Coastal Angler Magazine | September 2022 | Ohio Edition

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The water can be a little warm this time of year, and it makes bass finicky. When the bite gets tough, a drop shot flat out gets bit. It catches fish everywhere I go, and every angler should have the technique in their arsenal.There are a few reasons a drop shot can out-perform other techniques this time of year. The first of these is because of how versatile you can be with it. I have thrown a drop shot around rock, wood, grass and even in completely open water. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass will all pick up a drop-shot rig, so it’s a great option regardless of what part of the country you fish or what species you target.Another factor that makes this technique excel when other things aren’t working is it’s effective on heavily pressured and sluggish fish. Sometimes getting these fish to bite calls for light line and a smaller profile bait. The dropshot rig consists of a fluorocarbon leader leading to a hook of your choosing then, below the hook, about 12 inches of line tied to a drop shot weight on the end. This creates a rig that keeps your bait up off the bottom and drives finicky bass crazy.


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You raise the flags of the fish just caught to show you weren’t skunked.

There are a few different styles of baits you can use on the drop shot, depending on what your fish are feeding on. This is what I usually base my bait and color choices off of. I usually throw a small finesse worm like the 13 Fishing Joy Stick Ultra Thin or a baitfish-style bait like the 13 Fishing Vertigo minnow. Both baits are small in size and can really pick up some bites when the fishing is tough.Bait color is important, but I like to keep things fairly simple. I typically throw a green pumpkin or a black-and-blue worm style bait. For the baitfish-style lure, I stick with whites or natural baitfish colors. Remember, you are trying to be as finesse as possible to trick a bass that’s not hungry into biting, so something simple and natural will excel. This technique has worked wonders for me all across the country. From down South in Florida all the way up to New York, bass eat this rig up everywhere. Next time you’re on the lake and the bite is tough, downsize your presentation and drag a drop shot around. It will pick up a few more bites.

Drop Shot Gear: Picking the right setup for a drop shot doesn’t have to be too difficult. I like a rod around 7 foot with a medium or a medium heavy action like the 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’1M. Pair up a 3,000 sized reel with some 10lb. Seaguar Smackdown braid and a 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website

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Throughout the summer, snook are catch-and-release-only to protect spawning fish. On the Atlantic side, snook harvest opens Sept. 1, with a 28- to 32-inch slot limit. Capt. Smith said the spawning pattern lasts well into September most years, but the big females are over the slot and must be released, anyway. He is more concerned with the beatings these fish take all summer long. His solution is to limit the number of fish he targets and to gear up heavy. Smith fishes 10,000 size reels on 50- to 100-lb. rods. He runs 80-lb. braid to a 60-lb. fluorocarbon leader and locks down the drag. The weakest link is an 8/0 thin wire circle hook, which is easier on the fish but must be changed out Heavyfrequently.gear combats a big snook’s propensity for bulldogging into structure. It also shortens the length of the fight to lessen the likelihood of fish succumbing to exhaustion or sharks. Smith said these large spawners can be 25 years and older. He urged anglers to handle them carefully for release and never to hold them vertically by their mouths.Ifyou’re looking for a snook to eat, there’s plenty of opportunity for that also. Between the moons some of the snook spread out to the bridges, docks and deep holes. The smaller, slot-sized males become more interested in feeding. Also, the mullet run will kick in toward the end of September. When mullet schools show up, everything from the fish to the anglers switch over to chasing bait. Contact Capt. Patrick Smith through his website

By Nick Carter

Before the Transition

Agiant snook should be on every angler’s bucket list. They’re big, they’re strong and they’re aggressive. Southern Florida boasts the most prolific snook fisheries in the world, and Capt. Patrick Smith, of Swamp to Sea Guide Service, operates in the heart of one of the best. Swamp to Sea fishes throughout Palm Beach County up to Stuart, Fla. At times, the snook fishing can be so good that the prospect is almost mundane for Capt. Smith. “If I’ve got clients who want to catch the snook of a lifetime, we’ll go out to the inlet and let them catch one or two. Then we’ll go do something else,” he said. “It’s cool to check a big snook off the list, but light tackle is”Smith’s nonchalance about catching snook 35 to 43 inches long and up to 25 pounds is an attitude geared toward conservation of a species he loves. When big females congregate in the inlets to spawn around the full moons of summer, they are easy targets for anglers armed with big live baits like perch and croakers.

“They’re not smart fish. If they’re turned on, they’re going to eat. If they’re not, it may be five hours before they do,” he said. “But there’s going to be 30 to 40 minutes on the tide when those snook are eating. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into it. If one is interested, they all are.”

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

The Texas heat and drought are one for the record books and can make a day on the water unpleasant if you plan to stay much past noon, but there are some methods to help you be productive until things start to cool off. Many of the estuaries that were impacted by the floods are some of our deeper bay systems, and that is a good thing this time of year. Heading out early will greatly increase your odds and give you more time on the water while it is cool, relatively speaking. I have found these bays have been forgotten by some, and they’ve never been fished by those new to our sport, which makes for less crowds on the water. I target the deeper reefs in the upper stretches of the bay near the rivers. Locating new washouts can also pay off, and those are not on the maps or public knowledge, so doing a little recon before you head out on each trip can make for a more productive day.

Although I prefer lures over bait, success rates lean toward live shrimp or finfish this time of year. Depending on conditions, these can be free-lined, Carolina rigged, or fished under a loud popping cork. A free-lined shrimp tossed near a granite jetty is a good bet on any day. Stepping away from the live version, cut mullet or shad can be winners for a big pull from a red, black drum or shark. A circle hook Carolina rigged on the bottom can entice those large predators to strike. This is a great method if you have kids aboard.



As always, the jetties are a favorite. The high current and cooler Gulf water attract every fish species that swims in our bays and nearshore waters. It’s not uncommon to catch some offshore fish there as well; it happens every year.

Work with what Mother Nature gives you. Here on the upper Texas coast, we’ve had about seven years of excessive rainfall which, in general terms, made some of our bays unfishable for most of that time. Due to excessive fresh water, those of us who like to fish where the tributaries enter into the bays had to seek new areas where the salinity levels were suitable for speckled trout. This year, things are back to normal, and we need to relearn old patterns and work with what Mother Nature is giving us.


Although the temps are still high, you can have a successful day on the water if you modify your techniques. Remember to apply sunblock before you leave the dock, wear appropriate protective clothing and drink plenty of water. Stay safe and have fun!

Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures, and the owner of

The invasive Spiny water flea is prey item #1 during most of the summer and fall now. Whenever perch can find them, they often ignore shiner minnows offered as bait. The Labor Day tradition is no more. Now, the best times of the year to catch perch are when Spiny water flea densities drop. This occurs in the summer when water temperatures peak in midJuly to mid-August and again after it drops in the late fall.

Emerald shiners were always plentiful then and there were no bag limits on perch.

Labor Day was the traditional weekend that local anglers began fishing for this delectable star of numerous Lake Erie fish fries. Even after daily perch limits were first set at 50 and then down to the current 30 in the Western Basin (ODNR Management Unit 1), September and October was the best time of year to stock the freezer while the weather allowed.

Emerald shiners- once freely available for the taking without much effort by commercial “minnow dippers” have become harder to supply. Bait shops must now import southern pondraised Golden shiners to meet the fall demand for minnows.

The perch fishing situation is even worse in the West/Central Basin from Huron to Fairport, (Management Unit 2). Due to poor young-of-the-year survival, populations have crashed, and catches have fizzled. The daily limit is only 10 perch, and most anglers can only dream of catching that many. Those that are caught are normally very large by perch standards, often over 12-inches long - leading to ¾-pound average weights. Early spring is now the best time of the year there when they come ashore to spawn.

still went home with our 90-fish 3-man Unfortunately,limit.

In Ohio’s East/ Central ½-inchtrip,Basin.intheytohadboxedeachaveragingcatches,Notoutstanding.thatofthereandnearUnit(ManagementBasin3),especiallyAshtabulaConneaut,wasaneraperchfishingwasformerlyonlylimitbutfish½poundcouldbeifanglersthewillpowerreleasefishthatwouldcherishtheWesternDuringoneweuseda10minimumand

fewer fish and a similar change in prey selection ended the bonanza there several years ago. Anglers can sometimes find tightly packed pockets of perch in the late spring and late fall but not the sprawling schools that once covered dozens of acres all summer. Lakewide, Yellow perch can still be caught- but on their terms. The take home message these days is that whenever there is news about perch currently being caught, drop everything, and go ASAP or be prepared to miss the best bite of the season. Walleyes can wait!

The good news is that perch continue to maintain aboveaverage hatches in the Western Basin. The bad news is that in the past several years, perch have switched their primary feeding attention to invertebrates, such as insect larvae and zooplankton, making them tougher to catch most of the year.

John Hageman now writes approximately 125 articles per year after retiring from the Ohio Sea Grant/Stone Laboratory - The Ohio State University’s Lake Erie biology station at PutIn-Bay.

Labor Day- no longer the traditional yellow perch season launch

Ever since I fished with my grandfather in his wooden 16-foot Lyman, Yellow perch fishing has been a favorite family ritual.

Another month passes and believe it or not it will be the last month for the lake update before we officially begin fall. Hard to believe, although we know how fast time flies when your catching Septemberfish!should be a good month for producing some Lake Erie gold (yellow perch). Late July and August were above average for perching in the western basin. Of course, perch spreaders and crappie rigs tipped with emerald shiners will be catching most of the fish, although the shiners can be hard to find. A major tip for perch fishing is to use braided line on a soft tipped rod. Braided line does not stretch and allows you to see even the slightest bites, many people still are using monofilament and are missing out! Of course, there will always be a few walleyes to be caught mostly in the deep flats north of the cans and islands. There is also a possibility of a bite on shallow rock piles, but the algae can deter that depending on the conditions. Casting a worm harness or trolling spoons or harnesses behind jet divers will be getting most of the walleye.

2 OHIO SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM Play & Stay Shores & Islands Ohio is more than just a place, it’s a feeling. Discover something new with each adventure. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned regular, experiences here stay in your heart for a lifetime. Find your Lake Erie Love at

The smallmouth should begin to pick up on tube baits as we roll through September, and they will be starting to be found a little shallower and feeding regularly. Lastly, the cat fishing is always something for some nightly fun, tight lining on any shoreline along the lake or Sandusky Bay will give you some action. As always if you’re looking to book a walleye or perch charter ask for me at Sea Breeze Charters @ 877-616-7780. See ya out there, Capt. Jonny Fickert

Lake Erie Western Basin - Gold

There are many species of fish found in Indian Lake. Bluegill, pumpkinseed, green spotted sun fish, large and small mouth bass, white bass, saugeye, perch, and crappie. For those seeking the bigger ones, channel cats, bullhead, and flathead catfish are plentiful too. The lake is fed by three feeder creeks where you can find chubs, some of the best bait for catfishing!


You also don’t need a large vehicle to transport your fishing kayak. Strap it securely on the roof of your car with a quality roof rack setup, slide it in the back of your SUV or truck bed. Or get a lightweight trailer that can conveniently back down to the water and float your kayak off. Your kayak fishing adventure could be as simple as an Entry level kayak with a PFD or a life jacket and fishing pole or as extreme as a pedal rig, with a fish finder, etc. like the one used by Chuck at Lake Erie Kayak Fishing guided adventures.

For anyone looking for a great place to spend a day or two fishing, Indian Lake provides ample access with roughly five boat ramps, three tackle shops, and over three miles of public fishing on the south and west banks.

I have even seen folks put a trolling motor on their kayak. The choice is yours. The best part of kayak fishing is the fun and’re interested in getting into kayak fishing or joining Chuck Earls for a Lake Erie Kayak Fishing Adventure, then call or message him at (216) 296-9157. Erie Kayak Erie Kayak

The baits and tactics you can use for catching fish around this time of year varies depending on what you are after. For panfish- 1/32-ounce jigs, in 2–3-foot depths, wax worms, pieces of nightcrawler, and minnows. Bass- swimbaits up to 3”, 1/16-ounce jig heads. White, chartreuse, and orange colors work well. Catfish- cut bait, live bait, BIG live baits produce best results.

The Advantages of Kayak Fishing

There are many advantages when it comes to kayak fishing.

The bite in September… with cooler weather coming in, the saugeye bite will slowly pick up. Perch will enter shallower water, and the bite will turn more active. Early morning bass bite topwater, using frogs/ pop-r/ bugs…follow the shad!

Fishing Guided Adventures ChuckLakeErieKayakFishing.comEarls-216.296.9157 | Chuck Earls - 216.296.9157 Lake Erie Kayak Fishing Guided Adventures We spend 6+ hours off shore chasing Lake Erie Legends! Take home your catch or let it swim away for another day, the choice is yours! See you on the water!

Steve Hammer (419) 565-3398

Located with Sandusky Bait Co @ The Shelby Street Public Boat Ramp 101 Shelby Street Sandusky, OH 44870

The areas around the edges of Indian Lake produce some of the best fishing. Those looking for a challenge, stick around the weeds to the southwest. Those looking for traditional, muddier waters of Indian Lake, go to the northeast section, which is clear of weeds but offers very little public shoreline fishing.

Kayaks can be very stealthy and less likely to spook the fish, which definitely helps put more fish in the “boat”. I have floated directly over some nice size bass without them seeming to care that I was there. Kayaks are able to float in very shallow water and narrow areas where larger vessels cannot, which opens up opportunities to fish less pressured areas. Catching fish from a kayak also feels much more rewarding. It can be very exciting to bring in a large fish while sitting in a kayak. Cost is another huge advantage to kayak fishing. For as little as a couple hundred bucks, you could be on the water fishing your favorite spot. There’s also no maintenance costs when it comes to Kayak Fishing. There are no oil changes, no expensive breakdowns, costly tune-ups, and other costs that come along with larger boats.

Article contributed by Tosh Collins. Tosh can be seen on YouTube channel: “American Outdoor Adventures” and can be reached on Facebook at “Indian Lake Fishing Reports”

Fishing Guided Adventures Lake

Custom painted crankbaits, casting and trolling harnesses, spoons, apparel and more!

Indian Lake

Indian Lake is located in Logan County, in northwest Ohio between Lima and Bellefontaine.


The excess weeds are currently a challenge in some parts of the lake, but there are weed harvesters working to clear that up. There is plenty of navigable water by boat or bank that can lead to a successful day of fishing... Do not limit your time on Indian Lake, start before sunup and stay out well after sundown. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. are the slowest biting hours. You may have to move a few times, but hey, it’s all in good fun, anyway!


Catfish seemed to be the theme at most north central Ohio lakes in August, but September should bring cooler temperatures and the crappie, bass and saugeye bite should heat up some.


Eastern Ohio Muskingum Watershed Lakes

One stop shop and unique store for all your shopping needs, groceries, live bait, frozen shad, fishing poles and tackle, handmade crafts, sodas, DVDs, firewood, ice camping stuff, clothing, automotive, toys, lottery, pull tabs, head shop, Delta 8, 9, 10 products and more. Come in and check out The Island Trading Post.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 OHIO 5 The Island Trading Post 60 Maine Street, Mifflin, OH (419) 908-4041

Information for this report provided by The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. They can be reached at 363-8500

North Central Ohio Lakes Report

615 S. Market St. Danville, Ohio 43014

Atwood Lake. Located in nearby Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties off St. Rt. 212, is a 25-horsepower lake which offers 1540 acres of water surface. It has two public launch ramps and two marinas featuring boat rentals, docking, fuel, boat sales and service. It stocks northern pike, catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and saugeye.

At Clearfork, anglers are catching muskies near the spillway.

Leesville Lake. A 1000 acre lake located between New Philadelphia and Carrollton off Rt. 22 in Carroll county. It has a great reputation for Muskie fishing, as well as northern pike, catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and saugeye. It has two public launch ramps, a 10-horsepower limit and two marinas.


Steve Philpott

Tappan Lake. Located along SR 250 northwest of Cadiz. Tappan Lake is a 2,350 acre lake with two public launch ramps and is home to an abundance of channel and flathead catfish, white bass, crappie, bluegill, and saugeye. It has a 399-horsepower limit and there’s a marina with boat rentals.

Fishing Report by Chris at The Island Trading Post in Mifflin, Ohio, check with them for supplies and bait. At Pleasant Hill Reservoir, Knox and Kokosing lakes, anglers are mostly chasing catfish and bluegills, but in September the bass and crappie should start hitting again.

Seneca Lake. A 3,500 acre lake stocked with catfish, white bass, striped bass, largemouth, bluegill, crappie, perch and walleye. It has a full-service marina that provides boat and motor sales, service, rental, boating supplies, bait, tackle, and licenses.

Piedmont Lake. Located both in Belmont and Harrison Counties near the village of Piedmont along SR 22. Piedmont is a 2270-acre lake. Secluded bays make for great bass and muskellunge fishing, (a state record was caught here!). It also has catfish, bluegill, crappie, perch and saugeye. There is a 10-horsepower limit and two public launch ramps. Piedmont Marina offers boat rental, docking, fuel, boating and fishing supplies.

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Clendening Lake. Known for having the largest undeveloped shoreline in Ohio, Clendening Lake is described as one of the best fishing lakes in the region by local anglers. Clendening Lake features 1800 acres of water surface with three public launch ramps. Anglers will find largemouth and smallmouth bass, saugeye, channel and flathead catfish, crappie, and bullheads. Clendening Lake Marina offers docking, boat rentals, fuel, boating and fishing supplies, and concessions. The lake has a 10-horsepower limit.

Charles Mill anglers are still catching hybrid striped bass near the dam and occasionally bellow the dam. Large flathead catfish are being caught in the northern end of the lake. I just visited the campground there, it looks like a great place to camp, with some sites right on the water’s edge.


Co-Publisher The Angler Magazine – Ohio steve@theanglermagazine.comEditionOffice:(740)899-0591 For advertising opportunites, please contact:

On July 25, 2022, I had the privilege of guiding for a very special true friend, by the name of Dr. Eric Dennis. He is in a battle with Stage 4 cancer and wanted to get out on the water when the treatments weren’t slowing him down. This trip was like no other, when I got the call, I dropped everything and made plans for Monday morning to guide for him. He wanted to use his boat too, just to give it a good workout.


Steve Philpott

After about 4 minutes we went across the lake and on his first cast there, he landed another huge bass, a 4 pounder this time. Our excitement was beyond words. It is not often you hook into back-to-back lunkers. This will always be a special day for Dr. Eric, his wife Mary and myself. We will never forget it and I hope that we can do it again someday. Stage 4 cancer is a terrible thing, my prayers are with them. P.S. I have never had such a touching guide trip as this one. Sometimes we need some sunshine and a great fishing trip to help us put life in perspective.

- Mogadore area

Ron Slater is a fishing guide on the Portage Lakes in Ohio, he can be reached at 330-780-3652 or email



Summit Portage

Mr. Dennis is a well-known fly-tying champion and has given many demonstrations and talks about fly tying and fly fishing. One of his flies can be seen at the Fly-Fishing Museum in Vermont. He is planning on doing some fly fishing in Montana with his son and friends soon (who are all dentists), but for now, we were bass fishing, and it was a beautiful morning for it. When we pulled up on our first area, at Turkeyfoot lake, Mr. Dennis landed a huge bass that weighed in at a little over 6 pounds! As I was taking a few pics, we were all smiles and laughs. The fun and friendships we make on the water may be the best part of what fishing has to offer.

8 OHIO SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM Ohio Mid-Year Fishing Update It is time to see how things at local lakes and rivers are shaking out thus far in 2022. Ohio anglers may be disappointed at some of their regular favorites and desirous of some Buckeye State alternatives. With the usual help of specie reports from statewide reporting stations, my Facebook and web sites, and the Ohio Department of National Resources, we've assembled catch rates and results since ice-out by specie. You'll note some surprises for sure. LARGEMOUTH BASS 1. Portage Lakes 2. Mogadore Reservoir 3. LaDue Reservoir 4. Mosquito Reservoir 5. Lake Erie SMALLMOUTH BASS  1.Lake Erie 2. Cuyahoga River 3. Lake Milton 4. West Branch Reservoir 5. Berlin Reservoir BLUEGILL (includes sunfish, warmouth, redear, pumpkinseed ) 1. LaDue 2. Mosquito 3. Mogadore 4. Lake Punderson 5. Wingfoot Lake CATFISH 1. Ohio River 2. Mosquito 3. Piedmont Reservoir 4. Clendenning Reservoir 5. Lake Erie CRAPPIE MUSKIE 1. West Branch 2. Clear Fork Reservoir 3. Salt Fork Reservoir 4. Milton 5. Leesville Lake NORTHERN PIKE  1. Cuyahoga River 2. Mosquito 3. Milton 4. West 5.LaDueBranch PERCH TROUT 1. Lake Erie 2. Mad River 3. Conneaut Creek 4. Punderson 5. Rocky River WALLEYE 1. Lake Erie 2. West Branch 3. Berlin 4. Mosquito 5. Milton. Jack Kiser is the host of "Buckeye Angler" and long time Outdoors Columnist for the Record-Courier and Midwest Outdoors Magazine, as well as radio and TV host for PBS, ONN, and Fox Sports. You may contact him at his Buckeye Angler Facebook site and the new

On June 28, 15-year-old Edwards Tarumianz caught a gorgeous, almost pure white blue catfish on the Tennessee River near downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. It was the latest in a string of such fish to come from one small stretch of river. While catching a white catfish has been likened to winning the lottery, it seems the odds are much higher on the Tennessee River below Chickamauga Dam.“It’s become pretty clear to us that we’ve got a little recessive gene floating around in the river right here in the Chattanooga vicinity,” said Richard Simms, owner of Scenic City Fishing Charters. “I actually saw another one just a week or so ago. A guy, just a regular fisherman, caught a piebald. So, yeah, we’ve got a recessive gene floating around.”



The Tennessee River’s WHITE BLUE CATS

Scenic City has three captains who specialize in guiding anglers to catfish. They’ve encountered four of these white catfish since 2018. Simms keeps records of his catches, and he estimated Scenic City catches about 5,000 catfish a year. While one white catfish in 5,000 caught is hardly good odds, it’s a lot better than one in a million. This one stretch of river is producing more of these strange fish than anywhere else we’ve heard of.

White catfish are rare anomalies that never fail to set social media abuzz each time an angler catches one. In most instances, biologists attribute the looks of these beautiful pinkishwhite fish to leucism, a genetic trait that results in reduced pigmentation and the pale, sometimes patchy coloration they display.

Contact Scenic City Fishing Charters via



To get an idea of what a day chasing kings is like, I spoke Capt. Matt Paylor, of Sound-N-Sea Charters in Morehead City, N.C. For gear, he likes a 7-foot, live-bait trolling rod with a Shimano TLD reel filled to the brim with 20-pound line. Smaller, school-sized kings eagerly hit trolled spoons and frozen cigar minnows, and you can catch a lot of them.When 10- to 20-pounders are hanging out around a structure, such as artificial reefs, wrecks or ledges, casting to them with swimming plugs and topwaters can lead to fast action. For a challenge, try a 10-weight fly rod rigged with a sinking line and a big streamer fly attached to a wireAleader.20-pound king mackerel can make a fly reel sing, Paylor said, however, if you want to get the big ones, you have to use live bait. His go-to is live menhaden, but he also uses live bluefish in the 2to 3-pound range. For trolling live bait, tie 15 feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon to the end of your main line, and to that attach a double hook live bait rig made with No. 5 single-strand wire and size 4 “quad strong” trebleCapt.hooks.Paylor said kings are very predictable.

He recommends using a sea surface temperature chart and seeing where the water is hovering in the 70-degree range and starting your day at a reef or wreck in that zone. If you see bait working—and especially if you see kings feeding—give it a serious shot. If you have seen kings feeding in open water, you’ll never forget what it looks like; they skyrocket out of the water like a submarine-launched missile.

Paylor said a rule of thumb is to troll live baits at around 2 miles per hour. When you get a bite, the rod slams down and the reel starts screaming. Make sure your drag is not set too tightly or it’ll be over.You’ll get a nice long run when the fish is first hooked. The smaller fish of less than 20 pounds will run out of energy pretty soon. Bigger ones, from 30 to 50 pounds, won’t tire as readily, and the real monsters may do it a few times before they tire. Keep your drag set light and let the fish do its thing; follow it with the boat if necessary. A fish (besides sharks) that is the bane of king mackerel anglers is the amberjack. If you troll near any high spot, usually the top of a shipwreck, there may be a school of them there. Their detractors call them “reef donkeys” with disdain. When you are trolling with a carefully prepared trolling rig and putting in hours looking for trophy kings, one of these bad boys can mess you up. Tournament anglers especially dislike them. If you are out trolling for kings and a school of amberjacks show up in your trolling spread, don’t get mad. Have fun! These fish are a blast and hit topwater plugs with abandon. Cast soda-bottlestyle poppers in the 5- to 6-inch-long range such as the Rapala Magnum Xplode or the Yozuri Bull Pop, retrieve them with a big pull and a pause to make a huge splash, and be prepared for an amazing display. Often a group of them will come up together and slash at it with reckless abandon until one finally gets hooked. Be prepared with a heavy casting rod. I’ve caught them on 12-weight fly rods with the biggest popper I could make. They can show up at any time over any wreck or reef. You just have to be ready. If you’re not fishing in a tournament, why not go have fun with them instead of cursing at them. They will come in fast, hit hard and then keep you occupied for about 20 minutes while they try to pull you out of the boat. This article was reprinted from

With their aggressive nature, willingness to hit almost anything, and ability to make drag screaming runs when first hooked, king mackerel are just a bunch of fun. Because of these qualities, there is a king mackerel tournament somewhere almost every weekend. Plenty of boats head out in pursuit of them from every port, and plenty of tackle dedicated to them is sold in coastal shops.

“They are so consistent with their yearly patterns that if you caught them in a spot in previous years, they are probably going to be there again,” he said.

Gamefish Royalty

By Capt. Gordon Churchill



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An angler from New Jersey caught a North Carolina state record for cubera snapper on Aug. 3. Thomas Madsen caught the 58-pound, 8-ounce fish offshore of Hatteras while fishing with Capt. Tyler Fleetwood and Sea Dream FishingMadsen’sCharters.big fish measured 49.5 inches total length and had a 41-inch girth. He caught it using a Shimano jigging rod, and a Diawa Saltist reel with 80-pound test. It replaces the previous record, which weighed 58 pounds and was caught off Beaufort Inlet in 2016.The IGFA all-tackle world record for Atlantic cubera snapper was caught off Louisiana in June of 2007 by Marion Rose. It weighed 124 pounds 12 ounces. For more information on North Carolina state records, find the State Saltwater Records webpage at


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This is not someone’s escaped goldfish; it’s a bright orange smallmouth bass. Angler Josh Chrenko caught the rare genetic anomaly this summer from the Muskegon River in Michigan. Biologists explained that the fish’s odd coloration is due to a rare genetic condition called xanthochromism, which— like albinism or leucism—is usually caused by a recessive gene.

Xanthochromistic fish are orange because the red pigmentation in their skin is replaced by yellow pigmentation.

“Until I caught this guy, I didn’t even know [xanthic bass] existed,” Chrenko wrote in a Facebook post. “For someone that lives and breathes fishing for smallmouth, this is one I’ll remember my entire life… I can only imagine that this little guy had to overcome crazy odds to survive the first couple of years of his life from predation. Being neon-orange would make for a tough life as a small freshwater fish.” Chrenko released his orange smallie after taking a few photos. For more weird fish, go to

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