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VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

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Gimme Six Extended Protection promo is applicable to new Suzuki outboard motors from 25 to 300 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16 in accordance with the promotion by a Participating Authorized Suzuki Marine dealer in the continental US and Alaska to a purchasing customer who resides in the continental US or Alaska. Customer should expect to receive an acknowledgement letter and full copy of contract including terms, conditions and wallet card from Suzuki Extended Protection within 90 days of purchase. If an acknowledgement letter is not received in time period stated, contact Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. – Marine Marketing via email: marinepromo@suz.com. The Gimme Six Promotion is available for pleasure use only, and is not redeemable for cash. Cash Rebates apply to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki outboards made between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine.com. Customer and participating Dealer must fill out the appropriate rebate form at time of sale. Customer will have the choice to either apply the cash rebate against the original dealer invoice (Suzuki will credit Dealer parts account) or have a check sent directly to the customer. There are no model substitutions, benefit substitutions, rain checks, or extensions. Suzuki reserves the right to change or cancel these promotions at any time without notice or obligation. * Financing offers available through Synchrony Retail Finance. As low as 5.99% APR financing for 60 months on new and unregistered Suzuki marine engines. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki marine engines purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 10/01/16 and 12/31/16.“Gimme Six”, the Suzuki “S” and model names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2016 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

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More Of A World Traveler’s Top Fishing Destinations By Patrick Sebile

L

ast month in these pages, I laid out what in my opinion are the top-5 fishing destinations in the world. It was a list of the most impressive fisheries I have experienced in a career spent traveling to fish the most renowned waters on this planet. From southern Africa’s Atlantic coast to Scandanavia, Panama, Australia and Venice, Louisiana, those five destinations topped the list among the 64 countries where I have fished. But there are other destinations well worth mention as some of the top fisheries in the world. With this article I will touch on five more destinations I believe to be some of the best on the planet. • Florida, U.S.A: Choosing a whole state and calling it a destination might be a stretch. However, the variety of great fisheries offered by this peninsula is what makes it one of the best places in the world for anglers. With fantastic inshore and offshore fishing, seasonal highlights like the east coast mullet run and some of the best bass fishing anywhere, Florida’s patchwork of options make it a great place for fishing. • South Island, New Zealand: This place is as wild as wilderness can get. Fishing for trout in New Zealand streams with the backdrop that was the set from the “Lord of the Rings” movies has to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Also, the north island offers great saltwater fishing for humphead snapper and yellowtail amberjack, which is one of the meanest and most powerful fish that lives in the world’s oceans. • Lake Biwa, Japan: This 259-square-mile lake is surrounded with history as one of the oldest lakes in the world. It is filled with millions of ayu—a small trout-related fish—that turned out to be the major food for a population of largemouth bass. There are consistently more

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Photo Courtesy of Al Stewart Photography

big bass in Lake Biwa than anywhere else I know of. It is where the longtime IGFA All Tackle world record was tied just a few years ago with a bass that weighed 22-pounds, 5-ounces. • Ivory Coast, Africa: Years ago, I ran a lodge on the Ivory Coast, not far from the city of San Pedro, where Stuart Campbell used to come targeting record blue marlin. He succeeded a number of times. From April to June, my average day consisted of three to five fish in the 300- to 600-pound range. • Massachusetts, U.S.A.: I’m a striped bass addict, and fishing the shores of Massachusetts is a pilgrimage I must make on an annual basis, period! There’s nothing like fishing for striped bass when they’re blitzing bait on the shorelines of the northeastern states. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


It’s the Honda of Outboards. Literally.

Quality, reliability, technology and fuel-efficiency have made Honda an automotive legend. You’ll find those same strengths in every Honda Marine outboard. Honda outboards deliver best-of-class features in models ranging from 2.3 to 250 hp. Many even share engine technology and components used in Honda vehicles like the Accord, Odyssey, Fit and Pilot — vehicles that have proven themselves over millions of miles. No wonder all Honda outboards are backed by the only 5-year manufacturer’s warranty in the industry. Power your boat with the brand that offers millions of miles of proven performance — Honda Marine.

Take Advantage Of 2.49% APR Financing On All New Honda Outboards Or 4.49% APR Financing On All New Honda Outboard Engines Or Boat/Motor Packages — Going On Now! To Find Your Nearest Authorized Honda Marine Dealer, Visit Our Website Now From Your QR-Enabled Phone, Or Go To ca.hondamarine.com *APR financing available on all new Honda outboard engines through American Honda Finance Corporation upon approved credit. 2.49% APR financing for 24 – 48 months, available to customers who qualify for the AHFC super preferred credit tier. Example for new Honda outboard engines: 2.49% APR for 36 months financing at $28.86 a month for every $1,000 financed. 3.49% APR for 60 months financing at $18.19 a month for every $1,000 financed. 3.49% APR for 84 months financing at $13.44 a month for every $1,000 financed. Offer good on any new and unregistered Honda outboard engine, with a minimum amount financed of $1,000 and a minimum monthly payment of $100. Check with participating dealers for complete details. Dealers set actual sales prices. For well-qualified buyers, not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for different terms and/or buyers with lower credit rating. Lower rates may also be available. Offer valid through 01/03/17, on new and unregistered Honda outboard engines (2hp – 250hp) and only on approved credit by Honda Financial Services through participating dealers. Honda Financial Services’ standard credit criteria apply. **APR financing available on all new Honda outboard engines or packages (boat, motor and trailer, where Honda outboard engine is the main source of power) through American Honda Finance Corporation upon approved credit. 4.49% APR financing for 12 – 180 months (term and rate based on amount financed) available to customers who qualify for the AHFC Super Preferred credit tier. Example for new Honda outboard engines or packages: 4.49% APR for 84 months financing at $13.90 a month for every $1,000 financed. 4.49% APR for 144 months financing at $9.00 a month for every $1,000 financed. 4.49% APR for 180 months financing at $7.64 a month for every $1,000 financed. Offer good on any new and unregistered Honda outboard engine or package, with a minimum amount financed of $1,000 and a minimum monthly payment of $100. Check with participating dealers for complete details. Dealers set actual sales prices. For well-qualified buyers, not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for different terms and/or buyers with lower credit rating. APR may be subject to dealer mark-up. Offer valid through 01/03/17, on new and unregistered Honda outboard engines or packages and only on approved credit by Honda Financial Services through participating dealers. Honda Financial Services’ standard credit criteria apply. ©2016 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Always wear a personal flotation device while boating and read your owner’s manual. All Honda outboards meet EPA and CARB emission levels. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM DECEMBER 2016 NATIONAL 7


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WEST MICHIGAN : Phil Belsito • (616) 957-1714 • phil@theanglermagazine.com UPSTATE NEW YORK : Frank Geremski • (518) 898-6484 • frankie@theanglermagazine.com

INTERNATIONAL BAHAMAS : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com COSTA RICA : Thomas Hauer, Jr. • (321) 445-1557 • thomash@coastalanglermagazine.com Thomas Hauer • tomh@coastalanglermagazine.com PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Disclaimer: Coastal Angler Magazine / The Angler Magazine will not be held liable for injuries incurred while partaking in activities described herein, or for claims made against products or services provided by advertisers.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Eleuthera, Bahamas

FREE

This year’s December holiday editions of Coastal Angler Magazine feature an image Holiday of Gene Dyer and a 30-pound mahi caught GIFT while fishing aboard Uncle Tom Dyer’s GUIDE 55-foot Hatteras off Eleuthera, Bahamas. Dyer is Coastal Angler’s newest franchisee, having recently taken over the Fort Local Lauderdale franchise location. Gene comes to Coastal Angler as a former advertising sales executive for Florida Sport Fishing. Eleuthera is one of the long skinny Out Islands that make up the eastern edge of the Bahamian archipelago. It is a spectacular vacation destination with miles of pink sand beaches, and for anglers it is a renowned bonefish destination, noted for expansive and easily accessible flats. As evidenced by Dyer’s Mahi, Eleuthera is also a fantastic jumpingoff place for the reef, spearfishing and sport fishing the Bahamas are famous for. Excellent reefs such as Devil’s Backbone are teeming with snappers, groupers and amberjack. And with depths of thousands of feet a few miles offshore, anglers can take a quick boat ride and tangle with tuna, marlin, snapper, mahi-mahi, sailfish and some huge wahoo. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

COASTALA NGLERMA G.COM

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Southeastern Mountain Trout

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA EDITION

FREE

There is no better gift for a trout angler than the opportunity to cast to gorgeous fish in the streams of southern Appalachia. The cover image for our holiday editions of The Angler Holiday Magazine comes from the north Georgia GIFT GUIDE mountains, where Tommy Nicodemus caught this big rainbow trout from Noontootla Creek Local while fishing with guide Chuck Head of Unicoi Outfitters. Noontootla Creek is one of the best small trout streams in Georgia, and it feeds the larger Toccoa River, which boasts one the Southeast’s premier tailwater trout fisheries. Noontootla itself flows from high-headwaters through public land on Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area, where it is a small stream offering wild brown and rainbow trout. For decades it has been managed under special regulations, which have produced a great, if sometimes challenging, fishery. Our cover fish was caught from an extensively managed private trophy stretch of Noontootla Creek called Noontootla Creek Farms. The image was captured by Jason Weldon. PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON WELDON

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

F R A N C H I S E

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

FISHING WITH UNICOI OUTFITTERS

THEANGLE RMAG.COM O P P O R T U N I T I E S

A V A I L A B L E

DECEMBER 2016

W O R L D W I D E

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inter means giant redfish on the fly. From Florida to Texas and up the east coast of the United States, giant redfish are a prime target species for many saltwater fly anglers. In my opinion, there is no finer wintertime saltwater species to sight fish a fly too. The fishing opportunities are endless, and the chance to hook a true giant heavier than 30 pounds is very likely. However, for the fly angler to be successful he/she must be able to make the cast. First Things First The first thing I suggest to anglers before they jump into saltwater fly fishing is to really learn how to cast a fly line to 40 feet quickly and accurately. We are often led to believe that if the angler can cast a long distance then he or she will be a successful fly angler. There is nothing further from the truth. I’ve seen wonderful fly casters become frustrated when sight casting to redfish. They are so focused on making a long cast that they miss the f ish-catching opportunities within 40 feet of their rod tip. Casting to redfish is more about accuracy and quickness than is distance. Learn The Double Haul Developing a solid double-haul is the foundation of a quick and accurate cast. Not only does the double-haul help with distance, if executed correctly, it reduces the number of backcasts the angler must make. It is well to remember that the more time the fly line is in the air, the less time the fly is on the water. The best way to learn the double haul is to find a grassy area like a park. Next, strip out 40 feet of fly line and make a forward cast, allowing the fly line to lie on the grass in front of you. Next, lower your rod tip to where it is touching the ground in front of you. Then, pick up the fly line and make a back cast, laying the line out behind you. This is the single haul. Next, pull the fly line off the grass behind you with your line hand while the fly rod is moving forward, and with the rod moving forward, pull the line down towards your belt line. As you feel the fly rod load while it bends on the forward cast, release the line from your line hand, allowing the fly line to shoot forward through the guides. This is the second haul of the double haul, an effective cast when long- distance casts are required, but also important for the short, quick accurate cast needed when fishing red fish. The Back Cast Is Important Much of your success in fly casting is dependent upon the development of a smooth back cast, that is the ability to cast 20 to 30 feet of line behind you whenever demanded. Remember the fly fisherman’s adage that “your forward cast is only as good as your back cast,” and a good cast is the “rule-of thumb” when casting flies to redfish. If a redfish appears behind you, simply make a forward cast. With your fly line on the water, simply pick up the line, and shoot it behind you. Retain eye contact with the redfish’s position. In next month’s column, Casting to Redfish Part Two, I will write about the importance of the repositioning cast and quick cast.

FLY FISHING

ON THE COVER

CASTING FOR THE REDFISH GAME: PART ONE

Follow Conway Bowman at www.conwybowman.com, on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

DECEMBER 2016

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Gift Ideas FOR ANGLERS

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heck out these great gift ideas for the outdoor enthusiast on your holiday gift list. These local merchants are available to ensure your holiday gift giving satisfaction. We always try to encourage our readers to shop locally. It’s our community and we all benefit from supporting our local businesses. They’re here for us all year long and our personal convenience depends on their sustainability. Tell them Coastal Angler/The Angler Magazine sent you. By the way, if you see something here that you wish could be under the tree with your name on it, just take out a marker and circle it. Then leave this page open for your friends and family to see. Yes, crude but effective.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Coastal Angler/The Angler Magazine.

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Gifts for Anglers

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A

Gifts for Anglers By Paul Lebowitz

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lthough winter’s here, it won’t stay cold forever. The holiday season is a great opportunity to pick up a catch bag so your favorite kayak angler will be ready to go come springtime. Also known as soft cooler bags, they keep a catch fresh, out of the sun and stashed safely away from predators. Consider the following to make sure your investment is a good one. The most durable catch bags are constructed of vinyl-coated polyester. Look for at least a half-inch of closed cell foam insulation under the tough fish spine-resistant exterior. If the closures use zippers, they should have large teeth that can handle sand and sun. I prefer a YKK zipper. Kayak catch bags come in multiple sizes. Large bags in the 70-quart capacity range are about three feet long. They are suitable for big fish and are most often mounted atop a kayak’s deck, either on the bow or in the stern storage area. Therefore, it’s important these bags come outfitted with multiple tie-downs or attachment points so they can be safely secured. A quality large bag retails for $180-$200. Check out Hobie’s new Soft Cooler Bag as a good example of what to look for. If your kayak angler prefers to keep the deck clear, consider a medium-size catch bag in the 26-quart range. About two feet long, they fit inside the bow hatch of many kayaks. These bags should open from the top to make for easier access. They retail for $130-$150. Other desirable features include carrying handles, easy-access drain plugs, and integrated shock cords for storage of additional accessories.

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While true to our fishing roots the 236CC is definitely family friendly – with comfortable deep bow seating, a stepdown head, comfortable deep bow seating, telescoping ski pole and the highest freeboard of any similar sized boat. A Fusion Bluetooth compatible stereo with USB port and four speakers is available as well as lighted speakers and a satellite radio upgrade. Each Sailfish is built to exacting standards using our proven Sail-Tech construction techniques. Kevlar reinforced hull, carbon fiber prisma beam supports in the deck, aluminum backing plates, chrome coated stainless steel hardware, top quality marine grade vinyl upholstery and high definition gel coats contribute to Sailfish’s reputation for durability and their high resale values. The New Sailfish 236CC is a boat to see if you are in the market for a new 23-footer. Receiving rave reviews since its debut this fall, the 236CC is clearly an overnight sensation – 30 years in the making.

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NORTH FLORIDA

S

eventeen nautical miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass and 86 feet beneath the ocean surface lies a small artificial reef that, until recently, didn’t mean much to anyone beyond the fish who lived there, the anglers who visited and those who deployed it 15 years ago. But now the reef, previously known as EE-3, has new meaning and a new name: Sgt. James Taylor Waldron Reef. A lionfish-hunting team was awarded the right to rename an artificial reef off the coast of northwest Florida after successfully removing more than 500 lionfish while participating in the Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program. The reef was named in honor of team member Taylor “Curt” Waldron’s older brother and fellow comrade in arms. Sgt. Waldron was serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade when he was killed in

action, Sept. 13, 1970, at age 20. “After the Vietnam War was over, very few cared but me and my parents,” said Curt Waldron. “I wanted to do something more. The world has forgotten him; but they will look at that artificial reef name.” A total of 10 people or teams who participate in the Panhandle Pilot Program may qualify to rename an artificial reef. The program, which started in May 2016 and runs through May 19, 2017, also rewards divers with a tag that allows them to take an additional cobia or red grouper for every 100 lionfish removed off the coast of Escambia through Franklin counties. Waldron attributes success to his teammates Bill Parsons, Chip Burger, Huston Parsons and TJ Huff. He also acknowledged Steve Hemmert of MBT Diving, and boat captains Doug Hammock of H20 Below, Doug Pacitti of Six Shooter Charters and Andy Ross of Niuhi Dive Charters. During the annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day weekend, the team took a total of 133 fish out of the more than 8,000 lionfish that were removed off Pensacola that weekend. Between July 7 and July 15, they completed another 22 dives and removed 402 more lionfish. They hit their goal in August. “It really brings a sense of accomplishment that somebody you care about is going to be honored with a reef name,” Waldron said. “We were thrilled that the FWC offered this as an option. “Many years have passed since 1970, but I have never been confused by what the Marines taught me. I will be ‘always faithful’ to the memory of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. This is meant to honor all of our service members living and dead.” Only four teams have qualified so far to name a reef in the Panhandle Pilot Program, and only one other reef has been officially claimed and named. The artificial reef now known as Moira the Mermaid’s Fish Condo is off Escambia County and was claimed by team members Bob Marshall, Brady Hale, George Riffe and Jennifer Day.

To learn more about the Panhandle Pilot Program and how you can get rewarded for your lionfish removals visit

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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11/17/16 12:24 PM


POMPANO MADNESS IN TAMPA BAY

VIMS Photo

T

he time of year to target pompano, those tasty hard-fighting little fellas, is after the first few hard cold fronts. We can keep somewhat of a handle on these guys all the way through April. But we always must remember that these guys need to be at least 11 inches to the fork to be legal. And the limit is six per person. When we get into a school of pompano the action can be really fast and furious, so we must measure correctly and keep an accurate head count. This really gets to be a challenge if we have more than just the two of us in the boat. There are many bridges that span Tampa Bay and the surrounding waters and this is a great place to look for pompano. Bridge pilings are great hangout spots to start fishing. But as the water cools down, the power plants inside the bay become our main target zones. Tampa has two hot water discharging plants on the eastern shore and one on the western side. Both can be awesome hangouts for pompano, redfish, snook and cobia. But we’re after pomps for now, and any of these other guys will simply be icing on the cake. We start with a 7-foot medium action spinning rod with a PENN 2500 series spinning reel spooled with 10- to 15-pound Spiderwire Stealth braid. To this we add a Berkley Trilene 100% flurocarbon leader of about 3 to 4 feet. Pompano see pretty well, so the fluorocarbon is very important. We just love the heavily scented Berkley Gulp! baits for pompano. There are all sorts of simple pompano jigs out there, but we feel the scent attraction gives us an edge. Pomps love bright colors such as pink and chartreuse and a smaller profile bait. So we rig the Gulp! 3-inch shrimp in a glow/chartruese, new penny/chartreuse or the 3-inch swimming mullet in the pink and chartreuse. We rig the baits on heavier jig heads, 3/8- to ½-ounce, also chartreuse or pink, because we want that bait bouncing off the

bottom, puffing up sand every time it hits. These fish are on the move and in our experience love fastmoving baits. We position the boat out in front of the hotwater discharge. We’re very safety conscience and a stay behind the off limits barriers. We start fan casting, letting the bait hit the bottom and bounce steadily back. Once we’ve hooked up, we Power-Pole down and keep fishing. Usually we will pick up more pomps in the area. We really like this simple tactic, and we catch lots of pomps and plenty of other fish as well. This is easy and great for the family, too. People tell us we’re crazy, but we like fried pompano.

For More Pompano fishing Tampa Bay, go to

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FISH ON A PLAQUE

W

hen someone dies, their friends may commemorate their life and deeds with a memorial service, an obituary in the local newspaper, maybe even a few chosen words on the person’s gravestone. Some people have even done similar commemorations for an animal like a famous racehorse (think Secretariat) or even a gorilla (think King Kong). But what about a fish? Have there ever been any honors paid to a lowly fish? Yes, in fact, there has been at least one fish which was honored. The small village of Blockley, England has a modest house visited by many people over the years, not to see the garden or antiques, but to see a wooden memorial to a beloved trout that lived over 160 years ago. In 1855, a young man carved the plaque to a fish that his father had tamed. The plaque, reproduced here says the following: “In Memory of the old fish./ Under the soil/the old fish do lie/20 years he lived/and then did die./He was so tame/you understand/he would come and/eat out of our hand/Died April the 20th 1855/Aged 20 years” The fact that there were funeral directors in the family of the man who tamed the trout, William Keyte, may have explained the unusual flight of fancy. But no one can

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doubt the affection that Keyte held for the trout, which would swim to the surface of the pond whenever the man would approach. When a vengeful neighbor killed the fish with a blow to the head, it must have been a sad day for the Keyte Family. Every year piscatorial fans of the longdead fish pay visits to the cottage where the plaque hangs and to the grave where the fish lies. In 1955, on the hundredth anniversary of the demise of the fish, the local newspaper had a long tribute to the most famous resident of the village, a tribute that included these words: “He did no great deeds, nor did he change the world for the better or for the worse.” And these: “Though the guns are silent and the flags unhoisted, let us now acclaim him who in a century of change and violence has occasionally reminded men of tenderer things! Perhaps from those secret depths where good fish go when their swimming days are o’er, the Old Fish gazes up at us today, a gleam of pride in his cold unblinking eye. Old Fish, we salute you! May your fame endure forever.” Not bad for a finny creature that died in 1855. May our descendants remember each of us in similar praise long after we have left this earthly life.

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11/17/16 12:25 PM


from your angling family here at

ry s! r e M tma s i r h C

COASTAL ANGLER

Panama City, The Forgotten Coast and Beyond DECEMBER 2016 | facebook.com/CAMGulfCoast

PUBLISHER Capt. Randy Cnota CO-PUBLISHER Dawna Cnota GRAPHIC ARTS & DESIGN Travis Poole PHOTOGRAPHY Capt. Randy Cnota CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Capt. Brent Romiti

Dallas with a nice Lake Martin bass

Capt Charlene Burke Capt. Mike McNamara Capt. Daryl Shumate Capt. J.R. Mundinger Capt. Paul Tyre Captain Jordan Todd

Spencer Hatchett from Dacula, GA with a nice slot red aboard C-note Charters

Capt. Jason showing some love for slot reds

Captain Jason Shingler (229) 834-7880 FACEBOOK.COM/CAMGULFCOAST www.CoastalAnglerMagazine.com

Dylan Shingler with a beast black drum Scan theCheck code to follow on Facebook outusour and to see the latest news, Brag Board photos, for shingFacebook reports, contestPage offerings and more! No QR code scanner? No problem! Hook up with fishing videos, us on Facebook at TreasureCoastCoastalAngler.

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Adam Peskin with jacks on top Hybrids are on the fall bite. They taste great so call Capt. C-note to get in on the action

Inshore fishing heats up with cold temps so call one of the guides in this section to get you a SLAM!


PANAMA CITY BEACH / PANAMA CITY Capt. Daryl Shumate Liquid Native Charters 850-624-6968 Liquidnativecharters.com

the inshore wrecks and the buoys on the bottom. There are some really big mangrove snapper being caught under the bridges and in the pass around the jetties. A live shrimp fished on the bottom with a light tackle set up will put plenty of meat in the freezer. Some really big Spanish mackerel and blue fish are being caught on the flats on jigs, trolling, casting, or flat-lining live bait. If you have a cast net you can fill your bait well with some nice greenbacks Backcountry / Bay / Inshore: because they are everywhere on the flats, and they make great bait for just Now that the cool weather has settled in, the speckled trout have moved into about every species of fish out there. the creeks, bayous, canals and rivers, and are holding in the deeper holes. The presentation must be very slow because these fish aren’t willing to move offshore: There are plenty of fish being caught on the wrecks, but be much when it’s cold. Live shrimp with a tiny weight, or no weight at all, sure to check the current regulations as some species are going out of season works great. There will be some redfish mixed in, but most of the reds are and some are coming in. Big amberjack are everywhere and will bust your in the deeper water or the muddy flats where they can warm up and feed. tackle if you aren’t prepared. Plenty of red snapper are being caught but that Stealth is very important, and again, the presentation has to be a very slow season is closed. Farther off shore, some wahoo and kings are being caught twitch. The bigger bull reds are still being caught under the bridges and trolling and flat lining live bait. in the pass. Flounder have moved off shore and are being caught around Even with the cold weather here, the fishing is still great. Just bundle up and load up with family and friends and make some memories!

Stephanie Hobbs of PC with a snapper aboard the Gotta Believe

30°9'N 85°40'W

Jake Williams of Panama City with a nice red

Panama City Tides

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2 panama city / forgotten coast

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Pro's Corner with capt. randy cnota

When the scales closed on Sunday, November 6th, at the Florida Federation Nation State Championship held on Lake Seminole, our very own contributing writer, Paul Tyre, walked away with the 1st place trophy. Paul’s success for this event was a culmination of years of experience fishing this beautiful lake and his unique ability to adjust to the conditions that changed drastically the night before the tournament began. The days preceding the event had some of the best weather an angler could ask for, but late Friday night the winds began to blow out of the north and temperatures dropped; this never makes for a good bite on Florida lakes. Paul still began his first day staying with his original plan of throwing an A-rig in Spring Creek. After this failed to produce, the rest of his day was spent throwing a jerk-bait and flipping deep grass. The jerk-bait produced a few small fish, but the flip bite was key to upgrading the size of his bag. The bigger fish fell for a green pumpkin-colored Charlie Worms Flipping Bug. Using a Fitzgerald Titan HD 710 Heavy Flipping Stick rod and a 1 ½ oz. weight, he punched this bait through the thick hydrilla mats for bass that were holding tight to the grass edge in water about 15’ deep. His first day bag weighed 15 lbs. On the morning of day two, Paul noticed the winds shifting out of the northwest and anticipated better results…boy was he right! Beginning day two just as he did day one, the A-rig delivered much different results with two solid fish right away. After another hour with no bites, it was time to adjust again, so he returned to his grass

and flipped up the rest of his limit. This time, however, the fish weren’t holding on the grass edge, but deeper inside the grass. Late in the day as clouds began to block the sun, Paul ran to another spot and began throwing a top-water frog anticipating the changing conditions would ensure at least one big bite; he was right. With only 10 minutes to spare, Paul hauled in a 6 lb. bass anchoring his day-2 total at 20.22 lbs. Paul’s been providing Lake Seminole forecasts in our magazine for quite some time now and this goes to show that his knowledge of Lake Seminole is second to none. The lesson for us to learn is to be able to adjust our approach as conditions dictate. This win means Paul will be going on with 12 other Florida anglers to compete in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Regional tournament with hopes of qualifying to compete at the pinnacle of bass fishing competition, the Bassmaster Classic! Good luck Champ!

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december 2016

panama city / forgotten coast 3


Deerpoint lake

The annual draw-down is well underway on the lake and it should be very low by the time you read this. The low conditions don’t make fishing tough; in fact, it reduces the amount of hiding places for bass and makes them easier to find. Assuming the water continues to be clear, due to lack of rain, and temperatures decline going into December, a finesse approach will prove extremely effective most days right on through winter. With the low water conditions, fish will most often position themselves in the deeper part of creek bends. Deep, however, is relative to the area of the lake you’re on. Usually creek channels that still have water 5’ to 10’ deep near the edge will hold fish. Grass is always a plus, but wood proves to hold fish as well. Probe these edges by positioning your boat parallel to the shallow part of the creek and cast forward working your bait back to the boat. A ¼ oz. Gambler Giggy Head jig with a Sweebo worm attached to it will get lots of bites when fish are lethargic and picky about what they eat. The Giggy Head

presents straight-tail worms, like the Sweebo, much differently than does a conventional Texas-rigged worm. While much more effective in thick grass, the Texas-rigged worm tends to hit bottom and then immediately lay flat. The Giggy Head presents the same worm with a much more enticing hopping action and it allows the worm to stand tail-up while sitting on the bottom. This is a far more enticing action for cold bass and when they’re picky, and you need to get every advantage you can get. The thin-wire hook of these jigs allows for easy penetration into the fish’s jaw but be careful not to force the fish to the boat because you can straighten out the hook. I prefer a 7’ medium action rod spooled with 12 to 15 lb. test fluorocarbon. I limit my Sweebo worm color selection to junebug, watermelonred, green-pumpkin and black, but Gambler offers a wide variety of colors for finicky anglers. Get a straight tail worm presented to a bass on one of these Giggy Heads and they will eat it!

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Temperatures are still on the decline and fish are getting more into their winter patterns. Redfish are schooling up and beginning to migrate. The smaller, slot fish are moving out to their spawning grounds, while the big bull reds are beginning to show up along the beaches. Fishing the passes or cruising the beaches near the first sandbar is a good way to find these schools of big ones. Look for dark clouds in the water or Demp and Jess Posey doubled up on a disturbances on the surface. pair or big bull reds fishing with Capt Also, white terns diving can Todd signal schools of fish. Casting spoons, buck-tail jigs, or large twitch baits into these schools is a good way to hook up. Trout are also showing their winter patterns, and are already pushing into the river mouths and the intracoastal waterways. They’re looking for warm water discharge flowing into the saltwater to forage and escape the cold. Large congregations of fish can often be found. Using live shrimp or jigs, like gulp or DOA, on the bottom can work very well.


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lake seminole Captain Paul Tyre PaulTyreFishing@yahoo.com 850-264-7534 Lake Conditions: 1 foot below full pool, 72 degrees and most of the lake is clear. The bass fishing on Lake Seminole has been good this fall. The Flint River arm of the lake is clear due to the lack of rain. Several patterns have been producing, like a Strike King Burner spinner-bait in Blue Shad, fished fast along the outside edge of the grass lines on windy days and early in the mornings. For this technique, I prefer a 1/2 ounce spinner-bait fished on a 7:1 gear ratio reel. Lures like a Strike King KVD suspending jerk-bait in Sexy Ghost Minnow has been producing well in the Spring Creek area, fished fast along grass lines in 10 to 15 feet of water. Hybrids have been schooling up in the lower end of the lake where the Flint and Chattahoochee meet. The Strike King Titanium Umbrella-Rig teamed up with 5 1/2 inch Strike King Shadalicious in Green Gizzard, have been taking some big Hybrids. The crappie are starting to bite on the edge of the river channels in 12 to 15 feet of water on minnows and jigs. They have been big and plentiful.

Paul Tyre with a big ole Seminole bass

Capt Scott Kerslake with a nice Seminole hybrid

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Tyndall / East Bay / Crooked Island Sound Capt. Jason Shingler Adrenaline On H20 (850) 348-2282 Hey folks, it’s hard to believe that it will ever get cold this winter. The water temperature was still in the mid-70s in November, and not much rain fell either. The water inshore is very clear and warm for this time of year. I’m still seeing pilchards and menhaden in the bay. I believe the fish migration and movement are a little behind schedule this year. I have kept a journal since 2002, and I firmly believe in planning my inshore fishing trips based on water temps, clarity, and salinity levels more than the time of year; fish don’t know what month it is! Inshore I would be fishing live shrimp, menhaden, pilchards, bull minnows, or finger mullet on the lightest line I can get away with in this clear water. Leaders made of 15 lb. fluorocarbon work well for trout and slot reds in the shallows. For drum, mangrove snapper, flounder, and other structure-oriented fish, use 20- to 30-lb test leaders because you can’t let them run and your leader will suffer abrasions. There are many artificial lures that, when properly presented, will be productive. I highly recommend the Berkley Gulps, fished slowly with light leaders on jig heads. Many other soft plastics will produce as well. Keep an eye out for birds bombing, and keep a couple of spoons or diving plugs tied up. The mackerel just might hang around later than normal this year. Gulf Season closures on triggerfish, red snapper, gag grouper and amberjack significantly decreases our options of fish to harvest, not to mention most surface feeding pelagics are heading south. Flounder and mangrove snapper are still going to be targets around near shore reefs. I suggest a live well full of bull minnows, and various cut baits to send to the bottom. Again, keep a sharp lookout for surface activity. I have caught tuna and kings within three miles of shore in November and December before, so keep that stinger rig ready just in case you see the surface activity. I like to free line live minnows into the surface activity on a treble hook with a 40lb wire leader, or troll diving plugs through it. Just keep a few rods rigged just in case. Thanks for reading. 10 panama city / forgotten coast

december 2016

Bill Calhoun caught this nice black fin 2 miles out with Captain Jason

Andrew Shingler catching some nice flounder with Capt. Dad

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lake Jackson

JR Mundinger (850) 296-4071 talquinguide@yahoo.com

JR Mundinger (850) 296-4071 talquinguide@yahoo.com MERRY CHRISTMAS! If this December is anything like last year you’ll want to be fishing Lake Jackson in Tallahassee, FL often. During Christmas week 2015, we were catching bedding bass in 4’ of water and less. Water temperatures have now fallen into the 60’s and bass are eating. Many different types of baits work this time of year while bass are this active: these include swim baits, crank baits, spinner baits and jigs. Once water temperatures fall below the mid-60’s, vegetation dies back quickly making isolated cover premium spots. Most lone lily pad stalks and stems will have bait and or bass hanging around. It’s up to you to find the right combination of bait and presentation to elicit a strike. Water temperatures will vary depending on air temperatures, and this will dictate where bass will be. Early mornings, bass tend to be deeper but as the sun comes out and warms the surface you can sometimes find them on the banks, so don’t be afraid to look there. Some of you may remember the good old days when Lake Jackson gave up

lake talquin

JR with a nice Jackson bass double digit trophies on a consistent basis; well there are still plenty of them out there! After the drought and loss of water in 1999 the lake came back with lots of new species of plants, grasses and trees; this made catching those monsters much tougher. During the late fall and winter months using shiners for the big ones is the ticket without having to fight all the cover. During the winter months while duck hunting season is open, you need to be very careful when heading out before dawn. Hunters will normally set up off the beaten path, but you never know. If they’re in an area you like to fish, give them room as their season is much shorter than ours.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Lake Talquin has several different species of fish and this is the time of year you never know what you’re going to catch. Bass can be found in the mouths of creeks and shallow main lake ledges. As bait fish roam these same areas so will striped bass and white bass. Typically, areas with more current will be key to catching fish. These include ledges in the Coe’s landing area and mouths of creeks up and down the lake. Water temperatures and wind also play a big role. Warm sunny days will often move schools of bass into mid creek areas where boat docks are preferred structure. Bass will be holding in depths from 3’ to 10’ ambushing bait. Spinner baits, jerk baits and shaky head jigs work very well this time of year around docks. A day or two of blustery conditions won’t necessarily push bass out to the main lake. Steep creek channel ledges are a convenient stopping point for schooling bass. Crank baits and Alabama rigs work amazingly well this time of year. Big stripers can be found in these same locations so hang on! Talquin is also known for quality black crappie. December is probably my favorite month for catching crappie, second only to March. Huge schools of crappie will roam the main river from one end of the lake to the other following bait. Mixed in with these schools are white bass and striped bass. Trolling curly tail grubs or Hal Fly’s at a speed of .8 to 1 mph is the most effective way to catch them. Use your graph to identify the depth fish are holding and keep your bait just above them. Use round shot for weight, but the removable ones will twist your line. The bag limit is 25 crappie over 10”, per person, per day. So until next month, be safe have fun and ALWAYS wear a life jacket while boating! For more info visit www.fishtallahassee.com. Email fishtallahassee@yahoo.com Phone (850)296-4071

JR with a stud Talquin bass

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DECEMBER 2016

NORTH FLORIDA 5

11/17/16 12:25 PM


CA_HM

By Tobin Strickland • Photo by Kyle Johnson

W

ill warm water temperatures reduce winter big trout catches? It’s a question that many are beginning to wonder. “Is it cold enough yet? Have the big trout moved to the mud?” These are some of the questions I’ve been hearing. The answer is… Well, it depends. In shallow-water big trout haunts, we’ve found that the big fish move there much earlier than what we once thought, some will even stay all year in the right conditions. The fish are there for more than just the mud. As Capt. Steve Soule has said, “They are there for protection, food, and solitude.” Many of the places they frequent have formed mud on the bottom due to the layout, more so than for the mud. Depth also affords trout with similar protection, and with depth the water temperature swings are more subdued giving fish a more stable environment. With depth, there is no need for the stabilizing effect that mud also offers. In the end, I don’t think the warmer conditions will reduce the catches of seasoned big trout anglers, unless you are in south Florida, where the cold is required to move the trout into the bays. We will need to be ready as the conditions change along the way with each passing cold front, even if they remain weak. Warmer weather will allow many of the fish to stay shallow, but who knows, we may still get a winter yet. Tobin created TroutSupport.com - Tech Support for Speckled Trout and Redfish anglers.

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CANGL_FL1-FL24.indd 13

DECEMBER 2016

FLORIDA 13

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T

he Dry Tortugas are a group of seven small islands 67 miles west of Key West. Encompassed within a 100-acre national park, the islands are best known for Fort Jefferson, a 19th century brick fort on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. The history of the Dry Tortugas is pretty amazing, and so is the fishing. Fort Jefferson was built to protect the busiest shipping lanes between the Gulf Coast and the eastern seaboard. During the civil war, the fort was used by the Union army to disrupt shipping to confederate forces. During that same period, the fort was also used as a prison. The most famous prisoner held at the fort was Dr. Samuel Mudd, who mended John Wilkes Booth’s leg. In 1874, the army abandoned the fort and it was used solely as a coaling station for resupply. The Dry Tortugas received their name because there was no water on the island and the turtles prevalent on the beach made a good food source. The fort itself was never finished completely, but it is a testament to determination. All the building materials needed to build the fort were brought down by barge. The scope of it doesn’t hit you until you sit in the archways of the fort and think back in history of them hauling 14 million bricks 70 miles from Key West and roughly 200 miles from the mainland out in the middle of the ocean. Those arches of bricks often are made of six different angles meeting together to make the complex ceiling. A walk around the fort and climbing the walls is a must for anyone traveling to Dry Tortuga. Plan on just relaxing and watching the sunset from inside the fort. For anglers, the true magic happens when you go fishing off Fort Jefferson. The waters surrounding the fort are crystal clear. Often, when fishing in 30 or 40 feet of water you can watch groupers swim out of a hole and eat your bait. Whether you decide to fish K Buoy on the north side of the fort for yellowtails, East Key for groupers and mutton, or the south side of the fort for big groupers or kings, it is magical. The fishing at the fort is like going back 30 years in time and catching fish of yester-year. When you see a boat come back from the fort with its catch, you can tell where they have been without even asking. The fish are larger and more 14 FLORIDA

CANGL_FL1-FL24.indd 14

DECEMBER 2016

colorful, and there’s just more of them. I think the remoteness of the fort has kept the fishing pristine. You know the king fishing at the fort is amazing when you see tournament teams run hundreds of miles to catch a fish there to win a tournament. I think there have been more winning kingfish caught at the fort than any place else, but the fort is known for its bottom fishing. Whether you decide to bottom fish on the Atlantic side of the fort or the Gulf of Mexico on the north side, be ready for some awesome action. On the Atlantic side, you can anchor down and chum up the yellowtails on the reef edge or drift fish the different drops. These drops are bottom contours that often only change by a couple of feet, but those edges hold myriad fish. The 204 drop or the 250 drop edges are loaded with fish, but you have to use the right tackle. I prefer braid when bottom fishing. The difference with braid when you are fishing deep is it takes half the weight to get down, and you can feel exactly what is going on with your bait. The amount of weight will vary every day, you want to make sure you have enough weight to hold bottom; you do not want your line scoping out away from the boat. When the line scopes out, you have to put more and more line out to find the bottom. Ideally, you want your bait a foot off the bottom. If you scope out, you also have a great tendency to hang the bottom. It can often be hard to get the feel for it for new anglers. Bait options are endless, whether you fish live bait (pinfish, pilchards, mullet) or dead bait, there is a time for each. There are days when they only want dead bait like bonita strips, ballyhoo or squid, and they will out fish live 10 to one. Then sometimes jigs with tails or ballyhoo are the secret. The best advice I can give is take it all: dead bait, live bait and artificials. It is a long way to the nearest tackle shop. Don’t be afraid to try different things at different locations. When it comes to jigs, I prefer white and everything from 1-ounce to 10-once. The current can be still, or it could be flying along at 3 knots. For I like to drift fish at the fort. There is so much bottom to cover and so many places I

want to get to that I rarely anchor. A perfect drift for me is 1 1/2 to 2 knots. If there is no current, typically there are no fish. Different times of day are better in different areas. I believe the fish migrate during the day from south to north or vice versa depending on where you are. When you setup a drift over a migration, you will know it instantly by the constant action. When you look at a chart of the Dry Tortugas, your imagination runs wild with all the great bottom contours to fish and different spots that just look fishy. Be mindful of the closed areas and restricted areas around the fort; the fines are expensive. The best part of fishing the Dry Tortugas is exploring a new fishery that is so widespread and alive with fish. You can expect to come home with stories and photos of a lifetime. So take the time to go down West and experience history. Visit the Dry Tortugas web page for more information (www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm). Contact Capt. Mike Weinhoffer and Key West Florida Fishing through their website www. Keywestfloridafishing.com or call 305-395-3474.

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he gift of peak experiences happens to all of us. Sometimes we set them up, and sometimes they’re gifts from heaven. We all do our best to orchestrate memorable experiences. For me, a common denominator has been the ocean. Diving, surfing, sailing and fishing are all included. During the 18 years I handled sales and marketing at Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, I was fortunate to witness blue marlin tournaments in St. Thomas, the first Redbone tournament in Islamorada and good times at the Sailfish Marina with the West Palm Beach Fishing Club. Another thread has been the fishing/surfing connection. Having an affinity for the ocean is common to people who fish, and for surfers. Ben Hartig, longtime member of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, was one of the most revered surfers at Reef Road in Palm Beach. Nobody dropped in on Ben Hartig. Bill Holmes, who manufactured legendary “Holmesy Surfboards” in Juno Beach, also had the woodworking talents to do custom interiors for Rybovich Boat Company for many years. The late Ted James started Fox Surfboards in Palm Beach County in 1968 while he was catching monster tarpon and snook in the area, and later fished the Outer Banks of North Carolina while manufacturing Fox Surfboards and Sailboards there. Mark Castlow of Fort Pierce started Atlantis Surfboards in the 1960s, and then moved into manufacturing world class Maverick flats boats and Dragonfly Boatworks today. Ralph Boynton, long time Lake Worth pier surfer, won the West Palm Beach Fishing Club’s annual Nora Award for the heaviest snook three times, and holds the 50-year record at 42.08 lbs. Kristy Murphy grew up fishing and diving in the Bahamas before moving to Jupiter. She was so good in the water she could free dive 30 feet, spear a grouper and grab a lobster with the same breath. Kristy went on to win the Women’s World Longboard Championships in big waves. One of the world’s best big-wave surfers, Mark Healy, often free dives 100 feet deep as a volunteer to tag sharks for conservation. The historic Sea Mist drift fishing boat out of Boynton Inlet has had two of the best local surf-

ers as long time captains: Burt Garnsey and Charlie Brown. And don’t forget our own Florida fishing guides/writers Capt. Mike Holliday and Capt. Rodney Smith, both also hooked on surfing. Holmesy Surfboards, Fox Surfboards and Kristy Murphy are all featured in the grand opening of the new Surfing Museum in the Lake Park Arts District on Dec. 9. The Surfing History Museum recently moved from Delray Beach to Lake Park at 738 Park Avenue and the grand opening includes the premier of the new surfing film Ted James with a gift from the ocean, “Dream Steeple.” The museum a 41.75-pound snook, circa 1967. showcases the 100-year history Photo by Ralph Boynton. of surfing in Florida. We hope to see you there, and “talk story” about peak experiences and gifts from the ocean. Tom Warnke is a Trustee and Historian for the Palm Beach County Surfing History Project. Email Tom at trwarnke@hotmail.com or click on surfhistoryproject.org for additional info.

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f there is a point at which the world of art and the world of sport fishing came together, it can be found in fly tying. If you take a brief moment to scour the internet for videos on tying different types of flies anglers have developed, you’ll see that making flies is in a class all of its own when it comes to our world of fishing. Taking time to use natural or synthetic materials and making them look like something that will fool the wary eye of an elusive sport fish like bonefish or tarpon is a challenge to both our creativity and our knowledge as fishermen. However, learning to become a successful fly tyer can be one the most rewarding experiences in your fishing adventures, and it will force you to heighten your awareness of what your quarry is looking for. But let’s face it, it can be intimidating when you see pictures of some of the masterpiece flies that have been developed by more experienced tyers. Believe it or not, with only a few simple materials, some hooks, a vice, a bobbin, and tying thread, you can begin making quality flies all on your own in a very short amount of time. For the beginning fly tyer planning to fish fresh or saltwater in Florida, there are five flies I feel are not only very effective, but

are also very simple to begin tying on your own. Woolly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, Lefty’s Deceiver, gurglers, and polar fiber minnows are all flies that are a simple and effective launching pad for the beginning tyer. For the Woolly Bugger, you’ll need chenille, marabou and rooster neck hackle. The Clouser Minnow only requires two different colors of buck tail, painted dumbbell eyes and some Flashabou. Lefty’s Deceivers require matching (or varying if you choose) colors of rooster saddle and buck tail, along with some Flashabou and maybe a little paint to make the eyes. A simple gurgler only requires some marabou, chenille and foam, and for a polar fiber minnow, you only need one color of polar fiber, some fish eyes, and five-minute epoxy. For in depth instructions on all five of these flies, there are some great Youtube channels like Fly Fish Food, In The Riffle, or Tight Lines Video that offer great instructional videos for any one of these five flies and a multitude of other fantastic fly patterns. So as a fellow angler, I challenge you to head down to your nearest fly shop, pick up some of these materials and begin not only making your own flies, but catching fish on flies that you made! Good luck and tight lines.

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or more than 50 years, the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament has kicked off the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship Series. This year’s tournament dates are Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 1-4. The all-release challenge, a primary fundraiser for the Islamorada Charter Boat Association, allows an unlimited number of anglers per vessel to participate. Tournament events are to be headquartered at the Whale Harbor Inn and Marina complex, located at mile marker 83 in Islamorada, and open with pre-registration and a kickoff banquet Thursday, Dec. 1. Fishing is scheduled Friday through Sunday, Dec. 2-4, with an awards ceremony Sunday. Entry fees after Nov. 15 are $750 and $650, respectively. The junior angler entry fee is $250 regardless of entry date. Specially priced Islamorada lodging rates are available for the weekend event. The second event in the Gold Cup Series is the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament set for Jan. 19-21, 2017. The third is the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament scheduled Jan. 25-26, 2017, when the series culminates and the overall Gold Cup champions are crowned. For registration and information go to islamoradasailfishtournament. com/ or contact Dianne Harbaugh 305-522-4868.

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M

y earliest introduction to the Bahamas was Andros, and I really feel at home when I go back. Although I am blessed to have traveled throughout the Bahamas for my ongoing research of bonefish and the bonefishing industry, it was my initial angling trip to Andros that created ties to the Bahamas that draw me back. This, the largest and most sparsely developed of the Bahamian islands, offers some of the best fishing in the world. Andros is truncated by extensive, deep and vital oceanic creeks referred to as bights that act as fish highways, transporting rich nutrients from region to region and tremendous numbers of fish. North Andros, separated from Mangrove Cay by the north bight, extends roughly from Bering Point all the way north to the Joulters. Like the rest of Andros, a single road on the eastern fringe allows for travel from north to south. The western side of Andros is largely undeveloped, is challenging to reach and is now the largest Marine Protected Area in the Bahamas. Bering Point can be considered an epicenter of bonefishing on Andros and in the Bahamas for that matter. This small fishing community lies on the southeastern tip of Andros, south of Fresh Creek one of the largest settlements on Andros, and just south of the AUTEC naval base. Bering Point is home to many long-time lodges and some of the best-known guides in the world. Guides like Ivan Neymour, Charlie Smith, and Rupert Leadon started guiding anglers in the 40s and 50s, working to develop a premier bonefishing destination. Indeed, the flats of Andros are unriveled in their sheer size and many areas on the west side of Andros remain relatively untouched. Anglers visiting north Andros have a wide array of accommodations to choose from and while I was conducting interviews in the area, I stayed at the Andros Island Bonefish Club, founded by local legend Rupert Leadon, who passed in 2012. Although I was unable to interview Rupert for my research, I met and interviewed many of his family members. Through conversing with family and community members, it is very clear how much Mr. Leadon helped the local economy. Like the Leadon family, many guides working in Andros are descended from guiding greats, those men who ventured into a new industry receiving little credit for their tremendous efforts, until now. Flats within easy wading from Bering Point are extensive and varied. Anglers should have wading boots and larger flies for deeper water and larger fish. Double-digit bonefish are common in Andros. Fish the tides, look for moving water, look for places that get less pressure and do not be afraid to wade deep for big fish... however, watch for sharks. You can bet that if you find good bonefishing, you will also find sharks. Be wary of sharks while releasing bonefish, and reduce the potential for predation of your released bonefish. Do this by using adequate rods, reels and lines, by reducing fight time, by eliminating handling and using barbless hooks. “Keep ’em wet.” If you have to have a photo, consider waterproof cameras for interesting perspectives of you and your fish. North Andros is very interesting geographically. The south by Bering Point is sub-tropical. In the north, starting roughly near Stafford Creek, where the beautiful Stafford Creek Lodge is located, are extensive pine forests and some agriculture creating a significant change from the south. Bonefish angling is available all along the eastern shores, and creeks are great places to start. Car rentals are readily available from local airports and adventuresome anglers can reap great rewards for getting off the proverbial beaten path. Some creek 20 FLORIDA

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systems are extensive, and as with all of Andros, traveling to the west side requires a boat and expert local knowledge... a guide. The northern tip of Andros is known as the Joulters, recently hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Local guide Phillip Rolle graciously showed me some of the Joulters, and I can genuinely say the habitat is rich and the fishing is amazing. Miles and miles of hard white sandy bottom flats welcome anglers venturing to the area. I get the impression less angling pressure has permitted the continued health of local fish stocks. Huge schools of large fish move through countless cuts, bars and shoals, making the need for a guide critical. Given the size of the Joulters and all of Andros for that matter, finding fish is a daunting task; local guides who fish every day will greatly improve your odds of catching fish. Although the fishing on Andros is outstanding, there is much to do for non-anglers or on days away from the flats. Many blue holes dot the landscape, fantastic diving and snorkelling are easy to access, world-class birding and ecotours are available, and a rich culture including festivals like Crab Fest make for a great trip. For much more on this research please visit: http://tomkarrow.wixsite.com/ bahamas-guide-tek. Tom Karrow is a doctoral researcher evaluating the sustainability of the Bahamas bonefishing industry through accessing local guide knowledge and history. Tom works in conjunction with Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, The University of the Bahamas and the Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association. Research is funded in part through partnerships with Nautilus Reels, R.L.Winston Fly Rods, FishPond, 12 Weight, Costa and World Angling.

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By Bert Marcus Last week I got a call from my friend Bill Washburn in Sarasota. He knew I had been running a Sailfish for the past seven years and wanted to know if I had seen the new Sailfish 236CC yet. I told him that I hadn’t and asked him why he cared. “Well I’ve got one tied up at my dock,” he replied. “I wanted to see if you wanted to go out with me tomorrow on my new boat.” I have never been one to turn down a fishing trip. We made plans to meet at his house on Longboat Key the next morning and said goodbye.

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After fighting a little traffic the next morning, I pulled back behind Bill’s House to his dock and there was Bill loading some rods and a cooler into what I could tell from a distance from its distinctive bow flare was a Sailfish, but the more modern profile and the hard-top frame integrated into the console were attractive new additions. “Get aboard,” he said, beaming with pride. “Just got it over the weekend.” He filled me in on all the details. The 236CC was a brand new Sailfish model, in fact this was number seven. “They’ve taken the best of your boat and added a lot of new innovations,” he explained, while starting to show me around the boat. “He really thought this one through, from the keel up – it’s got form and function.” I could see many of the old standards features from my old Sailfish – deep gunwales, built-in transom bait well, well-laid-out console, big fish boxes in he bow. However, there was plenty of “new” in this new model. “Look how they handled the transom seating,” Bill said, pointing to a fold-up seat attached to the transom. “And the whole thing lifts up to give you easy access to the bilge.” He then pointed to the leaning post lifted up the cushion on the passenger’s side and said, “look at this, a second live well build into the leaning post.” He also pointed out the tackle storage and stowable bait station built into the leaning post before getting behind the helm, tapping on the passenger seat and telling me to get ready to go. “I’ve put about 15 hours on the motor since Saturday,” Bill explained, “I could have gotten it with a 200 or 300 Yamaha, but I went with the 250.” “It runs 47 mph wide open,” Bill boasted. “And like all Sailfish’s, the VDS hull cuts into the water and the ride is real smooth.” As I said earlier, I have been running a Sailfish for the past seven years, and one thing that I have always appreciated is the way she handles in rough water. I have to admit, I was jealous of Bill and I spent most of the trip calculating what I could get for trading in my 218CC and what color my new 236CC would be.

CONNER’S NUTTER BUTTER Most fishermen will tell you they have a favorite color when it comes to specific fly patterns or lures. As a general rule, especially with streamers, it’s a good idea to have a range of colors to cycle through until you find what the fish are keyed in on. The Nutter Butter is a great pattern that falls toward the natural color palette, featuring mostly tans and browns and natural material like coyote fur. Something I have noticed is these subtle colors can draw a strike when brighter colors will not, making streamers like the Nutter Butter a staple for any streamer fisher’s box. In addition to color, the action and profile of the Nutter Butter are perfectly suited to drawing strikes from predatory fish. This fly really dances underwater. Rear Hook Hook: Gamakatsu B10S Size 2 Tail: Tan Extra Select Craft Fur Body: Tan Ice Dub Hackle: Polar Chenille Olive Copper UV Collar: Coyote Fur in a dubbing loop Front Hook Articulation: Senyo’s Intruder Wire and 2 6mm beads Hook: Gamakatsu B10S Size 1/0 Rattle: Hareline Plastic Rattle Medium Tail: Tan Craft Fur Body: Tan Ice Dub Hackle: Polar Chenille Olive Copper UV Collar: Coyote Fur in a dubbing loop Head: Brown Laser Dub Over Tan Eyes: 8mm CCG Eyes Tempt Head: CCG Flex

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

I

t’s December. I’m ready for some winter wade fishing, and I am sure you are, too. Now the question, is our equipment ready? The last thing I want to happen… again, is to be waist deep in 45-degree water and 40-degree air temp and realize my waders have sprung a leak. Let’s go over a few things to prevent this. First, I start with storage last spring. I store all of my waders and jackets in a climate-controlled environment. I also make sure to hang them up to avoid items getting tossed on top of them. Well in advance of my first trip, I will do a thorough inspection in search of pin holes and abrasions. The best method I have found for this is to turn my waders inside out, grab a spotlight and head for a dark room. I shine the spotlight inside and look for any light shining through. In the event I spot a hole, I will circle that area with a permanent marker. Once identified, I then use the appropriate patch adhesive for my waders and make the necessary repair. After this, I like to fill them with water as a secondary check. Now, when it comes to the type of equipment to buy, there are endless options from economical to expensive. There are two trains of thought here, and over my career I have subscribed to both. I used to purchase the more economical prod-

ucts, and for the most part they served me well, but I have had those occasional uncomfortable long, wet and cold days. My thought process was I could buy 6 to 10 pairs of these waders or buy one pair of the expensive ones. The 6 to 10 might last me a lifetime. It was hard for me to see the benefits to spending substantially more money for what I felt was the same product. I heard reviews that the others were warmer etc., but I just didn’t see it since they are both fairly thin and breathable. Once I tried a pair of the more expensive brands, I was hooked! It was a night and day difference in the feel, comfort and warmth. Not to mention the more expensive ones typically come with some type of warranty. Although I have not had any problems to find out first-hand, I hear customer service is top notch if something does fail. As I mentioned, both price points will work, but there is something to be said for buying quality when it comes to winter wade fishing gear. So whatever your preference, always take the time to check your equipment prior to that first wade in search of those winter trophy speckled trout. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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

DECEMBER 2016

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

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New African Surf Rod Design Promises ‘Seven Seas’ Success By Mike Pehanich

T

he landscape is stark off Namibia’s South Atlantic Coast. Sands end in sea, and, well, that’s about all there is to see! But these coastal waters where Jeri Drake and wife Sue fish and train for international surf fishing competition are loaded with game species, including copper sharks (“bronzies”), spotted gully, cow sharks, blue rays, smooth hounds and many more. You might never make it to Africa to fish these waters, but the tackle and techniques that Jeri—a master rod builder, innovator, member of Namibian President’s fishing team, and owner of Excalibur Tackle (www. excalibur-tackle.com ) in the town of Henties Bay—takes to the surf could find application on your coastal waters, too. Fishing is serious sport along the “Skeleton Coast,” particularly for tournament anglers who, armed with long rods and a fighting belt, often wade out several hundred yards to sandbanks, routinely casting 6- to 7-once sinkers and bait 100 to 160 yards or more to reach hard-fighting game fish. Rod design for Jeri Drake, known simply as “Jeri” in southern African fishing circles, has evolved into 14-foot and longer rods. He has developed his own blanks for this style of fishing, with unique handles featuring short butt sections and long fore grips, the latter measuring around 28 inches. The essential difference to U.S. style blanks is a ‘faster’ action, as opposed to the usual ‘through’ action. Jeri employs the same “reel down” design—reel positioned relatively close to the fighting belt—with surf rods he builds for both “fixed spool” (spinning) reels and conventional reels. The long fore grips allow fishermen to change the fulcrum point while fighting the fish. The “reel down” design also makes it easier to master more powerful casting techniques and thus achieve better distances. Wading through troughs and casting and fighting fish in sea spray calls

for a non-slip rod grip material. Jeri crafts his rod handles individually, wrapping Winn Superior Rod Wrap (www.winngrips.com ) directly over the large butt section of the rod blank. The all-weather WinnDry polymer, which also wraps easily over existing cork or EVA grips with its tape-like backing, retains its tacky feel even when he’s immersed in sea spray. In lieu of finishing tape, Jeri terminates the ends of the rod wrap with thread wrap and a finishing coat. This prevents seawater, sand particles and any other substance to undermine the grip material by seeping in between the wrap and blank. It also gives the handle a more finished look. To protect the polymer material from wear and punishment where rod butt meets rod belt, Jeri places a woven carbon sleeve above the butt button. The base of the rod wrap starts above the sleeve. This keeps the polymer from contacting the rod portal of the belt. Adapt some of Jeri’s surf rod tips to the rods in your arsenal. You’ll be tipping your cap to the tackle innovations of the avid anglers of southern Africa!

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT NO SHOES NATION GEAR Engel has partnered with Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation to offer you a better way to keep #SeriouslyCool. A complete range of products will keep that “cool factor” alive for hours, days, even weeks. With 2 inches of insulation, a rugged lid that seals tightly, virtually indestructible construction, and the No Shoes Nation logo proudly emblazoned on the front, Engel High-Performance Coolers are exactly what you need when the show goes on the road. Packing your stuff in? Grab an Engel No Shoes Nation Backpack Cooler. It’s tough, easy to carry, and can hold enough food and drinks to keep the party going into the night. New NSN Backpack Coolers are coming soon, so stay tuned. When you’re ready to watch the show, sit back with your Engel No Shoes Nation Tumbler. These vacuum-insulated, stainless steel 30-ounce tumblers have a no-drip lid, and a no-skid bottom, so you can enjoy a drink without worrying about spills. Best of all, proceeds from all these sales go to supporting the CCA’s National Habitat Program so there will be a waterfront for us all to enjoy long into the future. For more information, visit

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No more cork tape! No more bike wrap! Now you can apply the patented WinnDry polymer of the all-weather rod grips from Winn to your own rod handles in minutes with just a pair of scissors and a marking pen for instant comfort and rod control. Available in 96- and 44-inch rolls, Winn Superior Rod Wrap brings bold color, style, elegance and fashion to any rod arsenal with seven solid colors: lime green, dark gray, red, yellow, pink, black and purple—and seven hot and trending camo color patterns: Wildfire, Desert Camo, Blue Camo, Lime Green Camo, Gray Camo, White Blue Camo and Pink Camo. The Saltwater Series (96-inch only) features three solid embossed “Tuna” wraps and an elegant camo-style “Dorado.” This versatile rod wrap, which comes complete with finishing tape, can perform double duty on landing nets, boat handles, gaffs and other surfaces upon which the non-slip properties of Winn polymers offer tactile advantage. Now anyone can put a Winn “skin” over the grips of their favorite rods. Finishing tape included.

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UNDER THE SEA

SPEARFISHING WORLD RECORDS SHERI DAYE

M

ost people have heard of IGFA (International Game Fish Association), which manages world records for fishermen. But have you heard of IUSA (International Underwater Spearfishing Association)? IUSA keeps track of spearfishing world records. Both were founded more than 65 years ago and have a rich history—and both pride themselves for providing a universal code of sporting ethics as well as record keeping. The IUSA rules are fairly simple: the fish must be taken while freediving and using a muscle-powered speargun, sling or polespear. The catch must be legal, unassisted and weighed on a certified scale. The application must include photos of the weighing, dimensions and witness information. The categories are: men and women, saltwater and freshwater, speargun and sling/polespear. In other words, a woman can have a record black grouper taken by polespear in the ocean; a man can have a record walleye taken by a speargun in a lake, and so forth. I was inspired a few years ago to see if I could get a world record yellowfin tuna. That led me to learn to hold my breath, educate myself on equipment, get in better shape, learn all about tunas, save money for trips and make friends with other bluewater hunters. Having that goal set many other activities in motion.

I was fortunate to achieve my goal with a 179-pound tuna in Mexico. While the catch itself was exciting, I now realize that it’s the hunt, not the catch—or as they say, “it’s the journey, not the destination.” The lessons learned, the new friends made along the way, the memories—that is what becomes most precious over time. If you’re interested in pursuing a world record, here’s some quick tips: 1. Go where the fish are! Investigate areas, charters, and recent catches. 2. Use the right tool for the job. For example, Wong guns are known for bluewater hunting, Hammerhead is known for slings/polespears, etc. 3. Know the rules in advance so you don’t unwittingly disqualify a record. They can be found on the IUSA website at www. iusarecords.com. 4. Pack a certified scale and tape measure in your dive bag. You never know when that special catch will take place! Chatillon scales are known for being accurate and “certifiable.” 5. Above all, be safe and have fun. Records are an enjoyable pursuit, but they don’t compare to your health and wellbeing. With a bit of persistence and some luck, you might be able to immortalize the fish of a lifetime by claiming a world record. Life is short, so get out and enjoy it! Follow “Sheri Daye” & “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” April 22-23, 2017 – Ft. Lauderdale - Instagram and Facebook.

For more Sheri Daye, go to

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• Regional Reports • Featured Articles • Fishing Tips • Giveaways

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Team MHX finds Success in 2016

H

FLW Photo

ow does a team that collectively won over $425K in 2015 go out and improve? “Maintaining the incredible work ethic of our anglers while working directly with our team to continue to develop the best blanks out there,” said Bob McKamey who is The Man when it comes to rod building and managing the team. FLW Tour pro John Cox started off the year with a bang at Lake Okeechobee with a top-12 cut and valuable AOY points. John narrowly missed the Angler of the Year in 2015 but had and extra spark when starting out the new season. An interesting side note to that Okeechobee event was Brad Hallman from Norman, Oklahoma, who was flipping dense reed heads with a custom-built MHX-FS966. “We didn’t initially know Brad was using our blanks until after the win,” Bob said. Come to find out, one of the MHX Regional Staff members Brandon Mosley, who fishes the COSTA series built Hallman’s rods before the event. So with just one event down in the FLW Tour, MHX Blanks had accounted for over $100k, not a bad start. Less than a month later, the Elite Series was on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Fla., and MHX Pro Brandon Lester found himself in the Day 1 lead and newest Team Member Bradley Roy was not far behind. Although he relinquished the lead over the next few days, Brandon and Bradley finished in the Top 20 to earn valuable AOY Points and nice paydays. Not to be outdone, John Cox and the FLW Tour were on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina the very same weekend, and Cox had the lead in that event. Although he did not win wire to wire, he was at the top when the smoke cleared on Sunday. With a Top-12 in the first event and a win in the second event, it seemed Cox wasted no time getting back to his

2015 form. On the regional event side, team member Brandon Mosley maintained a hot hand through the Costa Series and made two out of three cuts while building his rods as well as Hallman’s out on the FLW Tour. As the FLW Tour and Elite Series went on throughout the year, Cox, Roy and Lester continued to produce all while building their own rods. Cox, the most notable, who builds lake-specific rods in his hotel room during practice also has fellow anglers coming to him to fix a tip-top or a guide in an emergency. As the 2016 Season comes to a close, MHX has had an incredible year with multiple titles, a FLW Cup Championship and even team members headed to the Classic for the first time in their careers. Keep an eye out for the MHX Team as 2017 Season begins in January. If you are looking to build your own fishing rods check out MHX Rods at www.fishmhx.com and Mud Hole Custom Tackle at www.MudHole.com.

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How Does Harbor Freight Sell GREAT QUALITY Tools at the LOWEST Prices?

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

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Coastal Angler Magazine-Nov. / Panama City & Forgotten Coast