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

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FOLLOW THE BAIT FOR NEARSHORE WAHOO

T

Tim Barefoot

his is the time of year when water temperatures allow pelagics like wahoo, dolphin and tuna to show up right on the beach… so to speak. I live in North Carolina, and every year there are stud wahoo caught “right on the beach.” Here “right on the beach” is the 20to 25-mile area off the beach. For some folks in Florida, “right on the beach” might be that first sea buoy right out of the inlet. In late summer, we have a monolithic water temperature from the Gulf Stream to the beach in the mid 80s. That allows wahoo to follow huge schools of bait wherever they go. This is what we call the beginning of the end… the end of summer. The cigar minnows and sardines come nearshore, and the wahoo follow them as far in as they are comfortable with the water depth, which is usually not much less than 75 or 80 feet. They will eat whatever they want, including live menhaden or cigs pulled around by king mackerel fishermen. We call it the beginning to the end of summer, but it’s also the beginning of a wonderful time of year for me… fall and winter. The cigs and sardines come in. The pelagics follow them for a month or so

until the water starts to cool in mid September. Then the magic happens. When cooling water runs off the wahoo, the gags show up in numbers. It’s all a very beautiful dance. Let’s enjoy every step along the way. I keep talking about the nearshore activity of the cigs and sardines, but the offshore schools are also getting bigger now, and this draws the attention of everything from pelagics to bottom fish. All the grouper and big snappers shadow these schools wherever they go. This is why it’s so important to “find the bait.” Cigs and sardines are not the only thing I’m looking for offshore. I like to find a big stack of beeliners. Wherever you find a big stack of beeliners, you can bet your bottom dollar there are grouper and big snapper directly under them and wahoo and kings around them. August is also a month to consider spending the night offshore. Yes, there are late afternoon thunderstorms that pop up, but overall weather patterns are consistent, and you can fish for days, back to back. Leave in the early afternoon, get where you are going and get acclimated to the setting sun. Anchor up on a pretty piece of bottom and bait, and turn on the lights. This is a “National Geographic moment.” The minnows and squid come to the light, so you can easily load up the livewell before the daylight bite starts. I will close with this: We lost a fishing pioneer and legend last month with Mark Sosin’s passing. Our thoughts, prayers and celebrations go out to his family. See more from Tim Barefoot at barefootcatsandtackle.com.

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LIVE BAIT AND ARTIFICIAL TACTICS FOR

J

upiter, Fla. is a worldrenowned fishery. In the summertime it’s known for hot inshore snook. Offshore produces an epic sailfish, kingfish, tuna and pelagic bite. There are always fish willing to eat. One of my favorite bites is for springtime blackfin tuna. From March through May, jumbo blackfins migrate down the east coast of Florida. It is not uncommon to catch them anywhere from 20 to 35 pounds. From their deliciousness on the table to their long powerful runs, blackfin tuna are one of my favorite offshore fish to target. They are sure to send you to the tackle shop to get your reels serviced after a productive day of fishing. Blackfin tuna are excellent hunters. Often, they work together to ambush schools of baitfish. They are equipped with massive eyeballs, which are designed for pitch black and low-light conditions. They spend a majority of their time down deep feeding on squid. However, at dawn and dusk, the tunas move higher in the water column to feed near the surface. Be on the lookout for frigates and disturbance on the water’s surface. It’s not uncommon to see them exploding and flying out of the water on a bait ball. I keep an easily accessible casting rod, with a plug or weighted feather jig tied on, for this scenario or in case a school of mahi shows up. Blackfin tuna will often hold to areas with bottom topography like humps, reefs and wrecks. You can find success drifting over areas like these with live bait. Live sardines, pilchards, threadfins and gogs will all work. I prefer live sardines. For me, they have been the most productive bait.

Chumming is important to bring blackfins higher in the water column. Chunk up pilchards and throw a few pieces out at the bow, mid and stern every couple of minutes. The best chum is live chum. Small- to medium-sized pilchards are your best bet. I throat-hook a sardine and send it out on a free line. The bait will swim down on its own, and you should keep some tension on it. I also drop a live bait on a down rod and wait for the bite as I drift along. Blackfins’ excellent eyesight means they can be leader shy, so I often run a 40- to 50-pound fluorocarbon leader, but will go as light as 30 pounds. A triplehook rig for freelining or a single 4/0 or 5/0 circle hook depending By Ryan Izquierdo on the size of the bait is my hook preference. You can also catch them kite fishing, trolling feathers/spoons, with ballyhoo rigs, cedar plugs, planer fishing, vertical jigging and slow-pitch. Second to live bait, slow-pitch jigging is a fun and effective way to catch tunas when the hot mid-day sun pushes them down deep. My go to jig is a Jyg Pro 240 Gram strike jig. I like to jig anywhere from 200 to 350 feet. Send it down to the bottom over active areas and work your rod up high and let the jig flutter back down. You can change the pace and tempo of your jigging until you find what works. Don’t be surprised to get hit as you are burning the jig back to the surface. I hope these tuna tips bring you success and dinner to share with your close friends and family. Keep on fishing! Check out Ryan Izquierdo’s adventures on his YouTube channel: Ryan Iz Fishing.

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FREEDIVER SPEARS WORLD RECORD CUBERA SNAPPER A massive 137-pound Atlantic cubera snapper speared by a Texas freediver in early June was heavier than the existing IGFA all-tackle world record as well as the Texas state record. It will not, however, qualify for either record because of the method used to catch it. Who cares? The diver, Braden Sherron, a student at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, can rest assured that his monster cubera is one of the largest of its species ever caught by any method. It will likely be the new International Underwater Spearfishing Association’s world record. If approved, it will replace a 122.4-pound fish shot in 2006 off the coast of Brazil. According to a Field & Stream story on the catch, Sherron first encountered the giant snapper while freediving a Gulf of Mexico oil rig about 60 miles out of Port Aransas, Texas. He did not take his shot at the time because he was not equipped to handle such a large fish. A week later, on June 3, he returned to the rig with heavier gear, dove to about 55 feet and put a dart into the fish. Luckily, the cubera wrapped the trailing line up in the oil rig, which kept the fish from diving. While the fish fought itself, Sherron returned to the surface to wait 10 minutes before diving down to secure

By CAM Staff

his prize with two more shots. When Sherron brought his fish back to the scales at Fisherman’s Wharf in Port Aransas, it began making the rounds on social media almost immediately. It truly is an enormous fish, which outweighs the existing IGFA record—a 2007 Louisiana fish that weighed 124 pounds, 12 ounces—by more than 10 pounds. Sherron’s fish also outweighs the Texas state rod-and-reel record of 131 pounds. The only larger cubera snapper research was able to turn up was a 151-pound monster that’s listed as an “other methods” catch by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That fish, caught by handline out of Port Mansfiled in 1984, weighed 151 pounds. The thing is, none of these other anglers were holding their breath when they caught their fish. Sherron’s catch is absolutely one for the record books. “I would equate it to shooting a 200-plusinch whitetail deer on public land,” he told Field & Stream. “It’s one of those things that happens once in a lifetime, and you can’t believe it when it does.” Check out video of Braden Sherron’s spearfishing on his Youtube channel: https://bit.ly/3yKm8EP

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August is the Best Month for

GIANT SNOOK By Emily Rose Hanzlik

A

ugust offers the best chance for anglers to catch a 40-inch-plus snook in Florida waters. With a majority of snook returning from offshore spawning grounds, the big girls will feed up to recover from the rigors of the spawn. Right now is a good time to catch them. Snook are widespread, but their range is limited by temperature intolerance. They are found throughout the Caribbean on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, including most of Florida. Due to their limited cold tolerance, Snook avoid temperatures below 60 degrees. There are 12 species of snook that can be found in just about any body of water within their range. Snook can be caught all year long. In winter they prefer shallow flats and deep holes in bay areas. As water temperatures rise, they move out to offshore structure to spawn. When snook are not spawning, they move inshore and travel upstream. Since snook are euryhaline, meaning they can live in a wide range of salinity, they travel upstream into brackish and freshwater areas. Snook have a special osmoregulation feature that allows them

to control the water content inside their bodies to maintain the same salinity as the outside water. Snook spawning takes place between April and October with peak around June and July. During this time, females and males move into higher salinity locations where they broadcast spawn with the females releasing eggs into the water column and the males fertilizing them. One female snook can release up to 1.5 million eggs each spawn. All of the hatchlings are born as males and transition to females when they reach between 12 and 35 inches in length. They are protandrous hermaphrodites, meaning the males change to females as they age. Some of the best places to locate big girls in large numbers this time of year are at the mouths of inlets, bridges and piers. Heavier tackle is preferred, since you will most likely be fishing heavy structure. Some of the best baits for really big fish include croaker, mojarra, snapper, needlefish and southern sennet. It is best practice, if you do land a big fish, to release the fish safely back into the water using a

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f you are in the market for a new flats boat, the 2022 Hydrastepp 18’ might just be the boat you’re looking for. It has all the whistles and bells that a flats boat needs, plus great looks, high-quality construction and performance abound. This new 18-foot flats boat is the result of several years’ trial and improvements. Renowned racing boat designer/ builder Steve Stepp has 50-plus years of experience in the industry. His previous company, Velocity Powerboats, in Sanford, Fla. holds 14 world records, showing that his advanced designs achieve performance and efficiency that most manufacturers cannot match. Hydrastepp Boats are built right here in Central Florida. Check-out their website at www.HYDRASTEPP.com, and take a look at this impressive HP flats-boat. At first glance, you’ll notice this boat’s sleek and clean lines. It has 94” beam, which is extremely wide for an 18’ boat. This makes it very stable when walking around on the wide gunnel. There is a huge storage compartment up front, with a removable tackle storage system and two additional large storage compartments in the rear, both at port and starboard. Two 28-gallon livewells are located in the front and the rear, and a new rod-storage system holds 16 rods. Custom divided sport seats with removable backrests, like you see on offshore racing boats, provide comfort. The console is very sleek and sports

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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

AUGUST 2022 EDITION

Find Your Outdoors Here!

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

North Central Florida Nature Coast Staff

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

Cary Crutchfield

I

AUGUST

t is August on the Gulf. Have you gotten your SCALLOPING on? We haven’t, but definitely will try to get out there this month. I love scalloping, but only on sunny days, when the rays of the sun go deep into the water, and I can clearly see the beautiful world below the waves. If you want to experience scalloping, but have no boat or are clueless about what, where or when, contact one of our guides. Just bring your snorkel and mask, and even your little ones will love it. It’s an underwater Easter Egg Hunt! Hope for a sunny day (Don’t forget sunblock!) and you will have a great experience, and dinner for later. New advertiser this month, The White Oak Creek Lodge and Fishing Guide, David Paulk, in Lake Eufaula, AL. See page 11. Outdoor Expo, happening this month indoors at the Equestrian Center in Ocala on Aug. 13th. More info, page 10. This month’s recipe Shrimp and Grouper Cheeks in Alfredo Sauce over Pasta requires a bit more prep than most of my recipes, but well worth it! You can substitute some of those scallops that you just put in the freezer. See page 2. For over a year, I have been making the case for the Covid vaccine, and with cases rising in Florida again-here it comes again. If you are not vaccinated, ask for advice from a trusted medical professional. Please don’t let misinformation (lies) hospitalize or kill you. Thank you, John Freeze for the photos on this page. As always, please thank our advertising partners and the folks at our distribution sites. If not for them, you would not be reading the World’s Greatest FREE Fishing Magazine. Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida/ Nature Coast

SALES

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

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

CONTACT INFORMATION

crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-542-0356

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District


SHRIMP & GROUPER CHEEKS IN ALFREDO SAUCE OVER PASTA

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

DIRECTIONS

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1M

2Tu 3W

4Th

5F

6Sa

7Su

8M

5:14 AM 10:59 AM 4:43 PM 11:27 PM 5:41 AM 11:42 AM 5:31 PM 12:01 AM 6:11 AM 12:29 PM 6:25 PM 12:38 AM 6:45 AM 1:23 PM 7:27 PM 1:19 AM 7:25 AM 2:28 PM 8:45 PM 2:09 AM 8:14 AM 3:43 PM 10:20 PM 3:13 AM 9:13 AM 4:58 PM 11:50 PM 4:27 AM 10:20 AM 6:08 PM

3.5 1.4 3.9 0.5 3.6 1.2 3.8 0.7 3.8 1.1 3.6 1.0 3.9 0.9 3.3 1.3 4.0 0.8 3.1 1.7 4.1 0.6 3.0 2.0 4.2 0.3 3.0 2.2 4.3 0.0

HERNANDO BEACH

AUGUST 2022

9Tu

Time Height

1:06 AM 5:37 AM 11:25 AM 7:12 PM 10W 2:04 AM 6:44 AM 12:30 PM 8:08 PM 11Th 2:49 AM 7:44 AM 1:31 PM 8:56 PM 12F 3:27 AM 8:38 AM 2:28 PM 9:40 PM 13Sa 4:02 AM 9:27 AM 3:21 PM 10:20 PM 14Su 4:34 AM 10:16 AM 4:14 PM 10:57 PM 15M 5:04 AM 11:04 AM 5:06 PM 11:31 PM 16Tu 5:34 AM 11:53 AM 5:58 PM

3.2 2.2 4.4 -0.3 3.3 2.1 4.6 -0.4 3.4 1.9 4.7 -0.4 3.5 1.6 4.7 -0.2 3.5 1.4 4.6 0.1 3.6 1.1 4.4 0.4 3.7 0.9 4.1 0.8 3.8 0.8 3.7

KINGS BAY

High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min

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

CRYSTAL RIVER

WITHLACOOCHEE ENT

High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min

High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min

CEDAR KEY

Time Height

17W

18Th

19F

20Sa

21Su

22M 23Tu

24W

12:04 AM 6:04 AM 12:42 PM 6:50 PM 12:35 AM 6:37 AM 1:35 PM 7:49 PM 1:09 AM 7:15 AM 2:36 PM 9:03 PM 1:51 AM 8:01 AM 3:49 PM 10:33 PM 2:52 AM 9:01 AM 5:03 PM 11:55 PM 4:11 AM 10:11 AM 6:08 PM 12:58 AM 5:23 AM 11:17 AM 7:02 PM 1:42 AM 6:27 AM 12:16 PM 7:45 PM

1.2 3.9 0.8 3.4 1.5 3.9 0.8 3.1 1.8 3.9 0.9 2.8 2.1 3.9 0.9 2.8 2.3 3.8 0.8 2.8 2.4 3.8 0.7 3.0 2.3 3.8 0.6 3.2 2.2 3.9 0.4

Time Height

25Th 2:17 AM 7:20 AM 1:08 PM 8:22 PM 26F 2:47 AM 8:04 AM 1:53 PM 8:54 PM 27Sa 3:13 AM 8:44 AM 2:34 PM 9:25 PM 28Su 3:37 AM 9:22 AM 3:14 PM 9:55 PM 29M 4:01 AM 10:00 AM 3:54 PM 10:26 PM 30Tu 4:25 AM 10:38 AM 4:37 PM 10:57 PM 31W 4:52 AM 11:20 AM 5:24 PM 11:30 PM

3.3 2.0 4.0 0.4 3.4 1.8 4.1 0.4 3.5 1.6 4.2 0.4 3.6 1.3 4.2 0.5 3.7 1.1 4.1 0.7 3.8 0.9 4.0 0.9 4.0 0.8 3.8 1.1

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

AUGUST 2022

INGREDIENTS

• Pasta of your choice for 4 Prepare pasta according to • 6 tablespoons unsalted package directions in salted butter water. Drain, reserving ½ cup • 4 garlic gloves minced COOKING DIRECTIONS liquid. Set pasta aside. • 1 ¼ cups whipping cream Heat 6 tablespoons butter in • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground a large saucepan over medium. black pepper Add garlic and cook 1 minute to • 8 ounces Parmesan cheese release flavor. Stir in cream and grated (about 2 cups) bring to boil. Simmer 5 minutes. divided Whisk in 1 ½ cups cheese until • Handful fresh chopped flat smooth and creamy. leaf parsley While sauce is simmering, • 16 extra large jumbo season shrimp and grouper shrimp, shelled and with salt and pepper. Melt 6 deveined tablespoons butter in large sauté • 16 grouper cheeks pan. Add shrimp and grouper • 6 tablespoons unsalted cheeks to pan and cook about butter 3 minutes on each side, the • Salt & Pepper grouper a little longer than the shrimp. Remove from heat and keep warm. Toss together pasta, alfredo sauce and remaining cheese until well combined. If mixture becomes too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta liquid, tossing until desired consistency. Divide between plates, add 4 shrimp and 4 grouper cheeks over pasta and sprinkle with parsley. How about substituting some of your fresh scallops for the shrimp and grouper? Serve immediately and enjoy! Fresh asparagus, sautéed in a bit of butter, was the perfect accompaniment. Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

By

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FLORIDA WATERWAYS Fish Names

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recently read in a magazine that many people in Taiwan changed their names to include the word “salmon” in order to take part in a restaurant promotion. The restaurant promised such people free, all-you-can-eat sushi to anyone with “gui yu,” meaning “salmon,” in their name. Over 300 people changed their name to become By Kevin McCarthy “Dancing Salmon” or “Salmon Dream,” but many such people found that they are not allowed to change back to their previous name, because of a law that limits name changes to just three. Having had my own name changed three times in my lifetime (no, I am not in the witness-protection program) and having experienced my last name becoming the noun “McCarthyism” (“a campaign or practice that endorses the use of unfair allegations and investigations”) and having endured many negative comments about the present House Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, I am keenly aware of the importance of names. I think it was good policy to rename the Jewfish the Goliath Grouper. Think of all the other name changes for marketing purposes: the “Slimehead” to “Orange Roughy,” the “Stumpknocker” to “Spotted Sunfish,” the “Dolphinfish” to “Mahi Mahi,” and the “Mudbug” to “Crayfish.” One of the most troublesome names to me was “Whore’s Egg,” which thankfully has been changed to “Sea Urchin.” These pests would steal bait out of lobster traps and, much worse, stab unwary swimmers with their thorny spikes. Other fish with socalled “funny” names are The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (a Hawaiian trigger fish whose name translates as “the fish with the pig-nosed face”), the

Lumpsucker (whose first part of the name refers to the round shape of the fish, and the second part of the name refers to its ability to suction to rocks or kelp), the Royal Gramma (which takes its name from a bright purple, royal color on the front half of its body), the Sarcastic Fringehead (which would be better named “Savage” from its habit of tearing the flesh off other fish, and its second name comes from the feather-like appendages over its eyes – see photo on this page), Orange Roughy or Slimehead the Slippery Dick (whose name refers to the ability to slip out of one’s hands), and the Tasselled Wobbegong (whose first name refers to the fringe around the shark’s head, and the second part is an Australian Aboriginal word that means “living rock”). So, if you think your name is a turn-off, imagine if you had a moniker like Humuhumunukunukuapua’a or Sarastic Fringehead or Slippery Dick. Attracting a member of the opposite sex might be hard and you, in fact, might even be tempted to pay to have “gui yu,” “salmon” in your name.

Goliath Grouper

Sarcastic Fringehead

Mahi Mahi or Dolphinfish

Crawfish or Mudbug

Kevin McCarthy, the author of North Florida Waterways (2013 - available at amazon.com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

AUGUST 2022

Sea Urchin or Whore’s Egg

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3


KATIE JO’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

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ugust rhymes with Bull Redfish—well, maybe not, but that's what we will be catching on Florida's Nature Coast! My favorite bait for these fun fighting fish is medium to large sized mud minnows. A 1/16 Mission Fishing jighead keeps the mud minnow swimming along the bottom, but light enough to keep them out of the rocks. My favorite areas to target these large fish are on the west side of islands with rocky points. The mid incoming tide is a great feeding time for these fish, and when I often see the most action. The flounder bite remains strong as the water temperatures remain in the high 80s to low 90s, and eat live shrimp while jigged slowly across the sandy bottom. The Nature Coast scalloping has been best on the outgoing tide, about two hours at the end of the tide through slack tide. Most scallops are shallower this year and are found lying near the bottom of the tall grass. As always, swimming

4 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

AUGUST 2022

must be done to find them and covering ground with a keen eye to locate them helps make the trip much more successful. Be sure to check the newly updated regulations on cobia, that changed as of July 1, 2022, as well as the upcoming redfish changes coming September 1, 2022 for the Big Bend area. Captain Katie Jo Davis www.fishcrystalriverflorida.com 772-882-8932 KD OUTDOORS FISHING CHARTERS

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AUGUST 2022

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 5


CRYSTAL RIVER

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

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ello from Crystal River and I sure hope everyone is enjoying the summer. The bite has been great here, as I continue to target redfish and snook. August is one of the warmest months, but you can still catch some good fish. I like to get early starts this time of , as long as the tide will allow. The bite can be really good first thing in the morning. On the incoming tide, I will target the west side of islands that have mullet and activity following the tide east, then follow it out. For redfish, I will use different baits such as shrimp, pinfish and cut bait. Sometimes the best choice is cut bait, especially if the water is warm, a piece of cut mullet and pinfish is a good choice. Fresh is always best. I will put the bait on a VMC 3/0 sureset circle hook, free

lined, and trust me, the reds will find it. Another good choice is fresh cut pinfish rigged the same way. You can also put the cut bait on jigs which work great also. For snook I use pinfish, targeting areas that have good tidal flow and areas where they can ambush their prey. Big live pinfish are my go-to live baits. I also like to use DOA Jerk baits. If you’re in town, give me call to get on some fish. Capt. James Kerr 352-362-6893 Citrusfishingchaters.com

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6 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

AUGUST 2022

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SUWANNEE

SIGNS BANNERS Copies Fax

It's always great when the grandparents, Tom & Luann bring their grandkids fishing! Pictured is Tee with a nice speckled trout.

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ugust is a month that really doesn't stand out for many anglers, and for a variety of reasons. This means that many times you will find less fishing pressure on your favorite spots, as many anglers are busy doing other things, or just waiting for cooler weather! Just like in July, the "prime time" almost every day, will be the first three hours of the day. If you get a high tide during this time frame, then that is what I consider a "prime day" and a "prime time"! The question I seem to get asked the most is, "What's the best bait to fish with, in a given situation"? First, I will want to know the skill level and experience of the angler. It's true that certain baits work better than others, but only if fished correctly. So the rod, reel and bait I choose for an angler will be matched to their skill level and experience, as well as conditions and targeted species. Many anglers don't like to fish with a cork, but a cork is a very efficient method for locating and catching suspending fish like speckled trout. The cork is also a great way to present your bait around oyster bars and rock jetties when looking for redfish, sheepshead and black drum. It also helps to minimize hang-ups and allows you to quietly drift your bait into position For me, I like to fish a couple types of corks. The first is the concave rattling cork; this cork rattles and pops or chugs through the water. Then there is the oval large rattling cork that use a series of beads to make a "clacking" sound that mimics shrimp and feeding fish. Both corks create action and sounds to attract fish, almost like ringing the dinner bell. But many times, the fish are spooky, and you need a quieter presentation. That's when I like a small cigar shaped cork without rattles, or if it does have rattles,

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This is the younger grandson Eli with a beautiful under slot redfish. The popping cork and Fish FishBites Fight Club Lures were the bait of choice for these young anglers!

they are plastic and make a "softer sound". These smaller corks are less likely to spook the fish who are in very shallow water. I like to use the FishBites Fight Club Lures on a jig head, or plain hook that can be rigged weedless when fishing thick grass or oyster bars. I use the ⅛ or ¼ ounce jig heads most of the time. During the summer months, I have a lot of success using the FishBites Fight Club 5 inch Dirty Boxer in the Hammer Fist and Haymaker colors. When the water is colder, I use the FishBites Fight n Shrimp in the same colors. I know that the status of our country is troubling to most of us and inflation is affecting ALL of us! I encourage everyone to shop locally, and remember that your neighbors are going through the same things! Until next , be safe and Catchemup! Captain Tony Johns | 352-221-2510 www.lowersuwanneriverfishing.com Instagram: captaintonyjohns Facebook: Lower Suwannee River Fishing Adventures or Captain Tony Johns

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AUGUST 2022

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 7


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e’ve made it to August. I hope everyone is enjoying some beautiful sunshine and getting out on the water as often as possible during scallop season and sandbar season, to battle this intense heat we’ve been experiencing. For the few of you hardcore anglers like me, who still want to put in that full day on the water, the name of the game is MOVE. Don’t fall in love with your favorite honey hole! On the inshore side of things, the trout remain in deeper water, and the redfish on the outer bars and passes, and points willing to eat cutbait of all sorts. Mullet or ladyfish are usually the crowd favorites, but a big chunk of pinfish or pigfish will work well also. Tarpon are migrating through and have filled some of our rivers and creeks. If you are lucky enough to hook one of these goliaths, never forget the old saying “Bow to the king.” as they clear the water with such violent head-shakes and body thrashing movements. Offshore, the grouper bite has remained a little on the tougher side this year, with many fish caught early on. The summer heat and

8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

AUGUST 2022

water temp soaring into the low 90s put a halt to it, with most of the big fish moving far past 100 feet of water, leaving mostly females inshore. The red snapper have bit well in 85 to 110 feet over hard bottom, and just above it, any frozen bait on a fish-finder rig or chicken rig has produced well. The sharks have been terrible this year and I’d recommend drifting over your spot a few times before anchoring, just to see how bad they are and how good the bite is! That’s all for this month; thanks guys, and tight lines Andrew Fagan Ebb Tide Guide Service @capt_redfishdrew

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AUGUST 2022

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 9


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10 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

AUGUST 2022

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KEATON BEACH

Crappie Fishing - Lake Eufaula, AL

www

Fishing Guide David Paulk Check out David Paulk Fishing on Facebook

Jeff Evans from Woodstock, Ga. with his first-ever trout 6/24/22

Boat with someone you can trust. David Cooper with a fine trout taken 6/16/22

same old. Well-- we won the state championship that year with that offense. So, my “live pinfish under a Back Bay Thunder may seem predictable and same old, same old, but it continues to produce limits for my clients on board “One More Cast” The floating grass has rendered it almost impossible to fish artificials any hoo, so go with live bait under a Back Bay and win your championship! 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

Debbie Astor of Woodstock, Ga. with a nice redfish 6/24/22 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

Hugh Cain Allstate 800-882-9304

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AUGUST 2022

15066848

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.W

FIR then

www.WhiteOakCreekLodge.com • 334-585-6644

rout have cooperated despite the heat, provided you have a decent ripple on the water. The breeze not only provides the ripples (security for the trout to move around under) but makes it tolerable to be out there looking for them. We caught three over 20 inches today, in water temps as high as 88 degrees. Our largest was 23.5 inches for Shane McMillan of Gainesville, Florida. (His personal best to date.) We continue to fish live pinfish under Back Bays for our success on trout and reds and four to five feet of water seems to be the best depths. Our head coach, Shaw Maddox, at our local high school back in 1997 said folks were complaining about his “vanilla” offense, meaning predictable, and plain, same old,

Now

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 11


HOMOSASSA

HORSESHOE BEACH

D

og days of summer are here! It’s that time of the year, as well as schools of migrating redfish! I like August for red fishing. Typically, the northern push starts for us mid to late August. Could be sooner or later. I believe these big schools of mature redfish are making a northern migration and like to stop in Homosassa. They could be moving on the moons a lot like Tarpon. We have good red fishing year-round for sure, however its really cool to fish big schools of red fish in the months of August through September and just like tarpon, there are no guarantees that these migrators make the stop here. Lots of things can change their course and they just keep swimming, but when they do make the stop, it can make for memorable fishing! Redfish- I like to fish the tides this time of the year (really all year!). So, I would plan on fishing the last two hours of the incoming for redfish. Bigger redfish schools are going to float in with the tide to your outside western points on St Martin Keys. They will stage outside of the keys in a safer depth of water, until the tide is flowing in, and then they will come in to feed. Live bait, dead bait, artificial, flys, you can throw it all! A lot of guys like throwing cut mullet or cut lady fish. They will eat shrimp on a jig head or live pin fish. I really like throwing gold spoons. You won’t miss them when they come in. Look for big standing water, kind of like a school of mullet pushing, but bigger V wakes, like a lot bigger! And if the timing is right with the sun, you can’t help but see red! If you are in the right spot, it’s easy to get a good bite going, like one after

W

e have officially made it to the hottest month of the year, at least in my opinion. We are still having some great fish catches and the scalloping has been some of the best I’ve seen in a while Redfish, trout, tripletail and snook are what I’ve been targeting. Redfish Bite has actually been pretty good, and really picked up when we finally started getting a lot of rain. I simply think it’s just because the rain cools off the water and puts them in a little better mood. Finding some trout, but unfortunately a lot of rain, dirties up the water and makes catching them a little more difficult, so use shrimp any time you can find them, or chartreuse and glow colors. Another tip is to try some deeper water with longer leader. Scalloping has been very good for us as well. The four-to-six-gallon limit, generally takes a couple hours, depending on the swimmers. I do anticipate for them to kind of dwindle off, and become harder to find as the rainy season approaches Give us a call if you would like for us to take you on your next fishing or scalloping adventure. we have limited availability for August and would love to take y’all out. Until next time, keep it Reel Native. Captain Brent Woodard Reel Native Fishing Charters ReelNativeFishing.com 352-284-5514

12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

AUGUST 2022

another! However, keep in mind the more commotion you make, you are also alerting other predators. “The Tax Man” big bulls and big tigers also are following the redfish schools, and they will get theirs’s, if you know what I’m saying. So once the sharks move in, I will let the school be. I feel like the sharks are becoming more of a problem than in the past. I don’t want to help them. Nearshore rock hopping can be productive, and I say rock hopping because it can be hot out there and the only a/c you have is to crank up and hit the next spot! Load up on some shrimp and 1/4 oz. DOA jig heads and take the kids out for some rod bending action. Sea bass, grunts, mangroves, sea trout and maybe a grouper will keep the rods bent. Low tide is the perfect time to take a dip. So plan your day fishing around the low tide, and do some scalloping. Look for the giant flotilla of boats. Gomez rocks, tripod on rock island channel and the bird rack off St Martin keys should be good places to be during August. Always keep an eye out for your swimmers. As a kid, summers where so much fun. We spent most of our summers on the water. I have so many great memories growing up and fishing Homosassa during summer break. If you have the opportunity, recreate that for your kids, or any kid. They won’t forget; trust me! As always, stay safe. Capt. Jonathan Hamilton 352-403-2073 www.captainjhamilton.com

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 13


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CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

T

he rain has arrived, forest fishers, and not a minute too soon. We had quite a dry spell there for a while. No matter where in the National Forest your "stomping grounds" are, once it warmed up, those lakes started to drop. We did gain more ground to stomp on (shoreline access), but we were losing water to fish on! Some of the midsized, shallow lakes, honestly had me concerned for a bit, especially once that vegetation boom hit. Lucky for us, last month's substantial rainfall brought our lakes back to peak form. Even lakes that somehow dodged most of the storms, have risen back to healthy levels, simply because everything's connected out here. It is interesting though, how certain lakes in the Ocala National Forest may not get a drop of rain for months, while less than a mile away, lakes are getting slammed (daily) with buckets of rain, super strong winds, and lightning strikes galore! "Pop-Up Storms" get serious out here, and I've experienced a lot of them. Last month though, my lake somehow swapped into to a "Storm Dodger". Almost every day, I watched the crazy light show from each storm, while the black cloud line slid its way around us, like it was on train tracks or something. Then off it went, sliding away into the distance. Amazing.

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(WARNING)- Don't fish when lightning is visible; it's extremely dangerous! That being said, if it gets super cloudy all of of a sudden, but there isn't any lightning, well that's A-1 topwater heaven! The bass bite is going strong right now, especially in shaded areas. However, most of the bigger bass have moved out to deeper water. Fish the outer edges of vegetation by pitching creaturebaits at any type of brush (wood) you see, while covering water and throwing swimbaits parallel to the cover. Let your lure sink for a few seconds, then retrieve it slowly, brushing against the edge of grasslines, hyacinths, etc. Yearling bass are schooling up and attacking anything that moves. TIP: When you see schools of small bass, surface busting on minnows, I guarantee you there are biggins' close by, waiting for one to get distracted and stray from the pack. A soft-plastic "Fluke" imitates that erratic action perfectly. Watermelon colors are a must. The full moon is August 11th and will no doubt produce some big night time bass. It'll also push bluegill up shallow to spawn. If you've been

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craving a fish fry, this is your shot. Look for fallen trees, laying in shallow water, and remember, the older the better. Bait of choice, is literally anything you've got. Trust me, they'll bite. The key to success, is a long cane pole or crappie rod, tiny hooks, and a tiny bobber to let you see bites. Reach as far out as possible, drop your breadball (down) into tree limbs, then lift those fatty 'gills up, out, and right into your cooler/bucket. It's a ton of fun for kids of all ages, like I am! Alright Fellow Forest Fishers, that'll do it. I've rambled on enough. The fish are hungry and waiting. Now go and get on 'em! Until next time, tight lines ya'll. John Freeze Kayak Fishing and Nature Tours OurNationalForrest@gmail.com 352-216-5798

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Tame the Beast with Okuma’s Silver Slayer T

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here is nothing like the sight of a monster tarpon as it sails through the air trying to shake your hook. Your hands begin to sweat profusely and your triceps suddenly tense up as you buckle down to try and gain control over its wild acrobatics. Will you get that fish back to the boat? That’s the question we all think about at that very moment. Full of excitement, tarpon fishing is a bucket-list item for many fishermen, but it can also be extremely taxing on fishing gear for those who do it. If you’ve ever hooked up to a giant tarpon, 4 you understand that they are big and mean fighting machines. For that very reason, Okuma has worked to perfect a rod that is designed SILVER SLAYER TARPON RODS to allow anglers to - Specifically, designed rod blanks for Tarpon fishing - SeaGuide double locking Alien reel seat - Powerful and responsive 24-ton carbon rod blanks - Tapered cork fore and rear grip with rubber cork inlay go toe-to-toe with Silver Slayer specific models. The four models include a 7’ heavy, 7’ extra-heavy, - UFRII: Ultimate Flex Reinforced rod tip technology - Premium Fuji gimbal for support fighting big fish these beasts of 7’9” heavy and a 7’9” extra-heavy. These rods have the backbone to tarpon rodsby a Limited areLifetime - Fuji K-Concept deep press frames help reduce tangles - Silver Slayer rods are backed warranty - Silky smooth performance from Fuji FazLite guide inserts the salt. We built with powerful and really work your fish to the boat and feature a tapered cork fore and give you responsive 24-ton carbon full-rear grip design with a rubber cork inlay. the Silver SILVER SLAYER TARPON RODS With the brute strength that tarpon possess, Silver Slayer rods rod blanks that feature Okuma’s SLAY-S-701H-FG H MF 7' 0" 15 - 30 lbs 1/2 - 2 oz 12" 1-pcs 7 + Tip A Slayer have all the components to match. Each rod is designed with Fuji UFRII rod tip7"7" technology. What’s SLAY-S-701XH-FG XH MF 7' 0" 20 - 50 lbs 3/4 - 3 oz 12" 1-pcs 7 + Tip A tarpon proprietary blends SLAY-S-791H-FG H MF 7'UFR-II? 9" 15 - 30 lbs This 1/2 - 2 oz 7" 13-1/2"process 1-pcs 7 + Tip AK-Concept deep press frames that help reduce tangles and line SLAY-S-791XH-FG XH MF 7' 9" 20 - 50 lbs 3/4 - 3 oz 7" 13-1/2" 1-pcs 7 + Tip rod! unidirectional fiber over 24-ton carbon in Atwist after all-day casting. Each of these guides holds firmly in place S = Spinning Model the extended tip section of the rod to increase a Fuji Faz-Lite guide insert for silky smooth performance. The rods lifting strength and power by as much as 400 also have a Sea Guide double locking Alien reel seat that keeps your in place. And while fighting percent. This technology provides for the ultimate in spinning reels firmly and comfortably Okuma | Product Catalog 2022 90 strength without sacrificing sensitivity so that you can feel your fish, the Silver Slayer rods all come standard with a premium Fuji gimbal for even the lightest of bites down deep. Learn more at OkumaFishingUSA.com. There are four Silver Slayer tarpon rods that are all spinning- support.


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Legendary Angler Mark Sosin Dies

T

he fishing world is mourning the death of Mark Sosin, a legendary fishing writer and television personality who was a long-time columnist for Coastal Angler Magazine. Sosin died on Thursday, June 30 in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 88 years old. Mark Jessurun Sosin was born on July 7, 1933, in Highland Park, New Jersey. He was introduced to fishing at an early age by his father, whose tactics and dedication to conservation were frequent topics in Sosin’s writing. Before making his way into the fishing industry, Sosin graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a master’s in business administration from New York University. He then spent four years in the U.S. Navy and after being discharged worked in several different positions. All the while he fished and dreamed of earning a living from his passion for fishing. Sosin’s long and illustrious career as a writer began in the 1960s, when he began writing magazine articles and books on fishing. Sosin is estimated to have written more than 3,000 magazine articles over his career and more than 20 books on fishing. After moving to Boca Raton with his wife, Susan, in 1979, Sosin launched his TV show, “Mark Sosin’s Saltwater Journal,” in 1983. The program ran for 27 years. Much of Sosin’s work was geared toward education and conservation. His legacy in the fishing industry is that of an educator who helped generations of anglers enter and improve in the sport we all love. Go to www.coastalanglermagazine.com to read Mark Sosin’s columns for Coastal Angler Magazine.

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LURES

LURE APPENDAGES FOR LONGER CASTS

PATRICK SEBILE

W

hen it comes to lures designed for longdistance casting, some are built with appendages that truly help reach distances other lures can’t achieve. These appendages might be located inside or outside of the lure. One popular appendage on minnow-style baits is a mass-transfer device. A weight located inside the lure moves to the tail when the lure is held vertically in the casting position, and once it hits the water the weight slides back to its original location for better swimming action. Typically, these lures are best when they use a magnetic mass transfer device. Some billed minnows use a heavy fixed weight in the tail and can achieve longer casts than mass-transfer lures. Either way, one thing is sure: minnows not built for distance do not cast as well as those designed for this purpose. The external shape of a lure also plays a large part in the distance it is capable of reaching. Remember: a floating lure does not perform as well as a sinking or super-long-distance model because of its low density. Denser lures cast better as a rule of thumb, but they might not be best for catching fish because of where they swim in the water column or because they lack seductive action. Appendages can help achieve the best of both worlds by providing

for long casts as well as swimming well at the desired depth. Side wings are an incredible advantage. They add water lift, which helps compensate for a heavier lure and generates great swimming motion. This is how some SK and SLD poppers and pencils can weigh 25 to 100 percent more than similar floating lures and still be able to be used on the surface. The added weight allows for significant increase in casting distance. In the case of a 160mm (6 3/8”) pencil, the floating model weighs 2 ½ ounces, while the sinking model weighs 3 ¼ ounces. This weight increase translates into 50 percent longer casts. On the typical topwater retrieve, the sinking model does everything a floating one can. Actually, the walkthe-dog action is a bit superior, and it’s also possible to fish the heavier pencil like a swimbait with a slow steady retrieve. Those appendages provide great fish-catching action. But there’s a catch. Sinking lures sink. When you need a lure that floats at rest, floating lures with pointy noses cast farther. The physics are simple. Any lure flying through the air generates turbulences in front of the lure, where the line attachment is. This turbulence acts as a suction cup, dragging on the lure and diminishing casting energy. Like on a jet plane, a pointy nose helps limit this effect. Floating lures with pointed noses consistently cast farther than floating lures with similar style and length. Pay attention to these appendages next time you’re buying lures. They will reward you when it comes to distance—and fish caught! Legendary angler Patrick Sebile is a world record holder and an award-winning designer of innovative lures and fishing gear. Check out his creations at abandofanglers.com.

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STAY AHEAD of the Weather

“I took the kids fishing because it wasn’t supposed to rain, but mother nature decided otherwise. I was able to monitor the storm path using SiriusXM on our display, wait ‘til the storm cleared and kept the kids dry!” — Rob Lupola, Raymarine/Strike Two Fishing Team, Pensacola, FL Boater receives complimentary service.

Stay informed and spend more time on the water with SiriusXM Fish Mapping, our most comprehensive Marine service. Get the latest satellite weather, sea conditions and forecasts, plus recommended fishing locations for popular gamefish, plankton and temperature fronts, weed lines and more. Get all that and SiriusXM entertainment on your compatible display.

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Trial Offer Details: Activate a new monthly subscription to either: (i) SiriusXM Marine Fish Mapping or (ii) SiriusXM Marine Fish Mapping and the SiriusXM Platinum audio entertainment plan on the same device, and receive your first (1) month free for each activated service (a savings of $99.99 on Fish Mapping and $22.99 on Platinum plan), plus get free device activation (an additional savings of $25). A credit card is required on this offer. Service will automatically renew every month thereafter and, at the beginning of your second month, you will be charged at then-current rates (currently, $99.99/mo. for Fish Mapping and $22.99/mo. for Platinum plan). Fees and taxes apply. You must cancel your subscriptions during your promotional period(s) to avoid future charges. Please see our Customer Agreement at www.siriusxm.com for complete terms and how to cancel, which includes calling us at 1-800-985-9200. All fees, content and features are subject to change. This offer may be modified, suspended or canceled at any time. Subscription and hardware sold separately. Your Platinum subscription plan may be eligible for a multi-radio discounted rate if maintained on the same account as an activate full-price SiriusXM Marine Weather or Fish Mapping subscription package. NOTE: SiriusXM services may include weather, other content and emergency alert information which is not for “safety for life,” but is merely supplemental and advisory in nature, and therefore cannot be relied upon as safety critical in connection with any seacraft or any other usage. SiriusXM is not responsible for any errors or inaccuracies in the services or their use. © 2022 Sirius XM Radio Inc. SiriusXM and all related logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc. and its respective subsidiaries. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Greg Poland Photography.


CCA FLORIDA STAR AWARDS $80K RIG TO FLORIDA ANGLER

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n early July, CCA Florida, the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, named and verified the first Tagged Redfish division winner in the 2022 West Marine CCA Florida STAR competition presented by Yamaha. Jeff Moore, of Punta Gorda, selected a prize package from Pathfinder Boats and Yamaha Outboards valued at more than $80,000. “I still cannot believe I landed a STAR 2022 Tagged Redfish and that it won me a new Pathfinder!” Moore said. “I almost released the fish when I noticed something on its back, which looked like a parasite, so I brought it back over the edge of my ’yak for a better look. You can understand my excitement when I realized it was a STAR tag. I knew I needed a photo on the measuring device to submit my catch through the STAR app and follow the rules to win. I was jazzed that I had registered for STAR. It is like an insurance policy for fishing; don’t fish without it because you could win a boat!” This year, nearly 160 Tagged Redfish were released across Florida’s coastal waters, giving participants more opportunities to win. Remaining

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prizes in the Tagged Redfish Division include a Contender 22 Sport and a Spyder Vapor 19FX, all powered by Yamaha along with $50,000 cash from Alta Equipment Company. Additionally, STAR’s other tagged division, the Tigress Outriggers and Gear Tagged Dolphin Division, will award $10,000 to the first registrant who catches a tagged dolphin. Unlike traditional fishing competitions, CCA Florida STAR focuses on conservation and offers $500,000 in prizes and scholarships during the 101-day event. Recognized as a “catch, photo and release” competition, STAR’s smart phone app eliminates the requirement for anglers to harvest or capture and transport fish. “Not only is STAR about having fun and winning awesome prizes, but it is also dedicated to fishing smarter to help restore, preserve and improve Florida’s marine habitat and water quality,” CCA Florida STAR Director Leiza Fitzgerald said. “Implementing a catch-photo-release competition is just one way to continue fulfilling our organization’s mission and protect our coastal waterways.” STAR is also focused on youth participation, with its Youth Scholarship Division presented by Realtree Fishing, offering $100,000 in scholarships. Youth anglers (ages 6-17) can register for free with a current CCA Florida youth membership ($10) and are eligible for prizes in both tagged divisions. Youth winners in the Tagged Redfish Division will be awarded a new boat with Humminbird Electronics, MinnKota trolling motor, Yamaha 40HP motor and trailer. Additionally, if the first registered angler to catch one of the 20 tagged dolphin (mahi mahi) is a youth, then he or she will win a $10,000 scholarship in the Tigress Outriggers and Gear Tagged Dolphin Division. The STAR competition includes 17 divisions and 12 species and most winners are determined by a random drawing, giving anglers of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to win. Registration is $40 for current CCA Florida members or $75 for non-members. For more information or to register for STAR, visit Facebook, Instagram or ccaflstar.com.

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By Will Schmidt

Your Grouper Grounds

F

inding new spots to fish has been one of the biggest issues facing us since… well, since fishing started. For years inshore fishermen have used satellite views to find points with cuts, oyster bars and other features that can be seen from above in the shallows. The good news is offshore anglers can now take advantage of similar imagery to make finding new spots feel like you’ve got it made in the shade. High-definition relief shading like that in the new Garmin Navionics Vision+ package gives anglers insight into spots they would have never known about unless they just stumbled across them. There are countless examples of offshore spots where I’ve marked and caught fish without knowing that just a few hundred feet away were even better looking spots. It’s hard to know every ridge or well-defined bottom feature, so getting a view of what is down there can be extremely beneficial. Of course, not all

spots that look good hold fish, but it’s a start. Once you find something of interest, spot lock trolling motors make it easy to move and drop baits to see if anyone is home. For larger areas, such as long ridges, sometimes trolling makes a bit more sense to cover more ground. When chasing bottom fish such as grouper, there are a few techniques that work well. Downriggers and planers with jig heads and large paddletail baits work well, but I find deep diving plugs to be even better. There are a host of deep divers out now that provide an accurate depth to which they will dive. The Nomad DTX Minnow is one of my favorites. It is deadly on grouper and does double duty with its high-speed capability for chasing pelagic species as well. I also love the fact that they come rigged with single hooks versus treble hooks. The key is to just graze the sandy bottom next to the rocks to get the groupers’ attention. They have keen sight and will charge out quickly to grab a meal, and the bonus is you start with them already away from the rocks. Just a few hundred feet away The great thing about using highfrom where the author has definition relief shading and trolling marked and caught grouper for grouper is you might have one is a massive ledge that holds even more fish. spot that quickly turns into four or five locations to drop baits in a relatively small area. Sometimes the spots are within a few hundred feet and sometimes farther. Regardless, this technology is a game-changer, and by covering new ground quickly it can make finding new productive spots much easier. Will Schmidt is a seasoned tournament angler who has been writing about fishing from more than two decades.

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NATIONAL 11


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them carefully when dog-day temperatures peak. Fish are fighting for their lives with every ounce of their strength on the end of a line. The stress can kill them when water conditions are less than ideal. That, along with blazing hot sun on the back of the neck, is enough reason to strike out in search of a more appealing environment when it gets hot. My 11-year-old son and I recently spent a couple days on the headwaters of North Carolina’s Nantahala River at a place called Standing Indian. Standing Indian Mountain tops out at close to 5,500 feet, and its slopes feed the river with plenty of cold water from numerous headwater branches. This area, upstream of the U.S. Forest Service’s Standing Indian Campground, is off of U.S. 64 west of Franklin, N.C. The Nantahala at Standing Indian bears little resemblance to the big whitewater river it becomes downstream near Bryson City. In its headwaters, there are about six miles of public water that might be 20 feet across in the wide spots. It’s a great little stream for folks who enjoy slinging dry flies on a four-weight fly rod for pretty little rainbow and brown trout. The fishing wasn’t exactly stellar the two days my son and I fished in mid-June. There were thunderstorms each night, so the river was a little high and stained. My son is also new to a lightweight fly rod, and overhanging rhododendron and river birch are hardly easy terrain for a beginner. Still, we managed to catch numerous gorgeous rainbows slinging a dry-dropper rig with a small Pheasant Tail fished beneath a yellow Stimulator. There were little yellow Sally stoneflies in the air, so our selection of dry fly matched the hatch. Good small-stream browns in the 14-inch range come from this stretch of water pretty regularly, but all we caught were rainbows with a couple measuring maybe 10 or 11 inches. That’s a pretty good fish in terms of little By Nick Carter wild trout streams in the Southeast. We considered our mission accomplished returning to a riverside campsite each evening. While my son might not be old enough to appreciate it, the cool mountain rout anglers have two options when it comes to deep summer. They can air and bedding down to the gurgle of the creek were the highlights of the trip. either hit tailwater fisheries, where dam-controlled flows provide stable The air temperature was easily 20 degrees cooler than back home, and I don’t year-round water temperatures, or they can seek out high-elevation know if I’ve ever slept better. headwaters, where both fish and angler find comfort in rhododendron-shaded For information, check out Nick Carter’s book “Flyfisher’s Guide to creeks with water conditions perennially perfect for little wild trout. North Carolina & Georgia.” It’s available on Amazon or by Big fish and big hatches of tailrace trout fishing are certainly appealing. contacting the author at nsc8957@gmail.com. However, anglers should play fish intended for release quickly and handle

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AUGUST 2022

NATIONAL 13


TIPS FROM A PRO

SUMMERTIME BASS ON POPPERS

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TYLER WOOLCOTT

ass are on the move in deep summer. Throwing search baits, especially topwater, is one of the best and most fun ways to find groups of feeding fish. A style of lure that was created a long time ago but still works wonders today is an old-school topwater popper. You can throw this just about anywhere around rocks, grass, wood, docks and in open water to get bites. When the weather gets hot and more people get on the water, getting fish to commit to a surface lure is sometimes almost impossible. What I like to do is put away the bigger topwaters like walking baits or Whopper Ploppers and take out a smaller Pop-Rstyle bait. There are a few reasons this bait gets more bites in the right situations. The first is it’s smaller and quieter. A smaller profile and less noise is sometimes what these finicky fish want. I have seen many situations when throwing a big noisy topwater won’t get a single bite, but throwing a popper in the same area makes fish eat. Another reason popper-style baits are very good is the speed at which you can work them. There are many topwaters that require highspeed retrieves. With a popper, the slower you work it the more it drives them crazy. I vary my retrieve and see what the fish are feeling, but usually I’ll pop the bait subtly a few times and vary the action to make it look like a dying baitfish. Then I’ll let the bait sit for a few seconds before creating another movement. This absolutely drives them crazy. One last reason poppers are deadly is that feathered rear treble hook. When fish are feeding on tiny baitfish or bugs, the feathered treble makes them bite. Sometimes even the small profile of the bait is still too big for them, but they come up and see the feathers and eat those instead. Fishing the right rod and reel with a Pop-R makes a huge difference in landing fish. You want a rod with a good amount of bend because you don’t set the hook. Instead, you just reel into them. I use a 13 Fishing Defy Black 7’ cranking rod. For the reel, you want something that is able to cast a light lure as far as possible. You also need one that will pick up the bait fast for another cast in case a fish misses or you spot surfacing fish. I use a 13 Fishing Concept with an 8:3 gear ratio. I spool it with 30- to 50-lb. Seaguar Smackdown Braid. Next time you get on the water, pick up a popper style lure like a 13 Fishing Poppy McPop Face and see how deadly it can be in the summer months. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at www.tylerwoolcottfishing.com.

14 NATIONAL

AUGUST 2022

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