Coastal Angler Magazine | March 2023 | North Central Florida/Nature Coast Edition

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Major League Baseball’s JD Martinez has garnered a lot of accolades, including three Silver Sluggers, a Hank Aaron Award and MLB Player of the Year. e man is a vetime All-Star! What some folks might not know about the former Boston Red Sox turned Los Angeles Dodger is he’s also an avid sherman.

Growing up in Miami, he o en escaped to sh the Florida Keys. rough the years, that passion never faded. He now lives in Islamorada and spends the o season shing with Capt. Brandon “ e Bean” Storin.

Capt. Bean grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and has vacationed every year in the Keys since he was 5 years old. He shed with Capt. Jimmy Willcox, who inspired a dream to become a backcountry guide. In 2021, e Bean ful lled his dream.

Together, JD and Capt. Bean have made memories while landing some awesome sh. eir rst trip in the Islamorada backcountry produced JD’s personal-best tripletail. It was JD’s rst time tripletailing, and they were sight-casting buoys. Just like hitting a 95-mph fastball, timing and execution are everything, and JD made the perfect cast when they spotted a stud tripletail. Several runs and exhales later, Bean swooped deep and netted the 20-plus-pound

beast. It was JD’s rst, and it is a personal best that will take some work to beat.

Another epic adventure took place during a sunset black n tuna mission. Capt. Bean knew ns, and they used light spinning tackle to make it more fun. It didn’t take more than a couple minutes for JD to get tight on a monster n. All you could hear was the reel screaming, and the rod was doubled over the whole ght. It was JD’s personal-

full-grown one to boot.

On their most recent adventure, Capt. Bean and JD were bottom shing for mutton snapper when an unexpected bite inhaled a whole ballyhoo. It ended up being an almost record-breaking yellowtail snapper, which at 29 inches was the sh of a lifetime. Gray’s taxidermy commemorated the yellowtail to add to JD’s mount collection, along with the aforementioned tripletail.

JD is a good angler, and he is not the rst Red Sox slugger to nd a shing home on Islamorada. Ted Williams, considered by many to be the greatest hitter of all time, played for the Sox from 1939-1960. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, and he is also a member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. Williams resided and shed in Islamorada for bone sh and tarpon with legendary Capt. Jimmy Albright. It is said he became as good an angler as any of the guides.

MLB and the Islamorada backcountry have a shared history. Capt. Bean and JD continue adding to the legends to this day.

Follow JD Martinez (@jdmartinez28) and Capt. Bean (@bnmbean) on Instagram. Some of their adventures are featured on YouTube at Bean Sport shing TV.

Noodling for Cat sh...what have I gotten myself into?

is past summer, I wanted to do something exciting and di erent with my friends for my “bachelorette” getaway. I always thought noodling would be a cool experience.

If you’re not familiar with noodling, it’s a technique anglers use to catch cat sh with their hands. In the lead-up to the spawn, cat sh nd holes in the banks where they will eventually lay and guard their eggs. It’s up to the angler to locate either a natural hole or a strategically placed box that a cat sh has decided to call home. e angler then sticks their hand into the hole, triggering the cat sh to chomp down on their hand and forearm. en, it’s a wrestling match to the surface.

e athead cat sh we pursued don’t have teeth, but they do grow large, with some sh reaching well over 50 pounds. It takes all your strength to get them out of their happy place and up to the surface to become sh celebrities.

Because it takes place during the spawn, this style of shing has become almost 100-percent catch-and-release for many noodlers. A er a few photos, sh are released safely to return to their holes and continue spawning duties.

When my two best friends and I le the familiar clear Florida waters for the beautiful state of Alabama, we had the goal to get one of these monster cats to bite... our arms. I’m not going to lie; I was a bit nervous getting on the boat. It was beautiful and peaceful on the river,


but the water is murky like chocolate milk and the banks are muddy. Shoes are highly recommended.

When I entered the water at our rst spot, it kind of hit me: “What have I gotten myself into?” But there was no turning back. Our guide located the wooden box he had planted earlier in the season and instructed me to hold my breath and lie on the bottom while slowly sliding my hand into the hole.

At rst there was nothing. en… WHAM! It was like a toothless gator grabbed me. I had been instructed to grab that sucker by its lower jaw with both hands and not to let go. So that’s what I did. A er a brief struggle, I had a dandy on the surface staring right at me! rough the day, we tried many holes, some empty and some with sh. Each time we stopped, the anticipation and excitement were the same as at the rst hole. It was a great experience, and I plan to go again soon. If you’ve ever thought of going noodling, I highly recommend it, 10/10.

e noodling season runs from midspring through the summer, depending on the location. Get online and nd a local guide for the area you’re interested in. Feel free to contact me with questions on Instagram @ get_outside_with_deidra or my husband, Capt. Jamie rappas @yellow_dawg_ shing.

Deidra and her husband Capt. Jamie rappas are co-publishers of the Volusia County, Fla. edition of Coastal Angler Magazine.

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Today we are going to cruise past the shallow South Texas ats, through the pass, and nd some nearshore rocks loaded with huge legal Texas red snapper! What a di erence a few miles and 68 feet of water can make.

I typically make a handful of trips to the short rigs or rocks o the Texas coast each summer for a change of scenery. On the calm summer days, the mosquito eet (smaller bay boats) breaks the jetties and heads out for kings, cobia and red snapper. ese shallow-water snapper are typically in the 16- to 20-foot range. ey are tasty none the less, but nothing like what you nd close to shore in winter, as I recently observed during my rst winter o shore trip. Recently, we were in between cold fronts and had our rst sunny day in more than a week. Several days of windy, cloudy, cold, rainy days had me longing for some sunny rays. When my brother called and asked if I wanted to join him and his neighbor for some Texas red snapper, I didn’t hesitate to say yes! e photos he sent of the previous trip’s catch were the icing on the cake. e forecast called for 2- to 3-foot seas—which turned out to be less—70degree sunny temps, and wind at 6 knots from the east. is was a one-day window.

When we pulled up to a small set of rocks, there were two other boats there and four rods were doubled over! One of the boats was doing a bag check, and I watched him tossing and counting 15- to 20-pound snapper into the cooler. His count ended at 14, two shy of his limit… and they had two on the line. Keep in mind, at this time my personnel best snapper was about 8 pounds, and everything I was seeing was more than twice that size. e anticipation was high as I waited for the trolling motor to lock in.

Once the trolling motor settled into place, we pinned chunks of squid onto bottom rigs weighted with 8 to 12 ounces of lead and the fun began! It became a bit chaotic with doubles on while trying to coax a 20-pound snapper into an oversized net while still trying to catch one yourself.

It is hard to beat the drag zinging of a king mackerel or the Mack Truck power of a cobia during the calm days of late summer, but I might have to switch my snapper season from summer to winter! When the smallest winter ones are twice the size of your largest summer catch, it’s an easy switch.

Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures® and the owner of PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOCKIN TAIL LURES®
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It’s Pompano Time in South Florida!

Pompano have already begun to show up here on South Florida’s east coast, and the bite will only get better as we move deeper into spring.

Temperature drives the movements of these tasty little jacks. ey prefer 70- to 80-degree water temps, they travel in schools and feed on mollusks and crustaceans in inlets and o sandy beaches. ese are some of the reasons pompano are a favorite target of shore-based anglers. Once you nd them, you are in for a world of fun.

Florida pompano, like permit, are in the jack family. ey have a strong resemblance to each other, so it’s important to be able to tell them apart. Size is a dead giveaway when you’re dealing with mature specimens, as pompano rarely grow larger than 6 pounds and permit regularly reach weights of up to 40 pounds. Pompano and juvenile permit, however, have a similar appearance. e most noticeable di erence is a permit’s larger, humped forehead. Pompano also tend to be more yellow throughout their body, while permit only have yellow on their bellies near their anal ns.

Anytime from March into the beginning of September, pompano move o shore to broadcast spawn. Since they already travel in schools, this is spontaneous, and they head back inshore when they are done. Prime time to sh for them here is April and May, and you’ll nd them along sandy beaches as well as around oyster and seagrass beds. Pompano seem to enjoy water with more current,

which has that milky look.

Pompano migrate seasonally to stay in their preferred water temperatures, and they have been found as far north as Massachusetts. ey move north or farther o shore to nd cooler water in deep summer. ey come back south in fall to prepare for the spring mating season. Local movements also happen due to tides and other conditions. ey are either in an area or they are not, and they move to nd waters where they can feed comfortably. A er strong storms, our sandbars tend to change, which will also change where pompano are feeding.

Pompano are very spirited ghters on light tackle. Small jigs in yellow or chartreuse are commonly used with great success. Beach anglers use long surf rods and chicken rigs baited with shrimp, clams, crab knuckles and sand eas. Sand eas are the preferred bait. Many anglers take it a step further by adding a piece of arti cial bait, such as Fishbites, to the natural baits. is is especially e ective when other sh peck o natural bait quickly. It ensures something stays on the hook, as most of these arti cial baits are very durable. ese arti cial baits can also be added to jigs for scent.

Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 56 IGFA world records in various categories. She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part time Bow n Guide Service as well as shing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her on social media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors.

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Let’s talk a bait that works absolutely everywhere. e bladed jig, also called a chatterbait, is one of the most versatile baits you can tie on the end of your line. It’s one of my all-time favorites. From Florida to New York, in any season, this bait catches them.

ere are hundreds of situations that make me want to sling a chatterbait. I always keep one tied on because it’s so versatile. Whether it’s grass, rocks, docks, wood or open water, there isn’t a situation where this bait doesn’t work.

Use a chatterbait as a search bait and cover some water. If there is a hungry bass around and you match your color to the forage they are feeding on, you will get them to bite. Unless the water you are shing is extremely muddy, matching color to the forage species is important. In cold water, where bass are feeding on red and orange craw sh, tie on a bright red or orange bladed jig. If you are in the south and bass are feeding on bluegill or shiners, stick to natural colors like a green pumpkin or some kind of gold and silver. e only time I throw

a bright white or chartreuse chatterbait is in extremely stained water, where I need the bait to stand out. Always match the hatch!

I live in Florida, and our spawning season is earlier than most. By the time you read this, most of our sh will be nished spawning. Farther north, they’ll just be getting started. A chatterbait is deadly when bass are staged up before, during and a er the spawn. e chattering blade drives these sh crazy. It’s a sh call. row it around in a staging area and you will have a very good day on the water.

ere isn’t a wrong way to use it. With the many colors, weights and size options, there is a match for the style of shing you want to do. From northern smallmouths to giant South Florida largemouths, every bass will eat a bladed jig. Like any bait, a chatterbait will perform best when matched with the right gear. I like a medium-heavy, moderate-action rod. You don’t want to set the hook as much as you want to reel into the sh when they eat the bait. Treat it like a bait with treble hooks. e 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’4mhm is absolutely perfect for this application. I pair a 7:5:1 gear ratio Concept A 13 Fishing reel and 15- to 20-pound Seaguar AbrazX. Hope this shing tip nds you well and puts more sh in your boat. Don’t hesitate to contact me on social media with any questions.

It’s 8:17 p.m. Been out on the lake for hours. But there are more fsh in the water. And my LBP batteries are still going strong. Maybe One More Cast . . . the offcial battery of “One More Cast...” Visit Or call us at 727-233-9831
Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at www.tylerwoolcott
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Triple Threat Throwdown to Ra e O Loaded Fishing Kayak

Florida’s saltwater angler recognition program, Catch a Florida Memory, is sweetening the pot this year by o ering anglers a shot at winning a fully loaded shing kayak.

Rigged out with an accessory package from Yak Attack, this Bona de SS127 series kayak is a shing machine. It will be ra ed o to one lucky member of Catch a Florida Memory’s Triple reat Club a er a season-long event billed as the Triple reat rowdown. Only members of the Triple reat Club who are recognized with a Catch a Florida Memory achievement between now and Sept. 5 will be eligible for the ra e.

Triple Threat Club

Triple reat Club status is awarded to anglers who have quali ed for recognition in all three of the following Catch a Florida Memory programs. Once an angler enters the Triple reat Club, they are a member for life. ey receive a dry- t performance shing shirt and entry into Triple reat Club opportunities like the Triple reat rowdown.

• A Saltwater Grand Slam consists of catching three speci ed species within a 24-

hour time period. ere are nine di erent grand slam categories for di erent saltwater species in di erent habitats.

• Saltwater Reel Big Fish recognition is for anglers who catch one exceptionally large specimen from a list of 30 di erent species with pre-determined qualifying length.

• e Saltwater Fish Life List 10 Fish Club is for anglers who have caught 10 di erent species of saltwater sh from the Catch a Florida Memory Life List of 70 species.

Raffle Eligibility

Eligible anglers must qualify for a recognition between now and Sept. 5, 2023 and be a member of the Triple reat Club at the time of the drawing. Eligible recognitions include a Grand Slam, a Reel Big Fish recognition, or a Life List recognition. Each angler will receive only one entry into the Triple reat rowdown ra e.

For more information and to submit catches, go to catcha

The fght for an unforgettable catch begins here. From elusive bonefsh to massive tarpon and beyond, fy fshing adventures across The Out Islands’ shallow-water fats offer more thrills and tales for even the most experienced anglers. See what could be waiting on the other side of your line. Discover our specials at 300

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This month, for the rst time in more than 30 years, a few Florida anglers will have the opportunity to harvest a goliath grouper. e limited and highly regulated season runs from March 1 through May 31, and you’re out of luck if you don’t already have a state-issued Goliath Grouper Harvest Permit.

Just 200 non-transferable permits were issued by lottery a er the application period back in October 2022. is spring, permit holders will hit the water in search of a very expensive sh sandwich. On top of a $10 fee to enter the lottery, anglers selected for a permit paid $150 for Florida residents and $500 for non-residents for the chance to harvest a single sh.

“No way. Not interested at all,” said one angler from the Florida Keys when asked if they hoped to get a permit. “I guess there’s some novelty in eating a sh that no one is supposed to have tasted for 30 years, and it might make sense if they let you keep a big one, but it’s hardly worth my time to chase a 10-pound grouper.”

e slot limit for the one sh allowed per permit holder is 24 to 36 inches. Fish above or below that slot must be released immediately. Anglers with goliath tags will be intentionally shing for juveniles rather than the enormous 8-foot-long, 800-pound monsters that lurk around shallow, nearshore structure.

is highly regulated and extremely limited harvest seems to be the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) way of testing the waters. Harvest of goliath grouper was completely banned in 1990 a er the population collapsed due to over shing and the loss of mangrove habitat required by juveniles of the species. Since then, the population has rebounded and abundance continues to increase. Removal of just 200 sh from the population, and no more than 50 sh from Everglades National Park, will not hinder rebuilding, according to an FWC presentation on the shery.

Additionally, goliath grouper may not be harvested from federal waters or from the waters of Martin County, including the St. Lucie River and its tributaries, south through the Atlantic coast of Monroe County and Dry Tortugas National Park.

Goliath grouper harvest will also allow FWC to collect important data for a species about which there is plenty to learn. Upon catching their one goliath, tag holders must immediately apply their tag to the lower jawbone of the sh and report their catch online within 24 hours. Even if they don’t catch a sh, tag holders must report that a er the season ends. Some permitted anglers will be required to provide a biological sample of their sh for genetic testing.

For more information, go to

Your Health and Safety are our utmost concern. COVID-19 CDC Guidelines are in full e ect. All accommodations are completely cleaned and sanitized prior to guest arrival

North Central Florida/Nature Coast

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield




With this March 2023 issue, (our 133rd) we begin our TWELTH year bringing the world’s greatest FREE fishing magazine to North Central Florida and the Nature Coast. We began March 2012, with NO publishing experience, and really no clue what we were getting ourselves into. Even though we were not young, we are smart and we could learn. We were going to succeed no matter what, and we have! When we began, we were print only. Now we are on the web, and we have videos. Interested? Call me and I will tell you all about the videos.

Dr. Kevin McCarthy has been writing for us since our first issue. Every month he brings us something new and fresh. “Kevin, you are a treasure, and you are much appreciated!” See page 3 for FLORIDA WATERWAYS.

I also want to acknowledge and thank Capt. Tommy Derringer and Capt. Pat McGriff. Capt. Derringer (ST. AUGUSTINE page 11) joined us April 2012 and Capt. McGriff (KEATON BEACH page 15) joined us May 2012. Noel Kuhn (SURF & PIER page 11) has also been with us since our first year. “WOW! We so much appreciate their loyalty and dedication!”

This month’s recipe Lobster and Shrimp over Angel Hair Pasta, page 2, is a delicious seafood combination with mushrooms, wine and Parmesan.

New advertiser this month, U-Dump located in Ocala, sells dump trailers and also parts and supplies for all your trailers, including boat trailers, horse trailers, equipment trailers and RVs. See page 16. Mark your calendars, April 15th is the Fly-In, Cruise-In and Business Expo in Cross City. A day of fun for the whole family! FREE admission. See page 10.

As we begin our twelfth year of publication, we first want to thank the wonderful folks at our Coastal Angler Corporate office for their ongoing support and assistance. We send a really big thank you to our family of franchise owners across the country for their generous sharing of advice, photos, articles and sometimes just an understanding and sympathetic ear. Thank you to our advertisers and distribution locations. Thank you to our writers for giving of their time and knowledge to provide us with timely forecasts and articles. Thank you to Kathleen, our graphic artist. You see her beautiful work on every page. Thank you to Rosa, our distribution assistant, helping us to get the magazines to our pick-up locations and into your hands. Last, but certainly not least, thank you to YOU, our reader. If you stop reading our magazine, we are out of business in a hurry. Again, I want to remind you to get your flu shot and Covid booster. Stay smart. Stay well and stay alive.

Cary Crutchfield


Lynn Crutchfield


Rosa Crisman


Kathleen Stemley


Noel Kuhn

Dr. Kevin McCarthy

Capt. Jason Clark

Capt. Katie Jo Davis

Capt. Tommy Derringer

Capt. Andrew Fagan

Capt. Jonathan Hamilton

Capt. Tony Johns

Capt. James Kerr

Capt. Pat McGriff

Capt. Brent Woodward

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe
Florida Nature
MARCH 2023 EDITION Find Your Outdoors Here!



Remove lobster meat from shells and cut meat into bite sized pieces. Bring a med pot of salted water to a boil. Add angel hair and cook uncovered 4 to 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep warm.

While pasta is cooking, melt ¼ cup butter in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook about one minute, just until softened. Stir lobster, shrimp, and basil into skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, turning once. Add mushrooms, white parts of onions and parsley. Reduce to low. Add wine and simmer for a minute. Add cream, green parts of onions, remainder of butter, most of grated cheese and simmer until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste and gently fold in the cooked pasta.

• Angel Hair pasta for two (or pasta of your choice)

• ¼ cup butter

• 2 cloves garlic minced

• 4 green onions

• 2 Florida lobsters

• 10 to 12 Jumbo

Shrimp shelled and deveined

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

• 4 med/large mushrooms slices

• ¼ cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc.)

• ½ cup heavy cream

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan or Romano

Divide between two plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve with something green like broccoli, spinach or rapini.

Don’t want to splurge for lobster? Substitute scallops for the lobster or just shrimp exclusively. Delicious no matter what!

Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida
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IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA 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, Fri-Sat 10:00-8:00. 201 NW 5th St. Crystal River 352-795-4700.


In the cold snap we recently had in North Florida, one of the animals who has suffered is the manatee. The fully aquatic mammals, which are sometimes called “sea cows,” can grow to over thirteen feet in length and weigh over 1,300 pounds. Their paddlelike tails propel them ever so slowly through the warm waters of our springs.

One of the refugees established in North Florida for the protection of the endangered West Indian Manatee is Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge on the west coast of Florida below Cedar Key. Established in 1983, the refuge preserves an undeveloped habitat in Kings Bay near the headwaters of Crystal River. The refuge attracts thousands of visitors in the cold winter months, as people can take boat tours and even rent kayaks to get close to the marvelous animals.

The two dozen natural springs that feed into Kings Bay maintain a constant temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) that the gentle giants thrive in. They cannot survive if the water temperature is below 60 °F. Their natural source for warmth during winter is warm, spring-fed rivers. One can swim or snorkel with the manatees, but people should not feed or touch the animals, which could lose their natural fear of humans and of boats, which can do terrible damage to the backs of lumbering manatees too slow to avoid speedboats.

Another popular place to view manatees is Manatee Springs State Park, which is six miles west of Chiefland on S.R. 320 off U.S. 19. The first-magnitude spring there flows directly into the Suwannee River and can often have far fewer visitors than the more popular Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. The great English travel writer William Bartram (1739–1823) gave the present name to the springs after he saw a

carcass of a manatee on the shoreline.

The gentle giants spend half the day sleeping underwater, but come up for air every 15 minutes or so. The animals in our Florida waters can go between fresh and salt water without any bad results. Of the estimated 13,000 West Indian manatees in existence, some six thousand or more are in Florida waters. There is a long tradition in exploratory literature that equates manatees with mermaids, but that premise is a little hard to believe.

Because Florida manatees are dying in alarming numbers because of a lack of acceptable vegetation, local officials have begun distributing some twenty thousand pounds of romaine and leaf lettuce each week to the animals in different parts of Florida. Let’s hope that most of the manatees survive our cold winter. They have certainly brought much pleasure to visitors and residents alike.

Kevin McCarthy, the author of North Florida Waterways (2013 - available at, can be reached at

Kevin McCarthy A sign in a waterway warning of nearby manatees The endangered Florida manatee A map showing the distribution of manatees A manatee swimming along A mother manatee and calf A large manatee in Blue Spring State Park


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


arch is here and I couldn’t be more excited for some consistent weather and warmer temperatures! Trout out on the grass flats, pompano and permit moving inside on the Nature Coast and sheepshead piling on up the nearshore rocks and wrecks. Not to mention, snook season opens as well! March is one of my favorite times of the year to fish and for a wide variety to entail a fun day on the water.

The trout will begin moving to the creek mouths and grass flats in abundance as many of our bait fish will be found in the areas. While trout fishing, you can expect to hook into a pompano, permit and even Spanish mackerel this time of the year. I use a 1/8-ounce brown in color jig head with a medium sized shrimp jigging across the bottom. I would reel it in it fast enough to keep the bait shrimp from eating it, but slowly enough for it to sink back to the bottom as I retrieve.

The sheepshead bite will continue to progress as they swim in large schools along rock piles and nearby wrecks. A 3/0 circle hook with a smaller sized shrimp along the bottom creates a great opportunity to be eaten. Mangrove snapper will also be found along these same areas as they move inshore for their spawning.

Snook will move towards the mouths of the rivers and on the outer islands as the water

temperatures warm. A large mud minnow beneath a float offers a great presentation. My favorites artificial is the Rapala Xrap SXT-10. These fish are often reaction eaters and enjoy striking a vibrating lure passing by.

Our tide patterns will also be a noticeable change beginning in March. Many of our higher tides will be during the day surrounding the new and full moon.

Captain Katie
Cary A. Crutchfield Registered Real Estate Broker GRI and CRS Designations
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Hey, everybody. It's beginning to look a lot like spring. Water temps are on the rise and the fish are noticing!

creeks vs deep in the creeks and have been pretty easy to target around shell and oyster beds. Cut mullet has been my go-to bait.

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The flats are coming alive with silver and spotted trout, and they are gearing up for their spawn, and becoming very aggressive when you get into them. My go-to bait selection has been a 3.5 inch C&M Custom Baits Granny Smith paddle tail underneath a Four Horsemen Popping Cork. A 2.5 to 3 foot leader is all you will need. These fish aren't much deeper than 4 feet at the moment.

The Reds are starting to make their way to the mouths of the

Let's not forget, sheepshead are spawning just a few miles from shore. Grab some fiddler crabs, a small circle hook and go to town on some of your favorite nearshore structure.

Well, y'all. Until next month stay safe out there and I'll see you on the water!

In The Slot Fishing Charters


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Welcometo the month of March, here on the Northern Gulf Coast of Florida. March is considered to be the beginning of the spring season here along the Big Bend region of Florida, but Old Man Winter can hold on tight!

This year it's the beginning of the second week of February and the water temps are already in the mid 60s. This is a good sign for an early Spring if we don't get any strong late season cold fronts that keep the waters cooled off!

The redfish are getting more active as the water temps are rising. The fish are feeding more often and for longer periods of time as the bait becomes more plentiful. Like many anglers, one of my favorite baits is a gold spoon. This bait can be fished at different depths and speeds of retrieve. Most of the time, I like the ⅝ or ¾ ounce spoons, I like this size spoon for casting distance, and I find it easier to work up and down in the water column with a fast or slow retrieve; it just depends on the conditions! Also, in my area don't forget to use a silver spoon when the water gets clearer.

I also like to use an inline spinner bait with a FishBites Fight Club Lure like the 5-inch Brawler Jerkbait and 5-inch Dirty Boxer Curly Tail. I really do use all the colors, but the Hammer Fist, Haymaker and Knock Out are three that I use a lot when redfishing. Many times, the addition of the scented bait can be the difference between a good day, and a not so good of a day.

At this time of the year, you will still find many of the resident redfish in the Lower Suwannee River. As the waters in the estuary and bays warm up, many of these fish will move out of the river looking for an easy springtime meal! At this time of the year we also

get a migration of redfish from the offshore waters into the bays, tidal creeks and Lower Suwannee River Estuary. These fish are easy to notice as they will be much lighter in color and have a bright aqua green hue on their tail and fins!

March is also a great time for speckled trout along the upper Nature Coast. Look for the trout to be close to deeper water and getting really hungry, as spawning season is approaching!

March is the beginning of spawning season for the sheepshead on the offshore artificial reefs and rock piles. Many of the "Suwannee Artificial Reefs" will hold sheepshead; it's just a question of which ones will be the best. Also, rock piles with sand and grass close by will attract spawning sheepshead. If you haven't tried the FishBites EZ Strip Baits you should! Until next time, be safe, Tightlines and Catchemup!

Captain Tony Johns | 352-221-2510

Instagram: captaintonyjohns

Facebook: Lower Suwannee River Fishing Adventures or Captain Tony Johns

Here's a beautiful Lower Suwannee redfish who couldn't resist the FishBites Fight Club Shrimp! Beautiful deep dark reds on the redfish, after they have been in the tannic waters of the Lower Suwannee River
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It’sjust an awesome time of the year to fish in Northeast Florida… Spring seems to be here early this year and this warmer weather will bring in the baitfish (mullet, pogies, etc.) and just about every predatory fish will be on the hunt for a good meal. Redfish will still be up on the flats, trout will be feeding along the ICW banks, and the drum and flounder will be stacked in the deeper creek holes. Just about everywhere you go, you’re going to run into some good fishing over the next couple of months.

Redfish will remain schooled up if the water temps stay on the cooler side. Look for the schools of redfish on the lower tide stages (especially on the negative low tides we get with a good west wind). I like to find flats that have somewhat of a deeper escape route for the fish. One of my favorite scenarios, would be a large flat on the edge of the ICW, that has a deeper area that drains into the ICW. The fish will stack up in those “drains” as the tide gets really low. If live bait is your thing, a mud minnow or live shrimp on a 1/4oz Saltwater Assassin jighead will be the perfect presentation to the schooledup fish. If you’re going with artificials, I like to use a Saltwater Assassin paddle tail on the same jig. Find the schools by looking for large wakes and/or “muds” that the fish will cause by moving around. Make sure to lead the fish by quite a bit as they can and will be a little spooky this time of year. You can also find some big schools of redfish stacked in the creek holes on the same low tides. Push back as far as possible in the creeks and find that last deep spot. Sometimes, the best bite can be in that last creek in the back, just as the tide starts to come in.

The next couple of months are my absolute favorite times of the year to

target big trout. Trout will be turning on with the warming air and water temps. Toss your favorite top-water plug, like the Berkley J-Walker, at first and last light along the ICW shell banks for some great big trout action. Once the sun comes up a bit, switch to a sub-surface plug or your favorite soft plastic on a jighead. The soft plastic and jighead rig, account for a good number of trout catches on my boat this time of year. I like to use the twitch-twitch-pause retrieval method. The fish usually take the lure on the pause. Target creek mouths on the outgoing tide and the ICW shell banks on the incoming. Any kind of rocks, docks, or structure with moving water around them will also be holding some nice trout, and of course, the live shrimp under a popping cork sometimes can’t be beat.

This month is typically one of the best times of the year for black drum in our area. The monster drum (sometimes up to 80 lbs. +) can be targeted in the deepest areas of the ICW and in all the area inlets. A halved blue crab on the bottom is the bait of choice for these prehistoric looking fish. The big ones will be spawning, so make sure to thoroughly revive them to ensure a healthy release, so they can take care of their business and keep the drum population thriving. The smaller “slot” sized black drum can be found in the creek holes and near deeper water structure such as bridges and jetties. Live or dead shrimp, fiddler crabs, and clams fished along the bottom will all make for some great drum action.

Tight Lines!


March could very well be the best month of the year for pompano and whiting. The whiting were on fire all of February and some pompano started showing up in Ponte Vedra the second week of last month. Usually, the pomps do not show up until the water temp gets back up to 64 degrees. They are now here, so it is GO time!

My favorite bait is sand fleas, however they have been really hard to come by in this cool water. The best time to gather them is on a sunny 80-degree afternoon on a low tide. Look for them on, or just before that first trough drop off. Live clams are my next choice. They are easy to get at your local seafood market. If you do not know, every fish in the surf will gobble up a fresh shrimp! Back in the 70s, that is all I used. Think about it; no circle hooks, no beads, no floats and no double dropper rigs was the norm. Back then, we used small J hooks and a one inch long piece of fresh shrimp. So do not over think it. All you have to do is put a good bait in front of a hungry fish.

Now, where to put that good fresh bait. When possible, I put one short. Then one just inside the bar. Then one past the bar. If I catch two fish on the same rod, I will move all rods

to that distance. Beyond that, I look for a sand bar that is just starting to have breaking waves. It does not matter incoming or outgoing. When the waves start breaking, it stirs up new food, i.e., sand fleas, Donax clams, ghost shrimp and small calico/spotted crabs. Since fish do not have hands, they rely on the waves to stir up their food. Hence, new waves breaking, equals new food for them. Target that area!

The double dropper rig is what I use 95% of the time. The only time I use the fish finder/sinker slider rig, is when I am fishing with the current in the run-out or in the inlet with swift moving tide. Hooks are the same on both 2/0 Eagle Claw L197. Do not get too caught up on beads and floats. Just remember, all you have to do is put a good bait in front of a hungry fish.

Now, get out there and catch them up! It is GO time! Spring has sprung! See you on the beach!

Noel Kuhn

43 years of surf fishing experience, surf fishing guide and long distance casting coach. Founding member of Florida Surf Casters club. 904-945-0660




Hello from Crystal River; hope everyone is doing good and enjoying the water.

Between the cold fronts, this time of year can be some of the best fishing in our area. It’s slowly starting to warm back up and get more into spring patterns and the trout fishing has been really great. I’ve been using Mirrordines and DOA jerk baits.

I like to target the 1-to-3-foot water depth, looking for the good hard bottom, and I prefer the low outgoing tide. Some days you have to move around until you find them, but once you start getting strikes, work that zone.

The redfish have been really good. I prefer live shrimp on a long shank hook.

For artificial, I’ll use a 1/4 gold spoon or a paddle tail on a 1/4 jig. I focus on the islands, creeks and shorelines that are holding mullet and usually find what we are looking for.

Snook are starting to setup on the outside islands and creeks, getting ready for the warmer months.

I like artificial while targeting snook. DOA bait buster are my goto. I’ll use a fast retrieval looking for breaks in the current or work under the trees.


March is one of my favorite months for fishing in our region. I love catching big trout. There’s something about a gator trout inhaling a nose hooked jerk bait in shallow clear water, where you get to see it. And March is the prime month for shallow water trout fishing. I really think that a big trout might truly be one of my favorite species that we have on the Nature Coast. I always look forward to this time of the year. Spring is in full effect, and with the rising water temperatures, these big trout start transitioning from offshore, and our rivers, back out to the rock flats. When trout fishing, look for hard yellow bottom on the second part of the incoming tide. These fish will not get on the rock until there’s enough water for them to feel comfortable, so you can get in there early, and actually keep them from coming on the rock. So be patient and wait. I like the DOA CAL 5 inch, in Glow or Glow/gold flake nose hooked on a 3/0 J hook. That’s my go-to. MirrODines also work

pretty good as well.

Red fishing will start to increase as well, on the outer islands. Fish will be transitioning out of the back and start working their way back to the outside. Shrimp under a cork is kind of hard to beat this time of the year. With the water clarity being so good, fly fishing can be good in March. I like throwing shrimp/bait fish pattern flies in these conditions. Near shore rock piles will start coming alive with plenty of action for everyone. Grunts, snapper, and mackerel will keep your rods bent, and make for one heck of a fish fry. Shrimp on a jig head will keep you busy.

Springtime fishing in Homosassa is really my favorite time of the year to fish. I hope you can find the time to get out and enjoy it as much as I do.

As always stay safe.

Capt. Stump 352-403-2073



Thus far, that seems to be the predetermined weather report for this year. Fishing remains steady inshore or nearshore, but finding a nice slick calm day to go has been limited.

Inshore, the redfish have had a great push into the creeks, and with higher tides and warmer weather, the majority of our fish will begin to push out onto the flats and points and islands here in our area of Yankeetown/Wacasassa. All of the people with jetboats, mudboats and airboats will have to share the backcountry with the less fortunate of folks, so to speak.

Onto positive things, snook season is now open, so everyone including me, is looking forward to a few snook dinners.

Nearshore, the tail end of sheepshead fishing will be great. March Is always the best month to catch a big breeder, so be mindful

of that, and release the big ones and keep the smaller ones for dinner. Cobia will begin to trickle in towards the end of the month with a few tripletail as well, so it should be the beginning of an action packed spring!

Capt. Andrew Fagan

Instagram : Capt_redfishdrew EBB TIDE CHARTERS

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Icanonly tell you how much I have been looking forward to March, at Keaton, since December. Quite a few years ago, reds were closed in February (no one knows why) and March meant reds were back open again. Then, for several years, trout were closed in January and February, so we looked forward to March for that. Now, I just look forward to March for the warmer water temps, which bring us some of the biggest trout of the year, for those willing to fish for them. I caught my largest to date in March, and also lost my largest trout to date in March.

So, once the Gulf water temps hold 65 degrees overnight “It is ON”. Trout fishing is simply at its best. Now that means topwater, “true topwater” i.e. “Walking the Dog” using stickbaits, like SheDogs, Skitterwalks, and ZaraSpooks. They will be fast and furious early and late in the day in shallows near creek channels, troughs and on adjacent grass flats.

Once the pelagic (migratory) OS when you begin throwing your surface plugs at them. If they aren’t eating the natural baits around you,

it isn’t so easy to catch them on your toys. Keep a rod with a soft jerkbait close, and follow up on missed strikes on plugs, especially if you are in a hurry to get your five in the boat.

So far, I have only touched on topwater in March, but almost every other technique and artificial bait will also take trout and reds in March.

Assassin Sea Shads and other paddletails, Assassin 5-inch shads and other soft jerkbaits, rigged on a jighead or combined with a Cajun Thunder, will all produce limits of trout in March.

Reds will eat spoons and jigspinners as well as plastics and synthetic baits fished on jigheads. Overall March is a wonderful month, and I hope you get a chance to come to Keaton Beach and enjoy it.

Meanwhile, Let's Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 30 years! cell: 850.838.7541


Hello guys and gals; hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! February was a tough fishing month for us. Weather was kind of all over the place. Needless to say, I’m ready for my birthday month of March! As I write this, we have started to see some white bait on the flats and some pelagics cruising. This is a good sign that the fish want to start migrating and push up. We will continue to fish for our usual March suspects of trout, redfish and sheepshead, and we should start to get some by- catches of black drum big and small, as well as Spanish mackerel and several other of those warm water fish.

Redfish should start to push more outside. March is gonna be one of your best months to throw artificial baits like spoons and top water. So, if catching a red on top water is something you’ve always wanted to do, give us a call we can teach ya how, and take you to the spot to make it happen.

March is also a very good month

to catch your biggest trout, and good numbers of them, and is also one of our busiest months of the year. So if you want to get out on the boat, then definitely get ahead of the rush. Until next time keep it Reel Native!!!

Captain Brent Woodard

Reel Native Fishing Charters


Grandson Stephen and Anna were married in December in Amarillo Texas. She has now joined him in Rota, Spain where he is stationed aboard the destroyer, USS Paul Ignatius. Stephen joined the Navy, August 2019. We are so happy to have a granddaughter-in-law and love them both.
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n cold, rainy, winter days, when most shermen are happy to stay home dreaming of better weather, a few die-hards gear up and get on the water. In the Southeast, bad weather is striper weather, my friend, and just the thought of hooking a 15- or 20-pound striped bass is enough to keep you warm on the inside.

Atlantic striped bass get all the attention up north. Blitzing linesiders are a prize of inshore and nearshore recreational sheries from the Carolinas up through the mid-Atlantic and New England. But they are down here in the south, too, and not just the landlocked stripers stocked in reservoirs by the states. My home base is Jacksonville, Fla., and although red sh and trout are the staple inshore species here, there are striper populations in coastal rivers like the St. Johns, Nassau and St. Marys.

I, however, was lured by reports a little farther north in Georgia, where rivers like the Satilla and Altamaha are producing big-time striper each front that rolls through. Stripers prefer low-light conditions and colder water temps, so overcast, rainy and cold days are the best days.

the rocks in order to navigate over the shallow sand and mud bars of the river. Georgia’s sounds and rivers are littered with piles of ballast rocks, many of which are sh magnets. We shed the point for a good 20 minutes with no

shed several spots with only a sh and speckled trout to keep our attention. We shy-looking downed timber and carefully navigated beneath a low bridge, where nd sh on the outgoing

Georgia On My Mind STRIPERS

He was correct. Jones hooked up with a nice 6-pound hybrid striped bass on his rst cast near the bridge. Hybrids are a hatchery-produced cross between striped bass and white bass. ey are unable to reproduce and are an excellent sport sh with the aggression of white bass and some of the size of a striper. ese hybrids came from the Georgia DNR hatchery at Richmond Hill, Ga.

I was giddy about the cold, foggy drizzle at 6:30 a.m. when I met guide Drew Jones at the Two-Way Fish Camp on the Altamaha near Darien, Ga. Jones runs charters in the area, and he’s caught more than 300 stripers up to 14 pounds for clients this season. ey’ve had some 30- and 40- sh days, and this felt like a perfect striper day!

All I had to do was get in the boat with my gear and a thermos of hot co ee. Jones was waiting for me with his Carolina ski in the water and a livewell full of gorgeous local live shrimp. As we motored o in the mist through creeks and the winding river, he told me a little about the shing.

Stripers are constantly on the move, and they hunt in packs. Jones dri shes live shrimp on oat rigs to locate concentrations of sh. en he switches to arti cial lures. Slow-sinking stick baits and bucktail jigs with so -plastic tails both work great.

Between Brunswick and Darien, Ga., the Altamaha system is a maze of creeks and tributaries. We stopped at the mouth of a creek on the Darien River, not far from downtown Darien. e tide was still coming in but slowing near the end of the high tide. Jones said to cast shrimp out in front a point where the current split to create a back eddy of slower ow. He said this was one of his favorite striper spots. It was an old ballast pile, where sailing ships from the 1800s dumped ballast weight from their hulls a er crossing the ocean from Europe. ey used hundreds, if not thousands, of 10- to 20-pound round rocks to stabilize their ships during the crossing and then dumped

Jones said he catches true stripers and hybrids together, and that sometimes aggressive stripers move in and take over when he’s catching trout. I threw to the same spot Jones caught his sh and immediately hooked and boated a 4-pound hybrid. e bite was on! We saw them busting nger mullet and had one come unbuttoned right at the boat. But then, as is sometimes the case with stripers, it ended as suddenly as it had begun. anchor and went back to the creek mouth where we started. Now the tide was running out swi ly. We caught several trout and a couple more hybrids before we headed back to the docks.

As we ran past downtown Darien, I saw remnants of old buildings from the 1800s and thought of the history. is was a major port during the early rise of the United States. Cotton and rice from slave plantations were shipped out of Darien, and old-growth cypress trees were logged way up the Altamaha. Loggers would cut trees close to the river and then ra them together in units of dozens of massive logs, which were oated down to the coastal sawmills with men riding the ra s.

Darien is a quiet town now, but it was a truly a bustling place then. It is beautiful with old live oaks and Spanish moss, and history bu s will not be disappointed. If you want to change up your shing and explore a special place, give Jones a call. He can hook you up…

Capt. Drew Jones can be contacted at (912) 242-2502.



If you’re a scalloper looking for a way to get involved in making more of the bivalves we all love, FWC has put a call out for “scallop-sitters” in the Florida Panhandle. e Scallop-Sitter program is available for volunteers in St. Joseph Bay, St. Andrew Bay and St. George Sound, and it is intended to increase scallop populations and reintroduce them to suitable areas from which they have disappeared.

Scallop-sitters volunteer to maintain cages with up to 50 bay scallops from June through January. On a monthly basis, volunteers check, count and clean their cages and scallops. Each volunteer will receive a cage, a bucket of scallops, tools to maintain cages, instructional materials and some fun giveaways.

To register as a scallop-sitter, you must meet the following requirements:

• Have no FWC violations on your record

• Live near St. Andrew Bay, St. Joseph Bay or St. George Sound

• Have access to the bay: via private dock, boat, or kayak

• Register through the UF Pace platform before May 25, 2023

• Watch virtual training video following registration and complete the program pre-survey

For more information, go to or email

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If you don’t already troll for grouper or if you’re looking for ways to improve your success rate, here are some things to consider while we wait for the seasons for our most popular species to re-open.

Large-lipped and big-pro le plugs are deadly, but many anglers struggle with getting lures into the strike zone. Many think if they are shing in 30 feet of water they need a plug that dives 30 feet, but that’s not always the case. Maximum dive depths are with everything optimum: speed, amount of line out and rigging.

First, consider your speed. I use Nomad DTX Minnow lures, which are designed to run anywhere

from 20 to 50 feet at speeds of 2 to 12 knots. e plugs will dive deeper at the higher end of that speed range than the lower end. I usually run about 5 knots and can easily get a 40-foot plug down to 30 feet at that speed, but a 30-foot plug would likely be short of the bottom. e amount of line you have out also greatly a ects the depth your plug is running, and this is where many mistakes are made. Slower speeds equal a atter angle of descent, so more line is needed. e idea is to be so close to the bottom that you occasionally bounce o it. Watch your rod tip for signs of the lure bouncing o the bottom. You will likely nd you need more line than you think. Keep dropping back until you start hitting bottom. e downside of this is you will get snagged on the bottom occasionally. When you do, don’t just try to wrench it o the bottom, get back behind the lure and pull it o in the opposite direction. A plus to the DTX Minnow is the single hooks seem to come o the bottom easier than treble hooks.

e nal piece to the puzzle is your rigging. Pulling 8- to 9-inch lures, and handling the sh that smack them, means you need stout tackle. But heavier lines create drag in the water that will impede the lure’s ability to dive. Using braid is a huge plus, as the diameter is much smaller and creates less drag. To further streamline, I use crimps on my leader between my lure and a small (but strong) swivel. It’s a little thing, but knots on heavy leader can be bulky and add to the

Heavy drags as well as keeping the boat in gear helps pull the sh away from cover quickly. Large single hooks aid in keeping you connected as the bigger gaps decrease the possibility of ripping the plugs out of the sh. Trolling is fun way to catch grouper and it’s a great nd new spots, as you can cover a lot of ground.

Will Schmidt is a seasoned tournament angler who has been writing about shing for more than three decades. Check out Nomad Lures at


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Iguess I was a little bored. For the past hour, I’d been on the phone with Daniele, the head of my office in Italy, reviewing our latest purchases of Italian gold, Murano glass and Italian-made shoes and handbags.

“Daniele,” I said, “What is the hottest jewelry in Italy right now?” His reply? Woven gold bracelets studded with jewelry. He texted me some photos and I knew immediately that this was jewelry that Raffinato just had to have.

The best part about these bracelets? The price. Because of our longstanding connections in Arezzo, the mecca of Italian goldsmithing, we can offer both bracelets together for just $99, a fraction of the price you’ll pay anywhere else for similar jewelry. Order today. These bracelets are one of our hottest sellers this year, and with disruptions in the supply chain, we can only guarantee that we have 1,273 861 of these bracelets on hand for this ad.

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2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Returns to the Tennessee River

The prestigious championship bass tournament—widely known as the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing”—will be held March 24-26 in downtown Knoxville and on the University of Tennessee Campus.

e Bassmaster Classic pits 55 of the world’s best bass anglers against one another for the title of Bassmaster Classic Champion. e Classic is a catch-and-release event, with bass being returned to the shery under the supervision of the TWRA.

Daily takeo s will be from Volunteer Landing on the Tennessee River in downtown Knoxville each competition day, and weigh-ins will take place in the ompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. e fan-favorite Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will be held Friday through Sunday, March 24-26 in the Knoxville Convention Center and the adjacent World’s Fair Exhibition Hall.

All activities and venues are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

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Twenty years ago, I wrote an article on the Golden Age of Panama shing. Long have anglers waited for access to the salt and freshwater environments of Colombia.

In 2016, a lengthy peace process was negotiated and a nal agreement for a cease re and cessation of hostilities between the government and militias. In truth, there are still areas of the country to be avoided and cocaine production remains high, but the political and drug-crime environment has improved enough to move Colombia nearer the top of the target list for angling. e country’s upward trajectory with new tourism outstrips its neighbors. e latest three trips we’ve taken to the country have been completely safe.

Fishing the Amazon and Orinoco River basins are “peacock bass trips.” It is a stunning shery, where you routinely encounter fellow anglers from the far side of the world. From there, these trips can be divided into peacocks and “what else.” In Guyana it was giant arapaima. For the last Brazil trip, it was big wolf sh. is venture was to the Guaviare River, massive itself, a tributary to the mighty Orinoco. It is hard to understand the size of these watersheds until you see them yourself. Our quarry here was payara, the vampire sh.

e dichotomy of life in the tropics is the wet and dry seasons. During the time of rain, the rivers swell from their banks into dense rainforest. Sitting in your boat, you listen to peacock bass bust prey far back in cover where no cast can go. e shing season is re ned to those months when the rivers shrink back into their skeletal forms and sh are targeted in remaining aneurysmal pools. But the payara have a need for speed. ey stack up in current and mouths of tributaries where more water ows. ere is something about going a er speed freaks… it presses my buttons.

Alberto “Beto” Mejia is the young progenitor of FISH COLUMBIA. He has developed lodges here, on the Orinoco and on the Paci c coast at Punta Ardita, just inside the Panamanian border. He is a stone-cold payara y sherman. is lodge is more rustic, and you really feel away from it all.

Peacocks and payara take ies very well, both poppers and streamers. For the conventional sherman, it’s a chance to use multiple baits and techniques. Very large topwater prop baits and poppers, big minnows at multiple depths. e Dramatis personae includes numerous others- pacu, sardinata, also the opportunity for multiple species of cat sh, some in the 400-pound range. Uraima falls in Venezuela was a specialized lodge for payara. is is o the list as a destination for various sordid reasons. I have bagged them across the frontiers of South America. Most run 6 to 7 pounds, and a very good one about 15 pounds. e sh on Columbia’s Orinoco run twice that size. I believe this is the best payara lodge on the planet.

For more information, go to www. For more from Riley Love, go to and nd him on social media @rileyloveauthor.


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The in atable shing kayak is super rugged and ready to take on hooks, ns, and rocks. Tough, fast, portable, and built especially for anglers. The patented NeedleKnife™ keel cuts through the water so you can paddle or motor your way to your favorite spot quickly and easily. The Angler 385fta is 12’6” x 36” fully in ated and holds up to 2 people or 635 lbs. of people and gear. Packs down to 36” x 15” x 20” to t in a car trunk, SUV, RV, any small place. Various seating and trolling motor options are available.

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console or tackle bag. You’ll nd other uses as necessity dictates.

Soft Baits: You’re throwing away money if you sh so plastics and don’t use super glue. Most so plastics are designed for action rather than durability. ey’re disposable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the most you can out of them.

If you’re shing a paddletail, grub, eel, worm or any so plastic on a jighead, a small drop of super glue will extend the life of that bait inde nitely. Secured to the jig, it will never slide down to the bend of the hook like a loose sock. To a lesser extent, this trick works for bare hooks, as well. Forget multiple sh, a so bait can last multiple trips when it’s glued in place— barring, of course, interactions with toothy sh.

When it comes to sh with teeth, there’s no way to avoid rips and tears in your so plastics. Even toothless sh will beat up a bait with extended use. Super glue repairs slices and gouges in so plastics. e rigidity of the repaired area will a ect the action of the lure, but this can be a trip saver when you’re down to the last in a bag of that one color sh are biting.

Hard Baits: With hard baits, super glue is for on-the-water repairs. If the lip on your crankbait gets loose, a tiny dab of glue will hold it tight and keep your lure swimming true. If the screw eye comes out of your favorite topwater or swimbait, gluing it back will render it stronger than it was to begin with. Super glue extends the life of expensive lures that would otherwise be headed for the trash.


Just like pliers or a good knife, super glue is an essential item in your shing kit. ere are numerous practical uses for this stu in shing, and it’s also a catch-all tool. It’s like liquid duct tape. When you have it, there’s no end to the situations when it comes in handy. Here are a few good reasons you should keep a tube of super glue in your

Knots: e debate is ongoing on whether super gluing knots increases their strength. Most folks who do it are in the “it can’t hurt camp.” However, there are a couple situations when it just makes sense. Coating line-to-line connections that frequently run through the guides smooths the knot and protects it from wear. With braided line, good knots, and the right knots, are crucial. Even so, braided line can cut itself when knots shi and tighten under stress. A drop of super glue keeps knots snug and secure.

Miscellaneous: Super glue can save the day when an eyelet or rod tip comes loose. It’ll also keep you on the water when you cut yourself chunking bait. Glue the wound shut and keep shing. Save the emergency room for later.

For more tips, go to



Virginia angler Jacob Moore was quite surprised when he reeled in this largemouth bass from the James River. Moore was expecting to catch a largemouth—he was targeting them. But he de nitely wasn’t expecting to catch a golden largemouth!

“I was out there practicing for a tournament, catching a bunch of sh,” said Moore, who works as an arborist and participates in local tournaments. “I was on the lower James near Chippokes [State Park]. When I hooked into that one, I thought I had a saltwater sh on at rst, but lo and behold, it was a largemouth! A very di erent largemouth, though. I haven’t seen anything like that before. I’ve seen bass with black spots, but I’d never seen an albino one.”

“Golden largemouth bass are extremely rare and most anglers have never seen them, let alone heard of them before,” said Alex McCrickard, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Aquatic Education Coordinator. “ e sh is a product of a genetic mutation that alters the skin pigments called xanthism. Yellow pigmentation dominates in xanthism, as you can see in Moore’s golden largemouth.”

Moore measured the sh at 16 ½ inches, took a few photos, then returned it to the water.

For more information, go to


This big Georgia sheepshead tied a two-decade-old state record for the species a er weighing in at 14 pounds, 14.37 ounces.

e angler, Ben Golden III, of Midway, Ga., caught his sh near the Sunbury community outside of Midway on Feb. 3. e catch quali es as a tie with the existing record of 14-pounds, 14-ounces set by Ralph White, of Rincon, Ga., in 2002.

“To be honest, I’ve been telling folks it’s been my goal to catch a state record for 10 or 12 years,” said Golden, who grew up in Midway and has been shing the Georgia coast most of his life. “I’m excited to say that I did it.”

Sheepshead are common around 7 pounds but can easily be found up to 10 pounds. ey reach maturity around 3 to 4 years of age and primarily live inshore, o en near rocky areas, docks, bridges or arti cial reefs, or other areas with barnacles.

Between 2017 and 2021, NOAA Fisheries estimates that Georgia recreational anglers caught an average of 490,197 sheepshead each year, with an average of 262,457 being harvested.

For more information on the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records program, visit

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pages 57-58


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pages 56-57

FastTrack™Angler 385fta

pages 55-56


page 54

2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Returns to the Tennessee River

pages 52-53


pages 46-50

Georgia On My Mind STRIPERS

page 45

Throw Yourself a Bone

pages 43-45


pages 37-39, 41-42


page 37


pages 34-36


pages 29-31, 33


pages 26-28


page 25


page 24


page 23

Goliath Harvest Opens for the First Time in 30 Years

pages 22-23

Triple Threat Throwdown to Ra e O Loaded Fishing Kayak

page 20


pages 16-18

It’s Pompano Time in South Florida!

pages 14-15


pages 10, 12


pages 8-9


pages 7-8
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