The Angler Magazine | April 2023 | Okeechobee / Lakeland Edition

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MAHI A Few Facts About Everyone’s Favorite Fish

On the end of a line or wrapped up in a tortilla, dolphin sh are a worldwide fan favorite. Here are a few facts you might not have known about mahi-mahi:

• What’s in a Name? Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian term for the sh historically called dolphin or dolphin sh in the mainland United States. In Polynesian “mahi” means “strong,” and “mahi-mahi” translates to very strong. Although most U.S. scientist still refer to the species as dolphin sh, the term mahi has become more

prevalent in recent years, perhaps through foodsh marketing or to avoid confusion with the mammal also called dolphin.

Spanish speakers typically refer to the same sh as “dorado,” which means “golden.” Obviously, this comes from the sh’s color, and dorado is also used widely in the Paci c as well as in English-speaking South Africa.

Dolphin sh are found in all the world’s tropical and subtropical oceans. ey go by many names in many languages. ey are Shiira in Japanese, goldmakrele in German, lambuka in Arabic… and the list goes on.

• All the Pretty Colors: Dolphin sh are revered for their gorgeous colors, which change according to their excitement level. ey can change colors and even icker from day-glow green and yellow with blue highlights to lighter blue and metallic silver over the course of a ght. As soon as you pull them out of the water, this brilliance begins to fade. ese changing colors are due to cells called chromatophores in their skin. Chromatophores re ect light, contain pigment, and are controlled by central nervous system, which gives mahi their awesome chameleon-like abilities.

• Rabbit of the Sea: Part of the allure of mahi for anglers is their prevalence. When they are around, there are usually a lot of them around. ey grow quickly and reproduce proli cally, like rabbits. Dolphin sh can grow up to 3 inches in a week and reach sexual maturity in just ve or six months. ey spawn two or three times a year, and each female can release up to a million eggs during each cycle.

• Size Matters: While smaller “peanut” mahi travel and feed in giant schools, larger individuals cruise in smaller packs of two to ve sh. e average dolphin only lives two or three years, and they have a lifespan of ve to seven years. e IGFA all-tackle world record weighed 87 pounds and was caught o Costa Rice in 1976.

• Speed: Dolphin sh are estimated to swim up to 50 nautical mph, which allows them to feed on pretty much anything they can t in their mouths. is includes their little brothers and sisters.

• Management: It’s usually bad news for anglers when the federal acronyms pay special attention to a species. However, years of declining catches have led Florida shermen to call for tighter regulations for dolphin sh in the Atlantic. Currently, NOAA and SAFMC are looking at options.

Florida boasts some of the best dolphin shing in the world. e sharp multi-year decline in the shery is alarming. Last year, while SAFMC mulled potential regulations changes in federal waters, Florida preemptively slashed limits in state waters by half—from 10 sh to ve sh per person, with the vessel limit dropping from 60 to 30 sh per day.

SAFMC did not follow suit. With opposition to tighter regulations from North Carolina, where dolphin shing appears to be getting better, the per-person bag limit in federal waters of the South Atlantic remained at 10 sh per person, while the daily vessel limit was modi ed from 60 sh to 54 sh. ere is a minimum size limit of 20 inches in federal waters o South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. ere is no minimum size limit o North Carolina.

Many Florida anglers were stunned by the decision to pretty much allow federal regulations to remain as they were. Changes, however, are likely on the way. NOAA/SAFMC have initiated a “management strategy evaluation” with a stated goal of annually determining dolphin sh supply before allocating harvest equally to di erent regions and user groups. We might get a look at what that means by 2024.

• Grocery Shopping: Most of the mahi-mahi you nd in restaurants or at the grocery store comes from the Paci c. In the South Atlantic, just seven percent of the total catch limit is allocated to commercial shing.

MAKE IT A DOUBLE!

A“double tackle” is what I call rigging two lures on the same main line. In certain situations, this appearance of a school of eeing bait sh or shrimp is irresistible to predators, and I’ve got a clean and simple way to rig a double tackle.

is the time of year, a double tackle can be deadly in inshore sheries. Spring brings huge schools of small, immature bait rolling up the creeks o the Intracoastal. ey push into the shallow bays and up the rivers trying to nd a place to hide from all the predators. Rigging two identical baits together can be irresistible to predator sh, and at the same it confuses them. I think sh look at this tackle, with baits zigging and zagging, and are forced to decide which one to eat, rather than whether or not to eat.

ere is always the possibility of catching two tackle. It happens a lot.

Speckled trout, striped bass and American shad are a few likely candidates for this tackle. Spring trout sometimes key on juvenile shrimp, and this tackle is a dead-ringer for the job. American and hickory shad are complete idiots for this tackle, as they stage in tight schools and you o en catch doubles. For the speckled trout, I like a 3-inch DOA Shrimp. For shad, I prefer small so -plastic worms.

Depending on water clarity, I sh 20- to 30-pound uoro for trout and 8- to 12-pound uoro for shad. is a very ne line between using a uoro light enough to get the bite and heavy enough to withstand the force of two sh yanking against each other on the line. e knot that connects everything together is pretty simple, but it takes a little practice to get it just right. It is a must to moisten the uoro when cinching the knot

down tight, as it will cut itself if it’s not wet. Test your knots, pulling hard on them, before use.

I’m going to get sporty this year and make a double-squid tackle for the black n tuna. I may get two at once, but that’s a gamble I’m willing to take. Stay in touch to my YouTube channel for video featuring the black ns. I think the black n tackle will be made with 50-pound uoro.

Regardless of the lure, I use jig heads that make baits walk the dog underwater like a Gotsh the front lure with a jig head, and it zigs and zags with the same cadence of the trailing lure, which has no jig head, just a hook. O en the trailing bait gets the bite.

I’m not going into a lengthy explanation in writing about how to make this tackle, but will show an up-close detailed video that explains this simple knot and rigging completely.

To see video instructions on rigging Tim Barefoot’s double tackle, go to https://youtu.be/FsdUGwyM9c4. For more, visit barefootcatsandtackle.com.

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Catch More Springtime Crappie

It’s the time of year when crappie shing can get mighty easy. However, you can always strive to load the cooler with more and bigger sh. Here are a few tips:

• Know Your Prey: Crappie are on the move this time of year. ey might be staged up at prespawn or postspawn depths, or they might be right up on the banks in a foot and a half of water spawning. Knowing their cycles will help you nd them.

Before and a er they spawn, crappie hold on brush and structure just outside of their spawning areas. ey move up into the shallows to spawn in waves, and this can go on for a month or more. So, while some sh are easy targets when they’re spawning or guarding fry on super-shallow brush, there are other, possibly larger, sh feeding a little deeper.

If you’re not catching the numbers or size you’d like to see in the shallows, get on the trolling motor and use your sonar to nd the creek channels and rst drops o the spawning areas. Find some good brush or search the fronts of docks. You might nd big schools slab crappie. Pitch jigs or minnows to individual brushpiles or slow troll these deeper areas to nd sh.

• Ditch the Bobber: A minnow under a bobber is a traditional and e ective crappie rig. It is not, however the most e cient way to catch them in most situations. During the spawn, male crappie are the ones that stay shallow and guard the nests. ey are aggressive, and they are not necessarily feeding when they attack. ese sh are particularly susceptible to gaudy, brightly colored jigs.

Crappie jigs are the best way to cover water both on

spawning banks and on deeper brush. Even when they’re feeding heavily, crappie on brush won’t chase their prey more than a few feet. A jig allows you to make numerous casts and thoroughly cover the water horizontally and vertically in the time it would take to hook and soak a single minnow under a bobber.

Move quickly until you nd the you can slow down and catch them all. If you still want to support the local live bait store, go ahead and buy some minnows and thread them through the lips on a crappie jig.

• Scent: You might not need it all the time to catch sh, but scent helps crappie nd your lure and convinces them to eat. It doesn’t hurt to tip your jig with a minnow, and arti cial attractants like PowerBait Crappie Nibbles or JJ’s Magic can sometimes make them bite when they’ve got lockjaw.

• Network: Make friends with other crappie anglers. ere’s no shortage of available crappie in most lakes. Sharing information with other anglers helps everyone stay on top of the sh. You don’t have to tell anyone where you sunk your Christmas tree in January, but a little give and take doesn’t hurt when you’re talking about stages of the spawn or e ective colors.

For more crappie shing, visit www.coastalanglermag.com.

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BIG BLUEFISH ARE ON THE WAY

With spring nally here, the ocean is open to many possibilities here in South Florida. One of my favorites is the arrival of larger blue sh, which tend to migrate this direction at this time of year.

Blue sh are a popular game sh in almost all the waters surrounding the United States. Smaller blue sh from 7 to 9 inches are sometimes called snapper. ese sh have extremely sharp teeth, with prominent canines on both the top and bottom jaw.

Blue sh are common along the Atlantic coast of the United States, and

range from Cape Cod down through Argentina. eir migrations are a tricky subject. Most people believe blue sh travel from Florida up to New Jersey, and then back down to Florida. However, this has never truly been proven. While doing some research, I found a few studies that never came to a clear conclusion.

What we do know is that blue sh spawn at the edge of the Gulf Stream o Florida in spring. e timing varies from year to year, but there is usually a three to seven-day window when larger blue sh swim closer to shore. For Florida, this is the time when we catch our largest blue sh, and this week is normally sometime in April.

Most smaller “snapper” blue sh tend to hang around mangroves, estuaries and bridges to ensure their safety. is provides them with cover from predators and access to smaller prey also hiding in these “safe” areas. Once they get large enough, they move o the coast to feed on larger, more abundant prey. ey are typically found in inlets, around piers and o the beaches, where large bait schools ensure a better hunt with less energy being exerted.

When hunting for blue sh, you’ll want to start where the bait is. Most of the time you will see blue sh schools popping bait schools on the surface, and other blue sh will be cleaning up the mess below. For this situation, you can use any kind of spoon, X-Raps or jigs. Normally, you’ll want to use a small piece of wire so that they don’t cut you o

If you don’t see blue sh popping baits, you can look for oil slicks. Some experts say they can smell the odor from their oils. But, for those who can’t “sni out” the sh, you can throw chunks of dead le over bait and let it stink up the water to draw them in. Usually a 2-inch chunk of mackerel, jack or even dead bait sh like sardines will attract any blue sh in the area.

Currently, on the east coast of Florida, you can keep three blue sh per person, per day. Many people prefer to use blue sh as bait, while some will make a stew or cook them whole. e IGFA all-tackle world record blue sh was a 31-pound, 12-ounce monster caught out of Hatteras, North Carolina.

Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 56 IGFA world records in various categories. She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part time Bow n Guide Service as well as shing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her on social media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors.

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PORGY, SNOWY GROUPER, BLUELINE TILEFISH

At its late February commission meeting, FWC approved regulations changes to cut possession limits for three species and establish new open seasons for two of them in Florida’s Atlantic state waters. e modi cations are consistent with current and pending regulations for federal waters of the Atlantic.

• e bag limit for red porgy will be cut from three to one sh per person, per day. An open season of May-June will be established.

• e snowy grouper bag limit will be one sh per vessel, per day. is is a decrease from one sh per person, per day. An open season of May–June will be established.

• e blueline tile sh bag limit will be reduced from three sh to two sh per person, per day, and for-hire captain and crew will be prohibited from retaining a bag limit.

Last year, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved management changes to help rebuild the red porgy and snowy grouper stocks, which are over shed and undergoing over shing, and to reduce the risk of over shing for blueline tile sh.

e red porgy recreational limits will be e ective April 1 in Atlantic state waters, and the snowy grouper and blueline tile sh regulations will go into e ect at a later date once pending federal regulations have been implemented.

For more information, visit MyFWC.com.

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RELEASE DEVICES Now Required in State Waters

Anglers pursuing reef sh in Florida state waters will now be required to have a descending device or venting tool onboard that is ready for use. ey will also be required to use the device or tool on sh exhibiting signs of barotrauma prior to release. is new rule was scheduled to become e ective April 1 a er being approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at its February meeting.

Release mortality is a top sheries management challenge. As reef sh are reeled up from depth, they can su er a pressure-related injury known as barotrauma. If not treated correctly, barotrauma can be lethal to sh Descending devices or venting tools can help sh recover from the e ects of barotrauma.

Barotrauma mitigation tool requirements have already been adopted in Gulf and Atlantic federal waters. In Gulf federal waters, shers have the choice of possessing either a descending device or a venting tool that is rigged and ready for use. In Atlantic federal waters, shers are required to have a descending device that is readily available for use. is new rule for Gulf and Atlantic state waters allows anglers to choose which type of tool

best ts their circumstances.

A summary of the proposed rule presented at the meeting also indicated a concern about private anglers either not being aware of the requirements or not having con dence with the use of such devices. FWC has committed to an outreach program designed to raise awareness on the proper use of barotrauma mitigation tools.

Find current reef sh gear requirements at MyFWC.com/ReefFishGear. Anyone who plans to harvest or attempt to harvest, including catch and release, certain reef sh species in Gulf or Atlantic waters from a private recreational vessel must sign up for the free State Reef Fish Angler designation and renew it annually. Learn more at MyFWC.com/SRFS and sign up today at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

For more information, go to MyFWC.com.

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ANGLERS LAND NEW IGFA WORLD RECORDS

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) tracks record sh catches around the globe. eir world record database is a great source to see some of the sh anglers are catching around the world. Here are a handful of catches recently approved for the record books. To see all newly approved IGFA records, visit igfa.org.

Pin’s Snakehead

On Aug. 12, 2022, Ng Yam Pin landed this beautiful 28-pound giant snakehead in Rawang, Malaysia to set IGFA’s mens 20-pound line class world record. Pin caught the big snakehead on a Duo Fangbait lure and released the sh a er recording the weight and proper measurements. e IGFA all-tackle world record for giant snakehead was also caught from Rawang. It weighed 30 pounds. Bluch’s

Rainbow Trout

On Nov. 5, 2022, Aussie angler Frank Bluch was shing the Tekapo Canal, New Zealand, with guide Nicor Sutherland, when he landed this impressive 21-pound, 13-ounce rainbow trout. It set the new IGFA men’s 2-pound tippet class world record. e sh ate a y Frank calls the “Orange Monstrosity.” e all-tackle world record rainbow was caught from Lake Diefenbaker, Canada. It weighed 48 pounds.

Ochmann’s Wels

Joachim Ochmann caught this huge 140-pound, 10-ounce wels from Rio Ebro, Spain on Oct. 1, 2022. It took him nearly two hours to land the new IGFA men’s 16-pound line class world record. He released it a er taking proper weight and measurements. e all-tackle world record wels was caught from River Po, Italy in 2010. It weighed 297 pounds, 9 ounces.

Okuyama’s Grass Carp

Fumiya Okuyama holds several IGFA world records for grass carp, and he recently set another with this 109-centimeter (nearly 43-inch) sh he caught on Oct. 20, 2022, to establish the new IGFA all-tackle length y world record. e all-tackle world record by weight was caught at Piasuchnik Dam, Bulgaria in 2009. It weighed 87 pounds, 10 ounces.

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Why support your local pro shop?

Having a great bow technician you can trust isn’t something you can order off the internet. Nor is it easily accessible at most big box stores. Rather than hiring based on expertise, the position is filled quickly with a willing vessel. Not saying its impossible for these big stores to have people with knowledge but it is not an easy find. One must also be weary of counterfeit parts available so easily accessible via the internet these days. Quick and convenient doesn’t always mean quality.

So what are the benefits to visiting these small businesses?

A major one is customer service. A professional bow shop does whatever it takes to make sure their customers never feel like they are just number. Sometimes that means going the extra mile where others won’t. Having genuine care for the archers and future archers that frequent these shops. Whether that’s staying late, loaning bows to save a hunt or even simply answering questions to help you better understand archery. This is what sets professional archery shops apart from the rest.

Piggy backing off of that. Getting a bow set up is no easy feat. Its not like in the gun world where you can just pick up your piece and have it sighted in after a couple shots at the range. Building a bow and getting fitted for the one shooting has a lot of steps in order for it to be successful. One of the biggest hurdles that we see in the shop is proper bow fitment. For example having the appropriate draw length, peep height as well as paper tuning the bow to the person is essential for accurate shooting. This gets overlooked in many cases. New archers will quit archery because they aren’t set up to be at their best. It gets very disheartening to give it your all but your equipment is lacking in performance.

Another benefit of brick and mortar establishment is when something goes bad with your bow, these shops have spent the money to make sure they can assist you with getting your bow back to par. Pro shops are extensions of the bow manufacturer. So when a situation may arise with your rig they have the ability to fix the problem the correct way with the correct parts. Just as if you had shipped it off to the manufacturer yourself. Sometimes even better.

In conclusion, the list could go on and on to the point we could write an entire book on how important and necessary a professional bow shop is. If you are interested in getting into archery or are already involved these establishments are necessary for your success on the line or in the woods. Here at Skull Hill Archery we pride ourselves in being one of those shops. If you have any questions or need anything for your archery venture please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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Bass & Seasonal Crappie / Bluegill Tours

“My brother and I had a blast fishing with Corky. The fishing was pretty good, as long as you were moving around. Corky never kept us at a standstill, recognizing each time it was time to move to the next one to avoid a doldrum, we were constantly busy. The boat was clean and ready to fish, the waters were cold and Corky was quick and eager to get us fishing. It was a great way to burn up the afternoon, I’m sure we’ll be fishing with Corky again.”

“My father and I had a time crappie fishing with Tangie. The fishing was tough but Tangie was persistent in finding the right spots and we ended up having a very productive day. Plus Tangie is just a joy to be around. Thanks for a great day!”

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ISTOKPOGA FISHING FORECAST

Fishing with a “Poga Gal”

Some anglers are reporting the bite is starting to slow down for Crappie. The pattern has continued with fishing mixed vegetation with lily pads and reeds or cattails. However, some anglers have been pulling bedding crappie from lily pads and Arrowhead patches. Look for deep water nearby, checking areas 3-4 feet deep. Using a long pole, dip, dab, or dob a minnow with a bobber and sinker. Some anglers prefer the "Thump" of a jig dipping it into holes in and around vegetation. Spider rigging out the front of the boat, pushing poles in deeper water, is an option when the bedding crappie has moved to deeper water.

Another option is drifting with minnows and a bobber or trolling for crappies with jigs in deeper water. Whichever technique you try, it will be a fun day on the water fishing for Crappie in sunny Sebring, Fl. Refrain from being surprised if you find an occasional bonus bass or two while crappie fishing.

If you are fishing for a Florida Trophy bass, moving baits such as swim worms, swigs, chatter baits, or top water choices such as a hollow body frog or Swim bait is always fun and exciting. So get out on the water and fish; it's lots of fun for all, and you'll make memories that will last a lifetime!!!!!!!!

— “Imma Poga Gal” Tangie Neff. For more information contact Corky & Tangie’s Bass and Crappie Fishing Tours, Sebring FL www.corkytangiesguidedfishingtours.com 937-217-8076

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8lb -
Lake Istokpoga Ryan Berry
Lake Okeechobee Chrissa
2.8lb Crappie Lake Okeechobee Dmitri Bellamy
bass
7.4 - bass
Ford 7.4lb -bass Lake Istokpoga Steve Dickhoener

SARA

As we’re settling into peak Black Crappie fishing months on Lake Istokpoga, I thought this would be a great question to answer for this month’s column.

Black Crappie are a very popular sportfish and Lake Istokpoga has some of the best Black Crappie fishing in the state. There are numerous ways that I collect data on Black Crappie to help drive management decisions. Information on sampling techniques and data collected can be found in the December 2022 edition of The Angler Magazine. Each method of data collection targets a specific aspect of the fish population and allows mangers to get the most robust snapshot of what the fishery. However, even with yearly data collection there are still unknowns about Black Crappie life history and spawning.

The goal of this study is to be able to best predict Black Crappie populations “boom and bust cycles” to better inform anglers of when to expect a good fishing year.

One of those unknowns we would like to address is “why Black Crappie populations are so cyclic, with good years of fishing, followed by poor years… aka boom and bust populations”. Gamefish, like largemouth bass, have environmental cues that trigger fish to spawn - like water temperature and moon phases. For Black Crappie, much of this is still not fully understood. Therefore, it is hard to determine what marks a good spawning year vs a poor one.

FWC is currently in the process of completing a 10-year population analysis of Black Crappie. The goal of this study is to be able to best predict Black Crappie populations “boom and bust cycles” to better inform anglers of when to expect a good fishing year. We are currently in year six of the ten year study.

— If you have any comments on any information related in this article, please reach out to Sara Menendez at sara.menendez@myfwc.com

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"Why are Black Crappie populations known as “boom and bust?”

MEDLOCK SWIM JIG

From time to time a new lure is introduced and if it catches bass, it doesn’t take long for word to get around. In the past 50 years I’ve seen it happen with dozens of new lures, many of which have become staples in my tackle boxes.

One lure that gained popularity, along with great success, was created by a local bass fisherman named Joe Medlock. Joe lives in Lake Placid, Florida and is a well-known angler who created a weedless jig, commonly known as the Medlock Jig.

Anyone who has ever purchased and fished with a Medlock jig can attest to the perfection in design and the weedless capabilities. It didn’t take long for the word to get out and not only local anglers but many of the pros on the national circuit began to search out Joe for this incredible jig.

Over the years I’ve interviewed Joe many times and I’m always amazed at his grace and humility. He’s a perfectionist, and it shows when you examine his jigs.

Unlike other jigs used in flipping and pitching, the weed

guard on this original jig prevented the all-to-common hangups associated with other jigs in a similar style used for flipping and pitching. The Medlock Jig, in a variety of colors and sizes solved that problem, but it still hung up from time to time in heavier vegetation.

Today, years after he created the original Medlock Jig, he’s introducing a new lure that may be the answer to many anglers prayers.

I ran into Joe months ago at Marine and Tackle Warehouse in Sebring, Florida, and he told me about this new swim jig he was working on. Creating just the right balance and the placement of weed guards took months of trial and error and many attempts to create a new swim jig that would not snag up in heavy cover. Eventually he satisfied himself that he had perfected a weedless Swim Jig.

Most of my strikes came while the lure was swimming along. The largest bass hit with such ferocity that it almost pulled the rod out of my hands.

Joe gave me one of his prototypes and I was amazed at how well it came through bullrushes and pads on Lake Istokpoga. My third cast, an incredible distance into dense reeds and bullrushes rewarded me with a hefty four-pound bass who crushed the swim jig near the surface.

Even the cursed slit in the pads was no match for the jig. Slightly twitching it when it hit that slit was all it took for it to jump over the pad and continue swimming.

In four hours of fishing the new swim jig, it snagged up twice, but unlike other jigs where the hook snags onto the pads or reeds, the hook wasn’t the problem. It was the line. Even then, a strong pull on the braided line set the jig free.

Rigged with a Gambler Big Easy, the natural flow of the jig as it comes through the water is a work of art.

I retrieved the jig slowly through the vegetation, allowing it to fall and even stop occasionally. Most of my strikes came while the lure was swimming along. The largest bass hit with such ferocity that it almost pulled the rod out of my hands.

The Medlock Swim Jig will soon be available at Marine and Tackle Warehouse in Sebring, Florida and Bridgemasters (The Candy Store) in Lake Wales. This is going to be one of those lures that finds a place in every bass fisherman’s tackle box!

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$25,000 CASH PRIZE for the Angler who breaks the Dolphin State Record The Nick Sheahan Scholarship Fund for Graduating seniors at Coral Shores High School RULES MEETING & COOKOUT May 5th, 6-9PM at Tavernier Creek Marina Info: Brandy Smith at 407-223-5528 | Rebecca Bohnstedt at 305-393-4026 | Jaime Snyder at 305-587-9152 | Tom Sheahan at 305-393-3709 Entry forms available on website: www.NickSheahan.com Dinner at 6PM (Free to Anglers - Non-Anglers Welcome) Live Music • Cash, Gas & Other Prizes • Silent Auction Rules Meeting at 7:30PM Cash Prizes For Adults Entry Fee $200 Advance Trophy & Prizes For Junior Anglers Entry Fee $75 Advance Register Early for a DISCOUNT! F @nicksheahandolphinrodeo | www.NickSheahan.com | @ns_dolphin_rodeo d NICK SHEAHAN DOLPHIN RODEO PRESENTS THE 16TH ANNUAL All Proceeds Go To The Nick Sheahan Scholarship Fund For Graduating Seniors At CSHS & THE BOKOR FAMILY PRESENTS May 5th - 7th, 2023 May 5th - 7th, 2023 CREEK MARINATAVERNIERMARINA AV R IER DRAINBUSTERS™ PLUMBING SOLUTIONS CREATIVE THREADS South Florida

LARGEMOUTHS ON LAKE SANTA FE Springtime

Iget the springtime bass itch when the azaleas bloom. It’s the time of year when largemouth bass spawn on Lake Santa Fe.

Bass spawn around the full moons of February and March on this 5,000-acre Alachua County reservoir. is year, I planned my annual Santa Fe trip for March 2-3, ahead of the March 7 full moon.

It was like entering another world that morning as my wife Kim and I motored onto the main lake. Mist rose through the lake’s ancient cypress trees. Wood ducks whistled and banked overhead. Ospreys squealed at us from nests high in the cypress, and loons serenaded us from open water.

Just being there made me feel so fortunate. I thought back to when I was 12 years old on my rst Santa Fe trip with my dad and brother. We stayed at Gri ns Lodge, which was a famous destination for speckled perch, bream and bass shermen in the 1960s and 70s. ey had small cottages for rent and a sh camp run by an old

man named Roy Gri n.

Ol’ Roy taught me to sh Santa Fe. Over the years, he kept telling me to get away from the shoreline and to slow troll. I never really understood why until sonar showed me the grasscovered humps and ledges holding congregations of bait and game sh.

On the lake, Kim and I slowed to trolling speed to get lines out. I sh 7-foot mediumaction rods with Ambassadeur 5500s loaded with 15-pound mono. e rig is simple, just a #2 wide-bend hook tied directly to the line. I hook wild-caught shiners through both lips from the bottom up.

We pull baits very slowly with a three-rod spread. Using level-wind reels, I let baits out 50 or 60 yards behind the boat. I leave the spool in cast mode and tighten the anti-backlash knob to provide enough tension to keep the baits from pulling line. You know you’ve got a bite when the line starts running out.

We only got two lines out before our rst

strike. When the middle rig started paying out line fast, I picked up the rod and pointed it at the sh. A er 20 seconds, I engaged the reel, took up the slack and set the hook hard with a sweeping motion. I reeled fast to keep pressure on the sh and kept the rod tip low to discourage the bass from jumping.

e rst sh was a fat 4-pound female that was full of eggs. Kim landed the second sh, a gorgeous 5-pounder. We caught several more in the 4-pound range before I landed a fat 8-pounder to nish an action-packed three-hour morning with eight total sh. We released them all safely a er admiring the beautiful dark coloration characteristic of Santa Fe bass. I believe this is caused by the clear but tannin-stained water.

We experienced a great nature show, and I told Kim the bass we caught were like a bonus.

Oh, how I love Ol’ Santa Fe!

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Danny Patrick is co-publisher of the Northeast Florida edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. By Danny Patrick
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Ashore-based charter shing group intended to catch the largest shark they could from Pensacola Beach, Fla. on Feb. 12. ey did not, however, expect to crank in the estimated 13-foot great white that picked up their bait.

John McLean, of Big John Shark Fishing Adventures, runs shore-based charter trips for clients who want to catch the sh of lifetime. On this particular trip, his clients wanted to “go big, or go home,” so they used a huge yellow n tuna head for bait and enlisted the help of local charter captain, Capt. David Miller, who paddled a small kayak 900 yards o the beach in rough surf to deploy the bait.

Normally, McLean uses a remote-controlled boat to deploy his baits, but these baits were too large for the RC boat to handle. ey had a big sh on before Miller even made it back to shore.

“As soon as his kayak had hit the sand, we were hooked up to a massive shark,” said McLean in a YouTube video documenting the catch.

“I’ve never seen one that fast before,” he says in the video as line rips o the spool of an oversized big game reel.

All four of his clients took turns cranking the reel while everyone else gathered around to help secure the rod rack Mclean drives into the sand and uses to battle giant sharks. Even with heavy gear, the torque of the ght with heavy braided line loosened the reel from the reel seat.

“ is shark was the strongest sh I had ever had on the line. It took all four of my clients switching in and out to land this shark,” McLean said. “ is is the only time I’ve ever seen my shing gear pushed to the absolute limit.”

It took a little more than an hour to bring the giant shark into the surf, and as soon as McLean realized it was a great white, his attention turned to releasing it as quickly as possible. ey used a tail rope to control the giant white shark, and with the leader removed from its mouth, pulled it into deeper water to revive it before it swam away on its own.

White sharks are federally protected. ey must be released immediately when they are caught, so McLean did not take measurements. However, he has extensive experience with big sharks, and he estimated this one at about 13 feet. A 13-foot white shark can easily weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

Great whites are a rare catch in the Gulf of Mexico, and especially from shore. is was not McLean’s rst monster white shark, though. In early March of 2021, also on a shore-based charter in Pensacola Beach, McLean’s clients caught and released an estimated 12-footer.

Check out Big John Shark Fishing Adventures at bigjohnshark shingadventures.com, and see the video at http://bit.ly/3LjTtyw.

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Famous for its incredible strength, the Palomar knot ties well in all line types. at’s a huge advantage, and few knots can equal it on that front. Tied properly, this knot won’t slip even on braid, making it a popular choice as an all-around knot for securing line to swivels, hooks and pretty much anything else where a snug connection is desired.

It’s also quite easy and fast to tie, though it can be a tricky choice for lures because it requires a large loop to be passed completely over and around your terminal tackle.

For more tips and tricks, check out https://usangler.com

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THE ULTIMATE MIXED BAG in the Salmon Capital of the World

The wondrous world of summer shing in Alaska draws anglers from around the world who ock to these rich waters annually. Ketchikan, Alaska, nestled in the heart of the sprawling temperate rainforest known as Tongass National Forest boasts the title of “Salmon Capital of the World,” and for good reason.

But salmon are not all visitors can expect to catch in this world-renowned shery. As an experienced captain who runs daily charters out of Ketchikan during the season, I still nd myself surprised by the productivity of these waters. Along with ve species of salmon, we also land big halibut, giant lingcod, paci c cod and rock sh in our daily catch limits. e shing is superb, and so is the wildlife watching. Hit the water with us, and I will gladly hand over the binoculars when marauding pods of orcas show up on the surface or when magni cent humpback whales breach. We share these waters with eagles, sea lions and so much more. It makes a perfect shing getaway for the entire family.

e awe-inspiring beauty that surrounds Ketchikan is something that must be witnessed to understand. From the rugged terrain of old growth forest in Tongass down to the vibrantly rich waters, each day surprises visitors with landscapes and

wildlife that make Ketchikan a bucket-list destination.

Who doesn’t dream of giant halibut or monstrous king salmon on these scenic waters? Peak season runs from midJune through September, with the absolute best shing during the months of July and August. is occurs when we have an overlapping run of king salmon, silver salmon and pink salmon. All the while, big halibut will have moved in from deep water to feed on the abundance of food present. For these reasons, one can expect to catch all species with potential record catches of halibut, salmon, lingcod and rock sh hitting the docks by day’s end.

Here’s what you might expect on a good fullday charter. We start out bottom shing for halibut in 150 to 400 feet of water until we get a limit. Using deep-water jigging rods, you’ll be tasked with reeling in hard- ghting halibut from the depths. en we switch gears to trolling with electric downriggers, running four rods for all ve species of wild Paci c salmon. Whether or not we hit our limit of salmon, we usually end the day jigging with light tackle for giant lingcod and pelagic rock sh to top o the day’s catch. Why settle for one species

when you can sh for them all?

A processing service will llet, vacuum seal and box up your catch to be shipped home overnight or taken on your ight as a checked bag. Ketchikan is easily accessible with convenient commercial ights, just two-hours out of Seattle, and lodging accommodations are available for groups of all sizes.

Book your dream trip to Alaska with Capt. Lukas Brickweg, of Ketchikan’s Finest Fishing Charters, at www.ketchikan shingtrips.com, call (907) 6174717 or email at ketchikan shingtrips@gmail.com.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM APRIL 2023 NATIONAL 9

FEDS SLASH ALABAMA RED SNAPPER QUOTA

is federally imposed catch limit is the latest point of contention in a two-decade-long power struggle between the Gulf states and the federal bureaucracy over management of one of the region’s most iconic and economically important sheries. Recreational red snapper shing brings millions of tourism dollars to the Gulf Coast each summer. In Alabama, o cials say the quota cut will bring an early end to the season.

e cuts are the result of a complicated formula used by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to assess red snapper stocks. Federal regulators and environmental groups are pointing to 2022’s reduced red snapper landings as evidence of a depleted shery. In 2020, recreational anglers o Alabama caught 1.1 million pounds of red snapper. In 2022, that gure dropped to less than 500,000 pounds.

AL.com reported that Sean Powers, a leading researcher in the 2020 Great American Red Snapper Count, said the limited landings in 2022 were caused by reduced angler e ort because of high gas prices and poor weather. “ e number of days people went out was half and we caught half of the quota,” Powers told Al.com. “ at’s straight forward. I don’t think it re ects on the health of the stock.”

It’s worth noting that the Great American Red Snapper Count is the study that showed there were more than three times as many red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico than the gures NMFS was previously using to set quotas. For years, sheries managers and politicians from all the Gulf states have been speaking out against NOAA’s “ awed science,” and the Snapper Count seemed to prove their argument. Since the study, NOAA has come up with a new system it says melds the Snapper Count with federal and state surveys. ere is plenty of skepticism over NOAA’s “calibration.”

“Red snapper shing is a huge part of Alabama’s Gulf Coast economy, which is why I’ll continue pushing back against the Department of Commerce’s disastrous proposal to decrease limits for red snapper anglers based on inaccurate data,” said U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R/Ala.) to Al.com.

Frustration is again mounting over federal management of the red snapper shery in the Gulf of Mexico. is time, the uproar is coming from the Alabama coast, where NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) slashed the state’s 2023 recreational quota by more than 50 percent.

Alabama’s quota this year is 558,200 pounds, down from 1.1 million pounds in 2022. e Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets in April, and there is a possibility Alabama’s quota could increase slightly.

See www.al.com to read an excellent article on the issue by John Sharp.

10 NATIONAL APRIL 2023 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM
ADCNR PHOTO

WALK THE DOG FOR SPRINGTIME BASS

The months of covering water with your favorite topwater are upon us, and what a wonderful time it is! In some parts of the country, bass are already done spawning. While in others, the move to the shallows has only just begun. No matter the circumstances of your sh, they are on the feed and will certainly bite your lure if the right situation presents itself.

Where I live in Florida, the bass have already nished with their spawn. ey are roaming and chasing food to replenish themselves a er a few hard weeks up in the shallows. One of my favorite ways to catch these sh is by covering water with a walk-the-dog style topwater. Not only is it just the coolest bite ever, but it is also a bait that can mimic a ton of di erent food options. is should be used to cover water at a fast pace. Once you locate groups of sh, slow down with something else. row topwater around anything the treble hooks won’t get hung up on, and remember to stay near areas where sh just nished spawning.

In many other parts of the country, bass might currently be up in the shallows spawning. is is another awesome time to throw a walking topwater. Use it to nd sh spawning, and then slow down and pick up a few more sh with a slower bait, if needed. e target options are endless. Grass ats, shallow banks, wood, points, anywhere bass might be spawning is the perfect place to throw a walking bait.

Up North, sh might be in the very early stages of prespawn or even still have ice over their heads. Whatever the case may be, sh will bite a walking bait when the time is right… or when the water is in a liquid form. I have been very successful, especially on smallmouths, throwing a spook-style bait around spawning ats and points for very aggressive sh that are preparing to spawn. Some of the greatest shing memories

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I have from those parts of the country are from the prespawn. row it over rocks or grass points where bass chase bait as they feed up ahead of the spawn. Walk it over open water or down the bank; they will bite it.

Topwater rod and reel setups can be fairly simple. I like a shorter rod, which makes it easier to walk the dog, with a moderate action, so you don’t rip the hooks out of the sh. e 13 Fishing 7’3” Medium Defy is an a ordable rod with the perfect action. I pair this up with a 7:5:1 Concept A2 spooled with 40-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid for long casts and minimal stretch. e 13 Fishing Power Slide is an awesome topwater for these situations, and I always stick to natural bait sh colors. Grab one of these, get out on your favorite body of water and have some fun!

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YAMAHA 22 FT FSH LINE: FISH AND PLAY IN VERSATILE LUXURY

Yamaha’s product line of 22 FT FSH boats has made quite the splash since hitting the water in August of 2022. Building upon the success of Yamaha’s versatile 21-foot center console line that it replaced, there are three separate 22-foot FSH® models that come with Yamaha’s best center console technology and features.

“Speci cally, the new models are 9 inches longer, with gunwales 2 inches higher at the helm and 4 inches higher at the bow than the previous 21-foot line,” said Jon Sutter, Yamaha Boats Product Planning Manager. “And the gunwales are thinner too, which adds to the roominess when passing by the center console.”

is series begins with the value-minded 220 FSH Sport powered by twin 1L TR-1 HO (High Output) engines. Moving up the line is the featurerich 222 FSH Sport, and the premium 222 FSH Sport E being the pinnacle of the series.

O ering sleek lines, agile handling, and superb performance, the new Yamaha 220 and 222 Series center console boats are big, with twin Yamaha marine engines generating up to 360 horsepower. Both 222 FSH models feature added performance delivered by twin 1.8L HO motors. All three models come with a fabric or berglass-molded T-Top with four “rocket launcher” rod holders.

e new 22-foot platform continues Yamaha’s trend toward contemporary design with its deep cockpit and great freeboard, enabling a spacious interior and large bow and cockpit areas.

e center console is nicely nished with plenty of room for Yamaha’s Connext® 5-inch touchscreen that controls the boat’s entertainment and vital system functions, a glass windshield, stainless steel steering wheel, a locking glove box, and a 9-inch Simrad® marine electronics system. And for the rst time on a Yamaha center console boat, all three models get a wirelesscharging phone mount.

ere’s nothing better than hanging out at a favorite cove listening to a great summer playlist. Yamaha has you covered here with its a Hertz® premium sound system that comes standard on the 222 FSH Sport E. is marine sound system comes with a Hertz® head unit, four deck speakers, and two speakers in the color-matched hardtop.

All three 22’ FSH models come standard with mounts for optional swimup seats. At anchor, two removable seats can be attached to the stern. ese seats sit just below the water’s surface, providing comfortable in-water seating facing the transom of the boat. And since the reboarding ladder is located between both seat positions, egress onto the swim platform is a breeze.

Fishing Amenities for Anglers

Understanding that fishing is the heart and soul of this product line, anglers around the globe have the below features to look forward to when purchasing a Yamaha 22FT FSH series boat:

• Storage for eight rods under the gunwales

• Storage for six rods on the side of the console

• Aerated 26-gal stern livewell

• Simrad® multi-function display

• Jet Wash® washdown system

Ultimately, Yamaha’s 22’ FSH models have set the standard in versatile luxury, while continuing to keep the end consumer in mind with its plethora of convenient amenities. Whether you’re enjoying its premium sound system or relaxing with the award-winning swim up stern seating, your days on the water can only be enhanced with Yamaha.

Learn more at YamahaBoats.com

222 FSH Sport E

Doing Your Homework

Eat, sleep, sh, repeat. Although I would love to live this life, it is just not possible… yet. I recently saw a cartoon that listed things I like to do in my spare time. Go shing, buy shing tackle, research shing and talk about shing. is rang true to me since this sport consumes my thoughts as it does many of yours. Here are a few things that I do when I am not shing that help me when I do have the opportunity to go. With the high winds of spring upon us, we all might have a little more dock time than water time.

I’m fascinated with weather. Not only do I look at the current conditions and forecast where I am, but I also look at it in areas where I travel to sh. is does a couple of things for me. First, it allows me to see possible great weather opportunities when I might be able to plan ahead and sneak away. It also keeps me from going on a day when the weather might be great, but the previous several days featured winds blowing strong from an unfavorable direction. For example, here on the Texas coast, southwest is a detrimental direction for high winds. It muddies most bays on our coast. e previous days’ wind velocity and direction are good to know and determine where I head when I launch the boat.

I spend a lot of time on the road, and I like listening to shing podcasts. Some of these give general information, and some are weekly reports covering current conditions and activity. ese can be great to stay in tune with what is happening and to learn from new points of view on approaching certain situations. ey might also cover new products I want to try.

Di erent social media platforms also keep you in tune. Find reputable anglers or guides in your area or an area you plan to go. Some frequently post how-to or what’s been working for them. ey might also talk about how to approach a certain area. If you like to travel to new areas, which I do, knowing how to approach an area can be key. In my local waters, we might approach a spot one way, but if I go to another state they may do the opposite. Knowing the local game plan can save the day.

Last but not least, I look at satellite imagery very o en. One tip is to change the view and the year the image was taken for areas you sh. ese images can be dramatically di erent than the current images, and they might o er a much-improved view of bottom structure to point you to a spot you’ll want to try next time you are on the water.

e weather is warm, don’t forget to take a kid shing!

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How To Rock a Walking Stick

An essential part of a gentleman’s wardrobe

In the 17th century, the walking stick overtook the sword as an essential part of a gentleman’s wardrobe. Though it was primarily used as a decorative accessory, it could also function as a weapon if necessary. For men of the era, these walking sticks were a statement piece, and a way to communicate their wealth and refinement.

carats

Today, walking sticks still represent status and prosperity –– a way to show off your deep pockets without being too flashy. In that vein, we present the Santa Fe Walking Stick. Made of eucalyptus wood painted a glossy black with an antiqued silverfinished sculpted handle, what gives this piece of finery a distinctive edge is an 18-carat turquoise inlay that’s been enhanced to bring out its best blues. Don’t be bashful about your affluence. See why the Santa Fe Walking Stick is the embodiment of sophisticated elegance for the modern gentleman.

Don’t delay: Our must-have Santa Fe Walking Stick was one of our best-selling items this past year. Because of this, we can only offer 723 walking sticks at this price with this ad! See why Stauer is becoming one of America’s fastest-growing sellers of walking sticks today!

Praise for Stauer Walking Sticks

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“Dignified, well crafted and an extremely comfortable fit in your hand. Just MAGNIFICENT! Makes me feel years younger!”

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Speci cations:

• 18 carats of enhanced turquoise. Antiqued silver-finished and sculpted brass handle. Eucalyptus wood. Rubber tip

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Articles inside

How To Rock a Walking Stick

1min
pages 49-51

Doing Your Homework

2min
page 48

YAMAHA 22 FT FSH LINE: FISH AND PLAY IN VERSATILE LUXURY

2min
page 47

WALK THE DOG FOR SPRINGTIME BASS

2min
pages 45-46

FEDS SLASH ALABAMA RED SNAPPER QUOTA

1min
page 44

THE ULTIMATE MIXED BAG in the Salmon Capital of the World

2min
page 43

Re-Discover Old Florida Waterfront Charm

1min
page 42

LARGEMOUTHS ON LAKE SANTA FE Springtime

4min
pages 34-40

MEDLOCK SWIM JIG

2min
pages 30-31, 33

SARA

1min
page 29

ISTOKPOGA FISHING FORECAST

1min
pages 27-28

Why support your local pro shop?

2min
pages 25-26

ANGLERS LAND NEW IGFA WORLD RECORDS

1min
pages 22-24

RELEASE DEVICES Now Required in State Waters

1min
pages 18-21

PORGY, SNOWY GROUPER, BLUELINE TILEFISH

1min
page 17

REPOWER

1min
page 15

BIG BLUEFISH ARE ON THE WAY

3min
pages 14-15

Catch More Springtime Crappie

2min
pages 10-11

NORSE BY NORSEWEST?

1min
page 9

MAKE IT A DOUBLE!

2min
page 8

MAHI A Few Facts About Everyone’s Favorite Fish

3min
pages 6-7

Your Silver Passport to Travel the World The

1min
page 5
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