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SARASOTA/BRADENTON/VENICE EDITION

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Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

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

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

L

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

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Photo Courtesy of Al Stewart Photography

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

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


It’s the Honda of Outboards. Literally.

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

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


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

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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Eleuthera, Bahamas

FREE

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

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

COASTALA NGLERMA G.COM

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Southeastern Mountain Trout

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA EDITION

FREE

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

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

F R A N C H I S E

Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

FISHING WITH UNICOI OUTFITTERS

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

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

FLY FISHING

ON THE COVER

CASTING FOR THE REDFISH GAME: PART ONE

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

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

DECEMBER 2016

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Gift Ideas FOR ANGLERS

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

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

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A

Gifts for Anglers By Paul Lebowitz

Th

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

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

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SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Playing To Winter Tendencies

Photo courtesy of Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters

By CAM Staff

I

t’s deep winter. And while the folks in south Florida may be slamming sailfish, the rest of the country is cold. Those of us who can’t stand to stay inside are sitting in a duck blind, looking down at a hole in the ice or slogging it out trying to catch the few sluggish fish wintertime allows. Regardless of their slowed metabolisms, fish need to eat. Whether you’re fishing fresh or salt, lake, river, bayou or bay, fish have cold-weather tendencies anglers can exploit. While wintertime might never offer the kind of incredible bites one might find in fall or spring, it is still possible to experience great fishing. The most important consideration is weather. A warming trend of two or more days often puts fish in the mood to move up and feed. If at all possible, plan trips around these warming trends. When it’s not possible, seek out warmer water. Rock and metal radiate the sun’s heat into surrounding water. When the sun is shining, areas around rock and metal structure will often be several degrees warmer than the surroundings, which draws in fish and makes them more likely to feed. Warmth should also be a consideration in the time of day you fish. Often, the middle of the day or the early afternoon will provide the best bite of the day because the sun has had time to warm the shallows. It is generally true that fish move deeper when it’s cold, but it is not unusual to find the best feeding activity in the warmer shallows. The same warm-water theory is a consideration when choosing a destination. Think of the warm-water discharge from power plants in Tampa Bay or on countless inland reservoirs. Freshwater trout anglers should look to the tailwaters, which maintain a relatively stable water temperature year round. Covering water, finding fish and a feeding pattern are more important to success during the winter months than at any other time of year. If they are available, targeting locations where water conditions remain consistent and predictable is a best bet, even if those conditions are artificially maintained. Presentation becomes extremely important when fish are sluggish. Regardless of species, fish seek to fill their energy needs while expending the

least amount of energy possible. There are differing schools of thought about whether fishing large baits or small baits works better in cold water, and dependent on the species and countless other variables, either tactic could prove effective. One thing is for sure though, from predator to prey, everything alive in the water moves less and becomes less aggressive when it’s cold. Anglers should fish slowly and methodically with the intent of putting the bait directly in front of a fish and leaving it there. With soft plastics or jigs, this often means using less weight to slow the fall of baits through the strike zone. The best hardbaits will be suspending baits that get into the strike zone and stay there. Even with live or cut baits, anglers should downsize line to reduce its visibility and give a more natural look. When fish aren’t as aggressive, they have more time to examine an offering before they commit.

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FISH ON A PLAQUE

W

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

where the fish lies. In 1955, on the hundredth anniversary of the demise of the fish, the local newspaper had a long tribute to the most famous resident of the village, a tribute that included these words: “He did no great deeds, nor did he change the world for the better or for the worse.” And these: “Though the guns are silent and the

flags unhoisted, let us now acclaim him who in a century of change and violence has occasionally reminded men of tenderer things! Perhaps from those secret depths where good fish go when their swimming days are o’er, the Old Fish gazes up at us today, a gleam of pride in his cold unblinking eye. Old Fish, we salute you! May your fame endure forever.” Not bad for a finny creature that died in 1855. May our descendants remember each of us in similar praise long after we have left this earthly life. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “The Galata Bridge in Istanbul” (2016), can be reached at ceyhankevin@ gmail.com.

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Kayak Fishing

F

ly fishing can be one the most exhilarating things to try if you are an angler and desire a novel experience or a new challenge. It is pretty much the most intimate fishing experience that you can have. From tying your own flies for your next catch to casting a fly rod, the whole experience could most definitely be considered an art form. First, you pull just enough line to cast and give it a good stretch so that you have less room for error once you reach your target.

Once you find the fish you are looking for, you get into the best possible position for hitting your mark. While you are casting, you breathe as you feel your line loading through the rod and you listen to your line starting to form tight loops. Then you release your line as it rockets through the guides of your rod and lays down ever so softly just in front of your target. You begin to strip your line as the fish turns its head with its pectoral fins out, and rushes over, mouth wide open to inhale your fly. Boom! Fish ON! One more good strip set as you begin to feel your line peeling out through your hands until it is tight on the rod. Then you palm the spool for just the right drag while you feel the sheer power of the fish. You look at the backing of your line hoping that you have enough just as the fish’s will starts to break. You reel, reel, and reel and then the fish decides to go for another run! Finally, you get all your line back as you see fish

By: Eric Henson

getting closer and closer to you until the fish rolls over on its side into submission. When all of this comes together it can be one of the greatest fulfillments in fishing. This is one of my favorite times of the year to fly fish. As the water clarity continues to improve and air/ water temps are cooler, sight fishing will be key. The fish are easy to see but it is also easier for them to see you so you need to have a good plan of execution. Also this time of year the fish are starting to feed on smaller things which is a great for fly fishermen. I like to throw crustacean type patterns now, although they will feed on smaller bait fish patterns as well. Sometimes the wind can be a bear this month so don’t be afraid to hit the backwaters. The fish will be making their way back there

anyway if they aren’t already there. So, go out and give fly fishing a chance this winter and I promise that you will have a good time! Please don’t get discouraged if you do not have a perfect cast in the beginning. Practice makes perfect! Just go out have fun and enjoy the up close and personal relationship with the fish. Until next time Tight Loops and Tight Knots! 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. Book a guided fishing trip with Eric at www.CastingKayaks. com or give him a call at 941-5041349 for more information.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | SARASOTA / BRADENTON 1

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The Best Angler Photos From Southwest Florida!

M ax H. - ki ng fis h of f An na M ar ia Is la nd Aaro n H.-5 YO w/ 3# bass

Ta te E. -R ed gr ou pe r of f An na M ar ia Is la nd

Photos submitted courtesy of: Capt. Bart Marx Capt. Jon Black Capt. Joel Brandenburg Capt. Larry McGuire

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Capt. Neil Eisner Capt. Mike Manis Capt. Terry Fisher Capt. Roger Newton

Capt Neil Eisn er Este ro Bay Redf ish

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CAPT. MIKE MANIS

D

ecember in Southwest Florida and most of the snowbirds/white pelicans are now here for the winter! Make sure to check the updated FWC rules about fishing and what you can keep and what you can’t keep. I like the method of trolling to harvest the gag grouper Rapala, Bommer, and Manns are a few that make deep diving lures to harvest gags. While trolling you may encounter a cobia as well around the artificial reefs. And check the stone crab trap buoys in the Gulf where there may be some triple tail nosing up to the line. There also may be a few king or spanish to harvest while you are trolling too. This is also when the white grunts and snapper are piled up on the reefs, artificial or natural bottoms. Bottom fishing you should start at each spot with the frozen baits and have a variety as the bite slows, and then use your shrimp, pin fish, and white bait if there is any to be had. Most of this happens in 50 feet or less this time of year. Moving from the coastal waters to inshore Charlotte Harbor, the sheepshead and flounder are gradually migrating toward the Gulf. Flounder will be found in the sandy areas on the Western side of Bull Bay moving closer to the ICW and other similar areas. The sheepshead will start to bunch up around the docks and pilings west of the ICW this would include the trussles, bridges, and boat docks. Up on the grass beds there will be some hungry speckled sea trout waiting for some kind of bait to attack. The old tried and true popping cork, and shrimp on a jig under it will tempt these guys to eat. They will also eat plastic like a mirrodine lure, catch 2000 and some soft plastics like flukes. There are several kinds of popping lures out there that you may tie a jig on and add a gulp bait that lasts much longer than a shrimp. This is a great way to get some young kids started fishing, when you find them it can get very busy. Black drum around bridges can be lots of fun using crabs as bait. Snook may be closed but catch and release around the bridges and lighted docks can be lots of fun too. Red fish along the sides of the harbor and deeper holes when the temperature drops. Christmas is here if you would like to get a gift certificate for someone, you can contact Capt. Bart Marx 941-979-6517 or captbart@alphaomegacharters.com Or you can have me come on your boat if you are new to the area, to shorten your learning curve. And always remember singing drags and tight lines make me smile.

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ight now, if possible I’d have my gear ready and waiting for those few short openings. By that, I mean waiting between the fronts for those perfect days that make living in southwest Florida special. And even though I need at least a sweatshirt , now I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. In fact, I like to wait till late morning to let the sun warm things up. Like last month, I’ll continue working the same pattern for redfish and trout; but now, I’ll even push farther up my favorite backcountry creek systems. Basically, I’m following the fish. With reduced rain and cooler water, salinity and oxygen increases back here providing good habitat as well as a refuge from the windswept open flats. Also, after a cool night the sun will warm the shallow water over the darker mud and sand bottom quicker here than on open flats. The combination of low clear water will increase sight-fishing opportunities as there isn’t enough water for fish to get deep into the mangroves. I like a morning or early afternoon incoming tide coming off a negative low. Fish will work their way with the tide to warm up and feed. I’ll look for them laid up off the shoreline in deeper sand depressions. If there’s enough water, I’ll still pole shorelines, but it’s the sand holes off the shoreline that hold the best numbers of fish. The baitfish so prevalent most of the year is scarce. Scaled sardines migrate offshore looking for more stable water temperature. Being a natural nursery, these estuarine creek systems provide a decent array of prey albeit of a smaller source like silversides, killifish, shrimp, and crabs. As a result, I’ll throw small, #1 or #2, baitfish and shrimp patterns. Most days, dealing with a strong northeast breeze, I like to work areas that provide as much lee as possible. Out of Punta Gorda, I like to concentrate within Charlotte Harbor State Park on the east side between Alligator Creek and Pirate Harbor. Here, the labyrinth of creek systems can keep me busy all winter. I’ll even push as far back as the mosquito ditches. North, towards the top of the harbor, I also like extensive area that includes the Myakka Cutoff, Tippecanoe Bay and Muddy Cove. Sheepshead are a good bet around docks and piers. If the wind is really cranking, the Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte canals hold good numbers. When calm, the artificial reef outside Alligator Creek is a great If you don’t have a boat I can help and make the day a great one spot. Cut shrimp works well. so call Capt. Bar t Mar x (941) 979-6517 or e-mail captbar t@ alphaomegachar ters.com . If you have your own boat and would like Captain Michael Manis is a U.S.G.C. Licensed captain and has been teaching to lear n some of the techniques of this area I can do that as well. the spor t of fly and light tackle angling since 2002. He lives in Punta Gorda, Florida and can be reached at www.puntagordaflychar ters.com Always remember singing drags and tight lines make me smile! 8 SARASOTA / BRADENTON | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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BRADENTON/LOWER TAMPA BAY

SPEARFISHING IN THE GULF

CAPT. JOEL BRANDENBURG

CAPT. CHRIS BARTON

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IP #1 Fish Warmer Water: Find your inshore fish in shallow dark water. In the cooler months most of your trophy fish want to stay in warmer water. When the water is shallow and murky it tends to be a little warmer than the clear deeper spots. Game fish are more likely to feed in warmer water spots, rather than cold water haunts that makes them lethargic and effects their appetite. TIP #2 Fish the Flow: Snook, redfish, trout, tarpon, mangrove snapper, sharks, ladyfish, jacks, etc. They all like to hang out near flowing water this time of year. They use the flowing water to ambush their bait. With the cooler water making the game fish more lethargic the rely more on the flow spots to feed. Rather than the game fish expending all of its energy going after the bait, they prefer the bait come to them. TIP #3 Use lighter leader: One thing I’ve heard from anglers and experienced myself in the winter months is that the game fish are leader shy. An example of a game fish being leader shy is when you chum an area with crippled live bait fish and game fish are solid whacking them and you cast your bait right in the middle of the mix and not a single fish eats your bait. The water is clearer this time of year. If you were using 30lb test mono leader in the fall, switch down to 20lb or even 15lb leader now. By the way, don’t buy into the Flora Carbon phenomenon. There is no difference between Flora Carbon mono and regular mono. I tell you this from many years of personal research and development. It’s very unpopular with the line companies for me to tell you that Flora Carbon is a marketing program by line companies to sell you on the opinion that it’s more invisible to fish. Think about it, Flora Carbon mono leader came out about the same time braided line did. The mono manufacturers had to quickly figure out how to recover those lost revenues, so they put mono on a small spool, quadrupled the price and sold most anglers the price increase is worth it because this new invented mono will help you catch more fish. Telling you my opinion is probably why I don’t have a line sponsor right now. TIP #4 Use dead and crippled baits: Because the water cools down and the game fish become lazy feeders slow your live, dead, and/or artificial baits down. Rather than using a live greenback, finger mullet, pinfish, thread fin, Spanish sardine, or live shrimp just cripple your bait by taking a pair of scissors and cutting off its tail. If you don’t get a bite after crippling it, cut it in half and when left with the discussion of using heads or tails choose heads. When using artificial cut your usual retrieval speed in half and if you don’t get a bite after that cut your speed in half again and again. Everything slows down this time of year.

For a char ter with Captain Joel Brandenbur g owner/operator of Ana Banana Fishing Company call 813-267-4401 or visit www. anabananafishing.com. To stay at the Ana Banana Cabana check out our fishing packages at www.thevacationrentalhouse.com or you can talk to Captain Joel in person at Little Harbor Resor ts Fishing fleet dock in Ruskin Fl. www.staylittleharbor.com

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et me see if I can close this year out on the right foot. The last few years have seen several regulation changes, with most every reef fish species affected in one way or another. We have seen bag limit changes on grouper, Sector Separation, and the mandatory reporting of reef fish landings for recreational anglers. The election is behind us and now is the time to make sure that you support whichever association you are a part of that is working to support your rights as a recreational fisherman. In the last month we have seen the weather take on its typical southwest Florida winter cycle. With cold fronts coming in and stirring up the water, the visibility often drops down to murky at best sometimes. The bottom temperatures have started dipping into the low 70’s depending upon where you are in the area. If you don’t like the cold, stop into one of your local dive shops and pick up some cold weather gear. You really don’t know what your missing if you aren’t diving in the winter! With gag grouper closing back up in January it is a great time to get out and hunt in the shallows. There have been some nice size fish in the 30” range taken in less than 20’ of water here lately. Amberjack will be back on the menu, with some monsters out in the 100’ range and keepers in as close to 7 miles. Just remember they are currently closed. If you have never caught or shot one of these fish you don’t know what you’re missing. Hogfish have been thick in the 40’ range, Sheepshead are always thick around and inshore and near-shore structure. We had some solid Cobia in the 40’-50’ depths, but most of them will move on when the weather turns really cold. I like to mention it every time, but I will continue to mention it, please be respectful of vessels flying a dive flag. Be it the red and white traditional dive flag or the blue and white Code flag alpha, lets work together to keep everybody safe. This goes for those of us diving as well. Be respectful of vessels that are already anchored up and fishing. There are plenty of spots out there and nothing drives a wedge like a disrespectful boater. One thing to also think about when you are looking for a reputable and legit charter, if you have to buy a fishing license to go with them, run the other way. If you are heading more than 9 miles offshore to fish or spearfish ask to see their federal permit sticker. If they don’t have it, run the other way. Hook and Line and Spearfishing charters must have a federal permit to fish outside of 9 miles. There are plenty of “Charter Captains” out there. There are only a handful of legal and legit offshore boats in the local area. Do your research and keep your family safe!

Capt. Chris Bar ton and Capt. Eric Chaignet operate Reel Diversion Char ters out of the Seafood Shack Restaurant and Marina in Cor tez, FL. We are a Mercur y Marine and MotorGuide Pro Team. Call or email today if you are looking for a fishing, dive or spear fishing char ter at 941-405-9689 or info@reeldiversionschar ters

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Get Hooked on Coastal Angler Magazine! Available every month at these local businesses!

Anna Maria

Englewood (Continued)

Placida

City Pier 100 Bay Blvd S Galati Yacht Sales 900 Bay Blvd S Keyes Marina 5505 Marina Dr

Mullett Tackle 223 S. McCall Rd Shell Gas Station 241 Indiana Ave S Shoreline Lumber 3055 McCall Rd S Skip’s Tackle Shop 1990 Placida Rd Stump Pass Ships Store 260 Maryland Ave True Value Hardware 975 S. McCall Rd Weston’s WannaB Inn 985 Gulf Blvd

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DON’T LET DECEMBER WINDS AND COLD FOIL YOUR FISHING! By: Capt. Mike Anderson

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ooking for a great way to beat the December weather? Try fishing the 5 rivers that dump into Tampa Bay. That’s where I spend almost all of my December time on the water. These rivers, the Alafia, Palm, Hillsborough, Little Manatee and Manatee all hold the keys to some great winter time fishing. They also provide a great place to hide from what are normally breezy conditions. Snook take refuge in these rivers where freshwater springs, dark bottoms and deep channels provide a safe haven from chilly water temps. As water temps cool down Snook tend to change their eating habits and save their energy for battling the cold. But plenty of action can be had by slowing down your presentations on your plastics and by fishing live shrimp. Live Shrimp are much easier to digest than a sardine or finger Mullet and will often be the food of choice this time of year. Snook aren’t the only action to be had up river though. Speckled Trout also gang up in the deeper holes in these rivers and they are very cold water tolerant and can offer hours of steady tasty action. Artificial lures such as the Mirro-Lure Lil John and Marsh

Minnow both work well for steady Trout action in the rivers. Use a ¼ ounce jig head to work the deep holes slowly. You’ll also find the Redfish action steady as well with some great dock fishing in all 5 of these systems. Redfish especially seem to be creatures of habit in these rivers. Once I find a line of docks that hold good numbers of Redfish it seems to hold true year in and year out just like clockwork. You’ll also find good numbers of Ladyfish and Jacks in the rivers this time of year which just to add to the action. Don’t let Mother Nature foil your December fishing. Spend some time in the bay area rivers and remember if it’s cold to slow down that presentation and you’ll find December fishing to be both satisfying and rewarding!

We Do Fishing Licenses!

Need a fishing license, or snook stamp? Stop down and see us! Open 6AM - 6PM EVERY DAY!

Catch Capt. Michael Anderson every Saturday morning on News CH8 at 6:30am for the Reel Animals Fishing Show and Saturdays for Reel Animals Saturday on 970WFLA from 6:00am to 8:00am and Sunday mornings on AM620 for the TA Mahoney Co. Reel Animals Radio Show from 7am to 9am or to book a trip call 1-866-Gamefish. 16 SARASOTA / BRADENTON | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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POMPANO MADNESS IN TAMPA BAY

VIMS Photo

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

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

For More Pompano fishing Tampa Bay, go to

CAMFISHING.CO

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or 23 years, the Old Salt Foundation’s King of the Beach tournaments have been drawing anglers to fish the west coast of Florida’s mackerel runs. It has developed into one of Florida’s premier kingfish tournaments with big payouts and a dedicated following of anglers who are not necessarily professional kingfishers. Each year, when water temperatures begin to drop around the time daylight savings kicks in, big schools of king mackerel move down the coast along west Florida’s beaches toward their wintering grounds in the Keys. The King of the Beach Fall tournament is designed to intercept this migration, and the tournament incites a migration of anglers to Madeira Beach. The 2016 Fall King of the Beach hosted 477 teams of anglers from across the Southeast. A total of 236 king and Spanish mackerel were weighed in on the stage on Saturday, Nov. 5. With a dramatic weigh-in late in the day, Team Loaded Down anglers Kyle and Jenny Applefield topped the leader board with a 44.70-pound kingfish that earned them the King of the Beach crown and more than $70,000 in prize money. Organizers are now looking forward to the annual Old Salt Spring King of the Beach Tournament to catch the mackerel when they’re moving back north. Tournament dates are April 27-29. For more information, go to oldsaltfishing.org.

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FLORIDA 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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M

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

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

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

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

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

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

I

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

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

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

DECEMBER 2016

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

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

T

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

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

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

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

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UNDER THE SEA

SPEARFISHING WORLD RECORDS SHERI DAYE

M

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

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

For more Sheri Daye, go to

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Team MHX finds Success in 2016

H

FLW Photo

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

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

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

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Coastal Angler Magazine-Dec. / Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice  

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

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