The Angler Magazine | June 2023 | Ohio Edition

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Field Dress For Success

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Trophies Traditions !

or those of us afflicted with the fishing bug, nothing will deter us from returning to the ocean. We’re often planning our next trip before the current one is over. There is no difference between fishing daily, or being deprived for weeks, the fisherman’s mind will never stop nagging to get back out there.

Fishing stories and trophies are a great way to keep the inner fishing-monster soothed in between trips.

Photographs are an easy way to relive moments, and should not be overlooked. It doesn’t take much effort to get out a camera and capture the catch when it hits the deck while its colors are vibrant and the smile is fresh on the angler’s face. Friends don’t let friends take deadfish dock photos without at least a few taken out on the blue.

When it comes to fishing trophies, there is a whole lot more to be taken home than just some good photos.

The standard go-to trophies are wall mount replicas, which can easily be reproduced with some measurements and photos. This provides the opportunity to release the fish and also be able to take it home with you. Gray’s Taxidermy does excellent work with this type of customization, and outfits most charter companies with the

required paperwork to get you started on this process. Make sure to ask your captain about mounting your catch before you release the fish.

There are still people who work with the tried and true art of fish taxidermy, utilizing the fish itself, but these services are harder to find, and the product doesn’t last forever.

Gyotaku fish rubbings are another way to accredit the true size of a trophy fish. The fish itself is painted and printed on paper. This method does not allow you to release the fish, but if you work quickly, and utilize acrylics, the fillets may still be consumed. This is a fun method to try on your own, but there are artists you can hire for this as well. These trophies work out better when wall space at home is more limited.

Various parts of the fish can be taken and treated, such as bills, tails, skeletal systems and even eyeballs transformed into epoxy shot glasses. These trophies can have some of the best outcomes, but require some involved and stinky DIY processing. There are a variety of techniques for this, and endless creative potential.

Participating in fishing traditions is another great way to boost the excitement of a first catch, and add to the memory. Who knows how these got started, but it is our communal obligation to keep them alive.

I’m sure there are some I have missed, but here

are the ones I know of, and practice.

When you catch your first tuna, it is customary to eat the heart or, at very least, take a bite out of it. It’s not bad with a bit of lime and a chaser. Tastes a bit like what I would imagine tuna-jerky to taste like.

When you catch your first marlin, you earn a celebratory jump in the ocean. Usually, this is done back at the dock for safety reasons. This is the most refreshing dip you’ll ever take.

When you catch your first swordfish, your crew will hollow out the eyeball, as to make a cup out of it, and you then take a drink from it. I highly recommend being quick about this before extra slime leeches out into your drink. Don’t worry, it all tastes like victory.

However deep your commitment to your fishing affliction may be, the best trophy will always be memories of having a good time. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy being out there. Your local captains understand that it’s difficult to manage life between fishing trips, and we are here for you. Blue Magic Charters is available for your next fix, out of Marathon, Florida Keys.

Capt. Quinlyn, of Blue Magic Charters, is also a Gyotaku artist and a Gray’s Taxidermy agent. Contact her at (504) 920-6342 and follow her social accounts @CaptainQuinlyn.



small green drake just as it was annihilated by a frisky brown trout.

I hurried to tie on a Colorado Green Drake and caught a brown on my first cast. My second cast was taken as soon as it hit the water—a nice rainbow. By then, drakes were all over the surface and the trout were feeding without hesitation. One trout went airborne, and I swear it was looking for the next green drake on its way back down.

It was dry-fly heaven fishing my 7.5-foot “Perfectionist” bamboo rod (made by “Preacher Jim” Beasley, of Crossville, Tenn.) and a green drake tied on 5X tippet. But over the ridge came ominous blue-tinged storm clouds. The pyrotechnics began immediately, with lightning pinging down all around me. Seeking safe haven, I dove into a shallow creek bed that emptied into the river. Elk, deer and bear tracks had beaten down the bed and formed foot-high banks. It was muddy but much safer. At first, it was too dangerous to even sit up, so I lay in the mud and watched the hatch, which was still in full swing.

In 25 years fly fishing, I’ve only experienced two bona fide green drake hatches. The second time I witnessed one of these hatches it was spectacular, the stuff of legends.

Green drakes are large mayflies that, under the right conditions, hatch in huge numbers and send trout into feeding frenzies. It happened for me one afternoon at about 8,750 feet of elevation on a Colorado river. The left bank hugged the base of a mountain ridge and the right bank opened onto a flat meadow of grasses and wildflowers. It was hot and windy—a tough day for fishing dry flies, but I’m a stubborn dry-fly bigot. I refused to nymph and hadn’t caught a single fish until the weather changed. Clouds floated over the ridge and the temperature and pressure dropped. A bright-white flash and instantaneous rumble sent me toward the truck, but on the way I spotted a

Eventually, the lightning lessened, and I was able fish. Once, two fish—a rainbow and a brown—came from opposite directions and arrived at my fly at the same time. A violent collision of noses ensued, and both fish quickly retreated. My drake was partially submerged after impact, but a different brown appeared, circled once, and daintily took the fly. He was not happy when I hooked him!

Once, I was surprised when my drake drifted almost back to me without a strike. Just as I was picking up the fly to cast again, an upstream brown came like a freight train. It took the fly on the uptake, went airborne and hit me in the chest. When you get nailed in the chest by a 16-inch brown, it’s gotta be a green drake hatch!

This short story (copyrighted by the author) and many other true-life fly fishing adventures can be found in Michael Fitzsimmons’ book “Adventures of a Dry-Fly Junkie,” available only on Amazon. Contact the author at


Everyyear in Basel, Switzerland, the world’s best-known luxury watchmakers gather to display their new timepieces.

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MITZI SKIFF: Affordable Performance on the Flats

boat. It really is a very nice boat, notwithstanding the price point.”

The Mitzi Skiff 17’ is a stripped-down and customizable version of the 17’ Tournament, which comes with the options Grubbs said most of his fishing customers were asking for. Both boats draft just 7 inches loaded, they pole easily, they pole straight, and they reach speeds into the 40s with a 60 hp engine.

While the 15’ is a one or two-man boat that’s at-home on the flats, the 17’ can fish three people and it’s got better range. The 17’s primary purpose is still as a flats boat, yet it also doubles admirably as bay boat.

“It’s not just a flats boats; it’s a little bit of an open water boat, too,” Grubbs said.

The 17’ features a modified V-hull with an 11-degree deadrise at transom. There’s no hull slap, and rolled gunnels knock down spray for an exceptionally dry ride. They are built for light weight to run shallow, yet they are solid and durable to stand up to long years of heavy use.

Going back to the mid-1990s, Mitzi Skiff has led the industry with no-nonsense flats boats for skinny-water anglers.

In the very beginning, Tom Mitzlaff’s intent was to design the boat he needed to fly fish the flats. He couldn’t find an affordable boat on the market with the shallow draft, clean layout and quiet maneuverability he needed, so he designed and built the original 15-foot Mitzi Skiff.

That boat revolutionized the marketplace. Mitzi Skiff became the brand for skinny-water anglers who value simplicity and functionality. A Mitzi does everything the pricier skiffs do, yet they are affordable enough for any angler to own

and operate.

About 30 years later, Mitzi has expanded to offer 15’, 16’ and 17’ skiffs that all perform the purposes of the original design exceptionally well. Continued innovation has made Mitzi a boat other builders imitate, and they still come at a significantly lower price point than the competition. The 17’ and the 17’ Tournament have become the brand’s hottest sellers.

“The 15’ took the micro-skiff market by storm,” said Brad Grubbs, who owns and manufactures Mitzi Skiffs in North Carolina. “Since then, the brand has sort of evolved toward the 17’, which works just fine as a multi-purpose

From hideaway pushpole holders to flushmount hardware, Mitzi has obviously put some thought into making decks clean and fishable for fly anglers. Large, clean and stable casting decks are something Mitzi has become known for.

“Keep it simple stupid, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” Grubbs quipped. For nearly three decades, Mitzi has built skiffs for anglers more interested in fishing than in spending a lot of money. It’s a philosophy that works.

Mitzi Skiff boats are available exclusively through select dealers. For more on Mitzi Skiffs, go to



Spring fishing may be the year’s most unpredictable period, but it’s also the primary time of year for the onset of the premier open water crappie bite. As tree blooms come about, the crappies move in towards their spawning grounds, most often conveniently in, around, and sometimes even on shoreline cover.

A popular way to approach these particularly susceptible panfish under such conditions, either from shore or boat, is to remember that in the spring, crappie will most often set up and position themselves on the inside of cover like tree branches and many boat docks. The common way to approach these fish is with a live minnow under a bobber. Remember that crappie, like most fish, feed up and it’s best to start off shallow and then go deeper if necessary. This approach also lessens the likelihood of snags that could spook the whole school. Another tip is to use Aberdeen hooks (numbers 4 and 6 are best) that are formed from gold-colored light wire. Such hooks can be easily reshaped by hand after snaggings, from which they can also often be straightened out and freed with a pull.

After the spawn, most crappie will move out a bit deeper from the shore and suspend over deeper water, often over sunken brush, and stumps. This is when a bobber-less, vertical jigging method is most productive. This is also when a shorter, more sensitive rod comes into play. One- and two-inch twister-tails on a perhaps a 1/32 oz. jighead are appropriate. This can be a fun and productive way to catch numbers of slabs.

When casting for crappie at a distance, opt for 6 to 7’ fiberglass ultra-light spinning outfits loaded with 2-4 lb. monofilament.

A listing of Ohio’s better crappie fisheries would have to include the likes of Mosquito, West Branch, Berlin, Caesar’s Creek, Mogadore, Tappan Dam, and Deer Creek.

Get out now and enjoy the pursuit of America’s most popular and delicious gamefish while the water’s cool and the crappie are most vulnerable. ***

Article by: Jack Kiser. Host of “Buckeye Angler”. He can be reached at the Buckeye Angler Facebook site, or the new

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Multiple Lake Erie Options

It is shaping up to be another phenomenal season so far this year. All species in Lake Erie have been biting well this year from walleye to catfish. June is a great month for nice weather and fast action fishing. As we move into June the post spawn walleye will begin to get hungry. There will be pockets of fish for casting-anglers, a couple miles from shore around the reef complex to the islands area and beyond. These fish will be caught by casting gold Colorado bladed worm harnesses in 20-30 feet of water as the annual bug hatches start to occur. Normally the big mayfly hatch happens early to mid-month and will fuel an excellent bite in the west end of the lake, north of west sister island. Fish will be feeding heavy on the mayfly larvae and when weather allows the travel there, the fishing is excellent, and the boats will be plentiful. Also, the deeper waters on the Camp Perry Firing range such as the B-C-D cans and the bass islands will be holding fish, likely spread out for trolling-anglers. Anyone who plans to troll has many options on what lures to use but if wanting to troll worm harnesses a 1, 1-1/2, or 2-ounce inline weight with a variety of color harnesses trolled 30 to 60 feet behind planer boards at 1.2 to 1.5mph should get you a couple fish in the box. If wanting to avoid getting your hands dirty in worm dirt, “Michigan Stinger” spoons are a popular, easy option. Trolling these behind 40ft. jet divers at anywhere from 30-60 feet behind planer boards should also box a few walleye for you. Lastly, your regular stick baits such as bandits, reef runners, and even flicker minnows can be productive in getting some bigger fish. For other species, smallmouth bass fishing will be good with many nice fish to be caught in 12-20ft. of water on tube baits and drop shots as they finish up spawning. Also, many of the white bass will still be hanging in the Sandusky and Maumee rivers early in the month to finish up their annual spawn. After they leave the rivers they can still be caught at river mouths/piers in the early mornings and evenings. Panfish will also still be in many of the marinas off the lake and taking minnows and jigs under a bobber. Lastly, catfish may provide some nightly fun anywhere you can get a line wet. Sandusky Bay and river are great places to wet a line for a night filled with many big channel cats. Either way, expect a fish filled June and remember any day on the water is better than a day at work. See ya out there,

Capt. Jonny Fickert. Sea Breeze Charters, 877-616-7780 (


Plenty of ways to eat the plentiful freshwater drum

When walleye anglers catch Freshwater drum on Lake Erie or in its tributaries, most toss this normally non-target species back. Yet, when I bring (Sheepshead) to wild fish and game dinners, people like them well enough to ask for my recipes. Nationwide, they are known by many names including bubbler, cambellite, croaker, croaker perch, drumfish, gaspergou, goo, gou, gray bass, grinder, grunter, grunting perch, thunder bass and thunderpumper. Anglers may land dozens of them during June as they concentrate on spawning reefs and in tributary streams. Some grow very large. Ohio’s record stands at 23 ½ pounds, taken in the Sandusky River. Drum are most often caught with night crawlers and minnows, but insect larvae, crayfish and mollusks make up the bulk of their diet. They grind up clam and snail shells with molar-like (pharyngeal) teeth back in their throats. Although they are not sharp enough to cut a fingertip, when reaching deep into the throat to remove a hook, expect a firm squeeze. While unhooking the drum, you may also hear a grunting sound produced by a structure inside the fish echoing off the swim bladder. Only males produce this sound, which is thought to attract females during spawning season. They will readily take jigs fished near bottom structure and are frequently caught on trolled spoons and crank baits- proof that they are not strictly bottom feeders. As with all fish, drum should be iced as quickly as possible to prevent spoilage. Because of their firm white flesh, drum work well in fish chili, soups, stews, chowders, and casseroles or served in Cajun-style etouffee and jambalaya. The fillets are best when skinned and then trimmed of all visible fat, silverskin and the red muscle layer. The “loins” from the tops of trimmed fillets are the premier cut. Due to high fat content, they are better when eaten fresh rather than after freezing and thawing, which can intensify rancid oil flavors. After being baked, pan fried in butter and herbs, or battered and deepfried, they are ideal for fish tacos. Some of the best ways to enjoy freshwater drum are to boil 2-inch-long strips in Old Bay seasoning for 3-4 minutes, then serve them either warm with melted butter using crab forks as “poor man’s lobster” or chilled in ice water and served with cocktail sauce on toothpicks as “poor man’s shrimp.” However, my favorite way to eat drum is after hot smoking boneless fillet loins in apple wood after brining overnight.

Freshwater drum grow the largest otoliths (calcified inner ear bones) of any North American fish. They are known as ‘lucky stones’ due to a letter “L” that forms in the smooth side of the right otolith. The left one has a backward “L.” Beachcombers often find them polished clean by wave action to an ivory-like finish. Some Native peoples used lucky stones as currency. They are considered a goodluck charm, and local jewelry makers often feature these novelties in their work.

Article by: John Hageman. He now writes approximately 125 articles per year after retiring from the Ohio Sea Grant/Stone LaboratoryThe Ohio State University’s Lake Erie biology station at Put-In-Bay.

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Photos by John Hageman: Poor Man’s Shrimp made from Freshwater drum (John Hageman)

Portage - Mogadore area

a Dennis. get slowing the Monday boat has and Fly-Fishing fly (who and on a As I

The the on 4 words. This and can

Brag Board

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.

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


Summit - Portage - Mogadore area

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.

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.

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.

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

For advertising opportunites, please contact:

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

Office: (740) 899-0591


Central Ohio’s Multiple Fishing Opportunities

I live in central Ohio and have made a conscious effort to fish in all the waters that are around me. But I have a long way to go. There are just multiple fishing opportunities around here! I challenge you to just look up Central Ohio reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and creeks and see how many you have fished. I have started a list here just in case you live in this area and want to take up the challenge to fish them all. I know I have missed some and I am not including very many municipal reservoirs or lakes.

We have trout streams in our reach: The Mad River, Mohican / Clear Fork, and Clear Creek near Lancaster. Also check the ODNR site for a list of the many lakes in our area that are stocked with trout each year. Those are great for taking a kid fishin. Bluegills are another one that are good for kids and central Ohio lakes have plenty. For crappie try Madison, Knox, Hoover, or Delaware lakes. Catfish can be taken in nearly every lake, creek, and river nearby. There are bass and saugeye in most of the lakes and reservoirs. Some have hybrid Stripers like Buckeye Lake, Charles Mill, Dillon, Griggs, and O’Shaughnessy lakes. Some have musky like Alum Creek and Clear Fork Reservoirs. Almost all of the creeks and rivers in central Ohio hold good numbers of smallmouth bass and rock bass. Some of my favorites are Darby creek, Kokosing, Licking, Alum, and Scioto. Good luck getting to all the fishing spots we have around here, even if you don’t succeed, it’s fun just trying and you might find a new favorite.

Here is my list, respond on our Facebook page to send me ones I missed.

Lakes and Reservoirs: Buckeye, Alum, Hoover, Knox, Deer Creek, Dillon, Delaware, O’Shaughnessy, Kokosing, Hargus, Madison, Rush Creek, C. J. Brown, Indian Lake, Pleasant Hill, Clear Fork, Rose, Bur Oak, Griggs, Charles Mill. Creeks and Rivers: Scioto, Blacklick, Darby, Olentangy, Big Walnut, Kokosing, Licking, Mad, Mohican, Clear, Hocking.

Article by Steve Philpott – The Angler Magazine – Ohio

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Nice Weather Leads to Highly Pressured

I’m sure that many of you have been fishing in busy places at one time or another. I have been in the middle of live shows at times when things get crowded, sometimes it has been really difficult to get the situation under control. But things like this can actually be a blessing in disguise... Let’s take my local waters here in the beautiful Portage Lakes in Ohio for instance. These waters are highly pressured throughout the warmer months. Between the pontoon boats and the tournament anglers as well as the general population of recreational anglers, and jet skiers, it can get kind of busy, but there are many different ways to make your day successful.

First of all, I will get out super early in the morning to get to my best spots before the traffic gets too bad. As more boaters come out, I will generally throw my lures behind their boat where they just passed through as their prop wash kicks up debris and stunned bait fish from the shallow channels. I have to think of everything that will help my guide-clients catch fish. You can still find some quiet spots during busy times though. At the Portage Lakes, the East Reservoir is still my top hot spot with West Reservoir running a close second... Just find the spots that are a litter farther from the boat ramps, etc. June is the right time for some good fishing, the bass in these waters certainly welcome plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs no matter how busy it gets. Be safe out there...

Ron Slater, Pro #808 N.P.A.A. Portage Lakes Guide Service

6 OHIO JUNE COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM Ron Slater’s Portage Lakes Guide Service (330) 780-3652 • Bass • Walleye • & More

Slamming Ohio Summer Cats

During the summer, catfishing can become difficult with the spawn and the quick rising summer heat here in Ohio. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to catch them, you just have to change up your tactics this time of year. Sometimes it seems just as quickly as the pre-spawn comes in April-May, that the bite turns off just as fast. When the water temperatures finally reach between 70 to 80 degrees, the females are busy laying eggs while the males guard the nests, making it hard for anglers to get the attention of the fish. The most important thing is to use fresh bait. We generally use cut bait, but you can use live baits, shrimp, liver, etc. Don’t be afraid to change-up your locations. The more water you cover increases the chances of you getting on the fish. Catfish are bottom dwellers and hide in holes, log structures, debris, or anything else they can tuck themselves into. Moving around gives you more opportunities to succeed in locating them and with a little patience you’ll be rewarded. This time of year is a perfect time to try out some night fishing to beat the heat during the day, and the catfish start moving once the water temperature declines slightly. The night bite is an experience itself that you don’t want to miss out on. It truly gives you a mystical, eerie feeling when you pull a giant catfish from the dark depths of the water. Suspending your bait is another good technique to try out. We enjoy using glow bobbers, or glow sticks on the rod tips for a better visual and bells for a little noisy fun that even the kids can enjoy while making a neat experience for them to get them into fishing. Bank fishing is still one of our favorite things to do, especially in June. The fishing is better before the upcoming months of hotter weather which brings in algae and lily pad growth making it complicated for a lot of anglers to fish, especially in areas that don’t allow much land access. This is the kind of fishing anyone can do with the whole family, making life-lasting memories on the water. The catfish are still in shallow water on the nests and also come up to ambush prey, feeding on baitfish after sunset. If you still aren’t producing bites, try giving it a little extra time. Catfish can be lazy, and it takes time for those bigger ones to come in sometimes. If you want to improve your hookup ratio while also taking precautions not to harm the fish, use circle hooks or c-hooks. These allow the hooks to be properly placed in the side of the mouth usually with an easy, quick hook retrieval without gut hooking the fish. Generally, we use an 8 O. size hook to target the larger catfish on a basic medium-heavy rod with 4060 pound braided line. This is our personal preference which has never given us a problem in the past. Following just these few simple techniques will have you slamming catfish all summer long here in Ohio.

Article by Allison Benoit, Her and Gabbie’s fishing adventures can be seen on Youtube at: and on Facebook at Benoit Fishing Outdoors.

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Let’s grow with Florida together.

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

20 Sacks Weighed Heavier than 30 Pounds at One Tourney

Catch a 30-pound ve- sh sack of bass, and you’re pretty much a lock to win whatever tournament you’re shing, right?

Imagine that glorious moment when you’ve been culling 5-pounders and pull into the docks to unload your livewell. With a grin on your face, you haul that huge bag of sh up to the scales…only to nd out your 30-pound sack barely put you in the top 20! at was the reality at a May 6 Roland Martin Marine Center Bass Series event on Lake Okeechobee. e shing was so good that anglers weighed 20 ve-bass limits that were heavier than 30 pounds. It took 36.82 pounds to win. We’re not sure who keeps track of such things, but that’s more 30-pound sacks in one tournament than we’ve ever heard of.

A father-son team of Preston and 11-year-old Tavyn Heisler won the 177-team tournament and a $6,500 big check.

“It was an amazing day,” Preston told a RMMCBS reporter a er the tournament. “I’m still shaking and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Tavyn said he was the net man early in the tournament, but he caught his own 8-pounder late in the day. His favorite lure was a black and blue charterbait.

To read a full report on the event, visit:

Maguire’s frst work is a compelling, fast read. His style is like a mix of Hemingway with a sardonic blend of Hunter S. Thompson. I couldn’t put it down...
Ben Martin
“ ”
Editor in Chief Coastal Angler Magazine
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Florida’s red snapper season will be 70 days long in 2023 and include both summer and fall dates. In early May, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced what he called the longest combined season since the state took control of red snapper management. e summer season will be 46 days, followed by a 24-day falls snapper season.

“Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World, and the Gulf red snapper season brings anglers from across the country to enjoy our waters,” said Gov. DeSantis. “It is a generational tradition for so many who call Florida home. I am happy that 2023 will be by far the longest combined season since the state assumed management of red snapper.”

e 46-day summer season will begin on June 16 and run through July 31. e 24-day fall season will include all weekends in October and November, Friday–Sunday.

If you plan to sh for red snapper in state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, even if you are exempt from shing license requirements, you must sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal required). For more information, see

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For all science knows about our sheries, there is plenty le to discover. Bone sh & Tarpon Trust scientists recently located a bone sh prespawning aggregation (PSA) in the Florida Keys. e discovery is the rst of its kind in Florida waters and the culmination of a years-long search that utilized acoustic telemetry and the historical knowledge of veteran shing guides.

“ is is a major discovery for the Florida Keys shery,” said BTT President and CEO Jim McDu e. “BTT has previously identi ed PSAs in several other countries, but Florida sites remained elusive—until now. By locating this PSA, our scientists will be able to learn more about where and how bone sh spawn in the Florida Keys, which is information critical to the sustained recovery of the population.”

Over the course of the 2022-2023 bone sh spawning season, which spans from October to April, BTT Florida Keys Initiative Manager Dr. Ross Boucek and his team tracked 67 sh and logged more than 94,000 detections. Many of these detections were in the area where BTT research during the 2021-2022 season and reports from shing guides indicated a likely PSA. Fourteen bone sh detected at the suspected PSA site had been tagged at distant ats, including two sh tagged 55 miles away.

e newly discovered PSA is comprised of approximately 2,000 to 5,000 sh and located three to four miles o shore along a reef. Previously documented PSAs in the Bahamas and Belize are located in nearshore waters.

At the site, BTT scientists also observed bone sh gulping air at the surface. Previous research shows that bone sh engage in this behavior before spawning to ll their swim bladders. At night, the sh dive hundreds of feet and rapidly ascend to the surface. e sudden change in pressure during the ascent makes their swim bladders expand, enabling the bone sh to release eggs and sperm. A er fertilization, hatched larvae dri in ocean currents before settling in shallow sand- or mud-bottom bays, where they develop into juvenile bone sh.

“As a Keys shing guide for 53 years, with a science background, I took bone sh for granted—they were what I shed for every day,” said Capt. Rick Ruo , member of the BTT Board of Directors. “I thought that I knew all about the resource, until the population crashed. I discovered neither I, nor anyone else, knew where or how bone sh spawned—a major gap in our knowledge. BTT has come up with the amazing science to determine the dynamics of bone sh spawning. It has been a great lesson to me that we have located this missing piece of the puzzle. To have a healthy population and management goals, you have to understand all aspects of your resource. I am so proud to be part of the BTT science e ort that has unraveled these bone sh mysteries and will witness their rebound.”

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Loop knots leave a small loop of line rather than a knot snug against the hook eye. ey are important to have in your repertoire for shing arti cials because that loop allows a little more movement when you’re working lures like jigs, topwaters and plugs.

e Kreh knot, developed by legendary y sherman Le y Kreh, was originally intended to be used for streamers and bait sh ies. It is also a great choice for conventional anglers throwing any lure that needs a touch of freedom to strut its stu Also known as the non-slip loop knot, it is strong and easy to tie, and it works well with both mono lament and uorocarbon lines.

With the Kreh knot, you give up a bit of strength in comparison to snug Palomar or uni knots, but you’re trading it for lifelike lure action. e

venerable Rapala knot is another great loop knot that might be a little stronger than the Kreh. However, the Kreh is a tad easier to tie, making it our go-to loop knot for lures in freshwater or salt.

For more shing tips and tricks, visit

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Timothy Crowley was shing Kenansville Lake with Capt. Morris Campbell on March 23 when he caught this 13.10-pound lunker.

Orange Lake keeps pumping out giant largemouth bass. e latest leader in Florida’s TrophyCatch program is a 14-pound, 1-ounce monster from Orange Lake. Chad Dorland caught the sh on April 23 to claim the top spot in FWC’s big-bass recognition program.

Dorland’s sh is the third 13-plus-pounder to come from the 12,550acre Alachua County lake since February. On Feb. 3, Luke Matthews caught a 13-pound, 8-ounce bass at Orange Lake. Anthony Holland caught a 13-pound, 3-ounce beast at Orange Lake on Feb. 25.

Fish weighing more than 13 pounds are awarded Hall of Fame status in the TrophyCatch program. Five Hall of Fame sh have been caught since TrophyCatch season 11 began on Oct. 1, 2022. ree of the ve were caught at Orange Lake, which has also seen 13 other bass weighing more than 10 pounds submitted to the program in that same time period. ose statistics don’t even include all the other lunkers anglers have likely caught and not entered into the program. It’s safe to say Orange Lake is a big-bass factory at the moment.

e other two 13-plus-pound TrophyCatch entries this year were both caught in March. On March 4, Russell Bauknight caught a 13-pound, 8-ounce hawg at Holden’s Pond, which is just up the road from Orange Lake in the same sprawling system of shallow, vegetation- lled waters southeast of Gainesville. On March 23, Timothy Crowley caught a 13-pound, 10-ounce sh that gave him the top spot in TrophyCatch before Dorland caught his 14-pounder. Crowley’s sh came from Kenansville Reservoir down in Indian River County.

For more information, visit www.trophycatch

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Hand closes Aug. 6, allowing harvest to begin during the weekend in advance of the Fourth of July holiday.

“Extending the season will increase the economic bene ts from this popular recreational shery to local communities in the region,” said Jessica McCawley, Division of Marine Fisheries Management Director. We will continue these e orts by exploring long-term season options for future years via the formal rulemaking process.”

Between 2017 and 2020, FWC took a pilot approach to establish regionally speci c bay scallop regulations while also maintaining the sustainability of local scallop populations. As part of this e ort, the allowable harvest area for scallops was extended to include Pasco County waters starting in 2018. e Pasco Zone for bay scallop management includes all Florida waters south of the Pasco-Hernando county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse, approximately 0.37 miles south of the Pasco-Pinellas county line.

e daily bag limit in this area is 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1 pint of shucked bay scallop meat per person, with no more than a total of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1/2 gallon (4 pints) shucked bay scallop meat per vessel.

For more information, go to

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