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Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events

VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 263

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The Suzuki Savings Season 2016 ends soon so see your participating Suzuki Marine dealer today – or visit suzukimarine.com – for details on these special offers.

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

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

L

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

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Photo Courtesy of Al Stewart Photography

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

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


It’s the Honda of Outboards. Literally.

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

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


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

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

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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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DECEMBER 2016

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

FLY FISHING

ON THE COVER

CASTING FOR THE REDFISH GAME: PART ONE

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

For More Fly Fishing with Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

DECEMBER 2016

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Gift Ideas FOR ANGLERS

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

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

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Gifts for Anglers

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Gifts for Anglers

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT WHALEBACK FAMILY FUN & FISH With the Whaleback Family Fun & Fish, SUP can be brought to the whole family. It is a one-of-a-kind standup paddleboard designed with the whole family in mind. Developed by Whaleback Paddleboards and built right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., the Family Fun & Fish allows you to spend Saturday fishing solo and Sunday on the water with the family. At 12’6” x 34” x 10.5”, this sucker is stable. With 2-10.5” pontoons, there’s no need for a fin. And with a reinforced deck and 28 customizable inserts, you can strap down the cooler, chairs, rods, lunch, kids and dog, and still have room to slay some serious fish. Visit www.whalebackpaddleboards.com or call 561-336-1612 for a dealer near you.

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Gifts for Anglers By Paul Lebowitz

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

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The New Sailfish 236CC effectively combines the 30-year Sailfish legacy with the latest innovations in center console design, to deliver a truly amazing fishing platform. With its sleek, dynamic profile and 6th generation VDS hull, plus a amazingly functional layout and solid SailTech construction, the 236CC is truly the gold standard in the 23’ class. Powered by either Yamaha or Mercury outboards, the Sailfish 236CC is functional, comfortable and perfect for both offshore and inshore fishing and family fun. With an 8’ 6” beam, the Sailfish 236CC is easily trailerable with an integrated hard top frame that gives you more deck space than virtually any other 23’ boat on the market. Featuring an incredibly comfortable leaning post with optional built-in storage and second live well, an expansive hardtop for maximum sun protection, tremendous cockpit fishing space and plenty of coolers and fish boxes, the 236CC is perfect for inshore or offshore adventure. On the 236CC, rod holders and cup holders abound, along with two 120 quart bow fish boxes, a built-in 27 quart forward facing console seat cooler, large in-floor bow storage, handy console footrest locker, optional console top organizer and a console face that can accommodate today’s larger electronics. Innovative fold-up seating in aft means plenty of room in the cockpit and passenger comfort when underway.

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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Tampa Bay

By: Capt. Woody Gore

Let’s Go Fishing in December

W

hile fishing in Florida can be done comfortably year round, fall offers some excellent opportunities for a variety of species. During this time of year some species you’re likely to catch include snook, redfish, trout, snapper and the occasional cobia. If you can take a little rock and roll the kingfish and mackerel often move in close to the beaches as well. For those of us that prefer a calm approach to fishing, the cooler water temperatures of shallow water fishing are just the thing. The fish start feeding and become more active as they search for food in anticipation of the upcoming winter bait slow down. This time of year they’ll take an assortment of baits ranging from

live to dead and artificials. Snook usually top the list as the fall transition starts. The best bite has been at the beginning and end of the incoming and outgoing tides. Snook respond exceptionally to live baits as well as topwater lures and soft plastic jerk baits. However, we’ve also caught larger fish using dead baits on the bottom. We’re finding plenty of trout inshore and near shore in and around grass flats, mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, deep holes and channels. Free-line live shrimp or small pinfish near the bottom. Sometimes I will attach a float which allows the baits to drift over the grass beds. This will also attract more attention to the bait. Casting

with soft-bodied jigs and topwater poppers can also be productive. Trout are very delicate, so promptly returning unwanted or illegal fish to the water is necessary to maintain a healthy

population. The reds are still schooled up and should continue to be consistent on the flats and around the mangroves. A variety of artificial lures work as do both live and dead sardines and pinfish. The key to finding redfish is fishing dark patchy bottoms, especially around schools of larger mullet. Although chumming with live bait works, tossing dead cut bait around the mangroves on flood tides usually brings them out to investigate. Fall cold fronts are beginning and so are the traditionally high winds that follow. As the water temps fall with each passing front, the near

WORK

beach kingfish bite should improve. Tons of bait should bring the kings, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and bonito within a mile or so of the beach and sometimes inside Tampa Bay. “Give Me a Call & Let’s Go Fishing” – 813-477-3814 Captain Woody Gore is the areas top outdoor fishing guide. Guiding and fishing the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Bradenton, and Sarasota areas for over fifty years; he offers world class fishing adventures and a lifetime of memories. Single or Multi-boat Group Charters are all the same. With years of organizational experience and access to the areas most experienced captains, Woody can arrange and coordinate any outing or tournament. Just tell him what you need and it’s done. Visit his website at: WWW. CAPTAINWOODYGORE.COM, send an email to wgore@ix.netcom. com or give him a call at 813-477-3814.

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | TAMPA 1

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Naughty or Nice?

T

he holidays are upon us and it’s time to figure out who has been naughty or nice. Like most folks we are always looking for unique and affordable gift ideas to get those special people in our lives. Although most of us probably deserve coal in our stockings, I have come up with some fun gift ideas that are not going to break the bank. There are all kinds of new technology in the outdoor world, and unless you still have a flip phone, you know about all the cool new fishing apps out there. My favorite is a free app called

“fishbrain. For a few dollars a month you can upgrade to a premium membership and see what people are catching right where you want to fish and you can get exact fishing positions. Download the free app then add a premium membership for a great, interactive and inexpensive holiday gift. Another great gift idea is the “Mystery Tackle Box”; it’s a fun way to explore new fishing products through getting a new random box each month. The mystery to me was, “am I going to really want the products in the box?”

By: Misty Wells

The great news is yes, there are things in the boxes you can’t even purchase in stores yet. I love my Mystery Tackle Box and get excited each month it shows up at the door, I can’t wait to tear it open. Starting at $15.00 a month, you can order just for a month, 3 months or up to 12 months it’s up to you and your budget. This summer at ICAST I was on the lookout for something new and different, and I found it, Kula Coolers. What is so great about this cooler is that it can hold up to five gallons, can easily be carried with a shoulder strap, has a round seat, a drain on the bottom, a built in bottle opener, a one handed latch and sticky feet on the bottom that keeps it from sliding around. The price is about $225, but these coolers will last forever, and on top of it you get a five year warranty. You can use these coolers for everything you might use a five-gallon bucket for a step stool, campfire seat, bait well, watertight

storage, cast net bin, rod holder, picnic basket, scallop bucket and of course, as a vessel for food and drinks. Happy Holidays to all the “Coastal Angler” readers. I hope that you cherish what is really important this holiday season, loved ones, family, friends and fishing. Misty Wells is a founder of “A Reel Future”, a non-profit organization devoted to sharing knowledge and passion of fishing and the great outdoors to future generations and foster kids in need. She is the host of the national radio and television show “Let’s Take It Outside”, outdoor professional, writer and adventure guide for fishing and hunting trips. Mrs. Wells also sponsors the Clearwater High School Fishing Club. For show information or be a guest, go to www.mistywells.com

2 TAMPA | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Barracuda Bob’s

Clearwater & Dunedin Report

By: Capt. Joe Londot

T

he Gulf passes like Clearwater and Hurricane Pass - nearshore and inshore waters start to churn with Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and jacks. These fish have one thing on their minds, stuffing their bellies with baitfish and shrimp like there’s no tomorrow. Anglers in the right spot at the right time can count on catching as many of these hungry fish and having as much fishing fun as they can stand. With every northern that blows through our area, more and more baitfish push south and it’s not unusual to see acres of them churning up the water. Cast a frisky live bait or any artificial that matches the size and color of the bait to the edges of these bait schools and it’s likely to get taken! Snook are up the creeks, rivers and canals seeking warmer waters and easy meals. Here’s where a medium pinfish or finger mullet worked under a big bobber can be deadly. The bobber makes the bait struggle for freedom sending out a dinner bell of vibrations that drive snook wild; it also slows the bait down so these more lethargic fish can catch them for an easy meal. On the flats, redfish will be prowling the mangrove shorelines and oyster bars and can be taken with topwater lures worked slowly on the surface. Natural baits such as big live shrimp free-lined or a fresh cut pinfish or mullet soaked on the bottom near the deeper channels running from shore also produce.

December’s cooler waters also signal the return of silver trout to our grass flats. They will mingle with resident spotted trout and can be caught with the same bait and lures. To find these fish, try working the deeper grass and channels between the shallow flats with a live shrimp under a popping cork or a jig and tail combo like a tandem Trout Master rig. I like to take the tails off of these rigs and replace them with three-inch Gulp tails; it drives the fish wild and double hook-ups aren’t uncommon with this method. Offshore, both gag and red grouper are thick as thieves this time of year and can be taken in much shallower water than in the warmer months. Gags aren’t in season right now but are still fun to catch, find hard bottom and drift. Try drifting with frozen baits like squid and sardines, or jig with a big Spro bucktails or Nekid Ball Jigz to find the fish. Nekid Ball Jigz are even catching hogfish off the bottom! Before you head out on your winter fishing expedition, be sure to stop into Barracuda Bob’s for the best live, frozen and artificial baits as well as the right rigging and up to date advice on where to find the fish. Bob’s friendly and knowledgeable crew is always ready to help you catch more and bigger fish! Capt. Joe Londot Barracuda Bob’s Island Surf & Sports

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | TAMPA 3

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11/17/2016 4:52:31 PM


Hernando County

O

k fishheads, now that turkey day is over and we all put on at least five pounds, its time to get back to fishing. The fishing in November was great and December should be awesome as well. Fish know the winter and cold weather is coming, so they will be doing the same thing we did on Thanksgiving, “fatting up”. This means great fishing both inshore and offshore, anglers will be

able to target resident and migrating fish. Gag grouper have been hot. With the Gulf temperature cooling off, we have been catching gags anywhere from 8 to 30 feet of water. The tackle we have been using is very stout rods with at least 60 pound mono, anywhere from two to six pound lead weights and a 7/0 circle hook. The baits of choice have been frozen threadfins, cut mullet

By: Capt. Joel Gant

and live baits like pinfish, grunts or sand perch. If you’re going to be grouper fishing, remember the regulations. The limits are two per person and the size is now 24 inches to the end of the tail. The law states you must use circle hooks when reef fishing so when you first feel the bite, slowly reel till you feel the fish. When the grouper starts to pull, reel for all your worth then lift the rod and continue to reel. The first thing a grouper will do when hooked is try to run into a rock for cover, so you must be quick on moving the fish off the bottom. Remember to reel instead of setting the hook. Inshore fishing is still going strong. The sea trout are moving into the shallow flats, so that means its one of the best times to catch a big gator trout. Look for trout in the 3 to 10 foot grass flats with spotty sand patches. I like to drift these flats with a quarter ounce jig and either a three inch

Gulp! shrimp or a live select shrimp. Once you get a bite, try to work that area as trout tend to school up. If the ones you catch are small, move to another area. I have found that trout seem to school in size, move a little and you may size up the school. Look for redfish and snook in the backcountry along oyster beds, rocky areas and the mangroves. Look for moving water and structure; both are keys to finding these fish. I’m always looking for reports and pictures. You can email me or stop by my website and become a “fishhead”. Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family! Capt. Joel Gant operates Fishdaddy Charters out of Hernando Beach, he knows the local waters like the back of his hand, and works both inshore and offshore trips. Check him out on face book or you can reach him at (352) 279-1615. Visit his website, www.fishdaddycharter.com

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By: Capt. Jim Kalvin

W

e’ve spoken about a lot of gloom and doom in this column lately regarding the cumulative effects of creeping regulations that are curtailing access to our aquatic resources. I’d like to put that aside for the moment and concentrate on something positive. Billed as the largest artificial reef project in the Western Hemisphere, the Paradise Reef Project is the brain-child of Naples attorney and angler Peter Flood. Working with Diane Flagg, Chair of the Economic Task Force in Collier County, applications and permit drawings were assembled and submitted to utilize BP restoration funding to construct 36 artificial reef sites. These sites will enhance opportunities for fishermen, photographers, scuba divers, ecotourists and all of the peripheral services that they require. The project received the support of Collier County, the City of Naples, the City of Marco Island and the Marine Industries Association of Collier County. BP supplied the initial 1.3 million dollars for the project, and private funding added another half million dollars to get the ball rolling. I believe that the Paradise Reef Project gave great bang for the buck habitat-wise, and it’s a one-time expense. A year and a half later, we have 36 new reefs that will be there for the next 500 to 800 years. From 10 to 26 miles offshore, the reefs stretch

from Marco Island to north Collier County. Never one to sit idly by and gloat, Mr. Flood has the project in full-steam-ahead mode even now – securing private donations to purchase and place reef modules to tie the main structures together. Five of the locations have been named for local families with “legacy” donations of $100,000.00, and reef modules can be “bought” for $2,500.00 with your name, the name of a loved one, or a business or non-profit on a plaque that is affixed to the structure. This is the consummate public / private partnership, and no tax monies were used. Two years ago at the dedication ceremony, when I was representing the local Marine Industries Association, I said that, “I hoped this project could be a template to be utilized in other areas”. My hope is stronger today than it was two years ago, as the results have been seen and proven irrefutable. A documentary film was made by awardwinning cinematographer John Scoular in conjunction with Executive Producers Lance and Harry Julian, showing the project from conception to execution. Award winning underwater cinematographer Andy Casagrande provided stunning footage to accompany the story. The film has been nominated for an Emmy! The final product can be seen at: http://video. wgcu.org/video/2365794811/

A short trailer can be viewed at: https://vimeo. com/145743717 If anyone wants to contribute to the project, you can mail a check payable to Community Foundation of Collier County, 1110 Pine Ridge Road, Suite 200, Naples, FL 34108. Enter Artificial Reef on the memo line. Not only will this project help the entire aquatic ecosystem of Southwest Florida, an annual injection of tourism dollars are estimated to reach 30 million dollars per year once the reefs reach maturity. Boat dealers, charter operators, fuel taxes, hotel rooms, restaurant business and other income streams will be generated and supported by this initiative. A great big thank you to Peter, Diane and the crew at the Community Foundation of Collier County, they are a great example of what can be accomplished when good people come together for a great cause. Standing Watch is always searching for pro-active ways to help our environment, and you guys knocked it out of the ballpark! Standing Watch is Florida’s largest State-wide grass-roots boating organization. See how you can become a part of their proactive effort by visiting standingwatch.net. Or call 239-821-4245.

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Don’t Let December Winds and Cold Foil your Fishing By: Capt. Mike Anderson

F

ishing the five rivers that dump into Tampa Bay is a great way to beat December’s weather. 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

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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, despite this you can still find success. Slow down your presentations on your plastics and fish live shrimp for your best chance at having a productive outing. 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. Speckled trout also gang up in the deeper holes in these rivers and they are very cold tolerant. Artificial lures such as the MirrOlure Lil John and Marsh Minnow both work well for trout. Use a quarter ounce jighead and work the deep holes slowly. You’ll also find the redfish action steady as well with some great dock fishing in all five of these systems. Redfish seem to be creatures of habit in these rivers, once I find a line of docks that hold good numbers of reds; it seems to hold true year in and year out. You’ll also find good numbers of

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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 to slow down your presentations in the cold, you’ll find December fishing to be both satisfying and rewarding! Catch Capt. Michael Anderson every Saturday for the “Reel Animals Fishing Show” on 970WFLA from 6:00a.m. to 8:00a.m., and Sunday mornings on AM620 for the “TA Mahoney Co. Reel Animals Radio Show” from 7a.m. to 9a.m. To book a trip call 1-866-Gamefish.

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8 TAMPA | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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11/17/2016 4:52:34 PM


Tales from the Tupperware Navy By: Bruce Butler

W

elcome back ‘yak fans.  Well, another one bites the dust!   Here is my hope that the New Year finds you well, and that Santa Claus brings you everything you want. LOL Not sure you noticed--this will be my eighth year of wishing you all happy holidays (how time flies when you’re having fun). That’s over 100 stories, and we’ve  gone a lot of different directions over those years;  found some interesting old Florida places;  shared a few funny stories;  visited some great destinations  and, of course, shared my continuing love of kayak fishing. As always, the high point for me as with any writer  is the occasional recognition from you,  my readers.  You have my thanks. This month, a little about  the cool weather patterns  and the fish to expect.  We’ve had  breeder reds  moving in and out  with the cooler weather.  I’ve had several  reports from fairly trustworthy fishermen (if there is such a thing) of reds in the 40 inch

plus range being caught. Believe me, that’s a big red for inshore. The trout are starting to get plentiful again, actively hitting well on several of the  Gulp  and Littlejohn  soft plastics  on a jig head.  Also, very willing to hit on the Mirrodine,  Chug Bug and, of course,  my favorite Zara Spook Junior in bone. But, the fish I’d really like to discuss is the under-appreciated member of the family,  the black drum.  “Black Drum Matter.”    The poor black drum has been a victim of the liberal media for years (sorry, I think I watched the elections more than I should have. LOL)  The black drum has been getting a bad rap for years; yes, the larger ones can be wormy, but have you ever cleaned a large trout? The “black sheep” of the drum family, in slot size, should be a welcome addition to any fish fry. When Lew and I do one of our fish fries and, believe me we have a wide variety to offer, the one people keep coming back for?... you guessed it, the black drum. The reaction when you tell them is priceless. It’s also

one of the best fish for my daughter’s favorite, fish tacos. Now, I know some of you reading this already were a “drum head”, so this is for all the others that malign this tasty fish. Why would I choose this month to write this?… you guessed it, the drum are moving into the flats. On a recent trip, we saw all three species of drum; tailing reds, blacks and trout.  I’d never seen tailing trout-interesting.  This has been on the turning tide from  low to incoming for (depending on the tidal flow) about the first hour or so. The other nice thing about the black drum is of course that you can keep five, so don’t be afraid and give them a try. You’ll be glad you did.  Kind of an interesting side story--when I was a teen fishing on the other coast with my grandfather, I pulled in what I though was a gorgeous fish--kind of pumpkin colored with a spot by its tail.  I turned to him proudly, and (I’ll never forget) his comment was, “Throw it back.    Look at the mouth,  it’s a bottom feeder.  We don’t eat bottom feeders”.  Boy  has

that changed!  Yes, it was, of course, a redfish--now unquestionably one of the most sought after of our gulf species. So, I’m not saying that black drum will replace reds, but things do change. As I close, please share with me our prayers for the men and woman in the armed forces this holiday season.  And, here’s wishing you and yours a merry holiday season. ‘Till next time, Bruce Bruce Butler “Stumbling Gypsy” (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters.com www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH: CRAB CAKES • Dash of pepper

C

rab cakes and old favorite. Some of my family came from the North so this recipe is a northern favorite. Fast, easy and yummy. Need I say more? Enjoy! This recipe makes 8 crab cakes: • 1/2 red pepper chopped • 1/3 of a cup of sweet onion chopped • 16 Oz. Lump crab meat. If canned rinse to get flavor back • 1/2 cup of good mayonnaise • 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce • 1 egg • 1/2 of a lemon squeezed • 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs • Olive oil or cooking oil for sauté • Dash of salt

You can use dipping sauce of your choice. Sauté chopped peppers and onions in olive oil until onions are clear. About 4 minutes. Combine all ingredients and mix evenly. Make 8 patties using your hands to mold them. Heat oil to medium high heat. Place patties in cooking oil and brown both sides until crisp, but not burned. Place cooked crab cakes on paper towel to absorb excess oil. They are now ready to be served with a lemon wedge and your choice of sauce. I like my mustard sauce that I use on Stone crabs. It can be found in the November 2016 issue of Coastal Angler Magazine. If you have any questions, comments or would like to share a recipe of your own, contact Michelle at cnmoasis@gmail.com

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Freshwater Fishing Report

By: Ron Schelfo

Lake Alfred, Auburndale, Winter Haven Areas

M

erry Christmas, spec season has begun and will run through the end of March. We’re getting many reports of specs in the one pound and larger range being caught in our area. The top producing lakes at this time seem to be Lakes Haines and Rochelle in Lake Alfred. The specs are responding best to live minnows, but are also hitting on small silver spoons or anything with flash, try mixing it up to see what works best. As the weather continues to get colder, they’re getting closer to the shoreline, so try fishing from some of the docks and piers available at many of our area lakes. Bass are starting to stage; we recommend casting along the shore line rather than towards the bank. You have a better chance of larger size and quantity of fish as they are going in and out of the bank. My bait of choice is still the Booyah lipless crankbait in royalty color. It’s a consistent producer for snagging those big bass. Your best bass locations currently are the North and South Winter Haven

Chain of Lakes. If you’re looking for that unique gift or something special for your favorite angler, we have it! Christmas sales (up to 30% off) will be going on throughout the whole month of December, come and see us! Our 18th season of Ron’s Tackle Box Weekly Tournaments has now ended. We’ll be back the first week of April 2017, see you then! You can always stop in at Ron’s to get an up-to-date fishing report; I’ll do my best to send you to the best spots so you can experience the thrill of hauling in a big one. Enjoy the photo of our biggest bass and third place winners from our final weekly tournament on October 27th. Ron Schelfo, Owner RON’S TACKLE BOX, LLC 380 S. Lake Shore Way Lake Alfred, FL 33850 (863) 956-4990 www.ronstacklebox.com “Catch” my Weekly Fishing Report every Saturday (6-8 AM) on 970 WFLA

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Put science and coastal data into your fishing - look for the right conditions with NOAA! By: Tim Osborn, NOAA Gulf Manager Office of Coast Survey

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ide tables and weather forecasts have been among the mainstays for fishermen for over 150 years. NOAA has been recording and publishing tide tables for navigation, coastal communities and fishing, and they’re all available to you! The 2017 NOAA tide tables have been just released, you can view them at the given address: (http://oceanservice. noaa.gov/news/nov16/tide-tables. html).  “The problem with relying on tide tables, is that 60 percent of the actual water levels we see along the coast are actually influenced by the weather, not astronomical tide”, said Tim Osborn of NOAA. Using real time coastal observations for water, tides and weather, gives fishermen the tools to make the most out of their day on the water.  “When you put out real money for fuel, bait, ice, a boat and fishing gear, putting in a little time to find a network of tide and water level

stations and spot specific weather forecasts can make the most use of your investment”, says Osborn. Using the NOAA tides and currents network, the Tampa Bay Operational Forecast System (NOAA TBOFS), which is available at  https://www. tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/ofs/ tbofs/tbofs.html, will provide you with real time water levels, winds, currents and other coastal conditions through the Tampa Bay area. Not only can you see the present conditions through the area, it also provides you with a 48 hour forecast of these water and weather conditions. From Clearwater to St Petersburg to Egmont and Anna Maria, the TBOFS site provides present and forecasted fishing conditions that can make a difference between an average day of fishing and a great one.  Next up- NOAAs National Data Bouy Networks and offshore fishing.

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11/17/2016 4:52:38 PM


Fly Report

By: Gregg McKee

Merry Christmas

W

ith Christmas coming at the end of the month, some of you might be thinking about picking up your first saltwater fly rod; let me help you with that. For almost every inshore situation, especially along the coast of South West Florida, a 9-foot 8-weight rod is perfect. They will cast flies and land most of the fish that cruise our flats without much trouble, this size is also perfect for freshwater bass fishing too. You’ll want to match the rod with a large arbor, adjustable drag reel made from bar-stock aluminum. These are more corrosion resistant than the less expensive cast aluminum models and worth the extra money. The large arbor will also allow you to crank the fly line in much faster, which is a great help when fighting a hard running saltwater fish. You’ll want to spool the reel with a weight-forward, floating fly line for the shallows. Intermediate or sinking fly lines are only useful in deeper waters and are a bit more difficult to cast, especially for beginners. With dozens of rod and reel makers doing business right now, you’re only limited by your budget. There are some excellent $99 combos that will work just fine or you, but you could easily spend over $1000 on just a rod for someone who Santa thinks has been extra good this Christmas. Personally, if I was buying someone their first saltwater rod, I would start them off with an 8-weight BVK from Temple Fork Outfitters. This fast action 4 piece has been around for several years and is one of the best-selling fly rods on the market.

TFO rods come with a lifetime warranty and still retail for only $250. That’s an astounding price for a piece of gear with so much quality and capability. You’ll literally have to spend an extra $500 to get something that casts better. Pair a BVK with one of TFO’s large arbor reels, which also retail for around $250 and 200 yards of 20 pound backing and you’re almost ready to hit the water. The last thing you’ll need is fly line, and I can’t recommend Royal Wulff ’s Bermuda Shorts Triangle Taper highly enough. It’s the only fly line I’ve used for the last six years and I have no intention of changing that. If you’re an experienced caster and haven’t tried it, do yourself a favor and give it a shot. This 8-weight line matched with the BVK combo is as close to perfect as you can get, and all for around $600 total. I have no financial affiliation with any of these companies, I have both fly and spinning gear from at least half a dozen different manufactures, but this is always my first choice when people ask me where they should start. Best of luck and Merry Christmas.  

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Braided Fishing Line, Love It or Hate It

S

o, where did these super manmade materials originate? Invented by the DuPont Corporation in the early 1960’s and trademarked Aramid®, more commonly known by DuPont’s trade name Kevlar®, it was a heat resistant fiber five times stronger than steel. While it’s not for everyone, many longtime monofilament users are switching over. It takes a little getting used to, but for most applications it is difficult to beat its superior qualities. Qualities like high strength, superior sensitivity, abrasion resistance, visibility and absolutely zero stretch. Nevertheless, probably the most outstanding quality is the ability to make long casts without the loss of any aforementioned qualities. Long casts are possible because of the strength to line diameter used in the manufacturing process. Let’s take Seaguar’s new Kanzen or Smackdown braid for example; both 15 pound class lines and are basically equivalent in diameter to two to four pound mono. With this example, it is easy to see why casting distance increases drastically. Because of its small diameter in relation to hardness and abrasion resistance, make sure your tackle can handle this extra tough line. However, since it’s manufactured to the highest specifications today’s new super lines will work with practically any rod and reel. The same properties that make braided line so great can also be

safety issues. Anytime you handle braid exercise caution to avoid cuts or abrasions to your hands and fingers. Pulling on braid with your hands or fingers often causes severe cuts to your fingers, especially the joints. By its inherent nature and manufacturing process braid is extremely hard line and difficult to cut. Most clippers used for monofilament will not work, so you will need a good pair of sharp scissors or knife to get the job done. We’ve all heard or experienced that dreaded braid knot, (often referred to as a wind knot), that magically appears when least expected. First you hear it, and then you see it after a perfect cast, so what do you do now? It’s important to remember what you’re seeing in your line is normally just a series of loops and coils. For the most part these are manageable until you unsystematically start pulling on the main or tag ends. Here’s what I recommend, start slowly trying to unravel the loops by pulling them lightly until you will find the ones that begin untwisting; then continue with the others. Continue lightly pulling on each individual loop until they begin to separate and untwist. It takes a little patience, but with some practice, you will soon master it. The key to the whole process of dealing with wing knots is patients. Since braided line is not cheap, the last thing you want to do is rip off 75 to 100 yards of braid because you didn’t have enough patience to work out a few tangles. If you’re unable to remove the tangle or your patience gets the best of you, just cut the line before and after the knot and re-tie using a double-uni or Yucatan knot. Remember these steps and you’ll be able to quickly get back to fishing.

By: Capt. Woody Gore

Because it’s manufactured using the smallest line diameter tolerances braided line is extremely lightweight. For this reason, you should remember it must be reeled with some kind of resistance as it goes onto the spool or it will not fill the spool correctly. As with any line, you want it to spool tightly, so keeping resistance applied during the retrieve allows this to happen and the line will wrap and sit correctly on your reel spool. Doing this can help you to avoid wind knots in the first place. Another good rule of thumb to avoid braided line loops and coils is to always close the bail manually after each cast. Additionally, make sure the line is in the line roller, and then lift the rod taking up any slack line before starting to reel. Doing this on every cast assures the line will position itself properly and begin tightly wrapping on the spool. Each year manufacturers throughout the world generate millions of miles of fishing line in hundreds of styles, materials, colors and sizes. Therefore, it is no wonder anglers get confused about which line to buy. With all the many choices of line available how do you make the right selection? The factors in choosing the right line have to do with matching it to its intended use. Decide on the material best suited for your use, monofilament, fluorocarbon or braid - then give extra consideration to its

strength, size, stretch, abrasion resistance and color by matching them to the application. Lastly consider the fish you will target, the water and the environment you will be fishing. The best rod and reel, sharpest hooks, top of the line boat, motor and trailer are all great advantages to catching fish. However, the fact remains that the only thing standing between you and success is your fishing line. “Give Me a Call & Let’s Go Fishing” – 813-477-3814 Captain Woody Gore is the area’s top fishing guide. Guiding and fishing the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Bradenton and Sarasota areas for over fifty years; he offers world class fishing adventures and a lifetime of memories. Single or Multi-boat Group Charters are all the same. With years of organizational experience and access to the areas most experienced captains, Woody can arrange and coordinate any outing or tournament. Just tell him what you need and it’s done. Visit his website at: WWW. CAPTAINWOODYGORE.COM, send an email to wgore@ix.netcom. com or give him a call at 813-477-3814.

16 TAMPA | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Always wear a personal flotation device while boating and read your owner's manual. All Honda outboards meet EPA and CARB emission levels.

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Capt. Sergio’s Corner

By: Capt. Sergio Atanes

My Best Christmas Gift

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remember 1952 when my Uncle Manuel, age 19 arrived from Cuba to live with us until he could go out on his own. He lived with us for about a year until Uncle Sam sent him an invitation to join the Army (the draft), but during that short period he taught me how to fish. Coming from a poor family, both of my parents worked to make ends meet and pay the bills. There was just enough left over each week for me to go to the Ritz Theatre on Saturday and not much more, so fishing became my big outlet. My uncle took me under his wing and started to teach me the basics of fishing he had learned in Cuba, and I caught on quick. Buying a fishing rod and reel with tackle was not in the budget.

We took a yoyo (Cuban hand reel) and wrapped kite string around it. Then we used a D battery as a lead weight and punched a hole through the top of the battery with an ice pick and tied it to the string with a hook at the end. It wasn’t much, but to a five year old it was the best outfit around and I caught fish. In fact, I remember my first fish was a puffer from the shore of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Christmas was coming and I could hardly wait, all I could think about was getting a real fishing rod and reel. I knew deep inside this could not happen, but it didn’t stop me from wishing. I prayed to God please bless my family for Christmas and make sure Santa read my letter I had sent him. Christmas arrived, and behold I got a fishing rod. It wasn’t just any rod; it was handmade for me from my Uncle Manuel. He made it from a broom stick that he taped one end, sanded it and put guides from an old rod someone had thrown away. To me it was the most beautiful rod I had ever seen. He used a multi colored thread on the guides, and the butt was wrapped in nylon twine and covered with clear varnish with clamps for a reel seat. The reel was a used Ocean City my uncle traded for some mechanical work on a neighbor’s

car. One last thing my parents had bought me was the fishing line, a box of hooks, some real lead sinkers and my own small tackle box. This might not sound great, but for a five year old boy from Ybor City it was my best Christmas gift ever. Capt. Sergio will be holding an all day fishing school on January 21, 2017 teaching “when-where-how to catch fish”. A seven hour class with four instructors (local captains), for more information please contact Capt. Sergio at 813-973-7132. Captain Sergio Atanes is a native resident of Tampa and has been fishing the waters of Tampa Bay and Boca Grande for over 45 years. He is owner and operator of S & I charters which is one of the largest charter booking services in the West Coast of Florida with 55 professional captains on staff. Capt. Sergio Atanes can be reached at (813) 973-7132 or www.reelfishy.com

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727-518-2151 | SUZUKIOUTBOARDMARINE.COM 18 TAMPA | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

By: Will Korte

Saltwater Ventures Team at Keller Williams St. Pete

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aint Petersburg- Capt. Fernando Sandoval has been buying and selling homes since 1996, he has managed projects worth from the low millions up to 50 million dollars, he now brings this knowledge and expertise to folks just like you, who are looking to buy, sell or invest in residential Real Estate in the Tampa Bay area. Capt. Fernando and his team not only find a home for their clients; they provide important information about the neighborhood, services, events and amenities in the area. Capt Fernando has a background in Engineering and Construction Management that spans nearly 20 years which has provided him with extensive knowledge and a network of mortgage lenders,

builders, contractors, inspectors, moving and storage companies and so on. He and his skilled team can come to you or you may visit them at their downtown office at Keller Williams Realty St. Pete. They are your go to for all your home buying and selling needs. Sandoval’s team isn’t just a real estate powerhouse; they also actively own and manage an activities club called Saltwater Adventures on Meetup.com. The club hosts events that make the local community better; events such as beach cleanups, trips, instructional events and much more. The club also hosts many fun adventure events such as scuba outings both in our local waters and in such places as the Keys as well as instructional seminars. At its core, it’s a group by scuba divers, for divers and adventurers, all outdoor enthusiasts are welcome! Because of Sandoval and his team being so invested in the local community, and having such an affinity for the water and outdoors, you know that he’s someone you can relate to and will help you get the perfect property, waterfront or not. As the famous novelist and poet Oscar Wilde once said, “many a false step was made by standing still”. So what are you waiting for – give the Saltwater Ventures Team a call!

Captain Fernando Sandoval and his wife Julie can be reached at (727) 344- 9139, or visit their website, stpetecomunity.com Will Korte is the editor of the Tampa Bay edition of “Coastal Angler” and is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. To contact Will, email tbt0813@yahoo.com. Also check out Will’s blog 727Angler.com

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For All Your Real Estate Needs Call Capt. Fernando & Julie Sandoval

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | TAMPA 19

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South Shore Tampa Bay Holiday Fishing Tips By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg

Full Line of Trailer Parts

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ind your inshore fish in shallow dark water; this will be the 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, since cold water makes them lethargic. A number of fish, from snook and redfish to jack crevalle like to hang out near flowing water this time of year, they use the flowing water to ambush their bait. With cooler water making fish more lethargic, they rely more on the flow spots to feed - they prefer the bait come to them. One thing I’ve heard from anglers and experienced myself in the winter months is that fish are leader shy. An example of this is when you have chummed an area with crippled live baits and fish are attacking, but when you cast your bait right in the middle of the mix not a single fish eats your it. The water is clear this time of year, so if you were using 30 pound test mono leader in the fall, switch down to 15 or 20 pound now. I’ve found through personal experience that there isn’t much difference between fluorocarbon

and monofilament. If you find yourself out of fluorocarbon leader, tie on a strip of mono and you’ll be good to go. Because the water cools down and fish become lazy feeders, slow your presentations down. Rather than using lively baits, just cripple them 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 use the head. When using artificials, 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 charter with Captain Joel Brandenburg of Ana Banana Fishing Company or to purchase a holiday fishing gift certificate for the angler in your life visit www. anabananafishing.com or call 813-267-4401. To find him in person, come down to Hooks Grill at Little Harbor Resort, home of the world famous hook n’ cook! Sign your kid up today for our summer fishing camp, visit www. anabananakidsfishingcamp.com

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20 TAMPA | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Lake Okeechobee North End Capt. Eddie Perry

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t’s that special time of year when even the worst fisherman can catch fish – fall. Cooler temperatures bring the first signs of pre-staging bass and in some cases bass may have already made their first trip to the beds. Remember that our bass on the Big ‘O’ start spawning in October, and that usually starts on the east side of the lake around the Henry Creek and J & S (Chauncey Bay) areas. Bass that live in the open lake are moving into areas of submerged grasses, outside edges and open trails in anticipation of moving even further into the marsh areas to fan beds and do what comes naturally. Just remember this is just the beginning, this will continue up into May, but truth be known, bass have been known to spawn in every month of the year on this lake. However the main timeframe is from October to May with the bulk of the spawn occurring from February through April. With the bass fatting up for the spawn, the live bait action has been excellent. Half day trips have produced catches up to forty bass per trip with full day trips boating sixty to

seventy fish per outing. We’re also seeing the bigger fish show up, those in the eight and nine pound range. Buckhead Ridge, Tin House Cove, Kings Bar and Grassy Island are good places to start your day.   Artificial fishing on the other hand has had its ups and downs. Topwaters early are still your best bet, and casting a plastic worm or a fluke after the sun comes up is a good followup. Flipping mats and hard edges is also good this time of year if you are looking for that big bite. Eagle Bay and the inside of Kings Bar have some of the best flipping water we have. Flip a one to one and a half ounce jig or creature bait to punch through these thicker mats and edges. You may not get a bunch of bites but they will probably be big ones.  Speck fishing is also picking up. Boats that are drifting in the open lake off of Grassy Island are catching their daily limits. The Specks are ranging up to the 14 and15 inch class which makes for some fine fillets. Jig fishermen are catching specks in the grass in a few areas from Horse Island to Taylor Creek. Though they are catching smaller fish, they’re still managing to catch enough to make a fine meal or two.  Be sure to stop by Garrard’s Bait and Tackle for all your fishing needs, including live and artificial baits. Just stop in and say hi! GOOD FISHIN! Capt. Eddie Perry is a fifth generation Floridian and owner of Okeechobee Adventures Guide Service. He has fished the Big ‘O’ since he was a child and has professionally guided on the lake since 1996. There isn’t much that he hasn’t seen on the lake. He can be reached by telephone at (863) 763-7722, and online at www.OkeechobeeAdventures. com. And at Facebook.com/ OkeechobeeAdventures, or at Garrard’s Bait and Tackle.

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | DECEMBER 2016 | TAMPA 21

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Flats to Nearshore Report By: Capt. Gary Burch

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ishing inshore waters as well as the bays on the West Coast of Florida during December will take a lot of patience and a great deal of searching. There should be many good fishing days in and around the cold fronts that pass through our area. But after a cold front blows through, keep in mind that the water temperatures will most likely be around 65 to 70 degrees and the fish will disappear. Those fish that do stick around will be sluggish and slow to bite. If you are fishing with artificials, slow the action down to entice a bite from those fish still hanging around. I’ve been doing most of my fishing in the bays of Dunedin’s St Joseph Sound. These areas are some of the favorite hang outs for gator trout. Every winter large 20+ inch fish move into the bays and spend the winter in the abundant grass areas throughout the inshore flats. It’s not uncommon to catch these trout in the 24 to 26 inch range. Along with the trout, we have found scattered pompano, bluefish, mackerel and even a few small sharks. Trout will be one of our top targets this winter as the big gators will move into the bays and back waters. Start searching on the numerous grass flats that stretch from north Dunedin to Clearwater. Look for the sand holes that dot the grassy areas and start drifting as many as you can, most of the flats with this type of bottom structure will hold fish. When you find the area that is producing the biggest

fish, work it hard as there may be a big 26 inch gator trout lurking. Remember, you can only keep 4 trout per person. One of those 4 trout can be over 20 inches. Finding the redfish in the winter months will take some searching. Use the high tide to look around the mangroves and grassy flats with sand areas mixed in. Don’t forget to investigate docks during the winter; a lot of docks throughout the inshore bays will hold fish. All docks are not created equal, so keep moving - I use shrimp or white bait if available and put it under a float. Remember, if there is no action under a dock, then try another one. As the water temperatures cool down into the 60s on occasion, the whitebaits become very hard to find. Shrimp under a float will work fine for the winter trout, but also don’t forget to bring out your favorite artificial baits! They can catch as many fish as live baits and can cover a lot more ground as well. December fishing is here, so get on board with a jacket and let’s get fishing. Santa Clause may bring you a record catch! Merry Christmas. Capt. Gary Burch owns and operates All Catch Charters and specializes in live baits and artificials. He guides inshore, flats and backcountry from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. To reach Capt. Gary for a charter, please call 727 458-6335 or visit his website: www.allcatchcharters.com

3450 34th Street North (Hwy 19) Saint Petersburg, FL 33713

(727) 317-4949 www.stpetefishingoutfitters.com

22 TAMPA | DECEMBER 2016 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Skinny Water Report

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ovember brought us many good memories on the water. The first half of the month rewarded anglers with enormous snook as they chewed hard on the flats before hitting the creeks. Broom size tails were also casted to last month as the beginning of our winter lows began. Big trout have made a showing on the super shallow flats with large schools of jack and ladyfish not far away. That’s just the beginning; expect the action to change this month as cooler temperatures bring us a “different” bite. December is a great month to go after some species not usually targeted in the warmer months. For instance, pompano, permit,

black sea bass, snapper and even grouper will be available within paddling range. Look for each of these in deeper, warmer water near or on structure. A depth finder on your kayak is a great tool to help you find these spots. Some of the deeper flats just off the old St. Pete Pier area (downtown) and just inside the Skyway are great areas to begin your search. Cobia will be seen cruising these same flats on the warmer days giving great sight fishing opportunities to those wanting a challenge. Keep a sharp eye out for floating trash while you’re out there, tripletail are no stranger to these areas this time of year. A carefully placed Unfair Lures shrimp should do the trick, if you’re not an artificial lure fan

By: Derick Burgos

then toss a live shrimp on a popping cork instead. Another one of my favorite species to catch this this time of year is sheepshead. These tasty bait thieves will be just about anywhere there is structure, for example, bridges, seawalls, docks, rocks, jetties and even oyster bars. Use a number one circle hook tipped with clams or barnacles, but shrimp pieces and fiddler crabs have worked best for me. If you want to throw fly, flashy shrimp patterns and fiddler crab imitations are the way to go. Snook will still be around, but it can be tough to get them to bite unless the water temps are right. The ideal temps are between 70 and 82 degrees, but in some cases the fish will go above these temps to survive. Redfish will make appearances just about anywhere water flows near and just inside creek mouths, thick grass flats and mud holes. Try tossing sub-surface baits like

the Rip-n-Slash or a gold spoon to help locate fish. Soft plastic jerk baits rigged weedless is another deadly weapon in grassy areas. Live baiters should be tossing live shrimp on a cork, small pinfish or creek chubs. If December is anything like November was, the bite should be good. Just remember that there will be some changes in feeding patterns and ambush points. Take notes, do your homework and you should have many successful days out on the water! Until next month, paddle safe and fish hard!! Derick Burgos is a kayak fishing guide and owner of Phatfish Kayak Charters in Tampa Bay. He has called the area waters his home for over 20 years. He specializes in Snook, Tarpon, Redfis and more on artificial lures, live bait or fly. He can be reached at 813-447-4732 phatfishkayak@yahoo.com www.phatfishkayakcharters.com

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Get Your Sheepshead On This Month!

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he sheepshead have been biting actively around the docks and rock piles around Albert Whitted Airport, our clients have been catching them in the 13-20 inch range. The preferred setups we utilize for this application is seven foot Star Rods with eight to fifteen pound line rating. The reels are Penn 3500 SSV spooled up with 15 pound braid tipped with 20 pound fluorocarbon leader. On the “business end” of

your setup you’ll want a nice-size fiddler crab on a 2/0 Owner hook. Be ready to set the hook as they will be on it almost immediately! We also hooked up a few undersized gag grouper when sheepshead fishing. Although they aren’t keepers, they always give our clients an excellent fight, especially on light tackle. We have also been catching a large amount of just-undersized mutton snapper in the Snell Isle

By: Capt. Anthony Corcella

residential canals. With how many we have been hooking up with, it’s only a matter of time until a lucky client goes home with a tasty prize! If you’re looking for redfish, you will want to try fishing around the flats located around North Shore Park; we’ve spotted a few smaller schools running in that area. We have been throwing white DOA Cal jigs at them in various jighead sizes (eighth to quarter ounce), as well as cut threadfins. When using threadfins, cut them in half and then cut their tails off to release the scent. This tactic will help the reds find your bait that much faster. I just usually free line them out but try not to have any slack in the line. You’ll want to check your bait consistently to make sure it’s still intact. For this application, we like to use 20 pound fluorocarbon leader with a 3/0 Owner hook. This tactic & setup has also been effective with catching a few nice sized snook around Weedon Island.

Live & Frozen Bait

Complete Line of Tackle

Pro Tip- You don’t need to be right on top of the mangroves; I usually stay off of them as much as 50 feet and throw your baits into or right around the white sandy patches. With these Pro tips, you are now well armed to get out there and catch! What makes our charter service unique is that we cater to disabled veterans and wheel chair bound clients!  Our boat is able to accommodate wheelchairs and is ADA compliant. IF YOU’RE A DISABLED VETERAN YOUR TRIP IS FREE!!! This is our way we give back to our veterans. Pocket change inshore fishing charters Capt. Anthony Corcella 727-432-6446 www.fishtampacharters.com Check us out on Facebook Pocket Change Inshore Fishing Charter

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24 TAMPA | 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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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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If you think you can triumph over anything that swims, we suggest you go straight to Key West. Because from mighty offshore gamesters including sails, tuna and marlin to backcountry stars such as bonefish, permit, tarpon and snook, you’ll discover your breaking point a lot sooner than you might think. fla-keys.com/keywest 1.800.527.8539

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T

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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I

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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We’ve cracked the code ...

Surprising Winter is the Best Planting Time

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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. / Tampa Bay  

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

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