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

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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Inside: Paddlesports Review

SUP FISHING TIPS

Enter To Win KAYAK

www.CoastalAnglerMag.com/Contest PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC J. MCDONALD VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 290

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Big Fish And Little Plastic Boats By Nick Carter; Photos by Eric McDonald

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hese guys stole a chapter out of “The Old Man and the Sea.” While fishing a 2014 kayak tournament in the Bahamas, angler Matt Eckert had an adventure of epic proportions. He hooked into a 500-pound blue marlin while sitting on the deck of a little plastic boat. It dragged him 32 miles over an 11-hour fight. Eckert admits he was unbelievably lucky to get his hands on the leader, making it an official catch before the fish continued having its way with him. “I grabbed the leader with my hand, and it was like a bomb went off next to me. It almost spooled me 10 hours into the fight,” Eckert said. “The only reason I was able to get the leader was he made a big airplane turn and swam right by me.” That’s about as extreme as fishing gets. The kayak trips Eckert and his partner Eric McDonald guide out of Boynton Beach, Fla., might seem tame in comparison. But there aren’t many who would consider catching sailfish from a kayak to be tame. Deep Blue Kayak Fishing offers standard inshore and freshwater trips, but they specialize in taking groups of up to six anglers off the beach in rigged-out peddle-drive Hobie kayaks to chase big pelagics. They don’t use motherships or support boats. Their location on the southeast coast of Florida is one of the only places in the world where their style of fishing is possible. At times, the Gulf Stream swings in as close as 8 miles off the beach and brings with it fishing that would normally require long runs offshore. “When the east wind picks up, it brings everything in,” said McDonald. “It brings in the grass and the baitfish, which brings in the pelagics.” Deep Blue doesn’t force clients on an 8-mile death-peddle out to the Gulf Stream. Less than a half-mile off the beach, the reef tops out at about 45 feet and drops precipitously into 100-foot depths on the backside. Within sight of shore, they drift with the current and slowly peddle-troll live baits from the reef out into 200-foot depths and back. Each kayak pulls a single bait on a kingfish-style rig, and six anglers working together can pull a pretty impressive spread. The fish are impressive, too. “We’re so close to the Gulf Stream, you never know what you’re going to get,” said McDonald. “It seems like everyone wants a billfish, and sailfish are our most common catch. It’s sailfish from October into maybe June. Then the rest of the year it’s big king mackerel.” A smoker king or 65-pound sailfish will take a kayak angler on a

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serious sleigh ride. The typical fight stretches out over 3 or 4 miles of water and lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. “We usually start out trying to get a sailfish first thing in the morning. Then you’re trolling looking for meat,” McDonald said. “A good day would consist of a sailfish and three or four more meat fish.” Kingfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, grouper, snapper and cobia are some of the species that regularly find a spot in the deck-mounted fish bags. Because of a kayak’s limited range, Deep Blue stays in contact with the local charter fleet to share intel, and word of a good grass line might call for a trek out into 400-foot depths in search of mahi. But what kayaks lack in range they make up for in stealth. McDonald said they are sometimes able to peddle over and through bait balls and schooling fish that an outboard would definitely spook. “We just look like another piece of debris floating out there,” he said. “We get a lot of sea turtles that come check us out, and a lot of times mahi will be right under the boat.” Because of the physical nature of kayak fishing, Deep Blue limits its trips to five hours on the water. Depending on the wind and currents, a five-hour drift can take you 20 miles or more from where you put in. But they won’t make you peddle all the way back to the put-in. With a series of different take-out points, the end of a trip is usually a straight shot back to shore, hopefully in a kayak loaded down with fresh fish. Check out Deep Blue Kayak Fishing Charters at deepbluekayakfishing.com or give them a call at (561) 350-8764.

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The Easiest Way To Get To The Fish!

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• 10’ long x 3’ 6” wide * Hull weighs just 42 lbs. * Wheels hook into the rear crossbar up or down for easy transport * Takes electric motor or up to 3 hp gas engine to go farther and faster than any kayak *Easy set-up/ Easy take-down

Introducing the fastest, lightest, most portable solo fishing SUP ever! The Sea Eagle SUPCat10™ weighs in at less than 45 lbs. This amazing SUP can be paddled or motored. Coming with multiple rod-holders and fittings for fishing accessories, this small SUP packs in a lot of features in a little space. Best of all, the SUPCat10™ packs in a car trunk and goes anywhere there is water.

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Putting In The Time:The Man Behind The Design By Ryan Drygas

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evin Hawkins, owner of Kaku Kayaks, is not your typical kayak manufacturer. He’s a fisherman who tests and uses his own product and has made a living doing what he loves. In the quiet beachfront town of Tarpon Springs, Fla. Kaku Kayaks was born out of the idea of “life on the water.” Initially, Hawkins took up kayaking to get into springs, go scalloping, spearfishing and basic exercise. He fell in love with the ease of use, the peace of the water and the idea that you can pick-up and drop-in anywhere and take off to parts unknown. What started as a hobby turned into a passion, and an idea was born. At the time, Hawkins also had an interest in mountain biking, so in 2007 he started an outfitter shop to combine his two favorite outdoor activities. As time went on, Hawkins realized the products

he was selling weren’t holding up to his idea of a true paddle-craft, so he made the decision to stop reselling and focus on inventing. The idea was there, the knowledge was out there, all he had to do was find a way to put it all together. Hawkins spent five years working in other fields and saving money. All the while, he was learning the trade of roto-molding, studying different plastics, shaping, design and everything else he could possibly absorb about creating the perfect paddle-craft. Hawkins slowly made his dream become a reality by piecing together his company one step at a time. Eventually, the time came for Kaku Kayak to step out into the world of kayak angling. In late 2014, Hawkins took a crosscountry trip and tested his paddle-craft in every condition of water you can think of. From Florida to Texas, Hawkins fished rivers, creeks, lakes, inlets, offshore oil rigs and everything else in between. When he posted photos showcasing the Kahuna on social media, he knew he was onto something special. The Kahuna just might be the ultimate fishing SUP, designed, tested and tweaked by a hardcore fisherman. The response flooded in, with comments like: “Where can I get that?” and “That looks like a fisherman’s dream.” Requests for the Kahuna were not in short supply. Hawkins’ dream had become a reality, but he knew his inventing days weren’t over. The success of the Kahuna led to the birth of the Wahoo, a kayak fisherman’s dream. Designed to be simplistic yet fully capable of top-of-the-line rigging, the Wahoo will cut through the water like a downhill train. People from all over the country were noticing the unique design of the paddle-crafts coming out of Kaku Kayak. Still, Hawkins knew he could do more. The blended idea of the Kahuna and Wahoo brought forth one of today’s most sought-after paddle-crafts. The Voodoo is a combination of Kayak and SUP, a design that is a perfect mix of balance, comfort and mobility. We can only imagine what is going to come out of Kaku Kayak in the future! Check out Kaku Kayak at kakukayak.com.

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BOAT REVIEW NuCanoe Frontier 12

The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is an incredible fishing platform. Just spend a few minutes fishing on the Frontier 12, and you’ll be hooked. First thing you’ll notice is that, unlike other kayaks, it has a very clean deck with a lot of open space. There’s not a lot to get in your way, and there’s no limit to how you can set it up and outfit it. Solo or tandem, rigged up or stripped down, paddle, trolling motor or outboard, the options are unlimited. You’ll be blown away by the Frontier 12’s stability. It’s unlike any canoe or kayak you’ve been in before. You feel completely comfortable whether seated or standing. Your movements barely affect how it rides on the water. So, when it comes time to cast and fight a fish, you’re not even thinking about being in a kayak, you’re just locked in to the battle! Adding an outboard to the Frontier 12 is an ideal solution for anglers who want a great fishing experience but don’t want to spend a lot of time paddling. The Honda 2.3hp outboard moves the Frontier 12 at a very nice clip and is surprisingly easy to control. Whether you are going 500 feet or 5 miles, the outboard will get you to where you want to be quickly and comfortably. Then kill the motor, grab your rod, stand up and enjoy your unlimited fishing experience.

Learn more + find your local NuCanoe dealer at www.nucanoe.com | 888.226.6310

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“The most attractive option for boat and SUP storage.” -Cabin Life, June 2015

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Paddlesports| 1. Log Kayak Rack

Looking for a way to store your kayaks, canoes or paddleboards? You’d be hard-pressed to find a sturdier, more convenient or better-looking solution than a Log Kayak Rack. Individually constructed in the U.S.A. from weather-resistant white cedar, Log Kayak Racks are extremely strong and durable. They’re built to hold heavy loads and provide many years of service. They are available with capacity for two to eight boats, and racks can also be customized to meet your specific needs. Need a place off the ground to store a paddleboat, rowboat or any hand-launched vessel? Give Log Kayak Rack a call. They’ll custom design a rack for you. Well-considered design makes lifting boats in and out of the rack easy. Locking down boats is a cinch with standard cable locks. Racks can be bolted to a dock or anchored to the ground, and there are even Log Kayak Racks designed to hang on the wall. Visit their website to see what Log Kayak Rack has to offer, then give them a call at (715) 543-2006 to discuss the best solution for safely storing your fleet of kayaks, canoes and paddleboards.

Product Reviews

1.

LogKayakRack.com

2. 2019 Hobie Mirage Outback

For more than a decade, Hobie’s Mirage Outback has peddled along without any major redesigns. With a kayak this close to perfection, there hasn’t been a need. However, for 2019, Hobie has taken the world’s best-selling pedaldrive kayak and made it even better. The 2019 Mirage Outback is a fishing machine built to handle any trip, from pond prowling to offshore expeditions. An extra-wide deck offers an improved and more stable casting platform and vantage point for sight fishing. The revolutionary Guardian Transducer Shield protects your vision below. The new Vantage CTW seat is roomier and more comfortable. Four molded-in rod holders, multiple deluxe H-Track mounts and numerous high-capacity storage compartments ensure all your gear is at your fingertips. Powered by the MirageDrive 180 with ARC Cranks + Turbo Fins, this vessel is versatile, fast, quiet and nimble. It now features the Kick-Up Rudder system with dual steering.

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Hobie.com

3. Kaku Voodoo

Kaku Voodoo The all-new Kaku Voodoo is the ultimate sight-casting paddle craft. This authentic fishing paddle craft has a unique look and performance. It’s part kayak, part paddleboard, with some micro skiff qualities. The Kaku Voodoo is like a personal deck yak. It has incredible stability, while maintaining good paddling efficiency. The performance of this paddle craft is lifted to an even higher level with the included Voodoo Chair, which is unlike anything on the market today. The Voodoo Chair has a beefy aluminum structure, a perfect amount of cushion, and off-the-charts utility, giving the paddler a high and low seating position, leaning chair,

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as well as a standing platform, without having to adjust anything. It’s mounted securely on 30-inch aluminum tracks, allowing for trimming as necessary. Top it all off with great storage and five Micro Powerpole mounts, which allow for multiple or single Powerpoles while also offering motor mounting. Check out the Voodoo’s higher-level capabilities today.

KakuKayak.com

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2. 4. Watershed Goforth Duffel

A dry bag is a necessity when you’re fishing from a kayak, canoe or SUP. Watershed’s Goforth is a darn good one. Step on it, stand on it or stomp around on it, no matter what you do, it won’t leak. The Goforth is a dry bag with mobility and versatility in mind. It features low-profile lash points along with a 2” nylon removable waist belt to make it ideal for on-the-go water enthusiasts. From the incredibly strong Airtight ZipDry closure to the 420 denier Cordura nylon ripstop fabric coated with polyurethane, it’s hard to know what to love most about the Goforth. Ideal for fishing, boating or just messing about on the water, this madein-the-U.S.A. duffel also features rugged carrying handles and multiple compression straps. Plus, it looks great on! Specs: Dimensions Rolled - 9”x16”x7.25” Capacity Rolled - 640 cu in (10.5L) Opening Size - 13” Weight - 1.5 lbs.

Drybags.com

5. Salt Marsh Skiffs Savanna

The new Savanna from Salt Marsh Skiffs is a kayak/skiff hybrid that offers a kayak’s ease of use with the capability to handle more diverse conditions and loads. Designed to handle two full size adults, it has a self-bailing cockpit fully loaded. The overall length of 14’ is long enough to accommodate 4 fly rods. The beam is 40” at the waterline, offering great stability that makes it a great fishing platform. The Savanna can be paddled, rowed, poled or powered depending on the need. It can putt around with a lightweight 2.5hp outboard or go long distance at up to 21mph with a 9.9hp engine. Perhaps the most intriguing option is the 3hp electric engine capable of cruising at 3mph with a range of up to 12-miles. For short bursts, the electric can reach speeds close to 6mph. The Savanna is right at home in rougher water and heavy boat traffic with a 14” free board. It can be easily be equipped for a variety of uses with the many accessories available from the kayak fishing world. If you’re ready to move up from a kayak and expand your horizons without the complexity and expense of a full-size skiff, the Savanna deserves a look.

SaltMarshSkiffs.com

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DeFoe Slams Door On Hometown Bassmaster Classic Victory B.A.S.S. photo by Andy Crawford

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or decades, it seemed almost impossible for an angler to win the Bassmaster Classic in his home state. Now it’s happened four times in six years. On the final day of the Classic March 17, Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe, of Knoxville, caught five bass that weighed 18 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing and the $300,000 prize. The event was held on the Tennessee River in Knoxville. DeFoe’s three-day total weight of 49-3

helped him slip past second-place angler Jacob Wheeler at the weighin before a raucous home crowd at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. The world-championship bass tournament drew a record attendance of 153,809. “This is a dream come true—a dream I’ve had since I was a 9-yearold kid,” said DeFoe. “When we came over here and did the walkthrough the day before the tournament, I actually imagined hearing my name after the words ‘Bassmaster Classic champion.’ “For it to happen now… I just keep thinking I’m gonna wake up.” DeFoe lives in Knoxville—and since few others in the 52-angler field had much experience on the tournament waters of Fort Loudon and Tellico lakes—he was one of the obvious favorites coming into the event. But things didn’t go smoothly for him all three days. After catching 20 pounds during Friday’s opening round, DeFoe caught five bass that weighed just 10-5 Saturday—and he said that tough day might have been the best thing that could have happened. “If I would have had a good Day 2—if I’d had even 14 or 15 pounds—I might have been totally committed to what I was doing,” DeFoe said. “…But the fact that it just didn’t work for me, that caused me to just scrap it all. I just

went fishing today, and that’s exactly what I needed to do.” DeFoe spent Day 1 far from the shoreline fishing shallow tips of points. His primary bait was a Storm Arashi Vibe lipless crankbait in the “rusty craw” pattern, which he doctored with orange, red and black Sharpies. On the second day, DeFoe switched to shallow boat docks when a strong north wind interfered with his pattern. His bait of choice around the docks—a 3/8-ounce bladed jig— helped him land three of his five keepers on Day 2. He used the bladed jig again Sunday but moved to the outside wall of a marina after a conversation with Keith Poche, a Classic competitor who failed to make the cut for Championship Sunday. On the water Sunday, after boating one of the bass that helped seal the victory, Defoe said he was going to give Poche a big old bear hug.

Bassmaster Classic Top-10 1. Ott Defoe, 49-3, $302,500 2. Jacob Wheeler, 45-3, $52,500 3. Jesse Wiggins, 43-14, $40,000 4. Michael Iaconelli, 42-9, $30,000 5. Mark Daniels Jr., 41-12, $26,250 6. Brandon Lester, 40-5, $22,000 7. Wesley Strader, 39-8, $21,500 8. Edwin Evers, 39-7, $22,250 9. Dean Rojas, 35-6, $20,500 10. Brandon Palaniuk, 34-15, $20,000

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT Unsinkable Polarized Mirror Sunglasses

KING KRACKEN Outdoor Clothing Co..

Unsinkable brings a lot more to the table than just being unsinkable. Their premium polarized glasses feature lenses made from a proprietary lens material called Polyamide, which has the optics of glass combined with the lightweight feel of polycarbonate, resulting in crystal-clear vision. New for 2019, Unsinkable’s lineup now offers blue and green mirror polarized lenses, providing another level of sun glare protection. These lenses reflect glare from every possible angle and offer super crisp, saturated, color acuity. A proprietary blue light barrier filters harmful blue light, allowing colors to blast, and a hydrophobic coating protects against salt, sweat and smudges. Other features include anti-scratch coating, 100 percent UV protection, they are BPA free, and boast injected and decentered optics. All Unsinkable glasses are lightweight and impact resistant, and provide 10 percent visual light transmittance (VLT). Blue mirror lenses are available in six wrap sunglass styles, ideal for blocking out glare while searching out signs of baitfish or gamefish. Blue mirrors are best suited for bright sunlight conditions and are an excellent choice for offshore and coastal fishing and boating. Green mirror lenses are available in four wrap sunglass styles, which reflect glare from every possible angle. They are best suited for variable light conditions and an excellent choice for anyone who spends a lot of time fishing or boating inshore waters or freshwater. Unsinkable Polarized Sunglasses will never sink, but in case they do float away, you are covered by Unsinkable’s groundbreaking Lifetime plus Loss warranty. The MSRP on the new Unsinkable premium polarized mirror sunglasses is $159. To checkout their complete lineup of products, go to https://unsinkablepolarized.com/.

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Center sp ie Vaine By Jeram

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tand up paddling covers a wide variety of activities. From the casual cruise on a calm lake to adrenaline fueled wave surfing. But I’ve found myself spending more time on my stand up paddleboard (SUP) with a fishing rod. Two good friends, Chris Hollingsworth and Ken Hoeve, opened my eyes to world of SUP fishing. Hearing their stories, seeing the fish they caught and the ear-to-ear smiles are what inspired me. I grew up on a small New England lake, where I spent countless hours fishing. But I never really thought about fishing from an SUP… until speaking with Chris and Ken. Besides hearing the stories and seeing the fun times, the biggest appeal of SUP fishing is its simplicity. All you need is a board, a paddle and a fishing rod. Whether you’re an angler who wants to try fishing from an SUP or a paddler interested in fishing, here are some tips for getting into SUP fishing. • What’s the right board? These days, manufacturers make fishing-specific boards that make fishing from an SUP easier. They are awesome, but they’re not absolutely necessary for someone just getting started. The most important thing is to find a board you can comfortably paddle without falling in. My general rule is a board over 30 inches wide and longer than 10 feet. It will have the stability to stand and fish, while remaining portable. If you’re concerned about falling in or losing your fishing gear, use a tether to tie it off to your board. Don’t tie gear to your person, it could hinder your ability to swim if you do fall in. • Where and when to go? Like any outdoor activity, and probably more so, weather is crucial. With an SUP, calm days are definitely better. Wind and rough conditions make it challenging, which eliminates the fun factor. Smaller bodies of water are a great place to start, as they are more protected from wind and do not have a lot of boat traffic. For these reasons, I prefer freshwater lakes. But a little experience on a board opens up a whole world of inshore action on saltwater. An SUP is a great, elevated platform to fish from during a calm day along the mangroves or up in the backwaters. • What to bring? For beginners, it’s best to keep it simple. I started SUP fishing

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with one spinning rod, pre-rigged with a single tried-and-true lure. It limited my catch, but having just one option allows you to enjoy time on the water without fussing with gear. Again, experience will guide preferences, but starting simple can save a lot of headaches. Of course the safety rules of SUP still apply. You’ll need a paddle leash and a lifejacket. • What to fish for? I really enjoy bass fishing, but some of my most fun days were with my nephews catching perch. Other people seek out trout in rivers and saltwater fish like snook, seatrout and redfish. If it can be caught from a boat, it can be caught from atop an SUP. Head out on the water, take a few casts and see what you think. If it develops into a passion, you might find yourself paddling a board that resembles a fully rigged fishing skiff.

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FLORIDA

By Capt. Michael Mauri Giovanni Marcozzi with a nice jack crevalle caught on a 7/0 popper.

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orn and raised in Germany, I have traveled and worked throughout all of Europe. As a fly fishing guide, I have spent a lot of time in exotic places and have seen a plethora of different fisheries. However, nothing even comes close to the consistency of the fishery we have here in Florida. Long story short, I love Florida, especially the Treasure Coast. With the variety of species and the opportunities to catch them, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. Our neighbor, George Sawley, also happens to build one of the highest

quality skiffs on the market, Chittum. Last week I was lucky enough to go on a test run of their new 21’ Islamorada. I got to chase cobia that were following huge manta rays. I ended up landing a nice one on a popper off the back of a ray. This was an amazing experience! A few days later, I had a client, Todd from California, in my boat. We were chasing big jack crevalle along the beaches when a blacktip shark showed up. Todd landed him on a new fly pattern Capt. Michael Mauri with a pretty cobia that was I picked up at the Atlanta trailing huge manta rays when it ate a popper. Fly Fishing Show last month. As soon as that fish took the fly, it took off and made several jumps through a long battle. The aggression and power when this shark took the fly was mind blowing. Catching big jack crevalle on popper is one of my all-time favorite things to do in the spring. The number and size of these fish is very impressive. It reminds me of my days fishing for giant trevally in the Maldives. In my opinion, there is little difference in these two species. Recently, my German friend Giovanni headed out with me in search of these giant jacks. It didn’t take long until we spotted the first school. I slowly got the boat in position to set him up for the first cast. The 7/0 popper hit the water, and BAM, fish on! The battle was hard and brutal even for a 12-weight rod. Giovanni landed two more before we headed home out of pure exhaustion. What a great day! If you live on the Treasure Coast or anywhere in Florida and you fish, consider yourself lucky. For more info about Mauri Fly Fishing, contact Capt. Michael Mauri at (772) 485 3321.

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By Tom Fucigna Jr. Paddlers assemble in Bimini in preparation for the 80-mile Crossing For A Cure to Lake Worth Beach, Fla. Jimmy Buffett has signed on as an advisor to the board of Piper’s Angels Foundation.

A CF Warrior Joe Mitchell, who kayaked from Bimini to Florida, defines the Crossing For A Cure credo of “Bold in the Face of Fear.”

Lake Worth Beach, Fla. is the Crossing For A Cure Landing site. You can volunteer or sponsor a paddler in any amount.

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hoy paddlers! Are you ready to embark on a great adventure, for a good cause, with a wonderful crew? The Crossing For A Cure would love to welcome you aboard. This year’s journey from Bimini to Florida, scheduled for June 15, is open to stand up or prone boards, surf skis, outrigger canoes and dories, with a potential of $100,000 in cash purses for the competitive categories. You can paddle as a solo or relay competitor, or as part of a recreational relay team. One-hundred paddlers made the crossing last June, and more than 160, including many first-timers, have registered so far this year. All paddlers are accompanied by support boats and team members from the midnight launch in Bimini to the celebratory landing at Lake Worth Beach. Everyone is invited to prepare for the crossing by participating in our mentoring and training programs, and everyone involved contributes to raising awareness and funds to assist cystic fibrosis patients and their families. Crossing For A Cure organizer Travis Suit’s inspiration for his first crossing, in 2013, is his daughter Piper, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 4 years old. “CF” is a

progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time (www.pipersangels. org). When Travis learned that salt can help alleviate the symptoms of CF, he immersed Piper in saltwater activities and became inspired to create an ocean-based event that could help CF patients everywhere. Thus was born the Crossing For A Cure and the Piper’s Angels Foundation. We are proud to announce that Jimmy Buffett has recently signed on as an advisor to the board of Piper’s Angels Foundation. The ranks of “Piper’s Angels” now include hundreds of inspired paddlers, dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors who work together to support and improve the lives of families in the CF community by raising awareness, offering life-expanding activities, providing urgent financial support and funding critical research. The only thing missing is YOU! Follow the adventure and learn how the foundation’s “Salt Supply” program is connecting saltwater-based vendors and guides with CF patients. For information, go to https://www. crossingforacure.com/ or https:// www.facebook.com/CrossingForACure/.

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he twelfth-annual Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo, an action-packed watersports expo for ocean lovers of all ages, returns to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center April 27-28. Produced by Sheri Daye, a spearfishing world record holder, The Blue Wild is south Florida’s premier ocean adventure expo, which features one of the most diverse and passionate crowds of exhibitors, speakers and attendees. Daye originally conceived the event as a fundraiser for Twin Palms, a center for developmentally disabled adults her brother attends in Boca Raton, Fla. She transformed her passion for freediving and created a must-attend educational and entertaining event where attendees can learn the latest techniques, shop cool products and socialize with like-minded ocean lovers. Spanning 65,000 square feet, the two-day, indoor event attracts 5,000 attendees and over 150 exhibitors who specialize in fishing and spearfishing, scuba and freediving, surfing and paddle boarding, marine art, underwater photo and video, adventure travel, beach apparel, boats, personal watercraft and more. Daily educational seminars and workshops are scheduled throughout the weekend and taught by world-class experts and celebrity-speakers like TV/movie personality Manny Puig; Chris Gillette, underwater photographer and GatorBoy; Vinnie LaSorsa, fisherman and captain for Jimmy Buffet; Ryan Myers, National Spearfishing Champion; Dr. Daryl Wong, expert spearo and custom speargun builder, and many other personalities. Topics include fishing stories, travel advice, freediving instruction, photography tips, fish filleting demos, speargun

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rigging, knot-tying and more. The popular Kids Zone offers free face painting, art classes and crab races – something for the whole family. “The Blue Wild is known for its high-energy crowds and fun vibe,” said Sheri Daye. “This show is like a big party for ocean lovers, and we attract a diverse crowd of locals, visitors, experts and exhibitors from all over the world who flock to Fort Lauderdale for its desirable and central location.” Returning exhibitors include Austin’s Diving Center, Bass Pro, Big Dog Tackle, Chaos Fishing, Contender Boats, Divers Direct, PADI, Papa’s Pilar Rum, Reef Photo and Video, Wong Spearguns and many more. The Expo is pleased to welcome new exhibitors such as Fishing Nosara, Pompano Beach Marine Center/Grady White Boats, Riva Motorsports, Surf World, Sea Tow Fort Lauderdale and Tropic Star Lodge. The show is sponsored by Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill which has its roots in south Florida and likes to promote the same ideals as the Expo—family fun and saltwater adventure. Entry is $20 at the door (children 12 and under are free) and includes a free goodie bag (while supplies last) and free entry to the Saturday night After-Party which takes place in the second-floor VIP lounge. Visit TheBlueWild.com or check out a video from last year https:// youtu.be/Rx45HhDGTRs.

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By Tom Schlichter Capt. Bobbi Brady shows off a nice seatrout taken from Deadman Bay with Florida Saltwater Flats Fishing Charters. The skipper and her husband, Capt. Mark Brady, also run charters for scallops.

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he Steinhatchee River is off the beaten track. That’s what makes it worth visiting, according to Capt. Bobbi Brady. She and her husband, Capt. Mark Brady, run Florida Saltwater Flats Fishing Charters (https://floridasaltwaterflats.com), based a couple hours north of Tampa in Florida’s Big Bend region. “We get some boating traffic here during scallop season, but otherwise it’s pretty quiet so our fish don’t get beat up,” said Brady. “Mostly we’ll target seatrout and redfish, with a few flounder mixed in to sweeten the pot. Virtually all our fishing is done on shallow flats

at the mouth of the Steinhatchee River and out in Deadman Bay. Because there isn’t much development around here, the water is crystal clear. That keeps our sea grass safe, which brings in a lot of smaller baits that lure bigger predators.” Head out with either Brady and you’ll probably spend most of your time casting in 16 inches of water or less. Both trout and reds like to stack up in small depressions, troughs and holes, where they’ll feed aggressively on dropping tides. “Most of the redfish will measure 22 inches and larger,” noted Brady, “and the trout can push the tape to 27 inches, especially in February, March and April. To get to them, though, you’ll need to cut across the shallows. I have a 2200 STL Bluewave flats boat that clears 8 inches. That gives me a serious edge because I can access spots others can’t reach.” Private boaters can get in on the action without going too shallow. There is generally a pretty good bite right in the Steinhatchee River itself, although the fish there don’t run quite as big as on Deadman Bay. There’s also plenty of water to probe just off the flats. Grab some shrimp or cut bait and you should have no trouble hooking up. In terms of artificials, twitchbaits really excel in this area. According to Brady, most places will have 7 inches of sea grass on the bottom, then another 7 inches of water to the surface. Work a suspending twitchbait just above the tops of the weeds and you are going to score. Her favorite twitchbait is a Livetarget suspending Scaled Sardine in Amber Ghost. “That’s the one lure I can’t live without,” she explained. “It approximates the abundant pinfish we have and the predators just go and get it. Retrieve it with a couple of short, sharp twitches followed by a pause. It’s absolutely deadly.” If you’d like to try your luck on the Steinhatchee River and Deadman Bay, there are several launch ramps in the area. Brady recommends Good Times Marina (www.goodtimesmotelandmarina. com), which has overnight accommodations, a slip to go with each room, plus a great restaurant that will cook and serve your catch.

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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

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

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ccording to the calendar, Spring has Sprung, but spring has been with us since February. I love spring, my second favorite time of the year. Our guides say that April is their favorite fishing month of the year. New advertising partners this month are Noble Marine in Crystal River and also Leesburg; see page 15, and Triton Lumber and Marine, in Homosassa; see page 5. See page 2 for all the info on the Fly In, in Cross City. ((A fun day; don’t miss it.) Also, on page 2, see a beautiful Crystal River, waterfront home for sale. See page 16 for the CCBA Tournament info. This tournament will be at the Homosassa Riverside Resort. See page 10 for Rick’s Fishing. Rick guides out of Suwannee. Now that Spring is here, our guides’ calendars will be filling up fast. Call them soon so you can get your priority dates. After your trip, send me your catch photos. A guided fishing trip might be the perfect Mother’s Day gift for that special mother who loves fishing. Or, maybe a perfect graduation gift and it is not too soon to think about Father’s Day. Recipe this month, Sheet Pan Shrimp, on page 16. Shrimp and three ingredients; (and one of the ingredients is dry dressing mix!). Can it get any easier? It was perfect for dinner one night when I was especially short on time. Happy Easter; April 21st this year. Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

APRIL 2019 EDITION

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

Cary Crutchfield

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

WEB MASTER Kristi Williams

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

CONTACT INFORMATION

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District

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TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1M 2Tu

3W

4Th

5F

6Sa

7Su

8M

6:49 AM 1:10 PM 6:47 PM 12:43 AM 7:27 AM 1:40 PM 7:30 PM 1:29 AM 8:00 AM 2:06 PM 8:09 PM 2:09 AM 8:30 AM 2:30 PM 8:44 PM 2:47 AM 8:59 AM 2:53 PM 9:19 PM 3:24 AM 9:29 AM 3:17 PM 9:53 PM 4:02 AM 9:59 AM 3:42 PM 10:30 PM 4:43 AM 10:31 AM 4:12 PM 11:10 PM

0.3 2.9 1.1 3.3 0.3 3.1 0.8 3.4 0.3 3.2 0.5 3.5 0.3 3.3 0.3 3.5 0.4 3.4 0.1 3.5 0.6 3.6 0.0 3.4 0.7 3.7 -0.1 3.3 0.9 3.8 -0.2

HERNANDO BEACH

APRIL 2019

9Tu

Time Height

5:29 AM 11:05 AM 4:46 PM 11:54 PM 10W 6:21 AM 11:45 AM 5:27 PM 11Th 12:47 AM 7:22 AM 12:33 PM 6:18 PM 12F 1:50 AM 8:40 AM 1:39 PM 7:23 PM 13Sa 3:08 AM 10:08 AM 3:08 PM 8:50 PM 14Su 4:27 AM 11:17 AM 4:33 PM 10:24 PM 15M 5:35 AM 12:08 PM 5:43 PM 11:42 PM 16Tu 6:32 AM 12:49 PM 6:43 PM

3.1 1.1 3.8 -0.2 2.9 1.3 3.8 -0.1 2.7 1.5 3.7 0.0 2.6 1.7 3.5 0.1 2.7 1.8 3.4 0.1 2.8 1.5 3.4 0.1 3.1 1.1 3.6 0.1 3.3 0.7

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

12:48 AM 7:21 AM 1:25 PM 7:35 PM 1:45 AM 8:04 AM 1:58 PM 8:23 PM 2:36 AM 8:43 AM 2:30 PM 9:07 PM 3:24 AM 9:19 AM 3:01 PM 9:51 PM 4:11 AM 9:54 AM 3:32 PM 10:33 PM 4:58 AM 10:29 AM 4:06 PM 11:15 PM 5:45 AM 11:05 AM 4:42 PM 11:59 PM 6:33 AM 11:45 AM 5:22 PM

Time Height

25Th 12:44 AM 7:26 AM 12:31 PM 6:09 PM 26F 1:36 AM 8:28 AM 1:29 PM 7:07 PM 27Sa 2:39 AM 9:40 AM 2:47 PM 8:25 PM 28Su 3:52 AM 10:43 AM 4:11 PM 9:59 PM 29M 4:57 AM 11:31 AM 5:19 PM 11:16 PM 30Tu 5:49 AM 12:11 PM 6:14 PM

0.2 2.8 1.7 3.4 0.4 2.7 1.8 3.2 0.7 2.7 1.8 3.0 0.8 2.8 1.7 2.9 0.8 3.0 1.4 3.0 0.8 3.2 1.0

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

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3.8 0.1 3.5 0.2 3.9 0.3 3.7 -0.2 3.9 0.5 3.8 -0.4 3.7 0.7 3.9 -0.5 3.6 1.0 4.0 -0.4 3.3 1.2 3.9 -0.3 3.1 1.4 3.8 -0.1 2.9 1.6 3.7

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

APRIL 2019

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3/17/19 7:38 PM


FLORIDA WATERWAYS

Funny Fish Names

A

s a linguist interested in languages, including onomastics (naming), I’ve been intrigued by the use of unusual names for fish. I became aware of this recently when, in reading a biography of Japanese Emperor Akihito, an By Kevin McCarthy ichthyologist especially interested in gobies, I learned that a species of goby was named “Exyrias akihito” in the emperor’s honor. That induced me to study other names, including what I call “funny names” for our finny friends. With over 25,000 species of fish, the naming of newly “discovered” species has to be difficult, but some of the names here were maybe begun in jest. Here in my opinion, are fish with “fun,” silly names. First, Clownfish, which look as if they have been painted, are what Disney chose for the characters Marlin and his son, Nemo, in the animated film “Finding Nemo” and its sequel, “Finding Dory.” “Slimehead,” a name maybe directed at one’s antagonist in the playground, applies to a species with the Latin name “Hoplostethus atlanticus.” Restaurateurs or those who own/manage restaurants, realized how difficult it would be for diners to be attracted to “slimeheads” and renamed the fish “orange roughy.” The new name worked out too well, and led to the depletion of the deep-sea creature. Then, there is the “oyster toadfish” (“opsanus tau”) with a name that mentions two other animals. The fish likes muddy oyster beds and murky waters, where they lie still on the bottom before attacking their prey. Maybe the worst name, and a nightmare for a public relations firm trying to make

it appealing, is “slippery dick” (Halichoeres bivittatus) for a wrasse fish found in the Atlantic Ocean. The “slippery” part of its name refers to its ability to sneak away from a predator as well as its knack for changing into a male after beginning life as a female. No reason given for the second part of the fish name. The fish with the longest name may be the “Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa” (“Rhinecanthus rectangulus”), a Hawaiian fish that’s also called the triggerfish. The fish name, is supposedly the longest word in the Hawaiian language, and could, in fact, be longer than the fish itself. When you’re in Hawaii, ask a local for the name of the state fish, and you may get the other person to pronounce that name. While the idea of a cookiecutter may conjure up happy memories of delicious delight, those who make the acquaintance with a cookiecutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis) won’t have a similar impression, but the name isn’t a misnomer. The cookiecutter shark is a small dogfish who gets its name from its propensity to stealthily attack larger animals, gouge a plug of flesh out of their side, and flee. The wound looks eerily similar to a cookie cutter punch…without the sugar and sprinkles. These are just a few of the many strange names for our finny brethren.

Clownfish

Oyster toadfish

Slippery dick fish

a'a or trigger fish

Humuhumunukunukuāpu

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

Cookiecutter shark

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STA-SEA’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

Sylvan • Oasis Sun Chaser Pontoon Boats

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SEAFOOD AT ITS BEST!

T

riple Tail. Let's get to know these prehistoric-looking fish. They can be found in our warm gulf waters right now, normally floating on the surface of the water. It's easy to mistake a triple tail for floating grass or debris. People believe they have three tails, when in all actuality, it just looks as if they do. They have a large, rounded soft dorsal fin, and their anal fin extends far back on the body, and closely resembles the tail in color and shape, so that the fish might appear to have three tails. The general look of these fish closely resembles that of a freshwater crappie. Triple tail are normally found starting now through about October in our gulf inshore waters. You can find them near floating objects or adjacent to pilings or navigation markers. in our area, they can often be found around the buoys on the crab traps. Triple tail lie on their sides and float lazily near the surface, looking like clumps of leaves or a plastic bag. They have tiny eyes that are very close together, so getting your bait directly in front of them is key. I like to drive past the crab traps and look for these fish floating on the top of the water near the buoys. These fish are lazy and are considered ambush predators. Once I spot them, I turn around, creep up on them, toss my bait past them

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7364 W. Grover Cleveland Closed 2315 N. Sunshine Path Homosassa, FL 34446 Sunday and Crystal River, FL 34429 and reel until I can get my bait right in front of their face. They will eat shrimp, soft plastics, and sometimes even a hard-suspending type lure. You can actually watch them attack. It is one of the most fun fish for me to target, because you can see every move they make. Triple tail in our area are on average about 14 to 20 inches. The minimum size limit is 18 inches. They can be found as large as 3 ft long, weighing up to 30 lbs. Triple tail are incredible because, they can actually camouflage themselves to match their surroundings. The older the fish, the darker they are. Juveniles tend to have more yellow and greenish markings, where the older fish are more of a dark brown, or black color. Triple tail are a delicious fish to eat. They are a little tougher to filet, but definitely worth the extra effort. Even if you are not targeting them for your dinner plate, they make for a great day of fishing, if you are looking to break the monotony. They are very exciting fish to catch, and put up one heck of a fight!

352-628-9588

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Captain Stacy Horak Cell 352-553-3604 Facebook: CaptainStacy Horak Instagram: captain_ stacyhorakfishing Website: www. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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SUWANNEE

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

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6 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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ey everybody, I hope everyone has been enjoying this early spring-like weather we are having. I know the fish certainly have been enjoying it. Between tournaments and charters, I've been staying on the water 5 to 6 days a week, and it has been an absolute blast. So, let's talk warmer water temps. This warmer water temperature has flooded the flats around the Suwannee with more trout than you can imagine. Every charter has had an easy limit of trout between the river and the waters of Cedar Key. The great news is, the silver trout are mixed in the specs, so don't let your five-fish limit of specs stop you from bringing more fish to the dinner table! Now, how are we catching these fun fish? Easy, an old trusty B-52 popping cork with about a 24 to 36inch leader, topped off with a Jim's Jig and 3-inch sea shade. I'm using this combo all over the grass flats, fishing anywhere from 2 to 6 feet of water, and works like a charm. I would also like to point out, I haven't started targeting yet, but I am starting to see tripletail swimming around on the flats as well. So, it's only a matter of time before you start seeing pics of those guys. I want to take a moment to give a big shout out, and thanks to

Groovelife.com, for their amazing sponsorship with our team in the Pro Tournament Fishing Redfish Series. They stepped up and allowed us to fish under Team GrooveLife.com, and it has been a blast to have a title sponsor who makes a product that is great for the everyday outdoors enthusiast. For those who don't know, they make the world's first breathable silicone wedding bands. So, check them out, and next time you’re on the water, in the woods, or just doing something extreme; leave that metal wedding band at home and try out one of their great rings. Well y'all, until next month, stay safe out there and I’ll see you on the water. Capt. Jason Clark In The Slot Fishing www.intheslotfishing.com Capt.jasonclark@gmail.com 352-639-3209 Check out our title sponsor for the Florida Pro Redfish Series!

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STEINHATCHEE

I

find April to be most exciting month of the year for fishing. It’s not just the good fishing, but rather the excitement of what is to come. I liken it to throwing a party, and the anticipation of the guests arriving, and the fun to begin. The sheepshead have already started, but the bite should last until the early part of April. Typical lightweight trout gear with ten to twelve-pound test main line with a twenty to thirty-pound leader— fluorocarbon preferred—and a terminal jig head or knocker rig of proper weight, are the go-to tackle. The lightweight gear puts more fun in the experience. Spanish mackerel will be running amok. If they are exploding bait pods, toss silver spoons or flashing jigs into the fray. Unless otherwise necessary, use a thirty-pound fluorocarbon leader to start. If cutoffs become an issue, twist on a short section of #1 to 2 single strand wire leader. Amateur anglers use store-bought pre-made wire leaders that actually can quell the bit. An Albright knot, and a haywire twist aren’t that hard to learn, and directions for which are graphically demonstrated on the back of the wire package, or You Tube videos. Kingfish will be hot on the tails 8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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of the baitfish and Spanish that trail behind. Though the Spanish mackerel are kin to the king, the king love to eat them, because the Spaniards are high in protein and fish oil. Trolling for kingfish around bait pods, or even blind trolling over hard bottom or structure is productive in this area. You Tube has a plethora of how-to kingfish troll, using large spoons or plugs. I use a blue back white belly tiger striped Rapala CD 18, which best mimics the Spanish they like to feed on. However, there is a double phase option I often use. Folks can cast for Spanish mackerel off the bow, stern or leeward side of the boat, while one or two free-lined live baits— whatever you can catch-- are drifted back from the windward side. The free-lined baits need to be attached to a double hook wire harness with #3 to 5 single strand wire. One “smoker king” will make the day, and enough steaks for all off the grill. Just some ideas to think about. Enjoy fishing however you like. Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

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SUWANNEE RIVER/CEDAR KEY

H

ey there folks, I hope y'all are loving this Spring weather, because the fish surely are! The trout bite in Cedar Key is as good as it gets. The grass is starting to come back great right now and with the water temps rising fast, it will keep growing. Just about all the flats in to 2 to 4 feet, of water will hold fish. Keeper fish will congregate on certain flats that hold the most bait,

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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10 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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so don't be afraid to move around till you catch a few keepers in an area. The B52 Super Sounder corks rigged with a Saltwater Assassin jig are great search baits. Don't forget to pop these rigs, because they rattle for a reason. The redfish bite is getting better every day. The creeks east of Cedar Key are pretty good right now, as the fish are making their move from the holes to the creek mouths. They should be gathering on the points that have good oyster or rocks. Be careful if you decide to head that way, because it is very rocky. The grass points toward Suwannee will also be loading up. Same as to the east, the points that have some oyster on them seem to hold the high numbers of fish. Good luck folks, and like I always say, “Get outside and enjoy what God has made for us.” Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters www.FishCedarkey.com 352-535-5083 | Capt.Jimbo Keith

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CEDAR KEY PADDLING

(352) 493-0878 Fax (352) 493-0879

Val’s Complete Auto Repair Inc. MV#:60926

15 NW 1st Avenue - P.O. Box 1205 Chiefland, FL 32644

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ey everybody! I hope you enjoyed, or are enjoying our Spring break. After a very wet winter, things have finally turned on with the redfish bite, and the trout bite was amazing last month. Let's focus on the where, what, and when with the reds this month. 1. Where do you go? I highly recommend that you look at your target areas with a clear satellite view. Locate your prominent oyster bars with good tidal water flow around them, setting up ambush points for these predators. Locate a number of different spots. After working one for 20 to 30 minutes, you can know exactly where you are going next. 2. What you want to use for tackle? 15 to 20 lb. test power pro green, Jim's jigs with a streaked chunk

of fresh mullet, or live pin fish and or large mud minnow. On top a b-52 or Cajun thunder with fluorocarbon leader, and about a 3/0 circle hook by Owner. Put a live pin fish or minnow under the popper. And if none of those seem to make them hit, which is very rare, have a gold spoon to throw around. Last, but not least; 3. When? As soon as you have enough water on the incoming, and about three hours after high tide, will be your best bite as long as that water is moving. Tight lines and good fishing friends, and please take a kid fishing! Capt. Daniel Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

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352.372.4237 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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M

HOMOSASSA

ixed bag opportunities are plentiful here off the Nature Coast for the month of April. This month is prime for fishing, and just about every species we have to offer is a possibility. From trout, red fish, mackerel, tripletail, cobia, grouper, etc. It’s time to go fishing! Cobia will be making an appearance as April comes around. Keep an eye out when cruising the flats and running by channel markers. I always like to have a stout spinning rod accessible, rigged with a large soft plastic jerk bait, for when a cobia is seen. Lead the cobia by a couple feet, and began aggressively twitching the bait. Be ready for the strike-sight fishing at its finest. Our most popular inshore species, the speckled trout, can be found on the shallow hard bottom areas, near shore rock piles, and spoil islands. For targeting the shallow locations, such as rock flats and oyster bars, I have great success with DOA soft plastic glow colored jerk baits; deadly combo shrimp cork rigs and MirrOlure MirrOdines. The near shore rock piles between Homosassa and Crystal River in 5 to 8 feet of water, will be holding schools of trout as well. The 1/8th oz jig heads, rigged with MirrOlure Lil’ Johns and DOA cal shad tail soft plastics, are a recipe for success. Fish around the rock piles and any cast could bring trout, sea bass, flounder,

grouper, etc. it’s really fun fishing. Red fish can be scattered form the outside points to the back country. It’s best to cover some water until you start seeing fish, as opposed to anchoring, and point fishing. Once fish are located, there will be more and you’ll likely be in the zone. Spoons, jerk baits and select-sized live shrimp will keep the rod bent. Gag grouper season is still closed for taking a fish home for the table. However, there’s so many around, it’s fun to catch, take some pictures and release, and maybe find that new secret spot. Red grouper are another option while running offshore and I suggest targeting the 60 to 70 foot depth range. Remember, red grouper prefer more live bottom, lower profile structures as opposed to gag grouper,, which seem to concentrate on high relief locations. Frozen baits such as threadfin herring and sardines, are good to get bite going, then send down the lively ones. Also, king fish will be migrating through the area as well. While offshore, troll Yo-zuri crystal minnows or mag minnows rigged with a foot of wire leader around your grouper locations. Watch for sky rocketing kings and you’ll know you’re in the right area. As always, feel free to contact me with any other questions about the area. Good fishing! Capt. Dan Clymer 352.418.2160 www.crystalriver-fishing.com

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12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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elcome back yak fans. April is upon us and snook season is open. Our linesided friends have been found up and down the coast these last few weeks. White bait, bomber lures, Mirro dines, buck tail jigs and my old favorite Zara Spook Junior in bone have all been producing fish. The "catch", of course, is finding them when they're in the mood to bite. Yes. The Snook can be a frustrating fish, but well worth a little extra effort. The main trick is to work the most productive time. The first is early in the morning (and I mean, get your bait the night before) not eight-ish. They really seem to go crazy for lures early in the morning, either before or right at dawn, so keep that in mind. The next best time is going to be based on tide flow. Normally, the better the current, the better the bite! Always keep in mind that snook, as well as most game fish, will always face the direction of the flow; so set your presentation with this in mind. An interesting fact that some of you may already know, but I'm to share it anyway, is that back in the day, the snook wasn't considered to be the delicacy that it is today. In fact, early Florida natives consider them to be a trash fish, and wouldn't eat them. They would even go so far as to throw them up on shore to die (trust me, this is all true). The reason was, that the early fisherman

always cooked their catch with the skin on, and the oils in the snook skin ruined the meat and gave it a taste, and back then, the common soap was made with lye, so it must taste pretty bad! It also led to our beloved snook being called the soap fish. You have to wonder who the first guy was to actually filet one, and discover how tasty the snook is. This may seem like Bruce's Believe it or Not, but it's actually true. The snook's range has been slowly moving north over the last few years. I mean, ten years ago you would never dream of going out and targeting a snook this far north. The migration may partially be due to global warming, but it is also due to the many springs that exist on the nature coast, so they have a place to go when the Gulf gets cold. Whatever the reason for the migration, I for one ain't bitchen. I just wish I did more catching! Maybe if I listen to my own advice. I'll do a little better with Mr. Snook. Let me know how you do on my Facebook page and I am always ready to answer any questions, except about my favorite fishing spots. Then I lie, LOL. Until next time, Bruce Bruce Butler | "Stumbling Gypsy" (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters.com Web: www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

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KEATON BEACH

CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

Best Bet April 2019

Charles Dodd and his son Allen with their catch February 23rd.

D

ang! Trout fishing is just “off the chain” as the kids say, with such an incredible “Bite” when it is on. That bite has been on the last hour of the incoming, and the first hour of the flop almost every afternoon this past week. (today is 3/12) We started, last week, with a cold front that pushed the water temps down to 57 degrees; so, we limited out in an hour and a bit throwing Paul Brown’s evils in the #11 pattern. By the next day, the trout had warmed up a bit, seeing 60 degrees by the afternoon. Each successive day we added 3 to 4 degrees to the Gulf water temperature, and by Saturday, some folks were taking trout on topwater stickbaits in 73-degree water. Mostly, the lipped hard jerkbaits were the ticket with the Bite-A-Bait fighters leading the pack. Mark Casteel of Sylvester, GA. was down for his bachelor party for five days at Keaton, and he and his groomsmen caught their limits each day for 5 straight days. Mark also caught great trout and reds on the NEW Skins MiirOdine this week. April will be OUTSTADING! It usually is; as water temps holding in the 70’s bring all the species we expect to see on the flats, out for the party. We already had a shark take half a trout from Bob Hafner, of Perry Fl. fishing with me Sunday. We also saw blues and one Spanish. Trout will attack all the topwater stick baits, and floating baits you wish to throw. Almost everything will draw strikes, and larger sow trout will begin to show up more

often, as they move up into the shallows, to feed for the spring spawn. Concentrate on depths between 3 to 4 feet, once the schools of pelagic baitfish show up from the south. Live pinfish will become the mainstay of bait choice on board One More Cast in April, and we will fish them under Back Bay Thunders with 30 lb. TrikFish leaders. I spool up with TrikFish 10 lb. Game Green line for my live bait rods which are Star Rods model SG817FT76 and use TrikFish X-Rated co-polymer (dark green) 12 lb. line for my artificial bait rods, with a Star Rods model SG614FT70. Trout will not be the only quarry in April, as I mentioned earlier, blues, mackerel, and cobia will be in the mix, and will bite almost any offering you toss out there. Target Spanish Mackerel with Clark Spoons in the size 0 and 00, either trolling the outside 12 to 15-foot edges of the grass, or casting them to schools of baitfish being blasted by the macks. Work the edges of the bait, and reel as fast as you can ‘cause the mackerel are faster! If you are after pure action, rig a short 8 to 10 inch section of Malin # 5, 43 lb. single strand wire in front of your favorite cup-faced chugger lure, prop lure, or simply a stickbait. (here, I would choose a Poppa Mullet, MirrO Pop, and a SheDog; all MirrOlures ) Watch your fingers and use a 5 gallon bucket to take them off the lure (less clean-up later) also easier to find those lost fingers..... Cobia may show up late in the month, but May is more often their best month at Keaton. Keep a small blue crab ready with a 40 lb. outfit handy when ling decide to pop up under your boat. Red fish will begin to show up in greater numbers and please anglers, tossing HEX Intruder weedless spoons in both gold and copper. These reds will also eat jig spinners like Precision Tackle’s Thunder-Spins, Red Daddies and Redfish Magics. I prefer Assassins Sea Shads in Texas Roach, Space Guppy, Copperhead, and Chickenon-a-Chain for my tail choice on my Thunder-Spins.

es, Forest Fishers, it's been a long, long time since the good 'ole glory days. Back then, if someone asked, “Where's the best fishin' out here?", the answer was always “Anywhere". Once water levels dropped, and the prairies dried up, there was so much muck and mud surrounding most lakes, you couldn't launch a boat, or even fish from shore. We are so fortunate that heavy rains from the 2017 hurricane season gave us the boost we needed for the forest to thrive. Since then, our prairies, creeks, and lakes have been full, and they're still holding strong. Last year, I started finding minnows in areas that had been dry for decades. So this year, with our "world of water" once again connected, I've been exploring more than ever. No matter where you go, the amount of bait (frogs, minnows, etc) is unreal this year. I'm happy to report that the bass population has increased dramatically. Loads of small "yearlings" are gorging themselves on minnows along grass lines. You can see the action, and hear the blow-ups from a good distance away. Although those bass are small, their feeding tells you that they're in a

productive area. To target bigger bass, concentrate fishing deep water out in front of the feeding frenzy. Rattletraps and spinnerbaits are most anglers go-to for open water fishing. Tip: Any type of vegetation in deep water is guaranteed to hold fish. Another species that has grown in numbers is war mouth. These scrappy little fighters live close to shallow wood (cypress knees, brush-piles) and strike anything that falls in front of them. War mouth are one of the best eating and most abundant fish in the forest. If a fish fry is your goal, keep covering water and use a cane pole or crappie rod to dip panfish jigs into and around every bit of cover you come to. Bump your jig a couple times; then move it over a bit, and repeat. When you land on a fish, the bite is instant. From what I've seen so far, it's obvious that Mother Nature is making a serious comeback. Every new area I explore is healthy and teeming with life. This truly is a special place, and I'm proud to call it "Our Home".

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

Meanwhile, Let's Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 28 years! www.onemorecast.net onemorecast@gtcom.net 850.838.7541

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SHEET PAN SHRIMP

COOKING DIRECTIONS • Melt butter in small sheet pan or oven safe dish with low sides. • Place lemon slices over melted butter. • Place shrimp over lemon slices. • Lightly sprinkle with salt. • Sprinkle dressing mix over shrimp. • Bake in 350-degree oven about 15 minutes.

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.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined • ½ stick butter • 1 packet dry Good Seasons Italian dressing mix • lemon sliced • Salt

Place shrimp on plates and spoon pan juices over shrimp. Serve with your favorite green vegetable and potato dish. Tonight, I thinly sliced red potatoes, placed in oven proof dish and baked with a little butter and salt and pepper. When almost done, I sprinkled potatoes with grated Parmesan and Panko crumbs and continued to bake until cheese melted, and crumbs browned. This fun shrimp recipe came to my attention some time ago. I put it aside to try sometime, and decided that tonight is that time. Shrimp and three ingredients? Could anything so simple be as good as the recipe claimed? YES, it is delicious! Try it, you will like it. My in-house food critic (Cary) said, “You can make this again.” which is the four-star rating equivalent in our house. You can just eat the shrimp with the pan sauce as we did, or serve over rice, pasta, in a taco shell, or over a green salad. YUM!

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

2019 Presenting Sponsor

Official Entry Form

BOAT ENTRY FEE: Includes 2 Tech Shirts, 2 Free Beer Tickets, 2 free door prize tickets, & One Goodie Bucket. ____ $145 per boat by 3/29/19 ((Earlybird)

Charitable Partner

24th Annual CCBA Family Fishing Tournament April 27 & 28, 2019 Homosassa Riverside Resort (800) 442-2040

____ $160 per boat by 4/25/19 (Regular Entry)

____ Homosassa Slam Opt In-$25 per boat (pays $500 cash) ____ Additional Tech Shirts (2 included) $20 each

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Two tech shirts included (list sizes below included shirts also SXL Sizes are first come, first serve, be specific)

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All participants aboard my boat agree to abide by amended IGFA rules and hold CCBA and all tournament related entities harmless. I also accept full responsibility for their conduct and safety. All changes must be 4 and ALL anglers must be listed before end of Captain’s Meeting on April 26, 2019.

2019

*Based on 150 paid boat entries

2019 Sponsors

CAPTAIN: _________________________________________________ (please print)

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For info call (352) 746-9028

16 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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ST. AUGUSTINE

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OW, is my absolute favorite time of the year to fish in Northeast Florida. Spring weather will bring in the baitfish (mullet, pogies, etc.) and just about every predatory fish will be on the hunt for a good meal. Redfish will still be on the flats in schools, trout will be feeding along the ICW banks, and the drum and flounder will be stacked in the deeper creek holes. Just about everywhere you go, you’re going to run into some good fishing over the next couple of months. We’ve had a warm early Spring thus far, but the redfish are still schooling. Look for the big schools of reds on the lower tide stages (especially on the negative low tides we get, with a good west wind). I like to find flats that have somewhat of a deeper escape route for the fish. A perfect setup, would be a large flat on the edge of the ICW that has a deeper area that drains into the ICW. The fish will absolutely stack up in those “drains”, as the tide gets really low. If live bait is your thing, a mud minnow or live shrimp pegged to a ¼ oz. Saltwater Assassin jighead will be the perfect presentation to the schooled redfish. If you’re going with artificials, I like to use a Saltwater Assassin “Lil Boss” paddle tail on the same jig. Locate the schools by looking for large wakes and/or “muds” that the fish will cause by moving around. Make sure to lead the fish by quite a bit, as they can, and will be a little spooky this time of year. You can also find some big schools of redfish stacked in the creek holes on the same low tides. Push back as far as possible in the creeks, and find that last deep spot; you’re sure to find a few good fish hanging out waiting for the tide to turn. Redfish won’t get all the glory this time of year; it’s also troutski time! Trout will really turn on with the

warming air and water temps. Some of my biggest trout are caught this time of year. Toss your favorite topwater plug at first, and last light along the ICW shell banks for some great big trout action. Once the sun comes up a bit, switch to a sub-surface plug, or your favorite soft plastic on a jighead. The soft plastic and jighead rig account for a good number of trout catches on my boat this time of year. I like to use the twitch-twitchpause retrieval method. The fish usually take the lure on the pause. Target creek mouths on the outgoing tide, and the ICW shell banks, on the incoming. Any kind of rocks, docks, or structure with moving water around them will also be holding some nice trout, and of course, the live shrimp under a popping cork sometimes can’t be beat. April is a great time of the year for black drum in our area. The monster drum (sometimes up to 80 lbs. plus) started to show last month, and there still should be a few around. They can be targeted in the deepest areas of the ICW, and in all the area inlets. A halved blue crab on the bottom is the bait of choice for these big dogs. The big ones will be spawning, so make sure to thoroughly revive them to ensure a healthy release, so they can take care of their business, and keep the drum population thriving. I like to target, smaller “slot” sized black drum in the 5 to 10 lb. range. They can be found schooled in the creek holes and near deeper water structure, such as bridges and jetties. Live or dead shrimp, fiddler crabs, and clams fished along the bottom will all make for some great drum action. Tight Lines!

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his month is the BEST month of the year for surf fishing! The pompano migration is in full swing. This month you can catch them from Fernandina, all the way down to Daytona. They won’t be around long, so go now, and go often. The ideal water temperature is 68 degrees, however, now is the time to go, while the temp is between 65 and 75. Along with the pompano, will be all the other favorites, black drum, redfish, whiting, and bonnet head sharks. You can catch all of these, using a 2/0 Eagle Claw l197 hook. All of these fish will eat a sand flea.

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

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

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However, they can be difficult to catch, so let’s talk about the go-to bait, which is very fresh shrimp. Fresh, never frozen, heads on, local shrimp is the best. Live shrimp, put in a baggie, then placed on top of ice, is a little more costly, but well worth it. They don’t have to stay alive, just fresh. Clams, fresh or frozen, will produce; they’re just harder to keep on the hook. Blue crab knuckles work well also. Here is a link to a video I did on crab knuckles. http://howto dof lorida.com/ episode/shrimping-surf-fishing/ baiting-with-blue-crab/ Whether the tide is incoming, or outgoing, you want your bait on the sand bar, if you’re targeting pompano or whiting. My favorite tide is the outgoing, when the swells first start to break on the bar. These waves stir up all the natural bait that’s out there. Sand fleas, donax clams, and small crabs, get flushed out of the sand by the wave action. Then, the fish rush up on the bar and feed on them. That’s why you want your bait on the bar. Hope this helps. See you on the beach!

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FLORIDA WATER BOUNDARIES

HOW FLORIDA’S SALTWATER FISHING BOUNDARIES CAME TO BE

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hen you are on a boat, it’s hard to imagine boundaries. The sea is the sea. Wave after wave, it all looks the same. Above-water landmarks are few and far between. There are no signs that say, “NOW ENTERING FEDERAL WATER”. Regulatory boundaries are sometimes hard to fathom. In Florida, one of the biggest fishery management boundaries is that between state waters, where the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) makes the regulations, and federal waters, which are mostly managed by federal fishery councils and NOAA Fisheries, with input from FWC. Sometimes regulations are the same in both state and federal waters, but not always, which is why it is important to know there is a line, and where that line is. Florida is the only state where that boundary shifts, depending on which coast you are on. State waters in the Atlantic, extend out to three nautical miles, while in the Gulf they extend out to nine nautical miles. “Why”, as many people ask? “How did this come to be?” State boundaries in open waters of the United States first began to be defined in the 1940s, mainly due to concerns about rights for oil beneath submerged lands. In a 1947 case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against California, saying the federal government possessed rights in all submerged lands of the Pacific seaward of the low-water mark. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled similarly against Louisiana and Texas. Congress reacted by creating the Submerged Lands Act of 1953. This act declared that states owned the submerged lands, and the natural resources within, out to three geographic miles. The act included a provision that a state’s boundary could be extended if it was beyond three geographic miles from the coast, prior to when statehood was achieved. Florida immediately asserted their boundary went beyond three geographic miles, before it achieved statehood in 1845, and that Congress approved its boundary when Florida was readmitted into the Union after the Civil War. The claim did not make it to the Supreme Court until 1960, where it was proven that Article I of Florida’s Constitution (1868), which was approved by Congress, described

the boundary off Florida’s Gulf Coast as “three leagues from mainland.” Florida’s Atlantic coast boundary was settled at three geographic miles from shore. One nautical league is equal to three nautical miles, therefore, the “three leagues from mainland” is equal to the nine nautical miles we manage in the Gulf today. For fishery management purposes, federal waters extend from where state waters end, out to about 200 nautical miles (less so in areas where our waters butt up against other country’s waters such as in the Caribbean). Federal waters are also known as the Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ. For more on the history of this nation’s boundaries, visit NauticalCharts. NOAA.gov/data/us-maritime-limitsand-boundaries.html. For those interested in measurements, while we use nautical miles today, you may have noted that the original language used geographic miles. There’s really not much of a difference between the two. A geographic mile is slightly longer than a nautical mile (a geographic mile is 6,087.08 feet and a nautical mile is 6.076.11549 feet), but the difference between nine geographic miles and nine nautical miles is less than 100 feet. Another interesting tidbit comes from the creation of the three-mile limit itself, which sources say, stems from how far a cannon ball could reach when fired from land. It is also said, that due to the earth’s curvature, three nautical miles is how far it is to the horizon. For fisheries management, we’ve created many additional boundaries throughout the years. We have species-specific management zones for fish such as red drum, and FWC manages some species in both state and federal waters. We take into account many different aspects when creating these boundaries, including differences in fish populations, fishing practices and stakeholder needs. There may not be signage, but it’s always important to know where you are. State/federal boundary lines are marked as the natural resource line on NOAA nautical charts, and these lines are also preloaded on most marine GPS units. Need a map? Check out our maps page at MyFWC.com/Marine

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By Amanda Nalley

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by clicking on “Recreational Regulations” and “Fisheries Maps.” Have a question about marine fisheries regulations? Want to know more about catch and release? We are here for you. Send your questions, photos and fishing tales to Saltwater@ MyFWC.com. Make sure your photo meets our photo requirements by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater” and “Submit a Photograph” under “Get Involved.” Don’t forget to record all of your catches on the iAngler phone app or at www.snookfoundation.org/data. html, and learn how to submit your catches and get rewarded through our Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs at CatchaFloridaMemory. com.

The quarterly, Gone Coastal column, is one of many ways that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Marine Fisheries Management is helping recreational anglers understand complex saltwater regulations, and learn more about saltwater fishing opportunities and issues in Florida. We are also available to answer questions by phone or email anytime, and we would love the opportunity to share information through in-person presentations with recreational or commercial fishing organizations. To contact the FWC’s Regulatory Outreach subsection, call 850-4870554 or email Saltwater@MyFWC. com.

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If you have a suggestion for a distribution location for COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE, please let us know. We can be reached at 352-372-4237 or Crutch@CoastalAnglerMagazine.com. You can view all forty-plus magazines in the US, including the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands, at www.CoastalAnglerMagazine.com.

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World-Class Fishing For The Working Class By Craig Sutton

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ebruary 2019 was one of the busiest months is the history of FishingNosara. Our five-boat team ran 119 charter trips, and we’re stoked to report big catches and big smiles! The 32-foot flagship Wanderer led the pack with 29 trips… in a month that only had 28 days. With multiple double-half days and only two days off, Master Capt. William cemented his legacy as the most active captain in all of Central America. Capt. Carlos on the big battleship Discoverer was also burning the candle at both ends with 24 trips run. Clients reported excellent bluewater action, highlighted by a sweet double sailfish release. Check blog.fishingnosara.com for tons of great photos of all of our catches. The pangas Harvester, Explorer and Adventurer continued to blitz the bluewater beasties with a combined 65 trips and lots of amazing scores, including a bucket-list caliber roosterfish released by angler Jack Herzlinger and Capt. Fico.

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Even though the fishing in Costa Rica is world-class, FishingNosara is celebrating 10 years of serving anglers from the working-class. We never set out to serve multi-millionaires, but instead provide authentic Costa Rica fishing experiences for regular folks. A great example of this mentality is our 27-foot super panga Explorer. Launched in 2011, this barroom brawler proves that you don’t need a big boat to catch big fish. We started with a basic panga-style hull and bolted on all the top-notch sportfishing tools (tuna tubes, split consoles, radar arch, Humminbird xD bottom machine, Yamaha outboard), then loaded her up with Shimano Tiagras and Penn International reels. Last month, the Explorer had a banner day on Feb. 3, with angler Brendan Champagne and his group nabbing a wide variety of species. A 40-pound roosterfish release headlined a day that also included a super sailfish release. Then the barroom brawler headed to the meat market. The first fillets in the basket came from several nice dorados, and later in the afternoon it was yellowfin tuna time. Adding to the fillet diversity was an awesome cubera snapper. Five major species caught on a $650 8-hour trip. I challenge anyone to provide better bang-for-your-buck fishing than is offered by the 27-foot super panga. Excluding marlin, this trip featured pretty much every major species in our fishery. It was all in a day’s work for Capt. Fico, Mate Elias, and the versatile Explorer. April is shaping up to be busy, with lots of trips already scheduled and more to come. We expect the fishing to stay strong as we barrel into the 2019 Ship of Fools tournament in the beginning of April. The white-hot summer action is already booking up, with limited availability remaining for the insane June-August bite. If you have been reading this report for a while and waiting for the right time to visit, stop reading and call ASAP at 904-591-2161 so we can make your fishing dreams a reality.

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cil determined that the buffer between the catch limit and catch target could be reduced to 9 percent. If all that sounds too complicated, what it means is NOAA has loosened the harvest regulations on Gulf red snapper. The total 15.1 million pounds catch limit is allocated with 51 percent going to the commercial sector and 49 percent going to the recreational sector. The recreational sector is further divided among a private component, which is allotted 57.7 percent of the recreational total and a federal for-hire component, which is allowed 42.3 percent.

NOAA Increases Catch Limits For Gulf Red Snapper

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Seasons & Limits Bag limit is two per person, with a 16-inch minimum length. Federal Permitted For-Hire Season: June 1-Aug. 2.

ith 2018 assessments indicating that red snapper are not being overfished in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA Fisheries published a final rule to increase commercial and recreational catch limits and recreational annual catch targets for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. The rule also reduces the stock annual catch limit for west Florida hogfish. Both parts of the rule will go into effect April 4. The Gulf states are responsible for setting their own private red snapper seasons. Commercial and recreational red snapper catch levels and targets will be increased by more than 1 million pounds. Catch targets are levels below the catch limits that account for management uncertainty. For the recreational sector, catch targets were developed to reduce the likelihood that the recreational sector exceeds its catch limit. The red snapper recreational fishing seasons are projected to harvest the catch targets. Initially, catch targets were set for the recreational sector and its components at 20 percent below the catch limit. Because the federal for-hire component has never exceeded its catch target, the Gulf Coun-

States set their own seasons for private anglers. Florida—June 11-July 12, a fall season will be considered if quota is available. Alabama— Fridays through Sundays, June 1-July 28, including Thursday, July 4. Mississippi— May 24-Sept. 2, with a mid-season July 8-July 28 closure. Louisiana—TBD. Texas—Year-round in state waters. Hogfish The 2018 assessment for west Florida hogfish produced catch levels that were lower than projections from the previous assessment. Although the new west Florida hogfish catch limits are lower, the Gulf Council did not recommend any further management action because landings in recent years have not exceeded the catch limit and the minimum size limit was recently increased from 12 to 14 inches fork length, which should reduce harvest. The rule allows for increases in 2020 and 2021.

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CR Electronics’ new next-generation ResQLink Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) is the latest evolution of the world’s best-selling PLB. Incorporating first-hand feedback from survivors who activated the beacons in emergencies, the new ResQLink 400 and ResQLink View PLBs introduce user-friendly design innovations and enhanced functionality to provide a range of adventurers with a trusted and affordable link to rescue in a life-threatening situation. The ResQLink View with Optical Display Technology provides even more peace of mind to outdoor enthusiasts. The screen displays all the beacon’s operational activities, including GPS coordinates, operating instructions, usage tips, transmission bursts, as well as battery power. Compact, lightweight and easy to carry, the new ResQLink beacons feature a protected activation button located away from the test button, multiple wearable mounting options including a belt clip and oral inflation clip for easy access in an emergency, and an easier-to-release anten-

na enclosure. All the new design changes were suggested by members of the ACR Electronics SurvivorClub free beacon replacement program. The PLBs also include a new infra-red strobe light in addition to the ultra-bright strobe light to assist rescue crews using night vision. Made in the U.S.A. and approved by the FCC, the new PLBs offer the same exceptional power and reliability expected from ACR products. ResQLink PLBs utilize three integrated signal technologies—GPS positioning (Galileo and GPS GNSS), a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability—to quickly and accurately relay the user’s position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites at the push of a button. Using the next-gen network, anyone activating a ResQLink PLB can expect their beacon to be located within 100 meters (328 feet), 95 percent of the time, within five minutes of the distress signal. The ResQLink series does not require any subscription but must be registered with the country’s national authority. Optional subscriptions for testing are available via ACR’s patented 406Link.com technology. Mikele D’Arcangelo, Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Management for ACR Electronics, said: “A personal locator beacon is a vital part of any safety kit for boaters, hikers, climbers, hunters, snowmobilers and all outdoor enthusiasts. As safety and survival specialists, ACR Electronics has been at the forefront of beacon technology and we will continue to innovate and listen to feedback so that our customers can always rely on our devices in an emergency.” Featuring built-in buoyancy, the ResQLink PLBs have an operating life that exceeds 24 hours. Ideal for carrying in a pocket, backpack or attaching to a life jacket, the ResQLink View PLB weighs just 151g, while the non-display ResQLink 400 weighs 148g. Both measure 4.52 (L) x 2.03 (W) x 1.49 in (D). ACR is also introducing the option of new ResQLink Skins. Different styles, including a “camouflage” version will be available for users to apply to their beacons while still meeting regulatory color requirements. The new ACR ResQLink 400 PLB is available for $299.99. The ACR ResQLink View PLB is available for $349.99. For more information, go to www.acrartex.com.

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Reel in the memories. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is a fisherman’s paradise. Ocean, lake and river ecosystems are home to more than 800 species of fish, from the ever-popular sailfish and snook to largemouth bass and perch. Forget your gear? Visit one of

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arch 9 was a magical day fishing out of St. Augustine aboard the 62’ Viking, Free Spool. Led by Capt. Ryan Leary, the team caught and released 43 sailfish to set a single-day record for St. Augustine Inlet. They caught all their sails about 45 miles ESE of St. Augustine. (Above) Joining the captain on the deck of the Free Spool beneath 43 flying release flags are: owner and angler Rob Rowe and mates Justin Roe, Chris Pakerinen (AKA CPak!), and angler Dalton Hegdus.

Martin’s many bait and tackle shops or outdoor retailers. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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B NPS photo by Yasmeen Smalley

illed as the biggest lionfish tournament in history, the 2019 Emerald Coast Open will be held in conjunction with FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival in May. The tournament kicks off May 16 with a mandatory 7 p.m. captain’s meeting at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar in Destin, Fla. Harvest days will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 17-19, with the weigh-in scales closing at 11 a.m. on May 19. Cash, gear and other prizes will be awarded in Most Lionfish, Largest Lionfish and Smallest Lionfish categories. Northwest Florida has the highest concentration of invasive lionfish in the world, and spearfishing is currently the primary means of controlling them. Lionfish pose a significant threat to native wildlife, and tournaments such as this one promote awareness of the problem while also increasing har-

vest of these invaders. Since Feb. 1, teams of lionfish hunters have been competing in a pre-tournament and had killed more than 1,000 lionfish leading up to the main event in May. But there are still plenty of lionfish out there on the reefs. Registration is $100 per participant, with teams consisting of up to four individuals. FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival is May 18-19 at AJ’s and HarborWalk Village in Destin. The Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Bring your friends and family for an amazing festival and learn about lionfish, taste lionfish and check out lionfish products. There will be many family-friendly activities including art, diving and marine conservation booths. Learn how to safely fillet a lionfish and try a lionfish dish at a local restaurant. Have fun listening to live music and watching the tournament weigh-in and awards. Learn why lionfish are such a big problem and what you can do to help! For more information go to emeraldcoastopen.com and follow the Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival on Facebook.

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Tim Barefoot

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here are several ways to make this double tackle, but one simple knot makes a wonderful, heavy-duty presentation. Some folks refer to this as a “high/low rig,” and you can call it anything you want, but for the sake of this article I’ll just call it a “double tackle.” To start with, consider the fish you are targeting and choose the correct size fluorocarbon for the leader. You can tie this knot in almost any size fluoro up to 80- or 100-pound. A rig like this is extremely effective on quite a few species and gets a lot of “reaction strikes” due to the multiple offerings presented and the erratic action of the baits. Using a heavier jig on the bottom keeps the lighter jig, streamer fly or unweighted soft plastic in place. It’s less likely to foul and makes the action more erratic, which draws the instinct strikes. The darting action resembles a scared or confused baitfish, which is irresistible to predatory fish, and the trailing bait is an easy target. These are the baitfish they have been programmed to eat since birth. It makes perfect sense, as they exert less energy to catch disoriented baitfish than those swimming perfectly in open water. There are two primary considerations when choosing the poundage of the fluoro leader material, water clarity and quarry. After choosing the correct size jigs and fluoro, it’s time to determine the lengths of the two legs of the rig. I start with about a 4- or 5-foot length of leader and make a 10- to 12-inch diameter loop in the center of the leader. This is typical for smaller inshore or freshwater fish, but can be made larger and longer for larger fish and jigs for a variety of offshore fish. Next, make eight turns with one of the tag ends through the 1-foot diameter loop. Find the center wrap of the tag end and separate it large enough to pass the 1-foot diameter loop back through (as shown in the photo).

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Shot Placement Sheri Daye

W

hen you watch experienced spearos, you will notice they are relaxed in the water, they don’t take long shots, and they make it look easy. You will also notice they have a high percentage of kill shots. That is because they are disciplined and practice good shot placement. Perfect shot placement means you achieve a kill shot, also called “stoning the fish.” In other words, the fish is instantly put to sleep, lifeless as a stone. There’s a multitude of reasons to strive for this shot. For one, a kill shot is the most efficient and humane way to dispatch a fish. With a head shot, the fillets will be in better shape, with no holes, blood marks, or chance of bacteria entering the meat (from a gut shot). Also, the fish does not have a chance to struggle and bend your shaft, or worse yet, to get off the shaft. There are added safety benefits to stoning a fish. You will avoid ringing the dinner bell for sharks attracted to a struggling fish. Also, a live fish has the potential of tangling on the bottom or around you, so a dead fish makes for a much quicker and safer extraction. Finally, if you quietly put the fish to sleep, you won’t spook other fish in the surrounding area, giving you and your buddy a chance at more fish. To stone a fish, the shaft needs to hit the brain or spine. The ideal shot is a quartering shot from above and behind, hitting the spot where the lateral line meets the brain. This sweet spot is at the top of the gills and behind the eyes. Of course, the closer you can get to the fish, the higher the likelihood of proper shot placement.

Here’s more tips for achieving kill shots while spearfishing: 1. Refine your diving/stalking technique so you can get closer to fish without spooking them. 2. Don’t rush the shot, take your time and try to get a more accurate shot.

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3. Buy a good quality speargun and make sure your shafts/floppers are in good shape (not bent). 4. Practice hitting an underwater target, such as a weighted foam fish or net. Try shooting from different distances so you know your range versus accuracy. Don’t take “iffy” shots. 5. Take the time to study fish anatomy and examine them at the Sheri Daye fillet table. shows what good shot There are excepplacement tions to the rule. For on cubera example, when taking snapper looks a long shot on a spooky fish with a narrow like. body, such as a wahoo, you might want to aim for “center mass.” Otherwise, take the time to learn one of the most fundamental rules of spearfishing—that is, good shot placement! Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

For more Sheri Daye go to,

CAMSPEARFISHING.COM

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3/18/19 11:18 AM


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FROM SHIP TO SHORE

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

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SEA EAGLE SUPCAT 10 SeaEagle took the concept of an SUP and created a whole new type of inflatable fishing craft that is extremely versatile for anglers on the go. With two rock-solid inflatable side pontoons, The SUPCat10 is an incredibly stable platform to stand and fish or paddle from. For those who prefer to move faster, it can be equipped with either an electric or small gas outboard and reach speeds up to 8mph. From the trunk of your car to the water, the SUPCat10 sets up easily in less than 10 minutes. With the Wheels Up/Wheels Down feature, it’s possible to cart your boat and all your gear down to the water, flip the wheels into an upright position and paddle or motor away. Features include: Four Scotty gear mounts, two Scotty rod holders, nonslip EVA foam deck pads, 360-degree swivel seat, built-in fish rulers, multiple D-ring attachment points, removable rear motor mount and four grab handles. It’s an exceptional little fishing boat no matter how you choose to propel it.

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FIGHT! Full Variable Speed Control Powerful Brushless Motor Retains Handle Function Digital Line Counter Auto Stop, 12/24VDC Compact & Sleek Design

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Sailfish Boats’ new flagship center console, the 360CC, is the largest, most feature-rich boat in the Sailfish family. The 360CC is on the leading-edge of center console design. Like all Sailfish Boats, the 360CC features Sailfish’s unique Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) Hull design, offering a smooth, stable ride, even in rough seas. Their exclusive VDS Hull features three distinct running surfaces. The first section is a 24-degree dead rise that cuts through the water. This is the most aggressive angle used in the fishing boat segment. The second section is 23 degrees, and it provides lift and allows air under the hull, producing a softer ride with less friction for better performance and fuel economy. This lift allows you to reach the same speed without requiring as much horsepower as other boats. The third section is 22 degrees, and it provides stability needed for slow trolling or stopped positions. The hull and deck are both reinforced with Kevlar and carbon fiber, and built using the SailTech foam-filled fiberglass stringer system and SailTech composite full length transom. Sailfish has been expertly engineering center consoles, dual consoles, walkarounds and bay boats for nearly 40 years. They range from 19’ to 36’. With reliable outboard power from Yamaha or Mercury, and their exclusive VDS hull design, the Sailfish 360CC delivers a smooth, safe ride, even in the roughest offshore water. The all-new 360CC Center Console is a fitting addition to the Sailfish lineup. It epitomizes the Sailfish legacy of building high quality and expertly engineered boats that are fishing focused and family friendly.

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A rarity in its class, the 360CC is built using three-piece construction and cored hull sides, providing a rigid platform that allows for maximum cockpit space with abundant, built-in under-gunwale storage. Onboard, you will find an amazing array of innovative features and options, including a built-into-the-hardtop articulating cockpit shade, pressurized circulating bait wells, vented sunroof, and a spacious captain’s berth.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

EXPERIENCE THE


TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER Why Do Hooked Fish Get Off?

B

BRANDON LESTER

ass get away for two basic reasons: the hook coming out of their mouth and line failure. If you can keep those from happening, you’ll land the fish. Sounds simple right? Well, it is and it isn’t. To keep these from happening, you’ve got to have the right combination of hook, line and rod… and then you must use them all properly. Let’s start with the hookset. If the hook isn’t properly buried into the fish’s jaw, it is obviously easier for it to come out. The hookset is predominately a factor of the right hook paired with the right fishing rod. You generally want to use the biggest, sturdiest hook and the heaviest power (basically its stiffness) rod the particular technique and lure will allow. And you’ve got to learn to set the hook as hard as your equipment will allow you. Watch the hooksets of pro anglers on the Bassmaster television show. We do not mess around. The hookset is powerful and fast. The biggest challenge with matching hook and rod power is learning how big you can go with your equipment and still present the bait properly. You’ll get more bites using smaller hooks and lighter line, so you can’t always use the heaviest equipment. Pay close attention to the bait and lure weights that rods are rated for. I

build all my rods with blanks and supplies from Mud Hole Custom Tackle (www.MudHole.com). All of their blanks come with that information included. Winn Grips are a must on all my rods, as they ensure a proper grip on the rod for that big hookset. A good quality hook is one that penetrates a fish’s mouth and stays there until you get your hands on the fish. The sharper the hook, the better it penetrates into the fish’s mouth. Once there, the hook has to be strong enough to not “flex” or open up. A flexing hook takes pressure off the bass and allows him to pull off during the fight. A lot of baits come with cheap hooks that will flex even on the first fish. Lesser-quality hooks will often become dull very quickly, too. Not all hooks are made the same. Mustad is the world’s No. 1 hook seller, and it’s No. 1 for a reason. Fortunately for us bass anglers, years ago Denny Brauer and Kevin VanDam got together with Mustad’s engineers and designers to create the basic hooks needed specifically for bass. Mustad hasn’t stopped improving the line of hooks either. The Big Bite worm hook is a hook I helped them develop. In many countries, they don’t use a separate term for “fish hook.” They simply call it a “Mustad.” In a future article, we’ll discuss fighting the fish and the importance of choosing the right fishing line. Until then, go fishing and work on that hookset!

For more on Lester visit,

FISHINGMAGAZINE.FISHING

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35 PM

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MARK SOSIN There is a lesson to be learned. Shortly before he vaulted to stardom on the largemouth bass tournament trail countless years ago, Rick Clunn discovered that he spent so much time searching for magical techniques and secret lures that he almost lost sight of the basics. When he paused to reflect, he realized there were no curealls or panaceas that applied to any type of fishing. The answer centered on a more simplified approach. It suddenly became apparent that almost all bass tournaments were won by somebody who used a spinnerbait, plastic worm or a crankbait. It didn’t matter where the contest was held, who fished it and won, or what time of year it happened to be. Armed with that valuable bit of information, Rick decided to change his own fishing style and substitute simplicity for the complex techniques he clung to in the past. It occurred to him that if he learned to fish these basic lures with equal skill, he should be able to catch fish anywhere. Some of us have a tendency to insist on making fishing much more complicated than it actually is. If fish were that hard to catch, few of us would ever be successful. Impatience and lack of confidence force many anglers to search frantically for solutions that just don’t exist. These fishermen would do better if they learned one or two techniques thoroughly.

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Certainly, there will be times when their basic method does not produce, but over the long run they will catch more fish. My late father never heard of Rick Clunn, nor did he ever fish competitively for anything. Over many years, he fished for countless species in freshwater and salt, always limiting his approach to a few basic lures or some simple bait. When he finally retired and moved to Florida, his lure of choice was a small, yellow bucktail which he could fish better than anyone I ever met. His tackle box became the two side pockets on his jacket. A handful of bucktails were in his right-hand pocket and some leader material in his left pocket. There’s one other facet to Dad’s thinking worth following. He always insisted that the law of averages held the key to success. Those who insist on specializing on a particular species of fish or seek one of an extra large size are missing out on a lot of fun. All you have to do is keep casting and catching. The law of averages will eventually produce trophy fish for you as well as species that seem important. If you’ve been seeking a way to catch more fish on every outing, try this simplified approach that worked for Rick Clunn and my father. Many of the leading anglers of our time depend on it, and it just might turn the trick for you.

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

H

ave you ever wondered why your buddy fishing next to you is catching more fish when you are both using the same lure? Chances are it has to do with the way he’s retrieving his lure that entices fish to strike. What is the first thing you do when the fish are not biting? Most people immediately change lures. If that doesn’t work, the next step is usually to move locations, only to work the lure the same way when it clearly was not producing. You must try working a lure several different ways before ruling it out as ineffective. Here is an example. One chilly morning I was throwing a Controlled Descent Jerk Shad set to sink very slowly. It had a rattle in it. Since the water was in the mid 50s, I concentrated on an area that was 3 or 4 feet deep with a soft silty bottom. I started out keeping my lure near the bottom and working my rod parallel to the water. The lure was basically suspending 6- to 18-inches off the bottom with a side-to-side motion. This is a proven technique in similar situations; however, I didn’t get a strike. After some time covering the area with that technique, I changed my retrieve and worked the same area with the same lure. I started to twitch my lure slowly to the surface, almost as if it was climbing stairs, but very slowly. Since this lure had an extremely slow sink rate, it would almost suspend when paused after

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“climbing a few steps.” Once the lure reached the surface, I would let it slowly sink back to the bottom and repeat. I started to catch solid trout up to 6 pounds when the lure would almost reach the surface. Later that day, I fished a different spot with similar conditions. I was working the lure the same way that had produced earlier, and I was getting some very light bites once the lure would reach the bottom. The fish would pick up the lure and swim off, or at times they would swim toward me and I never really felt the strike. I landed a couple but missed and lost many more. Since they were definitely on the bottom and not really aggressive toward the slow-moving lure, I changed it up. Since I had a rattle, I started vigorously shaking my rod tip to make the lure rattle and twitch on the bottom without a lot of forward motion. This was most likely stirring up some silt, as well. This erratic action enticed the trout into a more instinctive strike. I began getting very aggressive strikes and landed every fish that hit. I never changed lure color, style or weight all day. Had I simply switched lures like most people do and worked them the same way as I started, I might not have caught anything. Try changing your retrieve before tying another knot. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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