Coastal Angler Magazine | August 2019 | North Central Florida

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

FREE

Nearshore Destination + Kingfish Basics

SURF EXPO IN ORLANDO SEPT. 5-7 2019

PHOTO COURTESY OF DARYN ANDREW WHITE VOLUME 24 • ISSUE 293

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NEARSHORE BONANZA

OUT OF PANAMA CITY

By Nick Carter

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he rising sun revealed unaddressed devastation as Capt. Randy Cnota backed his 22-foot Pathfinder down the ramp at Tyndall Airforce Base. Less than a year after Hurricane Michael rocked the Florida Panhandle, we launched near the heart of the destruction. Just east of Panama City and a short drive from the catastrophe that unfolded at Mexico Beach, this slice of the Panhandle is a community doggedly enduring the slow process of rebuilding. The bright boards of new framing show progress in neighborhoods of single-story homes. Blue-tarped roofs, shredded metal buildings and acres of tall pines snapped like so many twigs are reminders of just how far there is to go. At the docks, bare wood pilings and concrete footings are left from what was a bustling little marina before the storm surge. But the fish don’t care. And with an eager 8-year-old angler perched on the leaning post, Capt. Randy pointed us toward the open Gulf of Mexico. This was early July, during the Gulf red snapper season, and Capt. Randy’s numbers would take us a few miles out to some hard-bottom that promised big snapper. But first we had to catch bait, which was plentiful in the form of Spanish sardines balled up around the markers just outside the pass from St. Andrews Bay. The 8-year-old would have spent all day catching sardines on a Sabiki rig, but shortly we left the other boats jockeying for position at the marker. We had our bait, and Capt. Randy now had an idea of how the boy would handle his first fishing trip on the open ocean. The kid emitted enthusiasm, and it’s a good thing we didn’t make a several hour run. The waiting would have driven him mad. Bigger boats out of Panama City can comfortably take anglers dozens of miles out to deeper water, quick limits and huge fish, but this nearshore trip was more our speed. Less than 10 miles from the coast, and even inside the 9-mile state waters, there are wrecks, reefs and hard bottom in the 100-foot depths that offer plentiful bottomfish as well as shots at some big pelagics. Within minutes at our first drop, the boy was hooked up with a big bonito, and Capt. Randy was steering with one hand, while holding the butt of the rod with the other. The kid had a death grip on the handle and cranked with all his might. “You’re gonna have to come over here and make sure this rod doesn’t get pulled out!” Randy barked at me with both hands full. But I couldn’t. On the other side of the boat, I was pumping and grunting on what turned out to be a stud red snapper. Somehow, both

fish made it onto the deck, and Randy went right back to work feeding out a freelined sardine from the stern. “Where there’s Bonnies, there’s kings,” he called the shot. Shortly thereafter, he handed me a rod with line ripping off the spool. I came up tight on a good king mackerel. It was one of three kingfish we had on that morning, but it was the only one that made it in the boat. Through the morning, the fish kept us continuously busy. We caught more red snapper than we could keep track of as well as gag and red grouper. Capt. Randy was great with the kid. Seeing the big bottom rigs were too much for an 8-year-old, Randy tied up a chicken rig on a lighter rod, showed the boy how to bait and fish it and then set him loose. Although the beeliners we were hoping for didn’t show up, the boy had a field day hauling snapper and triggerfish off the bottom. He was particularly proud of an FWC-tagged trigger he caught. “Part of the fun is you never know what you’re going to catch when you’re out here,” said Randy as he unhooked a 2-foot-long smoothback pufferfish. The whole time out, we kept eyes peeled for weeds and surface activity that might belie the presence of mahi-mahi or cobia. In the week before our trip, Randy managed to put clients on a sailfish and a big blackfin tuna. Although we didn’t encounter these species, we did watch in awe as two 10-foot tiger sharks circled uncomfortably close to the boat. We went home with a cooler full of fish. But more importantly, while those meaty chunks of snapper sizzled in hot oil, the boy regaled his grandparents with stories of the trip. His first time was an experience he will never forget. Snapper seasons may be over along the Gulf Coast, but if you find yourself hankering for a good fishing trip that’s fun and easy, consider hiring a captain out of the Panama City area. Capt. Randy said fall brings better opportunities for sailfish and tuna nearshore, and with his smaller boat, he is also well equipped to fish inshore. The fall redfish and trout bite can be off the charts. These hurricane-battered communities remain in recovery, but the fish, beaches and visitor ammenities are still there. Go spend some time at Panama City and eastward along The Forgotten Coast. You’ll be glad you did, because the fishing is pretty spectacular. Capt. Randy Cnota is co-publisher of the Panama City/Forgotten Coast edition of Coastal Angler Magazine and owner of C-Note Charters. Check him out online at www.cnotecharters.com or call 229-834-7880.

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Urban Chrome In Grand Rapids, Michigan

Photo by Aaron Peterson Photography, LLC for Experience Grand Rapids

By Tom Werkman

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hy do people feel the need to head to remote destinations a million miles from nowhere to fish? Some of the best fishing opportunities exist right under our noses, and many times they are very close to major metropolitan areas. The Grand River is just such a place. Michigan’s largest river runs through the heart of the state’s second largest city, Grand Rapids, and offers great fishing through its 252-mile run from rural headwaters in Hillsdale County down to Lake Michigan. Downtown Grand Rapids: Home to more than 37 craft breweries, Grand Rapids is Beer City. But there is another side of Grand Rapids that few know about. It offers the

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lure of big-river fishing in an urban environment. The river through downtown Grand Rapids offers the angler a unique opportunity to fish for steelhead in swift rapids beneath the city’s skyscrapers. On an early leg of their run up out of Lake Michigan, these fish are strong and as hot as they come. From October through December and again during March and April, droves of steelhead run through downtown as they migrate through and hold up in the rapids. Some of the best steelhead fishing lies between Sixth Street Dam and the Fulton Street Bridge. It’s not uncommon to see people wading the river, fishing from the banks or in boats landing these chrome bullets. When fishing here, the angler can expect to only move a few times to get on fish. Once you have your spot, you don’t want to move very much as it can be crowded at times. If you’re not on a fish right away, be patient. These fish get backed up at the dam and constantly move around in search of the fish ladder to pass through and continue their migration up the river. Lowell To Ada Section: Just minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, a roughly 10-mile stretch of the Grand River between the towns of Lowell and Ada offers fishing that is a little more secluded. From late spring through early fall, this section offers smallmouth bass and northern pike. There is little public access here, and the angler can expect solitude and no-pressure fishing in a remote river setting just outside Grand Rapids. A typical trip involves floating in a drift boat or jet boat from Lowell to Ada, covering a lot of water while casting to the banks, river timber and rocks. Bald eagles, osprey, blue heron and deer are common sights on this piece of river. Rarely will the angler lay eyes on another boat or fisherman. On the Grand River, one can enjoy spectacular fishing and then enjoy a cold beer and everything else the city has to offer. Tom Werkman, and his son Max, are owner/guides at Werkman Outfitters, a guide service on the Grand River in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan. Contact them at tom@werkmanoutfitters.com or check them out at werkmanoutfitters.com.

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FISH & FISHING

FOCUSING OUR EFFORTS MARK SOSIN

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t may seem logical, but it’s not always right. My favorite example is George Westinghouse, the man who invented the air brake for oversized vehicles. Researchers relied on logical thinking and experimented continuously on using air to apply the brake. It didn’t work. Westinghouse took an opposite approach and used the air to hold the brake off the drum until the driver stepped on the brake pedal and released the air. The common approach to understanding fish behavior lies in applying human values with the assumption that a fish’s brain has the capacity to reason. Just because a particular lure looks good to us does not mean it’s a fish’s favorite, too. Few of us can boast even the slightest knowledge of the release that triggers a fish into striking or simply passing up an offering. And, we probably wouldn’t recognize it if we saw it. Repeated observations hold the key to helping us focus our efforts on techniques that have worked in the past. As an example, fish have an amazing alertness to movement. It can cause them to flee a situation or take advantage of it and feed. The same applies to underwater sound. Low frequency vibrations such as those that indicate a fish is in distress usually cause predators to investigate with the hope of finding food. The more natural a bait or lure appears to a fish, the greater the chance a strike will occur. When you can see your quarry

and observe hesitation of any type, assume that something in your offering appears unnatural. Fish may be curious, but they are seldom in the habit of wasting energy to pursue something needlessly. Many species have the ability to measure energy expended in chasing food against the value received. Because fish are creatures of habit, they tend to do the same things over and over. That’s why captains and guides boast the ability to find fish. The quarry may hold in one spot with uncanny precision day after day, month after month, and year after year. If that fish is caught or leaves for any reason, another will take its place. Those fish that work a tide follow the same pattern daily. Even offshore skippers understand reliable patterns that fish follow and troll the waters where their quarry should be. For some unknown reason, fish tend to hold at the same depth over a wide area. If another angler can tell you the depth where he found fish, you don’t need to know the precise spot. Keep in mind that water temperature can play a role. Each species has its upper and lower limits. As water temperature drops, fish tend to swim slower and chase an offering for shorter distances. Figuring out what motivates a fish to strike a bait or lure becomes a continuous challenge for leading anglers as well as the scientific community. The important thing to remember is that fish do not think like humans. Their basic approach is simple, yet it is not always easy to detect. The more you observe fish behavior and understand that it follows patterns and procedures established a long time ago, the more successful you are going to be.

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t first glance, Alphonso Jackson’s 2-pound, 1-ounce redbreast sunfish might not seem all that impressive. But when you consider the size of your average redbreast, this thing is a monster. Jackson was fishing the Lumber River in central North Carolina’s Scotland County on June 10 when he caught the fish on a cricket. It bested a 36-yearold North Carolina state record for the species by 5 ounces. The previous record, caught in 1983 by Ronald Stanley in Big Swamp in Bladen County, N.C. weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces. Jackson’s fish also outweighs the world record. The current IGFA all-tackle world record for the species has stood at 1-pound, 12-ounces since 1984. That fish came from Florida’s Suwannee River. Wikipedia claims the heaviest redbreast on record weighed 2.3 pounds (2 pounds, 4.8 ounces), but there’s no information as to where that weight came from or whether it was angler-caught. So, if Jackson bothers to complete all the paperwork properly, he would definitely be the new IGFA record holder. Jackson, 43, is an avid fisherman, a passion he attributes to his father Johnny Jacobs who taught him how to fish when he was a boy, and one that he has passed on to his children, ages 23, 18 and 17. They were with him the day he caught the massive readbreast. “We started fishing in a pond but weren’t having any luck, so I said to my kids, ‘Let’s go back to where I learned how to fish.’ And this is what we caught,” Jackson said. “I’d like to thank my daddy for teaching me how to catch fish and where to catch fish.” COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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TIPS FROM A PRO

READ GRASS MATS FOR BIG BASS

BRANDON LESTER

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ate summer and early fall absolutely scream for a frog. With big bass holed up in thick vegetation, working a frog across grass mats can lead to some of the most explosive strikes in fishing. I always look forward to the frog pattern setting up around this time of year. This year should be especially sweet because of the reemergence of Alabama’s Lake Guntersville as one of the best bass fisheries in the nation. This Tennessee River impoundment is frog fishing heaven. Over the last decade the Guntersville bass fishery saw a bit of a decline. But the “Big G” has come back in a big way. Bassmaster ranked Guntersville the No. 2 fishery in the nation in this year’s “100 Best Bass Lakes” listings. It is fishing lights-out, with five-fish tournament sacks regularly approaching and surpassing 30 pounds. I just came off a top-10 finish in the June Elite Series event on Guntersville. Some fish came off frogs, but the best patterns I found were deep cranking and worms. You can bet the frog bite will ramp up soon, though. No matter where you fish, the key to topwater frog fishing is reading the grass. To really dial in a pattern, you need to observe what’s happening on the lake. At Guntersville, the two prominent grass types are hydrilla and milfoil. There are other types, but these are the two you will encounter

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most often. From the time the grass first tops out in the summer until the first frost of the fall, I will concentrate on milfoil. Milfoil creates a great canopy and is hollow underneath, so the bass can get through it to get to your frog. When the hydrilla is still green, it is so thick that a bass has trouble seeing your frog on top of the mat. With that said, later on in the fall when the hydrilla starts to turn brown and break up, it starts to get hollow underneath. That is the time to start targeting it more. Another key to frog fishing is to listen and watch for “active” grass. Bass school up in grass mats just like they do on ledges, points and humps, so it is important to find a mat that has activity in it. Listen for bluegill popping the mat or watch for shad to flicker. Those are signs that bass are not far away. Also, look for points, turns and indentions in the mat itself. Anything different will often hold bass. Rod selection is important for hauling bass out of matted grass. I throw a MHX-MB-874. This rod is 7’3” heavy power with plenty of backbone, but more importantly it has enough action in the tip to allow the fish to eat the bait. I use 50-pound Vicious braid and a 7:1:1 reel. Try a topwater frog on your next trip out, or better yet plan an excursion to Guntersville for the trip of a lifetime.

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FLORIDA

Shore-Based Shark Fishing Permit & Education Available Online

The education and permit requirements also apply if you plan to fish from shore for any species of fish with tactics and tackle including: • fishing with a metal leader more than 4 feet long • Using a fighting belt/harness • Deploying bait by any means other than casting (kayaking for example) while using a hook that is 1.5 inches or larger at its widest inside distance OTHER REGULATION CHANGES:

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• Prohibit of chumming when fishing for any species from the beach. • Require immediate release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore and require anglers to cut the leader or hook to prevent delaying release of prohibited species. • Require that prohibited shark species remain in the water (when fishing from shore or from a vessel). • Require the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks to target or harvest sharks when using live or dead natural bait (when fishing from shore and from a vessel). • Require the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks (when fishing from shore or a vessel). These rules are intended to increase survival of released sharks, improve information-gathering from the fishery and address public safety concerns.

lorida’s new shark fishing regulations were enacted July 1, including a mandatory, no-cost, annual Shore-based Shark Fishing Permit and educational course for shore-based anglers and other requirements that apply to all shark fishing and fishing from the beach in general. The Shore-based Shark-Smart Fishing educational course and Shore-based Shark Fishing Permit are now available online. To take the educational course, which must be completed before getting the permit, visit MyFWC.com/SharkCourse. The permit is required for all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older who are normally exempt from needing a fishing license. Those under 16 are required to take For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on the educational course unless they are fishing with an adult who already holds the permit. Persons under 16 are not required to get the “Recreational Regulations” and “Sharks.” permit.

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FLORIDA LOBSTER SEASON

Sheri Daye

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he beginning of Florida lobster season gets many divers more excited than kids at Christmas. Barely able to sleep, the divers nestle all snug in their beds, while visions of lobster dance in their heads. Whether locals or out-of-state visitors, many arrange their vacation plans around this special time, either during the two-day mini-season or the actual start of lobster season on Aug. 6. Mini season falls on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, while the regular season is Aug. 6 to March 31. Some will brave the two-day mini season, when tourists descend on the state, and some simply wait until Aug. 6 when things calm down. The most popular destination in Florida is The Keys, where shallow warm waters provide great breeding grounds and easy dives. However, the east coast from Miami to Jupiter and beyond can also be popular and productive destinations. Generally speaking, the farther north you go, the farther out and deeper you will need to dive, but you can also be rewarded with larger lobsters. The biggest challenge is finding lobster spots. Divers who find good spots tend to go back to them year after year and, understandably, don’t like to share their locations. However, there are

plenty of charter boats that specialize in taking new divers or tourists to productive spots. What you need to know: 1) A recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit are required to harvest spiny lobsters. Information is available online at MyFWC.com. 2) The recreational limit for spiny lobster is six per person, and the carapace must be longer than 3 inches. By law, it must be measured in the water. Possession and use of a measuring device are required at all times. You can google “how to measure a lobster” to be sure you are doing it correctly. 3) The possession of egg-bearing lobster is prohibited. Egg-bearing lobsters have hundreds of orange eggs that are easily visible and attached under the tail. While most lobsters have completed reproduction by the start of season, some still have eggs in August and beyond. 4) Do not take lobsters using any device which could puncture, penetrate or crush the lobster. The most common methods are the net and tickle stick combination or the looper. There are plenty of videos online to show you how to use each method. 5) Lobsters must be landed in whole condition. Separating the tail from the body is prohibited in state waters, so bring a cooler large enough to hold the entire catch until you reach land. 6) Although most people wring/twist the tail, it’s possible to get more meat by cooking the whole lobster. Just split it in two lengthwise and broil. Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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FLORIDA MARINE FLEA MARKET AND BBQ FEST

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lorida Marine Flea Market and BBQ Fest Sails Into West Palm Sept. 1415. The 10th Annual Florida Marine Flea Market and BBQ Festival will be held Sept. 14-15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd, West Palm Beach, Fla. Bargain hunters looking for deals can visit marine booths, as vendors exhibit and sell their nautical and marine-related merchandise and services during the twoday festival. The marine flea market area will have offshore rods, reels, tackle, dock lines, halyards, sheet lines, anchor lines, ladders, seats, bimini tops, life vests, mooring whips and bases, gauges, wakeboards, skis, wake surfers, kneeboards, boat covers, scissors, fenders, antique collectibles and maps, marine artifacts, lures and lines, boating apparel, taxidermy, diving equipment, and all kinds of other marine items. Come by for some super discounts on surplus, liquidation, closeouts, new and used boating and fishing supplies. The event promises some super discounts on new and used boating and fishing supplies as well as liquidation and closeouts items. Speaking on the location, event promoter Larry Burdgick said, “The South Florida Fairgrounds is the perfect venue since it’s right in the heart of Palm Beach County. It offers the space we need along with free great parking for our guests.” The South Florida Fairgrounds is located at 9067 Southern Blvd West Palm Beach, Fla. The Marine Flea Market is easily accessible from I-95 and the Florida Turnpike and there are acres of free parking. Admission is $10 and Children 12 and under are free. Visit The Florida Marine Flea Market, Boat Show and BBQ Seafood Festival website www.FLNauticalFleaMarket.com for more information, discount tickets, vendor applications and specific driving directions. Contact Under the Sun Promotions, Inc. at 954-205-7813.

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UP TO


NEW FLORIDA

RECORD FLATHEAD

A

69.3-pound flathead catfish was recently certified as a new Florida state record. Measuring 47 inches long, with a girth of 34.25 inches, the monster Yellow River flathead bested the old record of 63.8 pounds. The angler, Marvin Griffin, of Santa Rosa County, is no stranger to the Yellow River or huge catfish. Griffin’s family has been fishing the Yellow River for years and they have caught exceptionally large catfish there. Griffin’s uncle, James Auston Jr., caught a state record flathead catfish in the Yellow River, which held the record from 2011 until 2016. “I have always wanted to catch a state reFWC Photo cord,” said Griffin. “After my uncle caught his, I made it a mission of mine to catch my own. “I wasn’t expecting to catch a state record when I started fishing that day with John Babb. But, it was the first and only fish we caught that day. I never would have been able to bring the fish into the boat without his help.” Flathead catfish are a non-native fish found in many northwest Florida panhandle river systems. Flatheads prefer long, slow-flowing, moderately turbid rivers. Their solitary lifestyle makes them more difficult to catch than other catfish. Adult flathead catfish feed primarily on live fish, crawfish, freshwater clams and mussels. To properly certify a new Florida state record, an FWC biologist must identify the fish species and witness its weighing on a certified scale. Anglers can check the current state records at BigCatchFlorida.com by clicking on “State Record,” and should notify the nearest FWC regional office if they believe they have caught a record fish. Contact information for FWC regional offices can be found at MyFWC.com/Contact by clicking on “Contact Regional Offices.”

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2019 GMC Sierra AT4

An American Hero Strong, Intuitive and Handsome For towing boats and hauling rods and tackle, pickup trucks are the preferred vehicle for serious anglers. The functionality of today’s trucks makes them more than just boat-haulers, though, and any angler in the market for a truck would do well to take a long hard look at GMC’s new Sierra models. They’ve got the power and torque to pull boats with ease, and a long list of innovative features makes them a perfect fishing and boating accessory. In search of our next corporate vehicle, Coastal Angler Magazine took a week-long test drive of a 2019 GMC Sierra AT4. This Next Generation Sierra is a full-sized truck specially equipped for off-road applications. At first glance, it has a sophisticated yet aggressive look that adds a touch of class to what is a hard-core truck at heart.

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OFF-ROAD CAPABLE

As anglers, we’re looking for a vehicle to take us through mud and sand and over rocky trails to out-of-the-way places. With the extra ground clearance of a 2-inch factory lift, shocks and suspension tuned to off-road Ben Martin terrain as well as highEditor in Chief and low-range four-wheel Coastal Angler/Angler Magazine drive, the Sierra AT4 handled everything we threw at it without a problem. The locking rear differential might come in handy for loose sand, deep mud or mucky boat ramps, and extensive skid-plate coverage provides ample protection for the undercarriage.

PULLING THE BOAT

Of course, wherever we go, our boat goes with us. Coastal Angler’s 26-foot tournament vessel weighs 7,100 pounds— which we thought was a pretty big boat—but it’s well below the Sierra’s 9,400-pound towing capacity. A newly available 6.2L V8 provides an impressive 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Our boat felt like we were pulling nothing, which is exactly what we’re looking for. In acceleration or cold start on an incline, as is experienced when pulling a boat out of the water, the Sierra displayed truly awesome power. And it does it with technologically advanced Dynamic Fuel Management and smooth 10-speed transmission that deliver a very respectable 20 miles per gallon highway. Our test showed a higher rate of closer to 25 miles per gallon highway.

ADVANCED TOWING FEATURES

In addition to power, new Sierras offer advanced capabilities for those towing trailers. GMC’s ProGrade Trailering System goes way beyond the basic trailering package. • Sierra’s Rear Vision Camera incorporates guidance lines for the truck, and it also has a Hitch View mode to zoom in on the hitch for precision maneuvering. • After backing up to the hitch, Sierra automatically applies the parking brake when shifted into park, preventing further movement. • A tailgate lamp shines directly on the receiver hitch area. • Drivers can program trailer brake level settings to specific trailer profiles. Any boater will see the value in these handy features, and Sierra pulls the whole towing experience together with a new Trailering App, which is accessed through a thoughtfully designed infotainment system. The app monitors safety concerns such as tire pressure and trailer lights from the cab. It also provides a pre-departure checklist and extends anti-theft capabilities to protect the trailer as well as the truck. Other towing features of the 2019 Sierra include Tow/Haul Mode, Trailer Sway Control and Automatic Grade Braking. An available Trailering Camera Package integrates rear-fac-

ing cameras in the side mirrors for views down the side of the truck and trailer. This feature made backing the boat at the ramp and changing lanes on the highway a breeze.

CREATURE COMFORTS

The comfort afforded by the interior of the Sierra is comparable to a luxury sedan. With the Sierra AT4’s best-in-class crew cab front head and leg room, a 10-hour drive chasing the Gulf tarpon migration is like time spent in the easy chair. Sierra’s interior finishes are stylish and comfortable, and they’re also functional with clever built-in storage spaces for gear and all-weather floor liners for easy clean-up. The rear vents and added rear leg room were certainly appreciated by our fishing buddies. Equipped with available technology such as a first-in-class multicolor Heads-Up-Display, Rear Camera Mirror, HD Surround Vision and an 8-inch Digital Driver Information Center, the Sierra cab is technologically useful and plush, while retaining the toughness and functionality anglers are looking for.

BOMBPROOF BED

Ever tossed a 14-pound fluke anchor in the cargo box? We have—a few times—and it does a number on the finish. Add in a little Florida salt air, and it’s a recipe for rust with a standard steel cargo box. Sierra solved this problem with a new carbon fiber box that offers best-in-class dent, scratch and corrosion resistance. Sierra’s CarbonPro box is tough as nails, and it signals the end of expensive bed liners and coatings for Sierra owners.

TAILGATE INNOVATION

Tailgates are tailgates, right? Wrong! The new MultiPro tailgate on the 2019 Sierra is so much more than a seat to enjoy a cold beverage. GMC designers transformed the tailgate into an amazingly functional piece of equipment. With a smaller second gate nested within the primary conventional gate, the MultiPro tailgate features six different functions and positions. The primary tailgate is equipped with a torsion spring and damper for smooth, easy raising and lowering. It can be operated with release buttons on the tailgate and on the instrument panel, as well as remotely with the key fob. And that’s just the beginning. The MultiPro can be manipulated to serve as a vertical load stop to extend your bed when the primary gate is down. This is perfect for hauling longer items like kayaks. The inner gate can be lowered to ease access to the cargo box and it can also serve as 48-inchwide step or seat that’s rated for 375 pounds. There’s a hand grab that folds out of the cargo box to make getting in and out of the truck effortless. Finally, and this is infinitely useful for pre-tying rigs or tying flies by the water, the inner gate can be used as a standing-height work surface with a built-in 120-volt electric outlet. This tailgate is super cool. You need to see it to understand the multitude of situations when it could come in handy. For more information on the GMC Sierra AT4 go to GMC.com.

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NANTUCKET SHOALS:

HOME OF THE DOORMATS! “Jimmy the Greek” from On Time Sportfishing charters in Yarmouth, Massachusetts shows off a nice summer flattie taken earlier this year at Nantucket Shoals. Photo courtesy of On Time Sportfishing.

“F

or anglers looking to hook-up with the fluke of a lifetime, there’s no spot more likely to bring success these days than Nantucket Shoals, Massachusetts. Action for summer flounder has absolutely sizzled here for the last several years, with many anglers drilling doormats weighing 8, 10 or 12 pounds and heavier. “This truly is an amazing place when it comes to catching outlandish summer flatties,” said Capt. Demetrios Koutalakis, also known as “Jimmy the Greek.” He runs On Time Sportfishing (www.ontimefishingcharters. com) out of Yarmouth, Massachusetts and launches from various local ramps based on weather conditions. “The action is generally fast-paced with typical keepers running 20 to 24

inches long and a disproportionate number of bigger fish in daily catches,” said Koutalakis. “It’s not unusual to see a double-digit doormat hit the deck in these waters. We had a 14.4-pounder yesterday, released a 14.9-pounder last week, and had two over 15 pounds last year.” Nantucket Island is roughly 16 to 17 miles from Koutalakis’ typical departure sites in the Bass River area. From there, the fish can be anywhere southwest of the island from up tight to 7 or 8 miles out and beyond. The entire area features a hilly bottom that’s more gravel than sand or rock. In the spring, squid and mackerel get swept through the shoal waters by strong currents and the big fish show up in hot pursuit. By mid-summer, sand eels dominate the baitfish scene and the fluke fishing settles in to a steady, consistent pattern that runs right through August and into September. “It’s the combination of the hills, currents and baitfish that give this place big fish appeal,” explained Koutalakis. “The biggest fluke, especially, like to settle into the gullies and wait for the current to bring the bait right across their noses. The water depths where I like to fish typically vary from 30 to 60 feet deep, and the best action moves around from day to day based on bait movements. So it really helps to have a skipper who is out working this area on a daily basis. It also helps a lot that the waters here are slow to change temperature, so small cold fronts or a couple of hot days generally don’t dampen the bite. I think the big fish really like that.” Koutalakis favors a hi-low rig with 6- and 8-ounce Berkeley bucktails tipped with 5- or 6-inch Berkley Gulp! Grubs or Swimming Mullets. He’ll spool up with 20- to 30-pound test Berkley X9 braided line on a fast retrieve reel. Typically, white, chartreuse and Nuclear Chicken color grubs work best but this year pink shine seems to have an edge. “More important than color choice,” he advised, “is keeping your rig active and bouncing all the time. Big fluke will follow a bait being dragged smoothly across the bottom—but they’ll absolutely SMASH a jig with exaggerated action.” If you’d like to give this super fluking a shot, you are best off using a professional skipper to reach the grounds. For those traveling overnight, Koutalakis suggests staying at the Wind Drift Hotel (https://www.windriftmotelcapecod. com) in Yarmouth. If you’d like to sample these waters via a party boat, the Helen H Fishing Fleet in Hyannis (https://helen-h.com) offers both one- and two-day trips.


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COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

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

AUGUST

W

ith the arrival of August, our busy lives get even busier! Florida Alligator Hunting starts August 15th, and as I’m sure you know, Cary is a Gator Hunt Guide, with about 30 years of experience, and all necessary equipment. If you won the opportunity to purchase tags, and need help, call us. See page 11. On August 5th, our 18-year-old grandson, Stephen, leaves for the Navy. I’m having a difficult time letting him go. He will always be my baby boy. Please see page 15 for the Second Annual Outdoor Expo, in Ocala, August 17th. New advertiser, First Elite Mobile Marine Service on page 19. They will come to you to fix your boat. How wonderful is that? See page 10 for new advertiser, Coastal Rod & Reel Repair in Yankeetown. Their name says it all! See page 2 for this month’s recipe Bay Scallops with Asparagus and Spaghetti. Scallops are great with anything and everything! If you haven’t been scalloping yet this year, you have all of August and into September to get your share of these yummy morsels! If you need help, contact one of our guides. Most importantly, let our guides and writers know how much you enjoy reading their columns. They are busy folks and they take their time to share their vast knowledge. They really appreciate your calls and emails. Don’t forget to thank the distribution site where you picked up this magazine. Thank you, John Freeze for photo of shells. What was in those shells? Enjoy what’s left of summer, and pray for no more hurricanes! Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

AUGUST 2019 EDITION

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

Cary Crutchfield

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

WEB MASTER Kristi Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy John Freeze Noel Kuhn Capt. Jason Clark Capt. Dan Clymer Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Eric Hasty Capt. Jimbo Keith Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Dan Smith Capt. Brian Smith

CONTACT INFORMATION

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District

CAM_NCFL_0819.indd 1

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IT’S 5 ‘O CLOCK….. HERE!

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TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1Th

2F

3Sa

4Su

5M 6Tu

7W

8Th

3:26 AM 8:39 AM 2:22 PM 9:38 PM 4:07 AM 9:29 AM 3:15 PM 10:22 PM 4:46 AM 10:19 AM 4:09 PM 11:06 PM 5:23 AM 11:11 AM 5:06 PM 11:48 PM 5:59 AM 12:04 PM 6:04 PM 12:29 AM 6:36 AM 1:01 PM 7:06 PM 1:10 AM 7:15 AM 2:03 PM 8:16 PM 1:55 AM 8:01 AM 3:15 PM 9:41 PM

3.5 1.7 4.6 -0.4 3.5 1.5 4.6 -0.3 3.6 1.3 4.5 0.0 3.7 1.1 4.3 0.4 3.7 1.0 3.9 0.8 3.8 0.9 3.6 1.2 3.9 0.8 3.2 1.6 3.9 0.8 3.0

HERNANDO BEACH

AUGUST 2019

9F

Time Height

2:49 AM 8:55 AM 4:31 PM 11:07 PM 10Sa 3:54 AM 9:58 AM 5:41 PM 11Su 12:21 AM 5:00 AM 10:59 AM 6:41 PM 12M 1:18 AM 6:03 AM 11:56 AM 7:31 PM 13Tu 2:02 AM 7:00 AM 12:49 PM 8:12 PM 14W 2:37 AM 7:49 AM 1:36 PM 8:47 PM 15Th 3:09 AM 8:32 AM 2:18 PM 9:19 PM 16F 3:38 AM 9:11 AM 2:57 PM 9:49 PM

1.9 3.9 0.6 2.9 2.1 4.0 0.5 3.0 2.1 4.0 0.4 3.1 2.1 4.0 0.3 3.3 1.9 4.1 0.3 3.4 1.8 4.1 0.3 3.4 1.7 4.1 0.4 3.5 1.5 4.1 0.4

KINGS BAY

High Tide -20 min Low Tide 58 min

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

CRYSTAL RIVER

WITHLACOOCHEE ENT

High Tide 36 min Low Tide 1 hr, 30 min

High Tide 7 min Low Tide 55 min

CEDAR KEY

Time Height

17Sa 4:06 AM 9:49 AM 3:35 PM 10:19 PM 18Su 4:31 AM 10:25 AM 4:13 PM 10:48 PM 19M 4:57 AM 11:02 AM 4:53 PM 11:18 PM 20Tu 5:23 AM 11:41 AM 5:36 PM 11:49 PM 21W 5:53 AM 12:23 PM 6:24 PM 22Th 12:23 AM 6:27 AM 1:11 PM 7:19 PM 23F 1:02 AM 7:07 AM 2:11 PM 8:30 PM 24Sa 1:52 AM 7:57 AM 3:24 PM 9:59 PM

Time Height

25Su 3:01 AM 9:01 AM 4:39 PM 11:24 PM 26M 4:19 AM 10:13 AM 5:48 PM 27Tu 12:33 AM 5:30 AM 11:21 AM 6:50 PM 28W 1:29 AM 6:35 AM 12:25 PM 7:45 PM 29Th 2:14 AM 7:34 AM 1:25 PM 8:33 PM 30F 2:53 AM 8:26 AM 2:21 PM 9:18 PM 31Sa 3:29 AM 9:15 AM 3:14 PM 9:59 PM

2.0 4.0 0.6 3.1 2.1 4.1 0.4 3.2 2.1 4.3 0.1 3.4 1.9 4.5 -0.1 3.6 1.6 4.6 -0.1 3.7 1.3 4.7 -0.1 3.8 1.0 4.7 0.2

HOMOSASSA RIVER ENT

HORSESHOE BEACH

SUWANNEE ENT

STEINHATCHEE RIVER ENT

High Tide 4 hr, 30 min Low Tide 5 hr, 41 min High Tide 6 min Low Tide 18 min

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

CAM_NCFL_0819.indd 2

3.6 1.4 4.0 0.6 3.6 1.3 4.0 0.7 3.7 1.2 3.8 0.8 3.8 1.1 3.7 1.0 3.9 1.0 3.5 1.2 3.9 1.0 3.3 1.5 4.0 0.9 3.1 1.8 4.0 0.8 3.0

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

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

AUGUST 2019

COOKING DIRECTIONS Cook spaghetti, drain and reserve ¾ cooking water. Melt 1 tablespoon butter is a small skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and scallions and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender. Set aside. In large skillet with low sides, heat oil over high heat, until very hot. Salt and pepper the scallops and add to hot skillet. Don’t crowd. Cook 2 to 3 minutes and flip. Cook another 2 minutes. Add the spaghetti, asparagus and onions and cooking water to loosen slightly. Add lemon zest and juice and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Serve, topped with buttered bread crumbs. “Yummy in the tummy.” says Secelia, our two-year-old granddaughter.

INGREDIENTS • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter • 1/3 cup plain Panko crumbs • 2 tablespoons chopped Parsley • ½ cup chopped Scallions • ½ pound fresh Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ to 2-inch pieces • 1 tablespoon oil, vegetable/olive • 1 pound Bay scallops Dry with paper towels. • Salt and Pepper • 1 teaspoon grated Lemon Zest, plus 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

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7/17/19 7:31 PM


FLORIDA WATERWAYS

Houseboats on Florida Waterways

H

aving just come back from my fourth time renting a houseboat on European rivers, I want to mention a great way to see our Florida waterways: a houseboat. The vessel I rented in France for a By Kevin McCarthy week was a 33-foot-long boat that my wife and I, and another couple lived on, drove ourselves, tied up at nighttime, and slept on while we traversed a canal in central France. We had done the same sort of trip twice before in Franc, and once on the Caledonian Canal in Scotland, through Loch Ness, keeping our eyes out for any passing monsters. The people who live along European canals are used to amateurs tooling along in houseboats, that one can easily hire for a week at a relatively modest cost. The company I have used four times now is leboat.com, but there are others just as good, I’m sure. The French/Scottish canals had many locks on them, but we quickly became skilled at opening and closing them, or in waiting for a lockmaster to do the work for us. The houseboat-rental facilities along North Florida rivers that I am aware of are at a marina at the mouth of the Suwannee, and at Holly Bluff Marina near DeLand. The Florida houseboat I rented on the St. Johns was difficult to steer, since the maximum speed was only five miles per hour, and the boat’s reaction time was very slow – with only a small outboard motor, but we became skilled at anticipating any turns. I also had trouble extracting the anchor when it got caught in the muddy bottom, and of trying to tie up to trees along the banks. We ended up going back to the marina each night, since it was

too hard to tie up along the river (the alarm would repeatedly sound off as we approached the river bank), but all in all it was a pleasant, relaxing way to see the St. Johns. The Suwannee is also a great place to explore from the mouth up to the bridge at Fanning Springs. The boat traffic is much less on the Suwannee, and therefore one can easily fish and birdwatch along the way. There was much more natural scenery to see along the St. Johns, especially during the week and not on the weekend, but the French/Scottish canals allowed us to tie up near a town on the canal, walk into the town for dinner or groceries, and then spend the night ensconced in our little home-away-from home, having only the birds to lull us to sleep, since boats seldom ,if ever use the canals at night. If you want a different way to see our rivers, I would strongly recommend renting a houseboat.

the Loire Canal in

France

Enjoying an afternoon sna

ck on our houseboat

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

A fancy houseboat

A little doghouse on a river

The houseboat we rented on the St. Johns COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM AUGUST 2019

CAM_NCFL_0819.indd 3

Our houseboat on

An elaborate hous

eboat on a Florida

river

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 3

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* Image represents the Model. Model pictured may differ from those available on site, which includes but is not limited to color, options, & rigging. ** Prices on all Models are subject to change without notice. Prices do not included tax, title or dealer prep.

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FLORIDA SUWANNEE RIVER WATERFRONT

FOR SALE 43 acres (+or-) 1100 feet (+or-) on Suwannee River in Lafayette County at US 27, across river from Branford. Heavily wooded, perfect for residence, camp ground or hunting lodge. Elec. and well.

Cary A. Crutchfield Registered Real Estate Broker GRI and CRS Designations

352.372.4237

Secelia’s 2nd Birthday Party Stephen and Secelia Mommy (Danielle) and Secelia

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SUWANNEE

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

EXPERIENCED COUNTER PERSON NEEDED

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63 219th St. Suwannee, Florida • 352-542-7086

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ey everybody, I hope your summer is going great! Let's dive right in. The water is hot right now, which makes inshore fishing tough, but the fish are still out there. Just don't expect to limit out on your first stop. Live and cut bait have been key for reds and triple tail. Trout are thin, but if you move around enough in that 2 to 6-foot depth, you'll find them. I'm still catching my trout on a four horseman popping cork, and a sumkina bait company bubble belly bait. You can hit the reefs and troll

or jig for mackerel, as well as some small gag grouper and bluefish. Well guys, until next time stay safe out there! Capt. Jason Clark In The Slot Fishing www.intheslotfishing.com Capt.jasonclark@gmail.com 352-639-3209 Check out our title sponsor for the Florida Pro Redfish Series! www.groovelife.com

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TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

STEINHATCHEE BROILER

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think of August as the broiler month, if winds are light to none. It is fishing under a heat lamp for the entire day, if stationary. The operative word is “if”. Don't remain stationary. You have the ability to create a breeze via the wiz-bang machine located at the backend of your boat. Fire up the motor and go for a joy ride when it begins to get uncomfortably warm/hot. The passing air is welcomed by everyone aboard. Furthermore, dunk towels in cold cooler water and wrap them around your head and neck before you think you need them. You could bring crazy new squirt guns and have an unannounced water-fight amongst yourselves. I use pump-up spray bottles filled with half and half, scented isopropyl alcohol and water. The evaporative cooling quality of the mix is awesome! Cut-up fruit is the best snack on a boat. Take the time to dice any melons, citrus The common sense solution is to drink excessive amounts of water and sports drinks. It is very surprising how fast anyone can dehydrate in the throughs of summer heat, even when they think they had behaved well during the day, as well as, the night prior. I got 'bear caught' a month ago. Lil B took the helm as my head swam, laying on the bean-bag en route back after the finished charter. That day, I drank at least

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a gallon of water and two sports drinks, and the previous night was not “exciting” as always. Two last blips, ladies don't refrain from drinking good fluids for fear of pee-pee on the boat. It is a natural function, takes a brief moment, no one cares to watch or minds the delay, and it's far better than you having a serious medical issue. We love you fishing ladies, drink water; do your business. Col' beer or anything harder, in excess, doesn't do you good the night before, or during the day fishing. Alcohol is dehydration fluid. Amberjack open up the the first of August! Get 'Reef Donkey' kicked. Go out to known amberjack haunts with a tank of live baits, jigs or whatever is in your confidence collection and have some big fun. The food value is great, if the dark meat is cut away from the skin side before cooking. Large Florida snapper (grunts) and sea bass are abundant in 45-50'. If conditions are calm, simply drift fish with squid or cut bait to provide a fantastic fish fry. The drift fishing rounds out a good day with possibilities of a surprise red or gag grouper.

elcome back Yak fans, and say, “Hello” to August! You know summer time in Florida, when you need to bring your “A game”, to have a successful and fruitful trip. With all the rains, the water temperature is all over the place, but this time of year, it's mostly warmer than many of our favorite species like, which leads us back to the spring-fed creeks! That's right, summer and winter, that constant 72 degrees of outflow, will always be a fishy happyspot. Your main targets will be snook and reds, as well as black drum still hanging around back there, but don't be surprised to find a shark on the end of your line! Sharp nose and bonnethead, as well as bull sharks, like to forage in the shallow water this time of year. I remember one time, an overly friendly black tip really wanted to eat the trout I had on the stringer (one of them must have been bleeding a bit, never a good thing! Anyway, I hit him with my paddle, at least four times, and all of this, in less than a foot of water, and he still kept coming back. Sneaky bugger waited till I hooked into a nice red, and attacked while I was distracted; a 20-inch trout, ended up being a 15-inch trout. He got 5 in of my trout and I landed a 26-inch red; we call it even. Back to present day, snooker seemingly everywhere, and are hitting well on top-water lures. My Zara Spook Jr in bone silver, of course, and the reg really go for cut ladyfish this time of year. Mangroves and the occasional black drum will still be hanging around back in that

cooler water. On another note, we crossed a milestone this month. Yep, it was August 2009, that a relatively new magazine brought on a writer to cover the kayak fishing stories. That writer was me! I've watched Coastal Angler grow and expand, as I've gotten older and grayer, but I've also loved sharing my stories and misadventures to one and all. Thank you for your support, and thank you for reading. On yet another note, yeah, I'm all over the place this month. I wondered what do you all think about the seeming increase in cases of the flesh eating bacteria. Seeing as how like a buddy of mine calls kayak fishing a “contact sport”, we're going to be getting wet, and we're going to be in the backcountry, which I understand it is a breeding ground. Let's all throw a bottle of antiseptic in the old tackle box, and let's be careful out there! Stay tuned for next month’ story. I'm going to be targeting inshore goliath grouper! That's right, heavy offshore gear and 14-foot kayak, what could go wrong??? I look forward to letting you know; should be an interesting trip. Till next time, and thanks for the last decade. Your favorite kayak fisherman, Bruce Bruce Butler | "Stumbling Gypsy" (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters.com Web: www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

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KEATON BEACH

Clint Burkhalter of Macon, Ga./Steinhatchee Fl. with Joey and Drew Phillips of Columbus, Ga., with a fine catch on 6/15

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rout have spread out, and many of them have moved offshore to depths of 7 plus feet, while some have remained in 3.5 to 4.5 feet of water. This week saw Barry come through the Big Bend as a depression, and the South winds have really blown the floating grass up onto the flats. Can’t say I recall seeing this much grass before. Live pinfish under Back Bay Thunders, has been the only way to fish this week, as the grass won’t allow grub-slinging. I had some nice fish on Assassin’s Wakasagi Elite Shiner rigged under an Original Cajun Thunder earlier in the month, while we were fishing live bait in 5 to 7 feet. We also had some fine trout to 24 inches on Stinky Pink Sea Shads, bouncing on a Chartreuse Flash 1/8 oz. jighead. We had 3 reds today from 4 to 4.5 feet, in the last two hours of the flood before high tide. Our water temps are holding around 86 degrees, with very little bait schools showing up.

Drew Phillips with his first–ever keeper trout.

We also jumped a tarpon of around 140 to 150 lbs., and he gave us 6 jumps, rare, but impressive on tenpound test Game Green Trik Fish line. First tarpon hook-up of the year. Meanwhile, Let's Go Fishing! Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 28 years! www.onemorecast.net onemorecast@gtcom.net 850.838.7541

Double! for Rod Stalvey and Glen Boswell on 7/14 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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SUWANNEE RIVER/CEDAR KEY

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420 Dock Street Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-543-5142 steamerscedarkey.com info@steamerscedarkey.com

ey there folks, I sure hope you have enjoyed your summer, because it won’t be long and the kids will be back in school. The fish are in full summer mode right now. With the water temps in the upper 80’s, most game fish will only feed an hour or so throughout the day, which makes it imperative to be in the right spot at the right time. The best trout bite for me has been on the last couple hours of the incoming tide. Fishing the edges of the grass flats in 4 to 5 feet of water, has produced the best bite. Finding clean water has also been a key to being successful, while the B52 cork rigged with the BassAssassin Lures greenmoon Sea Shad has produced the bites. The redfish have just started to show up and I look for it to be a awesome fall. The mullet have also been pretty thick around the island, which makes it easier to get fresh bait with the cast net. If you are not into throwing the net, DD&W Bait and Tackle will usually have some fresh ones. Cut

the mullet into chunks and fish it on the bottom with a simple 4/0 circle hook, with a knocker rig. Well folks, I hope this will help you out on your next trip to the Gulf Coast. Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters www.FishCedarkey.com 352-535-5083 | Capt.Jimbo Keith

Like us on Facebook! We will cook your catch. We serve fresh local Cedar Key oysters and clams. Try our delicious Gator. We get it directly from the Gator Man himself.

Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3pm-7pm 2-4-1 Wells 1/2 Price Wine $2.50 Bud Light, Miller Lite, Yuengling

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CEDAR KEY PADDLING

SIGNS BANNERS Copies Fax

Forms Letterhead We also offer apparel and promotional items. Envelopes Business Cards Brochures Newsletters & More Invitations Located in Chiefland Shopping Center Wedding & Graduation 208 N Main Street, Chiefland, FL 32626

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

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

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

CARY CRUTCHFIELD ALLIGATOR GUIDE FLORIDA CRACKER ALLIGATOR, INC.

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ello everybody. Are we getting close to summer being over yet? It’s HOT! With the heat, comes a lot of those big uglies, the black drum. These things can get huge, and on light tackle, can be a whole lot of fun, whether you are paddling, power boating, or fishing from land in Cedar Key Florida. The best bait to use is a dead shrimp on the bottom. If you are fishing in current, make sure you use big enough lead to hold your bait in place. If you are in our back waters, I recommend just a Jim's jig with a shrimp. If you are slick enough, you will be surprised how close you can sneak up on them. Just slow down, and look around. There are a lot of them, and you can’t miss their big brown tails waving at you. I absolutely recommend taking a picture and releasing these big ones, because they are full of worms, and a lot of them, but they are so much fun to catch. I'm gonna go find something cold to drink and

some air conditioning. School will be back soon, so get those kids out on the water, and I hope to see you at the shop. Capt. Daniel Cedar Key Paddling 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@yahoo.com

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Guiding State Permitted Hunts in Central & North Florida

352.372.4237

Gator8Crutch@aol.com Your permit or mine Gator Season - Aug 15 thru Oct 31 AUGUST 2019

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INGLIS/YANKEETOWN

Available in 17’, 20’, 22’, 24’ and 27’

12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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hat can you say about August in Florida? Well, it is going to be pretty darn hot! In saying this, the bite can be very hot as well. Inshore species respond well on the tide movement, and if you can catch the tide right, in the early AM or later PM hours, you may just catch a mess of fish. This time of year, the bull reds come to town to spawn. You can find these fish on the outer spoil banks, looking for an easy meal. I recommend upgrading your leader to 30-40 lb. fluorocarbon, and using large shrimp or live finger mullet, to catch a nice picture fish. I say “picture fish”, due to the fact that most of these fish will be over 27 inches. Please make sure you revive these breeders before tossing them over the side. Along with the reds, the flounder bite will be picking up. I find that a quarter ounce Jim’s Jig, loaded with a mud minnow, will generate the bite you’re looking for. Look for sandy bottoms just off the rocks, to catch a nice one. As the red snapper season has now passed us by, have no fear. The gray or mangrove snapper can be just as much fun on lighter tackle, and is great table fare. The mangrove can be leader shy; I recommend at least an 8-foot fluorocarbon leader, around a 30 lb., lighter if they will not hit, freelined or tipped, with a light quarter ounce jig. Mangroves can be found from inshore, out to the Middle Grounds, but a 30 to 40foot depth should get your limit. While offshore, take a chance on a hog fish. Hog fish eat shrimp, along with crabs, and can be found just off the reefs, turning up the

sand looking for food. While along the reef, have a rod ready for the gag grouper, as they are still in season. Even with the red snapper season closed, you can still bring home a healthy offshore bounty. August will be extremely hot; bring plenty of fluids to drink, and follow the weather. Stop by Captains Cove Outfitters for your bait and tackle needs on your way to the water. Please reach out to me at capterichasty@gmail.com with any questions you may have. In addition, check out We Be Tailing for more tips and tricks at www.webetailing.com. Capt. Eric Hasty ShastyMcNasty Fishing LLC www.shastymcnastyfishing.com 352-220-3206

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HOMOSASSA

Sylvan • Oasis Sun Chaser Pontoon Boats

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SEAFOOD AT ITS BEST!

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ello Citrus County anglers, and I hope you all are keeping cool from the summer heat. Scalloping is still the main attraction off our area, and as the season progresses, the scallops will be getting larger. With schools going back in session, the crowds will not be as large, and especially weekdays; you may just see a handful of boats. Many of the shallow locations have been picked over, so don’t hesitate to try out a bit deeper, if the pickings are slim. On the inshore fishing scene, the consistent trout action is still deep, out on the grass patches in the 10 to 12-foot range. However, the red fishing really excels, and large schools can be targeted around the major moon phases. Concentrate your efforts on the outer mangrove keys and spoil islands, that are to the North. The last couple hours of the incoming tide are hard to beat, and remember a stealthy approach helps with success. Push pole or trolling motor up to a likely spot, anchor down and position yourself up tide. Locate points with a hard lime stone bottom, and plenty of mullet activity. Free line a live pinfish, or for a sure hook up, try a fresh piece of cut mullet, or my favorite, cut lizard fish. (Yes, try it; it works great). For those who prefer artificials, a 1/4oz gold spoon or a DOA C.A.L. jerk bait in the glow or new penny color rigged weedless is ideal for casting along the rocky structure. On the same points as the red fish, you’re very likely to encounter some snook as well. I always encourage you to use 30 or 40 lb. leader, so you stand a chance of landing a whopper snook when it takes your bait by surprise.

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Take advantage of the full moon this month and target some fine tasting mangrove snapper. Shallow rocks in 8 feet of water on out, to your favorite offshore locations, will be covered over with mangrove snapper. Anchor up, begin chumming and free line some live shrimp. I’ve caught mixed bags of snapper, sea bass, grunts, mackerel, grouper, cobia, flounder, pompano etc., all on one rock. You never know what that next cast will bring. The gag grouper action has been very good and live pin fish has been the go-to bait. This year, the water has been exceptionally clear, so sizing down your leader to 80 lb., or even 60 lb. will get you an extra bite. Also, some red grouper are coming back to the dock, so while offshore, check your old red grouper haunts to see if a couple are there. Capt. Dan Clymer 352.418.2160 www.crystalriver-fishing.com

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Monday

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BAIT & TACKLE IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA

ALACHUA FARM AND LUMBER 114101 NW 145th Ave. Alachua, FL 32616 386-462-3003 www.AlachuaFarmandLumber.com CEDAR KEY PADDLING 12293 SR 24 Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-665-1276 Dan_Gator@Yahoo.com

CAPTAINS COVE OUTFITTERS 39 West Hwy 40 Inglis, FL 352-447-5610 www.CaptainsCoveOutfitters.com

MCDUFFIE MARINE 1866 West US 90 Lake City, FL 32055 386.752.2500 www.mcduffiemarine.com

DW&D BAIT HOUSE 12831 Whiddon Ave Cedar Key, FL 352-543-6109 352-222-9383

OCKLAWAHA BAIT & TACKLE 13600 East CR 25 Ocklawaha, FL 32179 352-816-5853

44 TACKLE CO. 3177 E Gulf to Lake Inverness, FL 34453 352.726.6100 www.44Tackle.com

STARKE LANDSCAPE I 469 S Walnut (US Hwy 30 I) Starke, FL 3 209 I 904-964-3 I I 2 www.StarkeLandscape.com

YOUR BAIT & TACKLE SHOP HERE Call Lynn at 352-372-4237

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ST. AUGUSTINE

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ome really exciting fishing happens over the next couple of months here in Northeast Florida. From sight fishing for tailing redfish in the grass, to jumping huge tarpon behind the shrimp boats. It’s about to get fun! Something unique happens this time of year in our region and it makes for some of the coolest visuals in fishing. Flood tides will occur around the full and new moons, allowing redfish, drum, and sheepshead to access areas of the marsh that they usually can’t get to. Theses areas are lush with fiddler crabs and the fish know it. They will be crawling on their bellies and tailing like crazy in the grass looking to fatten up on those crabs. There really isn’t any secret to finding the areas that will hold tailing fish. You just need to go out there on the highest tides and look for yourself. Bring an old pair of sneakers, or better yet some wading boots. Probably the most effective way to catch the tailers is to park the boat at the edge of the flat, and get out and wade after them. You don’t need a super skinny water skiff to get in on the action. I like to toss a soft plastic Saltwater Assassin paddle tail rigged on a wide gap weedless hook. That hook will work with any Saltwater Assassin soft plastic and help keep the grass off you lure. Lead the fish by as much as possible, and let the lure drop right in front of the fish. Sometimes they are really into feeding on the bottom and it’s hard to get them to look up. When that’s the case, I’ll insert a small glass rattle into the soft plastic, and sometimes that will do the trick. This is also a great time to bust out the fly rod. Some of the best takes I’ve ever seen have come on the long rod using a crab fly in the flooded grass.

The flounder have been pretty steady all summer and there should be a good number of them around all the area inlets. Finger mullet rigged on a jighead or fish-finder rig then bounced along the jetty rocks will be the preferred flatty catching method. Also, don’t overlook those small “drains” in the creeks on the last hour or so on the outgoing tide. The late summer beach fishing should be going strong, and the tarpon will be behind the shrimp boats and on the pogy pods. The shrimpers have been at it all summer, but this time of year can be really good for the tarpon behind the boats. Wait for the shrimpers to dump their by-catch, and just keep an eye out for the tarpon that will come up. The sharks will usually be on the feed first, but stick around a bit and see if a tarpon or two will show up. When you see the fish, just toss your live or dead bait out in front of him, and hold on. While almost any other time you encounter tarpon, they can be very picky, but when behind the shrimp boats they are usually in the mood to eat. The tarpon that are on the bait pods will be feeding early in the AM, and then again after the afternoon thunderstorms. Net a few pogys and freeline them around the pods. You can also add a little weight and try to fish under the pod. No matter how we’re fishing for them, I like to use the same rig. I prefer a 7/010/0 VMC circle hook with a 60-80lb leader connected to a 40lb braided mainline. Just remember to bow to the king!

SURF & PIER

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he mullet run cranks up this month, and it will be game on! The redfish, blacktip sharks, and the tarpon will be in the surf and at the end of the pier. Just cast-net some lively mullet, and cast them right back out. Bluefish, ladyfish, trout, Spanish, and Jack Cravelle will also be looking for a frisky mullet to chomp. August is also my favorite month to catch big bonnethead sharks, up to 26 lbs. Keep in mind, that the current world record is 28 lbs. They are a blast on a surf rod. Since they are crab eaters, they are also great on the grill or as deep-fried shark McNuggets. To ensure your catch, rig heavy. A sinker slider rig tied from 100 lb. mono, with a 5/0 to 7/0 is the best. Tip it with a half of a blue crab, and hold on! If you are headed to the pier, I would suggest, first, you spend a little time on the beach, and collect some sand fleas. Here is the youtube video that is a great tutorial if you need a little help with catching fleas. h t t p : / / w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m / watch?v=MepfjDUrcDA These little sand fleas are all about matching the hatch. Almost every fish that swims in the surf zone will

Noel Kuhn 43 years of surf fishing experience Surf fishing guide and long distance casting coach. Founding member of Florida Surf Casters club. 904-945-0660 www.TheSurfAngler.com

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

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eat these baits. Recently I caught the biggest drum I’ve ever caught, on a flea! Just this week, I’ve talked with several buddies who have also had nice catches on fresh fleas. Enough about fleas; get some! The whiting bite has continued to be very good into the heat of the summer. Clams, fleas, and shrimp have all produced well, but my favorite, day in and day out, has been fresh clam. The best place to get these is your local retail seafood dealer. Get the biggest ones that you can find. This bait also matches the hatch, which is the small donax/ periwinkle, clams that are abundant in the surf right now. August is the only month that we have a shot at a permit. So, if you get a blistering first run, don’t dismiss it as a shark, huge ray, or some other mystery fish. It just may be a big permit. So, loosen your drag and enjoy the ride.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

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ell Forest Fishers, August may be prime time for hurricanes, but there's some prime fishing to be had this month as well. When skies turn grey, and winds go still, that's the time to grab your rods and head to the closest fishing hole. Moments before slow moving storms hit, sport fish start feeding aggressively. Having your rods and tackle ready when a feeding frenzy breaks out in front of you, is one of the moments we anglers live for. The bass population is thriving, and reports of trophy catches are coming in from all over the map. Throw top-waters at sunrise to call bass in from a distance. Tip: Have a rod rigged with your favorite worm to throw at fish that strike (but miss) your topwater. Once the surface bite slows, switch to throwing craws and swim-baits. Target the outer edge of pad fields and reed patches when it's overcast. If you end up fishing during one of those super hot, blue-bird sky days, focus mainly on offshore humps and deep water ledges. Tip: A good brush pile can hold several big fish and is easy to spot with any depth finder. Often during summer months, larger specimens will wait until the sun goes down to begin feeding. Honestly, my biggest summer bass have all been caught long after sundown, while quietly stargazing from my kayak. Most people night-fishing out here, though, are targeting big ole', delicious, channel catfish. It's a great way to beat the heat and relax, while you fish alongside nature's night life. Rodman Dam and Moss Bluff are both popular spots that include well

maintained bathrooms and brightly lit parking lots, so they're perfect for children and families of all sizes. Whether you're night fishing, drift fishing down a river, or on a mission for a new PB largemouth. Keep on searching for your dream spot, and enjoy the views along the way.

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

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COASTAL ANGLER RECOMMENDS THESE

RESTAURANTS

INNORTH NORTHCENTRAL CENTRALFL/NATURE FL/NATURECOAST COAST

Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3pm-7pm 2-4-1 Wells • 1/2 Price Wine $2.50 Bud Light, Miller Lite, Yuengling

420 Dock Street • Cedar Key, FL 32625 352-543-5142 steamerscedarkey.com • info@steamerscedarkey.com Like us on Facebook!

PLACE YOUR RESTAURANT HERE. Call Lynn at 352-372-4237. 20 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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7/17/19 7:31 PM


Fish At Night...Cool Temps, Hot Bites RIGGING & JIGGING

F

Tim Barefoot

or the remainder of the summer and into early fall, the best fishing can often be at night. Temperatures are more comfortable, there’s less boat traffic, less wind and fewer anglers. There’s no need for sunscreen, and best of all… fish are very active. I fish for several species in fresh and saltwater at night around the big lights on bridges and docks. I’ll also bring my own lights. Light draws the baitfish, and then it’s just a matter of time until the target species show up. Squid, cigar minnows, sardines and tinker mackerel (boston mackerel) show up in numbers around a bright light on an anchored boat over a ledge or wreck. This is a wonderful opportunity to fill the livewell with a Sabiki. It also brings all the action right to your back deck. It’s really cool to watch the life that is attracted. It’s like a National Geographic show right behind the boat. The key is bright lights. Years ago I bumped into the owner of Hydro Glow Lights at ICAST, and he quickly brought me into the modern age of offshore and inshore lights. New LED, low-amperage lights are powerful and require low power usage. Not only do I use a light on the surface, but I also drop at least one down 20 or 30 feet, and one even deeper depending on the target species. See video of this on the website. In addition to the good bite at night, it’s kinda like hunting in some respects when running the existing lights in waterways and sounds. You can go from light to light and watch, and you can also be very quiet and hear surface activity. Being stealthy is important. You don’t want to stomp around the boat, or yell over thumping music. Some of the standout species that hunt the edge of the light are

DUDLEY WINS FOURTH FLW ANGLER OF THE YEAR

D

avid Dudley made history by winning his fourth FLW Angler of the Year title at the last regular-season stop for the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain in late June. His seventh-place finish at the Lake Champlain event vaulted him to the top of the AOY rankings. “I’m still making the championship and still doing well, but in my mind I thought I had peaked out,” said Dudley. “To win my fourth makes this one very special and satisfying.” Dudley has finished in the top 25 at every event this season, with the exception of one stumble at Lake Seminole. Coming into the Lake Champlain event, Dudley trailed John Cox by one point in the standings. “I knew I had a very good chance at winning after day one at Lake Champlain,” said Dudley. “I had an 18-point lead, but what was more encouraging was that I had almost a 2-pound lead over John. I had the confidence that with a 2-pound cushion, I had a good shot at winning.” Consistency is the hallmark of Angler of the Year, and Dudley personified this throughout the year with timely, on-the-water decision-making. “The decisions you make out on the water separate a good angler from a great angler,” said Dudley. “Understanding how to play the game better than good anglers is key. We all can skip docks the same way, but knowing when to pick up and leave an area at the right time can make all the difference.”

kings, wahoo, most all the snappers and tuna, offshore. Inshore, snook, tarpon, drum and trout are susceptible. In freshwater, striped bass, crappie and panfish are suckers for well-lit water. I have memories of commercial trips of kings and beeliners in numbers at night. The beeliners really chew it up a few days before and during the full moons of summer, but the bite shuts down right at daylight. Even though the largest gag grouper I ever caught was at night, groupers can be difficult at night. Snapper, on the other hand, move higher in the water column and really chew. King mackerel under the lights can be off the charts. Once you get the squid and minnows concentrated under the lights, the dinner bell is ringing for kings, wahoo and tuna. Be sure to fill the livewell and fish the first couple hours after daybreak, while it’s still cool. Then head back in with a full box while other folks are just headed out. For video instructions on how to tye this rig, see:

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F O O

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ESY OF DISTRA

25 • ISSUE

CTION CHART

292

ERS

CO AS TA

F R A N C H I S E

LA NG LE

O P P O R T U N I T I E S

RM AG .CO

A V A I L A B L E

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When submitting a photo for consideration for use as a cover image or editorial image, please follow the guidelines specified here: Optimal size: 10 x 12.5 at 300 DPI (3000 x 3750 Pixels) 1) Don’t zoom in too closely. Allow additional background to give our art directors the opportunity to create a horizontal or vertical layout. 2) Don’t hold your fish way out in front of you to create the illusion of a bigger fish. We call this telescoping and we just don’t use images like this. 3) Make sure the lighting is good. Having the sun behind a subject will create a silhouette effect and too strong a light source will burn out details in a photo. 4) Don’t have blood in the photo. It may not bother you, but it doesn’t contribute to making a better photo and many readers find it unattractive. 5) Hold the fish properly. The subject should hold the fish in a horizontal position supporting it with their hands. Don’t let fish hang by the head, gills or tail. Send to: graphics@coastalanglermagazine.com

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, KINGFISH BACK TO THE BASICS Photos by Gene Dyer

By Gene Dyer

K

6 barrel swivel. I like to stay on the long side with my leader to be a bit stealthier. This step will help to avoid line twist, especially when using a spinning reel. Now it’s time to put together some rigs. You’ll need some #5 stainless steel, coffee-colored wire, and depending on the bait that is available, octopus hooks ranging from 3/0 to 7/0 and some treble hooks in size 4 and 6. If you are using smaller baits like pilchards, you’ll want to use a smaller main hook and smaller treble hook for your stinger. For bigger baits like goggle eyes, blue runners and speedos, step up your hook size for your main hook and stinger. Use a haywire twist to attach a 20inch length of wire to the main hook. Don’t over do it, as four to five twists on a 45-degree angle will suffice. Finish off your haywire with three to four straight wraps to secure the connection. Now it’s time to attach your stinger to the main hook. Again, depending on the size of your bait, attach 4 to 8 inches of wire to your stinger hook with a haywire twist and then attach the other end of your stinger rig to the eye of the main hook with another haywire twist. It’s extremely important to rig your stinger with enough slack so that your bait will swim naturally. Now you are ready to attach your rig to your leader. Use an albright knot to connect your rig to your leader. If you don’t know how to tie an albright knot, do an Internet search and plenty of pages and videos will pop up. You can fish this setup a couple of different ways. If you will be drifting, fish at least two rods. You’ll want one bait on the surface and one deeper, from 30 to 60 feet. Send your surface bait out first and allow it to swim away from the boat. You can attach a balloon to your main line to help keep track of where your bait is. Depending on conditions, add 4 to 8 ounces of lead to your deep rod. Slip your lead on above the swivel or attach it to the main line with a rubber band. If you utilize the rubber band method, it’s highly likely that you’ll lose your sinker on the strike. These rigs can also be used for slow trolling baits. Slow trolling can help determine what depth the fish are in. Start trolling in about 60 feet and head out to 200 feet and then back to 60 feet. Once you find the fish, set up your drift at the depth. When kingfish strike, they typically go on a long run away from the boat. Take your time and slowly work the fish toward the boat. Don’t be surprised if you get it close and it takes off on another short run after it sees the boat. Let the fish run and tire out. You should then be able to get your fish back to the boat for a gaff shot to the head.

ing mackerel are aggressive predators with extremely sharp teeth. To catch them with consistency, you must prepare accordingly. Though there are many ways to rig your rods for kingfish, I’d like to focus on a few techniques that have worked for me over the years. These techniques can be utilized on both spinning and conventional tackle. To start, you’re going to want a rod in the 7-foot range that has a sensitive tip, so you can feel the bite, but also some backbone to turn the head of a smoker that just peeled off 100 yards of line in 20 seconds. Sometimes, a big king will swim right back at the boat after a blistering run, and you will have a better chance of coming tight with a higher speed reel. You’ll want nothing less than a 5-to-1 gear ratio. When it comes to line choice, you can certainly spool your reels with braided line, but I prefer 20- to 30-pound monofilament, as I’m kind of old school and learned to fish for kingfish before braid became so popular. That said, you’ll want to connect your main line to Gene Dyer is co-publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine’s Fort Lau4 to 10 feet of 40- or 50-pound fluorocarbon leader with a size 4 or derdale edition. Contact him at gene@coastalanglermagazine.com. 14

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FLY FISHING 16

CHUMMING UP MAKO SHARKS One of the greatest adversaries on the fly rod in saltwater is the shortfin mako shark. The mako is considered by many as the fastest of all sharks, but what makes this great gamefish stand out is not only its fighting ability but its tendency to leap 20 feet in the air once hooked! The mako shark is one of saltwater fly-fishing’s outstanding but unappreciated gamefish. Found on both in the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, a smaller mako in the 20- to 30-pound range can be perfect for the beginning saltwater fly fisherman; of course, fishing for sharks is a tad different than fishing for bluegills in your Uncle Ned’s farm pond. First, you’ll need a boat, preferably a boat over 18 feet that can handle fairly choppy seas. Most center-consoles will do; however, a skiff with a beam of 8 feet or wider and a not-too-deep V will settle in the water better and reduce pitch and roll to a minimum, guaranteeing a much more stable casting platform. A chum line is the most effective way of attracting makos into casting distance of your boat. Chumming attracts the larger makos and will allow you to sight-cast to them. Into a chum bag, place the belly sections or fresh carcasses of tuna, bluefish or bonito. Then place the bag into a milk crate or five-gallon bucket, lower this mess by rope over the side and listen for the musical score from the movie “Jaws” to begin. You won’t have long to wait once that chum slick begins to spread. Ideally, you should use fresh carcasses, but store-bought chum will suffice. One bit of important advice: Less is more when chumming; you don’t

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need much; no matter how small the slick, a shark can smell it from miles away. Now that you have the boat and chum, the next thing to do is find a mako. On the West Coast we are fortunate to have the continental shelf only a few miles offshore. On the east coast, you’ll have to venture bit farther offshore. Keep your eyes peeled for working birds and surface-busting bait; constantly check the water temperature, looking for readings between 66 and 70 degrees. But, be patient when chumming. I will wait at least an hour and a half before moving to another spot, but there have been occasions when the sharks make their appearance within a few minutes. Once in the slick, makos will stick around for most of the fishing day. Drifting allows you to cover more water and, in the process, attract more makos to your boat. By choosing the right season, having the right chum and chumming the right areas, you can count on hooking and releasing a good number of makos during the course of a single day on the water.

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