Coastal Angler Magazine | June 2022 | North Central Florida/Nature Coast Edition

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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SHORT LINES

By Capt. Quinlyn Haddon

LEAD TO

MORE

MAHI T

he transition into the summer months brings calmer days more viable for offshore fishing. This is the season when waterways become flooded with snowbirds and weekend warriors, although current fuel prices may keep the pressure off those hot offshore numbers. With mahi season in full swing in the Atlantic, scouting the ocean for signs of life offshore is easily most exciting this time of year. Trolling for mahi near weedlines, diving birds and floating debris is extremely productive. These fish will eat just about anything they see, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get a hookup on a banana peel. A trolling spread for mahi doesn’t have to be elaborate. Four lines or less will get the job done. Their penchant for jumping and swimming zigzags on the surface makes tangles in the spread an unfortunate reality. Lines can be kept short, as mahi will eat near a moving boat. While fishing in heavier weeds, shorter lines allow lures to skip more to kick off grass. Lures that don’t like to rid themselves of grass can alternatively be more easily observed and manually cleared with this method. Keeping the lines short also increases the chances of a hooked fish bringing the school of mahi-mahi with them to the boat. The farther back the lines are when a mahi is hooked, the more

6 NATIONAL

JUNE 2022

time the rest of the school has to lose interest in following their buddy. Once a hooked mahi is boatside, leave them in the water as a swimming, codependent chumbag. The rest of the school often follows them, giving you a chance to hook up to more. Have something on your boat to cast out in this situation. Nearly anything will do when the school is in a frenzy. Jigs, lures, cut bait, live bait, possibly banana peels. Sometimes mahi will turn their nose up at certain baits, but the key can be entirely within the presentation. They usually prefer a bait that is teasing them and just almost out of reach. Alternate between letting the bait fall and twitching it away from them. At times, you might get ready to leave a closed-mouth school only to finally have your bait crushed as you quickly reel in the pitch bait. If this is the case, they might just be in a mood to chase something moving more quickly, and getting back on the troll may be a better idea. Diving frigates and floating debris attract more than just mahi-mahi, and there are epic sightings to be had in the open water, everywhere in between.

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LESS IS MORE WHEN RIGGING THE BOAT

Tim Barefoot

I

n a time when we are in full-throated offshore (and inshore) fishing, I’d like to address the meaning of the title of this article. We all want to put gadgets on the boat to make it more efficient and comfortable. What I’m getting ready to say may offend some folks, but the ones who actually fish for results—rather than to look good or appease mom and the kids—will get it. Less is more means the more open deck space I have, the better the dance floor is when the action starts. Period. I want a clean deck, free of “toe breakers” and stumbling blocks commonly referred to as seats and coolers I have to squeeze by. When there’s a fish ripping off drag and changing directions, I want open lanes to move up to the front of the boat or around back. You see, I’ve reached a point in life that I’m going to catch the fish I want to catch, the way I want to catch them. I troll some, but it’s early in the day to locate stacks of bait and fish. When the sun comes up to the 10 or 11 o’clock position, I start posting up with the Rhodan or drifting with a kite or float baits out. I keep a bait near the bottom and baits in

the middle water column if they are marking on the recorder or when we are getting bites on the deeper baits. What we do mid-morning is a result of how hard the current is running, the wind direction and speed or a combination of these things. If I could recommend one thing to make your boat rigging most complete, it would be a Rhodan or some other trolling motor that will keep you in place, or slow your drift with the kite directly out behind you, like you are trolling with the kite out. This will allow you to fish the lower levels of the water column for the wahoo bite in the middle of the day with lighter tackle and lighter weight jigs, and also drop a bait in front of Mr. Grouper while on the drift. Keep an eye on the recorder as you are making these long drifts, and mark the areas of bait, fish and bites so you can run back up and make the same drift again. I said all that to say this: Who says you have to use a ballyhoo trolled at 6 or 8 knots to catch fish? Slow it down to a drift or post up on a mark and catch the pelagic and bottom fish while flying the kite or with float baits. When you’ve got all that going on, excess comforts or gadgetry sometimes impede your fishing rather than making it easier. Stay tuned to upcoming videos illustrating this style fishing, but remember to keep the deck clean. Less is more. See more from Tim Barefoot at barefootcatsandtackle.com.

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hen your famous father appoints you Caesar at age 7, you’re stepping into some very big sandals. But when that father is Emperor Constantine the Great, those sandals can be epic! Constantius II, became Caesar at 7, and a Roman Emperor at age 20. Today, he is remembered for helping continue his father’s work of bringing Christianity to the Roman Empire, as well as for his valiant leadership in battle. But for many collectors, his strongest legacy is having created one of the most fascinating and unique bronze coins in the history of the Roman Empire: the “Gladiator’s Paycheck”.

the Gladiators Paycheck

Roman bronze coins were the “silver dollars” of their day. They were the coins used for daily purchases, as well as for the payment of wages. Elite Roman Gladiators—paid to do battle before cheering crowds in the Colosseum—often received their monthly ‘paycheck’ in the form of Roman bronze coins. But this particular Roman bronze has a gladiator pedigree like no other! Minted between 348 to 361 AD, the Emperor’s portrait appears on one side of this coin. The other side depicts a literal clash of the gladiators. One warrior raises his spear menacingly at a second warrior on horseback. Frozen in bronze for over 1,600 years, the drama of this moment can still be felt when you hold the coin. Surrounding this dramatic scene is a Latin inscription—a phrase you would never expect in a million years!

Happy Days are Here Again The Latin inscription surrounding the gladiators reads: “Happy Days are Here Again” (Fel Temp Reparatio). You see, at the time these coins were designed,

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FOR ANY

S I T U AT I O N By Gary Turner

W

hether it’s a mess of channel catfish for supper or trophy blue cats, I love catfishing! From Texas to Virgina and Nebraska to Florida, I have caught catfish all over the country. Some of my favorite locations are the Santee Cooper reservoirs in South Carolina and the mighty Tennessee River in the stretch from Tennessee into Alabama. Here’s some information on how I catch them in lakes and rivers. These fishing styles will work for catfish all over the country.

ON THE LAKE

I use Abu Garcia 7000 reels with an egg sinker, swivel and 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook. If you are looking for smaller fish, downsize your hooks and baits. Bait can be fresh cut bream, shad, hotdogs, nightcrawlers or even chicken breast chunks. All of these work. On Moultrie, you can anchor up and wait, but usually you can cover more area drifting. Set your rods all on one side of the boat and let them drag along beside or behind the boat. If there is no wind, you might need to troll. If there’s lots of wind, you might need to drop drift socks or a bucket to slow your drift. For this setup, you can use the same reels and baits, but you will need to change your terminal tackle. Use a three-way swivel to attach a slinky, Lindy weight to the bottom eye on 6- to 12-inch piece of 10- to 20-pound leader. You want your weight line to be lighter than your main so if the weight snags you don’t lose your whole rig. On the back eye, use 24 to 36 inches of heavier leader to your hook. Some people also put a small cork a few inches in front of the hook to keep the bait just off the bottom.

Santee Cooper is one of my favorite destinations for big catfish and smaller eaters, too. It’s actually two lakes, Lake Marion, the upper lake, and Moultrie, the lower lake. These lakes both have giant flatheads, huge blues and eating-sized channels. When fishing Lake Marion, I like to anchor up, cast out a bunch of baits and wait. If no bites in 30 minutes, I change locations and try again. There ON THE RIVER are flats and standing timber, and you just keep When fishing the Tennessee River from moving until you find feeding fish. Sometimes you Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee to Alabama’s mark lots of fish that aren’t feeding. Lake Pickwick, I usually go much heavier on

equipment. I go with Penn Fathoms on Big Cat Fever Rods with 80-pound braid main and 100-pound leaders, sinker slides for bigger weights, and 8/0 to 10/0 hooks, depending on how big the baits are. Sometimes a double-hook rig improves your odds. Skipjack, fresh or frozen, is the preferred bait, with bream and shad as backups. Don’t be afraid to use giant baits in big water. There are some giant fish down there! In rivers, where’s there’s a good current, you can bottom bump. This technique is also popular on the Mississippi River. You slow the boat so the current carries your lines downstream. Use just enough weight so your baits walk and bounce along the bottom. This is very productive and allows you to cover lots of water. Another thing we do sometimes where the river is fairly flat and slow is to slow drift with all the rods and lines straight down and the hooks just off the bottom. If you are marking good fish, make several passes over them. Sometimes this will fire them up. I hope this helps you catch more and bigger catfish next time you go. Please remember, if you are not going to eat it, don’t kill it. Gary Turner is a regular contributor to Coastal Angler and The Angler magazines. Contact him at gary@purgeright.com.


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HUNTING

GIANT PERMIT IN THE SURF

By Emily Rose Hanzlik

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reshwater or salt, I enjoy fishing for anything that swims. Specifically targeting the largest fish of a species is what I enjoy most. Whether it’s grass carp or jack crevalle, I actively seek out IGFA records to try and break. Right now, permit is on my hit list. Permit inhabit the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to southeastern

Brazil. They occur throughout the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico, and less-frequently in Bermuda. The species is most abundant in southern Florida, where they can primarily be found inshore around bridges, inlets, on flats, deep cuts, channels and holes adjacent to these areas. They will, however, also frequent offshore wrecks, oil platforms and artificial reefs. Due to its striking similarity to the Florida pompano, in its juvenile stage, many anglers often misidentify young permit. You can distinguish the two from each other by the color of their chins, fins or bellies. Pompano will have a more yellow coloring, where a permit will be more orange in color. Permit and pompano are both members of the jack family, Carangidae, which includes about 140 species worldwide. Permit primarily feed on crustaceans and mollusks, which they crush between a pharyngeal bony plate at the back of their mouth and granular teeth on their tongue. Most fishing guides prefer to use blue crabs in the 2- to 3-inch range. Since I am specifically targeting large fish, I prefer to use fullgrown speckled crabs, which can range anywhere from 4 to 6 inches. The smallest permit I’ve caught on these big baits weighed right at the 20-pound mark. The All-Tackle IGFA World Record permit weighed in at an amazing 60 pounds and was caught out of Brazil in 2002. When fishing for permit from the beach, it’s best to know your surroundings. I always fish the holes adjacent to rip currents. To find these, you first need to locate the sandbars, which are the “whitewater areas” in the surf where the waves are breaking the most. Next, you need to find a spot along the sandbar where the wave action seems to settle. That is the cut. It is a break in the sandbar where water is forced out on a falling tide. The water rushing out causes a rip current, which is most prevalent on both sides of the cut. Finally, the areas immediately to the left and right of the rip current and just behind the sandbars are where the holes are usually located. These features can change location depending on the strength of the tide. Permit can be found in these holes at any time. However, late spring through early fall is the best season to target large permit from the beach.

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Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 45 IGFA world records in various women’s categories. She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part-time bowfin guide service as well as fishing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her on Social Media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors.

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Tips for Catching Your “PB” This Summer By CAM Staff

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ith texting and social media pushing the English language in an inexorable backward slide toward a form of communication that resembles hieroglyphs of the ancients, the abbreviation “PB” has become common in angler jargon. In case you didn’t already know, PB is short for personal best. You’ll often see it used on online forums and social media alongside photos of enthusiastic anglers holding large bass. “PB! Texas-rigged Ol’ Monster. 8-2,” such a post might read. Translated, the author of the post is indicating Lewis Smelcer caught this monster they caught the largest bass 14-pound, 4-ounce largemouth at they’ve ever caught on a large Porter Lake on March 5. plastic worm. It weighed FWC TROPHY CATCH PHOTO. 8-pounds, 2-ounces. If you bass fish, catching a 10-pound-plus fish is kind of the ultimate goal. However, the PB concept allows for legitimate celebration for the somewhat lesser achievement of catching a very nice fish that might not weigh 10 pounds. On the other hand, true lunker hunters might have surpassed the 10-pound mark many times, and PB provides another goal to strive for. Whichever camp you fall in, here are some tips that might help you make a PB post this summer: • Fish Where Your PB Lives. Do your research and find out where anglers are catching big fish. Florida’s TrophyCatch program has an online database where anglers report catching bass heavier than 8 pounds. Information provided includes date, size and location of the catch. All sorts of trends can be mined from the site’s searchable data. Find a trophy bass factory near you and fish it. • Fish For One Bite. When you specifically target big fish, sometimes you won’t catch anything else... or anything at all. The lures, tactics and locations for large bass are not the same for more aggressive smaller bass. Prepare to fish hard and fish patiently for just a few bites. Be ready to set the hook when it happens. • Fish The Thick Stuff. In summer, fish have settled into predictable patterns. The big fish are going to be holed up in the thickest cover they can find, whether that’s matted grass or a logjam. If you have to worry about how you’re going to get a fish out of a hole, that’s where your lure needs to be. • Fish Large Lures. Large bass have life figured out. They are lazy and are not likely to be out in open water chasing 2-inch shad around. They put on all that weight by expending as little energy as possible while consuming as many calories as possible. They eat the large, infrequent meals that show up right in front of them. Big 6-inch swimbaits, large jigs or huge plastic worms, if it looks like a slow-moving mouthful a large bass is more likely to eat it. It’s up to you to fish methodically and put your lure right in a fish’s face. For more bass fishing tips, visit coastalanglermag.com.

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Gulf Anglers Offered Free Release Gear R eturn ’Em Right, a program that aims to reduce catch-and-release mortality for Gulf of Mexico fish suffering from barotrauma, has launched a new program for anglers throughout the Gulf of Mexico. By participating in a short online review of best practices, anglers can receive free release gear valued at $100 to help reef fish survive release. Each year, more than 10 million federally managed reef fish are released, and at least one million of those will die soon after being released. A main reason is barotrauma, a pressure-related injury fish experience when reeled up from depth. Anglers may observe barotrauma when they release a fish, only to see it float away on the surface. For every one percent of landed and released fish anglers save through learning and using best release practices, over 100,000 reef fish could survive to grow, possibly spawn and be caught again. “I have enjoyed teaching my daughter to fish and know one way to keep the fisheries healthy for her generation is to release them properly. I hope Gulf anglers take advantage of Return ’Em Right. Free gear and training to benefit the fishery is a win-win,” said JD Dugas, a recreational angler from Louisiana.

10 FLORIDA

JUNE 2022

Return ’Em Right promotes best release practices, with an emphasis on proper use of descending devices, which research shows can improve long-term survival of reef fish by up to three times. Descending devices are weighted devices that help fish overcome buoyancy and injury by releasing them at depth. These devices come in a variety of forms FLORIDA SEA GRANT PHOTO including weighted inverted hooks, lip clamp devices and weighted crates and boxes. to be a resource to a community committed “I used descending devices for the first time to preserving the future of the sport,” said Nick recently, and I’ve seen them work firsthand. Not a Haddad, Fisheries Communications Manager, single fish floated back up the entire day offshore Return ’Em Right. Return ’Em Right is a program led by fishing,” said Alexandra Spring, three-time IGFA Florida Sea Grant, University of Florida, Gulf World Record Holder. Gulf of Mexico reef fish anglers 18 years and States Marine Fisheries Commission, NOAA older are now eligible to visit the Return ’Em Right and a coalition of anglers, industry groups, website, review best release practices and receive state agencies, universities, government and a package of release gear to use on the water. The non-government organizations committed to educational review is available to all individuals maintaining healthy fish stocks and fishing access who are interested in learning best practices in the Gulf of Mexico. The project was selected by when encountering barotrauma, regardless of age, the Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee’s as part of a 2019 Restoration Plan. location or role in the fishery. “Return ’Em Right welcomes all anglers to To participate in the Return ’Em Right program participate in the program and we are excited and get your free gear, go to returnemright.org.

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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

JUNE 2022 EDITION

Find Your Outdoors Here!

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

North Central Florida Nature Coast Staff

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

Cary Crutchfield

T

JUNE

wo years ago, June 2020, I began this column by saying that I wanted to crawl into a hole until June 2021, and maybe the pandemic would be over. I didn’t crawl into a hole (I couldn’t find one.) but thanks to masks, social distancing and definitely the miracle of vaccine, Cary and I, and our kids and grandkids, have survived. I thought that by June 2022, Covid would be nothing more than a sad memory, and if the vaccine had been more widely embraced, I KNOW that it would be. Christmas Day, Covid claimed one of my dearest and closest friends, and I believe that she would be alive today if she had been vaccinated. My heart breaks for the million plus lost Americans, and the multi-million lost worldwide. Today is a gorgeous day in late May. The first half of May was very comfortable here in Dixie County. I love the days of sunshine, low humidity, low 80s, jumping sturgeon and a Suwannee River breeze. THEN, came the rain, high humidity, and mid 90s! This month’s recipe, Grouper with a Lemon Garlic Sauce, page 2, earned the “You can make this again!” award from Cary. I served it with smashed red potatoes and sautéed fresh spinach. I think I will make this tonight with shrimp. Making an encore presentation this month (page 10) is Putnam Lodge in Cross City. I absolutely love, love, love this beautiful historic hotel. They serve dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At the very least, stop and step into their lobby for a minute. Tell Beverly that I sent you. Joining us for the first time (page 2) is another one of my favorite NCF locations, Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens, just west of Williston off US Alt. 27. Saturday, June 18th, they are hosting Summer Daze Car Show, featuring the area’s coolest classic cars. If you attend, you might see us and our vintage Buick hearse! Thank you, John Freeze, for this gorgeous photo of the water lily. Father’s Day is June 19th. How about a guided fishing trip for Dad? Our guides are the best in the business! Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida/ Nature Coast

SALES

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy John Freeze Capt. Katie Jo Davis Capt. Andrew Fagan Capt. Jonathan Hamilton Capt. Tony Johns Capt. James Kerr Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Brent Woodard

CONTACT INFORMATION

crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-542-0356

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District


GROUPER WITH LEMON GARLIC SAUCE

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Thank you to The Crab Plant for the 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, FriSat 10:00-8:00. 201 NW 5th St. Crystal River 352-795-4700.

DIRECTIONS

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1W

2Th

3F

4Sa 5Su

6M

7Tu

8W

4:29 AM 9:31 AM 3:00 PM 10:25 PM 5:09 AM 10:07 AM 3:34 PM 11:01 PM 5:48 AM 10:47 AM 4:13 PM 11:38 PM 6:26 AM 11:31 AM 4:58 PM 12:19 AM 7:05 AM 12:20 PM 5:52 PM 1:03 AM 7:47 AM 1:18 PM 6:53 PM 1:53 AM 8:34 AM 2:26 PM 8:08 PM 2:51 AM 9:23 AM 3:38 PM 9:34 PM

3.2 1.9 4.0 -0.1 3.1 1.9 3.9 0.0 3.1 1.9 3.8 0.1 3.1 1.9 3.7 0.2 3.1 1.8 3.6 0.4 3.1 1.7 3.4 0.6 3.2 1.6 3.2 0.8 3.3 1.3 3.1

HERNANDO BEACH

JUNE 2022

9Th

Time Height

3:51 AM 10:09 AM 4:45 PM 10:54 PM 10F 4:47 AM 10:53 AM 5:44 PM 11Sa 12:06 AM 5:40 AM 11:34 AM 6:41 PM 12Su 1:12 AM 6:32 AM 12:15 PM 7:34 PM 13M 2:13 AM 7:23 AM 12:58 PM 8:26 PM 14Tu 3:10 AM 8:12 AM 1:43 PM 9:16 PM 15W 4:06 AM 9:00 AM 2:30 PM 10:07 PM 16Th 5:01 AM 9:48 AM 3:20 PM 10:57 PM

1.0 3.5 0.9 3.2 1.2 3.7 0.4 3.3 1.4 4.0 -0.1 3.4 1.6 4.2 -0.5 3.4 1.8 4.4 -0.8 3.4 1.9 4.5 -0.9 3.4 2.0 4.6 -0.8 3.3 2.0 4.5 -0.7

KINGS BAY

High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min

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

CRYSTAL RIVER

WITHLACOOCHEE ENT

High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min

High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min

CEDAR KEY

Time Height

17F

18Sa 19Su

20M

21Tu

22W

23Th

24F

5:51 AM 10:40 AM 4:15 PM 11:47 PM 6:36 AM 11:36 AM 5:15 PM 12:36 AM 7:17 AM 12:36 PM 6:21 PM 1:24 AM 7:58 AM 1:40 PM 7:31 PM 2:13 AM 8:41 AM 2:53 PM 8:53 PM 3:05 AM 9:26 AM 4:08 PM 10:19 PM 3:58 AM 10:11 AM 5:14 PM 11:35 PM 4:48 AM 10:54 AM 6:11 PM

3.2 1.9 4.3 -0.4 3.2 1.8 4.1 0.0 3.2 1.6 3.7 0.4 3.2 1.4 3.4 0.9 3.3 1.2 3.1 1.2 3.5 0.9 2.9 1.5 3.6 0.6 2.9 1.7 3.8 0.3

Time Height

25Sa 12:40 AM 5:37 AM 11:35 AM 7:01 PM 26Su 1:36 AM 6:24 AM 12:14 PM 7:45 PM 27M 2:22 AM 7:10 AM 12:52 PM 8:25 PM 28Tu 3:03 AM 7:54 AM 1:30 PM 9:01 PM 29W 3:42 AM 8:35 AM 2:07 PM 9:36 PM 30Th 4:18 AM 9:15 AM 2:44 PM 10:10 PM

3.0 1.8 3.9 0.1 3.0 1.9 4.0 -0.1 3.1 2.0 4.0 -0.1 3.2 2.0 4.1 -0.1 3.2 2.0 4.0 -0.1 3.2 2.0 4.0 0.0

HOMOSASSA RIVER ENT

HORSESHOE BEACH

SUWANNEE ENT

STEINHATCHEE RIVER ENT

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

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

JUNE 2022

INGREDIENTS

• 4 (6-ounce) Grouper Sprinkle fish with salt and fillets (or any mild fish pepper. of your choice) Place flour in a shallow • 1/4 teaspoon salt COOKING DIRECTIONS dish. Dredge both sides of • 1/4 teaspoon freshly fish in flour; reserve unused ground black pepper flour. • 3 tablespoons quickHeat a large skillet over mixing flour (such as medium-high heat. Add 1 Wondra) tablespoon butter and oil to • 2 tablespoons unsalted pan; swirl to coat. butter, divided • 1 tablespoon olive oil Add fish to pan; cook 2 • 1 tablespoon minced minutes on each side or until garlic fish flakes easily when tested • 1/3 cup unsalted with a fork. (Add more chicken stock (such as butter if needed.) Swanson) Remove from pan; keep • 2 tablespoons chopped warm. fresh parsley Add reserved flour and • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic to pan; cook 90 lemon juice seconds or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add stock, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, parsley, and lemon juice. Serve fish with sauce. Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

By

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FLORIDA WATERWAYS Hart Springs

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ne of the best springs along the Suwannee River is Hart Springs in Gilchrist County. Possibly named after an Indian renegade named Hart, who lived at the springs in the 1850s and who remained behind when officials sent many Native Americans west, the park is along the Suwannee River Wilderness By Kevin McCarthy Trail and the Gilchrist Blueway Trail, several miles west of the small town of Bell. It is most easily reached by driving about six miles north of Fanning Springs on Highway 232, then west for a mile or so on Highway 344. The park has a capacity of 750 people, something to keep in mind if you plan to go there in the busy summer months or weekends. See the aerial photo of the busy park, a photo supplied by the park manager. I have visited the park several times, the latest in March, 2022, on a weekday right before the busy crowds of the spring and summer. With a tour by the park manager on duty, Bryan Freeman Jr., I learned about the many attractions of the park and its additions, for example a splash park that children really seemed to enjoy. Occasionally a manatee will enter the spring from the Suwannee River to feed on the underwater grass and enjoy the constant low-70s temperature of the water. Swimmers are advised to stay clear of the lumbering manatees/sea cows. Those who wish to enjoy the halfmile-long boardwalk through the swamp and along the Suwannee, can marvel at the natural beauty and maybe catch a glimpse of the abundant wildlife in the surrounding area, not only an occasional eagle, but even gators hiding in the algae. Gilchrist County boasts the greatest number of freshwater springs in the world, and Hart has to be among the most beautiful. It is also possible

to see jumping sturgeon in the Suwannee, a spectacular sight from a distance, but a somewhat dangerous situation for nearby boaters. The park actually has two springs, Little Hart with

Boardwalk through the swamp

A peaceful place along the river

its flow of 60 gallons of fresh water every second, and Big Hart, with its flow of 10 gallons a second. Scientists rate the more powerful of the springs as a second magnitude flow. Campers can also enjoy “movie night under the stars” on the fourth Saturday of the month and even “Karaoke by the pool” on the second Saturday of the month. The floating dock right outside the park goes up and down depending on the flood stages of the Suwannee. Those homeowners along the river who have seen their stationary docks destroyed by the annual floods could use such a mechanism to raise and lower their docks.

An aerial view of the busy park

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

JUNE 2022

A floating dock at Hart Springs

Splash Park at Hart Springs

All in all, Hart is one of the many beauties in North Florida, and one that countless Floridians have experienced during the pandemic. Kevin McCarthy, the author of North Florida Waterways (2013 - available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

A leaping sturgeon in the Suwannee NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3


KATIE JO’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

J

une is a hot month, and I'm not just talking about summer officially starting. Hot fishing is to be expected as well along Florida's Nature Coast! The sun is hot, the fish bite is hot and the water is hot! This time of the year everything is hot, and that's the way I like it. Fishing in the Gulf offers so many different species that can be caught and on any typical day in June, you can expect to land over 10 different species of fish. Redfish, trout, flounder, black drum, mangrove snapper, cobia, tarpon, various sharks and triple just to name a few. North of Crystal River in the darker water, I enjoy fishing a live shrimp on an 1/8-ounce jig head while bouncing it slowly across the ocean floor, using 30 lb. fluorocarbon leader. I focus on the rocky ledges that drop off into the deeper tidal highway where the large fish are following the mullet. June is also the beginning of gag grouper season in the Big Bend area. Catching these tough fighting fish in 10 to 20 feet of water is a blast! Fishing the sandy areas just off the rock piles produce some beautiful hogfish and trigger fish as well. Here on the Nature Coast we are also

4 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

JUNE 2022

gearing up for our annual scalloping season opening July 1st. Scalloping is a wonderful experience and fun for all ages. Scalloping trips are very popular and if you're interested in coming to find out what the hype is all about, give me a call to book your trip. We can even combine a half day scalloping and a half day fishing. Tight lines and I hope to see you out on the water! Captain Katie Jo Davis www.fishcrystalriverflorida.com 772-882-8932 KD OUTDOORS FISHING CHARTERS

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JUNE 2022

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 5


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ello form Crystal River, and I hope everyone is doing well and enjoy the warm weather. Redfish- The summer months can be some of the most productive times to catch some good ones. I’ll spend the time to try to locate schools of big fish. For me, it’s rewarding when I do, and my clients get to experience fighting a big fish. When it’s hot, I fish early or fish late; it’s cooler and there’s less traffic on the water ways. For redfish this time of year, I like to fish the incoming tide. It brings cooler water in from the gulf and can really fire the fish up. While targeting reds with bait, I’ll use pinfish on a 3/0 circle hook. Circle hooks are a great choice. It helps to keep from killing fish. Like always I look for schools of mullet and good hard bottom.

Snook- The snook bite has been great and we have some good ones here. I like artificial for snook. When presenting the bait move it fast to provoke a strike. Also, it’s a good idea to use a heavier leader, no less than 40 lbs. Look for good moving water and deeper cuts. Trout - while targeting them this time year I generally go deep 6 to 12 feet of water. I look for good broken bottom, using 1/8oz jig with Mirrorlure Little-Jons. My favorite colors are glow and bourbon. I hope everyone gets a chance to get out on the water and catch fish. Capt. James Kerr 352-362-6893 Citrusfishingchaters.com

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SIGNS BANNERS

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It was Wilson Scarborough's first ever speckled trout fishing trip and this beautiful 19.5 fish was his first catch! Wilson was fishing with his dad, Rodney and younger brother James.

ow, it's hard to believe it's already the month of June, it seems like New Year's Eve was just last week! The story this year during the spring months has been the wind, then more wind, followed by even more wind! I had been hoping as we rolled into the month of May that we would see better days, but that has not happened, yet! Today we have winds out of the North at 15 knots! Let's talk about fishing! With the Suwannee River dropping fast, the water quality in the estuary is improving quickly! This means that the speckled trout, redfish and all the pelagic species will be coming in closer as the salinity increases in the estuary. June is a great month to target the inshore/nearshore pelagic species here along the Lower Suwannee River Estuary. While this month, the waters are still stained from the high Suwannee River, the salinity is and has been increasing each week. This means the pelagic species that like a "saltier" water will move into the estuary rather than going out and around it! The most common pelagic species of fish in my area are, Spanish and king mackerel, tarpon, tripletail, cobia, shark, Jack Creval, along with sail catfish and ladyfish. You can find these fish within 9 miles of the shore, and in fact, you can find all of them within a mile of the shore except the king mackerel. This time of the year it's all about the schools of bait and a great way to keep up with them is to watch the birds! The birds will always be on the bait, the question is what type of predator fish, if any, will be working that school of bait? This is the time of year when a good pair of binoculars

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Here's James Scarborough with his first ever speckled trout. It measures 19.75 inches and was released to spawn this summer! The Scarborough men are from Athens, Tennessee.

can be a valuable tool. You can use it to spot birds, they will also help you to see if there are predator fish working a school of bait and many times you can spot fish working on the surface! Once you locate a school of bait fish, you can either troll your baits around and through the school, or you can cast and retrieve your baits. I like to use a heavy jigging spoon that you can cast a LONG distance! Cast up to and parallel to the school of bait fish, let your bait sink some before you begin to reel it in, and work it all the way back to the boat. Many times, the larger fish are below and out from the school of bait fish. This is a faster paced style of fishing that can be a lot of fun! Another style is to anchor up in a specific location and "chum" the fish to you. We will dive into that next month! Until next time be safe and Catchemup! Captain Tony Johns | 352-221-2510 www.lowersuwanneriverfishing.com Instagram: captaintonyjohns Facebook: Lower Suwannee River Fishing Adventures or Captain Tony Johns

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JUNE 2022

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 7


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8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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une is here. We are midway through the fishing year and things have definitely started to heat up nearshore and offshore. For the nearshore and inshore guys and gals, I would definitely keep your eyes peeled for a cobia, as I’ve noticed over the years, the beginning of the migration starts in mid-April and tapers off towards midJune. Surprisingly enough, most of your biggest fish throughout the season are caught in the beginning stages of the run, and the ending stages, so definitely, double check that shark or keep an eye on the marker as you drive by. You could just be at the right place at the right time! The waters temps have to be a more constant temperature. Our big temperature swings are about over for the year, until November or December, and then we will be talking about other fish. As of now with the water being so warm, the outside oyster bars and grass islands will remain hot and heavy with bait, and what follows is the mass of redfish that land right with them. I like to use a chunk of cut mullet on a 4/0 circle hook, and/or a big jighead for this time of year. During the summer, our inshore water is just teaming with all types of baitfish. Using shrimp, while it can be effective at times, it can be very frustrating as well. So, I reach for the big bait and wait out those big fish. The big momma snook have made their migration offshore to cooler waters for the most part and will begin their spawn. When you are fishing your favorite cobia or grouper spot in 15 to 30 feet of water, and catch a monster snook, just remember, she most likely has a belly full of eggs. Please release her very quickly and try to touch her as little as possible, so that she can keep her slime coating while spawning for us. Offshore this time of year, always brings the beginning of red snapper fishing and gag grouper season. The gags and snapper have moved heavily offshore, and you will find a consistent bite in 30 to 50 feet of water this time of year. Trolling a stretch 40 in the 40-to60-foot range of water, can really get these fish fired up, and be a great way to cool down while catching dinner! The red snapper normally start out in about 70 to 90 feet of water this time of year and half way through the month move out to 100 to 110 feet. I know it’s a long ride, but you will not be there long, until you have a limit of big girls, and head on in to that 30-to-50-foot stuff to look for your gags and mangroves! A frozen chunk of northern mackerel or Spanish sardine will surely get a good reaction on these big snapper, and will allow you to buy bait the day before

Doug with a nice grouper, caught in 40 feet of water.

Capt. Andrew with a nice tripletail inshore of Yankeetown.

Bill with a few keeper cobia on a nearshore fishing trip.

at your local shop, instead of pulling pinfish traps and wasting an hour of your time, that you could be driving to your honey hole. As always, Captains Cove has all of your frozen bait and live bait and any and all of the tackle I’ve mentioned in this article. Just walk in and ask Jim, Jaron, or Paul, and they will hook you up!

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une is a great time of the year to be in Homosassa. Schools are getting out, so it’s time to spend some great family time on the water! June is a good transition month for our inshore trout fishing. I like to fish the near shore rock piles for trout this time of the year. Those nearshore rock areas and deep grass produce some nice trout. While you are there, you will find a plethora of other species to keep the rods bent! MirrOlure Lil Johns rigged on a 1/8th ounce DOA Jig heads are hard to beat. I like the watermelon red flake or glow. Establish your drift and once you catch a couple, duplicate that drift. Mackerel, sea bass, grouper, flounder, blue fish and more will be plentiful as well. I like to rig a live shrimp on a jig head and fish the rock piles while offshore. While you are on those rock piles, especially the larger rock structure, make sure you have a rig set up for cobia. Free lined pin fish will produce. There is tons of fun for the kids off shore in June. Inshore red fishing will be good on the incoming tides on the outside points of the St. Martin Keys to Ozello. Live pin fish or live shrimp are hard baits to beat. I like to fish free lined baits this time of the year, over bait under a cork. Cut mullet or lady fish will produce bites as well. Gold spoons are great go to artificial

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this time of the year to locate fish. Keep an eye out for snook as well, especially on those points with hard moving water! June is a great month for tarpon fishing the entire Gulf Coast of Florida. Crystal Bay in Crystal River has some great tarpon fishing in June. I’m a fly guide so I Iike to fish small bait fish flies or small tarpon toads in dark colors. If you are fishing conventional fish, live pin fish, thread fin or DOA bait busters are great baits to fish for the Giant Silver King! Homosassa River Fireworks Festival and Poker Run is June 25 June 1st Opening day of Grouper June 16th is the Full Moon. June 30th is the New Moon. Capt. Jonathan Hamilton 352-403-2073 www.captainjhamilton.com

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 11


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ope everyone is having a good start to the summer. It seems that we are definitely in the start of a hot one. No worry’s, I’ll have a couple tricks for ya to make the dogdays worth a shot at a bucket full of fish. We are still catching plenty of fish and redfish have definitely seemed to show up in some good schools, especially some bigger ones. Trout have also been treating us pretty good with decent bags of sand trout starting to mix in with the specks I think these catches will continue to get us through the next month. We are also starting to see a fair number of Spanish mackerel and the occasional triple tail. The triple tail have not fully shown up yet. Those fish should start spawning towards the end of this month and continue their spawn into early august. With it getting warmer, your best bet for the weekend guy is going to be to find a weekend with a good early tide swing, and pick that day to go out. I would be out with a line in the water by no later than 6:15 am.

T You can also go the other way and start late, which is my preference. I usually stay out there until dark. On those trips, I usually don’t start until 5:00pm. Either way, boat traffic is starting to increase, so everybody please stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Also stay hydrated and use plenty of sunscreen. I can’t stress that enough. Until next time, keep it reel native! Captain Brent Woodard Reel Native Fishing Charters ReelNativeFishing.com 352-284-5514

12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

JUNE 2022

Lee Lewis of Willacoochee, Ga. with a fine trout taken 4/24/22

rout fishing really took off in April and May, has been trying to crank it up as well with w-i-n-d howling. On 5/6/22 when we had ten trout to 22.5 inches, three reds to 26.5 inches and a flounder for Steve and Marsha Slaughter of Columbus, Georgia in 20 to 22 knot w-i-n-d-s. Gotta love it! Our water temps had made it to 83 degrees before this current cool snap, which brought the Gulf surface temps down to 73 yesterday morning. (Today is 5/11.) Trout have been caught on just about anything you wish to throw at them, including, but not only, stickbaits, Jerkbaits, soft jerkbaits, Cajun Thunders combined with Assassin 5-inch shads. Assassin Sea Shads bounced (Cantaloupe and Laguna shrimp patterns) live shrimp and live pinfish rigged up under a Back Bay Thunder on board One More Cast. Three ½ to four ½ feet has been the best depth, but we have caught fish out as far as 6 feet last week. June will hold most of the same patterns for trout, excluding the stick baits, ‘cause if the water gets back up over 80 degrees again soon, the floating grass on the surface will take the fun out of trying to throw a treble hook on the flats. We will stick to live pinfish and Assassin plastic under Cajuns and Back Bays on my boat in June. Reds are eating live bait and weedless gold spoons and will move on out on the deeper grass flats by mid-June. Expect cobia, which have shown

Rick Prietz of Marianna, Florida with a nice redfish 4/20/22

Matthew Rowzee of Valdosta, Ga. with a nice red caught 4/17/2

up the last two weeks at Keaton, to be busting up some trout tackle in June. Tarpon will sing the same tune, which usually lasts only seconds, but it sure is fun to watch them try to fly. Meanwhile, Let's Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 30 years! www.onemorecast.net onemorecast@gtcom.net cell: 850.838.7541

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orest Fishers, things are really starting to heat up out here! Yeah, temperatures are gettin' pretty high, but that's not the only thing you'll notice rising these days. It's that time of year when finding fish is as simple as just plain waiting, waiting for the topwater show to begin that is. Yep, it may be summer but out on the water, school's most definitely in session. So break out the long rods and your smoothest casting reels, because distance is key. When bass are in frenzy mode, the lure that works best, is the one that reaches them the quickest. The majority of the time, if you land your lure in the blow-up zone; they will nail it instantly. As vicious as "schooly bass" are, they're definitely not the biggest bass in the lake. The biggest bass in the lake, will actually eat "schooly bass". So when you see those little guys blowing up, remember what may be lurking right below them. I can tell you this for sure; where there's schoolies, there are always bigger bass nearby. The reason schoolies strike so aggressively, isn't because they're trying to eat their target. The goal is to disorientate or wound them at first, making it easier to gobble them down afterwards. It's the same strategy they use when they’re hunting solo. Once they are big enough, their attack is much more subtle. They literally just suck the prey into their mouth and hold it there, so they can decide if/when they want to swallow it, which leads me to this. When a true giant eats your lure, you almost never feel the bite. Instead, you'll notice your line slowly moving away, if you're lucky. I really want you to remember this next point, so I'm going to sum it up nice and quick. The chaos those little schooly bass make is awesome for many reasons, but there's one reason all anglers, no matter which species you're after, should be thankful to them for. That chaos is literally chumming the water, with bits of leftover food just floating around, free for

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DEALING WITH

HIGH WINDS INSHORE By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOCKIN TAIL LURES

he wind was unrelenting this spring. It kept me off the water more than I prefer. I have high hopes it will subside by the time this article is published, but if not, here is an approach that saved the day more than once this spring. If you find yourself facing high winds, consider the following. Safety is always No. 1 on the water, so let’s keep that in the forefront as you read. On windy days, the majority of the time, I seek shelter and fish the lee shoreline. First and foremost, it is the most comfortable place to fish, and the safest depending on wind velocity. Unfortunately, the fish don’t always spend their time feeding looking for a protected and calm area. Think about it like this, turbid water can disorient smaller bait fish easier than it will the larger gamefish we all seek. Therefore, the windward shore is at times where the fish will feed more frequently. For one, it is simply an easier meal. Secondly, the wind current can blow and congregate smaller fish in that area, shoreline or cove. With the why out of the way, here is how I fished this approach on a recent trip. The cove I describe opens to the bay on the west, has two drains on the north and east, and I had a southeast wind of 15 to 20 knots. I started with the comfortable approach and one that, in general, made the most sense. I waded the protected shore and fished in front of the two

drains. The water color was clean, and there was some bait tight to the shoreline in very skinny water. For all practical purposes, it was too skinny to fish and grassy. After thoroughly working the lee shore and drains without a bite, I rounded the curve and focused my attention on the windward, dirty north shore. Upon approach, I noticed the bait was farther out than it had been on the lee shore. This was key, because it was hovering in a fishable depth. My weedless rattling paddletail drew attention to my lure in this dirty turbid water. After making several cast directly downwind to the bank, I quickly determined the distance from the shore where the water was deep enough to not foul my hook. Once I knew the zone, I angled my cast at 45 degrees from the bank. This allowed me to fish somewhat parallel to the shore and keep my lure in the bait zone. Although it was less comfortable casting across the wind with waves crashing me from behind in muddy water, this saved the day and is where all the reds and trout were caught. Remember, when fishing the windward shore, be mindful of where you anchor your vessel and keep safety first. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures with the built-in tail rattle, Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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Summer-Long, Statewide Fishing Competition Launches Memorial Day Weekend

C

CA Florida, the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, will launch the eighth-annual West Marine CCA Florida STAR competition presented by Yamaha on May 28. The summer-long event invites anglers and nonanglers to participate and win their share of prizes valued at almost $500,000, including boats, motors, scholarships and more. Launched in 2015, STAR focuses on conservation with its technology-based, catchphoto-release format. STAR’s dedicated smartphone app promotes proper handling of species and allows participants to upload competition photos, eliminating the requirement to harvest or capture and transport fish. CCA Florida also uses data collected from the app to educate the public on the importance of protecting Florida’s marine resources. This important data is also available to other conservation organizations and universities for use in their studies on conservation, habitat and stock assessments. “In the past seven years, it’s been amazing to see STAR participants support conservation by embracing the catch-photo format and picking up garbage during the annual competition,” CCA Florida STAR Director Leiza Fitzgerald said. “Even more exciting is awarding more than $2.1 million in prizes, with $700,000 specifically awarded in

youth scholarships, to the thousands of statewide STAR registrants.” The 2022 STAR competition has 17 divisions targeting 12 inshore and offshore species plus the cleanup of trash. STAR’s signature Tagged Redfish Division offers winners the choice of a Contender Boats 22 Sport, Pathfinder Boats 2200 TRS or Spyder Boats Vapor 19FX, all powered by Yamaha Outboards. In addition, this year’s competition is debuting the Alta Equipment Super STAR Tagged Redfish prize, which if caught, will give the winner $50,000. The two winning youth anglers in the signature division can also win new boats powered with Yamaha Outboards, trailers, Minn Kota trolling motors and Humminbird electronics. The best opportunity to catch this year’s tagged redfish will be in Brevard, Citrus and Charlotte Counties, STAR’s 2022 Destination Counties which each have eight tagged redfish in their coastal waters. One of the newest divisions, the Tigress Outriggers and Gear Tagged Dolphin Division offers one winner a $10,000 cash prize. The first STAR registrant and CCA Florida member who catches a tagged dolphin, released in the coastal waters of Florida for STAR by the Dolphin Research program implemented by the Beyond Our Shores foundation, will win. STAR is a family-friendly competition, and

CCA Florida youth members (ages 6 to 17) can participate for free. Kids are encouraged to submit entries in the Youth Scholarship Division presented by Realtree Fishing for an opportunity to win one of 12 scholarships totaling $100,000. Other divisions include ladies, kayak, conservation, guides and more. Since most division winners are determined by a random drawing, it is not about catching the biggest fish, any size fish can win. Registration is open and ends Sept. 5. To register for STAR 2022 or receive additional information on divisions, prizes and more, visit ccaflstar.com or Facebook.

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Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Celebrates 20 Years

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ne of the most popular events of the Gulf Coast big-game tournament circuit is celebrating 20 years of exciting, high-stakes competition. The 20th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is set to get underway June 22 and continue through June 26 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. This year’s platinum anniversary will showcase some of the sport’s top boats vying for million-dollar cash prizes. The Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore is the 2022 presenting sponsor. “We are celebrating 20 years of the Classic in style,” said Tournament Director Jason Draughn. “I’d like to welcome back all our valued contestants and Wind Creek, our presenting sponsor. I’d also like to welcome our two new tournament partners, MarineMax/Grady-White and Pelagic, Jack Daniels and SeaKeeper as new sponsors and Krueger, Fosdyck & Associates/Merrill Lynch once again, along with our fantastic line-up of other sponsors and supporters. We couldn’t have had this much fun for 20 years without every one of them!” Participants will be competing for awards and more than two million dollars in cash with blue marlin the top prize. Eligible fish must be at least 110 inches long to qualify. That minimum is measured from the tip of the fish’s lower jaw to the fork of the tail. Qualifiers typically average 500 pounds or heavier. In addition to the blue marlin weight category, smaller blues, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish that are successfully released earn points in the competitive release division. Releases are verified by video footage. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna, wahoo and dolphin are scored one point per pound. The ECBC attracts multi-million dollar sport-fishing yachts from across the Gulf of Mexico as well as the southeastern United States. Fishing begins after Thursday’s noon start from the Destin Pass and concludes Saturday afternoon. Eligible fish are weighed Friday and Saturday evenings at the Baytowne Marina. Viewing is free and open to the public. Hancock Whitney Bank is sponsoring the ECBC Golf Scramble, which is open to participants and sponsors. Final details are in the works. This year, entries made at the kick-off on June 22 will be charged a late fee, so early registration is recommended.

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hanges to Florida’s redfish management took another step forward at the May meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Staff will now continue gathering input on the proposed rules and return to the commission for a Final Rule Hearing later this year. The proposed rule changes would:

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• Modify the redfish management regions into nine regions, each smaller than the current three redfish management zones. • Prohibit captain and crew from retaining a bag limit when on a for-hire trip. • Reduce the off-the-water transport limit from six to four fish per person. • Increase the bag limit for the Big Bend region from one to two fish per person. • Reduce the eight-fish vessel limit in each of the proposed management regions: • Panhandle, Big Bend, Northeast: four fish. • Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Southwest, Southeast: two fish. • Allow only catch-and-release fishing for redfish in the Indian River Lagoon region. “With this new management approach, this agency is committed to continuing to work with our partners and stakeholders in finding solutions for redfish,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. According to FWC, the modification of redfish management regions and regulations, as part of the new management approach, will better capture regional differences and improve angler satisfaction. For current recreational redfish regulations, visit MyFWC.com. 20 FLORIDA

JUNE 2022

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CRAPPIE REGS CHANGES PROPOSED

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everal regulations changes for black crappie fishing in Florida are moving ahead after gaining approval at the May meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The commission unanimously approved proposed regulations changes to size and/or bag limits for black crappie on specific Florida waterbodies. A final hearing will be held at a future meeting after collection of public input. Here are the proposed changes: • Remove the 12” minimum length limit on Lake Jackson (Osceola County). • Remove specific size and bag limits on the following Fish Management Areas (they will return to statewide regulations of 25 fish daily bag limit and no minimum size limit): • Montgomery Lake • Watertown Lake • Suwannee Lake • Hardee County Park • Bobby Hicks Park Pond • Gadsden Park Pond • Manatee Lake •Largo Central Park Nature Preserve

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“Anglers fish for specks (black crappie) when they want to have a fish fry,” said FWC Commissioner Gary Lester. “Black crappie remains a popular target for anglers, and we commend staff ’s dedication to ensuring crappie fisheries thrive in Florida.” Staff completed a Black Crappie Management Plan in 2019 that called for a comprehensive review of black crappie regulations. Staff reviewed the biological aspects of regulations and gathered stakeholder input. While many anglers asked for a statewide minimum length limit, biological data indicated such a regulation would not improve most fisheries across the state and would unnecessarily restrict angler harvest opportunities. Therefore, no statewide length limit was proposed.

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If you have questions about the proposed rules or the Black Crappie Management Plan, send an email to Crappie@MyFWC.com.

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JUNE 2022

FLORIDA 21


WORLD RECORD REDBREAST?

L

ester Roberts, of Blackshear, Ga., was slinging a crankbait during a bass tournament on south Georgia’s Satilla River when he came tight on what could be a tie for the world record for redbreast sunfish. The current IGFA all-tackle world record for the species is a Florida fish, caught by Alvin Buchanan from the Suwannee River in 1984. Both big redbreasts weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces, which is an impressive individual for a species that rarely grows to even a pound. Roberts caught his record fish on May 7 from a stretch of river near Folkston, Ga. It measured 11 3/8 inches in length and beat out the previous Georgia state record by an ounce. The previous record, which had stood since 1998, weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces. Redbreast sunfish are a species that prefer to live in rivers and streams. They are native to the eastern United States. Their bellies are yellow to orangered or crimson red. Their heads have blue or blue-green stripes. In recent years Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division has been working to save habitat for redbreast on the Satilla. The introduction of invasive and highly predatory flathead catfish is a threat to the native fish species. If left unchecked, flatheads could decimate sunfish populations in one of the world’s best redbreast rivers. See more record fish at www.coastalanglermag.com.

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PARTING WATERS

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Mark Your Calendars for the 2022 Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament!

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ong considered the granddaddy of all kingfish tournaments, the 42nd year of the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament (GJKT) is slated for July 22-23 out of Jacksonville, Fla.’s Jim King Park at the confluence of Sisters Creek and the St. Johns River. Started by local businessmen in 1980, the GJKT has spawned the interest of generations of anglers, and the inaugural event was held in July of 1981. Out of its success, Jacksonville Marine Charities was born and serves as the operating arm of the GJKT. Proceeds from the event will support marine science research, preservation and education. To date, well over $400,000 have supported these ventures. Traditionally the tournament draws thousands of spectators, who enjoy the daily events and the parade of boats arriving to weigh their catch. This is as close to stadium spectating as it gets, because boats of all sizes and almost every make will make their way to weigh in. It’s great to root for the underdogs in the small boats. There will also be good food and plenty of drinks in the Liar’s Tent as well as entertainment. And don’t forget the Boatique, where you can purchase some very nice tournament shirts. Since it’s inception, the GJKT has been a multi-day event, but with the

uncertainty of fuel prices, as well as a sputtering economy, the board of directors of the GJKT has adopted a format change. This year we have moved the tournament fishing days to Friday and Saturday. Friday will be the General Tournament Day. That’s right, it is a one-day general tournament day. Anglers may weigh in two of their biggest fish and the Ladies can weigh a Lady Angler fish. The Largest Kingfish and Largest Aggregate places, as well as Largest Ladies will all come from that one day of fishing. Saturday is dedicated to the Kids Jr. Angler Tournament, and fishing will end at 2 p.m. on Saturday. All awards will be Saturday evening. These changes will save you the whole second day of expenses that normally come with tournament week, such as lodging, fuel, bait, etc., as well as saving you from using up vacation days from work. The tournament payout will still be the same! Anglers still fish for the best prize in the game, a 25-foot Contender with twin Yamaha 150s, rigged out and valued at over $160,000. Also new this year, the tournament will pay down to 20 places in Big Fish and 20 places in Aggregate as well as 10 places for Ladies! The rewards are bigger than ever, and you’ll save the added expense and wear and tear of that second day. So do your homework and be ready for game day! The GJKT looks forward to having a great event. For more information, please visit kingfishtournament.com

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JUNE 2022

NATIONAL 15


LURES

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LURES

CASTING FAR FROM SHORE: THE DYNAMICS OF LONG DISTANCE LURES PATRICK SEBILE

If you read my column last month, I introduced the topic of true long-distance lures. This month, I’m going to present the elements of a lure that allow it to be cast a long way. I hope this helps you select lures that achieve excellent distance and action. Shape: A lure that’s built for distance is elongated so that the widest diameter or width is no more than a quarter of the lure length. Width adds air resistance, which results in lost momentum and poorer performance. On the other hand, counter to what some may think, very slim lures are also not the best. Unless most of the weight is at the very end of the tail, a super slim lure will These see-through pencil lures illustrate tumble with air resistance weight placement for an optimized on a cast, which has balance of casting distance and fishing a negative effect on action. They also demonstrate proper distance. ratios between length and width. The longest distance lures have their widest diameter at a fifth and a third of the length of the lure, from the tail. Buoyancy: There is no doubt that sinking lures cast farther than floating lures with a similar shape. Within reason, the more dense a lure is, the farther it will fly. Depending on the brand, these can be called “Super Long Distance,” “Bullet” or “Rocket” type lures. Unless you specifically want a topwater presentation, you want a lure that sinks at rest if you’re after distance. Weight Position: To impart the most momentum to a lure in the casting movement, the majority of weight should be located between the tail and a third of the length from the tail. Total Weight: This one depends on angler preference as well as the rod being used. There are situations when light tackle is called for. However, for pure distance, regardless of a lure’s dimensions, there’s a weight range between 1.5 and 4 ounces for most anglers and most rods to deliver the most efficient casts. That can be narrowed down to a sweet spot of 2.5 to 3 ounces in most cases. Only trial and error will dial in what works best for you and your needs. Appendages: The denser the lure, the better it is for the distance. The catch is, high density may impact swimming action. The best lures offer the best of both worlds. Appendages such as side wings provide lift in the water when a lure is retrieved, which provides action without sacrificing casting distance. Next month, we’ll speak about types of long distance lures. Legendary angler Patrick Sebile is a world record holder and an award-winning designer of innovative lures and fishing gear. Check out his creations at abandofanglers.com.

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JUNE 2022

NATIONAL 17


Enter To Win! DF2.5 PORTABLE OUTBOARD

DEXTER VERSA~FLEX

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he Suzuki DF2.5 portable outboard is the smallest Suzuki 4-stroke to date. Weighing just 30 pounds, the DF2.5 is the lightest Suzuki 4-stroke motor ever built. Suzuki is also proud to note that the DF2.5 meets the rigorous EPA 2010 and CARB 3-Star Ultra Low emissions standards. A 2.5 HP single cylinder OHV 4-stroke engine, with 4.15 cu. in. displacement, generates plenty of power for small tenders and inflatables. It features easy-to-pull recoil starting with Suzuki Pointless Electronic Ignition. No battery is required for this remarkably simple and reliable system. Drawing held 8/1/22. Winners announced on Facebook.

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JUNE 2022

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MITZI SKIFF:

the marketplace. Mitzi Skiff became the brand for skinny-water anglers who value simplicity and functionality. A Mitzi does everything the pricier skiffs do, yet they are affordable enough for any angler to own and operate. About 30 years later, Mitzi has expanded to offer 15’, 16’ and 17’ skiffs that all perform the purposes of the original design exceptionally well. Continued innovation has made Mitzi a boat other builders imitate, and they still come at a significantly lower price point than the competition. The 17’ and the 17’ Tournament have become the brand’s hottest sellers. “The 15’ took the micro-skiff market by storm,” said Brad Grubbs, who owns and manufactures Mitzi Skiffs in North Carolina. “Since then, the brand has sort of evolved toward the 17’, which works just fine as a multi-purpose boat. It really is a very nice boat, notwithstanding the price point.” The Mitzi Skiff 17’ is a stripped-down and customizable version of the 17’ Tournament, which comes with the options Grubbs said most of his fishing customers were asking for. Both boats draft just 7 inches loaded, they pole easily, they pole straight, and they reach speeds into the 40s with a 60 hp engine. While the 15’ is a one or two-man boat that’s at-home on the flats, the 17’ can fish three people and it’s got better range. The 17’s primary purpose is still as a flats boat, yet it also doubles admirably as bay boat. “It’s not just a flats boats; it’s a little bit of an open water boat, too,” Grubbs said. The 17’ features a modified V-hull with an 11-degree deadrise at transom. There’s no hull slap, and rolled gunnels knock down spray for an exceptionally dry ride. They are built for light weight to run shallow, yet they are solid and durable to stand up to long years of heavy use. From hideaway pushpole holders to flush-mount hardware, Mitzi has obviously put some thought into making decks clean and fishable for fly anglers. Large, clean and stable casting decks are something Mitzi has become known for. “Keep it simple stupid, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” Grubbs quipped. f you’re a shallow-water angler, you might already know the story behind the legendary Mitzi Skiff. In the mid-1990s, Tom Mitzlaff started toying For nearly three decades, Mitzi has built skiffs for anglers more interested in with ideas to build a boat for his own use. There was nothing affordable fishing than in spending a lot of money. It’s a philosophy that works. on the market with the shallow draft, clean layout and quiet maneuverability Mitzi Skiff boats are available exclusively through select dealers. needed for fly fishing the flats. So, Mitzlaff built the original 15-foot Mitzi Skiff. For more on Mitzi Skiffs, go to www.mitziskiffs.com. It didn’t take long for anglers to take notice, and that boat revolutionized

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NATIONAL 19


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CHOOSE FIBERGLASS PONTOON HULLS FOR THE BEST BOAT RIDE EVER StyleCraft Boats Makes Proprietary Fiberglass Pontoon Hulls

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luminum has dominated the platform boat industry for years, until now. Move over aluminum, fiberglass pontoon hulls are the way to go for so many reasons. StyleCraft Boats creates multiple versions of the popular pontoon boat, all based on proprietary fiberglass pontoons with a racing hull design. The advantages of fiberglass over aluminum are great for the boat owner. Starting with the design, StyleCraft Boats uses A&M Manufacturing fiberglass pontoon hulls with a successful track record of a quarter century. The unique design is not round but flat on the bottom. This produces a very shallow-running boat with a draft of just 8 to 10 inches. The flat bottom pontoon also enhances the boat’s performance. Getting on a plane is much quicker, and the boat quietly glides across the water with less friction. As a result, less engine horsepower is needed. Less horsepower means less fuel demand. With today’s gasoline prices, this is a huge plus. Ever see an aluminum hull with welding scars that weaken the aluminum, bent fins or creased sides? The durability of fiberglass eliminates these issues. The fiberglass on a StyleCraft Boat is 1/2 inch thick, with much more body than aluminum of equivalent weight. StyleCraft Boats can take the abuse and mishaps with little to no harm. And should the boat have an accident, the fiberglass can be repaired back to new condition. No one enjoys boat maintenance, and fiberglass pontoon hulls are extremely user friendly. The very nature of aluminum causes electrolysis in saltwater, which deteriorates from corrosion on the hull surface in a big way. Not so with fiberglass. StyleCraft even coats the bottom of the pontoons with a special “SharkSkin” paint layer to reduce biological

growth of both plants and animals such as algae and barnacles. StyleCraft fiberglass pontoons always look clean, sleek and higher end. So, what’s it going to be? The smart STYLECRAFT BOATS.COM choice is fiberglass pontoon hulls from 1-855-STYLECRAFT StyleCraft Boats for that next boat purchase.

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NATIONAL 21


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Flip Flip Hooray! A perfect symbol of fun in the sun for only $79

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ere’s a memorable beach moment: You’re basking in the warm sun, toes in the sand, letting the gentle turn of the foam-capped waves lull you into a state of complete relaxation. As your eyes scan the endless horizon of blue on blue, you’re rewarded with a school of dolphins making their way across the sea. There’s no denying their signature shape as they leap from the water. If you don’t see anything else extraordinary the rest of the day, you can take solace knowing you’ve witnessed one of nature’s most playful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat. Why not re-create that special toes-in-the-sand moment with our Blue Topaz Dolphin Pendant? The beloved sea mammal has been captured mid-jump in sterling silver. And, tucked into its fins is a full two carats of shimmering blue topaz. Nothing captures the shimmering color of the ocean in the midday sun like blue topaz. With its sparkling clear blue color and high refractive index, blue topaz is one of the top-selling blue gemstones. And with our special price, you have quite the catch. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Enjoy the Blue Topaz Dolphin Pendant for 30 days. If it doesn’t pass the test swimmingly, send it back for a full refund of the item price.

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BUSINESS

PARKIT360°:

BUILDING THE WORLD’S MOST ADVANCED TRAILER DOLLY

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uccess stories are often driven by individuals with the ingenuity and work ethic to recognize and fill a need in the marketplace. The longevity of a dream results from a commitment to quality and continued innovation. Parkit360° is such a story. In 2009, when founder Steve Houle brought his electric trailer dollies to market, it was the culmination of years working to fill a niche need. About a decade later, with business booming, Steve has passed down the same work ethic and problem-solving spirit to his son Stefan Houle, who now manages the company and continues to produce the planet’s most advanced trailer dollies for happy customers worldwide. None of this happened overnight. Steve is a problem solver and the son of a millwright. He grew up around a machine shop using his mind, hands and machines to build things. He credits his father for instilling in him work ethic as well as the business sense to turn good ideas into marketable solutions. “I’ve always enjoyed building solutions to problems I saw around me,” Steve said. “Being able to turn this hobby of mine into a career has been hands down the greatest experience of my life.” Years ago, a problem manifested itself in dramatic fashion when Steve and his wife purchased a 27-foot cabin cruiser. On their maiden voyage, the wind blew them into another boat while maneuvering out of the docks. That costly mishap set Steve on a career path devising tools to maneuver large objects safely in small spaces. “The same week, out of pure necessity, I developed my own bow thruster, spending countless days testing, developing, and finally bringing this product to the market,” he said. “We received great feedback from the release.” That bow thruster became Sideshift, which revolutionized bow and stern thruster technology to make docking large boats easier. But Steve didn’t stop there. “Backing a trailer into a tight spot can be the most frustrating experience in the world. I know firsthand,” Steve said. “I found this gap in the market and I aimed to do my best to fill it.” Thus, Parkit360° was born. Steve started small, collecting feedback from RV enthusiasts and boaters and building prototype trailer dollies in his garage shop. “My number one priority was to help individuals trying to fit their boats or RVs into a small spot in their garage or yard,” he said. After seven prototypes, Steve finally built a product he was satisfied with. He began selling units one-off on ebay. Since then, Parkit360° has grown along with its reputation as a superior product. The company now

occupies a 12,000 square foot facility with numerous employees building thousands of units per year. And as the passion for a product passes on to the next generation, Stefan is tasked with continued improvement to trailer dollies that are already more powerful, more versatile and easier to use than anything else on the market. Check out Parkit360° at https://parkit360.ca.

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