Coastal Angler Magazine - Feb. / North Central Florida

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST EDITION

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EDITOR : Nick Carter • editorial@coastalanglermagazine.com WEBMASTER : Dmitriy Pislyagin • webmaster@coastalanglermagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Corporate Headquarters info@coastalanglermagazine.com • 888-800-9794 BIG BEND : Mike McNamara • (850) 510-7919 • captmike@coastalanglermagazine.com BREVARD : David String • (321) 684-5888 • dstring@coastalanglermagazine.com DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA BEACH : Don Meadows • (407) 960-2340 • donm@coastalanglermagazine.com FLORIDA KEYS : Ed Gocher • (305) 587-9101 • ed@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT LAUDERDALE : Gene Dyer • (954) 680-3900 • gene@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT MYERS : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER MIAMI : Scott Deal • (561) 945-6999 • scott@coastalanglermagazine.com Monica Isaza-Deal • (561) 945-8899 • monica@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER ORLANDO : Phillip & Giselle Wolf • (407) 790-9515 • phillip@coastalanglermagazine.com LAKELAND & SUMTER : Mary Flaitz • (352) 598-4219 • maryf@coastalanglermagazine.com NAPLES : Mike Weber • (414) 531-4172 • mikew@coastalanglermagazine.com NC FLORIDA/NATURE COAST : Cary & Lynn Crutchfield • (352) 372-4237 • crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com NE FLORIDA : Danny Patrick • (904) 742-4696 • danny@coastalanglermagazine.com OKEECHOBEE : Ken Gabryel • (863) 532-3671 • keng@coastalanglermagazine.com PANAMA CITY/FORGOTTEN COAST : Randy Cnota • (229) 834-7880 • randyc@coastalanglermagazine.com PALM BEACH COUNTY : Barbara Ryan • (561) 373-8040 • barbara@coastalanglermagazine.com SARASOTA : Phil Prevoir • (239) 257-4684 • pprevoir@coastalanglermagazine.com TAMPA BAY : Chuck Atkins • (239) 464-5153 • chuck@coastalanglermagazine.com TREASURE COAST : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com

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Catching Winter Cobia In The Keys By John Steinhorst

F

ebruary through April offers some of the most productive fishing of the year in the Florida Keys. An amazing variety of migratory fish species travel to the Keys as cold water temperatures push them south in the Gulf of Mexico and on the east coast. The most convenient place to base a Keys fishing adventure is directly out of Marathon, which comfortably rests in the middle of this tropical island chain. Marathon encompasses a unique collection of islands, creating the ideal boating and family destination with access to both ocean and gulf waters but far enough from the crowded streets of Key West. Capt. Chris Morrison, a 20-year Keys veteran who guides out of Marathon, enjoys hooking excited anglers up with these hungry migrating species, which include record-breaking cobia, king and Spanish mackerel, trophy sailfish and several species of jacks. Versatility is the name of the game, and options are abundant. Most often the best plan is to just decide where you want to fish, from the immense Gulf or blue ocean waters to the many reefs and wrecks surrounding the islands. Then be ready for anything when you get there. There are several techniques that work for each species, and Morrison utilizes a wide variety to keep his 8

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Temple Fork Outfitters’ Gary Loomis Inshore boat, although cobia sometimes swim with bull sharks and rays. Start drifting live shrimp back Series rods bending and his clients smiling. Live bait and jigs are most productive to with light monofilament leader and small hooks, ensure positive results. Pinfish and live shrimp and you are bound to get action from one of are among the easiest to obtain, since most local several species of snapper. If you start getting bit bait shops carry them. Deep jigs, such as butterfly off clean, add a piece of leader wire and you will types, and ¼- to 1-ounce bucktails are essential likely get hooked into a cero or king mackerel. to carry in your arsenal. For catching cobia, If you decide to fish the bay or gulf side of the present the pinfish on ocean-side wrecks and Keys island chain, you might want to anchor reefs as well as Gulf waters from 15 to 100 feet in 10 to 15 feet of water and hang that chum using the same rig for grouper down deep. Limit bag for landing Spanish mackerel. Head out to is one per person with a 33-inch size minimum. deeper Gulf waters and expect more cobia, king On sunny days, Morrison likes to spot cobia mackerel, and goliath and gag grouper. The with his polarized sunglasses from the tower of wintertime fishing action in the Florida Keys will his SeaVee boat above the reef line or in blue be sure to heat up your reel. If you need an expert light-tackle fishing water when a color change edge is present. When you see a cobia on the surface, cast the bait in guide, Capt. Chris Morrison has guided anglers front with no weight and at least 60-pound to more than 100 world records and received monofilament leader. Wire is usually necessary a Lifetime Achievement Award from the on your jigs as king, Spanish, and cero mackerel International Game Fishing Association. Visit are numerous throughout these prime fishing www.captchris.com for more info. grounds. John Steinhorst has contributed to many If you do not have a guide, the reef line on the ocean side from 25 to 40 feet is a good place publications during the last 20 years and can to start. Anchor and hang a chum bag over the be contacted at www.JohnSteinhorst.wix.com/ IslandMedia. side with ground-up frozen baitfish. Chum brings the For more Cobia fishing in the Keys, go to party to the back of your COASTALANGLERSALTWATER.COM

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Captain Fantastic.

How have so many of Marathon’s light-tackle guides achieved super-hero status? Because whether it’s tailers in the shallows, migrating tarpon out front or snook and redfish out back, our professional captains come to the rescue by putting you onto some amazing angling action. fla-keys.com/marathon 1.800.262.7284 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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RodsandReels Product Review AVET REELS SXJ 6/4 RAPTOR Since 1999, Avet Reels has been bringing to the market revolutionary reel designs that set the standard for performance. Their innovative SXJ 6/4 Raptor lever drag casting reel features Avet’s patented dual carbon fiber drag system, which produces twice the drag of the original Avet reels. The powerful system features adjustable strike pre-set and a strike stop button to prevent accidental advancement. The reel’s one-piece frame is precision machined 6061 T-6 marine grade aluminum with stainless steel components and is anodized for superior corrosion resistance. An offset machined handle arm reduces center-line profile and cranking wobble and is capped with a comfortable soft-touch handle knob. The two-speed transmission has a user-friendly shifting mechanism. Avet’s silent dog and gear anti-reverse system and M.C. Cast adjustable magnetic anti-backlash cast control system, both patented, are some of the most innovative and reliable in the industry. The SXJ 6/4 Raptor has nine stainless ball bearings, an alarm clicker and a light, narrow spool designed for optimal jig casting efficiency and less line leveling on the retrieve. It’s proudly made in the U.S.A.

CANYON REELS EX-80 TWO SPEED TROLLING REEL In case you hadn’t heard, Canyon Reels has redesigned its powerful EX-80 Two Speed Trolling Reel to give anglers the edge when pulling spreads for huge fish. The original EX-80 was extensively tested and matched up very well against the giants off the Northeast coast. When the captains made suggestions, Canyon listened, and the result is an even better EX-80, which features multiple upgrades that make it smoother, and easier to use. The EX-80 is a monster reel. It boasts a max drag of 105 pounds at strike and more than 155 pounds at full drag. A pre-set feature allows for accurate drag settings with an easy one-touch shifter. Upgrades include additional harness lugs that provide better balance control, an all new double drag system for drag runs that are even smoother than the original, and an oversized T-bar handle for additional cranking power. Several other improvements have also been made to increase the durability of this already remarkable reel. The end result is an incredibly smooth and user-friendly reel with the power to stop any fish in the ocean.

WWW.AVETREELS.NET

WWW.CANYONREELS.COM

ENIGMA HPT TITANIUM CASTING RODS

JP ROSS BEAVER MEADOW

Enigma Fishing is raising the bar on performance, while lowering the price point. Every aspect of their HPT Titanium Casting Rods were designed with extreme attention to detail. These high-performance tournament level rods are designed with premium, ultra-light Japanese Toray Carbon proprietary blend blanks. The HPT rods were designed and tested with input from professional anglers such as three-time Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year, Aaron Martens. Enigma Fishing has customized and precision balanced each individual HPT rod to be ultra functional, exceptionally beautiful and tailored to exacting actions and specifications demanded by today’s tournament anglers. All rods feature premium American Tackle components, including the multiaward winning MicroWave Line Control System, which increases casting distance and accuracy. The blank-through reel seats offer finger-to-blank contact for unparalleled sensitivity and incredible ergonomics and palmable comfort, while further reducing weight as well. Premium cork grips balance out each rod perfectly! Enigma Fishing’s new HPT series features a sleek black rod blank, cork handles, stylish purple wraps and chrome accents. Delivering technique-specific performance second-to-none, the all-new HPT series raises the bar for all others!

WWW.ENIGMAFISHING.COM

MUD HOLE TURNKEY INSHORE ROD KIT

The JP Ross Beaver Meadow is a fly rod meticulously designed to fish the beaver dams and plunge pools of small trout streams where an 11-inch fish is a trophy. That’s not to say this rod can’t handle an 18-inch brown on big water, but blue lines are where it shines. It is a short, sensitive rod with the feel needed for the gentlest of nibbles but enough power to reach out 50-plus feet with a hopper-dropper rig. The Beaver Meadow is available in a 5’ 2/3-weight, two-piece and a 6’6” 2/3-weight four-piece for fishing small streams with wet flies and dry flies. The 6’6” also has the ability to cast medium weighted streamers. The 7’6” 4-weight four-piece, the 7’9” 3-weight fourPhoto by Draper White piece, and the 8’0” 5-weight four-piece all have the shorter length required for tight quarters but the backbone to land larger fish and cast streamers and multi-fly rigs. JP Ross rods are custom-made by hand in Upstate New York. Each rod is made to order, so the details are exquisite, and components can be customized from the grip and reel seat to the guides and thread color. The Technology used to achieve this awesome balance of sensitivity and power is breakthrough technology, the joining of carbon fiber and fiberglass that JP Ross calls Carbon Silica Hybrid interface. It makes a beautiful casting and wonderfully sensitive rod.

WWW.JPROSSFLYRODS.COM

Mud Hole Custom Tackle is offering amazing value with its inshore fishing rod building kit. This turnkey kit includes everything you need to build your own custom inshore trout and redfish fishing rod. The kit features the extremely popular and versatile SJ842 rod blank. This 7’0” medium-light power rod features a fast action for throwing soft plastics and topwater lures at wary flats fish. Along with the blank, the kit includes a matched guide set, handle kit and everything from the CRB Wrapper, a CRB rod dryer and ProPaste and ProKote Rod Finish along with all the tools needed to build your own custom rod. This is a great set for the avid fisherman who wants to take his or her fishing to the next level. To get started custom building your own high quality rod, visit www.mudhole.com and check out all our Turn Key Kit options or simply Google: Mud Hole Turnkey.

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RodsandReels Product Review OKUMA KOMODO SS BAITCAST REELS

The original Komodo 350 size baitcast reel has been the recipient of tremendous accolades. It is considered an extremely tough reel and an excellent value. For 2017, the Komodo family welcomes the Komodo SS, featuring a new 450 size and stainless steel drive system. The Komodo SS is built around a heavy-duty stainless steel main gear, pinion gear, drive shaft and spool shaft to deliver an internal foundation of unrelenting strength and corrosion-resistance. Komodo SS reels use rigid, machined aluminum frame and spool, aluminum side plates, high-output Carbonite drag system capable of a maximum drag output of 30 pounds, and updated 6-pin Velocity Cast Control System. Performance features include six or seven (depending upon size) stainless steel High Performance Bearings, plus roller bearing, for outstanding corrosionresistance. The synchronized level-wind system does not disengage for casting, which allows it to maintain alignment at all times and eliminated drag pressure spikes when using braided lines. Bait clickers are standard on all models. The Komodo SS series includes two sizes, 350 and 450. The 350 size includes a 6.4:1 gear ratio and maximum drag output of 25 pounds. There are four models in the 350 size. The 450-size Komodo is available in a 6.3:1 gear ratio and a hyperfast 7.1:1 ratio. Komodo SS series baitcast reels are covered by the Okuma 3-Year Limited Warranty.

WWW.OKUMAFISHING.COM

UGLY STIK BIGWATER SERIES Ugly Stik has refreshed its iconic Bigwater series with all-new Ugly Tuff saltwater guides and an updated look. Beginning with Ugly Tech construction, the Bigwater series maintains the toughness for which all Ugly Stiks are known. One-piece Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides eliminate insert pop-outs and provide durability and corrosion resistance for those harsh saltwater applications. The Bigwater series retains the traditional Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for more strength at the tip of the rod. Comfortable EVA handles and conventional reel seats give anglers a non-slip, comfortable grip no matter the conditions. The fly, standup, downrigger/dipsy diver, surf, spinning and casting models have also been upgraded to include a standard seven-year limited warranty. Four Bigwater spinning combos and two trolling combos for downrigger applications are also available. The combos feature a graphite spinning reel, available in sizes 50, 60 and 70, and have a durable aluminum spool. The reel featured on the Bigwater downrigger combos is a size 30 line counter round reel with a metal handle and power knob.

PENN SLAMMER III The Penn Slammer III, which won Best of Show in the saltwater reel category at iCast 2016, is the reintroduction of the heavy-duty reel that has become trusted by charter captains around the world. Slammer III reels feature a new IPX6 Sealed System, which keeps water out of the gear box and drag system in heavy spray and sea conditions. An updated Slammer Drag System now utilizes a proprietary Dura-Drag material. With the computer-controlled CNC gear technology system, the precision brass main, pinion and oscillation gears are individually machined for exact tolerances to provide the smoothest operation. Eight models of the Slammer III are available, ranging in size from 3500 to 10500 models. Gear ratios range from 6.2:1 with 37 inches of line retrieve on the smaller reels to 4.2:1 with 43 inches of line retrieve on the largest. Maximum drags start at 30lbs in the smaller models and run to 60lbs on the largest. The oversized reel handle grip gives the angler added control during the fight. The 3500 Slammer III is the smallest of the family weighing 13.9oz while the 10500 weighs 43.1oz.

WWW.PENNFISHING.COM

DANCO BAIT STIK Danco’s Bait Stik is the original rod and reel combo developed specifically for catching bait with a sabiki rig, and it is still the best. The rod in this combo is 7’3” and features two-piece construction with an extra-hard phenolic tip for superior strength and extreme sensitivity. Comfortable EVA grips and a gimbal butt with cover means anglers will be yanking bait from the water with ease. Anyone who has ever tried to store a sabiki rigs knows the frustration of attempting to keep them from becoming a tangled mess. With the Bait Stik, that is not a problem. While not in use, the sabiki rig can be safely and conveniently stored inside the rod, which is a huge plus. The combo comes with either a casting or spinning reel. The spinning reel comes with an anodized aluminum spool, a graphite body and rotor and an oversized eggshaped knob. The casting reel has an aluminum body and side covers, brass gearing and a star drag. Catching bait has never been so easy. When the bait tank is full, rinse everything down with fresh water, store the sabiki rig in the rod and forget about it. Look for the Danco Bait Stik in your tackle store.

WWW.SHAKESPEARE-FISHING.COM

OCEAN 2 RIVER TOURNAMENT COMBO

ZEBCO BIG CAT SERIES Zebco is launching an impressive offering of beefedup rods and reels called “Big Cat” to accommodate serious value-minded anglers who passionately pursue catfish. The spincast reels are built with a titanium nitride plated stainless steel spinnerhead to add durability and reduce friction. Big Cat XT conventional-style reels will likely be the top pick for the most avid trophy hunters from the Mississippi River to Santee Cooper and all waters in between. Two conventional reels will be offered. The Big Cat XT 30 conventional trolling reel will hold 455 yards of 30-pound test. The Big Cat XT 350 round baitcasting reel holds 200 yards of 20-pound test. Worth noting is that a headlamp handy for nighttime catfishing will be free to consumers who purchase rods and reels within the very affordable Big Cat and Big Cat XT series.

WWW.ZEBCO.COM

Ocean 2 River (O2R) Tournament spinning combos are designed to perform to the exacting standards of serious tournament anglers while standing up to the grueling conditions and treatment offered up by hard-core fishermen in the marine environment. The IM-7 fast action graphite rods come with Seaguide Atlas Performance aluminum oxide guides, comfortable cork split grips and a graphite reel seat with a cork inlay and cushioned stainless steel hoods. These rods combine strength with sensitivity and excellent casting power. They are available in medium and medium heavy weights to suit a range of line and lure weights. The reels feature a solid aluminum frame, graphite side covers and rotor and a double anodized aluminum spool to stand up to the saltwater environment. A 5.1:1 gear ratio is suitable for fishing a wide range of lures all day long without wearing out the angler’s wrists and hands. Stainless ball bearings and a comfortable oversized T-knob provide for longer casts, smoother drag runs and comfort while fighting fish. Look for the O2R combo and other fine Danco products in your tackle store.

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ON THE COVER

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Editor’s Note:

Each month, Coastal Angler Magazine and The Angler Magazine staff search our vast coverage area for photos that will grace our covers. With well over a million readers in diverse coastal and inland markets, our magazines strive for broad national appeal as well as local-level intelligence to put anglers on fish. The cover is different depending on which edition you, the reader, are holding. The following is a little information about this month’s covers.

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE The Florida Keys, Marathon

FREE

BIG BEND EDITION

The February edition of Coastal Angler Magazine features a cover image of Capt. James Platt with a 35-pound cobia he landed onboard a SeaVee boat about 10 miles out from Marathon’s Tarpon Creek Marina on the ocean side of the Florida Keys. The photo was provided by Capt. Chris Morrison of Keys Light Tackle Fishing Charters, who Local was fishing with Platt when they caught a limit of cobia, along with king mackerel, mangrove snapper and grouper. Morrison uses medium-heavy, Gary Loomis-designed Inshore Series rods from Temple Fork Outfitters along with 30-pound test Cortland Master Braid line to handle cobia and many species he targets in winter months. Home to the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge, Marathon is a group of tropical islands perfectly situated in the middle of the Florida Keys island chain. This ideal boating and family destination offers easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, Everglades and Gulf of Mexico waters for an amazing diversity. Wintertime in the Florida Keys means anglers see large numbers of migratory fish such as cobia, king and Spanish mackerel, wahoo, sailfish and blackfin tuna pushed down from colder northern waters. Marathon is an excellent destination to base your Keys vacation for an unforgettable adventure. See writer John Steinhorst’s article on winter and early spring fishing out of Marathon in this month’s issue. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 265

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Ice Fishing On Golden Pond, New Hampshire

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This month’s cover image for The Angler Magazine was taken by Chuck Fritz on the ice at Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. Old Timers might remember the 1981 movie “On Golden Pond.” It was filmed on Squam Lake, and the most interesting storyline in the film had to be the cantankerous Local character Norman’s obsession with catching a humongous rainbow trout named Walter. Squam Lake looks a lot different with a layer of ice over it than it does in the movie, which was shot in the summer. The fishing is still good, though. Just ask Tim Moore, the ice fishing guide who was photographed for the cover with a pretty yellow perch he caught through a hole in the ice. The ice fishing season on Squam and nearby Lake Winnipesaukee generally runs from January through March each year, and anglers target giant white perch and lake trout as well as smallmouth bass, crappie, sunfish and yellow perch. If there’s anyone out there who knows where Walter is hiding after all these years, it has to be Tim. See Tim’s story inside this months issue and check out his website at www.timmooreoutdoors.com. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 264

F R A N C H I S E

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MERCURY MARINE’S VESSELVIEW MOBILE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

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ercury Marine’s VesselView Mobile app is now available for free download on the App Store and Google Play in North America. Available for iOS and Android mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, the VesselView Mobile app instantly provides users access to their boat’s SmartCraft digital data in the palm of their hand. The product recently won a prestigious IBEX innovation award. The VesselView Mobile module, which is needed to fully utilize the app, is available for purchase at participating Mercury Marine dealers, from the VesselView Mobile app or on www.vesselviewmobile.com. The product is compatible with all Mercury SmartCraftcapable engines built since 2003. One module supports single through quad engine applications. SmartCraft is a fully integrated suite of digital technologies, including marine gauges, sensors, vessel systems and computercontrolled features, giving users a higher level of control over their boat’s propulsion and electrical systems. Now, with Mercury Marine’s VesselView Mobile, users can see SmartCraft engine data right on the screen of their mobile device. The app also includes useful new features such as Fuel Information, Maintenance Reminders, Mapping, Performance Summary, and Fault Code Diagnostics. VesselView Mobile makes preparing for and spending a day on the water easier, safer 14

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and more enjoyable by letting users perform the following functions from their mobile device: • Connect to the SmartCraft data network in your boat from your iOS or Android mobile device via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0) • See SmartCraft engine parameters like engine hours, fuel burn, water temperature, battery voltage, RPM, etc. (parameters available are specific to each engine family). • Get fault code diagnostic information so you know and understand if that fault is something to be addressed when you return to the dock, or is more urgent. • Fuel Management provides accurate fuel usage data along with fuel remaining plus indicates time and distance to empty when the user enters fuel added via the app. • Locate your nearest Mercury Marine dealer • Get points of interest information for your body of water, including fuel and restaurant locations, and more • Record a moment on the water for future reference • Access checklists associated with your boating lifestyle • Get maintenance reminders and access historical maintenance information logs. Mercury Marine’s VesselView Mobile app also provides users with a Web-based account that gives them and their preferred dealer app and module will be on display at the 2017 an even deeper connection to their boat. The Miami International Boat Show.

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Core Concepts Make

Ice Fishing Easier By Tim Moore

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pending hours on a frozen lake isn’t easy. Your body works overtime just to stay warm. Then, add the activity level that often accompanies ice fishing, such as drilling or chiseling holes and chasing tip up flags, and it can be downright exhausting. The degree of difficulty extreme cold temperatures add to fishing is what keeps most people from trying ice fishing. While there is a ton of gear designed to make ice fishing easier, core concepts, such as efficiency and mobility go a long way to make ice fishing easy enough for even the most warm blooded people. When you strengthen your core muscles with exercise, you train the rest of your 16

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muscles to work in harmony, which leads to better balance and stability. The same can be said for ice fishing. Exercising core concepts on a regular basis not only improves technique and lure control, but ice fishing actually becomes easier. The hottest new lures and trending techniques might catch a few fish, but they do little to improve your ability as an angler, especially when everything is frozen. Efficiency is arguably the foundation of any core. A highly efficient ice angler accomplishes more tasks in a shorter amount of time, and therefore catches more fish. Being efficient means eliminating unnecessary steps. Fewer steps means more time fishing, and more time fishing means more fish caught. Every second you spend with your line out of the water is time spent not catching fish. Efficiency begins off the ice. There are many things you can do before you leave your house that will make you more efficient. Start by leaving equipment and lures you won’t need at home. If you’re going fishing for panfish and you have larger rods mixed in with panfish rods, you will have extra gear to deal with on the ice. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you’re fishing in subzero temperatures and the rods you need get tangled with the rods you don’t need. Rigging multiple rods with different lures before you leave your house will also reduce steps on the ice. Then you can cycle through pre-rigged rods rather than tie new jigs in the cold, wind or snow. Have you ever seen the deck of a tournament bass angler’s boat? They have many rods rigged with different lures so they don’t have to re-tie while they are fishing. The same goes for ice fishing, especially when it’s freezing out. The work you do at home pays off on the ice, but there is more you can do while fishing to make things easier, such as putting gear back in its place when you’re not using it. Then when you want to move you have less equipment to put away. Sometimes we are so

excited to get fishing that we tend to lay gear on the ice when we are done using it rather than put it back where it belongs. By the time we decide to move there is gear all over the place, which makes moving harder. The Godfather of modern ice fishing Dave Genz always says, “If it’s easy you’ll do it.” Focus on ways to make everything easier and you will be more productive. The little things add up. Just as backpackers try to shave ounces off their packs to make hiking easier, successful ice anglers are always trying to shave off unnecessary tasks to make fishing easier. The equipment you use also contributes to your efficiency. A Vexilar sonar flasher removes a lot of the guesswork. Figuring out if there are fish under you and their depth could take hours without a flasher. A sonar flasher is easy to use. It will instantly show you the entire water column including the bottom, your jig, and anything else that shows up under you, such as a fish. All in real time! Clam Outdoors makes a number of items specifically designed to make certain tasks easier on the ice. Prices range from a few dollars into the $1,000 range. The simple lowcost products often make a big difference. The Clam Can allows you to carry bait in your pocket. Not a big thing, but it makes a huge difference when it’s cold. Rod Slicks keep ice rods from getting tangled, and Fish Trap shelters get you out of the cold quickly and allow you to move around easier. The parts all have a sum that equals success. Mobility is another important core element of ice fishing. Mobility allows you to cover more water, which allows you to put your lure in front of more fish. Think of ice fishing the same way you do when open water fishing. We rarely head out onto the water and cast in the same spot over and over again. Ice fishing is no different. Every hole you drill is a cast. Make more casts and you’ll catch more fish. If you make a lot of casts in an area and don’t catch anything, move to another area and repeat. Give yourself a time limit, and don’t stay in the same area if you’re not catching fish. Ice Fishing doesn’t have to be cold and difficult. Core concepts that make ice fishing easier also make it more fun. Establish a routine and it will become second nature. By constantly thinking of ways to strengthen your core, you make ice fishing easier. Before you know it, you will be catching more fish than ever before. And who doesn’t love catching more fish? Tim Moore is a full-time licensed fishing guide in New Hampshire. He owns Tim Moore Outdoors and the New England Ice Fishing Academy. For more information visit www. TimMooreOutdoors.com. For more Tim Moore, go to

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Introducing the Element F21: As low as $25,499* Our largest center console to date, we designed the new Element F21 to be three things; fishable, versatile and affordable. We started with our proven M-Hull™ design, giving it a deeper entry for even more seaworthiness. Then we gave it the features anglers demand to make sure it was serious about catching fish—plus options should you choose to expand your activities. Its most attractive feature could be its price. Shop if you must… we’re pretty sure you’ll end up here. Go to bayliner.com to learn more.

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or those seeking ultimate enjoyment at one of the world’s largest and greatest boat shows, the VIP Experience is the hot ticket for the 2017 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Feb. 16-20. In its second year at the iconic Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, the show will offer more boats, large yachts, marine product debuts, transportation options, dining and fun than ever before. There will be excitement for everyone, but those who prefer more of an upscale experience should treat themselves to the VIP Experience. With ticket packages ranging from $70 to $100 per day, guests will enjoy exclusive access to

the VIP Lounge aboard a 111-foot luxury yacht docked at Pier 9 among more than 100 of the biggest and most extravagant motor, cruising and super yachts ever displayed at the show. The VIP Experience includes upscale dining and beverage service, live music daily, an air conditioned indoor lounge, an open sky deck with stunning views, private restrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and an array of complimentary services and luxury product displays. All of this comes on top of what the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show is recognized for: a worldclass boat-show experience for more than 100,000 attendees and exhibitors. This year’s show will be the best ever. Organizers anticipate more than 1,300 new boats on display with more new model debuts than ever before. What’s more, the number of boats in-water is expanding to an estimated 550 boats and yachts— all located in the show’s state-of-the-art marina. From sport fishing boats and high performance boats, to personal watercraft and wake sport boats, family cruisers and luxury yachts, there is something for every lifestyle. The show will also once again offer sea trials, where shoppers can take boats out for a spin. This year, more boat exhibitors will participate, giving boat buyers a chance to test-drive a number of options. And be sure to come hungry and thirsty. A highlight of the 2017 show is an enhanced food and beverage program featuring more than 150 options ranging from luxe to casual fare. Whether you choose to come by water taxi, shuttle bus or car, the show offers seamless transportation to and from the show as well as ample and convenient parking options. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the show. Regular admission packages range from $25 to $100 for multiple days, and children younger than 15 are free. For more information, go to www.MiamiBoatShow.com. To learn more about last years boat show, go to

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AN AUTUMN SAIL STORY By Michael Landress

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e blasted through the Boynton Inlet on the first full day of fall and set lines in 33 fathoms near one of the many reefs just a short pelican’s glide offshore. It was ramp-to-reef in minutes for the five of us, Capt. Chris Lemieux, Carson, Jeff, Mike and his father-in-law, Joe. It’s one of the many perks we enjoy fishing out of Boynton Beach, also known as the Gateway to the Gulf Stream. Our goal this day was modest, to catch and release Florida’s premier game fish for our senior angler, Joe. During his 84 years, Joe had never battled a sailfish. Unfortunately, any hope of doing so on the reef was quickly trammeled by a school of ravenous rainbow runners that pillaged our lively baits at an astonishing rate. A relative of the greater amberjack, rainbows are feisty on hook and line, but offered no food value for the men of this vainglorious crew. We decided to run farther offshore into deeper water to hunt the harlequin green and yellow denizens of the deep—dolphin! After a short run on a flat

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sea, we arrived at a large patch of pelagic weed drifting in 800 feet of 86-degree water. Baitfish soon rained down upon the blue water after being violently wacked from a cozy dip net by the well-placed palm of our determined captain. After a few minutes, it became evident this seemingly perfect, floating asylum harbored zilch predators. Then, a dark silhouette suddenly appeared against the morning glare 50 feet from the bow of the Conch Cruiser. Shark or marlin I thought. “Sail, sail, sail!” we screamed like school boys. It was Florida’s fish, the sleek marauder that we sought earlier on the reef. As she laggardly cruised on the surface with sail raised, Chris pitched a live threadfin herring a few feet in front of her… a perfect cast. Enticed by the presentation, she gobbled the bait and the fight was on. Lit-up and furiously angry, she raced across the ocean at warp speed. Chris barked for Joe to take the rod, and the grizzled angler complied. After 20 arduous minutes, first mate Carson captured leader and the billfish was free. Underwater GOPRO footage indicated a successful release as her large symmetrical tail propelled her into the depths. There is no photographic evidence of Joe’s multiple naps later that day, but more importantly a fine and weary man was able to complete one of the items on his (chum) bucket list: dueling an autumn sail! For a great sailfish catch fight, go to

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By Gene Dyer

and deep drop fishing for yelloweye snapper, blackfin snapper, queen snapper and mystic grouper. Even when the east winds are howling in the spring and summer months, comfortable fishing conditions exist on the leeward side of the island. When the wind lays down, The Bridge is a short 16-mile run from the marina. The Bridge runs from the southern tip of Eleuthera to the northern tip of Little San Salvador. It’s a 9-mile underwater ledge that averages depths of 200 feet between the two islands with drop offs to 800 feet on the Exuma Sound side and 3,000 feet on the Atlantic Ocean side. Big wahoo, dolphin and yellowfin tuna can be expected here, and you never know when a blue marlin will show up in your spread. The resort offers world class accommodations in the form of 14 two-story, luxury villas with views of both the sunrise and sunset. There is also a well-stocked ship’s store, a new waterfront restaurant, bar and swimming pool. The marina is a state-of-the-art, Blue Flag awarded facility with average depths of 12 to 14 feet that is flushed on every tide making the waters crystal clear. All slips have 30 and 50 amp power and water with dockage for vessels up to 200 feet. There’s a full fuel dock with both gasoline and diesel. Pump out services are also available. Getting here is relatively easy, as there are several carriers with daily flights to and from Nassau. From Nassau, it’s a very short flight to Rock Sound, which is just 30 miles from the cape. Both Bahamas Air and Pineapple Air offer service to and from Rock Sound several days a week. Watermakers Air offers direct service from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to and from Rock Sound four times per week. From Rock sound, a cab ride will cost you about $70. There are also car rentals available. The Stuart Sailfish Club, in its 75th year, has announced a Flotilla to Cape Eleuthera for May 5 to May 14. Fifteen member boats have already signed up. If you would like to participate in the Flotilla to the cape, you must be a member of the club. Family memberships are available for just $200. For more information, visit the club’s website at www.stuartsailfishclub.com. For more information on the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, go to www. capeeleuthera.com.

ESCAPE TO THE CAPE

T

hose living in South Florida are fortunate to have Bimini and West End, Grand Bahama a short boat ride from the shoreline. But there’s an undiscovered jewel of the Out Islands within reach for those looking for something more. Just 56 miles southeast of Nassau, lies the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina. From bonefish on the flats to blue marlin on The Bridge, this special place is no less than paradise. Just outside the marina in the Exuma Sound, you will find some of the best yellowtail snapper fishing on the planet, consistent gaffer dolphin action

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SWIMMING WITH SHARKS

can systematically decimate their food sources by feeding so much in one area that they permanently impact the ability of that food source to regenerate. Sharks act as a regulatory body in these instances through their mere presence. Just by having a shark around, fish and other animals are forced to expand their hunting or grazing grounds and seek out food over larger areas, where their impact will be less dramatic. Sharks play such an integral role to the health of marine ecosystems that studies have found a decline in their populations results in a correlating decline of many commercially significant fish species, including those, like tuna, that are a favorite on our dinner plates. Without sharks in our local waters, we would not be able to enjoy the wide variety of fish species and marine animals that we take for granted. As anglers, there are easy ways to “fish friendly” Photo by Melissa Johnson • A scuba diver watches as two when it comes to sharks. If you’re fishing from shore, try Lemon Sharks swim by on a local reef. to keep the shark in water as you release it so they can maintain a constant flow of water through their gills. If very February at Pura Vida Divers, we dedicate a month to it’s hard to remove a hook from the shark, it’s better to cut the line than shedding light onto one of our favorite, but often overlooked, marine animals: sharks. As scuba divers and nature enthusiasts, we spend more time exerting yourself and stressing the animal. Using non-stainless circle hooks helps lower the longevity of the hook rely on this keystone species to help hold in place the precious balance of underwater, which is beneficial to hammerheads and other species that life that allows our coral reef systems to thrive. Sharks are an easy scapegoat, portrayed by films and most media as are particularly susceptible to exhaustion during catch and release. Helping preserve shark populations is one step towards ensuring aggressive predators. In reality, sharks play an important role policing and that the activities and ecosystems we enjoy today remain healthy for even strengthening the populations of their prey. Sharks are opportunistic predators that feed on old, weakened or generations to come. If you’re interested in learning more about sharks or conservation sick fish. This in turn ensures that only the healthiest members of a fish population reproduce, overall strengthening a species gene pool. efforts, we invite you to join us on Friday, Feb. 24 for a fascinating Similarly, by targeting prey made weaker by disease, sharks help prevent presentation by Angela Smith of Shark Team One. The event will be hosted at Pura Vida Divers, and details can be found on our website at the rapid spreading of that disease through a school. If fish or other marine species thrive without a predatory threat, they www.puravidadivers.com.

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Center sp By Richard L. Matteson Jr.
 Stuart Rod & Reel Club Staff

Don’t Chase Rust, Protect Your Gear! Save your Fishing Rods, Reels, Tackle Boxes & Especially your Boat!

W

ading puts you in the water with the fish. You are now part of their element, and this gives you an advantage over a noisy boat with a motor or trolling motor and anglers bumping around on it. As a wader you can silently fish under piers and under mangrove branches where boats can’t go or even approach without spooking the fish. Winds and Tide When you wade the lagoon, you need to know the tide and the wind. You don’t want to fish during a slack tide, and you might not want to fish if it’s too windy. You might want to fish out of the wind or with the wind at your back. The tide determines if you fish shallow or deep as well as where the fish are.

Finding Fish 
As you enter the water, start looking for signs of bait and fish activity. Look for birds on the water or over the water. Use search lures like C.A.L. jigs that can be cast and retrieved quickly and cover a lot of water area. Use heavier jigs in windy conditions. Move quickly without making noise. Vary the speed of retrieve. Fast retrieves in the top of the water column catch ladyfish, jacks and snook, but you might miss trout, redfish and flounder. When you find fish, slow down and fish the area carefully.

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Areas To Wade The South Indian River Lagoon The South Indian River area I fish stretches from Vero Beach to Stuart. The Bridges: Fort Pierce has two bridges. The north bridge has a boat ramp on the east side from which you can wade, and there’s an area across the bridge from Little Jim’s on either side of the second boat ramp. The south Fort Pierce bridge has an area on the east side that stretches to the inlet. South of the bridge on the west side is a fishing area. In Stuart, the north bridge (Jensen Causeway) can be waded on either side and the same is true of the south Stuart bridge (Earnest Lyons). There are two bridges on the St. Lucie River, but they are hard to access for waders. The Shoreline: My favorite wading areas are Walton Road (Port St. Lucie), Walton Scrub, Midway (Ft. Pierce), and Wilcox Road (Vero Beach). On the east side there’s Herman’s Bay (PSL) and Bear Point (Ft. Pierce). 
Be Respectful Remember the pier owners have the access rights to their piers and don’t want waders parking along the pier areas without permission because it blocks their view of the lagoon. 

Happy wading! For more wading in the Indian River Lagoon, go to

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1/18/17 10:18 AM


NORTH FLORIDA

FLORIDA TROPHYCATCH BASS PROGRAM

REPORTS DRAMATIC GROWTH

T

he New Year is about celebrating TrophyCatch on Facebook and Instagram (@ accomplishments and setting goals for FishReelFlorida) to keep updated on the new an even better year to come, and the Grand Prize and monthly rewards. The TrophyCatch team is also thrilled to TrophyCatch program is excited to do both. In the previous four seasons, TrophyCatch announce that Phoenix Boats has upgraded has seen a staggering increase in the number of the Season 5 TrophyCatch boat to the sleek participating anglers and qualifying catches. This 819 Pro, powered by Mercury and anchored citizen science partnership has led to more than by PowerPole. The lucky TrophyCatch boat 5,325 approved catches, which is instrumental in winner will be drawn at the end of Season 5 ensuring that FWC biologists are able to make in December—and remember that all of your informed decisions for the management and approved submissions throughout the season increase your chance of winning the boat. improvement of Florida’s lakes and rivers. The TrophyCatch team sincerely appreciates As we start the New Year, and the heart of the largemouth spawn, the TrophyCatch team is its sponsors and partners for supporting excited to reward anglers for their first Lunker TrophyCatch, and are extremely grateful for Club submission, all of their Trophy Club and all of the participating anglers who make the Hall of Fame submissions, introduce new exciting program the most successful angler-driven monthly prizes, new Championship Prizes for the conservation program in the United States. biggest bass caught during Season 5, and add a The data provided when qualifying catches are new Grand Prize category for the heaviest total submitted is being used by FWC scientists. To get involved, go to www. weight of approved catches for the season. This means that the weight of all of your approved trophycatchflorida.com. catches per season (beginning Season 5) will be totaled at the end of each season in December, with the winner For more on the Florida Trophy Catch Bass Program, go to taking home the prize pack of a lifetime. Be sure to follow

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The current TrophyCatch leader is Geoffrey Wells, who caught this 13-lb., 4-oz. largemouth from a private lake.

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COLD WATER CRANKIN’ FOR BASS By Randy “C-note” Cnota

I

f you’re the type to leave the comfort of a warm wife and bed early on a winter morning to go chase little green fish, then we have something besides insanity in common. Getting bass to bite in cold water can be a daunting task at times. With that notion, I automatically go into search mode. I think most anglers would agree that the best search bait for bass is a shad- or crawdad-imitating bait that wiggles, dives, rattles and vibrates. Crankbaits offer all this, and they cover water quickly and efficiently. A bass’s metabolism slows in cold water, but this does not mean they don’t feed. Quite the contrary… bass are opportunistic creatures that will eat when the opportunity presents itself. Even in the coldest waters, a bass will move with lightning speed to crush a crankbait when the presentation convinces the fish it’s looking at a feeding opportunity.

Weather is the biggest factor to consider this time of year. Cold fronts can kill any bite you have going, but after a few days of stable weather, it can be great even if water temps haven’t warmed. In most lakes, bass have the option to move deep during winter’s chill, but this doesn’t mean all of them do. Between the shad die-off and crawfish molt, there’s plenty of food for winter bass both shallow and deep. Find the bait, find the bass. If you were to peek into my cold-water crankbait box, you’d see a variety to cover multiple depths, water conditions and cover. If it’s a lake with shallow grass, I’ll rip a lipless bait through the grass before moving deeper with a flat-sided crank like the Spro Little John or a Norman DD22. In very clear water, it’s hard to beat a Rapala Shad Rap to get finicky fish to eat. This tight wiggling rattle-free balsa bait is hard for bass to resist. I use both shad and crawfish colors for stained and clear water conditions. When ripping a bait through grass, I use a medium-heavy action rod. A 7’2” stick has enough length and backbone to rip a bait free from the grass… a technique proven to get violent reaction strikes. If I’m working over rocks and wood, I prefer a longer medium action rod with more give in the tip for decreasing snags and keeping fish buttoned up. When casting balsa baits, I opt for a light action rod with a very forgiving baitcasting reel, or I’ll use a spinning rod and light line to cast these featherweight lures. In most all of these applications, I spool up with Seaguar InvizX 100% fluorocarbon line. Occasionally I’ll use braid in thick grass, but even then I use a fluorocarbon leader. To get a bait as deep as possible, don’t be afraid to use 8-pound test, but 10-pound test usually works best for me. It’s cold outside and spring is a long way off for the die-hard bass angler. So get out of your warm bed and get your crankbaits in that cold water to see for yourself how effective they can be this time of year. Randy Cnota is the co-publisher of Coastal Angler/The Angler Magazine’s Panama City/Forgotten Coast edition.

For More fishing with Randy ‘C-Note’ Cnota, go to

FORTHELO VEOFFISHING.CO

CASTING DISTANCE POWER AND REEL SETTINGS

By Tobin Strickland • Photo Courtesy of Lews Reels

O

ne of the first things any angler can improve to catch more fish without getting new gear is to increase his casting distance. The first adjustment to make is the “spool tension” knob on the right hand side of any baitcaster. With the lure just hanging from the end of the rod tip, first tighten the knob, then release your thumb and slowly unscrew the tension knob until the lure just begins to fall. On the left side plate, you’ll see the centrifugal brake external setting. If you are new to throwing a baitcasting reel, start with a setting of about 4-6. If you have an internal centrifugal brake, set at least two brakes “out / engaged.” If you want to cast far, you have to make a powerful, rod-loading, casting stroke. It’s compact and uses 2 hands. It’s not a big one-armed cast. Tighten the spool tension knob about a quarter turn and practice casting hard. Once you’re throwing your hardest without backlash, slowly begin loosening the settings and feathering the spool edge a little. Slowly adjust the centrifugal brake setting looser, one click, or one brake, to maximize cast distance. Then slightly re-adjust the spool tension knob. In the end, I find that I can still adjust slightly lighter and manually feather the spool edge with the thumb. This is where you’ll get your longest cast distances. Cast hard my friends. Tobin Strickland (aka TroutSupport) is a field staff angler for Lews Reels. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Chasing Big Bulls In BC By Cam Sigler Jr.

B

ack in 2014, I went north of the Canadian border to fish for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout with Gordon Silverthorne, who owns the Kootenay Fly Shop in Fernie, British Columbia. This area west of Calgary is littered with good waters. I have taken large groups up to fish the Elk and surrounding rivers with him. It was on these trips that I found myself focused on catching bull trout. Big bulls on a fly became my quest. I had caught many, up to nine in a day, but had yet to break the 27-inch mark. Bull trout are in the char family with brook trout and Dolly Varden. They range from northern parts of California and Nevada in the south to the Northern Territories of Canada and East to Montana and Alberta. They can grow in excess of 40 inches long and to weights heavier than 30 pounds. They migrate up and down systems based on food sources and into feeder creeks to spawn. They typically inhabit waters that stay under 59 degrees and are one of the most sensitive of the chars, requiring pristine waters to thrive. They are recognized as endangered in most states and protected in most systems in the provinces. A bull trout of 12 pounds might be 10 years old. I was back in Fernie in 2015 chasing trout with a few friends. As usual, we had good fishing for beautiful cutthroats, but I was chasing bulls. We spent a few days on the Elk River and caught a few bulls longer than 20 inches, but not in great numbers. My attention turned to a small pristine river south of Fernie called the Wigwam. In the past I had sent anglers from my groups there, but because of limited daily access, I had not fished it myself. Access is difficult. From the parking area, it’s 800 feet down to the river. It’s a hang-onto-trees steep. It reminded me of some streams I guided in Alaska, cold and clear enough to see pebbles 20 feet deep. The first hole was full of bull trout. After many casts, I landed one longer than 30 inches. As a group, we

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caught many cutts that averaged about 16 inches and juvenile bulls of the 19-inch variety. In conversation, Gordon spoke of the nearby Kootenay River bull trout fishery and about setting up an operation there. The Kootenay is a glacial-fed river formed by runoff and feeder streams primarily out of Kootenay National Park above Cranbrook, Canada. I told him to count me in for an expedition that fall. It didn’t happen because of a landslide in the river’s headwaters that blew the river out for an entire season. It’s tough to fish a fly without visibility. Because of water levels and clarity, the window for fly fishing the Kootenay is about six weeks in fall, if you are lucky. I finally got my chance to fish it in late October of 2016. Author Tom Boyd, who is writing a book on all the char species, and I made the 6-hour drive north from my second home in Washington to a tent camp Gordon and big-game outfitter Eric Grinnell had erected on the river. The camp was great, complete with a stove in every tent and a generator for lights. It was located a good distance between put-in points, and we saw only four other boats over three days. The four of us had a terrific time. We saw a few deer on the river and kept an eye out for grizzly and black bears but saw no evidence of them. I did wake one night to the sound of wolves howling in the distance. Water levels dropped over the three days we fished, and the water cleared even more. The weather was clear and cold. The fishing is primarily from 16-foot boats with outboard jet pumps. The river is braided and skinny in places, so the driver must pay attention. It is glacial fed and there are quarter-mile log jams on the banks. When this river is running 15 feet above the level we fished at, it must be roaring. This is a 7- to 9-weight show with sink tips. I have caught many bulls dead drifting a rabbit strip or synthetic-based fly that swims with this method. This trip, stripping seemed to work the best. We

were on the tail end of the kokanee salmon spawn. Once spawned out, these landlocked sockeye salmon float downriver, and the bull trout key on the spent fish. So we threw lots of 10-inch flies. Bull trout are very aggressive and opportunistic. They have to be in these systems. Bulls can move daily, but once we found them in a section they readily took most flies we threw. Bull trout, like many trout, like structure. Snags, logs, and big rocks in the river often hold them. I caught the biggest fish of our trip on the last cast of the last day in a tail out. It topped 29 inches and took a crawfish pattern I tie for smallmouth. We caught a few juvenile bulls in the 19-inch range and a few cutthroat, but our average bull trout was about 23 inches. I saw a few fish that were clearly bigger than our biggest catch. My guess is there are bulls in the Kootenay pushing the 40-inch mark. The largest we heard of on a fly weighed about 30 pounds. The bull trout fishery in the U.S. and Canada is fragile. I suggest chasing them sooner than later. If you decide to fish the Kootenay next fall, look for the guy holding up the 35-inch fish. Hopefully that’s me, as I will keep going back. For information or to set up a trip, contact Gordon Silverthorne at info@kootenayflyshop.com.

For more Bull Trout Fishing in BC, go to

FISHORDIE.CO

1/18/17 2:08 PM


A WINTER WADE

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik • Photo Courtesy of My Coast Outdoors

A FLY FISHING

s we idled away from the dock on a mild mid-winter morning, we all anticipated that telltale thump of a solid wintertime trout. Although the fall and winter weather had been mild, the big trout had already started finding their way to the normal winter feeding areas where we hoped to intercept them. Armed with slow-sinking soft plastics, we were confident we would be giving our cameras a workout on this trip. As we quietly drifted into our first and what would be our only stop of the day, we noticed a lone angler had beat us to our target area. Showing him the

CHOOSING A SALTWATER FLY ROD

C

hoosing the right fly rod is a personal choice. There are so many rods and various rod actions (fast, moderate, tip flex, full flex, slow etc.) that selecting a rod can be very confusing. It’s confusing to me, and I live a breathe this stuff! Rod Length: 9 feet or Shorter? In most saltwater fly fishing situations the 9-foot rod is standard. It provides enough length to keep a back cast off the water, to pick up fly line off the water to redirect a cast and is the best option for making longer casts. However, in recent years many companies have developed wonderful fly rods that are much shorter and can cast with the best 9-footers on the market. The new short rods are 7 to 8 feet in length and have a moderate (slow) action. The combination of a shorter rod and slower action make these rods a deadly tool when casting larger flies and poppers at close range. Fly fishing for redfish, baby tarpon or other fish that hold tight to cover does not require long casts. And when making short cast, the short rod is a more accurate tool. The Grip And Feel Find a fly rod that feels good while you’re holding it. The feel can be the difference between casting the rod well and not. I have picked up some very high-end rods with grips that felt like tree trunks. I believe a grip with a narrower diameter is best because it allows you to feel the rod load much better. Rod Guides The guides on a fly rod are an important part of the overall

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courtesy he deserved, we anchored up short of the sweet spot and made our first wade out deeper. We pecked away at some mediumsized specks and kept an eye on the lone angler who we felt had the upper hand based on location. We watched him land one trout before he boarded his skiff and slowly idled out of the area. Although we had more action in deeper water than he had up shallow, we still decided to ease into our original planned area as the rising sun increased the water temp on the shallow flat. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the baitfish became more active and helped fine tune our target areas to cast. The water here was shin deep and clear with the bottom structure composed of soft mud with abundant grass and potholes. Using a white, slow-sinking paddle shad, I was slowly swimming it across the flat, pausing to let it slowly descend, and then I’d continue the retrieve and repeat. On one pause, I felt that telltale solid thump and then listened to the drag scream after the hookset. They were here! This was our first solid fish of the day, a thick-shoulder 6-pound trout. After a quick photo and release, we continued to ease down the shoreline sight casting to potholes or mullet. The next strike was hit and run, with the fish staying low and burning drag. After spinning me around a few times, I landed a solid upper-slot red. After several hours on this wade, I finally saw what I had been looking for, fleeing mullet at the edge of a pothole. A few cranks of the reel handle and I was hooked up. Not what I anticipated, but it was a medium-sized trout. I made a second cast to the same pothole, reeled my lure to the far edge and as soon as it paused it was inhaled! This trout sent foaming water sailing through the air while shaking her massive head. She tail walked four times before I had her close enough to verify her true size. The icing on the cake, an 8-pound trout in clear shin-deep water on a south Texas grass flat. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com. For more wading in the Texas winter waters, go to

PEACEFULWATERS.CO performance. Many rods today are equipped with flexible snake guides, better known as REC Recoil guides, that are lighter than standard snake guides. These REC guides allow the rod to flex between the stripping guides’ footings for a more efficient transfer of energy during the cast. These REC guides add to the rod’s casting performance, creating greater line speed. Another added bonus to these REC guides is they will bend and not break if bumped on a boat rail. Rod Action Rod actions vary greatly. It’s kind of comparing apples and oranges. Some anglers prefer a fast action; some prefer a moderate action. There are benefits to both, but for the beginning or intermediate fly angler, a moderate action rod is the best choice. A moderate action rod will cover a wide spectrum of casting situations and is easier to cast and cast efficiently into a stiff wind. These rods also load a fly line using more of the fly rods taper, making it easier for the angler to feel the rod load. You can always purchase a fast action rod down the road as your skills progress. Rod Balance So, now that you have picked out that perfect saltwater stick, ask yourself… How does it feel in my hand? Is the rod tip heavy? Is the rod butt heavy? Does the rod feel too heavy overall? Too light? These are all question that need to be answered. The best rod is the one that feels well balanced from tip to butt. Balance the rod on your index finger at the top of the full wells grip. A well-balanced rod will balance evenly on your index finger. This is a fly rod’s sweet spot. It will be the optimum place for the thumb of your casting hand every time you cast.

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

1/18/17 2:08 PM


COASTAL ANGLER North Central Florida/Nature Coast

FEBRUARY 2017 EDITION

Find Your Outdoors Here!

Cary & Lynn Crutchfield

North Central FL/Nature Coast Staff

ALACHUA, MARION, COLUMBIA, GILCHRIST, BRADFORD, DIXIE, LEVY AND CITRUS COUNTIES

Cary Crutchfield

EDITING & PRODUCTION Lynn Crutchfield

H

ey Y’all. How about this winter weather? Are you loving it? As I write tonight, it is late January and I think we have had three nights just slightly below freezing. I love it! (If you complain, God might grab you up while you sleep, and you could wake up in Minnesota.) This month’s recipe Flounder with Spinach Souffle’ Stuffing is so easy and impressive enough for company. The spinach stuffing begins with a frozen spinach soufflé. So easy, so good and so good for you! See recipe on page 17. See page 8 for a full-page P&J Marine, celebrating their 23rd Annual Boat Sale, March 3rd, 4th and 5th. New advertising partners this month include Barn Kits of America, located in Old Town. They have a model set up on US 19-98, across from the post office. See their info on page 2. Did you put a couple of alligators in your boat during the state hunt a few months ago? Are you wondering where you can get the hide tanned? See page 10 for contact info for Black Diamond Tannery, in Lecanto. On page 17 we introduce Suwannee River Brake and Tire. They are the oldest commercial enterprise in Fanning Springs. Rounding out our new partners this month, see Gulf to Lake Marine and Trailers, on page 16, specializing in boats, motors and any, and every kind of trailer that you might want. When you visit our advertising partners, be sure to thank them. If not for their financial investment, you would not be reading this magazine! Do you sell a product or offer a service that you want everyone to know about? We distribute 11,000 copies of Coastal Angler to eight counties. Call us. Don’t forget to thank the business where you picked up this magazine. Let them know how much you appreciate their sharing a little bit of space for our display. See page 20 for our list of distribution locations.

Lynn Crutchfield Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida /Nature Coast

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SALES

DISTRIBUTION Rosa Crisman

GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Kathleen Stemley

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Kevin McCarthy Debby Knopf Bruce Butler Noel Kuhn Capt. Jimbo Keith Capt. Brian Smith Capt. Pat McGriff Capt. Dan Clymer Capt. Craig Spitznogle Capt. Tom Cushman Capt. Tommy Derringer Capt. Clay Shidler John Freeze Gary Simpson

CONTACT INFORMATION

crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com 352-372-4237

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Tide Charts Local Fishing Forecasts Monthly Recipe

Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District Photo by: Suwannee River Water Management District

1/17/17 8:03 PM


Debby's

POINT of VIEW By Debby Knopf

T

TIDES • North Central Florida Time Height

1W

2Th 3F

4Sa

5Su

6M

7Tu

4:12 AM 10:41 AM 4:51 PM 11:16 PM 5:07 AM 11:20 AM 5:29 PM 12:13 AM 6:13 AM 12:06 PM 6:16 PM 1:22 AM 7:37 AM 1:04 PM 7:14 PM 2:44 AM 9:18 AM 2:19 PM 8:24 PM 4:08 AM 10:54 AM 3:45 PM 9:38 PM 5:18 AM 12:04 PM 5:01 PM 10:46 PM

3.3 -0.1 3.4 0.3 3.0 0.3 3.4 0.2 2.7 0.7 3.4 0.2 2.4 1.1 3.3 0.0 2.3 1.4 3.3 -0.2 2.4 1.5 3.4 -0.5 2.7 1.4 3.6

HERNANDO BEACH

FEBRUARY 2017

8W

Time Height

6:14 AM 12:53 PM 6:02 PM 11:45 PM 9Th 7:02 AM 1:33 PM 6:53 PM 10F 12:37 AM 7:43 AM 2:07 PM 7:39 PM 11Sa 1:24 AM 8:21 AM 2:38 PM 8:20 PM 12Su 2:08 AM 8:55 AM 3:06 PM 9:00 PM 13M 2:49 AM 9:26 AM 3:33 PM 9:38 PM 14Tu 3:30 AM 9:56 AM 4:00 PM 10:16 PM

-0.8 2.9 1.2 3.7 -0.9 3.0 0.9 3.8 -0.9 3.1 0.7 3.8 -0.8 3.2 0.5 3.8 -0.6 3.3 0.4 3.6 -0.4 3.3 0.3 3.4 -0.1 3.3 0.2

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

15W 4:11 AM 10:25 AM 4:29 PM 10:56 PM 16Th 4:55 AM 10:55 AM 4:59 PM 11:39 PM 17F 5:46 AM 11:29 AM 5:35 PM 18Sa 12:31 AM 6:51 AM 12:10 PM 6:19 PM 19Su 1:38 AM 8:16 AM 1:07 PM 7:19 PM 20M 3:01 AM 9:53 AM 2:29 PM 8:32 PM 21Tu 4:21 AM 11:12 AM 3:56 PM 9:45 PM

Time Height

22W 5:22 AM 12:04 PM 5:05 PM 10:48 PM 23Th 6:08 AM 12:43 PM 5:59 PM 11:41 PM 24F 6:48 AM 1:16 PM 6:45 PM 25Sa 12:28 AM 7:24 AM 1:46 PM 7:27 PM 26Su 1:11 AM 7:58 AM 2:14 PM 8:07 PM 27M 1:54 AM 8:32 AM 2:42 PM 8:46 PM 28Tu 2:37 AM 9:06 AM 3:10 PM 9:27 PM

-0.1 2.6 1.4 3.3 -0.3 2.8 1.2 3.5 -0.5 3.0 0.9 3.6 -0.6 3.2 0.6 3.7 -0.6 3.3 0.4 3.8 -0.5 3.4 0.2 3.7 -0.3 3.5 0.0

HOMOSASSA RIVER ENT

HORSESHOE BEACH

SUWANNEE ENT

STEINHATCHEE RIVER ENT

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

2 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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3.2 0.2 3.4 0.2 2.9 0.5 3.3 0.3 2.6 0.8 3.3 0.4 2.3 1.1 3.2 0.4 2.1 1.4 3.1 0.4 2.2 1.6 3.0 0.2 2.4 1.6 3.1

High Tide 12 min Low Tide 20 min

High Tide 2 min Low Tide 0 min

FEBRUARY 2017

he bluefish is something of a misnomer, as this species is commonly a sea-green color above, fading into a silvery shade on its lower sides and belly. For me, the bluefish is my nemesis. I have tried to catch a bluefish on more trips last year than I can count! Everyone else in our fishing club were frequently reporting catching them. We would go out to the same areas and nothing! Maybe we are unlucky or maybe because they can be found both inshore and offshore, and the young fish often frequent river mouths. They also travel in large schools, which may contain up to several thousand fish. So as two specks in the vast gulf, we move and they move somewhere else. We try to catch bluefish by trolling, casting, and drifting. We use artificial lures, cut baits and shrimp. This year I had given up. I had resigned myself to the fact that my year would end only catching nine of the GOFC targeted ten species. Two days before the end of the year our friend, Ed Ellet, invited us to go fishing for bluefish in his new boat that he won in the CCA Star Tournament. I was not excited, because it was on the last day of the year and it was going to be very cold! But I knew this was the last chance and maybe Ed would

change our luck. At least we were going to have breakfast first. We stayed in the channel, looking for birds working. We move, we drift, we cast; nothing but some sand trout. Then in the early afternoon, Ed caught a fish that was not behaving like the usual trout, and behold it was a bluefish. He kept it in the water in hopes of a trailer. We cast and finally Ken caught one too. They both began catching bluefish, but I had nothing. After several drifts, Ed announced it was time to leave soon, after all, it was New Year’s Eve and we had places to go. He said we could make another drift, which turned into three more. Still nothing. I had about given up when one more cast had a strike and I had a fish and it was a bluefish. Jumping up and down and yelling, Ed had it in the net but to my horror, it cut right through the net. It was still hooked and thankfully Ken lifted it into the boat. Smiles and happy dances all around! I still can’t believe the last cast, on the last day of the year, landed the last fish I needed to complete my big ten species. Most days, it is hit or miss, but when you finally land the one fish you were looking for, thanks to the help of friends, it was worth enduring the cold. But that’s just my point of view!

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FLORIDA WATERWAYS “Florida’s Own Pocahontas”

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ur Florida waterways have seen Congress eventually awarded many historic events, some good, a medal to Milly for saving some not so good, that authors McCrimmon’s life, thus making her the first woman and the have written first Native American to receive about. The such an honor from the U.S. Wakulla River, government. for example, in In the end, North Florida is Milly and other only eleven miles A picture members of long, but it flows showing Milly pleading with her tribe were from the famous her father. sent to Indian Wakulla Springs, By Kevin McCarthy Territory in joins with the Oklahoma, St. Marks River, A map showing and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Because where she died the site of the the water is so clear in the Wakulla, movie of tuberculosis rescue directors filmed some Tarzan movies there, in 1848. The location of her even “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” The river also witnessed a remarkable grave site in event in 1818: the saving of a white soldier Oklahoma is by a Native-American princess. During the unknown, but First Seminole Indian War (1817 – 1818) small plaques Florida’s federal troops fought the Seminoles in order at Marcos to recapture runaway black slaves living with San the Native Americans. General Andrew de Apalachee Jackson led his troops into Florida, burned Historic State Indian villages, and captured Pensacola and Park and Fort Gadsden Historic Site honor St. Marks, all of which convinced Spain to sell this great “Creek Pocahontas. Florida to the United States. One of the soldiers from Georgia in the Kevin McCarthy, the author of the forthcoming Another engraving First Seminole War, Duncan McCrimmon, Melrose: An Illustrated History co-authored with showing the rescue was stationed at a fort on the Apalachicola Rosemary Daurer - 2017 - (available at amazon. River during that war, and one day decided to com), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com. leave its confines to go fishing. When Indians who were hiding in the woods near the fort saw him, they captured him and took him The cover back to their village on the Wakulla. There a of the book about Milly Creek woman, Milly Francis, the daughter of Plaque at Fort San Marcos a prophet in his band of Native Americans, about Milly Francis saved his life. The 15-year-old youngster, who had an English name from her Indian father, successfully pleaded with her father and the Indians who had captured the soldier, to spare his life. For that act of courage, many have called her “a new Pocahontas.” McCrimmon (or McKrimmon) was eventually ransomed to the Spanish and freed by the Americans at Saint Marks. When he later learned that Milly was among those Indians captured by the American forces, he The Wakulla River today COAST offered to marry her,COASTALANGLERMAG.COM but she refused. The U.S. • THEANGLERMAG.COM FEBRUARY 2017 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE

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CRYSTAL RIVER February Fun Protection and Security for Your Investment

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or many anglers across the country, February usually means punching holes through feet of ice, or taking a break from fishing all together, but on the west coast of Florida, February can be a great time to get out on the water and enjoy a hot bite. Sheep head and trout are two mainstays for this time of year and the cooler weather tends to gather these fish up, much to the delight of anglers “in the know”. We typically target the sheep head around rock piles and oyster beds in anywhere from 6 to 15 feet of water. The cooling water tells these fish that it is time to school up and prepare for the annual spawn, that takes place in mid to late February. The best way to target these fish, is to anchor up near the desired structure, and fish with shrimp or small fiddler crabs on the bottom. The bite can be very subtle, so braided line with a light fluorocarbon leader is the best way to go when targeting these notorious bait stealers. I have my customers fish with a knocker-rig, which allows the 1/2-ounce egg sinker to slide up and down the leader freely, so that the fish does not feel the weight. The rig is finished off with a 1/0 hook. I suggest trying to hide the hook in the body of the shrimp, so that the fish can’t see it. This technique is a great fishery for kids, as the bites usually come often, and the broad bodied fish put up a great fight on light tackle.

The trout will be most easily found around the mouths of the local creeks and rivers, near the higher part of the tide. I prefer to throw both jigs and hard baits, to give the fish several options before switching to the most productive technique for that particular day. The old standby for these fish is a shrimp under a cork, and many times that will still be the best way to catch lethargic trout. Be patient when targeting winter trout, as many days, they will only feed on a particular part of the tide. Calm weather between cold fronts, and sunny days, will always produce the most trout, as these fish are very sensitive to cold. With a little bit of knowledge, you can enjoy some great “off season” fishing trips out of the Crystal River area. Capt. Clay Shidler ClayShidler@Yahoo.com

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1/17/17 8:03 PM


STEINHATCHEE

KEATON BEACH Lowell Nix of Tallahassee with his second redfish of the day

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rout fishing in February is tough. The Gulf water temps usually hold at, or around 55 degrees; meaning, you will almost always have to find a creek or river to fish in, and even then the "bite" will most often last less than an hour a day. S-L-O-W is the key to success and even slower is better. Many anglers using spinning gear with reel ratios of 5:1, 6:1 or 7:1 just can't move their baits slow enough to match the trout's metabolism. TIP: Fish the smallest reel diameter you can, say a 2500 series and fill the spool no more than 1/2 to 3/4 full and you will greatly reduce the amount of line you retrieve with each turn of the handle. This will slow down your presentation and translate into more strikes. MirrOlure's Paul Brown series of baits, starting with the SoftDines (try the 06, 49 & 91 patterns) and Devils (in 01, 09 &11 patterns) is the way to go in February. The hard bait series of MirrOdines is also great choice, as well in February with the "808" and "Trout" patterns of the #17

MirrOdine a couple of local winter favorites. TIP: If you are fishing in creeks, choose banks and turns facing the Southeast as they should warm first. Redfish will be more cooperative in February; yet there will be a lot of short fish caught. Try to use larger hooks on your jigs or live bait offerings ,so as not to kill juveniles on your way to seeking out keepers. Precision Tackle's Intruder Spoons and the new Intruder Hex spoons will take reds as will the Sleighs, Thunder-Spins and Cajun Flash. TIP: Try the smaller one eighth ounce spoons and Sleighs in February. I like the "Copper" and the New "Cajun Copper" patterns in the Intruder Hex spoons. Hey, Call me in late February to set up your Spring trips with One More Cast. Pat McGriff dba One More Cast guide service for 26 years! www.onemorecast.net 850.838.7541

Braden Bradshaw of Tifton, Ga. with a Great trout taken in late December 2016 on a live shrimp under a Back Bay Thunder 6 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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FEBRUARY 2017

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teinhatchee and the Big Bend area, historically experience the coldest weather of the year during the month of February. That first sentence is discouraging. However, if you pick your fishing days based on weather, location and fish targeted, the excellent fishing will continue to be a secret to the fair-weathered fishermen. Let me elaborate… Cold temperatures direct fish simply because they want to survive. Fish move toward a thermal refuge. If one knows where the warmth fish are seeking, and are driven to, then successful fishing is often guaranteed inshore and off. Pelagic fish, such as Spanish and King mackerel, cobia and such, swim south for warmer waters. Meaning, they are far from casting distance, so they’re a non-target during the cold season. Resident inshore fish-- trout and redfish-- remain available. If there is a harsh cold front, trout will congregate in the Steinhatchee River. Slow retrieved bottom bouncing jigs or sinking plugs like MirroLures will be the fatal meal of fifteen-inch-plus trout. The best bet is to go to local tackle shops, and find out what is the most recent hot bait, and stock up on a few working artificial baits. Expect the bite of numerous short trout and realize that harsh handling—removing the protective anti-biotic slim—is just as fatal to the fish as slamming it against the gunnel before release. The best battle offshore will be amberjack. They fight so hard that some people don’t want to mess with them making the excuses, “They’re only good smoked” or “They’re full of worms.” Off Steinhatchee, it is rare to find worms in the amberjack. I and my wife, and many others find the meat delicious however you cook it. So, the real reason some opt not to take on an amberjack is they

are too weak to handle the fish. Just saying… The difficulty of catching big amberjack is that you have to take time to catch live bait, which can be slow coming in the cold water. Pinfish aren’t on the grass flats this time of year. The best bet is to drift over artificial reefs, using light sinkers and bream hooks, baited with squid pieces. Take your time and get a tank full, because they won’t last long. Brian Smith | BIG BEND CHARTERS www.BigBendCharters.com CaptBrian@bellsouth.net 877.852.3474 | 352.210.3050

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1/17/17 8:03 PM


HORSESHOE BEACH Winter time at its best

Dixie Salvage Auto & Truck Parts Foreign & Domestic Scott Ambrose 21214 S.E. Hwy-19 Old Town, FL 32680

I

want to start by casting a shout out to Manny Altman for the great job this past month at the 1st Annual Eggnog Open in Steinhatchee. She put together a tournament “with cash and prizes” at the last minute, and it was a great success, with over 40 anglers who came out to fish. It was a beautiful day and fishing was good for many of the anglers. It’s a definite to put on the calendar for 2017. Fishing over the last few weeks has been good, and should continue to be good over the next month. The cold fronts usually shut the fish down for several days, as the water temperature drop well below the 58-degree mark. Waiting several days after the cold snap, and allowing water temperatures to rise, up to the magical 58-degree mark or warmer, seems to be working well for our Horseshoe anglers. I’ve seen some really nice gator trout and slot redfish. A lot of fish are being caught sightfishing. The water has been crystal clear. Sight-fishing in the shallows is as much fun as a fisherman can have. Finding an elevated platform on the bow of your boat increases your ability to see fish in the clear shallow water. Casting to a big trout or redfish. and watching that fish turn on your bait and strike, is an adrenaline rush like no other. I see more and more people catching-on to this technique and once you experience it, you’re hooked. The winter run of those big female convicts should be coming near the

peak. Offshore rocks and reefs should be holding sheepshead in large numbers. These big girls come in this time of the year to spawn and can be loads of fun. It’s also a good way to load a cooler full of great fish and table fare. There are many inshore reefs that are easily reachable on a good day from a smaller bay boat. Using extreme caution and make sure it’s a good day. No fish is worth taking the chance of going offshore in a smaller boat in rough seas. Anchoring up on many of the public reefs, and fishing the bottom with a shrimp or fiddler crabs (if you have time to round them up) is the preferred technique. The subtle bite is the trick or the art of catching these fish. Usually by the time you feel the bite, it’s too late, you’ve lost your bait. We are surely looking forward to this year and the many things that are in store for us in Horseshoe.“Salty Shoe Apparel” will be opening soon. Wendy has worked so hard putting together a new store in Horseshoe Beach, selling all your Horseshoe Beach apparel and much, much more. Come by, meet Wendy and see the new store in the middle of the Plaza on Main Street. Save the date, April 1st, 10am-4pm for the spring festival in Horseshoe Beach. Many vendors, great food, and entertainment will be on display. Come join in on the fun.

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FEBRUARY 2017

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 7

1/17/17 8:03 PM


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practice will keep our winter-time Actually, there there are are Actually, fishery going strong for years to $ more$ reasons more reasons -6.99 EA. 3:00 - 6:00 PM come, and we all know how tricky $ EARLY BIRDS SPECIALS 10.50 SO COME cleaning a sheepshead is anyway. SOCOME COME SO 3:00 -FIND 6:00 PM OUT! For the trout fisherman, think FIND OUT! FIND $ SNOWCRAB 10.50 hard bottom as well. Trout will be $ $ staging in holes and depressions, SNOWCRAB 12.99 7364 Grover Cleveland Blvd., Homosassa 7364 Grover Cleveland Blvd., Homosassa 7364 $ adjacent to rock bars, rock flats and 10.99 $ 10 FRIED SHRIMP 352-628-9588 352-628-9588 oyster bars. Slow suspending plugs W/FRIES 10 FRIED SHRIMP Highway 44, Crystal River Highway 44, Crystal River and soft plastics, are ideal lures $ W/FRIES 8.99 352-795-9081 for targeting them. If you find one 352-795-9081 $ 8.99 Actually, there are trout, there will generally be more Actually, there are more reasons in the same area; so work the area We accept more reasons $ thoroughly and slowly. $ SO COME SO COME On the 20 knot, NE wind FIND OUT! FIND OUT! days, that February is known for; sometimes you can’t leave the 4/1-4/29/16 4/1-4/29/16 4/1-4/29/16 Thurs., 1:00pm Thurs., March March 31 31 before before 1:00pm safety and comfort of the CCC river. That NOTIONS CCC CCC NOTIONS NOTIONS 7364 Grover Cleveland Blvd., Homosassa SALES •Grover SERVICE • PARTS being said, a couple dozen shrimp, 7364 Cleveland Blvd., Homosassa $ 352-628-9588 jig heads and a rocky $ point with Centering Guides 352-628-9588 Highway 44, Crystal River current flow; can save the day. One Highway 44, Crystal River can have a mixed bag catch and 352-795-9081 • Faster & Safer Loading 352-795-9081 only burn a couple gallons of gas. • Easily Adjustable Black drum, mangrove snapper, • 100% Rust Free Construction trout, and red fish can all be found $ and Installation Available in the same areas. Depending on • Shipping $ the frequency and intensity of the fronts, fish closer to the head4/1-4/29/16 waters Actually, there1:00pm are Thurs., March 31 before of the rivers on the chilly days, and CCC NOTIONS 4/1-4/29/16 more reasons towards the river mouths, if it’s been warm for quite a while. CCC NOTIONS I always like to mention, if it is just too cold, or the weather is too $ in lousy, do a little maintenance preparation for spring. Service the engine and boat trailer, clean up the tackle box and re-spool those reels with some fresh line. Almost everyone is using some type of braided line these days. Keep in mind, you can reverse the line on your reels and save a few $$$$; if you want to take time to do so. Good Fishing!

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ello everyone, it’s time to be seeing black and white; black and white stripes on a sheepshead that is. February is when our Nature Coast sheepshead season is going strong. Just about every piece of hard bottom from 5 feet of water to 30 feet of water, will be holding concentrations of sheepshead. This time of the year begins their spawning period for the next couple of months, and they are quite aggressive. Small shrimp or small pieces of shrimp on knocker rigs, around the various structures, are all that’s needed for success. I always strongly encourage keeping just a couple, as I stated earlier; they are spawning. I, and several other guides that target sheepshead area, only keep 5 per person, instead of the overwhelming 15 per person, that is the law. I truly believe this

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FEBRUARY 2017

352-628-9588

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 9

1/17/17 8:03 PM


SUWANNEE RIVER/CEDAR KEY

H

ey there Folks,

Hope y'all are enjoying some of the cooler weather. Luckily, this winter has been pretty warm, considering how bad it could be! On the saltwater side of things, they've kind of slowed down some on the flats. The trout fishing around Cedar Key has been pretty decent because of the mild water temperatures. There are still

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some nice fish lurking around in the pot holes and slews! We've still been using the B52 Super Sounder with the Bass Assassin jig beneath it. It has helped to tip it with a piece of shrimp to help with scent! The redfish bite has all but quit around the islands, but is pretty decent in the creeks. The tide is way better when low for creek fishing, because it concentrates the fish into the deeper spots. The best bet for the reds, is shrimp fished right on the bottom. The sheephead bite has really picked up the last couple of weeks. They are on most structure from shallow water rocks, to the reefs in 25 feet of water. The Gainesville Offshore Club reef should have a bunch of fish on them right now. Fiddler crabs and shrimp will be your best bet for bait! On the fresh water side of things, the bass bite has been firing up on some of the local lakes. There are even a few fish spawning right now! On one of my last trips, we caught some nice bass on the Bass Assassin Ding Dong worm in the Okeechobee Craw and the Boss Shiner in Gold Rush. Most of these were male bass, moving up to start bedding. Well folks, I hope this will help you out on your next fishing adventure. I hope y'all all stay safe and get outside and enjoy what God has made for us. Saltwater Assassin Fishing Charters Capt.Jimbo Keith 352-535-5083

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1/17/17 8:03 PM


NORTH CENTRAL FL

E

very angler has his favorite fish, and every fish has its prime season. Few, if any, saltwater fans count February as their number one month but the army of freshwater fishers who claim bass and speckled perch as their chosen targets, are really fired up right now. February is their month. Although their spawn will last well into April, largemouth bass here in North Florida will get started in earnest throughout this month. Some notoriously earlyspawning lakes and spring runs, saw a wave of baby bass-makers in January. Lake George, for instance, has already produced in 2017 scores of trophy bass, ahead of the arrival of the majority of shallow bass casters. As usual, George’s west side has yielded the biggest numbers of fish. In February, the bass will head into the shallows farther north along the St. John’s River system, first in Little Lake George, Rodman Reservoir, and Crescent Lake; and then to the Palatka and Green Cove Springs stretches of the big river, proper. Likewise, becoming top bets for big bass are Santa Fe Lake, Lochloosa, the Suwannee River, and a host of smaller lakes in the Starke and Keystone Heights areas. The speckled perch spawn is more condensed than is the fourmonth-long bass spawn. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it occur earlier than January’s Full Moon--and it sometimes peaks at March’s moon. If you’re going with the odds, count on the heaviest crappie spawn here in North Central Florida around

the full moon in February. Our best speck lakes include Newnan’s, Lochloosa, Orange, and Rodman. Crescent, George, and Dexter along the St. John’s are also usually stellar crappie producers. At present, Newnan’s is a good bit lower than fishers would prefer, making access to the specks tough when they’re in the shoreline spawning cover. Folks in canoes, kayaks, and small johnboats will have the upper hand here. Note too, that passage through Cross Creek between Lochloosa and Orange Lake has become ‘iffy’ at best, also thanks to the low water. Still, Orange is in nice shape and accessible via Marjorie Rawlings and Heagy-Burry Parks. And this season, Orange has been this area’s best producer of speckled perch. Reliable reports of 25-fish crappie limits totaling 50 pounds have not been terribly uncommon. A stringer full of slabs like that is one impressive thing to see. Gary Simpson Gary’s Tackle Box 352-372-1791 Garystacklebox.com garystacklebox@gmail.com

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PROFESSIONAL FIREARM TRAINING

OCALA CARRY NRA Certified Instructors ph. 352.239.2889 OcalaCarry@gmail.com

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ER G AT KIN W R IN- PA AT O B

an y Bri d w ou ng e r c in fo wil atc rf lc h re oo e. k it

INGLIS/YANKEETOWN

Visit Exit Realty Leaders upstairs for all your real estate needs.

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ebruary is a tough month to fish. You will see both ends of the spectrum. You will have calm warm days, when the fish are schooled up and chewing good, and then you will have days that are cold and windy, and the fish are lying on the bottom, lock-jawed. We can’t always choose the perfect days to go; we go when we can. Here are a few tricks to help with this month. I know I talked about the Paul Brown Devil in last month’s article, but we are still in the same type of pattern, so this bait will still produce good numbers of redfish and trout. Another bait with the similar action that I like to throw at these redfish schools, at this time of year, in some pretty skinny water, is a Zman scented streakz. You throw this bait on one of Zman’s ezkeeper weighted weedless hooks. Lead the school of fish when you make your cast and wait for them to get to the bait. This bait is made for a slow retrieve, as well, and 90 percent of the time, is hit on the pause. This time of year, you really want to focus on rock and oyster bottom, and that dark muck bottom we avoid any other time. These areas that will hold more heat, and will draw fish to them. It may only be a few degrees warmer, but it will make a huge difference. I like to spend most of my time around Lutrell Island and behind Drum Island, just south of the barge canal. You will be able to find the right areas that will hold these fish. The warm water discharge from the power plant also helps in this area. When the fish are lethargic, and don’t want to touch anything, pick up a Zman BTB jig or scented shrimp. These baits are my go-to when things get tough. When I can 12 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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see the fish just lying on the bottom, I will pitch one of these two baits a few feet past them, and slowly bring it into the strike zone, leaving it just short of their head. The moving water will take care of the rest. Do not hit the fish or bring the bait too close, you will spook the fish, and have to find another. This technique can be very tedious, but it is very rewarding when you get it done. If you are ready to come explore our area, give me a call and we will book your trip. Until next month, have fun, be safe, and take your kids fishing. Capt. Craig Spitznogle Florida Flats Charter Company (352)445-4978

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SIGNS BANNERS

CENTRAL FLORIDA INLAND

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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

F

or most freshwater fisherman, this is the time of year we always look forward to. Bass tournaments are happening everywhere, and for good reason. This is the best shot we have to catch a trophy lunker. Get your cameras ready. The bass spawn is here! Largemouth bass will be doing their yearly spawning routine for the next three months in Florida. Keep an eye out for circles of white sand (beds) amongst the usual black bottom, to quickly locate productive areas. The amount of bass beds will increase over the next couple months, as well as the numbers of big fish caught, and big fish stories told. Most bass will be preparing to spawn this month. To catch those fish, throw moving baits, such as flukes and swimbaits, along the outer edges of cover (lily pads, reeds, etc.). To search for the first bedding bass, S-L-OW-L-Y drag Texas-rigged creature baits, and plastic worms through the middle of cover. If you spot a giant sitting on a bed, take your time trying to get that fish to

bite; don't spook it. Note: When you hook a big one, all heck's gonna break loose, so be ready and hang on! If you're a live-bait fisherman, then shiners are your best bet for catching a trophy bass. Heavy line (17 to 20 pound mono or 40 to 5 pound braid), heavy wire hooks (3 to 5/0), and heavy rods, help land these lunkers. A bobber will make it easier to notice bites early, and keep track of your bait. Cast to the edge of cover and let your bait swim around. Livelier shiners attract bass faster, so take good care of them by using an aeration system like a "Bubble Box". Lake George and Rodman Resivouir, are two of the biggest bass capitals of the world. They will definitely supply us with some amazing catches this year. However, smaller lakes in the Ocala National Forest have giant bass in them as well. On a good day, any lake out here can show ofd. Tip: A kayak will help you access lakes that are rarely fished. Also, the Trophy Catch program pays you handsomely for bass over 8 pounds, caught and released. Go online for rules and regulations. Speckled perch will still be caught in good numbers for the next month or so. Lake Bryant has produced the best catches so far, and features a quality boat ramp. Rodman Dam and Moss Bluff are the go-to spots for shoreside anglers. Minnows or small jigs, fished under a bobber, will get the job done. They will also catch some of the spawning bass and other species. One of my favorite fish to catch and eat is warmouth. February and March are the best months to catch lots of these little fighters. They will be in the shallowest 1 to 2 feet of water, amongst the grass and tree limbs. They are vicious and will eat just about anything, but small jigs and live worms work best. Cane poles or speck rods help land these fish in heavy cover. Keep moving along the banks of the Ocklawaha River, or forest lakes, to ensure filling your cooler. Whether it's bass, specks, or warmouth; get out there and catch em'. The fishing is great right now! John Freeze | 352-216-5798 Swampsurf@embarqmail.com

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(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

FEBRUARY 2017

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 13

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CALL MICHELLE TO GET THE BEST PRICE ON YOUR BLUE WAVE! FEBRUARY SCHEDULE • BLUE WAVE SHOWCASE 2/4 From 11-3 – All of our 2016 & 2017 Blue Wave boats out for you to compare • NAUTIQUE SHOWCASE – 2/11 From 11-3 – All of our 2016 & 2017 Nautique Boats out and uncovered for you to compare • PRESIDENTS DAY SALE – 2/18 From 11-3 – All boats on the lot will be ON SALE! GET A BOAT FOR SPRING • WOMENS TRAILERING CLASS – 2/23 From 11-3 – Ladies, come learn to pull a boat and trailer like a pro! CALL FOR RESERVATIONS

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1/17/17 8:04 PM


TALES FROM THE TUPPERWARE NAVY

TWIN RIVERS MARINA AND BOAT RENTALS

2880 N Seabreeze Point crystal River, FL 34429 352-795-3552

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elcome back yak fans. This month: skinny water, Indian Bay and my search for sheepies. The winter cycle is here in full force, with 4 to 9 foot tides, which means, I get to drag the yak a lot more than usual. Heck, if you don't time it right, just finding a usable launch site is tough. For those intrepid souls (in my case, sometimes pronounced "stupid”). They offer a whole new fishing experience. I mean, how often do you get to see a bay disappear? But besides all the extra cardio I get from dragging the yak, there is a payoff at the end . #1 You really get to know the layout and cuts and where the natural dips and holes are. On a negative tide, you usually have the whole area to yourself, because nobody else can run that skinny . #2 The payoff, big tide movements, bring everybody out of the backwater, and if you time it right, and know your area, you will be sitting there when they come out. If you get lucky, you may catch a school heading out. Work your way out with them and throw to the edges, not the middle. This technique will keep from spooking the school, and give you more time to work. My last trip was to the North end of Indian Bay in Aripeka , and other than a couple of missteps, I dragged

the kayak to the back behind Indian Key, to check two holes, but they were empty. So, then I got to drag the kayak back out, (of course in even less water). My excuse, I thought there would be fish back there. Oh well! finally got back into enough water to paddle and the trick at the low tide, is to figure out where they went to wait for the incoming tide. Sometimes you get lucky and they stack up in a small depression, and you will see the pressure waves and tails as they feed. This is when all the work pays off! Work the area with soft plastics at top water, or bait and let the fun begin. The bite usually slows down at the bottom of the tide and will pick up again as you start to get a decent incoming flow. Than you do it all over again, in the other direction. I picked up 10 reds last time on both sides of the tide. Don't be afraid of those negative tides; just learn how to use them. I almost forgot, the annual sheepshead run is happening in the flats and canals near you. I've had many reports of big ones hanging out by the docks and tailing in the flats. More on that next month. Till next time. Bruce Bruce Butler The Stumbling Gypsy (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters .com Web: www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

Inside storage • wet slips • live bait • frozen bait • beer • snacks • drinks • clothes • ice rods • tackle and MORE. ONLY TRAVEL LIFT IN AREA www.TwinRiversMarina.com

017 th, 2

nd 5 th a 4 h c

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Reserve your day on the water. Skiffs & Pontoons Kayaks & Paddleboards Jon Boats LIcENSEd ANd INSuREd FOR OPEN WATER IN ThE GuLF www.TwinRiversMarina.com FEBRUARY 2017

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 15

1/17/17 8:04 PM


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FLOUNDER WITH SPINACH SOUFFLE’ STUFFING

Thank you to The Crab Plant for the beautiful flounder. Visit their Fresh Seafood Market or enjoy Cooked Seafood to go. You are welcome to sit at their table and view beautiful Kings Bay while you enjoy your delicious, freshly prepared meal, watching manatees, dolphins, pelicans and boats. Or, you can carry it home; your choice. Open Tues-Thurs 10:00-5:30, Fri-Sat 10:008:00. 201 NW 5th St. Crystal River 352-795-4700.

COOKING DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the chopped onion in a small pan with 1 T butter until soft. In a small bowl, blend the thawed spinach souffle’ with ½ cup Panko bread crumbs and cooked onion. Place 4 small chunks butter on flat oven-proof pan lined with foil. Place one flounder fillet over each spot of butter. Sprinkle salt and pepper over fillets.

INGREDIENTS Serves 4

• 4 Flounder Fillets • 1 Stouffer’s Spinach Souffle’ thawed • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs • 1 Onion, chopped • 3 tablespoons butter, about • Salt and Pepper • 2 T shredded Parmesan mixed with ¼ cup Panko • Chopped Parsley and Lemon Wedges

Spoon ¼ of the spinach mixture onto half of each flounder fillet and fold the other half over the stuffing. Sprinkle salt and pepper and then the Panko/Parmesan mix over the flounder. Depending on thickness of fillets, bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until fish flakes and juices are bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges. I served with basic wild rice pilaf: chopped onion cooked in butter, ½ wild rice, ½ white rice, and a pinch of salt. (If I have a bit of left-over veggies in the fridge, I chop them up and add to the pilaf.) (A little lump crab or chopped shrimp, added to the souffle’ mixture would be great also!) Lynn Crutchfield, Co-Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine of North Central Florida COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Motel and Campground Accommodations

www.BillsFishCamp.com

63 219th St. Suwannee, Florida • 352-542-7086 FEBRUARY 2017

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST 17

1/17/17 8:04 PM


ST. AUGUSTINE

SURF & PIER

M W

ow, what a winter, or the lack of a really cold winter. Usually, our pompano are gone far to the south by the first of December. This year, we caught them into mid-January. I don’t really expect to see many of them caught this month, but you never know. The water temperature controls our success this month. If our surf temp drops below 60 degrees, things will temporarily shut down. Until then, get to the beach and catch yourself some very tasty whiting. To increase your catch, here is what to look for in what beach you decide to fish. Most people refer to them as “Red Coquina Sand” beaches. These beaches are usually steeper and are called high impact. Some of my favorite ones are American, Ponte Vedra, Guana, Vilano, Hammock, and Flagler. These beaches are loaded with the whiting’s favorite winter snack, donax clams, aka periwinkles or coquina. They are about one inch long. Whiting, pompano, redfish, and black drum, all swallow these petite clams whole. Then, a crusher in the back of their throat crushes it just before it goes into the stomach. I match the hatch for better success. I buy fresh clams from the seafood market, or frozen ones from the bait store. Fresh shrimp work very well also. Whichever bait you use, remember to down size. Even a two-pound whiting has a small mouth, so your bait should not be more than 1 inch x 1 ½ inches. If you’re using a two-hook rig, put a shrimp on top and a clam on the bottom hook. Also, you should downsize your circle hooks to #2. Successful whiting fishermen will argue about which is the best rig to use.

Whichever one you choose, doubledropper-loop, or fish-finder/sinkerslider, go with light line; 15 to 20-pound mono will get the job done. This time of year, there is about a zero chance of hooking up a big pompano or bull redfish, so go light, to increase your hook up rate.

To set up your own surf fishing adventure or long distance casting lesson please visit www.thesurfangler.com or call Noel at 904-945-0660

18 NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA/NATURE COAST

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y favorite time of year to catch redfish is here! Cold water temps mean clear water for Northeast Florida, and that means it’s time to sight-fish for reds. When the water gets below about 60 degrees, the brown algae will die off, resulting in clearer water and some exciting fishing opportunities. Cold water also means that redfish will be schooled up, both on the flats and in the deeper creek holes. Black drum, trout, and sheepshead will also be schooled up in the same areas. If you can get out on a nice sunny day over the next couple of months, you better go, because the fishing will be on fire! We’ll have some really good negative low tides coming up which means easy pickings for schooled up fish of all kinds. These extra low, low tides will concentrate fish down to the deeper parts of the creeks and flats. Fish the last hour or so of the outgoing tide, with a 1/4oz Slayer Inc. jig and just about anything live or artificial pegged to it, and you’re sure to get hooked up. Hard bends in the creeks will have the deepest holes. Some creeks may have a shallow mouth but don’t be afraid to do some exploring, as some of the best creek holes are pretty far back in there. If you’re unsure of the depth or afraid of getting stuck, just wait until the tide goes slack and then starts pushing in. That way, you’ll know if you can make it in, you can definitely make it back out, as long as the tide is still coming in. Then next time, you’ll have a better idea of where your boat can and can’t go. On days when the sun is shining, locating large schools of redfish on the flats can be a sure thing this time of year. The sun allows you to see in the water, so make sure you keep it at

your back, if at all possible. Redfish will tend to hang out on flats that hold bait, have easy access to deeper water, and have areas that warm up quickly. Flats with an abundance of oysters are a good place to start, as they tend to cover most of the above-mentioned criteria. Once you locate the school, approach as stealthily as possible. Drifting and/ or poling the boat, are best but using the trolling motor can catch our fish as well. Just keep it slow and at a constant speed. This is also a good time of year to downsize your baits a bit, as clear water tends to mean spookier redfish. My favorite sightfishing bait for redfish is a 1/4oz or 1/8oz Slayer Inc. jighead with a Slayer Inc. SST paddle tail. The size and action seem to be just right for our wintertime reds. Sheepshead fishing will be in full swing by now. Just about any bridge piling, or jetty rock with barnacles on it, will be holding some sheepies. The go-to bait is a fiddler crab on a small j-hook or jighead. Fish the pilings and rocks vertically, with enough weight to hold the bait close to the structure. Just remember, they’re quick, so you’ll need to be on your hook-setting game. The old saying goes, “You have to set the hook before they bite”! Tight Lines! Capt. Tommy Derringer www.InshoreAdventures.net 904-377-3734

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Find Your Copy of

COASTAL ANGLER at These Locations (and many more)

GAINESVILLE

CHIEFLAND

ALACHUA

HORSESHOE BEACH

HOMOSASSA

Gary’s Tackle Box 5721 NW 13th St. Batteries Plus Zell’s Hardware AAA Refrigeration Play It Again Sports Lloyd Bailey Scuba The Short Stop Oak’s Pawn Hobby Town Winn-Dixie BubbaQue’s L&S Auto Trim 5721 NW 13th St Agri-Grow Equipment Ward’s Market The Donut Connection Sapp’s Pawn & Gun P&J Marine 100 NE 23rd Ave. Sonny’s BBQ Mirage Manufacturing Town Tire Rapid Service Winn-Dixie Po’ Boys Seafood FL Citizens Bank NF Express Care Care Spot Powder Coating of Gainesville Heritage Bank Dick’s Sporting Goods Drummond Bank

Drummond Bank BubbaQue’s The Deer Camp The Print Shop 208 N. Main The Gathering Table Sully’s New Day Wellness NAPA 1523 N Young Blvd (US 19-98) Shep’s Welding Beachamp Saw Shop Suwannee River Kubota Val’s Complete Auto 15 NW 1st Ave Bill’s BBQ Wayne Fryer M/H

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A DREAM WEDDING

By CAM Staff

From left, Capt. Kevin Rose and Capt. Judy Helmey officiated and witnessed the wedding of Erin Bodnar and Casey Maday, of Des Moines, Iowa, aboard the Miss Judy Too before catching a pile of fish for the reception.

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ove and the smell of sheepshead were in the air on Jan. 6 aboard the Miss Judy Too out of Savannah, Ga. It was a dream wedding for bride Erin Bodnar and groom Casey Maday, of Des Moines, Iowa. The couple got hitched while bobbing over an artificial reef off the coast of Georgia with captains from Miss Judy Charters officiating and witnessing the event. “It was a grand day for a wedding and fishing,” wrote Capt. Judy Helmey in a special edition of her weekly fishing report. She added that it was a, “one fiddler one fish kind of a catching deal.” And it’s a good thing the bite was so hot. After the ceremony, the newlyweds and the crew burned through 267 fiddler crabs to boat this mixed bag of sheepshead and black drum. They were on a mission, because fish is on the menu for the couple’s wedding reception back in Iowa.

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FWC Photo

GULF SEASONS CHANGES FOR AMBERJACK, GRAY TRIGGER, GAG

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ith the coming of 2017, several recreational fishing season changes in Gulf waters went into effect. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manages marine fish from the shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf of Mexico. • Greater Amberjack Season Open The greater amberjack season in Gulf state waters had been closed since Sept. 10. This temporary closure was put in place because NOAA Fisheries estimated the 2016 annual federal recreational quota was exceeded and the recreational harvest season in adjacent federal waters closed. The quota is the poundage of fish that can be caught each year while maintaining a sustainable fishery. Federal rules require that any harvest in excess of the quota for this species must be deducted from the next year’s quota and could result in a shortened federal season. State waters closed early in 2016 to help minimize negative impacts of a quota overage on Florida anglers and the 2017 season.

• Gray Triggerfish Season Closed The gray triggerfish recreational season will remain closed Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017 in Gulf state waters in response to an announcement that the 2016 federal gray triggerfish quota was exceeded by more than 200 percent and that federal waters will be closed through Dec. 31, 2017. The state waters closure will help avoid a quota overage in 2017. The FWC will consider a limited gray triggerfish season for fall 2017 at an upcoming meeting. • Gag Grouper Season Closed Gag grouper closed for recreational harvest in most Gulf of Mexico state waters and all Gulf federal waters Jan. 1, 2017. This is an annual closure. The season will reopen June 1, 2017. State waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties are open from April 1 through June 30 only and are not open during the June 1 through Dec. 31 season. Monroe County is also excluded from the June through December season because it follows Atlantic rules for gag grouper.

For more fishing on the Gulf of Mexico, go to

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VERY EXPENSIVE FISH 00 Over 1

BEST PR OF TH IC E YEAR

By CAM Staff • Photo Courtesy of Canyon Reels

oats ality B es u Q hen you think about it, it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. Accordinghicl e &V to the Associated Press, a sushi chain boss in Japan recently made ! a $632,000 winning bid r Sale o F for a 466-pound bluefin tuna at

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auction. That’s the second highest amount ever paid for a bluefin, T Office E SPO Max and it equates to more than ON TH ING! Boat C N $1,356 per pound. ATV A N FI March 7, 8, 9, 10, 2013 Sale That’s a mighty pricey chunk Office Max Parking Lot, West US Hwy. 90 of fish. But when one looks at Lake City, FL the money a recreational angler When: Thursday, March 7th spends on fishing each year, thru Sunday, March 10th $1,356 per pound is really not Fina Time: Thursday - Saturday all that outrageous. The average Avai ncing lable 9 am to 6 pm angler in the United States spends ! Sunday 9 am to 4 pm about $1,261 per year on the sport. This average includes everyone Location: from the bank-bound bucketHwy. 90 West Custom Golf Car sitter to the guy who spends a Office Max Parking Lot Huge Across from Lake City Mall million clams on a sport-fishing yacht. The range of expenditure is Rebates wide; as is the per-pound return on that expenditure. Someone who fishes bait from shore might only spend a couple hundred bucks a year on gear, bait and gas to get there. If they’re good, they might bring home several pounds of good protein every time they fish. It’s a tradeoff that is economical if one disregards the lost wages from time spent watching a rod tip. On the other end of the spectrum, it would take a lot of fresh-caught es dolphin at market price to pay for a decent offshore rig and the gas to run Best Pric it. This is a scenario in which the angler likely pays a whole lot more per Of The pound than the Japanese sushi boss. Year! And then there are the catch-and-release purists. Whether its billfishing, fly fishing for trout or tournament bass fishing, those who catch Free Servicing the North Florida area for over 60 years. fish to release them are looking at a price per pound that is infinite. xtend

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Drum Fish

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aving recently caught my first drum fish while fishing with a friend and a guide in an estuary near the Gulf of Mexico, I wanted to find out more about the fish. The drum fish (Pogonias cromis) sometimes has a dark blue color to it and is therefore sometimes called a blue drum, although the more widely known name for this fish is black drum. Although the drum can weigh anywhere from 5 to 30 pounds, even as much as 90 pounds, the ones I caught last month were at the bottom end of the range. But they put up a good fight. I can only imagine the strength of the 113-pound world record. The fish we caught were so hungry when my guide stopped the boat, that – for the first time in my memory – the fish began biting the hook within a few seconds of my first cast. I had enough sense to keep away from their powerful jaws, which the fish use to crush oysters and other shellfish. In fact, we fished in the saltier part of the estuary near oyster beds, a favorite hangout for the drum. I didn’t hear the distinctive resonant drumming sound that gives the fish its name, a sound that is produced by the contraction of its abdominal muscles against their air bladders, but then again we were kept busy catching, reeling in, and

sometimes releasing several dozen fish. I also learned that the red drum, a cousin of the black drum, was the first species served as blackened redfish in New Orleans, a delicacy that led to the one redfish per day limit for fishermen that we have today. That limit was hard to get used to at first and has been occasiona lly increased to two redfish/ a n g l e r/d ay, but the fishing guides I’ve talked to agree that the redfish have been making a good comeback in the last few years because of the present limit. I used a small sinker to keep my baited hook on the bottom. Shrimp turned out to be irresistible to the drum and the trout. Even when my line got hooked on a rock on the bottom of the estuary, patience eventually led to a loosening of the hook with the current and some nice keepers then took the bait. Between catching the drum and a half-dozen trout and a few redfish, we were pretty worn out after four intensive hours of fishing.

MUTTON SNAPPER REGULATIONS CHANGES

Part of the pleasure of the day was sending a photo of about twenty fish that we caught up to my brother, who was shivering in a Maryland cold front that brought the first snow of the year. We spent the day talking, not about politics or world affairs, but about the fun of fishing in Florida waters. The verbal highlight of the day came from my guide, who said

during one of the many fish battles we were experiencing: “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “South Florida Waterways” (2013 - available at amazon.com for $7), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail. com. For more Drum fishing in the South Florida waters, go to

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F LO R I DA T R AF F IC I N FO ALL THE TIME

Photo by Andy Blackledge

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everal mutton snapper management changes approved at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) September meeting are in effect for 2017. • Recreational, commercial, importation and sale minimum size limits will be 18 inches in all state waters. • Recreational bag limit will be five fish per person within the 10-fish snapper aggregate bag limit in all state waters. • Commercial trip limit will be five fish per person, per day or per trip from April through June in Atlantic state waters. This replaces the prior May through June commercial trip limit for all state waters. • A 500-pound commercial trip limit for the remainder of the year (July through March) in Atlantic state waters. Though mutton snapper is not overfished or undergoing overfishing, the 2015 stock assessment indicated that the population is smaller than previously estimated. Atlantic federal fishery managers recently approved measures that would make Atlantic federal regulations similar to the recent state changes. Gulf federal fishery managers are also considering making similar measures for Gulf federal waters. These changes are intended to prevent harvest from exceeding the planned federal quotas, or number of fish that can be harvested. To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snappers.” 7 NORTH FLORIDA

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Marsh Harbour, Abaco features its share of quaint resorts, including the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina the Sandpiper Inn and Cottage and Four Winds Cottages. Treasure Cay boasts the luxury Treasure Cay Beach, Marina and Golf Resort, a highend spot frequented by celebrities. Out on the flats, the water is still, a perfect mirror reflecting the cloudy sky. It is a gorgeous day to bonefish. Albury maneuvers through the flats like only a native could. He swerves through tightly packed mangroves at breakneck speeds until we reach the spot. At that moment, he cuts the engine and begins poling the boat. I sit at the bow, rod in hand with shrimp for bait. Albury surveys the waters and points out a bonefish at my two-o’clock. I cast my line but miss. “Throw it out again,” Albury says. I cast again and reel it in just enough. Suddenly, a splash on the surface and a tight line tell me the fish has the bait. We fight for a moment until I reel him to the edge of the boat. Albury grabs him and turns him on his back sending the fish into a catatonic state. There is excitement onboard. As we surveyed for another catch, I explained to Albury that my father is a bonefish guide in Crooked Island. “I love fishing,” I say to him. “You know if you love fishing once you hook a fish,” Albury says. “If that doesn’t excite you, nothing will.” Interested fishermen can reach Jody at jodysbonefishing.com.

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THE FLATS OF ABACO

e set out on a small boat shortly after 8 a.m. on a warm Wednesday morning. For Jody Albury, this is just another day of bonefishing in Abaco, Bahamas. He’s been a professional guide for 10 years, but an avid fisherman since he was a boy. Jody, a quiet yet jovial Abaconian, has serviced fishing enthusiast from the around the world. He quit his day job to make a living doing what he loves, bonefishing. Abaco, one of the 700 islands of The Bahamas, is regarded as one of the world’s premier destinations for bonefishing. Thousands of anglers descend on the Abacos during the winter months in search of the elusive gray ghost. The island and its cays are in the northeast Bahamas 91 miles northeast of Nassau, Bahamas, a 20-minute plane ride, and 120 miles from Miami or an hour plane ride with flights from American Eagle and Silver Airways, to name a few. The Abacos are made up of nearly a dozen cays. Unlike most other islands in The Bahamas, visitors can take a ferry to the various cays including Hope Town, Green Turtle Cay and Great Guana Cay. Some rent yachts or other boats and sail the cays themselves. My first stop in Abaco was Hope Town with its scenic beaches and historic candy striped lighthouse. Hope Town features a small community where most everyone moves around by golf cart or bicycle. The island is quiet yet filled with life, hotels, small properties and bed and breakfasts. The architecture features colonial design, a lingering tradition from the Loyalists who settled in the Abacos centuries ago. Hope Town fuses rustic charm with modern advances. It’s easy to sit on a hammock under two palm trees and watch Netflix.

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SWEET STICKS:

RODS FOR KAYAK FISHING

By Paul Lebowitz

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n nearly 20 years of kayak fishing, I’ve seen the boats radically change. These days they are purpose-built for angling, and much more stable and forgiving. On the other hand, the thinking on what makes a good kayak rod has scarcely evolved. There’s been little need. For most applications, off-the-shelf gear made for the general fishing market works fine. A standard bass or flats quiver will suit you well whether you’re fishing from a ’yak, a powerboat or the shore, although the adjustable butt of Manley Rods’ offerings is a nice feature. It’s only when you get to big game that the need for specialized kayak sticks is magnified. Let’s cover the big exception: the rod tip. When landing a fish from a kayak, you’d do well to have some glass for shock absorption. High-sticking is almost inevitable. Most big game kayak anglers fight their fish while sitting. An intermediate length butt is an advantage, something on the order of 12 to 13 inches, about 2 to 4 inches shorter than normal. That’s just right for tucking into your belly while seated. A strong backbone is a plus for easier fish management, particularly when the battle is in its closing stages. Rod length is a matter of preference. It’s nice to have enough reach to get the tip around the bow, but it isn’t strictly necessary. If you’re hooked up and you point your rod tip at the bow, the fish will pull the kayak around to face it.

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COOL WATER SUSPENDERS

water, but they will still have an eye on what’s going on, as a prey in their stomach is still necessary to fuel them. What I like to do is fish slowly, twitching suspending baits once or twice between long pauses. And sometimes these pauses are truly long pauses. I’ve found that’s one thing most people have a hard time doing. Most are unable to pass the two or three second mark without feeling the need to twitch their bait again. When I’m on a spot that’s worth it, or if I catch a By Patrick Sebile glimpse of a nice fish, I will hold my suspending Stick Shadd still for up to 30 seconds. It might feel like an eternity; it might feel worthless, but some of my best inshore catches came on such long, 15- to 30-second pauses. I keep the rod tip down close to the water, and I don’t rely on feeling a bite. I leave a little slack in my line, no more than 6 or 8 inches, and watch the line very closely. Most of the time the bite is just a tiny tap that is hard to feel but very easy to see on the line. If the line moves just an inch or two, that’s it. Set the hook without delay. You might be surprised at the trophy fish you’ll catch with such minimal action. Another technique that produces well for me on cold water is simply to cast and retrieve my suspending twitch bait super slowly. I sometimes retrieve it so slowly that it This nice trout was caught in Vero Beach, Fla. on a suspending Stick Shadd 114 using won’t even have any side-to-side action at all. Yep, you very minimal action and long pauses. read that right. Just the lure moving through the water straight ahead and slowly is the right presentation on o matter where you are in North America, winter brings cold winds some days. In cold water it will often out-produce the and sore throats to all. And the effect is even more brutal on fish than typical action-packed movement of this type of bait. men. Immersed in the water, in an unstable environment that changes It may seem surprising, but it’s efficient. In both cases, a suspending bait quickly, they have no choice but to exist the best they can where they are. is key, as well as the patience and confidence to resist working it too quickly There’s no option for fish to go on a cruise in the Bahamas to tan their or erratically. scales in the tropical sun. And the shallow-water inhabitants feel the impact Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing even more than the deep-water ones, given that the skinny depth they live (www.sebile.com). in can drop in temperature sharply. Their behavior can turn sluggish, but For more tips on cold water fishing, go to they still need to feed. It is therefore crucial to adjust the lure’s action to their temperature-driven mood. Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 1:14 PM Page 1 Seatrout and redfish will dive into grass to limit their exposure to colder

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The New Sailfish 236CC effectively combines the 30-year Sailfish legacy with the latest innovations in center console design, to deliver a truly amazing fishing platform. With its sleek, dynamic profile and 6th generation VDS hull, plus a amazingly functional layout and solid SailTech construction, the 236CC is truly the gold standard in the 23’ class. Powered by either Yamaha or Mercury outboards, the Sailfish 236CC is functional, comfortable and perfect for both offshore and inshore fishing and family fun. With an 8’ 6” beam, the Sailfish 236CC is easily trailerable with an integrated hard top frame that gives you more deck space than virtually any other 23’ boat on the market. Featuring an incredibly comfortable leaning post with optional built-in storage and second live well, an expansive hardtop for maximum sun protection, tremendous cockpit fishing space and plenty of coolers and fish boxes, the 236CC is perfect for inshore or offshore adventure. On the 236CC, rod holders and cup holders abound, along with two 120 quart bow fish boxes, a built-in 27 quart forward facing console seat cooler, large in-floor bow storage, handy console footrest locker, optional console top organizer and a console face that can accommodate today’s larger electronics. Innovative fold-up seating in aft means plenty of room in the cockpit and passenger comfort when underway.

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FLY FISHING ON A BUDGET

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By Brandon Tourigny Brandon Tourigny with an Everglades bass caught on a Lefty’s Deceiver.

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f all the different methods of fishing, fly fishing has a reputation for being one of the more overpriced methods for landing fish. With all of the extremely high-end rod and reel brands in the fly fishing world, it can be a little disheartening for those trying to get started. As a broke college student who has to also buy food, gas and textbooks, purchasing the newest Sage rod and Tibor reel just wasn’t in the budget for me. Since not fly fishing wasn’t an option, I had to find ways to get quality gear at a more reasonable price. Here are a few brands I personally like that have proven to be affordable and reliable pieces of equipment for me. Temple Fork Outfitters produces some fine rods for the money. With all their rods ranging from under $100 to around $450 for their most expensive rod, it’s not hard to find a rod in their line that fits your budget. A rod I highly recommend is the TFO Mangrove. This rod comes in sizes from a 4 weight all the way up to a 12 weight, costing anywhere from $250 to $300. Another thing TFO has going for them is their no-nonsense lifetime warranty. A good warranty is something a lot of fly rod makers provide, and it is an important consideration because rods break. For reels, the best deal I’ve seen are actually some of the off-brand reels found on Amazon and produced by brands like Piscifun or WetFly. The thing about fly reels is you don’t need them to cast. Until you get a fish on and need a smooth drag or to pick up line quickly, all they do is store line. If your targets are panfish, small bass or seatrout, it’s likely you will seldom even need a reel except to hold your line. On the other hand, if you expect to do battle with bonefish, tarpon or redfish, a good reel becomes very important. Although they don’t carry the prestige of the American-made reel companies, reels like the Piscifun Sword are made from 100 percent CNC machined aluminum, and based on my experience and the testimony of other fly fishermen, these reels hold up considerably well. When you also factor in that most of these reels come in under $100, it’s hard to find a reason to not at least give these reels a try. If you are a stickler for only buying American products, I would suggest taking a look at the Waterworks-Lamson Liquid and Remix which both come in at $160 or less and are both assembled in Lamson’s factory in Idaho. At the end of the day, fish don’t care how shiny or expensive your equipment is. The only thing that matters is if you can present a fly to them in a manner realistic enough for them to eat it. So, if you’ve been hit by this incurable disease called fly fishing but can’t afford the high prices, there’s no need to fear thanks to affordable and highperforming rods and reels

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UNDER THE SEA

r spread SPEARGUN SELECTION

S

SHERI DAYE

peargun selection is one of the most hotly debated topics on spearfishing forums. Fortunately, there are many great brands nowadays – such as Wong, AB Biller, Riffe, Hammerhead, Cressi, SEAC, Mares, Rob Allen, Koah, Mako, JBL and more. Over the last century, spearfishing equipment has evolved from very simple muscle-powered slings and polespears, made with wood and rubber bands, to the modern-day spearguns equipped with a trigger mechanism and more exotic materials. Interestingly, slings and polespear are making a comeback—but that’s a topic for another month—so let’s concentrate on how to select a modern-day speargun. If you walk into your local dive shop, you will notice there are two main categories of band-powered spearguns: the American style, usually recognized by the wood stock, and the Eurogun, which has a tubular shaped barrel and a rear handle. The Eurogun originated in Europe where most spearfishing is freedive-only, fairly deep, and for small, easily spooked fish. Hence these spearguns have a low-profile, streamlined design and thinner shafts. If you are diving in similar conditions, the Eurogun style might be for you. On the other hand, if you want a sturdy, durable and easy-to-load gun that will handle bigger fish, you might lean toward the American/wood-style gun. This is also the style used for big powerful tuna guns, because they can be ballasted and accommodate up to six bands. There’s also a hybrid design, which incorporates the best elements of both with wood stock in the back and a carbon fiber tube in the front. Once you’ve chosen between styles, the next question is length. Most Eurogun sizes are 90 to 160 centimeters, and most American guns are between 36 and 65 inches. So, with the conversion from centimeters to inches, they have pretty much the same length range. If you are diving in low visibility or hunting in rocks like they have in California or Rhode Island, you would choose a shorter gun. If you are hunting spooky fish in clear waters like mutton snappers in Florida, you would opt for a longer gun. If you are just getting started and expect to dive in variable visibility, 130 centimeters or 50 inches would be a good medium length for an all-around reef gun.

Sheri Daye hunts with a Wong Hybrid Speargun. Photo by Joe Marino.

Here are some additional tips: 1) Join a local spearfishing club and learn from the more experienced people. Observe what equipment they use and ask for advice. 22) Shop at a dive store that caters to spearfishing. They carry more choices and have experienced personnel to help you choose. These include Austin’s in Miami; Florida Freedivers in Palm Beach; James & Josephs in San Diego, Calif.; Freedive Shop in Sacramento, Calif. and more. 3) Check out the custom-gun builders. There are some high-quality builders who will work with you directly, give you advice, and design it to your specs—such as Wong Spearguns from Hawaii or Sea Sniper from California. Most importantly, you should pick a style that suits you and the conditions you dive in. Chances are you will get hooked and add more spearguns to your arsenal in the future! Follow “Sheri Daye” & “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” April 22-23, 2017 – Ft. Lauderdale - Instagram and Facebook.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER THE REBIRTH OF 8- TO 10FOOT BASS RODS BRANDON LESTER

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ver since I can remember, there has been a rule in B.A.S.S. tournaments barring the use of rods longer than 8 feet. To my knowledge, it is because Dee Thomas and other Californians were using 10-foot and longer rods for “flipping” when the technique was first invented. Evidently the powersthat-be back then didn’t like this new way of fishing, so they banned the use of long rods. At the conclusion of 2016, B.A.S.S. decided to change this rule and allow us to use any rod up to 10 feet in length. Bass fishing has evolved

they fight. The extra rod length will help keep the line tight during the fight, giving the fish less opportunity to escape. For the small wooden crankbaits, the longer rod gives control over how deep the bait dives. Hold the rod tip up, and the bait dives shallower. Stick a couple feet of the blank in the water, and it runs deeper. Add longer casting distance and you will be hitting depths never before achieved with some baits. A longer rod will also be beneficial for flipping and pitching. We all know what

tremendously in the past several years, and there is no doubt this rule change will be another big breakthrough. Will long rods become the norm in everyone’s boat? I don’t think so, but I believe these rods will have a time and place in bass fishing. I have been busy building and testing a few of these longer rods with the guys at Mud Hole Custom Tackle. We’ve made encouraging findings. The first long rod I built is a 8’6” medium power spinning rod. I wanted a rod to cast small, wooden crankbaits on light line for more distance. I also wanted this rod to act as a drop shot rod for open-water smallmouth fishing. Although I don’t see myself using this rod all the time for drop shotting, imagine a scenario where you are casting a drop shot in current and need that extra length to control the way the line drifts. Also, anyone who has ever fought a river smallmouth knows how hard

happens when we set the hook on a 12-inch bass with a 7’6” rod, well imagine what will happen when you set the hook on one with a 9-foot flipping stick. We’ll be jerking 3-pounders out of the thickest cover! When that 10-pounder bites, she might not be the one that got away anymore. There might be cases where a long flipping rod is more efficient, as well. The technique of flipping, as it was done originally, by stripping line through the guides and never using the reel, will probably come back to light because we can now use a rod long enough put a bait where it needs to go. I will be building a long flipping stick before the elite series heads to Lake Okeechobee. What better place to try it out than the land of the giants? Keep tabs on 8-foot-plus rod building by visiting www. MudHole.com, and hit me up on Facebook with any questions.

Get more tips from Lester at

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at planting, and take the rest of the winter off. Even though there are no signs of growth above ground, the root systems will have time to get adjusted to their new location and begin to initiate new root growth. There are plenty of advantages of growing your own edibles. First of all, you know what has been done over the course of the growing season from a chemical stand point. Second, the fruit just taste

better coming out of your home orchard versus buying fruit from the grocers that have little to no flavors. Thirdly, it is good for your soul and you will feel more connected to the environment and nature. Whether it is an apple tree, muscadine vine or a blueberry bush; now is the time to plant. Let’s Grow Together. Greg Ison, Ison’s Nursery and Vineyards, 800733-0324, www.isons.com

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ackle geeks have climbed high rungs of reel optimization for decades. Their basic game remains the same today: super-tune fishing reels by adding premium components and applying best cleaning and maintenance practices. But better materials and technology have elevated expectations of what fishing reels can be made to do. Russ Lane, who has earned six appearances in the Bassmaster Classic, took his habitual tackle tinkering to high-tech heights several seasons back. Lane today replaces standard reel parts with premium components that extend reel life and enable spools to spin at dazzling RPMs. What’s the fisherman’s takeaway after these reel transformations? The clearest advantages are longer casting distances, better control, heightened casting accuracy, and improved feel and sensitivity. Some premium reel components—strikingly colorful multi-textured reel knobs and anodized star drags and cast control caps, for example—can practically turn reels into showpieces, too. “Fishermen can’t believe what custom components can add to a reel’s capability,” said Noah Arroyo, owner of Off the Hook Reels. “And some fishermen are just as attracted to the unique colors and finishes you can bring to a reel and the rich look of premium parts.” Consider replacing standard reel parts with these upgrades: • Ceramic bearings – Ceramic bearings or ceramic hybrid bearings (the latter feature ceramic balls in a stainless steel or plastic cage) can elevate reel performance dramatically. Ceramic bearings can range up to 60 percent lighter than stainless steel bearings. They generate less heat and lower vibration levels, too, reducing friction as the spool revolves. Spool RPMs may climb dramatically, extending casting distance and improving accuracy by reducing the effort required to execute a cast. They also possess five times the life expectancy of stainless steel bearings. The one downside is that they produce a very audible hum, a turn-off to some anglers. HawgTech promotes its ABEC-7 hybrid bearings in nylon cages as allowing “a more free spinning bearing that also runs quieter.” • Carbon Fiber Reel Handles – Lightweight carbon fiber reel arms are

the most common reel upgrade. The difference in weight and sensitivity from conventional reel handles is discernible. They also give a sleek, skeletal look to the reel. • Winn Reel Knobs – Reel knobs made from Winn’s patented WinnDry polymer deliver the same all-weather “tacky” feel and security that Winn grips bring to fishing rods. “The Winn knobs available from HawgTech are so good, your grip never slips even when hands are wet or coated with fish slime,” said Arroyo. Two of Lew’s Best of Show awards at ICAST 2016 featured fishing reels with Winn reel knobs. HawgTech offers these knobs in several bold colors. • Anodized Aluminum Star Drags, Cast Control Caps – Colorful anodized aluminum can give a reel an “auto show” glow. You can go with matching or complementary color options for star drag controls, cast control caps and related parts. Maintenance steps: Of course, flashy parts alone won’t optimize reel performance. Make sure the internal workings of your reel are flawlessly cleaned and lubricated, too. “You have to optimize everything when you super-tune. Polish and clean ends and shafts and pinion gears,” said Arroyo. “When you do and then add your ceramic bearings and premium parts, you really end up with a great piece of machinery.”

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TAUTEN LINEWELDER Sick of having to learn and tie complex knots? The Tauten LineWelder creates a weld that is actually stronger than any knot. The device creates a “sleeve” of thermoplastic polymer around both ends of a looped line, holding the loop in place without bending or weakening the line. Knots weaken the line, and most lines’ strengths are rated with a knot, so using a Tauten LineWelder in place of tying a knot lets you get a connection that’s stronger than the advertised strength of most lines! The process is quick, easy, consistent and doesn’t require you to tie complicated knots. It’s perfect for new fishermen or veteran anglers who don’t want to bother with finicky knot tying. Just loop the line in the device, pull it taut and push the button to create a weld. This device can help fishermen who don’t want to tie complicated knots by removing the need entirely and allowing anglers to focus on the sport they love. The LineWelder works best on 10- to 12-pound-test monofilament nylon and fluorocarbon lines and 10- to 50-pound-test braided lines. Using an experimental technique, it can even join braided lines with monofilament nylon or fluorocarbon leaders to eliminate the need for a swivel. Accessories to weld a wider variety of lines are currently in development and will be available in the future. Visit tauten.com for more information and to see videos of the LineWelder in action. The Tauten customer service staff is always eager to answer any questions, so don’t hesitate to contact them.

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DEXTER UR-CUT FILLET KNIFE Dexter UR-Cut Fillet knives are the only fillet knives that allow you to custom mold the handle to your hand. UR-Cut provides the ultimate in comfort and control and is virtually non-slip in your hand. It’s simple and takes only minutes to customize UR-Cut to fit your hand. First, grip the handle and determine your grip position, paying attention to your thumb position. Dip and completely submerge the handle in boiling water for 2 minutes. Make sure the pot is deep enough so the handle does not contact the bottom or the sides of the pot. Then dip in cold water for 1 second, grip, squeeze, and hold the handle for 10 seconds. Dip back in cold water for 10 seconds and let cool. You now have a custom fillet knife, molded to fit your hand. Just like other Dexter knives, UR-Cut features the same legendary DEXTSTEEL blade, with super-sharp edges that are easy to re-sharpen and have just-right flexibility. UR-Cut fillet knives are made in the U.S.A. and are available in 6”, 7” and 8” lengths. Available at your local and online retailer. For more information and to view all Dexter fishing knives visit dexteroutdoors.com.

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FISH & FISHING

A DIFFERENT APPROACH MARK SOSIN

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small sign on the corner of my attorney’s desk warns his clients to “Assume Nothing.” That caveat is just as valid on the water as it is in the practice of law. If an angler does not start catching fish within minutes of arriving at a spot, he begins to assume that his quarry must be elsewhere. The assumption, of course, is that he has chosen the right bait or lure and presented it in a natural and appealing manner to a fish that is ready to eat. A fish’s behavioral patterns, honed over eons, follow very specific guidelines with few deviations. Anything that differs from the norm instinctively alerts a fish that something may be amiss and it thinks of its own safety first. Regardless of size, a predator does not expect to be charged or attacked by its prey no matter how small the prey is in relation to the predator. That’s why a 3-inch fly made of feathers can spook a 100-pound fish. And remember that fish do not feed constantly for a variety of reasons. Most species use tidal currents, water flow, or the neck of a funnel to their advantage as they search for food. They either hold facing the current, swim against the flow, or work across it. Whenever you present a bait or lure, it should be upcurrent from where you expect the fish to be so that your offering appears to go with the flow. That tenet even applies when you are casting to a cruising fish. The more natural the presentation, the better the chance of a strike. Your quarry automatically measures energy tradeoff. The idea is to exploit each situation so they will expend the least amount of energy for the value received. That translates into the fact that they frequently refuse to chase a bait or lure very far before turning away. An ambush feeder merely wants to dart out, grab its prey and return to its lair. Bottom denizens follow a similar practice. If your offering isn’t close to the sea floor, it’s difficult to get them to swim toward the surface to get it. Successful bottom bouncing starts upcurrent and allows the bait to drag along in the productive zone. Once it sweeps above the quarry, the potential for getting a strike diminishes rapidly. Water temperature enters the energy tradeoff equation. In cold or even cool water, fish react sluggishly because the water temperature slows down their metabolism. It might even force them out of their usual lair in search of warmer water. In those situations, choose baits or lures that are easy for a fish to catch and slow down the retrieve or the trolling speed. And remember, in cooler water it takes fish longer to digest food so they feed less frequently. Those who catch fish consistently study and comprehend the basics of feeding strategy. You can be sure that the behavioral patterns of each species are not about to change. That puts the onus on you to modify your tactics until you uncover the combination that works. Before you abandon a spot because you think it doesn’t hold fish, make sure you have explored the full gamut of options. If you do make any assumptions, convince yourself that a fish is looking at your bait or lure right now. The results might surprise you.

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SAVE $330

comp at 99 $679.99

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

POWDER-FREE NITRILE GLOVES SAVE PACK OF 100

Customer Rating • 5 mil

thickness

Item 68498 shown

62%

YOUR CHOICE

$5

99

SIZE MED LG X-LG

7

ITEM 68496/61363 68497/61360 68498/61359

$ 99

Customer Rating

Includes hook, mirror, magnet accessories, and video-out cable.

2.4" COLOR LCD DIGITAL INSPECTION CAMERA ITEM 61839 62359 shown

Customer Rating

$15.99

SUPER COUPON

SAVE $135 $ 99

79

comp at

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

94

$

SUPER COUPON

$84

99

11999 $179

comp at

LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

700+ Stores Nationwide

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

SAVE 66%

$599 $899

Customer Rating

$

comp at

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

Customer Rating

ITEM 63056/63057/60405/63094 63150/61524/62322/90984 shown

$205.75

SUPER COUPON

$

SAVE 77%

$6999

10" SLIDING COMPOUND 72" x 80" MOVING BLANKET MITER SAW ITEM 69505/62418/66537 shown SAVE ITEM 61971 61972 98199 shown

SUPER COUPON 4 PIECE 1" x 15 FT. RATCHETING TIE DOWNS

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

comp at

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

LIMIT 1 - Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase. Coupon good at our stores, HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day.

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

Customer Rating

VALUE

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

comp at

ITEM 63100

4

$ 97

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

12 VOLT MAGNETIC TOWING LIGHT KIT

SAVE 71%

ANY PURCHASE 3-1/2" SUPER BRIGHT NINE LED ALUMINUM FLASHLIGHT

WITH

ITEM 69111 62522/62573 69052 shown

Limit 1 coupon per customer per day. Save 20% on any 1 item purchased. *Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or any of the following items or brands: Inside Track Club membership, Extended Service Plan, gift card, open box item, 3 day Parking Lot Sale item, compressors, floor jacks, saw mills, storage cabinets, chests or carts, trailers, trenchers, welders, Admiral, Bauer, CoverPro, Daytona, Earthquake, Hercules, Jupiter, Lynxx, Poulan, Predator, StormCat, Tailgator, Viking, Vulcan. Not valid on prior purchases. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17.

SUPER COUPON Customer Rating

FREE

ANY SINGLE ITEM

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

1/2" ELECTRIC IMPACT WRENCH

SUPER COUPON

SUPER COUPON

Customer Rating

$8499

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

comp at

$34.95

SUPER COUPON Customer Rating Weighs 73 lbs.

185 99 $

20"

94 $269.99

comp at

reight.com or by calling our stores or HarborF t or coupon or prior LIMIT 5 - Good at used with other discoun with original receipt. 800-423-2567. Cannot be from original purchase be purchases after 30 dayss last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must day. Offer good while supplie 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per presented. Valid through

• HarborFreight.com • 800-423-2567

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

11

® RAPID PUMP 3 TON LOW PROFILE HEAVY DUTY STEEL • FLOOR JACK SAVE

SUPER COUPON

comp at

99 $7 99

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 6/1/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

ITEM 61282 shown $ 61253/62326

$17.97

SUPER COUPON

At Harbor Freight Tools, the “comp at” price means that the same item or a similar functioning item was advertised for sale at or above the "comp at" price by another retailer in the U.S. within the past 180 days. Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other meaning of "comp at" should be implied. For more information, go to HarborFreight.com or see store associate.

FEBRUARY 2017

NATIONAL

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1/17/17 12:54 PM 1/10/17 5:21 PM


34

NATIONAL

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FEBRUARY 2017

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

1/17/17 12:54 PM


PENNFISHING.COM

LET THE BATTLE BEGIN The Slammer is back! Featuring a full metal body and rotor, IPX6 sealed gear box and spool design, a full Brass CNC Gear system,

COMMON CVRS_0217.indd 3

and a smooth yet powerful Dura Drag System. The Slammer is not only back…. it’s better than ever before.

1/16/17 3:39 PM


COMMON CVRS_0217.indd 4

1/16/17 3:39 PM


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