price #2. Selection #3. Price #4. Selection #5. Price #6. Selection

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1,000-Pound Tournament Hammerhead Shatters Texas Record Photo courtesy of Texas City La Marque Jaycees/Facebook nglers hauled some big sharks out of the Gulf of Mexico during this year’s Texas City Jaycees Tackle Time Fishing Tournament. Chief among those sharks was a 1,033-pound great hammerhead that shattered a 37-year-old Texas state record. Tim McClellan obviously took first place for the giant shark he entered in the annual fundraising tournament for the Texas City La Marque Jaycees. The tournament awards the top three fish in multiple inshore, offshore and youth divisions. This year, it ran June 30 – July 9, and 964-pound and 817-pound tiger sharks rounded out the top three in the shark division. McClellan’s fish beat out the 871-pound Texas state record great hammerhead, which was caught by Mark Johnson in July of 1980. The current IGFA world record great hammerhead weighed 1,280 pounds. It was caught from the other side of the Gulf by Bucky Dennis fishing out of Boca Grande, Fla. in May 2006. Texas City is on Galveston Bay, just southeast of Houston, and offers easy access to the open Gulf of Mexico through the pass between Galveston and Goat islands.

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