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NORTHEAST FLORIDA EDITION

Fall's Topwater Bonanza No-Pressure Grouper

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Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL LAFOSSE VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 271

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EDITOR IN CHIEF : Ben Martin • camads@coastalanglermagazine.com VICE PRESIDENT : Tracy Patterson • tracy@coastalanglermagazine.com ART DIRECTOR : Rebecca Snowden • graphics@coastalanglermagazine.com EDITORIAL COORDINATOR : Nick Carter • editorial@coastalanglermagazine.com WEBMASTER : Dmitriy Pislyagin • webmaster@coastalanglermagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Corporate Headquarters info@coastalanglermagazine.com • 888-800-9794

FLORIDA

BIG BEND : Mike McNamara • (850) 510-7919 • captmike@coastalanglermagazine.com BREVARD : David String • (321) 684-5888 • dstring@coastalanglermagazine.com DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA BEACH : Don Meadows • (321) 436-5895 • donm@coastalanglermagazine.com FLORIDA KEYS : Cliff Lumpkin • (305) 849-9093 • cliff@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT LAUDERDALE : Gene Dyer • (954) 680-3900 • gene@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT MYERS : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER MIAMI : Scott Deal • (561) 945-6999 • scott@coastalanglermagazine.com Monica Isaza-Deal • (561) 945-8899 • monica@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER ORLANDO : Phillip & Giselle Wolf • (407) 790-9515 • phillip@coastalanglermagazine.com LAKELAND & SUMTER : Mary Brasher • (352) 598-4219 • maryf@coastalanglermagazine.com NAPLES : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com NC FLORIDA/NATURE COAST : Cary & Lynn Crutchfield • (352) 372-4237 • crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com NE FLORIDA : Danny Patrick • (904) 742-4696 • danny@coastalanglermagazine.com PANAMA CITY/FORGOTTEN COAST : Randy Cnota • (229) 834-7880 • randyc@coastalanglermagazine.com PALM BEACH COUNTY : Barbara Ryan • (561) 373-8040 • barbara@coastalanglermagazine.com SARASOTA : Phil Prevoir • (239) 257-4684 • pprevoir@coastalanglermagazine.com TAMPA BAY : Chuck Atkins • (239) 464-5153 • chuck@coastalanglermagazine.com TREASURE COAST : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com

MARINE-GRADE BOAT COVERS

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SOUTHEAST

ATLANTA/SW GEORGIA : Bob & Brenda Rice • (706) 614-8231 • bobr@theanglermagazine.com CHARLESTON : Jane A. Redden • (205) 725-9616 • jane@coastalanglermagazine.com Sam Buckareff • (843) 607-8629 • sam@coastalanglermagazine.com CHARLOTTE/PIEDMONT : Mark & Haley Alberghini • (704) 651-1934 • mark@theanglermagazine.com MYRTLE BEACH : Mike Masiero • (732) 674-3019 • mmasiero@coastalanglermagazine.com TIDEWATER/OUTER BANKS : John Tiger • (757) 707-9654 • john.tiger@coastalanglermagazine.com Laura Seitz • (757) 707-9655 • laura@coastalanglermagazine.com UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA : Gregg Thompson • (864) 542-3112 • gregg@theanglermagazine.com WESTERN NC : Debra & Joe Woody • (828) 775-9663 • woody@theanglermagazine.com WILMINGTON/MOREHEAD : Kenny Ritter • (910) 550-9094 • kenny@coastalanglermagazine.com

Chairs & Seats

NORTHEAST BOSTON : George Regan • (617) 488-2842 • boston@coastalanglermagazine.com LONG ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 • lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com CONNECTICUT / RHODE ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com

GULF COAST

GALVESTON/MATAGORDA/UPPER COAST : Chanci & David Mowry • (713) 446-7395 • chancim@coastalanglermagazine.com • davidm@coastalanglermagazine.com MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST : Adam Nelson • (228) 627-5903 • anelson@coastalanglermagazine.com Toby Nelson • (228) 623-1761 • tnelson@coastalanglermagazine.com NEW ORLEANS : Dr. Dave Dunaway • (225) 400-8156 • nola@coastalanglermagazine.com

GREAT LAKES

UPSTATE NEW YORK : Frank Geremski • (518) 898-6484 • frankie@theanglermagazine.com WEST MICHIGAN : Phil Belsito • (616) 957-1714 • phil@theanglermagazine.com

INTERNATIONAL BAHAMAS : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com COSTA RICA : Mike Erickson • (561) 262-2242 • mike@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Disclaimer: Coastal Angler Magazine / The Angler Magazine will not be held liable for injuries incurred while partaking in activities described herein, or for claims made against products or services provided by advertisers.

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no pressure

Gulf Grouper By CAM Staff

C

rystal LaFosse fishes a lot. She’s traveled to destination fisheries around the world. Everywhere she’s been has its own allure, but she said when it comes to catching fish, nowhere compares to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. What would you expect to hear from a Louisiana girl? Cajun Tackle in Lake Charles, La. is the family business, which Crystal operates with her brother and her parents. She is the founder and director of the Salty Catch Fishing Rodeo in Lake Charles and director of the Tuna & Swordfish Challenge at Hurricane Hole in Grand Isle, La. Even with so much fishing in her work life, she relishes the opportunity to launch out of Lake Charles with family, friends and her 6-year-old son Cardyn. Despite the excellent inshore opportunities nearby in the maze of waterways and Calcasieu Lake, Crystal’s favorite destination is well over 100 miles out in the Gulf in grouper water. West Louisiana doesn’t enjoy the same proximity to deep water as destinations to the east. With runs inside 50 miles out of Venice or Grand Isle, anglers flock to the deep-water rigs and rock bottom where the edge of the Continental Shelf provides dramatic depth changes. Out of Lake Charles, it’s a 110- to 130-mile run to reach the 200-foot depths and prime grouper territory. However, those willing to make longer runs will find bottom that hasn’t already been picked clean by other anglers. “Most people don’t come here to target grouper because the run offshore is so far,” Crystal said, “but that also makes it good because the area is not over-fished.” Yellowedge, gag, and strawberry grouper are some of Crystal’s personal favorites, but she said it’s always fun when the rod tip bends over and you really don’t know what you’re bringing up. Regardless of the species, grouper are some of the best eating fish in the sea, and loading the box with delicious fish is half the fun. “There’s nothing better than cranking in a huge Warsaw grouper. That’s just the best!” she said. The challenge of strapping on a harness and battling a big Warsaw is enough to test anyone’s strength and endurance. Reeling up a 200-plus-pounder is on Crystal’s to-do list. “Typically the big grouper hang on the up-current side of the rigs in 200 to 250 feet of water,” Crystal said. “Bottom fishing, you’re looking for rock or reef formations, drop offs and drastic water depth changes. Usually anything over 200 feet is good grouper territory.” For Crystal, “anything over 200 feet” is sometimes 500 feet or deeper, when you never know what’s going to come up on the end of the line. Her rigs account for the dark waters at these depths with lights that mimic the bioluminescence of squid and attract grouper. “There are several ways to deep drop, and grouper rigs can be made with one to five hooks, ” she said. “Typically when you’re targeting a big warsaw, it’s with an 18/0 or 20/0 circle hook rig with glowing lights, a 3- to 5-pound weight and live bait around the oil rigs. I make my own three-hook rigs using 8/0 or 10/0 circle hooks, glow in the dark squid, lights, and topped with dead squid bait… You can use the 3-5 hook rigs around structure or just bottom fishing on rock piles. “The glow squid are from Offshore Angler, Fathom Offshore, and many other brands. The LED deep-drop lights range in colors of blue,

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red, green or disco, and there are many different brands from Offshore Angler or Lindgren-Pitman, which we have a selection of at Cajun Tackle,” she continued. “These lights and glow squid attract the grouper in the deep dark water.  The squid are put on just above the hook, so when you add your bait it’s glowing right above it.  The light is added about a foot above the rig and attached with a snap swivel or rubber band.” As much as anything, heading offshore is an opportunity to explore. Crystal said she and her friends all have the same standard coordinates marked on their electronics, but everyone has their favorites, and she’s had a few trips when they ran up on new bottom that turned out to be great. “We have spent time seeking out new numbers to mark, and that just keeps it interesting,” she said. “Keeping the depthfinder on while running from spot to spot, paying attention to any changes in depth and bottom, you can really find some good spots. The ocean is such a wonderful place, and there are so many new things to explore. I think that’s what keeps me coming back. Every trip is different and special in its own way.” When she’s not fishing, Crystal LaFosse can be found working the shop at Cajun Tackle in Lake Charles, La. After a successful second-annual Salty Catch Fishing Rodeo in July, the Tuna & Swordfish Challenge is coming up Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Hurricane Hole Resort and Marina in Grand Isle. Follow Crystal’s adventures on Instagram @crystallafosse.  

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Mountain Lakes Are Calling

By Nick Carter eering into clear-green water from the casting deck, frantic movement is the first thing to catch your eye. As a morning fog evaporates, rolling mountains rise up all around and the sun breaks through to reveal small groups of blueback herring. They dart back and forth, skittering near the surface to evade or confuse predators below. Then it happens. It starts with a few scattered topwater hits and intensifies. By the time you look up from impaling the nose of a blueback from the bait tank, there is an acre of water boiling. Big hybrid bass herd herring around the cove. The trolling motor whirrs to keep you in casting range. For the next few hours the action came in flurries, with multiple anglers battling through double and triple hook-ups whenever baits encountered a school of hungry hybrids. Some fish came on multiple downlines arrayed in rod holders. The most exciting takes

P

were on the pitch rods, lightweight rigs kept ready for surfacing fish. Either way, the key to drawing strikes was a lively bait, and this is the style of fishing you’ll experience with Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. They fish the gorgeous mountain lakes on both sides of the Georgia, North Carolina border. This trip was on Lake Chatuge, a 7,200-acre impoundment of the Hiawassee River that stretches 13 miles from Hayesville, N.C. south to Hiawassee, Ga. The lake is known for big spotted and hybrid bass. If you’ve never battled a hybrid approaching double digits on light tackle, it makes reeling in a 10-pound largemouth seem comparable to fighting a wet shoe. The same could be said for most of the species guides Shane Goebel and Darren Hughes pursue. Big Ol’ Fish concentrates on three lakes in the region and plans trips based on where the current bite is best. Southwest of Chatuge, Lake Nottely is a 4,200-acre impoundment of the Nottely River. Its primary draw is trophy striped bass. Stripers from 20 to 40 pounds show up regularly on this reservoir outside Blairsville, Ga. The elusive 50-plus-pounder is what everyone seeks, and very lucky anglers just might find it trolling bluebacks, big gizzard shad or trout. Those who prefer counting fish to weighing them will find fast action on Lake Hiwassee near Murphy, N.C. It is a 6,000-acre reservoir in the same drainage, which for some reason is spelled differently in North Carolina. Lake Hiwassee features breathtaking cliff formations and spectacular fishing for smallmouths that reach 6 pounds and larger, as well as big walleye and striper. Over a couple action-packed trips with Darren and Shane on their The Angler Magazine-wrapped Carolina Skiff, one couldn’t help ask why they don’t fish artificials when the bite gets so hot. Their answer, almost in unison, was: “Because we like catching lots of fish.” That sentiment is hard to argue with, but it’s worth noting that Darren owns Hughes General Store in Blairsville, the area’s primary purveyor of live baits. Rumor has it they make a mean biscuit. Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service can be found online at bigolfish.com. Call them at 828-361-2021.

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Micron : Generations of Innovation ®

The innovation continues… We are excited to introduce Micron WA as the newest addition to the Micron Technology family. Micron WA is a multi-seasonal, polishing, water-based antifouling with the unique Water Activated matrix. This novel paint technology delivers a crisp color, and premium long lasting protection for all waters! The Micron Technology family offers a range of premium products that meets your needs while delivering true and proven performance. For generations Micron Technology has been protecting boats coast to coast by improving fuel efficiencies while reducing paint build up through controlled polishing. Whatever the year, you know you’ll always have the latest and best in Micron Technology. Visit our website for more information – yachtpaint.com

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FOUL WEATHE ExOfficio Camino Convertible Pant-Short

Huk Next Level Kryptek All Weather Bib

Perfect storm, meet the perfect bib. Huk’s Next Level Bib is built to keep Mother Nature at bay. They start with a lightweight stretch 3-layer, waterproof 10,000mm/Breathable 5000g shell. It’s 100 percent waterproof and windproof, which keeps all the elements out while maintaining best-in-class breathability. All the seams are taped and zippers welded to keep them from leaking. Non-binding and high-stretch, the bib is exceptionally comfortable and gives the wearer a full range of motion. Zip side entry allows for easy on and off, and there’s a zip fly for… well, you know. Gear can be kept handy in a large waterproof tape-welded chest pocket or dual front-thigh bellowed cargo pockets. There’s an internal mesh chest pouch pocket for items you keep close to your heart. Articulated knees are reinforced for durability. Velcro side tabs attached to a rear belt system and boot hem zippers allow the wearer to completely customize the fit. Elastic Huk-branded shoulder straps also optimize comfort. With Huk’s Next Level Bib, there is no such thing as bad weather.

www.hukgear.com Dakine Caliber Jacket The Caliber Jacket is Dakine’s go anywhere, do anything rain jacket. The company’s most technical men’s everyday jacket, the Caliber is sure to become an everyday, lightweight layer for guys who enjoy any type of outdoor adventure. Don’t let the good-looking modern tailored fit fool you. This is a hard-core weatherproof jacket with a waterproof shell that features fully seam-sealed, breathable construction with waterproof zippers and a helmetcompatible cinch hood to keep moisture out. Mechanical stretch 2.5 Layer construction provides a 20K/20K rating, which means this outer layer provides a wide range of motion with superb waterproof breathability. Underarm pit zips provide added ventilation for temperature regulation. Anglers will appreciate bomb-proof zippers that will stand up to the roughest marine environments and the clean exterior, which limits linegrabbing and tangling potential. Notable fit features include an extended back hem, articulated sleeves and adjustable cuffs. An invisible zippered media chest pocket keeps your electronic gadgetry safe, dry and secure. Dakine is based in the windy and wet Pacific Northwest, and the Caliber jacket is designed to keep wearers comfortable and dry in just those conditions.

ExOfficio prides itself on high-performance apparel for travel and adventure, and their technical clothing might as well be custommade for anglers. Their Sol Cool line is designed for the sun, and the Camino Convertible Pant-Short is perfect to keep you comfortable whether you’re wetwading a mountain stream, casting from the deck of a bass boat or poling the Bermudian flats. The benefits of zip-off legs are obvious for anyone who has spent any time on the water, and UPF 50 sun protection is essential for long days in the sun. The jade-infused Nycott fabric with Teflon Shield+ is very durable, stands up to rough treatment and even feels cool to the touch. Silvadur anti-bacterial technology helps eliminate odor, so you’ll smell fresher when you come off the water. The Camino Convertible Pant-Short features two security zip cargo pockets, a cell phone pouch inside the right leg pocket, two security zip back pockets, zippered leg hems, full inseam gusset, contoured tricot-lined waistband and an indestructible button system. All lengths zip off to an 8.5-inch short. And weighing just 10.5 ounces, you might forget you’re wearing pants.

www.exofficio.com Xtratuf Legacy 2.0 Engineered to withstand the world’s toughest conditions, the Legacy 2.0 is a hardcore fishing boot 50 years in the making. The latest addition to XTRATUF’s iconic legacy collection features an advanced new outsole that surpasses the SRC slip resistance rating, a textured heel for easy on/off that won’t get caught in gill nets and a contoured toppling binding so it does not rub harshly against calves. Acid- and chemicalresistant uppers along with shin and bib guards keep fishermen protected while a Polyurethane insole ensures comfort for long days on deck.    All boots within the Legacy collection are 100 percent waterproof with unique performance features. Each boot is made with XTRATUF’s signature triple dipping technique, which creates a seamless barrier that is highly resistant to many organic and inorganic acids, chemicals and contaminants. The latex neoprene is ozone resistant and is softer, lighter and far more pliable than ordinary rubber. Cushioned insoles with arch support help fight fatigue and stress on the legs and back. All XTRATUF Legacy boots come with a non-marking,  slip-resistant Chevron outsole that provides unparalleled traction on any surface in the most extreme conditions.

www.xtratufboots.com

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HER GEAR Sherpa Nilgiri Pant

If they’ll keep you comfortable in the Himalayas, they’ll keep you comfortable anywhere. Sherpa’s Nilgiris are the perfect soft-shell pant for any outdoor activity in cold conditions.

If there’s anyone who knows how to stay warm in bitter cold conditions, it’s waterfowlers, who view frigid temperatures as invitation to go out into the field. Heybo’s Delta Vest is designed to protect you from bitter winds on those cold-weather days. This classic-cut piece features Realtree Max 5 camo, a vertical zippered pocket on the left chest, and two lower zippered pockets. The Delta Vest is built to be worn in the field or as a casual piece. With a full zip front, the Delta Vest features 100 percent poly fleece to keep your core warm while allowing freedom of movement for your arms. Even in damp conditions, this moisture wicking garment will keep you warm. The Delta vest may have been designed for duck hunting, but any outdoorsman will appreciate the warmth and functionality of this versatile vest.

www.heybooutdoors.com

Stretchy and quiet, Nilgiris keep you feeling warm, dry and comfortable even as you work up a sweat. They are made of a three-layer softshell laminate and lined with a light, soft fleece, so they provide breathable, durable, wind and water repellant shelter for your legs. They are also stretchy, which means moving in them feels unrestricted and effortless. Wear them with a base-layer or on their own to suit conditions.

The North Face Men’s Venture 2 Jacket The Venture 2 Jacket is an unlined, packable, weatherproof rain jacket that is perfect for year-round use. Whether you’re in the backcountry of the Florida Keys or the Blue Ridge Mountains, this lightweight, waterproof and windproof jacket will be there to protect you from the elements when you need it.

The Three-layer softshell laminate is highly breathable and wind- and water-proof. A gusseted crotch accommodates a full and natural range of motion. Three zip pockets—two hand and one thigh—keep essentials handy. Long, twoway, ankle zippers allow for venting and easy on and off over boots. An integrated, adjustable belt customizes the fit, and there are no seams on top of the knees to chafe or cause discomfort. These pants are functional enough to keep you happy in the harshest conditions and comfortable enough to wear around the house.

www. sherpaadventuregear. co.uk Under Armour Storm Surge The Storm Surge is exactly the lightweight rain jacket one would expect from Under Armour, a company devoted to designing high-performance apparel. Unbelievably lightweight and packable, the Storm Surge is a jacket that is easy to keep on-hand, whether in a pack or stowed in a box, which means it is the jacket that will be there when those pop-up thunderstorms roll over the water. UA’s Storm technology has created a shell that is 100 percent waterproof, with fully taped seams to keep the wearer dry in wet weather. And this piece of gear does not sacrifice breathability. A 10K/10K rating means the Storm Surge has found a good balance between keeping water out while allowing airflow For those warm, humid days, when some rain jackets just leave you wet with sweat instead of rain, on-demand zip vents under the arms provide additional breathability to keep the wearer cool and dry. On cool mornings, windproof materials and construction block out the breeze with 2.5 layer bonded fabric and a durable, smooth exterior. The Storm Surge has a loose, fuller cut for complete comfort and a full range of motion. Adjustable cuffs and a bungee hem keep moisture from creeping in, while zippered hand pockets keep gear safe.

www.underarmour.com

Heybo Delta Vest-Max 5

The North Face’s DryVent 2.5L technology utilizes a polyurethane coating that is remarkably waterproof, breathable and durable to create a jacket for active pursuits where light weight and packability are essential. An inner layer finished with dry touch print helps raise the fabric from the skin for comfort and to enable quick transfer of vapor to the outside. The Venture 2 also packs up small into its own pocket. In short, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, this jacket is designed to be there to keep you dry and comfortable. A relaxed fit and adjustable hood provide a full range of motion as well as room for extra layers, hats or helmets. Pit-zip venting increases breathability. Hand pockets are covered and zippered to store gear safe and dry. Adjustable Velcro cuff tabs keep water from running down your arm while casting, and a hem cinch-cord stops wetness from coming in from below. With a durable yet breathable ripstop exterior, it is likely the wearer will never need to use The North Face’s legendary lifetime warranty.

www.northface.com HammerHead Mahi Mahi Ahi Gloves The HammerHead Dentex, Mahi Mahi Ahi gloves are protection on “rear-knuckle” steroids! Hammerhead has taken its best-selling red Dentex cutresistant gloves and added a thick coat of “EKP” or Enhanced Knuckle Protection to create the perfect gloves for spearfishing and lobstering. Dentex gloves were already the No. 1 best-selling protective gloves for warm water. Made from special UHMW ANSI Level 5 fabrics, they are light, flexible and offer incredible cut and puncture resistant protection up to 15 times stronger than steel. With chemical- and heat-resistant Nitrile Grip coating, you’ll never lose your grip on pole spears, rocks, fillet knives, lobster snares or with any application where extra grip is desired. With the addition of EKP, Hammerhead has brought a new and improved glove to the marketplace that offers complete protection for the front as well as the back of your hands and especially your knuckles.

www.hammerheadspearguns.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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What’s It Like to Live in a Log Cabin?

By Ben Martin • Editor in Chief

View time-lapsed video at www.blueridgelogcabins.net As an outdoor enthusiast, I’m naturally drawn to the aesthetic charm of log cabins. I have enjoyed numerous stays and vacations in log cabins over the years. Living in one on a long term or even potentially permanent basis is an intriguing thought for me. With that question in mind, I set out to speak with individuals who have taken that step, just to get their honest opinions, before I make the leap to a log cabin as my permanent residence. My first call was to Mark Alberghini, our Charlotte, North Carolina co-publisher. He and his family have been living in a log cabin for more than 20 years. According to Mark, returning to his cabin after a stressfilled day in the publishing business offers an immediate calming effect. He went on to say that living in a log cabin has left him less interested in vacations than at any other time in his life. His now-grown daughters tell him they are always pleased to return to the log cabin for holidays and family events, and that it seems to have created a deeper sense of tradition than many of their friends who live in conventional homes seem to experience.

I then contacted several Blue Ridge Log Cabin homeowners to see how they compared the experience of log cabin living to conventional homes. Jerry and Carol Clark, who recently moved into their Blue Ridge Log Cabin, said the experience of returning to their log home is much more enjoyable than that of their previous conventional homes. Blue Ridge Log Cabin owner and high school principle Charlie Burry informed us that, “As a high school principle, I value regular downtime away from the pressures of my job.” In that regard, Mr. Burry went on to say, “My wife and I greatly enjoy the peace and relaxation afforded by log-home living verses a conventional home.” Jim Austin, another Blue Ridge Log Cabin owner, commented, “several years ago we decided to change our lifestyle and head out of the hustle and bustle of city life and settle for the quiet and serene country life. We found the perfect wooded location in the foothills of the Appalachians, complete with a little stream running through it. These past five years have been fantastic. We couldn’t have picked a better location or company to build our home. We absolutely love the quietness of the woods in which deer and turkey abound. The sound of our little creek in the morning mist seems heaven sent. Perfect setting, perfect cabin. We love it and wouldn’t change cabin living for the world.” Throughout the numerous interviews that were conducted, the response was always the same. Those homeowners who had changed from a conventional home to a log cabin unanimously agreed, the feeling of contentment, relaxation and satisfaction with the log home was far superior to that of their conventional home. Had this little research project been a survey, it would have seemed artificially skewed. Rarely will you find 100 percent of your survey group in agreement on nearly any subject. In this inquiry, every single person, without exception, agreed that they would never trade log-home living for a conventional home. That’s what it’s like to live in a log cabin.

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FLORIDA

T

he Islands of he Bahamas are like paradise for a boater! The best time to go is when some event is happening and with a shallow-draft boat to really enjoy all the gorgeous islands. There is no better time than during the July Regatta Time in the Abacos. It is one party after another, moving from island to island. I have made this journey close to a dozen times on various vessels. This year we took my wave-piercing catamaran, the 33’ SkeeterCat. Selection of guests for a long trip like this is very important. Never take a first-time boater, even if he or she is a friend. A portable freezer is a great option for longer trips. We borrowed a friend’s Engel 43-quart unit that uses 2.5 amps at 12volts and maintained it with a 65-watt solar panel. We cooked all our meals onboard and had gourmet dinners of filet mignon, barbecue chicken and fresh grouper and mutton snapper we caught. We took off from Palm City, Fla. and crossed the Gulf Stream in 15to 18-knot headwinds. It was a bit bouncy. We checked in at West End on Grand Bahama at lunchtime. After clearing customs, we ran down to Mangrove Cay Island, where we had a nice refreshing swim in crystal

clear water. We covered 130 miles that day. Next day, we made it to Hope Town and joined the party in Hope Town Inn. They had music, dancing, food and the most spectacular view of the open Atlantic. We anchored in the sound before following the racing fleet from Hope Town to Guana Cay, Treasure Cay and Green Turtle Cay. Some of our friends were racing, so we were the “chase boat.” After each race, there was a party with live entertainment and trophy presentation with the sponsored free bar. There is a lay day between each race to recuperate and sail to the next island. On these lay days, we took excursions to visit other local high spots and snorkeled at Pelican Coral Park, Elbow Cay and Manjack Cay, where some friendly stingrays and a nurse sharks come up to you expecting to be fed. Feeding them is a no-no. We ran down to Little Harbor to visit Pete’s Pub & Gallery and see some fantastic bronze art by Pete Johnston and other artisans. The entrance to the harbor at low tide is 2.5 feet, and the docks were full, except near the beach. A dock in very shallow water was just perfect for the beachable SkeeterCat. The ultimate sponsored party was on the last day of the Regatta at Fiddle Cay, called “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” More than 3,000 people and probably over 500 boats made this the biggest sandbar party ever. They served free hamburgers, rum drinks and cold beer. After two weeks of fun, we had to return to reality. Our return trip was uneventful, with flat seas and smooth running. We tried high speed trolling, but all I ended up with was losing two nice lures. The weather was perfect. The parties were fantastic. There were great food, great friends, great diving, and the boat ran perfectly. It was truly an adventure in paradise. Tom Mestrits designed and built the SkeeterCat 33 Power Catamaran. For more information on the SkeeterCat 33, see the ad in this magazine or go to www.StuartYachtSales.com under “Power Boats For Sale.” For more on the ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ event, go to

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Team Murderized, out of Grand Bahama, took top team honors in last year’s tournament with 11 fish weighing a total of 292.5 pounds, to take home $15,000 in cash winnings.

B

imini Big Game Club Resort and Marina, host to some of The Bahamas’ most legendary fishing tournaments, is pleased to announce that Wahoo Smackdown IX will take place Nov. 9-12. The ever-popular and authentic Bahamian offshore tournament, led by longtime Bimini Big Game Club dockmaster, Capt. Robbie Smith, has drawn thousands of anglers to the island since its inception and has become an annual tradition for many. With more than 50 record-setting catches from the waters that surround the island, Bimini has earned its title of Sport Fishing Capital of the World and, come winter, is considered a prime location for wahoo due to its position in the Gulf Stream.

Wahoo Smackdown IX is slated to kick off Nov. 9 with a captain’s meeting and conclude on Nov. 12 with an awards gala. Registration fee is $1,500 per boat and includes four anglers, tournament shirts and entry to social events. Additional anglers (over four) are $250 each. Extra social tickets are $150 each. Total payout is $25,000 based on 25 registered boats. Registration fee is 100 percent refundable if the tournament is canceled due to weather. A $300 instant credit will be issued for entries that book both hotel and boat slip for a minimum of a four consecutive nights. The $300 credit can be used in the restaurant or applied to the total resort bill. Sponsors include American Beverage Marketers www.masterofmixes.com as the Title Sponsor, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage (Sands) www.bahamianbrewery.com, artist David Dunleavy www. dunleavyart.com and Tropic Ocean Airways www.flytropic.com. To register, please visit www.wahoosmackdown.net. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Beth Watson at BWatson@biggameclubbimini.com or (954) 462-3400. Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, in Alice Town, Bimini, The Bahamas, is a popular, internationally-regarded boutique Out Island resort less than 50 miles from south Florida. The property features 51 guest rooms & suites, a 75-slip full-service marina, a dive center with daily dives, rental equipment, a variety of scuba diving lessons and specialty training courses and a freshwater swimming pool. The Big Game Bar & Grill is the most popular restaurant in Bimini, serving American and Bahamian cuisine with all-day dining from a second-floor vantage point overlooking the marina and bonefish flats of Alice Town. Bimini is known for world class beaches, fishing and diving and is a family-friendly destination with many on-the-water activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling and boating. For more information on the Big Game Club Resort & Marina, go to www.biggameclubbimini.com.

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T

here is a pretty little waterway in St. Petersburg, Fla., called Frenchman’s Creek that boaters and fishermen have been frequenting for years. Those who have been there might wonder who the “Frenchman” was who was memorialized in the creek’s name. If those boaters and fishermen are bird lovers, they will not be pleased to learn that the namesake of the creek was a really despicable bird hunter named Jean Chevelier.

fashions in their hats. The Frenchman also somehow got his name on Chevelier Bay in the Ten Thousand Islands, very near to Watson’s Place on the southwestern coast of the state and near where the famous Loren “Totch” Brown lived and hunted. Chevelier and his cronies wantonly killed thousands of roseate spoonbills, egrets, herons and hawks. Thank goodness conservationists like Marjory

His real name was Alfred Lechevelier (nicknamed Jean Chevelier for some unknown reason), and he bought the Maximo Point in St. Petersburg, a picturesque point that is now the site of Maximo Park. Michael Grunwald, in a really good book about an important source of water in Florida, “The Swamp,” 2007, called Chevelier “Florida’s most notorious plumer.” And Jack Davis, in his recently published book, “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” (2017), noted that “the healthiest spot on earth was anything but that for birds” after Chevelier arrived in the 1880s. The Frenchman, who apparently came from Montreal or Paris, tried and almost succeeded in wiping out the plumed birds of St. Petersburg and the Everglades before sending on the feathers and sometimes the complete dead bodies of thousands, maybe millions, of birds to milliners in New York and Europe so that women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries could have the latest

Stoneman Douglas and even Harriet Beecher Stowe helped stop the mass killing of the birds. The Tamiami Trail was built by the Chevelier Corporation, also named after one of the worst hunters that ever came to the state. The 1958 movie entitled “Wind across the Everglades” had Burl Ives portray the plume hunter. It’s interesting how such a pleasant-sounding French name, Chevelier, has a sordid history behind it. Anyway, those who fish Frenchman’s Creek might not be pleased at the origin of the name, but they would surely be happy to know that the “Journal of the American Medical Association” in 1885 named Maximo Point the “healthiest place… of any portion of Florida.” I have not had the privilege of fishing in the creek, but my son, who lives nearby, likes the park and the creek. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “South Florida Waterways” (2013 - available at amazon. com for $7), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

For more on Kevin McCarthy, go to

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he Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation breathed new life into south Florida’s marine ecosystems with a massive artificial reef deployment about a mile and a half offshore of the Jupiter Inlet in August. The $500,000 deployment is the largest ever conducted by a private foundation on Florida’s east coast. While the sheer size of this deployment is impressive, what makes this project unique is the design of the artificial reef modules, as they mimic natural reefs. Additionally, these reef modules cause scouring along the ocean floor, which exposes bedrock and aids in the recruitment of algae, soft corals and sponges. The modules weigh 4 tons each, and 134 of them were deployed on Aug. 9 along with 1,000 tons of boulders. ENGEL, the leader in AC/DC fridges and freezers, high performance roto-molded coolers, vacuum insulated drinkware, outdoor adventure gear and soft-sided coolers, and No Shoes Reefs—a joint venture of ENGEL and Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation—participated in the historic deployment. The venture was partly funded by dollars raised by No Shoes Reefs, which donates a portion of the sales of No Shoes Nation-branded products to building artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and surrounding rivers and waterways. “Anyone who lives in south Florida enjoys our magnificent waterways, ” said Paul Kabalin, CEO of ENGEL Coolers. “Because ENGEL calls south Florida our home, we feel passionate about protecting our coral reefs, and creating new reefs, which are vital for so many marine species and for the protection of our shores. The No Shoes Reefs brand and associated products exist solely to ensure organizations like the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation can continue restoring, creating and deploying reef modules to ensure our ecosystems thrive. We are very excited to have played an integral role in this recent record-breaking deployment, which will undoubtedly breathe new life into our fragile marine habitats.” ENGEL Coolers Vice President, Mike Dixon, who serves as a board member for the South East Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI), is very passionate about ENGEL’s role in reef creation and preservation. “Partnering with the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation represented the most immediate and impactful opportunity to aid the SEFCRI (www.southeastfloridareefs.net) region,” Dixon explained. “This large coral reef tract in southeast Florida is lesser known compared to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and faces significant challenges, water quality issues, and sedimentation threats from beach “nourishment” and port expansions being primary among them. Placing this material in this ideal location allows for both the artificial and natural elements to aggregate reef life and allow a vibrant ecosystem to take shape where there previously was barren sand.” For more information about No Shoes Reefs, or to purchase a limited edition No Shoes Reefs shirt or hat, visit noshoesreefs.org. The t-shirts and hats feature the No Shoes Reefs logo, as well as the No Shoes Nation skull and cross bones. Close to 40 percent of the proceeds from sales of these items goes to support the reefs. Look for future No Shoes Reefs products from ENGEL in the future.

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By Terry Gibson • Photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia/flickr

I

have needed an on-the-water tow three times over the last five years. Each of my experiences with maritime towing services has been prompt and professional. I believe that’s what most boaters find when caught in a bad situation. That’s why I was shocked when a friend who is a maritime attorney told me several horror stories of people being taken advantage of by price-gouging towing and salvage companies. After calling dozens of guides, fishing clubs and boating clubs, I realized that price gouging occurs more than rarely, and that few boat owners understand even the basics of towing and salvage law. There is a gap in consumer protections that incentivizes some maritime salvage and towing services to take advantage of boat owners experiencing trouble on the water. Unscrupulous salvers swoop in to help, but then leave boat owners with outrageous bills, which are often based on the value of the boat, not the service performed. With tactics that range from claiming simple assistance as a “salvage” job to embracing deceptive marketing practices, operators prey on unsuspecting boaters with surprise charges and questionable practices. Again, while most marine salvers are honest, hard-working folks, mari-

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1. Be prepared: The best way to avoid needing to call for help is to be prepared before you head out. Ensure your boat is properly maintained. Make sure you have enough fuel. Leave emergency communication lines open. Stay well stocked with a hand pump and other emergency tools. As an added measure, you can also take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard. A specialist will check out your boat and provide safety tips and recommendations, free of charge. 2. Read your contracts: Many boaters have memberships with companies that provide emergency services. Some insurance policies even cover membership for these services, reimburse boat owners for expenses and pay salvage claims. It’s important to review those contracts and know what a policy covers—and what it does not cover. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because that knowledge may save thousands of dollars down the line. 3. Beware of “salvage” claims: If your boat experiences an emergency, you may get an offer of help from another vessel or a maritime salvage and towing company. Before you accept assistance, always try to negotiate a fixed fee. This will eliminate the possibility of pricing uncertainty or a costly “salvage” claim. It may seem like common sense, but remember what really matters during an emergency. Minor mechanical issues can be resolved, but when things start to get out of hand, call for help sooner than later. Be prepared with proper safety equipment, because you never know when you might need it. When it comes to on-the-water assistance, information is the most important tool to avoid being taken advantage of. A basic understanding of maritime towing and salvage law helps boat owners make informed decisions when emergency strikes. Terry Gibson is an outdoor journalist, conservation and consumer-protection advocate based in Jensen Beach, Fla. He has served in a many editorial capacities for leading fishing media.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

I

BRANDON LESTER

finished sixth in the recent Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont using a fairly new technique called the “Ned rig” and a dropshot. The Ned has been out for a couple of years now, but I just picked it up and started fishing it this past spring. I haven’t put it down since, and I can assure you the Ned is here to stay. When I first saw it, I wondered under what circumstance would it be any better than a shaky head or a drop shot. Let me explain it like this: A mechanic has a whole box full of tools. Some of those tools can serve multiple purposes, but there will always be one tool that does each job the best. The Ned rig is a tool you better have in your bass fishing box. The Ned rig really shines when fish are on a clean bottom in pretty clear water. The rig itself is basically a mushroomstyle jighead with an exposed hook. The exposed hook makes it tough to use in cover. Start by looking for banks or flats where the bottom is fairly clean with some isolated targets that hold fish. These objects could be mooring buoys, big rocks, stumps, or really anything for the fish to get around. Although the Ned is a fairly slow way to fish, you can still cover water once you figure out the targets the fish are holding on. I’ve also had success fishing the Ned on bluff-type banks in the winter and early spring. This is especially good on lakes with smallmouth or spotted bass, but I’ve caught all three species on this rig. The way I fish the Ned is simple. All you do is let it fall to the bottom on a slack

line. Watch your line as it’s falling, as sometimes they will grab it on the fall. Once the bait hits the bottom, tighten your line and shake your rod tip. All you’re doing is shaking the bait in place, not moving it forward. Once you’ve shaken it, move the bait toward you a foot or two and do the same thing. Most of your bites will come on the initial fall or the first or second time you shake it, so don’t waste too much time on a cast. Many times you won’t feel the bite, so it is

important to use a line you can see to detect a fish swimming off with the bait. The right rod, reel, line, jighead and bait are the key to making this technique work. I start with an MHXEPS81-MLXF rod that is 6’9” in length and medium-light action. I like a pretty soft rod so I can throw that light jighead a long way. Use a good quality 2500-size spinning reel filled with 10-lb. Vicious Hi-Vis yellow braid for your main line with a 6- to 8-foot leader of 8-lb. Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon. I use the new Mustad Grip Pin Ned jigheads. I mostly between a 1/8-ounce, but they are made up to 1/4 ounce with 1/0, 2/0 or 3/0 hooks. I use an X-Zone Lures True Center Stick cut in half for almost all of my Ned-rigging.

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By Capt. Randy Cnota

T

his year, anglers heading out of C-Quarters Marina in Carrabelle, Fla. to catch the winning kingfish were met with challenging weather and high seas. On Sunday, storms rolled through the area making it extremely hard for smaller boats to reach the fertile fishing grounds. The winning team was “BillCollector.” Capt. Page Pitman, of Crawfordville, Fla., steered his 34’ Hydra Sport Custom to victory by concentrating his efforts on finding the right live bait and presenting it in the right manner. His son Gage Pitman hauled in the 47-pound smoker king for the win. No doubt, dad was proud! Capt. Pitman offered few details about how the winning fish was caught, but he recommends anglers try different techniques for bagging giant kings... hmmm? Avery Anderson won the youth division with a 10.3-pound king, and Kate Clark with Team Barnes Capital Group won the ladies division. Rob Grabemann of the Leukemia Research Foundation noted that, thanks in part to this event, new technology has rounded the corner in the treatment of leukemia, and they’re closer to a cure than ever before. Donations to the foundation totaled $50,000 for this year’s event, bringing the total to more than $915,000 raised over the Shootout’s history. The $1M goal is well within reach. The good people that plan, conduct and support this event continue their hard work and commitment in preparation for next year’s event to be held Aug. 3-5, 2018.

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C-Quarters Marina Carrabelle, FL

ABOVE: First-place team “Bill Collector” with their winning 47-pound king. Team members were Todd and Jessica Welch, Gage Pitman, David Bramblett and Page Pitman. Top right: Kingfish Shootout’s Youth Division winner was Avery Anderson, of Register, Ga., with his 10.3-pound king.

Come out to compete, spectate or help support this event in any way you can. You’ll be glad you did. It’s a great time, a great cause and it all happens in a beautiful place. Let’s go fishing for a cure! For more info, visit www.c-quartersmarina. com or call (850) 697-8400.

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By Patrick Sebile

I

t’s the perfect time of year for energized tuna, the tarpon of a lifetime or a big fat striper. What these fish and a few others have in common is they swallow prey whole. They do not bite it like a wahoo, barracuda or bluefish. That means the whole baitfish is getting sucked into a bucket-wide mouth. The same thing happens to the lure you’ll be using. Most hard baits have two or three treble hooks. The problem with this setup is large fish and lengthy fights can cause those tiny hooks to open up or tear from a fish’s lip. We all know this loss hurts. The bigger the fish, the worse it hurts and the more likely it is to happen. I came up with a solution for this scenario several years ago while targeting giant tarpon on the west coast of Africa. I adapted my hard baits to use a single large hook. It resulted in the successful landing of more big fish than with the original hardware. Both regular J hooks and circle hooks can be used. With a J hook there is a need to set the hook as usual. With a circle hook, the angler

should just keep cranking and allow the fish’s run to set the hook. Circle hooks work well, they usually hook a fish in the jaw and they rarely pull out. The drawback is not everyone is accustomed to circle hooks, and learning the technique when a big fish bites can result in heartbreak. To optimize this modification, I recommend lures that are sinking or fast sinking, as their balance won’t be altered too much by the removal of the treble hooks. Some floating or suspending lures also work well with this rig. Some might think this alteration would result in missed bites… and this is true. But the fish missed are typically small ones, or toothy critters like bluefish and ’cudas. In the middle of the night when I’m fishing for striped bass, it generally makes me happy to miss the chompers that peck at a lure’s tail. When the fish I’m targeting shows up, one that’s capable of swallowing the whole bait, the hook-set is typically solid, and with a much larger hook secured in the jaw. This gives the angler the ability to horse the fish, and it also makes unhooking a lot less dangerous. Here’s how I alter to my hard baits when pursuing powerful fish: • Pick up your favorite lure, a heavy-duty barrel swivel, a big J hook or circle hook and a bag of skirt collars. • Remove the treble hooks and their split rings. Keep or add a nose split ring. • Run the hook point through one eye of the swivel. There must be some wiggle room, but not too much. • Slide a skirt collar over the barb. This will secure the lure on the hook. • Attach the nose split ring to the swivel’s other eye. That’s it. Now the lure is ready to hook and do battle with larger, more powerful fish. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

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By Erika Zambello

M

onitoring Coordinator Brandy Foley stood at the Pilcher Park boat ramp, watching clouds gather over the Choctawhatchee Bay. She and other Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) staff had just finished another day of measuring seagrass abundance and escaped the water just before a summer storm unleashed wind and rain across the horizon. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, three of them hopped in and out of the boat at each study site, pulling on snorkels and masks to dive into shallow water and take stock of the bay’s seagrass. Throughout the year, the CBA team will complete close to 40 seagrass survey sites. Seagrasses form a critical component of life in the Choctawhatchee Bay and throughout Florida. They are a direct food source for sea turtles and crabs, provide habitat and protection for juvenile sport fish species, like sheepshead and redfish, while increasing water clarity and dissolved

oxygen content. Seagrasses reduce shoreline erosion, current, and wave intensity. In fact, 70 percent of Florida fishery species spend at least part of their lives in the safety of seagrass beds. “Not only are these seagrass beds important to the organisms that use it as a source of habitat, protection and nutrients, but seagrass beds are critical to our local economy. With Destin holding the largest fishing fleet in one port in North America, the health of our local bay and seagrass beds form the pinnacle of our local success,” Foley explained. Unfortunately, the bay has been losing seagrass since sporadic measurement began in the 1950s. Seagrass needs clear water to capture the sun’s energy for photosynthesis, and cloudy water due to sediment runoff or nutrient-caused algal blooms can kill them. Boats driving through seagrass beds can rip out the stems, creating long prop scars visible from the air. A report conducted between CBA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), estimates that in 2007 seagrass in the Choctawhatchee Bay had decreased by 55 percent. Foley and her team continue to monitor the seagrass trends, while her partners at CBA take aim at reducing pollution and sedimentation that threaten seagrasses. July found Restoration Coordinator Rachel Gwin hipdeep in Alaqua Bayou, building an oyster reef to reduce shoreline erosion. Near Destin, Education Coordinator Brittany Tate worked with a group of students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. On hands and knees, the kids planted smooth cordgrass into burlap bags full of soil, future components of a living shoreline along Mattie Kelly Park. Once these salt marsh grasses take root, they will provide additional habitat while reducing pollution and sediment runoff. CBA is not alone in its efforts. Eglin Air Force Base—the largest landowner in the region—has undertaken ambitious restoration projects on their property, from road paving and shoreline vegetation plantings to stream stabilization. All their efforts have combined to reduce erosion and pollution runoff into the bay. Throughout the heat of the summer and into October, Foley and her team will continue their surveys. In an effort to update seagrass estimates in the Choctawhatchee Bay, CBA works closely with the FWRI to collect extensive data on seagrass, water quality and sediment, part of a larger Florida Panhandle-wide estuary seagrass study. The more seagrass we as a community can help recover, the healthier our Choctawhatchee Bay will become!

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Fishing Report & Forecast Mayport By Capt. Kirk Waltz

T

he good fishing should continue this month. Bait has been plentiful in much of August on the beach and I don’t foresee that changing. Fish the beach for a variety of species like sharks, kings, jacks, and tunny just to name a few. A quick net full of pogies can produce good quality action. Pop offshore to the party grounds and you can bottom fish for grouper, snapper, trigger fish, and sharks. The striking fish will still be around so drag the same baits behind the boat for kings, cobia, aj’s, cudas, bonita, and sharks. Inshore around the inlet look for tarpon and

bull red fishing to heat up and move into high gear. Cut mullet, live pogies or cut pogies are effective fished on the bottom. Use a stout rod to catch these guys. I like a Penn 6500 Spinfisher V spooled with 65lb Ultra Cast braid on a med heavy 7 ft rod like one of the Ugly Stix Tiger Rods. The big rocks will also hold good numbers of slot reds and flounder this month. A light tackle rod with a 1/4oz jig fished with live shrimp, small pogies, or small mullet are effective. Try the high outgoing clear tides for good results. Inshore the bull reds will be moving into the river in big numbers. Cut crab, pogies, mullet, and cut bait are effective fished on the deep drops in the river on the bottom. Use a stout rod to catch these breeders and remember to use a venting tool to release them. Remember you can’t catch them from the couch! Get out and fish.. Capt. Kirk Waltz can be reached at 904.241.7560 or 904.626.1128 for info on charters from 2 to 50 ppl. Listen every Saturday Morning on 1010am or 92.5 fm for The Outdoors Show from 7am to 10am for fishing reports, conditions, and weather. Go to www. Enterprisefishingcharters.com

4 NE FLORIDA

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Fishing Report & Forecast Nassau Sound By Capt. Tony Bozzella

S

eptember is a neat month, anglers can switch gears with Redfish tailing in the grass. Also the big bulls are lining the rivers channels with many to be had on fish finder rigs paired with cut bait, mullet, ladyfish, crab, and shrimp. This is also the time of year where the mullet start to transition out of surrounding inlets and head South for winter. The Mullet run can produce spectacular fishing. On the bulls use a 30-40lb Hi Seas Fluorocarbon leader, and enough weight to hold bottom. I find a j hook of 6-8/0 does a great job. You can use circle hooks and leave your rod in the holder with great hook up success. You will have to do your home work on finding them. They often cruise the edges of the St. Johns river from the Mayport jetties, to well South in the River, depending on bait and time of year. Heavier tackle is recommended so you do not stress the fish and you get him in fast so he swims off well to fight another day. Most fish are 20-40lbs with some even reaching close to 50lbs at times. Please take the time

and respect these bulls, they are our breeding stock and we are lucky Jacksonville is on there route and we can partake in angling these great fish!! With many of our smaller Redfish frequenting the grass flats at the higher flood tides, this will be an awesome time to look and hunt “tailers.” Redfish will be on the prowl for fiddlers and many other tasty crustations up on the spatina flats. Rising water is best with fish often staying through the tide working there way out and off the flats as the water falls. Light tackle spinners with fluorocarbon leaders and NO TERMINAL TACKLE accompanied with weedless plastics and spoons work well. Wait until the fish starts to upright and move forward, bring your bait across his path. No different with the fly fishing. 7 - 9 weights with floating line are best. I like weedless spoons and crustation patterns. Accuracy is a must. 15 - 40 ft shots are common. Don’t forget polarized glasses!! There will still be plenty of the fun fish, jacks and ladies. Look for moving water and birds, early and late best. Sea walls at the higher end of the tides will have some jacks crushing baits. Topwaters are best and they eat them up. Both Tarpon and Jacks will also be hovering around the mullet run. Outgoing tides with big pulls of water can turn a blitz on!! Bait fish plugs like BiteABaits, Rapalas and Mirrolures can be very successful. 

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Capt. Tony Bozzella / TBS JIGS www.tonybozzella.com 904 651 0182

SEPTEMBER 2017

NE FLORIDA 5

8/16/17 10:50 AM


JOSFC - September Captain Trina M. Polkey

S

eptember is a big month for the club as we close our fishing year and begin to choose our leadership for next year. We will be nominating our new board and officers at our first meeting on September 7th, and those folks will be giving their speeches at our second meeting, September 21st. Election of Officers will take place October 5th at our regular club meeting. Our final club tournament of the year will take place on September 2nd thus ending the tournament schedule for Captain Of The Year. Our annual Awards Banquet will take place October 28th at the FOP Lodge, 2302 Sawgrass Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32250. We will be awarding prizes for all the fishing boards and award our new Captain of the Year as well as installing our officers and board of directors. Tickets will be available at the club meetings leading up to the banquet and from any of your board members and officers.

6 NE FLORIDA

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SEPTEMBER 2017

Please be sure to put this on your calendar and keep your eyes open for more details. We meet at 7:00pm the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at the clubhouse on the east side of the parking lot at Mayport Boat Ramp. You do not have to be a member to attend and we are a family friendly club‌you can bring the kids! Visit us at www.jaxfish.com to learn more, and we will see you on the water!

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SEPTEMBER 2017

NE FLORIDA 7

8/16/17 10:50 AM


The Fall floods are coming…. By Capt. Tommy Derringer

Y

ou can feel it in the air… the slightest bit of coolness as we start to get some air flow from the North. It may still be hot but you can tell Fall is on the way. What does that mean for inshore anglers in Northeast Florida… flooded grass and tailing redfish! This is one of the most exciting times of the year to fish for redfish. The tide will “flood” around the new and full moons, and redfish can get to areas in the spartina marsh that they usually can’t access. The redfish seem to get a new attitude when up in the grass, as the only thing on their minds is finding something to eat. Crabs, shrimp, and snails are on the menu in the flooded grass, and sometimes it seems like the reds will stop at nothing to get at them. They will have their noses buried in the mud with tails waving in the air looking for crabs. You may also come across some redfish (and sheepshead) with their eyeballs literally out of the water looking for snails and crabs that have climbed up shoots of marsh grass to avoid being eaten. Light tackle and fly fisherman alike will travel from all over to get a taste of the flood tide fishing, and it’s not as hard to get to as you might you think. There are even plenty of areas where a boat isn’t needed… just an old pair of tennis shoes or wading boots. No matter how you do it you really don’t want to miss out on the “floods”! Timing is everything when it comes to fishing up in the flooded grass. You’ll want to get to your first spot early, which can be a couple hours before the peak of the tide depending on how high it’s going to get. That way you can be there as the water, and more importantly, the fish start to flood up on the grass flat. The tide will get high nearest the inlets first, and if you plan your trip right, you can follow the tide in and spend half the day chasing the tailers. Look for areas that don’t usually have water on them on a normal high tide. A good way to spot the prime locations is to look for the flats with a firm bottom and slightly shorter grass. Once you’ve found your location there are a few different ways to approach the fish. You don’t need a high-tech poling skiff, but if you have one, poling the boat within casting range is a great way to go about it. One of my favorite ways to go after them is to park my skiff on the edge of the flat and wade out to the fish. Plus, there are some great areas from Fernandina to Palm Coast that you can access by parking your car on the side of the road and wading out to the grass flats from there… no boat needed! Once you get on the flat you’ll want to try and move slowly enough

Sam Bell with a nice flood tide redfish...

8 NE FLORIDA

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SEPTEMBER 2017

Tim Creasy with a nice flood tide redfish on the fly.

through the grass that you don’t cause much of a wake. If you’re sneaky enough, you can get really close, within a few feet sometimes. Once you’re in range, lure presentation is key. You absolutely do not want to cast your lure on top of the fish. You’re likely to send the fish shooting off the flat if your cast lands too close. Try and cast well past the fish and then drag the lure across the grass until it’s close enough for the fish to see or smell it. Be patient and watch the fish for a few moments to see which direction it’s moving; that way you can present your lure to his nose and not his tail. When it comes to lure and fly selection for the flood fish there’s a huge variety and all kinds of new-fangled things to try. No matter what you end up using, you’ll want to make sure that it is rigged weedless or snag free. Some of the areas you’ll encounter will have some really thick grass and an open hook will only have you hung up as soon as it lands. My go-to set up for years now has been a Slayer Inc. SST paddle tail rigged on a Slayer Inc. Penetrator weedless hook. They make those hooks in a variety of different weights so you can customize them to the thickness of grass you’re fishing. If it’s really thick I would use the 3/16oz hook to help get the bait down a bit, and in more open areas you can go with the 1/16oz. Sometimes if the fish gets really picky you can go with a scented soft plastic like a Gulp Shrimp. If the fly rod is your thing, a weedless spoon fly is a long standing favorite in Northeast Florida. Of course there are a ton of different shrimp and crab imitation flies that work great as well. I like to tie a small rattle on my flies as sometimes that little bit of noise can make the difference in getting the fish’s attention, especially if he’s got his nose in the mud. We have some fantastic fly shops in the area like Black Fly Outfitters in Jacksonville and Oyster Creek Outfitters in St. Augustine. If you need help with fly selection, or anything at all related to fly fishing the flood, stop in one of those shops and they will be happy to get you hooked up. There are also some really great fishing guides in the area that can show you the ins and outs of fishing the flood whether you’re an expert or just a beginner on both spin and fly. If you’ve never experienced fishing the “flood” do yourself a favor and check your tide tables and get out there! You won’t regret it! Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

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Fishing Report Pier and Surf By: Noel Kuhn

T

his summer has been a little different as far as water temperature goes. We had a thermocline in early August but it is gone now. So it has been up and down this summer. Its all about the mullet run. It will be in full swing this month. With that everything that eats mullet will also be in the surf. Bluefish, Redfish, Tarpon, Trout, Flounder, and Sharks all cruise the bar looking for mullet. The inlets always attract Redfish during the fall. During the mullet run the Redfish action is at its best. You don’t have to be in an inlet just within 500yds of one. My favorite rig is a heavy duty fish finder or sinker slider rig. Tie it with 100lb mono and end it with a 5/0 to 7/0 circle hook. The reason for the 100lb mono is Bluefish and Tarpon. Tip this with a 4” to 6” mullet or a half of a Blue crab. Cast this to a near shore deep slough or just on the outside of the sand bar. Hang on and enjoy fight! On our piers the Kingfish and Jack Crevalle action has been good and steady. This month will produce great catches of big redfish, Blues, Sharks, Flounder, and Trout. The key will be netting the right size mullet. You can also count on good catches of whiting and Pompano along the sand bar. Enjoy the feeding frenzy. This maybe the best bite of the year! Noel Kuhn Surf fishing guide and long distance casting coach. 904-945-0660 www.TheSurfAngler.com

10 NE FLORIDA

SEPTEMBER 2017

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rvice site

Approximate Correction Times Palm Valley ICW: H: +2:20 L: +2:00 +/- for Other regional Locations JAX Beach: H: -:29 L: -:20

TIDE CHART - September

Mayport Degaussing Structure 30.3967° N, 81.3950° W Date Day Time

Hgt

Time

Hgt

Time

Hgt

Time

Hgt

Bings Landing: H: +2:57 L: +2:44

St. Augustine Beach: H: -:07 L: -:15 St. A City Dock: H: -:04 L: +:09

Major Feeding Periods 9:40 AM-11:40 AM • 10:05 PM-11:59 PM

01 Fri 05:12 AM 4.49 H

11:15 AM 1.11 L 05:47 PM 5.22 H

02 Sat 12:00 AM 1.21 L

06:03 AM 4.61 H 12:04 PM 0.95 L 06:34 PM 5.38 H

10:30 AM-12:30 PM • 10:55 PM-11:59 PM

03 Sun 12:45 AM 0.96 L

06:49 AM 4.77 H 12:50 PM 0.73 L 07:18 PM 5.53 H

11:15 AM-1:15 PM • 11:45 PM-11:59 PM

04 Mon 01:28 AM 0.69 L

07:33 AM 4.96 H 01:34 PM 0.51 L 07:59 PM 5.66 H

12:05 PM-2:05 PM

05 Tue 02:08 AM 0.43 L

08:15 AM 5.16 H 02:16 PM 0.32 L 08:40 PM 5.74 H

12:35 AM-2:35 AM • 12:50 PM-2:50 PM

06 Wed 02:47 AM 0.21 L

08:57 AM 5.36 H 02:57 PM 0.20 L 09:21 PM 5.77 H

1:20 AM-3:20 AM • 1:40 PM-3:40 PM

07 Thu 03:25 AM 0.07 L

09:40 AM 5.54 H 03:39 PM 0.17 L 10:04 PM 5.75 H

2:30 PM-4:30 PM • 10:30 PM-11:59 PM

08 Fri 04:05 AM 0.01 L

10:24 AM 5.70 H 04:24 PM 0.23 L 10:49 PM 5.67 H

2:15 AM-4:15 AM • 7:15 PM-9:15 PM

09 Sat 04:48 AM 0.04 L

11:11 AM 5.82 H 05:13 PM 0.36 L 11:36 PM 5.57 H

4:10 PM-6:10 PM

10 Sun 05:36 AM 0.14 L

12:01 PM 5.90 H 06:08 PM 0.52 L

4:40 AM-6:40 AM • 5:00 PM-7:00 PM

11 Mon 12:27 AM 5.44 H

06:29 AM 0.27 L 12:54 PM 5.93 H 07:08 PM 0.67 L

5:35 AM-7:35 AM • 5:55 PM-7:55 PM

12 Tue 01:21 AM 5.30 H

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25 Mon 12:14 AM 5.03 H

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26 Tue 12:59 AM 4.87 H

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07:57 AM 1.55 L 02:19 PM 5.23 H 08:47 PM 1.75 L

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08:52 AM 1.67 L 03:14 PM 5.21 H 09:39 PM 1.78 L

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29 Fri 03:35 AM 4.67 H

09:46 AM 1.67 L 04:11 PM 5.25 H 10:30 PM 1.70 L

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30 Sat 04:31 AM 4.76 H

10:38 AM 1.55 L 05:05 PM 5.36 H 11:19 PM 1.50 L

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Fishing Report St. Johns River By: Richard Hamilton

W

ell, it should have started. The shrimp, of course.  Historically they’re here and getting better each and every week.  So get the equipment ready and the chum made and go at it. With the influx of these beauties, they bring the following: Red’s eating machines love them almost as much as crabs.  And followed closely by small croakers.  But bait shrimp does well and it usually frozen a short period of time this time of year.  Grass lines, drops and even under docks. Next will be the tandem:  Weak fish and croaker.  You catch croaker

on bait shrimp, then cut or strip chunks of him for the weak fish. Places usually are near deeper drops around channel market and long ledges.  Followed by a drop off.  So go and get it! Flounder will be cruising the flats and grass lines.  They really like baby croaker.  Followed by finger mullet and small shiners.  The best places are in Doctor’s Lake, but due to the algae bloom, I’d rather you hunted the hard bottoms along the main body of the river.  It may be tougher, but it’s also safer. Bream are livin’ large in the creeks.  Deep, Six Mile, Trout.  They are really hammering fly rod poppers.  So grab and go is a safe bet. Catfishing at night or early morning on bait shrimp, night crawlers, or your own creation works very well.  These beauties love to tear it up after dark so have yourselves a good time. Bass are thick under docks and in drop offs.  Staying cool and waiting on the buffet line to come past.  Oh, and speaking of bass, I’ve finally got in June bug blue tail.  So come on down and get a bunch.  Still considered a no regular color.  So short but sweet.  ‘Til next time, keep your line wet and your lure movin’.--Richard.

R & J Tackle 501 S Orange Ave, Green Cove Springs (904)284-5081

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Fishing Report & Forecast Fernandina / Amelia Island By Terry D. Lacoss

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reek fishing is extremely productive during the month of September where redfish school in deep holes satisfying their appetite on a new run of shrimp. Look for the last of the falling tide to harbor excellent creek fishing for redfish while weighting live shrimp with an 1/8th ounce jig head, or simply free lining a lively shrimp into a deep turn in the tidal creek. If there is a boat dock, or oyster bar located at the deep turn in the creek, be sure to fish the deep side of the structure for multiple encounters with hard fighting redfish. One of the more popular tidal creeks located in Nassau Sound is “Simpson’s Creek” which is accessable from a small boat launch located where AIA crosses the popular fishing creek. Here fishing from a small boat, including a kayak is extremely popular. Look for the last of the incoming and all of the falling tide to produce the best redfish action.

slow your retrieve and allow your lure to work the deep edges of the creek mouth. Surf fishing at Amelia Island and Nassau Sound should produce excellent catches of sea trout, whiting, pompano, flounder, bluefish and redfish during the early morning and late evening tides. Casting a ¼-ounce led head jig rigged with a clear curly plastic tail with blue glitter is key for big catches of sea trout measuring to over twentyinches. Fishing dead on the bottom with live finger mullet is also a great surf fishing tactic, so be sure and bring along a six-foot cast net and live bait bucket. As the water temperatures begin to cool over night during the month of September, many of the freshwater ponds and lakes located on Amelia Island will offer excellent early morning topwater fishing

Largemouth and striped bass fishing should start to pick up in the upper reaches of the Nassau River as water temperatures begin to cool where saltwater mixes with freshwater. Old time river fishermen would often taste the river waters as they navigate further up the Nassau chain of rivers until they tasted a mix of fres and saltwater, then begin to work their baits and lures! Typically this takes place where Thomas’ Creek feeds into the Nassau river and further upstream as well. Flounder fishing is excellent during all of a falling tide while slowly crawling a weighted bullhead minnow, finger mullet, strip bait, or live shrimp along a rough bottom. Fort Clinch historically produces heavyweight flounder weighing to 15-pounds with an average flounder weighing from 2-5 pounds. Beach and small boat fishermen who understand the feeding havits of Fort Clinch flounder have scored well with near record “Southern Flounder” weighing to 20-pounds. However the Florida State world record southern flounder was caught by Larenza Mungin on December 23, 1983 weighing 20.9-pounds. Mungin was fishing with live mullet from the Nassau Sound Bridge. Targeting creek mouths during the last of the falling and first of the in-coming tides with a Berkley Gulp shrimp barbed on a ¼ ounce led head jig and worked slowly along the bottom will produce excellent redfish and sea trout action as well. I also like to cast a “Redfish Magic” spinner at these same creek mouths while using a white/chartreuse colored plastic tail. Simply position your fishing boat with an electric motor at the mouth of a falling creek mouth and make casts first to both the left and right points of the creek mouth. Finally cast far back into the creek mouth and work your artificial lure out into the main creek making sure that you keep your rod tip high and not allow your lure to make contact with the bottom. Once the lure enters the main creek,

action. The Storm “chug Bug” in the Baby Bass color pattern remains would be my first choice. Offshore fishermen will be targeting gag grouper at FA, HH and FC fish havens while targeting rock ledges. Fish dead on the bottom with live pinfish, mullet, Spanish sardines or menhaden. Black sea bass fishing should also improve with cooling water temperatures while fishing with cut baits, or fresh local squid. A good rule of thumb is to watch your boat’s fish finder closely while navigating over you targeted live bottom, ledge, or wreck first for signs of both bait fish and game fish before setting out your boat’s anchor! Trolling species including kingfish, barracuda, cobia and Spanish mackerel will take a trolled “Popsicle” more commonly known as a dead cigar minnow. Bull reds and a few tarpon will still be schooling at the mouths of the Nassau and St. Mary’s inlets and along the beaches while chum fishing with freshly netted menhaden. The middle of the in-coming tide is key when arriving at mid morning . Finally redfish will be tailing in the flooded marshes during a full moon and a good northeast wind. Fly fishermen will do well while casting a crab pattern while a live finger mullet or bullhead minnow barbed to ¼ ounce led head jig may well be the best angling tactic when hooking up to September flood tide reds.

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For more fishing and charter information please call the Amelia Angler Outfitters 904-261-2870, or visit www.ameliaangler.com Amelia Angler Outfitters is located at 111 Centre, St. Fernandina beach Fl. 32034.

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Nassau Sport Fishing Association -September events

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assau Sport Fishing Association is a family friendly fishing club with business meetings held on the second Wednesday of the month on Amelia Island at the Kraft Ten Acres Main Building meeting room and we welcome everyone to come see what we are all about. We regularly host public educational seminars and we welcome newcomers to come learn how fishing here is different from other areas. The Amelia Island Guides Association is hosting their annual Redfish Spot Tournament on Saturday September 9th and NSFA is one of the many proud sponsors. You can find a link to register on our website or directly on theirs.

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Our annual Kids Trout Tournament will be held again in early November and includes an

adult division. Check our website for details and sponsorship opportunities. For more information or directions, please visit our website at: www.nsfafish.net

SEPTEMBER 2017

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September’s “Best Bet”

Flood Tides and the Annual “Mullet-Run” Trigger Huge Bull Redfish Bite! By Terry Newsome

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ust call it “the perfect storm!” It’s that “perfect” time of the year when the flood tides of September trigger the annual shrimp migration and send massive pods of mullet racing towards the ocean inlets of Northeast Florida! The stage is set for the one of the most thrilling and challenging coastal angling encounters you will EVER experience! The “fall-run” is truly the best time of the entire year to catch your limit of tailing Redfish, “gator” speckled Trout and doormat-sized Flounder waiting to ambush their favorite migrating meal! However, few fishing encounters can compare to the thrill of hooking-up with a 40-pound “Bull” Redfish in 40-feet of tide-ripping current! Your “best bet” for catching that trophy-class Bull Redfish you have always dreamed of is NOW! Bull Redfish in Northeast Florida can reach up to 45 inches in length and live up to 40 years! (The Redfish state record is currently 52.5 pounds!) The conservation management of Redfish in Florida is a huge success story. Thanks to your efforts, the Redfish “stock” in Northeast Florida has rebounded extremely well. In fact, Northeast Florida is the ONLY zone that has a TWO Redfish limit per person, per day in the entire state of Florida! (All other zones have a ONE Redfish per person, per day limit.) The Redfish “slot” limit remains at “not less than 18 inches and no more than 27 inches in total length. FISHING TIPS FROM PHILIP EDDY    When it comes to targeting and catching trophy-sized Bull Redfish

in the 40-pound class, it requires a specialized set of skills; and that’s why I called my good friend, Philip Eddy! I have known Philip for over a decade and he is one of the most well-respected and talented coastal anglers in the state of Florida; and for good reason! Over the years, Philip has sent me countless photos of massive Bull Redfish in the 40-Pound class. In fact, several of his Redfish photos have been featured in Coastal Angler Magazine and I consider him to be the BEST Bull Redfish angler in Northeast Florida! Recently, Philip sent me several photos of the biggest bulls I have ever seen (including a photo of his wife Heather with a 40-inch bull she caught just a few days earlier!) I immediately called him and he graciously agreed to do the interview for this article. “The month of September is absolutely the BEST time of the year to catch Bull Redfish up to 40-pounds” explains Philip, “…and during the full-moon phase this month, big bulls will be stacked-up ‘thick as flies’ in deep holes near the sharp turns and bends of the lower St. Johns River.” Philip catches Redfish throughout the day during the incoming and outgoing “rip-tide” phases. “My favorite time to catch trophysized Redfish is in the late afternoon during the last two-hours daylight and prefer to fish incoming tide when the current starts to rip! look for a water depth of 35 to 42 feet near the northern edges of the main shipping channel from Dames Point to the Mayport Jetties. With the ripping current, you will need plenty of anchor rope with at least 20feet of anchor chain” says Philip, “and it is critical that your bait stays on the bottom. That’s why I use a 12 to 16-ounce egg sinker.” Philip

recom Elite) with 6 80-po hooks protec Phi length weigh two h local D friend where the se crabs Philip blue c and th out of claws of the a who not be to be p hook. the ul Redfis ventil inflate an “at bladd that u 18 NE FLORIDA

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recommends using a heavy or extra heavy action (Ugly Stik Tiger Elite) spinning rod with a Penn Spinfisher V6500 or V7500 reel loaded with 60-pound (Power Pro) braided mainline with a fluorocarbon 80-pound leader. He prefers using 7/0 (Gamakatsu or Mustad) Circle hooks to help ensure the Redfish is “lip-hooked.” (This will help protect the Redfish during the catch and release process.) Philip frequently catches trophy-class Redfish 38 to 42 inches in length weighing between 28 to 35 pounds with an occasional bull weighing 40 pounds! (Philip once caught 19 Bull Redfish in less than two hours!) Philip is eager to give credit for his fishing success to local Dentist and Jacksonville native, Dr. Ronald T. Jackson. “My good friend and fishing mentor, Dr. Jackson, taught me exactly how and where to catch these powerful Bull Redfish” says Philip, “and one of the secrets to success is proper bait selection. I prefer using live blue crabs for bait but will occasionally use chunks of cut Ladyfish” explains Philip, “and I use two bait presentation strategies when fishing with blue crabs. First, I will remove the claws, legs and top-shell of the crab and then cut it in half. If the small pinfish are eating the crab meat out of shell, I will switch to using a whole blue crab and remove the claws and legs. I also like to ‘cut-off ’ the pointed tips from each end of the top-shell making it easier for the bulls to grab the bait. Using a whole crab will allow the crab to stay alive… plus the pinfish will not be able to get to the crab meat inside the shell.” Philip also says to be patient! “Be sure to give the bulls plenty time before setting the hook. Once the bull takes the bait, strap yourself in and get ready for the ultimate fighting experience” says Philip, “and once you land the Redfish, it is extremely important that you use a saltwater gamefish ventilator tool (available at Strike Zone) to release air from the fish’s inflated air bladder.” He was quick to point out that there are 33 feet in an “atmosphere” and when you are fishing in 40-feet of water, the air bladder will inflate as the fish it gets closer to the surface. Philip says that using a venting tool is simple but extremely important! “Gently

lay the Redfish on its side and insert the venting needle at the base of the pectoral fin located just behind the fish’s head. You will hear air escaping from the inflated bladder and the Redfish can then be safely released to help ensure an abundant stock of Redfish for the future!” ADVANCING AN IMPORTANT EDDY FAMILY LEGACY Philip is extremely serious about the conservation of our natural resources and protecting the local fishery. “My wife Heather and I love to fish!” explains Philip, “and we want to help others experience the joy and excitement of fishing as well. We are devoted advocates for the environment, clean river water and the recreational fishing industry. We want to help sustain and protect the local fishery for our children and for future generations of anglers and seafood lovers to come.” Emerging from a well-respected family of locally and internationally prominent entrepreneurs (that have been successful in the seafood industry for over two decades,) Philip Eddy is carrying on an important family legacy as the Director of Domestic Purchasing for Beacon Fisheries, Inc. (and The Fisherman’s Dock Seafood Markets.) This extremely talented and devoted coastal angler is making a real difference on behalf of everyone who loves the great outdoors! We wish Philip Eddy (and his family) continued success! With over 25 years of corporate experience as a writer, director and producer, Terry Newsome has personally filmed and produced over 100 outdoor television shows and instructional fishing videos internationally. He is an avid coastal angler and is a former co-owner of Pine Island Fish Camp on the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine, Florida.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Fishing Report & Forecast St. Augustine Inshore By Capt. Tommy Derringer

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t’s still hot out there… the fishing and the air temps, but Fall is coming… How do you still beat the lingering heat… Get out at first light or wait for the last few hours of daylight, right around dusk. Those are typically the best times to catch the fish feeding this time of year. It’s a great time of year to toss top-water plugs inshore during those lower light conditions and along the beach the tarpon will be feeding early and late as well. One very important ingredient for catching fish this time of year is to look for the bait. Whether it’s finger mullet, shrimp, or pogys, if you find the bait, you’ll find the fish. The bait can be easily located by looking for nervous water (small disruptions on the surface, similar to a very small boat wake). You can be sure that redfish, trout, and flounder will be hanging around the schools of bait looking for an easy meal. Don’t overlook the banks along the ICW on the lower tide stages this month. A lot of the baitfish will come out of the creeks and hang along those ICW banks, especially the ones that have oysters scattered on them. Again the bigger fish will be in close pursuit. September brings one of the most unique and exciting ways to catch redfish on the First Coast. We will have some great “flood” tides this month and the reds will be up in the grass tailing away. You can use a trolling motor to scout out the best grass flats but wading or poling your boat is usually the most effective way to catch the tailing reds. Start looking for the fish before the tide gets too high (usually at least an hour or two before the high tide depending on how high it will get). Small plastic baits like those made by Slayer Inc. will work great in the grass. Rig your lure weedless on a Slayer Inc. Penetrator hook and try to present it well in front of or past the fish and then slowly drag it towards him. A direct hit to a tailing red will usually send him darting off the flat 20 NE FLORIDA

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like an out of control torpedo. Sometimes they are so focused on finding food that they seem to never look up to find your lure. That’s when a small glass rattle inserted into your soft plastic or tied to your favorite fly will do wonders to get their attention. This will still be a good month to look for the silver kings to be feeding early in the morning on the bait pods just off the beach. Free-line a pogy around the bait pods and hold on. You’ll also find some big tarpon behind the shrimp boats in the bycatch slicks. If the tarpon don’t want to play, do some trolling along the beach for some linescreaming kingfish action (there will be plenty of them out there). There will also be plenty of smaller tarpon inshore in the canals and deeper creeks and flats. A back hooked free-lined finger mullet, a free lined select shrimp, or medium sized pogy, will all make for a great tarpon snack. Capt. Tommy Derringer 904-377-3734 www.InshoreAdventures.net

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

8/16/17 10:50 AM

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Time to Reflect By Tim Stouder & Katie Blunk

M

any times over the past few years, we have written about the different ways that our organization has touched individual’s lives. Well this article will hit a little closer to home for some of you. Everyone has heard the many different interpretations about the large amount of Veterans committing suicide each day and year. The statistics and numbers range with the source, but the truth of the matter is that one Veteran suicide is one too many in all of our minds. The blame cannot be placed on the military as a whole, it cannot be placed on the healthcare, it cannot be placed in any specific source, but what can be done is to find some sort of solution to offer. We, as a community, need to find a way to bridge the gap between those who have and haven’t served. We need to come together to help one another, have each other’s “six” (backs), and provide a service like Heroes on the Water. We offer a completely free

natural causes. It’s these individuals that have everything going for them that is the hardest to understand when they pass. One veteran who passed this month had just found our organization and his wife stated “that all he could talk about was how they caught a stingray and it was the best”. This is when we as a team get together and think of how we can do better, what we can do more of to help any Veteran. That’s when we realize that all we can do is keep doing what we are doing each month and offering any assistance when asked for or needed. Our organization prides itself on giving any veteran, active duty person or first responder a place to call home. You will find individuals who may or may not be going through what you are, but we are all brothers and sisters. As the military taught us, we take care of our own and Heroes on the Water is no different. We have a few events left this year until we take a break over the winter. We encourage any reader that has a veteran/first responder in their family to encourage them to come check us out, HOW is 100% free. They show up and we pair them with a volunteer guide and feed them once we are done fishing. All gear and equipment is provided for fishing for the day. We look forward to seeing new faces. Semper FI About Heroes on the Water

therapeutic experience to those and their families. If you have ever read any of HOW’s previous articles, you could see how we help. So, what about the individuals that says they don’t need help? This is the area where it becomes very difficult. There are soldiers who have returned that are ok, with no issues, but for some unknown reason they pass. It’s no longer a matter of can they cope, can they handle the stress of not being in combat, can they sleep or can they love again. There is nothing wrong and they are coping just as well as the next guy who has never been in combat. Unfortunately, we lose some of them too to

Heroes on The Water is a non-profit organization that helps injured service members with their physical and mental recovery using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. Every HOW event across the country brings together wounded military personnel for guided kayak fishing excursions. Founded in 2007. The service is provided to the Veterans for free. HOW is a non-profit organization under IRS Code Chapter 501(c)(3). Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Visit www.HeroesOnTheWater.org If you are a Veteran, know of one that would like to participate, or if you are interested in volunteering or any other questions please contact Chapter Coordinator Tim Stouder at Northeastflorida @ HeroesOnTheWater.org . If you would like to follow us on Facebook or make a donation to Heroes on the Water, you can do so at www.facebook.com / HeroesOnTheWaterNortheastFloridaChapter.

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Sailfish 275 DC

Blending serious fishability with family fun. Press Release

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ad is a serious angler; mom wants to picnic and the kids want to be pulled around in the tube. Serving a number of different needs is the design philosophy behind Sailfish Boats’ new 275 DC, a versatile dual console that’s equally at home having fun with the family or competing in taking the guys out for some serious fishing adventure. “The Sailfish 275 DC is the ultimate crossover boat,” says Andy Kent, of Beach Boulevard Motorsports and Marine. “It offers the fishing amenities that anglers expect, with comfortable and versatile cockpit seating, and the water sports and picnic features that make it attractive to all members of the family.” Reflecting Sailfish’s heritage as a serious offshore fishing boat builder, the 275 DC includes six flush-mount rod holders across the transom, along with a 30-gallon insulated bait well integrated into the starboard transom. There are also two in-floor insulated fish boxes. Tall gunnels help conceal a 58-inch fold-down seat across the

filler cushion to convert this space to a large sun pad; leave it as-is, pop in the available removable table, and you have the ideal lunch spot. The helm is cleanly laid out, with plenty of room for a 12-inch multifunction display and storage in the console base. The passenger console conceals a spacious changing room/head compartment. Befitting a true North Florida boat, the walk-through to the bow can be closed off to protect against cold air when running early or late in the season. A large in-floor storage locker between the consoles accommodates large bulky items with ease. Aft of the helm, a bi-level galley with Corian countertop, recessed sink and stainless steel faucet is a nice touch, whether you’re out with the family or fishing with the guys. An optional refrigerator and grill are also available.

transom and an available 48-inch fold-down bench that runs along the port gunnels. A convertible “flip-flop” lounge seat to port — with storage and a cooler in its base — provides forward-facing or rearfacing versatility. There’s further seating up front in the bow: remove the cushions to reveal a large raised casting deck; or add the available

The 275DC is built to Sailfish’s Sail-Tech standards, to provide year’s of trouble free service and hassle-free maintenance. From the Kevlar reinforced hull to the top grade hardware, Sailfish is made to last and deliver the highest possible resale value when the time comesto trade up when the time comes. See the 2018 Sailfish 275DC at Beach Boulevard Motorsports and Marine at 10315 BEACH BOULEVARD, Jacksonville, FL, 32246-(904) 641-0066. SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 26’2” Beam: 9’ Draft: 18” Weight: 7,040 lbs. Fuel Capacity: 188 gals. Water Capacity: 14 gals. Max Power: 400 hp Base Price: Contact dealer SAILFISHBOATS.COM

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201

BLOW Steel Seat, Raw Dual

Fishing Report & Forecast Flagler Inshore By Captain Chris Herrera

S

eptember marks the autumn bait movement that will eventually turn into the fall “mullet run” by months end. Starting your mornings off with topwater lures that resemble a mullet like the Rapala skitter walk or Spook Jr. will produce redfish,trout and snook. Cast topwaters parallel to ICW banks, over flooded oyster beds or docks that are holding mullet to find the “trophies”. September’s full and new moons brings the tidal waters up into the Spartina grass where Redfish and Sheephead will be found tailing and gorging themselves on all sorts of crustaceans. Bailing from the skiff and wading with the fly rod and a rattle crab pattern is one way to hook up or a live shrimp hooked through the tail with a Daiichi Octopus wide bait hook. Snook and Tarpon will be in the canals feeding during low light

conditions, a live select shrimp will trigger a bite from both species. Lead a rolling Tarpon with a live select shrimp on a Daiichi 3/0 circle hook and a loose drag to help your chances of landing the Silver King. Pitching the docks with live shrimp will get the attention of most linesiders (Snook) especially when encountering a school and the competition factor kicks in. Remember to handle snook with care as they have had a few rough winters and snook numbers are still low. Area inlets will host Flounder and Bull Reds during the change of tides, a live 6-inch mullet on a fish finder rig will get the doormats to the boat. The fish finder rig consists of a 1/0-3/0 DaiichiD18Z hook with a 10-inch piece of 30lb fluorocarbon leader, a good swivel, glass bead and ¾-1 ounce egg sinker. Once you cast this rig, slowly drag and pump it back to the boat keeping contact with the bottom. For creek flounder a mud minnow or finger mullet on a ¼ ounce Slayer inc. Destroyer jig head fished around creek bends. A knocker rig with a 6-ounce weight a Daiichi 5/0 circle hook and cut or live mullet/ pogie will be the choice set up for Bull Reds at the inlet. Just remember take time to revive these breeder reds and get them back in the water as quickly as possible. Trout catches can still be expected to be best at night fishing the dock lights, a live free lined shrimp or non weighted artificial tossed up current and drifted through the lights will produce Trout and Snook. Remember to wet hands before handling fish if you plan on doing some catch and release..

Jonathan from Maryland enjoying the flood tides. 24 NE FLORIDA

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Capt. Chris Herrera Serving Flagler Beach, Palm Coast, St. Augustine www.palmcoastfishing.com 386-503-6338

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201

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2017 SEA HUNT BX 22 BR-YAMAHA F200XB Abaco Green Hull, Yamaha Digital Command Link Gauges, Tilt Sea Star Hydraulic Steering, Leaning Post with Back Rest and Tackle Center, Dual Batteries with Switch, Two Livewells, Raw Water Washdown, Trim Tabs with Indicators, Infinity Bluetooth Ready Stereo with 4 Speakers, Reliance Stainless Steel Prop and More....

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Fishing Report & Forecast St. Augustine Offshore By Capt. Robert Johnson

Is it still Summer? September is a strange month. Is it fall or summer? It’s a little of both. September is normally marked by calm seas without the crowds. Bottom fishing can be on fire even on the nearshore bottom from 80

I prefer lighter tackle this time of year. 50# leader with a number 4 circle hook is my go to rig. A live sardine on the bottom will produce a variety of snapper species including Vermillion, Mangrove and the occasional Mutton. Cobia. Amberjack and the occasional Grouper will be in the mix. Wherever you see bait is usually as good as anywhere to fish. Try to position the boat just up current of the structure. On the troll, there will be plenty of King fish around. The same live sardines that you would use for bottom bait work extremely well when slow trolled on light wire. If you choose to burn the fuel bottom fishing is excellent in the deeper depths. 21 to 28 fathoms. I would change up my tackle to a little heavier set up. I like at least 80# leader. If grouper are your target species I would bump it up to 100# Whatever you choose enjoy the last of the predictably calm seas of the year. Lets go Fishing Captain Robert Johnson Jodie Lynn Charters wwwJodieLynnCharters.com (904)540-2628 jlfishing@bellsouth.net

to 100ft. The arrival of large schools of bait fish signal the upcoming cooler months ahead. 26 NE FLORIDA

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8/16/17 10:50 AM


FLAGLER SPORTFISHING CLUB By Scheyenne Welch

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his month we will be hosting our 29th Annual Inshore Fall Classic Tournament, which will benefit Gratitude America. This is a great nonprofit organization that organizes and holds 4-day retreats at NO COST for veterans and their primary support person. The retreats provide an environment in which veterans can connect with peers, gain coping skills and speak with licensed counselors to begin healing when needed. This often helps reduce PTSD related reintegration challenges in those affected and can help to improve relationships between the veterans and their spouses. Every $1,000 donated provides at least one service member with the opportunity to attend a retreat for the veteran and their support person (i.e. spouse). Last years tournament gave 10 veterans the opportunity to come to the retreat! The tournament will take place on September 22nd-23rd. Captain’s meeting will be held on Friday, September 22nd at Break-

Awayz in Flagler Beach beginning at 5:30pm. There will be a silent auction and the Tournament Rules will be given at 7:00pm. The weigh-in will be held at Hidden Treasures in Flagler Beach (under the 100 bridge) from 3:00-4:30 on the 23rd. The entry fee is $60 per angler ($65 per angler after September 20) and there is a $5.00 discount for club members. Species include: Trout, Redfish, and Flounder. There will be a “Flagler Slam” given to one place for all three species PLUS black drum. Check out from: Bing’s Landing, Dunlawton Bridge Ramp, Under 100 bridge, Vilano Beach, or High Bridge. For more information, check out our website, www.fcsportfishing. com, where you can download the tournament flyer, or follow our Facebook Page. Join us for our next meeting on September 5 at the VFW in Palm Coast at 7:30pm. In addition, don’t forget that for many of us, the Manatee Zones will be ending on September 7!

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6. If the bird has swallowed the hook or is severely injured, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator from the list at MyFWC.com/unhook.

Photo by Carol Cassels

E

ven if you take precautionary steps to avoid it, sometimes you might hook a bird by accident. That’s when it’s important to remember—don’t cut the line and let the bird fly away with it attached. This can lead to entanglement, resulting in death of that bird and possibly others as well. Instead, follow these simple steps to unhook the bird: Reel. Remove. Release. 1. Wear safety glasses and enlist a partner for help. 2. Reel the bird in slowly and lift it from the water using a hoop net. 3. Grasp the bird by the head just behind the eyes and fold the wings against the body. For pelicans, hold the beak, keeping the mouth slightly open so it can breathe. Cover the bird’s head with a cloth to keep it calm. 4. Remove the barb and hook from the bird using pliers or clippers. If the bird is entangled, remove all line. 5. Release the bird (if healthy) by placing it on the ground near the water and allowing it to take off.

How else can you help a seabird or wading bird? 1. Don’t feed the birds, which teaches them to approach where they are more likely to be hooked. 2. Dispose of filleted bones where birds can’t get them—in a trash can with lid or at home. Bones of a filleted fish can tear throats, stomachs and intestines. 3. Cover bait buckets and take unused bait home. 4. Dispose of fishing line in a monofilament recycling bin or cut into small pieces and place in the trash. 5. Don’t leave your line unattended. 6. Cast carefully to avoid being snared on trees, bridge piles, power lines or obstacles. 7. Help others learn what to do when they accidentally hook a bird. It’s pretty easy, once you know how. More detailed information can be found at myfwc.com/unhook.

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SHALLOW WATER PERFORMANCE

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik • Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures.

W

e all know about finding and fishing areas where we see signs of “active bait.” Or, do we? The importance of bait in the area we are fishing has been drilled into our heads for decades, and with good reason. However, it is easy to get caught up in the “active” or “visible” aspect of the equation, and that can cost us some missed opportunities. On one particular fishing trip, I was kayaking in 2 to 3 feet of clear water. The area was a mix of three different types of sea grass, and the bottom was mostly firm with some softer areas and potholes. During the time I was fishing, I only saw three mullet casually flip over the course of several hours. Most fishermen would have left this area in a hurry due to the lack of active or visual surface bait activity. The thing about bait, is just because we don’t see it or see signs of it doesn’t mean it is not there. What I noticed that kept me in this area is that from time to time I would see several pinfish follow my soft plastic paddletail back to the kayak. This was the key that let me know there was bait in the area that increased the probability of larger predator fish also being there and feeding. When the pinfish would follow the smaller paddletail, it was like fishing with live bait without actually using it. There is no doubt in my mind that the school of bait helped attract the trout and reds to my lure. Although several other kayaks and boats came into the area, they all left after a few minutes. Not seeing what they wanted, they just burned by and didn’t stop. By following the subtle signs and sticking to the area, I was able to keep a limit of reds, release many more, and I caught and released a 28-inch trout. Not a bad day for not seeing any “active” bait. The next time you are on the water, peer a little deeper and have the patience to notice more than just the surface activity, or the lack of. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

7 NORTH FLORIDA

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SEPTEMBER 2017

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FISH & FISHING

I

MARK SOSIN

never understood it. An angler hooks an unseen denizen of the deep that puts up an incredible battle before it is finally brought to boatside. When the fish is visible and the species can be identified, total disappointment masks the fisherman’s face. It doesn’t happen to be a desired species. Never mind the excitement and thrill of fighting it or the anticipation that it is going to be a highly prized catch. All that is forgotten. Instead, the person on the rod is almost apologetic for wasting time with this pathetic inhabitant. Sharks fall in this category. The thought of targeting these toothy critters makes too many anglers turn up their noses. Particularly in shallow water, sharks are capable of powerful performances with exceptionally long runs thrown in. In many situations, you have to follow them with a boat to avoid having them strip all the line off the reel. And, they are particularly challenging on tackle matched to the occasion. People ask me about the biggest fish I ever caught. It was a shark that weighed at least 1,500 pounds and ate a 250-pound black marlin in three bites. Fishing in Panama for black marlin, I caught a 350-pound mako shark that was reportedly the seventh one ever caught on Pinas Reef up to that time. It put up a better battle than a black marlin. At certain times of the year, schools of sharks tend to migrate close to the beaches along different parts of the coastlines. Tether a live bait to a hook, and the distress vibrations emanating from every frantic tailbeat radiate through the water with the authority of a bullhorn. Predators home in on this ringing of the dinner bell like a crew of half-starved lumberjacks. Toss a live bait along the fringes of the school, and you’re about to yell “fish on.” For the relatively light tackle enthusiast, you can enjoy exciting shark fishing on the slightly deeper flats or by chumming sharks in water depths from 6 to 12 feet where a tidal current is flowing. On

the flats, a live bait is a better choice, but you can cast a whole, dead bait in front of a cruising shark and elicit a strike. The presentation should be the same as if you were casting to a gamefish. Make sure the bait gets in front of the fish and is moving away from its jaws. If you are going to chum sharks, anchor the boat in the current and start tossing pieces of dead bait. As you chum, float a couple of live baits back there and just hold them a reasonable distance astern. This is a situation when you can use sporting tackle, but make sure the reel holds a full spool of line. You’ll need a fluorocarbon or monofilament abrasion leader of a few feet with a foot or two of single-strand wire at the end. If you pass up the opportunity to hook and battle sharks, you’re missing out on an exciting challenge. Sharks have accounted for some of my best fishing memories, and I know they can become memorable moments for you.

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By Capt. Randy Cnota By Patrick Morrow

A

s you pull onto the side of the road, you see mullet being chased by predators in the skinny waters of St. George Sound. You can’t help but grin because you know this area is inaccessible to most boats, and you’ll likely have it all to yourself. Redfish, trout, flounder, jack crevalle, pompano and so many more species are yours for the taking once you’ve settled into your kayak and floated away from land. There are more than 40 canoe/kayak launches in and around Franklin County, Fla. Most are found within Tate’s Hell State Forest or the Apalachicola National Forest.

The freedom kayaking offers anglers in this area is a refreshing alternative to motorized boating, and the amount of accessible waters seems endless. From the Carrabelle River to St. Vincent Sound, to include the Apalachicola River, Apalachicola Bay, St. George Sound and East Bay, these diverse ecosystems where fresh and salt waters meet create a kayak fisherman’s paradise. Slip your ’yak into Scipio Creek at the mouth of The Apalachicola River, paddle up the marsh and catch bass, trout and reds all in the same trip. Throw it in the Gulf of Mexico off of St. George Island and bag some pompano for the table; you can do both in the same day! You don’t have to be an expert kayaker to enjoy a day gliding across these pristine waters to cast for world-class fish or simply take in the amazing scenery; you don’t even have to own one. Places like Island Outfitters and Journeys have them for rent. Advice on how to catch what’s biting is always free, and they have all the gear you need for a successful day of fishing or just paddling. The fall version of the Apalachicola Paddle Jam festival will be held Oct. 6-8 in Apalachicola and on St. George Island. This threeday festival celebrates the Forgotten Coast through paddlesports, music and food, with events happening at various locations in Apalachicola and St. George Island. The highlight of the event will be an attempt by paddlers to break the world record for the largest floating kayak raft. For those with a competitive fishing edge, there will be a kayak fishing tournament. This event promises to be huge fun! If you’ve never experienced the peace and joy that kayaking can bring, add this to your bucket list and give it a go. There’s a reason this sport is growing so rapidly… it’s a blast, and this area is a kayaker’s paradise! Franklin County features multiple kayak and boat rental options. For a complete list of rentals, charters and supplies, visit

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By CAM Staff

T

he excitement is evident in Capt. Dallas Hopper’s voice when he starts rattling off the options for fall out of Key Largo. Coming off tremendous summer days with huge numbers of mahi-mahi, things begin to change up a little in September. The mahi are still there for the taking, but there are a few other bites that kick off this time of year. Dallas runs Fantastic II Charters with his father Capt. Justin Hopper. And while tourist traffic begins to fall off this time of year, the fishing only gets better. The weather in the keys is still gorgeous, and the seas are typically calm. Even beneath the surface, currents tend to drop off a little in early fall, which makes it one of the best times to head offshore to do some deep dropping. Out of Key Largo, it’s only about a 13-mile run to reach deep-water ledges from 300 to 600 feet deep. Using electric reels, or hand cranks for Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 8/1/14 1:14 1 those who want to test their mettle,1 dropping baitPM to Page the bottom is a fun way to load the boxes with delicious fish for the dinner table. The regular

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targets are porgi, vermillion snapper, yellow eye snapper and big snowy grouper. It’s a regular stop on Fantastic II trips when clients want to fill a cooler. “It can be red hot,” Dallas said. “When you’ve marked the fish, the rig barely has time to hit the bottom.” Blackfin tuna are another staple the Fantastic II counts on this time of year. They begin showing up in September on the humps and ledges as well as on the edges of the reefs in 200 to 400 feet of water. “They are an all-around great fish,” Dallas said. They taste good, they fight hard and they’re easy to catch.” Some days trolling big spreads of small lures on light tackle can lead to unbelievable action. Other days the best tactic is to drift and chum them up on the humps. These hard-fighting fish range from 2-pound footballs up to powerful 40-pounders, so anglers are often surprised to find themselves in epic battles on light tackle. Another surprise that might show up in mid to late September is wahoo. When trolling, the Fantastic II likes to pull a varied the spread that will tempt any fish that might be in the area. A ballyhoo on wire with a trolling weight is the ticket for picking up any wahoo that might be lurking. There’s nothing like a big ’hoo to make a good day great… except maybe sailfish showering bait. “It’s not uncommon to run into them crashing ballyhoo on the edge of the reef when we’re headed in or headed out,” Dallas said. Obviously a sight like that calls for an immediate change of plans. The sails show up like clockwork in mid to late September, and the bite gets better as the fall progresses. The Fantastic II guarantees fish. Find them online at charterkeylargo. com, or call 305-514-0211.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


See grown men cry.

From gill-rattling, fly-dispatching brawls in the backcountry to hook-straightening tugs of war offshore, Key Largo will put your spirit and your line to the test. And with tuna, mahi-mahi and muttons ocean side and cagey tarpon, permit and snook in Florida Bay and the Everglades, your fish rag just might turn into a crying towel. fla-keys.com/keylargo 1.800.822.1088 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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MCTKL-2941 Coastal Angler LO1 • September 2017

SEPTEMBER 2017

FLORIDA

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Make reel memories.

By Chris Beardsley

T

Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways, natural environment and opportunity for diverse catches make it a mecca for fishermen and nautical explorers year-round. An array of unique shops, fine restaurants, great golf courses and quiet beaches make a day ashore fun, too. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

Plan your trip at discovermartin.com 18

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he spotted seatrout goes by many names including speckled trout, speckled, gator or just speck. Regardless of its colloquial tag, it can be found along the Atlantic coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Interestingly, spotted or speckled seatrout belong to the drum family and can be caught in the same general areas as their red and black cousins. Additionally, their willingness to hit on a variety of baits and the fact that they are excellent table fare makes the speckled trout a fan favorite. Just like their redfish relatives, speckled trout love flashy lures, but live shrimp rank high on the list of baits. Late spring and early summer, a Carolina or drop rig with a live shrimp or grunt is a simple and effective method for catching them in the surf, bays and estuaries. As summer progresses and water temperatures rise, lures and shrimp are still great but best fished during early morning hours. When the bite becomes less predictable, sometimes a complete change of tactics is required. A Doc’s Goofy Jig or similar offering can be productive, albeit a bit unorthodox. And just like fishing for pompano, I’ve found that tipping the jig with a shrimp head or tail and bouncing it off the bottom will coax even the most finicky fish into biting. Late summer, which includes September in most places seatrout live, requires a change in tactics once again, as warm water temperatures drive fish into deeper pockets. Look for holes or deeper ledges in the grass flats, and don’t overlook the drop-offs past the sandbars in the surf. A lazily retrieved gold spoon or Gotcha worked around shell beds will certainly catch fish, but keeping your lures away from the magnetic pull of the sharpest oysters is always the trick. When fishing spoons, the key is to reel just fast enough to make it wobble, then let it sink and bounce it off the bottom to kick up a little sand. Adding some action to your retrieve mimics a wounded baitfish or virtually anything edible that should probably be eaten. This is where a live shrimp or DOA suspended below a popping cork or float really shines. Use just enough weight that will allow the shrimp to swim or drift naturally. Ultimately, the fish will be where they are most comfortable. Fishing the flats during early morning hours is your best option, while targeting the deeper water edges later will be more productive. Getting into these areas undetected can make all the difference. Stealth is critical in the shallows, and a kayak allows you access to very skinny water virtually undetected. Additionally, a kayak is a slick addition to your fishing arsenal and is a fun way to get into areas where others might not venture. If you’re looking to try kayak fishing, a great place to start is Island Outfitters (www.sgioutfitters.com) on St. George Island, Fla. They are an authorized Hobie dealer with over 40 years experience with the gear, tackle and expertise to get you started.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


By Patrick Sebile

S

easons roll through one after another in the nature’s cycle. When we are in winter, we are thinking and wishing for the summer to come. Looking forward, dreaming ahead, planning for the next fishing season or for another trip in our beloved golden hole. The hot days of summer offer action in and out of the water, with holidays and vacations for many. Much has been said and written, and countless songs celebrate the summer. Indeed, summer is nice and I enjoy it, but it is just the precursor for what truly is the very best fishing season of the year, for many fish species, in many areas, in both freshwater and saltwater across North America. That season is now. Starting in September, going strong through October and into November, we anglers experience

the core of the core, the heart of the heart, of the fishing season. For many fish species, fall is the time to eat heavily and get fat to prepare for the sparse winter to come, because right after winter comes the spawning season for most. While cold winter water might lead to lethargy for some species, those that spawn in spring require the energy reserves to produce eggs and sperm. This takes a lot energy, so they must feed heavily in the fall, and take every opportunity to fill their stomachs. It’s a fantastic opportunity for anglers to cast lures or bait to fish that are more concerned with their next snack than anything else. In my homewaters on the Florida shoreline, snook and tarpon will be feeding ravenously on scads of mullet during the famous mullet run. At the same time, walleye will be raiding schools of minnows along the shorelines of a lake in Wisconsin. In Texas, largemouth bass will be ready for any chance to swallow a crawdad lurking around logs in a reservoir. Fat stripers will boil on bunker in their fleeing dance somewhere between the mainland and Cuttyhunk Island in Massachusetts, and calico bass will be involved in a mass killing baitfish along the California kelp lines. And this list could go on and on for countless species and fisheries across the continent. If I were able to build a year for fishing on my own terms, I would make six months just like September, six months like October, and I would add in a glimpse of November. I know this doesn’t add up to 12 months, but let me just dream. My perfect fishing year would mean it would now and forever be the best time of year. But enough of that, I need to take my hands from this keyboard and grab my rods. I suggest you do the same. The short window that is the best time of year has already begun.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

FLORIDA

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FWC Photo

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ach summer, biologists assess bay scallop populations along the Gulf coast of Florida, in open and closed recreational harvest areas from Pine Island Sound to St. Andrews Bay through adult population surveys. Scientists look at long-term trends in the abundance of scallops and present those findings to the Division of Marine Fisheries Management. Tracking the bay scallop population long term can be particularly tricky. With limited time to cover all of the state’s bay scallop habitats, molluscan fisheries biologists with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute are turning to other people who know a thing or two about scallops: recreational harvesters. Information they provide will be compiled to complement the researchers’ annual population data. If you’re a recreational harvester, become a citizen scientist by filling out the online abundance survey found at myfwc.com.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


By Steve Daniel

H

ow many times have you gotten up early to be the first boat on the lake, and then motor to your favorite spot in pitch darkness only to find the bass won’t even think about biting until daylight? Even if the fish don’t bite in the darkness, you still need to be there very early to catch as much of that early bite as possible. The same thing happens when you fish late in the evenings. The fish can be eating the paint off your baits, but when the sun is gone and the lake is in total darkness the bite stops just as abruptly as it started just before the sun went down. What is up with this? Is Okeechobee really that bad of a night-fishing lake. When I lived in Tennessee, we did a lot of night fishing in the summer, and it was great. Here on the Big O, the dif-

ference is we are usually fishing very shallow grassy water. In the daylight, all that grass is producing oxygen. When the light goes out, photosynthesis does not occur, and it seems just like the whole lake just goes to sleep. Now this is not to say that you can’t catch bass at night, but the shallow grassy areas are probably not the places you need to be fishing. The river or rim canals, or maybe the deep dynamite holes, might be a better option because these places don’t have all that grass pumping out oxygen all day long. Here is another observation: How many times have you been catching fish just before a storm and when the rains came the fish stopped biting? This has happened to me many times on Okeechobee, and I never really understood why. When I have a question that I don’t have the answer to, I go the experts. My friend Butch, who has done a lot of research on the effects of rainfall, asked me this, “just what is rain?” Rain is highly oxygenated water and is usually a lot colder than the water in the lake. When all this cold water falls in bucket loads on the warm lake water, it falls quickly to the bottom of the lake. Just what this does to the fish, I don’t know, the only thing I do know is the bite usually stops. There are a lot of things that we know and understand about our lakes and the fish we are trying to catch, but it is all the things we don’t know that make fishing the challenging sport it is. We never stop trying to figure out Mother Nature, but there will always be things we will never know. An Extremely successful professional bass tournament angler, Steve Daniel is a 30-plus-year veteran Okeechobee guide and the voice of Okeechobee fishing on WRVO Radio Network 1’s Hooked up with Steve and Deb. Check out the show at www.renoviolaoutdoors. com. Contact Steve at stevedaniel84@yahoo.com or 239-560-2704.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

FLORIDA

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Photo courtesy of Show Me The Fish Charters

T

he University of Florida’s Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences program has ongoing several research projects studying the seasonal pattern and rates of movement of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico. Of particular interest is to determine the mixing rate of the Gulf stock with the South Atlantic stock, especially in known spawning areas off southern Florida. As a part of the study, greater amberjacks in the Gulf of Mexico are being tagged from southern Florida to the Louisiana coast. Fish are tagged on their left side with an external yellow anchor tag, and anglers are strongly encouraged to report the catch of any tagged fish. Information on the tags include a four-digit tag number as well as a web address and phone number to call and report catches. Information critical to the research is the date, time and location of capture. Exact GPS coordinates are very helpful, and to protect people’s honey holes, those numbers will not be released. Also important, to measure growth rate, is a fork length measurement accurate to 1/8 of an inch. Other helpful information the angler can collect is the weight and sex of the fish as well as the depth it was caught at, the gear that was used and the condition of the fish, particularly around the tag site. Information on fisheries and the movement of fish benefits fisheries managers as well as anglers. If you catch a tagged fish, take the time to jot down the information and report it.

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Catch a Florida Memory With 10-Year-Old Katlyn Paul

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ummer might be coming to a close, but for 10-year-old Katlyn Paul, this summer was one she’ll never forget. Katlyn submitted 10 different species to the 71-species Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Saltwater Fish Life List, one of three of FWC’s Catch a Florida Memory Saltwater Recognition programs. This qualified her for the first tier of the Saltwater Fish Life List Club. Shortly after, she also submitted a gray triggerfish to the Saltwater Reel Big Fish program, becoming the first angler to qualify for this species. In recognition of her efforts, she received FWC Catch a Florida Memory prize packs including T-shirts and certificates for each achievement. She will also receive two entries into a quarterly raffle drawing for fishing gear such as rods, reels and landing nets. Katlyn’s love of the water runs deep, and working on her life list is more about the experience than the recognition. “It’s really cool to go out with friends and see what’s out there,” Katlyn said. “It’s fun to see the water react,” referring to the varying sea conditions and changes in water coloration of nearby St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Katlyn caught her first fish, a gag grouper, when she was just three, and she was hooked. Today, she is still going strong, enjoying quality time with her dad, Devin, and getting to explore the marine environment around her. She’s even expressed an interest in pursuing a career in marine biology, following her passion to explore the unknown creatures of the deep. The Saltwater Fish Life List was developed as one way to encourage anglers to target a diversity of species, and according to Devin, that’s exactly what the life list has done for his family. “We’re chasing species that we wouldn’t go for otherwise; species that I haven’t fished for in years,” he said. To date, Katlyn has crossed spotted seatrout, ladyfish, dolphinfish, black sea bass, gag grouper, gray snapper, red drum, red snapper, Spanish mackerel and hardhead catfish off of her life list. Since she submitted her 10-fish application to the Saltwater Angler Recognition Program, she has also added a lane snapper, greater amberjack and her Saltwater Reel Big Fish qualifying gray triggerfish to her list of accomplishments. Can you catch up with Katlyn? Join her in participating not only in the Saltwater Fish Life List Club program, but also the FWC’s two other Saltwater Angler Recognition programs: Saltwater Reel Big Fish, which celebrates memorable-sized catches, and Saltwater Grand Slams, which awards anglers for catching three different specified species within a 24-hour period. You can also keep track of Katlyn’s pursuits on the Catch a Florida Memory Facebook page, Facebook.com/CatchaFLMemory. For more information visit CatchaFloridaMemory.com. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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By CAM Staff

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ver on the Suwannee River, there are so many sturgeon that boaters have to worry about colliding with them when they leap from the water. They are much more rare across the peninsula and farther south. That’s why Alex Gianniny, of Fort Pierce, was so surprised when he was called to identify another angler’s catch and found it was a big Atlantic Sturgeon. The fish was revived and released. Gianniny’s discovery happened last summer at Taylor Creek in Fort Pierce. This spring and summer, there have been at least a couple more sturgeon encounters in the same region. An angler caught and released one from the same Taylor Creek spillway in July. In April, a dead sturgeon washed up behind a home on the St. Lucie River in Palm City. Sturgeon are anadromous, which means they spend most of their time in saltwater and move into freshwater to spawn. They can live as long as 25 years and grow up to 300 pounds sucking up mollusks and other small bottom-dwelling critters. For this reason, sturgeon are rarely caught by anglers. They are encountered more frequently farther north but are very rare in south Florida. So, while catches of Atlantic sturgeon are rare, they do occur. Anglers should know that all three species of sturgeon in Florida—Gulf, Atlantic and shortnose—are protected from harvest by state and federal law. If you are lucky enough to accidentally catch one, enjoy the fight, but handle the fish with care and release it immediately.

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FRESHWATER

Spectacular Salmon Season is On! By Frank Geremski

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ake Ontario consistently produces some of the best Great Lakes salmon catches, and this year’s fishing has been nothing short of spectacular. Significant early summer rains brought high water, which stimulated a feeding frenzy for giant king salmon. Recent summers have endured dry weather, low water and thinner salmon runs. Both lake and river health was questioned during these dry years, but cool and plentiful rains have done wonders for this fishery. It’s prime time to tangle with beasts that have been tipping the scales over 30 pounds! The experts are excited about lake and river conditions in New York’s Oswego County, holder of 12 New York state and world records. Bob Mallory is an expert on Lake Ontario and Oswego Harbor, where he pursues his passion for trout and salmon. Here are Bob’s thoughts on the 2017 Salmon Season: “Fishing in the lake out of the port of Oswego has Tom Fernandez of The continued to get better every Tailwater Lodge with a trophy week as the season has proearly season King Salmon! gressed. The number of fish being hooked and caught right now is nothing short of amazing and points to a great river season. Trolling in the lake with downriggers and Dipsy Divers with flashers and flies has been my go-to method. In low light conditions, white eChip flashers with A-Tom-Mik Hammer flies is producing. In overcast conditions, try greens; brighter days favor chrome and Mountain Dew colors. As fish get closer to the pier head, J-plugs will produce.” Tom Fernandez and the team at The Tailwater Lodge on New York’s Salmon River have developed a premier fishing resort. Huge salmon can attract a crowd when they blast up shallow runs and riffles on this picturesque river. The Tailwater’s 35 acres of private access solves that issue, and they provide a top-notch fishing concierge service. Tom is looking forward to an early salmon season with these words: “As the nights get colder in Altmar, we can only think about one thing, trophy king salmon exploding outside our back door in the Schoolhouse Pool. This year we are expecting the run to start earlier than we have seen in the past few years, with kings and cohos in the river system from September through October until we get deep into steelhead season. The high levels of Lake Ontario, the consistent good flow through the Salmon River and fish staging outside Oswego and Mexico Point have all the necessary ingredients for one heck of a salmon season. If I were looking for a time to experience the trophy fish on the Salmon River with thinner crowds, warmer temps and explosive fish, I would think about making the early run this year.” To truly experience the salmon spawning process and have a great adventure with the family, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, N.Y. will hold their annual open house Sept. 23, where you can view the complete spawning cycle. To learn more about Oswego County fishing, go to www.visitoswegocounty/fishing.com. Phil Belsito of The Angler Magazine of West Michigan said Lake Michigan fish are large and plentiful also. Go to www.theanglermag.com, then select Great Lakes Region for reports from both Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario.

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he quick answer to this question is “probably not.” The ideal lens for the visual rigors of hunting is an amber lens, sometimes referred to as a copper lens. Not to make this more complicated than it needs to be, but a green lens is sometimes referred to as a G-15 or gray lens. Depending on the time of day and sun coverage, the gray (green) lens may also be a preferred option for hunting. As a hunter, I prefer the low-light sensitive amber lens. The majority of my opportunities seem to come either during the early morning or late afternoon to dusk windows, when light enhancement is preferable to light dispersal. The requirements of your fishing sunglasses are starkly different than your hunting glasses. Looking deep into the water is directly in contrast to seeing long range with limited light. Selecting the perfect hunting sunglasses normally takes a bit of trial and error. My best advice when selecting a new pair of hunting sunglasses is to purchase them from a dealer with a liberal return policy. Finding your best fit and lens requires a little work, but once you find your perfect pair you will find that they improve and enhance your hunting experience. If you need any further advice on selecting your perfect hunting lens, always feel free to contact me or anyone here at Fowler’s. We know sunglasses. Fowler’s Pharmacy, 864-288-5905; 864-288-5920

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Photo Courtesy of Jenny Lee Sportfishing/Facebook

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n late July, the attention of national news media turned briefly to a huge mako shark caught off the coast of New Jersey. The 12-foot-long, 926-pound shortfin mako outweighed the current state record by 70 pounds, but because the rod passed hands during the fight it will not be officially recognized as a new record. The big shark broke a rod in the fight to bring it aboard the 44-foot charter boat Jenny Lee, captained by Dave Bender. It happened during an overnight charter, drifting in 1,500 feet of water 100-miles out of Manasquan Inlet near the famous Hudson Canyon. Shortly after excitement began to fizzle over this great catch, information was released on a new tagging study that suggests shortfin mako sharks might be experiencing overfishing in the western North Atlantic. Researchers from Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), the University of Rhode Island and other colleagues followed 40 satellite-tagged sharks in real time and 12 of them, or 30 percent, were captured in fisheries. This information suggests the fishing mortality rates of shortfin mako sharks might be considerably higher than previously estimated using catches reported by fishermen, according to the press release. And despite their small sample size, researchers questioned the reliability of traditional data collection methods and expressed a serious concern over whether the current level of fishery catches for shortfin makos in the North Atlantic are sustainable.

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FLY FISHING

Lefty’s Deceiver By Carlos Hidalgo

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lthough he would deny it, Lefty Kreh is a legend. With great knowledge (he has authored or co-authored over 30 books and hundreds of magazine articles), boundless energy (he has performed countless lectures and casting demonstrations over the last 60+ years), down-home humor (a dumb person would “pick up a snake to kill a stick”), and showmanship (at casting demos, he finds a pretty woman and makes a cast that curls the fly line around her neck), Lefty has done more to popularize fly fishing than any other person in the last century. He has fished with Fidel Castro, Ted Williams and Ernest Hemmingway, but he hasn’t just witnessed fly fishing history, he has created it. His innovative fly casting techniques are used by millions of us today. Oh yeah, he also developed Lefty’s Deceiver, the best fly pattern ever devised. Lefty tied the first Deceiver during the late 1950s. He wanted a fly that was easy to cast, didn’t foul, looked like a baitfish and had great action in the water. The pattern can be easily described: a tail made up of several matching hackle or saddle feathers with a bucktail collar. Add flash material to either or both, eyes to

the head and some type of red material for the throat, as needed. The hook shank beneath the collar (the body) can be wrapped with the tying thread or a flashy material, like mylar tinsel or Diamond Braid. By the way, Lefty says the key to the pattern is to tie the collar at least as long as the rear of the hook, which keeps the hackle tail from wrapping around the hook. In appropriate sizes and colors, Lefty’s pattern has deceived just about every fish that swims, from four-inch bream to 400-pound billfish. Lefty’s Deceiver has even graced a U.S. Postal stamp. Lefty’s favorite Deceiver colors are chartreuse/white and yellow/ chartreuse. I tie them in many sizes and colors, and my favorite is tied in a Firetiger color scheme. This color works very well for many saltwater fish in sizes 1/0 to 3/0. It has also been very successful for me for peacock bass and largemouth bass in south Florida in size 2. I imagine smallies would jump all over it, too. Lefty’s Deceiver (Firetiger) Hook - Mustad 34007 or similar, size 2 to 3/0 Thread - fluorescent yellow Tail - two yellow and one yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with yellow Krystal Flash Body - yellow thread or Diamond Braid Collar - yellow bucktail with yellow Krystal flash and a small yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with green Krystal Flash and green bucktail Throat - orange bucktail, as long as the collar Head - fluorescent yellow, with painted orange/black eye, covered with five-minute epoxy Contact Carlos at cah6620@gmail.com to submit a pattern for consideration in this column or to order his book, “South Florida’s Peacock Bass.”

By John Rice

This is a simple tie and a very effective pattern for trout everywhere. Soft hackles are basically emerger patterns. They do not belong on the streambed like nymphs, so this fly should be dropped a foot or so off a nymph so it can suspend itself higher in the water column where an emerger belongs. Thread: 8/0 olive Abdomen: Olive goose biot Thorax: Tan superfine dubbing Hackle: Hungarian partridge Head: 8/0 Olive thread Hook: 1X long, size 18 Tiemco 3761 John Rice guides with Blackhawk Fly Fishing, which offers exceptional fishing for trophy trout in the north Georgia mountains. Contact john at jriceflyfishing@ gmail.com.

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UNDER THE SEA

before harvesting. Along with a closed mating season, this should keep the lobster population stable. 2. Mating season begins in the spring. Lobsters can be observed walking out of their holes in search of a mate, and males can be seen sparring for a lady’s affection. Mating season ends around August, here are a few good things about the fall season though egg-bearing females can be seen yearbesides cooler weather; one of them round. is the beginning of lobster season! 3. Males have proportionately larger legs and I dove with a commercial lobsterman for carapace, and females have a larger tail and extra a few years, and he was like a kid waiting pinchers on the abdomen to hold the eggs. for Santa. Teaming up with someone that Lobster tips from the master: knew where the good spots were gave me the 1. Let some air out of your BC, get your opportunity to spear some nice fish, but it buoyancy under control, and plant your knees in also gave me the opportunity to learn some the sand in front of the lobster. Your butt should tricks of the trade by watching a master not be up in the air! lobsterman at work. 2. Take your time and do not spook them. He First and foremost, you must learn said, “Lobsters are like cattle, you can herd them how to find lobsters. Fortunately, the same wherever you want, as long as you take your time.” territory that tends to hold fish life is also 3. The most common methods are the net good for lobstering. That is because life and tickle stick or looper, but there are some attracts life. When I was scuba diving beside interesting variations on the market now. Become Sheri Daye and Dave Earp display the results him and would see him approach an area of good at all of them, as some tools are better than of solid teamwork. the reef holding a school of fish fry, I knew others in certain situations. his senses were on high alert, and I’d start 4. When using a tickle stick, use aluminum looking for fish. Invariably, while he picked up instead of plastic. Lobsters do not respond as well a lobster or two, I would see a desirable fish. to plastic. Over the years, we honed the most efficient method for hunting as a 5. Be careful not to touch the antennas. Tap or nudge a lobster from buddy team. He focused on lobsters while I did all the spearfishing. He behind to move it into position and put the net over it. Measure the would tow the flag, which meant I could be faster and more streamlined carapace, check for eggs (by the way, extra skittish lobsters often have in the water while going after fish. We drifted with the current, parallel to eggs), then place in your catch bag, and enjoy your dinner! the reef, side-by-side. If he missed seeing a lobster, which was extremely Fall is in the air. Happy hunting! rare, I would bang my tank to alert him, and he would do the same with fish. Over the years, we became the best of friends and a formidable Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer hunting team. of The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow Lobster fun facts: “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram. 1. Lobsters reach sexual maturity in two to three years when the carapace is a little longer than 3 inches. Florida law requires a carapace For more Sheri Daye, go to to be longer than 3 inches, thus allowing lobsters a chance to reproduce

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Coastal Angler Magazine - September / Northeast Florida  
Coastal Angler Magazine - September / Northeast Florida  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...