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Pacific Sails

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Striped Bass Are Running

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BOOST YOUR CATCH w/RezBoostTM Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Product Review ACR ELECTRONICS RESQLINK PLB

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

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

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

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

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INTERNATIONAL BAHAMAS : Misti & Gary Guertin • (772) 285-6850 • treasurecoast@coastalanglermagazine.com flahama@coastalanglermagazine.com PUERTO RICO/VIRGIN ISLANDS : Ace Bassue • (407) 285-9453 • ace@coastalanglermagazine.com © 2017. 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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Garmin Introduces

W

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advanced Features For Sailors

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

An Attractive Price Point

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

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Adjustable cap with brim UV-blocking polarized sunglasses

F

Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

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

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ON THE COVER Editor’s Note:

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

COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE Costa Rica Sailfish

FREE

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

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCISCO MEJIAS, VOLUME 22 • ISSUE 267

COSTA RICA PROSTAFF

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THE ANGLER MAGAZINE Hudson River Striped Bass

FREE

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

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

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By Pro Staff Costa Rica • Photos by Francisco Mejias

T

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

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

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

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Spring Striped Bass Run The Hudson River By Nick Carter

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

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Tips For Catching Picky Trout

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

T

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

For more tips on trout fishing, go to

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FLORIDA

By Randy Cnota

F

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

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

For more fishing with Randy Cnota, go to

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Fine Tuning Fishing

By Patrick Sebile

M

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

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Our offshore banks Chasing Tarpon generate more interest.

From Big Pine sKey knab erohsffo ruO

.tseretni erom etareneg

By Nick Carter

T

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

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

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

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FISH & FISHING

MAKE IT COUNT

Y

MARK SOSIN

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

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

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

H

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

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

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The Magic of May By: Capt. Mike Anderson

M

ay is the magical month where spring and summer collide, although this year it seems spring has been here for months already. Big bait schools show up all along the west coast of Florida and the tarpon, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonita, permit, snook and cobia come alive. For tarpon, most anglers have their best luck along the beaches.

A stealthy presentation is a must; there are few things more exciting in the angling world than the strike, jump and fight of a big tarpon in eight to ten feet of crystal clear water. I recommend using your trolling motor or a push pole if you have one to get the boat into position as quietly as possible. A nose hooked threadfin, pilchard or a half dollar sized crab free lined or under a cork positioned in the path of the school will have a good shot at getting a bite. Remember to lead the fish slightly so the bait can settle into the strike zone well ahead of the fish getting there. Your tackle choices will be

critical to your success if you hope to actually land the silver king. Rods in the 40-50 pound class are a must, with a quality backbone and firm tip. Large spinning reels are a must as well; you’ll need the entire drag surface you can muster to win the battle. I use the Quantum Cabo 80s for best results. You’ll need 50 to 65 pound SpiderWire braided line with a 60 to 80 pound fluorocarbon leader. For kingfish, wire leaders are recommended if slow trolling areas of hard bottom, but you can anchor up and chum as well. When anchored up I use long shank hooks with a 50 pound fluorocarbon leader or a 6 inch piece of #6 wire. Snook fishing will peak this month as well, the big breeders head to the beaches to spawn. Live pilchards, threadfins or grunts will all work well, as will a frisky pinfish. This is probably one of the best months to catch that 40 inch

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snook of a lifetime, just remember to get a quick picture and then put the fish right back in the water. These beauties are essential to a sustainable snook fishery for years to come. Enjoy the magic of May; it’s one of our best months for fishing! 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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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | MAY 2017 | TAMPA 1

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Tales from the Tupperware Navy By: Bruce Butler

W

ell, May is here and (hopefully) Spring has finally sprung. On my last trip out, I caught sight of my favorite Spring time fish--the ever popular Cobia. As water temperature starts to rise and stays risen, how many more cold fronts can there be ? But, as the weather becomes more consistent, “coming soon to a bay near you” is one of the most fun game fish out there--the Cobia. You gotta love a fish that feels about boats like I feel about dentists--when they see one, they run! Just when you think you’ve won the battle, Mr. “C”. spots your yak and takes off on a linepeeling-run over and over again. A battle with a good size Cobia on light tackle is definitely an epic event. Now I know that all you avid anglers already know this, but for the newbies, if you are lucky enough to land a Cobia, I know the impulse for that photo op is running high. But, a word to the wise--do not  hug or otherwise pull a Cobia in your lap. They have a line of razor sharp spines running down their back and they will ruin your day; or, depending on your grip make you a soprano. (Ouch) Cobia typically come inshore in the Spring, and can be seen cruising along the surface or following Rays. They will congregate around the deeper holes out in the flats, and are usually ready to hit whatever you want to throw at them. This, of course, (me being me) means the Zara Spook jr. (love that top water bite). But, I’ve had them hit spoons, jigs, Mirro-dine, popping corks, etc. As you may have guessed by

now, if they want to eat they’re not finicky--I like that in a fish! They seem to bite best on a calm day (or, maybe I can just see them easier) and on the midincoming-to-flood tide. So check the weather, and get out there dude!! I’ve now healed from my procedure (funny they call it that)-I mean I wake up with a zipper in my leg--I think that I would call it surgery. But, what do I know! But, it’s great to be back on the water. My son even remarked that he’d never seen me so pale. (LOL). We had a good day with limits in three species: trout ,reds, and black drum all checking in. But, the real kicker to the day was when I paddled back into a narrow creek (we’re talking around 4 feet across that opens into a wide shallow bay). As I approached the mouth on an outgoing tide, the water was around 8 to 10 inches deep and absolutely lit up with schooling reds! A few of them spooked and were rocking my boat in the narrow channel, and I’m grinning from ear to ear. I love it when a plan comes together. Well, I caught a couple and left--I want them to be there next trip! To wrap this up, it’s great to be back to share my adventures and misadventures with you again.

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4/17/2017 3:01:49 PM


Barracuda Bob’s

Clearwater & Dunedin

By: Capt. Joe Londot

Our friend, Todd Krohn, inventor of the Nekid Ball Jig, shows off a nice Pet Beach snook he caught using a chartreuse Nekid Ball Jig!

M

ay marks the annual snook spawn and the arrival of the tarpon migration, so we’re expecting to hear a lot of big fish stories around Barracuda Bob’s in the coming weeks! If catching a big snook is your thing, then Honeymoon Island is the place to be. On Pet Beach at the southern end of the island, big breeder snook will be patrolling Hurricane Pass. I like to free line big grunts hooked through the mouth and up through the nose. Wade out into the pass about waste deep, toss that big grunt out into the tide and leave the bail of your reel open so your grunt flows along with the tide (I prefer the outgoing). If you get a bite, the fish will start peeling line off your reel so fast it’ll make your head spin. Close your bail, set the hook and get ready for an incredible fight. When you’re free lining your bait, if you start getting nervous because about half of your line has already spooled off your reel, close your bail and start pulling the grunt back towards you with long, slow sweeps of your rod, reeling in the slack as you go. Your grunt will swim along the bottom back towards you and if a snook gets a glimpse of it it’s game on! In the early mornings huge tarpon can be seen schooling and rolling along the sand bars at the ends of Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands as well as down the length of the Dunedin Causeway. If you want to land one of these 100 plus pound fish, be ready with a stout rod, a 6000 to 8000 sized reel and plenty of 30 to 40-pound braided line. A razor

sharp 6/0 to 9/0 hook should be tied with six feet or so of 50 or 60-pound fluorocarbon leader. Baits vary, but half a blue crab or half a fresh or frozen mullet soaked on the bottom will work, as will a big, frisky pinfish or threadfin herring pinned four feet under a big bobber. The trick here is simply to get your baits out in front of the school’s line of travel. When a tarpon picks up your bait and starts moving out, set the hook like you want to rip its lips off! Tarpon have hard, bony mouths and a solid hook set is critical to fighting and landing your fish. Most hooked tarpon are lost when they spit a hook that wasn’t driven deep enough into their mouth. Make sure to stop into Barracuda Bob’s for the best in live, frozen and artificial baits, great deals on rods, reels and tackle and up to date advice on what’s biting and where. The friendly and knowledgeable crew at Bob’s is happy to point you towards hot fishing spots and help you get rigged for whatever you’re fishing for! See y’all out on the water! Barracuda Bob’s Island Surf & Sports is located at 240 Causeway Blvd. Dunedin, FL 34698. We are the last building on the right before crossing the Causeway to Honeymoon Island. Barracuda Bob’s offers the best in bait and tackle, beach and water toys, kayak and paddle board rentals and much more! Check us out on Facebook or see our website at www.BarracudaBobs.net

This young lady proves that you don’t need a boat to catch monster tarpon. She caught this one at the north end of Caladesi Island on a big live pinfish.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM | MAY 2017 | TAMPA 3

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By: Capt. Joel Gant

Hernando County

F

inally the cold fronts and hopefully the winds are gone for a while, as long as the water stays clear and the slime gumbo stays away, the fishing will get better and better now that spring is in full effect. Offshore fishing we have been getting everything including grouper, snapper, big

grunts, sharks, king and Spanish mackerel. In our area, there are numerous sharks to target and catch. Some species include bulls, tigers, hammerheads, sharp nose, black tip and nurse sharks. All these species can be targeted alone or while doing other types of fishing. I like to drift fish a lot for trout, cobia, Spanish mackerel and sea bass; while doing so I also like to put out a big piece of cut bait, like ladyfish, mullet or bluefish for a shark. I use heavy tackle like a Shimano TLD with 60 pound monofilament line fixed to about 24 inches of steel leader and a 8/0 circle hook. I will either let the bait bounce on the bottom or use a balloon as a strike indicator. It usually doesn’t take long for a shark to hone in on the scent and take the bait. On a recent charter, we were drift fishing in about 10 feet of water for trout when one of my customers yelled “there’s a shark”. Looking over the side of my Ranger, I saw what looked to be about a five foot tiger shark. I quickly grabbed one of my heavy setup rods and tossed out a cut piece of Spanish mackerel we had

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caught earlier. After a short time, the rod bent over and started taking out drag. I quickly started the motor as one of my clients grabbed the rod and began chasing the fish. After about a 20 minute chase, I was expecting to see a tiger shark, and much to my surprise, up came a bull shark in the six to eight foot range. Shark fishing can be exciting but also dangerous. Always cut the leader as close to the hook as you can and don’t try to bring a big shark into the boat. Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family! I’m always looking for reports and pictures. For more information or questions, you can email me or stop by my website and become a “FISHHEAD”. 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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Seagrass Changes in Tampa Bay

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istrict scientists continue to see increases in seagrass in Tampa Bay, which is an indicator of water quality. Scientists with the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management, or SWIM program, released the results of its 2016 seagrass mapping study showing Tampa Bay now supports 41,655 acres of seagrass beds. This increase continues the success of the previous mapping efforts reported in 2015, supporting the

largest amount of seagrass measured since the 1950s. This increase in seagrass has surpassed the recovery goal of 38,000 acres bay wide, set 24 years ago by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. District scientists report a 3.4 percent increase in seagrass coverage in Tampa Bay, which totals 1,360 acres of seagrass between 2014 and 2016. This is the fifth consecutive survey to show increases for the Tampa Bay system. The District maps seagrass in

five estuaries spanning the five coastal counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte. Map results for the other four estuaries are also available. Documenting the extent of seagrass and how it changes overtime is a valuable tool for scientists throughout Florida. Seagrasses are an important barometer of a bay’s health because they require relatively clean water to flourish, thus they are sensitive to changes in water clarity and quality. The District’s maps are used as a tool for measuring and tracking biological integrity of estuaries as it relates to water quality conditions. Seagrass generally grows in waters less than 6 feet deep, but in the clear waters around Egmont and Anclote Keys it can be found in water 10 feet deep or more. The District began its formal seagrass mapping program in 1988. As part of the program, SWIM scientists assess seagrass in five Gulf coast estuaries. Every two years, maps are produced from aerial photographs and then verified for accuracy by conducting field surveys. The results are used to track trends in seagrass and to evaluate ongoing water quality improvement efforts. - See more at: http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/blog/entry. php?blogPRIid=177#sthash.VGFEz5Ln.dpuf

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Freshwater Fishing Report Lake Alfred, Auburndale, Winter Haven Areas

B

eat the summer heat and go fishing now, the months of May and June are very good for bass, blue gill and large shell crackers. Shell crackers seem to be moving in and are staging out from the banks in the four to six foot depths. According to our local anglers, large bass currently seem to be responding best to Bass Assassin swim baits in assorted colors and lipless crank baits like the Booyah in royalty color. If you prefer topwater baits, you will have great catches using a Heddon Poppin Image or a weedless frog. Whatever your preferred way of targeting them, bass fishing will be at its best over the next few months so get out and enjoy it! Polk County is home to 554 beautiful lakes and offers some of the best fishing in Florida. Don’t miss out, come out and enjoy a great time fishing our area. Remember, the best time to go fishing is whenever you can go! Our 19th season of Ron’s Tackle Box weekly bass tournaments has now begun. The first tournament was held on Lake Rochelle (Lake Alfred) on April 6th. Mark Murphy and Jeremy Scarborough took both biggest bass awards with six pounds and six ounces, and 1st place with

By: Ron Schelfo 16 pounds and 5 ounces total. The featured photo shows Jeremy Scarborough holding the biggest bass and the best from their team’s catch. Weekly registration is $30.00 per boat for a one or two man team, the tournaments run from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each Thursday through the end of October. Prizes are awarded for the biggest bass and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place categories. The location each week is not revealed until Thursday mornings and is announced in Del Milligan’s column in “The Ledger” and on our website. Please like and follow us on Facebook, or you can call Ron at (863) 956-4990. Come out and join us! 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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4/17/2017 3:01:55 PM


Shoreline Report

By: Paul Presson

Fort De Soto

Bombing craters and dredge holes can be found throughout this area by using Google Earth or other satellite imagery programs. These areas can all hold fish. The variety of fishing environments is second to none. The park has two fishing piers, seawalls, Kaleal Brister caught this magnificent red Charlie Sainz caught this monster beaches, backwaters fish using: Penn Spinfisher 3500, an Ugly using: Shimano Stradic 6000 FB, 7’ and bridges. Seagrass Stick medium rod, 15lb Power Pro, 20lb Medium/heavy Shimano rod, 10lb braid, and potholes are flouro, and live shrimp on a J hook. 30lb flouro, #3 circle hook under a cork plentiful in the waters with live shrimp. surrounding Fort De Soto. The park also ort De Soto, located in south Before World War Two, Fort boasts a campground, boat ramp Pinellas County, is rich in De Soto was a bombing range and several stores. With the water warming, wade history. for the Air Force but was later It was named after the Spanish decommissioned. Today it is a fishing is a great way to access mangrove areas full of snook, trout, explorer Hernando De Soto; it was county park. constructed to protect Tampa Bay The park is comprised of several flounder and reds.  Recently, Zman from invasions by hostile countries. islands that have been joined by and D.O.A soft plastics have been It never saw any military action bridges, Mullet Key being the very productive on all of these and was sold to be a destination largest. The history of Fort De Soto species.   Even on windy mornings, you for anglers and explorers that could plays an important role in why it is can always find protected areas to only be reached by boat. such a great place to fish.

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throw your favorite topwater lures. You can’t go wrong using live shrimp or cut bait under a Cajun Thunder using Owner #2 circle hooks. It is that time of year, either wading the beach or fishing the piers, the macks are coming.  These aggressive fish can be caught using Gotcha’s, silver spoons, or live bait. Mackerel have a mouth full of teeth, stronger leaders are imperative to catching these fish.   A trick to finding schools of mackerel is to follow the birds, if you see diving birds this time of year; chances are that the macks are there. Fort Desoto is a county park; admission is $5 per vehicle. For individuals with a disabled tag, entry is free. Visit the fort ruins, take a ferry to Egmont Key, or just enjoy the beach. Fort De Soto is a true historic treasure of Pinellas County. Paul Presson, outdoor writer and published cartoonist. He has fished the coastlines of Tampa Bay for 28 years, land based, wade, kayak and by flats boat. If he is not writing, he is out on the water!

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Skinny Water Report

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his month will be all about the snook and tarpon. Snook have been eating very well the last few weeks, and many huge fish in the upper 40’s have been lurking the flats. These females have been surrounded by super hungry males ready to pounce at any offering. As an avid user of artificial lures, I find topwater lures such as the Dawgwalker and Dawgslider by Unfair Lures hard to beat for some guaranteed action. I work these bad boys with grace in just about anything less than 5’ deep. On higher tides I spend more time casting toward mangrove points, holes and overhung roots. Oyster bars and shallow, sandy flats can produce some great fish as well. Make sure to boost your tackle up to at least 30-40lb. Some of these fish will give you a run for your money

By: Derick Burgos

on anything smaller! Another great fish to make a showing this month are tarpon. If you’ve never felt the massive power from one of these prehistoric dinosaurs, then I think now is the time. Huge schools of migrating fish will invade the beaches in search of food before working their way up the coast. Smaller schools will be found inside the bay anywhere from the shallow flats to residential canals. They will eventually stage in larger numbers near the bridges, looking for meals especially during the full moon. White bait (pilchard), mullet, ladyfish and pass crab are all live bait favorites. These can either be sight casted to feeding fish or dropped down in deeper water. Unfair’s mullet and the shrimp are both great for artificial action on a lighter rod. Hogg Lures’ eels have produced

some nice fish as well. If you really want to feel the power of the king, try to fly fish for them. A 12-weight set up with baitfish and crab imitations such as the Tarpon Streamer, Cockroach or Toad will definitely get you on the money. Be on the lookout for more cobia and kingfish, as they will still be on the scene pretty hard throughout the month. Don’t hesitate to check out the buoys while in the bay. You might find some nice triple tail. All you need is a live shrimp on a cork or a soft plastic shrimp imitation and you’re in business! That’s it for this month. Just be sure to practice common courtesy while out on the water and be safe. 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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RECIPE OF THE MONTH: TUSCANY SHRIMP IN A GARLIC CREAM SAUCE

Ingredients: • 4 tbsp. butter divided into 2 • 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped • 5 oz. jar of sun dried tomatoes, or fresh • 1 ½ pounds of large shrimp, cleaned and deveined • 1 small diced onion • ½ cup of white wine • 1 ¾ cup of half & half • 4 cups of baby spinach • 2/3 cup of parmesan cheese (use a good one) • 1 tbsp. of fresh or dried Italian herbs • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley finely chopped • Salt and pepper to taste Instructions: Heat a large skillet over mediumhigh heat. Melt the butter, add in the garlic, heat for about one minute. Add in the shrimp and sauté two minutes on each side until cooked through and pink. Transfer to a plate

and set aside. Sauté the onion in the butter remaining in the skillet. Pour in the white wine and allow to reduce slightly. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to a low-medium heat and add the half & half. Bring to a simmer while stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add in the spinach leaves and allow to wilt in the sauce. Add in the parmesan cheese. Allow sauce to simmer for another minute until cheese melts into the sauce. Add the shrimp back into the skillet with the herbs and parsley; stir into sauce. Serve over pasta, rice or steamed vegetable.

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South Shore Tampa Bay Shark Month By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg

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his time of year the food chain has reached its peak in the

bay. By now the baitfish have flooded into the bay and hungry pelagic fish have followed them relentlessly feeding and chipping away at their numbers. Tarpon, kingfish, barracuda, Spanish mackerel, bonita, bluefish, ladyfish, blue runners, jack crevalle, they all become shark food. The hunters become the hunted. We target mostly blacktips because they jump like a tarpon, dig like a cobia and taste like a grouper. Blacktips are great to eat; you’re allowed to keep two sharks per day per boat. Many marine biologists agree that Tampa Bay is the shark capital of the world. We have the largest population per square mile and the largest variety of sharks in the world. Blacktip sharks are very easy to target, but extremely difficult to land. One of the main ways we catch blacktips is using mackerel, ladyfish or a bluefish head or body chunk on a 4/0 “J” hook or circle hook attached to a four foot wire leader attached to a five foot 60 pound mono leader. If there is a heavy current, use an appropriate sized egg sinker, with no current free lined baits work best. You can put out three or four rods, but you must keep them separated, and when the shark hits one you must get the others in and

out of the way immediately. With a blacktip over six feet expect an hour long fight. On June 10th and 11th Ana Banana Fishing Company will be hosting the 11th Annual Blacktip Shark Tournament in Tampa Bay. This year’s tournament is called Hooks King of the Bay Blacktip Shark Tournament and is hosted by Hall of Fame baseball legend Wade Boggs. Wade Boggs and I caught a 79 inch blacktip in this tournament a few years ago. It was an incredible fight and a great story! This year’s blacktip tournament will be a 21 hour tournament and will be held at Hooks Bar and Grill at Little Harbor Resort in Ruskin. At the awards ceremony there will be a live band and a free fish fry. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. For information on this event, visit www.anabananafishing.com. 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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Get your Mack on in Tampa Bay

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ackerel season is here, time to fire up the smoker! The best time to slam these guys is May through September. I have a few tricks and tips for you guys to get your Mack on. I like to stay around the grass

flats and get the water chummed up with small cut baits such as threadfin herring and ladyfish. Also, if you want throw a chum block out this will bring in the Macks and other fish as well such as sharks, cobia and trout.

By: Capt. Anthony Corcella

In regards to tackle, I prefer to go light. I like using the Penn 3500ssv with 15 pound Spiderwire blue camo braid on a 7 foot Star Rod Stellar Lite medium action rod. For the leader I’m a big fan of 25 pound Mamoi diamond fluorocarbon. Steel leader works well and will prevent break offs, but you will find out that you will get better results with the fluorocarbon. To actually target these fish I like to free line a small piece of cut bait, but I will also use corks as well with a 2 foot leader. As far as hooks, I feel that Owner is the way to go. The size and style I like to go with is 3/0 or 4/0 all-purpose bait hook, the longer the shaft the better (to prevent cutoffs). For those of you who like using

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lures, Sea Striker’s Gotcha plugs produce the best. Use the same leader with a loop knot to give it a better swimming action. This is also the time of year for cobia, so there’s a chance you could snag one if you throw a pinfish under a cork out the back of the boat. Put these tips to use and you’ll set yourself up for some great springtime fishing! 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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14 TAMPA | MAY 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Tech Tip LED Lights By: Woody Gore

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s lighting technology has improved, almost everyone has seen or will see LEDs. They are an electronic light source created from what is known as a light-emittingdiode, and so the name LED. Invented in the early 20th century and introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962, these early devices emitted a low-intensity red light, but modern LEDs are now available across the color spectrum and are capable of producing a very high and bright light. Applications of LEDs are very diverse and are often used as new equipment or as lowenergy replacements for traditional lighting. Despite being small, they produce a bright light source with advantages over traditional lighting. Some advantages include longer life, improved brightness, smaller size, lower amperage draw and instant-on capability. To work properly in the marine environment LEDs are hermetically sealed for protection against the environment and other corrosive elements. To ensure a long life, the most reliable sealing method is to encapsulate the circuit board and diodes in a material that is impervious to outside industrial, road and marine environments.

The most common application for LED’s in the boating industry is trailer lighting. However, boat manufacturers around the world are quickly jumping on the LED band wagon. This is primarily because of improved intensity, color combinations and low operating amperage draws. Boat and utility trailers take a tremendous amount of abuse; they are continually exposed to elements including fresh and saltwater, rough roads and rougher boat ramps. Therefore, to produce a long-life light source like LEDs means that greater care must be taken during their design and manufacture. While this translates to a higher principal cost, it also means lower replacement costs over the life of the trailer. With some research you can find an excellent LED trailer lighting kit priced somewhere between $50 and $75 dollars. I trailer my rig over 200 days each year, at night and in heavy stop and go traffic. I switched to LED lighting a couple of years ago, I like the added brightness and feel that when towing, especially in stop and go traffic, the vehicles behind me can see the brighter lights. Hope this helps give you a better understanding of LEDs!

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Tampa Bay

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n regards to snook, we’re definitely catching some nice fish with even a few lunkers mixed in with the juveniles. Good tidal grass flats, passes or cuts from upper Tampa Bay all the way to Tarpon Key should prove productive. Anglers using and chumming with greenbacks usually produce plenty of action. Spotted sea trout should continue improving especially as the bait moves onto the grass flats. Look for broken bottom grass flats with sandy potholes or hard rocky bottoms. These areas produce some good size fish. You can also expect plenty of action on artificial lures by jigging the bottom using

By: Capt. Woody Gore

soft plastics or an artificial shrimp under a popping cork. If live bait is your thing, small greenbacks or shrimp free-lined are good alternatives, but remember a juicy medium shrimp under a popping cork always produces fish. Redfish should pick up this month using live and dead baits or artificial lures. Although it seems they’ve had lock-jaw recently, we’ve been getting some to eat using live or dead baits. Check your favorite oyster bars, cuts and broken bottom grass flats on the last of an outgoing tide and the first of an incoming. Don’t forget, redfish often feed with large schools of mullet as they stir up the bottom. As the massive schools of threadfin herring invade Tampa Bay the Spanish mackerel and bluefish bite goes crazy. It’s not unusual to limit out in a couple of hours on moving water using live threadfins and greenbacks. I’ve been using 60 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, shiny long shank 2/0

hooks and # two or three split shots with good success. If live bait is not your repartee, then tie a silver spoon onto an 18 inch small wire leader and catch all you want. Tarpon should begin showing up around the Skyway and along the beaches. They also begin moving inside around deeper flats and hard bottom or artificial reefs holding baitfish. Expect plenty of activity throughout the summer using free-lined threadfins, pass crabs and greenbacks. “Give Me a Call & Let’s Go Fishing” – 813477-3814 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.

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16 TAMPA | MAY 2017 | 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. APR financing available on all new Honda outboard engines through American Honda Finance Corporation upon approved credit. 3.99% APR financing for 24 – 48 months, available to customers who qualify for AHFC credit tier 1. Example for new Honda outboard engines: 3.99% APR for 36 months financing at $29.52 a month for every $1,000 financed. 4.99% APR for 60 months financing at $18.87 a month for every $1,000 financed. 4.99% APR for 84 months financing at $14.13 a month for 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 every $1,000 financed. O 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 04/03/17, 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.

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Capt. Sergio’s Corner

By: Capt. Sergio Atanes

Dead Baits, Big Fish

Cut threadfin herring

Allen Miller nice redfish caught with Capt. Sergio

Travis Couey nice redfish caught with Capt. Sergio

ay is the month you can throw your basic fishing techniques away and start considering dead baits. As the water temperature rises the bigger fish tend to slow down to conserve energy. We humans tend to do the same, you mow your lawn early in the morning and avoid over working in the heat. Big fish are like us in some ways. They want and need to eat, but at their leisure, so dead baiting is one technique that us guides have used for years starting in May all the way until mid-September. Two baits that seem to catch the

most and largest snook and redfish are fresh cut ladyfish and threadfin herring. Fresh dead bait is best or freshly frozen works as well also. If you are buying threadfins, look at the eyes, if they look bloody that bait is not fresh. If fresh baits aren’t available, cut pinfish are my next choice. Target fish in areas with mangrove cover, remember, shady areas or near shade is where the bigger fish are likely to hide. Use baits cut into two inch wide pieces with the head and tail removed. I use 10 to 15 pound braided line, I prefer Fins Windtamer tied to a three foot long

leader of 30 pound fluorocarbon and a 2/0 circle hook with a small split shot about eight inches from the hook. I put two or three rods with cut bait covering different areas around the boat in rod holders and just leave them alone; if any big fish come by they will pick up the dead bait. Another secret is to use a float on two of the rods, making sure the bait is setting on the bottom. The float lets you keep an eye on where the bait is at all times. If you don’t get any hits after 30 minutes, it’s time to move and look for schooling mullet or an area where

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there might be a stronger water movement. Sometimes these factors can make the water temperature a few degrees cooler or have a little more oxygen which helps the bite. While we wait I bait up my clients with live greenbacks to keep them busy. It also helps to chum around the boat with small pieces of cut greenbacks. The best time for me is either early morning till about noon and after 4 p.m. I find the middle of the day the bite slows down. 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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Fly Report

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By: Capt. Gregg McKee

ay is here and my anglers are all about tarpon, and nothing but tarpon. The annual tarpon migration has been moving along the southwest coast of Florida for almost a month now, but the real flow of big fish is just getting underway. While we don’t see the sheer number of tarpon cruising along our beaches as they do down in the Keys, we definitely see smaller schools holding much larger fish.  In fact, at least once or twice a year I’ll spot an obvious world record  tarpon  of at least 200

pounds or more swimming right past my bow.  Those big girls rarely eat for my anglers but  they’re always great to see. On those excellent occasions when we do get a triple-digit fish to take a fly, it’s crucial to get the tarpon to the boat as quickly as possible.  It always bothers me a bit when I hear folks bragging about fighting a tarpon for two or three hours, especially in the hot summer months.  Those fish rarely survive that ordeal, and even if they swim away after the hook is removed, they’re easy targets for sharks.  Unless you’re using very light tackle and planning on bringing one in for a possible world record, there’s no reason it should take that long to land any size tarpon.  The fluorocarbon leaders we use on my boat are never less than 20 pound test, with a 10 to 12-weight fly rod and a beefy saltwater reel, that’s more than enough to land a 100 pound fish in no more than an hour.  An experienced angler with a few already under their belt can do it in much

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less time. The legendary Capt. Stu Apte once landed a 151 pound world record tarpon in just under an hour using a tippet that tested out at 10.8 pounds.  That was in 1971 and he was using a fiberglass fly rod and aluminum reel that would be a museum piece today.  So how do you haul a full grown tarpon in without killing it or yourself in the summer heat? - Through bravery.  After the first five minutes, when the fish makes its most insane jumps and runs, that’s when  it’s time to go almost full throttle on the drag.  If your shock leader is heavy enough and your knots are properly tied and tested, a tarpon can’t simply snap the line on 20 pound tippet or heavier.  Knowing when to give the fish slack and when to pull like hell is just as important, but experience or a good guide will get you through that, but the main thing always comes back to the drag.  It doesn’t matter if you’re using fly or spin gear, go heavy early and the tarpon will give up quicker than you can believe.  In other words, don’t be afraid to lose the fish and you won’t lose the fish. Capt. Gregg McKee Wildfly Charters www.wildflycharters.com

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St. Pete Report

By: Capt. Christopher Taylor

Pound Town Tampa Bay

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pril was a total knockout; the redfish bite was an inferno that stretched  from the Howard Franklin Bridge to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and even further south around Fort Desoto State Park. When it comes to fishing these big schools of redfish,

finding them is one of the biggest challenges an angler faces. Tides, wind and water clarity are some of the things to bring into perspective when in search of these fish. Unexpected cold fronts that bring a whirlwind of fury to most guides in the Tampa Bay area

will reset the most experienced angler back to the basics of fishing. However, if the conditions are right there are plenty of fish to wrangle up. May is well known for its cooperative weather and great fishing.  The redfish bite is predicted to remain steady through the month; choice baits for reds this month are live or cut pinfish either free lined or with a split shot. When it comes to nonstop drag screaming, rod bending action that leaves you with a sore forearm snook are your best bet. Historically, the snook spawn starts before or after the full moon in May and peaks in the month of June. Go to spots for snook are

all major passes and bodies of water surrounded by sandbars or some type of structure that has the potential for holding baitfish during tidal changes. The most common fish to catch are the smaller males; however there are plenty of big females to be hooked into. May is definitely a great month for all day snook fishing because it is the start of their spawn and water temperatures reach the mid 70’s. This allows for great feeding activity as they will become lethargic as water temperatures rise during the middle of summer. For  snook I recommend live or dead cut in half scaled sardines. Free-lining baits or using the necessary split shot for stronger tidal flow is the preferred presentation.  Captain Christopher Taylor  Florida Reels Fishing Charters www.floridareelsfishingcharters.com (813) 220-6135

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The Mission

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ilitary veterans of all branches had been called upon to take part in this operation; civilian support was an integral part of making this objective a success. Nautical captains were essential; they knew the waters of Tampa Bay and were an instrumental part of this deployment. The briefings had taken place and the necessary equipment was dispersed.   The color guard was present and prayers were said.   The veterans were fed a delicious meal, necessary to sustain their energy for the upcoming venture. Entertainment was provided for all participating, crew

By: Paul Presson

members got to interact and become familiar with each other before this undertaking. The veterans and support teams were at the ready and everyone dispersed and headed home to rest up for the assignment. The next day, military veterans filed in, excitement was in the air.   The weather was rougher than expected; adapt, improvise and overcome a motto familiar to all of these warriors.   With everyone present and accounted for, target acquisition and the rules of engagement were loud and clear. The fleet was launching and it was a sight to behold. After hours on the water, the preordained targets had been captured with no friendly casualties.  This was a well-oiled machine and the mission was declared a complete success.  As in the aftermath of any successful joint military/civilian operation, awards were presented and a

celebration ensued. This was the 11th annual Telecommunications Asset Management Company (TAMCO) charity fishing tournament. Over 70 disabled veterans were invited to participate in this event. Many of these brave men and women were afforded the opportunity to get a brief respite from their daily struggles.   The tournament went on without a hitch, due to the efforts of the volunteers, sponsors, and captains. To observe the smiles on the veterans and their family’s faces was priceless.   This amazing tournament was made possible through the efforts of the TAMCO Foundation and the CEO Jack Thompson. TAMCO Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, non-partisan charity which provides direct support to military veterans from Florida who have been severely wounded and disabled while

serving our country. Their mission is to embrace these American heroes and their families throughout their recovery and their return home as they rebuild their lives and endure associated challenges from their disabilities. “Severely wounded” is defined as greater than a 20% VA Disability Rating. All military services are eligible - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard encompassing active, reserve, National Guard and civilian members. If you are interested in volunteering, sponsoring, or donating, please do; contact the TAMCO Foundation | Embracing Florida’s Wounded Heroes at 813247-1108. Paul Presson, outdoor writer and published cartoonist. He has fished the coastlines of Tampa Bay for 28 years, land based, wade, kayak and by flats boat. If he is not writing, he is out on the water!

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Flats to Nearshore Report By: Capt. Gary Burch

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t’s that time of year again, when almost every species of fish along the west coast of Florida is on the catching menu. May brings us late spring and early summer conditions where water temperatures are in the low 80’s and all of our saltwater piscatorial friends are willing and able to give up their action. Whether you fish in shallow bays for redfish or trout, in the passes for snook or along the coast for kingfish, mackerel, cobia or tarpon, there will be something for everyone. I will be concentrating on snook and redfish with most of my clients, so here are some starting points for May’s fishing action. Redfish will continue to be found scattered throughout the bays and flats of Clearwater and Dunedin. Locating them may take some time so keep moving, search along the mangrove shorelines at high tides, look under docks as reds love to hang out there and don’t pass up the spoil islands inside the bays. Live shrimp and white baits will be the reds food of choice. If you are an artificial guy, redfish will attack topwater and suspended hard baits. Various size plastic tails in root beer and motor oil colors will work, but don’t forget the gold spoon. Snook will be found in all of the passes from Anclote Key in Tarpon Springs to the Egmont Channel in

lower Tampa Bay. Also they will be hanging out just inside these same passes in the shallows and cuts that lead to the passes. These fish will be feeding when the tide is moving. Some prefer the incoming tide and some the outgoing, just make sure the water is moving for best results. The best bait by far is a live sardine free lined (no weight or float, just line, leader and hook). Let the sardine do his thing and it shouldn’t take long until Mrs. Linesider comes calling. Remember to release all snook; there is no harvesting at this time. My clients will be fishing for the west coast slam in May. A snook, redfish and trout in the same day constitutes the slam. We caught many slams last May and I’m looking forward to the challenge. There are so many great fish to catch in May; you just need to find the time. As an old local captain once said, “if you are too busy to go fishing, then you are just too busy”. 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

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By: Capt. Jim Kalvin

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ig news last month as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service declared, according to their extensive scientific data, that the manatee should no longer be classified as endangered. While this is great news, not everyone is celebrating. There will very likely be a challenge or two to this finding, as there are many who refuse to accept that the status of the manatee has changed. The lynch-pin of the species assessment has been the aerial synoptic survey – which is counting the animals from airplanes in known winter gathering sites. Some years were higher than others, some lower than others for various reasons – mainly due to cold weather events, or a mildly warm winter season. But over the past 43 years, once the data is averaged, the minimum observed population has increased by “a lot” to put it scientifically. In the mid 70’s, the aerial synoptic survey counted 744 animals, and cries of extinction rang through the halls of the capital in Tallahassee and in Washington. As the aerial counts began to grow over the following years, the paid advocate contingent claimed that there aren’t really any more animals; we’re just getting better with counting techniques. As counts continued to grow, and the animals were seen in areas previously never visited by the manatees, this claim was harder to believe – yet the claim continued. The advocate contingent refused to say that the manatee population was growing. At the same time, boating groups were pointing out that seagrass was disappearing in all known manatee wintering areas. Fakaunion Canal, Gullivan Bay and Rookery Bay in Collier, the Orange River, Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound and Estero Bay in Lee County, Lemon Bay and the Peace River in Charlotte County and other Gulf Coast areas from Tampa to Crystal River all experienced the same phenomenon. On the East Coast, the Banana River and Indian River Lagoon

and points south through Palm Beach, Broward, Dade and Monroe Counties all experienced the same thing. Seagrasses were disappearing. With individual animals eating between 150 and 200 pounds of seagrass daily, a herd of several hundred manatees can consume between 15 and 20 tons of vegetation each day. Now consider that we have a minimum observed count of 6,620 manatees in 2017 – meaning that there are many, many more – and the daily consumption is staggering. Something is happening in our estuaries, fish, shrimp and crustaceans are disappearing. Bait stocks are at historic lows. Water quality is degrading. However, the grasses are not coming back, as they are being eaten faster than they can grow. The manatees continue the expansion of their range in search of food. Moving from one thermal pollution fallout area to the next as they forage northward, they are going to go wherever they can eat and stay warm. As the USFWS is the leading agency with respect to protected and endangered species management, the science is there. The history of the population assessments was in black and white and in third-party user format. The facts were as plain as day. This is not, and was never, an animal that is or was dwindling in number – it is a species that is robustly growing and expanding. However, the service would not act on its’ own science. Politics of the day, wink-and-nod lawsuits and non-governmental organization pressure forced the service to ignore the obvious and treat the species as endangered. The citizens group Save Crystal River had to sue the agency to get them to act on their own science. Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the case drew the ire of many who make their living off of the extinction myth. Now that the service has found that manatees are not an endangered species, counter legal action is very likely.

In the mean-time, the health of our estuaries hangs in the balance. Are we going to continue to pursue a single-species initiative that seeks only to celebrate thermal pollution, breed more manatees and move them into an ever-broadening range? Or are we going to look at real issues such as loss of seagrass habitat, estuarine degradation and the impact of giant herbivores moving into new areas? Boating Advocates have been asking serious questions for decades, only to be chided, ridiculed and bullied by some in the scientific community, and virtually all of the NGO’s who choose to use the Endangered Species Act as a growth control tool. It is time to admit that we have serious issues in our waterways including farm runoff, red tide, habitat loss and many other potential problems. However, having “too few

manatees” is not a realistic claim. Standing Watch would like to encourage the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to follow the lead of the service, and remove the endangered status from a state perspective as well. Maybe then we can utilize available funding and human resources to work on a holistic approach to aquatic resource management throughout Florida. Leave the politics and the social engineering out of it, and let the science speak for itself. Join Standing Watch and help us help you preserve your rights of access to Florida’s aquatic resources. Go to standingwatch.net or send membership info to P.O. Box 990399 Naples, Florida, 34116. Like and follow our Facebook page as we continue to monitor the 2017 Legislative session. Emails can go to james.kalvin61@gmail.com

Kids Summer Saltwater Fishing School June 10 & 11th or July 8 & 9th

Call Capt. Sergio Atanes at (813) 973-7132 for more information

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he future of fishing is in the hands of the younger generations. Just as I went on my first fishing trip at the age of four and got hooked, I want every kid to experience the thrill of catching fish and enjoy this great outdoor hobby. Any child can become an angler, maybe someday a professional angler, but who knows unless he or she has a chance at it. Classes are limited to 25 future Jr. Anglers plus parent or guardian. Day 1: Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday class one is held inside, hands on basics of fishing are taught. This includes everything from knot tying to tackle selection. Our staff of four professional full time captains will then cover their techniques on how to catch snook, redfish, speckled

trout, tarpon and Spanish mackerel. Day 2: Sunday 10 a.m. to Noon Sunday we meet at Picnic Island Fishing Pier for hands on fishing and how to throw a bait net. We will supply the nets, sooner or later we will need to catch our own bait so here is a great start. There will also be a how to fish with artificial baits segment. Just bring your favorite fishing rod, if you don’t own one we will have some to use. Saturday class to be held at: Southeastern Tackle Liquidators 2907 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33602 Sunday class to be held at: Picnic Island Fishing Pier Cost includes lunch on Saturday and Jr. Angler fishing goodie pail with fishing tackle from sponsors.

24 TAMPA | MAY 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Boater Safety

with Capt. John Bryant from Sea Tow Tampa Bay

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t’s boater safety month at “Coastal Angler”, I spoke with Captain John Bryant from Sea Tow to get the lowdown on how everyone can be safe on the water. Captain Bryant had several recommendations about what boaters and fisherman should carry on their vessels. A light of some kind as well as a noise making device and plenty of water, but the main thing is communication devices with GPS abilities. One of the often overlooked things that he mentioned is an anchor with plenty of line. Imagine losing engine power in 60 feet of water but only having 40 feet of anchor line, you’re now adrift! Capt. Bryant also stressed the importance of regular boat, motor and equipment maintenance. Bryant stressed the importance of checking the weather before a trip

By: Will Korte and adhering to warnings. Sea Tow isn’t an extension of the Coast Guard; they have to adhere to weather warnings and craft advisories. The overriding theme of all of this is to just be prepared for the worst, have the proper equipment, be able to communicate your location and use common sense (don’t go out if bad weather is threatening). Adhere to these practices and you can have a safe and fun time on the water. You can contact Sea Tow Tampa Bay at 727-547-1868 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

Fishing Team

28 TAMPA | MAY 2017 | COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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By Chris Beardsley

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

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

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Caring For Bass At

Summer Tourneys

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

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

Tips For A Healthy Livewell

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

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TIPS FROM A PRO

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

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

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

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

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Get more tips from Lester at

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Make reel memories.

Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, and the northernmost point of the South Florida Reef, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways and natural environment make it a mecca for fishermen and nautical explorers year-round. An array of unique shops, fine restaurants, great golf courses and quiet beaches make a day ashore fun, too. Inshore, offshore, salt water or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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By Nadeen Welch

G

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

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different locations to find the fish, which are not sitting still waiting for you, and provide you with a better experience. This time of year, redfish, snook, mangrove snapper, sea trout and tarpon are what you will catch. These fish will give you a good fight and provide an exciting day on the water. Offshore fishing trips will still provide most required items. The captain will travel anywhere from 20 to 50 miles or more offshore to find fish. While you may not catch as many fish, you Photo courtesy of Capt. Larry McGuire/Show will catch larg- Me the Fish Charters er fish like king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, snapper, grouper and sharks, such as blacktips, spinners, bulls, and possibly hammerheads. This is an entirely different type of fishing from inshore and just as fun. Then you have tarpon fishing. The “silver king” is world famous in these waters, and people come from around the world for the opportunity to land one. The food of choice for a tarpon is a pass crab. Boca Grande is famous for its tarpon fishing history and provides a beautiful environment, if you are here specifically for tarpon fishing and a laidback island environment. If fishing is not up your alley, visiting Sanibel and Captiva will offer you many options. J.N. Ding-Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on Sanibel Island. It is home to one of the country’s largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems and is well known for its migratory bird populations. Captiva Cruises operates in two locations on the island and can take you to the private island of Useppa, Cayo Costa State Park, Cabbage Key and Boca Grande, as well as many other options. On the island’s beaches, shelling like you wouldn’t expect is the norm. Whatever you decide to do, relax and enjoy our “IslandOlogy.” Nadeen Welch is co-publisher of the Fort Myers edition of Coastal Angler Magazine.

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

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

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UNDER THE SEA 26

Diving in Tonga with my new PLB

A

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

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

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CAPTAINS OF FISHER GUIDING 28

A CAPTAIN AND HIS LUCKY LADY, FISHING THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

BY LUKE CAMBELL

R

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

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

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C

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

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

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

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$599

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LIMIT 9 - Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 9/1/17.

YOUR CHOICE

19999 SAVE $95

Item 62429 shown

$395

ITEM 42305/69044/63171

$13499

LIMIT 4 - Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 9/1/17.

MECHANIC'S GLOVES

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$

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• With Laser Guide

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LIMIT 5 - Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 9/1/17.

SAVE 59%

ITEM 69684 shown 61969/61970

1099 $19.97

LIMIT 9 - Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 9/1/17.

204

$

12" SLIDING COMPOUND DOUBLE-BEVEL MITER SAW

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60", 4 DRAWER HARDWOOD WORKBENCH

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SAVE 59%

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7 FT. 4" x 9 FT. 6" ALL PURPOSE WEATHER RESISTANT TARP

SAVE 64%

7

$ 97 VALUE

Limit 1 coupon per customer per day. Save 20% on any 1 item purchased. *Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or any of the following items or brands: Inside Track Club membership, Extended Service Plan, gift card, open box item, 3 day Parking Lot Sale item, compressors, floor jacks, saw mills, storage cabinets, chests or carts, trailers, trenchers, welders, Admiral, Bauer, CoverPro, Daytona, Earthquake, Hercules, Jupiter, Lynxx, Poulan, Predator, StormCat, Tailgator, Viking, Vulcan, Zurich. Not valid on prior purchases. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 9/1/17.

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7999 $198.45

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900 PEAK/700 RUNNING WATTS 2 HP (63 CC) 2 CYCLE GAS GENERATOR

ITEM 63024/63025 shown

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$1699

SAVE 65% $1999 Compare $49

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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM Use Coupons: In-Store, HarborFreight.com or 800-423-2567

$8999

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$

10999

LIMIT 3 - Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 9/1/17. At Harbor Freight Tools, the “Compare” or “comp at” price means that the same item or a similar functioning item was advertised for sale at or above the “Compare” or “comp at”

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REPOWER FINANCE

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

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

Gimme Six Extended Protection promo is applicable to new Suzuki Outboard Motors from 25 to 300 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17 in accordance with the promotion by a Participating Authorized Suzuki Marine dealer in the continental US and Alaska to a purchasing customer who resides in the continental US or Alaska. Customer should expect to receive an acknowledgement letter and full copy of contract including terms, conditions and wallet card from Suzuki Extended Protection within 90 days of purchase. If an acknowledgement letter is not received in time period stated, contact Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. – Marine Marketing via email: marinepromo@suz.com. The Gimme Six Promotion is available for pleasure use only, and is not redeemable for cash. Cash Rebates apply to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki Outboard Motors made between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine.com. Customer and participating Dealer must fill out the appropriate rebate form at time of sale. Customer will have the choice to either apply the cash rebate against the original dealer invoice (Suzuki will credit Dealer parts account) or have a check sent directly to the customer. There are no model substitutions, benefit substitutions, rain checks, or extensions. Suzuki reserves the right to change or cancel these promotions at any time without notice or obligation. * Financing offers available through Synchrony Retail Finance. As low as 5.99% APR financing for 60 months on new and unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 4/01/17 and 6/30/17. “Gimme Six”, the Suzuki “S” and model names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2017 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

34

NATIONAL

MAY 2017

CANGL_NAT3-NAT42.indd 34 SZ_Q2Promo_1PG_WIPv2.indd 1

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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


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

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

COMMON CVRS_0517.indd 3

4/17/17 12:07 PM


© 2017 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries

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

12”

PROGRAMMABLE

HOT KEYS

PRELOADED

BUILT-IN

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

GPSMAP® 1242xsv

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

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

Coastal Angler Magazine - May / Tampa Bay  

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

Coastal Angler Magazine - May / Tampa Bay  

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