Coastal Angler Magazine | October 2021 | Daytona/New Smyrna/Deland Edition

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DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND EDITION

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STREAMERS FOR

FALL TROPHY

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By Jacob Milholland

ctober is a special month in the mountains. Autumn colors and cooler weather signal it’s time to head back to trout water. Hunting a trophy brown trout is what fall is all about. These fish can be caught nymphing a big stonefly or drifting an October caddis, but the old adage, “big bait, big fish,” holds true. Streamer fishing is a surefire way to try and target these old brutes. Streamers are flies that imitate forage such as baitfish, crawfish, sculpin, other trout or even mice. While the common way to fish a streamer is to enact action by “stripping” or pulling the fly line, streamers can be dead drifted, jigged or swung. There is no wrong way to fish streamers, but the goal is to make the fly look like the real thing. Equipment: We fish heavier rods, tippets and leaders, as we are targeting larger fish. The flies are more wind resistant or heavily weighted, and the strikes can be more aggressive. Think 5 to 8 weights and 8 to 20-pound fluorocarbon tippet/leader. A misconception of streamer fishing is that it must be done from a boat on a large river. While a boat is nice for covering ground, wading anglers can adapt these tactics to any size body of water. If you have the option to fish from a boat, multiple rods with different rate-of-fall (ROF) sinking fly lines should be in your arsenal to probe different depths: floating, intermediate (falls at one foot per second), and ROF-6 (falls at six inches per second). Fly Selection: Ask anyone what they throw, and you’ll get a different answer. It’s hard to go wrong with Woolly Bugger variations—like Sparkle Minnows or Bow River Buggers—any Kelly Galloup pattern or Clouser minnows to start out. Pick staple colors that allow you to adjust to conditions: white, black, bold (yellow or chartreuse) and flashy. Big fish drop their guard in nasty weather, and these can result in the best days on the water. Tactics: Brown trout ambush their prey, so look for places adjacent to current where fish can sit without expending too much energy. Covering water is paramount to success with a streamer. Likely holding water can produce results immediately, so don’t spend too much time in one spot. You are hunting the largest fish willing to eat the fly, not trying to force inactive fish to feed. Vary your retrieve; sometimes jigging or dead drifting can be better than a strip, or slower or faster retrieves may get a fish to react. Mental fortitude is just as important as the where and how. You can go hours or even days without seeing a fish follow the fly, but the magic of streamer fishing lies in the take of the fly and the caliber of fish. Jacob Milholland fishes with Cohutta Fishing Company in Blue Ridge, Ga. Check them out at www.cohuttafishingco.com or call (706) 946-3044.

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OCTOBER 2021

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By Capt. Quinlyn Haddon

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t seems even the most remote waterways are becoming more crowded every year. More boats can lead to some extremely dangerous situations when boaters exhibit a lack of respect for the water, and it’s pretty easy to identify those who should not be allowed to operate a boat. But there are also people who create frustrating situations, particularly while fishing, who might just be unaware of certain etiquette. It is unique to the Southeastern United States to have access to such vastly diverse fisheries within a relatively small area. It is fortunate boat owners can easily travel to a new and different fishery and bring their own vessel with them. However, just as you don’t have to travel far before the fishery changes, the same applies to local fishing etiquette. Some of the unspoken rules will apply no matter where you are, but it is generally a good idea to check in with local knowledge and identify the local vhf channel before launching your boat somewhere new. While nobody owns the water, commercial and charter fishing captains generally operate with respect for each other to make sharing the fishery feasible and pleasant. When pleasure boaters don’t understand or don’t respect local etiquette, it disrupts fishing enough to affect the people who are trying to make a living on the water. As a general rule, try to stay away from other boats as much as possible. If you have to maneuver around or fish near another boat, be respectful of the type of fishing they are doing. If a vessel is anchored, they will generally be fishing off the back of the boat, often running a chum slick, which means you should avoid driving behind them. If a boat is anchored

offshore, in an area that you are unfamiliar with, they are probably fishing coordinates that took them years of hard work to acquire. You should absolutely not anchor near them,

nor should you drive next to them to mark their location. If you are offshore hunting for fish that appear under flocks of diving birds, look for a flock that isn’t currently being worked by another fisherman. These birds are moving around over fish that are traveling, and moving in can cause the boat that got to the birds first to be cut off from the school of fish. The ocean is vast and birds are plentiful, look for birds on your own, not just an easy-to-spot boat under birds. Overcrowded fishing areas, that don’t operate under anchor, follow certain traffic patterns. These patterned drifts or trolls should be observed and followed just like any roadway. The Marathon Humps, for example, should be trolled east to west, and west to east. Fishing oil rigs in the northern Gulf of Mexico can be made extremely difficult by poor etiquette, as locations are limited and can be made even more limited due to weather. Places like this rely heavily on unspoken rules of the road, and respect. These areas are primarily fished in two different ways: live bait and chum drifts. Charter boats take the time to catch live bait before making it out there, which can be time consuming and difficult. If there are fish on the surface, and someone nearby starts a chum drift, this pushes the surface fish down deep, where the fish will no longer be eating the hard-earned live bait. This is horrible etiquette that rewards lazy and ignorant fishermen. If you show up to a rig without live bait and see other boats using it, with fish clearly on the surface, you should probably just troll lures until other people start a chum drift. Learn and respect the local etiquette anywhere you get your boat wet. There’s no reason we can’t all catch fish, be safe and have fun doing it.

Capt. Quinlyn Haddon fishes with Blue Magic Charters in Marathon, Florida Keys. Check her out at CaptainQuinlyn.com, @captainquinlyn or call (504) 920-6342.

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NATIONAL 7


WHEN TEMPS COOL DOWN, THE GROUPER BITE HEATS UP

I

’m going to date myself here, but what is about to happen will come as no surprise to me. This is time of year I live for. You see, I’ve been watching this beautiful cycle happen with grouper for almost four decades now. As soon as the mullet run slows, and the vast schools of cigar minnows (cigs) and sardines drift inshore, so do the larger (male) gag grouper. This generally occurs around the middle of October. The scamp bite will be hard and fast during this same time in deeper water. I started my grouper fishing career with heavy electric and hydraulic commercial reels and eventually switched over to Elec-Tra-Mates and Precision Auto Reels, but now I’ve gone full circle to lighter (heavyduty) level-wind reels with braided line and ultra stealth terminal tackle to stay ahead of the mental evolution of grouper and large snapper. You see, back in the day when there were so many grouper, it was a competitive atmosphere on the bottom. The first bait to the bottom used to catch the biggest red snapper or gag, even using monofilament leader, but

Tim Barefoot

sardines are by far the best choice for instant bites, but the problem with them is everything down there gives them a whack. Fishing a bait that eliminates everything but large black sea bass, large snapper and grouper helps weed through the smaller fish to find the big male grouper you’re looking for. Live pinfish, sailors

now it’s just not that way. I haven’t cleaned hundreds of grouper… I’ve cleaned thousands of them before selling them, and I’m always curious about what they were eating. One common denominator in gags and red grouper, but not as many scamp grouper, are the small red crabs that are obviously plentiful on live bottom.

This is what prompted me to experiment with crab jigs. I made my first batch of Crab Decoy Jigs over a decade ago and quickly realized they out-fish any other bottom rig I’ve ever used. I tie them in with red braided line and a short piece of fluorocarbon leader tied in a loop knot. Then I sweeten the pot with a live bait. Bait selection is important. Live cigs and

choice grunts, grass grunts and tomtate grunts all work. I like to fish big stacks of beeliners, and that makes beeliners one of my alltime favorite baits. I fish them live or butterflied on a Crab Decoy Jig. The older, wiser males are growing increasingly tackle shy, so shed all the useless terminal tackle and scale down to “clean” heavyduty tackle that can fool ole big boy into biting. For video with detailed instructions on fishing Tim Barefoot’s rigs and proof that they work, visit his website at barefootcatsandtackle.com.

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ANGLERS SET NEW FLORIDA SALTWATER FISHING RECORDS Scamp

I

t was a monster summer for three anglers who Record on April 7 while fishing at Santa Rosa each landed a Florida Saltwater All-tackle Beach. Sidney’s 2.8-pound catch beat out the previous record of 2.4 pounds. If you feel like Fishing Record. you’re having déjà vu, don’t worry, you’re not Scamp alone. That previous record of 2.4 pounds was set A new Florida Saltwater Fishing Record for earlier this year by angler Joseph Peckham. scamp was set by Mark John Gibner during a Schoolmaster fishing expedition near John’s Pass Marina in Pinellas County on June 11. His 29.6-pound scamp Anthony Mastitski filled the vacant beat the previous record of 28.38 pounds set by schoolmaster category, which was opened Jan. 1, Braden Douglas Pursell in April 2002. 2019. Mastitski’s 2.07-pound schoolmaster was “I think that for the first 20 feet or so, the caught in Broward County on July 27. fish didn’t know that it was hooked,” said Gibner. Claim Your Record “When it did, it started to dig. At first, as he was Want to claim your own state record? There pulling drag, I had to palm my reel to slow him are currently no records listed for white grunt or down. But after a short back and forth, I finally got blueline tilefish in the all-tackle category. There the upper hand and was able to land him with lots are also numerous fly-fishing tackle categories of enthusiasm from my friends.” with vacant records, giving anglers an opportunity Whiting (Gulf kingfish) to hold the record for these species. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Capt. Sidney Little caught the latest Gulf kingfish (whiting) Florida Saltwater Fishing Commission (FWC) maintains state records in 2 FLORIDA

OCTOBER 2021

fish)

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all-tackle and fly fishing categories for 81 species caught in Florida state waters and adjacent federal waters. Saltwater record holders receive a certificate of accomplishment, prize pack, recognition in various publications, and a custom ink fish print to memorialize their catch courtesy of Fish Print Shop. To qualify for a record, the catch must be weighed on land with a certified scale, and photographs must be submitted clearly showing the weight displayed on the scale, the scale’s certification, the rod and reel used to make the catch, the angler with their catch, and various views of the fish for identification purposes. The angler’s signature on a completed application form must be witnessed by a notary. For more information and to view current records, visit CatchaFloridaMemory.com and click “Records,” contact AnglerRecognition@ MyFWC.com or call 850-487-0554.



EIGHT MONTHS OF THE KEY WEST FISHING TOURNEY

A

look at the results from the eight-month-long Key West Fishing Tournament is a pretty good glimpse at what’s been going on in one of the world’s best fishing destinations over the last year. The 2021 tournament drew 312 participating anglers who entered 753 releases and 262 weighed catches. A South Dakota woman was named the women’s master angler after scoring multiple divisional wins and tournament records in the long-running challenge. Katelynn Wells, of Miller, S.D., took top honors for overall releases with 59, including six dolphin, as well as tallying 14 division-leading catches including a 28-pound amberjack, a 12-pound barracuda on plug and a 17-pound red snapper on 30-pound-test line that set a divisional record. She also scored three “heaviest fish” wins and two fish that set tournament weight records: a 2.8-pound ladyfish on plug and a 4.8-pound seatrout on 12-pound line. Wells fished on Off the Rock with Capt. Brad Nowicki and on Live Action Sportfishing with Capt. Ryan Carter, both of Key West. The men’s master angler was Rob Ripka, of Pulaski, New York. His achievements included catching two division-leading fish on 12-pound line: a 12-pound bonito and a 4-pound yellowtail snapper—as well as a divisionleading 31.6-pound kingfish. Fishing on Bait Stealer with Capt. Dale Bittner, of Key West, he also set a “heaviest fish” record for catching a 6-pound yellowtail on 30-pound line. Ten-year-old Julia Bernstein, of Miami, fishing in the peewee division, eclipsed her competitors to earn the peewee master angler award for achievements including a remarkable 104 releases. Her catches included a 23.8-pound Jack Crevalle on 30-pound line that earned a tournament weight record, a 24.8-pound barracuda on 20-pound line that earned divisional “heaviest fish” honors, four other “heaviest fish” winners and three division leaders. The young Bernstein fished with Bittner on Bait

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bl Stealer and also on a private boat. Capt. Bill Wickers III, of the Linda D V, earned overall guide honors in the general division, tallying 14 winners and a division-topping 36 releases including three marlin. Capt. Brice Barr of the Double Down was named top guide in the light general division, guiding his anglers to a divisional best of 66 releases—64 of them sailfish. Capt. Tim Carlile of the Outcast earned the overall guide achievement award in the flats division. He also guided his anglers to the most flats releases with 213, including 86 tarpon. Celebrating the diverse variety of fish found in Florida Keys waters, the Key West Fishing Tournament provides recognition and awards to anglers posting the heaviest catch in each of 33 species and the most releases of fish in seven other species. The 2022 challenge begins Dec. 1, 2021 and continues until July 31, 2022. For a complete list of winners and catches, visit keywestfishingtournament.com.

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USE THE WIND TO FIND FISH

By John Saporito

T

he wind is a great mover of bait, and a mover of bait is a mover of fish. Among the myriad factors that contribute to gamefish location, wind ranks somewhere near the top. Short-term winds influence the whereabouts of baitfish schools in many ways, which in turn influences the location of the gamefish that feed on them. Fish are highly sensitive to water temperature. Even a change of a degree or two can motivate them to seek out water of a more desired temperature. In the northern hemisphere, a cold northerly wind may lower water temperatures enough to force baitfish to move toward areas of more stable temperature, such as deeper water. Conversely, a southerly wind may raise water temperatures beyond a certain bait species’ comfort range, causing them to seek out areas with cooler water. Many migratory baitfish begin their seasonal journeys based on temperature changes initiated by short-term wind events, such as storms. They respond by relocating to areas that better suit their specific needs. When a localized or short-term wind pattern changes the water temperature, you can bet the baitfish will take notice and act accordingly.

6 FLORIDA

OCTOBER 2021

Baitfish of all sizes are always on the lookout for an easy meal. Just like the predators that hunt them, baitfish prefer to feed with the lowest possible expenditure of energy. Suspension feeders, such as many members of the herring family, look for big blows to stir up detritus, plankton and other small organisms and organic matter that they can eat. The wind also creates surface currents, which push plankton and other miniscule prey items. Any significant wind has the potential to concentrate, stir up, or otherwise move the food baitfish feed on. The wind also has the power to enhance or diminish tidal action. A wind moving in the same direction as a tidal current will accelerate the water’s movement, overpowering and transporting both baitfish and their prey. A wind-against-current scenario may form a natural corral that concentrates and traps baitfish in a temporary location. In bays and other inshore waterways, a strong offshore wind can combine with a low tide to render certain areas uninhabitable to baitfish due shallowness. A strong onshore wind, in conjunction with a high tide, can pile up water in areas that before were dry, allowing baitfish to enter feeding grounds that were previously inaccessible.

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It’s important to know where there is deep, stable water for baitfish to take shelter in when the temperature suddenly rises or drops. Also look for “dead ends” in the areas you fish, such as coves and points of land, which act as barriers that trap and hold bait when the wind is howling. If you find baitfish, odds are good that the gamefish are nearby. John Saporito is a lifelong fisherman and student of the seas. Visit him online at guerillaangling.com.


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GIANT SWORDFISH IS A CANAVERAL RECORD By CAM Staff

I

n the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 11, three anglers fishing out of Cape Canaveral, Fla., idled the “High Maintenance” into Sunrise Marina towing a swordfish that’s being called a Port Canaveral record. The broadbill bottomed out a set of 500-pound scales after being dead for more than 16 hours, so it’s safe to say it outweighed the unofficial and long-standing port record of 365 pounds. One of the anglers, Steven Sharpe, estimated its weight to be 550 pounds, based on measurements. Records aside, it was a huge fish. Sharpe, his long-time fishing buddy, Jeff Thummel, and George Birkhead, who was on his first swordfish trip, were drifting in 1,500-foot depths about 40 miles out of Port Canaveral. On their first set, they had bite that came unbuttoned. They re-baited with a whole ladyfish and dropped it down to about 1,400 feet. The big fish came tight at about 10:30 a.m. and then rocketed toward the surface. Sharpe said they had no idea of the size of the fish through most of a 5 ½-hour fight.

Their Lindgren-Pitman S2-1200 electric reel and Handler custom rod battled the fish as it surfaced and dove numerous times and dragged the boat 25 miles from where the fish was initially hooked. “About every hour, he’d show,” Sharpe said. “We didn’t realize how big he was until we got him to the boat. “We harpooned it, hauled it in and gaffed it. When we gaffed it, all hell broke loose.” The big fish beat itself against the boat until it finally expired and the crew got a tail rope on it at about 4 p.m. Only then was there a moment for celebration and cigars. They pulled a tape on the fish and got a short length of 101 inches from the fork of the tail to the tip of the lower jaw. Then the hard work began. “There were three people on board, and we couldn’t get that fish in the boat,” Sharpe said. “We tried everything and ended up having to idle it all the way home. We didn’t get to port until about 1 a.m.” They had to wait until 8 a.m. Saturday morning to get the fish up on scales.

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all is upon us and what an exciting time it is for Space Coast surf fishing anglers. The annual fall mullet run will be ignited into another dimension with the baitfish pouring down our coastline. Mix this annual occurrence with a change in the weather and water temps, and look for a dynamic fishery over this fall period. Many days can turn into an all out feeding frenzy with shark and fish species hurling through the air leaving the water’s surface boiling with action. Surf fishing anglers simply need to grab a spinning rod rigged with 20-40lb braided line accompanied by a swim bait, diving plug, or top water action and walk the shores casting and retrieving in the various pockets of concentrated baitfish. This opportunistic approach ensures no stone goes unturned. Matching the hatch of the size of baitfish also brings another level of success, so always be keen to adjusting lure size. Look for snook to reign supreme during the mullet run, however tarpon and sharks will be hammering the migrating baitfish pods and the multiple fish species that coincide with this natural event. With bluefish and crevalle jacks becoming so concentrated on these bait pods, the shark and tarpon lie beneath, pouncing the entirety of the water column to capitalize. Generally, the larger tarpon and sharks will be just outside the surf caster’s range, but this mullet run phenomenon provides just the opportunity one needs to bring them into the first and second trough, making them accessible. Not to be outdone by the headliner species, the whiting, pompano, crevalle jack and bluefish make for a perfect family-fun fishing trip. Highly active and engaging for all ages, this time of year makes rod bending seem like a breeze. Fish ranging in all sizes will abound with this flood of food charging down the waters edge. Look for sand fleas, fresh shrimp and clams rigged on a pompano rig tipped with Fishbites to keep the volume coming.

CAPT. LUKAS BRICKWEG

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TIDE CHARTS

arts

CAPE CANAVERAL

nesses

OCTOBER 2021CAPE CANAVERAL

0

© 2021 tides4fishing.com

TIDES FOR CAPE CANAVERAL

DAY

)

me

Height

17 AM -0.2 :50 AM 2.2 42 PM 0.0 06 PM 2.0 55 AM 0.0 25 AM 2.1 21 PM 0.0 46 PM 2.0 35 AM 0.1 :02 PM 2.0 01 PM 0.0 :30 AM 1.9 17 AM 0.2 :41 PM 1.9 45 PM 0.1 8 AM 1.8 06 AM 0.3 24 PM 1.8 34 PM 0.1 11 AM 1.8 02 AM 0.4 15 PM 1.7 29 PM 0.1 12 AM 1.8 02 AM 0.4 13 PM 1.7 27 PM 0.0 15 AM 1.9 :02 AM 0.4 16 PM 1.8 :24 PM -0.1 16 AM 2.0 :59 AM 0.3 18 PM 1.9 19 PM -0.3

ute s n utes

1 Fri 2 Sat 3 Sun 4 Mon 5 Tue 6 Wed 7 Thu 8 Fri 9 Sat 10 Sun 11 Mon 12 Tue 13 Wed 14 Thu 15 Fri 16 Sat 17 Sun 18 Mon 19 Tue 20 Wed 21 Thu 22 Fri 23 Sat 24 Sun

17 min ute s 4 min ute s

25 Mon

13 min ute s , 9 min ute s

27 Wed

ute s te s

g Basin te s ute s

26 Tue

28 Thu 29 Fri 30 Sat 31 Sun

October, 2021

1st TIDE

� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �

2nd TIDE

3rd TIDE

4th TIDE

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY COEFFICIENT

� � 75 high � � 89 high � � 101 very high � � � 108 very high � � � 109 very high � � � 103 very high � � 92 very high �

� 7:15 am� 7:08 pm

3:41 am 3.6 ft � 10:11 am1.2 ft � 4:29 pm 3.9 ft � 10:45 pm1.4 ft �

45

low

� 7:15 am� 7:06 pm

4:42 am 3.8 ft � 11:04 am1.0 ft � 5:22 pm 4.1 ft � 11:33 pm1.1 ft �

60

average

� 7:16 am� 7:05 pm

5:38 am 4.1 ft � 11:53 am0.8 ft � 6:09 pm 4.3 ft �

� 7:17 am� 7:04 pm

12:18 am0.8 ft � 6:29 am 4.4 ft � 12:39 pm0.6 ft � 6:53 pm 4.5 ft �

� 7:17 am� 7:03 pm

1:00 am 0.5 ft � 7:17 am 4.7 ft � 1:24 pm 0.5 ft � 7:36 pm 4.7 ft �

� 7:18 am� 7:02 pm

1:43 am 0.2 ft � 8:04 am 4.9 ft � 2:09 pm 0.4 ft � 8:20 pm 4.8 ft �

� 7:18 am� 7:01 pm

2:27 am 0.0 ft � 8:51 am 5.1 ft � 2:55 pm 0.4 ft � 9:04 pm 4.8 ft �

� 7:19 am� 7:00 pm

3:13 am -0.1 ft � 9:40 am 5.1 ft � 3:42 pm 0.5 ft � 9:50 pm 4.7 ft �

� 7:19 am� 6:59 pm

4:01 am 0.0 ft � 10:30 am5.0 ft � 4:32 pm 0.7 ft � 10:39 pm4.6 ft �

� 7:20 am� 6:57 pm

4:53 am 0.1 ft � 11:23 am4.8 ft � 5:27 pm 0.9 ft � 11:32 pm4.4 ft �

77

high

� 7:20 am� 6:56 pm

5:50 am 0.3 ft � 12:21 pm4.6 ft � 6:28 pm 1.1 ft �

60

average

� 7:21 am� 6:55 pm

12:32 am4.3 ft � 6:55 am 0.5 ft � 1:24 pm 4.4 ft � 7:36 pm 1.2 ft �

46

low

� 7:22 am� 6:54 pm

1:38 am 4.1 ft � 8:06 am 0.7 ft � 2:32 pm 4.3 ft � 8:48 pm 1.2 ft �

41

low

� 7:22 am� 6:53 pm

2:50 am 4.1 ft � 9:16 am 0.8 ft � 3:39 pm 4.3 ft � 9:55 pm 1.2 ft �

46

low

� 7:23 am� 6:52 pm

4:00 am 4.2 ft �

10:54 pm1.0 ft �

57

average

� 7:23 am� 6:51 pm

5:03 am 4.3 ft � 11:19 am0.8 ft � 5:34 pm 4.4 ft � 11:46 pm0.8 ft �

69

� 7:24 am� 6:50 pm

5:58 am 4.5 ft � 12:09 pm0.7 ft � 6:21 pm 4.5 ft �

79

� 7:25 am� 6:49 pm

12:31 am0.6 ft � 6:46 am 4.6 ft � 12:54 pm0.7 ft � 7:02 pm 4.5 ft �

86

� 7:25 am� 6:48 pm

1:13 am 0.5 ft � 7:28 am 4.7 ft � 1:36 pm 0.7 ft � 7:40 pm 4.5 ft �

89

� 7:26 am� 6:47 pm

1:51 am 0.5 ft �

8:16 pm 4.4 ft �

90

� 7:26 am� 6:46 pm

2:28 am 0.5 ft � 8:45 am 4.6 ft � 2:52 pm 0.9 ft � 8:51 pm 4.3 ft �

87

� 7:27 am� 6:45 pm

3:04 am 0.5 ft � 9:21 am 4.5 ft � 3:29 pm 1.0 ft � 9:25 pm 4.2 ft �

82

� 7:28 am� 6:44 pm

3:39 am 0.6 ft � 9:58 am 4.4 ft � 4:05 pm 1.1 ft � 10:00 pm4.1 ft �

74

� � high � high �� very high ��� high ��� high �� high �

� 7:28 am� 6:43 pm

4:15 am 0.8 ft � 10:36 am4.3 ft � 4:41 pm 1.3 ft � 10:37 pm3.9 ft �

64

average

� 7:29 am� 6:43 pm

4:52 am 0.9 ft � 11:16 am4.1 ft � 5:21 pm 1.4 ft � 11:18 pm3.8 ft �

54

average

� 7:30 am� 6:42 pm

5:33 am 1.1 ft � 12:02 pm3.9 ft � 6:06 pm 1.6 ft �

43

low

� 7:30 am� 6:41 pm

12:04 am3.6 ft � 6:21 am 1.2 ft � 12:52 pm3.8 ft � 7:02 pm 1.7 ft �

34

low

� 7:31 am� 6:40 pm

12:58 am3.5 ft � 7:20 am 1.3 ft � 1:49 pm 3.8 ft � 8:06 pm 1.6 ft �

30

low

� 7:32 am� 6:39 pm

2:01 am 3.5 ft � 8:26 am 1.3 ft � 2:48 pm 3.8 ft � 9:09 pm 1.5 ft �

35

low

� 7:32 am� 6:38 pm

3:07 am 3.6 ft � 9:30 am 1.2 ft � 3:46 pm 3.9 ft � 10:06 pm1.2 ft �

47

low

� 7:33 am� 6:38 pm

4:10 am 3.9 ft � 10:28 am1.0 ft � 4:39 pm 4.1 ft � 10:56 pm0.9 ft �

62

average

4 BREVARD/VOLUSIA OM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM

10:21 am0.8 ft �

8:07 am 4.7 ft �

4:40 pm 4.3 ft �

2:15 pm 0.8 ft �

� �� �� ��

average high

� �� �� �� � �

©2021 tides4,shing.com

PORT CANAVERAL OFFSHORE FORECAST F

or those of you that have been waiting to catch something other than kings and tarpon or, I should say, take some fish home for dinner, wait no longer as the fall run is upon us. This is a great time of year to target the fish that migrated north in the springtime and are now migrating back home (if, in fact, that’s what’s going on). Mahi, wahoo, blackfin tuna and sails will start to show up. We’ve already started seeing many phins hit the fish boards. Nothing huge, but a few decent ones for sure. The kingfish bite will start to heat up again as well, although November is historically the time of year that the larger schools come in. The fall run is generally not as great as the spring run, but it’s still decent fishing. It seems like many fish are being caught shallow, and on slow-trolled live bunker while king fishing. Now is the time to start rigging your ballyhoo and concentrating on the temperature breaks and weed lines again. Start out in 100 foot or so, then go deeper. Don’t pass fish to find fish. Be sure to put out some naked ballyhoo for the sails. And don’t forget the shotgun rig—wire rigged and sent way out there. Continue to use live bunker working the regular reefs. Don’t pass up the wrecks. Chances are, if there’s piles of bait on it, then something’s there. I had a slow day last week and decided to go try a wreck. The water was boiling with small sardines. My first pass through, I was doubled up with a fat king and bonita, then it was a bonita fire fight. Was a lot of fun!

CAPT. CHRIS CAMERON

Fired Up Fishing Charters www.firedupcharters.com www.sharkfishingcocoabeach.com (407) 222-3573

PORT CANAVERAL NEARSHORE FORECAST O

ctober is usually the best month of the year for fishing inside and just outside of the Port. The fall mullet run will be in full swing, and predators like snook, bluefish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, flounder, tarpon, and redfish are feeding on these baitfish with a vengeance. The surf zones along the beaches north and south of the Port, as well as the jetties at the east end of the Port’s basins are going to have a lot of action this month. Live fingerling mullet are obviously one of the best things to use for these predators. Rig these on a sliding sinker or knocker rig, or just put them on a simple ½ ounce HookUp style jig head. Rapala lures like the new Twichin’ Mullet, or the always productive X-Rap (size 10 or 12) are virtually fool proof when fishing these areas at this time of the year. I prefer the mullet, black and silver or green and silver finishes, when targeting most. Fish these lures along the areas of the beach or near the jetties Snook are just one of the where mullet are congregating. If you many predators that will be don’t see any baitfish in the water, keep blasting mullet pods along moving until you do. You want to fish in the nearshore waters outside the pods of mullet because the predators of Port Canaveral this month. won’t be far away. King mackerel will also come close to shore at this time of the year to feed on the mullet. Slow trolling a live full-sized mullet on a wire stinger rig in the 15 to 40-foot depths will usually get you hooked up to a smoker king on most days. Tarpon, big crevalle jacks, and plenty of sharks are possible catches as well. This time of the year is when you can witness some incredible sights from fish skyrocketing through the mullet pods, so let’s get out there and catch your next memory!

CAPT. JIM ROSS

Fineline Fishing Charters www.FinelineFishingCharters.com (321) 636-3728 OCTOBER 2021

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12/13/2019 10:24:07 AM


the will be along utside month.

com January layout.indd 15

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OCTOBER 2021

BREVARD/VOLUSIA 12/13/2019 10:24:28 AM 5


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spend the majority of my fishing time inshore. In those shallow waters there are several types of fish to catch, and I like to be prepared for any situation. Unfortunately, I can’t bring everything as that would mean a lot of fishing rods and a lot of used up storage and space on my skiff. With that said, I want to share with you my top two fishing lures that I always have rigged while inshore fishing. 1. Topwater Plugs. It is hard to beat the early morning top water bite! I love watching fish explode on a topwater plug and the mayhem that ensues. In fact, it gives me goosebumps even now as I am sitting here writing this article. My favorite top water plug is, without a doubt, the Rapala Skitterwalk in white. The walk-the-dog, side-to-side action is deadly on the flats and around structure for sea trout, redfish, snook and tarpon. For inshore fishing, I’ll rig a topwater plug on a 7-ft. Medium or Medium Heavy, Fast Action Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Inshore rod and a Florida Fishing Products Osprey SS 4000 reel with 15 pound braid and at least a 20 pound leader. If there are big snook around or if I am fishing around heavy structure, I will increase the leader size to 30 or 40 pound fluorocarbon to avoid breaking off. Additionally, I typically only use a topwater plug for the first hour or so of light. I find that once the sun gets above the trees on the shoreline, the topwater 6 BREVARD/VOLUSIA

to your money literally flying out the window!

OCTOBER 2021

W

C bite slows down. If it is a cloudy morning or day, we may throw topwater the entire fishing trip. The fish will definitely tell you what they want. 2. Soft Plastic Swim Baits. This is my confidence bait! Paddle Tails, specifically the 3-inch D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad Tail, is my favorite lure for inshore fishing. It literally catches everything as it can be fished to mimic so many different baits in the water. The action of the tail provides both noise and vibration and that makes this bait a perfect search bait when looking for fish. I will typically rig this bait weedless with an Owner 3/0 1/8th oz weighted Twist Lock hook which makes it perfect for pitching under docks and in and around mangroves. Being rigged weedless also aids in avoiding snags in the grass compared to using a jighead. This lure pairs well with a 7-foot 6-inch Medium, Fast Action Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Inshore rod with a Florida Fishing Products Osprey CE 3000 series reel

spooled with 15 pound braid and a 20 pound fluorocarbon leader. Lure color depends on the color of the water and cloud coverage. I have a hard time beating a white bait, but if it is a cloudy day, I’ll put on a darker color. Pictured are Aidan Beech (left) with an over slot Indian River redfish caught on a D.O.A. C.A.L. shad tail, and Luke Rayburn with a nice Mosquito Lagoon speckled sea trout caught on a Rapala Skitterwalk in white. Both anglers had a stellar day with me while fishing with these lures. Give these lures a try, and send me pictures of your catch! Tight lines,

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CAPT. JONATHAN MOSS Host of The Captain’s Log TV

Go Castaway Fishing Charters www.gocastaway.com (407) 760-8593


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OCTOBER 2021

BREVARD/VOLUSIA 7


SNOOK

OPENS SEPT. 1

SEBASTIAN INLET TO EAU GALLIE CAUSEWAY FORECAST O

ctober is a great time to fish the lagoon as well as the beaches. Depending on the cold fronts, we can expect consistent action in the Indian River Lagoon and on the nearshore beaches from Melbourne to Sebastian Inlet. The mullet run is typically the first few weeks of the month and as long as the weather holds up and it isn’t too rough, the beaches are the place to be. Consistent action will be on tarpon, snook, sharks, crevalle jack and kingfish that are following the schools of bait looking for that easy meal. Fish the snook and jacks by fishing the trough running parallel to the shore along the beach. Fishing for tarpon and sharks, the best bet is to use live bait and fish the outer edges of the bait pods. The Rapala XRap Long Cast in size 14 will be an excellent hard bait to use when targeting the bait pods. I also like to use Hogy Eeels and D.O.A. Baitbusters during the mullet run along the beaches. Anglers looking for flounder inshore should have plenty of opportunity to catch Look for consistent redfish some 2-to-6-pound fish in the action in the Inlet in October. lagoon and near the inlets. I like to fish the mangrove shorelines with D.O.A. C.A.L. jigs or 4” jerkbaits rigged on VMC ¼ ounce jigheads. Fish them slow along the shorelines and pitch them under the mangrove roots. Docks and spoil islands will also hold some good flounder. Rapala’s XRap Twitchin’ Minnow is a good hard bait to target the flounder around docks and spoil islands as well. Live bait anglers will have the best success with finger mullet, however live pilchards and shrimp will work as well. The mullet in the creeks from Melbourne down to Sebastian will keep the gamefish in there through the month as long as we don’t get too much rain. Fish the docks and oyster bars that are loaded with bait using topwater baits early, then switching to subsurface baits later in the day. Snook will be plentiful and tarpon will be in the deeper channels of the creeks. Live finger mullet is a great bait or give the D.O.A. Terror Eyez a shot along the shoreline drop-offs.

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like to my fir owner Angler Editio to beg with y writer Togeth our pa and al marin As been a and ta lifesty diving lots of To Coast of the boatin will en provid water Sp These This v succes specia

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CAPT. GLYN AUSTIN

Going Coastal Charters www.goingcoastalcharters.com (321) 863-8085

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2771 W New Haven Ave, Melbourne, FL 32904

321.956.3474 8 BREVARD/VOLUSIA

OCTOBER 2021

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ello, my name is Patricia Hart and I would like to welcome you to my first issue as the new owner of the Coastal Angler Magazine Volusia Edition. I’m very excited to begin this adventure with you the readers, writers and advertisers. Together we can share our passion for fishing and all the amazing marine activities our beautiful community has to offer. As a fifth generation native Floridian, fishing and boating have always been a part of life for me and my family. My father was an avid angler and taught me from childhood to love life on the water. Now I share this lifestyle with my husband Bill. We have spent countless hours fishing, diving and just cruising around both inshore and offshore waters. We have lots of fishing stories to tell and most of them are actually true. To my readers I would like to say this… as the new owner of the Coastal Angler Magazine Volusia Edition, I intend to bring you the best of the best…The best information that can give you a fantastic fishing and boating experience…The best opportunity to learn new techniques that will enhance your success as an angler… The best local businesses ready to provide you with products and services designed to make your days on the water (you guessed it) the best! Speaking of the best, the true heroes of this magazine are the writers. These Captains and guides take time each month to share their expertise. This valuable information and insight can truly make a difference in the successful fishing experience we all hope to enjoy. I plan to host events and special occasions to give you the opportunity to meet them in person.

You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to meet these fine folks, our advertisers. This magazine has a unique group of advertisers. Each one has some type of product or service that will make any angler’s day great. Most are right here in our community and ready to take care of any need an angler could have. Maybe it’s bait, maybe it’s fishing gear, maybe a new boat, maybe a new truck to haul that new boat. Maybe it’s as simple as a great dock and dine meal that can be enjoyed while boating on the beautiful Intracoastal River. Anything that can bring a smile to local anglers will be featured by our advertisers. So pick up your free copy of Coastal Angler Magazine Volusia Edition every month. There are lots of distribution points in various locations throughout the county. Watch as this magazine grows to become not only the best fishing magazine in our community, but also an active member of our community and a valuable resource for our community. I hope you enjoy the magazine and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Be sure to see my digital version online CoastalAnglerMag.com/daytona as well as my Facebook page at Facebook.com/CoastalAngler. Volusia and my YouTube Channel, Coastal Angler TV.

EDITION HAS A NEW OWNER!

Tight Lines! Patricia Hart patricia@coastalanglermagazine.com

WELCOME BACK CAPTAIN EVAN SANDERS!

C

oastal Angler Magazine Volusia Edition welcome’s back Captain Evan Sanders as a monthly writer. Many of you will remember Capt. Evan’s articles from the past and share our excitement to have him writing for the magazine again. Capt. Evan is the owner of “Sol Fishing”, a clothing brand and local fishing charter. He also serves the community of NSB as one of the PE Coaches at New Smyrna Beach Middle School. Capt. Evan also donates multiple charters every month to local youth to teach them about the world of fishing and what the amazing waters of New Smyrna Beach have to offer. This month Capt. Evan & Sol Fishing is proudly recognizing New Smyrna Beach Middle School youth angler Josh B. for his hard work on the water! Pictured is a stud bull redfish that Josh landed in the backwaters while fishing from his flats boat. After a long fight that took

Josh up and down the river, the redfish measured a impressive 44 inches in length! Josh eats, sleeps, and breaths anything and everything to do with saltwater fishing. Most would say that saltwater runs through his veins. When Josh is not studying for classes, he spends his free time fishing the backwaters near his home for redfish, snook and trout. Josh is one of the many students who have gotten the opportunity to team up with Capt. Evan Sanders. In Next month’s issue, Capt. Evan will be showcasing the new Shark Tagging Program through NOAA and how local youth anglers react to catching these monsters in the Shark Bite Capital of the World. Sounds amazing! Welcome Back Capt. Evan! You can contact Capt. Evan Sanders at 407-529-5896 or see his website at Solfishing.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

OCTOBER 2021

BREVARD/VOLUSIA

9


FISHING REPORT & FORECAST

FI

INSHORE ADVENTURES WITH SKYE

C

Po

Fall Mullet Run

O

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hooking up and landing nearly every cast. I find that casting in the middle of the school is less successful because predators will often wait to pick off any fish that swims away from the school. It is that simple!

About Mullet

During the fall mullet run, mullet is the bait to use during this time of the year. Full grown mullet are great for shark and tarpon fishing. I prefer to use finger-sized mullet, free lined, which lands me just about anything. When targeting bull reds, large Snook and tarpon, I up my liter to 80lb+. But for the most part this Lagoon Mermaid enjoys sight fishing and scouting Mosquito Lagoon and the Tomoka Basin and although I can target large Tarpon, bull reds and Snook, I will be free-lining finger sized mullet, enjoying the art of angling artificials and sticking to light tackle. Occasionally targeting what the mullet run has to offer, so what are you waiting for, get out there and fish!

he smell of autumn, the change of colors, leaves falling at your feet, a cool breeze in the air. Yes it is that time of the year that all us anglers wait for, the mullet run! Every fall in Florida as the temperatures begin to cool fishing is on fire. The fall temps trigger the natural instincts in mullet to head south along the Atlantic coast. These migrating mullet will stay in large schools that are irresistible to large predators that’s including most game fish.

Mullet are a silver/gray fish. They are a ray finned fish found worldwide in a coastal temperature and tropical waters. There are 80 species of mullet, can you believe that?! They can be found in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters around the world. The massive amounts of mullet that are found in the surf and intercoastal water ways during the fall mullet run send fish into a frenzy. Masses of inshore fish such as Snook, Tarpon, Redfish and Seatrout. Hooking up to fish is nearly nonstop!

How to fish the Mullet run

This is really a no brainer and just about anyone could land fish during the mullet run. As for myself, I follow the schools of mullet casting on the outsides of the schools

Mullet is the bait!

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INSHORE ADVENTURES WITH SKYE Feel free to check out my inshore fishing adventures on Facebook @ Inshore Adventures with Skye and on Instagram brassyangler

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT JAMIE THRAPPAS

Ponce Inlet and Backwaters

O

ctober is one of my favorite months of the year. The weather is starting to cool off and the fishing will certainly heat up. There will be a ton of bait in the water especially in the beginning of the month which means the fish will be feeding. October is prime time for both big bull reds as well as my favorite target snook !! For reds I will be focused on the inlet. These fish will be schooled up and the best way to find them is on your side scan or your down scan on your finder. Once you find a group of fish, stage up current from them depending the tide (I prefer outgoing), anchor up or lock yourself in with your trolling motor. Early in the month mullet will be my go to bait but I will also use cut mullet, 1/2 blue crab, cut blue fish, and big pin fish. I typically do best on the bottom with a 3-5 oz weight and about 2-3 ft of fluorocarbon leader. My next target for the month will be snook. I do fairly well at the inlet with a similar approach to the reds. I will be looking for fish and then either drifting over them or using a large pinch weight and drifting the bait through the school of fish.

My favorite way to catch snook however is fishing the dock and causeway lights at night. I like free lining jumbo shrimp, pinfish, and mullet through the lights ,when you hear a pop you know you have one and its a strike you will never forget. Get outside and enjoy the good weather and the hot fishing this month and as always if you see us on the water say hello!

Capt. James Thrappas | Splash Brand Representation LLC 386-366-3424 | yellowdawgfishing@gmail.com

Locally Owned With A Chef Inspired Menu Millie’s offers fresh LOCAL seafood, meat and produce. 3218 S. Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118

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OCTOBER 2021

BREVARD/VOLUSIA

11


T

he off-season fishing has been stupendous, if not unbelievable, through mid summer. The Pompano run continues -not a minor run, a major, for one reason only, in my opinion: Infestation. That’s what I’ll call it. It’s nothing else but millions of sand fleas have hit all Wilbur’s beaches after a year of drought. I know, getting this hyped up about sand fleas must make you wonder about my mental state (I do also). My friend Tommy borrowed my sand flea rake three days ago. He turned into a backhoe! We now have enough fleas for the near future. Sand fleas are battered, deep-fried, and eaten in Thailand. I’d rather have a fish sandwich at Millie’s. The neighborhood is full of smoke. Not from forest fires but from all the barbie smokers! Now that’s pretty happy. The beach is rejuvenated. The coquina shells are thick, so fish are coming in to feed. Right now I’m in a light drizzle on the beach, with three poles out, three pompano in the bucket and three friends fishing. What could be better? As Stick Figure, my favorite reggae band, says: “Take me home to the ocean.” I got the vibe, and me and these fish are heading to the smoker. Marco Friedman Surf Fishing Guide | 386-212-4838

Under NEW Ownership by Cody Moore, Third Generation Fisherman NSB Outfitters specializes in offshore bait and tackle, as well as inshore, flats, and fly fishing gear, with extensive options in apparel and accessories. New Smyrna Outfitters has the knowledge and experience to guide through whatever type of fishing you’re looking to do.

SAME STREET, NEW LOCATION! 223a Canal St. | NewSmyrnaOutfitters.com (386) 402-8853 Mon-Sat 9am-6pm | Sunday Closed

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OCTOBER 2021

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OCTOBER 2021

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Ponce Inlet

FISHING REPORT & FORECAST

TIDE CHART OCTOBER 2021

www.USHarbors.com

Ponce De Leon Inlet South, FL - Oct 2021 High

Date

Low

AM

ft

PM

ft

AM

ft

PM

ft

Rise

Set

Fri

4:44

2.4

5:10

3.1

10:30

0.5

11:31

0.6

7:15

7:10

2

Sat

5:40

2.6

6:02

3.2

11:28

0.4

7:16

7:09

3

Sun

6:29

2.8

6:50

3.3

12:18

0.4

12:23

0.2

7:16

7:08

4

Mon

7:17

3.1

7:37

3.4

1:03

0.2

1:16

0.0

7:17

7:06

5

Tue

8:04

3.4

8:23

3.4

1:46

0.0

2:07

-0.1

7:18

7:05

6

Wed

8:51

3.6

9:10

3.4

2:28

-0.2

2:57

-0.2

7:18

7:04

7

Thu

9:38

3.9

9:57

3.3

3:10

-0.3

3:47

-0.2

7:19

7:03

8

Fri

10:26

4.0

10:44

3.2

3:53

-0.4

4:38

-0.2

7:19

7:02

9

Sat

11:15

4.0

11:33

3.1

4:39

-0.3

5:33

-0.1

7:20

7:01

10

Sun

12:07

4.0

5:29

-0.3

6:32

0.1

7:20

7:00

11

Mon

12:26

2.9

1:04

3.8

6:26

-0.1

7:35

0.2

7:21

6:59

12

Tue

1:25

2.8

2:04

3.7

7:29

0.0

8:36

0.2

7:22

6:57

13

Wed

2:28

2.7

3:07

3.6

8:33

0.1

9:36

0.3

7:22

6:56

14

Thu

3:35

2.7

4:12

3.4

9:36

0.2

10:36

0.3

7:23

6:55

15

Fri

4:43

2.8

5:14

3.4

10:42

0.2

11:32

0.2

7:23

6:54

16

Sat

5:45

2.9

6:09

3.3

11:45

0.2

7:24

6:53

17

Sun

6:39

3.1

6:59

3.3

12:23

0.1

12:43

0.2

7:25

6:52

18

Mon

7:28

3.3

7:46

3.2

1:10

0.1

1:36

0.2

7:25

6:51

19

Tue

8:14

3.4

8:30

3.1

1:52

0.0

2:25

0.1

7:26

6:50

20

Wed

8:57

3.5

9:13

3.0

2:31

0.0

3:10

0.2

7:27

6:49

21

Thu

9:38

3.5

9:54

2.9

3:08

0.0

3:51

0.2

7:27

6:48

22

Fri

10:16

3.5

10:34

2.8

3:43

0.1

4:32

0.3

7:28

6:47

23

Sat

10:54

3.5

11:12

2.6

4:18

0.2

5:13

0.4

7:29

6:46

24

Sun

11:31

3.4

11:52

2.5

4:53

0.3

5:56

0.5

7:29

6:45

25

Mon

12:10

3.3

5:32

0.4

6:45

0.6

7:30

6:44

26

Tue

12:34

2.4

12:52

3.2

6:16

0.6

7:35

0.7

7:31

6:44

27

Wed

1:19

2.3

1:38

3.1

7:08

0.6

8:23

0.7

7:31

6:43

28

Thu

2:09

2.3

2:28

3.0

8:02

0.6

9:11

0.6

7:32

6:42

29

Fri

3:05

2.3

3:24

3.0

8:58

0.6

9:59

0.6

7:33

6:41

30

Sat

4:06

2.5

4:24

3.1

9:56

0.5

10:48

0.4

7:33

6:40

31

Sun

5:05

2.7

5:21

3.1

10:56

0.4

11:36

0.2

7:34

6:39

1

FIS

CAPT. BARRY ENGLEHARDT

Moon

Tomoka Report

CA

O

ctober may be the choice of many fishermen as the best month to fish. The temperature of the water is usually ideal along with the air temperature. The mullet run is in full swing for East Central Florida along with the bull reds entering the inlet to lay eggs and filtering up and down the river. Snook and Tarpon are also in the mix. Fish the basin with an outgoing tide drifting crabs, mullet, pin fish, croakers and large shrimp. Free line your bait without weight over oyster bars and along drop offs of the ICW. The last two hours of the incoming and the first two hours of the outgoing produces good fishing for Snook, Reds and trout in the canals of the basin. Casting soft and hard baits along with a popping cork with shrimp and mullet work well on the edges of the islands. Fly fishing is very productive at high tide in Strickland Creek and the Tomoka River. My choice of fly is an Orvis Crazy Charlie in white. Good fishing Captain Barry Englehardt | fishwithcaptainbarry.com

DO YOU HAVE A FISHING STORY TO SHARE? Starting in the November issue I will have a new article called Fish Tales. If you would like to share your favorite fishing story with our readers, send it to my email address below.

patricia@coastalanglermagazine.com

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OCTOBER 2021

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Ed

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water morni water, lagoon prowl to oys depth

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. MICHAEL SAVEDOW

Edgewater Report

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all weather patterns emerge in October with the first cool fronts of the season pushing south through Central Florida bringing breezes off the ocean after a summer of calm mornings, east winds will raise water levels in the Intracoastal Waterway and Mosquito Lagoon, early morning topwater lures with a louder rattle can be best with breezy choppy water, with higher water on the flats in Edgewater Backcountry and on the lagoon try very close to shorelines where you can find skinny water fish prowling for food. Fish tail hooked finger mullet or mud minnows up tight to oyster bars, mangrove shorelines and shallow flats with a favorable water depth of 12 to 18 inches, reds, trout, and snook cruise and feed tight to the shore in high water searching for minnows, shrimp, small crabs. On lower tides fish the edges of oysters and mangrove shorelines. The fall mullet run should be in full swing on the beach, inlet, and ICW with easy bait catching, watch for game fish busting mullet schools, jack crevalle and bluefish can account for most of this surface action. A live mullet or topwater lure can Mike pulled a nice Black Drum off an oyster edge in Edgewater with Capt Michael Savedow be best for a quick hookup here. Ponce Inlet can be the center of attention for spawning redfish, averaging 20 to 40 lbs, are feeding heavy on drifting blue crabs, mullet, and baitfish being pulled through the inlet on the outgoing tide. Boats can drift or anchor, in the western inlet entrance, inner channel edges, and the jetty tip area. These big fish are catch and release only as most all are over the 27” maximum size, use heavier tackle to land them quicker for healthy release, always hold them horizontal for your pictures, never hang by the jaw with fish grippers which can damage the fish. Expect the chance of snook, tarpon, and sharks as well around the inlet fishing live bait. Try for the years biggest mangrove snapper which have grown in the backwaters all season long and are getting ready to move to the ocean for the adult stage of their life. The inlet area, jetties, and New Smyrna docks and bridges can be best for bigger mangos, also the ICW and Edgewater backcountry. Fish bigger baits to attract larger snapper, shrimp, finger mullet, and cut bait. Minimum size 10” with bag limit 5 per person on mangroves. Dock light fishing can be really good in fall, Oak Hill and Edgewater lights can hold mostly trout also snook, outgoing tides usually best bet, but moving water a must, free line live shrimp go to bait. Closer to the inlet, New Smyrna Beach and Ponce Inlet lights can have more blues and jacks, snook are always a possibility at any light, ladyfish are big night feeders, mostly outside the lights, all along the ICW channel, shrimp, lures, or fly casting makes fun catching on big fall ladys. Dropping water temperatures and clearing water makes for good variety catching in the backwaters, all the resident like fish seatrout, snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and black drum are joined by the migratory fish heading south along with the mullet, schooling bluefish, jack crevalle, oversized ladyfish, spanish mackerel, tarpon, pompano. For live bait try shrimp, mullet, pigfish, pinfish, mud minnows, you can free line them or add a small weight to drop them in to holes or channels. Lure anglers can throw top waters early morning, then switch to sub surface after the sun is up, twitch baits, spoons and 1/8 or 1/16 oz. swim tail jigs.

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HAVE YOU SEEN THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS MAGAZINE? Coastal Angler Magazine Volusia Edition is also available as a digital version online. See all the same great articles, photos and advertisements anytime from your phone, computer or tablet. It’s just a click away. While you’re there, explore the sight for links to editions from other locations along with lots of other useful information just for anglers like you.

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OCTOBER 2021

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPTAIN VINNY

High Bridge Report

A

s I sit down to type this I am beyond excited to be home. After spending the summer up north pushing the FishBites fight club brand and making believers out of anglers. Well now that the blazing heat is lifting and the mullet will continue to push out. The fishing will become insane. This is by far my favorite time of year to throw top water for big reds, snook and Poons. Focus on using blue and white lures as they are a great imitation and color to mimic the mullet. My go to bait will usually be a super strike popper followed by a Rebel jumping minnow.

Look for pods of bait and fish the edges of those schools. I have already been getting great pics sent to me by local anglers of the fish chasing these schools of bait so be sure to get down to the water and fish. Some mentions this month go out to chase with a beautiful top water red and Jimmy with a monsters poon Great job guys. Tight lines and have a great month. Tight lines, Capt Vinny Conwell / Back water Outfitters / 631-662-5029

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OCTOBER 2021

HOT SURF FISHING

T

he weather is starting to cool, and days are shorter. Sunrise is a 7 a.m., and it’s getting dark around 7:15 p.m. At the end of October, daylight savings time will begin. Fishing on the beach has been improving, and October is an excellent beach-fishing month. Snook and tarpon have been cruising near the trough, and my friend Larry recently hooked a tarpon that was so big it straightened out the treble hooks on his Krocodile spoon. Snook are being caught on live bait (greenies or croakers) but are also hitting jigs and crankbaits. In October, you may harvest one snook between 28 and 32 inches, except in the catchand-release areas on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The weeds (sargassum) are much better, and the wind has not been that bad. In general, tides are higher and the trough is deep. Croakers and whiting are hitting small jigs tipped with shrimp, and they can also be caught on small jigs. Cast, let the jig hit bottom, and then jerk it near the top of the water and let it sit. The fish are trying to pick it off the sand. Numbers of small jacks have been reported, with an average size of 2 pounds. I usually use 3/8-ounce DOA chartreuse jig with a 4-inch pearl Shad Tail. I’ve had good luck for jacks, ladyfish and snook when there is bait present. Look for birds, and then walk the shoreline looking for bait. Most of the fishing action is in the trough during high incoming or outgoing tides. The best time to fish is morning and evening. I’ve had more luck this year fishing slower and keeping the lure down near the bottom. On low tide, the fish are not in the trough; look for deeper shorelines. I’ve been fishing the bridges in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie around dusk and at night. There’s some hot night fishing on topwater for snook where overhead lights hit the water. I use Zara Spooks (gold) and Rapala Skitterwalks (trout) and have been getting some great action on preslot snook. If you fish from the bridge, you’ll need a long-handled net. Try fishing around the lights on Jensen Beach Causeway or the 10-cent bridge in Stuart. Crabs are swimming along with the current near the top of the water. Predator fish are looking to the top to grab them. Both bridges are excellent snook spots, and you might just catch a big trout. Richard Matteson is a longtime contributor to Coastal Angler Magazine who writes for Stuart Rod and Reel Club. Contact him at (336) 414-3440.

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PRESSURE IER

W

By Ryan Izquierdo

hen I was 12 years old, I moved to Palm Beach County, and I didn’t know anyone. I found a great way to spend my time when I discovered the Juno Beach Pier. From the first moment I walked out on that beachfront pier, my addiction for pier fishing was born. I have become a better fisherman and a better person because of it. What I find most exciting about pier fishing is the diversity it offers. Seasonal changes bring different species to catch and a variety of techniques to catch them. Bait & Lures: Organization is key. There is usually a limit on how many rods you’re allowed to bring on the pier. I bring a light spinning rod to catch bait, a conventional rod for casting live baits on bottom and a long surf rod to cast lures and freeline live baits. I always have Sabiki rigs. Usually you can find pods of pilchards, sardines, cigar minnows or other baitfish at piers. I use a size 3 Sabiki and a 1-ounce weight. Cast into the school and jig slowly. You will have a bucket of live bait in no time. From tarpon and snapper to snook, pretty much every species will eat a live pilchard. I keep a little bit of everything in my tackle bag to match the conditions: leader from 20 to 80 pounds, pyramid and egg weights, swivels and 1/0 to 6/0 J and circle hooks. Mullet Run: The changing of seasons initiates the mullet run. Millions of baitfish push south along Florida’s east coast. It’s not hard to spot or hear. Mullet are being attacked from every direction by hungry tarpon, snook,

16 FLORIDA

OCTOBER 2021

jacks, Spanish and king mackerel, bluefish and sharks. I recommend buying or cast netting mullet on the beach or in the river. Make sure to have a livewell or bucket and bubbler to keep the bait alive. Hook mullet through the lips or under the dorsal fin. Live-line them around the outside edges of bait schools with 60- to 100-pound leader, a 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook, and nothing smaller than a 5000size reel loaded with 30- to 50-pound braid. I recommend a drop net to help land and release your catch safely. Artificial Lures: I love to throw artificial lures at piers. I find the most success when the wind is blowing and the conditions are rough with white wash in the surf. Large 2- to 4-ounce plugs, swimbaits, Flair Hawks, bucktails and topwater plugs are some of my favorites. If I’m throwing lures, I won’t use anything less than 60-pound leader. Throw lures at first light and sundown because it can be tough hooking up in the middle of the day. Try and match the hatch with whatever live bait is around. Throw lures similar in size and color to what’s actually in the water. For more pier fishing tips from Ryan Izquierdo, check out the videos posted on his YouTube channel: Ryan Iz Fishing.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


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21

From Yam just

STONE CRAB HARVEST OPENS OCTOBER 15TH

S

tone crab season opens Oct. 15 and runs through May 1. Remember that regulations changes were made last year that changed requirements for traps as well as the minimum length for legally harvestable claws. The minimum harvestable claw length is 2 7/8 inches. Trapping is the most efficient method of collecting the legal limit of 1-gallon of stone crab claws per-person, per-day. There is a 2-gallon possession limit per vessel, regardless of how many harvesters are on the boat. Requirements for stone crab traps are also very specific, so be sure to check the current regulations at myfwc.com before dropping them. Legal traps can be purchased at most bait and tackle stores. Recreational harvesters are allowed up to five traps. Although it’s not nearly as easy as pulling traps, diving and snorkeling for stone crabs is more adventurous and a lot of fun. In many areas, you can find spiny lobsters and stone crabs on the same reefs or rock piles. Whether diving or trapping, it is illegal to harvest claws from eggbearing females. Although it is permitted to take both claws if they are of legal length, most people choose to take just one. This leaves the crab with something to feed and defend itself with, which also allows it to re-grow its missing claw more quickly. For more information, go to myfwc.com.

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OCTOBER 2021

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ith students across the country returning to school, Mud Hole Custom Tackle stepped up in its efforts to bring custom fishing rod building and tackle crafting to the youth of America. As the industry’s number one supplier of tools, supplies, components and education content, Mud Hole is uniquely positioned to engage kids and create an educational experience through rod building. “We’ve been working closely with teachers and school organizations throughout the United States for over a decade, teaching students valuable life skills, and in many cases, providing an avenue to earn required academic credits in their science and agriculture programs,” said Brook Oliva, Vice President of Operations at Mud Hole. “Rod building is the core of our business, and we are always excited to bring this craft to kids. Whether they pursue rod building as a pathway to a career in the hunting and fishing industry, or if they simply gain a lifelong passion, Mud Hole is happy to play a small part in their development.” Mud Hole works very closely with educators as well as youth groups and clubs, including Boy Scouts of America and 4-H, to provide discounted pricing for all the equipment and supplies needed to bring rod building and tackle crafting to the classroom. Mud Hole also provides personal online instruction to the teachers, sharing the skills needed to transfer rod building 24 FLORIDA

OCTOBER 2021

expertise to their students. Since its inception over 13 years ago, the Mud Hole Education Program has reached more than 650 institutions and over 30,000 students across America and in Canada and Australia, with hands on activities that promote classroom engagement. “It’s an honor for me to work directly with the teachers who bring this important skill set to students across the country,” said Anthony Youmans, Mud Hole’s Education Program Director. “I lead online rod building workshops each month dedicated to teachers, and I attend state-level teacher conventions throughout the year. We have even set up a Mud Hole Education Program Facebook group as a platform for educators to share their experiences and techniques with each other. It’s an amazing community, and I am so proud to support it.” In 2021, Mud Hole has stepped up efforts to reach new students with new classroom-focused education kits and enhanced price discounts, and adding new online resources to assist teachers through their curriculum— by all with the goal of supporting education. For more information about Mud Hole’s Education Program, contact Anthony Youmans directly at 866-790-7637, ext. 135.

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DRAG: SET IT AND FORGET IT

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F

By Will Schmidt

I

cringe every time I see it, whether it’s a seasoned pro or newbie. A fish makes a blistering run; the angler reaches down to tighten the drag only to part ways with the fish due to too much pressure. There are a variety of reasons why tightening the drag during a fight is a bad idea. First, as the diameter of the spool gets smaller with less line, the drag already actually increases. The spool is spinning at the same rate, but less line is coming off. Physics, who knew? Also, the drag of the line itself in the water adds more strain—the more line, the more pressure. Finally, even if the line doesn’t break, the chances of pulling or straightening the hook increases with the additional load. Worst of all, losing a fish due to applying too much pressure is one of the easiest things to avoid. Set your drag and forget it. Old-school tactics still hold true today when it comes to setting a drag. Set it to 20 to 30 percent of line test strength. For example, if you’re using 10-pound test, you want your drag to be set between 2 and 3 pounds, 4 to 6 pounds for 20-pound test. To do this, you need a scale and a friend to hold it. An inexpensive spring scale will do the trick. Attach the line to the scale and pull against it. When the drag starts slipping, read the scale and that’s your drag setting. There’s some debate as to whether you should pull straight or with a bend in the rod. I use a bend, and it has never failed me. I generally set my drags at 25 percent of the test strength of the line, but there are certain situations that call for going higher and lower. If you are grouper fishing or chasing big snook near structure, you need to be able to turn the fish by applying maximum pressure. In this case, setting your drag more toward 30 percent of the test strength would be advisable. Because this rule was devised before the advent of braid, the type of line should also be

considered. The stretch of mono gives you a bit of forgiveness at the strike and during jumps. When setting the drag for braid, lighter or closer to 20 or 25 percent would be sensible. Many seasoned anglers, myself included, will add extra pressure to turn a wayward fish by thumbing or palming the spool. This can be useful, but it takes practice to get that touch, and all who do it will at some point apply too much pressure. Sometimes it’s a case of turn the fish or lose it, so your only option is to apply more pressure. However, in general, your best bet is to set it and forget it. Will Schmidt is a seasoned tournament angler who has been writing about fishing for more than two decades.

Gulf Cobia Study Underway

T

exas researchers are conducting some pretty cool research with Gulf of Mexico cobia in order to better understand the migratory patterns of this highly mobile species. Each spring and fall, you’ll see tower-bearing cobia boats cruising Gulf Coast beaches sight fishing for cobia as they migrate along the coast from Texas to the west coast of Florida and back again. Research has shown that brownies over-winter off the coast of Mississippi and Alabama as well as off South Florida, where there is mixing of Gulf and Atlantic cobia stocks. Researchers with the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation are tagging Texas cobia with pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags (PSATs) to better understand the species. Many Texas anglers have reported declining cobia landings in recent years. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and federal agencies have funded additional assessments of Texas’ cobia populations. Areas of interest are post-release survival, habitat use patterns and seasonal movements. Evaluating whether or not cobia stocks mix between U.S. and Mexican waters is of particular interest. It could have Gulf-wide management implications if the stock overlap between the U.S. Gulf and Mexican waters is high. To learn more about the program, and how to claim your reward if you catch a tagged one, check out this video: https://bit.ly/LoneStarLing.

10 NATIONAL

OCTOBER 2021

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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INSPECT AND MAINTAIN YOUR BOAT’S HYDRAULIC STEERING E

By the Experts at Dometic Marine

xperienced boaters know regular inspection, preventative maintenance and fixing small problems before they become large ones are keys to trouble-free time on the water. Many boaters, however, tend to overlook hydraulic steering systems. This isn’t surprising, given these systems’ reliability and durability. Owners of outboardpowered boats expect smooth, easy steering control and rarely think about steering-system components until they wear out or need repair. According to Brian Dudra, vice president/ general manager for Dometic Marine, boaters can ensure trouble-free steering and extend the life of components through simple inspections and maintenance. “While each of our hydraulic systems are designed for the harsh marine environment, like any critical control system, it requires periodic checks and maintenance,” Dudra explained. “As per your owner’s manual and product labels, hydraulic steering systems should be inspected prior to every use for fluid level, steering response, leaks or worn/ binding components.” In addition, most systems require a small amount of maintenance from a qualified dealer every six months. Here’s how to inspect and care for your hydraulic steering system. Check the Helm: Starting with the steering helm, make sure the steering cylinder and helm hydraulic hose connections are tight. Dudra recommends greasing the helm shaft when installing the steering wheel to facilitate easier future removal. Check hydraulic fluid level inside the helm by unscrewing the fill plug and looking inside. The level should be 1/8- to ¼-inch below the lowest thread in the fill port. If lower than this, fill the helm to the proper level, but avoid over-filling. Check steering response when turning the wheel. It should respond within a quarter turn. If not, the system might need fluid or there might be air in the system, which requires purging. For tilt-and-lock steering helms, make sure the plastic covers are secured. Inspect Hoses & Fittings: When inspecting hoses, run your hand down them to feel for cuts, chafing or cracks. If you discover wear, have a qualified service shop replace suspect hoses. Also, ensure hose fittings are tight. Feel for hydraulic fluid leaks or weeps by running a finger around the fitting. If you find a leak, tighten the fitting. If that fails, have a qualified service shop address the issue.

Check Steering Cylinder & Glands:

Most outboard-powered boats use front-mounted hydraulic steering cylinders. The cylinder should be periodically inspected with focus on the cylinder hose connections and glands on each end of the cylinder to ensure there are no leaks. 12 NATIONAL

OCTOBER 2021

Inspect the glands, which contain seals, on the ends of the steering cylinder by running your finger around the edges. If you discover fluid weeping, it’s time to replace the gland with authentic SeaStar parts. Check the steering cylinder’s shaft and support rod. Inspect the cylinder shaft for salt buildup, corrosion and nicks that might damage the cylinder. Major damage might require replacement of the entire cylinder. Apply a thin film of grease to the visible portions of the support rod. Remove and inspect the rod annually. The support rod and outboard tilt tube must be cleaned of old grease and debris prior to re-applying quality marine grease before re-installing.

Fix Leaks: If the hose fittings are weeping fluid, the hoses might require replacement. The same applies to the glands. SeaStar offers a gland replacement kit and O-ring seals for the bleeders and other fittings. If you follow the provided instructions carefully, fixing leaks is relatively easy for competent DIY boaters. You can also turn the job over to a qualified marine shop. To ensure the steering is secure and tight, check all assembly nuts for proper tightness,

including the adjusting nut on the starboard side of the support rod. Purge Air: Air in the hydraulic steering system causes sloppy unresponsive steering and noisy operation. It can make your boat unsafe. Air finds its way into the hydraulic system through leaks or when replacing key components. It must be purged through a process called “bleeding.” Your owner’s manual explains bleeding. If you lack confidence, tools or manpower to do it yourself, ask a qualified marine shop to handle this.

Check for Water Intrusion. Make sure water hasn’t entered the system. Water can cause damage and internal corrosion. “This is a subjective examination, but can be performed by taking a syringe and sampling the fluid in the helm reservoir,” Dudra advised. “If the fluid looks like ‘chocolate milk,’ then the fluid is likely contaminated with water.” If this occurs, the entire system must be inspected for leaks. Once these are fixed, the system should be flushed with clean oil to remove any contaminated oil. To learn more about marine steering and components from the industry leader, visit www.dometic.com.

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Together. Carrying what matters most. 14 NATIONAL

OCTOBER 2021

By Rex Hannon

S

itting in the Cancun International Airport, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past 15 days on Mexico’s beautiful Caribbean coast. In August, I traveled to the little fishing village Xcalak to compete in the Silver Scales International Fly Fishing Tournament. Xcalak is a quaint little village very near the border of Belize in southern Quintana Roo. It doesn’t make it on most tourist lists. In fact, a large 9:54 AM percentage of Mexican citizens have probably never heard of the place. If it wasn’t for Xcalak’s world-class flats fishery, even fewer would know of it. The Silver Scales International Fly Fishing Tournament is an annual gathering of some of the finest saltwater fly fishers on the planet. The tournament focuses on the “grand slam” of permit, bonefish and tarpon. Combine that with a snook, and you have the “super slam.” Points are assigned for each fish, and there’s an added bonus for anglers who catch a slam. The grand slam is all three species in a 24-hour period, or in this case the day’s allotted fishing hours. Xcalak is an amazing fishery. If your bucket list includes the pursuit of this elusive challenge, there is no better place on the planet. Sighting schools of bonefish is commonplace, but the real prize is the abundance of “black-tailed devils” known as permit. Just because there are great numbers of these highly sought after game fish, they are by no mean easy. It’s much more fishing than catching. Fifteen teams and 30 total anglers fished three days in 2021, and the results were impressive. There were seven grand slams caught and two super slams. Total catch included 27 bonefish, three snook, 13 tarpon and 22 permit. Like I stated earlier, the Silver Scales draws some very talented anglers from around the globe. Brothers Javier and Mauricio Osorio, of Escamas Plateadas dedicated months to ensure the gathering was a success. The success our team “Fly Fish Costa Maya” is due to the passion and dedication of my friend Will Robins and the hard work and intimate knowledge of our guide Moises Cordova. The tournament is a grueling three days of hot sun, little sleep and nothing short of physical torture. It was one of the best times of my life. Preparation, hard work and endurance paid off in a respectable fourth-place finish. But, our success in fishing the tournament was nowhere near the highlight of this trip. Just knowing there are special places and people like this warms the heart and makes you want to return. I was anxious to board the plane for home and see my beautiful wife, but— with God’s blessing—I know I’ll return to this place soon.

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FISH A LIPLESS CRANK

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TYLER WOOLCOTT

he weather is cooling, and bass are feeding heavily before the spawn. This time of year, baitfish is prevalent in waters across the country, and there is one lure that puts fish in the boat just about everywhere. This bait is a lipless crankbait. A lipless crank can play a huge role in getting baitfish-feeding bass to bite. I use it all over the country. Sometimes it’s as easy as casting it out and retrieving it steadily. But sometimes it’s a bit more complicated. Inside the lure, there are rattles. Sizes vary from ¼-ounce up to an ounce, and it is best to match the size of baitfish bass are feeding on. There are different types of rattles inside different lures. Two I like are a multi-rattle and a one-knock. Multi-rattles make a lot of noise. I throw this style when fish are very active and feeding heavily. The noise draws their attention from real baitfish and gets them to react and eat your bait. I like the one-knocker version and its slower, deeper-pitch knock when fish are feeding on baitfish, but not very actively. Fish tend to scatter out when they aren’t actively feeding, and that deeper pitch can sometimes trigger them to bite. There are many ways to retrieve a lipless crankbait. A steady retrieve can sometimes be the trick, especially if you see bass

feeding. But my absolute favorite way to fish a lipless crank is to yo-yo it. This is a varied retrieve with the reel handle, with an occasional pull and pause with the rod to let the bait flutter up and fall back down. This technique is deadly. When you pull the bait up fast, it makes a loud rattle. Then, when you let it flutter down, it looks like an injured baitfish, and bass can’t resist it. In the fall, bass also feed on crayfish in some parts of the country. A lipless crank can be a massive player in this scenario. When crayfish flee, their tails smack against their bodies and make a clacking noise similar to a rattle. When deciding colors, I match the color of the lure to the color of the baitfish present. 13 Fishing makes an awesome lure called the Magic Man that comes in both multirattle and one-knocker versions. When matching baitfish, I use chromes, whites and sometimes chartreuse. When mimicking crayfish, I use reds and oranges.

Trap Fishing Gear I’ve done a ton of experimenting with setups for lipless cranks, and I’ve got it down to a science. When dealing with treble hooks, you want a rod with a decent amount of backbone and a bit of bend to let the fish get the hooks. I use a 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’4MH Moderate action rod. I pair this with a 7:1 Concept A 13 Fishing reel spooled with 15-pound Seaguar Abrazx line. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at www.tylerwoolcottfishing.com.

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OCTOBER 2021

NATIONAL 15


PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOCKIN TAIL LURES

TIPS FOR CATCH-AND-RELEASE FLOUNDER

A MONSTER CANADIAN STURGEON

W

hite Sturgeon can live longer than 100 years, so it’s likely this monster fish has been swimming between the northern Pacific and British Columbia’s Fraser River for the better part of a century. According to the Vancouver Sun, it took a group of Canadian anglers about 25 minutes to land this huge sturgeon in August. It stretched the tape to 11-feet, 6-inches and had a girth of 55 inches. An estimate based on those measurements puts the weight of the fish near 900 pounds. That would make it a Canadian provincial record for the species, according to the Sun. The anglers were fishing the Fraser River east of Vancouver. National Hockey League great Pete Peeters and his buddy Jake Driedger took turns on the rod. White sturgeon are widely protected, which makes them a difficult species in terms of records. In British Columbia, catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is allowed, but fish longer than 5 feet must remain in the water before release. These protections as well their size makes it nearly impossible to get a certified weight on angler catches. The IGFA all-tackle world record white sturgeon was caught in 1983 and weighed just 468 pounds. There have been several reported but uncertified catches heavier than 1,000 pounds, including a 12-foot, 4-incher caught in 2012 from the Fraser River. It was estimated at 1,100 pounds. However, it’s likely the all-tackle record is permanent because it’s no longer possible to weigh white sturgeon. For more on fishing opportunities in British Columbia, see www.gofishbc.com.

16 NATIONAL

OCTOBER 2021

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

s the weather changes, so do the fishing patterns. This year, along with the seasonal changes, we also have some regulation changes to keep in mind. Here in Texas and also in Florida there are new closed seasons for flounder in 2021. From Nov. 1-Dec. 14, Texas flounder will be catch and release only. In Florida, the recreational season will be closed Oct. 15-Nov. 30. These closures are part of regulations-tightening trend for Gulf and Atlantic states after a federal study showed southern flounder numbers at historically low levels. I’m happy to report we’re still catching flounder, but be sure to check for updates to your state’s seasons and bag limits before applying the following tips. I enjoy the precise approach to successfully and consistently catch flounder. Although I won’t be able to harvest any during the closed period, I’ll still land some saddle blankets for photos before release. I’ll also modify my tactics to improve my hook-up ratio, which will also increase the odds of flounder survival during this spawning season. While targeting flounder, I generally pause after I feel the initial strike. I do this for a few reasons. Flounder hold their prey in locked jaws for a period of time in order to kill the bait and reposition it before swallowing. I don’t get as many hook-ups when setting the hook on the first thump of a flounder strike. In preparation for the closed season, I’ve practiced downsizing lures. A shorter and smaller profile significantly increased my first-strike hookup ratio. A lure that has proven very effective is the new 3.25-inch Knockin Tail Lure. It has a small profile, which allows for a wider gap between the plastic and the hook tip. With the boney jaw of a flounder, ample hook exposure increases penetration. This lure also has a built-in tail rattle and a ton of action. When targeting flounder, I start each day with a new jighead, and I might even replace it during the day depending on the bottom structure in the area. A sharp hook is crucial to consistently piercing a flounder’s jaw, which is where most of the hooks will be if you’re not waiting for the second or third bite, which is what I do if I plan to retain my catch. I also recommend a jighead with a strong solid hook with little to no flex. My final tip for targeting flounder is to use bright colors. Any color can work, but I catch more flounder on bright patterns. Some of my favorites are, white/limetruese, chartreuse with glitter and a bright green/bright red combo. I hope these tips give you the edge during this year’s flounder runs. Don’t forget to take a kid fishing. Flounder can be an easy target for young anglers, even on lures. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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