Coastal Angler Magazine | September 2022 | North Central Florida Nature Coast Edition

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FREE FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE COASTALANGLERMAG.COMVOLUME 27 • ISSUE 330 SEPTEMBER 2022 PHOTO COURTESY OF CHERLYN ARNOLD IG: @SLAYHERLYN @CAMTAMagazine FREAKYFISH Monster Florida THE QUEST FOR ROYALTYGAMEFISH SNOOK NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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Drop Shot Gear: Picking the right setup for a drop shot doesn’t have to be too difficult. I like a rod around 7 foot with a medium or a medium heavy action like the 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’1M. Pair up a 3,000 sized reel with some 10lb. Seaguar Smackdown braid and a 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website www.tylerwoolcottfishing.com.at

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TYLER WOOLCOTT DROP SHOT FOR FINICKY FISH

There are a few different styles of baits you can use on the drop shot, depending on what your fish are feeding on. This is what I usually base my bait and color choices off of. I usually throw a small finesse worm like the 13 Fishing Joy Stick Ultra Thin or a baitfish-style bait like the 13 Fishing Vertigo minnow. Both baits are small in size and can really pick up some bites when the fishing is tough.Bait color is important, but I like to keep things fairly simple. I typically throw a green pumpkin or a black-and-blue worm style bait. For the baitfish-style lure, I stick with whites or natural baitfish colors. Remember, you are trying to be as finesse as possible to trick a bass that’s not hungry into biting, so something simple and natural will excel. This technique has worked wonders for me all across the country. From down South in Florida all the way up to New York, bass eat this rig up everywhere. Next time you’re on the lake and the bite is tough, downsize your presentation and drag a drop shot around. It will pick up a few more bites.

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The water can be a little warm this time of year, and it makes bass finicky. When the bite gets tough, a drop shot flat out gets bit. It catches fish everywhere I go, and every angler should have the technique in their arsenal.There are a few reasons a drop shot can out-perform other techniques this time of year. The first of these is because of how versatile you can be with it. I have thrown a drop shot around rock, wood, grass and even in completely open water. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass will all pick up a drop-shot rig, so it’s a great option regardless of what part of the country you fish or what species you target.Another factor that makes this technique excel when other things aren’t working is it’s effective on heavily pressured and sluggish fish. Sometimes getting these fish to bite calls for light line and a smaller profile bait. The dropshot rig consists of a fluorocarbon leader leading to a hook of your choosing then, below the hook, about 12 inches of line tied to a drop shot weight on the end. This creates a rig that keeps your bait up off the bottom and drives finicky bass crazy.

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“They’re not smart fish. If they’re turned on, they’re going to eat. If they’re not, it may be five hours before they do,” he said. “But there’s going to be 30 to 40 minutes on the tide when those snook are eating. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into it. If one is interested, they all are.”

Agiant snook should be on every angler’s bucket list. They’re big, they’re strong and they’re aggressive. Southern Florida boasts the most prolific snook fisheries in the world, and Capt. Patrick Smith, of Swamp to Sea Guide Service, operates in the heart of one of the best. Swamp to Sea fishes throughout Palm Beach County up to Stuart, Fla. At times, the snook fishing can be so good that the prospect is almost mundane for Capt. Smith. “If I’ve got clients who want to catch the snook of a lifetime, we’ll go out to the inlet and let them catch one or two. Then we’ll go do something else,” he said. “It’s cool to check a big snook off the list, but light tackle is moreCapt.fun.”Smith’s nonchalance about catching snook 35 to 43 inches long and up to 25 pounds is an attitude geared toward conservation of a species he loves. When big females congregate in the inlets to spawn around the full moons of summer, they are easy targets for anglers armed with big live baits like perch and croakers.

Throughout the summer, snook are catch-and-release-only to protect spawning fish. On the Atlantic side, snook harvest opens Sept. 1, with a 28- to 32-inch slot limit. Capt. Smith said the spawning pattern lasts well into September most years, but the big females are over the slot and must be released, anyway. He is more concerned with the beatings these fish take all summer long. His solution is to limit the number of fish he targets and to gear up heavy. Smith fishes 10,000 size reels on 50- to 100-lb. rods. He runs 80-lb. braid to a 60-lb. fluorocarbon leader and locks down the drag. The weakest link is an 8/0 thin wire circle hook, which is easier on the fish but must be changed out Heavyfrequently.gear combats a big snook’s propensity for bulldogging into structure. It also shortens the length of the fight to lessen the likelihood of fish succumbing to exhaustion or sharks. Smith said these large spawners can be 25 years and older. He urged anglers to handle them carefully for release and never to hold them vertically by their mouths.Ifyou’re looking for a snook to eat, there’s plenty of opportunity for that also. Between the moons some of the snook spread out to the bridges, docks and deep holes. The smaller, slot-sized males become more interested in feeding. Also, the mullet run will kick in toward the end of September. When mullet schools show up, everything from the fish to the anglers switch over to chasing bait. Contact Capt. Patrick Smith through his website www.swamptosea.com.

By Nick Carter

Before the Transition

As always, the jetties are a favorite. The high current and cooler Gulf water attract every fish species that swims in our bays and nearshore waters. It’s not uncommon to catch some offshore fish there as well; it happens every year.

Although the temps are still high, you can have a successful day on the water if you modify your techniques. Remember to apply sunblock before you leave the dock, wear appropriate protective clothing and drink plenty of water. Stay safe and have fun!

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

The Texas heat and drought are one for the record books and can make a day on the water unpleasant if you plan to stay much past noon, but there are some methods to help you be productive until things start to cool off. Many of the estuaries that were impacted by the floods are some of our deeper bay systems, and that is a good thing this time of year. Heading out early will greatly increase your odds and give you more time on the water while it is cool, relatively speaking. I have found these bays have been forgotten by some, and they’ve never been fished by those new to our sport, which makes for less crowds on the water. I target the deeper reefs in the upper stretches of the bay near the rivers. Locating new washouts can also pay off, and those are not on the maps or public knowledge, so doing a little recon before you head out on each trip can make for a more productive day.

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Work with what Mother Nature gives you. Here on the upper Texas coast, we’ve had about seven years of excessive rainfall which, in general terms, made some of our bays unfishable for most of that time. Due to excessive fresh water, those of us who like to fish where the tributaries enter into the bays had to seek new areas where the salinity levels were suitable for speckled trout. This year, things are back to normal, and we need to relearn old patterns and work with what Mother Nature is giving us.

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Although I prefer lures over bait, success rates lean toward live shrimp or finfish this time of year. Depending on conditions, these can be free-lined, Carolina rigged, or fished under a loud popping cork. A free-lined shrimp tossed near a granite jetty is a good bet on any day. Stepping away from the live version, cut mullet or shad can be winners for a big pull from a red, black drum or shark. A circle hook Carolina rigged on the bottom can entice those large predators to strike. This is a great method if you have kids aboard.

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

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n September, with the famed mullet run in full swing, big bull redfish will be following schools of mullet and feeding heavily. It’s one of the best times of year to hook up with a bull red, and my favorite place to target them is in the Sebastian Inlet. Red drum, more commonly known as redfish, are a familiar species to most saltwater anglers. With beautiful coppercolored scales fading into a white belly, their distinctive mark is an eye spot at the base of the tail. Catching a red with multiple black spots is a true honor for many inshore and nearshore anglers. This eye spot is not merely a decoration, it also serves as a defense mechanism to confuse predators into thinking a redfish’s tail is its Reds can be found on the coasts of Mexico all the way to Cape Cod, Mass. Their habitats can vary widely due to redfish being euryhaline, which means they tolerate a wide range of salinity. Redfish are typically a nearshore species, meaning they can be found in estuaries, bays, mudflats, oyster beds and off of beaches. Young redfish prefer estuaries, where there is an abundance of prey as well as protection from larger predators. Once they reach about three years old, they tend to move off of the beaches into coastal areas. Once redfish reach maturity, at three or four years, they begin spawning. Their spawning season usually takes place from mid-August to mid-November; however, this may vary due to temperatures and other factors. Redfish usually congregate to spawn near or inside tidal inlets or fast-flowing water to ensure as many eggs as possible are fertilized. Males produce a drumming sound to attract females by contracting their muscles to vibrate their swim bladders. Females produce one-half to two million eggs per season. Most eggs do not make it to the safety of bay areas. During the mullet run, large schools of redfish follow migrating mullet. The easiest way to target these fish is to drop a live mullet below the main school of mullet. If you’re specifically targeting bull reds, you’ll want to give it a go at night. Drifting large chunks of ladyfish on an outgoing current will almost always produce a large fish. Occasionally, you will come across large schools of redfish feeding on the surface at the mouth of the inlet on an outgoing tide. When this occurs, use topwater plugs, swimbaits and large jigs. In the backcountry around the mangroves, gold spoons, live shrimp and small crabs work best.

The IGFA world record redfish weighed in at 94 lbs. 2 oz. It was caught off the North Carolina Outer Banks in 1984.

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Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 51 IGFA world records in various categories. She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part time Bowfin Guide Service as well as fishing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her on Social Media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors.

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Artificial reefs initiate the development of natural, thriving habitats for various species of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life, such as smaller organisms that are vital food sources for other marine species, with the overall goal to create an ever-evolving ecosystem while enhancing fisheries and improving water quality.

T hose looking for some new numbers to fish off Mexico Beach now have them thanks to CCA Florida, Duke Energy and the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association. In May, the organizations teamed up to deploy four 38,000-pound and four 5,000-pound artificial reef modules off Mexico Beach. They are calling the new honeyhole “The Duke Energy/CCA Florida Reef.” The eight reef modules were deployed by Walter Marine at the prepermitted Sherman Site, an area known for attracting red and gray snappers, amberjack, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, gag grouper and cobia. These specific reef structures, ranging in height from 8 to 25 feet, provide greater habit diversity while attracting fish and appealing to recreational anglers. The reef site is located offshore 11 miles west of Mexico Beach at approximately 29º 55.384, -85º 40.765.

New Artificial Reef Deployed Off Mexico Beach

“Improving and creating sustainable fisheries, coastal habitats and waterways is CCA Florida’s purpose,” CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski said. “Today’s reef deployment is an extension of that commitment and also of our partnership with Duke Energy – signifying our mutual dedication to protecting Florida’s marine habitat for today and generations to come.”

“Duke Energy Florida recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship and the economic benefit it provides to the communities we serve,” Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president said. “We are proud to invest in CCA Florida’s work with the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association to bring this new artificial reef to Mexico Beach, a win for marine life, local anglers and outdoor enthusiasts along Florida’s West Coast.”

For more information, go to ccaflorida.org.

Since 2018, CCA Florida and Duke Energy have released more than 110,000 redfish along Florida’s Gulf Coast in effort to relieve the declining population. The Duke Energy/CCA Florida Reef deployment is an expansion of its collaboration and symbolizes its continued dedication to enhancing Florida’s marine habitat and expanding fishing opportunities for local anglers.

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E verything offshore will start to notice when water temps drop a little at the end of the month, and even more obvious will be shorter daylight hours. All the fish we pursue will start thinking about one of three things: spawning, gorging to fatten up for winter or migrating back south. I’m most concerned with the grouper/snapper complex and the wahoo, so this puts my fishing in overdrive for the next few months. Groupers and snappers will be hot as a firecracker until after Christmas. Wahoo fishing will be at the peak by then as well. Another species I like to stay tuned into are the beeliners (vermillion snapper). When you stay in touch with these guys, you pretty much stay in touch with everything, because everything out there loves to eat a beeliner. The full moon is going to be on Saturday, Sept. 10. This will be a good time to spend the night at the break and have the livewell full to fish just before dawn. Beeliners will chew hard during this full moon, and the bite will shut down as soon as the moon disappears on the western horizon. If you can keep the bright lights going all night, the squid and the biggest, fattest beeliners will be readily available for the taking. When you have these two things gathered up in mass, you definitely have the wahoo and grouper there also. This is a good reason to keep the light line out with a fresh squid or a Boston mackerel just past where the light disappears into the dark water.

The only problem is the kings are there too. You may like to catch kings, and I apologize for that last sentence, but if I catch a king, it’s accidental. A lot of folks don’t even consider fishing at night, and certainly not fishing the light line at night, but it can be extremely effective for wahoo and kings. The first wahoo I ever caught from an anchored boat was at night, and it was a heck of an experience. We saw the fish swim under the lights, and I quickly put out a live beeliner. The beeliner swam away from the boat, and just as he got to the dark water, we saw the bite. I was instantly addicted to this style of bottom fishing and light lining versus just trolling for wahoo, tuna and dolphin. Dolphin will not eat at night, normally, but the night bite for tuna can be good. The stack of beeliners is the main thing I’m looking for as a good starting point for a place to fish. Gags and scamps will definitely go with the food (beeliners) until the beginning or middle of October. Then the gags will leave the beeliners to migrate inshore in search of cigs and sardines and to spawn. For more information, see www.barefootcatsandtackle.com.

8 FLORIDA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM2 LOCATION JUNE 2020 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

Tim Barefoot

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The South Atlantic fishery seems to be in a situation similar to what the Gulf fishery faced a few years ago. Following years of ridiculously short red snapper seasons to rebuild the stock, anglers on the water report red snapper so thick that it’s the only species they can catch. These fish must be released, despite the high likelihood they will succumb to pressure-related injuries. Ultimately these discards count against fishermen.

“Now, on top of a short red snapper season, it is our understanding that there are discussions about broad area or season closures of all bottom fishing to stop red snapper encounters altogether,” reads the letter. “This decision would be crippling economically for our states that rely heavily on our coastal Legislatorseconomy.”havecalled on NOAA to hold off on area closure consideration until data from the ongoing South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count can be considered. Results of this study, which began in 2021, are expected by 2025.

It’s worth noting that last year’s data from a similar study, the Gulf of Mexico Great Red Snapper Count, indicated there were up to three times as many red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico as the numbers federal managers were using to make management decisions. On that note, Gulf legislators are not pleased with how “more accurate” state data is being calibrated into the “fundamentally flawed” MRIP data that federal managers have used to set regulations for years. The “data calibration framework” included within proposed rule changes would result in reductions of the state annual catch limit for some states and increases for others. State annual catch limits would increase for Florida and Louisiana by 100,000 and 50,000 pounds, respectively. Texas’ limit would remain the same, while Alabama and Mississippi’s limits would decrease by 586,000 and 95,000 pounds, respectively.Theproposal would also increase the overall red snapper overfishing limit from 15.5 million pounds to 25.6 million, while increasing the acceptable biological catch from 15.1 million to 15.4 million. That might sound pretty good for anglers; however, legislators pointed out that this would reduce allowable catch from 97 percent to 60 percent of the sustainable limit.

“By requiring the states to calibrate their more accurate—and NMFS certified—catch data to an outdated and fundamentally flawed MRIP, NMFS has failed to find an effective solution and is not making decisions based on the best available science while refusing to appropriately integrate the new data,” reads a letter from legislators. For more information on the continued political wrangling over red snapper, visit coastalanglermag.com.

Here we go again. The hubbub over federal management of red snapper seems never ending. Most recently, Southeastern legislators penned a letter asking NOAA to suspend consideration of area closures in the South Atlantic. Meanwhile, legislators from states on the Gulf of Mexico are pushing back against new proposed federal regulations. Both groups contend the federal government is not using “the best available science” in management decisions.

10 FLORIDA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM2 LOCATION JUNE 2020 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

W e’ve talked a lot in this column over the last few months about lures that help achieve long-distance casts. Now, I’d like to cover the rest of the equipment that will help you cast farther and reach more fish.The first key element is the rod. When it comes to casting for distance, you want a fast-action rod. This is true if you are a surf angler, a boat angler targeting fast-moving tuna, or an inshore angler targeting shallow-water reds and trout that are easy to spook. The more flexible your rod is, the less momentum it will impart to the lure. Make sure your blank is stiff. Rod blanks come with a lure weight range. Most of the time the optimal lure weight for casting distance is between 1/2 and 2/3 of the weight the rod is rated for. So, for a 2- to 6-ounce rod rating, the best weight for long casts is typically 3 to 4 ounces. A rod rated for 3/8 to 1 ½ ounces usually casts farthest with a 3/4 to 1 ounce lure. Choose a rod that matches the lures you’ll be throwing. The rod handle is also a big deal when it comes to distance. For a spinning rod, you want the length of a forearm, plus a fist, between the reel seat and the butt of the rod. Length gives you leverage, but you don’t want it to be too long. For surf-casting rods, about 1 ½ times the length of your forearm seemsHigh-qualitybest. guides also make a big difference in how far you can cast. Typically you’re going to have to spend more for quality guides, but consider it an investment that results in consistently longer casts.

LURES PATRICK SEBILE ROD, REEL AND LINE FOR DISTANCE

Proper guide placement makes a difference, as well. On some rods, the first guide is too close to the reel and/or the legs holding the rod to the blank are too short. This creates an angle at which the line hits the guide and adds drag to the line and lure. This simple detail can reduce casting distance as much as 10 percent. If you find a rod you really like, but the first guide is not seated properly, consider moving the guide. On the reel side, I prefer a slightly conic spool that dumps and winds line evenly. That is pretty much all you need from a reel dedicated to long distance. For line, stick to braid for its smaller diameter. I prefer braid with a smooth finish without coating. When distance is what matters most, do not hesitate to drop 25 to 50 percent lighter line than what you would normally use. For example, 40-lb. braid is common when surf fishing for striped bass. If you need longer casts to reach the fish, it is worth dropping to 30or even 20-lb. test. If you’re using a heavy lure, tie in a shock head 50 to 100 percent stronger to absorb the impact of the cast.

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

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The blade is full tang, meaning it doesn’t stop at the handle but extends to the length of the grip for the ultimate in strength. The blade is made from 420 surgical steel, famed for its sharpness and its resistance to corrosion.

The handle is made from genuine natural bone, and features decorative wood spacers and a hand-carved motif of two overlapping feathers— a reminder for you to respect and connect with the natural world. This fusion of substance and style can garner a high price tag out in the marketplace. In fact, we found full tang, stainless steel blades with bone handles in excess of $2,000. Well, that won’t cut it around here. We have mastered the hunt for the best deal, and in turn pass the spoils on to our customers. But we don’t stop there. While supplies last, we’ll include a pair of $99 8x21 power compact binoculars and a genuine leather sheath FREE when you purchase the Huntsman Blade. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in your hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the impeccable craftsmanship. If you don’t feel like we cut you a fair deal, send it back within

30 days for a complete refund of the item price. Limited Reserves. A deal like this won’t last long. We have only 1120 Huntsman Blades for this ad only. Don’t let this beauty slip through your fingers. Call today! Stauer… Afford the Extraordinary .® Full tang stainless steel blade with natural bone handle —now ONLY $79! BONUS! Call today and you’ll also receive this genuine leather sheath! Not actualshownsize. 14101 Southcross Drive W., Ste 155, Dept. HUK831-01 Burnsville, Minnesota 55337 www.stauer.comStauer ® *Discount is only for customers who use the offer code versus the listed original Stauer.com price. California residents please call 1-800-333-2045 regarding Proposition 65 regulations before purchasing this product. Rating of A+ Bad to the Bone -aEXCLUSIVEFREEStauer®8x21CompactBinoculars$99value-withpurchaseofHuntsmanBlade Huntsman Blade $249* Offer Code Price Only $79 + S&P Save $170 1-800-333-2045YourInsiderOfferCode:HUK831-01 You must use the insider offer code to get our special price. •12" overall length; 6 ¹⁄2" stainless steel full tang blade • Genuine bone handle with brass hand guard & bolsters • Includes genuine leather sheath What Stauer Clients Are Saying About Our Knives êêêêê “This knife is beautiful!” — J., La Crescent, MN êêêêê “The feel of this knife is unbelievable...this is an incredibly fine instrument.” — H., Arvada, CO

the last few months about lures that help achieve longdistance casts. Now, I’d like to cover the rest of the equipment that will help you cast farther and reach more fish.

The first key element is the rod. When it comes to casting for distance, you want a fast-action rod. This is true if you are a surf angler, a boat angler targeting fast-moving tuna, or an inshore angler targeting shallow-water reds and trout that are easy to spook. The more flexible your rod is, the less momentum it will impart to the lure. Make sure your blank is stiff. Rod blanks come with a lure weight range. Most of the time the optimal lure weight for casting distance is between 1/2 and 2/3 it to be too long. For surf-casting rods, about 1 ½ times the length of your forearm seems best. High-quality guides also make a big difference in how far you can cast. Typically you’re going to have to spend more for quality guides, but consider it an investment that results in consistently longer casts. Proper guide placement makes a difference, as well. On some rods, the first guide is too close to the reel and/or the legs holding the rod to the blank are too short. This creates an angle at which the line hits the guide and adds drag to the line and lure. This simple detail can reduce casting distance as much as 10 percent. If you find a rod you really like, but the first guide is not seated properly, consider moving the guide. On the reel side, I prefer a slightly conic spool that dumps and winds line evenly. That is pretty much all you need from a reel dedicated to long distance. For line, stick to braid for its smaller diameter. I prefer braid with a smooth finish without coating. When distance is what matters most, do not hesitate to drop 25 to 50 percent lighter line than what you would normally use. For example, 40-lb. braid is common when surf fishing for striped bass. If you need longer casts to reach the fish, it is worth dropping to 30- or even 20-lb. test. If you’re using a heavy lure, tie in a shock head 50 to 100 award-winning designer of innovative lures and fishing gear. Check out his creations at abandofanglers.com. The very best hunting knives possess a perfect balance of form and function. They’re carefully constructed from fine materials, but also have that little something extra to connect the owner with nature.

12 FLORIDA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

ECS CUSTOM RODS

Okuma’s new Salina spinning reels are lightweight, ready for battle, and designed for inshore and offshore duty. These reels are constructed of Okuma’s LITECAST body material which is 15 percent lighter than die cast aluminum. They are built for everything from light inshore to heavy offshore, and they’re perfect for high-speed vertical jigging or all-day casting.The Salina features a 6HPB +1RB corrosion-resistant stainless-steel ball bearing system with a full grease pack and waterproof seals. Salina’s Hybrid Carbonite and Japanese felt Dual Force Drag system puts out over 33 pounds of drag. With Okuma’s HDGII: High-Density Main Gear and precision machine cut brass pinion gear, you will get a smooth retrieve cast after cast. Okuma also uses a machined aluminum, screw-in handle arm with a machined aluminum twotone anodized ball handle knob. The three larger size reels feature a manual bail trip Therefunction.aresix models of Salina. The 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000 size reels feature high-speed 5.8:1 gear ratios. The 8,000, 10,000 and 14,000 size reels feature standard gear ratios of 5.4:1. All models have an interchangeable screw-in handle system that can be changed from left to right-hand retrieve. For more information on Salina Spinning reels, visit your local retailer.

New Okuma ECS Custom rods are designed for the harsh environment east coast fishermen face daily. They are constructed with a hybrid 24ton carbon and e-glass blank that features Okuma’s UFR-II: Ultimate Flex Reinforcement rod tip technology for the ultimate in lifting power. With spinning, casting and trolling rods, the new ECS Custom series will adorn the back of your boat nicely. There are two spinning rods in the lineup with a 6’ Heavy and 6’6” Medium Heavy. Three casting rods for live bait and bottom fishing come in 6’ Heavy, 6’6” X-Heavy and 7’ Medium actions. There are also two trolling configurations. Two rods feature Roller Stripper and Roller Tip. These rods come in a 6’4” Medium Heavy and 6’ Heavy action. The other two trolling rods feature all roller guides and are both 6’ Heavy and X-Heavy actions. With the brute strength and drag-ripping speed anglers see on the east coast, Okuma went with only high-end components on the ECS Custom rods. All spinning and casting rods feature ALPS deep press 316-grade stainless steel guide frames with zirconium inserts. Models with All Roller Guides feature ALPS RX Series Rollers as well as Sea Guide Neptune Adjustable Rod Butts. All ECS Custom rods feature machined aluminum, anodized rod gimbals. For more information on ECS Custom Rods please visit your local retailer.

OKUMA

SPINNINGSALINAREEL OKUMAFISHINGUSA.COM

Coastal Angler

Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Magazine

ALACHUA, MARION, COLUMBIA, GILCHRIST, BRADFORD, DIXIE, LEVY, CITRUS Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District North Central Florida/Nature Coast COASTAL ANGLER Cary & Lynn Crutchfield INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe North Central Florida Nature Coast Staff SALES Cary Crutchfield EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy Capt. Jason Clark Capt. Katie Jo Davis Capt. Andrew Fagan Capt. Jonathan Hamilton Capt. Tony Johns Capt. James Kerr Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Brent Woodard CONTACT INFORMATION crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com352-542-0356 SEPTEMBER 2022 EDITION Find OutdoorsYourHere! Welcome September and fall, my favorite season of the year! Last September, we had already been visited by a couple of hurricanes and our river was rising. So grateful that we have not had a hurricane (yet?) this year. Keep your fingers crossed.Seepage 2 for this month’s recipe Foil Packet Shrimp Scampi with Arugula. It is delicious and can’t get much easier. Put it on the grill or in the oven and there is very little cleanup! See page 11 for additional info about White Oak Creek Lodge in Eufaula, Alabama. Sounds like fun? Here it comes again, if you aren’t Covid vaccinated, it isn’t too late to change your status. I just want you to stay well and alive. Our five-year-old granddaughter got her first vaccination the day after she turned five. I am so proud of her. She didn’t even cry. She started kindergarten the middle of August. Congratulations to all the new kindergarteners.Thankyou,John Freeze for this month’s beautiful scenic photos. As always, please thank our advertising partners and the folks where you picked up the World’s Greatest FREE Fishing Magazine.

of North Florida/NatureCentralCoast SEPTEMBER

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

Preheat a grill to medium or oven to 450 F. Lay out four 20-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil on a work surface. Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil in a large deep skillet. Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until pliable but not cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl using tongs, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss well. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water and toss well (reserve the remaining cooking water). Add the shrimp, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, red pepper flakes and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and toss. Divide the pasta mixture among the foil sheets. Drizzle evenly with the wine and 1/2 cup more pasta cooking water total. Top each with 2 tablespoons butter. Bring the two short ends of the foil together and fold twice; fold in the sides to seal, leaving a little room for steam to circulate. Grill the packets seam-side up until puffed and the shrimp and pasta are fully cooked, 10 to 12 minutes. If using oven, bake about 15 minutes.Carefully open the packets and add 1 cup arugula to each. Toss to wilt slightly. Sprinkle with the parmesan and serve with lemon wedges.

Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida Kosher salt 12 ounces linguine or pasta of your choice 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

beautiful Kings Bay while you enjoy your delicious, freshly prepared meal, watching manatees, dolphins, pelicans and boats. Or, you can carry it home; your choice. Open Tues-Thurs 10:00-5:30, FriSat 10:00-8:00. 201 NW 5th St. Crystal River 352-795-4700.

COOKING DIRECTIONS

• 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated • Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes • 1/4 cup dry white wine • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter • 4 cups baby arugula (about 2 ounces) • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese INGREDIENTS 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 DIRECTIONS TIDES • North Central Florida SEPTEMBER 2022 CEDAR KEY Time Height Time Height Time Height Time Height 1Th 5:22 AM 4.1 12:06 PM 0.6 6:17 PM 3.6 2F 12:05 AM 1.4 5:58 AM 4.2 12:58 PM 0.6 7:18 PM 3.3 3Sa 12:44 AM 1.7 6:39 AM 4.3 2:01 PM 0.6 8:37 PM 3.0 4Su 1:33 AM 2.1 7:31 AM 4.2 3:20 PM 0.5 10:19 PM 2.9 5M 2:45 AM 2.3 8:41 AM 4.2 4:44 PM 0.4 11:49 PM 3.0 6Tu 4:14 AM 2.4 10:05 AM 4.2 5:58 PM 0.3 7W 12:55 AM 3.2 5:33 AM 2.2 11:25 AM 4.3 7:02 PM 0.1 8Th 1:40 AM 3.4 6:41 AM 1.9 12:36 PM 4.4 7:53 PM 0.1 9F 2:16 AM 3.5 7:38 AM 1.5 1:37 PM 4.5 8:37 PM 0.2 10Sa 2:48 AM 3.6 8:28 AM 1.1 2:31 PM 4.5 9:15 PM 0.4 11Su 3:16 AM 3.8 9:14 AM 0.8 3:20 PM 4.4 9:49 PM 0.7 12M 3:44 AM 3.9 9:58 AM 0.6 4:07 PM 4.2 10:21 PM 0.9 13Tu 4:11 AM 4.0 10:41 AM 0.5 4:53 PM 4.0 10:52 PM 1.2 14W 4:39 AM 4.1 11:23 AM 0.4 5:38 PM 3.7 11:21 PM 1.5 15Th 5:09 AM 4.1 12:06 PM 0.5 6:25 PM 3.4 11:52 PM 1.7 16F 5:41 AM 4.1 12:51 PM 0.6 7:17 PM 3.1 17Sa 12:24 AM 2.0 6:18 AM 4.0 1:43 PM 0.8 8:21 PM 2.9 18Su 1:04 AM 2.2 7:03 AM 3.8 2:49 PM 1.0 9:48 PM 2.8 19M 2:06 AM 2.4 8:04 AM 3.6 4:10 PM 1.0 11:13 PM 2.9 20Tu 3:39 AM 2.4 9:31 AM 3.5 5:24 PM 1.0 21W 12:15 AM 3.0 5:02 AM 2.3 10:55 AM 3.6 6:23 PM 0.8 22Th 12:59 AM 3.2 6:07 AM 2.0 12:02 PM 3.8 7:09 PM 0.7 23F 1:32 AM 3.4 6:59 AM 1.7 12:57 PM 3.9 7:47 PM 0.7 24Sa 2:00 AM 3.5 7:44 AM 1.3 1:44 PM 4.1 8:21 PM 0.7 25Su 2:25 AM 3.6 8:24 AM 1.0 2:27 PM 4.1 8:52 PM 0.7 26M 2:49 AM 3.8 9:02 AM 0.7 3:07 PM 4.1 9:24 PM 0.9 27Tu 3:12 AM 3.9 9:39 AM 0.5 3:49 PM 4.1 9:55 PM 1.0 28W 3:38 AM 4.1 10:19 AM 0.3 4:34 PM 3.9 10:28 PM 1.3 29Th 4:07 AM 4.2 11:01 AM 0.2 5:22 PM 3.7 11:01 PM 1.5 30F 4:40 AM 4.3 11:47 AM 0.1 6:16 PM 3.5 11:38 PM 1.8 HERNANDO BEACH High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min KINGS BAY High Tide 2 hrs, 20 min Low Tide 3 hrs, 7 min HOMOSASSARIVERENT High Tide 4 hr, 30 min Low Tide 5 hr, 41 min HORSESHOE BEACH High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min CRYSTAL RIVER High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min WITHLACOOCHEEENT High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min SUWANNEE ENT High Tide 6 min Low Tide 18 min STEINHATCHEERIVERENT High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

FOIL PACKET SHRIMP SCAMPI WITH ARUGULA (SERVES 4)

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

As scientists continue to warn us about the inevitability of sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion, we will surely see diminishing numbers of fish and shellfish in our waters. If small fish and shellfish can no longer find food and habitat protection in fewer healthy estuaries, we will all suffer. We must protect the longneglected mangrove trees, marsh grasses, and seagrasses that protect our coasts and the many unseen creatures living in their midst. What a great place to see nature in the wild, and to begin to appreciate how rich our waterways are from such parts of our

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3 Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Grass flats near Cedar Key Red mangroves off Florida coast Mangroves A great blue heron in an estuary Large bird on a bird house in a Florida swamp

Estuaries FLORIDA WATERWAYS

One of the unheralded maritime treasures our country, including Florida, has, is the estuary. A place where salt water from the sea meets fresh water from a river or other waterway, may seem like a marsh to place.suchdependsofoftheuninitiated,thebutwell-beingthousandscreaturesonarichManyboaters,from those in yachts, to those in canoes, can be seen in the estuaries. And wise fishermen have known for centuries how rich those waters are for catching all kinds of fish. A special thrill for me and many others is to sit quietly along our North Florida rivers, and just watch the millions of gallons of fresh water rushing by down to the Gulf or Atlantic, knowing that those waterways will greatly enrich the estuaries at the end of the Estuariesrivers.also protect our fragile coasts from storms, by dissipating the force of powerful winds, incoming tides, and storm surge. Some have compared estuaries to rainforests in terms of benefit to our planet.Mangrove forests with their long, extended roots coming out of the water, provide much protection for invertebrates and fish. While it is true that extensive coastal development has destroyed many of those forests, enough remain to continue their invaluable service to our fishy friends. The ability of the mangroves to do well in salt water, is matched by the cleansing of polluted water that runs off theLittleland.by little, coastal stewards are warning us about forces out to destroy those estuaries, whether those building nearby roads or diverting drainage ditches or over-fishing or discarding plastic bottles and other pollutants. On each of our two coasts, North Florida has some fabulous estuaries, including the area from Fernandina Beach down to Daytona Beach and from Pensacola to Tampa. With some 850 new residents a day moving into Florida, we have to be very careful to preserve what has been on our coasts for thousands of years. What we have learned from the past, for example in the bulldozing of ancient Native American mounds to extract road-building material is that, once those long-existing parts are gone, they are gone forever.

By Kevin McCarthy

Captain Katie Jo

September is all about the snook fishing on Florida's Nature Coast! These fish are now being called the "Nature Coast Predators" because they're so prevalent in our waters. The snook fishery in this area is now so strong that targeting them has become every angler’s list for catch of the day. In the fall, I like to target these fish using a Rapala Xrap SXT10 or SXT-12 with 40 lb. leader. For live bait, a large mud minnow on a float with a 2-to-3-foot leader works great. Cut ladyfish on the bottom, in a large enough chunk to keep the catfish away, also attracts these large, beautiful fish. The large redfish will continue to stack along the west points of islands and rocky areas, where a large shrimp provides them a tasty meal. I ensure that I jig the shrimp rather aggressively so that the fish hits the shrimp on the fall.

www.fishcrystalriverflorida.comDavis772-882-8932KDOUTDOORSFISHINGCHARTERS

4 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM KATIE JO’S NATURE COAST ADVENTURES

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 5

CEDAR KEY

6 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 420 Dock Street Cedar Key, FL info@steamerscedarkey.comsteamerscedarkey.com352-543-514232625LikeusonFacebook! We will cook your catch. We serve fresh local Cedar Key oysters and Tryclams.our delicious Gator. We get it directly from the Gator Man himself. Happy Hour Miller$2.50Monday-Friday3pm-7pm2-4-1Wells1/2PriceWineBudLight,Lite,Yuengling We also offer apparel and promotional items. SIGNS BANNERS Copies Fax Forms Letterhead Envelopes Business -WeddingInvitationsNewslettersBrochuresCards&More&GraduationCome see us at our new location between McDonalds and NAPA - 1517 North Young Blvd. Hey everybody; let me start by saying, that if you have never tried Four Horsemen Tackle's popping corks out, you are missing out. These are by far the most durable and beat sounding corks I have ever used. The fish seem to agree as well! Y'all, flounder have been thick! I know they aren't the best fighting fish out there, but what they lack in strength, they make up for in taste. With every fish providing four fillets, there's a lot of taste to go around.Idothings a little different when I rig for flounder. I like the idea of using mud minnows under a cork, with a leader long enough to touch bottom, and a jig head just heavy enough to keep a minnow down. I hook through the bottom lip and out the top. This forces the minnow face down, and that tail up flapping around. When you pair it with a cork, it allows a little more of the current to drag the minnow around, and gives you the opportunity to pop the minnow around, potentially trigging a redfish or snook in the area to take notice. Well, y'all I hope this helps you out with your search for flat fish. Until next month stay safe out there.

Capt. Jason Clark In The Slot Fishing www.intheslotfishing.com352-639-3209Charters

September is a transition month; as the days are getting shorter, the average daytime temps will be dropping. These two things are major indicators to the wild critters who roam the lands and swim in the waters, that Fall is right around the corner! If you look closely, you will begin to notice changes in the feeding patterns of animal. Primarily, you will notice that they will be feeding more often and for longer periods. This is a response to their internal clocks, signaling them that winter is on the way! You will also notice fish schooling up more often and in larger schools, as this makes them more efficient in catching their prey! This is really true for the speckled trout, who have just completed the final segment of their annual summer spawning season and are looking to fatten up before Winter.Ifspeckled trout is your preferred species, then the Autumn/Fall season is a great time for you! At the beginning of September with water temps in the mid 80s, the trout will still be hanging close to the deeper, cooler water. The offshore grass flats like the "Spotty Bottom" and the scattered grass to the North, are great trout locations (weather permitting) this time of the year. A bonus when fishing out there, are the pelagic species that will be starting their migration South, including Spanish and king mackerel, along with cobia and quite a few sharks! When fishing out there you can drift or anchor up. While chumming is not very popular in my area, it can be a big plus out there, especially if you anchor up! I like to use a ⅜ or ½ ounce jighead out in this deeper water (8 to 14 feet) paired up with FishBites Fight Club Lure 5 inch Dirty Boxer. I catch more fish on the lighter colors like Hammer Fist and Haymaker. If you are looking for a bait to float back in your chum slick, I will use a weighted worm hook, 1/16 ounce and the same Fight Club Lures free lined back with the chum. The redfish, just like the speckled trout know that Winter is coming and likewise will be feeding more often and for longer periods. In September with bait everywhere, finding the right bunch of bait will be critical! I will use a search bait like the ole tried n true Gold Spoon, and a variety of topwater plugs when "prospecting" a school of bait. When I want to add scent to my presentation, I will switch to a vibrating jig or inline spinner bait, paired with the FishBites Fight Club Dirty Boxer 5 inch curly tail, I use all eight colors. It just depends on conditions.Don'tforget to use a stout leader when fishing inshore; each year we are catching more snook and larger snook! Until next time be safe and Catchemup!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 7

Captain Tony Johns | 352-221-2510

Facebook:www.lowersuwanneriverfishing.comInstagram:captaintonyjohnsLowerSuwanneeRiverFishingAdventuresorCaptainTonyJohns

SUWANNEE

It was an international day when I had a family on board who are originally from Israel. Kobi, Guy and Eli. While the fishing was not that good, everyone had a great day!

Christine Jones from the St Pete area of FL. This nice overslot red, ate a FishBites Fight Club Dirty Boxer 5-inch curly tail under a Popping Cork.

8 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM HISTORIC PUTNAM15487LODGENWUS 19/98 Cross City, 352-440-0414FL Located in Dixie County, your destination for fishing, scalloping, hunting, kayaking, birding, and Much More! Luxurious Hotel Rooms Rooms start at $130.00, Suites $220.00. RV Park opens Summer 2022 Fine Dining. Fabulous Steaks. Beautiful Dining Room. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 5 till 9 pm Special Events, Destination Weddings, and Corporate Retreats www.PutnamLodge.com "ALL YOUR NEEDS ARE COVERED" at the Marine Treated Lumber, Timbers & Poles Boat Lift Needs: Motors, Cradles & Hardware Dock Hardware: Cleats, Ladders, Pile Hoops & more Gangways, Floats, & Floating Docks Vinyl Seawall Panels, Corner & Tie-back Systems Galvanized and 316 Stainless Steel Hardware Composite Pilings and Piling Repair Jackets Boat Trailer Parts Hand Tools & MUCH MUCH MORE! Marine & Lumber Supply Store, LLC 352-542-8389 Krystal@themarinesupplystore.com 19750 SE HWY 19-Old Town, FL www.themarinesupplystore.com32680 Store Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00-5:00, Sat: 8:00-12:00 Heb. 10:24-25

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 9

HORSESHOE BEACH

throughout the day will be your best bet.The trout bite has been very hot, or very cold for me, but good news is, once again, things should get better from here on out. I’m throwing the usual four horsemen popping cork with a ¼ oz. jig head for these guys. Definitely running some pretty long leaders right now, and even fishing the bottom on some of these bigger tides. I find myself using a lot of glow, white, and green colors. Scallops can still be found if you’re willing to work for them and the silver lining is, the ones you find are big this time of the year. I truly wish our scallop season was much shorter like it was when I was younger. Hope everyone had a good summer!! Also, I want to take a quick second to talk about storms with hurricane season ramping up. Guys and gals, please be careful on the water. These storms can come out of nowhere. Always try to think ahead and have the right safety equipment. Let a loved one know your plans. Until next time keep it reel native Captain Brent Woodard Reel Native Fishing Charters ReelNativeFishing.com352-284-5514

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

September can line up to be some of the best fishing, especially towards the end. We still have a lot of fish who haven't begun to migrate. So if the water temps start to drop, it can line up to be some really good fishing. Otherwise, it will get better from here on out. Redfish are starting to school up, so they might be a little harder to find. Just know, when you catch one, give the spot a little more time. Top water is king in the morning, then rotating spoons and paddle tails

The hot water has slowed down the trout, but not shut them down. We caught some great fish, just not catching limits in August. Live pinfish under Back Bay Thunders is the ticket to success, as the floating grass makes it tough, tough, tough to do much else. Four to six feet has been out best depths and you must look for some stained water for results in these dog days of summer. A few reds have been mixed in with the trout and I expect that to improve greatly in mid to late September.Ourtrout this year, seem to only want the smaller, less than 4-inchlong pinfish. I suppose, due to the tremendous amount of small (this year class) pinfish, which are about everywhere you stop to fish. Trout, as do most fish, imprints on the size of baitfish (food) it sees the outside of that average size. Thus, the old adage “match the hatch” (on a freshwater trout stream). Fish Gold and Copper weedless spoons; I use Precision Tackle’s Hex spoons in the 1/2-ounce size to search for shallow water reds.

Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 30 onemorecast@gtcom.netwww.onemorecast.netyears!cell:850.838.7541

FISH ‘Gold’ on rough windy days and ‘Copper’ on clear and calm days. TIP: Keep your rod tip up at a ten O’clock angle to your hands, and remember to bow to the strike and bump the bottom every third or fourth turn of the reel handle, or you are fishing (reeling) too fast. Maybe we will cool off a bit by late September? Meanwhile, Let's Go Fishing!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 11

KEATON BEACH

Dawn Prietz of Mariana, Fl. with a fine red taken in late July

Boat with someone you can trust. 15066848 Hugh Cain 800-882-9304Allstate Based on coverage selected. Subject to terms, conditions, availability & qualifications. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co. © 2015 Allstate Insurance Co. www.WhiteOakCreekLodge.com • 334-585-6644 Crappie Fishing - Lake Eufaula, AL Fishing Guide David Paulk Check out David Paulk Fishing on Facebook FIRST check out our website, then call Mack Paulk, 334-701-8820 www.WhiteOakCreekLodge.comFinestAlabamaFairChaseHunts Now BookiNg for 2022-23 SeaSoN www.WhiteOakCreekLodge.com • 334-585-6644 Crappie Fishing - Lake Eufaula, AL Fishing Guide David Paulk Check out David Paulk Fishing on Facebook

September is here, and so is the beginning of fall! I love this time of the year. We are on the downhill slide of the year, which brings shorter days and longer nights, which means cooler water. Water temps should start trending down and that’s when we get back into that sweet spot of the perfect combo.

CRYSTAL RIVER

HOMOSASSA

12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

-Stump Capt. Jonathan www.captainjhamilton.com352-403-2073Hamilton

Hello from Crystal River. The bite here in Crystal River has been great and the big reds and snook have been really good. It’s been hot, but you can still catch some good fish if you watch the tides and fish early or late. Big reds have been showing up everywhere; just look for the mullet and you will find them. We’ve been using live pin fish, shrimp and even some mud minnows. When the tides move fast, I’ll use shrimp on the bottom. When it’s hot, the reds usually won’t chase a fast bait. Also, a fresh cut mullet is always a good choice, either on a circle hook or even a 1/8 oz jig. Snooks season is open here, and remember the slot is 28 to 33 inches and one per person. While targeting snook, I like the very top of the incoming tide, and the beginning of the outgoing. A DOA jerk bait is always a good choice or the biggest pin fish you have. Trout fishing will start to fire up soon, so start looking for them. I look for bait fish and birds dropping on the near shore flats. A good popping cork with 1/16oz jig is a good choice. As far as bait, I either use a live shrimp, a little Jon or even a gulp.Until next month stay safe and fish hard. Capt. James Citrusfishingchaters.com352-362-6893Kerr

The month of September is action packed with grouper, redfish, trout, mackerel, snook and just all-around goodLookfishing!forredfish to be red hot in September. We still have some big schools around the outside rocky points from Chaz Point all the way to the spoil banks. Look for mullet activity on the incoming tides. A lot of guys like to use cut bait this time of the year (mullet, lady fish, or lizard fish). I like to throw spoons or live pin fish. Early in the tide, look for these schools to float in with the tide. I have had some of my best red fishing in September.

Trout should start moving inshore from the deeper grass where they like to go to in the hotter months. Thorough out the fall, inshore I like to throw cork rigs (DOA oval cork with 24 to 30 inch of 30 lb. fluorocarbon matched with a chartreuse 1/16oz jig head). I have the best success with the MirrOLure Lil Johns in glow or watermelon flake. Look for the yellow bottom areas outside Chaz Point and St. Martin Keys. September is the beginning of the fall season for trout, and it should only get better! Grouper action will be starting to fire up for us near shore guys!! With the decreasing water temps, the grouper action should fire up. Throwing plugs or trolling is definitely a sought after technique on the Nature Coast, however the floating grass can be problematic. So with that being an issue, I would resort to cut bait or live pin fish. While you’re out there the snapper, grunt and mackerel keral action should be good. So make sure to carry plenty of live shrimp. I really enjoy this time of the year. There is a lot of fun fishing opportunities. I hope everyone can find the time to get out and enjoy what the Nature Coast has to offer! 9/10 Full Moon 9/25 New Moon As always Stay safe.

Another beautiful month has come and gone from the beautiful Nature Coast, in particular our little area from Yankeetown to Wacasassa. My suggestion this month, is to get out there early and beat the heat! “Prior planning prevents poor performance.” is something I like to say.Start off by checking your local tides and figure out when the heat is gonna be it’s worse, and plan to be back at the dock by that time. Wear plenty of sunscreen and remember to stay hydrated, because heat stroke is a real possibility in this heat! The inshore bite has heated up hardcore with many, many over slot redfish caught on the Spoil Islands and outer points. The bait of choice this time of year is finger mullet and pinfish on a knocker rig or heavy 1/4oz jighead. The trout remain deep, but will begin to transition shallower later this month. A gulp shrimp under a popping cork will produce some great limits of fat speckled seatrout. Of course, September is the open of the fall snook season here in our neck of the woods, so on any of the Spoil Islands or hot water discharge area islands on high tide, I will be throwing a big paddle tail or my favorite, the xrap10 in olive green or white, will get the job done. Always keep in mind there are many over slot and under slot fish in our waters. If you do not plan on harvesting these fish, keep them in the water and de hook and release them quickly to cause as little fatigue as possible during these high-water temps. Come on in to Captains Cove Outfitters in Inglis. We all fish and can point you in the right direction for your next outing! Tight lines guys!

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Jeez Forest Fishers, with all the rainstorms that lead us into summer, you'd think our lakes would be filled to the brim. Last month however, sunny skies became "the norm" and basically brought us back to square one (at the time of this writing, at least). By no means am I complaining, of course. The National Forest is healthy as can be. So for all you explorers, looking to toss out an "uncharted" line, go for it. You'll be glad you went the extra mile. Honestly, I feel like the fishing's gotten better (easier), lately. Not only are there fewer flooded areas to search through, but there is also an abundance of minnows and other bait, to keep our gamefish chunky and strong! With sunfish still spawning, "schooly bass" are chasing pods of baby blue-gill to the surface, which makes it easy to see right where the action is. All that commotion on the surface, draws the attention of bigger fish, and puts them into feeding mode as well. Just thinking about it makes me want to send a "silver dollar sized” bluegill (or live shiner) down to the depths, and then kick back and wait for the sound of my baitclicker to go off!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 15 YOUR BAIT & TACKLE SHOP HERE Call Lynn at 352-542-0356 CAPTAINSOUTFITTERSCOVE 39 West Hwy 40 Inglis, 352-447-5610FL www.CaptainsCoveOutfitters.com DW&D BAIT HOUSE 12831 Whiddon Ave Cedar Key, FL 352-543-6109 352-222-9383 44 TACKLE CO. 1522 US 41 North Inverness, FL 352.726.610034453 www.44Tackle.com OCKLAWAHA BAIT & TACKLE 13600 East CR 25 Ocklawaha, FL 352-816-585332179 STARKE LANDSCAPE I 469 S Walnut (US Hwy 30 I) Starke, FL 3209 I 904-964-3 I I 2 www.StarkeLandscape.com BAIT & TACKLE IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA ENGLISH.BRAD@YAHOO.COM24304NW182NDAVE.HIGHSPRINGS,FL32643 CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

WARNING: Cast-netting blue-gill (sunfish), to use as bait, is ILLEGAL in TIP:Florida.Catching blue-gill for bait is simple. Use a tiny hook, tiny bobber, & a pinch of bread for bait. A cane pole is helpful around lily pads and otherBassvegetation.areopportunistic eaters, and they're very territorial. After many years of fishing these lakes, I know exactly where a dozen or so bass live, that I could coax into striking a lure any time I want! Casting accuracy, angle of retrieve, and the action given to each lure are all essential. Next time you're on the water, try to think about those aspects for each cast you make. After a while, it'll become second nature to you, and eventually, the amount of bass you catch will increaseWhendramatically!youseeaspot that look's "bassy", approach it stealthily. Before making a single cast, put your kayak/ boat into the best position possible (gliding to a stop). The further away you are, you will have a better chance of not spooking fish. However, in my opinion, casting beyond that "honey hole" is the key to success. That way, you can retrieve your lure right in front of its face. When bass are active, fan casting lures such as swimbaits will get you more strikes. If your goal is to catch a giant, you must be more selective and precise with your casts. A huge bass didn't survive that long by attacking everything it sees. They are cautious. So proceed with caution, when you’re hunting the fish of lifetime.

16 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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With a deadline of Sept. 30, eight tagged largemouths worth thousands of dollars are still swimming in Florida waters.In celebration of Season 10 of FWC’s TrophyCatch big bass program, FWC tagged 10 largemouth bass with bright pink tags in Florida lakes. Just two of those pink-tagged largemouths had been caught as of presstime, so eight are still out there waiting for anglers to catch them and collect thousands of dollars worth of gift cards.

The first pink-tagged bass was caught by Florida angler Dale Dew from Lake Griffin on May 22. Florida angler RJ Crawford caught the second pink-tagged bass from Newnans Lake on June 11. Both anglers were awarded $5,000 Bass Pro gift cards and $1,000 AFTCO gift cards. They will also be entered in a drawing for an additional $10,000, which will be awarded at a ceremony this fall.

Florida

Still Swim

The eight remaining pink-tagged bass are still swimming in the following Florida waterbodies: Lake George, Lake Talquin, Lake Walk-in-Water, Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Lake Trafford, Lake Istokpoga, Lake Rousseau and Johns Lake. With the 10-Tag promotion ending Sept. 30, FWC is dropping hints by way of online maps showing the area where each of the remaining bass were tagged. These new tagging maps of the remaining lakes could lead lucky anglers to the pink-taggedThroughbass.Florida bass telemetry and tagging studies, FWC biologists have found that where a largemouth bass is tagged and released can frequently coincide with where an angler catches the same bass weeks, months or even yearsDewlater.caught his 10-Tag bass within yards of where the fish was released with its pink tag in Lake Griffin. Of course, these hints come with a caveat: while bass can be predictable, there are many exceptions to their typical home range patterns and some bass are not homebodies at all. In contrast to Dew’s catch, the second reported 10-Tag bass caught by RJ Crawford in Newnans Lake was more than 3 miles from where it was tagged. These hints don’t eliminate water in which a 10-Tag bass might be found but should be treated as higher-probability areas. View each of the ranges on the maps located on the 10-Tag Celebration web page. For more information, go www.trophycatchflorida.com.to Bass Worth Thousands in Lakes

14 FLORIDA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

Eight Tagged

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 FLORIDA 15

The grant program is open to new or existing freshwater and/or saltwater fishing clubs or teams at public, private and charter schools throughout Florida. To be considered for the grant, school fishing clubs or teams must have a minimum of five members and be represented by a school faculty member or parent who will follow the provided instructor’s manual.Thedeadline for submitting applications is Sept. 16, 2022 at 5 p.m. The application can be found online at MyFWC.com/SFC by scrolling down to “Florida’s R3 Fishing Grant Program.” Applicants can complete the form online or download the application to submit by mail or e-mail. Submit the downloaded applications to R3Fishing@MyFWC.com or mail them to: FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management Attn: School Fishing Club Program Grant 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee, FL 32399. The 2022-23 School Fishing Club Program is supported by partners including Mud Hole Custom Tackle, Pure Fishing, Coastal Conservation Association and Baitstick Fishing. For more information, contact Brandon Stys at Brandon.Stys@MyFWC.com.

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B ack-to-school season is underway and Florida parents, teachers and school staff can apply for funding to support school fishing clubs for students. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) 2022-23 School Fishing Club Program, previously named the High School Fishing Program, offers school fishing clubs or teams the opportunity to apply for the Florida R3 Fishing Grant. The application period is open until Sept. 16. This grant program is focused on engaging youth anglers to ensure the future of fishing in Florida.

Apply for a Grant to Support School Fishing Clubs

The Florida Sport Fish Restoration R3 Fishing Grant will award up to 40 high school fishing clubs or teams $500 to assist with club expenses and the purchase of fishing licenses or gear for participants. Participating clubs and teams will receive an updated educational curriculum comprised of lessons and activities on fisheries conservation and resource management, plus a chance to win prizes by completing the program’s Conservation Project.“The School Fishing Club program is an important program for teaching the next generation of anglers about ethical angling and conservation in Florida,” said Director of Marine Fisheries Management Jessica McCawley. “I look forward to seeing the hard work and creativity each club puts into their conservation project activities each year to help preserve the health and quality of aquatic habitats.”

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• Keep Them Alive: Storing scallops in a livewell is a great idea if you’ve got one. They can also be kept in a cooler of ice, but be careful to drain the freshwater out of the cooler as the ice melts because it will kill your scallops. You want them to be living right up until you clean them.

For more information, including complete rules and regulations, go to MyFWC.com.

Bay scallop season is winding down along the west coast of Florida. In most zones it will continue well into September, so here are some tips to help you have fun on the water and maybe pick up a last-minute limit.

One trick to finding productive bottom is to pull a keen-eyed diver on a rope at idle speed. This will help cover water quickly, and once old eagle eye spots a few, you can put out the anchor.

• Find Your Spot: The most common advice on finding a good scalloping area is to look for the boats. It’s good advice. The flotilla bearing diver-down flags is hard to miss when you find it. Be courteous, give everyone plenty of room and drive the boat slowly, keeping an eye out for swimmers.

• Slow Down: If you find one scallop, slow down and search the area thoroughly. There’s usually another one nearby.

• Clean Them Quickly: An alternative to keeping scallops alive is to just clean them right away. There should be at least one person in the boat at all times, and this person can clean the scallops while the rest of the team is searching. Scallops open up when they are put on ice, so chunk them in a cooler and clean them while you’re on the water. You can discard the shells into the bay.

• Search in a Pattern: Some divers search in a grid by swimming a straight line out from the boat and then moving sideways 5 or 10 yards before returning to the boat in a straight line. This way you’ll always be looking at fresh bottom.

TIPS FOR BETTER SCALLOPING By CAM Staff Charters.FishingGrassRockofcourtesyPhoto

• Hunt the Slack Tides: Finding scallops is generally easiest on a slack tide during calm days when currents are minimal. When the water is still, seagrass stands up straight, and it’s easier to spot scallops at the base of the grass.•Look in the Sand: Pay attention to those sandy potholes on the grass flats. Scallops like grass, but they are easier to see against a sandy bottom. Many times, if you spot one on the sand, there will be several in the grass around it.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 FLORIDA 19

• Be Sure to Hydrate and keep yourself greased up with sunscreen. Also, know the seasons, limits and safety regulations for the area you’re scallop hunting.

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Bait is Everywhere: Live bait is king when it comes to getting bit. A single good throw of the cast net should provide all the bait you need once you find a good school of mullet. Many anglers prefer fishing 5- to 8-inch mullet, because they’re small enough to cast and they’ll draw strikes from fish of all sizes. However, if big tarpon are pounding a bait school, some anglers swear a foot-long mullet catches bigger fish. Either way, freelined mullet are tough to beat. Gamefish look for isolated and injured baits on the outside of the school. Your mullet, hooked just behind the anal fin, will look like the perfect meal as it struggles to stay near the surface. For more on the mullet run, go to coastalanglermag.com.

THE MULLET ARE COMING!

schools of mullet as they move down the coast. These are perfect feeding areas for gamefish because they provide ambush points as well structure to herd mullet against. Loud and Proud: When it comes to fishing artificials, anything that resembles a mullet is likely to get slammed around actively feeding fish. The hard part is getting marauding fish to notice your lure among thousands of real mullet. This is the time to make a commotion. Early in the mornings, loud topwater plugs that pop, walk-the-dog and throw a lot of water around will get noticed. When the topwater bite slows, it’s time to break out sub-surface plugs, spoons or paddletails on jigheads. Cast around the edges of the bait pods, because gamefish often target baitfish that stray from the pod.

D epending on where you fish on Florida’s east coast, the mullet schools have either already arrived or they are on the way. Each fall, mullet flood down the coast in an enormous migration to their spawning grounds off south Florida. Along the way, they are assaulted by everything that eats fish. It’s a special time to be an angler. Here are some of the basics of fishing the mullet run to help you get in on the action.

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Check the Pinch Points: Seawalls, rocky shorelines, jetties and any other structure that juts from the shore will consolidate and channel

Find the Bait: Giant schools of bait pull all of the gamefish out of their summer patterns. Tarpon, redfish, snook, jacks, flounder, sharks, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more transition from whatever they were doing and begin tailing and herding mullet pods. The predatory fish move with their food source. As an angler, you’re wasting your time if you’re not on top of the action.From a boat or from the beach, keep moving until you see fishy looking water. It’s unmistakable when you witness mullet fleeing from leaping jacks and tarpon, but the action can sometimes be harder to spot. Wear your polarized shades, keep the sun at your back and look for diving birds and the ripples of nervous water. There will be gamefish wherever there are huge schools of bait. Also, stay current with mullet activity in your area by sharing information with other anglers and being a regular at the local bait shops.

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For as much as we do know about the ocean and the species we love to pursue as anglers, it’s amazing the things still left to be discovered. A scientific paper recently published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences presents evidence that the Slope Sea off the northeastern coast of the United States is a major spawning ground for Atlantic bluefin tuna. The Slope Sea is an area of the Atlantic bounded to the north and west by the northeast United States Continental Shelf and to the south by the Gulf Stream. Science to this point had identified two populations of Atlantic bluefins. One returns to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn and another spawns in the Mediterranean Sea. A 2016 paper established the Slope Sea as a third spawning ground for the species, and this most recent research suggests the Slope Sea is a good place to be a larval bluefin. Researchers used plankton nets to collect larvae in the Slope Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. They compared larval growth in the two regions by studying larval otoliths, which are small bones found in the heads of tuna. Researchers also conducted larval transport simulations to estimate the movement of larvae floating in ocean currents forward and backward in time to evaluate the origin of the larvae. What they found was evidence that Slope Sea tuna larvae grow at a similar rate as those in the Gulf of Mexico. The paper notes that an additional spawning site likely offers resilience for the species in the face of harvest as well as climate change. For more information, read the research at cdnsciencepub.com.

BLUEFIN SPAWN STUDIED OFF NORTHEASTERN U.S.

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Florida angler John Kelly seems to have figured out how to catch big snook with a fly rod. According to the International Game Fish Association, Kelly caught this beautiful 88-centimeter (almost 35inch) snook with a crab pattern on the Indian River Lagoon on July 28. Snook longer than 40 inches are caught pretty regularly from Florida waters, so this one isn’t a true monster. However, IGFA said it could potentially set the all-tackle length fly world record for the species, replacing Kelly’s own record for an 86-centimeter snook he caught in early June. On top of that, Kelly submitted another application for a 91-centimeter snook he landed in early August. These potential records are currently pending and under review by IGFA. Records or not, it’s probably safe to say that Kelly has something figured out about targeting slob snook with fly tackle. For more information, go to igfa.org. a

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PHOTO BY RICHARD SIMMS

On June 28, 15-year-old Edwards Tarumianz caught a gorgeous, almost pure white blue catfish on the Tennessee River near downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. It was the latest in a string of such fish to come from one small stretch of river. While catching a white catfish has been likened to winning the lottery, it seems the odds are much higher on the Tennessee River below Chickamauga Dam.“It’s become pretty clear to us that we’ve got a little recessive gene floating around in the river right here in the Chattanooga vicinity,” said Richard Simms, owner of Scenic City Fishing Charters. “I actually saw another one just a week or so ago. A guy, just a regular fisherman, caught a piebald. So, yeah, we’ve got a recessive gene floating around.”

Scenic City has three captains who specialize in guiding anglers to catfish. They’ve encountered four of these white catfish since 2018. Simms keeps records of his catches, and he estimated Scenic City catches about 5,000 catfish a year. While one white catfish in 5,000 caught is hardly good odds, it’s a lot better than one in a million. This one stretch of river is producing more of these strange fish than anywhere else we’ve heard of.

Contact Scenic City Fishing Charters via www.sceniccityfishing.com.

The Tennessee River’s WHITE BLUE CATS

By TAM

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 NATIONAL 9

White catfish are rare anomalies that never fail to set social media abuzz each time an angler catches one. In most instances, biologists attribute the looks of these beautiful pinkishwhite fish to leucism, a genetic trait that results in reduced pigmentation and the pale, sometimes patchy coloration they display.

With their aggressive nature, willingness to hit almost anything, and ability to make drag screaming runs when first hooked, king mackerel are just a bunch of fun. Because of these qualities, there is a king mackerel tournament somewhere almost every weekend. Plenty of boats head out in pursuit of them from every port, and plenty of tackle dedicated to them is sold in coastal shops.

To get an idea of what a day chasing kings is like, I spoke Capt. Matt Paylor, of Sound-N-Sea Charters in Morehead City, N.C. For gear, he likes a 7-foot, live-bait trolling rod with a Shimano TLD reel filled to the brim with 20-pound line. Smaller, school-sized kings eagerly hit trolled spoons and frozen cigar minnows, and you can catch a lot of them.When 10- to 20-pounders are hanging out around a structure, such as artificial reefs, wrecks or ledges, casting to them with swimming plugs and topwaters can lead to fast action. For a challenge, try a 10-weight fly rod rigged with a sinking line and a big streamer fly attached to a wireAleader.20-pound king mackerel can make a fly reel sing, Paylor said, however, if you want to get the big ones, you have to use live bait. His go-to is live menhaden, but he also uses live bluefish in the 2to 3-pound range. For trolling live bait, tie 15 feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon to the end of your main line, and to that attach a double hook live bait rig made with No. 5 single-strand wire and size 4 “quad strong” trebleCapt.hooks.Paylor said kings are very predictable.

“They are so consistent with their yearly patterns that if you caught them in a spot in previous years, they are probably going to be there again,” he said.

Gamefish Royalty

Paylor said a rule of thumb is to troll live baits at around 2 miles per hour. When you get a bite, the rod slams down and the reel starts screaming. Make sure your drag is not set too tightly or it’ll be over.You’ll get a nice long run when the fish is first hooked. The smaller fish of less than 20 pounds will run out of energy pretty soon. Bigger ones, from 30 to 50 pounds, won’t tire as readily, and the real monsters may do it a few times before they tire. Keep your drag set light and let the fish do its thing; follow it with the boat if necessary. A fish (besides sharks) that is the bane of king mackerel anglers is the amberjack. If you troll near any high spot, usually the top of a shipwreck, there may be a school of them there. Their detractors call them “reef donkeys” with disdain. When you are trolling with a carefully prepared trolling rig and putting in hours looking for trophy kings, one of these bad boys can mess you up. Tournament anglers especially dislike them. If you are out trolling for kings and a school of amberjacks show up in your trolling spread, don’t get mad. Have fun! These fish are a blast and hit topwater plugs with abandon. Cast soda-bottlestyle poppers in the 5- to 6-inch-long range such as the Rapala Magnum Xplode or the Yozuri Bull Pop, retrieve them with a big pull and a pause to make a huge splash, and be prepared for an amazing display. Often a group of them will come up together and slash at it with reckless abandon until one finally gets hooked. Be prepared with a heavy casting rod. I’ve caught them on 12-weight fly rods with the biggest popper I could make. They can show up at any time over any wreck or reef. You just have to be ready. If you’re not fishing in a tournament, why not go have fun with them instead of cursing at them. They will come in fast, hit hard and then keep you occupied for about 20 minutes while they try to pull you out of the boat. This article was reprinted from CoastalReview.org.

CATCHINGKINGSISABUNCHOFFUN

By Capt. Gordon Churchill

He recommends using a sea surface temperature chart and seeing where the water is hovering in the 70-degree range and starting your day at a reef or wreck in that zone. If you see bait working—and especially if you see kings feeding—give it a serious shot. If you have seen kings feeding in open water, you’ll never forget what it looks like; they skyrocket out of the water like a submarine-launched missile.

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RECORD CUBERA CAUGHT OFF N.C.

An angler from New Jersey caught a North Carolina state record for cubera snapper on Aug. 3. Thomas Madsen caught the 58-pound, 8-ounce fish offshore of Hatteras while fishing with Capt. Tyler Fleetwood and Sea Dream FishingMadsen’sCharters.big fish measured 49.5 inches total length and had a 41-inch girth. He caught it using a Shimano jigging rod, and a Diawa Saltist reel with 80-pound test. It replaces the previous record, which weighed 58 pounds and was caught off Beaufort Inlet in 2016.The IGFA all-tackle world record for Atlantic cubera snapper was caught off Louisiana in June of 2007 by Marion Rose. It weighed 124 pounds 12 ounces. For more information on North Carolina state records, find the State Saltwater Records webpage at deq.nc.gov.

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Xanthochromistic fish are orange because the red pigmentation in their skin is replaced by yellow pigmentation.

This is not someone’s escaped goldfish; it’s a bright orange smallmouth bass. Angler Josh Chrenko caught the rare genetic anomaly this summer from the Muskegon River in Michigan. Biologists explained that the fish’s odd coloration is due to a rare genetic condition called xanthochromism, which— like albinism or leucism—is usually caused by a recessive gene.

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“Until I caught this guy, I didn’t even know [xanthic bass] existed,” Chrenko wrote in a Facebook post. “For someone that lives and breathes fishing for smallmouth, this is one I’ll remember my entire life… I can only imagine that this little guy had to overcome crazy odds to survive the first couple of years of his life from predation. Being neon-orange would make for a tough life as a small freshwater fish.” Chrenko released his orange smallie after taking a few photos. For more weird fish, go to coastalanglermag.com.

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