Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2023 | Northeast Florida Edition

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pring is one of my favorite seasons for shing. Fish are warming up and feeding aggressively, especially red sh. Red sh eagerly consume an array of baits this time of year, but there is one arti cial that sets itself apart from the others. Have you guessed it?

If you said, “gold spoon,” you were correct. When you look at the spoon it seems unimpressive, to be honest. However, that is the beauty of it all; we, as anglers, overcomplicate shing. Sometimes all you need is an awkward piece of gold metal to shake the skunk.


It combines pro le, color and vibration, which play on the three signi cant senses most game sh use when feeding. e shape might resemble a crab, a small sh or a wounded shrimp, and the unique wobble lets sh know it’s an easy target. Gold spoons are great for beginners and avid anglers alike, they can be rigged weedless, and they are easy to cast. One of my go-to spoons for red sh is the FishLab Bio-Spoon.


Rigging is simple; attach a 20- to 30-pound uorocarbon or mono lament leader directly to the spoon. I attach a snap swivel directly to the spoon to prevent line twists. A 1/4-ounce spoon is usually an excellent choice, especially when the bait is smaller. Remember to match the hatch in

terms of size. Pair the spoon with a 7 or 7 1/2-foot medium fast spinning rod and 15-pound braid. My preferred setup is the Okuma ITX 4000 paired with an Okuma SRT spinning rod.

Spoons can produce sh in various conditions, but there are situations when it shines. Along weed lines, mangroves or similar structures should be your rst targets, as this is where red sh congregate. Remember, reds travel in groups, so work an area thoroughly for consistent action. Repeated casts to the exact location or the same retrieval path will o en produce multiple sh.

Gold spoons are best suited for stained or dark water. In cleaner water, the same techniques can be used with a silver spoon. e shape of the spoon and hook guard combine to allow the lure to bounce o obstructions like weeds, mangroves, oyster beds or rocks where other lures might be lost.

Erratic action is the key to the spoon’s success. Many anglers cast and pause, allowing the spoon to utter. If you do not get a hit right o the bat, you have two options for the retrieve. A steady retrieve, varying speed based on conditions, will o en draw sh out and even right to the boat. Others prefer to add a twitch to their retrieve, feeling it increases the motion. Try each or mix it up based on what the sh respond to. Be bold, and try new techniques. Be sure to pick up a Salty Scales Performance shing shirt, stay protected, and remain comfortable on the water.

Capt. Joshua Taylor is a Tampa guide and founder of Salty Scales Performance Fishing Gear. Check them out at MAKES THE GOLD SPOON UNIQUE? HOW TO FISH A SPOON By Capt. Joshua Taylor


There was a time in my life that we took certain things for granted. For example, No limits and/or seasons on speckled trout, drum, ounder and especially GROUPER! I never thought I would say the two words “grouper” and “season” in the same sentence. Never mind, I’m just venting because I prefer bottom shing and light lining above all other styles of o shore shing.

I went through this last year about this time, but I’ll do it again for those folks who might have missed it. is is the way I start every location we anchor on, or post up with the Rhodan.

NOTE: We take two boxes of quid on every trip, and we typically have live pin sh from the marina also.

I typically have three or four folks with me every trip. We start by ring down whole squid on the jig. Meanwhile, I’m on the sabiki jigging up whatever is on the bottom below us. I don’t care what is coming up on the whole squid, as this is not the main focus. e real objective is to set a nice ‘chum slick” on the bottom to attract the sh you’re really shing for. A er 4 or 5 rounds of the whole frozen squid, we will re down live pin sh or whatever I’ve jigged up on the sabiki. e other advantage of shing a live pin sh, grass grunt, sailors’ choice or whatever you can jig up, is it eliminates the trash bites. In addition to eliminating the trash bites from small snapper, seabass and other “undesirables,” it’s like physcological warfare, as the gags, scamps and reds cannot digest all that is going on here. To them it appears like the pin sh, grass grunts etc, think the live baits were running around picking up squid pieces, and the squid or crab jigs have caught them and the live bait is struggling to get away. BAM!!! e bite happens. is, my friends, is the di erence between “bottom shing” and GROUPER shing.

Another bait that’s a dead ringer for a grouper bite is a butter ied

bait. e butter ied bait on the bottom basically does the same thing as the squid. e small snapper and other smaller sh will hammer the lets until the grouper have had enough of it. You will feel the small sh biting it constantly, but then all of a sudden the small “pecking” bites will stop. Get ready, and don’t move it… the grouper has moved in and everyone else has to leave, because it’s time for the real bite!

Enough about the bottom. I will occasionally troll for a LITTLE WHILE, but this would be to accomplish two things at once. Catch a sh or two, but also to locate the best part of any given ledge with lots of bait and sh on the bottom. As soon as we locate the bait, reel in the troll baits and get to work! Everything you catch trolling, you can catch on the light line while you’re grouper shing. Tuna, dolphin and wahoo are idiots for a big fat (live) greenie, sardine, cigar minnow or goggle eye out back behind the boat in the current.

All the best shing,

Check out more from Tim Barefoot at

Tim Barefoot

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It was a perfect late autumn day in the northern Rockies. Not a cloud in the sky, and just enough cool in the air to stir up nostalgic memories of my trip into the backwoods. is year, though, was di erent. I was going it solo. My two buddies, pleading work responsibilities, backed out at the last minute. So, armed with my trusty knife, I set out for adventure.

Well, what I found was a whole lot of trouble. As in 8 feet and 800-pounds of trouble in the form of a grizzly bear. Seems this grumpy fella was out looking for some adventure too. Mr. Grizzly saw me, stood up to his entire 8 feet of ferocity and let out a roar that made my blood turn to ice and my hair stand up. Unsnapping my leather sheath, I felt for my hefty, trusty knife and felt emboldened. I then showed the massive grizzly over 6 inches of 420 surgical grade stainless steel, raised my hands and yelled, “Whoa bear! Whoa bear!” I must have made my point, as he gave me an almost admiring grunt before turning tail and heading back into the woods.

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Where Southern Stripers run

WhereSouthern Stripers run WhereSouthern Stripers run WhereSouthern Stripers run

species that crosses their path.

It is a good time to be a river angler. Here are three excellent destinations for river-run striped bass in the South.

• Saluda River: Columbia, South Carolina

In spring and summer, scads of striped bass make the 60-mile run up the Congaree River from the Santee-Cooper Lakes southeast of Columbia, S.C. By late summer, most of those sh pile into the Saluda River, which is a short, 10-mile-long tributary that’s fed with cold water from the dam at Lake Murray. August is the heart of the Saluda season, when 100- sh days of 2- to 5-pound stripers are possible. Fish heavier than 20 pounds are a possibility, but this shery sees a lot of pressure and the water is normally very clear. e big ones spook easily and become nicky late in the season.

• Etowah River: Cartersville, Georgia

On Georgia’s Etowah River, the sh are spread out over about 50 miles of river, so covering water is the name of the game. Anglers should expect to do a lot of casting to each shoal and piece of wood cover where stripers might lie in ambush.

Starting in April, they run some 75 miles upriver from Alabama’s Lake Weiss to a lowhead dam downstream of Georgia’s Lake Allatoona. e sh are constantly on the move and the idea is to intercept them. Anglers might hook up with sh from 4 pounds on up to 20 pounds and larger.

• Hiwassee River: Reliance, Tennessee

e Hiwassee is more of a quality than quantity shery. Anglers are called on to sh hard for just a few bites, but those bites come from sh that o en weigh 20, 30, even 40 pounds or more.

In the South, the striped bass runs of spring and summer bring some of the most exciting shing of the year for those who prefer to sh rivers. Landlocked striped bass are as large and powerful as any sh in freshwater, and for most of the year they are only available to big-lake anglers who troll or downline live baits.

at all changes in spring. e rst groups of striper migrate into the rivers on spawning runs. In many locations, this spring run is followed by a larger summertime push, when pods of striped bass move up into cooler, more oxygenated waters. Sometimes they pile up below dams, and sometimes they patrol surprisingly skinny waters in wolf packs, gobbling up any prey

Most years, the wide, shoal-broken river around Reliance loads up with striped bass from July into September. ese are big-river sh that run some 50-miles upstream from the Tennessee River at Lake Chickamauga. ey revel in cold, oxygenated water that ows down the mountains from Apalachia Lake on the North Carolina/Tennessee border.

ey hold in the same holes and shoals every year to feed heavily on skipjack herring, gizzard shad and the stocked trout Tennessee puts in the river for anglers.

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With spring settled in, the seas are becoming more shable, and more options are available. When I was little, this is the time of year when we would start catching little tunnies o the pier. At the time they were my favorite, but now that I’m older and know a few friends with boats, spring has come to mean tuna, black n tuna in particular. We catch other species of tuna, but black ns are the most abundant here o Florida.

Black n tuna are smaller than other tuna species like yellow n or blue n. Black ns we catch usually weigh between 10 and 30 pounds, and they rarely reach 30 pounds. Yellow n tuna have bright yellow on their lateral line, while black ns have a bronze, almost black line. Also, a black n’s nlets are more of a dark bronze color with white tips compared to yellow n, which have yellow nlets. Another tell is their second dorsal n, which is not elongated like other species of tunas.

Black n tuna and every other tuna use ram ventilation, meaning they must be constantly moving. During this movement, water is forced through the mouth and over the gills to supply oxygen to the blood. ey are constantly moving and highly migratory.

Black n tuna range all over the western Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts to Brazil. Within these areas, tuna stay more o shore in depths of 70 feet or deeper. ey prefer water temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees. is results in the tuna arriving in Florida in late spring and staying into fall, when water temperatures are optimal for them.

Black ns spawn throughout the summer. ey broadcast spawn in current, and their fry will live within oating debris elds until they get large enough to survive in the open.

To catch black n tuna, many captains will dri sh over 170 to 270 feet of water. A current that dri s the boat at about 2 knots is about as fast as you want to go, and a sea anchor can be useful in slowing the dri . Live baits such as sardines, thread n herring and others work well on the dri . Deploy some freelines as well as some weighted rigs to take baits down and cover the water column.

Jigging a spoon around reefs and rock piles is another fun and e ective way to catch black ns. Tuna will readily take a 4- or 5-inch spoon weighing 2 or 3 ounces.

Black n tuna are good to eat, and you’re allowed two per person or 10 per vessel. e IGFA all-tackle record for black n tuna is 49.06 pounds, caught out o Marathon, Fla. in 2006.

Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 62 IGFA world records in various categories. She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part time Bow n Guide Service as well as shing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her on social media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors.


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Orange Lake Produces Giants

It’s been a slow year for truly giant largemouth bass in Florida. e FWC’s TrophyCatch program, which recognizes and promotes catch and release of big bass, has only registered two 13-plus-pounders this TrophyCatch season. Both sh were caught southeast of Gainesville, at Orange Lake.

Largemouths must weigh more than 13 pounds to

reach TrophyCatch Hall of Fame status. TrophyCatch season 11 began back on Oct. 1, 2022, and the veri ed Hall of Fame bass wasn’t caught until Feb. 3. at monster sh, caught at Orange Lake by Michael Matthews, weighed 13-pounds, 8-ounces. It is the largest sh entered into the program so far for the season, which ends on Sept. 30, 2023.

Apparently, Orange Lake bass were fat and full of eggs in February. e second Hall of Fame bass of the season was caught on Feb. 25 by Anthony Holland during a Big Bend Bass Club tournament at Orange Lake. You can bet Holland got a check a er bringing his giant 13-pound, 3-ounce bass to the scales.

Both Hall of Fame sh were released back into Orange Lake, and both of their weights will count for Orange Lake in the ongoing Battle of the Lakes between Orange Lake and Headwaters/Fellsmere. At the end of season 11, whichever shery has the most registered weight will win, and all the anglers who submitted sh for the winning lake will be entered into a prize drawing.

TrophyCatch also awards many other prizes to participants, including a fully rigged bass boat that will be awarded by drawing at the end of the season.

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Anthony Holland caught a 13.3-pound bass during an Orange Lake tournament on Feb. 25. The largest bass of the TrophyCatch season was caught at Orange Lake on Feb. 3 by Michael Matthews.
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Here One Day, Gone the Next TARPON

Just a er daybreak, we bobbed in an anchored ski looking out over a wide, shallow bay. Capt. Scott Burgess sat on the poling platform smoking a cigar and drinking co ee. Jesse Trevathan stood on the casting deck. He wasn’t casting. With line stripped out into the decal-littered stripping bucket in front of him, he held his y—a locally tied (FC)2 Renegade—in his le hand and his rod in his right. He just watched. We all watched, eyes focused on a large patch of sand o the bow that stood out from the grassy bottom around it.

We were looking for tarpon cruising the shallows on their annual westward migration along the Gulf Coast. In this sweet spot on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, they show up in May and are gone by August. e action peaks in June and July, and their massive silver bodies would show clearly in contrast to the sandy bottom.

“ ey follow paths, the same paths, year a er year,” said Burgess. “It’s based on the topography of the bottom as they move in with the tide.”

He had positioned the boat with the bow facing a ridge that rose from 7 feet up to 3 feet deep. When tarpon move in, the tops of such ridges are too shallow for them to cross. e big sh are channeled into the shallows in search of pogies, crabs and other delicacies.

With the trap set, there was nothing to do but wait and talk. Trevathan said tarpon spawn on the new and full moons of summer. For days they evacuate the ats and head o shore.

“I’ve been out here right before the full moon, and I literally saw hundreds of tarpon. ey were doing nothing but chasing tail. ey were

daisy chaining all over the place,” Trevathan said. “I went back on the moon, and they were gone.”

e daisy chaining Trevathan mentioned, in which sh group up and swim in circles nose to tail, is thought by some to be pre-spawn behavior, a sort of courtship dance. But no spawning takes place during these events. For the most part, scientists don’t really know why tarpon do what they do.

Trevathan and Burgess both have their theories about the movements of these giants. What they know for sure is tarpon show up each summer on the ats and in the passes. Clean water is needed to see them. Seeing them is necessary to present the y. e cast must lead them, but not too much, and the retrieve must intercept the sh at the right angle to incite a strike.

If the sh eats, it takes a hard strip set to drive the hook into a tarpon’s bony mouth. How hard? “As hard as you can,” said Burgess. Even if all goes according to plan, Burgess admitted there’s a less than 50 percent chance of steering a large tarpon boat-side. e power and aerial display of a hooked tarpon are legendary. Sadly, we did not witness it that day.

As the tide turned, the murky water became more dingy. Late in the morning, the call was made to move in search of red sh.

A week later, Burgess sent a text message with an attached photo. It showed a big tarpon, which he estimated to be 135 to 140 pounds, tailthrashing the water just o the tip of his 12-weight rod, which was broken in half.

“40 min ght with a broken rod… she pulled me 2 miles from my anchor.” e text read.

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Fishing Report & Forecast St. Augustine Inshore

May is just an awesome month for fishing in Northeast Florida! The inshore fish (redfish, trout, flounder, drum, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, etc.) will be on the feed with the influx of baitfish (finger mullet and pogies). With warming air and water temps the nearshore fishing should be firing up as well with huge jacks, a few lingering cobias, and probably even a tarpon or two... all waiting to put up that drag screaming fight of a lifetime!

search bait this time of year. The water will become murky and a lure that makes some noise will be a good way to get the redfish’s attention. Some of my favorites are spoons, twitchbaits, and one of my favorites, the spinner bait. My clients and I have caught a ton of big redfish on an inline spinner bait.. Of course, a popping cork with a shrimp or mud minnow will catch its fair share of reds this month as well.

May has always been a “gator” trout month for me. A top-water plug will account for some of the bigger trout catches this month. The outgoing tide along the ICW banks should be loaded with trout, especially if the baitfish are around. Once the day heats up a bit I like to fish a 1/4-ounce Saltwater Assassin jighead paired with a Saltwater Assasin soft plastic for the trout. Like I always say… use a twitch, twitch, pause method and most of the time they’ll hit it on the pause. A freelined live shrimp with a small pinch weight a few inches above it is a great was to catch some trout too.

The inlets will come alive with all kinds of fast hitting fish this month. Look for jacks, blues, ladyfish, and spanish macs to be on the feed around all the area inlets. Crankbaits, spoons, and just about anything that’s moving fast through the water will catch these fish.

Inshore the redfish will be crushing the finger mullet and that means a top-water plug, especially at first and last light, will be the go-to lure of choice. Look for large concentrations of mullet and toss your plugs around them. There’s sure to be a redfish lurking around looking for an easy snack. Once the sun gets higher in the sky I like to switch to a

The flounder bite has been consistent all year and will be a good bet this month. Some of the bigger springtime flatties will start to show in the inlets. Use a finger mullet or big mud minnow pinned to a jighead or fish-finder rig. Bounce the minnow (or mullet) along the rocks at the inlets to find some of the big “doormats”. .

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Fishing Report & Forecast Mayport

The weather of March should hold a reminder to us as an example on how quick it can change. That being said I believe the cooler days of late March helped our fishery out on a positive note. Look for the jetties at Mayport to hold good numbers of reds, trout, sheepshead, black drum, and ringtails. High clean water should be what you look for to find the fish. On the high outgoing tides trout will be found by casting float rigs on the edges of the rocks with live shrimp. Cover the shallow and the deep water on each spot .Try to vary the depth based on the areas you fish. The water temps are still in the 60’s and the fish will be in tight schools I prefer a light tackle My favorite is Ugly Stix 7ft with a Penn Slammer 3500. If you haven’t tried this reel out you should. Work in varying depths but look for clean water both inside the rocks and out. The reds will be hunting for food on the high fall so go deep. Pitch a ¼ to a ½ oz jig ten feet out from the rocks up current using a jumbo live shrimp. Many of the fish will be oversized so you might have to throw a few back. Sheeps will also be in the same zone so don’t be surprised if you bang a few of these too!

If you’re targeting sheepshead this is the time of year this is when the final push of big spawners will be around approaching the next full moon. A fiddler, ¼ piece of blue crab, clam, or small shrimp work well. A Carolina rig/egg sinker rig is effective or small ¼ to ½ oz jigs are good methods too!

The big giant black drum have showed up well in March and should be around in April also. The high top of the flood tide on the tips of both rock piles is a great place. A ¼ to ½ of a fresh blue crab is the most effective though I have caught many on a peeled jumbo fresh dead shrimp. Typically we are fishing in 36-46ft of water and sometime deeper. Be patient. Its not always a huge bite that you see. They have a slow mealy kinda of bite that at times looks like a small fish is pecking

on the bait and it’s a huge 60lber. Remember these are our spawners and don’t make good table fair so I really suggest you put them back. Make sure you have a venting tool handy to release the air from the distended bladders=. This way they can swim back down.

The offshore party grounds should still be holding good numbers of sea bass, ringtails, sheepshead, and some trigger fish and the Red Snapper seem to be everywhere. Check the regs for the legal limits as our snapper are still closed.

The beach fishing should start to pick up so begin to look for pogie pods to show if it’s a particularly warm month. Pogies mean big predators like bull reds, triple tail, sharks, Spanish, and cobia. The pogies, though at times scattered, have been around all winter and warming seas will make them school tighter.

For more fishing tips listen to the Outdoorshow radio program on 1010am or 92.5fm every Saturday from 7am to 10am. He can be reached at 904.241.7560 or 904.626.1128 or go to www.

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Orlando, Fla. – April 13, 2023 – Today, Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education, and advocacy, joined the Duke Energy Mariculture Center and Mud Hole Custom Tackle to continue addressing the loss of the redfish population along Florida’s East Coast by releasing 8,000 hatchery-reared, juvenile redfish (about five to nine inches in length) in Jacksonville – completing its Northeast redfish releases.

“We are excited to resume our ‘Release the East’ efforts and finish our Northeast releases in Duval County,” CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski said. “In the past two weeks, in partnership with the Duke Energy Mariculture Center, we have released 20,000 redfish in Palm Coast, St. Augustine and Jacksonville, and we could

About CCA Florida

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. One of 19n state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985. A 501(c)3 nonprofit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources. Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 18,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments. Join the conversation on Facebook or

not be more proud to continue our commitment to protecting and preserving Florida’s marine resources and revitalizing the redfish population along the East Coast.”

In recent years, Florida’s redfish population has drastically declined as a result of water quality issues and loss of habitat. To counteract these effects, CCA Florida and the Duke Energy Mariculture Center have taken a proactive approach to habitat restoration, water quality projects as well as restocking one of Florida’s most sought-after inshore fish, the redfish.

This latest release is part of a multifunctional and multiyear strategy to rebuild and maintain game fish stocks. Since 2018, CCA Florida and Duke Energy have released more than 226,000 redfish and spotted seatrout across Florida’s coasts to help provide abundant recreational fishing opportunities.

learn more at

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states, including Florida.

Press Release

Fishing Report & Forecast Nassau Sound


is a great month for a variety of species! Over the years, my clients and I have targeted Tarpon, Jacks, Spanish Mackerel, Trout, Redfish, Flounder and mangrove snappers. I often fish for Reds and trout, picking up other species while doing so. My records show many of the bigger trout that myself and clients have caught. One that comes to mind is Will Felner’s 34 inch 9 1/2 lb trout! Fish of a life time, caught May 2nd, Congrats to Will!!

You will often hear me talk about the right time of year to target certain species. May is a good time to target large trout. I like to fish early morning, incoming tide,  low light, conditions help when you were throwing top waters and lipped divers, and any other bait that imitates a mullet, pogies or bait fish which many larger Trout are targeting in their diet at this time. I look for points, shorelines with structures, jetty’s, or shell / oyster bars, etc. Any water that has a rip (water flowing around structure) flowing around it has potential. Fish are usually facing into the current just outside the rip line in the Eddie where they wait for baitfish to get “washed through” where it’s easier for them to ambush. Because bait fish get disorientated through this rip of current, often times other species will be in the mix. We also catch many other species this way. Throw up Current 5 to 10 feet passed your target, so by the time you work the lure back with the current into the fishes face everything is as natural as it can be so you can get the strike. This method applies for float fishing as well.

During the hot months, I try to fish early or late. If the tide is falling or low in the early hours, I like to target species that is conducive to the tide we’re on.

For example, if the tide is low at 8 o’clock in the morning, I will try

to look for backing reds or set up for a Redfish spots on that low water. Methods are very much the same as I explained in the Trout world. I look for oyster bars in the back country that have rips coming around them on the falling tide and I cast my quarter ounce TBS Jig with a shrimp or mudminnow up into that rip adjacent to the eddie, where a fish would be sitting. If I’m working artificial lures, I will cast up ahead of the rip and work my lure through the rip coming around the oyster bar. I try and use shrimp in the backcountry, because, you can pick up a black drum & other species which normally do not take mud minnows. Stay far from your target, use a rod that can cast 40 yds and make far accurate casts so the fish don’t detect your presence!! Many times when redfish do not eat, it is because they know you were there, keep that in mind. Until next time get out and enjoy the great outdoors!

Capt. Tony Bozzella / TBS JIGS 904 651 0182


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Fishing Report & Forecast Fernandina / Amelia Island

Hardfighting cobia will be holding close to working shrimp boats, channel buoys and close to the surf where large concentrations of menhaden are schooling. Offshore fishermen will find cobia at some of the sunken wrecks, large lime rock ledges, and where large concentrations of cigar minnows are schooling close to the surface. Cobia will also follow your hooked fish right up to your fishing boat, so be prepared with a second fishing rod and reel rigged with a brightly colored bucktail jig. Often catching fishermen totally off guard.

A premium pair of sunglasses with amber lens will enable fishermen to see under the surface of the water when sight fishing for hard fighting cobia.

King mackerel will be schooling offshore including FA, FC, and FB fish havens. Bring along a sadiki bait catch and fill your live well with live cigar minnows. Live cigar minnows can now be slow trolled close to and right over nearby fish havens, or where large concentrations of bait fish are holding right on and just under the surface.

Shark fishermen will find good numbers of pelagic sharks during the month of May both at offshore wrecks, ledges and near-shore inlets too. Some of the best shark action comes while drifting dead baits with behind a working shrimp boat that has just cleaned their catch. Shrimp boats discarding their bi-catch will also attract hard fighting tarpon, cobia and fast swimming kingfish too.

Excellent sea trout and redfish fishing is also available during the month of May in many of Amelia Island’s fishy tidal rivers and bays. Timing is critical as fishing is best when a good running tide is flooding oyster beds where huge concentrations of finger mullet are present as well. A flooding early morning tide is key, particularly when arriving around mid-morning.

Some of the larger sea trout and redfish will be taking surface plugs fished along the edges of finger mullet schools. A local favorite is the Storm “Chug Bug” in the chrome and blue color pattern. This popular trout lure also has a sound chamber where led balls rattle against their plastic chamber, which ultimately

imitates croaker grunting. Also, the loud popping sounds created by the “Chug Bug”, imitates game fish smacking live shrimp right on the surface.

Flounder fishing will be excellent during the month of May just off from the little jetties located at historic Fort Clinch. Rigging a live finger mullet to a fish finder setup, while retrieving slowly along the bottom is key.

The fish finder setup includes sliding a one-ounce egg weight onto your terminal fishing line. Next attach a small black barrel swivel to the tag end of your terminal fishing line, followed with a two-foot length of twentypound fluorocarbon shock leader. A number 4 kahle hook is then attached to the business end of the shock leader. The live finger mullet is barbed right through the bottom and through the top of the head.

Surf fishermen will be targeting excellent eating whiting, pompano, yellow mouth trout and more. Fishing with fresh shrimp, or sand fleas during a flooding tide is key. Look for some of the best beach fishing action to come where shallow bars located just off from the breaking surf, offer an ambush point for game fish.

For more fishing and charter information please call Amelia Angler Outfitters at 904-261-2870.


Fishing Report Pier and Surf

Thismonth may be the best of 2023! The water warmed up in late March. April was on fire when the wind and surf would lay down. Now this month all we need is some clean water with winds 15mph or less. The Pompano have returned in mass! They are spread out from Fernandina down to Canaveral. In April they almost exclusively wanted clams but I would take my flea rake. Use a double hook rig with flea on the top and a clam on the bottom. A 2/0 L197 Eagle Claw is my favorite hook to use. With this bait combo you will also have a great chance of catching whiting, redfish, and black drum. Remember, do not leave home without your Fishbites! This time of year crab is my favorite scent.

Check out the Pompano in the picture! He ate BOTH pieces of Fishbites on my double dropper rig!!

On our local piers, be sure to take your float rigs and some live shrimp. This is the month for spotted sea trout! The larger bluefish also make their return in May. Action will heat up with Spanish mackerel so do not forget your Gotcha plugs! For both of these species you can’t go wrong with live finger mullet and some light wire leader.

Whether you are in the surf or on the pier, the boys in the grey suits will be in full force this month. To get your string stretched, just soak a whiting head in a deep trough along the beach. The Blacktip sharks will be actively feeding on them and the pompano. I like using one foot of 480lb cable tipped with a 10/0 L2022 by Eagle Claw. Above that, six feet of 300lb mono to avoid being tail whipped. This fish will run 70 to 160 pounds. So make sure you have enough line to soak up the first run. Blacktips are a blast because in shallow water they almost always go airborne when hooked up.

I am pleased to announce that the Florida Surf Casters Club will be holding their 19th Annual Surf Fishing Tournament on Saturday May 13th. This tourney is for pompano and whiting only. The weigh in will be hosted by the Strike Zone in Jacksonville Florida. For more information, go to

As a founding member of the club, I want to thank Dave Workman and his team at Strike Zone for making this tourney an ongoing success!

Noel Kuhn

Surf fishing guide and long distance casting coach. 904-945-0660


Nassau Sport Fishing Association

The Nassau Sport Fishing Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to develop and promote saltwater fishing in the Nassau County area while adhering to state, federal and local regulations, to encourage compliance with rules of water safety by club members and the general public, and to promote youth related community activities.

May is a busy month for NSFA members. First, NSFA will be hosting our annual food booth at the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival May 5-7, 2023. Find us in the food court by the water and say “Hello”.

May also brings the deadline for the 2023 NSFA Scholarship application submission. NSFA will be awarding scholarships to 3 rising seniors from Nassau County high schools. See our website for more information and the scholarship application. Our Fish of the Season

contest Winter (Jan/Feb) season is in the books with 28 fish weighed. Here are your top 3 finishers and winnings:

Whiting - 1st Pl - Marvin Leininger 2.07

Sheepshead - 1st Pl - Ed Frye 5.01

Trout - 1st Pl - Marvin Leininger 2.79

Our Early Spring Season (March, Apr) has anglers targeting and weighing Black Drum (slot only), Pompano, and Whiting. We have a pending new club record for Drum weighed in by Ed Frey at 7.32#. Reminder that black drum must be in the 14”-24” slot. Ed also weighed a very nice pompano at 3.28#. This is great news indicating the presence of nice fish for you to pursue. The website standings are now updated for you to review.When the weather cooperates, the fishing has been pretty good. please visit our website at NSFAFISH.NET or stop by one of our meetings.

As always, Stay Safe, healthy, and we will see you on the water!

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NEFMA - Marlin Fishing 2023

In the early 2000’s Sportfish boats ruled the offshore fishing, social media was not yet defined and catches were recorded on portable cameras. You had to call an 800 number to get the Marine Forecast. In person 2 or 3 day tournaments were the norm. In one  May  BlueWater Tournament held out of St Augustine there were 29 Blue Marlin releases !

Fast forward.....SOCIAL MEDIA !!!,Weather Apps and InReach. Sportfish boats are the minority, Center Consoles are the norm. Wahoo seems to be the species most sought after and Blue Marlin

the least. In the NEFMA (Northeast Florida Marlin Association)  BlueWater Tournament the Half- A-Buc released 3 Blue Marlin in 1 day ! What has really changed in North Florida off-shore fishing ? Are there fewer Marlin ? I do not know of any data that supports there are fewer Blue Marlin. I do have significant data that shows far fewer boats fish for Blue Marlin. Today many Marlin are by catch ! Yes, the Marlin and Mahi travel together. So if you want to increase your chances of landing a Marlin while you are targeting Mahi you can make a few easy changes. Go up a little on your leader strength and increase the length. If you are not already doing so add a teaser or 2. Make sure you have a pitch rod ready or at least one bigger bait in the spread you can reel up to get attention from a prospector. If you are in a CC once you have cleared the lines move your Angler to front of boat. Try not to put too much pressure on the fish or they will sound. Run them down once they begin to tire and get the leader.

The NEFMA BlueWater Tournament will be 5/10 - 5/13. The Captian meeting will be 5/10 at the NEFMA Clubhouse. NEFMA will be once again participating as a stop on the Sport Fishing Championship, National Tournament. CBS Sports will be imbedded on 12 of our boats and coverage will be on CBS Sports on their Saturday shows. So please join us and be part of this incredible event. To join go to and click Tournaments.

Northeast Florida Marlin Association

Fishing Report & Forecast North Florida

West side of the Stream:

It’s the middle of April as I write this and the Mahi run has still not started in the gulf stream. This makes the annual spring mahi run promising for the month of May. Start about 135 to 150 ft death. Look for fully formed weed lines and current edges. As water warms the chance of seeing a Blue Marlin grows. Early mornings and later in the evening Blackfin tuna will be feeding on the ledge so be sure to be there during low light conditions if targeting blackfin tuna.

East Side of the Gulf Stream:

The birds are starting to show up and Yellowfin tuna have been plentiful. Target the cooler pockets of water and large temperature breaks. If you see birds there are sure to be fish below. Most Yellowfin tuna are in the 20-50lbs range but some larger 70lb to 100lbs. Mahi, Blackfins, and Marlin are prevalent as well in May on the east side as well.

Offshore Inside the Stream:

As water temperatures heat up, expect to see an abundance of life on the nearshore reefs. May is a great month on the feeds. King Mackerel will be abundant 10-15 miles from the inlet on any spots that hold bait fish such as cigar minnows, sardines, and threadfins. Keep a close eye on the bait that comes to the surface. When kingfish are around they will make their presence known by jumping when feeding and by making the school of bait all startle at one time.

Further out around Elton Bottom, the mangrove snapper bite will be heating up. All summer long, Mangrove Snapper responds well to chum; May is typically the first effective month mangroves can be

chummed to the boat. Be prepared with various sizes of fluorocarbon leaders as they can be very leader shy at times. Once the sharks show up it’s going to be the end of the party and time to search elsewhere. General tip with offshore fishing; If sharks are eating your fish there is no point in fishing that spot any longer as they will win the battle every time.


With May’s warmer water, we start to see an abundance of life around the jetties. Larger mixed bags become more common with more species showing up around the inlet. Pompano, black drum, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, redfish, black margates, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, flounder, and so much more will be around the jetties. Some larger flounder should be around rocks and docks. If you plan on catching a nice mixed bag, be prepared to have a lot of live shrimp. Pinfish and blennies will wreak havoc on live shrimp from May through August inshore. Mud minnows are a great alternative to shrimp if your livewell has a hard time keeping massive amounts of shrimp alive and you do not want to deal with all of the bycatch.


Fuel up. Cast out.

Ethanol-free gasoline is available at these GATE locations.

9540 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville

570 Busch Drive, Jacksonville

4100 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville

200, Yulee

son St., Jacksonville

wn Center Parkway, Jacksonville

0 Baymeadows Road, Jacksonville

Center Drive, Jacksonville

tic Blvd., Jacksonville

Ponte Vedra Beach

01 Monument Road, Jacksonville

McCormick Road, Jacksonville

ate Road 56, Wesley Chapel County Road 136, White Springs

Valley Road, Ponte Vedra

Pavilion Drive, St Johns

3210 U.S. Highway 17 S., Orange Park

5000-60 U.S. Highway 17, Fleming Island

7099 Collins Road, Jacksonville

686 Blanding Blvd., Orange Park

10980 U.S. Highway 1 N., Jacksonville

4511 San Juan Ave., Jacksonville

450 Park Street, Jacksonville

10970 U.S. Highway 1 N., Ponte Vedra Beach

2350 State Road 16, St Augustine

1900 Mizell Road, (SR312), St Augustine

1605 Race Track Road, Jacksonville

3011 International Golf Parkway, St Augustine

12705 Durbin Lake Drive, Jacksonville

2520 S. 3rd Street, Jacksonville Beach

12548 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville Serving

New Surf Fishing Baits Are Reeling Them In

Withthe temperatures and fishing really heating up in Northeast Florida, you’ll want to ensure you have everything you need to lure fish into taking your bait. Just in time for the late Spring action, Fishbites created two new baits that are already proving to be a hit amongst anglers and a wide variety of species.

The new E-Z Longer Lasting Blue Crab Fishbites mimics the blue and white colors of a fresh blue crab, which we all know is a great bait for red drum, pompano, and black drum. The longer-lasting formula slowly releases scent into the water and stays strong on the hook, which is crucial for surf fishing and deep dropping offshore. In just a few months, the Blue Crab Fishbites have caught bull whiting, pompano, red drum, sheepshead, black drum, cobia, and snapper here in Northeast Florida.

Also coming in hot are the Periwinkle Clam E-Z Longer Lasting Fishbites meant to imitate the purple hues of the coquina (donax) clams commonly found in the surf. From pompano to red drum, this color combo seems to be the ticket when you are matching the hatch, and the success these baits are having across Florida beaches is remarkable. We cannot wait to see what Fishbites comes out with next!

To learn more or to get your hands on these baits, visit fishbites. com, stop by the Fishbites Trading Post in St. Augustine, or head over to your local tackle shop.

Up More.


Hello my fellow anglers. We have some big events coming up. We have split our Redfish and Kingfish tournaments. Our Redfish bash will be May 26th and 27th. Captains meeting and weigh in will be at St Augustine Marina. Entry fee is 65.00 per angler $25.00 for Jr Anglers. The first place prize is $2,500 based on 100 anglers. We will have a raffle at the captains meeting with lots of prizes. Our kingfish challenge will be July 13th-16th at the Marlin Club. Kids fish Friday July 14th regular tournament is Saturday July 15th. Kids entry is $25.00 per angler. If you would like to sign up for any of these tournaments visit or email for more info. Our General Meeting will be held at St. Augustine Shrine Club address: 250 Brainard Dr St Augustine, Fl 32086 May 16th. We will also have Captain Cones stopping by Serving Ice Cream to our Young Anglers Club and General Membership so bring a little extra cash. They donate gift cards to our young Angers that win angler of the month, this is our chance to give back to them. Not a member, not a problem, stop by the meeting and see what we

are all about. We always welcome newcomers. Congratulations to Chuck Dykes for winning inshore angler of the month in March, and Heather Anderson for winning offshore angler of the month in March. Congratulations to Natalie Jarriel in our young anglers club she won inshore angler of the month in March. Hope to see you at the next meeting. See you out on the water!

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Fishing Could Teach ‘Em A Thing Or Two

Fishing has always been popular. But the Big Lockdown of 2020 made it a huge hit.

And why not? Fishing builds character. It teaches us hard work, dedication, and focus—things we need more of these days. If you look at what’s going on in our public schools, it’s apparent that kids would learn more from fishing than from the non-academic courses they’re taught now.

Imagine if the money spent on grants for transgender lifestyle materials would instead go for grants to form bass fishing teams in public middle and high schools. This is already happening at the college level; why not for younger kids too.

JASMYN and stopped other initiatives too. This is the power of involvement.

The moral of the story is: We must ALL pay closer attention to what children are being taught in public schools. And after we tune in, we need to speak up.

In the meantime, teach another child to fish. It might be the one thing that helps them cope while public school officials are coming to their senses.

For more information on Citizens Defending Freedom, visit www.

I recently attended a local school board meeting. It was packed. Parents who had a front-row seat to their children’s education during COVID had seen enough. And they wanted to be heard. Especially concerning were activities by a non-profit called JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network), an advocacy group for LGBTQIA+ young teens and young adults under contract with Duval County Schools. Parents had become aware of sexualized activities posted on JASMYN’s youth Facebook and Twitter pages.

One parent attending shared this: “JASMYN has a pornographic game on their social media where children match up images of male genitalia. It’s perverted.”

Citizens also pointed out troubling initiatives by other organizations under contract with Duval County Schools: The ETR Supplemental Health Curriculum, the YRBS (Youth Risk Behavior Survey), and the CDC DASH grant.

Their initiatives included a brochure on taking tours of abortion clinics, a project on how to get to an abortion clinic using public transportation (to circumvent parental approval), and discussions around sex acts—all things clearly inappropriate for children.

But a well-informed citizens group was already aware and hard at work.

Kathleen Murray is the executive director of the Duval County Chapter of Citizens Defending Freedom. “We empower local citizens to hold local government accountable. We use our nation’s founding documents and the power of We the People—operating with civility and respect at all times, as dictated by our Code of Conduct.”

When Citizens Defending Freedom organized a group of local citizens to attend school board meetings and speak up, something happened: Duval County Public Schools pulled their funding from


The new Grady White 281 CE Coastal Explorer


Boats introduces an exciting new addition to its inshore/offshore Coastal Explorer Series. The new 281 CE Coastal Explorer surpasses all expectations with its exceptional design and its unparalleled performance. Packed with Grady’s latest innovations, that add style, form, and function, this boat is primed for fishability and overflowing with luxury features that promise to delight avid anglers hungry for a versatile fishing machine and their family members dreaming about a sandbar chariot. Built on GradyWhite’s legendary SeaV2®hull, with its wave-cutting, continuously variable vee design, this boat was specifically created to venture into shallower waters, but easily goes where others in its class wouldn’t dare. Customers asked for it and our design team pulled out all the stops in creating this exceptional boat. The latest and greatest Grady innovation begins with the new standard portside sport deck with electromechanically folding platform including a stowable boarding

lights, rod holders, tri-colored LED recessed lights, radar flat, and outrigger plates. Upgrade to the Elite Lean Bar with Command Elite helm chairs for even more comfort. The captain will love the ease of steering with standard Helm Master EX® with integrated digital electric steering, the abundant space for two large display screens, and easy access to a multitude of standard features that are close at hand including hydraulic trim tabs with indicators and auto retract, an anchor windlass, and windshield wiper with washer, just to name a few. On the way to the fishing grounds the crew can prep bait at the deluxe lean bar complete with a 38-gallon livewell, rigging station, cutting board, lure holder, lockable storage drawers and tackle trays, and recessed freshwater shower. Another 18-gallon livewell, at the transom, provides plenty of bait so you can fill both 70-quart fish boxes in the bow. A 296-quart fishbox/cooler under the forward console seat with a removable divider is the perfect spot for fish, drinks, lunch, and

ladder–perfect for landing fish or as a large swim and dive platform. Grady’s ingenuity continues with the newly designed aft bench that can be configured for three different uses. Add the cushions, place the backrests in the forward position,and insert the optional center backrest for comfortable seating for three or more, remove the center backrest and swing the port and starboard backrests forward to create a lounge area. Forward thinking design elements easily transition the bow from a fishing platform to a luxurious lounge. Electromechanically adjustable backrests can be lowered to create a large casting platform or add the cushions and raise the backrests for ultra-comfortable seating or a spacious sun pad. If you plan to entertain as much as you fish, add the optional bow table package and you’ll be ready to toast to a successful day at the fishing grounds while you relax on a sunset cruise.

Everything that makes a Grady-White boat a top-of-the-line fishing machine can be found on the 281 CE, starting with the full height,scratch-resistant acrylic windshield that’s integrated into the T-top with a painted aluminum frame, storage net, LED spreader

snacks.Other creature comforts on this go-anywhere boat include a lockable console with a privacy tinted window, LED indirect lighting, bulk storage, a marine head with electric flush, and a 10-gallon holding tank. Take your experience to the next level with the standard stereo system which includes a waterproof color touchscreen display, an AM/FM tuner, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth®connectivity, and speakers with LED lights in the bow, cockpit, and T-top.Grady-White recognizes boat owners have varying preferences and needs regarding power and amenities, so this boat can be equipped with a single Yamaha 425 or dual Yamaha 300 engine configuration, both with digital integrated electric steering. Additional optional features include Helm Master EX® Full Maneuverability with autopilot; trolling motor pre-rigging with a swivel mounting bracket with quick release, a head stabilizer, 36V battery system, and a 20-amp battery charger (trolling motor not included); and an outrigger kit. Optional amenities for a day of cruising and fun in the sun include a SureShade® electrically retractable cockpit shade. This boat has it all. A truly amazing boat. Call or stop by your local Marine Max dealer for more details.

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24 NORTHEAST FLORIDA MAY 2023 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM • Date Day Time Hgt Time Hgt Time Hgt Time Hgt 01 Mon 05:54 AM 4.37 H 12:00 PM 0.56 L 06:27 PM 4.64 H 02 Tue 12:36 AM 0.65 L 06:40 AM 4.41 H 12:40 PM 0.30 L 07:07 PM 4.94 H 03 Wed 01:21 AM 0.35 L 07:23 AM 4.45 H 01:19 PM 0.06 L 07:47 PM 5.21 H 04 Thu 02:03 AM 0.06 L 08:06 AM 4.47 H 01:57 PM -0.14 L 08:26 PM 5.44 H 05 Fri 02:44 AM -0.17 L 08:48 AM 4.48 H 02:36 PM -0.27 L 09:07 PM 5.59 H 06 Sat 03:25 AM -0.30 L 09:32 AM 4.47 H 03:16 PM -0.31 L 09:51 PM 5.66 H 07 Sun 04:08 AM -0.33 L 10:17 AM 4.46 H 04:00 PM -0.26 L 10:37 PM 5.66 H 08 Mon 04:55 AM -0.26 L 11:05 AM 4.43 H 04:48 PM -0.13 L 11:27 PM 5.59 H 09 Tue 05:47 AM -0.13 L 11:57 AM 4.41 H 05:43 PM 0.04 L 10 Wed 12:21 AM 5.48 H 06:44 AM 0.00 L 12:52 PM 4.40 H 06:45 PM 0.21 L 11 Thu 01:18 AM 5.35 H 07:44 AM 0.08 L 01:51 PM 4.43 H 07:53 PM 0.32 L 12 Fri 02:19 AM 5.21 H 08:44 AM 0.08 L 02:54 PM 4.53 H 09:01 PM 0.34 L 13 Sat 03:23 AM 5.07 H 09:42 AM -0.00 L 03:59 PM 4.71 H 10:07 PM 0.28 L 14 Sun 04:27 AM 4.96 H 10:37 AM -0.13 L 05:02 PM 4.97 H 11:10 PM 0.14 L 15 Mon 05:28 AM 4.86 H 11:30 AM -0.28 L 05:59 PM 5.26 H 16 Tue 12:10 AM -0.06 L 06:24 AM 4.75 H 12:20 PM -0.43 L 06:51 PM 5.51 H 17 Wed 01:06 AM -0.25 L 07:17 AM 4.64 H 01:08 PM -0.54 L 07:39 PM 5.67 H 18 Thu 01:57 AM -0.40 L 08:06 AM 4.52 H 01:54 PM -0.57 L 08:24 PM 5.71 H 19 Fri 02:45 AM -0.46 L 08:53 AM 4.39 H 02:38 PM -0.51 L 09:09 PM 5.65 H 20 Sat 03:29 AM -0.40 L 09:38 AM 4.26 H 03:22 PM -0.35 L 09:52 PM 5.49 H 21 Sun 04:13 AM -0.23 L 10:23 AM 4.14 H 04:06 PM -0.10 L 10:36 PM 5.28 H 22 Mon 04:57 AM 0.01 L 11:08 AM 4.03 H 04:51 PM 0.20 L 11:20 PM 5.05 H 23 Tue 05:42 AM 0.28 L 11:53 AM 3.94 H 05:40 PM 0.52 L 24 Wed 12:05 AM 4.84 H 06:31 AM 0.52 L 12:40 PM 3.89 H 06:32 PM 0.82 L 25 Thu 12:51 AM 4.67 H 07:21 AM 0.70 L 01:28 PM 3.88 H 07:28 PM 1.05 L 26 Fri 01:38 AM 4.52 H 08:10 AM 0.80 L 02:19 PM 3.92 H 08:24 PM 1.19 L 27 Sat 02:27 AM 4.40 H 08:57 AM 0.81 L 03:11 PM 4.04 H 09:19 PM 1.22 L 28 Sun 03:18 AM 4.29 H 09:41 AM 0.75 L 04:03 PM 4.23 H 10:13 PM 1.14 L 29 Mon 04:11 AM 4.21 H 10:24 AM 0.61 L 04:53 PM 4.49 H 11:05 PM 0.96 L 30 Tue 05:03 AM 4.16 H 11:07 AM 0.42 L 05:40 PM 4.78 H 11:56 PM 0.69 L 31 Wed 05:53 AM 4.15 H 11:51 AM 0.19 L 6:25 PM 5.08 H Approximate Correction Times +/- for Other regional Locations Palm Valley ICW: H: +2:20 L: +2:00 JAX Beach: H: -:29 L: -:20 St. Augustine Beach: H: -:07 L: -:15 St. A City Dock: H: -:04 L: +:09 Bings Landing: H: +2:57 L: +2:44

Let’s grow with Florida together.

Confessions of a Fishaholic, by Thatch Maguire, is a hilarious and irreverent look at one man’s quest to catch fish in spite of life’s annoying interferences. You’ll travel with this awkward adventurer as he risks home and health to pursue his passion for fishing...regardless of the consequences. Anglers of all expertise levels will immediately identify with why his addiction is incurable. This book defines the blurred line between passion and obsession.


Last year, results of a threeyear study indicated a shocking presence of drugs found in bone sh of the Florida Keys. It comes as little surprise that Florida International University (FIU) and Bone sh & Tarpon Trust (BTT) have recently completed a year-long study that also discovered pharmaceutical contaminants in the blood and other tissues of red sh in Florida waters.

“ e results underscore the urgent need to modernize Florida’s wastewater treatment systems,” said BTT President and CEO Jim McDu e. “Humanbased contaminants like these pose a signi cant threat to Florida’s recreational shery, which has an annual economic impact of $13.9 billion and directly supports more than 120,000 jobs.”

Scientists and volunteer guides and anglers sampled red sh in nine of Florida’s most important estuaries: Pensacola, Apalachicola, Cedar Key, Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Florida Bay, Northern Indian River Lagoon (IRL), St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

Similar to results of the previous bone sh study, pharmaceuticals were found in all of the estuaries sampled, with an average number of 2.1 drugs per sh and a maximum of ve. Only seven out of the 113 sampled sh had zero drugs in their system. On average, 25.7 percent of the sh exceeded a level of pharmaceuticals considered safe, which equates to one-third of the therapeutic levels in humans.

“ ese studies of bone sh and red sh are the rst to document the concerning presence of pharmaceuticals in species that are important to Florida’s recreational sheries,” said Dr. Jennifer Rehage, FIU professor and the study’s lead researcher. “Given the impacts of many of these pharmaceuticals on other sh species and the types of pharmaceuticals found, we are concerned about the role pharmaceuticals play in the health of our sheries. We will continue this work to get more answers to these concerning questions.”

Cardiovascular medications, opioid pain relievers and psychoactive medications were most commonly detected. e antiarrhythmic medication ecainide and the opioid pain reliever tramadol were detected in over 50 percent of the red sh. e antipsychotic medication upentixol was detected above safe levels in one in ve of the red sh samples. ese are very concerning levels of exposure for red sh.

Approximately ve billion prescriptions are lled each year in the U.S., yet there are no environmental regulations for the production nor disposal of pharmaceuticals worldwide. Pharmaceutical contaminants originate most o en from human wastewater and are not su ciently removed by conventional water treatment. ey remain active at low doses, can be released constantly, and exposure can a ect all aspects of sh behavior, with negative consequences for their reproduction and survival. Pharmaceutical contaminants have been shown to a ect all aspects of the life of sh, including their feeding, activity, sociability, and migratory behavior.

“Florida is a leader in addressing water quality issues and wastewater infrastructure, including converting septic systems to sewage treatment,” said Kellie Ralston, BTT’s Vice President for Conservation and Public Policy. “ e results of this study indicate that there are additional opportunities for improvement by retro tting existing wastewater treatment plants with innovative technologies, like ozone treatment, to remove pharmaceuticals and requiring such technology on new wastewater facilities.”

For more information, go to www.bone

Maguire’s frst work is a compelling, fast read. His style is like a mix of Hemingway with a sardonic blend of Hunter S. Thompson. I couldn’t put it down...
Ben Martin Editor in Chief Coastal Angler Magazine
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The ninth annual Lion sh Festival is slated for May 20-21 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar and HarborWalk Village in Destin, Fla. is outdoor event is free, open to the public and will feature family-friendly activities, art, diving and marine conservation booths, live music, llet demonstrations, and the world’s largest lion sh tournament, the Emerald Coast Open.


e Emerald Coast Open will run May 1920 and include categories for most lion sh, largest lion sh and smallest lion sh with nearly $100,000 worth of prizes up for grabs. For o cial tournament rules and registration instructions, visit EmeraldCoastOpen. com.


Sample lion sh at one of Destin–Fort Walton Beach’s featured restaurants during the Emerald Coast Open Lion sh Restaurant Week. Local chefs will highlight lion sh in unique dishes in the week leading up to the event to help bring awareness to the lion sh invasion in the Gulf of Mexico.


• e Boathouse Landing, Valparaiso – May 12

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• AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar– May 20


e 2023 Lion sh Challenge is a summer-long tournament open to everyone and completely free to enter. Participants in last year’s Challenge reached a signi cant milestone of over 1 million lion sh harvested from Florida waters since the program began in 2014! Visit FWCReefRangers. com to register for the Lion sh Challenge.

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The permit spawning season closure inside the Special Permit Zone (SPZ) began April 1. Regular permit regulations in the SPZ will reopen Aug. 1.

is closure area includes all state and federal waters south of Cape Sable on the Gulf coast and south of Cape Florida on the Atlantic coast including all of the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay south of Rickenbacker Causeway.

During the open season, regulations within the SPZ allow a daily bag limit of one permit, with a vessel limit of two permit and a minimum size of 22 inches fork length.

For more information, go to

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Anglers shing from a vessel targeting reef sh in Florida state waters are now required to have on board a descending device or venting tool that is rigged and ready for use. is new regulation went into e ect April 1, and also requires use of a descending device or venting tool if a sh exhibits signs of barotrauma prior to release.

e FWC approved this rule to increase survival of released reef sh, a top priority management issue in both the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic. As reef sh are reeled up from depth, they can su er pressure related injuries known as barotrauma. ese injuries include the stomach protruding out of the mouth, bulging eyes, bloated belly, distended intestines and inability to swim down independently. If not treated correctly, barotrauma can be lethal to sh.

“Florida’s anglers have always played an important role in the health of our sheries and the proper use of barotrauma mitigation tools is just one way anglers continue helping to conserve Florida’s sheries for current and future generations,” said FWC’s Jessica McCawley. “ is new rule not only improves survival of released reef sh but also provides anglers the exibility of choosing the best tool that ts their situation on the water.”

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Would your kid be proud to set a new world record?

Of course they would, and right now is a great time for kids to catch a world record thanks to the International Game Fish Association’s new length-record category for young anglers. e category is intended to promote catch-and-release by making it possible to measure a sh for world-record consideration without killing it, and right now there 169 vacant species just waiting for anglers under 16 years old to set a new world record.

e new IGFA All-Tackle Length Junior category follows the same rules and regulations as the current All-Tackle Length record categories. e All-Tackle Length Junior category will have one record available for each eligible species, with no di erentiation made for the angler’s gender, which is consistent with current All-Tackle Length and All-Tackle Length Fly record categories. Vacancies exist for all eligible species of the All-Tackle Length record category and will follow the same minimum length requirements already established.

“By introducing the All-Tackle Length Junior category, we hope to inspire the next generation of anglers to get out and sh, while promoting ethical and sustainable shing practices,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser. “Fishing is a fantastic way to connect with the outdoors, and we believe that by engaging young people with this sport, we can inspire the next generation of stewards of our oceans, lakes, and rivers and help ensure the long-term health and vitality of our aquatic resources.”

With children and teenagers increasingly disconnected from the outdoors, the IGFA hopes to inspire a new wave of young anglers who are passionate about the sport and its role in connecting people to nature.

For more information, go to

PHOTO COURTESY OF IGFA. Alexandra Hall caught this 63-pound blue cat sh from Virginia’s James River to set IGFA 20-pound line class and female junior world records for the species.


Across the country, bass are either in their post spawn patterns right now or they will be soon. ere is a plethora of ways to catch these bass, but my all-time favorite for getting bit and drawing in a big one is a hollow body popping frog.

A popping frog can be used as an incredible search bait, and you can duplicate many di erent bait sh depending on where you throw it and what color you tie on. ere are many di erent options out there. I try to duplicate the bait sh forage in the particular lake I’m shing. Sometimes I use a frog to imitate a bluegill, and sometimes I throw a shad color pattern. 13 Fishing makes an incredible popping frog that comes with a stout hook and a wide variety of colors for any scenario.

When I throw a frog as a search bait, I work it faster than most. Cover as much water as possible until you put a pattern together on what exactly the sh are focusing on. at’s the magic of a frog; you can literally throw it around everything! Docks, lay downs, grass and open water are just a few of the targets I look for. Once you locate a group of sh or put a pattern together, slow down and pick them o a little slower. I have noticed sometimes there isn’t a “too fast” while working a popping frog.

A couple things I look for this time of year are bass guarding fry and also sh roaming the banks feeding on bluegill. is is very predictable and an awesome way to catch big ones. Typically, if you know a few areas where the sh previously spawned, these patterns will occur in the same areas. I throw a bluegill pattern popping frog because bluegill chase bass fry, and that drives bass crazy.

Another pattern to watch for is a shad spawn. is occurs in the mornings and evenings and can lead to a bunch of sh in a hurry. Look

for birds feeding on banks while running down the lake. Find the birds and you nd the bait! A white popping frog or a bait sh color is typically my choice in this situation.

A popping frog can work all year long, but it really drives post spawn sh crazy. Who doesn’t like catching sh on a topwater with heavy line and a heavy rod?

Frog Fishing Gear

Heavy gear is needed for setting those big frog hooks and shing around heavy cover. I sh a 13 Fishing 7’4H Omen Black rod paired with a Concept A 8.3 reel spooled up with Seaguar 50-pound Smackdown braid. is setup allows you to get sh out of heavy cover and into the boat!

Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at www.tylerwoolcott


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Black sea bass o en y under the radar for anglers o the coast of the Southeast. Perhaps it’s because their size and numbers are thickest in the middle of winter, when it’s not as pleasant to be on the water? Or maybe it’s because they don’t grow as a large as the other grouper species that inhabit our wrecks and reefs?

This 40.76-pound northern pike is a new Idaho state record. It beat the existing 13-year-old record by a little more than half a pound.

Avid pike sherman omas Francis landed the monster sh on March 21 from Hayden Lake in northern Idaho. e sh was more than 4 feet long, with an o cial length of 49 inches and an impressive girth of 26.5 inches.

Francis told Idaho Fish and Game he speci cally targets big pike almost every day. In late March, ice still ringed the banks at Hayden Lake, so Francis was casting his lure up to the edge of the ice.

“When my lure hit the water, I let it sink all the way to the bottom,” he said. “As soon as my lure hit the bottom, I felt her hit. I sh with 80-poundtest line, and she almost immediately started peeling drag, a lot of it.

“She pinned herself to the bottom and just kept going, peeling drag the whole time,” he continued. “I knew that wasn’t normal, and I could tell it was something special.”

e IGFA all-tackle world record northern pike was caught in Germany in 1986. It weighed 55 pounds, 1-ounce.

For more information, go to

Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that black sea bass are some of the tastiest critters in the ocean, and anchoring over a wreck or reef teeming with them can ll a cooler in short order. Just ask the folks up in New England, where the species is a highly sought a er target of anglers.

NOAA recently announced that recreational harvest of black sea bass will again be open year-round for the 2023-2024 season in federal waters of the South Atlantic, south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. So, sharpen the hooks on your chicken rigs and go collect some meat.

NOAA Fisheries has projected that the 2023-2024 recreational catch limit of 366,510 pounds whole weight will not be met. e season in federal waters will run from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024. Seasons in state waters vary, so be sure to check state regulations where you plan to sh. In federal waters of the Atlantic, south of 35 deg 15.0321’ N, there is a seven sh per person bag limit with a 13-inch minimum size limit.

A descending device is required on board all vessels shing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. e descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. For more information, go to


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If you are big trout enthusiast like me, you know there is still some time le if you haven’t had your ll over the past ve months. December through a portion of May is when I set my eyes on catching a personnel best speckled trout. With the full moon on May 3 this year, I feel the entire month will hold promise to land one full of eggs before the rst full moon in June. May is also a little more enjoyable, too, so sit back and let me tell you why.

Most anglers in Texas think about big trout mid-December through early April, and when the waders come o they change their focus. Fortunately, not all the big girls have dropped their eggs yet and will still hold them into May. It gives us the opportunity for a heavy trout to take a big smiling photo with.

Speaking of taking the waders o , wading in May is typically warm and enjoyable even if the sh don’t cooperate. e pleasant temperatures are more appealing than dreary, cold, winter days, and they also allow me to sh the way I prefer. At times in winter, we must slow down our presentation and this can become a little monotonous; however, targeting big trout in the warmth of May allows us to work the lure more aggressively.

ere is not much more exciting than a topwater explosion, and spring is one of my favorite times to utilize this tactic for trophy trout. May is also a great time to throw other lures. Traditional slow-sinking and suspending lures also work wonders this time of year.

As most of you know, I am a paddletail fanatic! is month, I’ll give several sizes a shot at getting inhaled by a huge yellow mouth. ese large predators will take 3-, 4- and 5-inch lures this time of year. As their bodies warm with the water, they become as aggressive as they will be all year, so adding some rattling sound to your tails can really get the sh active.

I seek out areas of grass ats in knee- to waist-deep water. Finding a at with a drain from a small lake or creek will work wonders for concentrating sh over adjacent shallow grass. A depression along such a at is another area you should target. When choosing a at with these criteria, areas of potholes are a plus over a solid grass- lled at.

I hope these tips help you get your PB trout on your last chance of the year to nd one lled with eggs. Take a kid shing. ey like big trout too. And be safe. May is the uno cial start of summer, and inexperienced boaters will be on the water.

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An angler got a little more than he bargained for in early April while shing for walleye in the Upper White River in northwestern Arkansas. Fishing 12-pound-test line and a 3-inch-long crankbait, Robert Murphy accidentally snagged a 102-pound paddle sh and spent the next hour battling the sh from his kayak.

In April, the Upper White experiences spring runs of several species into the riverine sections of Beaver Lake, including white bass, walleye and paddle sh. Paddle sh, also known as spoonbill, are a large zooplankton eating species. ey won’t chase lures or live bait, so anglers typically “snag” them during Arkansas’ paddle sh snagging season. e daily limit is two sh per person.

Murphy might not have intended to snag a paddle sh, but that’s exactly what he did. According to Outdoor Life, Murphy was throwing a 3-inch Berkley Flicker Shad for walleye when he saw a big sh on his sonar. inking it was a big striped bass or a gar, he ran his 10- to 12-foot-diving plug through the area and hooked his river monster in the top of the tail.

Anyone who has ever foul-hoked a sh knows how hard they ght when you can’t turn their head. Well, Murphy spent the next hour battling the beast from his kayak as it pulled him up and down the river. A er he nally hauled it into his kayak and brought it to shore, he weighed and measured the sh. With a length of 71.5 inches, it was nearly 6 feet long, and at 102 pounds, it was shy of the 118-pound, 9-ounce state record that was caught from Beaver Lake in 2020.

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Perfectly Seasoned SAVOR THE SEASONS in Upcountry South Carolina 864-233-2690 Every season is the best season to explore the many treasures in the Upcountry. ANDERSON  CHEROKEE  GREENVILLE  OCONEE  PICKENS  SPARTANBURG

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