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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.

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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

S

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

W

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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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. 

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NORTH FLORIDA

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REPORTS DRAMATIC GROWTH

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fishing Report & Forecast Mayport By Capt. Kirk Waltz

H

ere we are already in February. It’s been an interesting few months of particularly warm weather. Look for this somewhat cooler water to fire the sheepshead off just a little more. Decent numbers were around the rocks/Jetties, docks, and oyster bars last

month and that should actually improve. Jigs, Carolina rigs, and float rigs can be fished in these areas with some great success using fiddler crabs, live shrimp, cut blue crab and even clams. I like the high outgoing tides best and seek to find clear clean water for the best results. One of my favorite things to do is fish the center of creeks in

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the deep channels (7ft and deeper) with a Carolina rig using a ¼ piece of blue crab. Toss it out and let it soak. It’s particularly effective in creeks with a lot of oyster bars and very little boat traffic. Big bruiser sheepshead cruise these creeks in the center of the channels looking for food. Dead stick a few lines out and just watch for tell tale sheepshead bites. Try it and see if you can bag a few 10lb fish. The rocks will get better this month and hold good numbers of reds, trout, sheepshead, bluefish, ringtails, and black drum. Try to fish all depths from the edges (10ft) all the way to the bottom of the deep holes in 60 plus feet of water. Try all the aforementioned rigs with the baits I just mentioned and see how successful you can be. Just last month fishing with my client, we caught and released a 80-100lb black drum in 60ft of water using a ¼ fresh cut blue crab for bait. The creeks both north and south of the St. John’s River off the ICW will see good numbers of trout and reds starting to really bunch up. I really like to cast a small jig tipped with a live shrimp doing this and work all the deep bends and oyster bars. Remember as the temps decrease the fish get a little lethargic so work slowly and be patient. The offshore stuff should be good this month when the weather windows allow us to venture offshore. Good numbers of red snapper, sea bass, ringtails, and some grouper will be on the local party grounds. Cut squid, cigars, and sardines work well soaked on the bottom. Be sure to check the regs to see what’s in season. Remember you can’t catch ‘em from the couch. Capt Kirk Waltz can be reached at 904-241-7560 or 904-6261128 for charters. Go to www.Enterprisefishcharters.com or check us out on Facebook Enterprise Fishing Charters

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Fishing Report & Forecast Nassau Sound

T W

By Capt. Tony Bozzella

A

lthough we are limited what we can fish for, February can be great for shallow water red fishing. Backcountry waters of North Fl. can be at its clearest point of the year. Mid afternoons on the mud flats when the wind and sun cooperate, can be very productive. Mud minnows & shrimp paired with the lightest TBS Jig fishing around mid to the last of the outgoing tide around the rips coming off the oyster bars can be outstanding. Through up current and stay in tune with your bait as it may roll with the

tidal movement. Polling at this time can also be very productive. Slipping up on a backing or tailing redfish, again, mid day when suns overhead and wind minimal, can be a great experience. Fly anglers can take advantage of this time of year as well. Many times you may have a shot at a tasty Sheephead or Black Drum. Shrimp is a good choice and they will be in these areas. Anglers wanting trout should start out soaking shrimp/ Muds in some of the deeper holes and bends of creeks with moving water for best results. Many trout will be below the 15 inch minimum. If the standard float rigs is not your style, through a bright colored soft plastic and slow roll, keeping in contact, on the bottom. Reds Blues and flounder can be in the mix. Dress warm and fish!! 

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February’s “Best Bet” Pre-Spawning “Trophy” Largemouth Bass and Black Crappie Will Deliver MidWinter Action and Excitement This Month Throughout Northeast Florida! By Terry Newsome

C

oastal water temperatures in Northeast Florida for the month of January dipped below 60 degrees (F) with many local areas experiencing their first freeze of the winter season on January 7, 2017. With higher water temperatures, February action north of St. Augustine (near Pine Island) will produce good numbers of “resident” winter Redfish and Speckled Trout in Deep Creek, Capo Creek (near Shell Bluff Landing,) Stokes Creek (near Marker 37,) and Casa Cola Creek. Creeks closer to the inlet (Robinson and Hospital Creek) will also deliver using live shrimp (with a float rig) and swimming plastics. In fact, huge “Gator” Trout (over 5 pounds) can be caught slowly retrieving plastics (bounced off the bottom) in the deeper “channel” located just south of the Lighthouse Boat ramp in Salt Run. These winter “Sea Trout” up to 7 pounds can be caught in 15 to 20 feet of water on slower moving tides. For you avid freshwater anglers, Black Crappie (Speckled Perch) fishing in is “on fire” right now in most deeper Northeast Florida lakes. Most catches are coming from drifting live minnows under a small float near deeper water “brush piles.”

YOUR BEST BET FOR FEBRUARY February is the third coldest month of the year (behind December and January) with low temperatures averaging 45 degrees (F) and high temps averaging 68 degrees (F). With (predicted) milder weather conditions on the horizon, most “seasoned” trophy Largemouth Bass anglers will tell you that February is by far the absolute BEST month of the year to catch trophy Bass. In February, “pre-spawning” female Bass are loaded with eggs (roe) and are aggressively “feedingup” before moving into warmer shallow water “nesting beds” to spawn and lay their eggs. During this prespawn phase, mature female Bass are their heaviest weight for the entire year. What better time of the year to catch (and carefully release) that illusive “trophy” Bass you have been chasing for years! That’s why I am recommending trophy Largemouth Bass fishing as your “best bet” for February 2017! Commonly referred to as “Black Bass,” the legendary Largemouth Bass is the most popular and sought-after gamefish in North America. It is estimated that Americans anglers spend almost $20 Billion annually in their quest to catch the illusive Largemouth Bass; and for good reason. This magnificent species is the ultimate freshwater predator! Even a small two-pounder can put up a fight and “aerial circus” you will not soon forget. Once you catch your first “sizable” Bass, you will understand why freshwater anglers throughout America are obsessed with catching that “ten-pound trophy” they can mount and on their man-cave wall for the ultimate bragging rights! (A 6 NE FLorida

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high-resolution photo and detailed measurements of your trophy Bass will ensure that your fiberglass “replica mount” is an accurate representation of your trophy.) The world record Largemouth Bass was caught by George Perry on Montgomery Lake (Georgia) in 1932 and weighed 22 pounds and 4 ounces; (a record that has help-up for almost 9 decades!) However, when it comes to the BEST state for catching trophy Largemouth Bass, look no further than the great state of Florida! We are extremely fortunate that we live in the “Bass Capital of the World!” The State of Florida’s official record for Largemouth Bass in 17.27 pounds (although several undocumented fish weighing over 20 pounds have been reported over the years.)

TIPS FOR CATCHING TROPHY LARGEMOUTH BASS There are a multitude of proven methods that can be highly-effective when targeting Largemouth Bass. Most Bass Anglers prefer artificial lures, plastic worms, spinner baits, crank baits, jerk baits… and the list goes on.) However, if you are targeting that once in a lifetime trophy, I would recommend using live bait. By far, the best live bait you can use are native “wild” golden shiners fished under a float or “free-lined.” I personally filmed and produced several national Outdoor Television “Fishing Shows” with some of the best professional Bass anglers on the planet. One of the most versatile and best coastal anglers I have ever filmed with, is my good friend Captain Danny Patrick who is also the owner/publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine (Northeast Florida edition.) Like clockwork, every February I can count on Danny to send me photos of the BIG BASS he caught (see photo) and released on his annual quest down to Sante Fe Lake (near Melrose, FL.) When I ask Danny about his proven method and technique for consistently catching trophy Largemouth Bass, his story never changes. “The best time to catch pre-spawning Big Bass in February is between the new and full moon phases during mild conditions when the water temperature rises to 60 degrees,” says Danny. His strategy for catching quality fish is quite simple: “I like to slow troll and free-line wild shiners in about 10 feet of water” he adds “…and Lake Sante Fe is perfect because there is a consistent water depth of 10 feet in a continuous ring around the shore of the lake.” When asked about bait selection, Danny was quick to respond; “Having plenty of 6 to 10 inch wild shiners is extremely important” adding “and I am willing to drive an extra 20 miles or longer to find a bait shop that has the quality live bait I am looking for.” For tackle, Danny recommends using a “heavy-action” rod and (at least) 20-pound test line with a “level wind” bait-casting reel (with free spool capabilities.) “When you think you are trolling too slow… then troll EVEN slower” says Danny. “I like to troll extremely slow with the reel in “free spool” with just enough drag to keep the shiner from pulling out line.” He also recommends using a 2/0 wide-bend hook (or a large weedless Kahle hook if there is floating debris or an abundance of aquatic plants in the trolling area.) Danny also says to look for “brush piles” in 10 feet of water as it will usually hold a large school of big pre-spawning bass! When you find them, get ready for some fast-action as he has caught over a dozen big Bass in a single fishing trip! Stay warm and I hope February is a fantastic fishing month for you and your family. Be safe, keep your line tight and enjoy the great outdoors!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

1/17/17 1:06 PM


REAL STORIES REAL STORIES

REAL LIFE

REAL LIFE

MarineMax Jacksonville 8725 Arlington Expressway Jacksonville, Florida, 32211 1 (866) 783-3026 www.marinemax.com/jacksonville

Fishing Report Green Cove By: Richard Hamilton

W

e’ll start with largemouth. They should be in the pre-spawn stage down south, i.e., Lake George, Salt Springs, et al.  These beauties will be cruising the area waiting for the timing and temp to be right.  Sight fishing comes into play with pitching tubes, creams, short worms at beds.  Location baits will be swimmin’ baits, crank baits and spinner baits.  Other locales in the Northern parts will be the creek mouths and canals and coves.  Same situations but bedding activity will begin this month. Next will be specks.  These fine fishing beauties will be the stars of the month.  The area lakes, creeks and canals will start holding these beauties. 

Methods used are trolling or drifting with maribou road runners tipped with minnows or jig and minnow combinations. Jigs preferred:  road runners, curl tails, slab daddy’s and shad-luscious small swim baits.  All of the above work really well drifting or casting.  Vertical jigging or dipping around the pads.  Colors and styles are all up to the individual, but a few different colors are a good idea until you find the one that you prefer.  So grab a handful and get to it! Cat fishing in the creeks and at the Shands has been really good.  Night crawlers, bait shrimp or small shiners or minnows will more than likely catch you some, so go already! Stripers and hybrids will be at the Shands looking for the food supply to swim through.  So grab some shiners and go for it.  But if you want to, lipless crank baits and larger minnow imitations work well.  So go to it! If it gets and stays cold, the water temp will be down to the point that most of the saltier species will head out to warmer locales.  So if this occurs, just fish for what’s out there.  Well, I guess, I’ve went far enough with this.   So ‘til next time, keep your line wet and your lure movin’.--Richard. R & J Tackle 501 S Orange Ave, Green Cove Springs (904)284-5081

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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LO A PR DS IZ OF ES !

Th !! 17 uAL N AN

March 4th 2017 MAYPORT FLORIDA

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JOSFC - EL CHEAPO TIME!! Captain Trina M. Polkey

G

uess what time of year it is?? EL CHEAPO TIME!! The 17th Annual El Cheapo Sheepshead Tournament will take place March 4th and it will be better than ever! With over 400 teams fishing, 150 junior anglers, almost 100 lady anglers, a few die hard kayakers and close to 2,000 spectators, it has become the largest tournament of it’s kind and with good reason. Besides being one of the funnest tournaments around, the prize structure is unheard of for a tournament with an entry fee of only $80.00, (until February 18th). 1St and 2nd place winners will all receive a boat, motor, trailer package, 3rd place gets an outboard from Atlantic Coast Marine, and cash and prizes will be awarded through 15th place. Long time sponsor and friend of the tournament, Carolina Skiff, will be sponsoring 1st place again with a brand new JVX18 Center Console! New sponsor Suzuki will be providing a nice motor for the boat and Magic Tilt Trailers will

make sure she is sitting pretty on a brand new trailer! With the incredible success of the lady angler division last year we have beefed up the prize structure to include more cash and a custom rod from Shawalker rods. Back by popular demand, the kayak division is seeing some nice improvements in prize structure as well. Our 1st place angler will win a brand new Vibe Sea Ghost 130 courtesy of Rick’s Bait & Tackle! The ever popular junior division is back and will see some nice new sponsors as well. You can view the complete prize structure, rules and sponsor information as well as register online at www.elcheapojax.com. Meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month in the clubhouse at the Mayport Boat Ramp. We start at 7:00 with dinner followed by a quick club meeting at 7:30, a guest speaker or activity, and an awesome raffle. You do not have to be a member to attend, we would love to have you! Please visit www. jaxfish.com to learn more.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

1/17/17 1:06 PM


Fishing Report & Forecast Flagler Inshore By Captain Chris Herrera

B

y As water temps hopefully continue to cool after January’s warm spell, water clarity will get better and better till it reaches “Gin Clear”. Hitting the flats once the sun is high and with incoming tide will give you sight fishing opportunities for redfish and sheepshead. To find sheepshead on the flats look around oyster bars till you see the striped bandits nibbling away.  A stealthy approach is a must by either poling or quietly using your troll motor. A rig I like to use is a 1/0 Daiichi octopus J hook with a bb split shot a few inches above the hook, I then rig a shrimp weed less by cutting off it’s tail for sent and inserting hook through the tail and back into it’s body for a weedless rig. Bigger Sheepsheads will be hanging around deeper water structure like docks, bridges, channel markers and area Inlets. Fiddler crabs, oyster crabs and oysters are offering that are rarely turned down by sheepshead hanging around deep structure. Trout fishing should be catch and release only as the season is normally closed but with new regulations trout remain open year round and bag limits are up to six instead of five fish. Look for trout to school up around ICW creek mouths, deep holes in creek bends and Matanzas Inlet. Small soft plastics like Fishbites

Extreme paddle tails or curly tails on a ¼ ounce Slayer jig head will attract schooled up trout. Gator trout will be sunning on mud flats during the heat of the day and a live mullet swimming on the surface will tempt even the wariest trout. Redfish schools will be on sun baked flats during higher tides and roaming the ICW during low tides. Multiple fish can be caught as long as you’re quiet and do not get to aggressive with your approach. Artificial lures is better in my opinion as you can get multiple cast to schools if spooked and don’t waste time rebating. Fly fisherman test their cast and accuracy by sight fishing laid up and cruising redfish on the shallow flats. My go to flies are flats bunnies, merkwans and just about any fly that resembles a bait fish. Black drum are relatives to red fish and noted as good table fair when caught less than 5 pounds and can hold their own once hooked. Recent outings have produced good numbers of “puppy drum” which range from 2 to 6 pounds. Simple rigs are used to catch Black drum, one of my favorites is a Slayer inc. ¼ oz. jig head and a live or fresh dead shrimp hooked through the head. Since Black drum are bottom dwellers and feed almost exclusively on the bottom other good baits that produce “stink” are quartered blue crabs, clams and oysters. Black drum are primarily found in deeper water but during those cold spells look to sight fish them on the shallow flats.

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Florida Outdoor Show Press Release

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ere at the Florida Outdoor Show we pride ourselves on being a family oriented team. From the owners to the staff you’ll find that our values and our loyalty lies with our families. Our vendors are some of the finest you will come across in the entire world, striving to make the consumer feel welcome and comfortable. As an organization, we bring forth our best in all we do. Putting our Higher Power above all to make our shows a great success. Whether looking to improve your fishing knowledge through seminars with top-notch local and national fishing professionals, catch up with all your fishing buddies, buy the newest equipment, book a trip of a lifetime, or to buy a new fishing boat, it’s all at the “Florida Outdoor Show”. Featuring over 200 exhibitors (including guides, lodges, resorts, shopping, massive kids zone and regional promotion agencies), major fishing tackle manufacturers, local fishing retailers, and a diverse selection of fishing boats, you can see it, learn about it, touch it, and buy it at ,the

“Florida Outdoor Mega Show”. Covering all species through most techniques, fly fishing to conventional, you can attend seminars with expert instructors and nationally recognized pro fishing celebrities, learn to fly cast, and talk with some of the best guides and outfitters from around the globe. Break up your winter and start preparing to catch the big one...... The “Florida Outdoor Mega Show” is the only worthwhile fishing event to attend. There is truly no better place to learn, shop, compare and save! Mark your calendars now! From the entry fee, concerts and parking are all at no cost to the consumer. The “Florida Outdoor Mega Show” would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped make this possible including: Diamond Marine, St Johns County, Saltwater Stud, Gimmie Lures, NRA, Sgt. Chris Parker, Mister Crabs with the amazing crab races and so many more. Looking forward to seeing you Feb 11th & 12th between 10-5…

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Presents the CAM_JAX_FEB2016.indd 14

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

TIDE CHART - February

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

Hgt

Time

Hgt

Time

Hgt

Time

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

Hgt

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

Major Feeding Periods

11:42 PM 4.88 H

4:00 AM-6:00 AM • 4:35 PM-6:35 PM

02 Thu 05:49 AM -0.27 L

12:10 PM 4.72 H 06:17 PM -0.42 L

4:55 AM-6:55 AM • 5:25 PM-7:25 PM

03 Fri 12:35 AM 4.9 H

06:50 AM -0.14 L 01:05 PM 4.52 H 07:14 PM -0.34 L

5:45 AM-7:45 AM • 6:15 PM-8:15 PM

04 Sat 01:33 AM 4.89 H

07:54 AM -0.06 L 02:06 PM 4.33 H 08:15 PM -0.33 L

6:40 AM-8:40 AM • 7:10 PM-9:10 PM

05 Sun 02:38 AM 4.89 H

09:00 AM -0.07 L 03:14 PM 4.23 H 09:18 PM -0.4 L

7:35 AM-9:35 AM • 8:05 PM-10:05 PM

06 Mon 03:46 AM 4.95 H

10:05 AM -0.19 L 04:21 PM 4.24 H 10:21 PM -0.56 L

8:30 AM-10:30 AM • 9:00 PM-11:00 PM

07 Tue 04:52 AM 5.08 H

11:08 AM -0.4 L

9:30 AM-11:30 AM • 10:00 PM-11:59 PM

08 Wed 05:53 AM 5.24 H

12:05 PM -0.65 L 06:21 PM 4.53 H

10:30 AM-12:30 PM • 10:55 PM-11:59 PM

09 Thu 12:19 AM -1.07 L

06:47 AM 5.36 H 12:57 PM -0.88 L 07:12 PM 4.69 H

11:30 AM-1:30 PM • 11:50 PM-11:59 PM

10 Fri 01:11 AM -1.27 L

07:37 AM 5.41 H 01:45 PM -1.03 L 08:01 PM 4.81 H

12:25 PM-2:25 PM

11 Sat 02:00 AM -1.34 L

08:24 AM 5.36 H 02:29 PM -1.06 L 08:46 PM 4.86 H

12:45 AM-2:45 AM • 1:20 PM-3:20 PM

12 Sun 02:47 AM -1.25 L

09:09 AM 5.21 H 03:12 PM -0.96 L 09:31 PM 4.84 H

1:40 AM-3:40 AM • 2:05 PM-4:05 PM

01 Wed 04:54 AM -0.43 L 11:21 AM 4.9 H

05:25 PM -0.5 L

05:24 PM 4.37 H 11:22 PM -0.81 L

03:54 PM -0.76 L 10:14 PM 4.77 H

2:25 AM-4:25 AM • 2:55 PM-4:55 PM

10:34 AM 4.74 H 04:36 PM -0.47 L 10:57 PM 4.66 H

3:10 AM-5:10 AM • 3:35 PM-5:35 PM

15 Wed 05:05 AM -0.28 L 11:16 AM 4.48 H 05:20 PM -0.15 L 11:40 PM 4.52 H

3:55 AM-5:55 AM • 4:20 PM-6:20 PM

16 Thu 05:55 AM 0.11 L

11:59 AM 4.22 H 06:06 PM 0.17 L

4:40 AM-6:40 AM • 5:05 PM-7:05 PM

17 Fri 12:24 AM 4.38 H

06:46 AM 0.45 L 12:45 PM 3.99 H 06:55 PM 0.46 L

5:25 AM-7:25 AM • 5:50 PM-7:50 PM

18 Sat 01:13 AM 4.24 H

07:40 AM 0.7 L

01:35 PM 3.81 H 07:48 PM 0.66 L

6:10 AM-8:10 AM • 6:35 PM-8:35 PM

19 Sun 02:07 AM 4.14 H

08:35 AM 0.84 L 02:32 PM 3.69 H 08:43 PM 0.75 L

6:55 AM-8:55 AM • 7:20 PM-9:20 PM

20 Mon 03:08 AM 4.11 H

09:31 AM 0.85 L 03:33 PM 3.67 H 09:39 PM 0.71 L

7:40 AM-9:40 AM • 8:05 PM-10:05 PM

21 Tue 04:09 AM 4.19 H

10:25 AM 0.73 L 04:32 PM 3.76 H 10:34 PM 0.53 L

8:30 AM-10:30 AM • 8:55 PM-10:55 PM

22 Wed 05:05 AM 4.35 H

11:17 AM 0.49 L 05:24 PM 3.94 H 11:26 PM 0.24 L

9:20 AM-11:20 AM • 9:45 PM-11:45 PM

By Ca

23 Thu 05:54 AM 4.57 H

12:04 PM 0.18 L 06:10 PM 4.18 H

10:10 AM-12:10 PM • 10:35 PM-11:59 PM

24 Fri 12:13 AM -0.1 L

06:39 AM 4.79 H 12:46 PM -0.17 L 06:54 PM 4.44 H

11:00 AM-1:00 PM • 11:25 PM-11:59 PM

25 Sat 12:57 AM -0.44 L

07:21 AM 4.99 H 01:27 PM -0.49 L 07:36 PM 4.71 H

11:55 AM-1:55 PM

M

26 Sun 01:39 AM -0.72 L

08:03 AM 5.14 H 02:06 PM -0.74 L 08:18 PM 4.95 H

12:15 AM-2:15 AM • 12:45 PM-2:45 PM

13 Mon 03:32 AM -1.02 L 09:52 AM 5.0 H 14 Tue 04:18 AM -0.67 L

27 Mon 02:21 AM -0.89 L 08:46 AM 5.21 H 02:46 PM -0.9 L 28 Tue 03:04 AM -0.95 L

09:29 AM 5.2 H

09:01 PM 5.14 H

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03:27 PM -0.94 L 09:46 PM 5.28 H

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

M

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 sight-fishing 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!!

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Capt. Tommy Derringer 904-377-3734 www.InshoreAdventures.net february 2017

ne florida 17

1/17/17 1:07 PM


surf fishing fun

By Roger Walker

fernandina / Amelia island

I

f you’re a surf fisherman and you’ve been fishing any at all this fall and early winter then you know that we have had one of the best fall- winter runs of whiting and big pompano that we’ve had in years. Larry Finch, AKA “The Fishman” has been wearing them out from Ponte Vedra Beach to the St Augustine Inlet for what seems like months. He especially targets pompano with whiting as a bonus catch. And the pompano numbers have been up. Way up. He’s had as many as seventy in a one day. Add in a pile of big whiting and you’ve got a lot of fish to tote off of the beach. Larry is an accomplished pro when it comes to fishing, especially surf fishing. He’ll invite you to come fish by him, he’ll show you where, how and which bait to use and he’ll even supply the bait if need be. With that in mind I accepted one of his offers to fish with him. Now bear in mind, I’m not a bad surf fisherman myself. I’ve spent my fair share of time on the beach fishing to the point that sometimes I think that I was born with sand between my toes. When the day finally came I got on the phone with Larry. “Come to Surf Side Park around 2PM. I’ll have plenty of sand fleas, clams, and shrimp. Yesterday was off the chain with pompano and a few whiting. I’ll save room for you” stated the Fishman. Nice! Show up when the bite starts, catch a few and go home to enjoy a nice fish dinner. Sounded great. At two, when arrival time hit, the beach was packed. While I was setting up Larry caught two pompano. Strangely, no one else was even getting any bites. “The bite will start up in about an hour” shouted Larry over the roar of the pounding surf. Ok, baits in the water, full of anticipation and ready to start whacking them, and well, nothing. Did I mention that I have this uncanny ability to shut down a bite? Well, that’s just about what happened. It was three more hours before either of us caught another pompano. I switched from sand fleas to shrimp in hopes of catching a few whiting. And yes, they began to bite pretty well. As the sun was going down the beach began to clear of fishermen. I had 15 to 20 nice whiting and one lonely pompano. Larry had a cooler full of fish, but that wasn’t unusual. All right, here’s some basic Surf Fishing 101.The pros like Larry use rods up to 13 feet long with custom conventional reels that are spooled with 14 to 17 pound monofilament line. The long rods give them the ability to cast long distance. The custom reels enhance that distance and the 18 NE FLorida

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smaller the mono line the less wind resistance to enhance the distance even further. Do you really need all of that high tech stuff? Sometimes yes. Most of the time no. Thirteen foot surf rods are hard to cast long distances for the average fisherman. Plus, if you are not a diehard surf fisherman just about any old rod and reel will do. I use 10 foot rods with Ambassaduer reels spooled with 14 pound line. My leader size is 20 pound test mono. Double 2/0 circle hook rigs are preferred with sputnik sinkers. Three ounce for calmer surf and four ounce for heavier conditions. If four ounces is not enough weight to hold my bait in place I simply just go home to fish another day. Bait of choice is fresh dead shrimp, sand fleas, or fresh clam strips. Small pieces are preferred. Where to fish? Look for something different on the beach. That difference could be a slough that only fills with water on a high tide or it could be a runout that only shows itself at low tide. Hint, fish those spots. Rarely is a beach just flat with no differences. You need to fish on something. Right now the water temps are falling. I like to fish in 64 water temps and up. It will be next month before that happens. That should give you plenty of time to get the few things together that you need. Check with some of your local tackle shops for more information on exact needs and up to date info on where the fish are. Good Luck and see you on the beach.

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KINGSLEY LAKE: A WORLD CLASS LAKE WITH

R

LIMITED ACCESS IN CLAY COUNTY’S CAMP BLANDING

By Capt. Chris Holleman

E

veryone who has spent a significant time on the water has a handful of days they will never forget. You live for those moments and when they occur you can look back on them over and over. One such moment took place last winter and I have retold the story many times. I was on Kingsley Lake inside the Military base fishing with Tim Mann in his Ranger Z-20 during spawning season in February. Tim and his regular tournament partner Troy Ray are well known for top finishes regularly participating in Bass tournaments on the St. Johns River around Palatka and Welaka in Putman County. So I was excited about the opportunity to sight fish in a lake known for its ten-plus-pound bass with one of the best in the business. Step one was to locate a giant. Kingsley is crystal clear when the sun is bright and the wind isn’t blowing but it can be challenging to sight fish in certain weather conditions. We started our day on a foggy morning, we couldn’t even see across this relatively small 2000 acre lake. So without the bright sunlight we had limited visibility but we could see some and bass seemed to be everywhere we looked. There were countless white spots with rather small males that Tim referred to as “Little Bucks” that were preparing/guarding their nests. The bass in Kingsley seemed to bed on objects. Many were bedding on coke cans, beer cans and red solo cups. The bass were making an interesting use of the litter. Others were bedding next to bricks, concrete rubble, dock pilings and inside of underwater grass. There was no shortage of little male bass in this little almost perfect circle of a lake. As the sun came out and the fog cleared visibility improved. We saw some beds with a few females but not very many females had moved up at this point. Tim was passing up the 3 to 5 lb. females determined to find a giant. His scouting technique was unique. He deployed his trolling motor slightly trimmed his 225 HP but left his big outboard running and just in gear while he stood on the bow and steered with his trolling motor scanning the water looking for bass. Tim said the bass the in this small lake were used to the engine noise and wouldn’t spook. Tim is well over 6 feet and definitely has a natural edge over tournament anglers which aren’t allowed to make use of towers, platforms and other such devices while participating in sight fishing in competition. We located a good size bass bedding in 9 to 11 ft. of water. Tim referred to her as a “Football” and was pretty excited when he took out his Lindy floating marker and tossed it next to the bed where she sat on the bottom. It looked like a respectable to fish to me but I haven’t seen bass bedding this deep before and I really wasn’t sure how big this bass was. I was thinking maybe an 8 pounder. Tim took his time as he pulled out his 7 foot heavy action Kistler Rod and rigged his line. Tim and I both field test lures for Bomber Lures and Yum Soft Plastics. Our goal on this day was to catch some big bass on these baits and get some photographs for the Lurenet.com website. Tim recommended that we use YUM CRAWBUG in Crawdad color and rigged it weedless with a 5/0 black nickel hook, ¼ Oz bullet weight pegged tight to the hook with a flat tooth pick. We were Power-Poled down a-long-flipaway and Tim repeatedly worked the Crawbug inside the bed. He Swung Big with excitement yelling out “HERE-WE-G0” but he made short work of a little buck. He Cried-Wolf again with another Giant Swing on yet another little buck. It was a unique situation but there were 2 little bucks on the bed with this female. STRIKE-3 was for real! His long flipping stick was straining and 20 lb. mono was stretching as bed fishing legend Tim Mann was hooked in to the biggest bass of his life. With a big grin Tim confidently turned down my suggestion of using the landing net. I will never forget those wide open mouth jumps and the way Tim in a Hero-Like fashion reached down and grabbed the lips of a 12.7 lb Kingsley Lake Giant, he lifted the fish in the air and 20 NE FLorida

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celebrated like he just won the Bassmaster Classic. I stood by hoping my camera was actually in video mode recording the battle. A year later my footage can be viewed on Bob Mcnally’s YouTube page under Giant Bass From Public Water, 12.7-Pounder by Tim Mann. As of the moment the footage has 2.8k views in just one year. If you check it out Please excuse my French when this Monster Fish Break’s the surface. Its common knowledge that the best opportunity to catch giant bass is during the spawn. Bass on Kingsley should be spawning on warmer days in Feb and March. The key is to get out on the lake on the right day when the females move on the beds. Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Conservation Commissions Big Catch Program has documented fish over 14 lbs on this lake proving it to be one the best big bass lakes in the state of Florida. I like the lake because the water is clear and the lake is small so you can circle the entire the lake in a day’s fishing. It’s one of the deepest lakes in Florida with a spring in the middle that reaches approximately 90 feet deep. It’s been nicknamed the “Silver Dollar” by some that fly over admire it’s almost perfect circle. If you want to catch a big bass you have to fish where big bass reside. Kingsley Lake consistently gives up plenty of giants. The lake however has limited access. You must have access to the Camp Blanding Military Base or be a guest of a resident residing on the lake. At the time this article was being constructed the boat ramp at Camp Blanding was under construction due to damage from Hurricane Mathew so if you have access to the ramp call first and make sure it’s been re-opened.

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ACGAFebruary By John Jordan

T

he monthly meeting of the ACGFA will be Tuesday, February 7th. We will get together at Bozard Lincoln-Ford dealership located at 540 Belz Outlet Blvd. The meeting is a sponsor party to kick off the Challenge, to be held July 6-9 at Camachee Cove Marina. The tournament will host a sanctioned SKA Kingfish division as well as a largest Redfish contest. We thank Letti,Bo Bozard, Jeff King and the dealership for their continued support as our headline and cover sponsor. Social begins at 6:00 with light food and beverages followed by a brief meeting and a report on the preparation for the Challenge. There will be door prizes and a raffle of an entry into the Kingfish division valued at $325 provided by Bozard LincolnFord. You must be a member and be present in order to win.       Fishing has started for the first in club tournament of the year. The month long tournament is for members fishing inshore for redfish,t rout,flounder,drum,whiting and blue fish. Weigh cards, as on line, weigh in must be marked “Spring Kick-Off “ tournament to be eligible for the cash

payout. The Ancient City Game Fish Association is a not for profit fishing club located in St Augustine. Family membership is $50 annually. Their are numerous activities for kids, men and women. Please call our president Matt at 904-940-7745 for more info or check us out at ACGFA.com or like us on Facebook.

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

Time to Troll It’s that time. Grouper and Amberjack are closed. Hunting and Football are winding down. It’s a great time for blue water fishing. Wahoo, Sailfish and Black fin Tuna are available to anglers who make the 50 mile journey to the Gulf Stream. Find Water temperature in the mid-70s and schools of bait and you will be in business. Start looking in 145 ft. inshore of the shelf edge. I have caught allot of wahoo by pulling up short inshore. I prefer an Islander Hawaiian eye ballyhoo combo pulled on a planner down deep but many Wahoo will be caught on surface baits. Something with a jet head works well and number 10 wire is a must. Black fin Tuna will usually be found closer to the shelf edge if not on top of it. Bait choice for the Tuna is

Ballyhoo rigged on monofilament with a small skirt or no skirt at all (naked). Leader should be 100 # and I like at least 10 ft. Cedar Plugs work well also and Blue and White and Red and White are my colors of choice. Tunas can be finicky so the further back you run your baits the more bites you usually get. Don’t be surprised when a Sailfish eats your Tuna rig, I have had multiple Sails on days in January. On the bottom there are still a few species available. Red Porgy, Triggerfish, Sea Bass and Vermillion snapper can be caught in the deeper water if the trolling is slow Cut squid for bait and a drift along the shelf edge will produce plenty of bites. Back in the 21 fathom area there will be a few Cobias around. Live grunts fished off the bottom or a jig fished vertically should do the trick. Remember Amberjack are closed until March 1st. All grouper species are closed until May 1st. Red Snapper are closed until further notice. We have a new administration and hopefully with public support changes can be made to the Magnusson Stevens Act reauthorization that will allow for better use of our marine resources. “Let’s Go Fishing”.

Captain Robert Johnson Jodie Lynn Charters wwwJodieLynnCharters.com (904)540-2628 jlfishing@bellsouth.net

24 NE FLorida

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1/17/17 1:07 PM


Fishing Report Pier and Surf By: Noel Kuhn

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. These are 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”X ½”. 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 the best rig to use is. Whichever one you choose, double dropper loop or fish finder/ sinker slider, 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. . Noel Kuhn Surf fishing guide and long distance casting coach. 904-945-0660 www.TheSurfAngler.com

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Fishing Report & Forecast Fernandina / Amelia Island By Terry D. Lacoss Offshore sheepshead fishing is awesome during the month of February where medium size fishing boats can access “King’s Bay” artificial reef for these excellent eating and very toothy game fish. Georgia’s KBY artificial reef is the closest near shore artificial reef located only 6-miles from the tip of the St. Mary’s jetty rocks. Here sheepshead often spawn offshore as well and when located, schooling sheepshead will produce fast action and can weigh over the ten pound mark. Best baits for catching winter sheepshead at KBY reef include small pieces of blue crab, barnacles, small pieces of clam and the popular fiddler crab. The daily bag limit on sheepshead is 15 per person with a minimum size limit of 12-inches. The IGFA “All Tackle” world record sheepshead was caught by Wayne Desselle on April 16, 1982 while fishing offshore of Louisiana. Desselle’s record breaking sheepshead weighed 21.4-pounds. The “El Cheap O Sheepshead” tournament will take place March 4th & 5th and will be held from Mayport’s Jacksonville Offshore Fishing Club. The largest sheepshead winner will take home a brand new 18foot Carolina Skiff, trailer and powered by a Honda outboard. For more information please visit www.jaxfish.com. Winter black sea bass can also be found at KBY reef as well, which is mainly made up of broken concrete. Sea bass commonly weigh from 1-3 pounds and regarded by many offshore drift fishermen as one of the best eating fish in the ocean! The absolutely best bait for catching winter sea bass is fresh local squid. Savvy area winter drift fishermen will purchase only local squid from area bait and tackle shops. If the squid is not local, or fresh, a good suggestion would be to purchase fresh cigar minnows and cut them up into small pieces. The IGFA “All Tackle” world record black sea bass was caught by Allan Paschall on January 1, 2000 while fishing off from Virginia Beach. Paschall’s record breaking black sea bass weighed 10.4-pounds. That is a huge sea bass! Bluewater fishermen will be high speed trolling for wahoo during the month of February while targeting the steep drop off commonly referred to as the Continental Shelf. Here water depths drop off sharply from 180-feet of water to over a thousand feet of water in less than a mile. For information on the “2017 N.E. Florida Wahoo Shoutout”, please visit www.wahooshoutout.com. Freshwater fishermen will be targeting the Nassau and St. Mary’s rivers where freshwater and saltwater mix. Here largemouth bass and stripers will be feeding up for the annual spawn. Some of the best areas to fish for both stripers and largemouth bass in the St. Mary’s River includes the fishy waters of the Little St. Mary’s River and just up river from where the Little St. Mary’s river empties into the big St. Mary’s River. 26 NE FLorida

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The tidal rivers that feed the Nassau River including Lofton, Boggy and Thomas’ Creeks are all excellent late winter largemouth bass fishing waters as well. Once again casting a black and silver # 11 floating Rapala, or a dark colored trick worm is key for catching both largemouth and striped bass. Nassau and the St. Mary’s inlets will attract a nice black drum during the end of February when a new moon arrives on February 26th. Fishing dead on the bottom with a piece of blue crab, conch, or large fresh shrimp is key during the last of the in-coming tide. In the backwater rivers and bays a warm flooding tide should find both redfish and sea trout feeding close to such structures as boat docks, oysterbars, sea walls and any type of watery structure that offers an ambush point. Many seasoned backwater fishermen prefer the last few hours of a flooding tide and the first few hours of a falling tide during mid afternoon when the afternoon sun is warming up the fishing action. You just can’t beat drifting a live shrimp under a small float in water depths from 1-5 feet of water, or rigging a live shrimp on a ¼ ounce jig head while working these deadly lure and bait combo’s close to the above mentioned structures. Finally watch the weather and be sure and dress accordingly as the month of February can harbor a variety of weather conditions. For more fishing and charter information please call Amelia Angler Outfitters at 904-261-2870.

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1/17/17 1:07 PM


NEFMA - February

IS YOUR GAME HEADQUARTERS

T

Get into Hooters for all the games! ALL YOU CAN EAT

Monday

WINGS

ALL DAY

AYCE PRICING MAY VARY BY LOCATION

20%

Tuesday

off

EVERY TUESDAY FOR MILITARY AND 1ST RESPONDERS WITH PROOF OF SERVICE.

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he Northeast Florida Marlin Association will be having its 45th annual Bluewater tournament in April and it’s expected to be one of the largest in several years. Last year the prize money exceeded $30,000 and the tournament was a huge success in spite of the interruption of the first tropical storm of the season, so the NEFMA has moved the tournament to April 27th-30th to take advantage of better weather and better fishing.   Entry forms and sponsorship applications are available at NEFMA.com or by contacting the tournament director, Scott Stanley at 904-234-7182.   This tournament will offer three daily opportunities to fish for billfish and gamefish with prize money in several categories.  Additionally, we’ll be hosting parties, events and opportunities for sponsors to connect with participants each day.  

The Bluewater tournament is one of the most important fishing tournaments in Northeast Florida and it continues to be a qualifying tournament for the Offshore World Championships this year. This tournament is open to all qualifying vessels but has a limit of boats per classification so enter soon. Contact NEFMA at clubnemfa@gmail.com or www. nefma.com   www.nefma.com For more information please go to NEFMA.COM  or email us at  clubnefma@gmail.com .    

Wednesday

WEDNESDAYS ARE WINGSDAYS AT HOOTERS ALL DAY LONG

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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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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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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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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

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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.

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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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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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$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

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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

Coastal Angler Magazine - Feb. / Northeast Florida  
Coastal Angler Magazine - Feb. / Northeast Florida