Coastal Angler Magazine | November 2021 | North Central Florida/Nature Coast Edition

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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THE

KINGS DAYTIME SWORDFISH TACTICS

OF FALL

LOCAL REPORTS PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE DALTON INSTAGRAM: @BOMBCHELLE_FISHING VOLUME 26 • ISSUE 320

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NYMPHING FOR WILD

Chattahoochee

BROWNS

D

By Nick Carter

rifting between forested banks over bedrock shoals, it’s easy to forget where you are on the Buford Dam tailrace of the Chattahoochee River. This beautiful stretch of water snakes southwest through densely populated suburbs north of Atlanta, yet riverside development is limited. There are long stretches where this river feels like wilderness— where the sounds of the city are replaced by lapping oars and the soft swish of fly rods cutting air. Chris Scalley, owner of River Through Atlanta guide service, manned the

4 NATIONAL

NOVEMBER 2021

oars. He rowed and coached and again showed us the bounty of the “Hooch.” The Angler Magazine Atlanta co-publisher Bob Rice and I have fished with Scalley several times before. Our late-September trip was another good one. The river’s wild reproducing brown trout were active in cooling weather patterns, and they punctuated a steady catch of sleek and feisty rainbows. The Chattahoochee is one of the best tailwater trout fisheries in the Southeast. It is a success story for fisheries management. Georgia DNR stopped stocking brown trout in the river in 2005 after natural reproduction was discovered. Today, those beautiful butter-bellies still thrive. It’s a unique situation that has made this 30-mile-long stretch a destination fishery. The Hooch has produced a string of state-record browns, including the current nearly 21-pounder. But before you get geared up for 30-inch trout, realize that while monsters do exist in the river’s deep holes and log jams, they are not frequent catches. Over several trips with Scalley, it seems a pretty good day consists of numerous rainbows, a handful of browns in the 10- to 12-inch range and a fish or two in the 14- to 16-inch range. Of course, the opportunity for larger fish is always present. Early in our float, a wading angler hailed us over to show photos of a 20-plus-inch fish he had in his net earlier that day. It was proof the big girls were eating, and it inspired us to fish our triplenymph rigs more diligently. After bringing several 8- to 12-inch rainbow trout to hand, I hooked into our first brown, a gorgeous 15-incher that took the big black stonefly anchoring the rig. We went on to catch several more good browns and a bunch of rainbows. The bows preferred either the small Baetis nymph in the rig or an egg pattern Scalley called a Stormy Daniels. While fishing three nymphs at once might sound like a recipe for disaster, it’s actually quite simple. Under Scalley’s coaching, even beginners catch on to the looping lob it takes to cast such a rig. Once it’s in the water, nymphing with an indicator is a lot like the bobber fishing you did as a kid. You just float down the river and watch for a fish to bite. Those bites should be frequent over the next few months. Water temperatures remain consistent on the tailwater year-round, and fall and winter offer great fishing for wild browns. Contact Chris Scalley and River Through Atlanta through their website riverthroughatlanta.com, or call (770) 650-8630.

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MUD HOLE URTESY OF PHOTO CO

Tailing the Kingfish Migration By CAM Staff

P

PHOTO CO

“K ‘th be lo URTESY O

F ERIC MAR

EST

erhaps more than any other species, king Texas. Some of these fish push farther south mackerel are temperature driven. Kingfish into waters off Mexico’s Yucatan. Regardless of where you fish along prefer a temperature range of about 68 to 73 degrees, which is extremely specific, and it these migrations, kingfish are looking for the same conditions. They can be found on keeps them on the move. That magic temperature window also makes ledges, reefs, oil rigs and wrecks, wherever them easier to find. With today’s technology and there are baitfish. They like nearshore subscription services providing daily updates and offshore structure and color breaks on offshore conditions and currents, identifying where plankton-rich waters exist in the prime hunting grounds for kings can be a matter temperature range they prefer. Trolling or drifting are the most of checking your phone or tablet in the morning effective methods to target kings, and before you head out. It’s no surprise that general seasonal good live bait is the best way to hook migratory patterns take king mackerel to up with big ones. Blue runners, pogies warmer waters as cold fronts of fall arrive. (menhaden), pilchards, threadfin Tagging and genetics studies have shown that herring, any bait with some silver Atlantic king mackerel push south to waters off flash is good. Switching them out and Florida to overwinter. Their numbers this time keeping them lively is important. A of year thin out the farther north you go, yet fall heavy chum slick can do wonders for can also be the best time to catch big isolated bringing them up near the surface. Idle speed is about right for smokers off the coast of the Carolinas. Off South Florida, Atlantic kingfish pulling baits. Stagger depth and intermingle with Gulf kingfish during the winter distance from the boat. Bump the months. This winter mixing zone is primarily throttle into neutral and drift when around the Florida Keys, where the December the sonar shows good bottom or kingfish bite ramps up along with the action for bait. other species like sailfish and wahoo. For more kingfish tips, visit In the Gulf of Mexico, kings spend summer coastalanglermag.com. in the northern Gulf, with high densities tracked to waters off the mouth of the Mississippi River. KINGFISH RIGS In fall, they push south in two separate groups. Some fish move east and then south along the A mainline of 20- to 30-pound monofilament will suffice, but with all the teeth in Florida coast, where anglers intercept them as a king’s mouth, a wire leader is required. Depending on water clarity, go as heavy as the fish will they move down the coastline. allow, but keep it light enough for your bait to appear natural. The other group of Gulf kings moves west A 24-inch, single-strand wire of 40-pound test is a starting point. Go lighter in clear water or with the arrival of cooler weather. They run with smaller baits; go heavier in dirty water or if you’re fishing big baits. down the Texas coast to winter2021 off the south 6 NATIONAL NOVEMBER COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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NATIONAL 7


g n i fish

THE EVOLVING ART OF DAYTIME

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d wor

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ithin the last decade, swordfishing has steadily evolved from being exclusively a nighttime pursuit into a roundthe-clock affair. The ongoing pioneering of daytime swordfishing techniques leaves room for experimentation to perfect personal preferences within this art. A lot of work goes into going after just a single bite, and many variables are at play fishing in 1,000 to 2,000 feet. Then, factoring in tackle, crew and the inconsistent bite style of these fish, the best way to figure out daytime swordfishing is to go do it. Although you might see little sport in utilizing an electric reel, this type of fishing requires an incredible amount of teamwork. There’s always a job for everyone on the boat. Good communication is essential, not only to land fish, but also just to set the bait correctly. Rigging a bait for swordfish is more satisfying than buying one pre-rigged. It’s a chance to flex your creativity and experiment with different styles and baits. After all, you want more than one bait on-hand during a sword trip. Whether you go with the tried-and-true squid bait or hardier mahi- or bonita-belly strips, the most important factor is whether or not the bait spins. If it spins on the surface, it will spin worse at the bottom, and it must be modified or scrapped. Personally, I like a glow-in-the-dark squid skirt on any bait, not just for added movement and visual enhancement, but the skirt also streamlines the bait and compensates for rigging errors. Once you’ve sewn the bait, slowly troll it behind the boat to check for spinning. If your Franken-bait is straight as an arrow 8 NATIONAL

NOVEMBER 2021

By Capt. Quinlyn Haddon

on the surface, send it on down. Affix breakaway lights along the wind-on leader near the bait. About 100 feet up the leader, use rigging floss to create a loop where the clip for the weight will attach to the main line. The clip is attached to about 30 feet of lighter leader, in the 50-pound range, that is then affixed to a weight. Adjust weight to the current. A reasonable go-to is 10 pounds. Again, ensure you have extra weights on board before investing in a sword trip. The last thing you want is to get revved up over a bite, come up without a weight and have to scavenge a tool box for your heaviest wrenches to toss overboard. There are a few different styles of driving the boat for swordfishing that have proven successful. Regardless of the method you chose, the idea is to keep the weight from free falling and tangling the line. Keep tension on the line while it is going down, take up the slack, and relocate the bottom. Come up off the bottom 100 feet, or so, and continue that process as you drift over varied depths. Keep eyes on the rod tip the entire time, and find the happy medium between not blinking and not losing your mind. Swordfish might swipe the bait before committing to the hook, or they might hammer it. Sometimes they just start swimming to the surface with it. All the different bites look different on the rod tip. You might see the rod bounce with taps, get heavy and not bounce at all, or just completely go slack. Whether the bite is obvious or subtle, setting the hook or knowing when to reel up to check the bait is a matter of experience. Swordfish are counted like tarpon, where the overall bite count is included along with those landed. Don’t even bother fishing for swords if

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you don’t have patience or enough love of fishing to be okay with coming home skunked. It’s all hands on deck boating one of these very aggressive, potentially large fish. If you’re lucky enough to get a swordfish to the boat, you’ll find out very quickly which friends to invite back on the next trip. While the captain remains behind the wheel, ideally someone will be on the rod with another person unclipping the weight and pulling off the breakaway lights as the leader gets to the boat. Once all that gear has been removed, there is the matter of hand-leadering the fish, gaffing it, potential use of tail rope, and heaving that sucker into the boat. There are many ways to go about this, and many ways the fish could react. Swordfish are well known for stamina and can be quite dangerous to green gaff. Be prepared for the fish to get a second wind boatside. This is where communication and teamwork can make or break the experience. Go into a swordfish trip with everything you’ve got, but with the intent to relax and hang out. You might sit there all day without a bite, so bring people you enjoy the company of, and leave the “I’m-so-bored” guy at the dock. He is worse than bananas, anyway. Capt. Quinlyn Haddon fishes with Blue Magic Charters out of Marathon, Fla. Check her out her Instagram @CaptainQuinlyn, her website CaptainQuinlyn.com, or call (504) 920-6342.


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Goliath Grouper Recovering; Angler Harvest Proposed

F

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NOVEMBER 2021

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By CAM Staff

lorida has moved one step closer to allowing harvest of goliath grouper. In early October, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a draft proposal to allow limited and tightly controlled harvest of the species. Don’t run out and stock up on heavy tackle just yet. A permit to keep a single fish will come with a hefty price tag, and anglers will only be allowed to keep a smaller one. These iconic fish, which grow to more than 800 pounds and 8 feet in length, have been protected from harvest in state and federal waters off Florida since 1990. The harvest proposal is at the beginning of the long road that leads to regulation change. The proposal, with changes, must now be brought back before the commission at a future meeting. If approved again, it would then enter into the public feedback and data gathering stage before a final public hearing in March 2022. Regulations changes would take effect in 2023, at the earliest. Here’s an outline of the limited season the latest draft proposal would create: • Goliath grouper season would run March through May. • A lottery system with a $10 entry fee would issue $500 permits to harvest one fish per person. • Only 200 total permits would be issued. • There would be a slot limit from 20 to 36 inches. • Harvest would not be allowed off Palm Beach County, the Atlantic

Re

• Fi coast of the Keys and Dry Tortugas National Park. • There will be post-harvest requirements. Commissioner Robert Spottswood said limited harvest should help better determine the overall stock of the fish in the next three to five years. “This stock is rebuilding,” Spottswood said. “We’re hearing that it can easily sustain this very small harvest of fish. We’re going to learn something from it. And more importantly, we’re going to give some access that we can give safely and sustainably back to the stakeholders that own the resource.” Goliath grouper were in a bad situation prior to harvest restrictions put in place in 1990. There are numerous factors that make the species susceptible to overfishing. They are a desirable and easy target for anglers because of their size and because they inhabit shallow waters in comparison to other groupers and tend to gather in large numbers in predictable locations. Since the 1990 harvest ban was enacted, goliath abundance has increased, and that positive trend is expected to continue. A limited harvest, managed similarly to the existing alligator program, would provide both data and funding for goliath grouper research, while allowing expanded recreational angler access to the species. The 200 permits issued are not expected to impact the population or its growth. For more information, go to myFWC.com.

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Hialeah Angler Catches State Record Peacock

O

f all the non-native fish species that have established themselves in South Florida’s system of freshwater lakes and canals, peacock bass are the only ones that arrived legally. Butterfly peacock bass are a species anglers are glad to have, and Felipe Prieto, of Hialeah, caught a dandy out of a Broward County lake while fishing live bait after work. His 9.11-pound, 23 5/16-inch catch was recently certified by FWC as a new state record. Prieto’s big peacock bested a mark that has stood for nearly three decades. The previous state record of 9.08 pounds was caught back in 1993. It is not, however, the largest ever caught in Florida. FWC has record of a 12-pound, 25.5-inch peacock that was not submitted for state record recognition. That fish was not far off the current IGFA all-tackle world record, which weighed 12 pounds, 9 ounces and was caught from Venezuela’s Chiguao River in January of 2000. Peacock bass are native to South America, and they were intentionally introduced to Florida. The FWC stocked peacock bass in coastal southeast Florida canals in 1984 to help reduce the number of undesirable exotic fishes, especially spotted tilapia. An awesome new fishery was a side benefit of the stocking. Limited low-temperature tolerance normally restricts butterfly peacocks to Broward and Miami-Dade counties, but recent mild winters have allowed anglers as far north as Palm Beach County to enjoy catching this species. “The butterfly peacock bass is colorful, a lightning-fast striker and a hard fighter,” said FWC Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto. “Anglers from across the country travel here to catch a peacock bass, which only adds to the tremendous economic impact fishing has in Florida. This unique game fish is just one of the features that makes Florida, truly, the Fishing and Boating Capital of the World.”

6 FLORIDA

NOVEMBER 2021

To properly certify a new freshwater Florida state record, an FWC biologist must identify the species and an FWC employee must witness its weighing on a certified scale. Anglers can check the current state records at BigCatchFlorida.com by clicking on “State Record” and should notify the nearest FWC regional office if they believe they have caught a record fish. Anglers are encouraged to be prepared to provide a photograph of the fish on a scale with the weight legible, for expediting the initial verification of the fish species and potential state record status. Contact information for FWC regional offices can be found at MyFWC.com/Contact by clicking on “Contact Regional Offices.”

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Easy Pickin’s By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

F

all fishing can be the easiest and best fishing of the year. For me it is the flounder run, schools of trout and reds under flocks of gulls, and the prelim to giant trophy trout time. The fall flounder migration is definitely a staple of fall fishing, and I know that it goes on wherever flatfish exist. We do have a closed season for the first time, so be sure to check the regs wherever you plan to fish. Most states have changed flounder regulation in the last couple years. Not only are flounder easier to find when they travel though the passes in their voyage to their spawning grounds, they also feed aggressively as they follow baitfish out of the bays. When I focus on flounder, I change my presentation dramatically. I like to apply scent to my lures, which gives you a great advantage when it comes to catching flounder. A tandem rig is a popular method to utilize for flounder. Since flounder frequently ambush bait by burying themselves in the sand, I keep my lead lure in contact with the bottom at all times and give the lure a twitch with my rod using a sideways motion. If I am in a boat, I do this with my rod tip down, but while wading my rod moves to my side. Finding trout and reds smashing shrimp under feeding gulls can really get your heart pumping from the visual excitement. It can also provide nonstop fish on every cast. This is especially true in the fall, when it is more common to find larger trout schooling than in the other three seasons. When fishing the birds, I use a heavier jighead than I typically do. A ¼- to 3/8-ounce jighead works well. The more skittish the fish and birds, the heavier head I will use. I do this simply to increase my casting distance, so I can reach the schools sooner and stay farther away in an attempt to

not break up the schools or push them down. Using a durable soft plastic and smashing down the barb of the hook are helpful in maximizing the number of fish you can pull off each school. If you can keep the birds off of it, throwing a topwater might pull out some of the larger fish and add to the fun and visual stimulation of the entire event. By the end of fall, trophy trout become my main focus, and this continues through mid-spring. At this time, the water will have cooled considerably, and the majority of bait will have left the bays. Artifical lures will become a more reliable option for catching trophy trout. Enjoy this cooler weather, and spend some time on the water. This is a great time to introduce young anglers to the sport. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures and Controlled Descent Lures, and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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f you’ve spent any time on a boat in sharky waters, there’s no doubt the tax man has taken his due from what you thought was going to be fish dinner. Racing sharks to get your catch to the boat is a part of fishing, and it’s a component of our fisheries that NOAA wants to look at a little closer. NOAA Fisheries is considering an exempted fishing permit (EFP) that would authorize the collection of fish with evidence of shark depredation on charter vessels in southeast Florida. The project seeks to collect fish carcasses with evidence of shark depredation and conduct genetic analysis to determine which shark species were responsible for the damage. If the EFP is approved, fish carcasses collected may be outside of the range of minimum size limit, bag limit, or seasonal closure regulations. Information collected would be useful in understanding the impact shark depredation has on the charter fishing fleet in South Florida. Researchers would work with specific captains who fish in federal waters between Sebastian Inlet and Jupiter Inlet, Fla. These charter vessels would continue routine fishing operations, and if a fish is caught that exhibits signs of depredation, the fish would be retained by the researcher, isolated from other catch, and transferred to Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Harbor Branch Laboratory when returned to port. Signs of depredation from landed fish include: fresh teeth marks and active bleeding; partially removed trunk tissue (scales, skin, and muscle); exposed musculature and/or internal organs; and missing fins. The skin and flesh exposed by the bite wound would be swabbed to identify depredating species from trace amounts of DNA left on prey remains. Researchers would retain a maximum of 240 individual fish distributed across the following species complexes during the study: snapper-grouper, dolphin-wahoo, and coastal migratory pelagics. Some samples collected may be under-sized, above the recreational bag limit, or caught during a closed season. Only the captain and crew aboard authorized charter vessels would be permitted to retain species with evidence of shark depredation that may be recreationally harvested out of season, or out of the authorized recreational bag limits or size limits. The EFP would be valid for two years during the course of the study. For more information, see www.fisheries.noaa.gov.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


FLORIDA’S E X PA N S I V E ARTIFICIAL REEFS

By Kevin McCarthy

O

ne of the best additions to Florida waters in my opinion is the great number of artificial reefs that have been placed just offshore. Divers like them because they offer an array of colorful fish that take refuge in the hiding places of the reefs. Environmentalists like them because they keep divers away from our fragile coral. Fishermen like them because of the wide diversity of fish one can find in the manmade contraptions like culverts and shipwrecks, which offer much fishing success to those who know where the reefs are. The Florida Legislature began the state’s artificial reef program in 1982. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Division of Marine Fisheries Management, has administered the reef program and has helped local towns and cities develop the reefs, which have attracted thousands of divers and fishermen, all of whom usually enrich the local coffers and spread the good word about the benefits of the reefs and of Florida fishing. Most of the state’s 35 coastal counties have been involved in the development of artificial reefs. Our 1,000-plus miles of coastal shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico offer many, many ideal places for the reefs. Our state, in fact, has long led the 14 Gulf and Atlantic coastal states in developing such reefs. Because this state has had more than 2,000 documented shipwrecks along our coast over our

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long history, Floridians know how much damage a grounded ship can do to our reefs and sea bottom. For the past 70-plus years, dating back to the early 1940s, concerned Floridians have placed almost 3,000 public, artificial reefs in our federal and state waters. Most of the active artificial reef permits off our coasts are held by local governments, who work with local fishing clubs, nonprofit corporations and interested private individuals to maintain and monitor the reefs. For more information on the state’s program for such reefs, their locations, guidelines for materials used in the building of such structures, photos and permits for the construction of such reefs, see the website of the Florida Fish and

Wildlife Conservation Commission: http://www. myfwc.com/conservation/saltwater/artificialreefs/ The many large fish that inhabit the reefs, the clarity of our Florida waters and the cooperation of local fishing clubs make our artificial reefs valuable and accessible for fishermen. One source that I like for locating fishing reefs is http://www. floridagofishing.com/index.html, but others are available on the Internet.

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Northeast Florida Fishing from Freshwater to the Gulf Stream

21

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s the “Fishing Capital of the World,” Florida has a whole lot to offer anglers, and the northeastern corner of the state, around Jacksonville, is a hotbed for almost any type fishing you’d like to do. From freshwater bass and bluegill to big-game sportfishing in the Gulf Stream, this one area boasts a whole lot of diverse and consistent fishing opportunities. Starting with the big-ticket item, the Gulf Stream is a pretty good boat ride out of St. Augustine, but the rewards are great. It’s one of the few areas in Florida where anglers regularly target blue marlin. This happens during the summer months, and during the fall sailfishing can be very good. Of course you’ve also got your other pelagics that frequent the same areas. Where the Gulf Stream interacts with the edge of the continental shelf, dolphin, tuna, wahoo and kings are regular catches at different times of the year. Several of the aforementioned species can 2 NORTH FLORIDA

NOVEMBER 2021

also be caught closer to shore on natural bottoms and wrecks. Excellent fishing in the area is accessible for anglers who might not have access to big sportfishing yachts capable of running way offshore. And a good guide can put you right on top of good fishing for wahoo, kingfish, sailfish and tuna, as well as outstanding snapper and grouper opportunities. Even closer in and accessible even to small boats are nearshore rockpiles and ledges, where the area’s famous kingfish tournaments are often won. Jack crevalle, tarpon, cobia and spanish mackerel are also frequently caught nearshore. Get some charts and go find them yourself, or better yet, hire a guide to show you the ropes. If you really want to do it alone, the pier and jetty fishing along the coast of northeast Florida is excellent for redfish, trout, sheepshead, croakers, bluefish, tarpon, sharks and pretty much anything that swims the Atlantic. By the

same token, surf fishing as well as inshore fishing in the marshes and the St. Johns River are very good. Flounder, seatrout, drum and redfish come in good numbers and size. Because of this, the Jacksonville area is home to a strong community of kayak anglers. Take one more step inshore, and you’re in brackish or freshwater. Northeast Florida has some very good bass fishing and pan fishing. Whether it’s on the St. Johns, one of the regions reservoirs or other rivers, year-round mild water temperatures and abundant forage lead to good numbers and excellent growth rates for both largemouth bass and bream. No matter how you like to fish or what you want to fish for, chances are you’ll find it in northeast Florida.

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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

NOVEMBER 2021 EDITION

Find Your Outdoors Here!

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

North Central Florida Nature Coast Staff

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

Cary Crutchfield

A

NOVEMBER

s I write in late Oct., we finally got a break from the summer heat and rain, and my favorite season is finally here! As you read the fishing forecasts this month, you will notice one thought running through all of them; we are all so grateful that cooler temps have finally arrived, and the fishing is great in both salt and fresh water. Speaking of fresh water, my beloved Suwannee River has dropped to a more “normal” level (Whatever normal is). We know that the cold stuff will be here soon, so get outside and enjoy these glorious days of fall! Go catch something. New advertising partner this month, Countryside Marina, located on US 27, just west of Williston. They offer full-service boat repair and can accommodate boats up to 42 feet. See page 2. Making an encore appearance, on page 14, Dolphin Outdoors Power Equipment, located on Alternate US 27, just east of Bronson. See their beautiful American Landmaster UTV. Also making an encore appearance, Hugh Cain’s Allstate Insurance in Alachua. Visit their new office in the Publix Plaza, west of Alachua on US 441. See page 2 for this month’s recipe, Shrimp Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. I love blending those yummy shrooms with chicken or seafood. This dish is so easy and very impressive. Use large mushrooms for main dish, or small for appetizers. (I used medium; they were on sale at Publix.) Here it is again, my push for you to get your vaccine. If you are hesitant, please talk to a trusted medical professional. Smart health care is not political, but it can be the difference between life and death. The information (lies?) online can be wrong and very dangerous. As always, please thank our family of advertisers, our distribution locations and certainly our writers. If you have fishing questions, the most knowledgeable fishing experts in the world write for our magazine. Call or email them. Second only to fishing, their favorite activity is talking about fishing. Thank you John for this very interesting and educational photograph of lily pad root structure. Have a safe and thankful Thanksgiving. Get your vaccine so you don’t miss it! Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida/Nature Coast

SALES

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

WEB DESIGN Kristi Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy Bruce Butler John Freeze Noel Kuhn Capt. Jason Clark Capt. Katie Jo Davis Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Andrew Fagan Capt. Jonathan Hamilton Capt. Tony Johns Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Brent Woodard

CONTACT INFORMATION

crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-542-0356 www.CoastalAnglerMag.com/NC-Florida

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District


SHRIMP STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS (SERVES 2)

F

Flo

W

that s fascin by jus her hu

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

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

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1M 2Tu

3W

4Th

5F

6Sa

7Su

8M

5:47 AM 11:51 AM 6:18 PM 12:27 AM 6:42 AM 12:53 PM 7:06 PM 1:01 AM 7:31 AM 1:49 PM 7:50 PM 1:34 AM 8:18 AM 2:41 PM 8:31 PM 2:08 AM 9:03 AM 3:32 PM 9:10 PM 2:42 AM 9:49 AM 4:23 PM 9:49 PM 2:19 AM 9:36 AM 4:16 PM 9:29 PM 2:58 AM 10:25 AM 5:10 PM 10:11 PM

1.2 3.5 0.7 3.5 0.7 3.7 0.8 3.7 0.2 3.9 0.9 3.9 -0.3 3.9 1.0 4.2 -0.6 3.9 1.2 4.3 -0.8 3.7 1.4 4.4 -0.8 3.5 1.6 4.4 -0.7 3.2 1.7

HERNANDO BEACH

NOVEMBER 2021

9Tu

Time Height

3:43 AM 11:16 AM 6:05 PM 11:00 PM 10W 4:35 AM 12:12 PM 7:04 PM 11:59 PM 11Th 5:38 AM 1:16 PM 8:13 PM 12F 1:17 AM 6:59 AM 2:31 PM 9:18 PM 13Sa 2:51 AM 8:48 AM 3:43 PM 10:09 PM 14Su 4:13 AM 10:23 AM 4:41 PM 10:50 PM 15M 5:15 AM 11:32 AM 5:28 PM 11:25 PM 16Tu 6:05 AM 12:26 PM 6:08 PM 11:57 PM

4.2 -0.4 3.0 1.8 3.9 0.0 2.8 1.9 3.6 0.4 2.7 1.8 3.2 0.7 2.8 1.6 3.0 0.9 3.0 1.1 3.0 1.1 3.2 0.7 3.1 1.1 3.4 0.3 3.2 1.2 3.6

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

17W 18Th

19F

20Sa

21Su

22M

23Tu

24W

6:47 AM 1:09 PM 6:43 PM 12:26 AM 7:23 AM 1:48 PM 7:15 PM 12:54 AM 7:57 AM 2:24 PM 7:47 PM 1:21 AM 8:29 AM 3:00 PM 8:18 PM 1:48 AM 9:00 AM 3:35 PM 8:49 PM 2:17 AM 9:32 AM 4:11 PM 9:21 PM 2:48 AM 10:06 AM 4:48 PM 9:57 PM 3:24 AM 10:43 AM 5:26 PM 10:37 PM

-0.1 3.3 1.3 3.7 -0.3 3.3 1.3 3.8 -0.4 3.3 1.4 3.8 -0.5 3.2 1.5 3.8 -0.5 3.2 1.5 3.8 -0.4 3.1 1.6 3.8 -0.3 3.0 1.6 3.7 -0.2 2.9 1.6

Time Height

25Th 4:06 AM 11:24 AM 6:09 PM 11:26 PM 26F 4:58 AM 12:13 PM 7:00 PM 27Sa 12:30 AM 6:03 AM 1:13 PM 7:59 PM 28Su 1:51 AM 7:31 AM 2:24 PM 8:58 PM 29M 3:12 AM 9:10 AM 3:32 PM 9:49 PM 30Tu 4:20 AM 10:33 AM 4:32 PM 10:33 PM

3.5 0.0 2.8 1.6 3.3 0.2 2.8 1.6 3.1 0.4 2.8 1.4 2.9 0.6 2.9 1.1 2.9 0.7 3.2 0.6 3.0 0.9 3.4

HOMOSASSA RIVER ENT

HORSESHOE BEACH

SUWANNEE ENT

STEINHATCHEE RIVER ENT

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

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

NOVEMBER 2021

COOKING DIRECTIONS

INGREDIENTS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

• 2 large or 6 medium portobello mushrooms • oil • 10 extra-large shrimp peeled, deveined and chopped • 2 tablespoons butter • 1 small onion finely diced • 6 cloves garlic finely diced • 2 strips bacon cooked and crumbled • 2 ounces cream cheese • ½ cup grated Parmesan (Don’t use the dry stuff!) • Handful of chopped fresh parsley • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional) • Panko crumbs

Remove stems from mushrooms; chop and set aside. Using a spoon, carefully scrape out the dark gills from the mushrooms and discard. Wipe mushrooms with paper towel. Place in low baking pan, stem side down and brush with oil. Bake 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and using paper towel, soak up liquid in pan. Set aside. Melt butter in medium sauté pan. Add onion and mushroom stems and cook on medium until soft. Add the garlic and parsley; continue to cook and stir for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat; add chopped shrimp and red pepper flakes if using, and stir into onion mixture. Mix in cream cheese, Parmesan and bacon.

Flip mushroom caps over and overstuff with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle generously with Panko and bake about 10 min. or until Panko is lightly browned. Serve immediately. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

By

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FLORIDA WATERWAYS Florida Dragonflies on our Waterways

W

hen I noticed that a friend of mine had a dragonfly tattoo, I asked her why. She explained that she thought the insect was elegant, fascinating, common to Florida, and liked by just about everyone. It became easy for her husband and her to begin collecting all kinds of dragonfly pendants and charms and hair bobs. Of all the flying insects that one can find in and near our waterways, By Matt McCarthy including mosquitoes, sand flies, gnats, and bees, the dragonfly doesn’t bite, can perch on our head and arms, and doesn’t even have an annoying sound. I have learned that the insect has been around for some 300 million years and used to have a wingspan of up to two feet, a far cry from the two- to fiveinch wingspan of modern dragonflies. They eat prey that they catch while flying and which they grab with their feet. They belong to the order Odonata, meaning “toothed one” in Greek, a phrase that refers to their serrated teeth. In their early, larval stage, they stay near the water and can eat mosquitoes, tadpoles, and other insect larvae. They are particularly effective at keeping the mosquito population down, since an adult dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes every day. They have four wings, which allows them to fly straight up and down, hover like a helicopter, even mate while in midair. The most prominent feature of the dragonfly is its pair of eyes, which make up most of its head. Those eyes give the insect great vision and range, except for right behind the fly. Other names for the insect are “horse

stinger,” “devil’s darning needle,” “ear cutter,” “snake doctor,” and “snake feeder.” The name “dragon” in its name may go back to a Romanian folktale that involved St. George. When the saint wounded an My friend’s tattoo evil dragon in a local town, he gave the animal to the town’s princess. The Devil cursed the saint’s horse, whose name in English became “Devil’s Horse.” I’ve had Vietnamese students tell me that people in their country believe that dragonflies can predict the weather, that when the insects fly low, that could mean rain, but – when they fly high – that could mean sunny skies. A lot of different aquatic species feed on dragonflies so they serve a very useful purpose. When they land on you, that is supposed to be a sign of good luck, but – if one appears in your dream – that is a sign that you need to be extra careful that day. So now you know a lot more than before about one of the fascinating creatures around our Florida waterways. Kevin McCarthy, the author of North Florida Waterways (2013 - available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

The large eyes of the insect

An elegant dragonfly

A large, ancient dragonfly

A dragonfly in flight

Two mating dragonflies

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NOVEMBER 2021

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3


KATIE JO’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

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all fishing is upon us on Florida's Nature Coast, and I couldn't be more excited! The same types of fish who migrate through the area in the spring, migrate back through the area in the fall. Cobia, black drum and triple tail are some of the species that are targeted again during this time of the year. The larger schools of redfish and snook are plentiful as well, and begin moving into the shallower creeks, where they congregate to a more concentrated area, which makes fishing on the Nature Coast that much more enjoyable. The cobia are a bit more sporadic, and migrate in lesser numbers, and seem to be a surprise on the end of the line. They are spotted following large schools of leopard rays and along rocky shoals. The black drum are feeding along the bottom in deeper, narrow channels while grazing for blue crabs. Triple tail are free floating along weed lines or next to buoys. As the water temperature continues to decrease, the gag grouper bite is phenomenal, as the larger fish move back into the shallower water, headed into the winter season.

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Redfish and snook will be found near oyster bars with schools of mullet swimming on top. This is an excellent time to break out the fly rod, as they will be quite hungry back in the creeks on the falling tide. Capt. Katie Jo Davis www.fishcrystalriverflorida.com 772-882-8932

ENGLISH.BRAD@YAHOO.COM 24304 NW 182ND AVE. HIGH SPRINGS, FL 32643 4 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

NOVEMBER 2021

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but the althou that in I'm FWC h our fav again, on red southe believe hear th can br dinner respon As t a little favorit our red more e snook part of so year Coast Count northe I'm ha weathe migrat literall that ge Other of the airbor often e back a tighten go airb mantr unbutt At the was re and ea This w fish wi don't d


TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

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elcome back yak fans. My Cobia hopes didn't work out, but the backcountry has been good, although challenging! (More on that in a bit.) I'm super happy to hear that the FWC has finally decided to allow our favorite trio to be harvested again, with the lifting of the ban on reds, trout and snook in the southern areas. While I firmly believe in conservation, it's nice to hear that my friends and readers can bring home something for dinner! Having said that, please fish responsibly. As to fishing, I thought I'd share a little history on our area of my favorite game fish, the snook. While our redfish population has been more elusive than in years past, snook seem to have taken over part of that food chain. Fifteen or so years ago, snook on the Nature Coast were rare, and Hernando County was considered the northernmost end of their territory. I'm happy to say that due to weather pattern changes or natural migration, we now have snook literally everywhere. I'm not saying that getting a slot-sized fish is easy. Other than tarpon, snook give one of the most memorable battles with airborne head shakes (which can often end up with your lure flying back at you), and that sphincter tightening fear every time they go airborne, and the fisherman's mantra, “Please don't come unbuttoned.” Repeat it as necessary. At the turn of the century, the snook was regarded as a nuisance fish, and earned the name of “soap fish”. This was due to the habit of cooking fish with the skin on (by the way don't do that) ruined the meat, and

made it taste like soap. Thinking about back then, the most common soap was lye based, so it would taste awful. I mean if you ever, like me had a bar of soap stuck in your mouth for using a bad word, now think about having it for your whole dinner. Yuck! The local bite has been tougher than I remember for this time of year, especially redfish. On my last trip, my buddy didn't get a single slot-sized fish, and he is one of the most experienced fishermen I know. Knowing your terrain, and changing your spots, is important! Don't invest too much time in one spot, and I don't care how many fish you caught there before; if it ain't happening, move! I think if nothing else, that was why I was able to get on snook, reds, and sheepshead, because I refused to invest too much time in non-productive spots. Also, always work the tides. Out-going to low, will always be my favorite, but a general rule of thumb is, that moving water increases the bite. Also, a shout-out to all of you who went to check out Aripeka. My friends at Norfleets said they have had many people come through who learned about it from my stories, so, “Thanks” and if you have any questions about where to fish in that area, send me a text message. I might not even lie! Thanks to my buddy Kirby, who shared this picture of a 39-inch Hernando County snook, to share with the story. Bruce Butler | "Stumbling Gypsy" (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters.com Web: www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

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SUWANNEE

The Williams men from Valdosta GA: Tony Sr, Tony Jr, Wayne, Tony III, Cody and Tony IV, a quality group of men, and a pleasure to fish with!

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ovember is one of my top two months for fishing in the Lower Suwannee River Estuary system. This month, we will finally get some consistent relief from the heat of the summer! This month is also when we can see some big swings in water temperatures! We may start the month in the upper 70’s, and then end the month in the mid 60’s. The big change in temps will really turn the fish on, but at the same time, it will also cause them to move quite a bit. This year we experienced a pretty warm October, with water temp in the low 80’s. This has the fish still in their autumn patterns. This time of the year, the trout can be elusive, but when you find them, they will be hungry, eating machines! The key is finding what kind of bait (shrimp or fish) they are they eating, and then locating the areas holding that bait. Here in the Lower Suwannee Estuary, we have had an abundance of shrimp this summer, and it seems the trout have been using them as their primary food source, but that doesn’t mean that a live shrimp is the best bait to use right now, since there are thousands of catfish, just waiting to slurp them up! I like to use a jig and grub rig for trout. I use a 1/8 to 5/16 jig head (depends on water depth and current) combined with a FishBites Fight Club (FFC) lure. The Butt Kicker paddle tail is great for trout, and unlike some of the NOVEMBER 2021

other scented baits, the FishBites are tough, allowing you to catch multiple fish on one bait! I also have good catches with the FFC Fight n Shrimp lures. www.fishbites.com Look for the redfish on the outside bars, grassy shorelines and oyster bars around the mouths of the creeks. The redfish are very aggressive, chasing bait and eating just about anything they come across! For me, day in and day out, it’s hard to beat a gold spoon for locating and catching redfish. I also like a chatter bait, especially when the water is very dark and stained like it has been this year. When the fish are tight to the oyster bars, a floating plug is my bait of choice. It may be a topwater walk the dog style lure, a twitch bait, lipless crank bait or one the new plopper prop style baits that the fish really like! But it’s still hard to beat a popping cork with 18 inches of 30 lb. leader, tied to an 1/8-ounce FFC Lures jig head and a Fight n Shrimp tail. With this bait, you can fish close to the oysters, without getting hung up as much, and you can also fish the bait along the grassy shorelines, especially the ones with submerged oysters. 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

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 5


CEDAR KEY

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ey everyone, is it just me or is there starting to be a little chill in the air? I'll be honest, the fishing report hasn't changed too much from last month to now. We are still targeting primarily redfish, but I will tell you what to expect once the water temp drops along with air. When the water temp drops to the mid 70's, expect the flats to come alive. We will be looking at spec and silver trout, moving back in thick along with mackerel, flounder and so much more. Now there are many ways to catch these fish, but my favorite way is using a popping cork, paired with a c&m custom baits paddle tell. Oh, one last thing, remember the FWC has closed flounder from 10/15 to 11/30. Until next month, stay safe out there.

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NOVEMBER 2021

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e are officially in my favorite time of the year! Fish are biting insanely good, bucks are running around looking for girlfriends, and the temperature is just right. The trout seem to miraculously pop out of nowhere, and I only see it getting better from here. They are going to be in the most common areas that most people look for them and that’s in the 2 1/2 to the 3-foot range and getting shallower towards the end of the month. Popping corks for when they’re deep, and your favorite suspending top water or weightless soft plastic when they’re shallow. The redfish bite has been some of the best it has been all year. I have mainly targeted them with a popping cork and shrimp. With the reds, you can almost

do no wrong as far as technique goes. If you’re around them, they will hit almost anything you throw. I want to remind everybody that flounder season is shut down and will not open again until November 30th. While we’re on the subject of seasons, snook season is in full swing if you would like to target one. I would suggest finding heavy current and channels Once again everybody, be careful, watch out for the shallow water and be mindful of the grass flats. Until next time keep it Reel Native

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NOVEMBER 2021

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 7


8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

NOVEMBER 2021

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KEATON BEACH

CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

Lee Lewis of Willacoochee, GA with an over-slot red taken in the rain Oct. 6, 2021

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ne would think our fishing couldn’t get much better, but it will! In seven straight days of charters (October 4-9) we had limits each day on redfish, and for trout, we missed by two fish one day of completing our seven limits. We caught over-slot reds and keeper reds every trip, and despite water temperatures of 80 to 81 degrees, our fishing has been spectacular. We have been fishing with live pinfish under Back Bay Thunder, as there is still a bit too much floating grass to fish plugs or bounce grubs. I expect that a couple of cold fronts with strong Northeast w-i-n-d-s, in the next couple of weeks, (today is October 14) will clear that situation and November should be outstanding. We will catch fish on Topwater stick baits, such as MirrOlure’s Top Dog Juniors and SheDogs, and we will use hard jerkbaits , such as Bite-A-Bait fighters, Bomber Long A’s and Cordell Redfins. Trout and reds will readily take soft plastic such as Assassin’s Sea Shads, 5 inch shads and Elite Shiners, both rigged under the Original Cajun Thunder and bounced on Assassin’s 1/8 oz. Chartreuse Flash jigheads. The Northern Minnow, Stinky Pink, Pink Ghost, Green Moon, Wakasagi,and Violet Moon should all be great color choices in November. Redfish have been mixed in with the trout in depths from 4.5 feet all the way

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lright Forest Anglers, are you all as excited as I am, to see how this next season (2023) is gonna shake out? After this past year's super early, well everything, people have been wondering, “When do you think the crappie will start biting?" That I do have an answer for. They've already started, and they're biting like crazy. Now, as far as the beginning of James Landrum of Homerville, GA the bass spawn, remember that with a 26-inch red on Oct. 7, 2021 we saw bass spawning as early as in to 2.5 feet, while October usually November last year. So all we can do sees a shift, when reds move back into is keep our eyes open. Once the bass the shallows toward the creek mouths spawn begins, everything else will and bars. Live and synthetics such as fall in line as usual. FIshBites Fight Club baits will take a Since we're all basically playing lion’s share of reds in October; but so will the "Waiting Game" at this point, Gold and Copper weedless spoons such I'm just keeping the forecast short as Precision Tackle’s Intruder HEX spoon this month. All I can say is, the in gold and copper. I prefer the 1/2-ounce conditions are as perfect as they sizes, in order to cover a lot of water and get, and you better get out there, keep my spoon down near the bottom because they are dang sure hungry, where the reds are. Me? I can’t wait! 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

and there's plenty to go around. Next month we''ll have all the facts we need to get a better idea on the timing of everything. Catch 'em up y'all! John Freeze Kayak Fishing and Nature Tours OurNationalForrest@gmail.com

Lee Crowe of Athens, GA with a 24-inch trout caught on Oct. 8, 2021 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

NOVEMBER 2021

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 9


IN

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o h the be call “m always tides a drops makin difficu in fish for in shallo very c newco clear, s plan a you pl you do shallo quickl area al tide br move. jet-dri the fav reason small just th where and bl well, w Fishin with m numb and pl baits o the co shrim always oz jig. Mov group to 20 f of gett tempe and in frozen As the and slu mullet rings t

10 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

NOVEMBER 2021

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INGLIS/YANKEETOWN

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ovember is a special month here in Yankeetown. It marks the beginning of what we like to call “mud boat” season. November always has quite a few negative tides and cooler weather, which drops the water temperatures, making fishing here a little less difficult. For what this area lacks in fishing difficulty, it makes up for in navigational difficulties, and shallow dirty water, which can be very challenging, especially for a newcomer. Our water is clean and clear, so you should have a game plan already laid out for where you plan to fish. Chances are, if you don’t have a boat with a very shallow draft that can get on plane quickly, you may be fishing said area all day, or until the incoming tide brings you enough water to move. An airboat mud boat or jet-drive powered boat, are among the favorites in these areas for this reason. The tide falls and leaves small pockets of water, maybe even just the size of a swimming pool, where redfish, trout, sheepshead and black drum will be stuck as well, waiting for their next meal. Fishing can be very hot and heavy, with many days losing count at the number of redfish and trout caught, and plenty of great memories. The baits of choice seem to vary a little the colder it gets, but a big live shrimp or large mudminnow will always get the job done on a 1/4 oz jig. Moving to nearshore, the gag grouper bite is spectacular in 15 to 20 feet, and only shows signs of getting better. As the water temperatures cool late this month and into December, I start to utilize frozen bait and chum a lot more. As these fish seem to become fat and sluggish, a nice big hunk of cut mullet or northern mackerel always rings the dinner bell. Trolling has

been productive this year when the grass isn’t bad, and will continue to be hot throughout the season, with the Xrap Magnum from Rapala being the fan favorite in the 20-foot diving size this year. Mangrove snapper have been plentiful throughout the last few months, and remain on the shallow rocks. A small mudminnow on a fish finder rig, or a big live shrimp will entice a bite from those pesky guys. One thing to always keep in mind is, mangrove snapper have fantastic eye sight, so scaling down to 10 to 12 pound flurocarbon really makes a big difference at times, to get that finicky bite dialed in! As always, a

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NOVEMBER 2021

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 11


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o to With t real co tempe can m Homo Tro 3 to 4 rigged glow a Top w big tro dogs f Novem these fi Fish C Chazz yellow going produ Loo outsid waters will im good. they w Stealth light ji hooks or top fun. Fr

12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

NOVEMBER 2021

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ovember is a great month to be on the Nature Coast. With the shorter days and our first real cold fronts, we can see water temperatures starting to fall. This can make for exciting fishing in Homosassa! 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. Look for yellow bottom with rock grass. Outgoing tide in the fall can sometimes produce a decent trout bite. Look for redfish around the outside points as well. With the waters cooling, the water clarity will improve, making sight fishing good. With the water being clear, they will also be be very spooky. Stealth and patience is key. Really light jig heads, 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 gurgler’s 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 their transitions back into the rivers once the water cools. Look for rocky points with moving water. I really like a nose hooked DOA 5 inch Cal ,using 3/0 J hook. 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 to 20 foot 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, but 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, 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. New moon is on the 4th and the full moon is on the 19th. Stay safe on the water and good luck!

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Fishing south of Suwannee, Cary caught this awesome 32inch snook, on a Paul Brown lure. He jumped six times. (The snook, not Cary.)

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NOVEMBER 2021

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 13


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ST. AUGUSTINE

SURF & PIER

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he water temp in October was way to warm! 80-82 in mid-October was crazy. So, this month should be off-the-chart good for pompano and everything else. Pomps’ comfort zone is 65 to 75 degrees. We should have great action even into December this year. Since the pompano are migrating north to south, they will first show up towards the Georgia border. Some hot spots to try are the jetties at Ft Clinch, Fernandina Beach, Little Talbot Island and Huguenot Park. As the water gets cold, they will jump the St Johns River, and continue southward. A great tool to find them is your computer. Search SSTcharts to find daily water temps via satellites. Once again, find that 65–75-degree range for your best results. As pier and surf fishermen, we cannot travel very far east and west. However, we can range north and south very quickly. Do not fish in water too cold, too hot or too dirty. That simple formula will increase your catch. When it comes to bait for pompano, whiting, redfish and black drum, you cannot beat live sand fleas. Other great baits include clams, shrimp, and blue crab knuckles. Shrimp is the most readily gobbled up in the surf, because every fish there will eat a

shrimp! Not so much with clams and crab. However, when the water temp is dropping near 65, those two are my go-to baits. When the water gets cool, the sand fleas go deep in the sand, and the shrimp go deep for warmer water. Success comes with matching the hatch. All of my big pompano, over six pounds, have been caught late in the Fall or early in the Spring, with water temps near 65. November will be the best month for big redfish in the surf. They have finished their breeding in the inlets. Now they move out to roam the surf, and they are hungry. One half of a blue crab is money. I fish it on a fish finder rig tied with 100 lb. mono. The 7/0 circle hook is attached with a loop knot. Go now, because when the water gets cold, they will move off shore to warmer water. November is a great month for our beaches and piers. Get out and enjoy before old man winter drives our fish south or offshore! 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

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ith water temperatures cooling down, look for the inshore fishing to heat up. For me, the next few months are the most exciting time of year to target reds on the flats and creeks. As the water cools down it tends to clear up, making sight-fishing possible in some of our shallow flats. The creek fishing should start to fire up too. The redfish will push into the shallowest areas of the creeks on the low tides, to warm up and feed on small minnows and shrimp. As things cool down this time of year, you'll get to sleep in, and wait for the sun to be out for a while to warm up the water. Clearer water can mean spookier fish, so downsize your baits/lures for a stealthier approach. On extreme low tides, the redfish, trout and flounder will get schooled up in area creek holes. A live shrimp or mud minnow tossed into those holes using a 1/4oz Saltwater Assassin jighead can’t be beat. When up on the flats, look for darker mud and oyster-laden bottom, to be holding redfish, trout, and flounder. These areas will warm up faster than others on sunny days; a few degrees can really make a difference. Another benefit of dropping water temps, is the redfish will start schooling on the flats over the next few months. If you know where to look, you can find some big schools of tightly packed redfish. Locate these fish from a distance by looking for “muds” (discolored muddy water caused by moving fish) and/or pushing wakes made by moving fish. Redfish singles and doubles can also be found sunning themselves in the shallows, especially NOVEMBER 2021

along side and on top of oyster bars. These fish will be lazy, so make sure to present your bait in a slow and methodical manner. When I spot a stationary fish, I like to cast long of him, and at least a few feet to either the left or right of the fish, depending on which way he's facing. Then work the bait slowly back to where the fish is (this will help to not spook the fish). Sometimes they will like it moving a little faster and sometimes a little slower. It’s always fun trying to find the right approach. Trout fishing should turn on as it cools down as well. My favorite trout lure for this time of year is a Saltwater Assassin “Lil Boss” paddle tail in a natural color paired with a Saltwater Assassin ¼ oz. jighead. The tail has a ton of thump, and the trout just can’t resist it. The jig, jig, pause method works best for me. Target creek mouths, ICW banks, and any type of structure with moving water, and you’ll be sure to find some trout hanging out. Sheepshead fishing was pretty good through October and should only get better this month. Target area bridges, docks, and pilings with fiddler crabs to catch the tasty porgies. The black drum should start showing up in better numbers in the same places as well as in the creek holes on the lower tide stage. Be sure to check out my Daily Fishing Reports online @www. InshoreAdventures.net. Happy Thanksgiving! Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 15


16 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

NOVEMBER 2021

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Challenge Harvests 21K Lionfish from Florida Reefs

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t its October meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the winners of this year’s Lionfish Challenge. The Lionfish Challenge is a summerlong (May 21-Sept. 6, 2021) tournament that rewards divers for their lionfish harvests. The tournament is open to everyone, is completely free to enter and participants can compete from anywhere in the state. Divers receive prizes based on the amount of lionfish they harvest and compete for the title of the Lionfish King/Queen or Commercial Champion. Since 2016, this incentive program has encouraged divers to help reduce numbers of invasive lionfish that are detrimental to the native ecosystems of Florida reefs. This year’s lionfish removal and incentive program ended Sept. 6, and a total of 21,146 lionfish were removed during the 3.5-month program. This year, 471 people registered and 185 people submitted lionfish. It’s the highest participation number since the Lionfish Challenge began in 2016.

Winners Recreational Category: • First place Lionfish King: Brooks

Feeser, Palm Beach County, 1,632 removed. • Second place: Carl Antonik, Santa Rosa County, 1,582 removed. • Third place: Christina Raber-Jehn, Palm Beach County, 1,475 removed. Commercial Category: • Commercial Champion: Rachel Bowman, Monroe County, 730 pounds removed. • Second place: Paul DeCuir, Escambia County, 725 pounds removed. • Third place: Alex Fogg, Okaloosa County, 657 pounds removed.

First place winners received a customized trophy, $150 for SCUBA air fills, an HP 100 SCUBA cylinder, and will be featured in the 2021 Saltwater Regulations publication and in the FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame.

Final Stats • 21,146 lionfish removed. • 185 people submitted lionfish (172 recreational, 13 commercial). For more information, go to FWCReefRangers.com or MyFWC.com/Lionfish. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

NOVEMBER 2021

NORTH FLORIDA 5


BIG TIME ANGLING ON THE NORTHERN GULF

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t its heart, Panama City Beach is a fishing town. An enormous fleet of charter boats runs pretty much year-round, giving access to everything from great inshore fishing on St. Andrew Bay to marlin and sailfish out on the Loop Current. Sure, there are all sorts of other tourism activities to get into, but for anglers, Panama City provides outstanding access to productive waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Those who’d rather keep their feet on shore will find pier fishing that’s arguably the best on the Gulf Coast. There are four fishing piers in the area, three that reach far out into the emerald waters of the Gulf. And the piers aren’t just places to pass the time with a line in the water. Pier fishermen regularly catch big king and Spanish mackerel, flounder, pompano, redfish and trout. Every now and then, tuna and even sailfish show up. As with any pier, the catch is dependent on what’s within casting range. That’s not the case for anglers on a boat. Out of Panama City Beach, a short ride will put you on fish no matter the time of year. This time of year, anglers will find the crowds are gone from the inshore reefs, where various species of grouper and snapper are easy targets. Big speckled trout and redfish around the canals and river mouths are a great fall-back if the winds are high, and these fisheries will remain good all winter long. In the spring, warming water temperatures bring on the ladyfish, bluefish, bonito and Spanish mackerel. Trout move onto the grass flats and start 6 NORTH FLORIDA

NOVEMBER 2021

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chasing topwater. Cobia show up in late spring, and summer brings on the some of the best trolling action for kingfish anywhere. By summer, snapper and grouper fishing has migrated offshore. Boats out of Panama City Beach will be fishing reefs in more than 100 feet of water for some big red snapper and lots of them. Summer is also the height of the big-game fishing, and big redfish will likely be in the pass. The weather may be cooling some when fall rolls in, but the fishing remains hot. Flounder fishing picks up, along with the rest of the inshore action. The bottom fishing will again move closer in, and it’s a great time to try light tackle for snapper and grouper. From anglers looking for a fishing vacation to vacationers looking for a little fishing, there’s always something for them in Panama City Beach. Unequaled access to the northern Gulf opens up some incredible options for anglers. For more information, visit coastalanglermag.com.

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ere’s your reminder. The recreational harvest of flounder in all Florida state and federal waters closed Oct. 15 and will remain closed through Nov. 30. Flounder harvest reopens Dec. 1. This annual season closure and other management measures were approved by the Florida Wildlife Resources Commission late last year because a stock status update suggested that the flounder fishery statewide has been in a general declining trend and is likely overfished and undergoing overfishing on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Other south Atlantic and Gulf states have also reported declines in flounder populations and have been making their own regulation changes. Learn more about flounder regulations at MyFWC.com/Marine.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

NOVEMBER 2021

NORTH FLORIDA 7


PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPT. BRENT JUAREZ

GREAT FISHING!

WHERE THE SUWANNEE & STEINHATCHEE RIVERS MEET THE GULF OF MEXICO

Ugly Fishing Spots By Tobin Strickland

Often Produce

YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND A BOAT RAMP

DIXIE COUNTY VISITDIXIE.COM

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e all have an idea of what a good fishing spot should look like. Perhaps it’s surrounded by pristine sand dunes and native grasses and has that perfect seagrass bottom? Or maybe it’s a hidden marsh lagoon surrounded by mangroves? We spend so much time running to the prettiest spot and wonder why we don’t catch fish. Maybe it’s time to take a look at the ugly fishing spots? I’ve found great fishing wherever great fishing occurs, and many times those locales haven’t been pretty. Earlier today, I ran the boat to several isolated bays only to find a school of nice speckled trout right behind the boat ramp. I knew the structure was right, and when I saw good sign of fish presence, I didn’t hesitate to fish close to the ramp. It was less than 50 yards to the entrance to the harbor. In fact, three other fishing boats left the harbor while I steadily caught fish. We always feel the need to make the run to that “perfect” spot. I did that this past Friday and made a 22-mile run. Granted, I knew fish were there— and I caught fish—but I also caught solid fish today less than half a football field from my parked truck. Here’s the deal: Fish don’t know they aren’t supposed to be somewhere. As long as the location matches what they are looking for, the fish will be there regardless of what the above-surface features look like. So what makes a good fishing spot for speckled trout, redfish or flounder? First of all, it must be in the right part of the bay system for season. No spot will produce if it’s not where the bait and fish want to be seasonally. Next, it has to have the right structure for the fish you are targeting. If you’re seeking trout, that spot better be trout habitat. It should be the right depth for trout and give them plenty of opportunities to ambush prey from below, whether it’s a main-bay drop-off, the edge of an oyster reef or the edge of a pocket in the grass. The habitat must be a match for the species you are going after... period. And similarly to the seasonal requirement, the location has to have forage. If a fishing spot contains all the above parameters, yet it’s a little less than pristine, that can be a great spot. Take, for example, a big-trout spot I found last fall. I found this location using aerial photography, and it seemed promising. There was deep water nearby, a great oyster reef and a mud bottom. It was in the upper section of the estuary, so I knew it would fit the bill for late fall and early winter. I did wonder how the boat traffic would be… because it was in the back of the harbor. I caught fish closer to my truck than the actual run distance to the spot was. Today’s location was similar. Did it matter to me that it wasn’t 22 miles away? Not after that first hookset; No. Tobin created TroutSupport.com - Tech Support for speckled trout and redfish anglers who want to up their game to the next level.

8 NORTH FLORIDA

NOVEMBER 2021

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPT. GREG MCKEE

Big or small, we have toys for all this holiday season!


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NOVEMBER 2021

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was always destined to be a fisherman. I recall watching childhood heroes fishing exotic places on Saturday morning fishing shows and dreaming I would be one of the fortunate anglers to make experiences like those a reality. I watched Flip Pallot fly fishing the Everglades. I saw legendary Capt. Billy Black on the deck of the Duchess off Walker’s Cay. For a young man from up North, Florida was Mecca if your passion was sportfishing. Imagine the excitement when my wife and I had the opportunity to make a life-changing move. It was only natural that we chose Florida. We wanted somewhere with mild winters and a small-town feeling that was close enough to major attractions. We decided the Jensen Beach/Stuart area was perfect. Not to mention that Billy Black and the Duchess call Stuart home. I have since met this man. He is not only a great captain and fisherman, he is a very genuine and kind man. The fishing is all that I imagined. Lake Okeechobee is a short drive to the west, the Florida Keys are just a few hours south, and the Indian River Lagoon is our new backyard. The Treasure Coast has wonderful offshore fishing, where mahi and sailfish are much sought after. The annual glass minnow run sends anglers roaming beaches in search of tarpon and snook. Most days it does not disappoint. If you turn on the television during “Shark Week,” you’ll undoubtably see mention of the shark migration through South Florida. It boggles the mind just how many sharks cruise the waters here. But, the granddaddy of them all is the “mullet run.” There are very few area anglers who don’t await this time of year like a youngster on the night before Christmas. The Indian River Lagoon comes alive, as everything eagerly devours this bountiful baitfish. This area has a wide variety of quality fishing, something for everyone, regardless of target species. The Indian River Lagoon needs no introduction. This world-class fishery has a long and storied reputation and is on the bucket list of any person dreaming of snook, trout and redfish. When the topic of Mosquito Lagoon comes up, visions of monster redfish and goliath trout come to mind. The IRL produced one of the most impressive catches in recent history when in 1995 angler Craig Carson, of Orlando, caught the heaviest spotted seatrout ever recorded. The 17-pound, 7-ounce beast was pulled from a backwater cove in Fort Pierce. It’s been a few years since we made the move to follow my dreams of fishing. The Treasure Coast has certainly lived up to its name. I cherish every outing in this beautiful and diverse environment. And, even after all the years, after all the places I have been fortunate to visit, I still have species left on my bucket list. I can think of no better place to pursue those fish than Florida. For more from Rex Hannon, go to www.coastalanglermagazine.com.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM



TAMPA BAY REOPENS FOR SNOOK, TROUT AND REDS

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WC reopened recreational harvest of snook, redfish and spotted seatrout in Tampa Bay on Oct. 12. This ended the temporary catchand-release-only regulations that were implemented July 16, due to the impact of red tide. This applies to all Florida waters of Manatee County north of State Road 64, including all waters of the Braden River, and all tributaries of the Manatee River, excluding all waters of Palma Sola Bay; all Florida waters of Hillsborough County; and all Florida waters of Pinellas County, excluding all waters of the Anclote River and its tributaries. Learn more at MyFWC.com/Marine by clicking on “Recreational Regulations.”

16 FLORIDA

NOVEMBER 2021

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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REGS CHANGING FOR ATLANTIC SPOT/CROAKER

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t its October meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the creation of new regulations for spot and Atlantic croaker in state waters from the Florida-Georgia border through Miami-Dade County. The following changes for the Atlantic coast of Florida will go into effect Dec. 1, 2021: • Establish a daily recreational bag limit of 50 fish per person for each species. • Establish the following commercial vessel limits Spot: 2,200 pounds. Atlantic croaker: 1,200 pounds. There have been recent coast-wide declines in abundance and harvest of spot and Atlantic croaker. The approved changes are part of a coast-wide, multi-state conservation strategy for Atlantic stocks of these species.

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NOVEMBER 2021

FLORIDA 17


LIFE IS A BEACH November is a Great Month for Beach Fishing By Richard Matteson

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ooling weather and longer nights make November one of the hottest beach fishing months of the year. Early November still features the occasional late run of mullet trying to catch up with the main waves that already moved through. Yes, the mullet runs are mostly in October, but warmer weather patterns have extended the runs into November. Look for birds and bait. There are many beach accesses in Martin and St. Lucie counties. If fishing on the Treasure Coast, try different beach accesses between the St. Lucie and Ft. Peirce inlets. Deeper water beach areas have been producing bigger and more fish. Some of the deeper water accesses are Bathtub Beach (walk to the inlet point), Tiger Shores, Walton Rocks and Ft. Pierce Inlet point. Either side of high tide seems to be best (incoming high or outgoing high). There are still lots of tarpon schooling and large snook, and the bite is hot the whole month. In midDecember and January, the patterns change and both snook and tarpon are harder to catch. Try freelining a 6- to 8-inch mullet or croaker just past the trough and working the outside of the trough during the day. Early morning or evening, fish are closer to the shore and use the trough as their bait freeway. The trough

is a deep channel carved out by the closest waves (first breakers) and is usually 1 or 2 feet deeper than the sand line. For large fish, use 20- to 40-pound braid (white) with a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. Besides freelining live bait, try using a jig with a 4-inch paddletail or a silver crocodile-style spoon (1 oz.). Yo-Zuri shallowdiving crankbaits (white) and topwater (Zara Spook/Skitterwalk) will also work for schooling fish chasing bait. November is also the month when mackerel, pompano and bluefish begin their southward migration. They start showing up around the mullet run, and by the end of November are regularly caught off our beaches. Mackerel and bluefish like shiny fast-moving lures like spoons, while bluefish can also be caught on cut bait. Both have teeth, so be prepared to have your leader cut! Pompano usually can best be caught on live sand fleas or red Fishbites. The mackerel bite is best in a small boat around the inlets or in the bull-shark reef area, but surf fishermen can have hot mackerel action, too. In the morning, the bite is usually near the trough when bait is present. Later in the day, make long casts with silver or gold spoons. Good luck! May your days be filled with leaping fish and tight lines. Richard Matteson is a long-time contributor to Coastal Angler Magazine and staff writer for the Stuart Rod and Reel Club.


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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BAIT

Tim Barefoot

A

t some point you have to realize the where these schools of bait truth about what really holds fish in went, the reds and gags went a certain area and why they show up with them. Find the bait; find the fish. during certain times of the year. Nowadays, I go to the same areas of “good For example, November is the first “cold” month of the year, and that signal is felt by the bottom,” and I look for stacks of beeliners to fish massive schools of cigar minnows, sardines and on. I have written about this before, but when the inshore baby beeliners (vermillion snapper). you find big stacks of bait, catch one of the baits They are programed to “ball up” for one reason and put it right back down. It increases your or another. The fish anglers are searching for get odds of catching what you came for. Granted, more gags, the same signal, scamps and red and they key in grouper have on these schools been caught of bait. Gags on frozen cigar are now well minnows than established on all the other nearshore ledges baits combined, for their annual but that was spawning run, then, and this and it is not is now. Thirty coincidence years ago, there these are the were so many same traditional grouper it was areas where the a competitive bait stages. atmosphere At one on the bottom, point in my without all bottom-fishing the little dink evolution, I snapper and fished stacks junk bites. That’s of bait on slick why frozen flat-sand bottom On the graph, a stack of bait marks not connected cigar minnows that we referred to the bottom indicates beeliners, cigar minnows worked so well. to as “trash and sardines. Grouper will be under or near a Now, you have piles.” These school of baitfish like this one. to think a little stacks of bait bit, and put baits were miles away from ledges and wrecks, but they held grouper down that attract the target species, instead of and big snapper just the same. These were giant everything down there. A grass grunt or pinfish stacks of cigs and sardines that were constantly as big as your hand will eliminate all the trash followed by red and gag grouper. No matter bites, and zoom in on the grouper. Nothing is

1 LOCATION

JUNE 2020

PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREA WHITAKER COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

a better vehicle to the bottom, creates a better “illusion,” and is a cleaner tackle than plugging one of these live or butterflied baits onto a Decoy Jig. If you find a stack of beeliners, you need to put some effort into catching some of these beeliners, butterflying them and sending them right back down. You’ll feel all the “junk bites” down there ripping chunks out of your bait, but that’s OK. Be patient. When you get the real bite, there will be no question, and it’ll be worth the wait. Check out Capt. Tim Barefoot at Barefootcatsandtackle.com, where there are videos highlighting his tips, tackle and techniques.


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FLORIDA 21


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BRIDGE OPENING TIMES (estimated): 6:50 PM: Spanish River 7:20 PM: Palmetto Park 7:30 PM: Camino Real Bridges will be in the UP position for approx. 45 minutes.

For more information, or to enter YOUR boat, call (561) 367-7073 or visit MyBoca.us./SpecialEvents.


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“Atrocious Hideousness”

Teddy Roosevelt Inspired the Silver Walking Liberty

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alking Liberty Half Dollars, or “Walkers” as they were called, led a coin renaissance in the U.S. that was in large part inspired by President Teddy Roosevelt’s 1904 comment that U.S. coinage was “artistically of atrocious hideousness.” During the first two decades of the 20th century, every circulating coin denomination in the U.S. got a new look. The front of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar features Adolph Weinman’s Walking Liberty design of a confident Miss Liberty striding toward the sun and the dawning of a new day, draped in an American flag, carrying laurel and oak branches representing peace and strength.

Design Used on the Best-Selling Coin Ever!

This design proved to be so beloved that it was chosen for the Silver Eagle Silver Dollar series back in 1986, a coin that has been the best-selling coin in history! The Walking Liberty’s back depicts a bold eagle with spread wings perched on a rocky crag from which grows a pine branch, a symbol of strength. Together the two images perfectly portrayed the dual message that

the U.S. had peaceful intentions, but was prepared to defend itself against aggression.

Worth Much More than 50¢

The beautiful, optimistic, solidly American design of Walking Liberty Half Dollars would have made the coins noteworthy in any historical age. But the fact that they were in circulation during the most challenging of times, through World War I and World War II and the Great Depression, significantly elevates their importance in U.S. history! Their patriotic design influenced the lives of millions of U.S. citizens well beyond their 50-cent value. Minted for 31 years (1916-1947), these half dollars embodied American pride, resolve and spirit.

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Walking Liberty Half Dollars are struck in 12.50 grams of 90% silver. Half dollars today are minted in cupro-nickel, and there hasn’t been a precious silver half dollar in 55 years. Your Walkers will be dated 1934 to 1947 (dates vary) and will arrive in Very Good (VG) collectors condition.

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GovMint.com • 14101 Southcross Dr. W., Suite 175, Dept. HDW146-01 • Burnsville, MN 55337 GovMint.com® is a retail distributor of coin and currency issues and is not affiliated with the U.S. government. The collectible coin market is unregulated, highly speculative and involves risk. GovMint.com reserves the right to decline to consummate any sale, within its discretion, including due to pricing errors. Prices, facts, figures and populations deemed accurate as of the date of publication but may change significantly over time. All purchases are expressly conditioned upon your acceptance of GovMint.com’s Terms and Conditions (www.govmint.com/terms-conditions or call 1-800-721-0320); to decline, return your purchase pursuant to GovMint.com’s Return Policy. © 2021 GovMint.com. All rights reserved.


TIPS FROM A PRO

FLIPPING HEAVY GRASS FOR FALL BASS

time or two until I get a bite or two in an area. Once you know there are fish around, slow down, make very precise flips and work the bait up and down multiple times with each cast. I flip and pitch with a craw-style bait. If the water has a good stain, black and blue colors are a must. If you’re working with cleaner water, TYLER WOOLCOTT green pumpkin or brown variations usually do the trick. When you are dealing with pressured fish or fishing in colder conditions, downsize and flip a creature bait like the 13 Fishing Lunch Bug. When the ith fall upon us, it’s time to bring out the big sticks and heavy braid. One of my favorite techniques weather is stable and you are around aggressive fish, flip a full-sized to target bass is flipping and punching grass, and fall is a creature bait like the 13 Fishing Invader. great time to do it. Fish seek heavy cover Flipping/ Punching Gear and vegetation to feed up on forage and get warmth under matted grass. This presents It is important to use the correct the opportunity to place your bait right in equipment to get your bait into the grass front of them. and then winch fish out. I like a 13 Fishing Flipping and pitching grass can be hard 7’9” Heavy Fast Envy Black rod paired to learn, but once you get the hang of it, it up with a Concept A 8:3:1 reel. The long can be one of the most exhilarating ways to heavy-action rod gives you power to get catch a bass. I live in Florida, where grass a hook into fish and then get them out of is always prevalent. It has taught me a few grass. Pairing that rod with a fast-gearthings about how fish position in fall, and ratio reel allows you to make lots of flips I’ve been able to use this knowledge all and to pick up line quickly. over the country. Heavy braided line is imperative. I Seek out either a clean edge or patches like 65-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid of grass that are isolated away from in grey. I use a Woo! Tungsten weight expansive areas of grass. These areas between 1 and 2 ounces, depending on concentrate fish in targetable places and the thickness of the grass. Hook size varies give you the highest probability of getting depending on the size bait. I use between a your bait in front of a hungry bass. 3/0 and a 5/0 Hayabusa FPP Straight HD When flipping, cover as much water as hook. possible until you run into a group of fish. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament Fish tend to group up in the fall, and this is angler and guide. Check out his website at also true with fish in the grass. I like to flip www.tylerwoolcottfishing.com. fast, only pumping the bait up and down a

W

KEEP IT GENUINE PRECISION PROTECTION

Whether you take your boat out to the lake or the ocean, your 4-stroke outboard needs ECSTAR Suzuki Semi-Synthetic Engine Oil so it can run long and strong. ECSTAR features special additives that protect the engine in harsh salt and fresh water environments, advanced detergents that keep engine parts clean, and viscosity index improvements that help the engine start in cold conditions. No matter where your next boat ride takes you, go confidently with ECSTAR.

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ptimum durability and performance are the design achievements for an all new line of pontoon boats named Style Craft Boats. These premium fiberglass-hulled pontoon boats result from a partnership between Billy Chapman and John Hemken, and they are only available through factory direct sales. Chapman, pioneer of Amazon peacock bass fishing and creator of the Floating Suite mobile lodge, and Hemken, with over 25 years of perfecting new and innovative production and owner of A&M Manufacturing, are designing several models of pontoon boats. Flagship of the line is the Fun Slide boat, a 28-foot pontoon craft built on Bulldog hulls with a 10-foot-wide main deck and upper deck featuring two water slides. The 22- and 26-foot Outfitters are recreational tritoons with multiple floorplans for family fun and fishing built on Riptide hulls. Outfitter pontoon boats also feature multiple deck boxes with cushion seats, and much more. StyleCraft Boats also offers three different kit boats, allowing the DIYer to finish out the boat to their liking. The Kit Boat includes fiberglass hulls and heavy-duty aluminum C-channel floor beams ready for assembly. The StyleCraft Boats Tuff Boat is a workboat created for the rigors of heavy-duty operations. A deck boat that can be configured for any task, the Tuff Boat can be outfitted with a crane, welder and anything else a work boat

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ffective Immediately, the requirement for a travel health visa for inter-island travel within The Bahamas has been removed. Other important updates include: • Vaccinated persons travelling inter-island from New Providence and Grand Bahama will now only be required to produce a negative result of a rapid antigen test of the type approved by the Ministry of Health, and if non-vaccinated, travelers are required to produce a negative result of the RT-PCR test at the point of embarkation to the operator of the airline or vessel on which they are travelling. • For persons travelling inter-island from any other islands of The Bahamas, only a negative result of an antigen test of the type approved by the Ministry of Health is required. • The requirement for secondary testing for inter-island travelers is now removed. Curfew times have also been relaxed to 11:59 p.m. to 5 a.m. on New Providence and Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, Exuma mainland, Abaco mainland, Bimini and North and South Eleuthera, including Harbour Island. For entry into the U.S., beginning Nov. 1, 2021, all adult foreign nationals traveling to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated, with limited exceptions. Additionally, unvaccinated U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents who return to the United States will be required to provide proof of a negative test result taken within one day prior to their departure. For more information on US requirements, visit https://bs.usembassy.gov/ covid-19-information. For full Bahamas Covid Protocols & Requirements for Boaters, visit www.bahamasmarinas.com/procedures-and-protocols.

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FCRaUllISING!

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olor mutations occur in a variety of wildlife species—albino whitetail deer, black (melanistic) coyotes and yes, piebald catfish. To witness, and especially catch, one of those unique creatures, however, is rare. Yet it happened recently for Rocco Mansueto on the Tennessee River. Mansueto was fishing in late September with Capt. Joe Jellison, a guide working with Scenic City Fishing Charters in Chattanooga, Tenn. Capt. Jellison also produces the popular YouTube Channel, Chatt Cats Fishing. Capt. Jellison routinely fishes on the Tennessee River near Chattanooga. His clients had already enjoyed a successful day, including a 27-pound blue caught by Rocco’s brother, Phillip, when Rocco hooked up again on a respectable catfish. When they fought the fish close enough to the boat to see it, Capt. Jellison, who has boated thousands of catfish, said he was awestruck. “Piebald catfish are quite rare. There’s one-in-a-million chance of getting one,” said Capt. Jellison. “They are actually blue catfish with a genetic mutation. I told Rocco many (or most) fishermen will fish their whole life and not catch a piebald catfish.” Piebaldism is the absence of melanin-forming cells (melanocytes) in certain areas of the skin. It is different from albinism, where all cells lack the ability to produce pigment altogether. Hence, piebald creatures do not have the pink eye characteristic of albinos. The piebald gene is often hereditary. Another Scenic City Fishing guide, Capt. Sam Simons, caught a similar fish in 2019. While it appeared to be a totally white albino, it did not have the characteristic pink eye, hence was probably a piebald as well. At the time of the catch, Capt. Jellison was drifting chicken breast as bait in the Tennessee River current, what Scenic City guides refer to as their “light tackle technique.” They use standard spinning gear and relatively light line (10-pound mono or 20-pound braid), which allows the bait to drift more naturally. Even though they use light tackle, the technique sometimes produces big catfish—up to 50 and 60 pounds. However, trophy-sized catfish are not as rare, or as cherished, as a once-in-a-lifetime piebald. Mansueto released his rare piebald catfish back into the river in hopes someone else might someday have the same experience he did. Richard Simms is an outdoor journalist and owner/guide at Scenic City Fishing Charters in Chattanooga, Tenn. Check them out at www.sceniccityfishing.com.

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NOVEMBER 2021

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719-POUNDER WINS BLUEFIN BONANZA L ocal captain Pete Speeches, of Scarborough, Maine, and the crew of Backstabber, brought a giant 719-pound bluefin tuna to the scale to win the Third Annual Casco Bay Bluefin Bonanza out of South Portland, Maine. They took home their second consecutive Casco Bay Cup. It was a fretful year for the Bonanza, as proposed restricted fishing days threatened to scuttle the event. Then, an 11th-hour category closure forced postponement of the three-day tournament from early August to early September. Despite the tremendous inconvenience to all, and a less-than-favorable forecast, the boats set out and didn’t disappoint. First to the dock on Day 1 was Endorfin with a 511-pounder. Keith Jordan, of the Bailey and Bella, quickly set the bar higher with a fat tuna that weighed 700 pounds on the nose. Speeches was hot on his tail, arriving at the scales just 20 minutes later with what would eventually prove to be the tournament winner. He was preceded by Mitch Napalitano’s 598-pounder, moving Mitch down to a third-place position, at least temporarily. Perennial frontrunner Kurt Christensen and the Molly Jane came in with a 373-pounder with Wasabi, High Anxiety and Lion’s den bringing in fish of 478, 311 and 440 pounds, respectively. Forecasted high winds and thunder showers kept many boats off the water on Day 2, but Backstabber—vying for the cumulative-weight prize—landed their second, a 467-pounder followed by Bailey & Bella’s 582-pounder. Bounty

Hunter II, one of the smaller boats in the tournament went way offshore and after a five-hour battle managed to wrangle in a 422-pounder, and made the scales before they closed. Despite challenging conditions, the crew of Molly Jane showed their mettle, bringing in a 632-pounder to open Day 3 that would ultimately hold up in the top five. Hot on their heels was Bailey & Bella with a 646-pounder that would take fourth place and secure the overall cumulative weight. The final fish was ANUT’s 698-pounder, which moved them back into third place. In the end, over $18,000 in prize money was handed out, including a top prize of $7,500 and the Casco Cup for the largest fish. More importantly, the Bluefin Bonanza raised enough money to ensure that 14 students, two from each of Maine’s seven community colleges, will receive scholarships next year. The Bonanza will also be able to fulfill their endowment to the Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges, ensuring there will always be scholarships in the future. Furthermore, a new endowment will be established with the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to support vital bluefin tuna research that will ensure the resource and the fishery remain sustainable. For more information, check out the Casco Bay Bluefin Bonanza on Facebook, visit www.bluefinbonanza.org or email bluefinbonanza@gmail.com.

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NOVEMBER 2021

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