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

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Aboard The Hard Merchandise

icked Tuna is a show my ancé, Capt. Brandon Storin, and I like to watch. As an avid angler betrothed to a charter captain, I think it’s pretty cool to watch these guys reel in giants, but it’s even cooler to do it Brandon and I wanted this experience, so we went on a charter with the legendary crew of the “Hard Merchandise.” Docked in Gloucester, Mass., the boat is very spacious with a heated cabin, full head and all the latest electronics. Capt. Joe Marciano and his Mate, Jay, are exactly as they are from the show, and their skillsets for catching

During our time with them, conditions were a bit rough. It called for us leaving the docks earlier than anyone else, and while riding out, you could really see how meticulous they are in each part of the rigging and set up. During the boat ride, conversation was great, with plenty of laughs to go around. Before we knew it, we were at the tuna grounds.

In the midst of catching and soaking baits and waiting for the bite, the crew made us fresh breakfast and it was amazing. We had bacon and scrambled eggs with lobster.

e experience is very much like what you would expect from watching the show. ere’s lots of refreshing baits and waiting for a bite. When they mark sh on the sonar, the enthusiasm from the crew is amazing, just like on television. Capt. Joe and Jay jump up, yelling “WE’RE MARKING!” Adrenaline starts pumping with anticipation as you hope everything is lined up perfect enough to get a bite.

Fortunately, we did get tight, and I have never seen a sh take such a wild and ferocious run… several times. I was up to battle this sh with coaching from Capt. Joe and Jay. ere is nesse needed to ght a giant like this, and a cra in staying tight and knowing when to let him run. Every second spent reeling elevated the hope that we might land this big tuna. Yet there was also anxiety. If you’ve watched the show, you know that losing one of these monsters is a very real possibility.

We battled the sh for a while. Gaining where I could, adrenaline kept me pumping while the crew maneuvered the boat. e communication is constant as everyone works together.

Finally, I saw this huge beast start surfacing. Capt. Joe moved in with the harpoon, ready to take the shot. Everything happened so quickly! e beast surfaced, and Capt. Joe drilled it with a perfect gill shot. It wasn’t over yet, but it was just a matter of time. A er the sh made one last run, taking a bunch of rope, we hauled it back in and roped its tail. At that point, I knew I had landed my top bucket-list sh.

It was an amazing experience, and it felt like we were literally in an episode of Wicked Tuna. What you see from the show is what you get in person. ere is no script; nothing is fake. ere is only grit, talent and hope, and these guys have all that.

e Hard Merchandise team recently launched Angelica Seafoods, where one can order fresh blue n, lobster, scallops, oysters and more to be delivered to your door. If you plan a trip to Boston and want to catch a sh of a lifetime, book a charter with the Hard Merchandise.

For more information on the Hard Merchandise, visit www.angelica sheries.com/fv-hardmerchandise.

IG: @catching_astrid @bnmbean @hardmerchjoe @melodyredwing @hardmerchandisejay.

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HILARY MARTIN:

INFLUENCER, YOUTUBER AND BASS ANGLER

That’s quite a headline for a 17-year-old high school student from Clewiston, Fla. who loves bass shing.

I spoke with Hilary while she was in Palatka, Fla. preparing to sh the Florida Bass Nation tournaments on the St. Johns River, and her enthusiasm and passion for the sport of bass shing were impressive.

Last year, at 16, she nished h at the State Championship of the Florida Bass Nation with a total weight heavier than 19 pounds. She’s hoping to do even better this year.

I asked her if she could remember when she rst started shing, and she laughed as she guessed that she was “probably only 2 years old.” A er all, she does come from a pretty well-known family of professional bass shermen.

Her grandfather, the legendary Roland Martin, is one of the greatest bass shermen of all time. Her father, Scott, won the 2011 Forest Wood Cup Championship, and also has 45 top-ten nishes and eight tour victories in the FLW and hosts the Scott Martin Challenge.

But things are di erent today than they were

Iin the past. Today, social media is the key to reaching your audience, and Hilary has done an incredible job on both YouTube, with over 100,000 subscribers, and Instagram with 103,000 followers.

Most of her videos are bass shing, although she’s had some very interesting saltwater shing videos, as well.

Hilary said she started taking bass shing seriously when she was 15 years old, and at 16, joined the Florida Bass Nation Series.

She has her own bass boat, a 20’ Skeeter FXR, with a 250hp Yamaha, but she also shes out of her dad’s boat from time to time, because, “it’s got all the goodies,” she laughed.

Her biggest bass, a whopping 9.1-pounder was caught ipping a black/blue Sweet Beaver along the edges of cattails on Lake Okeechobee when she was only 14 years old. She hopes to break that personal best soon.

Her shing arsenal includes a Favorite Phantom Series shing rod, a Shimano Curado reel and braided or uorocarbon line, along with her favorite bait, a Zoom Speed Worm.

“I was shing out of a kayak and I saw this

far away, so I threw my Speed Worm just past the mark,” she recounted. “I started a fast retrieve when a big bass came up and just exploded on it. at sh drug me around for what seemed like forever before I nally landed it. It weighed just over ve pounds. e cover picture of me holding a bass was taken the day a er.”

Listening to her tell that story, her excitement, enthusiasm and passion for bass shing became even more obvious.

If you haven’t seen one of her videos on YouTube ( eReelHilarySue), I’d strongly recommend you check them out. ey’re fun to watch, and you might just learn something. She’s a natural.

What an incredible future this beautiful, talented young lady has in store. I think she’ll be one of the biggest names in professional bass shing in the years to come.

Don Norton is co-publisher of the Okeechobee edition of e Angler Magazine.

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GULF RED SNAPPER HARVEST Open for Two Weekends in November

Anglers

shing the Gulf of Mexico out of Florida have two weekends remaining in November to harvest red snapper. is special fall season announced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) opened a total of ve weekends for snapper harvest in October and November. e remaining dates are Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 25-27.

e fall red snapper season is open for recreational anglers and for-hire operations in the Gulf of Mexico. During this season, private recreational anglers may harvest red snapper in Gulf state and federal waters. However, state for-hire operations are limited to shing for red snapper in Gulf state waters only. Gulf state waters extend to 9 miles o shore, where federal waters begin.

e bag limit during the fall season is the same as the regular summerseason bag limit. Anglers may keep two red snapper per person, within the 10-per-person daily aggregate snapper bag limit. e minimum size limit is 16 inches tail length. Charter captains and guides may not keep a limit on top of those retained by their anglers. A descending device or venting tool is required to be rigged and ready for use while shing for reef sh in Gulf federal waters. FWC will continue to monitor harvest relative to Florida’s available quota.

ese additional days were made possible by the State Reef Fish Survey, which was developed to provide better data for management of red snapper and other reef sh. It has allowed FWC the unprecedented opportunity to manage Gulf red snapper in state and federal waters.

All anglers shing from private recreational vessels are required to sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler if they target red snapper or other reef sh in state and federal waters, even if they are exempt from shing license requirements. Sign up for no cost at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or by visiting any location where you can purchase a Florida shing license.

State Reef Fish Anglers may receive a questionnaire in the mail regarding their reef sh trips as part of Florida’s State Reef Fish Survey. If you receive a survey, please respond whether you shed this season or not or whether you’ve submitted data via other methods.

For more information, see the Florida red snapper regulations at MyFWC.com.

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$1 MILLION PURSE GUARANTEED atJimmyJohnson’s“QuestfortheRing”ChampionshipFishingWeek

Brought to you by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., the 12th Annual Jimmy Johnson’s “Quest for the Ring” Championship Fishing Week will take over South Florida March 7-11, 2023, additionally hosted by Visit Lauderdale, with tournament headquarters based at Seminole Hard Rock in Broward.

e annual four-day tournament includes the 2-day Quest for the Ring Catch & Release Championship and the National Sport sh Championship Weighted Tournament, which takes place as a separate tournament during the event week. Hosted by Contender Boats, powered by Yamaha and fueled by Papa’s Pilar Rum, the 2-Day Catch & Release Championship features the World’s RICHEST guaranteed purse of $1 million, in partnership with Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla, making it the longest-running guaranteed purse in history.

Jimmy Johnson’s “Quest for the Ring” Championship Fishing Week is “all about the ring!” according to Coach Johnson. Each year teams vie for their champion rings and entrance into the highly coveted Ring of Honor, an elite group of champions who have taken home the top prize at this exciting competition in the Catch & Release Championship. Each year, overall champions receive Jimmy’s famed National Championship Ring. Renowned for the best parties, which are

Palm Beach’s TEAM LUNATICO won the 2022 Championship, taking home $321,500 and entrance into Coach’s coveted RING OF HONOR on a 42’ Invincible owned by Lance Converse.

back at Hard Rock, the highest guaranteed purse and the ultimate week of shing, tournament highlights include celebrity charity days and highly competitive tournament showdowns. Registration will end with the captain’s meeting on Tuesday, March 7, if spots are still available.

“ e best wasn’t the Super Bowl, the best was not University of Miami, the best is right now!” said Coach Johnson. “ ese teams are part of THE BEST. We continue to grow each year, and I am thrilled to have our partners at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood join us as we

showcase the thrilling challenge of sport shing and to move our hosting of our event to such a beautiful destination in Broward County. We look forward to seeing everyone in March!”

Contender Boats is the o cial center console boat sponsor and a presenting sponsor of the tournament along with the o cial outboard sponsor, Yamaha, and o cial spirits partner, Papa’s Pilar. Additional Hosting sponsors include Oakley Prizm, Michelob Ultra, GED Lawyers, Visit Lauderdale, Garmin, Celebrity Cruises, Hines Securities, Titos Vodka, Atlantic Radio Telephone, and Cadillac. Miami Retail Partner is Crook and Crook and Broward Retail Partner is Big Dog Tackle. e o cial tournament artist and apparel provider is Connected by Water. Additional event sponsors can be found on the event website. e tournament is produced by Fish Hard Events.

Boat Entry information and the full schedule of events can be found at www.jj shweek.com. Registration starts at $5,000 for the Quest for the Ring Bill sh Tournament and $2,500 for the Sport sh Weighted Championship. Register on the tournament website or by contact the tournament o ce at info@jj shweek.com or (305) 255-3500 for more information.

Follow @JJFishWeek on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for up to date tournament information.

The Peacock Bass in Florida From The Amazon to Your Backyard:

There’s an eruption during your retrieve that’s immediately followed by one of the most vicious strikes you’ve ever encountered. e unknown assailant pulls drag, digging deeper only to reverse course and perform one of the most acrobatic aerial shows you’ve ever witnessed. Your rst thought is a monster largemouth, but that idea vanishes when you see the color scheme and the large bump on the sh’s forehead. A er a trying and equipment-testing battle, before you lies an unmistakable dream about or watch on television shows recorded in exotic locations. It’s a butter y peacock bass.

Peacock bass are native to South America, where they are most commonly found in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. Because of their appearance and name, there’s a common misconception that they are members of the bass family. Actually, they are cichlids.

Peacock bass were introduced to South Florida by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in 1984. ey are nonnative, but they are considered noninvasive. ree stocks of sh were imported from Brazil, Guyana and Peru. A er spawning at the FWC Non Native Research Lab and being tested for disease and parasites by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Auburn University, they were released to combat exotic invasive snakeheads, clown knife sh and oscars.

Peacock Bass have a body similar to largemouth bass, but the color scheme is noticeably di younger examples are generally golden/green with three black bars that fade as the sh matures. is also usually a prominent black spot with a yellow/ gold halo on the tail. Peacock bass are fast growing, pushing an inch a month from one year to 18 months. A 19-inch sh can weigh 5 pounds. While the Florida state record butter

undocumented catches of 12 pounds and e IGFA all-tackle world record is 12.6 pounds and was caught in Venezuela. y peacock bass are intolerant of cold water and high salinity. ere have been reports of sh north of Palm Beach County, but they cannot survive temperatures below 60 degrees or salinity above 18 parts per million. is species is commonly found in canals, lakes and ponds, and prefers to feed and spawn in shallow water with vegetation.

Live bait is the easiest way to catch these amazing sh, and they will also strike arti cial lures and ies. Butter y peacock bass prefer feeding during daylight hours, when they use their great speed to pursue

y peacock bass are edible, but the FWC recommends catch and release due to the valuable service they provide in keeping invasive species in e pursuit of this species is also an economic boon to the state. It is estimated that anglers spend more than $8 million a year chasing peacock bass in y peacock bass are another example of shing opportunities.

The Art of Sustainability

Guy Harvey has dedicated his life to creating beautiful art and apparel to protect the sport and the oceans he loves. From using recycled materials in his apparel to ensuring a portion of his proceeds help protect the ocean through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), wearing Guy Harvey means you’re part of the movement to protect our sport and our oceans. Shop now and turn the tides at GuyHarvey.com

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LURES

ACTION AND HOOK SETS WITH LONG-DISTANCE LURES

In this series on long-distance lures, we’ve covered just about everything about the cast and equipment. Now that you’ve made that super-long cast—beating other anglers’ distance by 50 feet, or maybe 50 yards—you are presenting your lure to sh that others can’t reach.

What’s next the next step? is is where we enter the heart of the action, where things get fun and exciting. First thing rst, start working your lure.

e long distance between your rod tip and the lure means more line is on the water. You will have less control of the lure’s action, and the delay between when the sh strikes and when you feel it will be longer. e hook set is also a ected. Waves, wind and current all amplify this lag.

e type of lure will determine how you should alter your retrieve to achieve the proper action. Darters, heavy spoons, billed minnows, bottleneck swimplugs and jointed swimbaits are all designed to provide their own action, and they will start swimming when you begin your retrieve.

Lures that require more angler interaction

will require you to adapt your retrieve to compensate for the extra distance and diminished control. A popper

hand what I am trying to impart. You’ll need practice to adjust the way you work a lure at distance, and by paying attention to the way di erent lures react, you will learn to sh them more e ectively.

might require harder pulls to pop. A stick bait or pencil might need a slower cadence and sharper rod twitches to achieve the desired action.

ese details might seem insigni cant as you read this, but go give it a try on the water, preferably in calm conditions. At the end of a super-long cast, you’ll experience rst-

Now, with the current ripping and wave action pulling the line and lure side to side, there’s no way to avoid losing some control over the quality of a lure’s action. e good thing is, sh in such conditions are usually less picky and more aggressive. Still, the better the action you provide to your lure, the better your results will be. en suddenly, the bite happens! A long belly of line in uenced by current and waves increases the delay between your hook set and the moment it translates to the lure. Also, some energy will be lost. Use a wide, sweeping rod movement to set the hook when the lure is far away. is generates a long pull that provides the most energy possible to drive the hook into a sh’s mouth. Also, sh a tight drag when you’re casting for distance. I’ve seen many anglers miss sh when the drag gives line on the hook set. Be ready to adjust the drag lighter based on the power of the sh once you have it hooked.

Legendary angler Patrick Sebile is a world record holder and an award-winning designer of innovative lures and shing gear. Check out his creations at abandofanglers.com.

12 FLORIDA NOVEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM
PATRICK SEBILE

North Central Florida/Nature Coast

COASTAL ANGLER Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

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

NOVEMBER

As I write in late Oct., we are so very grateful that here in North Central Florida, we were sparred the wrath of Ian, but our hearts break for our South Florida neighbors. Even looking at all the videos, it is still difficult to believe such total destruction of homes, businesses and lives! We have friends who have different levels of damage, but they are all safe.

Ian brought us about 36 hours of howling dry wind but no rain, and NOW we are in serious need of a little rain. The ground and the lime rock roads are so dry. Regardless, I am so glad that November, my favorite month, is finally here. I plan to spend lots of time outside, before the cold stuff gets here. Speaking of spending time outside, our writers have been doing just that and have lots to tell you about “Fall Fishing in Florida”.

This month’s recipe Mangrove Snapper in Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce is making an encore appearance from November 2020. It is really good. If you didn’t try it in 2020, give it a try now? See page 2.

Do you know that 300 to 400 people are still dying every day from Covid? If a plane fell out of the sky everyday, killing that many people, everyone would be demanding that, “Someone, do something!” Well, someone has. We have a vaccine that can put a stop to the daily loss of life. The people who are dying are unvaccinated. While you are getting your Covid vaccine, think about the flu shot also. Winter is upon us!

Are you looking for a Christmas gift for your favorite angler”? How about a guided trip with one of our experienced guides? They are the experts about all things fishing in our area. They would also enjoy a text, call or email thanking them for taking their time to write for us.

Thank you John Freeze for this beautiful fall scenic photo on this page.

Have a wonderful, thankful Thanksgiving!

Find Your Outdoors Here!

North Central Florida

Coast Staff

SALES

Cary Crutchfield

EDITING & PRODUCTION

Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION

Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN

Kathleen Stemley

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Noel Kuhn

Dr. Kevin McCarthy

Capt. Jason Clark Capt. Katie Jo Davis Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Andrew Fagan Capt. Jonathan Hamilton Capt. Tony Johns Capt. James Kerr Capt. Pat McGriff

CONTACT INFORMATION crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-542-0356

Charts

Fishing

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide
Local
Forecasts Monthly Recipe
Nature
NOVEMBER 2022 EDITION
Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida/Nature Coast

MANGROVE SNAPPER IN DIJON MUSTARD CREAM SAUCE

COOKING DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place fillets in a lightly greased, low side baking dish. (I lined with foil.)

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and most of the parsley. Set aside.

Melt butter in 8 to 9-inch skillet. Add mushrooms and white parts of onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add cream and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in Dijon mustard, lemon juice and green parts of onions.

Spread sauce over fillets. Sprinkle with Parmesan, Panko, and paprika.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork, and crumbs are lightly browned.

Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve. I accompanied with broccoli and buttered baby red potatoes.

This recipe works well with flounder or grouper. It is even delicious with chicken!

INGREDIENTS

4 mangrove snapper fillets (about 1pound)

salt and pepper

½ cup chopped parsley

3 tablespoons butter

2 cups sliced mushrooms

4 green onions sliced

1 tablespoon allpurpose flour

½ cup whipping cream

¼ cup milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons plain Panko bread crumbs

paprika

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST NOVEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM TIDES • North Central Florida NOVEMBER 2022 CEDAR KEY Time Height Time Height Time Height Time Height 1Tu 1:12 AM 2.1 6:52 AM 3.7 2:41 PM 0.4 9:47 PM 2.8 2W 2:39 AM 2.0 8:22 AM 3.4 4:02 PM 0.6 10:51 PM 2.9 3Th 4:13 AM 1.7 10:12 AM 3.3 5:13 PM 0.8 11:38 PM 3.1 4F 5:30 AM 1.2 11:41 AM 3.4 6:09 PM 0.9 5Sa 12:16 AM 3.4 6:31 AM 0.6 12:49 PM 3.5 6:56 PM 1.0 6Su 12:50 AM 3.6 6:22 AM 0.2 12:44 PM 3.6 6:35 PM 1.1 7M 12:21 AM 3.8 7:06 AM -0.2 1:30 PM 3.6 7:09 PM 1.2 8Tu 12:50 AM 4.0 7:45 AM -0.4 2:11 PM 3.6 7:42 PM 1.4 9W 1:18 AM 4.0 8:22 AM -0.5 2:49 PM 3.5 8:13 PM 1.5 10Th 1:47 AM 4.1 8:56 AM -0.5 3:27 PM 3.3 8:45 PM 1.6 11F 2:16 AM 4.0 9:31 AM -0.4 4:06 PM 3.2 9:17 PM 1.6 12Sa 2:47 AM 3.9 10:05 AM -0.2 4:44 PM 3.1 9:51 PM 1.7 13Su 3:21 AM 3.8 10:41 AM 0.0 5:24 PM 3.0 10:29 PM 1.7 14M 3:59 AM 3.6 11:20 AM 0 6:08 PM 2.8 11:14 PM 1.8 15Tu 4:46 AM 3.4 12:06 PM 0.4 6:59 PM 2.8 16W 12:11 AM 1.8 5:45 AM 3.1 1:04 PM 0.7 8:00 PM 2.7 17Th 1:29 AM 1.7 7:05 AM 2.9 2:13 PM 0.8 9:01 PM 2.8 18F 2:54 AM 1.5 8:45 AM 2.8 3:21 PM 0.9 9:51 PM 3.0 19Sa 4:05 AM 1.1 10:10 AM 2.9 4:20 PM 1.0 10:32 PM 3.2 20Su 5:03 AM 0.6 11:19 AM 3.1 5:11 PM 1.0 11:08 PM 3.5 21M 5:53 AM 0.1 12:17 PM 3.3 5:57 PM 1.1 11:43 PM 3.7 22Tu 6:39 AM -0.3 1:09 PM 3.4 6:40 PM 1.2 23W 12:17 AM 3.9 7:23 AM -0.7 1:58 PM 3.4 7:21 PM 1.3 24Th 12:52 AM 4.1 8:07 AM -1.0 2:46 PM 3.4 8:01 PM 1.5 25F 1:30 AM 4.2 8:51 AM -1.1 3:35 PM 3.3 8:42 PM 1.5 26Sa 2:10 AM 4.3 9:37 AM -1.1 4:25 PM 3.1 9:24 PM 1.6 27Su 2:54 AM 4.2 10:26 AM -0.9 5:15 PM 2.9 10:11 PM 1.6 28M 3:44 AM 4.0 11:16 AM -0.5 6:04 PM 2.8 11:06 PM 1.6 29Tu 4:42 AM 3.7 12:10 PM -0.1 6:56 PM 2.7 30W 12:10 AM 1.5 5:51 AM 3.3 1:10 PM 0.3 7:53 PM 2.7 HERNANDO BEACH High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min KINGS BAY High Tide 2 hrs, 20 min Low Tide 3 hrs, 7 min HOMOSASSA RIVER ENT High Tide 4 hr, 30 min Low Tide 5 hr, 41 min HORSESHOE BEACH High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min CRYSTAL RIVER High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min WITHLACOOCHEE ENT High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min SUWANNEE ENT High Tide 6 min Low Tide 18 min STEINHATCHEE RIVER ENT High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min
Thank you to The Crab Plant for the snapper. Visit their Fresh Seafood Market or enjoy Cooked Seafood to go. You are welcome to sit at their table and view beautiful Kings Bay while you enjoy your delicious, freshly prepared meal, watching manatees,
Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida
dolphins, pelicans and boats. Or, you can carry it home; your choice. Open Tues-Thurs 10:00-5:30, Fri-Sat 10:00-8:00. 201 NW 5th St. Crystal River 352-795-4700.

Cedar Key and Its Islands FLORIDA WATERWAYS

AsI began writing this article in September, 2022, Hurricane Ian was barreling up the west coast of Florida. Some of the models of its path predicted that the storm would pass near Cedar Key, but fortunately the town was spared. The picturesque town at the western end of State Road 24 in Levy County has seen its share of devastating hurricanes. A major problem during such storms is getting out of town: a two-lane road is the only landward route to take, but it can get very crowded with those escaping the storm.

During calmer days, thousands flock to the town to take advantage of the boat ramps, many fine restaurants, regular fish festivals, and regular boat trips out to and around the picturesque islands just offshore. After the statewide ban on large-scale net fishing in 1995 put a lot of local fishermen out of work, many of those fishermen were retrained to develop an aquaculture business that has brought in much-needed income to the hard-working local residents. The thousands of clams that are harvested in the offshore waters each year have made Cedar Key even more famous to restaurant-goers in North Florida.

As sea levels continue to rise worldwide, archaeologists at the University of Florida have begun carefully examining the small islands that dot the coast north of the town to the Suwannee River, the scientists have found remnants of Native Americans who lived and fished there over a thousand years ago. The islands may eventually become inundated with the sea, but hopefully the artifacts that the scientists are collecting will give us a clearer picture of the former inhabitants of the area.

Today the town has much to offer permanent residents as well as casual tourists, from a modern metal fishing pier to a pair of museums that trace the long

history and even an airstrip for those who want to fly in for an evening meal at one of the downtown restaurants.

Our hearts go out to all those affected by hurricanes, especially in small towns like Cedar Key that depend on tourism for their livelihood. The townspeople will adjust as they always have, from making cedar pencils in the 19th century to hosting what would have been the first trans-Florida railroad in the 1860s, to recovering from the ban on large-scale net fishing. If you haven’t been to Cedar Key, I urge you to visit this delightful town, not during hurricanes and not really on weekends, but during the week, when the town really does show its charm and allure.

Kevin McCarthy, the author of two books about Cedar Key (Cedar Key, Florida, a History and Cedar Key, Florida, an Illustrated History - both available from amazon) can be reached at ceyhankevin@ gmail.com.

Atsena Otie Key The view from Seahorse Key A house in the Cedar Key historic district Cedar Key from the sky Cedar Key on an 1884 map Cormorants on Seahorse Key

KATIE JO’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

November is upon us and so are the cold fronts and cooler weather. Lots of transitioning for the fish along Florida’s Nature Coast, as we have water temperatures changing rather dramatically on a weekly basis. This means lots of moving fish.

The colder water temperatures push the snook and redfish closer to the mouths of the rivers, and a bit further into the creeks. As the water warms, they find themselves venturing out to a little more into the Gulf of Mexico, near islands close to the rivers and the mouths of creeks.

The trout have begun transitioning to the shallower waters in sandy patches surrounded by grassy bottom. November is a great month to begin fishing similar patterns to March and April, when the water temperatures are nearly the same, with the dramatic up and down numbers. This time of the year, I fish the same areas I would fish during the spring, as the water

temperatures and fish activity is rather similar.

For the offshore fish, many will make their way to the shallower water where larger gag grouper, mangrove snapper, sheepshead and hogfish will be found on the shallow water rocks and ledges.

November is also a great time to try new spots. If something looks fishy, then it probably is!

4 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST NOVEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM
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Hey everyone. Man, I love this time of year! The weather is getting cooler and the redfish are in the middle of their spawn!

I've been having my best bite during a strong moving tide, fishing around bars and other structure. When you get in a good school, you can expect to catch double digits in a short period of time.

With the spawn, you can keep you bait selection to whatever you like to throw. For me personally, on charters, I’m throwing live shrimp or cut mullet under a Four Horsemen popping cork paired with a C&M custom baits jighead. Now when I'm out fishing on a day off, I'm throwing some C&M custom twitch baits and gold spoons.

Regardless of how you decide to target these redfish, just remember to stay safe out there and have fun!

Capt. Jason Clark In The Slot Fishing Charters 352-639-3209 www.intheslotfishing.com

Happy Hour

6 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST NOVEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 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.
Monday-Friday 3pm-7pm 2-4-1 Wells 1/2 Price Wine $2.50 Bud Light, Miller Lite, Yuengling We also offer apparel and promotional items. SIGNS BANNERS Copies Fax Forms Letterhead Envelopes Business Cards Brochures Newsletters & More Invitations -Wedding & Graduation Come see us at our new location between McDonalds and NAPA - 1517 North Young Blvd.
CEDAR KEY

FLORIDA

SALE

When I first sat down to write this month's fishing report, I found it difficult to focus. My mind was more on the folks in Southwest Florida. If you have never been through a storm and had your home and business flooded, then it's hard to adequately describe in words what it's like.

So I will begin this month by thanking the many people who showed up immediately to lend not only a hand but brought in the much needed resources and supplies!

This will be a very long recovery process for them, so donations are needed now and in the future! Here are several organizations that I like, some have helped me personally in previous storms here in Florida.

• www.salvationarmyusa.org/onlinedonation

• www.volunteerflorida.org/ donatefdf/

• www.floridadisaster.org/donate

• samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/ hurricane-ian

• https://flbaptist.org/disasterrelief/ Fishing in the Lower Suwannee River Estuary during the month of November is GREAT and so is December!

The key to fishing in November and December is the timing of the cool/cold fronts; the weather can change quickly! The temps the first of November can be in the upper 80s one day then drop into the 60s the next, with overnight lows in the 40s!

As the water temps drop, all of the fish will begin to move. The pelagic species will be moving south, while many of the resident fish will move inshore, and then into the creeks as the water temps drop.

At the beginning of November, the speckled trout will be schooling on the outside bars and reefs, like the Suwannee Reef and Lone Cabbage. By then, some of the larger trout will have already moved to shorelines and the mouths of the creeks.

Here's Jacob with a great 18.5-inch Lower Suwannee River Estuary Speckled Trout!

For me, day in and day out, it's hard to beat a "jig-n-grub" bait, meaning a jig head with a soft bait. I like to use an ⅛ or ¼ ounce jig head; it just depends on the depth of water and speed of current.

My clients are really liking the FishBites Fight Club Lures, many switching from the "other" scented baits. A couple of my favorites are the 5-inch Dirty Boxer Curly Tail, 4-inch Butt Kicker Paddle Tail and the 3.5 inch Fight'n Shrimp. Truthfully, I use all the colors, It just depends on the conditions, but the Haymaker, Tap Out, Knock Out and White Knuckle are several of the colors I use most often.

You will find the redfish have a similar pattern, except you will find many of the redfish moving to the inside shorelines and mouths of the creeks sooner, as they take advantage of the fall crab molting season or "softshell" season.

The FishBites Lures are also great for the edfish! But, for the die hard true blue artificial bait angler it is hard to beat the Gold Spoon!

Until next time, be safe and Catchemup!

Captain Tony Johns | 352-221-2510 www.lowersuwanneriverfishing.com Instagram: captaintonyjohns Facebook: Lower Suwannee River Fishing Adventures or Captain Tony Johns

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

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM NOVEMBER 2022 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 7
SUWANNEE
We had a great group of men from Lowe Electric and Middle Georgia Electric. Jacob and Earl with a couple of nice 24-inch Lower Suwannee River Redfish!
SUWANNEE RIVER WATERFRONT FOR
352-542-0356 Cary A. Crutchfield Registered Real Estate Broker GRI and CRS Designations
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Disclaimer: Always wear a helmet and other safety apparel. Never drink and ride.

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SURF & PIER

In 47 years, I have never seen a hurricane affect our surf fishing in such a significant way! First of all, it slammed the Mullet Run virtually to a stop! It also muddied up the water for days. However, on a good note, it pushed the cooler water down from the

Carolinas. It dropped our water temperature down TEN degrees in just one week. That is unheard of! What came with much cooler water? A wave of pompano that is unprecedented! Surf fishermen from Fernandina to Ponte Vedra Beach, loaded their coolers with

limits of pompano, just one week after the hurricane. We have gone from an awesome Mullet Run, to Pompalooza in just three weeks.

This month may be the best month for pompano, whiting and redfish that we have seen in years. Go now and go often, before the next big cold front drops our water temperature below 65°. That is when they will move south again to warmer water temps. Next, let’s look at tackle and baits to make you more successful every time you go surf fishing.

You can never go wrong with the basic double dropper rig. This rig has many names and variations, but it is simply two hooks above a sinker. It can include a myriad of beads and floats. Also, many different sizes of styles and hooks. My go- to is 2/0 circle hooks with a white float on top and a tangerine bead on the bottom. Since these are natural colors that occur in the surf, you will not scare off any fish.

The most important thing to your success is fresh bait. My go-to selection is sand fleas, fresh killed

shrimp, live clams and blue crab knuckles. Size matters! You want to match the hatch. Remember elephants eat peanuts. I have caught six-pound pompano and 30-pound redfish on baits no larger than a dime! Matching the hatch is the key. They are munching down on donax clams, sand fleas, small calico crabs and very small bait fish. Remember, even a huge Pompzilla’s mouth is only about two inches wide. So do not put a whole big shrimp on your hook. Match the size of the hatch! Keep your bait to one inch or smaller.

This month will be our best until March or April. So get out and catch them up! In the words of my mentor Larry “Fishman” Finch, “It’s time to whack’em!” See you on the beach.

Noel Kuhn

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

10 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST NOVEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

AUGUSTINE

next couple of months bring in some big holidays, but in Northeast Florida, fishermen are more concerned with bringing in big flounder and redfish. It seems like every year right around Thanksgiving, the big “doormat” sized flounder start to show themselves inshore. When the water gets in the 68 to 72 degree range, the big flounder will really start to chew at the inlets. The bull reds will also still be at the area inlets and in the deeper parts of the ICW and St. Johns River. As we get into December, the sheepshead bite will turn on as well. It’s one of the most comfortable times of the year to be on the water. The air temps are cooling, but the fishing is still on fire.

When fishing for the big fall flounder, target the rocks at the area inlets or any structure near deep water. I prefer to fish the lower tide stage as it tends to group the bait, and gets the flounder fired up. Use a fish-finder rig with about a foot of leader, and enough weight to get to the bottom. My favorite bait for big flounder is a fairly large mullet (10 inch plus). Don’t be afraid to go big with the bait. In this case. big bait does equal big fish. Don’t forget to let the flounder have the bait for a good while before setting the hook. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a mullet come up with the back half of his body scale-less from where the flounder was holding on just short of the hook.

turn means it’s almost time for sightfishing in our area--my absolute favorite way to fish for redfish!

Schooling reds and redfish in general, will tend to hang in warmer areas this time of year. Dark oysterladen, and darker mud bottom will warm up on sunny days and hold redfish as well as other inshore species. You will also find reds schooled in creek holes on the low tide stages. We get some really good negative low tides this time of year, and when that happens, you can bet the fish will be hunkered down in those holes. On the opposite side of that, we do have some flood tides this month, but as the water cools, the redfish seem to be less likely to get up in the flooded grass--but it can be worth a look.

Fishing Guide

David Paulk

Check out David Paulk Fishing on Facebook

As the water cools, the redfish will start to group on the flats and in the creeks. Cooler water temps also mean better water clarity, which in

Black drum and sheepshead will be turning on over the next few months. The drum can be found just about anywhere there is structure, and deeper water. The creek holes at low tide are a great spot to find them. Sheepshead will be in that mix as well, but the hardcore “sheep herders” will be fishing along bridge pilings, inlet rocks and just about any kind of riprap around. The baits of choice for both species will be shrimp, clams, and just about any type of crab, with fiddlers topping the list for the sheepshead. Just remember with sheepshead, you’ll need to use cat-like reflexes with you hook sets. Some people even say you need to set the hook before they bite!

Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net

904-377-3734

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The
ST.

CRYSTAL RIVER

As we approach the end of the year with cooler days and nights, we can look forward to some of the very best fishing. The bite has been great here in Crystal River with plenty of redfish, trout and snook. November is my favorite time of year to be on the water with some of the best fishing action.

Redfish: The bite has been great and will continue. This time of year, if I’m using live bait, I keep pinfish and big shrimp on the skiff. Here lately, I’ve been catching most of my reds on shrimp on a 1/16 oz jig tipped with a shrimp. I know using shrimp can be frustrating at times with pinfish eating it in seconds, but sometimes it’s the best bait for reds. Just make sure you have plenty.

Trout: The trout bite has been good. I plan most of my trout fishing on the falling tides. When drifting for trout on the flats, I will drift for about 50 yards and power pole down. I find by stopping, I can catch more. I am covering more area and thoroughly working it. I’m using a few rigs, popping corks with an 18-to-24-inch leader with a 1/16 oz jig tipped with a little job. I also love a slow sinking, DOA Jerkbait. I look for birds and bait out on the open flats to help me locate trout.

Snook: I’ve been targeting snook with big pin fish freelined with a good circle hook. I use a 30 to 50 leader. I

HOMOSASSA

Man, November came in a hurry! I love this time of the year. College football, cool nights, oysters and good fishing, does it get much better than that? With the shorter days and cooler weather, we should see the water temperatures starting to fall.

Trout fishing will be good in the 3-to-4-foot range, using cork rigs, rigged with MirrOLure lil John’s in glow and watermelon red glitter. Top-water action can be a blast on big trout. Try the MirrOlure top dogs for explosive surface hits! November cooler waters will bring these fish close to the mouths of Fish creek, St. Martins, Little River, Chazz and Mason Creek. I’m seeing a lot of good rock grass this year on the yellow bottom areas. So, I will be fishing these areas hard. Outgoing tide in the fall can sometimes produce a good trout bite.

Look for redfish around the outside points as well as some of the backwater bays like Blue Bay, Fish Creek Bay and Northwest Keys. With the waters cooling, the water clarity will improve, making sight fishing good. With the water being clear, they will also be very spooky. Stealth and patience is key. Really light jig heads or weedless weighted hooks rigged with DOA shads, or top water plugs can be a lot of fun. Free-lined shrimp on a 3/0 J hook can be deadly. On the fly side, redfish sliders and gurglers will produce bite’s. If sight fishing isn’t your thing, concentrate on the rocky points on the last half of the incoming tide. Shrimp on a jig head with or without a cork will work. Cut dead bait can work as well.

Snook will start there transitions back into the rivers once the water cools. Look for rocky points with moving water. I really like a nose hooked DOA 5” Cal using 3/0 J hook. Or MirrOlure MirrOdine also will create hard strikes

November is a great time of the year to troll or cast plugs for big Grouper. Look for grouper in the 10-20 ft range. If casting plugs isn’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with live pin fish or cut bait. Mangrove snapper will be making their transition to the coastal rivers. As long as the water temps are not too low, the nearshore rocks will still produce strong snapper, and grunt bites. Once the water temps start to fall, look in the main rivers for nice sized snapper. While you are making your runs, make sure to keep an eye out for tripletail on buoys and channel markers and any type of floating structures as well. I have the best luck with a live shrimp under a cork. Get up current, and let the shrimp float down to them. I have had great luck in November catching tripletail on bait fish flies as well! They are a lot of fun and great table fare.

The full moon is on the 8th and the new moon is on the 23rd. As always, stay safe on the water and good luck!

• November 5 Blues ‘n Bar-B-Que. www.ncfob.com

• November 12-13 Homosassa Arts, Crafts, & Seafood Festival www.Homosassaseafoodfestival.org Capt. Stump 352-403-2073 www.captainjhamilton.com

12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST NOVEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM
like to fish them on high water falling. The season is open in our area till December 1st. Capt. James Kerr 352-362-6893 Citrusfishingchaters.com

Alrighty guys, another Halloween has come and gone, and I hope everyone had a wonderful time with their family, enjoying one of my family’s favorite holidays, and did plenty of trick or treating! On the inshore side of things, there has been a lot of treating and not many tricks! The redfish bite has remained exceptional with the cooler water temperatures and air temperatures that began after hurricane Ian. Thank goodness it spared us! We are forever grateful in our small community. The redfish have been working their ways into the wintertime locations. They have been tough to pattern because of the early cold water, but as of now, they will be in all the creeks and deep river holes on that low tide, eating and hiding from predators. As soon as the sun heats the water, they will work on outside and eat a paddletail or live bait of your choosing. The trout have moved to the creek mouths and have stacked up along the edges of the rock grass. A nose hooked doa glow jerkshad or a mirrodine in the 808 color will get the job done there as well.

Nearshore the grouper bite has been spectacular inside of 30 feet of water, with many big fish in the mix. Trolling this time of year is very effective or my personal favorite, chumming with live pinfish and freelining them over top of the structure. The mangrove snapper have been very thick in the 25 to 45 feet of water. A light jig and a big live shrimp on a long light flurocarbon leader has done the trick for years, and continues to this year as well. The folks down at Captains Cove Outfitters know exactly what stuff to set you up with, to

have a successful day on the water. Just ask away and they will help. As always tight lines!

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Capt.
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KEATON

have been catching fish from 2.5 feet out to 10 feet, depending on what you want to catch. Stephen Cook and Matt Williams had a wonderful trip last week, with 6 trout 14 redfish (kept 2)up on the flats, and then we went to 10 feet and bounced Assassin’s 5 inch shads to land 15 Black Sea Bass and 6 flounder. Trout are still eating live pinfish under Back Bay Thunders, however I had reports of limits of trout taken on topwater stick baits and MirrOlure’s MirrOdines aslo this week. (Today is October 14th.)

November will see more trout taken on plugs than any other method, as some cold fronts should blow all the floating grass out of the way and make for some fantastic topwater action. Bone stickbaits will be the ticket, but don’t forsake gold with and orange belly on the overcast day, or at first light in the a.m.

Reds have been plentiful and schooling close to the bank, hitting almost anything you toss at them; at this rate I expect November to be outstanding for reds as well. Gold spoons would be my first choice for sheer numbers of fish and are much easier on the catch-and-release reds. Jigspinners like Precision Tackle’s Thunder-Spins, will also

catch redfish quick and easy in November. Rig up with Assassin’s Sea shads in Cantaloupe, Electric chicken and Chicken-on-a-chain for reds on the Thunderspins.

Meanwhile, Let's Go Fishing!

Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 30 years! www.onemorecast.net onemorecast@gtcom.net cell: 850.838.7541

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CATCH-AND-RELEASE FLOUNDER TACTICS

It’s

time… ounder time! e fall migration typically reaches its peak in November along the Gulf Coast and more ounder are sure to reach their spawning grounds in this Gulf this year. Louisiana has joined Texas and Florida with their closed season during the peak of the run. However, the fact that you can’t keep any atties during this time doesn’t mean you can’t catch them.

Flounder will be migrating into the Gulf, so the obvious ambush areas will be around passes that lead to open water. e ounder will position themselves in di erent areas based on the tide level and current strength. In addition to using their burying-in-the-sand ambush technique, they also like to utilize structure in a couple of ways.

First, any object that protrudes above the bottom is a great ambush point. is o ers a current break for forage sh to gather directly above a buried ounder, which makes for an easy meal. Objects such as bulkheads are also great ambush points. Flounder like to position themselves against the solid barrier. I think this can be for two separate reasons depending on what other factors are at play. As mentioned above, it could be a current break, especially if the bulkhead has a corrugated shape. When a ounder settles against a bulkhead, its prey has fewer directions to ee, allowing the ounder greater odds of capturing it. When targeting ounder, never pass up a bulkhead.

Second, ounder can be caught on a variety of lures and live bait if you keep it in contact with the bottom to increase your odds for a strike. On the live-bait options, a frisky mullet will produce larger ounder, so if you want to increase your opportunity of landing a trophy, this is the way to go. I prefer to sh with lures and lean heavily on the paddletail style. Twitching these hard along the bottom sends a pulsating sound and vibration that really grabs their attention. Jerk-style so plastics and bucktails can also be e ective worked in the same manner.

If I had to pick a tide to maximize time on the water, I would choose a medium- ow outgoing. Although there are no set rules that sh always follow, ounder feed more on their way out to the Gulf and utilize the current to ease their journey. During the incoming tide, they bury themselves rather than ght the current.

Don’t let the closed season discourage you from targeting ounder during this migration. It will have its advantages. Going forward, we will undoubtedly have a larger ounder population, but the instant grati cation will be a lot less tra c in our favorite ounder spot! I will use the closed season to target a new personal best this season, and so should you.

Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures®, Controlled Descent Lures™, and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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It's

Sailfsh

Tourney Time In South Florida

Winter in south Florida brings an awesome collision of ballyhoo and sail sh that makes for some of the best shing of the year. It’s also the time of year for some of the richest and most fun tournaments. If you’re interested, right now is the time to register. Here’s a list of some good events:

Nov. 30 – Dec. 4, 2022 Dust ’Em O Sail sh Warmup

Fort Lauderdale • www.dustemo sail sh.com

December 1-4, 2022 Pirate’s Cove Sail sh Classic

Pirate’s Cove Resort & Marina, Port Salerno www.piratescovesail shclassic.com

Dec. 2-4, 2022 Islamorada Sail sh Tournament

1st Event of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sail sh Championship Whale Harbor, Islamorada www.islamoradasail shtournament.com

Dec. 7-10, 2022 Stuart Light Tackle Sail sh Tournament Stuart • stuartsail shclub.com

Dec. 16-18, 2022 Islamorada Junior Sail sh Tournament Islamorada • shnbully@msn.com

Jan. 5-7, 2023 86th Annual Silver Sail sh Derby Sail sh Marina, Singer Island westpalmbeach shingclub.org

Jan. 6-7, 2023 Fish for Holly Sail sh Tournament Islamorada • shforholly.com

Jan. 11-15, 2023 Operation Sail sh

Leg One of the Quest for the Crest Sail sh Series Sail sh Resort & Marina, Palm Beach www.bluewatermovements.com

Jan. 17-21 Buccaneer Cup Sail sh Release Tournament

Buccaneer Marina Resort, Riviera Beach buccaneercup.com

Jan. 18, 2023 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sail sh Tournament

2nd Event of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sail sh Championship Cheeca Lodge, Islamorada www.islamoradasail shtournament.com

Jan. 21-22, 2023

Islamorada Fishing Club Sail sh Tournament

3rd Event of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sail sh Championship Whale Harbor, Islamorada www.islamoradasail shtournament.com

February 22-26, 2023 Sail sh Challenge

Leg Two of the Quest for the Crest Sail sh Series

Three checkpoints: Miami, Pompano Beach, West Palm www.bluewatermovements.com

April 12-15, 2023 Final Sail

Leg Three of the Quest for the Crest Sail sh Series Miami Beach • www.bluewatermovements.com

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Target SeatroutIn Fall ’s Cooling Waters

Florida region you’re shing.

during the colder months, where they gather together. Due to them being more condensed during the colder months, it makes them easier to catch.

While smaller seatrout school up and are most e ectively caught with live bait, larger individuals are more solitary. Mature individuals and breeding females longer than 20 or even 25 inches might pair up with another large sh, but they are rarely found schooling.

As the colder months arrive in Florida, the spotted seatrout bite will begin to pick up. ese gorgeously speckled sh are a nearly year-round target for anglers in Florida, and their meat is so and aky with a mild avor.

Seatrout typically lurk in shallow murky waters of estuaries. Usually, these areas consist of seagrass and oyster beds that are hot spots for juvenile prey. While being able to hunt on smaller prey like shrimp, crabs, and bait sh, trout also are able to escape larger predators like sharks, big snook and jacks. Most trout move into deeper bay waters

Seatrout in Florida are having a hard time. eir numbers have dwindled on the east and west coasts because of red tides, the disappearance of sea grass and other factors. ey were once a great option for lling coolers for a sh fry, but limits have been tightened to protect overall populations as well as breeding-sized females. ere is a slot limit in Florida, which allows anglers to keep only sh measuring 15 to 19 inches. ere is an allowance for one sh longer than 19 inches per vessel, per day—or one sh longer than 19 inches per person, if shing from shore. e bag limit ranges from two per person to ve per person, depending on which

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ere are many ways to catch trout. e most e ective way to catch numbers is to nd a school and sh live shrimp under a cork cork. Live bait such as pilchards, mojarras, pin sh and nger mullet used with a oat also work well. If you’re an arti cial-lure person, you can have a blast casting topwater plugs. Using this method allows you to cover a lot more area in search of larger sh.

If you’re targeting huge gator trout, use live baits in the 6- to 10-inch range. Gator trout have a ferocious appetite and would much rather grab one large meal than chase around a bunch of small ones. Silver mullet, as well as pin sh, snappers and grunts in that size range work best. You’ll want to target structure, as larger trout are ambush predators. Spoil islands, docks, oyster bars and rock jetties are prime places to nd a gator trout like the IGFA all-tackle world record, which weighed 17 pounds, 7 ounces and was caught out of Ft. Pierce, Fla.

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

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REGISTRATION OPEN FOR NE FLORIDA WAHOO SHOOTOUT

Promoted

as “the world’s largest wahoo tournament,” the Northeast Florida Wahoo Shootout Presented by Yellow n will run from February 4-March 26, 2023 and allows anglers to select three days to sh within this 50-day window.

It’s a very cool format, because all wahoo anglers know just how ckle the bite can be when it comes to timing the moon phases and weather systems. Captains are required to notify tournament o cials the night before they plan to sh, and the heaviest three- sh aggregate wins the tournament. Each boat will be allowed to weigh two wahoo per declared shing day. If more than three sh are weighed for a boat through the course of the tournament, the lower weights are dropped. All eligible sh must be weighed at Strike Zone Fishing in Jacksonville or Melbourne.

e rst-place prize is a 21’ Yellow n Bay Boat with a 200 HP Yamaha 4-stroke and an AmeraTrail Trailer, all valued at $95,000. Second place wins a Kubota RTV valued at $16,000. e tournament pays cash through 10th place.

Registration for the Northeast Florida Wahoo Shootout is open now through Feb. 3. Early entry is $550 through Dec. 31. General entry is $600 through Jan. 26. Late entry is $750 until registration closes.

For more information, go to www.wahooshootout.com.

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Some devices cannot be restored/repaired, but we have remanufactured/ redesigned parts for several di erent devices such as Yamaha, Mercury and Suzuki. New LCDs, new lenses and button sets are now available for select models.

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JUNGLE JEOPARDY

In September, I embarked on one of the craziest adventures I’ve ever experienced to sh for crazy exotic species on the Rio Guaviare deep in Columbia’s Mapiri Jungle.

Just getting there was an adventure. We spent two days ying from Miami to Bogata and then to San Jose, Colombia, which was a buzzing little town where we picked up last minute supplies, ate a breakfast of pirahana head soup and got wrist bands tied by an elderly women and her pet spider monkey, Kiki.

At the port, we loaded gear in a small shaded boat powered by a Yamaha 200 2-stroke, with a spare lower unit tied on top. I was accompanied by my cameraman Adrian, from Poland, good friends Jake, Derek, Karl, and our jungle guide Diego, from Chile.

We set out downstream and rode for hours, passing through two army checkpoints, before we reached our halfway point at 118 miles. We stopped for lunch and to refuel at an isolated jungle town only accessible by boat. As we creeped up muddy stone steps, we were shocked to see a small town with convenience stores, restaurants, a playground, a basketball court, and happy people everywhere. It was a cool window into a di erent reality.

A er playing soccer with the local kids and a delicious fried sh lunch, we headed farther downstream. When darkness arrived, the jungle came alive and our driver did not feel comfortable navigating the rapids at night. So we stopped and Diego traded goods with an indigenous man for permission to sleep at his house. Some opted to sleep in the boat. e mosquitoes, hornets and massive cockroaches made it tough to sleep. A er long hours, the sun nally rose, and we headed another 45 minutes downriver to base camp, where we discovered we were in for even more travel.

We packed lighter for three days of shing and camping at a sacred waterfall inhabited by one of the jungle tribes. It was another 2.5 hours downstream to a small creek that would lead us up to a second camp. We shed our way up the creek.

On my rst cast, a 15-pound sardinata exploded on my popper boatside. Imagine a huge pilchard but with sharp teeth and hyper-aggressive topwater strikes. Fully grown, Sardinata can weigh 25 pounds. is one threw the hooks, and shing only got crazier from there.

I was throwing a 9-inch Countdown Rapala in Firetiger at the tree line and retrieving it to the boat. Almost every cast we hooked massive payara. is sh is similar to a tarpon, with silver scales, acrobatic leaps and a bony mouth that made hook sets di cult. Payara have long fangs on their lower jaw capable of slicing thick-scaled sh and shing line with ease. ey are without a doubt the most challenging, unique and aggressive jungle predators I’ve ever targeted. I managed to catch quite a few on y and spin tackle.

Another unique species was a matrinxa, a silver-scaled delicacy. ey are omnivorous and sit below trees to eat dropping fruits and nuts. ey also hit lures with insane power. ese sh were extremely hard ghting and very tasty. ey have teeth like human molars for cracking hard nuts.

Red bellied pacu are another ferocious species we caught. ey have a similar ambush style and diet to the matrinxa. ey are equally aggressive and display gorgeous hues of purple and black

Iwith a blood orange/red underbelly. Black and red bellied pirahana were in no shortage, either. A er three days of shing by the waterfall, we headed back to base camp for new species.

Heavy rains raised water levels, which busted our hopes to catch big peacock bass. But it opened a new door: catching monster cat sh.

I caught several new species of large cat sh. One of the most unique was a ripsaw cat sh. ey have so lips and a long face, similar to carp. ey also have a sharp chainsaw blade for a lateral line, earning them the nickname “Caiman Killer.” I caught small tiger shovelnose cat sh, as well as red tail cat sh. Red tail cat sh are one of the strongest ghting cat sh I’ve ever encountered. It took three days of break-o s before I was able to muscle one up. It weighed 40 pounds.

Fishing the jungle is tough, and it is not for everyone. is trip scarred me with bug bites from head to toe, and I su ered many bee and hornet stings. It is not comfortable in any sense, but it is good for the mind. ere’s no cell phone reception; you are stripped of everything. e only thing that matters is the present moment. For me, it is the biggest adrenaline rush to travel into the unknown and learn about new shing and culture.

Check out Ryan Izquierdo’s YouTube Channel, “Ryan Iz Fishing” for a series called “Jungle Jeopardy.” E-mail him at Ryanizquierdoyt@ gmail.com with questions or to nd out how you can go on one of these trips.

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OPTIONS ABOUND

There’s

more to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula than world-famous salmon runs. e saltwater shing is also phenomenal, with species like halibut, salmon shark, ounder, yelloweye rock sh and ling cod being primary targets.

When you run out of Seward to Resurrection Bay, you might see some of the Deadliest Catch boats, and you might see multiple species of whale. We saw a lot of humpbacks this past summer. At more than 900 feet deep, with glaciers around the rim, the bay is awe-inspiring. ere are several good charter operations. Some make long runs for big halibut, while some o er shing that’s a little more local. Check with J Dock Fishing Co. in Seward for the latest shing information and charters. If you’re more of a DIY angler, Miller’s Landing in Seward o ers lodging and charters, and they also rent boats and shing equipment. If you want this option, book early. I have mine booked for next year, already.

Homer is the Halibut Capital of the World,

and it’s another great Kenai destination. We went with some friends and got on some good Halibut! I’m new to the electric reels we used. You had to time the hook-set just right. It took several bites to gure it out, but we caught sh once we got the hang of it. I pulled one a good way o the bottom before it decided it wasn’t coming in and broke a 150-pound-mono leader! We caught several good keepers and turned the smaller ones loose. ere are plenty of charters in Homer. North Country Charters is a great one that o ers halibut and salmon trips. ey will put you on some big halibut. My largest weighed 99 pounds, but North Country catches sh that are much larger.

If you want a long-run charter, check out Casino Charters. If you want to catch sh from the beach, check out Family Shore Fishing. ey set you up with a guide, shing rods and bait at Lands End, which juts out into the bay. Fishing low tide on the shelf, you can catch cod, ounder and halibut. We lled a cart with cod

and ounder in less than two hours shing from shore. en we went back another day without a guide and wore them out again!

Fishing in Alaska is just like anywhere else, once you learn what works, you can do it over and over. ere are lots of di erent kinds of shing there, but once you learn where and how to catch them, you can do it yourself.

On this past summer’s trip, as we were headed to the airport to go home, we drove along Cook Inlet and spotted a school of beluga whales swimming the shoreline. You never know what you’ll see in Alaska. Some things are just so amazing!

I’m currently pulling together next summer’s trip to Kenai, and I’m making a short guide of things traveling anglers might want to know. Feel free to shoot me an email with questions.

For more information, contact Gary Turner at gary@purgeright.com.

LOST FIN-NOR SETUP RETURNED AFTER 50 YEARS

About 50 years ago, Ralph Vodicka lost one of his favorite rod and reel combos when his boat capsized in North Carolina’s unpredictable Oregon Inlet. Recently, Vodicka was reunited with his 9-foot rod equipped with a Fin-Nor 4 spinning reel, and it still works!

Here is a brief recount of the amazing story reported by Summer Stevens in e Coastland Times.

In fair weather in the early 1970s, Vodicka and three buddies attempted to return through Oregon Inlet a er shing o Hatteras National Seashore in a 17-foot 1966 Boston Whaler. e outgoing tide colliding with incoming rollers created rough conditions, even for a large trawler the anglers watched navigating the inlet. Vodicka was faced with a decision. ey could either wait for the tide change, which would force them to make their run in the dark. Or they could go for it.

“Waiting it out would put us in the middle of the night,” Vodicka remembered. “We decided that the best choice was to race on in while we could see. I told everyone, ‘Hold on, don’t move. We’ll ride on the back of one of the breaking waves. Even if it takes a little water, it’ll be ok.’”

In the middle of the inlet, as they were taking on water, a line caught in the prop and it stopped turning. e boat was at the mercy of the tide and waves, and an 8-foot breaker ipped it end over end. e story of the exciting rescue is reported in detail in e Coastland Times. It involves the captain of an old 25-foot boat and his grandson risking great peril to time the waves and rescue each of the anglers one at a time. Vodicka’s badly damaged Whaler was later recovered, and he lost a bunch of shing gear, including the rod and reel that began this story.

e details are lost to time, but apparently the Fin-Nor reel and the rod were hauled up in a commercial angler’s net. e unique set-up ended up doing decades of duty as a showpiece on the wall in Dennis Dudley’s Elizabeth City, North Carolina home.

Vodicka,” and Dudley tried to locate the Fin-Nor’s owner when he received the rod in the mid-1970s. Dudley’s phone book searches came up empty, and the search was forgotten… until recently.

Dudley, 78, remembered the mystery of the reel’s owner while going through his possessions. A quick Google search turned up Vodicka, who is 89 and living in Raleigh, N.C. e men met to eat lunch, and Vodicka was reunited with the beautiful rod and reel he lost half a century ago.

Amazingly, the antique Fin-Nor is already back in action. Instead of hanging it on the wall, Vodicka had it serviced and used it on the Neuse River over Labor Day weekend.

The Return of a

e reel was equipped with a custom plate engraved with “Ralph E.

“It worked. It worked ne,” he said. “It’s amazing that a er 50 years you get your favorite rod and reel back.”

To read the whole story, go to www.thecoastlandtimes.com.

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TOURNAMENT CHEATERS BUSTED

Everyone hates a cheater, which is why it’s no surprise that tempers ared when two cheaters were caught red-handed at a Lake Erie Walleye Tour (LEWT) event on Oct. 1. e event was the tour championship for the series, and the Team of the Year would also be crowned a er weigh-ins. Team Crankin’ Hogs brought to the scales a ve- sh limit that weighed more than 33-pounds. It It would have secured Jake Runyan and Chase Cominsky well over $20,000 for the championship win and for Team of the Year honors. ey overplayed their dirty hand.

Tournament Director Jason Fischer suspected something was amiss when the sh hit the scales. Fischer later told CNN that the sh looked like they should have weighed 4 pounds each, but the total weight indicated they were much heavier. He handled the sh and felt something hard inside one of them.

In a now-viral YouTube Video, Fischer guts the sh as the cheaters stand by silently. “We have weights in the sh!” Fischer announced, and that’s when the shouting started as other anglers hurled obscenities at Runyan and Cominsky.

All-told, there were 8 pounds worth of lead weights, llets from other walleye and a pair of pliers inside Team Crankin’ Hogs’ sh. ey were immediately disquali ed and banned from the tournament series. Both men were later indicted by an Ohio grand jury on charges of cheating and attempted grand the .

It will be interesting to see if the team’s other tournament wins are called into question. ey have won numerous events over the last couple of years, including the 2021 LEWT Championship.

For more information, go to lakeeriewalleyetrail.com.

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