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Inside: Paddlesports Review

SUP FISHING TIPS

Enter To Win KAYAK

www.CoastalAnglerMag.com/Contest PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC J. MCDONALD VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 290

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Big Fish And Little Plastic Boats By Nick Carter; Photos by Eric McDonald

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hese guys stole a chapter out of “The Old Man and the Sea.” While fishing a 2014 kayak tournament in the Bahamas, angler Matt Eckert had an adventure of epic proportions. He hooked into a 500-pound blue marlin while sitting on the deck of a little plastic boat. It dragged him 32 miles over an 11-hour fight. Eckert admits he was unbelievably lucky to get his hands on the leader, making it an official catch before the fish continued having its way with him. “I grabbed the leader with my hand, and it was like a bomb went off next to me. It almost spooled me 10 hours into the fight,” Eckert said. “The only reason I was able to get the leader was he made a big airplane turn and swam right by me.” That’s about as extreme as fishing gets. The kayak trips Eckert and his partner Eric McDonald guide out of Boynton Beach, Fla., might seem tame in comparison. But there aren’t many who would consider catching sailfish from a kayak to be tame. Deep Blue Kayak Fishing offers standard inshore and freshwater trips, but they specialize in taking groups of up to six anglers off the beach in rigged-out peddle-drive Hobie kayaks to chase big pelagics. They don’t use motherships or support boats. Their location on the southeast coast of Florida is one of the only places in the world where their style of fishing is possible. At times, the Gulf Stream swings in as close as 8 miles off the beach and brings with it fishing that would normally require long runs offshore. “When the east wind picks up, it brings everything in,” said McDonald. “It brings in the grass and the baitfish, which brings in the pelagics.” Deep Blue doesn’t force clients on an 8-mile death-peddle out to the Gulf Stream. Less than a half-mile off the beach, the reef tops out at about 45 feet and drops precipitously into 100-foot depths on the backside. Within sight of shore, they drift with the current and slowly peddle-troll live baits from the reef out into 200-foot depths and back. Each kayak pulls a single bait on a kingfish-style rig, and six anglers working together can pull a pretty impressive spread. The fish are impressive, too. “We’re so close to the Gulf Stream, you never know what you’re going to get,” said McDonald. “It seems like everyone wants a billfish, and sailfish are our most common catch. It’s sailfish from October into maybe June. Then the rest of the year it’s big king mackerel.” A smoker king or 65-pound sailfish will take a kayak angler on a

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serious sleigh ride. The typical fight stretches out over 3 or 4 miles of water and lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. “We usually start out trying to get a sailfish first thing in the morning. Then you’re trolling looking for meat,” McDonald said. “A good day would consist of a sailfish and three or four more meat fish.” Kingfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, grouper, snapper and cobia are some of the species that regularly find a spot in the deck-mounted fish bags. Because of a kayak’s limited range, Deep Blue stays in contact with the local charter fleet to share intel, and word of a good grass line might call for a trek out into 400-foot depths in search of mahi. But what kayaks lack in range they make up for in stealth. McDonald said they are sometimes able to peddle over and through bait balls and schooling fish that an outboard would definitely spook. “We just look like another piece of debris floating out there,” he said. “We get a lot of sea turtles that come check us out, and a lot of times mahi will be right under the boat.” Because of the physical nature of kayak fishing, Deep Blue limits its trips to five hours on the water. Depending on the wind and currents, a five-hour drift can take you 20 miles or more from where you put in. But they won’t make you peddle all the way back to the put-in. With a series of different take-out points, the end of a trip is usually a straight shot back to shore, hopefully in a kayak loaded down with fresh fish. Check out Deep Blue Kayak Fishing Charters at deepbluekayakfishing.com or give them a call at (561) 350-8764.

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The Easiest Way To Get To The Fish!

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Introducing the fastest, lightest, most portable solo fishing SUP ever! The Sea Eagle SUPCat10™ weighs in at less than 45 lbs. This amazing SUP can be paddled or motored. Coming with multiple rod-holders and fittings for fishing accessories, this small SUP packs in a lot of features in a little space. Best of all, the SUPCat10™ packs in a car trunk and goes anywhere there is water.

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Putting In The Time:The Man Behind The Design By Ryan Drygas

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evin Hawkins, owner of Kaku Kayaks, is not your typical kayak manufacturer. He’s a fisherman who tests and uses his own product and has made a living doing what he loves. In the quiet beachfront town of Tarpon Springs, Fla. Kaku Kayaks was born out of the idea of “life on the water.” Initially, Hawkins took up kayaking to get into springs, go scalloping, spearfishing and basic exercise. He fell in love with the ease of use, the peace of the water and the idea that you can pick-up and drop-in anywhere and take off to parts unknown. What started as a hobby turned into a passion, and an idea was born. At the time, Hawkins also had an interest in mountain biking, so in 2007 he started an outfitter shop to combine his two favorite outdoor activities. As time went on, Hawkins realized the products

he was selling weren’t holding up to his idea of a true paddle-craft, so he made the decision to stop reselling and focus on inventing. The idea was there, the knowledge was out there, all he had to do was find a way to put it all together. Hawkins spent five years working in other fields and saving money. All the while, he was learning the trade of roto-molding, studying different plastics, shaping, design and everything else he could possibly absorb about creating the perfect paddle-craft. Hawkins slowly made his dream become a reality by piecing together his company one step at a time. Eventually, the time came for Kaku Kayak to step out into the world of kayak angling. In late 2014, Hawkins took a crosscountry trip and tested his paddle-craft in every condition of water you can think of. From Florida to Texas, Hawkins fished rivers, creeks, lakes, inlets, offshore oil rigs and everything else in between. When he posted photos showcasing the Kahuna on social media, he knew he was onto something special. The Kahuna just might be the ultimate fishing SUP, designed, tested and tweaked by a hardcore fisherman. The response flooded in, with comments like: “Where can I get that?” and “That looks like a fisherman’s dream.” Requests for the Kahuna were not in short supply. Hawkins’ dream had become a reality, but he knew his inventing days weren’t over. The success of the Kahuna led to the birth of the Wahoo, a kayak fisherman’s dream. Designed to be simplistic yet fully capable of top-of-the-line rigging, the Wahoo will cut through the water like a downhill train. People from all over the country were noticing the unique design of the paddle-crafts coming out of Kaku Kayak. Still, Hawkins knew he could do more. The blended idea of the Kahuna and Wahoo brought forth one of today’s most sought-after paddle-crafts. The Voodoo is a combination of Kayak and SUP, a design that is a perfect mix of balance, comfort and mobility. We can only imagine what is going to come out of Kaku Kayak in the future! Check out Kaku Kayak at kakukayak.com.

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BOAT REVIEW NuCanoe Frontier 12

The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is an incredible fishing platform. Just spend a few minutes fishing on the Frontier 12, and you’ll be hooked. First thing you’ll notice is that, unlike other kayaks, it has a very clean deck with a lot of open space. There’s not a lot to get in your way, and there’s no limit to how you can set it up and outfit it. Solo or tandem, rigged up or stripped down, paddle, trolling motor or outboard, the options are unlimited. You’ll be blown away by the Frontier 12’s stability. It’s unlike any canoe or kayak you’ve been in before. You feel completely comfortable whether seated or standing. Your movements barely affect how it rides on the water. So, when it comes time to cast and fight a fish, you’re not even thinking about being in a kayak, you’re just locked in to the battle! Adding an outboard to the Frontier 12 is an ideal solution for anglers who want a great fishing experience but don’t want to spend a lot of time paddling. The Honda 2.3hp outboard moves the Frontier 12 at a very nice clip and is surprisingly easy to control. Whether you are going 500 feet or 5 miles, the outboard will get you to where you want to be quickly and comfortably. Then kill the motor, grab your rod, stand up and enjoy your unlimited fishing experience.

Learn more + find your local NuCanoe dealer at www.nucanoe.com | 888.226.6310

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“The most attractive option for boat and SUP storage.” -Cabin Life, June 2015

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Paddlesports| 1. Log Kayak Rack

Looking for a way to store your kayaks, canoes or paddleboards? You’d be hard-pressed to find a sturdier, more convenient or better-looking solution than a Log Kayak Rack. Individually constructed in the U.S.A. from weather-resistant white cedar, Log Kayak Racks are extremely strong and durable. They’re built to hold heavy loads and provide many years of service. They are available with capacity for two to eight boats, and racks can also be customized to meet your specific needs. Need a place off the ground to store a paddleboat, rowboat or any hand-launched vessel? Give Log Kayak Rack a call. They’ll custom design a rack for you. Well-considered design makes lifting boats in and out of the rack easy. Locking down boats is a cinch with standard cable locks. Racks can be bolted to a dock or anchored to the ground, and there are even Log Kayak Racks designed to hang on the wall. Visit their website to see what Log Kayak Rack has to offer, then give them a call at (715) 543-2006 to discuss the best solution for safely storing your fleet of kayaks, canoes and paddleboards.

Product Reviews

1.

LogKayakRack.com

2. 2019 Hobie Mirage Outback

For more than a decade, Hobie’s Mirage Outback has peddled along without any major redesigns. With a kayak this close to perfection, there hasn’t been a need. However, for 2019, Hobie has taken the world’s best-selling pedaldrive kayak and made it even better. The 2019 Mirage Outback is a fishing machine built to handle any trip, from pond prowling to offshore expeditions. An extra-wide deck offers an improved and more stable casting platform and vantage point for sight fishing. The revolutionary Guardian Transducer Shield protects your vision below. The new Vantage CTW seat is roomier and more comfortable. Four molded-in rod holders, multiple deluxe H-Track mounts and numerous high-capacity storage compartments ensure all your gear is at your fingertips. Powered by the MirageDrive 180 with ARC Cranks + Turbo Fins, this vessel is versatile, fast, quiet and nimble. It now features the Kick-Up Rudder system with dual steering.

3.

Hobie.com

3. Kaku Voodoo

Kaku Voodoo The all-new Kaku Voodoo is the ultimate sight-casting paddle craft. This authentic fishing paddle craft has a unique look and performance. It’s part kayak, part paddleboard, with some micro skiff qualities. The Kaku Voodoo is like a personal deck yak. It has incredible stability, while maintaining good paddling efficiency. The performance of this paddle craft is lifted to an even higher level with the included Voodoo Chair, which is unlike anything on the market today. The Voodoo Chair has a beefy aluminum structure, a perfect amount of cushion, and off-the-charts utility, giving the paddler a high and low seating position, leaning chair,

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as well as a standing platform, without having to adjust anything. It’s mounted securely on 30-inch aluminum tracks, allowing for trimming as necessary. Top it all off with great storage and five Micro Powerpole mounts, which allow for multiple or single Powerpoles while also offering motor mounting. Check out the Voodoo’s higher-level capabilities today.

KakuKayak.com

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2. 4. Watershed Goforth Duffel

A dry bag is a necessity when you’re fishing from a kayak, canoe or SUP. Watershed’s Goforth is a darn good one. Step on it, stand on it or stomp around on it, no matter what you do, it won’t leak. The Goforth is a dry bag with mobility and versatility in mind. It features low-profile lash points along with a 2” nylon removable waist belt to make it ideal for on-the-go water enthusiasts. From the incredibly strong Airtight ZipDry closure to the 420 denier Cordura nylon ripstop fabric coated with polyurethane, it’s hard to know what to love most about the Goforth. Ideal for fishing, boating or just messing about on the water, this madein-the-U.S.A. duffel also features rugged carrying handles and multiple compression straps. Plus, it looks great on! Specs: Dimensions Rolled - 9”x16”x7.25” Capacity Rolled - 640 cu in (10.5L) Opening Size - 13” Weight - 1.5 lbs.

Drybags.com

5. Salt Marsh Skiffs Savanna

The new Savanna from Salt Marsh Skiffs is a kayak/skiff hybrid that offers a kayak’s ease of use with the capability to handle more diverse conditions and loads. Designed to handle two full size adults, it has a self-bailing cockpit fully loaded. The overall length of 14’ is long enough to accommodate 4 fly rods. The beam is 40” at the waterline, offering great stability that makes it a great fishing platform. The Savanna can be paddled, rowed, poled or powered depending on the need. It can putt around with a lightweight 2.5hp outboard or go long distance at up to 21mph with a 9.9hp engine. Perhaps the most intriguing option is the 3hp electric engine capable of cruising at 3mph with a range of up to 12-miles. For short bursts, the electric can reach speeds close to 6mph. The Savanna is right at home in rougher water and heavy boat traffic with a 14” free board. It can be easily be equipped for a variety of uses with the many accessories available from the kayak fishing world. If you’re ready to move up from a kayak and expand your horizons without the complexity and expense of a full-size skiff, the Savanna deserves a look.

SaltMarshSkiffs.com

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DeFoe Slams Door On Hometown Bassmaster Classic Victory B.A.S.S. photo by Andy Crawford

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or decades, it seemed almost impossible for an angler to win the Bassmaster Classic in his home state. Now it’s happened four times in six years. On the final day of the Classic March 17, Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe, of Knoxville, caught five bass that weighed 18 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing and the $300,000 prize. The event was held on the Tennessee River in Knoxville. DeFoe’s three-day total weight of 49-3

helped him slip past second-place angler Jacob Wheeler at the weighin before a raucous home crowd at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. The world-championship bass tournament drew a record attendance of 153,809. “This is a dream come true—a dream I’ve had since I was a 9-yearold kid,” said DeFoe. “When we came over here and did the walkthrough the day before the tournament, I actually imagined hearing my name after the words ‘Bassmaster Classic champion.’ “For it to happen now… I just keep thinking I’m gonna wake up.” DeFoe lives in Knoxville—and since few others in the 52-angler field had much experience on the tournament waters of Fort Loudon and Tellico lakes—he was one of the obvious favorites coming into the event. But things didn’t go smoothly for him all three days. After catching 20 pounds during Friday’s opening round, DeFoe caught five bass that weighed just 10-5 Saturday—and he said that tough day might have been the best thing that could have happened. “If I would have had a good Day 2—if I’d had even 14 or 15 pounds—I might have been totally committed to what I was doing,” DeFoe said. “…But the fact that it just didn’t work for me, that caused me to just scrap it all. I just

went fishing today, and that’s exactly what I needed to do.” DeFoe spent Day 1 far from the shoreline fishing shallow tips of points. His primary bait was a Storm Arashi Vibe lipless crankbait in the “rusty craw” pattern, which he doctored with orange, red and black Sharpies. On the second day, DeFoe switched to shallow boat docks when a strong north wind interfered with his pattern. His bait of choice around the docks—a 3/8-ounce bladed jig— helped him land three of his five keepers on Day 2. He used the bladed jig again Sunday but moved to the outside wall of a marina after a conversation with Keith Poche, a Classic competitor who failed to make the cut for Championship Sunday. On the water Sunday, after boating one of the bass that helped seal the victory, Defoe said he was going to give Poche a big old bear hug.

Bassmaster Classic Top-10 1. Ott Defoe, 49-3, $302,500 2. Jacob Wheeler, 45-3, $52,500 3. Jesse Wiggins, 43-14, $40,000 4. Michael Iaconelli, 42-9, $30,000 5. Mark Daniels Jr., 41-12, $26,250 6. Brandon Lester, 40-5, $22,000 7. Wesley Strader, 39-8, $21,500 8. Edwin Evers, 39-7, $22,250 9. Dean Rojas, 35-6, $20,500 10. Brandon Palaniuk, 34-15, $20,000

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT Unsinkable Polarized Mirror Sunglasses

KING KRACKEN Outdoor Clothing Co..

Unsinkable brings a lot more to the table than just being unsinkable. Their premium polarized glasses feature lenses made from a proprietary lens material called Polyamide, which has the optics of glass combined with the lightweight feel of polycarbonate, resulting in crystal-clear vision. New for 2019, Unsinkable’s lineup now offers blue and green mirror polarized lenses, providing another level of sun glare protection. These lenses reflect glare from every possible angle and offer super crisp, saturated, color acuity. A proprietary blue light barrier filters harmful blue light, allowing colors to blast, and a hydrophobic coating protects against salt, sweat and smudges. Other features include anti-scratch coating, 100 percent UV protection, they are BPA free, and boast injected and decentered optics. All Unsinkable glasses are lightweight and impact resistant, and provide 10 percent visual light transmittance (VLT). Blue mirror lenses are available in six wrap sunglass styles, ideal for blocking out glare while searching out signs of baitfish or gamefish. Blue mirrors are best suited for bright sunlight conditions and are an excellent choice for offshore and coastal fishing and boating. Green mirror lenses are available in four wrap sunglass styles, which reflect glare from every possible angle. They are best suited for variable light conditions and an excellent choice for anyone who spends a lot of time fishing or boating inshore waters or freshwater. Unsinkable Polarized Sunglasses will never sink, but in case they do float away, you are covered by Unsinkable’s groundbreaking Lifetime plus Loss warranty. The MSRP on the new Unsinkable premium polarized mirror sunglasses is $159. To checkout their complete lineup of products, go to https://unsinkablepolarized.com/.

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Center sp ie Vaine By Jeram

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tand up paddling covers a wide variety of activities. From the casual cruise on a calm lake to adrenaline fueled wave surfing. But I’ve found myself spending more time on my stand up paddleboard (SUP) with a fishing rod. Two good friends, Chris Hollingsworth and Ken Hoeve, opened my eyes to world of SUP fishing. Hearing their stories, seeing the fish they caught and the ear-to-ear smiles are what inspired me. I grew up on a small New England lake, where I spent countless hours fishing. But I never really thought about fishing from an SUP… until speaking with Chris and Ken. Besides hearing the stories and seeing the fun times, the biggest appeal of SUP fishing is its simplicity. All you need is a board, a paddle and a fishing rod. Whether you’re an angler who wants to try fishing from an SUP or a paddler interested in fishing, here are some tips for getting into SUP fishing.

• What’s the right board? These days, manufacturers make fishing-specific boards that make fishing from an SUP easier. They are awesome, but they’re not absolutely necessary for someone just getting started. The most important thing is to find a board you can comfortably paddle without falling in. My general rule is a board over 30 inches wide and longer than 10 feet. It will have the stability to stand and fish, while remaining portable. If you’re concerned about falling in or losing your fishing gear, use a tether to tie it off to your board. Don’t tie gear to your person, it could hinder your ability to swim if you do fall in. • Where and when to go? Like any outdoor activity, and probably more so, weather is crucial. With an SUP, calm days are definitely better. Wind and rough conditions make it challenging, which eliminates the fun factor. Smaller bodies of water are a great place to start, as they are more protected from wind and do not have a lot of boat traffic. For these reasons, I prefer freshwater lakes. But a little experience on a board opens up a whole world of inshore action on saltwater. An SUP is a great, elevated platform to fish from during a calm day along the mangroves or up in the backwaters. • What to bring? For beginners, it’s best to keep it simple. I started SUP fishing 18

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with one spinning rod, pre-rigged with a single tried-and-true lure. It limited my catch, but having just one option allows you to enjoy time on the water without fussing with gear. Again, experience will guide preferences, but starting simple can save a lot of headaches. Of course the safety rules of SUP still apply. You’ll need a paddle leash and a lifejacket. • What to fish for? I really enjoy bass fishing, but some of my most fun days were with my nephews catching perch. Other people seek out trout in rivers and saltwater fish like snook, seatrout and redfish. If it can be caught from a boat, it can be caught from atop an SUP. Head out on the water, take a few casts and see what you think. If it develops into a passion, you might find yourself paddling a board that resembles a fully rigged fishing skiff.

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FLORIDA

By Capt. Michael Mauri Giovanni Marcozzi with a nice jack crevalle caught on a 7/0 popper.

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orn and raised in Germany, I have traveled and worked throughout all of Europe. As a fly fishing guide, I have spent a lot of time in exotic places and have seen a plethora of different fisheries. However, nothing even comes close to the consistency of the fishery we have here in Florida. Long story short, I love Florida, especially the Treasure Coast. With the variety of species and the opportunities to catch them, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. Our neighbor, George Sawley, also happens to build one of the highest

quality skiffs on the market, Chittum. Last week I was lucky enough to go on a test run of their new 21’ Islamorada. I got to chase cobia that were following huge manta rays. I ended up landing a nice one on a popper off the back of a ray. This was an amazing experience! A few days later, I had a client, Todd from California, in my boat. We were chasing big jack crevalle along the beaches when a blacktip shark showed up. Todd landed him on a new fly pattern Capt. Michael Mauri with a pretty cobia that was I picked up at the Atlanta trailing huge manta rays when it ate a popper. Fly Fishing Show last month. As soon as that fish took the fly, it took off and made several jumps through a long battle. The aggression and power when this shark took the fly was mind blowing. Catching big jack crevalle on popper is one of my all-time favorite things to do in the spring. The number and size of these fish is very impressive. It reminds me of my days fishing for giant trevally in the Maldives. In my opinion, there is little difference in these two species. Recently, my German friend Giovanni headed out with me in search of these giant jacks. It didn’t take long until we spotted the first school. I slowly got the boat in position to set him up for the first cast. The 7/0 popper hit the water, and BAM, fish on! The battle was hard and brutal even for a 12-weight rod. Giovanni landed two more before we headed home out of pure exhaustion. What a great day! If you live on the Treasure Coast or anywhere in Florida and you fish, consider yourself lucky. For more info about Mauri Fly Fishing, contact Capt. Michael Mauri at (772) 485 3321.

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By Tom Fucigna Jr. Paddlers assemble in Bimini in preparation for the 80-mile Crossing For A Cure to Lake Worth Beach, Fla. Jimmy Buffett has signed on as an advisor to the board of Piper’s Angels Foundation.

A CF Warrior Joe Mitchell, who kayaked from Bimini to Florida, defines the Crossing For A Cure credo of “Bold in the Face of Fear.”

Lake Worth Beach, Fla. is the Crossing For A Cure Landing site. You can volunteer or sponsor a paddler in any amount.

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hoy paddlers! Are you ready to embark on a great adventure, for a good cause, with a wonderful crew? The Crossing For A Cure would love to welcome you aboard. This year’s journey from Bimini to Florida, scheduled for June 15, is open to stand up or prone boards, surf skis, outrigger canoes and dories, with a potential of $100,000 in cash purses for the competitive categories. You can paddle as a solo or relay competitor, or as part of a recreational relay team. One-hundred paddlers made the crossing last June, and more than 160, including many first-timers, have registered so far this year. All paddlers are accompanied by support boats and team members from the midnight launch in Bimini to the celebratory landing at Lake Worth Beach. Everyone is invited to prepare for the crossing by participating in our mentoring and training programs, and everyone involved contributes to raising awareness and funds to assist cystic fibrosis patients and their families. Crossing For A Cure organizer Travis Suit’s inspiration for his first crossing, in 2013, is his daughter Piper, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 4 years old. “CF” is a

progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time (www.pipersangels. org). When Travis learned that salt can help alleviate the symptoms of CF, he immersed Piper in saltwater activities and became inspired to create an ocean-based event that could help CF patients everywhere. Thus was born the Crossing For A Cure and the Piper’s Angels Foundation. We are proud to announce that Jimmy Buffett has recently signed on as an advisor to the board of Piper’s Angels Foundation. The ranks of “Piper’s Angels” now include hundreds of inspired paddlers, dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors who work together to support and improve the lives of families in the CF community by raising awareness, offering life-expanding activities, providing urgent financial support and funding critical research. The only thing missing is YOU! Follow the adventure and learn how the foundation’s “Salt Supply” program is connecting saltwater-based vendors and guides with CF patients. For information, go to https://www. crossingforacure.com/ or https:// www.facebook.com/CrossingForACure/.

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he twelfth-annual Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo, an action-packed watersports expo for ocean lovers of all ages, returns to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center April 27-28. Produced by Sheri Daye, a spearfishing world record holder, The Blue Wild is south Florida’s premier ocean adventure expo, which features one of the most diverse and passionate crowds of exhibitors, speakers and attendees. Daye originally conceived the event as a fundraiser for Twin Palms, a center for developmentally disabled adults her brother attends in Boca Raton, Fla. She transformed her passion for freediving and created a must-attend educational and entertaining event where attendees can learn the latest techniques, shop cool products and socialize with like-minded ocean lovers. Spanning 65,000 square feet, the two-day, indoor event attracts 5,000 attendees and over 150 exhibitors who specialize in fishing and spearfishing, scuba and freediving, surfing and paddle boarding, marine art, underwater photo and video, adventure travel, beach apparel, boats, personal watercraft and more. Daily educational seminars and workshops are scheduled throughout the weekend and taught by world-class experts and celebrity-speakers like TV/movie personality Manny Puig; Chris Gillette, underwater photographer and GatorBoy; Vinnie LaSorsa, fisherman and captain for Jimmy Buffet; Ryan Myers, National Spearfishing Champion; Dr. Daryl Wong, expert spearo and custom speargun builder, and many other personalities. Topics include fishing stories, travel advice, freediving instruction, photography tips, fish filleting demos, speargun

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rigging, knot-tying and more. The popular Kids Zone offers free face painting, art classes and crab races – something for the whole family. “The Blue Wild is known for its high-energy crowds and fun vibe,” said Sheri Daye. “This show is like a big party for ocean lovers, and we attract a diverse crowd of locals, visitors, experts and exhibitors from all over the world who flock to Fort Lauderdale for its desirable and central location.” Returning exhibitors include Austin’s Diving Center, Bass Pro, Big Dog Tackle, Chaos Fishing, Contender Boats, Divers Direct, PADI, Papa’s Pilar Rum, Reef Photo and Video, Wong Spearguns and many more. The Expo is pleased to welcome new exhibitors such as Fishing Nosara, Pompano Beach Marine Center/Grady White Boats, Riva Motorsports, Surf World, Sea Tow Fort Lauderdale and Tropic Star Lodge. The show is sponsored by Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill which has its roots in south Florida and likes to promote the same ideals as the Expo—family fun and saltwater adventure. Entry is $20 at the door (children 12 and under are free) and includes a free goodie bag (while supplies last) and free entry to the Saturday night After-Party which takes place in the second-floor VIP lounge. Visit TheBlueWild.com or check out a video from last year https:// youtu.be/Rx45HhDGTRs.

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By Tom Schlichter Capt. Bobbi Brady shows off a nice seatrout taken from Deadman Bay with Florida Saltwater Flats Fishing Charters. The skipper and her husband, Capt. Mark Brady, also run charters for scallops.

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he Steinhatchee River is off the beaten track. That’s what makes it worth visiting, according to Capt. Bobbi Brady. She and her husband, Capt. Mark Brady, run Florida Saltwater Flats Fishing Charters (https://floridasaltwaterflats.com), based a couple hours north of Tampa in Florida’s Big Bend region. “We get some boating traffic here during scallop season, but otherwise it’s pretty quiet so our fish don’t get beat up,” said Brady. “Mostly we’ll target seatrout and redfish, with a few flounder mixed in to sweeten the pot. Virtually all our fishing is done on shallow flats

at the mouth of the Steinhatchee River and out in Deadman Bay. Because there isn’t much development around here, the water is crystal clear. That keeps our sea grass safe, which brings in a lot of smaller baits that lure bigger predators.” Head out with either Brady and you’ll probably spend most of your time casting in 16 inches of water or less. Both trout and reds like to stack up in small depressions, troughs and holes, where they’ll feed aggressively on dropping tides. “Most of the redfish will measure 22 inches and larger,” noted Brady, “and the trout can push the tape to 27 inches, especially in February, March and April. To get to them, though, you’ll need to cut across the shallows. I have a 2200 STL Bluewave flats boat that clears 8 inches. That gives me a serious edge because I can access spots others can’t reach.” Private boaters can get in on the action without going too shallow. There is generally a pretty good bite right in the Steinhatchee River itself, although the fish there don’t run quite as big as on Deadman Bay. There’s also plenty of water to probe just off the flats. Grab some shrimp or cut bait and you should have no trouble hooking up. In terms of artificials, twitchbaits really excel in this area. According to Brady, most places will have 7 inches of sea grass on the bottom, then another 7 inches of water to the surface. Work a suspending twitchbait just above the tops of the weeds and you are going to score. Her favorite twitchbait is a Livetarget suspending Scaled Sardine in Amber Ghost. “That’s the one lure I can’t live without,” she explained. “It approximates the abundant pinfish we have and the predators just go and get it. Retrieve it with a couple of short, sharp twitches followed by a pause. It’s absolutely deadly.” If you’d like to try your luck on the Steinhatchee River and Deadman Bay, there are several launch ramps in the area. Brady recommends Good Times Marina (www.goodtimesmotelandmarina. com), which has overnight accommodations, a slip to go with each room, plus a great restaurant that will cook and serve your catch.

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Sarasota ◉ Bradenton ◉ Venice

Publisher Phil Prevoir 239-257-4684 camsarasota@gmail.com

FACEBOOK.COM/COASTALANGLERMAGAZINESARASOTA/ | APRIL 2019 | SARASOTA / BRADENTON 1


The Principles of Catch & Cook

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By Fish Like Us

t’s good practice to taste every fish. Knowing what they taste like will assist in learning which fish you love, which ones you can live without, and which recipes complement the species. One of the best-tasting fish we’ve come across here in Florida is Sheepshead! They can be found under docks and bridges and the little ones are as fun to fight as the big guys. You have to be quick to set the hook before they chomp and run with your bait, but it’s worth the challenge. Popular in fine dining establishments of New York during the 19th century, they are commonly referred to as “poor man’s lobster”. These days you’ll find them on Cajun menu’s in the Gulf as “rondeau sea-bream” or “bay snapper”. Regulation allows us to keep 8 sheepshead above 12”, however, we find that a single 12” sheepshead is enough to feed us both! Although we can freeze them, they are best eaten fresh. They’re hardy, full of good fats, and taste great with almost everything. They’re even good leftover (which is rare for fish). The trick to cooking sheepshead - is how you clean them! Sheepshead bones are curved and THICK which means your fillets will only hold a portion of the meat. Because they have hard-to-remove scales that can stand up to almost any heat, we’ve learned that gutting them is a great alternative! It’s simple, quick, and allows us to utilize ALL the meat (including the cheek)! Our favorite way to eat a sheepshead is to marinate them. It’s quick, easy, and adds great flavor. You can then smoke them, grill them, or roast them in the oven (skin and scales intact). The scales protect the meat and they come out delicate and moist every time! TO MARINATE A SHEEPSHEAD:

1. Place your sheepshead in a deep dish or bag and drizzle with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and salt/pepper. 2. Marinate for 30 minutes (up to 6 hours) to absorb flavor. *TIP: If you’re going to cook it right away, let it sit on the counter so it can come to room temperature while it marinates. 3. Cook your sheepshead in the oven (10 minutes per inch of thickness @ 400°) or on the grill, turning half-way through the cook time. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork. 4. Remove skin and bones by peeling skin and pulling the spine from the back. You may also pick the meat off one side and simply repeat the process on the other. 5. Serve and enjoy! Captain Erik and Chief Mate Janel, NT teach fishing lessons and provide kayak fishing charters on their Hobie PA17T. To book a fishing lesson or kayak charter call (360) 797-3275 or visit www.fishlikeus.com. Follow us on Facebook and YouTube for weekly video posts! 2 SARASOTA / BRADENTON APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/SARASOTA/


Kayak Fishing by Eric Henson

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nyone who knows me will tell you that when it comes to inshore fishing I am an artificial only type guy, whether it comes to soft-plastics, hard-baits, or flies. I have full confidence that if you use the right one of these artificial baits at the right time you can trigger most inshore game-fish to eat. Fish are opportunist and will eat just about anything that crosses their path in the right circumstances. I’ve even seen redfish caught on jalapeno peppers and eat plain jig-heads with nothing on them! The main thing you are trying to achieve with any artificial bait is the silhouette of a particular bait the fish that they are feeding on at that time to get a reaction. Now, I will say that the realistic look of lures these days’ definitely helps trigger the feeding response of predator fish. But, most of the lures out there are designed to catch the fisherman first! When fishing with artificial bait “lures or flies” you must make sure that you are covering the entire water column. I almost always start out with a Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil top water in the early morning. They are great for bombing long casts and covering lots of water in the twilight hours when it is a little tougher for you see everything. If I’m

not getting any blow ups on top, I will switch up to suspension baits like the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Twitchbait. These will suspend a foot or so below the top and again you can cover lots of area. I almost always use these baits as my fish finders! If it’s a real grassy area I will switch up to the Monster 3X X-TAIL rigged with a 1/16 oz. weedless belly hook. This bait will suspend at different depths depending on the speed that it is retrieved. Then, last but not least a Monster 3X 4 ¾ X-MOVE rigged with a 1/16 oz. open face jig-head. I will use this bait mostly for jigging areas where I have found fish or to pitch at fish that I have actually laid eyes on. The same goes with flies… Gurglers in the early morn, then streamers and weighted flies the rest of the day covering all of the water column. Whatever you decide to throw on any given day you must have complete confidence in what you are using. Do your best to match what is swimming around you. Then change up speeds on your retrieval and colors until you find out what that are chewing on that day. No matter what, just have fun because if you are out on the water fishing. Tight lines and Tight knots to everyone! Eric Henson is the owner of Casting Kayaks LLC. a guided kayak fishing company out of Sarasota Florida. He specializes in inshore light tackle or fly fishing from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. To book a guided fishing trip with Eric check out his website www.CastingKayaks.com or give him a call at 941-504-1349

FACEBOOK.COM/COASTALANGLERMAGAZINESARASOTA/ | APRIL 2019 | SARASOTA / BRADENTON 3


Inshore with Capt. Rachel by Capt. Rachel Cato

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o long cold fronts and hello Spring! Winter will typically be gone by now and weather continues to warm and fishing only gets better by the day. Bait is the big story because with bait comes the predators. Spotted sea trout will be the real crowd pleaser and with so many thick slot fish flooding the flats and feeding on the bait, they become easy to come by. Current and 4-6 feet grass flats with sand edges are the prime target areas. If you’re only catching short and small fish keep moving down the edges until you find the bigger fish. These fish will separate by size and I’ll only keep the middle slot 17 to18-inch range because the yield of meat is higher than that of a 15 inch trout. The new regulations for spotted sea trout is no harvest of fish larger than 20 inches through May 10, 2019, so keep an eye on your fishing days this month. Spanish mackerel will be crashing the flats with trout so be ready to tie on a long shank hook if your hook keeps getting cut off. I’ll tend to start off small with a #1 long shank J or 1/0 will work but the larger the hook the more the metal is seen. If mackerel is what you are targeting, haywire twist about 2 inches of light wire on a J hook, then uni-knot tie on a leader. I came up with this technique because the bigger mackerel were biting through the leader and I kept finding my J hook with about an inch and half leader cut off in the stomachs when I was cleaning fish. Snook and reds will also continue to be all catch and release through May 10th to help recover from last years red tide. Snook are found in large schools and offer lots of fun, but do be sure to release quickly and allow for recovery. Reds will show up along the mangroves and will move through in small to large numbers.

Captain Rachel Cato has been a fishing guide out of Palmetto since 2005. She is on the pro staff with Evinrude through Gulf Coast Marine in Port Charlotte and specializes in catching many species year-round with live bait for up to 6 anglers. To book your next fishing adventure call (941) 524-9664, go to captainrachel.com, or find her on Facebook at CaptainRachelCharters 4 SARASOTA / BRADENTON APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/SARASOTA/


Inshore & Offshore Opportunities

by Capt. Terry Fisher

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outhwest Florida is one of the few places in North America that was not tormented by extreme cold fronts and recordbreaking nasty weather. In fact, we were ‘Blessed’ with some recordbreaking warm weather and mild winds. Offshore, reef fishing improved considerably compared to January and February. Vermillion, lane, mangrove and sheepshead were active. Charter captains were reporting catches of bonita, kingfish and permit on the ‘close’ reefs (w/in 9 miles of the outer islands). Anglers with vessels equipped to go far offshore enjoyed fantastic grouper trips in deeper haunts of 85’-100’. Reports of red snapper catches were included. Be sure to check state and federal regulations to ensure compliance with the law when it comes to tackle restrictions and harvesting. Water temperatures are now consistently over 68°F which means the tarpon and shark migration is on. April should bring out the better for these, as well as permit, kingfish, cobia, hammerhead, tiger and bull shark, with the latter primarily participating in the tarpon migration. Inshore, seatrout, spanish mackerel, ladyfish and estuary sharks have begun showing up in good numbers. Seatrout and ladyfish were more common on the grass flats just off of channels, in 4’-5’ of water. Deeper holes held shark and mackerel. The better spanish mackerel action however, was in the passes. I look for all of this to improve with more numbers and larger sizes of fish. Baitfish are everywhere, which is a good sign for anglers. Look for diving birds and nervous water to locate potential fishing spots. April will begin to bring stronger and higher tides allowing inshore anglers good opportunity to fish areas where low winter tides prevented access. Schools of redfish (Reds) will begin to move from the passes to ‘back’ country locations. Many snook will begin their annual migration to passes and beaches that will offer opportunities (other than just creeks, canals and spoil islands) for this soughtafter game fish. This species is also not available for harvesting as of this writing, but will provide a lot of sport action for anglers wth a desire to catch one of the most challenging species on the planet. Redfish and snook regulations will be reviewed in early May. A temporary seatrout restriction is also in effect, prohibiting the harvesting of any fish over 20”. Charter information may be obtained by calling me at 239-357-6829 or by emailing fishfacecharters@yahoo.com. I am also available as ‘Captain for Hire’ (by the hour) on your vessel to assist with safety, navigation, fishing techniques and fishing locations to make your boating and fishing adventures successful. Check out my frequent fishing reports at www.goboatingflorida.com under the section of ‘blogs and tips’. (www.fishfacecharters.com). FACEBOOK.COM/COASTALANGLERMAGAZINESARASOTA/ | APRIL 2019 | SARASOTA / BRADENTON 5


the grand slam. I recently had a hunter that’s waited 25 years to harvest an Osceola; we made it happen on the second day for him, first time going with an outfitter, enough said. One time deal, just for his slam-ooooohhh by Wayne Nichols the money he could’ve saved. he 2019 South Florida Flappy Bird Challenge is underway! Roughly about 1% or less of Hunters from all over the U.S. have been eagerly awaiting hunters on Florida’s public lands Spring gobbler season to open up and now we’re in full swing! harvest an Osceola, but most Florida has the coveted crown jewel of the grand slam for turoutfitters average 85% or better. keys across the U.S., the Osceola. Known for huge spurs, black Long story short, for the money wings, long beards and one of the smartest most challenging you spend to come down and hunt public land you probably turkeys to hunt on the planet. Many an “expert” turkey huntcould’ve hired a guide for the same, or sometimes even less, er have come to Florida over the years to be humbled by Mr. money-just depends on the outfitter. For Florida hunting and Osceola. Florida has a lot of public hunting WMA’s for you to fishing, a guide is really your best option for success in the long chase Osceola’s on and they’re known to be absolute nightmares run, when it comes down to dollars spent. So far, the reports in most cases. The problem is, you and 20,000 other hunters of the best turkey action have been coming from more southhad the same idea; the odds are drastically not in your favor. ern areas; here in South Central it’s been spotty the last few Now, I’ll admit, our turkeys are about the most expensive bird weeks. This last cold front has got them on fire now though. you can hunt in the U.S. because Florida is the only state that Early season at the beginning of March can be a crap shoot to has Osceola turkey. Landowners know their value on them and say the least, all depends on our weather. Sometimes it’s right guides acquiring private lands on time, sometimes it’s too early, sometimes not even the birds to hunt on is an expensive know what they’re doing, lol. Mid-March on is usually the better task; most outfitters down option on booking hunts here, weather patterns are more stable, here are at about $1750-$2500 cold fronts are over, gobblers are actively seeking hens and the for an Osceola hunt, so here’s groups have broken up. where basic math comes in. For most hunters the OsceIf you have any questions about hunting down here, need information on booking ola is a one-time deal, the a hunt or would like to know more about what we offer, give me a call anytime at one bird that gets them the 863-990-7650. I’m heading back in the woods now y’all stay safe and remember to take a kid hunting or fishing anytime you get a chance! final piece of the puzzle for

Outdoor Opportunities

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On the Fly

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by Capt. Mike Manis

ith this month, SWFL enters what many consider the beginning of the fishing season. In and around Charlotte Harbor, the increase in activity on the water is quite noticeable. The increase in traffic is balanced out by all the available options. In essence, there’s just not enough time to take advantage of it all. It’s definitely the beginning of tarpon season. At the top of the estuary, the upper harbor, looking for fish that have moved out of the rivers can be productive. They’ll spread out from the U.S. 41 Bridge to the mouth of the Myakka and down to the 20-foot hole off the West Wall. Indeed, you could spend the entire month hunting down these rolling fish. To the south, I like the deeper water along the eastern side of Pine Island Sound in the Demere Key area. For me, the spring snook bite is one of my favorite times of year and I’d like to spend as much time possible seeing how many I can get to eat a fly. In part, one of the things I like about snook is where they live. I enjoy being around mangrove structure and throwing flies in the holes and pockets of the roots. In addition, probably most of the snook that I hook will be from blind casting. I have hooked them sight casting; but, as the saying goes, if you see a snook, it’s probably too late as they’ve already seen you first. They’re scattered throughout the bays and sounds that surround the harbor. In addition, redfish can be found cruising up and down the same shorelines. Last month, it seemed as though I was seeing them while scouting shorelines just about everywhere I went. It did appear that the majority of fish I saw had moved out of the backcountry creek systems and were on outside shorelines. In particular, corners and points held the most fish. Keep in mind, snook are ambush feeders and do prefer moving water or strong current. It’s no coincidence that there seemed to be more fish in spots where the current moved swifter, around points. Generally, even though it’s tough to see with the naked eye, water or tide does pick up speed to make it around points or obstacles. What’s more, because the tides haven’t been real high yet like they will be this summer; it’s a bit easier to scout shorelines, as the fish can’t get too far back in the bushes yet. Typically, I’ll throw an eight-weight. It has enough punch to help with the wind and enough backbone to get a fish away from the bushes. I like a weight forward floating line rigged with a ninefoot leader. I tie them with a 40-lb. butt section to 30 lb. then tapered down to 20 lb. Each section is three feet and tied with a blood knot. For flies, I prefer weed less baitfish style patterns. Until next month, good tides.

Captain Michael Manis is a U.S.G.C. Licensed captain and has been teaching the sport of fly and light tackle angling since 2002. He lives in Punta Gorda, Florida and can be reached at www.puntagordaflycharters.com. FACEBOOK.COM/COASTALANGLERMAGAZINESARASOTA/ | APRIL 2019 | SARASOTA / BRADENTON 7


Sarasota Tarpon Tournament

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019 marks the 89th official year of the Oldest Tarpon Tournament in the World, The Sarasota Tarpon Tournament. While this tournament officially marked its first year in 1930, several members of the Sarasota Anglers Club will tell you the tournament was around for a few years before the official 1930 inception. In the late 1920’s, Robert Ringling invited Cincinnati, OH industrialist and radio magnate Powel Crosley are known for their aerial acrobatics, spectacular leaps, and determined fights. Winning a battle with one of these prehistoric fish is an exhilarating lifetime experience. People from around the world visit Southwest Florida now hoping to catch the fish of a lifetime. One of the most dramatic changes over the course of time has been the improvement in fishing tackle. In the 1930’s, reels used for tarpon fishing did not have any drag. Drag was accomplished by running a piece of leather across the reel and pushing down with your finger. You did this while wearing a suit, tie, and straw hat with a small brim. It was not uncommon then for it to take well over an hour to land a tarpon. Nowadays the fishing gear is sophisticated, clothing is comfortable for a day on the water fishing, and it takes only 30 minutes on average to land a silver king once you have the feel. This year’s tournament will attract men, women, and children all attempting to experience the thrill of the catch. The tournament officially begins with the kick-off party and Captain’s Meeting May 8th, at 6 p.m. Jr. to participate. It was Crosley’s first time fishing and he caught at the White Buffalo Saloon. a 102-pound Silver King. He stated “It was like hooking onto Your $125. entry into the an express train that provided plenty of thrill, excitement, and tournament gets you food, strenuous exercise.” He was hooked! He immediately went fun, and a cash bar will be out, purchased property, and became an avid tarpon fisherman. available. Live music, good times, a live auction with some The following year he aired a live broadcast from his boat, incredible outdoor experiences from CCA, as well as amazing Little WLW. His signal was so powerful that it could be heard raffles for gear, tackle, paddle boards, coolers, artwork and much throughout the nation. more! Anglers not only compete for an overall winner category, Described as one of the most exciting fish to catch, tarpon but also weekly, junior, ladies and ‘his and her’ categories. Each of the 5 weeks of the tournament will produce a winner. Weekly winners and winners of the two additional categories will all compete in a 2-day Fish-Off to determine an overall winner whose name is inscribed on the historic trophy. Sponsorships are available! The generosity of our amazing sponsors has kept this legendary tournament running for 89 year. Please contact us if you would like to talk to a sponsor representative. Entering the “World’s Oldest Tarpon Tournament” makes this ‘game’ even more exciting because anglers not only have the chance to compete against the Silver King, but also, their fellow anglers. For more information or to register for the tournament go to www.SarasotaTarponTournament.com

8 SARASOTA / BRADENTON APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/SARASOTA/


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Anna Maria Island Adventures

by Capt. James Vadas

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e were recently on an offshore trip with a couple of college kids who were treating their dad on his birthday with a charter. We headed west to a public reef just a few miles from Anna Maria, on a beautiful Saturday morning with a few boats already out there. The bait schools were busting and the birds were hitting on top of the water. I hooked a live pilchard through the nose with a #3 circle hook at the end of 4 feet, 40lb fluorocarbon leader. I casted off the back of the boat and the moment I handed the rod over, I felt the line tighten. “Happy Birthday!!!” I shouted, as Dad pulled back on the rod. The drag was screaming, I figured we hooked a kingfish or a shark. After a ferocious fight, a dark shadow came to the surface. “Cobia” I shouted, gathering the attention of all the other boats. I decided to use the big net to land what ended up being a 38” fish. Cobia have to be 33 inches long to the fork of the tail, so use a net instead of a gaff when you’re not sure if the fish is long enough to keep. The limit is one per person or 2 per vessel. Picture the brother and the sister, holding this massive fish, posing for a picture with their dad on his birthday and all the other boats around us are shaking their heads in disbelief that we caught him in the first 5 minutes. Everything else we caught that day did not compare to the cobia, also known as “Crab Eater”, “Black Kingfish”, “Black Salmon”, “Ling”, and “Lemonfish”. They are excellent to eat and are desired all over the world. The demand for them is so high in Taiwan and Australia, that they

are commercially farmed. Here we are, lucky enough to sight fish them in our gin clear water. They migrate to the Keys in the winter and we see them more in the spring, hanging out near the top of the water around reefs, buoys, markers and structure. Last April, I was fishing a tournament just for trout and redfish in Palma Sola Bay. We were fishing close so we could be back in time for weigh-ins. While looking for some redfish around the oyster bar, we came upon a cobia following a large stingray. I bet he was eating whatever the stingray was stirring up off the bottom. I casted a plastic swim bait in front of the cobia, who did not think twice about grabbing it. This battle was epic, in only 2 feet of water! Catching a cobia on the flats is rare. We may not have won the trout and redfish tournament, but we did end up with some delicious cobia, which I wrapped in bacon and shared with my family for dinner. God bless and tight lines, Captain James at your service.

Capt. James Vadas, owner/operator of Living Water Charters on Anna Maria Island, FL can be reached at 941-812-1245. You can also find him: https://www. livingwatercharters.com https://www.facebook.com/LWCfishing/ https://www.instagram.com/livingwatercharters/

10 SARASOTA / BRADENTON APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/SARASOTA/


Let’s Take it Outside

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by Misty Wells

ooking to make a few extra bucks this fishing season and you’re a decent angler, I have just the ticket for you - Tournament Fishing. All around the State of Florida, on both coasts, there are tons of great tournaments with some nice payouts and no shortage of fun. April is really the kickoff to season and there is no better place to start than the 28th Annual Suncoast Kingfish Classic at Gators at the Pass. Ryan Farner is the Tournament Director and he has made sure that the winners are walking away with a $20,000 pay out this year. The Tournament kicks off April 11th – 13th at Gator’s on the Pass; even if you are not fishing there’s a huge party and weigh in with live music and plenty of Tito’s Vodka. Suncoastkingfishclassic. com Moving south, next I am headed to Ft. Myers where I’m fishing the 8th Annual Ding Darlin Tarpon Tournament presented by Doc Fords. This Tournament is cool because they only allow 50 boats and it’s a 100% payout. For the 3rd year in a row I have my spot and I am hoping to get on the board and into the money with Capt. Pete Frederiksen & Capt. Tommy LaRonge. It’s a catch and release tarpon tournament that benefits the Ding Darlin Wildlife Preserve on Sanibel Island. Did you know that the first tarpon caught on rod and reel was here? I love not only the tournament, but staying at the

Island Inn on Sanibel Island savoring a taste of “Old Florida”. I hope to be the one counting my winnings with my toes in the sand and a drink in my hand; payout’s over $30,000 in cash. Dingdarlinsociety.org After I wrap up that tournament, I am heading even farther south to the Cayman Islands for the 1st Annual Cayman Billfish Rundown, May 14th – 17th. This is where the big money is with a payout of $270,000 and a $250,000 Blue Marlin record payout, if you break the Island record of over 500 lbs. They have a Captain’s payout at $10,000 and Most Billfish Releases payout at $100,000; start working out. Everything about the Cayman Islands is great, from the fishing, food, hotels, and the people; if you can make it down go. You can bring your own

boat or they have a list of Captains that can take you fishing in this “soon to be” historic tournament. All in all, if I hold on, keep my rod tip up, keep the line tight, and have lady luck on my side I could have a very lucrative summer. These are just a few of the great tournaments to choose from inshore, offshore, to fresh water, win or lose get out and go fishing and earn fish money. Caymanbillfishrundown.com Misty Wells Host of “Let’s Take It Outside” iHeart Radio show & Video series featured in Tampa Bay Times www.tampabay.com/outdoors Outdoor Pro –Writer & Adventure Guide. Founder of “A Reel Future” a non-profit organization devoted to knowledge, conservation & the passion of fishing to foster kids Statewide. www.mistywells.com FACEBOOK.COM/COASTALANGLERMAGAZINESARASOTA/ | APRIL 2019 | SARASOTA / BRADENTON 11


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It’s All About the Kids

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by Chasten Whitfield

ur morning started off by waking up at 5am loading the boat and then my trusty camera girl Aaliyah and I headed to our favorite spot to get bait for the day. We run about 12 miles to a large bridge which is known for bait most of the year. We begin our bait task by chumming with Boca Coast bait food and bait shows up moments later. As soon as we tossed our Barracuda net we scored in no time. Now it’s time to head to the ramp to pick up our friend Mathew whom we will be fishing with today. Matthew was diagnosed with spina bifida and although he has had six surgeries, he doesn’t let that stop him. After a brief cruise, we stopped at our first spot and throw a few baits out to chum up some snook along a mangrove shoreline. Mathew wanted to try the chum bat, so he threw a few chummers out and the snook started busting on the bait. We threw out a couple of more baits connected to Mustad circle hooks and Mathew hooks a snook!

He reeled it in quick like he was a pro. The bite was steady and every time we chummed the fish started chewing like it was a last meal. We made the decision to change plans after catching many fish along the mangroves and decided to go fish along some docks. We arrive at the docks and Mathew starts throwing more bait out to chum. As we all got rods out and cast baits under the docks, Mathew hooked up on a fish that he calls a bubble fish, to most anglers a puffer fish!! We finished up our dock fishing with a nice black drum and Mathew said it’s been a great day as we cruise back to the boat ramp laughing and reminiscing about our day! For more information about Matthew and what he’s been through check our YouTube video: https://youtu.be/joRNogvUANw

Chasten’s mission is to help kids of all ages, especially girls, become comfortable anglers while teaching positive life skills, thoughtfulness, doing what’s right for the right reasons, and choosing to stay active outdoors. It’s not about what you look like or outside appearance, what matters is what’s inside.

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14 SARASOTA / BRADENTON APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/SARASOTA/


Offshore with Capt. Tom

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by Capt. Tom Bailas

pring is here and I have been patiently awaiting the water temperatures to warm up. The baitfish will be moving through in mass quantities. Along with the bait, the Spanish and king mackerels will soon be following behind. This month I am going to give some advice: “How to consistently catch smokers kings”. The target areas for king fish are as follows: structures, wrecks, live hard bottom and ledges. First thing needed is a baitwell full of live cigar minnows, blue runners or Spanish sardines. Most artificial reefs or wrecks will hold a bunch of bait. Anchor up and put a chum bag out and sabiki as many baits as possible. The tackle needed will be 20 lb. spinning gear or a conventional. For my rigging, I like to tie a Bimini twist tied with a surgeon’s knot to a 40lb mono leader or cable rig. Big king fish will cut through thin wire, so I use a minimum of 40lb wire. You will want to set your drag light, as kings have soft mouths and make lightning fast runs. The methods I use is to either stay anchored up and fish freelining live baits as you bottom fish or the most effective way is to slow troll live baits at an average speed of 1.5 - 2 miles per hour.

You can also use a downrigger while you troll as well. King fish move very fast and some days you can catch them in 30’ of water and other days you will have to go out to about 50’ to find them. There are no fences out there, so you never know what might bite your lines. Do not be surprised to catch maybe a black fin tuna, cobia, shark, amberjack or an occasional sailfish. Remember to always follow the state and federal regulations, as they change frequently when quotas are met. You should take only what you need, to ensure the fishing for future generations to come. Good luck ad I hope the article will help you catch more king fish this season! Happy fishing!

Charter fishing from Venice, FL is home to some of the best fishing anywhere! You can reach Capt. Tom at 941-587-2028 or at www.tntfishingchartersvenice. com or follow on FB @ tntchartersvenice - specializing in Family Friendly Fishing Adventures.

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Reel Salty Endeavours

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by Capt. Brian Boxx

he love bugs are swarming and our clocks have jumped forward. It is official, Spring is here! March is historically a windy month for our area, but that should give way to calmer mornings in April. With a calm sea comes clear water offering exciting sight fishing opportunities. Pilchards have been in abundance off the beaches; find the birds find the bait. The king of spring, the Tarpon, are in full migration and have been making their pit stops at area passes gorging on drifting crab. Spring officially marks the start of Reel Salty Endeavours night time charters, my specialty. Enjoying our waters at night is a great way for anglers to escape the hustle and bustle of our busy waterways. This is also prime time for nocturnal predators like snook and tarpon. If you’re going to run a boat at night, ensure all you lights work and keep spare bulbs and fuses on board.

The pompano have been plentiful in area bays with sandbars, sharp drops in passes, and along the sandbar that runs the length of our coastline. Small jigs tipped with shrimp and bounced off the bottom have been producing well, but if you just want to sit back and relax, nothing beats a live sand flea on a float-style pompano rig. Catching sand fleas can be fun for the whole family. I go at sunset the night before a fishing trip and use a sand flea rake to catch them. Keeping them alive is simple. Personally, I use the double boiler method with two 5 gallon buckets; YouTube will explain. Pompano make excellent table fare and are one of the few inshore species I target for food. TACO, TACO, TACO!

Capt. Brian Boxx is the owner/operator of Reel Salty Endeavours, a proud veteran owned and operated charter service. If you, your family, or guests are looking to get out on the water, contact him through his website, https://www.reelsaltyendeavours.com/ contact-us/, Facebook at Reel Salty Endeavours, or call 904-866-5050.

18 SARASOTA / BRADENTON APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/SARASOTA/


SWFL Spearfishing

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by Capt. Bill D’Antuono

pring is finally here and there is a lot to anticipate. April & May bring some of the best fishing and conditions out of the whole year. Most of our northern friends have left and there is less pressure on the fish, also. Water temperatures are rising, so divers will be coming out of the woodwork as they have more free time and pockets full of cash from a busy season. Late winter we had a fantastic red grouper season and snapper were as thick as I have ever seen, but now fish are on

Brian Dunn and his son, also Brian Dunn, caught a nice red grouper with Offshore Naples Charters.

the move. Any steady change in water temperature or seasonal change means the fish are moving around as well. Kingfish have arrived so that’s always a fun targeted species. Red grouper will still be in the cracks and crevices offshore, along with the stray cobia still hanging on the wrecks. Whale sharks will also be on the move! Late April and early May, if recent years foretell, will bring a migration of whale sharks seeking cooler water in the northern Kelly Johnson with a nice Florida Panhandle. If you are lucky African Pompano speared enough to spot one, be prepared on an Offshore Naples to cast a rod out for some cobia Charter. or amberjack. I have seen whale sharks in water as shallow as 70 feet and as deep as 120 feet. So, they could be anywhere. Hoping to see a few more and continue the trend in 2019. We saw over a dozen in 2018! Offshore Naples Fish & Dive Charters will be on the hunt for American Red Snapper. The season opens up June 1st and goes through August 2nd. I am always on the hunt for big fish, so book now! Capt. Bill is a dive master at SCUBAdventures in Naples, in 2013 his efforts helped to lift a 50 year ban on spearfishing in Collier County waters, he is the founder of the Naples Spearfishing League and is available as a local spearfishing guide. You can contact Bill at naplesspearfishingleague@gmail. com - www.spearfishingnaplesFL.com

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The Best Angler Photos From Southwest Florida!

Owen, 3yo caught this nice ladyfish in the Sanibel Bayou on his own!

Wende Abernathy w/ a 5.22lb largemouth bass.

Luke Nicklas 6 & Jason James 19, caught this Mayan Cichlid, 17’ 2lbs at The Landings-Riverside Lake.

Becky Beatty w/ a nice drum on a jig tipped w/ shrimp.

Barb Bennett caught this 29” Snook in the Ten Thousand Islands on a jig head. Adam Griffith w/ a nice freshwater snook.

A father/son (Kevin & Jacob) catch of a barracuda lurking around a wreck out of Venice.

Photos submitted courtesy of:

Capt. Bart Marx Capt. James Marko Capt. Terry Fisher

Trace has a secret spot he pulled this nice snook from.

Capt. Mike Manis Capt. Neil Eisner

Vivienne Forespring 6, w/ a nice lane snapper caught off Boca Grande.

Text your fish pics to 239-595-8265 or email them to camftmyers@gmail.com. Please include your name, type, size, and location where fish was caught and we will do our best to get you on the board.

24 SARASOTA / BRADENTON APRIL 2019 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM/SARASOTA/


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In February 2018, Mike Klopfer caught this 11-pound, 14-ounce largemouth from Lake June-In-Winter.

ith a series of reservoirs draining into Okeechobee to the southeast, Highlands County, Fla. is a hotspot for recreational bass anglers seeking big largemouths on waters that are a little smaller than the “Big O.” Lake Istokpoga may be the most well known, with more than 100 bass heavier than 8 pounds registered with Florida’s TrophyCatch program since 2015. The largest was a giant 13-pound, 14-ounce bass caught by Adrian Echols in June of 2018. Keep in mind that these statistics reflect only fish caught and then registered with the state. To the west, across U.S. 27 from Istokpoga, lakes June-in-Winter and Placid are smaller in size with 3,000 to 4,000 surface acres of water, but they are both fisheries with very good potential for trophy bass. Placid also boasts more than 100 largemouths registered at heavier than 8 pounds with TrophyCatch. More than 30 of those were 10-pound-plus lunkers. June-In-Winter might not have the numbers of Istokpoga or Placid, but it is still a big bass factory. TrophyCatch shows about 50 8-plus-pounders registered with the program. The largest was an 11-pound, 14-ounce beast caught by Mike Klopfer in February of 2018. It topped a list of 10 fish heavier than 10 pounds caught there since 2015.

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World-Class Fishing For The Working Class By Craig Sutton

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ebruary 2019 was one of the busiest months is the history of FishingNosara. Our five-boat team ran 119 charter trips, and we’re stoked to report big catches and big smiles! The 32-foot flagship Wanderer led the pack with 29 trips… in a month that only had 28 days. With multiple double-half days and only two days off, Master Capt. William cemented his legacy as the most active captain in all of Central America. Capt. Carlos on the big battleship Discoverer was also burning the candle at both ends with 24 trips run. Clients reported excellent bluewater action, highlighted by a sweet double sailfish release. Check blog.fishingnosara.com for tons of great photos of all of our catches. The pangas Harvester, Explorer and Adventurer continued to blitz the bluewater beasties with a combined 65 trips and lots of amazing scores, including a bucket-list caliber roosterfish released by angler Jack Herzlinger and Capt. Fico.

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Even though the fishing in Costa Rica is world-class, FishingNosara is celebrating 10 years of serving anglers from the working-class. We never set out to serve multi-millionaires, but instead provide authentic Costa Rica fishing experiences for regular folks. A great example of this mentality is our 27-foot super panga Explorer. Launched in 2011, this barroom brawler proves that you don’t need a big boat to catch big fish. We started with a basic panga-style hull and bolted on all the top-notch sportfishing tools (tuna tubes, split consoles, radar arch, Humminbird xD bottom machine, Yamaha outboard), then loaded her up with Shimano Tiagras and Penn International reels. Last month, the Explorer had a banner day on Feb. 3, with angler Brendan Champagne and his group nabbing a wide variety of species. A 40-pound roosterfish release headlined a day that also included a super sailfish release. Then the barroom brawler headed to the meat market. The first fillets in the basket came from several nice dorados, and later in the afternoon it was yellowfin tuna time. Adding to the fillet diversity was an awesome cubera snapper. Five major species caught on a $650 8-hour trip. I challenge anyone to provide better bang-for-your-buck fishing than is offered by the 27-foot super panga. Excluding marlin, this trip featured pretty much every major species in our fishery. It was all in a day’s work for Capt. Fico, Mate Elias, and the versatile Explorer. April is shaping up to be busy, with lots of trips already scheduled and more to come. We expect the fishing to stay strong as we barrel into the 2019 Ship of Fools tournament in the beginning of April. The white-hot summer action is already booking up, with limited availability remaining for the insane June-August bite. If you have been reading this report for a while and waiting for the right time to visit, stop reading and call ASAP at 904-591-2161 so we can make your fishing dreams a reality.

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cil determined that the buffer between the catch limit and catch target could be reduced to 9 percent. If all that sounds too complicated, what it means is NOAA has loosened the harvest regulations on Gulf red snapper. The total 15.1 million pounds catch limit is allocated with 51 percent going to the commercial sector and 49 percent going to the recreational sector. The recreational sector is further divided among a private component, which is allotted 57.7 percent of the recreational total and a federal for-hire component, which is allowed 42.3 percent.

NOAA Increases Catch Limits For Gulf Red Snapper

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Seasons & Limits Bag limit is two per person, with a 16-inch minimum length. Federal Permitted For-Hire Season: June 1-Aug. 2.

ith 2018 assessments indicating that red snapper are not being overfished in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA Fisheries published a final rule to increase commercial and recreational catch limits and recreational annual catch targets for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. The rule also reduces the stock annual catch limit for west Florida hogfish. Both parts of the rule will go into effect April 4. The Gulf states are responsible for setting their own private red snapper seasons. Commercial and recreational red snapper catch levels and targets will be increased by more than 1 million pounds. Catch targets are levels below the catch limits that account for management uncertainty. For the recreational sector, catch targets were developed to reduce the likelihood that the recreational sector exceeds its catch limit. The red snapper recreational fishing seasons are projected to harvest the catch targets. Initially, catch targets were set for the recreational sector and its components at 20 percent below the catch limit. Because the federal for-hire component has never exceeded its catch target, the Gulf Coun-

States set their own seasons for private anglers. Florida—June 11-July 12, a fall season will be considered if quota is available. Alabama— Fridays through Sundays, June 1-July 28, including Thursday, July 4. Mississippi— May 24-Sept. 2, with a mid-season July 8-July 28 closure. Louisiana—TBD. Texas—Year-round in state waters. Hogfish The 2018 assessment for west Florida hogfish produced catch levels that were lower than projections from the previous assessment. Although the new west Florida hogfish catch limits are lower, the Gulf Council did not recommend any further management action because landings in recent years have not exceeded the catch limit and the minimum size limit was recently increased from 12 to 14 inches fork length, which should reduce harvest. The rule allows for increases in 2020 and 2021.

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CR Electronics’ new next-generation ResQLink Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) is the latest evolution of the world’s best-selling PLB. Incorporating first-hand feedback from survivors who activated the beacons in emergencies, the new ResQLink 400 and ResQLink View PLBs introduce user-friendly design innovations and enhanced functionality to provide a range of adventurers with a trusted and affordable link to rescue in a life-threatening situation. The ResQLink View with Optical Display Technology provides even more peace of mind to outdoor enthusiasts. The screen displays all the beacon’s operational activities, including GPS coordinates, operating instructions, usage tips, transmission bursts, as well as battery power. Compact, lightweight and easy to carry, the new ResQLink beacons feature a protected activation button located away from the test button, multiple wearable mounting options including a belt clip and oral inflation clip for easy access in an emergency, and an easier-to-release anten-

na enclosure. All the new design changes were suggested by members of the ACR Electronics SurvivorClub free beacon replacement program. The PLBs also include a new infra-red strobe light in addition to the ultra-bright strobe light to assist rescue crews using night vision. Made in the U.S.A. and approved by the FCC, the new PLBs offer the same exceptional power and reliability expected from ACR products. ResQLink PLBs utilize three integrated signal technologies—GPS positioning (Galileo and GPS GNSS), a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability—to quickly and accurately relay the user’s position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites at the push of a button. Using the next-gen network, anyone activating a ResQLink PLB can expect their beacon to be located within 100 meters (328 feet), 95 percent of the time, within five minutes of the distress signal. The ResQLink series does not require any subscription but must be registered with the country’s national authority. Optional subscriptions for testing are available via ACR’s patented 406Link.com technology. Mikele D’Arcangelo, Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Management for ACR Electronics, said: “A personal locator beacon is a vital part of any safety kit for boaters, hikers, climbers, hunters, snowmobilers and all outdoor enthusiasts. As safety and survival specialists, ACR Electronics has been at the forefront of beacon technology and we will continue to innovate and listen to feedback so that our customers can always rely on our devices in an emergency.” Featuring built-in buoyancy, the ResQLink PLBs have an operating life that exceeds 24 hours. Ideal for carrying in a pocket, backpack or attaching to a life jacket, the ResQLink View PLB weighs just 151g, while the non-display ResQLink 400 weighs 148g. Both measure 4.52 (L) x 2.03 (W) x 1.49 in (D). ACR is also introducing the option of new ResQLink Skins. Different styles, including a “camouflage” version will be available for users to apply to their beacons while still meeting regulatory color requirements. The new ACR ResQLink 400 PLB is available for $299.99. The ACR ResQLink View PLB is available for $349.99. For more information, go to www.acrartex.com.

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Reel in the memories. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is a fisherman’s paradise. Ocean, lake and river ecosystems are home to more than 800 species of fish, from the ever-popular sailfish and snook to largemouth bass and perch. Forget your gear? Visit one of

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arch 9 was a magical day fishing out of St. Augustine aboard the 62’ Viking, Free Spool. Led by Capt. Ryan Leary, the team caught and released 43 sailfish to set a single-day record for St. Augustine Inlet. They caught all their sails about 45 miles ESE of St. Augustine. (Above) Joining the captain on the deck of the Free Spool beneath 43 flying release flags are: owner and angler Rob Rowe and mates Justin Roe, Chris Pakerinen (AKA CPak!), and angler Dalton Hegdus.

Martin’s many bait and tackle shops or outdoor retailers. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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B NPS photo by Yasmeen Smalley

illed as the biggest lionfish tournament in history, the 2019 Emerald Coast Open will be held in conjunction with FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival in May. The tournament kicks off May 16 with a mandatory 7 p.m. captain’s meeting at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar in Destin, Fla. Harvest days will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 17-19, with the weigh-in scales closing at 11 a.m. on May 19. Cash, gear and other prizes will be awarded in Most Lionfish, Largest Lionfish and Smallest Lionfish categories. Northwest Florida has the highest concentration of invasive lionfish in the world, and spearfishing is currently the primary means of controlling them. Lionfish pose a significant threat to native wildlife, and tournaments such as this one promote awareness of the problem while also increasing har-

vest of these invaders. Since Feb. 1, teams of lionfish hunters have been competing in a pre-tournament and had killed more than 1,000 lionfish leading up to the main event in May. But there are still plenty of lionfish out there on the reefs. Registration is $100 per participant, with teams consisting of up to four individuals. FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival is May 18-19 at AJ’s and HarborWalk Village in Destin. The Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Bring your friends and family for an amazing festival and learn about lionfish, taste lionfish and check out lionfish products. There will be many family-friendly activities including art, diving and marine conservation booths. Learn how to safely fillet a lionfish and try a lionfish dish at a local restaurant. Have fun listening to live music and watching the tournament weigh-in and awards. Learn why lionfish are such a big problem and what you can do to help! For more information go to emeraldcoastopen.com and follow the Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival on Facebook.

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Tim Barefoot

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here are several ways to make this double tackle, but one simple knot makes a wonderful, heavy-duty presentation. Some folks refer to this as a “high/low rig,” and you can call it anything you want, but for the sake of this article I’ll just call it a “double tackle.” To start with, consider the fish you are targeting and choose the correct size fluorocarbon for the leader. You can tie this knot in almost any size fluoro up to 80- or 100-pound. A rig like this is extremely effective on quite a few species and gets a lot of “reaction strikes” due to the multiple offerings presented and the erratic action of the baits. Using a heavier jig on the bottom keeps the lighter jig, streamer fly or unweighted soft plastic in place. It’s less likely to foul and makes the action more erratic, which draws the instinct strikes. The darting action resembles a scared or confused baitfish, which is irresistible to predatory fish, and the trailing bait is an easy target. These are the baitfish they have been programmed to eat since birth. It makes perfect sense, as they exert less energy to catch disoriented baitfish than those swimming perfectly in open water. There are two primary considerations when choosing the poundage of the fluoro leader material, water clarity and quarry. After choosing the correct size jigs and fluoro, it’s time to determine the lengths of the two legs of the rig. I start with about a 4- or 5-foot length of leader and make a 10- to 12-inch diameter loop in the center of the leader. This is typical for smaller inshore or freshwater fish, but can be made larger and longer for larger fish and jigs for a variety of offshore fish. Next, make eight turns with one of the tag ends through the 1-foot diameter loop. Find the center wrap of the tag end and separate it large enough to pass the 1-foot diameter loop back through (as shown in the photo).

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Shot Placement Sheri Daye

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hen you watch experienced spearos, you will notice they are relaxed in the water, they don’t take long shots, and they make it look easy. You will also notice they have a high percentage of kill shots. That is because they are disciplined and practice good shot placement. Perfect shot placement means you achieve a kill shot, also called “stoning the fish.” In other words, the fish is instantly put to sleep, lifeless as a stone. There’s a multitude of reasons to strive for this shot. For one, a kill shot is the most efficient and humane way to dispatch a fish. With a head shot, the fillets will be in better shape, with no holes, blood marks, or chance of bacteria entering the meat (from a gut shot). Also, the fish does not have a chance to struggle and bend your shaft, or worse yet, to get off the shaft. There are added safety benefits to stoning a fish. You will avoid ringing the dinner bell for sharks attracted to a struggling fish. Also, a live fish has the potential of tangling on the bottom or around you, so a dead fish makes for a much quicker and safer extraction. Finally, if you quietly put the fish to sleep, you won’t spook other fish in the surrounding area, giving you and your buddy a chance at more fish. To stone a fish, the shaft needs to hit the brain or spine. The ideal shot is a quartering shot from above and behind, hitting the spot where the lateral line meets the brain. This sweet spot is at the top of the gills and behind the eyes. Of course, the closer you can get to the fish, the higher the likelihood of proper shot placement.

Here’s more tips for achieving kill shots while spearfishing: 1. Refine your diving/stalking technique so you can get closer to fish without spooking them. 2. Don’t rush the shot, take your time and try to get a more accurate shot.

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3. Buy a good quality speargun and make sure your shafts/floppers are in good shape (not bent). 4. Practice hitting an underwater target, such as a weighted foam fish or net. Try shooting from different distances so you know your range versus accuracy. Don’t take “iffy” shots. 5. Take the time to study fish anatomy and examine them at the Sheri Daye fillet table. shows what good shot There are excepplacement tions to the rule. For on cubera example, when taking snapper looks a long shot on a spooky fish with a narrow like. body, such as a wahoo, you might want to aim for “center mass.” Otherwise, take the time to learn one of the most fundamental rules of spearfishing—that is, good shot placement! Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.

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The new Havalon® TalonTM Quik-Change IITM Multi-Blade Cutlery System brings together nearly 40 years of expertise in the surgical field and decades of quality time spent out in open waters. This innovative platform features a variety of reliable add-on blades designed to make clean work of the dirty work all the way from ship to shore. NATIONAL

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SEA EAGLE SUPCAT 10 SeaEagle took the concept of an SUP and created a whole new type of inflatable fishing craft that is extremely versatile for anglers on the go. With two rock-solid inflatable side pontoons, The SUPCat10 is an incredibly stable platform to stand and fish or paddle from. For those who prefer to move faster, it can be equipped with either an electric or small gas outboard and reach speeds up to 8mph. From the trunk of your car to the water, the SUPCat10 sets up easily in less than 10 minutes. With the Wheels Up/Wheels Down feature, it’s possible to cart your boat and all your gear down to the water, flip the wheels into an upright position and paddle or motor away. Features include: Four Scotty gear mounts, two Scotty rod holders, nonslip EVA foam deck pads, 360-degree swivel seat, built-in fish rulers, multiple D-ring attachment points, removable rear motor mount and four grab handles. It’s an exceptional little fishing boat no matter how you choose to propel it.

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Sailfish Boats’ new flagship center console, the 360CC, is the largest, most feature-rich boat in the Sailfish family. The 360CC is on the leading-edge of center console design. Like all Sailfish Boats, the 360CC features Sailfish’s unique Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) Hull design, offering a smooth, stable ride, even in rough seas. Their exclusive VDS Hull features three distinct running surfaces. The first section is a 24-degree dead rise that cuts through the water. This is the most aggressive angle used in the fishing boat segment. The second section is 23 degrees, and it provides lift and allows air under the hull, producing a softer ride with less friction for better performance and fuel economy. This lift allows you to reach the same speed without requiring as much horsepower as other boats. The third section is 22 degrees, and it provides stability needed for slow trolling or stopped positions. The hull and deck are both reinforced with Kevlar and carbon fiber, and built using the SailTech foam-filled fiberglass stringer system and SailTech composite full length transom. Sailfish has been expertly engineering center consoles, dual consoles, walkarounds and bay boats for nearly 40 years. They range from 19’ to 36’. With reliable outboard power from Yamaha or Mercury, and their exclusive VDS hull design, the Sailfish 360CC delivers a smooth, safe ride, even in the roughest offshore water. The all-new 360CC Center Console is a fitting addition to the Sailfish lineup. It epitomizes the Sailfish legacy of building high quality and expertly engineered boats that are fishing focused and family friendly.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

EXPERIENCE THE


TIPS FROM A PRO

FRESHWATER Why Do Hooked Fish Get Off?

B

BRANDON LESTER

ass get away for two basic reasons: the hook coming out of their mouth and line failure. If you can keep those from happening, you’ll land the fish. Sounds simple right? Well, it is and it isn’t. To keep these from happening, you’ve got to have the right combination of hook, line and rod… and then you must use them all properly. Let’s start with the hookset. If the hook isn’t properly buried into the fish’s jaw, it is obviously easier for it to come out. The hookset is predominately a factor of the right hook paired with the right fishing rod. You generally want to use the biggest, sturdiest hook and the heaviest power (basically its stiffness) rod the particular technique and lure will allow. And you’ve got to learn to set the hook as hard as your equipment will allow you. Watch the hooksets of pro anglers on the Bassmaster television show. We do not mess around. The hookset is powerful and fast. The biggest challenge with matching hook and rod power is learning how big you can go with your equipment and still present the bait properly. You’ll get more bites using smaller hooks and lighter line, so you can’t always use the heaviest equipment. Pay close attention to the bait and lure weights that rods are rated for. I

build all my rods with blanks and supplies from Mud Hole Custom Tackle (www.MudHole.com). All of their blanks come with that information included. Winn Grips are a must on all my rods, as they ensure a proper grip on the rod for that big hookset. A good quality hook is one that penetrates a fish’s mouth and stays there until you get your hands on the fish. The sharper the hook, the better it penetrates into the fish’s mouth. Once there, the hook has to be strong enough to not “flex” or open up. A flexing hook takes pressure off the bass and allows him to pull off during the fight. A lot of baits come with cheap hooks that will flex even on the first fish. Lesser-quality hooks will often become dull very quickly, too. Not all hooks are made the same. Mustad is the world’s No. 1 hook seller, and it’s No. 1 for a reason. Fortunately for us bass anglers, years ago Denny Brauer and Kevin VanDam got together with Mustad’s engineers and designers to create the basic hooks needed specifically for bass. Mustad hasn’t stopped improving the line of hooks either. The Big Bite worm hook is a hook I helped them develop. In many countries, they don’t use a separate term for “fish hook.” They simply call it a “Mustad.” In a future article, we’ll discuss fighting the fish and the importance of choosing the right fishing line. Until then, go fishing and work on that hookset!

For more on Lester visit,

FISHINGMAGAZINE.FISHING

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35 PM

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MARK SOSIN There is a lesson to be learned. Shortly before he vaulted to stardom on the largemouth bass tournament trail countless years ago, Rick Clunn discovered that he spent so much time searching for magical techniques and secret lures that he almost lost sight of the basics. When he paused to reflect, he realized there were no curealls or panaceas that applied to any type of fishing. The answer centered on a more simplified approach. It suddenly became apparent that almost all bass tournaments were won by somebody who used a spinnerbait, plastic worm or a crankbait. It didn’t matter where the contest was held, who fished it and won, or what time of year it happened to be. Armed with that valuable bit of information, Rick decided to change his own fishing style and substitute simplicity for the complex techniques he clung to in the past. It occurred to him that if he learned to fish these basic lures with equal skill, he should be able to catch fish anywhere. Some of us have a tendency to insist on making fishing much more complicated than it actually is. If fish were that hard to catch, few of us would ever be successful. Impatience and lack of confidence force many anglers to search frantically for solutions that just don’t exist. These fishermen would do better if they learned one or two techniques thoroughly.

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Certainly, there will be times when their basic method does not produce, but over the long run they will catch more fish. My late father never heard of Rick Clunn, nor did he ever fish competitively for anything. Over many years, he fished for countless species in freshwater and salt, always limiting his approach to a few basic lures or some simple bait. When he finally retired and moved to Florida, his lure of choice was a small, yellow bucktail which he could fish better than anyone I ever met. His tackle box became the two side pockets on his jacket. A handful of bucktails were in his right-hand pocket and some leader material in his left pocket. There’s one other facet to Dad’s thinking worth following. He always insisted that the law of averages held the key to success. Those who insist on specializing on a particular species of fish or seek one of an extra large size are missing out on a lot of fun. All you have to do is keep casting and catching. The law of averages will eventually produce trophy fish for you as well as species that seem important. If you’ve been seeking a way to catch more fish on every outing, try this simplified approach that worked for Rick Clunn and my father. Many of the leading anglers of our time depend on it, and it just might turn the trick for you.

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

H

ave you ever wondered why your buddy fishing next to you is catching more fish when you are both using the same lure? Chances are it has to do with the way he’s retrieving his lure that entices fish to strike. What is the first thing you do when the fish are not biting? Most people immediately change lures. If that doesn’t work, the next step is usually to move locations, only to work the lure the same way when it clearly was not producing. You must try working a lure several different ways before ruling it out as ineffective. Here is an example. One chilly morning I was throwing a Controlled Descent Jerk Shad set to sink very slowly. It had a rattle in it. Since the water was in the mid 50s, I concentrated on an area that was 3 or 4 feet deep with a soft silty bottom. I started out keeping my lure near the bottom and working my rod parallel to the water. The lure was basically suspending 6- to 18-inches off the bottom with a side-to-side motion. This is a proven technique in similar situations; however, I didn’t get a strike. After some time covering the area with that technique, I changed my retrieve and worked the same area with the same lure. I started to twitch my lure slowly to the surface, almost as if it was climbing stairs, but very slowly. Since this lure had an extremely slow sink rate, it would almost suspend when paused after

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“climbing a few steps.” Once the lure reached the surface, I would let it slowly sink back to the bottom and repeat. I started to catch solid trout up to 6 pounds when the lure would almost reach the surface. Later that day, I fished a different spot with similar conditions. I was working the lure the same way that had produced earlier, and I was getting some very light bites once the lure would reach the bottom. The fish would pick up the lure and swim off, or at times they would swim toward me and I never really felt the strike. I landed a couple but missed and lost many more. Since they were definitely on the bottom and not really aggressive toward the slow-moving lure, I changed it up. Since I had a rattle, I started vigorously shaking my rod tip to make the lure rattle and twitch on the bottom without a lot of forward motion. This was most likely stirring up some silt, as well. This erratic action enticed the trout into a more instinctive strike. I began getting very aggressive strikes and landed every fish that hit. I never changed lure color, style or weight all day. Had I simply switched lures like most people do and worked them the same way as I started, I might not have caught anything. Try changing your retrieve before tying another knot. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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Profile for Coastal Angler Magazine

Coastal Angler Magazine | April 2019 | Sarasota/Bradenton/Venice  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...

Coastal Angler Magazine | April 2019 | Sarasota/Bradenton/Venice  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...