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Fall's Topwater Bonanza No-Pressure Grouper

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Fishing Reports Catch Photos News & Events PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL LAFOSSE VOLUME 23 • ISSUE 271

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EDITOR IN CHIEF : Ben Martin • camads@coastalanglermagazine.com VICE PRESIDENT : Tracy Patterson • tracy@coastalanglermagazine.com ART DIRECTOR : Rebecca Snowden • graphics@coastalanglermagazine.com EDITORIAL COORDINATOR : Nick Carter • editorial@coastalanglermagazine.com WEBMASTER : Dmitriy Pislyagin • webmaster@coastalanglermagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Corporate Headquarters info@coastalanglermagazine.com • 888-800-9794

FLORIDA

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

MARINE-GRADE BOAT COVERS

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SOUTHEAST

ATLANTA/SW GEORGIA : Bob & Brenda Rice • (706) 614-8231 • bobr@theanglermagazine.com CHARLESTON : Jane A. Redden • (205) 725-9616 • jane@coastalanglermagazine.com Sam Buckareff • (843) 607-8629 • sam@coastalanglermagazine.com CHARLOTTE/PIEDMONT : Mark & Haley Alberghini • (704) 651-1934 • mark@theanglermagazine.com MYRTLE BEACH : Mike Masiero • (732) 674-3019 • mmasiero@coastalanglermagazine.com TIDEWATER/OUTER BANKS : John Tiger • (757) 707-9654 • john.tiger@coastalanglermagazine.com Laura Seitz • (757) 707-9655 • laura@coastalanglermagazine.com UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA : Gregg Thompson • (864) 542-3112 • gregg@theanglermagazine.com WESTERN NC : Debra & Joe Woody • (828) 775-9663 • woody@theanglermagazine.com WILMINGTON/MOREHEAD : Kenny Ritter • (910) 550-9094 • kenny@coastalanglermagazine.com

Chairs & Seats

NORTHEAST BOSTON : George Regan • (617) 488-2842 • boston@coastalanglermagazine.com LONG ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 • lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com CONNECTICUT / RHODE ISLAND : Lisa & Michael Danforth • (203) 321-7635 lisad@coastalanglermagazine.com

GULF COAST

GALVESTON/MATAGORDA/UPPER COAST : Chanci & David Mowry • (713) 446-7395 • chancim@coastalanglermagazine.com • davidm@coastalanglermagazine.com MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST : Adam Nelson • (228) 627-5903 • anelson@coastalanglermagazine.com Toby Nelson • (228) 623-1761 • tnelson@coastalanglermagazine.com NEW ORLEANS : Dr. Dave Dunaway • (225) 400-8156 • nola@coastalanglermagazine.com

GREAT LAKES

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

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 COSTA RICA : Mike Erickson • (561) 262-2242 • mike@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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no pressure

Gulf Grouper By CAM Staff

C

rystal LaFosse fishes a lot. She’s traveled to destination fisheries around the world. Everywhere she’s been has its own allure, but she said when it comes to catching fish, nowhere compares to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. What would you expect to hear from a Louisiana girl? Cajun Tackle in Lake Charles, La. is the family business, which Crystal operates with her brother and her parents. She is the founder and director of the Salty Catch Fishing Rodeo in Lake Charles and director of the Tuna & Swordfish Challenge at Hurricane Hole in Grand Isle, La. Even with so much fishing in her work life, she relishes the opportunity to launch out of Lake Charles with family, friends and her 6-year-old son Cardyn. Despite the excellent inshore opportunities nearby in the maze of waterways and Calcasieu Lake, Crystal’s favorite destination is well over 100 miles out in the Gulf in grouper water. West Louisiana doesn’t enjoy the same proximity to deep water as destinations to the east. With runs inside 50 miles out of Venice or Grand Isle, anglers flock to the deep-water rigs and rock bottom where the edge of the Continental Shelf provides dramatic depth changes. Out of Lake Charles, it’s a 110- to 130-mile run to reach the 200-foot depths and prime grouper territory. However, those willing to make longer runs will find bottom that hasn’t already been picked clean by other anglers. “Most people don’t come here to target grouper because the run offshore is so far,” Crystal said, “but that also makes it good because the area is not over-fished.” Yellowedge, gag, and strawberry grouper are some of Crystal’s personal favorites, but she said it’s always fun when the rod tip bends over and you really don’t know what you’re bringing up. Regardless of the species, grouper are some of the best eating fish in the sea, and loading the box with delicious fish is half the fun. “There’s nothing better than cranking in a huge Warsaw grouper. That’s just the best!” she said. The challenge of strapping on a harness and battling a big Warsaw is enough to test anyone’s strength and endurance. Reeling up a 200-plus-pounder is on Crystal’s to-do list. “Typically the big grouper hang on the up-current side of the rigs in 200 to 250 feet of water,” Crystal said. “Bottom fishing, you’re looking for rock or reef formations, drop offs and drastic water depth changes. Usually anything over 200 feet is good grouper territory.” For Crystal, “anything over 200 feet” is sometimes 500 feet or deeper, when you never know what’s going to come up on the end of the line. Her rigs account for the dark waters at these depths with lights that mimic the bioluminescence of squid and attract grouper. “There are several ways to deep drop, and grouper rigs can be made with one to five hooks, ” she said. “Typically when you’re targeting a big warsaw, it’s with an 18/0 or 20/0 circle hook rig with glowing lights, a 3- to 5-pound weight and live bait around the oil rigs. I make my own three-hook rigs using 8/0 or 10/0 circle hooks, glow in the dark squid, lights, and topped with dead squid bait… You can use the 3-5 hook rigs around structure or just bottom fishing on rock piles. “The glow squid are from Offshore Angler, Fathom Offshore, and many other brands. The LED deep-drop lights range in colors of blue,

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red, green or disco, and there are many different brands from Offshore Angler or Lindgren-Pitman, which we have a selection of at Cajun Tackle,” she continued. “These lights and glow squid attract the grouper in the deep dark water.  The squid are put on just above the hook, so when you add your bait it’s glowing right above it.  The light is added about a foot above the rig and attached with a snap swivel or rubber band.” As much as anything, heading offshore is an opportunity to explore. Crystal said she and her friends all have the same standard coordinates marked on their electronics, but everyone has their favorites, and she’s had a few trips when they ran up on new bottom that turned out to be great. “We have spent time seeking out new numbers to mark, and that just keeps it interesting,” she said. “Keeping the depthfinder on while running from spot to spot, paying attention to any changes in depth and bottom, you can really find some good spots. The ocean is such a wonderful place, and there are so many new things to explore. I think that’s what keeps me coming back. Every trip is different and special in its own way.” When she’s not fishing, Crystal LaFosse can be found working the shop at Cajun Tackle in Lake Charles, La. After a successful second-annual Salty Catch Fishing Rodeo in July, the Tuna & Swordfish Challenge is coming up Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Hurricane Hole Resort and Marina in Grand Isle. Follow Crystal’s adventures on Instagram @crystallafosse.  

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Mountain Lakes Are Calling

By Nick Carter eering into clear-green water from the casting deck, frantic movement is the first thing to catch your eye. As a morning fog evaporates, rolling mountains rise up all around and the sun breaks through to reveal small groups of blueback herring. They dart back and forth, skittering near the surface to evade or confuse predators below. Then it happens. It starts with a few scattered topwater hits and intensifies. By the time you look up from impaling the nose of a blueback from the bait tank, there is an acre of water boiling. Big hybrid bass herd herring around the cove. The trolling motor whirrs to keep you in casting range. For the next few hours the action came in flurries, with multiple anglers battling through double and triple hook-ups whenever baits encountered a school of hungry hybrids. Some fish came on multiple downlines arrayed in rod holders. The most exciting takes

P

were on the pitch rods, lightweight rigs kept ready for surfacing fish. Either way, the key to drawing strikes was a lively bait, and this is the style of fishing you’ll experience with Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. They fish the gorgeous mountain lakes on both sides of the Georgia, North Carolina border. This trip was on Lake Chatuge, a 7,200-acre impoundment of the Hiawassee River that stretches 13 miles from Hayesville, N.C. south to Hiawassee, Ga. The lake is known for big spotted and hybrid bass. If you’ve never battled a hybrid approaching double digits on light tackle, it makes reeling in a 10-pound largemouth seem comparable to fighting a wet shoe. The same could be said for most of the species guides Shane Goebel and Darren Hughes pursue. Big Ol’ Fish concentrates on three lakes in the region and plans trips based on where the current bite is best. Southwest of Chatuge, Lake Nottely is a 4,200-acre impoundment of the Nottely River. Its primary draw is trophy striped bass. Stripers from 20 to 40 pounds show up regularly on this reservoir outside Blairsville, Ga. The elusive 50-plus-pounder is what everyone seeks, and very lucky anglers just might find it trolling bluebacks, big gizzard shad or trout. Those who prefer counting fish to weighing them will find fast action on Lake Hiwassee near Murphy, N.C. It is a 6,000-acre reservoir in the same drainage, which for some reason is spelled differently in North Carolina. Lake Hiwassee features breathtaking cliff formations and spectacular fishing for smallmouths that reach 6 pounds and larger, as well as big walleye and striper. Over a couple action-packed trips with Darren and Shane on their The Angler Magazine-wrapped Carolina Skiff, one couldn’t help ask why they don’t fish artificials when the bite gets so hot. Their answer, almost in unison, was: “Because we like catching lots of fish.” That sentiment is hard to argue with, but it’s worth noting that Darren owns Hughes General Store in Blairsville, the area’s primary purveyor of live baits. Rumor has it they make a mean biscuit. Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service can be found online at bigolfish.com. Call them at 828-361-2021.

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Micron : Generations of Innovation ®

The innovation continues… We are excited to introduce Micron WA as the newest addition to the Micron Technology family. Micron WA is a multi-seasonal, polishing, water-based antifouling with the unique Water Activated matrix. This novel paint technology delivers a crisp color, and premium long lasting protection for all waters! The Micron Technology family offers a range of premium products that meets your needs while delivering true and proven performance. For generations Micron Technology has been protecting boats coast to coast by improving fuel efficiencies while reducing paint build up through controlled polishing. Whatever the year, you know you’ll always have the latest and best in Micron Technology. Visit our website for more information – yachtpaint.com

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FOUL WEATHE ExOfficio Camino Convertible Pant-Short

Huk Next Level Kryptek All Weather Bib

Perfect storm, meet the perfect bib. Huk’s Next Level Bib is built to keep Mother Nature at bay. They start with a lightweight stretch 3-layer, waterproof 10,000mm/Breathable 5000g shell. It’s 100 percent waterproof and windproof, which keeps all the elements out while maintaining best-in-class breathability. All the seams are taped and zippers welded to keep them from leaking. Non-binding and high-stretch, the bib is exceptionally comfortable and gives the wearer a full range of motion. Zip side entry allows for easy on and off, and there’s a zip fly for… well, you know. Gear can be kept handy in a large waterproof tape-welded chest pocket or dual front-thigh bellowed cargo pockets. There’s an internal mesh chest pouch pocket for items you keep close to your heart. Articulated knees are reinforced for durability. Velcro side tabs attached to a rear belt system and boot hem zippers allow the wearer to completely customize the fit. Elastic Huk-branded shoulder straps also optimize comfort. With Huk’s Next Level Bib, there is no such thing as bad weather.

www.hukgear.com Dakine Caliber Jacket The Caliber Jacket is Dakine’s go anywhere, do anything rain jacket. The company’s most technical men’s everyday jacket, the Caliber is sure to become an everyday, lightweight layer for guys who enjoy any type of outdoor adventure. Don’t let the good-looking modern tailored fit fool you. This is a hard-core weatherproof jacket with a waterproof shell that features fully seam-sealed, breathable construction with waterproof zippers and a helmetcompatible cinch hood to keep moisture out. Mechanical stretch 2.5 Layer construction provides a 20K/20K rating, which means this outer layer provides a wide range of motion with superb waterproof breathability. Underarm pit zips provide added ventilation for temperature regulation. Anglers will appreciate bomb-proof zippers that will stand up to the roughest marine environments and the clean exterior, which limits linegrabbing and tangling potential. Notable fit features include an extended back hem, articulated sleeves and adjustable cuffs. An invisible zippered media chest pocket keeps your electronic gadgetry safe, dry and secure. Dakine is based in the windy and wet Pacific Northwest, and the Caliber jacket is designed to keep wearers comfortable and dry in just those conditions.

ExOfficio prides itself on high-performance apparel for travel and adventure, and their technical clothing might as well be custommade for anglers. Their Sol Cool line is designed for the sun, and the Camino Convertible Pant-Short is perfect to keep you comfortable whether you’re wetwading a mountain stream, casting from the deck of a bass boat or poling the Bermudian flats. The benefits of zip-off legs are obvious for anyone who has spent any time on the water, and UPF 50 sun protection is essential for long days in the sun. The jade-infused Nycott fabric with Teflon Shield+ is very durable, stands up to rough treatment and even feels cool to the touch. Silvadur anti-bacterial technology helps eliminate odor, so you’ll smell fresher when you come off the water. The Camino Convertible Pant-Short features two security zip cargo pockets, a cell phone pouch inside the right leg pocket, two security zip back pockets, zippered leg hems, full inseam gusset, contoured tricot-lined waistband and an indestructible button system. All lengths zip off to an 8.5-inch short. And weighing just 10.5 ounces, you might forget you’re wearing pants.

www.exofficio.com Xtratuf Legacy 2.0 Engineered to withstand the world’s toughest conditions, the Legacy 2.0 is a hardcore fishing boot 50 years in the making. The latest addition to XTRATUF’s iconic legacy collection features an advanced new outsole that surpasses the SRC slip resistance rating, a textured heel for easy on/off that won’t get caught in gill nets and a contoured toppling binding so it does not rub harshly against calves. Acid- and chemicalresistant uppers along with shin and bib guards keep fishermen protected while a Polyurethane insole ensures comfort for long days on deck.    All boots within the Legacy collection are 100 percent waterproof with unique performance features. Each boot is made with XTRATUF’s signature triple dipping technique, which creates a seamless barrier that is highly resistant to many organic and inorganic acids, chemicals and contaminants. The latex neoprene is ozone resistant and is softer, lighter and far more pliable than ordinary rubber. Cushioned insoles with arch support help fight fatigue and stress on the legs and back. All XTRATUF Legacy boots come with a non-marking,  slip-resistant Chevron outsole that provides unparalleled traction on any surface in the most extreme conditions.

www.xtratufboots.com

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HER GEAR Sherpa Nilgiri Pant

If they’ll keep you comfortable in the Himalayas, they’ll keep you comfortable anywhere. Sherpa’s Nilgiris are the perfect soft-shell pant for any outdoor activity in cold conditions.

If there’s anyone who knows how to stay warm in bitter cold conditions, it’s waterfowlers, who view frigid temperatures as invitation to go out into the field. Heybo’s Delta Vest is designed to protect you from bitter winds on those cold-weather days. This classic-cut piece features Realtree Max 5 camo, a vertical zippered pocket on the left chest, and two lower zippered pockets. The Delta Vest is built to be worn in the field or as a casual piece. With a full zip front, the Delta Vest features 100 percent poly fleece to keep your core warm while allowing freedom of movement for your arms. Even in damp conditions, this moisture wicking garment will keep you warm. The Delta vest may have been designed for duck hunting, but any outdoorsman will appreciate the warmth and functionality of this versatile vest.

www.heybooutdoors.com

Stretchy and quiet, Nilgiris keep you feeling warm, dry and comfortable even as you work up a sweat. They are made of a three-layer softshell laminate and lined with a light, soft fleece, so they provide breathable, durable, wind and water repellant shelter for your legs. They are also stretchy, which means moving in them feels unrestricted and effortless. Wear them with a base-layer or on their own to suit conditions.

The North Face Men’s Venture 2 Jacket The Venture 2 Jacket is an unlined, packable, weatherproof rain jacket that is perfect for year-round use. Whether you’re in the backcountry of the Florida Keys or the Blue Ridge Mountains, this lightweight, waterproof and windproof jacket will be there to protect you from the elements when you need it.

The Three-layer softshell laminate is highly breathable and wind- and water-proof. A gusseted crotch accommodates a full and natural range of motion. Three zip pockets—two hand and one thigh—keep essentials handy. Long, twoway, ankle zippers allow for venting and easy on and off over boots. An integrated, adjustable belt customizes the fit, and there are no seams on top of the knees to chafe or cause discomfort. These pants are functional enough to keep you happy in the harshest conditions and comfortable enough to wear around the house.

www. sherpaadventuregear. co.uk Under Armour Storm Surge The Storm Surge is exactly the lightweight rain jacket one would expect from Under Armour, a company devoted to designing high-performance apparel. Unbelievably lightweight and packable, the Storm Surge is a jacket that is easy to keep on-hand, whether in a pack or stowed in a box, which means it is the jacket that will be there when those pop-up thunderstorms roll over the water. UA’s Storm technology has created a shell that is 100 percent waterproof, with fully taped seams to keep the wearer dry in wet weather. And this piece of gear does not sacrifice breathability. A 10K/10K rating means the Storm Surge has found a good balance between keeping water out while allowing airflow For those warm, humid days, when some rain jackets just leave you wet with sweat instead of rain, on-demand zip vents under the arms provide additional breathability to keep the wearer cool and dry. On cool mornings, windproof materials and construction block out the breeze with 2.5 layer bonded fabric and a durable, smooth exterior. The Storm Surge has a loose, fuller cut for complete comfort and a full range of motion. Adjustable cuffs and a bungee hem keep moisture from creeping in, while zippered hand pockets keep gear safe.

www.underarmour.com

Heybo Delta Vest-Max 5

The North Face’s DryVent 2.5L technology utilizes a polyurethane coating that is remarkably waterproof, breathable and durable to create a jacket for active pursuits where light weight and packability are essential. An inner layer finished with dry touch print helps raise the fabric from the skin for comfort and to enable quick transfer of vapor to the outside. The Venture 2 also packs up small into its own pocket. In short, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, this jacket is designed to be there to keep you dry and comfortable. A relaxed fit and adjustable hood provide a full range of motion as well as room for extra layers, hats or helmets. Pit-zip venting increases breathability. Hand pockets are covered and zippered to store gear safe and dry. Adjustable Velcro cuff tabs keep water from running down your arm while casting, and a hem cinch-cord stops wetness from coming in from below. With a durable yet breathable ripstop exterior, it is likely the wearer will never need to use The North Face’s legendary lifetime warranty.

www.northface.com HammerHead Mahi Mahi Ahi Gloves The HammerHead Dentex, Mahi Mahi Ahi gloves are protection on “rear-knuckle” steroids! Hammerhead has taken its best-selling red Dentex cutresistant gloves and added a thick coat of “EKP” or Enhanced Knuckle Protection to create the perfect gloves for spearfishing and lobstering. Dentex gloves were already the No. 1 best-selling protective gloves for warm water. Made from special UHMW ANSI Level 5 fabrics, they are light, flexible and offer incredible cut and puncture resistant protection up to 15 times stronger than steel. With chemical- and heat-resistant Nitrile Grip coating, you’ll never lose your grip on pole spears, rocks, fillet knives, lobster snares or with any application where extra grip is desired. With the addition of EKP, Hammerhead has brought a new and improved glove to the marketplace that offers complete protection for the front as well as the back of your hands and especially your knuckles.

www.hammerheadspearguns.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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What’s It Like to Live in a Log Cabin?

By Ben Martin • Editor in Chief

View time-lapsed video at www.blueridgelogcabins.net As an outdoor enthusiast, I’m naturally drawn to the aesthetic charm of log cabins. I have enjoyed numerous stays and vacations in log cabins over the years. Living in one on a long term or even potentially permanent basis is an intriguing thought for me. With that question in mind, I set out to speak with individuals who have taken that step, just to get their honest opinions, before I make the leap to a log cabin as my permanent residence. My first call was to Mark Alberghini, our Charlotte, North Carolina co-publisher. He and his family have been living in a log cabin for more than 20 years. According to Mark, returning to his cabin after a stressfilled day in the publishing business offers an immediate calming effect. He went on to say that living in a log cabin has left him less interested in vacations than at any other time in his life. His now-grown daughters tell him they are always pleased to return to the log cabin for holidays and family events, and that it seems to have created a deeper sense of tradition than many of their friends who live in conventional homes seem to experience.

I then contacted several Blue Ridge Log Cabin homeowners to see how they compared the experience of log cabin living to conventional homes. Jerry and Carol Clark, who recently moved into their Blue Ridge Log Cabin, said the experience of returning to their log home is much more enjoyable than that of their previous conventional homes. Blue Ridge Log Cabin owner and high school principle Charlie Burry informed us that, “As a high school principle, I value regular downtime away from the pressures of my job.” In that regard, Mr. Burry went on to say, “My wife and I greatly enjoy the peace and relaxation afforded by log-home living verses a conventional home.” Jim Austin, another Blue Ridge Log Cabin owner, commented, “several years ago we decided to change our lifestyle and head out of the hustle and bustle of city life and settle for the quiet and serene country life. We found the perfect wooded location in the foothills of the Appalachians, complete with a little stream running through it. These past five years have been fantastic. We couldn’t have picked a better location or company to build our home. We absolutely love the quietness of the woods in which deer and turkey abound. The sound of our little creek in the morning mist seems heaven sent. Perfect setting, perfect cabin. We love it and wouldn’t change cabin living for the world.” Throughout the numerous interviews that were conducted, the response was always the same. Those homeowners who had changed from a conventional home to a log cabin unanimously agreed, the feeling of contentment, relaxation and satisfaction with the log home was far superior to that of their conventional home. Had this little research project been a survey, it would have seemed artificially skewed. Rarely will you find 100 percent of your survey group in agreement on nearly any subject. In this inquiry, every single person, without exception, agreed that they would never trade log-home living for a conventional home. That’s what it’s like to live in a log cabin.

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FLORIDA

T

he Islands of he Bahamas are like paradise for a boater! The best time to go is when some event is happening and with a shallow-draft boat to really enjoy all the gorgeous islands. There is no better time than during the July Regatta Time in the Abacos. It is one party after another, moving from island to island. I have made this journey close to a dozen times on various vessels. This year we took my wave-piercing catamaran, the 33’ SkeeterCat. Selection of guests for a long trip like this is very important. Never take a first-time boater, even if he or she is a friend. A portable freezer is a great option for longer trips. We borrowed a friend’s Engel 43-quart unit that uses 2.5 amps at 12volts and maintained it with a 65-watt solar panel. We cooked all our meals onboard and had gourmet dinners of filet mignon, barbecue chicken and fresh grouper and mutton snapper we caught. We took off from Palm City, Fla. and crossed the Gulf Stream in 15to 18-knot headwinds. It was a bit bouncy. We checked in at West End on Grand Bahama at lunchtime. After clearing customs, we ran down to Mangrove Cay Island, where we had a nice refreshing swim in crystal

clear water. We covered 130 miles that day. Next day, we made it to Hope Town and joined the party in Hope Town Inn. They had music, dancing, food and the most spectacular view of the open Atlantic. We anchored in the sound before following the racing fleet from Hope Town to Guana Cay, Treasure Cay and Green Turtle Cay. Some of our friends were racing, so we were the “chase boat.” After each race, there was a party with live entertainment and trophy presentation with the sponsored free bar. There is a lay day between each race to recuperate and sail to the next island. On these lay days, we took excursions to visit other local high spots and snorkeled at Pelican Coral Park, Elbow Cay and Manjack Cay, where some friendly stingrays and a nurse sharks come up to you expecting to be fed. Feeding them is a no-no. We ran down to Little Harbor to visit Pete’s Pub & Gallery and see some fantastic bronze art by Pete Johnston and other artisans. The entrance to the harbor at low tide is 2.5 feet, and the docks were full, except near the beach. A dock in very shallow water was just perfect for the beachable SkeeterCat. The ultimate sponsored party was on the last day of the Regatta at Fiddle Cay, called “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” More than 3,000 people and probably over 500 boats made this the biggest sandbar party ever. They served free hamburgers, rum drinks and cold beer. After two weeks of fun, we had to return to reality. Our return trip was uneventful, with flat seas and smooth running. We tried high speed trolling, but all I ended up with was losing two nice lures. The weather was perfect. The parties were fantastic. There were great food, great friends, great diving, and the boat ran perfectly. It was truly an adventure in paradise. Tom Mestrits designed and built the SkeeterCat 33 Power Catamaran. For more information on the SkeeterCat 33, see the ad in this magazine or go to www.StuartYachtSales.com under “Power Boats For Sale.” For more on the ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ event, go to

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Team Murderized, out of Grand Bahama, took top team honors in last year’s tournament with 11 fish weighing a total of 292.5 pounds, to take home $15,000 in cash winnings.

B

imini Big Game Club Resort and Marina, host to some of The Bahamas’ most legendary fishing tournaments, is pleased to announce that Wahoo Smackdown IX will take place Nov. 9-12. The ever-popular and authentic Bahamian offshore tournament, led by longtime Bimini Big Game Club dockmaster, Capt. Robbie Smith, has drawn thousands of anglers to the island since its inception and has become an annual tradition for many. With more than 50 record-setting catches from the waters that surround the island, Bimini has earned its title of Sport Fishing Capital of the World and, come winter, is considered a prime location for wahoo due to its position in the Gulf Stream.

Wahoo Smackdown IX is slated to kick off Nov. 9 with a captain’s meeting and conclude on Nov. 12 with an awards gala. Registration fee is $1,500 per boat and includes four anglers, tournament shirts and entry to social events. Additional anglers (over four) are $250 each. Extra social tickets are $150 each. Total payout is $25,000 based on 25 registered boats. Registration fee is 100 percent refundable if the tournament is canceled due to weather. A $300 instant credit will be issued for entries that book both hotel and boat slip for a minimum of a four consecutive nights. The $300 credit can be used in the restaurant or applied to the total resort bill. Sponsors include American Beverage Marketers www.masterofmixes.com as the Title Sponsor, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage (Sands) www.bahamianbrewery.com, artist David Dunleavy www. dunleavyart.com and Tropic Ocean Airways www.flytropic.com. To register, please visit www.wahoosmackdown.net. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Beth Watson at BWatson@biggameclubbimini.com or (954) 462-3400. Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, in Alice Town, Bimini, The Bahamas, is a popular, internationally-regarded boutique Out Island resort less than 50 miles from south Florida. The property features 51 guest rooms & suites, a 75-slip full-service marina, a dive center with daily dives, rental equipment, a variety of scuba diving lessons and specialty training courses and a freshwater swimming pool. The Big Game Bar & Grill is the most popular restaurant in Bimini, serving American and Bahamian cuisine with all-day dining from a second-floor vantage point overlooking the marina and bonefish flats of Alice Town. Bimini is known for world class beaches, fishing and diving and is a family-friendly destination with many on-the-water activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling and boating. For more information on the Big Game Club Resort & Marina, go to www.biggameclubbimini.com.

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T

here is a pretty little waterway in St. Petersburg, Fla., called Frenchman’s Creek that boaters and fishermen have been frequenting for years. Those who have been there might wonder who the “Frenchman” was who was memorialized in the creek’s name. If those boaters and fishermen are bird lovers, they will not be pleased to learn that the namesake of the creek was a really despicable bird hunter named Jean Chevelier.

fashions in their hats. The Frenchman also somehow got his name on Chevelier Bay in the Ten Thousand Islands, very near to Watson’s Place on the southwestern coast of the state and near where the famous Loren “Totch” Brown lived and hunted. Chevelier and his cronies wantonly killed thousands of roseate spoonbills, egrets, herons and hawks. Thank goodness conservationists like Marjory

His real name was Alfred Lechevelier (nicknamed Jean Chevelier for some unknown reason), and he bought the Maximo Point in St. Petersburg, a picturesque point that is now the site of Maximo Park. Michael Grunwald, in a really good book about an important source of water in Florida, “The Swamp,” 2007, called Chevelier “Florida’s most notorious plumer.” And Jack Davis, in his recently published book, “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” (2017), noted that “the healthiest spot on earth was anything but that for birds” after Chevelier arrived in the 1880s. The Frenchman, who apparently came from Montreal or Paris, tried and almost succeeded in wiping out the plumed birds of St. Petersburg and the Everglades before sending on the feathers and sometimes the complete dead bodies of thousands, maybe millions, of birds to milliners in New York and Europe so that women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries could have the latest

Stoneman Douglas and even Harriet Beecher Stowe helped stop the mass killing of the birds. The Tamiami Trail was built by the Chevelier Corporation, also named after one of the worst hunters that ever came to the state. The 1958 movie entitled “Wind across the Everglades” had Burl Ives portray the plume hunter. It’s interesting how such a pleasant-sounding French name, Chevelier, has a sordid history behind it. Anyway, those who fish Frenchman’s Creek might not be pleased at the origin of the name, but they would surely be happy to know that the “Journal of the American Medical Association” in 1885 named Maximo Point the “healthiest place… of any portion of Florida.” I have not had the privilege of fishing in the creek, but my son, who lives nearby, likes the park and the creek. Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “South Florida Waterways” (2013 - available at amazon. com for $7), can be reached at ceyhankevin@gmail.com.

For more on Kevin McCarthy, go to

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he Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation breathed new life into south Florida’s marine ecosystems with a massive artificial reef deployment about a mile and a half offshore of the Jupiter Inlet in August. The $500,000 deployment is the largest ever conducted by a private foundation on Florida’s east coast. While the sheer size of this deployment is impressive, what makes this project unique is the design of the artificial reef modules, as they mimic natural reefs. Additionally, these reef modules cause scouring along the ocean floor, which exposes bedrock and aids in the recruitment of algae, soft corals and sponges. The modules weigh 4 tons each, and 134 of them were deployed on Aug. 9 along with 1,000 tons of boulders. ENGEL, the leader in AC/DC fridges and freezers, high performance roto-molded coolers, vacuum insulated drinkware, outdoor adventure gear and soft-sided coolers, and No Shoes Reefs—a joint venture of ENGEL and Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation—participated in the historic deployment. The venture was partly funded by dollars raised by No Shoes Reefs, which donates a portion of the sales of No Shoes Nation-branded products to building artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and surrounding rivers and waterways. “Anyone who lives in south Florida enjoys our magnificent waterways, ” said Paul Kabalin, CEO of ENGEL Coolers. “Because ENGEL calls south Florida our home, we feel passionate about protecting our coral reefs, and creating new reefs, which are vital for so many marine species and for the protection of our shores. The No Shoes Reefs brand and associated products exist solely to ensure organizations like the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation can continue restoring, creating and deploying reef modules to ensure our ecosystems thrive. We are very excited to have played an integral role in this recent record-breaking deployment, which will undoubtedly breathe new life into our fragile marine habitats.” ENGEL Coolers Vice President, Mike Dixon, who serves as a board member for the South East Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI), is very passionate about ENGEL’s role in reef creation and preservation. “Partnering with the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation represented the most immediate and impactful opportunity to aid the SEFCRI (www.southeastfloridareefs.net) region,” Dixon explained. “This large coral reef tract in southeast Florida is lesser known compared to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and faces significant challenges, water quality issues, and sedimentation threats from beach “nourishment” and port expansions being primary among them. Placing this material in this ideal location allows for both the artificial and natural elements to aggregate reef life and allow a vibrant ecosystem to take shape where there previously was barren sand.” For more information about No Shoes Reefs, or to purchase a limited edition No Shoes Reefs shirt or hat, visit noshoesreefs.org. The t-shirts and hats feature the No Shoes Reefs logo, as well as the No Shoes Nation skull and cross bones. Close to 40 percent of the proceeds from sales of these items goes to support the reefs. Look for future No Shoes Reefs products from ENGEL in the future.

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By Terry Gibson • Photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia/flickr

I

have needed an on-the-water tow three times over the last five years. Each of my experiences with maritime towing services has been prompt and professional. I believe that’s what most boaters find when caught in a bad situation. That’s why I was shocked when a friend who is a maritime attorney told me several horror stories of people being taken advantage of by price-gouging towing and salvage companies. After calling dozens of guides, fishing clubs and boating clubs, I realized that price gouging occurs more than rarely, and that few boat owners understand even the basics of towing and salvage law. There is a gap in consumer protections that incentivizes some maritime salvage and towing services to take advantage of boat owners experiencing trouble on the water. Unscrupulous salvers swoop in to help, but then leave boat owners with outrageous bills, which are often based on the value of the boat, not the service performed. With tactics that range from claiming simple assistance as a “salvage” job to embracing deceptive marketing practices, operators prey on unsuspecting boaters with surprise charges and questionable practices. Again, while most marine salvers are honest, hard-working folks, mari-

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1. Be prepared: The best way to avoid needing to call for help is to be prepared before you head out. Ensure your boat is properly maintained. Make sure you have enough fuel. Leave emergency communication lines open. Stay well stocked with a hand pump and other emergency tools. As an added measure, you can also take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard. A specialist will check out your boat and provide safety tips and recommendations, free of charge. 2. Read your contracts: Many boaters have memberships with companies that provide emergency services. Some insurance policies even cover membership for these services, reimburse boat owners for expenses and pay salvage claims. It’s important to review those contracts and know what a policy covers—and what it does not cover. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because that knowledge may save thousands of dollars down the line. 3. Beware of “salvage” claims: If your boat experiences an emergency, you may get an offer of help from another vessel or a maritime salvage and towing company. Before you accept assistance, always try to negotiate a fixed fee. This will eliminate the possibility of pricing uncertainty or a costly “salvage” claim. It may seem like common sense, but remember what really matters during an emergency. Minor mechanical issues can be resolved, but when things start to get out of hand, call for help sooner than later. Be prepared with proper safety equipment, because you never know when you might need it. When it comes to on-the-water assistance, information is the most important tool to avoid being taken advantage of. A basic understanding of maritime towing and salvage law helps boat owners make informed decisions when emergency strikes. Terry Gibson is an outdoor journalist, conservation and consumer-protection advocate based in Jensen Beach, Fla. He has served in a many editorial capacities for leading fishing media.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

I

BRANDON LESTER

finished sixth in the recent Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont using a fairly new technique called the “Ned rig” and a dropshot. The Ned has been out for a couple of years now, but I just picked it up and started fishing it this past spring. I haven’t put it down since, and I can assure you the Ned is here to stay. When I first saw it, I wondered under what circumstance would it be any better than a shaky head or a drop shot. Let me explain it like this: A mechanic has a whole box full of tools. Some of those tools can serve multiple purposes, but there will always be one tool that does each job the best. The Ned rig is a tool you better have in your bass fishing box. The Ned rig really shines when fish are on a clean bottom in pretty clear water. The rig itself is basically a mushroomstyle jighead with an exposed hook. The exposed hook makes it tough to use in cover. Start by looking for banks or flats where the bottom is fairly clean with some isolated targets that hold fish. These objects could be mooring buoys, big rocks, stumps, or really anything for the fish to get around. Although the Ned is a fairly slow way to fish, you can still cover water once you figure out the targets the fish are holding on. I’ve also had success fishing the Ned on bluff-type banks in the winter and early spring. This is especially good on lakes with smallmouth or spotted bass, but I’ve caught all three species on this rig. The way I fish the Ned is simple. All you do is let it fall to the bottom on a slack

line. Watch your line as it’s falling, as sometimes they will grab it on the fall. Once the bait hits the bottom, tighten your line and shake your rod tip. All you’re doing is shaking the bait in place, not moving it forward. Once you’ve shaken it, move the bait toward you a foot or two and do the same thing. Most of your bites will come on the initial fall or the first or second time you shake it, so don’t waste too much time on a cast. Many times you won’t feel the bite, so it is

important to use a line you can see to detect a fish swimming off with the bait. The right rod, reel, line, jighead and bait are the key to making this technique work. I start with an MHXEPS81-MLXF rod that is 6’9” in length and medium-light action. I like a pretty soft rod so I can throw that light jighead a long way. Use a good quality 2500-size spinning reel filled with 10-lb. Vicious Hi-Vis yellow braid for your main line with a 6- to 8-foot leader of 8-lb. Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon. I use the new Mustad Grip Pin Ned jigheads. I mostly between a 1/8-ounce, but they are made up to 1/4 ounce with 1/0, 2/0 or 3/0 hooks. I use an X-Zone Lures True Center Stick cut in half for almost all of my Ned-rigging.

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By Capt. Randy Cnota

T

his year, anglers heading out of C-Quarters Marina in Carrabelle, Fla. to catch the winning kingfish were met with challenging weather and high seas. On Sunday, storms rolled through the area making it extremely hard for smaller boats to reach the fertile fishing grounds. The winning team was “BillCollector.” Capt. Page Pitman, of Crawfordville, Fla., steered his 34’ Hydra Sport Custom to victory by concentrating his efforts on finding the right live bait and presenting it in the right manner. His son Gage Pitman hauled in the 47-pound smoker king for the win. No doubt, dad was proud! Capt. Pitman offered few details about how the winning fish was caught, but he recommends anglers try different techniques for bagging giant kings... hmmm? Avery Anderson won the youth division with a 10.3-pound king, and Kate Clark with Team Barnes Capital Group won the ladies division. Rob Grabemann of the Leukemia Research Foundation noted that, thanks in part to this event, new technology has rounded the corner in the treatment of leukemia, and they’re closer to a cure than ever before. Donations to the foundation totaled $50,000 for this year’s event, bringing the total to more than $915,000 raised over the Shootout’s history. The $1M goal is well within reach. The good people that plan, conduct and support this event continue their hard work and commitment in preparation for next year’s event to be held Aug. 3-5, 2018.

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C-Quarters Marina Carrabelle, FL

ABOVE: First-place team “Bill Collector” with their winning 47-pound king. Team members were Todd and Jessica Welch, Gage Pitman, David Bramblett and Page Pitman. Top right: Kingfish Shootout’s Youth Division winner was Avery Anderson, of Register, Ga., with his 10.3-pound king.

Come out to compete, spectate or help support this event in any way you can. You’ll be glad you did. It’s a great time, a great cause and it all happens in a beautiful place. Let’s go fishing for a cure! For more info, visit www.c-quartersmarina. com or call (850) 697-8400.

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SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

By Patrick Sebile

I

t’s the perfect time of year for energized tuna, the tarpon of a lifetime or a big fat striper. What these fish and a few others have in common is they swallow prey whole. They do not bite it like a wahoo, barracuda or bluefish. That means the whole baitfish is getting sucked into a bucket-wide mouth. The same thing happens to the lure you’ll be using. Most hard baits have two or three treble hooks. The problem with this setup is large fish and lengthy fights can cause those tiny hooks to open up or tear from a fish’s lip. We all know this loss hurts. The bigger the fish, the worse it hurts and the more likely it is to happen. I came up with a solution for this scenario several years ago while targeting giant tarpon on the west coast of Africa. I adapted my hard baits to use a single large hook. It resulted in the successful landing of more big fish than with the original hardware. Both regular J hooks and circle hooks can be used. With a J hook there is a need to set the hook as usual. With a circle hook, the angler

should just keep cranking and allow the fish’s run to set the hook. Circle hooks work well, they usually hook a fish in the jaw and they rarely pull out. The drawback is not everyone is accustomed to circle hooks, and learning the technique when a big fish bites can result in heartbreak. To optimize this modification, I recommend lures that are sinking or fast sinking, as their balance won’t be altered too much by the removal of the treble hooks. Some floating or suspending lures also work well with this rig. Some might think this alteration would result in missed bites… and this is true. But the fish missed are typically small ones, or toothy critters like bluefish and ’cudas. In the middle of the night when I’m fishing for striped bass, it generally makes me happy to miss the chompers that peck at a lure’s tail. When the fish I’m targeting shows up, one that’s capable of swallowing the whole bait, the hook-set is typically solid, and with a much larger hook secured in the jaw. This gives the angler the ability to horse the fish, and it also makes unhooking a lot less dangerous. Here’s how I alter to my hard baits when pursuing powerful fish: • Pick up your favorite lure, a heavy-duty barrel swivel, a big J hook or circle hook and a bag of skirt collars. • Remove the treble hooks and their split rings. Keep or add a nose split ring. • Run the hook point through one eye of the swivel. There must be some wiggle room, but not too much. • Slide a skirt collar over the barb. This will secure the lure on the hook. • Attach the nose split ring to the swivel’s other eye. That’s it. Now the lure is ready to hook and do battle with larger, more powerful fish. Patrick Sebile is the owner and lure designer of Sebile Innovative Fishing (www.sebile.com).

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By Capt. Michael Okruhlik • Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures.

W

e all know about finding and fishing areas where we see signs of “active bait.” Or, do we? The importance of bait in the area we are fishing has been drilled into our heads for decades, and with good reason. However, it is easy to get caught up in the “active” or “visible” aspect of the equation, and that can cost us some missed opportunities. On one particular fishing trip, I was kayaking in 2 to 3 feet of clear water. The area was a mix of three different types of sea grass, and the bottom was mostly firm with some softer areas and potholes. During the time I was fishing, I only saw three mullet casually flip over the course of several hours. Most fishermen would have left this area in a hurry due to the lack of active or visual surface bait activity. The thing about bait, is just because we don’t see it or see signs of it doesn’t mean it is not there. What I noticed that kept me in this area is that from time to time I would see several pinfish follow my soft plastic paddletail back to the kayak. This was the key that let me know there was bait in the area that increased the probability of larger predator fish also being there and feeding. When the pinfish would follow the smaller paddletail, it was like fishing with live bait without actually using it. There is no doubt in my mind that the school of bait helped attract the trout and reds to my lure. Although several other kayaks and boats came into the area, they all left after a few minutes. Not seeing what they wanted, they just burned by and didn’t stop. By following the subtle signs and sticking to the area, I was able to keep a limit of reds, release many more, and I caught and released a 28-inch trout. Not a bad day for not seeing any “active” bait. The next time you are on the water, peer a little deeper and have the patience to notice more than just the surface activity, or the lack of. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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September Transitions By: Capt. Mike Anderson

A

s we step into September water temps slowly start to cool down and the fish start to transition into their early fall and winter haunts. This time of year you can actually spend a whole day on the water without suffering from heat exhaustion. For me it doesn’t get any better than working docks and deep water mangrove shorelines with artificial baits and putting together a nice stringer of fish, this is normally

the month when we can start to do that again. Soft plastic paddle tails like the Marsh Minnow from MirrOlure and the paddle tails from Strike First Lures will both get the job done this time of year. Snook will start their push towards the rivers and deep water canals and feed on almost anything along the way. There might not be a better time of the year to catch that snook of a lifetime than September. As they push towards their winter haunts they feed heavily in anticipation of winter cold fronts and depleting food

of the month we may start to see some kingfish off the beaches and the gag grouper will start to push in shallower and feed more aggressively in the cooler waters. September will still be a little warm on the front end, but normally by the end of the month things will be in full fall swing. Take advantage of the changing conditions and pay close attention to transitional areas as this can be an incredible month on Florida’s west coast! 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.

supplies. The Redfish bite can only get better from the spring so hopefully they’ll school up and feed heavily on the flats as the summer bait hatch finally grows up. We usually start to see new schools on the flats this month. Big gator trout return to shallower waters to feed and the flounder bite picks up significantly on areas of hard bottom as well. Towards the end

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Catch - Release - Eat… It’s up to you

By: Capt. Woody Gore

Capt. Mike Gore releases top of the slot redfish to fight again another day.

T

he number of folks taking to the water for relaxation, boating, fishing and family fun is growing larger every day. There was once a time when there would only be five or ten people launching during the week and now there are days when the Gandy ramp is almost full on many days during the week. I would suspect that ninety percent of those boats are out catching fish. Besides being a great way to put some of life’s tribulations on hold it’s also a good way to put a tasty meal on the table. Folks fish for different reasons, some for the fun of catching, a few others for dinner and many for both. Over the past decade the concept of catch and release has become very prominent throughout the fishing world. It’s a great idea because you’re actually recycling fish by putting them back alive. This recycling concept of catch and release simply means you catch a fish, release them and give someone else a chance to catch that fish.

It’s undeniable that catch and release has improved our fisheries. Progressive fish management regulations, mostly slot limits and closed seasons, have created outstanding fisheries throughout the country. At the same time, there are always those who take everything to the extreme. Certain groups and anglers alike feel that every fish caught should be released. However, it’s important to remember that catch and release is an option. If you want to release a fish, that’s great, if you want to keep a few for dinner that’s also ok. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a few fish for the table, but there’s no advantage to loading the freezer. Fish always taste better when they’re fresh, but once they become freezer burned they are ruined. Prolonged freezer storage means they lose their taste and usually wind up in the garbage. The fish are biting. So, if you want to put your catch back, good for you. But if you want to keep a few, don’t hesitate to enjoy a fresh fish dinner.

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8/15/2017 5:59:35 PM


By: Capt. Joel Gant

Hernando County

O

k fish-heads, it’s time for a road trip! You would think that as a fishing guide I would go to the mountains or somewhere different than my norm, but no, I choose to go to the Florida Keys. With Jimmy Buffett music and a cold adult beverage lingering in my mind, Islamorada is the place I love to go. I usually take two weeks and try to be on the water every day, as with any new area, you need to take some time to learn what to do and where. Some days we venture offshore for tuna, mahi or yellow tail. Inshore we fish for the silver

king, tarpon. Other days we search for lobster and snorkel the reefs. The history in the keys is as endless as the fishing. From Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon down to Key West, there are multiple things to do on and off the water. In our area scalloping is similar to lobster season in the keys. People come from all over to enjoy getting into the water for an aquatic Easter egg hunt. If you’re new to scalloping, you might want to hire a local guide. A guide will supply everything you need and knows the spots to go to. If you have your own boat, head north from Hernando Beach and look for the group of boats, that’s a good place to start. Make sure you know the regulations and be safe. Offshore fishing has been challenging, but with some perseverance you should be able to have a productive day. The gag grouper have been in anywhere from 15 to 60 feet. They don’t seem to have a strong pattern right now. As the water cools in the fall, start to look for them in the shallower waters closer to 20 feet. On recent trips, fresh cut baits seem to work the best. The second choice would be to use frozen baits like mullet, mackerel or threadfins. Use a 7/0 hook and as light of weight as you

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can to keep the bait on the bottom. Also you might want to use chum, either cut baits or a chum block. The cobia are still around, I always keep a rod ready to throw with a bait that I can grab quickly when one comes by the boat. These fish usually aren’t picky and will hit anything worked fast by them. I love cobia because they will fight to the very end. Don’t bring a big cobia into the boat green, they can do a lot of damage to you and your boat. It’s best to gaff a keeper cobia (33 inches to the fork) and net one if you’re not sur of its size. 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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8/15/2017 5:59:36 PM


Tampa Bay Fishing Report

A

s usual, August is a scorcher with the humidity in the nineties, but we’re still catching fish. You need to pick your times and places, but the bite has been fairly consistent. Remember, like cold winter waters, warm summer waters have less oxygen in them and tend to make fish lethargic for most of the day. However, if you’re a night owl, try fishing at night. Many summer anglers find nighttime fishing enjoyable because it’s cooler and fishing is relatively productive. Bait has been small as of late, but heavy chumming on deep flats can still bring in some larger greenbacks. However, large greenbacks are not always the answer; match the hatch to find success. Also it’s important to remember that you don’t need to black out the livewell; you only need enough bait for fishing. With water temperatures in the high eighties to low and mid-nineties the trick is keeping baits alive. Less bait consumes less oxygen, so for this reason less is more. Here’s a tip to help keep your baits alive, buy an inexpensive floating swimming pool thermometer to keep in your livewell. Now freeze several bottles of water and keep them in your cooler. When your water temperatures soar above ninety add one to the livewell. Fresh water and bait does not mix, so never empty the contents into the livewell, just place the frozen bottle into the water. For some lively mackerel action just look around the bay for large schools of threadfins and you’ll find the mackerel. Mackerel also like small greenbacks, small silver spoons, and topwater lures. Here’s a tip to get them eating, cut up a net full of live or dead greenbacks and let them drift back with the current; it won’t take long before the mackerel pick up on the scent and start feeding. Make sure to have sufficient leader at least 24 to 30 inches, fifty pound Seaguar is what I use and I pair it with Daiichi longshank #2 hooks. Mackerel have plenty of teeth capable of inflicting a nasty bite, so be careful when unhooking.

Here’ a tip about handling sharks caught while mackerel fishing, don’t think that the smaller ones are a cake walk. Small sharks are extremely dangerous despite their size, because they are strong and very flexible. Grabbing one by the tail could result in a nasty bite if you’re not careful. If you must handle them grab it firmly behind the head and control the tail with your other hand. Redfish will be steady with schooling fish moving around the area. Approach schooling fish carefully, you don’t want to split them into several groups because it’s often difficult to group them back up. Always pole or slow troll to within casting distance, Power-Pole down and present a low profile by getting off the bow. Try to pick off fish at the outer edges, never cast into the middle of the school. Reds eat shrimp, greenbacks and pinfish. If they’re not looking for live bait cut bait on the bottom usually works, but you must be patient. Night fishing can produce good catches of snook, redfish and trout around most structures and especially lighted docks because they tend to hold bait. Work any good topwater lure through the light line and hang on. Mangrove shorelines and grass flats offer excellent snook, redfish and trout fishing. Live shrimp and free-lined greenbacks or baits suspended under a popping cork sometimes works around the mangroves and sandy potholes. Also, look for fair size trout on the deeper edges of grass flats. Cobia fishing should continue as they travel around the flats with large rays, or manatees. Toss your bait or lure somewhere near the fish and the fight will be on. They’re not picky about what they eat, just get it close and make it move. Cobia also frequent channel markers and channel buoys, especially those holding greenbacks or threadfins. Hang a chum block over the side when fishing for mackerel or snapper and you might get a cobia bite as well. Tarpon anglers will find them moving into Tampa Bay and around the bridges. Threadfins, crabs and large scaled sardines

By: Woody Gore

tossed into their path should do the trick. Pick a bridge with a good light line at night and sight cast to them. Nice catches of mangrove snappers have been reported around almost any structure, especially around the full moon. Pick an artificial reef, rock pile, piling or marker, find some small greenbacks or shrimp, a #1 hook, 20 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, quarter ounce egg sinker or larger (depending on the current), make a knocker rig and have fun. Limit catches have been reported around the bay with some fish weighing in the three to six pound range, but most average around one to two pounds. “Give Me a Call & Let’s Go Fishing” – 813-4773814 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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8/15/2017 5:59:39 PM


Freshwater Fishing Report

By: Ron Schelfo

Lake Alfred, Auburndale, Winter Haven Areas

S

urprisingly, it has been a very good summer for blue gills and shell crackers, especially on Lakes Rochelle and Haines in Lake Alfred. We are still getting reports of good size fish and lots of limits being brought in. The bait of choice is live crickets. If you haven’t tried using a fly rod give it a try. Flies have been working very well. It’s always a great time for bass fishing even though it’s been very hot as of late. Our bass

fishing reports from the North and South Winter Haven Chains are still coming in strong. Fish deep during the hot daytime hours using Booyah lipless crankbaits in royal color or Bass Assassin swim bait for best results. For best results during the evening hours swim your bait along the shoreline in two to three feet of water. This past month we’ve seen a good number of six to eight pound bass and also many in the two to three pound range. A great example of the fish being caught is shown in the photo of father/ son team Javi and Robert Garcia, at a recent RTB Weekly Tournament. Our 19th season of Ron’s Tackle Box Weekly Bass Tournaments is now in full swing! Weekly registration is $30.00 per boat for a one or two man team, and 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 largest bass as well as 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” as well as on our website. Please like and follow us on Facebook, or you can call Ron at (863) 956-4990 for more

information. The tournaments are all around great fun, come out and join us! Ron’s Tackle Box is again the proud host of the 3rd Annual Bass Assassin/Power Pole promotional tournament, Saturday, September 30th on Lake Shipp in Winter Haven. This year’s tournament is bigger and better than before! There are guaranteed prizes of $2500 for 1st place, $500 for 2nd place and $500 the largest bass. One lucky angler will win a Power Pole Shallow Water Anchor and other special give-aways will be offered that day. This is the tournament you won’t want to miss! Go to our web site to click and print information and the registration form. If you have additional questions call Ron at (863) 956-4990. 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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8/15/2017 5:59:40 PM


Shoreline Report

By: Paul Presson

Matlacha, Florida

M

atlacha; pronounced Mat-lashay, is a manmade pass west of Cape Coral Florida. This small village has a very colorful past; it was once the territory of the Calusa Indians. When a bridge was built during the Great Depression, a shanty town was constructed by people looking for new opportunities. These people eventually won squatters rights and the town of Matlacha was born. In the 1990’s a net ban was enforced and the local commercial fishermen shot and set their fishing

boats ablaze in protest. Today, Matlacha is an eclectic fishing and art town. If you are looking for pristine beaches or high rise hotels, this is not the place for you. This is an angler’s paradise with mangroves as far as the eye can see. If you are staying in Matlacha, chances are that your lodging is on the water with good wade fishing opportunities. The draw bridge in Matlacha is nicknamed “the fishiest bridge in the world”. Fishing is allowed from the bridge and there is a small park adjacent to the bridge

that has restrooms and a cleaning station. The Matlacha community park has a kayak launch, boat ramp and a pier. There are access areas for those anglers that prefer to wade fish as well. Sheepshead and mangrove snapper can be caught in the many canals of this small town. With deep channels, mangrove laden shores and a multitude of oyster beds, redfish, snook and trout are plentiful. Bait shops, beach bars, kayak rentals and boat charters are all in

walking distance. Just hours away from the Tampa Bay area, this is an area that any angler will enjoy. Get in your car and make your way to Matlacha! 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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8/15/2017 5:59:42 PM


Skinny Water Report

L

ast month was a serious struggle out on the flats; the worst part of fishing in August is dealing with scorching temperatures and thunderstorms, and a very slow redfish bite. All of this will soon come to an end, as September marks the start of the fall. We should still get some rain, but that should slow down towards the end of the month. With that, temps will drop and the bite will pick up as the fish start to show signs of more aggressive behavior. You will start to see the fish begin to move around the flats

in search of different areas to stage for food. Keep notes of their behavior, as they will come in handy as a reference during the transition periods. Redfish, snook, trout, and even, flounder will all be on the move. All of these species and more will be found on the flats pushing towards new feeding grounds. This is also a great time to start throwing artificials. The best artificial baits to throw at this time of the year are spoons, topwaters, crankbaits and twitch baits. These lures are sometimes called search

By: Derick Burgos

baits and can be casted far to help locate laid up fish. Be sure to alternate retrieval speeds and action to help find what provokes a

strike. Many more species will be joining the flats brigade this month and next as the temps drop as fall approaches. Late season kingfish will have a late showing just off the beaches, alongside the last group of tarpon heading south towards the Caribbean. Sheepshead, snapper, pompano and triggerfish will be filling angler’s coolers towards the end of the month, so be ready for these tasty filets as well. In conclusion, this is only the beginning! In October, things will begin to rock and everyone’s

favorite; the redfish will be in full swing. Be on the lookout for next month’s article regarding targeting these beautiful fish in the fall season. Be safe, take a kid fishing and tight lines always!! 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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8/15/2017 5:59:43 PM


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South Shore Tampa Bay Fall Bite By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg

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his time of year the water temperature cools down and the bite heats up, bait starts schooling back up on the flats and the game fish come out of their summer haunts and start feeding on the flats. If I was to pick a perfect situation to fish this time of year, it would be an overcast day because the clouds cool the water down. Another good thing about an overcast day is that hooked and chummed baits don’t get terrorized by seagulls, pelicans and cormorants. A light breeze is good because you can get the wind at your back and make long casts. I also like a breeze because I’m convinced when the weather is “too nice” the fishing seems to be not as good as it could be. An outgoing tide this time of year is my favorite tide, it’s worth it to time your stage on the flats. It’s important to know the exact water heights on the tide you’re fishing and know how shallow your boat can go. I have been stuck on the flats a couple times over the years and it’s all fun and games until the no-see-um’s show up. Experience will keep you from getting stuck in the flats on low tide, just hang as long as you can, but give consideration to the seagrass. It’s ok if you give a little patch of seagrass a haircut every once in a while, but don’t dig trenches or give the grass

a KoJack shave with your prop. Satellite pictures show increasing prop scars on our grass flats year over year, sea grass is so important to our natural resources. Seagrasses are so important that the EPC has threatened to ban boats with outboard combustible engines from the flats. The following are some things that we can do as responsible anglers to reduce damage and losses to seagrasses; know the tides and how shallow your vessel can operate, use a jack plate, (my favorite jack plates are Bob’s Machine Shop Jack Plates, invented in Ruskin Fl., manufactured and distributed in Gibsonton Fl. if you are interested in getting one contact Beagle at Alafia Marine), get an electronic anchor as traditional anchors can rip grass up from their roots when they are pulled (I use two Power Poles on the stern of my boat to purchase also call Beagle at Alafia Marine).

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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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Spots and More Spots By: Capt. Anthony Corcella

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t’s now the time of the year when we are fishing for red drums, time to hit up Mitch’s bait and tackle for some small pinfish and cut ladyfish. The reds started to school up around the flats and the mangroves. We prefer to use a 500 size reel and seven foot star rod with a 20 pound fluorocarbon leader and a 4/0 hook with a size 11 split shot. This rig will be able to tangle with some nice redfish and even snook on the flats. Aside from flats fishing for snook we have also been doing some deep water snook fishing. If you want to try something different, look for them on artificial reefs in the bay. Drop down some cut bait with a knocker rig and step up your gear to a 30 pound leader and a 4500 size reel to get them.

Now take these tips and get out there and get on some fish! 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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An Everlasting Investment

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he word investment is defined as devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, or emotional energy. Many of us consider fishing, our time, a chance to get away from our responsibilities. There is nothing better than a weekend fishing get away with our friends, or is there? Dedicating and sharing time with our children can have a long lasting impact. Start slowly, buy the Scooby Doo or Barbie fishing rod and reel, and remember you are dealing with very short attention spans. Use a hula hoop, have a casting competition with your son or daughter in your back yard. Go to the nearest body of water and expose your kids to the wonders of fishing. Take some time and educate yourself, learn about the local fish, birds and vegetation so that you can pass this information on. Initially, quantity versus quality is a good rule of thumb when it comes to keeping a child’s interest. This is as easy as using a bobber, sinker and small hook baited with bread or even hot dogs. There is

nothing like watching a child catch their first pan fish. From this point, work your way up to live baits, using worms or crickets, get them accustom to baiting their own hooks. Tell them about the food chain and teach them about ethical fishing. When you feel your child is ready, let them observe cleaning and cooking fish. They will have a better understanding of not only the pride of the catch, but the rewards of a delicious meal. This would be a great time to explain and enforce some of the most basic fishing rules. Catch and release, proper fish handling and why there are limits on the fish that can be kept. Fishing with your children is a great opportunity to get to know them better and for them to get to know you. This is a chance to instill values and expectations to a captive audience in the comfort of the great outdoors. There are so many opportunities to expose children to the joys of fishing, for example, a trip to the beach allowing them to see new

By: Paul Presson

species in a different environment. Again you will be dealing with a limited attention span, have a back-up plan. It is so easy to bring additional toys on a trip to avoid boredom. Bring boogie boards, snorkels and masks, anything kids love to do by the water. In doing this, you also have the opportunity to revert back to your childhood, playing with your young ones. At some point, you will know if they are hooked. If they don’t like fishing, it may be time to find another endeavor that interests them. Keep in mind, there are so many ways to expose children to different types of fishing. Take them on a party boat, start out with short trips, they will not only catch different fish, they will also be able to observe others that have the shared passion. You don’t have to own a multitude of equipment, when they are old enough, take them on charters, by boat or by kayak, this is just part of the investment. If your job keeps you too busy, there are other ways for children to learn the nuances of fishing.

Day or overnight fishing camps are available in many areas. This will allow your kids to interact with people their own age that share the same passion. This also lets them learn from experts so that they can in turn, teach you new things. Fishing is unique in that it doesn’t matter how old you are, your kids may be grownup and this is still something that you can share with them. Just be ready for the day that they are out-fishing you and “teaching the old dog, new tricks”. Fishing with your children allows you to have time to share your thoughts and for them to share theirs. Make the investment, it will be time well spent. A special thanks to Captain Tim Whitfield and The Florida Fantasy Fishing Camp 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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Fly Report

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hanks to the inescapable heat and oppressive humidity, late summer was nobody’s favorite time of year in southwest Florida. However, if you’re like me and love chasing juvenile tarpon with a fly rod, those intensely hot days may have given you some of the best action of the year and September can be even better. For a lot of dedicated anglers, there is nothing better than jumping the 10 to 20 pounders that are still on the flats until the first cold fronts of November. The slick calm mornings and high water temps force our smaller resident tarpon to gulp air from the surface several times an hour. Tarpon are prehistoric and over the years have evolved internal air bladders lined with red blood

By: Capt. Gregg McKee

cells that also function as a rudimentary lung; this allows tarpon to live in both fresh and saltwater. Spotting a school of rolling fish during a deadcalm sunrise might be the greatest sight in all of flats fishing. These are the ultimate light tackle fish. Juvenile tarpon hit hard, jump dozens of times during the fight and can be landed in a relatively short time. They’re nothing short of a nuclear bomb on the end of an 8-weight fly rod. For those of you non-snowbirds, September could be your best shot at a tarpon on fly. These smaller fish are totally unpressured, especially during the weekdays. Juvenile tarpon are usually an early morning or end of the day target and almost any basin at least three feet or deeper can hold them. Calm conditions are essential for targeting them at the surface, once the wind kicks up these small tarpon roll far less frequently. On a perfectly flat morning you’ll also hear them taking a breath of air from a good distance. It’s a quiet but unmistakable slurping sound that can lead you right towards a pod of hungry fish. The biggest drawback to chasing juvenile tarpon during the end of summer and beginning of fall is the water itself. When the rolling fish drop back below the surface, our tannic stained water makes it tough to determine exactly where they’re going.

The best way to get a strike is to actually hit them with the fly while their heads are above the water. If you’ve ever played the old arcade game Whack-A-Mole, you’ll understand this kind of fishing. You need to anticipate where the tarpon will be before they actually surface. Throwing bushy white flies like seaducers or deer hair sliders, usually work best during these conditions. Since you’re not going to set any world records with these fish, skip the ultra-light leaders. A couple feet of 15 pound tippet and a 40 pound shock leader will let you muscle a juvenile tarpon to the boat in just a few minutes. In this hot summer water, that’s crucial to their survival. Finally, and most importantly, remember that pulling a tarpon out of the water is illegal if they’re over 40 inches in length. Even with the smaller ones it really shouldn’t be done. Keep them in the water like you see in the photo on this page and you’ll be doing these fish a big favor. Our juvenile tarpon can live a very long life, perhaps 50 years or more, so fight them hard and release them quickly. You might just meet them again in a few decades when they’ve put on a couple hundred pounds. Capt. Gregg McKee Wildfly Charters www.wildflycharters.com

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he 2017 Progressive Insurance Tampa Boat Show, the area’s only in-water boat show and official kick-off to fall boating season, returns to Tampa September 8-10 to showcase the marine industry’s newest boats and accessories and provide aquatic attractions for all ages. Visitors to the Bay Area’s largest boat show can view, board and enjoy one-of-a-kind deals on hundreds of boats from the region’s top dealers and cutting edge marine accessories and electronics. This year’s show has more than 300 boats ranging in size from 12 to 80 feet in the water and on land, with an expanded big-boat section featuring more than 100 best inclass vessels, ranging in size from 30 to 80 feet! This year’s show will also feature an expanded sailboat display. New to the 2017 Tampa Boat Show is Family Fun Day on Sunday, September 10. Families can take advantage of a special, online-only Family Admission which includes tickets for two adults and two children for just $20. The first 50 children to the show on Sunday will receive a free fishing pole. All attendees can participate in free Kids’ Zone activities including face painting, sand art and balloon art. The three-day boating extravaganza takes fun to new depths with interactive features for families and boaters of all experience levels. Visitors can enjoy on-water boating and sailing lessons along Tampa Bay. Attendees can also explore Fred’s Shed Interactive Learning Center for DIY fun with free hands-on clinics on boat maintenance, repair and upgrade techniques. There is also an extensive boating and fishing seminar lineup. This year’s show will feature a

VIP preview night on Thursday, September 7. For $75, attendees will enjoy an exclusive opportunity to view and board all in-water yachts before the show is open to the public. The price includes valet parking, cocktails and horse d’oeuvres. Tickets to the VIP event are only available to purchase online. For more information, visit TampaBoatShow.com and follow the show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Keep up with us by using #TampaBoatShow across all social channels. WHEN: September 8-10, 2017 Friday: 10:00am–8:00pm Saturday: 10:00am–8:00pm Sunday: 10:00am–6:00pm Note: In-water area closes at sunset WHERE: Tampa Convention Center 333 South Franklin St. Tampa, FL 33602 TICKET INFORMATION: Adults: $12 Children 12 and under: FREE (when accompanied by an adult) MILITARY APPRECIATION: Discounted tickets available for all members of the military with proof of valid ID EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Save $2 on full-price admission when tickets purchased in advance online. Offer good through September 7.

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St. Pete Report

By: Capt. Christopher Taylor

Family Fun Fishing - A Beginner’s Guide to Land Based Fishing

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eptember is known for being the transition month from summer to fall in Tampa Bay. As the boiling heat cools down to a light simmer, September makes for a great month to take the family out fishing. In this article, I’m not going to talk about fishing from a boat, or targeting any species in particular. I’m going to explain how to enjoy land based fishing for those who are curious, or those with families looking to enjoy the outdoors fishing. A favorite area of mine to fish from land is the Skyway Bridge. The rest areas located on both the Manatee County and Pinellas County sides are great places to go wading in waist deep water for trout, mackerel, snapper, redfish and even snook on occasion. Before purchasing a boat I had spent a lot of time at these rest areas fishing during the day and at night. The key to fishing the rest areas is finding seagrass that’s thick. The Skyway Fishing piers on both sides of the bridge offer a great fishing experience day or night in a safe

environment. From the wide variety of fish that can be caught, to the scenery, this is definitely at the top of my list of family fun fishing destinations. Common fish caught at the Skyway Fishing Piers are snapper, grunts, sheepshead, mackerel, grouper, sharks and tarpon on occasion. A bait shop is located at the pier and they usually keep live shrimp on hand. You may however want to make a stop at a local bait store for a wider variety of baits and tackle. Live shrimp and pinfish are popular baits used by many Skyway Pier fishermen. Fort De Soto Park is another favorite of mine when it comes to simplicity and ease of access. The eastern end of the park has an unfinished beach half a mile long that presents a beautiful view of the Skyway Bridge. This area is a dynamite spot for catching trout and big redfish while wading, live or artificial shrimp will do the trick. The two piers offer great opportunity for those looking to stay dry and still enjoy the experience of fishing. Common fish caught on the piers at Ft. De Soto are mackerel, trout, sheepshead, black drum and bonnethead sharks.

I recommend stopping by the Bait Bucket in Tierra Verde for advice on what’s biting and what to use for bait and proper tackle. They always have plenty of bait and a good report on the Skyway Piers and Ft. De Soto fishing. For anglers on a budget who are looking for an affordable rod and reel to get started with I recommend the Tsunami six foot Shockwave Pro two piece combo. It comes with monofilament line already on for only 30 dollars. There are many rods and reels to choose from, and generally you get what you pay for. However, this rod and reel is great for starters and won’t break the bank. Remember to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids, as that the sun can take the fun out of any fishing trip if ignored. To learn more about the Skyway Fishing Piers visit:www. floridastateparks.org/park/skyway. To learn more about Fort De Soto Park visit: www. pinellascounty.org/park/05_ft_desoto.htm. Captain Christopher Taylor Florida Reels Fishing Charters www.floridareelsfishingcharters.com (813) 220-6135

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• Rinse the fillets and pat them dry with paper towels. • In a food processor, combine the almonds, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and paprika. • Pulse until finely ground, but do not over process or the nuts can become oily. • In a shallow baking dish, spread out the nut spice mixture. • Dredge the fillets in the mixture, one at a time, shaking off the excess. • In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Fry the fillets for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. • Sprinkle parsley around. • Serve with wedges of lemon. If you have any questions, comments or would like to share a recipe of your own, contact Michelle at cnmoasis@gmail.com

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Flats to Nearshore Report By: Capt. Gary Burch

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uly and August were outstanding months to be fishing, with any luck we should have a very active continuation of fishing and catching into September. The bait fish are concentrated in Clearwater Bay and St. Joseph Sound which will keep the fish coming back for more. Despite this, don’t forget to bring some live shrimp out with you as well. I have been using the top of the incoming tide to catch a variety of fish on the flats. Finding an area that has grass with sand holes and moving water has been the ticket. These types of areas generally hold bait, which attracts the larger species such as redfish, trout, mackerel, ladyfish and sharks. Try different flats, some are better than others. Finding mackerel at the top of the tide throughout the inside bays should be an easy task. Stake out the boat and start chumming, soon the toothy critters will show up. Some of these fish have been quite big. Back in July a client caught a 33 inch fish that weighed in at almost 10 pounds. I do not use a wire leader because you will get more bites with a mono or fluorocarbon type leader. You may lose a few more hooks but the difference in bites will make up for it. The redfish are scattered throughout the bay on skinny water flats and around large oyster beds and mangrove shorelines. They will not be in large numbers yet, but small groups can be found. The problem has been that they show one week and move the next. Keeping up with them has been challenging. Once found, some big fish have been caught. We caught a few 30 inch fish and lots of smaller ones over

the past month. Use the high tide to search the shallows up next to the mangrove shorelines. Don’t forget to try docks as well; reds like to hang out in the shallows at mid-day. Have some cut baits in a chum bat ready so if you come up on a few redfish shut down everything and sling out the chum. Most of the time, this should hold some of those fish from swimming off. Trout will still be in their summer haunts, passes and grass flats throughout September. Finding old yellow mouth is not difficult, but locating the 20 plus inchers may take some looking. I will be exploring the flats in the three to four foot depths with good moving water using white bait and live shrimp. Start your fishing on the up side of the flat, that’s the side the moving water is hitting first. The trout will be ambushing their food as it approaches the up side of the flat. On typical charters in September we will catch trout, redfish, snook, mackerel, sharks and ladyfish. As long as the white bait remains in the bays and passes, look for all of the inshore fish to be feeding. We are still at the end of summer and our fall temperatures are a ways off. The doldrums of summer have not ended. Whichever species you target, go at it and catch’em up. 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

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or the 25th year, Florida Sportsman Magazine will host the Florida Sportsman Expo at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, October 7th and 8th, 2017. Previous attendees to the Florida Sportsman Expo will find an array of new exhibitors and fishing and hunting seminar speakers, as well as other new and exciting features on the show floor, including the Best Boat Super Showcase featuring new boats from the upcoming Best Boat Magazine and TV show with hosts Capt. Rick Ryals and Capt. George LaBonte on hand to discuss the keys to buying your ideal fishing boat. Six seminar stages will run continuous seminars by local guides and experts on inshore and offshore fishing, hunting, fly fishing, kayak fishing and fishing afoot on the beach, bridges and piers. Our impressive list of speakers includes Capt. Rick Ryals and Capt. George LaBonte, hosts of Florida Sportsman Best Boat, Reel Time’s Capt. George Gozdz, Capt. Sergio Atanes, Capt. George Hastick, Capt. Travis Yaeckel, Capt. Mark Hubbard, Larry “Fishman” Finch, D.O.A.’s Capt. Mark Nichols, Capt. Derrick Burgos, Peter Hinck, Meli Brock, Jonathan Swindle of Arrowhead Archery and Big & Wild Outdoors and many others sharing their expertise on trophy fish and game. Visit the Captain’s Corner to talk fishing, and book charters with our guide speakers. Try out the latest bows at the Indoor Mobile Archery Range, and visit the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) 500-gallon mobile saltwater aquarium. FWC will also host their Kids Fishing Derby outside on the Fairground lakes, and inside kids will win prizes for participating in the FWC’s “Fish ID” contest. New to the Florida Sportsman Expo is the Fly Fishing seminar stage, featuring local guides from the Tampa area, including Capt. Alissa

Vinoski, Capt. Rick Grassett, Capt. Nick Angelo and others. Get fly casting tips at the Fly Casting Pond hosted by Suncoast Flyfishers and Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club. Visit the club’s booth to get hands-on fly-tying lessons and watch the pros at work. Tampa’s Arrowhead Archery and Prime Bow will host our hunting stage and the Expo’s first Iron Buck Archery Tournament. There will be three divisions with cash and prizes for the winners. For hunters, new vendors are on hand to show hunting bows and archery accessories, hunting blinds, hunting scents, and more. The popular “Riggin’ it Right Academy” has room for up to 60 anglers at at time where you will receive hands-on instruction on rigging natural and live baits and lures, and knot-tying. Attendees can learn how to throw a cast net at the Ahi Cast Net Pit. Meet manufacturers’ representatives showing the latest from Tsunami, Salt Life, Ahi, Shimano, G.Loomis , PowerPro and more. “We’re excited to have a new slate of Tampa area fishing guides and hunting experts on our seminar stages this year,” said Mike Conner, show director. “Timely topics will be of great interest to anglers and hunters ready to hit the water and woods for a variety of fish and game.” Tickets at the Florida State Fairgrounds box office are $8 for adults. Kids 12 and under get in free if accompanied by an adult. Active military and First Responders with I.D. will receive a 50% discount on admission. New show hours for Saturday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. For discounted coupon and more details visit www. FloridaSportsman.com/Expo. Press Contact & Interviews: Mike Conner, Director 772-333-0530

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Capt. Sergio’s Corner

By: Capt. Sergio Atanes

A September to Remember

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eptember 10, 1987 my life changed during an ordeal most that I hope none of my readers go through, the sinking of my boat 35 miles offshore. I had purchased what I though was going to be my pride and joy a new 27 foot cuddy cabin vessel with twin 175 Evinrude’s. She was beautiful and so I named her Irene’s Dream after my wife. It started out like any fishing trip offshore, we talked about it all week and were itching to get going. We met at my home 4:30 a.m., best friend Larry Lavin, my uncle Manuel Valdes and his friend Pedro Labrador. We were going after grouper as we did every weekend in those days. I launched from Nick’s Marina at Port Richey, from there we ran to one of the markers to catch our live bait, we already had 10 pounds of fresh frozen Spanish sardines in our Gott 172 cooler as a backup just in case live bait was hard to get. Livewell packed with bait, heavy with water and a cooler, equally heavy, weighed down the stern of the boat. Under normal conditions, this would not be a problem. But soon conditions would prove far from normal. I was turning 4200 rpm on the engines, making good headway toward our fishing spot about 35 miles offshore, three foot rollers with a 15-knot breeze. Shorty, it started to rain and the wind picked up to about 25-knots and gusting to 40, the seas were piling up to about eight feet. The added stern weight of the cooler packed with ice, bait and drinks plus the added weight of a full 70-gallon livewell had lowered the transom of the boat to about water level. About that time, I looked aft and was horrified to see a “huge” wave break over the stern. In no time, we were standing in ankle-deep water. The splash well was working in reverse! Instead of releasing water, it was retaining water in the stern, setting it deeper in the water. Another wave broke over the stern, the engines couldn’t take another submerging and quit. Driving rain and two feet of water covering the deck was too much. I was able to get one motor started, we had to get on a plane and get the water out or we were going down. I gave the only motor running full throttle, it lasted about a minute and shut down, a big wave broke over the stern and I knew this was the beginning of the end. Batteries were dead, no mayday call had been sent and the life jackets were still in a duffel bag in the cabin. After several tries Larry managed to get the duffel bag from the sinking boat and within minutes the boat sank. The only thing keeping us alive was the cooler with 10 pounds of frozen bait a six pack of Coke and thanks to Larry, the life jackets. The boat sank somewhere around 8:30 a.m. Larry looked at his watch; it was 11 p.m. “Hey, we are losing it fast!” Larry said. “It was a struggle to keep our minds clear.” At one point, I shouted, “Who kicked me! Stop it!” I was horrified to see a four foot long shark. Larry started slapping the water hard, and then he struck the nose of the shark with his fist, it swam through Pedro’s legs and disappeared. We didn’t worry about sharks, even after all of that, we worried about our families, about our insurance, wills; how will our kids and wives do when we’re gone? We were dying and it hurt. Around two a.m. a wave of jellyfish wrapped around our bodies. I remember the pain, it felt like being stuck with thousands of needles. Then, it didn’t matter. The stings came and went-and came again. Four a.m. came, we were hungry and thirsty, we had decided we would share one can of coke every four hours to make them last as long as possible. At dawn, Larry stretched and saw a ship on the horizon. At first, he didn’t

say anything because he didn’t want to give false hopes. Yet as the ship drew nearer, he told us and pushed himself on top of the cooler. Larry waved as the ship drew nearer; only to watch it come within a mile, then sail on by. Larry waved harder, tears streaking down his checks. He saw a speck of a man standing on the stern of the vessel. Did he see a slight change in course? Yes! He waved even more; we all started shouting and waving. The ship did turn! It drew closer and Larry continued to wave while we screamed, laughed, cried and pounded each other on the back. The ship was close now, its rails lined with shouting men; and Larry continued to wave, even as the Jacobs ladder dropped down the side of the boat. Someone shouted, “We’ve got you!” We struggled up the ladder and collapsed on the deck of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ship Oregon II. It was about nine a.m. Sunday morning, just about the time when the Coast Guard was starting its search. After a ship-to-shore phone call home we were delivered to a Coast Guard vessel from Sand Key Station. Finally, to the shouts of children, wives, relatives and friends, four men slowly departed down the gangplank to waiting tears, hugs, laughter, kisses and our families. The ordeal was over. The crew of Irene’s Dream was home. 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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Tales from the Tupperware Navy By: Bruce Butler

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elcome back yak fans. This month I’m resurrecting my article from November 2009 to celebrate the rich history of Florida’s Nature coast. Located off US 19 at the southern end of Hernando County, Aripeka is a refreshing step back into time. Aripeka was founded around 1873 and is named after a Miccosukee Warrior and “alektco” meaning medicine Chief who led his people for over 100 years. He most likely wasn’t a Chief at birth, but still had a pretty good lifespan for back then. He was also known as Sam Jones, and his camp was said to be about seven miles south of Aripeka. Other notables to have passed through the area were Ponce de Leon around 1513 and Hernando DeSoto around 1539. Since I wasn’t on shore to greet them, this writer cannot verify the validity of these claims; but, I can verify that the legendary Babe Ruth was a regular visitor from 1919 through the mid 1930’s and probably helped to start the belief that Aripeka is a ‘quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem’. The Babe was a cane pole fisherman that was introduced to a casting rod by Billy Conner. It is said that he had to learn to control his powerful right arm, because his cast was stronger than the line that was available at the time and many a plug was lost. Other notables to visit Aripeka were Jack Dempsey who came there to train and play poker with the Babe and his teammates in 1921. Also of interest, Wilber and Orville Wright were said to have visited there. Part of the reason for some of the visitors is that Aripeka lay on a section of the old Dixie highway which’ from it’s inception in 1915 thru 1927, was the route our northern brethren took to get to such places as St. Pete and Miami. A section of the old road still exists off Aripeka Road running toward Hudson. In 1976, renowned artist James Rosenquist moved to Aripeka and sadly saw his home and studio destroyed by fire on April 26, 2008. And, OH MY GOD, how did I miss this: date line 1988, singer Anita Bryant returned from seclusion to sing at the Aripeka Elks Lodge. After hitting that pinnacle in her career I’m told she never sang again; or, that may be a rumor. OK, enough history, let’s move forward to present day. Aripeka sits at the mouth of Hammock Creek. Between the North and South forks is Norfleet’s Fish Camp, the most popular store in Aripeka. Then again, it’s the only store in Aripeka. Norfleet’s has been there since the 1940’s and is a must see when you go. With memorabilia all over the walls, it’s a kick and worth the trip all by itself. Overseen in the past by Carl Norfleet, purveyor of sage advice and a joke or two, Carl is the unofficial Mayor of Aripeka and a man I call my friend. Carl retired, so now he can spend all his time busting my chops-- not really, Carl’s a great guy and if your’e lucky enough to run into him, tell him I said ‘hey’. I first started fishing around Aripeka in the mid 1980’s and have found for the fisherman, or for those looking for a scenic view and a slice of Old Florida, that Aripeka is it. Going under the north bridge you have springs and some beautiful scenery. On the outside to the South you have Fillman Bayou, a well-known local fishing spot. To the North you have my namesake, Indian Bay. Indian Bay is one of my favorite fishing spots. It’s teaming with

Reds, Trout, Snook, Sheep head, and Cobia. If you can’t catch a fish there, you should take up golf. There is usually a Manatee or two on the paddle out and Aripeka has several resident pods of Dolphin. I have some great photos of them and other wildlife on my website, www.IndianBayOutfitters.com. I also offer charters to there and other locations on the Nature Coast. So, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at (352) 428-5347. Well, it’s about time to hit the water for this month. Bye for now, and happy paddling. Bruce Butler “Stumbling Gypsy” (352) 428-5347 Bruce@IndianBayOutfitters.com www.IndianBayOutfitters.com

Fishing Team

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By: Capt. Jim Kalvin

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ots of stuff is going on around the state that boaters and fishermen need to pay attention to. For starters, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission is in the middle of taking public comment regarding goliath grouper. Meetings coming up are posted below: Oct. 9: Jacksonville, Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Blvd. Oct. 10: Titusville, American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive. Oct. 11: Stuart, Flagler Place, 201 SW Flagler Ave. Oct. 12: Davie, Old Davie School Historical Museum, 6650 Griffin Road. Oct. 16: Pinellas Park, Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, 9501 U.S. Highway 19 N. Oct. 17: Port Charlotte, The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron St. Oct. 18: Naples, Collier County Public Library - South

Regional, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway. Share your input and learn more about the current status of goliath grouper by attending one of these workshops (scheduled 5 to 8 p.m. local time): If you cannot attend an inperson meeting, submit comments online by visiting MyFWC.com/ SaltwaterComments. Staff is working on a virtual workshop that should be available online in the near future. Additional details and updates to these meetings will be posted at MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops.”) Please make plans to attend and offer your local expertise. As local anglers know, goliath grouper numbers have been increasing for decades and they now dominate inshore and offshore habitat. I feel that a limited recreational take with an assigned slot limit may be just what is needed.

On the subject of derelict vessels, recent legislation gives FWC officers more authority to deal with abandoned boats that are a threat to the environment or a hazard to navigation. In one recent case however, a Good Samaritan who assisted with corralling a derelict vessel has been told that now only FWC has any authority in dealing with these boats. This Good Samaritan had time, monies and labor over a period of two months maintaining this vessel with no input or support from law enforcement. No owner was identifiable (though two previous owners were on record), and law enforcement did not return phone calls. The vessel documentation had been expired for over three years, so the Good Samaritan filed a lien against the vessel. Once the FWC was able to locate an owner however, the vessel was released to them and

the Good Samaritan was told that his lien was not legal. There was no effort on behalf of law enforcement to forward charges from the Good Samaritan to the owner who had neglected this vessel for more than six months. Channels and procedures had been followed, and only necessary work was executed in the interests of public safety and mitigating property damage. However, he is out of pocket thousands of dollars. We will track this story as it develops. Needless to say, that the Good Samaritan has no intention of cancelling his lien against the vessel. Hopefully, better communication and clarification of new legislation may be the result of this incident. Follow Standing Watch on Facebook, and join us! Contact Capt. Jim at 239-280-6054, or at james. kalvin61@gmail.com. We can arrange public speakers for your group on a variety of boating topics.

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Lure Makers Create New offerings By Tobin Strickland • Photo Courtesy of KWiggler.com

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ust when you thought you’d seen it all before, something unique shows up in fishing lures that solves a problem that frustrates you on the water. I recently saw a question on an online forum that asked if rod, reel and lure markets were oversaturated. One answer in that thread stated: “while many are making the same old thing, there are new creative solutions to be found for questions that just haven’t been solved intricately enough.” There just hasn’t been a time like today for creative lure makers to solve an angler’s problems and provide some really high-quality offerings. Using 3D modeling, computer graphics, and good ol’ American spirit, modern-day lure makers have the ability to make more sophisticated offerings that get closer to what the angler actually wants and needs. I’ve been around some Texas lure makers that are knocking it out of the park making new or improved lures that really solve key issues. Marker54.com’s Hard Shrimp has one of the best and most realistic shrimp actions I’ve seen. And the Controlled Decent Lure from MyCoastOutdoors.com is a foam-filled soft plastic that gives the angler complete control of depth in the water column. KWigglers.com’s new Willow Tail offers a new shape for a hydrodynamic flapping tail. And TroutSupport.com offers a long-casting, walk-the-dog weedless soft plastic. There hasn’t been a better time to make a new bait, and the industry only benefits from creativity. Throw a couple of these innovative baits in your bag to try out; they might become your new favorites. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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6. If the bird has swallowed the hook or is severely injured, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator from the list at MyFWC.com/unhook.

Photo by Carol Cassels

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ven if you take precautionary steps to avoid it, sometimes you might hook a bird by accident. That’s when it’s important to remember—don’t cut the line and let the bird fly away with it attached. This can lead to entanglement, resulting in death of that bird and possibly others as well. Instead, follow these simple steps to unhook the bird: Reel. Remove. Release. 1. Wear safety glasses and enlist a partner for help. 2. Reel the bird in slowly and lift it from the water using a hoop net. 3. Grasp the bird by the head just behind the eyes and fold the wings against the body. For pelicans, hold the beak, keeping the mouth slightly open so it can breathe. Cover the bird’s head with a cloth to keep it calm. 4. Remove the barb and hook from the bird using pliers or clippers. If the bird is entangled, remove all line. 5. Release the bird (if healthy) by placing it on the ground near the water and allowing it to take off.

Pura Vida Divers guide Katie Sandidge poses next to a goliath grouper during the aggregation in this image captured by Walt Stearns.

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n the blue void of water beneath the sea, a large shadow looms in the distance. As you approach, the outline of a sunken ship begins to appear. Lurking under the bow is a large mass of dense, dark fish bodies. Thick-lipped, dark brown or gray goliath grouper swim about, heavy tail fins swaying side to side. Every year, goliath grouper begin aggregating on the wrecks and reefs offshore of Palm Beach County. They school in the dozens, their hulking bodies congregating under ledges or swimming languidly through the water past ogling divers. These huge fish sometimes make a dramatic appearance, emerging out of a school of flashing silver baitfish, their side fins rippling, large mouths gaping open and slowly closing again. While our reefs are home to a few “resident” goliath grouper that are spotted consistently throughout the year, one by one more and more of

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How else can you help a seabird or wading bird? 1. Don’t feed the birds, which teaches them to approach where they are more likely to be hooked. 2. Dispose of filleted bones where birds can’t get them—in a trash can with lid or at home. Bones of a filleted fish can tear throats, stomachs and intestines. 3. Cover bait buckets and take unused bait home. 4. Dispose of fishing line in a monofilament recycling bin or cut into small pieces and place in the trash. 5. Don’t leave your line unattended. 6. Cast carefully to avoid being snared on trees, bridge piles, power lines or obstacles. 7. Help others learn what to do when they accidentally hook a bird. It’s pretty easy, once you know how. More detailed information can be found at myfwc.com/unhook.

these fish begin arriving as summer starts to fade away into fall. Goliaths begin arriving as early as July, and are only here for a short period of time, often leaving as the last days of September tick away. Since 1990, goliath grouper have been considered a protected species, with regulations in place that outlaw their harvest from both state and federal waters. Before that time, their massive size made them a prized trophy fish. Although goliath populations used to abound throughout south Florida waters, overfishing took a huge toll on their numbers, dwindling the species down to alarmingly low numbers. Over nearly three decades since then, goliath grouper populations have made a healthy return. Aggregations now draw hundreds of the species to south Florida waters, with groups spread out in globs along the reef line. The goliath grouper aggregation provides an exciting event for both local divers and tourists, who will travel from all corners of the earth to dive with these majestic fish. They are a favorite of photographers, with wide-angle images of the hulking fish sitting amongst a mass of small silver fish gracing the pages of dive and travel magazines around the world. Goliath grouper are unique animals, moving through the water with the grace of a ballerina and the breadth of a linebacker. Individually or en masse, these fish are a sight to behold, and their arrival each year signals an excitement amongst the dive community similar to the cheer of school holidays among children. If you have never dove with a goliath grouper, this is the time of year to experience a dive unlike anything you have encountered before. Pura Vida Divers is running charters specifically to see goliath grouper aggregations throughout the month of September, on both reefs and wreck sites along the coast of Singer Island and Palm Beach. If you have questions about goliath grouper, aggregation times, or how you can help protect this important species, call Pura Vida Divers at 561-840-8750. Make reservations to go diving with these majestic animals by visiting their website at www.PuraVidaDivers.com.

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FISH & FISHING

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MARK SOSIN

never understood it. An angler hooks an unseen denizen of the deep that puts up an incredible battle before it is finally brought to boatside. When the fish is visible and the species can be identified, total disappointment masks the fisherman’s face. It doesn’t happen to be a desired species. Never mind the excitement and thrill of fighting it or the anticipation that it is going to be a highly prized catch. All that is forgotten. Instead, the person on the rod is almost apologetic for wasting time with this pathetic inhabitant. Sharks fall in this category. The thought of targeting these toothy critters makes too many anglers turn up their noses. Particularly in shallow water, sharks are capable of powerful performances with exceptionally long runs thrown in. In many situations, you have to follow them with a boat to avoid having them strip all the line off the reel. And, they are particularly challenging on tackle matched to the occasion. People ask me about the biggest fish I ever caught. It was a shark that weighed at least 1,500 pounds and ate a 250-pound black marlin in three bites. Fishing in Panama for black marlin, I caught a 350-pound mako shark that was reportedly the seventh one ever caught on Pinas Reef up to that time. It put up a better battle than a black marlin. At certain times of the year, schools of sharks tend to migrate close to the beaches along different parts of the coastlines. Tether a live bait to a hook, and the distress vibrations emanating from every frantic tailbeat radiate through the water with the authority of a bullhorn. Predators home in on this ringing of the dinner bell like a crew of half-starved lumberjacks. Toss a live bait along the fringes of the school, and you’re about to yell “fish on.” For the relatively light tackle enthusiast, you can enjoy exciting shark fishing on the slightly deeper flats or by chumming sharks in water depths from 6 to 12 feet where a tidal current is flowing. On

the flats, a live bait is a better choice, but you can cast a whole, dead bait in front of a cruising shark and elicit a strike. The presentation should be the same as if you were casting to a gamefish. Make sure the bait gets in front of the fish and is moving away from its jaws. If you are going to chum sharks, anchor the boat in the current and start tossing pieces of dead bait. As you chum, float a couple of live baits back there and just hold them a reasonable distance astern. This is a situation when you can use sporting tackle, but make sure the reel holds a full spool of line. You’ll need a fluorocarbon or monofilament abrasion leader of a few feet with a foot or two of single-strand wire at the end. If you pass up the opportunity to hook and battle sharks, you’re missing out on an exciting challenge. Sharks have accounted for some of my best fishing memories, and I know they can become memorable moments for you.

For more about artifical lures with Mark Sosin, visit

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By Capt. Randy Cnota By Patrick Morrow

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s you pull onto the side of the road, you see mullet being chased by predators in the skinny waters of St. George Sound. You can’t help but grin because you know this area is inaccessible to most boats, and you’ll likely have it all to yourself. Redfish, trout, flounder, jack crevalle, pompano and so many more species are yours for the taking once you’ve settled into your kayak and floated away from land. There are more than 40 canoe/kayak launches in and around Franklin County, Fla. Most are found within Tate’s Hell State Forest or the Apalachicola National Forest.

The freedom kayaking offers anglers in this area is a refreshing alternative to motorized boating, and the amount of accessible waters seems endless. From the Carrabelle River to St. Vincent Sound, to include the Apalachicola River, Apalachicola Bay, St. George Sound and East Bay, these diverse ecosystems where fresh and salt waters meet create a kayak fisherman’s paradise. Slip your ’yak into Scipio Creek at the mouth of The Apalachicola River, paddle up the marsh and catch bass, trout and reds all in the same trip. Throw it in the Gulf of Mexico off of St. George Island and bag some pompano for the table; you can do both in the same day! You don’t have to be an expert kayaker to enjoy a day gliding across these pristine waters to cast for world-class fish or simply take in the amazing scenery; you don’t even have to own one. Places like Island Outfitters and Journeys have them for rent. Advice on how to catch what’s biting is always free, and they have all the gear you need for a successful day of fishing or just paddling. The fall version of the Apalachicola Paddle Jam festival will be held Oct. 6-8 in Apalachicola and on St. George Island. This threeday festival celebrates the Forgotten Coast through paddlesports, music and food, with events happening at various locations in Apalachicola and St. George Island. The highlight of the event will be an attempt by paddlers to break the world record for the largest floating kayak raft. For those with a competitive fishing edge, there will be a kayak fishing tournament. This event promises to be huge fun! If you’ve never experienced the peace and joy that kayaking can bring, add this to your bucket list and give it a go. There’s a reason this sport is growing so rapidly… it’s a blast, and this area is a kayaker’s paradise! Franklin County features multiple kayak and boat rental options. For a complete list of rentals, charters and supplies, visit

www.floridasforgottencoast.com.

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By CAM Staff

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he excitement is evident in Capt. Dallas Hopper’s voice when he starts rattling off the options for fall out of Key Largo. Coming off tremendous summer days with huge numbers of mahi-mahi, things begin to change up a little in September. The mahi are still there for the taking, but there are a few other bites that kick off this time of year. Dallas runs Fantastic II Charters with his father Capt. Justin Hopper. And while tourist traffic begins to fall off this time of year, the fishing only gets better. The weather in the keys is still gorgeous, and the seas are typically calm. Even beneath the surface, currents tend to drop off a little in early fall, which makes it one of the best times to head offshore to do some deep dropping. Out of Key Largo, it’s only about a 13-mile run to reach deep-water ledges from 300 to 600 feet deep. Using electric reels, or hand cranks for Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 8/1/14 1:14 1 those who want to test their mettle,1 dropping baitPM to Page the bottom is a fun way to load the boxes with delicious fish for the dinner table. The regular

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targets are porgi, vermillion snapper, yellow eye snapper and big snowy grouper. It’s a regular stop on Fantastic II trips when clients want to fill a cooler. “It can be red hot,” Dallas said. “When you’ve marked the fish, the rig barely has time to hit the bottom.” Blackfin tuna are another staple the Fantastic II counts on this time of year. They begin showing up in September on the humps and ledges as well as on the edges of the reefs in 200 to 400 feet of water. “They are an all-around great fish,” Dallas said. They taste good, they fight hard and they’re easy to catch.” Some days trolling big spreads of small lures on light tackle can lead to unbelievable action. Other days the best tactic is to drift and chum them up on the humps. These hard-fighting fish range from 2-pound footballs up to powerful 40-pounders, so anglers are often surprised to find themselves in epic battles on light tackle. Another surprise that might show up in mid to late September is wahoo. When trolling, the Fantastic II likes to pull a varied the spread that will tempt any fish that might be in the area. A ballyhoo on wire with a trolling weight is the ticket for picking up any wahoo that might be lurking. There’s nothing like a big ’hoo to make a good day great… except maybe sailfish showering bait. “It’s not uncommon to run into them crashing ballyhoo on the edge of the reef when we’re headed in or headed out,” Dallas said. Obviously a sight like that calls for an immediate change of plans. The sails show up like clockwork in mid to late September, and the bite gets better as the fall progresses. The Fantastic II guarantees fish. Find them online at charterkeylargo. com, or call 305-514-0211.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


See grown men cry.

From gill-rattling, fly-dispatching brawls in the backcountry to hook-straightening tugs of war offshore, Key Largo will put your spirit and your line to the test. And with tuna, mahi-mahi and muttons ocean side and cagey tarpon, permit and snook in Florida Bay and the Everglades, your fish rag just might turn into a crying towel. fla-keys.com/keylargo 1.800.822.1088 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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MCTKL-2941 Coastal Angler LO1 • September 2017

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Make reel memories.

By Chris Beardsley

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Stuart, located in Martin County, is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Its climate, waterways, natural environment and opportunity for diverse catches 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, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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he spotted seatrout goes by many names including speckled trout, speckled, gator or just speck. Regardless of its colloquial tag, it can be found along the Atlantic coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Interestingly, spotted or speckled seatrout belong to the drum family and can be caught in the same general areas as their red and black cousins. Additionally, their willingness to hit on a variety of baits and the fact that they are excellent table fare makes the speckled trout a fan favorite. Just like their redfish relatives, speckled trout love flashy lures, but live shrimp rank high on the list of baits. Late spring and early summer, a Carolina or drop rig with a live shrimp or grunt is a simple and effective method for catching them in the surf, bays and estuaries. As summer progresses and water temperatures rise, lures and shrimp are still great but best fished during early morning hours. When the bite becomes less predictable, sometimes a complete change of tactics is required. A Doc’s Goofy Jig or similar offering can be productive, albeit a bit unorthodox. And just like fishing for pompano, I’ve found that tipping the jig with a shrimp head or tail and bouncing it off the bottom will coax even the most finicky fish into biting. Late summer, which includes September in most places seatrout live, requires a change in tactics once again, as warm water temperatures drive fish into deeper pockets. Look for holes or deeper ledges in the grass flats, and don’t overlook the drop-offs past the sandbars in the surf. A lazily retrieved gold spoon or Gotcha worked around shell beds will certainly catch fish, but keeping your lures away from the magnetic pull of the sharpest oysters is always the trick. When fishing spoons, the key is to reel just fast enough to make it wobble, then let it sink and bounce it off the bottom to kick up a little sand. Adding some action to your retrieve mimics a wounded baitfish or virtually anything edible that should probably be eaten. This is where a live shrimp or DOA suspended below a popping cork or float really shines. Use just enough weight that will allow the shrimp to swim or drift naturally. Ultimately, the fish will be where they are most comfortable. Fishing the flats during early morning hours is your best option, while targeting the deeper water edges later will be more productive. Getting into these areas undetected can make all the difference. Stealth is critical in the shallows, and a kayak allows you access to very skinny water virtually undetected. Additionally, a kayak is a slick addition to your fishing arsenal and is a fun way to get into areas where others might not venture. If you’re looking to try kayak fishing, a great place to start is Island Outfitters (www.sgioutfitters.com) on St. George Island, Fla. They are an authorized Hobie dealer with over 40 years experience with the gear, tackle and expertise to get you started.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


By Patrick Sebile

S

easons roll through one after another in the nature’s cycle. When we are in winter, we are thinking and wishing for the summer to come. Looking forward, dreaming ahead, planning for the next fishing season or for another trip in our beloved golden hole. The hot days of summer offer action in and out of the water, with holidays and vacations for many. Much has been said and written, and countless songs celebrate the summer. Indeed, summer is nice and I enjoy it, but it is just the precursor for what truly is the very best fishing season of the year, for many fish species, in many areas, in both freshwater and saltwater across North America. That season is now. Starting in September, going strong through October and into November, we anglers experience

the core of the core, the heart of the heart, of the fishing season. For many fish species, fall is the time to eat heavily and get fat to prepare for the sparse winter to come, because right after winter comes the spawning season for most. While cold winter water might lead to lethargy for some species, those that spawn in spring require the energy reserves to produce eggs and sperm. This takes a lot energy, so they must feed heavily in the fall, and take every opportunity to fill their stomachs. It’s a fantastic opportunity for anglers to cast lures or bait to fish that are more concerned with their next snack than anything else. In my homewaters on the Florida shoreline, snook and tarpon will be feeding ravenously on scads of mullet during the famous mullet run. At the same time, walleye will be raiding schools of minnows along the shorelines of a lake in Wisconsin. In Texas, largemouth bass will be ready for any chance to swallow a crawdad lurking around logs in a reservoir. Fat stripers will boil on bunker in their fleeing dance somewhere between the mainland and Cuttyhunk Island in Massachusetts, and calico bass will be involved in a mass killing baitfish along the California kelp lines. And this list could go on and on for countless species and fisheries across the continent. If I were able to build a year for fishing on my own terms, I would make six months just like September, six months like October, and I would add in a glimpse of November. I know this doesn’t add up to 12 months, but let me just dream. My perfect fishing year would mean it would now and forever be the best time of year. But enough of that, I need to take my hands from this keyboard and grab my rods. I suggest you do the same. The short window that is the best time of year has already begun.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

FLORIDA

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FWC Photo

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ach summer, biologists assess bay scallop populations along the Gulf coast of Florida, in open and closed recreational harvest areas from Pine Island Sound to St. Andrews Bay through adult population surveys. Scientists look at long-term trends in the abundance of scallops and present those findings to the Division of Marine Fisheries Management. Tracking the bay scallop population long term can be particularly tricky. With limited time to cover all of the state’s bay scallop habitats, molluscan fisheries biologists with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute are turning to other people who know a thing or two about scallops: recreational harvesters. Information they provide will be compiled to complement the researchers’ annual population data. If you’re a recreational harvester, become a citizen scientist by filling out the online abundance survey found at myfwc.com.

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8/16/17 12:16 PM


By Steve Daniel

H

ow many times have you gotten up early to be the first boat on the lake, and then motor to your favorite spot in pitch darkness only to find the bass won’t even think about biting until daylight? Even if the fish don’t bite in the darkness, you still need to be there very early to catch as much of that early bite as possible. The same thing happens when you fish late in the evenings. The fish can be eating the paint off your baits, but when the sun is gone and the lake is in total darkness the bite stops just as abruptly as it started just before the sun went down. What is up with this? Is Okeechobee really that bad of a night-fishing lake. When I lived in Tennessee, we did a lot of night fishing in the summer, and it was great. Here on the Big O, the dif-

ference is we are usually fishing very shallow grassy water. In the daylight, all that grass is producing oxygen. When the light goes out, photosynthesis does not occur, and it seems just like the whole lake just goes to sleep. Now this is not to say that you can’t catch bass at night, but the shallow grassy areas are probably not the places you need to be fishing. The river or rim canals, or maybe the deep dynamite holes, might be a better option because these places don’t have all that grass pumping out oxygen all day long. Here is another observation: How many times have you been catching fish just before a storm and when the rains came the fish stopped biting? This has happened to me many times on Okeechobee, and I never really understood why. When I have a question that I don’t have the answer to, I go the experts. My friend Butch, who has done a lot of research on the effects of rainfall, asked me this, “just what is rain?” Rain is highly oxygenated water and is usually a lot colder than the water in the lake. When all this cold water falls in bucket loads on the warm lake water, it falls quickly to the bottom of the lake. Just what this does to the fish, I don’t know, the only thing I do know is the bite usually stops. There are a lot of things that we know and understand about our lakes and the fish we are trying to catch, but it is all the things we don’t know that make fishing the challenging sport it is. We never stop trying to figure out Mother Nature, but there will always be things we will never know. An Extremely successful professional bass tournament angler, Steve Daniel is a 30-plus-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 at stevedaniel84@yahoo.com or 239-560-2704.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

FLORIDA

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Photo courtesy of Show Me The Fish Charters

T

he University of Florida’s Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences program has ongoing several research projects studying the seasonal pattern and rates of movement of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico. Of particular interest is to determine the mixing rate of the Gulf stock with the South Atlantic stock, especially in known spawning areas off southern Florida. As a part of the study, greater amberjacks in the Gulf of Mexico are being tagged from southern Florida to the Louisiana coast. Fish are tagged on their left side with an external yellow anchor tag, and anglers are strongly encouraged to report the catch of any tagged fish. Information on the tags include a four-digit tag number as well as a web address and phone number to call and report catches. Information critical to the research is the date, time and location of capture. Exact GPS coordinates are very helpful, and to protect people’s honey holes, those numbers will not be released. Also important, to measure growth rate, is a fork length measurement accurate to 1/8 of an inch. Other helpful information the angler can collect is the weight and sex of the fish as well as the depth it was caught at, the gear that was used and the condition of the fish, particularly around the tag site. Information on fisheries and the movement of fish benefits fisheries managers as well as anglers. If you catch a tagged fish, take the time to jot down the information and report it.

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Catch a Florida Memory With 10-Year-Old Katlyn Paul

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ummer might be coming to a close, but for 10-year-old Katlyn Paul, this summer was one she’ll never forget. Katlyn submitted 10 different species to the 71-species Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Saltwater Fish Life List, one of three of FWC’s Catch a Florida Memory Saltwater Recognition programs. This qualified her for the first tier of the Saltwater Fish Life List Club. Shortly after, she also submitted a gray triggerfish to the Saltwater Reel Big Fish program, becoming the first angler to qualify for this species. In recognition of her efforts, she received FWC Catch a Florida Memory prize packs including T-shirts and certificates for each achievement. She will also receive two entries into a quarterly raffle drawing for fishing gear such as rods, reels and landing nets. Katlyn’s love of the water runs deep, and working on her life list is more about the experience than the recognition. “It’s really cool to go out with friends and see what’s out there,” Katlyn said. “It’s fun to see the water react,” referring to the varying sea conditions and changes in water coloration of nearby St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Katlyn caught her first fish, a gag grouper, when she was just three, and she was hooked. Today, she is still going strong, enjoying quality time with her dad, Devin, and getting to explore the marine environment around her. She’s even expressed an interest in pursuing a career in marine biology, following her passion to explore the unknown creatures of the deep. The Saltwater Fish Life List was developed as one way to encourage anglers to target a diversity of species, and according to Devin, that’s exactly what the life list has done for his family. “We’re chasing species that we wouldn’t go for otherwise; species that I haven’t fished for in years,” he said. To date, Katlyn has crossed spotted seatrout, ladyfish, dolphinfish, black sea bass, gag grouper, gray snapper, red drum, red snapper, Spanish mackerel and hardhead catfish off of her life list. Since she submitted her 10-fish application to the Saltwater Angler Recognition Program, she has also added a lane snapper, greater amberjack and her Saltwater Reel Big Fish qualifying gray triggerfish to her list of accomplishments. Can you catch up with Katlyn? Join her in participating not only in the Saltwater Fish Life List Club program, but also the FWC’s two other Saltwater Angler Recognition programs: Saltwater Reel Big Fish, which celebrates memorable-sized catches, and Saltwater Grand Slams, which awards anglers for catching three different specified species within a 24-hour period. You can also keep track of Katlyn’s pursuits on the Catch a Florida Memory Facebook page, Facebook.com/CatchaFLMemory. For more information visit CatchaFloridaMemory.com. COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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By CAM Staff

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ver on the Suwannee River, there are so many sturgeon that boaters have to worry about colliding with them when they leap from the water. They are much more rare across the peninsula and farther south. That’s why Alex Gianniny, of Fort Pierce, was so surprised when he was called to identify another angler’s catch and found it was a big Atlantic Sturgeon. The fish was revived and released. Gianniny’s discovery happened last summer at Taylor Creek in Fort Pierce. This spring and summer, there have been at least a couple more sturgeon encounters in the same region. An angler caught and released one from the same Taylor Creek spillway in July. In April, a dead sturgeon washed up behind a home on the St. Lucie River in Palm City. Sturgeon are anadromous, which means they spend most of their time in saltwater and move into freshwater to spawn. They can live as long as 25 years and grow up to 300 pounds sucking up mollusks and other small bottom-dwelling critters. For this reason, sturgeon are rarely caught by anglers. They are encountered more frequently farther north but are very rare in south Florida. So, while catches of Atlantic sturgeon are rare, they do occur. Anglers should know that all three species of sturgeon in Florida—Gulf, Atlantic and shortnose—are protected from harvest by state and federal law. If you are lucky enough to accidentally catch one, enjoy the fight, but handle the fish with care and release it immediately.

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FRESHWATER

Spectacular Salmon Season is On! By Frank Geremski

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ake Ontario consistently produces some of the best Great Lakes salmon catches, and this year’s fishing has been nothing short of spectacular. Significant early summer rains brought high water, which stimulated a feeding frenzy for giant king salmon. Recent summers have endured dry weather, low water and thinner salmon runs. Both lake and river health was questioned during these dry years, but cool and plentiful rains have done wonders for this fishery. It’s prime time to tangle with beasts that have been tipping the scales over 30 pounds! The experts are excited about lake and river conditions in New York’s Oswego County, holder of 12 New York state and world records. Bob Mallory is an expert on Lake Ontario and Oswego Harbor, where he pursues his passion for trout and salmon. Here are Bob’s thoughts on the 2017 Salmon Season: “Fishing in the lake out of the port of Oswego has Tom Fernandez of The continued to get better every Tailwater Lodge with a trophy week as the season has proearly season King Salmon! gressed. The number of fish being hooked and caught right now is nothing short of amazing and points to a great river season. Trolling in the lake with downriggers and Dipsy Divers with flashers and flies has been my go-to method. In low light conditions, white eChip flashers with A-Tom-Mik Hammer flies is producing. In overcast conditions, try greens; brighter days favor chrome and Mountain Dew colors. As fish get closer to the pier head, J-plugs will produce.” Tom Fernandez and the team at The Tailwater Lodge on New York’s Salmon River have developed a premier fishing resort. Huge salmon can attract a crowd when they blast up shallow runs and riffles on this picturesque river. The Tailwater’s 35 acres of private access solves that issue, and they provide a top-notch fishing concierge service. Tom is looking forward to an early salmon season with these words: “As the nights get colder in Altmar, we can only think about one thing, trophy king salmon exploding outside our back door in the Schoolhouse Pool. This year we are expecting the run to start earlier than we have seen in the past few years, with kings and cohos in the river system from September through October until we get deep into steelhead season. The high levels of Lake Ontario, the consistent good flow through the Salmon River and fish staging outside Oswego and Mexico Point have all the necessary ingredients for one heck of a salmon season. If I were looking for a time to experience the trophy fish on the Salmon River with thinner crowds, warmer temps and explosive fish, I would think about making the early run this year.” To truly experience the salmon spawning process and have a great adventure with the family, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, N.Y. will hold their annual open house Sept. 23, where you can view the complete spawning cycle. To learn more about Oswego County fishing, go to www.visitoswegocounty/fishing.com. Phil Belsito of The Angler Magazine of West Michigan said Lake Michigan fish are large and plentiful also. Go to www.theanglermag.com, then select Great Lakes Region for reports from both Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario.

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he quick answer to this question is “probably not.” The ideal lens for the visual rigors of hunting is an amber lens, sometimes referred to as a copper lens. Not to make this more complicated than it needs to be, but a green lens is sometimes referred to as a G-15 or gray lens. Depending on the time of day and sun coverage, the gray (green) lens may also be a preferred option for hunting. As a hunter, I prefer the low-light sensitive amber lens. The majority of my opportunities seem to come either during the early morning or late afternoon to dusk windows, when light enhancement is preferable to light dispersal. The requirements of your fishing sunglasses are starkly different than your hunting glasses. Looking deep into the water is directly in contrast to seeing long range with limited light. Selecting the perfect hunting sunglasses normally takes a bit of trial and error. My best advice when selecting a new pair of hunting sunglasses is to purchase them from a dealer with a liberal return policy. Finding your best fit and lens requires a little work, but once you find your perfect pair you will find that they improve and enhance your hunting experience. If you need any further advice on selecting your perfect hunting lens, always feel free to contact me or anyone here at Fowler’s. We know sunglasses. Fowler’s Pharmacy, 864-288-5905; 864-288-5920

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Photo Courtesy of Jenny Lee Sportfishing/Facebook

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n late July, the attention of national news media turned briefly to a huge mako shark caught off the coast of New Jersey. The 12-foot-long, 926-pound shortfin mako outweighed the current state record by 70 pounds, but because the rod passed hands during the fight it will not be officially recognized as a new record. The big shark broke a rod in the fight to bring it aboard the 44-foot charter boat Jenny Lee, captained by Dave Bender. It happened during an overnight charter, drifting in 1,500 feet of water 100-miles out of Manasquan Inlet near the famous Hudson Canyon. Shortly after excitement began to fizzle over this great catch, information was released on a new tagging study that suggests shortfin mako sharks might be experiencing overfishing in the western North Atlantic. Researchers from Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), the University of Rhode Island and other colleagues followed 40 satellite-tagged sharks in real time and 12 of them, or 30 percent, were captured in fisheries. This information suggests the fishing mortality rates of shortfin mako sharks might be considerably higher than previously estimated using catches reported by fishermen, according to the press release. And despite their small sample size, researchers questioned the reliability of traditional data collection methods and expressed a serious concern over whether the current level of fishery catches for shortfin makos in the North Atlantic are sustainable.

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FLY FISHING

Lefty’s Deceiver By Carlos Hidalgo

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lthough he would deny it, Lefty Kreh is a legend. With great knowledge (he has authored or co-authored over 30 books and hundreds of magazine articles), boundless energy (he has performed countless lectures and casting demonstrations over the last 60+ years), down-home humor (a dumb person would “pick up a snake to kill a stick”), and showmanship (at casting demos, he finds a pretty woman and makes a cast that curls the fly line around her neck), Lefty has done more to popularize fly fishing than any other person in the last century. He has fished with Fidel Castro, Ted Williams and Ernest Hemmingway, but he hasn’t just witnessed fly fishing history, he has created it. His innovative fly casting techniques are used by millions of us today. Oh yeah, he also developed Lefty’s Deceiver, the best fly pattern ever devised. Lefty tied the first Deceiver during the late 1950s. He wanted a fly that was easy to cast, didn’t foul, looked like a baitfish and had great action in the water. The pattern can be easily described: a tail made up of several matching hackle or saddle feathers with a bucktail collar. Add flash material to either or both, eyes to

the head and some type of red material for the throat, as needed. The hook shank beneath the collar (the body) can be wrapped with the tying thread or a flashy material, like mylar tinsel or Diamond Braid. By the way, Lefty says the key to the pattern is to tie the collar at least as long as the rear of the hook, which keeps the hackle tail from wrapping around the hook. In appropriate sizes and colors, Lefty’s pattern has deceived just about every fish that swims, from four-inch bream to 400-pound billfish. Lefty’s Deceiver has even graced a U.S. Postal stamp. Lefty’s favorite Deceiver colors are chartreuse/white and yellow/ chartreuse. I tie them in many sizes and colors, and my favorite is tied in a Firetiger color scheme. This color works very well for many saltwater fish in sizes 1/0 to 3/0. It has also been very successful for me for peacock bass and largemouth bass in south Florida in size 2. I imagine smallies would jump all over it, too. Lefty’s Deceiver (Firetiger) Hook - Mustad 34007 or similar, size 2 to 3/0 Thread - fluorescent yellow Tail - two yellow and one yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with yellow Krystal Flash Body - yellow thread or Diamond Braid Collar - yellow bucktail with yellow Krystal flash and a small yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with green Krystal Flash and green bucktail Throat - orange bucktail, as long as the collar Head - fluorescent yellow, with painted orange/black eye, covered with five-minute epoxy Contact Carlos at cah6620@gmail.com to submit a pattern for consideration in this column or to order his book, “South Florida’s Peacock Bass.”

By John Rice

This is a simple tie and a very effective pattern for trout everywhere. Soft hackles are basically emerger patterns. They do not belong on the streambed like nymphs, so this fly should be dropped a foot or so off a nymph so it can suspend itself higher in the water column where an emerger belongs. Thread: 8/0 olive Abdomen: Olive goose biot Thorax: Tan superfine dubbing Hackle: Hungarian partridge Head: 8/0 Olive thread Hook: 1X long, size 18 Tiemco 3761 John Rice guides with Blackhawk Fly Fishing, which offers exceptional fishing for trophy trout in the north Georgia mountains. Contact john at jriceflyfishing@ gmail.com.

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UNDER THE SEA

before harvesting. Along with a closed mating season, this should keep the lobster population stable. 2. Mating season begins in the spring. Lobsters can be observed walking out of their holes in search of a mate, and males can be seen sparring for a lady’s affection. Mating season ends around August, here are a few good things about the fall season though egg-bearing females can be seen yearbesides cooler weather; one of them round. is the beginning of lobster season! 3. Males have proportionately larger legs and I dove with a commercial lobsterman for carapace, and females have a larger tail and extra a few years, and he was like a kid waiting pinchers on the abdomen to hold the eggs. for Santa. Teaming up with someone that Lobster tips from the master: knew where the good spots were gave me the 1. Let some air out of your BC, get your opportunity to spear some nice fish, but it buoyancy under control, and plant your knees in also gave me the opportunity to learn some the sand in front of the lobster. Your butt should tricks of the trade by watching a master not be up in the air! lobsterman at work. 2. Take your time and do not spook them. He First and foremost, you must learn said, “Lobsters are like cattle, you can herd them how to find lobsters. Fortunately, the same wherever you want, as long as you take your time.” territory that tends to hold fish life is also 3. The most common methods are the net good for lobstering. That is because life and tickle stick or looper, but there are some attracts life. When I was scuba diving beside interesting variations on the market now. Become Sheri Daye and Dave Earp display the results him and would see him approach an area of good at all of them, as some tools are better than of solid teamwork. the reef holding a school of fish fry, I knew others in certain situations. his senses were on high alert, and I’d start 4. When using a tickle stick, use aluminum looking for fish. Invariably, while he picked up instead of plastic. Lobsters do not respond as well a lobster or two, I would see a desirable fish. to plastic. Over the years, we honed the most efficient method for hunting as a 5. Be careful not to touch the antennas. Tap or nudge a lobster from buddy team. He focused on lobsters while I did all the spearfishing. He behind to move it into position and put the net over it. Measure the would tow the flag, which meant I could be faster and more streamlined carapace, check for eggs (by the way, extra skittish lobsters often have in the water while going after fish. We drifted with the current, parallel to eggs), then place in your catch bag, and enjoy your dinner! the reef, side-by-side. If he missed seeing a lobster, which was extremely Fall is in the air. Happy hunting! rare, I would bang my tank to alert him, and he would do the same with fish. Over the years, we became the best of friends and a formidable Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer hunting team. of The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow Lobster fun facts: “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram. 1. Lobsters reach sexual maturity in two to three years when the carapace is a little longer than 3 inches. Florida law requires a carapace For more Sheri Daye, go to to be longer than 3 inches, thus allowing lobsters a chance to reproduce

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Coastal Angler Magazine - September / Tampa Bay  

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

Coastal Angler Magazine - September / Tampa Bay  

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