Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2019 | North Central Florida/Nature Coast

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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Inside: CAMPING Review

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BAHAMA

Bones

It's Tarpon TIME

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPTAIN NICK STANCZYK

VOLUME 24 • ISSUE 290

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM

F R A N C H I S E

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

A V A I L A B L E

MAY 2019

W O R L D W I D E

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THE LIGHTEST PENN REEL EVER MADE The Lightest PENN Reel Ever Made. The all new Conflict II matches an extremely light weight design with PENN’s legendary durability. Featuring our RR30 body, CNC Gear Technology and HT-100 Drag system, the Conflict II is the ultimate inshore reel.

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LIFE ON THE COAST IS BETTER WHEN YOU STAY CENTERED.

190 FSH SERIES

Make the most of the open water with Yamaha’s 190 FSH® Series. Our all-new 19-foot center console boats have been redesigned from the ground up for more fishing and family fun. A saltwater corrosion resistant driveline protects you from the harshest elements. And with an extra spacious layout and new storage pods to keep all of your gear, the 190 FSH Series will put you in the middle of everything you love about living on the coast. Starting at $29,799.

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YA M A H A B OAT S . C O M | #RunTheWater ©2019 Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA. All rights reserved. Follow instructional materials and obey all laws. Ride responsibly, wearing protective apparel and USCG-approved personal flotation device. Always drive within your capabilities, allowing time COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM and distance for maneuvering, and respect others around you. Never drink and ride. Shown with optional accessories.

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FROM SHIP TO SHORE

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AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN.

The new Havalon® TalonTM Quik-Change IITM Multi-Blade Cutlery System brings together nearly 40 years of expertise in the surgical field and decades of quality time spent out in open waters. This innovative platform features a variety of reliable add-on blades designed to make clean work of the dirty work all the way from ship to shore. NATIONAL

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THE STRONGEST SPINFISHER YET!!! The 6th generation Spinfisher is now stronger and more water resistant than ever. With machined CNC gearing and an IPX5 water resistant rating, the newest Spinfisher is ready for anything.

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© 2019 PENN is a registered trademark of Pure Fishing, Inc.

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n the early 1930s watch manufacturers took a clue from Henry Ford’s favorite quote concerning his automobiles, “You can have any color as long as it is black.” Black dialed watches became the rage especially with pilots and race drivers. Of course, since the black dial went well with a black tuxedo, the adventurer’s black dial watch easily moved from the airplane hangar to dancing at the nightclub. Now, Stauer brings back the “Noire”, a design based 27 jewels and handon an elegant timepiece built in 1936. Black dialed, assembled parts drive complex automatics from the 1930s have recently hit this classic masterpiece. new heights at auction. One was sold for in excess of $600,000. We thought that you might like to have an affordable version that will be much more accurate than the original. Basic black with a twist. Not only are the dial, hands and face vintage, but we used a 27-jeweled automatic movement. This is the kind of engineering desired by fine watch collectors worldwide. But since we design this classic movement on state of the art computer-controlled Swiss built machines, the accuracy is excellent. Three interior dials display day, month and date. We have priced the luxurious Stauer Noire at a price to keep you in the black… only 3 payments of $33. So slip into the back of your black limousine, savor some rich tasting black coffee and look at your wrist knowing that you have some great times on your hands.

An offer that will make you dig out your old tux. The movement of the Stauer Noire wrist watch carries an extended two year warranty. But first enjoy this handsome timepiece risk-free for 30 days for the extraordinary price of only 3 payments of $33. If you are not thrilled with the quality and rare design, simply send it back for a full refund of the item price. But once you strap on the Noire you’ll want to stay in the black.

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Summer Slammers Tips and Tricks For Targeting BIG Dolphin By Gene Dyer

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all them dolphin, dorado or mahi mahi, they are one of the most popular pelagic species to target because of their hard fighting nature and acrobatic displays, not to mention they are darn good eating. Inspired by the recent catch of a 72-pound monster bull by the charter boat Lady Pamela out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., here are some tips and tricks to help you put some slammers in the box. Without question, the best way to target big dolphin is on the troll. When trolling for dolphin, it’s important to maximize the presentation of your spread. It’s all about the quality of baits over quantity. We could certainly fish seven lines from our Mako 236, but I prefer to fish five. Keeping baits swimming properly and free of weeds is critical, but even more important is fresh bait. If you can’t get fresh ballyhoo, frozen will work, but be careful which package you select. Look for clear eyes, red tips on the beak and some yellow on the top of the tail. My five-bait spread consists of two flat lines, two outrigger baits and one in the shotgun position. Though I’ll adjust my spread during the day, I always start with a chin-weighted naked ballyhoo in one of the corners, just behind the prop wash. I use a flat line release clip to give the bait a better swimming action. In the other corner, we fish a daisy chain consisting of four small jet heads or squid skirts with a 6/0 J hook in the last lure behind a bird. I like to position the bird just behind the naked ballyhoo. On one outrigger, we fish a chugger-type lure in front of a rigged ballyhoo. On the other we fish an Islander-style lure with a rigged ballyhoo. In the shotgun, I like a quarter-ounce black-and-red feather with an orange head. Send it way back behind the rest of the spread. When trolling, many fish are lost because the boat gets taken out of gear with the excitement of the strike. Chances are that any slammers with an interest in your spread have been hooked before. They’ve gotten away at least once, and any slack in the line is asking for the same result. By staying at trolling speed, your other baits remain enticing to other fish in the school and increase the odds of a multiple hook up. Once the cockpit chaos has subsided, it’s OK to back the throttle off to idle speed, but never stop the boat from moving forward. Always be on the lookout for birds, and pay attention to what they are doing. Don’t bother chasing birds that are just flying. Look for birds that are diving or circling. Many times, they will lead you to a promising piece of debris, a well-defined edge or a nice weedline. When the birds do lead you to that magical floating debris or weedline, troll by it several times from different angles. If you don’t get bit, stop the boat on the last pass and let your baits sink for 30 seconds. Put the boat back and gear and you may be surprised by fish that were lurking deeper in the water column. One thing I can’t leave out is the importance of having the clickers on your reels in the on position. The obvious reason is to alert you of a strike while your eyes are scanning the horizon for birds, but there is a hidden, more important reason. Most slammers have been hooked before, and I believe they learn from those experiences. Whether they short strike your bait or intentionally try to kill it by ramming it with their broad heads, when you get knocked down and the fish isn’t there, immediately put the reel in free spool for 10 seconds. Nine times out of 10, that hungry slammer will come back to finish the meal.

By Gene Dyer

Gene Dyer is co-publisher of the Fort Lauderdale edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. Contact him at gene@coastalanglermagazine.com. 8

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FishingNosara Wins Costa Rica Ship Of Fools Tourney

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or the fifteenth straight year, the Ship of Fools Tournament attracted Costa Rica’s top anglers to Playa Garza. For the second time in three years, the FishingNosara team took home the hardware. Capt. Alex Moreno on the 32’ mega panga Harvester topped the leaderboard with 1,700 points (11 sailfish releases, one black marlin release and one blue marlin release) during the two-day event. “Alex is the dude,” exclaimed Capt. Patrick Humphrey, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “He has the best eyes I’ve ever seen and fishes as aggressively as we do in south Florida.” Capt. Humphrey runs trips for Lady Pamela II Sportfishing in Hollywood, Fla. He was joined by wife Jennifer, daughter Amelia, and angling legend Patrick Irwin. The Ship of Fools Tournament is one of the last true billfish release tournaments in Costa Rica. Each scoring fish must be billed and photographed by hand. With no snatch-leader releases, the difficultly increases tremendously. On the first day, 11 boats set out from Playa Garza and set up shop

12 miles offshore in 2,100 feet of water. Capt. Alex was first boat to the spot and put three sailfish releases on the board in the opening hours. As the rest of the field lagged, the mega panga hooked up a blue marlin for a two-hour fight. After the photograph and release, a second marlin entered the spread, this time a big, bad black. Capt. Patrick belted up for the battle and conquered the fish in a two-plus-hour fight that saw eight leader grabs before the successful release. “I had a trip planned for Hawaii in the winter to cross black marlin off my list,” said Patrick, smiling. “I guess that’s off.” Their total of 1,000 points is a single-day record for the event, and they scored the ultra-difficult Billfish Grand Slam. The second day was just like the first, with the Harvester scoring early and often. They snagged seven more sailfish releases, including one just a minute before lines-out. The Harvester’s haul is an all-time best for this tournament, eclipsing the winning score of 1,200 posted two years ago by FishingNosara teammate the Explorer. For Capt. Alex, it is the culmination of perseverance through years of adversity in this event. In 2011, as mate on the Wanderer, he recorded 14 sailfish releases during prefishing only to get zero during the event. In 2016, he had the thing won until the camera with all the proof-photos fell overboard late on the second day. “I’m incredibly proud of what Capt. Alex has done with the Harvester,” beamed Craig Sutton, founder of FishingNosara and architect of the mega panga design. “He pushed himself and his boat to the edge during months before this event. He has honed his instincts and advanced his craft. Capt. Alex has paid the price to reach to top of the mountain.” The FishingNosara team looks forwarded to challenging the Harvester in the 2020 Ship of Fools Tournament next April and to competing with Alex in the 1st Annual FishingNosara Invitational in early August 2019. If you and your best anglers are ready to compete, the FishingNosara U.S. office can be reached at (904) 591-2161 USA or fishingnosara.com.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Camping| 1. Outdoor Edge Chowpal

The ChowPal is an innovative new approach to outdoor eating utensils that incorporates multi-tool functionality. This all-in-one utensil set/multi-tool adds a can opener, a bottle opener, a flathead screwdriver and a wrench to the nested fork and folding knife/spoon that lock together but quickly and easily slide apart when you’re ready to chow down. Crafted of 420J2 steel for increased strength and durability, the twopiece ChowPal set is lightweight and portable at 2.4 oz. and measures 6.5 inches long. The knife/spoon utensil features a locking, single-bevel knife blade that folds flat against the spoon, while the fork features a graduated wrench in 8, 10, 11 and 13mm. The ChowPal includes its own easy-to-find orange nylon carry pouch, so you can bring it with you on any camping, fishing, backpacking or outdoors adventures. It’s time to upgrade from the standard three-function utensil kit and forget all the extra tools you have to pack. Just bring the practical, durable ChowPal to lighten your load and enhance your outdoor experience.

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2. Mountainsmith Mayhem 45

Mountainsmith has redesigned its Mayhem 45 pack for 2019. Built with Spectra Fiber, this pack is ultra-durable, ultra-comfortable and ultralight, with maximum strength and abrasion resistance. Used by military and law enforcement, Spectra Fiber is an ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene known for its light weight, strength and abrasion resistance properties. In the Mayhem 45, this means more efficient pack carry, more mileage, and a lifetime of adventures. At 45 liters, the Mayhem 45 is designed for one- to three-night backpacking trips, backcountry huts trips and adventure travel. The hybrid top and panel opening offers easy access to the front of the pack, a must-have for tight environments and organized packing. Toss the Mayhem on your back and the hex-ridged EVA backpanel padding allows for omni-directional airflow while the sock-style shoulder strap construction prevents the straps from digging into your body. The Interfaced Waistbelt system is designed and patterned to flow into the backpanel, allowing for a lightweight but intimate suspension fit and high levels of stability and comfort. All Mountainsmith products come with the Forged for Life Guarantee, the official Mountainsmith lifetime warranty.

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4.

4. Mountainsmith Vasquez Peak2 3.Sea Eagle SUPCAT10 SeaEagle’s SUPCat 10 is a whole new type of inflatable fishing craft that is extremely versatile. With two inflatable side pontoons, The SUPCat10 offer a stable platform to stand and fish or paddle from. It can be equipped with either an electric or small gas outboard and reach speeds up to 8 mph. From the trunk of your car to the water, the SUPCat10 sets up easily in less than 10 minutes. With the Wheels Up/Wheels Down feature, it’s possible to cart your boat and all your gear down to the water, flip the wheels up and paddle or motor away. Features include: Four Scotty gear mounts, two Scotty rod holders, non-slip EVA foam deck pads, 360-degree swivel seat, built-in fish rulers, multiple D-ring attachment points, removable rear motor mount and four grab handles.

With the Vasquez Peak 2, Mountainsmith has crafted its most advanced backpacking tent to date. It features unmatched durability and interior space and weighs just under 4.5 pounds on trail. This two-person tent offers added headspace, best-in-class waterproofing, and a stable design without any added weight. The interconnected pole design with the crossover brow pole allows for maximum usable sleeping space and steeper pitched door panels. The two-door, two-vestibule design comfortably fits two adults with room for gear. The Vasquez Peak 2 is crafted with a perimeter body panel and silicon treatment as an extra splashguard against harsh rains, while its bathtub floor construction and included footprint add durability and weather performance. For those looking to go even lighter, leave the tent body at home and the footprint and tent fly can be used as a backcountry shelter that weighs just 3 pounds.

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5. L.L. Bean Camper’s Air Bed

5.

You’ll experience the best night of sleep you’ve ever had outdoors on L.L.Bean’s Camper’s Air Bed. This inflatable mattress features comfortable coil construction for excellent support and a plush, softflocked top fabric that adds comfort and prevents sliding. A raised outer ring provides a stable edge for support, and the 2-in-1 inflation valve allows for minor adjustments so you can achieve just the right firmness. It’s also durable. Made of thick PVC with welded seams, it stands up to punishment trip after trip and comes with a carry bag that makes it easy to transport wherever you decide to rest your head. The state-of-the-art rechargeable pump is compact and powerful, inflating the bed in about a minute. It comes with two chargers, one for your car and one for your vehicle, and can be charged up for use at the campsite, where there is no power source.

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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EasE

Set SetUp UpCamp CampWith WithSeaEagle’s SeaEagle’s SUPCat10 SUPCat10

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hether hether base base camp camp is aisstate a state parkpark RV site RV site in the inEverglades, the Everglades, a tentapad tentwith padawith fire ring a fire beside ring beside a Catskills a Catskills mountain mountain lake lake oror a gravel a gravel barbar bivouac bivouac deep deep in the in Alaskan the Alaskan backcountry, backcountry, there there is no denying is no denying that spending that spending the night theinnight the in the outdoors outdoorsputs puts youyou where where thethe fishfish are.are. Camping Camping and and fishing fishing go together. go together. AlongAlong with the with obvious the obvious joys of joys sleeping of sleeping under under the thestars, stars, cooking cooking around around a campfire a campfire andand waking waking up next up next to thetowater, the water, camping camping holds advantages holds advantages for the for angler. the For angler. the For the st backpacker, backpacker, hiking hiking into into a mountain a mountain stream stream reveals reveals trouttrout that that have have seldom seldom seen aseen fly. Adventurous a fly. Adventurous kayakers kayakers might find might findFar moreFar a asmall, small, deserted deserted island island in the in the GulfGulf of Mexico, of Mexico, sleepsleep beneath beneath the palms the palms and wake and wake up in redfish up in redfish heaven.heaven. With a With small ain-small in- 10’ long, 54” 10 flatable flatable boat boat pulled pulled up up on on thethe sand, sand, there’s there’s no hassle, no hassle, and the andbest the late-morning best late-morning breakfast breakfast is freshisfish fresh cooked fish cooked over coals over coals Far faster Fat and andenjoyed enjoyed with with dirty dirty fingers fingers around around a campfire. a campfire.

Goes 8mph Goe w 4mph with 4m a SeaEagle SeaEagle hashas been been helping helping anglers anglers enjoy enjoy these these typestypes of experiences of experiences since since 1968.1968. Based Based out of out PortofJefferson, Port Jefferson, N.Y., N.Y.,

they theyare are right right onon Long Long Island Island Sound. Sound. TheThe unforgiving unforgiving coastal coastal striped striped bass fisheries bass fisheries of the of Northeast the Northeast are testing are testing grounds,grounds, where wherethey they fine fine tune tune designs designs for for inflatable inflatable boats boats that that are durable, are durable, extremely extremely fishable fishable and getand youget where you you’re whereheaded you’re headed without without the the hassle hassle or or expense expense of conventional of conventional boats. boats. TheirTheir latestlatest offering, offering, the SUPCat10 the SUPCat10 is like aishybrid like a between hybrid between a stand a stand upuppaddleboard paddleboard andand an an inflatable inflatable one-man one-man pontoon pontoon boat.boat. This This thingthing is a whole is a whole new type newoftype fishing of fishing vessel that vessel combines that combines the theangling angling advantages advantages of both. of both. It isItperfectly is perfectly suited suited to load to load up with up awith cooler, a cooler, tackle,tackle, rods, reels rods,and reels small andpack small of pack essen-of essential tialcamping camping gear gear to to head head outout on aonweekend a weekend excursion excursion to some to some remote remote shoreline. shoreline. One Onehuge huge advantage advantage of the of the SUPCat10 SUPCat10 is portability. is portability. It can It be canstowed be stowed in a car in trunk a car and trunk inflated and inflated in less than in less 10than min-10 minutes. utes. AnAn optional optional Wheels Wheels Up/Wheels Up/Wheels Down Down system system allows allows you to you rolltothe rollboat the down boat to down the to water the fully waterloaded. fully loaded. Then theThen the CAT CATWheels Wheels can can be be locked locked intointo the the up position up position out of outthe of way the of way your of fishing. your fishing. Accessing Accessing the water the is water easy is noeasy matter no matter where whereyou you decide decide to to launch, launch, andand it can it can be accomplished be accomplished in one in trip onewith trip no with running no running back and back forth andtoforth the car. to the On car. the On the water, water, this this little little boat boat is one is one of the of the most most versatile versatile crafts crafts out there. out there. SinceSince peacepeace and quiet and isquiet a bigisreason a big reason many anglers many anglers choose choose toto fish fish from from SUPs, SUPs, thethe SUPCat10 SUPCat10 is designed is designed to handle to handle just like justan like SUP an under SUP under paddlepaddle power, power, only it’sonly much it’smore much more stable stablethan than most most paddleboards. paddleboards. However, However, for those for those who who needneed a little a little more more speedspeed and extended and extended range, or range, if theortargeted if the targeted fish fishare are suckers suckers forfor a trolling a trolling spread, spread, thisthis boatboat can be canequipped be equipped with awith 2.3 ahp2.3 Honda hp Honda outboard outboard to motor to along motoratalong 8 mph. at 8 mph. That’s That’sfaster faster than than anyany electric-motor electric-motor or peddle-drive or peddle-drive kayak. kayak. The removable The removable motormotor mountmount can be can left be at home left atwhen homeyou when you choose choosetoto operate operate under under paddle paddle power. power.

SeaEagle SeaEaglehashas approached approached getting getting to the to the fish fish in efficient in efficient and innovative and innovative fashion. fashion. What What about fishablity? about fishablity? That’s aThat’s aFar moreFar co no-brainer. no-brainer. This This is ais company a company thatthat has has beenbeen designing designing littlelittle fishing fishing boatsboats for decades, for decades, and they andnailed they down nailedthat down partthat of part of Wheels down Wh the theequation equation years years ago. ago. With With twotwo sideside pontoons pontoons made made of high-pressure of high-pressure 1000 1000 DenierDenier Reinforced Reinforced Drop Stitch, Drop the Stitch, SUPthe SUPto the water to t Cat10 Cat10has has bombproof bombproof durability durability andand rock-solid rock-solid stability stability inflated inflated to 15to psi. 15With psi. non-slip With non-slip EVA foam EVAdeck foampads, deckyou pads, could you could (who have havea aone-man one-man dance dance party party on the on the deck, deck, so standing so standing to sight to sight fish, cast fish,or cast battle or battle giants giants is not aisproblem. not a problem. A comfortable, A comfortable,(wheels are 360-degree, 360-degree, locking locking swivel swivel seatseat is there is there to sit toand sit and fish when fish when you’reyou’re readyready for a break. for a break. The fabric The floor fabricis floor held tight is held by tight by four fourclip-on clip-on bungee bungee straps straps to prevent to prevent unwanted unwanted sprayspray or lost or cell lost phones, cell phones, lures and luresfish. andFor fish. trolling For trolling or to secure or to rods secure rods while whileyou’re you’re cruising cruising to to a new a new location, location, fourfour Scotty Scotty GearGear Mounts Mounts comecome standard standard with every with SUPCat every SUPCat as well as as well two as two Scotty Scottyrod rod holders. holders. The The mounts mounts cancan alsoalso be used be used for electronics, for electronics, a camera a camera or whatever or whatever else anelse angler an angler might need might onneed the on the water. water. There There areare eight eight thoughtfully thoughtfully located located D-ring D-ring attachment attachment pointspoints for strapping for strapping down coolers, down coolers, tackle boxes tackleand boxes gear, and gear, and anddual dualfront front and and rear rear carrying carrying handles handles make make loading, loading, launching launching and beaching and beaching easy. All easy. of this All of is held this is together held together by an by an ultralight ultralight aluminum aluminum frame frame thatthat serves serves as the as the bones bones of a of super-strong a super-strong and super-stable and super-stable one-man one-man fishing fishing machine. machine. With With ananSUPCat10 SUPCat10 onon your your next next fishing fishing andand camping camping trip,trip, you’llyou’ll crawlcrawl out ofout theoftent theintent the in morning the morning gearedgeared up and ready up andtoready to wear wear’em ’em out. out.

This This month, month, Coastal Coastal Angler Angler Magazine Magazine and and SeaEagle SeaEagle are giving are giving a SUPCat10 a SUPCat10 with with a Honda a Honda motor motor to ato lucky a lucky reader. reader.

ToToenter enterthe thecontest contest gotgot to to

Introducing Intrt SUP ever! SUP Wei paddled orpad m fittings forfifittis features infeat al trunk andtrun goe

www.coastalanglermag.com/contest www.coastalanglermag.com/contest ForFor more more information information on SeaEagle’s on SeaEagle’s inflatable inflatable fishingfishing boats, boats, go to www.seaeagle.com. go to www.seaeagle.com.

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10

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Easiest Way To Get To The Fish!

The NEW Sea Eagle® SUPCat10! Far more stable than any SUP 10’ long, 54” wide

Far faster to motor than any kayak

Goes 8mph with a 3hp gas motor, 4mph with an electric motor

10 minhen the matter On the anglers h more argeted 8 mph. hen you

hat’s a part of e SUPu could ortable, ight by re rods as two on the nd gear, r by an e. With eady to

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Far more convenient to transport Wheels down means only 1 trip to the water from your car (wheels are optional)

SUPCat10 Specs:

• 10’ long x 54” wide • Hull weighs just 42 lbs. • Wheels hook into the rear crossbar up or down for easy transport • Takes electric motor or up to 3 hp gas engine to go farther and faster than any kayak • Easy set-up/ Easy take-down

Introducing the fastest, lightest, most portable solo fishing SUP ever! Weighing less than 45 lbs., this amazing SUP can be paddled or motored. Equipped with multiple rod-holders and fittings for fishing accessories, this small SUP packs in a lot of features in a little space. Best of all, the SUPCat packs in a car trunk and goes anywhere there is water.

5 packages available. Honda Motor Package shown with wheels in the up position - up & out of the way for easy fishing, motoring or paddling.

Visit SeaEagle.com or call for info: 1-800-748-8066 M-F, 9-5 19 North Columbia Street, CS059B, Port Jefferson, NY 11777 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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he worldwide demand for delicious and pricey bluefin tuna is unsustainable. The plunder of spawning accumulations in the Mediterranean drove Atlantic bluefin stocks nearly to collapse, and a similar scenario played out for Pacific bluefin off Japan. Stock assessments show Pacific bluefin tuna populations have fallen to less than 3 percent of their original levels. More stringent fishing regulations along with the farming of bluefin tuna have helped slow the decline of Pacific bluefin tuna, but the demand remains. Seeking a sustainable method to supply the world’s hunger for Pacific bluefin, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FEAR) has awarded a $945,000 grant to Ichthus Unlimited LLC to establish a hatchery in the San Diego Bay area, where they will attempt to cultivate Pacific bluefin eggs and grow them for distribution to tuna farms. Because of the challenges of hatching and rearing these long-ranging apex predators in captivity, it took Japanese bluefin hatcheries more than three decades to begin successfully completing the breeding cycle without drawing from wild populations. The hope is that Ichthus Unlimited can begin providing juvenile Pacific bluefins to existing tuna farms, which currently stock their pens with wild-caught tuna. “Today 98 percent of tuna ranching relies on wild-captured fish for the stocking of net pens. This adds to the already massive fishing pressure on wild bluefin tuna populations,” said Alejandro Buentello, president of Ichthus Unlimited. “Hatchery-reared tuna will not only make it possible to stock cages without fishing, but it can also be used as a stock enhancement strategy to empower wild tuna populations to rebound more rapidly. It is a proactive rather than reactive strategy.” Despite the popularity of Pacific bluefin tuna, few indoor facilities in the world have the expertise needed to raise them from eggs. The team at Ichthus will collaborate with these indoor hatching facilities and leverage their combined knowledge to successfully implement this practice. As the “holy grail” of aquaculture, bluefin tuna can sell for tens of thousands and occasionally millions of dollars per fish. It is estimated that bluefin species products generate approximately $2-2.5 billion in value worldwide each year. Increases in tuna production would also create jobs and economic gains, particularly for coastal communities in California and the Gulf of Mexico. “Bluefin tuna aquaculture represents a major new high-value market for U.S. farmers, but there is much science to be done to produce the fish entirely under farmed conditions,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR executive director. “This research has the potential to not only stabilize the wild population, but also create economic opportunities in farming the delicacy.” COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Beating The Breeze By Will Schmidt

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hen we landed on Grand Bahama, the sun greeted our wintery white faces, and a 70-degree day with a light breeze warmed us to the core. Unfortunately, by morning, the greeting changed to 25 mph winds, which made conditions less than optimal for fly fishing. At home, we might have changed to conventional tackle or even skipped the trip all together, but we came here to fly fish for bonefish, and fly fish we would. Rather than get down on the conditions, we made some tactical changes and used the wind the best we could to our advantage. One benefit of this scenario is the fish tend to be less spooky in shallow water. The noise generated by the wind and the waves allows anglers to get closer without spooking the fish. In fact, glass calm days can be more challenging than some of the breezier ones. Here are a few tips to help out on those blustery days. • Shortening your leader can make a huge difference in accuracy. Fly line tracks relatively straight through wind, especially if you are double hauling. But that last 10 feet or so can be a real crap shoot when the wind is kicked up over 20 mph. Shortening the leader can really help with accuracy, especially in a crosswind. • Using a heavier fly has advantages. With wave action, weight helps the fly get down to the bottom faster, and that’s where the fish are feeding. Even in skinny water, where you would normally use just bead chain eyes, don’t be afraid to move up to some lead eyes as the disturbance caused by the wind helps conceal the splash. • Consider stepping up one rod weight. There is no doubt a heavier rod makes a huge difference in punching through the wind. Sometimes your best bet is to step up to make sure you can get the fly in front of the fish. Another option is to over-line your rod, which is moving up to a line that’s a weight heavier than the rod is rated for. This helps load the rod on the cast, which delivers a more powerful cast. • The best thing is practice. If you are going to spend good money to go on a trip, you want to give yourself the best chance for success. Most fly fishers only practice casting as far as possible. I don’t worry about that. Windy or not, you rarely need to cast more than 60 feet on the flats. Instead, concern yourself with quick accurate casts. And don’t forget to practice in the wind, not just head-on, but at every angle. A crosswind can move your fly off target, and casting 5 feet behind a fish rarely produces a strike. In the end, we didn’t let the wind blow our chances for success; we prevailed with some great Bahamas bones. Will Schmidt is a seasoned tournament angler and has been writing about fishing for more than two decades.

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hen fishing for many species, and especially wahoo, eliminating the “short strike” makes the fish box look a lot better back at the dock. There are few things more disappointing than checking a bait in the spread and discovering you have been pulling around a ballyhoo cleanly snipped off right behind the hook. Older and larger fish are not stupid; this “short strike” right behind the hook is not an ac-

175-pound cable, I like to make four wraps on the hook, but try it for yourself and use whatever feels good. Here’s how I do it: • Thread the end of approximately 18 inches through the inside bite of the hook eye, and make a loop about the size of a baseball. Hold the loop between you left thumb and index finger. • Make four wraps around the hook shank, from the back of the bend going forward. • Pull the tag end of the cable with pliers until “snug” on

cident. Don’t get me wrong… there have been more wahoo, dolphin and tuna caught on pin-rigged ballyhoo than all the other offerings combined. However, there are days when a nice “clean” naked ballyhoo swimming like a snake with an almost invisible stinger hook is the only trick that works. There are several brands of seven-strand cable that will work just fine, but for this snelled stinger hook, I use American Fishing Wire 175-pound, brown cable. It’s soft and folds into place nicely. And it’s strong when crimped and snelled. In addition to the stinger hook, I like to snell a short piece onto the front end of the ballyhoo to avoid the total bite off. Snelling cable is no different than snelling mono or fluoro, but with less wraps. With the

the hook shank, and push the wraps forward toward the eye of the hook before cinching down on the cable. • Next, make a couple wraps of the cable around one hand and pull hard on the main line and the tag end with pliers at the same time to cinch down tight on the snell. • The main line end of cable now needs to be cut to the right length and crimped to the proper diameter to fit around the main hook and for the proper length of the ballyhoo. For a detailed video of this clean and super strong stinger hook and how to apply it, check out the website and click on “Clean (Snelled) Stinger Hook Assembly;” www.barefootcatsandtackle.com.

For video instructions on how to tie this hook, go to:

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By John Saporito • FWC Photo

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he drag was set perfectly, and your knot held true. But somehow that fish got away. As you stand there, envisioning the beautiful creature swimming off to points unknown, you agonize over what went wrong. The culprit? A pulled hook—the cause of more lost fish than any other user error. In today’s world of zero-stretch braided lines, extra-fast action graphite rods and low-stretch fluorocarbon leader material, one reality seems to have been forgotten: stretch is a good thing. Not bungee cord, rubber band, over-the-top stretch. But some stretch. Stretch equates to shock absorption, which along with a barb are the only things keeping the hook in your quarry’s mouth. With tackle catering to sensitivity, it should come as no surprise that pulled hooks are a bigger problem today than they were in years past, when

monofilament line and slower-action fiberglass rods dominated the market. A pulled hook occurs when the hook comes loose from its original setting in a fish’s mouth. Provided that you have set the hook firmly to begin with, the cause will almost certainly be that the tissue in the fish’s mouth has worn too much to hold it in place. The hook then falls or is pulled out on a subsequent slack line, jerk of the rod, head turn or shake. To mitigate the stresses of battle on your quarry’s mouth, we must implement stretch into our fishing strategy. Thankfully, we don’t have to trade in all our sensitive gear for bouncier tackle of the past. Sound technique can mask the stretch deficiency inherent in today’s tackle. First off, after you set the hook in a fish, always keep a bend in the rod. The rod is your failsafe shock absorber; it responds to how you use it. If you maintain a bend in the rod, you have guaranteed at least some stretch will remain in the system. Next, never sweep or jerk the rod after the hook is set. This will only tear tissue in the fish’s mouth, increasing the chances of a pulled hook. Steady, even pressure wins the fight. Most fishermen tend to think that the newest tackle to the market is always the surest bet. With braided lines being more popular than ever, many anglers fail to realize that monofilament has an important role in fishing. Some situations call for extra shock absorption and a slower response. When fishing on a beach with wave action, mono is your best option to keep a fish hooked as it fights to free itself in the last wave. Ever hook a true giant close to your position on a bridge, pier or boat? Spool up with mono now, and be thankful that you did. Think carefully about your tackle. Evaluate the role of your rod, line and leader. Fish hard, and don’t let that big one get away. John Saporito is a lifelong fisherman and student of the seas. For deeper insight into the world of gamefish, visit him online at www. guerillaangling.com.

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n Memorial Day weekend, CCA Florida STAR presented by Yamaha will kick-off with some amazing prizes in Florida’s largest family-friendly saltwater fishing competition. A unique combination of conservation, data collection and education, plus prizes and scholarships valued at over $500,000, makes CCA Florida STAR the state’s can’t-miss summer-long fishing competition. Recognized as a “catch, photo and release” competition, STAR’s smart phone app eliminates the requirement for anglers to harvest or transport fish and constantly promotes proper handling of all species in the competition. The 101-day, family friendly angling competition offers over $500,000 in prizes in 17 divisions including tagged, non-tagged, inshore and offshore. Anglers have a shot at prizes from brand new boat, motor and trailer packages, cash, marine electronics, Yamaha motors, tackle, scholarships and much more. The 2019 STAR competition: • 2019 registered anglers win a $1,000 Engel Cooler prize package for catching a fish tagged between 2015-18. • Continued free registration for current New Tide CCA Members; ages 6-17. • Tagged Redfish Division prizes: a Contender 22 Sport, a GMC Sierra pickup truck, a Pathfinder 2200 TRS, a Hewes Redfisher 16, a 21’ Carolina Skiff and Relentless Boats Aluminum Bay/Flats boat, all powered by Yamaha. Youth angler prizes include a Carolina Skiff, powered with Yamaha 40 HP motor and trailer, Minn Kota trolling motor and Humminbird electronics. • Tagged Dolphin Division - the first STAR registered CCA member

Divisions and prizes include: • TH Marine Non-tagged Redfish Division – Salt Marsh Skiff 1656 with Atlas jack Plate, Yamaha 40HP and trailer. • Stumpnocker Spotted Trout Division – Stumpnocker 17 tiller powered by a 40HP Yamaha with Continental trailer. • Piranha Boatworks Snook Division – Piranha RASO P140 with trailer and 15HP Yamaha. • Tigress Outriggers & Gear Dolphin Division – XD top mount outrigger and 115 Yamaha motor. • Cannon Kingfish Division – Salt Marsh Savanna with trailer & 9HP Yamaha with Cannon Unitrol STX-TS. • Grouper Division (Black, Gag, Red and Scamp) – 115 Yamaha & 240qrt Engel Cooler. • Old Town Kayak Division - Old Town Predator PDL Angler with pedal floor console. • Ladies Division – Body Glove Inflatable Kayak. • Fly Division – LIVE Watersports L2 Fish paddleboard. • Humminbird Tarpon Division – $10,000 prize package. • Youth Scholarship Division presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors — 12 scholarships totaling $100,000 with eligible species of nontagged redfish, seatrout, snook, tarpon, dolphin, grouper, kingfish, ladyfish, jack crevalle and sheepshead. • Power Pole Conservation Division encourages additional data collection of all species of fish caught during STAR. • Costa Kick Plastic Trash Division encourages trash collection. • Lionfish Division helps with the removal of an invasive species and awards. • Yamaha Guides Division- guides compete in the Tagged Redfish and Tagged Dolphin Divisions for a Yamaha 150HP motor and second and third place prizes. Most division have six winning places and are determined by a random drawing of all photo entries of fish on the official West Marine STAR measuring device. For more information on STAR, or to register, visit our Facebook page or ccaflstar.com.

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By Chris Rehlinger s a Midwesterner spring-breaking in Cape Coral, Fla., I discovered a species that’s a lot like our native bluegill, but with an exotic twist. The Mayan cichlid lives up to fiery nicknames like “red terror” and “atomic sunfish,” and by catching them you’re doing a favor for the native fish. The invasive Mayan cichlid is an aquarium fish that biologists say gobbles up local forage, tolerates extreme weather conditions, reproduces faster than most native species and tolerates a wide range of salinities. Native to Central and South America, the Mayan cichlid is a fishable species, and the State of Florida urges anglers to keep all

A

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that are caught in an ongoing effort to reduce its population. The cichlid invasion has been documented for decades, and it’s not losing any steam. They were first documented in the early 1980s in the Everglades and have spread as far north as Tampa Bay. Mayans are known to hunt in packs for any prey, and they devour the crayfish that form the base of the local food chain. I am not a biologist, just an average angler, but I can help the cause and enjoy good fishing along with a chance of a good fresh meal of fish. With so many canals carving up the Cape Coral area, this fish has easy access to superhighways of easy foraging and protection. Here are a few things I observed in pursuing this species for six straight days in March: • Mayans enjoy cover either at shorelines, deadfalls or piers. They fan out gravel pockets and hover over these areas. • They cling tight to cover and are tough to catch in windy conditions. Calm days and early mornings put Mayans in a feeding mood. • Along with live shrimp, small jigs with chartreuse twister tails produced strikes under piers and deadfalls. • Filleting a Mayan cichlid is very similar to filleting bluegills or crappies, except they’ll dull a knife quickly. They’re easy to skin once the fillet is removed. The fillets are chunky, with good texture and a mild flavor. • The Florida record is currently 2.37 pounds. On this trip, my best was 12 inches long, maybe 1.5 pounds. My goal next trip is to break the 2-pound mark. • Mayans put up a very good fight, diving to cover, rocks and pier structures. They do not jump, but dive and circle, making strong runs. Being introduced to a new species of fish made for an enjoyable fishing experience and a spring break to remember. Chris Rehlinger lives on Lake Wisconsin with his wife, Lori, and sons Maxwell and Lucas. He works in engineering/construction management but always has fishing or hunting on his mind. Contact Chris at rehlly40@gmail.com.

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ivers usually look for relief, and not just the relaxing relief of gliding weightlessly underwater. They seek the reefs, wrecks or rubble that relieves an otherwise flat bottom. That’s where the flashy marine life congregates. Typically, they see the sandy areas around those features as empty spaces to be ignored, rather than explored.

It’s easy to disregard a sandy bottom, but if you make the effort, you can discover a host of creatures hiding amongst grains of sand. Rays, flounder, gobies, crabs, shrimp and mollusks are just a few of the species you will discover with a well-trained eye. Survival for most sand dwellers hinges on invisibility. “Bury or Blend” is the defense that helps them make it through the day (and night). When you appear, they either burrow deeper or freeze. If you go slow and learn what to look for, there is a world of interesting discoveries to be found. When exploring the sand, stick with two speeds—slow or full stop. Establish neutral buoyancy and drift along the bottom at a measured pace. Look for holes, depressions, or cones that might mark a hiding spot. If you’re really lucky, you might even spy a pair of eyes peering back at you! Once you find an interesting location, it’s time to carefully settle in. “Carefully” is the watchword here. Since you need to remain stationary in the current, you do have to make some contact with the sand. Use a “muck stick,” a short metal stick that you can push into the sand to keep your contact with the bottom minimal. Then, wait quietly for the neighborhood to come off high alert. If you remain still, the local inhabitants start to relax. Heads begin to emerge, as jawfish, gobies, garden eels and mantis shrimp ease into the open and resume their activities once they decide you’re not a threat. As you watch the area, keep an eye out for flickers of movement. As animals begin to move, they lose their cloak of invisibility. Waiting for a goby to appear at the mouth of its burrow, you might suddenly notice a lancer dragonet roaming the bottom. I was once surprised when, catching movement out of the corner of my eye, I turned my head to find a stargazer staring back at me! A few sessions with a photo guide from Pura Vida Divers will help you spot camouflaged creatures. Check out their web site at www.puravidadivers.com.

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n January, Coastal Angler Magazine hosted a contest on Facebook for a chance to fish with Coastal Angler Fort Lauderdale and our good friend, Capt. Ryan Palmer. Palmer runs charter trips aboard the Family Jewell, a 25’ Contender center console. After a random drawing from more than 600 entries, Bobbi Brady, of Steinhatchee, Fla. was our lucky winner. As chance would have it, Bobbi and her husband Mark, of Florida Saltwater Flats Fishing Charters, were featured in Coastal Angler’s April magazine. They run redfish, trout and scallop charters on Florida’s Gulf Coast, so they thought this trip would be a good opportunity to target something a little different, yellowtail snapper. As our date approached, the weather wasn’t shaping up to be good for yellowtailing. Capt. Palmer called to let them know that kingfish and maybe sailfish would be better to target. He knew fellow captains would appreciate his passion for keeping them entertained and catching fish. They even opted to upgrade their trip to a six-hour day. On the day of the trip, we met Bobbi and Mark at the Lighthouse Point Marina, grabbed some live bait and rolled out of Hillsboro Inlet. At our first stop, we found conditions to be less than favorable with the wind out of the west and little current, but decided to fly the kite and put out a spread of live goggle eyes. Within minutes, the middle bait was acting nervous. Hoping it was a sailfish, Palmer instructed Bobbi to reel as fast as she could once the line popped out of the kite clip. The clip never opened, so we decided to manually pop it and eventually came tight. It wasn’t a sailfish, but a rather large houndfish. We snapped a few photos and decided to make a move. We ran north a few miles in search of cleaner water and set up just south of Boca Raton. We put the kite back up and sent out a few flat lines on the other side of the boat. Almost immediately, the deep rod went off and Bobbi was tight. I told Bobbi that it was likely a kingfish and to be prepared for the fish to make a run once it saw the boat. Sure enough, just as she got the fish close, it took off. After a few minutes, she had the fish back to the boat and Palmer ended the game with the gaff. Shortly after that, the deep rod went off again. This time it was a monster barracuda that was released. Palmer worked hard all day, and there was a never a dull moment as we laughed and joked from the minute we left the dock. However, on this day, the fish just didn’t cooperate. At the end of the trip, Bobbi said “it’s OK to head in, you gave it your best.” Keep an eye on Coastal Angler and Coastal Angler’s social media accounts for future contests and giveaways of awesome trips and gear. Gene Dyer is co-publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine’s Fort Lauderdale edition. Contact him at gene@coastalanglermagazine.com.

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By Richard Matteson • The author recently caught this 22-inch trout from the lagoon.

pring fishing is here, bringing some hot topwater action. Snook are moving shallow as the water warms, and the slot and plusslot snook will be around piers, mangroves and seawalls chasing bait. The water being dumped from Okeechobee into the South Fork has made the water near the lock freshwater. Regardless, the snook fishing remains good around the Palm City Bridge area. Numbers of mostly small snook are regularly being caught. Follow the bait near the shore and cast along the mangroves. There are also lots of jacks and an occasional redfish or bluefish. Outgoing tide is best. The hot spot on the beach for tarpon and big jacks is still the “spoils” area, several hundred yards out from the power plant in Fort Pierce. You’ll get lots of action on cut bait, shrimp and jigs with spinner sharks leaping and occasionally taking cut and live bait. The south Vero Beach area of the lagoon is still the place for trout. Look for patches of grass in the Harbor Branch and Big Pine Lake areas on the west side. The bays from Round Island boat ramp on the east side also have grass. The 4-inch C.A.L. jigs are my favorite lure with 1/8-ounce jig head. To find the trout, find grass. To find active fish, look for feeding birds on the flats. Last spring we had several 40- to 60-trout days on the east side. Trout have started moving into shallows along the west side around the power plant and down to the Jensen Beach Causeway. Last spring saw some hot trout action on topwater. The water is still clear, and wading is my favorite way to fish the west side. Finding fish is the key, as the schools move with the tide. Remember to support “moving the water south” and all actions to prevent freshwater from Okeechobee being dumped into the lagoon. Sea grass can’t grow in freshwater. The sea grass has disappeared south of Bear Point in Fort Pierce for several years now. Only a healthy system will support the growth of new grass and improve fishing for everyone. Richard Matteson is staff writer for Stuart Rod and Reel Club. Contact him at (336) 414-3440.

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Center sp COME OUTSIDE & DISCOVER

Lake Okeechobee OKEECHOBEE AND MARTIN COUNTY, FLORIDA

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hale sharks are nomadic, but the recent travels of two tagged whale sharks raises questions about the lifestyle of the world’s largest shark species. Male whale sharks “Milo” and “Lucho,” tagged last summer near Isla Mujeres, Mexico by marine biologist Rafael de la Parra, director of the Ch’ooj Ajauil AC, have made nomadic journeys of nearly 10,000 miles combined. But unlike nomads, they both found there is no place like home and returned to the same place they were originally tagged after eight months of wandering. Both sharks were tagged with fin mounted satellite SPOT tags in an unprecedented feat—while de la Parra swam with them underwater! This study of whale shark migrations is being undertaken in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI). The ongoing journeys of these and other whale sharks can be followed online in near real-time at www.GHRItracking.org. Milo’s journey is the longer of the two. He swam east, deep into the

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Atlantic Ocean past Bermuda and returned near the tagging site in February, 2019. Then Milo took a month-long excursion into the Gulf of Mexico, returning close to the tagging site once again, logging more than 7,000 miles. Lucho, on the other hand, made a shorter voyage. He left in late August on a 2,713-mile swim through the waters surrounding the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos before turning around and travelling to the coast of Honduras. From there, he made his way home to the tagging site by Isla Mujeres in late December. Three months later, he’s still there. “Tagging these whale sharks on their fins with SPOT tags was a scientific coup,” said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., the director of NSU’s GHRI and a professor in the university’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. “Rafael did an incredible job getting this done. The direct satellite communicating technology of these SPOT tags provide much more accurate tracks of the shark migrations compared to the traditionally used data archival satellite tags, which have a lot more positional error associated with them.” A whale shark study by the GHRI and collaborators from the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme made news in 2018 when the data showed that whale sharks can live as long as 130 years and may grow as large as 61.7 feet on average. That’s nearly 17 feet longer than a school bus. “Unfortunately, whale sharks are currently on the endangered species list, so revealing their migration behavior allows us to better understand, conserve, monitor and effectively manage shark populations,” said Greg Jacoski, executive director of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. A new whale shark documentary was released last month by artist, conservationist and biologist Dr. Guy Harvey. Available on Amazon. com, “This is Their Ocean: Sea of Life” follows the adventures of two students as they swim with whale sharks off Mexico.

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Photo courtesy of Miss Judy Charters, Savannah, Ga.

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he American Sportfishing Association (ASA) released a report recently examining the huge economic benefits of the short 2018 recreational red snapper season in the South Atlantic. ASA claims enthusiastic anglers spent $23.6 million during the limited opening. The report, conducted by Southwick Associates, examined the season’s financial contributions in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and measured five types of economic activity including jobs, salaries and wages, GDP, total output and tax revenue. The report showed the success of the six-day August 2018 red snapper season for the South Atlantic coast in generating: • 185 jobs • $9.1 million in salaries and wages • $13.6 million in GDP • $18.9 million in economic output • $4.1 million in federal, state and local tax revenue The study used participation and spending data provided by both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the states. Economic contribution estimates used NOAA-based economic models. NOAA Fisheries has already announced the limited opening of commercial and recreational red snapper seasons for 2019 in South Atlantic federal waters. The 2019 recreational season will be open for five days, beginning Friday, July 12, and closing Sunday, July 14, 2019. Waters will again open on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, 2019.

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roadbill anglers take note. The Swordfish Cup, a tournament with a 24-hour format, will be held July 27-28. Anglers around the world will be eligible to compete in their respective time zones in this contest presented by Fly Zone Fishing and RJ Boyle Studio. The entry fee for the Swordfish Cup is $1,500 per team, with the winner taking 80 percent of the fees for the heaviest fish exceeding the 200-pound minimum weight. All line class weights will be allowed. Contestants may only use conventional rods and reels, including electric reels mounted on rods. Hand gear, bandit gear and hydraulic reels are not permitted. Harpoons may be used to boat the fish. In the event of a tie, the first eligible fish boated shall be declared the winner. Weigh-ins will be conducted at approved scales certified by governmental authorities within the last year. Fishing hours will be from 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 27 until 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 28, in each local time zone. Continuous video verification of the gaffing and boating of the fish with a GPS date and time stamp will be required to prove the catch was made during the specified tournament hours. The winning angler and/or team member may also be required to take a polygraph test. For more information on the tournament or to register, visit www. swordfishcup.com.

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

This bull redfish was caught in less than a foot of water. Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures.

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ome anglers shy away from shallow water, while others gravitate to it. I prefer to wade in 3 feet or less, and I typically focus on areas that are knee deep. On a recent trip, I did a combination of wading and drifting in

the kayak. This area was only 1 to 2 feet deep and the water was very clear. The bottom consisted of scattered grass and a little shell. I started my wade with the wind at my back and blowing parallel to the shoreline. I positioned my wade far enough off the shore so that I could still reach it with a long cast. My intention was to cover as much area as I could from the shore to as far as I could cast into the bay. I made sure to fan cast 180 degrees from left to right and cover each pothole in depths from several inches to approximately 3 feet. The goal was to focus my attention on a certain depth once I started catching fish. However, on this wade there was no set pattern, and the redfish ate from all types of different areas along that shoreline. After the morning bite diminished, I decided to move to a location I had not fished in a few years. This was a small area with broken islands all around it. I stayed in the kayak this time and positioned it a long cast away from a shallow sand bar. This bar was a submerged point that extended off a small mangrove island. The right side of the island had windblown current funneling through a gap and across the top of the bar to the left. Since the water was clear and the wind had picked up causing the waves to slap the hull of my kayak, I decided to stake out as far away from my target area as possible. It was now time for the mid-day minor feed according to the solunar table. I aimed my casts about 15 yards past the crest of the bar. This time I found the reds concentrated in a specific area. The majority of them hit at the drop off. This was only a 1-foot drop, but it was abrupt. Here is a tip when fishing shallow. I see a lot of people make the mistake of casting as far as they can right from the start. I like to start off with short casts and gradually increase my distance. My thought is, if I catch a fish on that long first cast, I may scare away fish that were between me and the fish I just hooked. When fishing shallow, that could spook off other potential catches. I try to catch the close ones first and then work my way out to the long cast. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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By Capt. Cefus McRae, Nuts & Bolts of Fishing Series

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ver the years, freshwater anglers have asked me what kind of gear they need to get started in saltwater. My response is usually pretty simple: “You’ve probably got 95 percent of what you need already in your garage.” The big differences between freshwater and saltwater fishing are the species you’re targeting and that you’ll need to factor current and tidal flow into the equation. Beyond that, the differences are rather small. If you have rods and reels for bass fishing, you’re pretty much ready to start fishing for speckled trout, slot redfish, flounder, pompano and dozens of other fun and tasty saltwater species. You can use many of the same lures and rigs you already have for bass. A big

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trout or redfish will absolutely attack a Zara Spook or Chug Bug on top, and reds, flounder and Spanish mackerel will slam a Johnson spoon or big blade spinnerbait. Project-X paddletails are a favorite with trout, reds and flounder, as well. Pompano love to eat short grubs on a ¼-ounce short-shank jig head. Those 8- to 12-poundclass outfits you use for bass are just right for inshore fishing. If you have gear for big freshwater stripers, then you’ve got the majority of what you need to fish nearshore and offshore for king mackerel, cobia, snapper and grouper. You’ll need to beef-up your gear for big grouper, amberjack, billfish and sharks. Most bottom dwellers like snapper and grouper are caught using a Carolina rig. You just increase the weight of the sinker to keep your rig vertical in the current. Your 20- to 30-pound class gear will be just fine for most offshore species, just be sure you have reels with lots of line capacity and smooth drags. The point is you don’t have to stock up on all-new saltwater gear, unless you want to. Now, you will need to enhance your tackle bag a bit. Leaders are extremely important in saltwater, because there are a lot of things in the water that can wreak havoc on your line, including some of the fish. Fluorocarbon is good in most situations, but some toothy species require the use of wire. You’ll want to learn to twist wire and tie a loop knot. Instructions on these skills are available at NutsAndBoltsFishing.com. You’ll want to add a few popping corks, like the Thunder Chicken cork, for fishing the flats with live baits or jigs. The corks serve to keep your bait at a specific depth and add a lot of fish-calling noise. For nearshore and offshore trolling, you’ll want a couple of big spoons like the Clark Spoon in a #3 or #4, and perhaps a couple deep diving plugs like the Mann’s Stretch 30. Finally, it’s vital to gently wash gear with lots of freshwater at the end of every day on the salt. Let lures dry in the sun before putting them back in the tackle tray, and change fishing line often. That’s about it, same gear, different fish, similar tactics, different location.

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ell, you can’t fish for them yet, but maybe in a few years? Last month, local students along with scientists from the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute released 89 lake sturgeon into the Tennessee River at Chattanooga. At just 15 inches in length, these armor-plated fish are miniature versions of the 8-foot-long river giants they may become. The release is the latest chapter in a 21-year effort to restore lake sturgeon to their historic range. Now back in their ancestral waters, each sturgeon could live for more than a century. These fish represent the next generation of a species that first appeared alongside dinosaurs during the late Cretaceous Period but whose story almost ended abruptly not from a meteor strike, but our own poor decisions just a few decades ago.

In the 1970s the lake sturgeon had all but disappeared from the Tennessee River due to overfishing, poor water quality and manmade alterations to the waterway. By the late 1990s, landmark legislation and responsible water management practices had improved conditions to the point that biologists thought it possible for the river to once again support a population of these ancient fish. In 1998, with the aim of restoring the lake sturgeon to the river, the aquarium and several partner organizations created the Lake Sturgeon Working Group. Since the formation of that organization, more than 220,000 juvenile sturgeon raised from eggs collected in the Great Lakes have been reintroduced to the Tennessee and Cumberland river drainages. Although they’re barely the length of a bowling pin, the baby sturgeon that entered the river on Wednesday are veritable giants compared to the vast majority of the fish that preceded them, most of which are around 6 inches long when they are released. These sturgeon are so much larger because they were held for longer at the Conservation Institute’s freshwater science center to help biologists better understand the potential effects of using coded wire tags to track their movement after release. Each tiny tag measures a couple of millimeters long and is inserted just below the surface of the fish’s rostrum (snout). When scientists collect tagged fish later during monitoring efforts, they can scan these tags to chart how the fish are moving throughout their range. Now that they’ve finally joined the rest of the reintroduced sturgeon in the river, these 89 fish served an important role in the protection of their species. These releases offer an opportunity for the public to learn about an imperiled native species. For more information, visit tnaqua.org/protecting-animals/ lake-sturgeon.

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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield ALACHUA, MARION, COLUMBIA, GILCHRIST, BRADFORD, DIXIE, LEVY, CITRUS

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MAY

ay I welcome you to the May 2019 issue of Coastal Angler North Central Florida/ Nature Coast? Cold fronts are no longer likely, and hot and humid is just around the corner. Whatever your outdoor passion, get out there and enjoy MAY! We have a new feature on page 16 this month, our favorite restaurants. Check out our page and check out our restaurants. Captain Eric Hasty is our new writer for INGLIS/YANKEETOWN on page 12. Give him a call and welcome him aboard. A big, big Thank you to Captain Craig Spitznogle who has anchored the INGLIS/YANKEETOWN column since March 2015. Thank you Craig, for a great job. All of our writers give a lot for this publication. Give them a call; they would love to hear from you, with a question or a compliment. How about a guided fishing trip for your mother? (Mother’s Day is May 12th.) Speaking of writers, we have a guest writer this month, Captain Denny Seabright. Check out Cobia Fever on page 20. This month’s recipe Yellow Tail Snapper en Papillate with Asparagus, Potatoes and Baby Bellas, on page 2 was a fun endeavor and delicious. (en Papillate is a fancy way to say wrapped in parchment paper and baked, and there were no dirty cook pans to wash!) You can use any thinly sliced meat and any quick cooking veggies. I couldn’t master the “rolling” of the edges of the parchment, so I wrapper like a gift and secured with silver binder clips. Note: I use these clips to secure parchment paper to my cookie sheets. Please remember to thank our advertisers and the great folks at our distribution locations. Thank you to John Freeze and Noel Kuhn for the two gorgeous photos on this page. Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

MAY 2019 EDITION

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

Cary Crutchfield

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

WEB MASTER Kristi Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy Bruce Butler John Freeze Noel Kuhn Capt. Jason Clark Capt. Dan Clymer Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Eric Hasty Capt. Stacy Horak Capt. Jimbo Keith Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Dan Smith Capt. Brian Smith

CONTACT INFORMATION

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District

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TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1W

2Th

3F

4Sa

5Su

6M

7Tu

8W

12:16 AM 6:34 AM 12:44 PM 7:00 PM 1:07 AM 7:13 AM 1:13 PM 7:42 PM 1:52 AM 7:49 AM 1:41 PM 8:20 PM 2:34 AM 8:24 AM 2:08 PM 8:58 PM 3:16 AM 8:58 AM 2:36 PM 9:35 PM 3:58 AM 9:33 AM 3:07 PM 10:15 PM 4:44 AM 10:10 AM 3:41 PM 10:58 PM 5:33 AM 10:50 AM 4:22 PM

3.2 0.8 3.3 0.7 3.3 0.9 3.5 0.4 3.4 0.9 3.7 0.1 3.5 1.0 3.8 -0.1 3.4 1.2 3.9 -0.3 3.4 1.3 4.0 -0.4 3.3 1.4 4.1 -0.4 3.2 1.6 4.1

HERNANDO BEACH

MAY 2019

Time Height

11:45 PM 9Th 6:26 AM 11:37 AM 5:09 PM 10F 12:37 AM 7:23 AM 12:32 PM 6:06 PM 11Sa 1:36 AM 8:27 AM 1:40 PM 7:16 PM 12Su 2:44 AM 9:35 AM 3:01 PM 8:44 PM 13M 3:56 AM 10:34 AM 4:21 PM 10:18 PM 14Tu 5:00 AM 11:22 AM 5:30 PM 11:37 PM 15W 5:55 AM 12:03 PM 6:29 PM 16Th 12:43 AM 6:45 AM 12:41 PM 7:22 PM

-0.3 3.1 1.7 4.0 -0.2 3.0 1.8 3.8 0.0 2.9 1.8 3.6 0.3 3.0 1.7 3.4 0.4 3.1 1.3 3.4 0.6 3.4 0.9 3.5 0.7 3.6 0.4 3.6 0.8 3.8 0.0

KINGS BAY

High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min

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

CRYSTAL RIVER

WITHLACOOCHEE ENT

High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min

High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min

CEDAR KEY

Time Height

17F

18Sa

19Su

20M

21Tu

22W

23Th 24F

1:41 AM 7:29 AM 1:17 PM 8:09 PM 2:31 AM 8:10 AM 1:51 PM 8:53 PM 3:18 AM 8:48 AM 2:25 PM 9:34 PM 4:03 AM 9:25 AM 2:59 PM 10:15 PM 4:48 AM 10:03 AM 3:35 PM 10:54 PM 5:32 AM 10:42 AM 4:13 PM 11:34 PM 6:15 AM 11:25 AM 4:55 PM 12:14 AM 6:59 AM 12:13 PM 5:43 PM

Time Height

25Sa 12:58 AM 7:45 AM 1:08 PM 6:40 PM 26Su 1:47 AM 8:37 AM 2:13 PM 7:48 PM 27M 2:44 AM 9:32 AM 3:28 PM 9:12 PM 28Tu 3:46 AM 10:22 AM 4:36 PM 10:34 PM 29W 4:43 AM 11:05 AM 5:34 PM 11:41 PM 30Th 5:33 AM 11:43 AM 6:25 PM 31F 12:40 AM 6:20 AM 12:18 PM 7:12 PM

0.4 3.0 1.8 3.3 0.7 3.0 1.7 3.1 0.9 3.1 1.6 2.9 1.0 3.2 1.3 3.0 1.1 3.4 0.9 3.1 1.2 3.6 0.6 3.2 1.3 3.8 0.2

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

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3.6 1.0 4.0 -0.3 3.6 1.2 4.1 -0.5 3.5 1.3 4.2 -0.5 3.4 1.5 4.1 -0.4 3.3 1.6 4.0 -0.2 3.2 1.7 3.9 0.0 3.1 1.8 3.7 0.2 3.0 1.8 3.5

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

MAY 2019

Steaming fish in a parchment packet in the oven, cooking en papillote as the French call it, yields deeply flavorful results, and is a mess proof way to cook. I could not master the technique of rolling/sealing the parchment, so I just wrapped and folded like a present, and secured with binder clips. Worked perfectly. See inset photo.

COOKING DIRECTIONS

INGREDIENTS

• 2 skinless fillets (snapper, flounder or sole) each 5 to 6 ounces and about 1/2 inch thick • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper • 2 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (3/4 cup) • 6 ounces thin asparagus (or thinly sliced zucchini squash) • 2 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup) • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Fold two 13-by-19-inch sheets of parchment in half from short ends to create a crease in each; unfold. Place each fillet to one side of a sheet, abutting crease; generously season with salt and pepper. Scatter mushrooms, asparagus, potatoes and onion evenly around fillets. Drizzle each fillet with 2 tablespoons wine. Scatter butter evenly over fish and vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Fold each sheet over fish and vegetables. Starting on one side, roll bottom side of parchment up and over top side to seal; continue working around until pouch is sealed in a halfmoon shape. Transfer both pouches to a rimmed baking sheet. Steam-roast until parchment puffs and darkens slightly, and fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully rip open pouches (scalding steam will be released) sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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FLORIDA WATERWAYS

Fishing Bridges

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ellowstone National Park has an official “Fishing Bridge,” although – with the decline of the cutthroat trout population – the bridge is closed to fishing, but open for those who want to observe fish in the river below. The Fishing Bridge By Kevin McCarthy used to be very popular with fishermen, especially because cutthroat trout used to spawn in the waters there. However, because of the decline of the cutthroat population (in part, a result of this practice), the bridge was closed to fishing in 1973. Since that time, it has become a popular place to observe fish. Closer to home here in Florida, Pine Island, near Cape Coral in South Florida, has what locals call "The fishingest bridge in the world,” and it does attract many anglers to the drawbridge there. Officially named the Matlacha Bridge (pronounced "MatLa-Shay"), the small bridge carries County Road 78 over Matlacha Pass. The bridge is nine feet over the water, and fishermen have to be careful to watch for traffic going both ways. Florida has lots of bridges, many of which provide really good fishing places for anglers. While we have to be careful on those bridges that carry vehicles, the truncated bridges which used to be connected spans across bodies of water, but which are now shortened, cut-off vestiges of what they used to look like offer great vantage spots to cast our lines. I’m thinking particularly of those fishing piers near our Sunshine Skyway Bridge south of St. Petersburg and the parts of Flagler’s Florida Overseas Railroad in the Florida Keys that stand next to the Florida East Coast Railway to Key West. Such fishing piers offer safety from passing traffic and great places to catch many different species of fish.

These bridges are so good at attracting fish because of the pylons and concrete foundations that offer hiding places and sources of food to many species of fish. A difficult part of such fishing is getting the 2008 Matlacha Bridge in Aerial view of old hooked fish away from the structures below the surface of the water. Local fishing tackle stores can give good advice to newbies on what kind of tackle to use and how to take advantage of the tidal currents, different depths, and varying kinds of below-water structures at the bridges and causeways. Local fishing-tackle stores even rent rods to newcomers, as well as selling frozen and Fishing from the Causew ay Bridge in Clearwater live bait. You really need a moving current to bring in from deeper waters those fish looking for an easy meal. The game fish might utilize the structure to hide and conserve their energy before attacking a passing baitfish or crustacean. Some of the fishing piers span very deep channels that attract the larger game fish coming in from the ocean, for example near Florida Bay. The bridges that have been in place for several decades have pylons and fenders full of barnacles Fishing from a bridge in Apalachicola and oysters that attract fish like sheepshead and drum. So, enjoy another part of our amazing Florida waterways: new and old bridges with lots of fish down below just waiting to be caught. Kevin McCarthy, the author of North Florida Waterways 2013 - (available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

River e over the Wakulla

Fishing from a bridg

People fishing fro

m a bridge in Pana

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Yellowstone National Par

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CRYSTAL RIVER

Sylvan • Oasis Sun Chaser Pontoon Boats

Expertise Servicing of:

HONDA • MERCURY SUZUKI • YAMAHA 24535 FL-40, Astor, FL 32102 (352) 759-3656 • www.astormarine.com

SEAFOOD AT ITS BEST!

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pring turns to summer, and May on the nature coast means that the inshore bite is traditionally at its peak. With the water temperature stabilizing around the 80-degree mark, the bite for the inshore species will be great. Trout, redfish, and snook will all be found around the exterior islands, with the trout inhabiting the grass flats around the perimeter, and snook and reds on most of the rocky points. As the pinfish begin to show on the flats by the thousands, these will be the top producing baits as spring turns into summer. I prefer half of a medium sized pinfish on a jig head for both redfish and snook. This offering will also tempt large trout when they won’t commit to an artificial offering. For anglers who want to stick to artificial baits, an Unfair Lures Rip n Slash 70 in color olive. The color color is one of my go-to hard baits and a 3-inch paddle tail on a 1/8oz jig head is a good choice for a soft bait. The snook bite will be

$1 OFF Fresh Clam Strips Basket or Appetizer 50¢ OFF Cup of New England Clam Chowder $1 OFF Bowl of New England Clam Chowder best either early in the morning, or late in the evening, when the tide is running hard, either incoming or outgoing. Just remember to always have a rod set up for a tarpon and cobia, as these fish have been known to show up in strange places as they make their migration to the north. A heavy spinning rod with 50 lb. braided line, 80 lb. leader and a DOA bait buster, is a great option to throw at both cobia and tarpon. Enjoy this fabulous time on the Nature Coast and cash in on the many inshore opportunities.

EAT IN • TAKE OUT

7364 W. Grover Cleveland Closed 2315 N. Sunshine Path Homosassa, FL 34446 Sunday and Crystal River, FL 34429

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Capt. Clay Shidler ClayShidler@Yahoo.com

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MAY 2019

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SUWANNEE

Dixie Salvage Auto & Truck Parts Foreign & Domestic Scott Ambrose 352-498-7000 21214 S.E. Hwy-19 1-800-226-7077 Old Town, FL 32680 Fax 352-498-8012 DIXIEAUTOSALVAGE@BELLSOUTH.NET WWW.DIXIESALVAGE.NET

EXPERIENCED COUNTER PERSON NEEDED

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ey everybody, we are having SUMKINA spring so far, and what I mean by that, is these new baits we have been throwing by SUMKINA Bait Company have been absolutely taking care of business. For trout fishing, the best water

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depths have been between 2 to 6 feet of water on a nice grassy flat. So make yourself an appropriate leader, and run your SUMKINA Bubble Belly Bait under a B-52 paired with a Jim's Jig. Give it a few twitches here and there, and get ready for some action. Now the redfish are in thick right now, so if trout's not your idea of fun, locate yourself some nice oyster beds, and troll around till you find them. You can work these baits the same way as you do with trout, or you can skip the B-52, and run it on a 1/8 Jim's Jig. Bounce it off the bottom, or just swim it back to you. These baits have great action either way you use them. Well y'all, until next month, stay safe out there. Capt. Jason Clark In The Slot Fishing www.intheslotfishing.com Capt.jasonclark@gmail.com 352-639-3209 Check out our title sponsor for the Florida Pro Redfish Series! www.groovelife.com

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STEINHATCHEE A Pleasant Month to Fish

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ay is one of the most pleasant of months to fish! The cold snaps are behind us, and the scorcher of summer is yet to come. Better-more, the fish are active inshore and offshore. Guides and weekenders will be returning with limit catches of trout, redfish, a scattering of Spanish mackerel and some flounder, with enough lady fish and bluefish to maintain an active day’s fishing. Jigs will catch all the aforementioned, but morning and evening can be highlighted with topwater action. I don't care what type of fish it is, topwater strikes are the best! If I read it correctly, amberjacks will be open the month of May. Amberjacks are one of the most rambunctious fish to tangle with. They are best caught on frisky livebaits; however, larger jigs, hefty jerk baits, trolling plugs, tube lures and even super-sized topwater plugs work. If the bite is strong, remove the hooks from a topwater plug, just to watch the crazy. Gag grouper are open in state waters from Steinhatchee, all the way over to Apalachicola. State waters are out to nine nautical miles. The best means to strike them, is to troll plugs. I put out an assortment to cover colors, as well, as the water column. While trolling, you're apt to catch big Spanish mackerel or kingfish. If trolling becomes boring, simply 8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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stop on some hard bottom to pick sea bass on squid or cut bait. Bouncing half to one-ounce jigs, yellow, green or white, will improve the catch of legal sea bass. The jigs can be tipped with squid, cut bait or a piece of gulp, if necessary. I fish a tandem jig rig to have a chance of a double hook-up. Sea bass are excellent eating, and certainly breakup long periods of trolling. I'd suggest popping off to catch some amberjacks, then run back in to troll, with intermittent sea bass fishing. It could lead to a super fun day, with a great mixed bag, and not use so much gas. Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

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SUWANNEE RIVER/CEDAR KEY

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

Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters www.FishCedarkey.com 352-535-5083 | Capt.Jimbo Keith

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

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ey there folks, I sure hope y'all are enjoying this summer weather. By now, everything is in full swing with water temperatures staying steady in the upper 70's. The Cedar Key flats are alive with action! The trout bite is pretty good on both incoming and outgoing tides, and they are still holding in 3 to 5 feet of water. The B52 Super Sounder with the Bass Assassin tail in the sea shad pattern, still produces the numbers of keeper trout. While top water baits produce the really big ones, on the shallow flats when the tide is low. The reds are still making their presence known, along and along. Around the islands, cut mullet is still your best bet for getting bit. If you are the type who likes to throw artificial, a gold spoon is working well around the oyster bars. The Spanish mackerel are also showing at Sea Horse reef, and on the flats around the islands. Trolling plugs or jigs will work great on the reef. Well folks, I know I sound like a broken record, but this is what I do day in and day out, and it just works for me. I hope y'all enjoyed the report/forecast, and like always, get outside and enjoy what God has given us!

MAY 2019

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CEDAR KEY PADDLING

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ello everybody! May is by far one of my favorite months. The bait fish are pouring into Cedar Key, and everything you want to catch is here, and hungry. April produced some really fat and healthy trout, and some massive over-slot reds. As I write, I just got off the water from doing two charters today, and this morning, I saw two just underslot tripletail. I surely do hope they come in thick this year, and this month. On another note, there have been some pretty serious changes on some of our fisheries legal catch laws, so make sure when you hit the water, you are up to date on what is legal. Saying you didn't know, or you are new to this sport, still gets you in front of the judge. Here is some more good advice; if you are out in your boat, and, if you can hear the conversation on another boat, you are too close. If both boats can cast and hit each other’s lines, you are too close. Cedar key has a lot more water and fishing areas then we have boat trailer parking. Let's give each other space, and have fun doing it.

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

About what bait to use; fresh cut and live is my favorite. I'm old school. Hope to see you at the shop, and I hope you take a kid fishing. Capt. Daniel Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

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INGLIS/YANKEETOWN

M

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

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ay is finally here; the temperature is up, and the bite is hot! Inshore larger fish that have been in the back country, have found their way out to the flats and bars. The pelagic/migratory fish are in full swing with the nearshore and offshore action. For a lot of you, now will be when you use your boat for the first time this year. I recommend going through your boat to verify that your safety equipment is in excellent condition, and that the boat is running well before you head to the ramp. On the inshore, it is time to dust off that cast net. Your larger snook, red drum, and tarpon can’t resist a nice live finger mullet. I choose to use a circle hook, inserted into the top lip. Float one mullet under a B-52 Bomber, and sink another to the bottom. This combination will give you a feel for where the fish are biting. No cast net? No problem; fish will strike artificial lures and eat live shrimp as well. Look for deep cuts around the bars and spoil islands. I prefer the incoming tide. For the trout lovers out there, the B-52 Bomber set up, with two feet of leader and a Jim’s Jig, will do the trick on the flats. Load the jig with live shrimp or a soft bait, and drift in four to six feet, popping the cork in intervals. Offshore and nearshore bite will be strong this month. Look for mangrove snapper on the rocks in depths of thirty to forty feet. Use cut herring, or live shrimp to generate the bite; chum heavily for the best result. Be on the ready with a Hogy black eel, or a hooked live pinfish. This is the time of year is when cobia appear at the boat. Present you bait to the cobia

quickly, as he won’t hang out long. When seeking the cobia, look around the channel markers during heavy water movement. Remember to check your regulations; currently you may only keep two cobia per vessel. Be prepared to catch Spanish mackerel and bonita in your chum slick. The May bite will be fantastic. Please reach out to me at capterichasty@gmail. com to let me know how you did. In addition, check out We Be Tailing, for more tips and tricks at www.webetailing. com. Capt. Eric Hasty ShastyMcNasty Fishing LLC www.shastymcnastyfishing.com 352-220-3206

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HOMOSASSA

STA-SEA’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

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ight when you think summer is here--that 20-knot easterly wind starts blowing, and the temps plummet. What is going on? Hopefully, the last of the cold fronts have com, and gone. I'm ready for warm summer days: swimming, snorkeling, barbecues with friends, and of course, fishing! Speaking of fishing; the weather has made it a little challenging to say the least, but the fish haven't seemed to mind. Redfish are showing up inshore in big schools, and in the scallop grounds in Crystal River, I've seen big schools of snook. That is a wonderful sight to see when I'm scouting for my upcoming trips. Trout have not died down in the least bit. These trout have been upper slot and very eager to eat. The triple tail have kept me entertained for the last few weeks, and I must say, that's my favorite fish to catch this time of year. Just an FYI, when I'm targeting these fish, I try to put my clients on the ones that are clearly slot size. Tripletail have a low survival rate for catch and release, so targeting what you plan to harvest is best. Black drum have been hanging out in Yankeetown around the oyster beds, and boy are they fun to catch! You hook into a big black drum, and the first thing you think, is that you are hung on a rock or an oyster bed, and then all of a sudden, your drag is screaming, and it is ON! Right when

you think it's time to net them, they take off, and the fight begins again. Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, is like the famous quote, “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get”. Pompano, permit, whiting, sheepshead, black sea bass, mangrove snapper, and flounder, are just a few of the surprises I've been lucky enough to see in the last few weeks. I love being surprised when I see what's on the end of my line. Huge schools of jacks have been everywhere, and if you are bored, they are an absolute blast to catch. You can play with those until you are too tired to reel anymore. Pound for pound, they are some of the best fighting fish out there. This is the best time of year to make the best of your weekend. The sun stays up later and the whole atmosphere changes. Everyone is more laid back and relaxed. This is the reason we live in Florida: bare feet, cold beers, (or sweet tea) and spending time with our loved ones on our incredible waterways. Don’t forget the sunblock. Get out there and enjoy everything the Gulf of Mexico has to offer!

t’s heating up here on the Nature Coast, and now is the time to dust off your heavier tackle. These couple months, bring some of the larger species our area has to offer. Tarpon, cobia and kingfish have arrived, and these big three will give you a fight you will not soon forget. For the inshore and offshore anglers, it’s tough to beat a cobia for a great tug of war. Channel markers, wrecks, artificial reefs and your high-profile grouper structures are ideal locations to target cobia. Inshore channel markers are always worth a look, and many times cobia can be seen just below the surface circling the structure. With the absence of fishing pressure on the offshore locations, due to the recent grouper regulations, there should be plenty of hefty cobia for those willing to make a run. Chumming brings them right to the boat, and a live pinfish on a bottom rig, and one up top, will have the water column covered. The kingfish will be in good numbers, as well in the 30 to 60-foot range. Light drags, wire leader and plenty of line capacity is necessary to tackle a smoker king. Trolling a variety of plugs or spoons works well for those wanting use artificials. Anchoring up over live bottom, and using an assortment of live and dead baits, such as threadfin herring, cigar minnows or a frisky live blue runner is

kingfish candy. Keep an eye on the horizon for the skying fish, blasting through baitfish schools to help you locate schooling fish. Homosassa is world renowned for its tarpon fishing, and now is the time of year history is made. Many fly-fishing world records have been set here and anglers from all over the world come to test their skill against the mighty silver king. The flats to the south of Homosassa are primarily for fly anglers and is a specialized fishery. As the fish start migrating north, usually by mid June, the oyster bar cuts in Crystal Bay will be an ideal spot to free line a live pinfish, and put a tarpon in the air. On the inshore scene, the trout and red fish will be a good bet as well. The trout will start becoming less structure orientated, and spread out over spotty bottom. The spotty bottom of the sand and grass mix, ranging from 5 to 10 feet, will be the productive area. A 1/8oz DOA cal shad tail jigs in the glow color is hard to beat, and I prefer the chartreuse color jig head to be a great combination. On days when there’s little breeze, try a jig and cork rig combination. The sound of the clacking cork in the deeper water, usually draws the larger trout to your bait. For locating red fish, start on the outside rocky points and preferably on incoming tide. As the tide floods in, the fish move right onto the rocks, and a free-lined live shrimp, pinfish or a fresh piece of cut mullet will get a hook-up. If there are mullet jumping on a particular point, anchor up and give it a try. Jumping mullet is an excellent indication that there’s red fish around. As always, feel free to contact me with any and all questions about the area. Good Fishing! Capt. Dan Clymer 352.418.2160 www.crystalriver-fishing.com

Captain Stacy Horak Cell 352-553-3604 Facebook: CaptainStacy Horak Instagram: captain_ stacyhorakfishing Website: www. fishingwithcaptainstacy.com 14 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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Family Owned & Operated for 42 Years

Largest Ship Store in Lake & Sumter Counties

Leesburg 352787-5792 Crystal River 352795-1119 437 N Palmetto St. Leesburg 1931 NW Hwy 19 Crystal River www.NoblesMarine.com

Since 1976

BAIT & TACKLE IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA

ALACHUA FARM AND LUMBER 114101 NW 145th Ave. Alachua, FL 32616 386-462-3003 www.AlachuaFarmandLumber.com CEDAR KEY PADDLING 12293 SR 24 Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@Yahoo.com

CAPTAINS COVE OUTFITTERS 39 West Hwy 40 Inglis, FL 352-447-5610 www.CaptainsCoveOutfitters.com

MCDUFFIE MARINE 1866 West US 90 Lake City, FL 32055 386.752.2500 www.mcduffiemarine.com

DW&D BAIT HOUSE 12831 Whiddon Ave Cedar Key, FL 352-543-6109 352-222-9383

OCKLAWAHA BAIT & TACKLE 13600 East CR 25 Ocklawaha, FL 32179 352-816-5853

44 TACKLE CO. 3177 E Gulf to Lake Inverness, FL 34453 352.726.6100 www.44Tackle.com

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YOUR BAIT & TACKLE SHOP HERE Call Lynn at 352-372-4237

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COASTAL ANGLER RECOMMENDS THESE

RESTAURANTS

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420 Dock Street • Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-543-5142 steamerscedarkey.com • info@steamerscedarkey.com Like us on Facebook!

PLACE YOUR RESTAURANT HERE. Call Lynn at 352-372-4237. In the April issue, FLORIDA WATERWAYS column, Funny Fish Names, I inadvertently failed to include everyone’s favorite fish, the adorable clownfish. I apologize to our readers, Dr. McCarthy and of course, Nemo. First, clownfish, which look as if they have been painted, are what Disney chose for the charters Marlin and his son, Nemo, in the animated film “Finding Nemo” and its sequel, “Finding Dory”. 16 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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ST. AUGUSTINE

SURF & PIER

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his winter and fall the fishing has been great, but summertime is coming. Yeah, it’ll be hot out there, but the fishing will be hot as well! We have some big changes in our fishing patterns coming up over the next couple of months, as the water starts to get murky inshore, and the beach fishing action really starts to fire off. Redfish and trout will be blasting top-water plugs at first and last light, and the cobia, tarpon, and sharks will invade the beaches. You have to love summertime fishing in Northeast Florida! Some of the best inshore/ backcountry fishing for redfish and trout will occur right at sunrise, and again at dusk, this time of year. Top-water plugs are one of my goto lures during those times of day. The fish will be feeding heavily, and they’ll be more than willing to crash your lure on the surface. Mullet should be invading all the creeks and flats in our area by now, and the old adage “match the hatch” couldn’t be truer. I like to use a Rapala Skitterwalk in a baitfish pattern to perfectly mimic an injured mullet. If you do opt for the walk-the-dog type lure mentioned above, be sure to practice making the bait walk side to side. I’ve seen many fish ignore a top-water if it’s just dragged past them, only to have them smash it the next time the lure is properly “walked” by. Once the sun is higher in the sky, you may want to switch to a sub-surface lure or bait. I’ve been having great success using the Saltwater Assassin Lil Boss paddle tails. It looks just like a small mullet

or minnow, and can fished in a bunch of different ways. The tail on the Saltwater Assassin is bigger than most and produces quite a thump when worked through the water. With murkier water being the norm heading into summer, this can be a huge advantage, as the fish will be able to hone in on the lure much easier. Just as the mullet will be invading the inshore areas, look for the pogy (menhaden) pods to be all over the beach. The pogies bring in all kind of fishing opportunities this time of year. The cobia should be hanging around, depending on what the water temps do, and the tarpon should start to show as well. Sharks, huge jacks, kingfish, and more, will all be pulling up a chair to feed on the bait pods. A great way to fish the pods is to slowly idle around, looking for the ones that have some pogies getting thrown around. The biggest mistake I see while fishing the beach, is when anglers get too close, or charge right up to the bait while the outboard motor is still on. Try using the trolling motor, or just drifting within casting range. You’ll see a lot more fish, and more importantly, catch more too. While you’re out there along the beaches, don’t forget to check out the shrimp boats and their by-catch. There’s almost always something BIG lurking around those slicks to play with! Tight Lines!

ow, this month may be the best all year for surf fishing, especially if you like pompano and whiting. April started off really slow, due to cool water temperatures, but that changed for the better. Now it is GO time. My favorite baits are clams and sand fleas. Put them on a double dropper rig with 2/0 circle hooks, and use enough lead to keep your bait where you cast it. When you head to the pier, be sure to take along some live shrimp. Use them under a slip cork to hook up with trout, jacks, and blues. The Spanish mackerel will also be showing up, so keep a Gotcha plug handy. May is the month for getting your string stretched! Bonnethead sharks move in to feast on the calico crabs. Half of a blue crab makes for excellent bait. They'll run 10 to 25 lbs., with very sharp teeth. Gear up heavily, with 100 lb. mono leader, attached to a 4/0 to 8/0 circle hook. Since their main diet is crabs, they make for great table fare. Whether you are in the surf or on the pier, the boys in the grey suits will be in full force this month. To get your string stretched, just soak a whiting head in a deep trough along the beach. The blacktip sharks will

Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

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be actively feeding on whiting and pompano. I like using a foot of 480 lb. cable, tipped with a 10/0 L2022 by Eagle Claw. Above that, six feet of 300 lb. mono. to avoid being tail whipped. This fish will run 70 to 160 pounds. So, make sure you have enough line to soak up the first run. Blacktips are a blast, because in shallow water, they almost always go airborne when hooked. Since they jump so much, I have nicked named them Surf Marlin! Be sure to check out the new shark fishing regulations that go into effect July 1, 2019. For complete info, please visit MYFWC.COM Remember to set your drags loose. This is the month for a big shark to grab your just hooked fish while your rod is still in the holder. 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.

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TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

KEATON BEACH

Steven, Matt Williams and Steven Jr., with a fine board of trout April 6th

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he trout have been on fire, eating plugs, topwater stickbaits. hard jerkbaits, and soft plastics, as well both Assassin Sea Shads ad 5-inch shads, have taken a bunch of fish on board, One More Cast. Stinky Pink, Pink Ghost, Glow /Chartreuse tail, have all been working for us. We have caught the majority of our trout on live pinfish under Back Bay Thunders, as the water temps climbed up into the low 70’s this week, down from 63 after our last cold front April 2nd. We can only expect May to be fantastic, as water temps will move through the 70’s, and be in the lo 80’s by month’s end. All the species the flats have to offer, will be present and hungry in May. We have seen a few sharks, caught a few blues, but have seen no Spanish mackerel yet, nor cobia. Today is April 8.) so I am sure those two will show up later in April, and be prevalent in May. May’s weather will stabilize

the water temps, and produce a consistent bite for trout in water 3.5 to 4 feet. Live pinfish, rigged up under Back Bay Thunders, will take some grown trout and so will topwater, like MirrOlure’s She Dogs and She Pups. If the floating grass holds off, it should be outstanding! Bouncing Assassin’s Sea Shads and 5-inch shads, will also be the ticket as trout out in 4 to 6-foot depths consume shrimp daily, So far this spring, reds have been scarce at Keaton, but with more schools of bait showing up daily, we should be catching plenty of reds in May. Thunder-Spins ad Hex Spoons in Copper and Gold will be the way we search for, and catch reds. Meanwhile, Let's Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 28 years! www.onemorecast.net onemorecast@gtcom.net 850.838.7541

Steven Cook of Dallus, Ga. with a fine 23-inch trout, taken in the FOG April 6

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elcome back yet fans, and welcome to spring! (I hope). As the water temperature comes up, the bigger fish start to move in. The flats have changed around again, and the bite on the outgoing to low, has finally started to turn on! You may remember my bitching about the low tide bite being gone; well, it's back! Last trip, we hooked into four reds, some nice trout, and black drum, on a tide low enough to anchor yourself with your foot. This is a long way from when I said that an hour or two into the incoming had been the best bite, but when the fish cooperate, my favorite way to fish the Nature Coast is on the outgoing to low. As you may know, my coast only gains a foot a mile, and yeah, that means I could be out five miles, and still walk home. lol It also gives us miles of open flats. I mean, who wouldn't love watching schooled up reds and black drum pushing water all around you in less than a foot of water? So, just to make sure that I'm not giving you, my readers anything but the straight poop. I hit the water again this morning, and this was totally out of my commitment to you, but my wife thought this was a pretty thin excuse, and started muttering about yard work, and a room she wanted painted, or something. I'm a little deaf. LOL So poor excuse or not, I went

fishing. (The things I put myself through for you guys!) As the sun came up, and the fog cleared, I found them again in the skinny water, picking up a nearly 36-inch beauty, who gave me a magnificent fight. I don't usually bring home pictures of the girls I run into, but I made an exception in her case. I got the shot and watched her swim away, this after she nearly spooled me, and ran the whole bay. I wish I could tell you she nailed my spook Junior, but she wanted a big shrimp. Hey, I'll take that battle anyway I can get it. Synopsis: target outgoing to low tide, glow Gulp mantis shrimp with chartreuse tail, and gold bream Little John's are producing some good bites. Nice size trout as well as Spanish mackerel have been showing up, but one of my favorites should be here by the time you read this, cobia! Hopefully, I’ll have a good story for you next month. On a personal note, as I’m in my tenth year of writing for Coastal Angler Magazine, I’m asking you for some feedback. What type of stories have you enjoyed, or did you enjoy them at all? Feedback welcome! Let the flogging begin. till next time, Bruce Bruce Butler | "Stumbling Gypsy" (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters.com Web: www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

Bob Hafner of Perry with a nice mess of flounder and trout

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COBIA FEVER

t’s May in the Big Bend region, and that means but one thing, it’s “Cobia Season”. As the water pushes to the low 70’s, the spring migration of these pelagic fish, occurs off the coast in this area, from the shallows, to well off shore, making them accessible to a wide variety of anglers. The methods of catching them are many, as they range from the bottom, to the top of the water column. Being a very curious fish, it sometimes gets them into trouble, as they will surface to investigate a boat, and that is how most cobia are taken. The local method of chasing cobia is to chum on the surface, with a few live baits, freelined out the back of the boat, while fishing for other species, resulting in a fish or two taken, and considered a good day. Being from Virginia where cobia are king, and chased on purpose, I am going to tell you how to catch more--a lot more. Cobia are bottom fish, as you can tell by the flat body shape, like a catfish. They spend very little time off the bottom, except when they are catching southern wind-blown waves, north to their spawning grounds. Being a bottom fish, it only makes sense to target them “on the bottom”. Take a five-gallon bucket with a lid, and drill ½ inch holes all over it, including the top, so it will sink faster. Place a weight in the bottom, and put a block of chum in, along with some old shrimp if you have them, or crushed up blue crab. Hang midship, until it hits the bottom. Deploy two rods with a 3-inch 80 lb. test leader and 8/0 J hook to your 65 lb. running line via a 200 lb. barrel swivel, and a sliding sinker capable of keeping it on the bottom. These two rods will be put in the bow and stern rod holders, so the bait will be on the two sides of the chum pot, and they will catch the majority of your fish. You want to throw your third rod out the back of the boat as a freeswimming bait, consisting of pinfish, etc. Let’s talk bait for a second. After examining the contents of over 100 cobias, I have found that they, in this area like a 6 to 10-inch hard head catfish. Catch the cats the day before, and clip the three stickers off at the body so they can be handled, and the cobia will like them better. While waiting for a bite, do not allow your buddies to fish for other species, as it always ends up in disaster. If you are going cobia fishing, then go cobia fishing.

The line out the rear of the boat will go off with a zing most of the time, and you know the drill on that. The lines beside the pot are another story, as the cobia in most cases will just pick up the bait, and stay in the area of the chum, so you have to watch these carefully. When the cobia moves the bait, ease up to the rod, and take it out of the holder, winding down until you feel his weight. At this point, set the hook, and have your mates wind in the other lines, starting with the other bottom line. Then pull up the pot and wind in the line out the back. Fight the fish like any other large fish, and when he tires, either gaff him, or use a large sturdy landing net, to bring him straight into the cooler. These fish can, and have, broken bones and tackle. Before releasing, look closely on the left side, under the dorsal fin before releasing under-slot (Less then 33 inches to the fork.) fish, or those you don’t want to keep, as they may be tagged. Take a picture of the tag, so you can magnify it, and see the tag and phone number of the institute that the info is to go to. We tag cobia for the Gulf Research Lab, and would appreciate the reporting of the measured catch and approximant location. You can report it, and receive a certificate, stating where it was first tagged, and how big it was at that point. I hope you take away some useful information from this article, and follow it to the tee, and if you do, you will improve your catch numbers drastically. As far as where to fish for cobia, find a wreck or reef, known to hold fish, and chum up current to pull them out of the structure. Go over your charts to find a lump or dropoff in 15 to 30 feet of water, and chum on top of the lump or ledge so the chum flows down the hill, so to speak. Time your outing, so the tide is not running hard, and is going in the same direction, as the way you want your chum to go. Cobia numbers are at this point going down for unexplained reasons, thus the reason for tagging and gathering more information about them. Take only what you need to eat, and release the rest for another anglers’ exciting experience, and it is an exciting experience!

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hat an awesome bass season we've had, Forest Fishers. It's crazy to think how much better this fishery has become over the last two years. With water levels remaining high (everywhere), if you're not exploring all these new fishing spots, you're missing out. In our clear lakes, bass have finished the spawning process and panfish are at the beginning of theirs. To target bigger bass, you need to focus on ledges and deep water structure. Shade is key, as we approach the hot summer months. Hydrilla and lily pads are the go-to vegetation, so areas with a good mix of both, are "money". Try to use lures that imitate blue-gill, such as swim-baits, and cover as much water as possible during sunrise and sunset. When the sun gets high, switch to flipping creature baits and craws. On dark (tannic) water lakes, stick to using plastic worms. Senkos, trickworms, and speedworms are the most popular. Bass are patrolling the outer edges of vegetation, and then moving into flooded trees during mid-day. For anglers looking to put food on their plate, panfish are the obvious choice. Blue-gill, sunfish, and war mouth, are feeding heavily as their spawn takes place over the next few months. With the abundance of minnows everywhere, stick to using red worms and grass shrimp, so your bait stands out amongst the crowd. The other option is to move along the bank, using a cane pole to dip panfish jigs into as many holes as possible. Docks are a popular place to spawn under, as well as

brush-piles and over-hanging tree limbs. Now, that every body of water has changed, I've spent a lot of time learning

to fish new areas. I'd like to thank a couple people who've helped me along my journey. First off, huge thanks goes to my new friend John, for helping me document one of the biggest bass (night pic) of my life. “I couldn't have done it without you, Man.” Next, thanks goes to Dawson, for pulling me out of a sandy situation, that I had no prayer of escaping alone. Both are good examples of how we should treat our fellow anglers, along with the rest of our great community.

John Freeze Kayak Fishing and Nature Tours TheWaterwayz@gmail.com 352-216-5798

Denny Seabright can be found writing weekly fishing reports on their Face Book Page BackCountryChronicles or find them @Redfishhunt

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5 Tips for Spring Walleye Fishing

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ot many anglers know about the excellent walleye fishing that exists on north Georgia reservoirs. At the southernmost point of the walleye’s range, these fisheries offer a unique opportunity for anglers who want to experience walleye without travelling too far north. In 2002, Georgia DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division launched a walleye stocking program that produces nearly 600,000 fingerlings each year. Once they reach one inch in length, they’re stocked into eleven north Georgia lakes and reservoirs for future fishing. Spring is a great time to catch walleye. Georgia WRD has put together these tips to help you get after them. 1) Go in the evenings. Walleye stay deep during the day to hide from the sunshine. Target them during the “golden hour” 30 minutes before and after sunset, when they move shallow to feed and spawn. 2) When things get hot, move your fishing spot. When spawning ends in April, these fish prefer cooler temperatures and head out to the main lake. Long points, humps and weed beds on the lower end of the lake are the best places to search in summertime. In early summer, target depths ranging from 15 to 25 feet. 3) A simple nightcrawler will do the trick. Sometimes all you need to do to catch walleye is drift a nightcrawler along the bottom slowly and steadily. Make sure to drift it near downed trees and other shady structure. Walleyes might be hiding from the sun in these places. 4) Don’t rule out other lure options. While a nightcrawler will hook a fish, don’t be afraid to try other options. In the shallow spawning waters, try a 3/8-ounce jig tipped with a nightcrawler, minnow or plastic grub. At night, a shallow running minnow is a solid choice. If it’s past spawning season, a weighted bottom bouncer with an inline spinner tipped with a blueback herring should get you a bite. A deep-diving crankbait in a shad, perch or firetiger pattern will do wonders, too. 5) Check out the Walleye Fishing Seasonal Calendar on the Georgia DNR website. This helpful chart tells anglers where walleye fishing is best throughout the year. Lake Tugalo and Lake Yonah offer great walleye fishing year-round while some of the other lakes fluctuate on how well the fish bite. Be sure to check out the fishing tips included in the online Georgia DNR Walleye Fishing Guide. For more information, go to https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/ walleye.

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Photo by Greg McFall/NOAA

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OAA Fisheries has opened black sea bass recreational fishing in federal waters of the South Atlantic, south of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The season will remain open through April 1, 2020. The reason for the opening black sea bass season for the entire recreational fishing year is because estimates predict the 433,200-pound recreational catch limit will not be met for the 2019-2020 season. For the last three years, recreational landings were substantially below this value. The recreational minimum size limit is 13 inches tail-length. The bag limit is seven fish per person, per day.

ike Elsea, of Mooresville, Indiana, took home the $50,000 grand prize and $23,000 in additional prize money for winning the Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) National Championship held March 28-30 in Shreveport, Louisiana. The KBF National Championship is a catch-photo-release tournament which takes place over three days. On the first two days, competitors electronically submit their 10 longest fish, which are then certified by a team of judges. The top 100 anglers fished on the final day for the $50,000 grand prize. Elsea’s winning 15-fish total measured 288.75 inches, besting the second-place finisher, Drew Gregory, of Wingate, N.C., by 16 inches. Greg Blanchard of Seneca Falls, N.Y., placed third. “This is the largest kayak fishing event of its kind with the richest payout. We have 461 anglers from 43 states competing for the title of National Champion,” said tournament organizer Chad Hoover. “This is the first time we’ve used multiple bodies of water. There are more backwaters and places that are inaccessible by power boats than anywhere we’ve ever had the national championship.” Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), recently announced a partnership with KBF to hold two kayak bass fishing tournaments in 2019 in conjunction with FLW tour events, a move which will bring even higher visibility to the sport.

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pringtime is cobia time in the northern Gulf of Mexico. With warming temperatures comes the annual cobia run, and boats with spotters in the towers can be seen running the white sand beaches in search of these brown bombers. Iconic AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on the docks at Destin Harbor held its Spring Fling Cobia Tournament April 5-7. The weather did not cooperate Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday the sun peeked from behind the clouds long enough for angler Josh Cannon and the crew of Lucky Dog to catch a 67.8-pound cobia. Lucky Dog went on to win the whole tournament, with winnings equaling $16,215. AJ’s Spring Fling will donate $4,000 raised from tournament to Kids on the Coast Foundation to support local youth in Okaloosa & Walton County Communities.

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Reel, Remove, Release The Brown Pelican is a common sight in Florida and all along the Gulf Coast. Almost everyone who sees them thrills at the sight as they glide effortlessly across the water, soar on the wind, or dive headfirst from a hundred feet in the air straight into the water. It’s a wonderful sight that residents and tourists alike, love to see and enjoy. Unfortunately, a sight that is almost as common and that most people don’t ever see, is the way they all too frequently become entangled in fishing line and die a horrible, torturous death, struggling and alone in the mangroves or other roosting sites. Fishing line entanglement is the number one cause of death for brown pelicans. If free of human interference, Brown Pelicans could live to the age of 40 years in the wild. However, studies show only 30% of all pelicans will survive their first year – only 2% will live to reach the age of ten years. In addition to pelicans, fishing line entanglement also kills Herons, Egrets, Ibises, Cormorants and all of the other seabirds roosting in the mangrove rookeries who become tangled in the same line. If you hook a pelican or Photos by Carol Cassels any seabird, please don’t cut your line and let the bird fly away with it attached. This will lead to entanglement, resulting in death of that bird and possibly others as well. DO THIS Instead, follow these

simple steps to unhook the bird: Reel. Remove. Release. 1. Wear safety glasses and enlist a partner for help. 2. Reel the bird in slowly and lift it from the water. Even a large pelican weighs only 4-8 pounds 3. Grasp the bird by the head just behind the eyes and fold the wings against the body. For pelicans, hold the beak, keeping the mouth slightly open so it can breathe. Cover the bird’s head with a cloth to keep it calm. 4. Never pull the hook out but TO PREVENT THIS carefully push the end through the skin, cut off the barb and Photos by Carol Cassels back the hook out using pliers or clippers. If the bird is entangled, remove all line. 5. Release the bird (if healthy) by placing it on the ground near the water and allowing it to take off. 6. If the bird has swallowed the hook or is severely injured, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator from the list at MyFWC. com/unhook.

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he Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be gathering public input on the future management of blackfin tuna. Share your input by attending a workshop near

you. Blackfin tuna are currently regulated by Florida’s default recreational bag limit of 100 pounds or two fish per day, whichever is greater, in state waters. There are no regulations for blackfin tuna in federal waters. Future changes could mean management and regulations that are more tailored for this species. Upcoming dates and locations for the meetings are as follows (all meetings start at 6 p.m. local time): May 6 – Fort Lauderdale: Keiser University, Room #402B, 1500 NW 49th St. May 7 – Key West: Harvey Government Center, Board of County Commissioners room, 1200 Truman Ave. May 8 – Islamorada: Founders Park Community Center, 87000 Overseas Highway. If you cannot attend a workshop, view a video of the presentation online and provide comments on this to FWC at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

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The goals of these research cruises are to identify bonefish prespawning sites; track bonefish offshore to determine spawning locations and depth of spawning; link prespawning sites to bonefish home ranges; understand bonefish reproductive physiology; and to understand larval behavior and diet. A highlight of the first two cruises included a large prespawn aggregation of bonefish, which during an overnight track remained near the surface from the time they left the prespawning location at dusk and then descended to 200 feet to spawn near dawn. Another bonefish, which was tagged at a prespawning aggregation was recaptured two months later on its home flat 65 miles away. The information collected during these cruises will be used to protect additional prespawning and spawning sites, to understand which prespawning sites are most important to which flats; and to understand what factors are most important for successful bonefish spawning, in order to focus on making sure conservation is correctly focused. As larval behavior is learned, it will be easier to anticipate where larvae travel after being spawned, which will help indicate which locations are most important for protection. Two more cruises are scheduled for this spawning season. Pick up the spring BT&T Journal in March to read about the early findings of the study. A prespawn aggregation of bonefish getting ready to move offshore to spawn. Photo by Robbie Roemer.

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uring this bonefish spawning season in the Bahamas, from late October to early April, a team of scientists from Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BT&T) and Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute completed two cruises to the Bahamas aboard the M/Y Albula. The trips were sponsored by the Fisheries Research Foundation. Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 1:14 PM Page 1

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Bonefish from a prespawning aggregation porpoise at the surface as they get ready to move offshore. Photo by Dr. Aaron Adams.

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n April, the Gulf of Mexico FishPhoto courtesy of ery Management Fish and Wildlife Council met in BiResearch Institute loxi, Mississippi and took final action on Reef Fish Amendment 50: State Management for Recreational Red Snapper. The council chose to delegate management authority of the private angling component for recreational red snapper fishing to each state. Each state will be allocated the portion of the recreational quota it initially requested in the 2018-2019 exempted fishing permit application, with the remaining 3.78 percent distributed between Florida and Alabama. Those values are as follows: Alabama: 26.298 percent Florida: 44.822 percent Louisiana: 19.120 percent Mississippi: 3.550 percent Texas: 6.210 percent The council also elected to delegate authority for establishing or modifying the bag limit, minimum size limit within 14-18 inches, and maximum size limit. Finally, the council selected to allow a state to close areas of federal waters adjacent to the state by requesting that NMFS implement the closure. These suggested management changes will be transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval and implementation.

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Pure Shot Outdoors team members, from left, Isaac Avery, Laramy Barber and Hunter Graham show off their winning catch totaling 600.3 pounds. The U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship founder, John Paul Morris, holds the championship belt above the team.

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ainy April weather couldn’t keep 118 bowfishing teams from 23 states from competing in The U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Bossier City, Louisiana. More than 58,000 pounds of rough fish, or 29 tons, were removed from eight area lakes and the Red River. The first place team, Pure Shot Outdoors, harvested 600.3 pounds and received $25,000 in cash, with each member receiving an AMS Bow.

The Texas team consisted of Isaac Avery, of Longview, Laramy Barber, of Sabine and Hunter Graham, of Henderson. “My teammates and I have fished this tournament for three years and have always strived to be at the top. Last Saturday we were able to put the big stringer of fish together for the win. Hard work and determination from all the team put us in the right spot at the right time. Thanks to Bass Pro Shops for hosting a tournament of this magnitude and allowing us to compete in something all bowfisherman love to do,” said Avery. The U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship is the largest event of its kind in the fast-growing sport of bowfishing. This year’s event featured the largest competition and biggest prizes in the tournament’s seven-year history. The championship purse included more than $100,000 worth of prizes and giveaways. A four-man team representing Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma won the Big Buffalo and Biggest Overall categories in addition to taking eighth place in the tournament. Team Obscure Adventures’ big fish weighed 73.3 pounds, and they scored an overall weight of 365.8 pounds. Their total cash payout was $9,530. The No Limit team from Center, Texas took fourth place in the tournament and won the Biggest Common Carp category with a 51.6-pound carp out of Toledo Bend. Their total weight of 402.2 pounds netted the four-man team $6,610. Team PossumCods, another four-man team from Texas, scored the Biggest Grass Carp category with a winning weight of 58.3 pounds and claimed the $3,200 cash prize. Besides being a fun weekend for participants and families, the bowfishing event provides lasting environmental benefits for area lakes. Bowfishing, combining elements of fishing with archery to harvest rough fish species, is one of the fastest growing sports in the outdoor industry. Unlike traditional game fishing, bowfishing uses specialized bows to target species including carp, buffalo and gar that plague lakes, rivers and streams around the country. Removing these undesirable species improves habitat conditions for native game fish.

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By Capt. Scott Fisher

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ne of the most anticipated times of the year has arrived in southwest Florida: tarpon season! Guides from around the state and anglers from all over the world come down to partake in the abundant tarpon fishery on Florida’s southern Gulf coast. The tarpon show up here each year to feed and spawn. Northwest of Fort Myers, Fla., Charlotte Harbor is particularly good for bait due to seemingly endless mangrove shorelines and extensive grass flats fed by two large rivers, the Peace and Myakka. With its large harbor and the deep Boca Grande Pass, Charlotte Harbor is also a good refuge when the tarpon spawn. It is not uncommon for tens of thousands of tarpon to migrate to the area starting in April. They’ll stick around even after they finish their spawn in early July, and then they’ll have just one thing on their minds. That is to feed! You’ve got to gear up to do battle with a silver king potentially weighing up to 200 pounds. A heavy spinning rod should be plenty, and you might even be able to get away with a medium-heavy depending on the area you fish. Couple this with a size 6000-plus spinning reel, something with around 30-pounds of max drag, spooled with 65-pound braided line. This is a fair-sized combo that allows you to fight the fish but still get it to the boat without overly exhausting it. A 50-pound fluorocarbon leader with a 7/0 circle hook will allow a clean hookset and enough strength and abrasion resistance to land the fish of a lifetime. Where you target these fish will usually dictate the baits you use. In the Charlotte Harbor area, I catch these fish using a dead mullet on the bottom up the Peace River or a half dollar-size blue crab off the beach. It all depends on bait in the area and the area being fished. Other baits anglers may choose are pinfish, shrimp and ladyfish or artificials. All of these methods work when applied

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in the right situation. During the tides around the new and full moons, we experience what we call “Hill tides” or a “crab flush.” These are the most exciting times to tarpon fish. Millions of small crabs are flushed out of Boca Grande Pass, which sends the tarpon into a feeding frenzy. The thousands of fish that congregate in the narrow pass take every opportunity to eat passing crabs. Matching the hatch provides much success, which means I’ll be using live crabs and drifting them as naturally as possible in the current. Going back to tackle, you want a setup that allows you to land fish without causing them to be overworked or too exhausted. That’s because predators like bull sharks show up to take advantage of the congregated tarpon and the large amount of bait flushing through the pass. Injured or tired tarpon make an easy meal for a hungry 12-foot bull shark! When you land one of these majestic tarpon, idle out of the pass and into shallower water to properly revive the fish before release. This will give it the best chance of survival so that we can ensure a healthy population for years to come. With tarpon season here, if you do not have suitable equipment, I suggest hiring a local guide to take you on what will truly be a trip of a lifetime. For more on tarpon fishing, look for upcoming seminars by following my Facebook page @ Facebook.com/Hookedoncharters or Instagram.com/hookedoncharters Capt. Scott Fisher is owner/operator of Hooked On Charters and operates out of Boca Grande Fla. Contact him at 941-258-5654 or www.hookedoncharters.com.

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slamorada in the Florida Keys has some of the finest and most consistent year-round swordfishing anywhere in the world. As captains out of Cape Coral, Fla., Bill Lussier and I contacted Capt. Nick Stanczyk, of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, to take a casual trip and learn about daytime swordfishing. With a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze, we cruised in the Freeman 37’ “Broad Minded” toward the Gulf Stream. Upon arrival, the seas had risen to 5- to 6-feet about three to five seconds apart. Capt. Nick carefully chose his location before he and mate, Konnor Ross, laid out the first line in about 1,600 feet of water. Now, daytime swordfishing is challenging since 10-pound weights and more than 3,000 feet of line are sometimes necessary to reach proper depths while accounting for current and drift speed.

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FLY FISHING

By Capt. Debbie Lussier

Capt. Nick very carefully positioned the boat, and once he was happy with the position and drift of the first line, he sent out a second line with a buoy. The buoy had drifted about 100 yards from the boat when Capt. Nick said simply, “The buoy!” Then… “It’s big!” Immediately, we reeled in the first line to get it out of the way. Bill jumped on the buoy line and began to reel… and reel… and reel some more. Five and a half hours later, we got our first glimpse of the fish when it jumped about a quarter mile behind the boat. We could see it was big, but we didn’t realize how big because it was so far away. Two hours later, we got a better look at the monster. Each time Bill got the leader to the reel, the broadbill saw the boat and ripped off line Bill had fought so hard to gain. Capt. Nick busied himself keeping the line from touching the boat and keeping the fish from running under the boat. If at any point the line had touched the boat, it would have parted, and the fish would be gone. It felt like we were on a whirl ride at the carnival. We circled with the fish, and then in a flash it would streak away. Capt. Nick would turn the boat to cruise beside the fish until it dove toward the bottom. More than eight hours into the battle, Bill brought the giant fish boatside. It was still very blue in color and fresh. The fight would have continued, except the fish made the fatal mistake of swimming within range of Konner and his harpoon. Konner deftly stuck the fish in the backbone. After two darts and three gaffs, Capt. Nick was able to get a tail rope on this Jurassic fish, and the fight was over. It took a block and tackle and lots of brute strength to load the swordfish in the boat. Back at the docks, it weighed 757.8 pounds and measured 111 inches from the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. The bill was 40 inches long, even though part of it had previously broken off. To learn more about Capt. Nick Stanczyk, out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida, go to daytimeswordfish.com.


FLY FISHING

Learn To Read A Fish Finder Or GPS

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f you’re a boat owner and you fly fish, at some point you’ll have to read a fishfinder/ global positioning system or GPS unit. The fishfinder/GPS unit is a key component to success when fishing in saltwater and on large freshwater reservoirs. Whether pinpointing schools of baitfish, locating structure points, reading water temperatures or getting you safely back to your launching site, this unit’s importance to the angler cannot be overstated. There are even portable models that allow for mounting on kayaks. Today’s fishing tackle stores and mail-order or online catalogs

optimum water temperatures.

stock numerous units from which you can choose, all units share similar features, the most important are the following:

ly, advances in weather predicting through the internet and handheld electronic devices, allow the angler to access any number of weather-predicting tools for upto-the-minute weather data. In many cases not exercising good sense can lead to a tragic ending. If you notice a potential storm on the horizon, run for shelter if you are fishing a beach or flat. If you are on the ocean, aim your bow toward safe harbor. Once the storm has passed, return to your fly fishing. A note of caution: Mother Nature is an unforgiving old woman, so always heed her warning signs. Be safe, not sorry. Today’s technology is responsible for the development of customer-friendly, easy-to-use electronics. Some units have more than proved their worth to the serious saltwater angler, not only finding fish but keeping anglers safe out on the water.

What To Look For In A Fishfinder 1) GPS for navigation: A GPS is not only a tool to get you to and from fishing areas but also your lifeline if bad conditions occur on the water. A GPS will get you back to the dock if you experience low visibility from fog or heavy rain. 2) Plotter: The plotter is a great tool to use when navigating to an area as well as getting back to a good fishing area. 3) Bathymetry mapping (locating underwater structure): The best way to locate drop-offs and underwater structure such as wrecks and artificial reefs. 4) Sonar: Critical for locating baitfish and game fish. 5) Water temperature: For finding temperature breaks and

When The Weather Goes South! Changing weather patterns are an expected and accepted component of saltwater fly fishing. Weather conditions change quickly and unpredictably. An unthreatening blue-sky day, with little warning, can be replaced by scudding, ominous black clouds producing lightning, torrential rains and quite often off-thechart winds. This is an uncontrollable circumstance faced by those of us who saltwater fly fish. Lucki-

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atch any group of fishermen and one or two always stand out from the others in terms of getting more strikes and catching more fish. If you monitor their approach and their movements, it’s difficult to detect anything different from other anglers, but you can bet it’s there. I call this “The Touch,” and it covers every phase of the sport from hooking a fish to landing it. Two anglers standing side by side are fishing the same artificial lures. One man enjoys several strikes and hooks a couple of fish while his partner can’t buy a strike. The only difference in their retrieves is that the successful angler is vibrating his wrist while he retrieves the plug. That causes the lure to flash under water, and that’s the touch that produces a positive result. In a similar situation fishing topwater plugs, it turns out the angler getting the strikes retrieves the lure like everyone else, but he pauses for an instant during the retrieve, which allows the plug to rise slightly. The same touch is just as important with natural baits (dead or alive) as it is with artificials. How and where you present a bait makes a significant difference. Baits should be changed frequently whether they are live or dead. Fish face into the current or they swim against it. Positioning a boat to take advantage of the local current is vital, and you also need to consider spring tides and neap tides as well as the daily rise and fall. Even when you are trolling, the key is to work in and out to change water depth and work both sides of a current. Keep in mind that water depth is a prime factor in determining where fish will be. Locating the right depth and area is

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part of the touch. W h e n you rig, you want the lightest and shortest leader that makes sense. Every hook must be sharpened to perfection. Eliminate as much hardware as you can. If a sinker is necessary, opt for the smallest one that will do the job. A bait that bounces along the bottom is much more effective than one anchored to a single spot. If your rods are custom built or can be modified, shorten the butt. That allows you to reduce the fatigue on your arms when battling an oversized denizen. When a fish takes a bait or lure, don’t swing the rod as if it were a baseball bat. Point the tip directly at the spot where the line enters the water and let the fish start to move off. Then, just lock the pre-set drag and the fish will hook itself. One critical aspect of battling a strong fish centers on the use of side pressure. Most anglers keep the rod in a vertical position when fighting a fish, pumping upwards to draw the fish closer and regain line. When the fish gets a reasonable distance away, the use of side pressure is much more effective. The key lies in holding the rod waist high and parallel to the water. If the fish is swimming to the right, you want to try to force it to turn and swim to the left. Each time it turns, it gets closer to the boat or to shore. The Touch covers all aspects of fishing. It is composed of countless little things that give the angler a decided advantage when put together. Once you begin to master it, you can bet you will get more strikes and catch more fish.

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Sheri Daye

hatever your sport or hobby, you probably owe a debt of gratitude to those who helped you get started. Mentors are especially important when it comes to hunting, because they teach you how to be stewards of the land or ocean. I was fortunate to find great mentors in the spearfishing club that I joined early on. They were generous with their advice, and the lessons stay with me to this day. Here are a few examples, some of which can be applied to other areas of life: 1) One of my earliest memories was of Bruce letting me take the shot on my first grouper. After shooting, the fish holed up in some rocks, as groupers tend to do. In my excitement, I rushed to extract it, exhausting myself and risking a tear-off by pulling on the shaft too hard. Bruce motioned for me to calm down, assess the situation, let the grouper tire, and then gently pull it out. His advice worked like a charm. In other words, there’s no need to rush—time is on your side. 2) When diving for lobsters with my friend Dave, a professional lobsterman, he laughed at my first attempts. He advised that before starting to extract the lobster with the net and tickle stick, “get your butt out of the air!” In other words, get better situated by letting the air out of your BC and planting your knees in the sand. He said, “Keep in mind that lobsters are like cattle. You can prod them where you want them to go, so take your time and herd them into the net.” Again, I needed to take my time and use my head. 3) When I started to freedive deeper and go for bigger fish, I had the privilege of diving with Chad, a top diver. I absorbed a lot just by watching. He had smooth, calm technique when stalking and strong, purposeful maneuvers when subduing. I learned how to avoid loops in the line, how to handle sharks, the best shot placement. I most appreciate the fact that he never treated me like a girl, and he didn’t

take over if I was fighting a big fish. A good mentor lets you experience struggles and triumphs, praises you when you do well, and gives advice when needed. There comes a time in a hunter’s life when you’ve been through the stages, and your satisfaction comes more from the total hunting experience—being outdoors, enjoying friends, seeing the beauty of nature, and passing on what you’ve learned. Remember to thank your mentors and consider paying them back by taking someone new under your wing. Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

Sheri Daye with mentors Dave Earp and Chad Palan.

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Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. It’s good advice that’ll ensure someone looks for you if you don’t come home from your next outdoor adventure. But in many instances, when rescuers go out searching for a missing person, they’re scouring the woods or waters for a dead body. Time means everything in an emergency situation. If you get into trouble miles from shore or deep in the backcountry, you need help immediately, not hours or days later when someone notices you’re missing. That’s why carrying a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a very good idea. It’s an investment in your safety that you’ll hopefully never need to use. ACR Electronics recently launched its Next-Gen ResQLink View PLB, which is their first unit with a digital display. Using survivor feedback from users who have actually activated their beacons in lifethreatening situations, ACR tweaked the design of their worldwide best-selling PLBs to make them more user-friendly and functional. Coastal Angler Magazine recently got its hands on one of these life-saving little gadgets, and although we were tempted, we restrained from pressing the Activation Button that would immediately alert and deploy U.S. Coast Guard rescue personnel to our offices. ACR ResQLink PLBs have a proven track record. Operating on multiple satellite systems with exceptional power and reliability, users can expect their beacon to be located within five minutes of activation, within 350 feet, 95 percent of the time. Just holding the device provides peace of mind that if something were to happen, help would be on the way.

Although we couldn’t call in the cavalry, we were able to experience the unobtrusive footprint of this indispensible piece of gear. About 5 inches long and weighing just 5 ounces, it easily slides into a pocket. It’s clips snuggly onto a backpack or life jacket, and it was out of the way on the water. In fact, we forgot it was there when the fish started biting. The simplicity of use was also very apparent. Pushing the test button prompts the display to tell you the PLB is in working order, and activating the beacon is as simple flicking the antenna out, which uncovers a bright red activation button. Even suffering from injury, hypothermia or being tossed by waves, a person in distress could activate the PLB with just one hand. It’s worth noting that ACR has added an infra-red strobe light to go along with an ultra-bright strobe to assist rescue crews using night vision goggles. The digital display screen? When activated, it displays all the beacon’s operational activities, including GPS coordinates, operating instructions, usage tips, transmission bursts and battery power. It let’s you know it’s working and that assistance will arrive soon. With military durability and worldwide coverage with no subscription, the ResQLink View and the ResQLink 400—which has everything but the display screen—are reasonably priced for technology that could save your life. There’s no reason not to have one on you next time you’re deep in the woods or out on the water. For more information, go to www.acrartex.com.

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Why Bass Get Away

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W

hen a fish gets off, it’s many times due to a poor hookset. However, even a fish that’s hooked solidly can shake free. Slack in the line is the main reason for hooks coming out of a fish’s mouth. Slack can come from several factors. Let’s look at three basic scenarios. • The fish swimming directly at you very quickly • The fish getting the line wrapped in cover • The fish jumping Sometimes a fish will make a hard run at the boat. Often this results in slack line and the hook coming out. A high-speed reel and quick recognition of the situation are key to keeping slack out of the line. A longer rod will help keep a tight line and pressure on the bass. Depending on your surroundings, you can also keep the line tight by walking backwards. In addition to the potential for line breakage, fish getting into cover can cause slack in the line. Once a fish turns its head with the line tight against cover, there’s potential for slack to form. Keep heavy pressure on the fish when it buries up in cover, and get it out into open water as quickly as possible. That’s another plus to a powerful hookset; it gets that fish moving in the right direction. Losing a fish when it jumps and throws the bait can really break your heart. Your best bet is to do everything possible to keep a bass from jumping in the first place. Sticking the rod tip down in the water will often keep a bass from jumping. Turning the fish quickly in the opposite direction as he begins to warm up for a leap will also keep its head down and eliminate a jump. Probably the most obvious way for fish to get off is for your line to break. Line breaks either because it gets damaged or it will break at the knot. Breaking at the knot is very discouraging. One tip to reduce this occurrence is to wet the line when cinching down the knot, especially with fluorocarbon. You also need to be proficient at several different knots. There are apps online that explain knots for each situation. The Palomar knot is the strongest knot and is useful for a wide variety of situations. The pound test line you use has to be paired with the proper power rod and the proper sized hook. Use the line weight rating on your rod’s specifications as a starting point. A stout 5/0 Mustad Grip Pin 3X Max flipping hook needs line that is at least 20 pound test or greater. Lighter line is going to be better for smaller hooks, fished on medium-power rods. My brand of rods, MHX, has the suggested line sizes on the blanks when you purchase at www. mudhole.com. Quality line you can trust is also important. Vicious No Fade Braid (www.GetVicious.com) is a line I highly recommend. It’s not going to break, and it’s also going to keep its dark green color over multiple fishing seasons.

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n April, on the same stage where Bassmaster Elite Series pros were weighing in during the Lake Hartwell tournament, 2019 Bass Fishing Hall of Fame inductee Davy Hite was surprised by the South Carolina Senate with a resolution honoring his career. Rep. Jay West, acting on behalf of the resolution’s sponsors, Sen. Michael Gambrell and Sen. Floyd Nicholson, made clear that Hite was being honored not just for his angling exploits, which include the 1999 Bassmaster Classic title, the 1998 Forrest Wood Cup, and the 1997 and 2002 Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards. He certainly cited those achievements, but added that his prior career in the National Guard and subsequent career as a broadcaster and his role as a steward of our natural resources also justified this recognition. Hite attended his first Bassmaster Classic as a spectator in 1996 and had a dream “just to maybe qualify for one.” Instead, he visited the Classic stage 14 times during a career that earned him nearly $2 million in B.A.S.S. winnings alone. “When you get to fish for a living, and now get to talk about fishing for a living, it’s a great thing,” Hite said onstage. He will be formally added to the rolls of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame at its annual induction dinner at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo., on Sept. 19. For information, go to www.BassFishingHOF.com or contact BFHOF executive director Barbara Bowman at bfhof.barbara@gmail.com.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

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1782-18B Coastal Angler.indd 1 COMMON CVRS_0419.indd 3

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