Coastal Angler Magazine - May / Pensacola-Destin-Emerlad Coast

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PENSACOLA/DESTIN/EMERALD COAST EDITION

FREE

Pacific Sails

In Costa Rica

Electronics Edition

Striped Bass Are Running

Local

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCISCO MEJIAS, COSTA RICA PROSTAFF VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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O P P O R T U N I T I E S

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BOOST YOUR CATCH w/RezBoostTM Technology

Interested in getting the most out of your own trusted transducer, or not sure you’re ready for the expense of installing a new CHIRP transducer? Furuno has a solution that will get the very best performance from your traditional narrowband transducer. Our RezBoostTM Fish Finders deliver clearer images than ever before, we’re talking up to 8x sharper. Whether it’s NavNet TZtouch2 or the FCV588/FCV628 stand-alone Fish Finders, RezBoostTM will boost your catch!

Get up to 8x sharper resolution, using a standard narrow band transducer, to more clearly define fish targets.

Assess individual fish size and depth based on echo strength for fish from 4 inches to over 6 feet.

Identify the sea floor composition from four types (Rocks/Sand/Gravel/Mud).

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Electronics GARMIN INREACH EXPLORER+ Going where the fish are often means exploring places where communication becomes very difficult. Whether you’re far offshore, deep in a marshy backwater or high up a remote mountain stream, wouldn’t it be reassuring to know you can connect with someone in the event of an emergency? Or you might just need to let someone know where the fish are biting? The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is a handheld GPS navigator and satellite communicator that allows you to explore anywhere and communicate everywhere. It is a rugged, compact unit that uses 100 percent global Iridium coverage for two-way text messaging and tracking anywhere in the world. Navigate with detailed, preloaded TOPO maps, follow routes, mark waypoints and find your way back with a high-detail bread-crumb trail. Using GPS tracking, you can easily share your location with family, friends, social media or emergency responders. In case of emergency, the interactive SOS allows you to communicate back and forth and receive confirmation that help is on the way. For added capability, use the free Earthmate app to pair your inReach Explorer+ with mobile devices and access unlimited maps, aerial imagery, NOAA charts, weather and more.

WWW.GARMIN.COM FURUNO DFF3D Turn your NavNet TZtouch or TZtouch2 MFD into a multi-beam sonar that can see 120 degrees port to starboard, allowing you to see the depth and direction fish schools are moving, while displaying the seabed condition in real time. Furuno’s DFF3D gives you real-time 120-degree port-starboard view of the water column and seabed in deeper than 650 feet of water, allowing you to find fish in deep water faster than conventional

single-beam sounders. Cross-Section displays the real-time sea column echo in 120 degrees port and starboard. This mode aids in understanding the distribution of baitfish and water column conditions. The 3D Sounder History provides an intuitive and easyto-understand 3D image of the seafloor, along with fish school icons. A single or triple-direction fishfinder image can be displayed. The triple beam display helps you understand the depth of fish and seabed condition in each direction, as well as the direction target fish are moving. Side scan clearly displays the shape of structure to port and starboard as a high definition image.

WWW.FURUNO.COM STANDARD HORIZON EXPLORER GX1700 GPS VHF RADIO The GX1700 makes DSC easy. With an internal 12 Channel GPS built into the front panel, there is no need to hassle with wiring the radio to a GPS for DSC. Out of the box and ready to go, DSC calling, position sharing, waypoint navigation and navigation to DSC distress calls can all be performed with just a few simple steps. The Explorer GPS VHF radio has a compact rear case of only 3.5 inches. The Built-In WAAS GPS receiver and antenna give flexibility to flush mount the radio in tight areas. The GX1700 is capable of entering and saving up to 100 waypoints, which may be navigated to by using a unique navigation compass display that shows bearing and distance to the waypoint. GX1700 is an ITU-R M493 Class D class VHF with a separate Channel 70 receiver, which allows DSC calls to be received even when listening to communications. The DSC DISTRESS function transmits a digital MAYDAY including vessel identification, latitude/longitude and time, to facilitate prompt response. Other features include a big, bold display; RAM3+ remote mic capability, easy position sharing, Clearvoice noise reduction technology, programmable channel names, NOAA Weather channels and Weather Alert. And it’s all backed by a 3-year waterproof warranty.

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Product Review ACR ELECTRONICS RESQLINK PLB

At 4.6 ounces, the ResQLink distress beacon weighs less than a couple of energy bars, and it’s smaller than the cell phone in your pocket. Small and mighty, the ResQLink PLB is a full-powered, GPS-enabled rescue beacon designed for anglers, pilots and backcountry sportsmen. With three levels of integrated signal technology—GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability—the ResQLink PLB quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites. A built-in strobe light provides visibility during night rescues. Even in extreme conditions and situations, the ResQLink activates easily. With its powerful 66-channel GPS, the ResQLink guides rescuers to within 100 meters of your position. And, in the continental U.S., search and rescue personnel are typically alerted in as little as five minutes. Other features include: no subscription fees, self-test and GPS-test features and typical performance 30 hours. If you have to use your ResQLink PLB, ACR will replace it free of charge.

WWW.ACRARTEX.COM

JL AUDIO MEDIAMASTER 100S BLACK EDITION The MM100s-BE is hitting the market just in time for summer. This latest Black Edition of JL Audio’s MediaMaster was introduced with an updated user interface that offers enhanced volume control flexibility and four fully variable zones, each with independent feature/control options; Volume, Tone, and Naming. NMEA 2000 interconnectivity is built into it and equipped with a NMEA2K Connector to integrate into existing networks, enabling MFD control functionality with Lowrance, Simrad and Garmin. Designed for today’s modern media environment, the MM100s-BE features a Digital AM/FM/Weather Band Tuner, Bluetooth connectivity, separate line level AUX and USB/iPhone inputs, and it’s SiriusXM-Ready. Available with an optional MMR-20BE Wired Remote. The MM100s-BE is a premium, single-chassis source unit with superb audio performance, excellent ergonomics and advanced audio features, specifically designed for marine applications. Check it out at http://www.jlaudio.com/. Available at HIGH TECH MARINE in Hialeah, Fla. 305-883-9700.

WWW.HIGHTECHMARINE.COM ANGLER’S PAL ELECTRONICS MOUNTS AND TROLLING MOTOR STABILIZERS

Boaters and anglers invest a small fortune in their equipment. Fishermen, for example, know that quality sonar, GPS, chart plotters and electric motors are vital tools that enhance their experience. For that reason, MarineTech Products, manufactures the Angler’s Pal line of electronics mounts and trolling motor stabilizers. Angler’s Pal mounts are designed to withstand the harsh marine environment and provide rock solid stability with minimal space requirements. The patented universal Ball Locking Device provides 360-degree adjustability and the strength to support the heaviest equipment without “drift.” The Angler’s Pal Trolling Motor Mounts feature a unique rubber lock-down strap that protects your trolling motor from accidental deployment or excessive vibration that can damage the shaft. Overall length: 10” and now THE NEW 14” model for longer shafts and deeper gunnels. They are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and hardanodized aluminum for fresh and saltwater use. They are available in a variety of lengths, and all Angler’s Pal mounts can be easily removed for storage. Angler’s Pal also manufactures 700 and 800 Series Rod Holders. For information, contact Marine Tech Products at 1 651-4862010.

WWW.ANGLERSPAL.COM

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BIG BEND : Mike McNamara • (850) 510-7919 • captmike@coastalanglermagazine.com BREVARD : David String • (321) 684-5888 • dstring@coastalanglermagazine.com DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA BEACH : Don Meadows • (321) 436-5895 • donm@coastalanglermagazine.com FLORIDA KEYS : Cliff Lumpkin • (305) 849-9093 • cliff@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT LAUDERDALE : Gene Dyer • (954) 680-3900 • gene@coastalanglermagazine.com FORT MYERS : Nadeen Welch • (239) 595-8265 • nwelch@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER MIAMI : Scott Deal • (561) 945-6999 • scott@coastalanglermagazine.com Monica Isaza-Deal • (561) 945-8899 • monica@coastalanglermagazine.com GREATER ORLANDO : Phillip & Giselle Wolf • (407) 790-9515 • phillip@coastalanglermagazine.com LAKELAND & SUMTER : Mary Brasher • (352) 598-4219 • maryf@coastalanglermagazine.com NAPLES : Mike Weber • (414) 531-4172 • mikew@coastalanglermagazine.com NC FLORIDA/NATURE COAST : Cary & Lynn Crutchfield • (352) 372-4237 • crutch@coastalanglermagazine.com NE FLORIDA : Danny Patrick • (904) 742-4696 • danny@coastalanglermagazine.com PANAMA CITY/FORGOTTEN COAST : Randy Cnota • (229) 834-7880 • randyc@coastalanglermagazine.com PALM BEACH COUNTY : Barbara Ryan • (561) 373-8040 • barbara@coastalanglermagazine.com SARASOTA : Phil Prevoir • (239) 257-4684 • pprevoir@coastalanglermagazine.com TAMPA BAY : Chuck Atkins • (239) 464-5153 • chuck@coastalanglermagazine.com TREASURE COAST : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com

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Garmin Introduces

W

hether it’s by land, air or sea, Garmin has made a name for itself as the industry leader in navigational electronics. Its popular and varied GPSMAP product line offers the perfect tool for anyone who needs to know where they’re going. In November, Garmin brought powerful new tools to the realm of marine electronics with the introduction of several new networking chartplotters and combination models to the GPSMAP line. Unveiled at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, these units lured in boaters and anglers with high-end features at a more than reasonable price point. “These new GPSMAPs are designed for the budget-conscious customer who desires premium features typically found only in a higher-end product,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “We’ve packed these plotters with industry-leading features, builtin conveniences, and we’ve added two new screen sizes to our lineup—a 9-inch touchscreen and a 12-inch keyed—to offer something for every boater.” Ranging in size from 7- to 12-inches, these new plotters are available with and without built-in sonar.

gration, and a 10Hz GPS/GLONASS receiver for smooth on-screen navigation. These compact plotters offer full-network compatibility for the Garmin Marine Network, which allows support for sharing sonar, maps, user data, radar, IP cameras and Panoptix all-seeing sonar among multiple units. Plus, there’s NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 support for autopilots, digital switching, weather, VHF, AIS and other sensors. Anglers, cruisers and sailors alike will benefit from the xs series that comes equipped with built-in 1kW traditional CHIRP sonar and CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar capability for a near-picture quality view of what’s beneath the boat. Preloaded premium mapping features can be found on the GPSMAP 742/742xs and the GPSMAP 942/942xs, including both BlueChart g2 HD charts for the U.S., Canada and Bahamas and LakeVü HD maps. The GPSMAP 722/722xs and GPSMAP 922/922xs come preloaded with a worldwide basemap for general reference with support for optional mapping available at garmin.com.

GPSMAP 7x2/9x2 and GPSMAP 7x2xs/9x2xs Touchscreen Series

GPSMAP 10x2xsv/12x2xsv and GPSMAP 10x2/12x2 and Keyed Series

The GPSMAP 7x2/9x2 series plotters are 7- and 9-inch sunlight-readable touchscreen chartplotters perfect for any boater. The xs series offers the perfect solution for anglers with chartplotter/sonar combination units. These compact and powerful units are exactly what’s needed when functionality is essential and cockpit or deck space is at a premium. Building on the popularity of the 7-inch touchscreen Garmin pioneered in 2010, this series introduces a 9-inch touchscreen to the Garmin line. Both serve customers who value screen size as a compelling option. They feature builtin wireless connectivity for Garmin mobile apps and VIRB action camera inte10

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For those who prefer using a keypad, the all-in-one solutions offered by the new 10-inch GPSMAP 10x2xsv and the 12-inch GPSMAP 12xsv can’t be beat. With an all-new industrial design, these combos feature a large, sunlight-readable screen coupled with a keypad interface and new multifunction rotary control knob that offers precise, simple control for easy menu navigation and setting control, even in rough water. These units also offer four user-programmable hot keys for one-touch access to favorite features and functions. In addition to GPS and connectivity features also found in the GPSMAP 7x2/9x2xs series, the GPSMAP 10x2xsv and GPSMAP 12x2xsv also offer impressive sonar capabilities with built-in

CHIRP sonar, CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü as well as support for Panoptix all-seeing sonar. Other premium Garmin sonar modules are also available, including two new CHIRP transducer options–the GT8HW-IH and GT15MTM. The GPSMAP 1042xs/1242xs come preloaded with BlueChart g2 coastal charts and U.S. LakeVü HD, while the GPSMAP 1022xs/1222xs offer a worldwide basemap. Two non-sonar versions, the GPSMAP 1022 and GPSMAP 1222 are also available with a preloaded worldwide basemap.

Advanced Features For Sailors

Premium sailing features have also been integrated into both new series, offering laylines, tidal information, enhanced wind rose, a current slider and other elements that prove beneficial to sailors. All new models also offer integrated ANT support for use with the quatix 3 marine smartwatch, the Garmin Nautix in-view display, gWind Wireless 2 transducer, GNX Wind marine instrument and wireless remote controls. Additionally, all sonar-enabled models feature built-in Quickdraw Contours software, a free, easy-to-use tool that lets mariners instantly create personalized HD maps with 1-foot contours on any body of water.

An Attractive Price Point

The GPSMAP 7x2/9x2 and xs series will range from $799.99 to $1299.99, while the GPSMAP 10x2/12x2xsv and non-xsv series will be priced from $1699.99 to $2999.99. This is exceptionally affordable pricing for top-quality electronics with so many sophisticated yet easy-to-use features. What more could you expect from Garmin, the company that was recently named Manufacturer of the Year for the second year in a row by the National Marine Electronics Association. For a full list of features and more information, visit garmin.com/newmarine.

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Adjustable cap with brim UV-blocking polarized sunglasses

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Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

or nearly a century, Eagle Claw has provided premium hooks for all kinds of anglers using American steel and designing and manufacturing them right here in the U.S.A. Founded in 1925 in Denver, Colo., Eagle Claw is extremely proud of its long history of American-made fish hooks. And it is also proud of the high-quality product it produces. Trokar Eagle Claw’s Trokar hooks offer a competitive advantage for serious saltwater competitors. These premium quality hooks offer a faster, deeper, surer point penetration that requires half the pressure of the competition. Manufactured using cold forged high-carbon American-Made steel, they offer better durability and stronger holds for hard-fighting, big-game species. Trokar hooks are surgically sharpened, and their triple-sided points are regarded as the most innovative, sharpest, and most durable on the market today. The Platinum Black finish is designed to withstand repeated use in saltwater and harsh marine conditions. There are more than 20 models of Trokar hooks available for fresh and saltwater. A highlight of the Trokar saltwater line is the TK197 Primal Circle Hook, which is an awesome all-purpose bait hook with an offset, light-wire design. Made of high-carbon steel wire for strength and durability, this hook has a highly durable point and a salt-resistant coating. It offers stronger hold for battling fast and hard-fighting big game fish, and it is a dream come true for serious competition anglers who fish for serious saltwater species. Lazer Sharp Eagle Claw’s Lazer Sharp hooks are designed to be “Sharper, Stronger, Longer,” which means the patented Lazer Sharp needlepoint and forged technology ensures a sharper, stronger, longer hold than the leading competition. Lazer Sharp hooks feature uniquely blended coatings—Sea Guard, Platinum Black and Nickel— which are designed to be more durable and abrasion resistant after repeated use in saltwater. There are more than 30 Lazer Sharp saltwater models available. The L2004EL has become a staple on the boats of big-time billfish anglers. They are approved by the Billfish Foundation for tournament use, and were the original and once the only tournament-approved circle sea hook. The design of this non-offset, circle sea, with a wide gap, light wire and a forged point, results in more solid hook-ups and a much higher rate of fish hooked in the corner of the mouth, which equates to fewer escaping fish as well as less-stressful releases. To this day, the L2004EL is still the single best option for pro and amateur billfish tournament anglers looking for proven performance stemming from a decade of making champions out of competitors. Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle, Co. is an American-based company that has been designing and manufacturing innovative, high-quality fishhooks and fishing equipment for more than 90 years. Its family of brands includes Eagle Claw, Lazer Sharp, TroKar, Wright & McGill and Shappell. For more information about Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle Co. and its family of brands, visit www.eagleclaw.com, find them on Facebook at facebook. com/eagleclaw/, facebook.com/TroKarHooks/ and facebook. com/shappellcorp/ or call 720-941-8700.

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ON THE COVER 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 Costa Rica Sailfish

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The great shot of a Pacific sailfish that graces Pacific Sails the covers of this month’s Coastal Angler In Costa Rica Electronics Edition editions comes from Costa Rica Pro Staff member Francisco Mejias. Francisco is one of the great captains who provide monthly Striped Bass forecasts for our local Costa Rica edition, Are Running Local and he captures some stunning photography as well. Knowing one’s way around a camera is important for getting cover-worthy shots. And it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a target-rich environment like Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific coast to snap photos of trophy fish. Inside this month’s magazine, Francisco and several other Costa Rica Pro Staff members came together to share the Pacific sailfish experience with our readers. From smaller boats, they pull spreads for sails that can top 200 pounds. The techniques and tools for catching and releasing them safely are laid out in the article, and they are techniques honed by the knowledge that can be gathered during 50-sailfish days. No kidding. The fishing down there can be that good. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCISCO MEJIAS, VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Hudson River Striped Bass

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All over the country, wherever striped bass Striped Bass live, spring incites migrations of these bruisers Are Running up the rivers to spawn. This is the time of year when very large fish can be caught in skinny water. In the Southeast, runs of landlocked Electronics stripes can be roughly timed by the blooming Edition Local of the dogwoods. In the Northeast, anglers Picky-Trout Tactics await the arrival of the Alewives. Dave Maneri, of Tivoli, N.Y., caught the big striper on the covers of this month’s The Angler editions. His buddy Paul Hughes Jr. snapped the photo while they were fishing the striped bass run on the Hudson River, which feeds the Atlantic Ocean at New York City. It was an epic day for the two anglers. They caught multiple fish, including the cover fish and another one about the same size, which Paul is holding in the photo that appears with the article. In that article, Dave tells us all about the Hudson River striped bass run and how he goes about catching big stripers from the shore as well as from a boat. The uninformed might assume there’s no fishing to be done in such close proximity to one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world. But striped bass and baitfish still run up the Hudson each year to spawn, just like they have since time immemorial. Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL HUGHES JR. VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

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By Pro Staff Costa Rica • Photos by Francisco Mejias

T

he Pacific sailfish is one of the most sought after offshore game fish in Costa Rica. Growing larger than their Atlantic

counterpart, sailfish in Costa Rica average 60 to 80 pounds, but big ones can surpass 200 pounds! They are migratory, with the main concentration of fish arriving in our area of the Central Pacific as the dry season sets in the end of December. They move away as the wet season kicks in during early May. Even though this is the main migration, there are always sailfish present in our waters year round. We fish from smaller boats, so we use the traditional five-rod setup. A combination of natural baits and lures are used, and our main baits are ballyhoo. Our lures of choice are the Magna series from Santos. Variations of pink, lumo and blue combined with a Trokar hook are deadly combinations. If the bite is slow, we often sew a belly flap or strip bait into the lures for a more enticing bait. On the outriggers, we use teasers. A squid chain in pink on one side and a bigger lure like a Santos Carolina Seastalker on the other is a good start. The shotgun gets a Santos lure as well as the long rigger. The short rigger and the two corners are set up with naked swimming ballyhoos on Trokar 7/0 circle hooks. It is also handy to have a mullet, horse ballyhoo or tuna

rigged and ready to go as a pitch bait in case a marlin decides to crash the party. Once the fish is caught it is time for a few photos. This is a critical part of the process, as it involves fish handling. Even though some boats still bring up a sailfish for a photo, it is highly recommended to not do so, as it can be extremely harmful to the fish. It is the process of pulling the fish over the rail of the boat that causes problems. The protective mucus covering is scraped off, leaving an area of skin exposed to bacterial and fungal attack. This can result in death of the fish at a later time. Leave the fish in the water, and with a good pair of AFTCO gloves, grab the outer part of the bill and push the fish as far out from the boat as possible. Keep the head of the fish in the water as much as possible, and lift it briefly for a good photo. Take the shot from the tail end of the fish looking forward or from above if possible. Alternatively, grab the front part of the sail, pull it up and hold the bill with your other hand. Make sure the bill is always pointing away from you and not at you. Take the photo from the front of the fish. If you have never been to Costa Rica fishing, it is definitely worth it and you will be hooked! Pro Staff Costa Rica provides monthly reports for Coastal Angler Magazine’s Costa Rica edition. Search out Pro Staff Costa Rica on Facebook for more great photography, videos and fishing content.

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Spring Striped Bass Run The Hudson River By Nick Carter

E

ach spring, through the Hudson River’s mouth at bustling New York Harbor, a massive spawning migration of Atlantic stripers pushes some 150 miles upstream to the Federal Dam at Troy, N.Y. In this long stretch of tidally influenced river, striped bass show up when water temps reach the 60s. Dave Maneri, of Tivoli, N.Y., said the trick is to keep up with the migration and put yourself in the right place at the right time to intercept pods of transient stripers. “They move in big schools,” Maneri said. “Some days they’re there and you can catch them; other days they’re not. You gotta stay on the reports. They’re running the whole river, so you could travel to where the fish are or wait until they’re where you are.” Smaller schoolie striped bass show up first. They come with the spawning alewives, which are baitfish commonly called herring. Schoolies remain in the river for a couple months some years, and there’s also a year-round resident population. But Maneri said the big cows remain only for a week or two each season. They are always on the move, and connecting with them can lead to unbelievable action with big fish measuring past the 40-inch mark with weights heavier than 30 pounds. Fishing bait is generally the most productive tactic. The best bait is herring pulled right out of the river, either live or chunked. Most locals use a scap net to catch herring. A scap net is essentially a 4’x4’ dip net. The schooling herring will follow a swimbait right up to the net where they are captured. Maneri fishes his herring off the bottom using medium and medium-heavy rods with baitrunner-style reels that allow fish to run with the bait on free spool before the angler strikes to set the hook and engage the drag. He employs a main line of 30-pound braid with a 1 ½-foot leader of 15- to 20-pound fluorocarbon. A 7/0 Gamakatsu Octopus should be hooked through the bait’s mouth, and the whole rig is kept down with a 2- or 3-ounce slide swivel teardrop sinker. Maneri said stripers don’t relate to any kind of structure on their spawning run, so the good spots are the drop offs, channels and shallows where baitfish might be funneled. Obviously, a boat gives anglers the ability to move and seek out fish. But fishing from shore is also productive. When he fishes from the shore, Maneri uses rod holders made from PVC pipe and rebar. They can be wedged into rip-rap to free up the angler while waiting on a bite. And the bite can be a tricky thing. Maneri said these stripers have a knack for spitting the bait. One thing is for sure, though; when the hook sets solid and the drag is engaged, a big striped bass in heavy current is a formidable opponent. Dave Maneri is a team member of Catskill Outdoors. Look them up on Facebook.

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Tips For Catching Picky Trout

By Charlie Warfield • Photo by John Winkler, redhouseflyfishing.com

T

he upper end of the Delaware River, and more specifically the West Branch of the Delaware in the Catskill Mountains, is a favorite of many fly anglers in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York. It can also be frustrating place, as it holds some very picky trout. The river has a reputation for crystal clear water, and because it is a bottom-release tailwater, it has a very consistent temperature, which makes for great hatches and healthy fish year round. It is known for being very technical, and this is just a nice way of saying it will sometimes make you want to pull your hair out. The first time I fished it, I was tested, even frustrated by this beautiful waterway. But besides the beautiful mountain setting and endless hatches, it is in part the challenge that drove me to go back time after time. I persisted and figured out ways of tricking the beautiful native fish. I learned lessons there that have made me a better angler. The following are some insights that will give you a leg up when you go fish the Delaware or any other technical stream. Downstream Presentation: Many anglers learned to cast upstream and let the fly drift down. But when fishing for spooky or educated fish, this method can sometimes leave you frustrated. It’s harder to get a good, long drift with a downstream presentation, but many times it is your best bet. Next time you’re having a hard time getting a take, cast out at about 90 degrees to the bank, and quickly give an upstream mend, this will help you keep a drag free drift for as long as possible. Keep mending as often as needed, letting the fly swing to its full downstream position. Sweep-Style Hook Set: The downstream presentation should be matched with a sweep-style hook set. To use this technique, swing the rod downstream and strip the line at the same time, this will pull the line through the water, creating tension and giving a good hook set. By swinging the rod downstream, you are also pulling the hook into the corner of the fish’s mouth rather than pulling it up and away from the fish. Slow Down Your Hook Set: Ok, we have all done it before. It’s a tough day on the water and all of the sudden you get a strike, BAM you set the hook… and nothing. I have heard people say things like, “Next time, set the hook faster.” But most of the time the opposite is true. A good technique is to wait one second and then give the rod a gentle lift or sweep. Match the Hatch: Picky fish know what they want to eat. There can be significant variation in color, size and body shape in the same species of fly from region to region, and there are many subspecies for each type of fly we fish. So do your homework. I suggest hiring a local guide or at least stopping in at the local fly shop. It is good to support the community, and you can never beat local knowledge.

For more tips on trout fishing, go to

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FLORIDA

By Randy Cnota

F

olks are ramping up for grouper season. If you’re not geared up and properly prepared, you might be one of the many people at the dock talking about the one that got away. Here are some tips that work well when grouper are the target. Grouper are notorious for shattering an angler’s hopes of a fresh grouper dinner. Often, bait must be presented very close to the reefs grouper inhabit, and the reef is where they run the second they eat your bait. If they get back in their hole, it’s often game over! I try to up my odds of landing grouper by building leaders that can withstand the line-gnawing reefs. My grouper rig is simple; it consists of a 6- to 8-foot long leader of 300-pound-test monofilament with a 9/0 to 11/0 circle hook. Above that, I have a 4- to 8-ounce slip-sinker on a 12-inch leader of 300-pound monofilament. These two pieces are connected by a 250-pound-test barrel swivel. All swivels and the hooks are attached to the line using 1.9 mm crimp sleeves. Start your leader production by cutting the desired length of line for the hook leader. Crimp your hook to one end and a swivel to the other. Next cut a 12-inch piece of line and crimp a swivel to one end. Slide your weight onto the line, and then attach the opposite end to the swivel on the long leader. Be sure to crimp the center portion of the sleeve and then work your crimping tool toward the edge of the sleeve, but leave a slight flaring on the edges. If you crimp the edge of the sleeve, it can cut into your line. A fighting rod of 5’8” or longer, rated for line up to 200-pound test will do in most cases. My reel of choice is the Shimano Torium 30HG spooled with 65-pound-test braided line. The 6.2:1 gear ratio makes it fast and powerful enough to move big grouper in a hurry. The goal is to keep them out of the reef, but if they do get back to their hole, you’re prepared with a leader that can survive the fight. When I hooked the gag grouper in this picture, he immediately ran

back into his hole in the reef. For a few minutes he wouldn’t budge. I simply held pressure on him for a while and bounced the weight up and down. Then I just let the line go slack for a few minutes. Suddenly, he came out and it was game on again! I think when this happens the fish have forgotten they were hooked and decide to come back out of their holes. Other times, I’ve literally yanked these bruisers right out of their lairs. Either way, you need gear that will withstand the power of the fish and the perils of the reef. Required items to build your own grouper-busting leader: • 9/0 to 11/0 circle hook • Two 250-pound-test barrel swivels • Four 1.9 mm crimping sleeves • 10 feet of 300-pound-test mono • Crimping tool Randy Cnota is the co-publisher of Coastal Angler/The Angler Magazine’s Panama City/Forgotten Coast edition.

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Fine Tuning Fishing

By Patrick Sebile

M

any years ago I was a guide, making a living by taking anglers fishing all around the world—well, in 40 countries at least. I specialized in inshore and nearshore fishing, with some bluewater-specific trips. Besides that, I fished even more destinations just for fun or when I was sent to write articles for magazines. In total, I’ve fished in 64 different countries. Why do I tell you all this? Well, when I was focusing a lot on my lodges in Morocco, Guinea Bissau and Ivory coast, where I spent years guiding, it gave me the chance to learn little by little the best spots and how to fish them. But the majority of places where I traveled to fish, I only had a few days to find the hot spots before receiving a group of anglers. When they arrived, I wanted them to have the best chances of doing well and having fun. I didn’t have much time, usually three days up to a week, to seek out key places. In many cases, a local guide would give me hints; a good tip is always useful in that regard. But other than a direction and the approximate location of a day beacon, there was not much more helpful information out there. These areas had to be finetuned by reading and understanding them. These are two key steps for any successful fishing trip. The primary tool for achieving these two steps is the combination of GPS and fishfinder. Most of the time I travelled with a portable unit, just in case there weren’t electronics on the boats I was supposed to be using, and also in case they weren’t working properly. I experienced that problem a number of times in remote locations and developing countries. With this powerful technology, suddenly the bottom shape and depth were illuminated on the screen… and in my mind. I was picturing it as a three-dimensional image as best as I was able. The bottom structure and the currents were key to understanding water flow, which gives clues of where the food will pass through and where different fish species hold in the current or hidden from it. At that time, I remember dreaming of glasses that would see into the depths, turning the liquid into an invisible substance like the air, to actually see the fish and the bottom. This is a dream I believe has existed since the first boatman went on the water, or even before. Now it has pretty much become reality thanks to the incredible electronics of today. They show us the sea floor exactly as it is, and record true bottom shape and depth on maps thanks to Navionics. We can even see the fish down there. A new age of fishing is here thanks to this revolution. Now it’s possible to know, when fishing a new spot or an old one, just what it looks like under the waves. It’s even possible to target a fish and drop or cast a lure right in front of it. This is fine-tuned fishing at its best.

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Our offshore banks Chasing Tarpon generate more interest.

From Big Pine sKey knab erohsffo ruO

.tseretni erom etareneg

By Nick Carter

T

here is no fish more iconically associated with the Florida Keys than tarpon. The allure of hooking into one of the ocean’s most powerful and aerobatic fish in skinny water draws anglers from all over the world to test their mettle on the flats and in the bays the silver king inhabits. Those who desire to concentrate singly-mindedly on that pursuit would be well served to spend some time at Big Pine Key. At mile marker 33 on Highway 1, Big Pine is situated on the top end of the Lower Keys, far enough from the bustling tourist activity of Key West and slap in the middle of some of the best tarpon fishing in the world. Capt. Nate Wheeler, of Waypoint Fishing Charters, specializes in these prehistoric beasts. Although he also runs jam-up inshore and offshore trips for all the awesome fishing the area has to offer, staying on top of often-difficult tarpon is a constant pursuit. Capt. Nate said smaller tarpon can be found year-round, but the action begins when water temperatures break the 72-degree mark. This is the magic temperature at which tarpon begin to feed, and the warm-up coincides with a large influx of big migrating tarpon. Generally there is some consistency to the bite beginning in mid to late April each year. This year, Nate said the Keys experienced a “Marchuary,” which means cool weather hung around longer than usual. As a result, tarpon fishing was a little slow in the early season, but by mid-April water temps had risen into the mid 70s and the silver king began to feed. “Tarpon are a real finicky fish. They are very sensitive to conditions,” Capt. Nate said. “It can be feast or famine, and that’s why guides do so well as compared to the do-it-yourself angler. We’ve spent years following them, and if they’re here, we know where they are.” The limestone strata of the Lower Keys and the north to south alignment of the islands have created a unique habitat of channels, shallow bays, flats and mangrove islands. Nate said laid-up tarpon can often be found on the flats and in shallow bays. It is an early season staple. This laid-up behavior, in which big tarpon lie at rest just under the surface, is something the waters around Big Pine Key have become known for. “Laid-up fish in the bays is the one time that fly fishermen have an advantage,” Nate said. Sight fishing for big, easily spooked fish when they aren’t actively feeding is best done with delicate presentations. In water seemingly too shallow for the size of the fish, floating lines and pinpoint accuracy with casts become paramount. That challenge, as well as the potentially explosive results of a take, are what many anglers live for. But there are easier ways to do it for those who want to maximize

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their chances of experiencing that explosion of activity. In spring and summer, big pods of tarpon push into the bridge channels. The Bahia Honda and Seven Mile bridges just east of Big Pine Key become an epicenter for anglers seeking the flashes and rolls of active tarpon. They can be caught on artificials and flies, but suspending and drifting a blue crab beneath a float offers as close to a guaranteed hookup as exists in tarpon fishing. Nate said fishing the tide windows is critical to maximizing chances of a bite. “We crush them in the summertime,” Nate said. “Especially on the fly.” That statement might have been directed toward the worm hatch. In summer, when tarpon are thick in the channel, the world’s most famous palolo worm hatch occurs at Bahia Honda. No one has it exactly figured out, but somehow the tide and moon phases trigger thousands of 3-inch long burnt orange sea worms to wriggle to the surface to reproduce. Tarpon go out of their minds when palolo worms swarm in the thousands. Giant fish can be seen gulping the little morsels on the surface and sometimes rising completely out of the water for them. Just to witness it is a spectacle. For those lucky enough to encounter it with a rod in hand, it is something else. But if baking in the summer sun is something to be avoided, Capt. Nate threw out one more option for anglers who want to tangle with a silver king. “The most consistent way to get them is at night, after dark,” he said. Tarpon need to eat to feed their massive bodies. During the daytime, that feeding is mainly opportunistic, an “it’s there so I might as well eat it” scenario. Nighttime is generally when tarpon actively seek out their meals and feed most aggressively. Capt. Nate said he’s had some tremendous evenings catching small tarpon as well as 40- to 50-pounders fishing with artificials and live bait. So, those are a few of the ways anglers can get their tarpon fix during the spring and summer out of Big Pine Key. Probably the most important piece of advice is to hire a guide for the best chance of achieving your goal of catching this notoriously finicky beast. s“Usually r ef fo y eK eniPbite gi Bpretty , sl aohconsistently S n a ci r e mat A the ot bridges, yeK eo”oCapt. L m oNate rF they’ll na nifilrthey’re am ,hsnot ifliasthere, morwe’ll F .hsifollow femagthem emitto -githe b fobays htlaand ew the a said. d “But flats andhfind t ailothem G dnwherever a kcajrebthey ma are. dez” is-tluav ot pot pu hsifgnik

ni fCapt. lesruoNate y t isWheeler op e d e mand oc Waypoint o S .p e e d Fishing n wod rCharters ep uo r Gat Contact 305-394-2177 .nruor tercaptnatewheeler@aol.com, ni hcum os teg ll’uoY .syand eK rsee ewothe L swebsite ’adirolFat www.waypointfishing.net. 2 2 73 . 2 78 . 0 0 8 .1 s yek r ewol / m oc. s yek - afl

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Our offshore banks generate more interest.

From Looe Key to American Shoals, Big Pine Key offers a wealth of big-time gamefish. From sailfish, marlin and kingfish up top to vault-sized amberjack and Goliath Grouper down deep. So come deposit yourself in Florida’s Lower Keys. You’ll get so much in return. fla-keys.com/lowerkeys 1.800.872.3722 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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FISH & FISHING

MAKE IT COUNT

Y

MARK SOSIN

ou’ve heard it said before. The key to catching fish centers on presentation, presentation, presentation. Too many anglers nod in agreement, but fail to focus on it constantly. Whether you prefer natural bait or artificials, the best offering will bomb unless it looks realistic and natural to your quarry. Whether you are staring eyeball to eyeball with the fish of your dreams or simply covering the water with blind cast after blind cast, it all necks down to your ability to make your bait or lure tempt a fish into striking. My father was the consummate example. His lure of choice was a ¼-ounce or 3/8-ounce yellow Upperman bucktail. Dad would put a half-dozen of them in his jacket pocket and challenge dozens of species in saltwater or fresh. That artificial didn’t look like it would catch anything, yet Dad could outfish anyone in the boat with him. Professional guides were amazed what he could do with that lure. He was perfect proof that presentation was the key rather than the choice of lure. Almost all of his casts were blind, but somehow he managed to put that bucktail where the fish were and in a manner that they would eat it. No matter how hard I tried year after year, I have never come close to catching as many fish as he could on that bucktail. He never understood the technicalities of fish behavior. As an example, fish holding in any type of current face into it, expecting their food to be swept to them by the flow of water. Even in shallow water, predators tend to work into the current or across it. It’s essential to know where in the water column the species you seek happens to be. If you had to ask a successful angler one question, find out how deep the water was where he caught his fish. You don’t have to know the spot as long as you learn the depth. And remember, a fish hugging the bottom is not going to rise very far to inhale a bait. There are also places I refer to as seats in a restaurant. These are

very precise spots where a fish can hold easily with a minimum of current and then dart out to grab food being pushed along by the flow of water. If you catch a fish in a particular spot today, it could be a seat in the restaurant. By tomorrow or the day after, you can bet that another fish will be in that exact same spot. Predators do not expect to be attacked by their prey. Any retrieve that drags a bait toward your target will spook the larger fish. Your offering has to look like it is trying to escape. That also holds when you cast toward a particular spot where you think a fish is holding. If your bait or lure lands too close, it will scare your quarry. Instead, cast slightly away from the spot and let the current or your retrieve drag the bait past where your target is. No matter what bait or lure you choose, it still centers on presentation. When you present your offering correctly, your catch rate will rise and the smile on your face will telegraph the results.

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welcome. Fishing grounds are located just offshore of the two host marinas. There are no long runs to get to the fish. The two-leg tournament begins in Varadero June 5-8. Boats fish from the Marina Gaviota, the beautiful, modern 1,100-slip marina located on the tip of the Varadero peninsula. From Varadero, boats travel 90 miles west to Marina Hemingway in Havana for the second leg. Visas, flights and accommodations can be arranged by Cuba Travel Services, the travel company for the Gamefish Grande. Contact Marlen Batista for assistance. Marlen Batista Product Assistant/Specialist Cuba Travel Services 10 NW 42 Avenue, Suite 400 Miami, FL 33126 Email: marlen@cubatravelservices.com Office/Fax: 305-929-8790

H

ave you ever wanted to fish in Cuba? Fishing grounds that were once untouchable are now open to anglers! It is easy to take your boat to Cuba and fish. Simply file Form 3300 with the U.S. Coast Guard. They will approve your travel to Cuban waters and away you go! One of the best things about Cuba is its proximity to south Florida. Taking your center console can be a simple trip. You don’t need to have a sportfish to compete in the Gamefish Grande tournament this June–center consoles are

Participants will fish for three days in Varadero and then have a day to tour and experience Cuba before fishing the final three days in Havana. In an effort to preserve the future of big game fishing in Cuba, the Gamefish Grande is an all-release tournament. For online entry, rules and travel resources, visit www.gamefishgrande.com. Schedule of Events June 5: Arrive Marina Gaviota, Varadero Captain’s Meeting and Dinner June 6-8: Fishing Days June 8: Awards Dinner June 9: Travel to Marina Hemingway Tour Cuba (optional) June 10: Havana Captain’s Meeting and Dinner June 11-13: Fishing Days June 13: Awards Dinner For online registration go to: https://www.regonline.com/gamefishgrande2017registration To access Form 3300 go to: https://www.uscg.mil/d7/docs/Cuban%20permitCG3300.pdf

FISH THE 2ND ANNUAL GAMEFISH GRANDE IN CUBA Varadero: June 5 – 8, 2017 Havana: June 10 – 13, 2017

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Lousiana Seeks Control Of Red Snapper Fishery

Photo courtesy of Capt. Greg Rapp

T

he Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) had a motion passed at the recent meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) that could eventually allow Louisiana and possibly other states the ability to manage the recreational red snapper fishery in federal waters in addition to state waters.

C O N T R O L

“This motion is a victory for all anglers fishing from Louisiana ports. If this amendment is approved, federal waters will no longer be off limits for large portions of the season,” said Jack Montoucet, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “The motion is in keeping with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ long-held support of state management of red snapper for the recreational angling community. “LA Creel is an integral part of our scientific data collection program and the cornerstone for passage of this motion,” Montoucet said. “Louisiana anglers will be rewarded for their efforts in making LA Creel one of the best data collection programs in the country.” LA Creel is the harvest data program designed and implemented by LDWF to closely track the amount of fish caught by recreational anglers in Louisiana. It has been widely recognized by other states and the National Marine Fisheries Service as the best in the Gulf and enables LDWF to manage fishing seasons in near real time. The Gulf Council passed by an 11-5 vote the motion to begin the amendment to allow Louisiana the new powers at its April 6 meeting in Birmingham, Ala. The Gulf Council will deliberate on the new amendment over the next year to refine the “Louisiana only” plan. Under this amendment, Louisiana would act as pilot for the other Gulf states. The amendment would only allow Louisiana control of the recreational red snapper fishery in federal waters adjacent to the state for three years (2019 through 2021). If the pilot is successful, a similar program could be implemented Gulfwide. This action includes both the private angling and for-hire components of the recreational fishery. The LDWF thanks the private anglers and for-hire fishermen who have taken the time to express their opinions at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meetings. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov.

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A boater’s paradise, Bay Point Marina is gently tucked away along the Grand Lagoon in Panama City Beach, Florida, yet conveniently located just five minutes from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and 15 minutes from the Intracoastal Waterway. Fortunately for patrons and guests, Bay Point Marina is also just minutes by boat from Shell Island, which offers excellent snorkeling, superb fishing and some of the most secluded beaches available in North Florida. This quiet, full-service marina offers worldclass facilities and services including 180 protected slips, housing for boats up to 125 feet and luxury pontoon boat rentals at a relaxing price.

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DESTIN REPORT By: Peter Wright Jr. Fishing in May in Destin, FL is where it’s at. May really kicks off the summer fishing season here on the Emerald Coast where you can catch anything from a redfish to a tarpon to a blue marlin. April was a tremendous month for spanish and king mackerel and I look for that trend to continue through the month of May. We’ve had big numbers of bait stack up both inshore and on the beaches earlier than normal. If the bait is around so is everything else. People are already catching a few wahoo, dolphin, and even seeing a few billfish off the edges and as it contiues to warm up this month look for it to get even better. The amberjack bite has been very good as of late. You’ll find good numbers of jacks on the bigger steel structures in 120200ft of water range. Along the beaches look out for the king mackerel bite to stay strong and get ready for the tarpon migration towards the end of this month. If you’re looking for fishing tackle and information for

fishing here on the Gulf Coast, make sure you stop by and see our large selection of the latest fishing tackle. If you’re looking to hire a fishing guide, make sure and visit our website or give us a call. www.theshipschandler.com

Peter Wright Jr The Ships Chandler 646 E. Hwy 98 Destin, FL 32541 850-837-9306

SHE’S WAITING | 850.837.6496 | MISSAEGINA .COM

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May 01, 2017 May 02, 2017 May 03, 2017 May 04, 2017 May 05, 2017 May 06, 2017 May 07, 2017 May 08, 2017 May 09, 2017 May 10, 2017 May 11, 2017

BEST Evening BEST Morning POOR Morning FAIR Morning FAIR Morning FAIR Morning FAIR Morning FAIR Morning BEST Morning BEST Evening FAIR Evening

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May 12, 2017 May 13, 2017 May 14, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 16, 2017 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 19, 2017 May 20, 2017 May 21, 2017 May 22, 2017

FAIR Evening FAIR Evening FAIR Evening FAIR Evening GOOD Evening GOOD Evening BEST Morning BEST Morning BEST Morning POOR Morning POOR Morning

May 23, 2017 May 24, 2017 May 25, 2017 May 26, 2017 May 27, 2017 May 28, 2017 May 29, 2017 May 30, 2017 May 31, 2017

POOR Morning POOR Morning POOR Evening POOR Evening GOOD Evening BEST Evening POOR Evening POOR Evening FAIR Evening

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Date

Day

DESTIN EAST PASS TIDE CHART Date Day

2017/05/01 2017/05/02 2017/05/03 2017/05/04 2017/05/05

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

2017/05/06

Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

2017/05/07 2017/05/08 2017/05/09 2017/05/10 2017/05/11 2017/05/12 2017/05/13 2017/05/14 2017/05/15 2017/05/16 2017/05/17 2017/05/18 2017/05/19

Time

Hgt

12:57 AM -0.1 L 02:00 AM -0.07 L 02:49 AM -0.03 L 03:21 AM 0.02 L 03:34 AM 0.08 L 03:17 PM 0.26 L 03:20 AM 0.14 L 05:29 PM 0.19 L 02:26 AM 0.18 L 06:26 PM 0.12 L 09:56 AM 0.56 H 10:04 AM 0.63 H 10:21 AM 0.67 H 10:44 AM 0.71 H 11:11 AM 0.73 H 11:42 AM 0.74 H 12:16 PM 0.74 H 12:54 PM 0.73 H 12:20 AM -0.04 L 01:02 AM -0.03 L 01:36 AM -0.01 L 02:03 AM 0.02 L

Time

Time

Hgt

02:17 PM 0.76 H 03:16 PM 0.7 H 04:18 PM 0.61 H 05:30 PM 0.51 H 12:42 PM 0.39 H 07:16 PM 0.4 H 10:38 AM 0.41 H 09:48 PM 0.31 H 10:02 AM 0.48 H 07:10 PM 0.07 L 07:49 PM 0.03 L 08:28 PM 0.0 L 09:09 PM -0.02 L 09:54 PM -0.03 L 10:43 PM -0.04 L 11:33 PM -0.04 L

2017/05/20

Sat

2017/05/21

Sun

2017/05/22

Mon

2017/05/23 2017/05/24 2017/05/25 2017/05/26 2017/05/27 2017/05/28 2017/05/29 2017/05/30 2017/05/31

Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed

02:20 AM 0.07 L 03:08 PM 0.27 L 02:20 AM 0.13 L 04:42 PM 0.18 L 01:44 AM 0.18 L 05:37 PM 0.09 L 09:12 AM 0.6 H 09:30 AM 0.7 H 10:01 AM 0.79 H 10:43 AM 0.85 H 11:30 AM 0.88 H 12:20 PM 0.86 H 01:10 PM 0.82 H 12:36 AM -0.1 L 01:15 AM -0.05 L

Time

Hgt

11:36 AM 0.41 H 05:45 PM 0.41 H 09:48 AM 0.43 H 09:15 PM 0.31 H 09:15 AM 0.5 H 06:32 PM 0.01 L 07:30 PM -0.06 L 08:32 PM -0.11 L 09:38 PM -0.14 L 10:43 PM -0.14 L 11:44 PM -0.13 L 01:57 PM 0.74 H 02:38 PM 0.63 H

01:33 PM 0.71 H 02:15 PM 0.67 H 02:58 PM 0.61 H 03:50 PM 0.52 H

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VENICE OFFSHORE REPORT By: Captain Brett Ryan

We are ready for the summer season down here in Venice. Yellowfin tuna have been all over the shelf. A few White and Blue Marlin have been landed as well. We have been Day Deep Dropping for swordfish recently, and have seen lots of success. The warmer weather is here so I am getting pumped up for a few Swordfish night time trips. Many people do not realize we have Swordfish in the northern Gulf. We do! They have made an amazing comeback over the past decade with the restrictions on long lining in northern Gulf waters. Primarily target Swordfish at night around the full moon.

During full moon cycles they tend to rise higher up in the water column. I suggest hiring a local guide in your area to learn a few tricks before attempting it yourself the first time. Also, the tackle and equipment needed to land these beasts can get pricey. Swordfish have the strength of a tuna combined with the acrobatics of a Marlin. Once you see your first Swordfish break the surface in the moonlight you will be hooked for life. Have a great summer. Good Luck and Stay Safe. Thanks and Stay safe out there

Plaquemines Parish | Venice, Louisiana

Capt. Brett Ryan Venice, La 504-231-1842 www.captainbrettryan.com

Planning your next financial journey?

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Chris J . Ogle, AAMS

Financial Advisor Senior Vice President - Investment Officer Wells Fargo Advisors 625 Grand Blvd. Suite 200 Miramar Beach, FL 32550

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Today’s top angler adventurers rely on seasoned guides to get them onto the fish. I believe as a seasoned financial guide that I can help you plan your journey.

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SANDESTIN REPORT By: Captain Sid Little May is one of my favorite months to fish because all of our migratory fish are here and most should stay until fall. The migratory fish that I am talking about are tarpon, cobia, mackeral, pompano, billfish, wahoo, dolphin and live bait. One of the hardest decisions a fisherman has to make in May is what to go after since there are so many fish to target this time of year. I usually leave it up to the weather to decide on what I am going to fish for. If the wind is going to blow, I bay fish. If not, I am headed offshore. This time of year is a great time to target tarpon as they travel down our beaches heading west towards the Mississippi Delta. It’s really a beautiful thing to catch one of these giant herrings in the crystal clear waters off our beaches. With most fish averaging a 100 lbs and better, along with some super heavy weights mixed in, be ready for a long battle. Tarpon can be targeted with live bait and artificial bait along the coast. For the live bait fisherman, start with a 25-30 lb spinning outfit rigged with 2 feet of 60-80lb leader tied to a 7/0 owner mutu circle hook. Live bait of choice should be threadfin herring, spanish sardine or a large cigar minnow. The same size tackle works great for artificial fishing too. Lures of choice should be the sebile stick shad, large mirrolures, large swim baits and shallow running deep divers. Just remember to get way out in front of the approaching schools and shut your engine off and wait for them to come to you. Pitch your offering out in front of the school and let them catch up to it so you don’t spook to the fish. Keep an eye out for cobia and pompano along the beaches while you’re tarpon fishing. Besides the reds and trout, skipjacks, bluefish, spanish mackeral, black snappers, jack crevalle and bullsharks will be throughout the Choctawhatchee Bay. So when the reds or trout quit biting you always have other fish to target even if they aren’t the table fare variety. Offshore on the edge the wahoo bite should be in full swing. Trolling naked or skirted ballyhoo on the surface along with a couple deep divers down below should put you in contact with some wahoo action. A small islander lure or skirt rigged in front of a ballyhoo is an old trick and used by a lot of fisherman. A naked ballyhoo works good too. Deep divers such as yozuris

Laura Mansour with Old Florida Outfitters with a beautiful gator trout.

and rapalas should make up part of your spread. Put two out on the short rods and put them right behind the prop wash. Colors like purple, red/white seem to always attract wahoo. Trolling speed should be anywhere from 8kts on up to 11kts. Just make sure that at higher speeds your baits are still running true. Don’t worry about going to fast because wahoo have been known to eat lures at over 18kts, but those kinds of speeds aren’t necessarily needed to catch wahoo. Trolling these combined baits will also be taken by blackfin tuna, dolphin, sailfish and white marlin.

Capt. Sid Little with a nice beach caught Pompano

Captain Sid Little ph: 850-699-2286 850-246-5874

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VENICE INSHORE REPORT By: Captain Owen Langridge

Yes May is finally here. This is the month we have all been waiting for especially me. May welcomes in the first major trout spawn and I’m ready; been ready all year. The rigors of spawning makes the fish hungry and ready to bite and I intend to be there cooking for them. Behind Buras, the trout will be on the outer beaches looking for anything that swims but especially shrimp. I’ll be throwing a pink or glow imitation shrimp under my same old “noisy” cork. If I strike out on the beaches, I’ll head just inside to the oyster reefs. They will be around somewhere close to open water. If I can find live shrimp I’ll bring along a few just for insurance. It’s hard to beat the real thing. Red fish will be close by but a little farther inside and around the grassy islands. Get you a couple pounds of market shrimp, put them on a kale hook about 18 inches under that noisy cork, and you are in business. With a little patience you’ll have enough spot tails for the grill, and maybe a few for the freezer. Downriver will be very similar, but a little different. Our big River will not be too high but just high enough to feed muddy water into the outer bays. Don’t let this discourage

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you, you will find “cleaner” water. That’s the trick. The cleaner water will draw the trout, and me, also. Again, my “noisy” cork will be ringing the dinner bell with my imitation shrimp. I like a darker color when the water is dirty. Electric chicken or purple and chartreuse works for me. If the bite gets slow, my favorite color is any shade of “live”. Yes, live shrimp will turn them on. We’ll also be catching around the close in rigs. Find a rig with about 10 to 15 feet of water under it and Carolina rig a live shrimp around it legs. When you find them, ease the anchor over and have a ball. Red fish can be found along the cane points, pockets, coves, etc. Anyplace that breaks the structure can hold a red or several reds. A black and chartreuse jig tipped with shrimp is my favorite. You can fish this offering either tite- lined or under a cork. The cork will help you keep from getting hung up on the cane stubble. The bulls will be on the beaches trying to catch a trout that’s trying to catch a shrimp-“food chain”. A big plastic swim bait under a cork will have your drag screaming! Wow, that’s May in a nutshell in Venice. Yes, this is the month we have all been waiting for. I can’t wait!

Capt. Owen Langridge Big “O” Charters L.L.C. 225 978 1136 www.bigocharters.com

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“Catching Redfish with DUCKS Fowl Play?” By Captain Sonny Schindler

I first got the idea to catch a redfish with a duck back in 2007, when I pulled a baby nutria rat out of a redfish’s stomach. I promise this story has a happy ending, so please stay with me here. When I found the baby rat in the redfishes belly, I called my old friend Capt Brandon Ballay. Brandon literally grew up in Venice, LA, arguably the redfish mecca of the world. When I say he grew up there, his family used to own the Venice Marina. I would be hard pressed to find a fisherman in the northern hemisphere that has caught more redfish than Ballay. So, it was only natural that my cocky little behind called this living legend, to brag about finding the rat. The phone call went something like this. Me: “Dude, I bet you’ve never pulled a baby nutria rat out of a redfishes stomach”? Brandon: “Bruh, call me when you find a baby duck in one”. Yes, Brandon took the wind out of my sails pretty quickly. It seems they not only find baby nutria inside of redfish, but they also baby ducklings!!! Sure I got served a nice piece of humble pie, but that phone call gave me the idea about catching a redfish on a duck. The problem for me was not gonna be finding a redfish, it was gonna be finding a duck lure...

Almost 10 years later, my silly dream looked like it was gonna become a reality. Turns out, SAVAGE GEAR had developed a life like swimming duck lure, apply named the “Suicide Duck”. The bait literally looks just a live duckling. It floats on the surface, and on the retrieve, its little feet rotate, making it one hell of double bladed buzz bait. It truly is a marvel of engineering, I mean it really looks just like a baby duck trying to fly off of water. The Suicide duck has been very well received with the pike and muskey fishermen up north. The bait even won “Best of Show” at ICAST 2016. For those of you that don’t know, ICAST is the largest fishing industry trade show IN THE WORLD!!! Seconds after I saw the lure, I was on the phone with Savage Gear. I ordered 3 of them, just in time for our insanely good fall red fishing in Biloxi Marsh. When the conditions are right in the fall, you can get dozens and dozens of shots sight casting to redfish there. Now that I had the baits, it just a matter of finding the right time to use them. I gotta say, it was hard convincing paying customers on my charters to throw a hard plastic duck. If the fishing was really good, most customers didn’t really mind if I made a few casts, as they were finishing up their limits. If the fishing was slow, the poor little duck received no love. I only got to use the duck on a couple of casts. I had several fish explode on the lure. I didn’t wanna take away from my customers experience, so I had to wait patiently for my chance to really put that little duckling to work. Enter my crazy friend and good customer Mike Marshall from Madison, MS. Mike has been fishing with me for several years. He has fished with me the last two Halloweens, and truth be told, we both wore costumes on the boat both times. If Mike could wear a unicorn or a psycho clown mask while catching red fish(both really happened), I figured he would be a shoe in for letting me fling that duck at a tailing redfish.

some far away land he has traveled when we heard the red. Unfortunately, the fish was about 50 feet away from us, on the opposite side of the little pond we were sight fishing in. To complicate matters even worse, the fish was swimming away from us, into the sun. We couldn’t see the fish, all we could see was the wake and the bait scattering, as he swam away from us. We had one shot before the fish was gonna be out of range. The red stopped inside of a little bathtub pocket along the bank to terrorize some bait. I hurled a “Hail Mary” as far as I could, and the duck landed perfectly against the bank. I cranked on my Okuma Inspira 40 spinning reel, and the little ducks feet got to spinning. The Red was not let the possibility of a gourmet wild water fowl lunch get passed him. The red engulfed the lure and it was game on. I gotta say, it was one of the most nervous fights I have ever been a part of. The treble hooks held true, and Mike scooped up the fish less than a minute later.

We took our pics, did our high fives, had a few laughs. Mike said, “I don’t know how we are gonna top that one, lets head on in partner”. I put the rod with the duck on it near the front of the boat. The little white ducks feet spun like mad in the wind, the entire way home. Since the compass was pointing at a almost dead 0, it seemed our little feathered friend was heading north for the winter?...

One perfect day in November, it finally looked like my duck dream was gonna come true. Mike wanted to get a couple of reds on his fly rod first, and couple for dinner first. He got a couple of reds on his fly rod, and boxed several on the spinning rods with live minnows. Once he got his fly “fix” and some supper in the box, Mike insisted we only throw the duck.

Capt Sonny Schindler Shore Thing Fishing Charters Bay St Louis, MS www.shorethingcharters.com 228-342-2295

I was on the bow, and Mike was telling me a hunting or fishing story from COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM

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Big Trout Habitat By CAM Special Correspondent Tobin Strickland Photo courtesy of Baffin Bay Rod and Gun.

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any times we think we know what big trout habitat is, or where it is, and how far from the ramp it should be. But sometimes the fish know secret spots that match what they are looking for, and on the surface it doesn’t look like what we think it should look like. Those areas can become key in catching big trout. Baffin Bay in Texas has a reputation for yielding not only giant Texas spotted seatrout, but also turning them out on a regular basis. Those who know what big trout look for in the way of cover, depth, protection, and seclusion can regularly catch big fish in Baffin, and many times in any bay system. No matter where you fish, knowing where big trout like to be is the most important aspect of catching them. I spoke with Capt. Aubrey Black, of Baffin Bay Rod and Gun. He takes pride in putting people up in a first-class lodge and showing them how to target big trout. This is what he had to say: “What’s important is that these big fish are finding what they need in terms of habitat. It may not look on the surface, or surroundings, to us what we think it should look like, but to the fish this is even better because less people will fish those areas that are overlooked, ugly, or sometimes even just too close to the ramp.” Next time you head out, think about the areas near you before running all the way across the bay. They might hold big trout everyone else motors past. Tobin created TroutSupport.com - Tech Support for coastal anglers that want to catch more and bigger game fish, consistently. Airline_CoastalAnglerAd_3-2016_Layout 1 more 3/18/16 1:07 PM Page 1

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By Chris Beardsley

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imple for me means dumbing down my gear and dumbing down my approach. There are endless articles surrounding what bait to use, which rod is the most sensitive or casts the farthest and which reel provides the smoothest or strongest drag. Everyone has their favorite and my recommendation is to use it. For most inshore fishing a 7- to 10-foot medium to medium-heavy rod and a good reel that will hold 200 yards of 15-pound monofilament fits the bill perfectly. There are many other options regarding hook shape, leader material, line weight, rod constructions, etc. It can get complicated and overwhelming. Use what you’re the most comfortable and confident with, and go fishing. My favorite is a 7-foot medium-heavy rod and a 5000 series reel spooled with 15-pound Trilene Big Game mono. The business end consists of a 2-foot fluorocarbon leader and 2/0 circle hook rigged below

a swivel and a 1- to 3-ounce barrel or pyramid sinker. Tipped with a live shrimp, this simple fish-finder rig can be left to soak or dragged slowly across the bottom. I have found this to be very effective around oyster bars or grass flats and also extremely deadly fishing in the surf. One of my favorite techniques is to tip my fish-finder rig with a live, whole shrimp. I’ve used bits and pieces of shrimp, sand fleas, assorted cut bait with varying and sometimes very good success, but it seems the whole shrimp is just too much to pass up for most fish. It’s like that house you go to on Halloween that’s giving away the large size Snickers bars; you just have to get one. The whole live shrimp is like that Snickers bar, and fish just have to have one. Another simple addition is a popping cork. The ubiquitous bobber is familiar to anyone who has soaked a worm. Besides, the visual of a bobber disappearing below the waves is great fun. For pelagics in the surf or bull reds in the bay, the popping cork is a great addition to any tackle box. Artificial baits are hard to beat when fishing at daybreak or just before the sun starts to make some heat. A trusty gold spoon is by far the best lure for getting the attention of virtually anything that swims. It produces in salt and fresh water and is a common denominator in most tackle boxes. Trout love them, and it is my preferred method for putting one or more of those beautiful fish in the cooler. Granted, I have enough Gotchas, Gulps and Goofys to float a battleship, but some of my most successful days have been with the most basic setup. While it’s easy to get caught up buying the latest and greatest gear, it isn’t necessary. I love looking at and sometimes buying something new and shiny, but I often find myself going back to the old standbys because sometimes simple is better. Chris is a freelance writer from Wisconsin with an obsession for all things saltwater. Though growing up hunting and fishing in Wisconsin, an introduction to Florida’s Forgotten Coast provided a new outlet and exciting new challenges for anything with a forked tail.

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Caring For Bass At

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By Steve Daniel here is nothing that gets my blood boiling like seeing a bass club killing bass released at their weigh ins. The top tournaments in the country pride themselves in having a 100 percent release rate, which is hard to achieve in the hot summer months. Here are my thoughts on conducting a summer weigh in. • Never allow anglers to use their own bags. No more than three official bags should be available. What this does is ensure bass come straight from the livewell to the scales. It eliminates time spent standing in line, when the bass are sitting in a bag with no aeration.

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• In the summer months, try to have an earlier weigh in, say 1 p.m. instead of the normal 3 p.m. Most summer fish are caught in the morning, and riding them around in boats the last hours of a tournament is the reason for a lot of the weak and dead bass. Remember, a weak fish usually dies later even if it was alive at the scales. • Get bass back into the water as soon as possible with the least amount of stress.

Tips For A Healthy Livewell

• Get fresh water in the morning and use a catch-and-release chemical. Put a bag of ice in the well if it’s hot. Ice in a cooler can be used later in the day. • Only recirculate water from the morning. Never run warm water from the lake into the well. • Use a scale to keep up with your catch. This will keep you from dragging bass out of the comfort of your well-maintained livewell for culling. • If you hook a fish deep, cut the hook off and leave it in the bass. The bass will do much better than you trying to remove it and possibly cutting a gill. • This is my last tip, and it works great in the summer here on lake Okeechobee where the water gets as hot as 96 degrees. I use an air pump, the same one I use to keep live bait alive. I hook it up to the trolling motor batteries. The pump, a Power Bubbles, is the size of a small brick and has two air lines that I run to the livewell. I put the air pump in a soft cooler with ice packs. It pumps cold air from my Techni Ice cooler into the livewell. At the end of the day, bass are harder to catch in the livewell than they were in Lake Okeechobee. An extremely successful professional bass tournament angler, Steve Daniel is a 30-year veteran Okeechobee guide and the voice of Okeechobee fishing on WRVO Radio Network 1’s Hooked up with Steve and Deb. Check out the show at www.renoviolaoutdoors.com. Contact Steve and Deb at stevedaniel84@yahoo.com or 239-5602704.

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he importance of modern electronics in bass fishing can’t be overstated. Having the best, and more importantly knowing how to use it, is crucial to the competitive angler. For weekenders, you’ll enjoy trips more when catching fish, so I think everyone needs good GPS units, maps and sonar. There are a lot of very smart people working at the electronics companies, and they continue to provide great advancements. I work closely with Raymarine, which is owned by FLIR. I’ve run their units since turning pro and

seeing on my electronics. How many times have you seen fish on the screen and thought they were the target species only to spend time fishing for them and they end up being something else? In a bass tournament, I don’t need to spend time targeting walleye or pike. This integration of the camera as another tool in the same system is very handy. Chalk it up to Raymarine and Aqua Vu for making that possible. New to the market from Raymarine are the Axiom units with 3D. I got to see them in

absolutely love their products. I run three of their units on my boat. On the bow, I have mounted an ES128. I also have an ES128 on the console next to an ES127. Having these units really eliminates fishing a lot of unproductive water. With GPS and charts, they are incredibly useful for navigation. They also display Chirp Downvision, which is Raymarine’s sonar fishfinder. I can do a scan of an area and know where the baitfish and the fish themselves are instead of going on history and fishing blind. These tools are invaluable for any angler, and these days competitive anglers cannot compete without good navigation and sonar equipment. Another great thing about Raymarine is that my Aqua Vu Multi-Vu camera displays on my unit. It’s an underwater camera that helps me determine the actual species of fish I am

action at the Bassmaster Classic last month, and what I saw was crazy cool. I think it’s going to be the next level. It’s called RealVision 3D sonar and paints a real-time, three-dimensional picture. It’s a lot easier to tell how far fish are holding off the bottom and how they’re relating to certain structure. It’s a new look that we haven’t seen, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it very soon. The Raymarine Dragonfly series is one for those of you with smaller craft. All of their units are great value, but the Dragonfly puts a lot of technology in your hands at a very low price. There are models from 4 inches to 7 inches and you’ll absolutely thank me for telling you about these if you fish from a kayak, jonboat or other small craft. There’s never been a better time technology-wise to fish and I, for one, am thankful for that.

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oing on vacation and trying to decide where your next excursion should be? Fort Myers and Sanibel, Fla. offer something for everyone. Beaches, hiking, kayaking, fishing, camping, birdwatching and shelling abound here. With mild temperatures and low humidity, outside is Photo courtesy of Capt. Terry Fisher/ where you want to be Fish Face Charters after being cooped up through the winter! If fishing is your activity of choice, you have made a great decision. You can take the whole family, only those interested or go it alone. Your best bet for a great day on the water is to hire a professional captain or guide. You can go out on a private charter, where you and your family are the only ones on board, or you may choose a “head boat” where there will be 50 other people fishing with you. Either way, almost everything needed will be provided—boat, license, rod and reel, bait, and a good time. Usually the only things not included are sunscreen and alcoholic beverages. Make sure you ask what is included, just to make sure. Charter guides usually specialize in a certain type of fishing. Inshore fishing trips will have you fishing the flats, mangroves and back-bays. The advantage of inshore fishing is it is usually a more active fishing day, and a windy day won’t ruin your day of fishing. Your guide will move to

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estled in the south Georgia pines just southwest of Adel, Ga. is 3,500 acres of sportsman’s paradise known as Live Oak Plantation. Campbell Roberts and I arrived with Ranger bass boat in tow via a fence-lined, well-manicured slice of green earth that led us to the lodge at Live Oak Plantation. This is where we met our expert bass fishing guide, Max Gresham. Max is a seasoned bass angler and a member of the Valdosta State Blazers bass fishing team. Max perfectly planned our day of bass fishing. With 10 ponds and more than 500 acres of fishable water to choose from, he had his sights

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set on two main bodies of water that had been producing quantity as well as quality bass for the past several days. What a breathtaking sight it was as we traveled the winding road past Jim’s Backyard Pond just as the fog was lifting off the water. We made our way to our first destination, Gator Pond and launched at about 7:45 a.m. Yes, there is a reason they call it Gator Pond and yes, we did see a couple of resident gators. The pond was impeccable, with its splendor of bass cover including grass, dollar pads, lily pads and submerged timber. We had a deck full of rods with an arsenal of big bass lures tied on: buzzbaits, frogs, flukes, trick worms and jigs. Campbell was first to hook up on 3-pound bass swimming a fluke across visible grass structure. Max and I followed with several bass including two massive topwater explosions on frogs that resulted in the big bass of the day. Gator Pond was very good to us that morning, yielding about 25 bass in about four hours. We took a break and headed back to the lodge for a quick lunch and then it was back to fishing. This time we launched the boat in Outback Pond. This pond was heavy in willow trees, laydowns and grass. The bass numbers rose quickly in this pond, one after another. The action was nonstop, cast after cast, bass after bass. We located a ball of baitfish, and the bass were close by. The fluke bite was the strongest around these schoolers, and we managed to bag another 40 bass in about four hours. We all caught our fair share of bass on both of these fine bodies of water. You would need a week or two to thoroughly fish all the beautiful ponds Live Oak Plantation has to offer. When you visit, you must stay and dine at the lodge. The lodge will accommodate up to 12 guests in 10 rooms. There is a conference center that will accommodate groups up to 20. In addition to some of the best bass fishing in the state, Live Oak Plantation offers quail, deer and turkey hunting. They also offer tower pheasant shoots. For additional recreation, there is a well-manicured golf course that has three greens and three tee boxes per hole that allows for nine different holes of golf, and there is also a driving range. For additional Information on Live Oak Plantation, visit their websites www.fishliveoak.com and www.huntliveoak.com or call direct at 800-682-4868. Live Oak Plantation is located at 675 Plantation Road, Adel, GA 31620.

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UNDER THE SEA 26

Diving in Tonga with my new PLB

A

fter several years of traveling for work, I had enough frequent flyer miles to take my family to Australia to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. After returning home, we heard on the news that two Americans had accidentally been left at sea by the same dive operator we had chartered. The crew miscounted when tracking divers, and by the time the search began, they most likely suffered a slow, agonizing death. That nightmare incident was portrayed in a Hollywood movie. Unfortunately, these “left-at-sea” stories are not uncommon. Boats can become incapacitated; divers can get caught in a current; the possibilities are endless. According to U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers, the key to getting rescued is to make yourself visible. A whistle or Dive Alert air horn might be enough to catch the attention of your boat if it is nearby. If lost, it helps if you are wearing a brightly colored wetsuit hood or deploy a brightly colored safety sausage. Even better, you can carry signaling devices such as flares, a mirror (requires sun), or glow sticks (at night). A small LED dive flashlight or strobe can be seen from afar—especially if the USCG is searching with night vision goggles. But what if your boat sank and no one was called? What if you are in a country where there is no coast guard? These thoughts rattled around in my head before a recent trip to a remote island off of Tonga. Fortunately, advances in technology continue to provide new solutions. PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) on the market today are small, waterproof devices designed to alert search and rescue services of your location anywhere in the world. When activated, it transmits a message on the 406 MHz distress frequency which is monitored by the COSPASSARSAT satellite system. The alert is relayed to the nearest Rescue Coordination Center. Once in the area, rescue services pinpoint your location using the 121.5 MHz homing transmitter. Unlike EPIRBs, which are registered to a specific vessel, a PLB is registered to a person and can be carried wherever you go. Before my trip, I bought an ACR ResQLink PLB from Bass Pro for

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$249. It can be used on land or sea, but divers need to know that taking it deeper than 5 meters could cause the device to activate due to pressure changes, so it should either be secured to a flag float on the surface or stored in a dive canister if taken underwater. The increased peace of mind was well worth the price. There are several similar products on the market. The Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1 operates in a similar manner. Nautilus Lifeline makes a “Marine Rescue GPS” which broadcasts a distress message to all AIS equipped ships up to 34 miles away and to the marine radio on your own vessel. The ultimate survival tool is your ability to keep calm and maintain a positive attitude while taking action to make yourself visible. Prepare ahead of time, and your chances of rescue are very good. Safe diving! Sheri Daye is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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CAPTAINS OF FISHER GUIDING 28

A CAPTAIN AND HIS LUCKY LADY, FISHING THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

BY LUKE CAMBELL

R

obert Mitchell hasn’t stopped chasing marlin since childhood, when he would see the species or its larger-finned counterpart, the sailfish, mounted on walls of seafood restaurants. After catching plenty wall-worthy fish in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico over the years, Robert chose the Virgin Islands to begin living his dream as a charter captain. Now, he takes guests on his boat, The Lucky Lady, to catch marlin and other trophy fish surrounding St. Thomas and St. John. After visiting St. Thomas frequently over the last 10 years, local mainstays on the island have helped Capt. Mitchell settle in since moving there permanently in January. Mitchell said, “Jimmy Loveland has been great to go over to and get advice. Getting to talk to a legend like Jimmy has been fantastic. Jim on the Black Pearl (a fellow USVI sportfishing charter) came over and welcomed me into town. He is a good guy, and I would do anything for these two people.” The name Jimmy Loveland may be familiar to those who follow sportfishing. Loveland founded Marlin Magazine and the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament that runs every August in St. Thomas. In addition to advice from fellow anglers, Lady Luck has loyally followed Capt. Mitchell to teach him the nuances of fishing here. Mitchell explained, “Everywhere I have fished, I have been blessed with good luck in finding boils, birds and porpoise. Birds down here are very few. When you see a bird, you better follow it. When you see the porpoise, you might make one or two passes, but that’s it. The lonely bird has been far more successful. The other places I have fished, you looked for a flock of birds and when following the porpoise, you were just about guaranteed a tuna strike.”

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Another key difference anglers find in the Virgin Islands is distance. In contrast to other destinations Mitchell has fished, the boat ride is short. The South Drop is 6 miles from dock, and the North Drop is only 20 miles. These drops are famous. While fishing, Mitchell has watched the bottom drop from 90 to deeper than 3,000 feet in a matter of minutes. Paying close attention, and staying over the intended depth is important. Capt. Mitchell described a recent trip aboard The Lucky Lady when that awareness paid off for anglers. They started the day trolling around a FAD (fish-attracting device) when four out of six lines hit on a school of blackfin tuna. They put their spread out again, started trolling, and then the line popped with a 180-pound blue marlin. The group also caught a wahoo of about 45 pounds and a 25-pound kingfish. “It was a great day on the boat, and everybody got a chance to sit in the (fighting) chair and take a turn,” said the new captain. Luke Cambell is a co-founder of Fisher Guiding, an online marketplace to find and book fishing guides, which is proud to partner with Capt. Mitchell and The Lucky Lady.

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C

ustom rod building has entered an era of resurgence, with new components, fresh design concepts, and, most importantly, a broad base of sophisticated anglers and creative rod builders driving developments on multiple levels. Today’s avid angler understands the importance of the rod with respect to a given approach or technique. Credit this recognition in large part to the broader segmentation of the markets for fishing rods and lines. Anglers have a much broader selection of both to choose from. More importantly, they have learned to discriminate and apply the right variations to the proper settings. With better understanding and experience, a fisherman begins to dial in on the nuances that make a rod better suited to the technique and personal preferences. Custom rod makers can give an angler everything he wants from essential components to bells and whistles. While “personalization,” artistry and uniqueness drove custom rod making in the past, functionality and comfort are driving custom rod projects today. “I used to have three to five rods that I would use for a given technique,” recalls bass tournament angler and rod builder Chris Adams of Mud Hole Custom Tackle and a member of the Winn Grips pro staff. “One had the guides I liked. Another had a more comfortable reel seat that added to the rod’s sensitivity, but it didn’t have the backbone or action I wanted. Another had the right power and action but didn’t have the components I liked. I realized the easiest way for me to get everything I wanted into one rod was to build it myself, the way I wanted it!” Adams notes that rod grips from Winn (www.winngrips.com) factor into

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many rod-making decisions. The comfort and tackiness of these all-weather grips provide sure-handed angler control. Bass fishermen have driven a lot of technique-specific rod customization. But more and more saltwater anglers are tailoring rods to their task. Many saltwater anglers have taken up custom rod building as hobby or a basement business to build their own rod arsenals. Classes in rod building are available across the country. At the Saltwater Fishing Expo in Somerset, New Jersey, in March, the custom rod craze was evident. Fishermen were building rods for everything from flounder fishing to trolling for big game species. Saltwater anglers often have a more complex set of needs, from guides resistant to corrosion to rod handles that provide adequate control and comfort. A lot of attention at the Winn booth centered around the sneak preview of new tapered rod grips for heavy-duty saltwater fishing, available in multiple lengths and diameters, and the new Winn Rod Handle System. Winn also unveiled a durable and versatile extension of its very popular overwrap, Winn Superior Rod Wrap. Like its predecessor, it can be the primary material in an original rod handle or applied over an existing cork or EVA grip. Winn also will expand its Saltwater Straight Cylinder line of 1.25-inch diameter grips this summer with black grips ranging to 18 inches in length. Get to know a rod builder in your area to create the perfect rod for any technique or style of fishing. Or take up the practice yourself!

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ack when everyone else was rocking a 3.5-inch grayscale fishfinder, Gary sported a color 7. He always seemed to catch fish. One day I had the nerve to ask him, “Hey Gary, how much did that thing cost?” “More than the kayak,” was the deadpan response. That was years ago. Since then, sonars are more and more capable and feature rich, for less scratch. A Lowrance Hook-7 will run you $449, much less than the kayak. Downscan and side imagining are commonplace. Over time, screen sizes grew until Gary was no longer the exception, he was the rule. So how big is too big? The answer depends on your bank balance and risk tolerance as well as the water you fish and the kayak you captain. Five to 7 inches seems like the sweet spot for kayak use. The screens are wide enough to offer high-resolution readability, yet compact enough to stay out of the way of a cast—or your foot. These days the better question might be, “How big is the transducer?” For peak performance, it’s best to mount a modern transducer in direct contact with the water. Some transducers require adapters such as the Lowrance Ready Total Scan plate to fit properly. Alternatively, kayak anglers can go the MacGyver route and craft their own adapters. Where there’s a will and fish to be caught, there’s a way. Just ask Gary.

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price2017 by another retailer in the U.S. within the past 180 days. MAY NATIONAL 33 Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other

meaning of “Compare” or "comp at" should be implied. For more information, go toHarborFreight.com or see store associate.

4/17/17 3:04 PM PM 4/6/17 4:35


suzuki spring savings Three Limited Time Offers Make A Good Deal Even Better Suzuki Gives You All Three So You Don’t Have To Choose One Or The Other

Buy a new Suzuki outboard from 25 to 300 horsepower and take advantage of not just one, but ALL THREE Suzuki Spring promotional offers.

Add cash rebates on select models and you can get up to $800 cash back. Plus our Repower Financing is available at attractive interest rates (on approved credit.*)

Just say, “Gimme Six!” and you’ll get six years of product protection. That’s right, you’ll get Suzuki’s three-year limited warranty and Suzuki’s 3-Year Extended Protection Plan at no extra charge.

See your participating Suzuki Marine dealer today and find out how you can get the ultimate deal on the Ultimate 4-Stroke Outboard.

Six Years of Protection at no extra charge on all new outboards 25 to 300 HP.

Cash Rebates on select models. See your dealer for details.

REPOWER FINANCE

Rates as low as 5.99% on new Suzuki outboards (OAC).*

For details and the name of your nearest participating Suzuki Marine dealer, visit www.suzukimarine.com

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 4/01/17 and 6/30/17 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 Outboard Motors made between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. 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 Outboard Motors. 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 Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. “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. © 2017 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

34

NATIONAL

MAY 2017

CANGL_NAT3-NAT42.indd 34 SZ_Q2Promo_1PG_WIPv2.indd 1

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

4/17/17 3:04 PM 3/12/17 5:04 PM


You could get a discount when you combine your auto and boat policies.

for your boat geico.com | 1-800-865-4846 | Local Office Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Multi-Policy Discount available to auto insureds that have purchased a boat policy through the GEICO Marine Insurance Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Š 2017 GEICO

COMMON CVRS_0517.indd 3

4/17/17 12:07 PM


© 2017 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries

THIS SEEMS TO BE THE PLACE WHERE ALL THE FISH HANG OUT. I THINK I’LL DROP IN.

12”

PROGRAMMABLE

HOT KEYS

PRELOADED

BUILT-IN

BLUECHART® G2 + LAKEVUU¨ HD CHIRP SONAR + CLEARVUU¨ + SIDEVU¨

GPSMAP® 1242xsv

COMMON CVRS_0517.indd 4 Coastal Fishing Ad_US-8.125x10.875-CoatalAngler.indd 1 17-MCJT512 GPSMAP 1224xsv

4/17/17 PM 3/8/17 12:07 9:13 AM


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