Coastal Angler Magazine | September 2022 | Volusia County Edition

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TYLER WOOLCOTT DROP SHOT FOR FINICKY FISH

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You raise the flags of the fish just caught to show you weren’t skunked.

The water can be a little warm this time of year, and it makes bass finicky. When the bite gets tough, a drop shot flat out gets bit. It catches fish everywhere I go, and every angler should have the technique in their arsenal.There are a few reasons a drop shot can out-perform other techniques this time of year. The first of these is because of how versatile you can be with it. I have thrown a drop shot around rock, wood, grass and even in completely open water. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass will all pick up a drop-shot rig, so it’s a great option regardless of what part of the country you fish or what species you target.Another factor that makes this technique excel when other things aren’t working is it’s effective on heavily pressured and sluggish fish. Sometimes getting these fish to bite calls for light line and a smaller profile bait. The dropshot rig consists of a fluorocarbon leader leading to a hook of your choosing then, below the hook, about 12 inches of line tied to a drop shot weight on the end. This creates a rig that keeps your bait up off the bottom and drives finicky bass crazy.

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Drop Shot Gear: Picking the right setup for a drop shot doesn’t have to be too difficult. I like a rod around 7 foot with a medium or a medium heavy action like the 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’1M. Pair up a 3,000 sized reel with some 10lb. Seaguar Smackdown braid and a 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader. Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website www.tylerwoolcottfishing.com.at

There are a few different styles of baits you can use on the drop shot, depending on what your fish are feeding on. This is what I usually base my bait and color choices off of. I usually throw a small finesse worm like the 13 Fishing Joy Stick Ultra Thin or a baitfish-style bait like the 13 Fishing Vertigo minnow. Both baits are small in size and can really pick up some bites when the fishing is tough.Bait color is important, but I like to keep things fairly simple. I typically throw a green pumpkin or a black-and-blue worm style bait. For the baitfish-style lure, I stick with whites or natural baitfish colors. Remember, you are trying to be as finesse as possible to trick a bass that’s not hungry into biting, so something simple and natural will excel. This technique has worked wonders for me all across the country. From down South in Florida all the way up to New York, bass eat this rig up everywhere. Next time you’re on the lake and the bite is tough, downsize your presentation and drag a drop shot around. It will pick up a few more bites.

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Throughout the summer, snook are catch-and-release-only to protect spawning fish. On the Atlantic side, snook harvest opens Sept. 1, with a 28- to 32-inch slot limit. Capt. Smith said the spawning pattern lasts well into September most years, but the big females are over the slot and must be released, anyway. He is more concerned with the beatings these fish take all summer long. His solution is to limit the number of fish he targets and to gear up heavy. Smith fishes 10,000 size reels on 50- to 100-lb. rods. He runs 80-lb. braid to a 60-lb. fluorocarbon leader and locks down the drag. The weakest link is an 8/0 thin wire circle hook, which is easier on the fish but must be changed out Heavyfrequently.gear combats a big snook’s propensity for bulldogging into structure. It also shortens the length of the fight to lessen the likelihood of fish succumbing to exhaustion or sharks. Smith said these large spawners can be 25 years and older. He urged anglers to handle them carefully for release and never to hold them vertically by their mouths.Ifyou’re looking for a snook to eat, there’s plenty of opportunity for that also. Between the moons some of the snook spread out to the bridges, docks and deep holes. The smaller, slot-sized males become more interested in feeding. Also, the mullet run will kick in toward the end of September. When mullet schools show up, everything from the fish to the anglers switch over to chasing bait. Contact Capt. Patrick Smith through his website www.swamptosea.com.

Agiant snook should be on every angler’s bucket list. They’re big, they’re strong and they’re aggressive. Southern Florida boasts the most prolific snook fisheries in the world, and Capt. Patrick Smith, of Swamp to Sea Guide Service, operates in the heart of one of the best. Swamp to Sea fishes throughout Palm Beach County up to Stuart, Fla. At times, the snook fishing can be so good that the prospect is almost mundane for Capt. Smith. “If I’ve got clients who want to catch the snook of a lifetime, we’ll go out to the inlet and let them catch one or two. Then we’ll go do something else,” he said. “It’s cool to check a big snook off the list, but light tackle is moreCapt.fun.”Smith’s nonchalance about catching snook 35 to 43 inches long and up to 25 pounds is an attitude geared toward conservation of a species he loves. When big females congregate in the inlets to spawn around the full moons of summer, they are easy targets for anglers armed with big live baits like perch and croakers.

By Nick Carter

Before the Transition

“They’re not smart fish. If they’re turned on, they’re going to eat. If they’re not, it may be five hours before they do,” he said. “But there’s going to be 30 to 40 minutes on the tide when those snook are eating. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into it. If one is interested, they all are.”

Work with what Mother Nature gives you. Here on the upper Texas coast, we’ve had about seven years of excessive rainfall which, in general terms, made some of our bays unfishable for most of that time. Due to excessive fresh water, those of us who like to fish where the tributaries enter into the bays had to seek new areas where the salinity levels were suitable for speckled trout. This year, things are back to normal, and we need to relearn old patterns and work with what Mother Nature is giving us.

Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures, Controlled Descent Lures, and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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Although I prefer lures over bait, success rates lean toward live shrimp or finfish this time of year. Depending on conditions, these can be free-lined, Carolina rigged, or fished under a loud popping cork. A free-lined shrimp tossed near a granite jetty is a good bet on any day. Stepping away from the live version, cut mullet or shad can be winners for a big pull from a red, black drum or shark. A circle hook Carolina rigged on the bottom can entice those large predators to strike. This is a great method if you have kids aboard.

As always, the jetties are a favorite. The high current and cooler Gulf water attract every fish species that swims in our bays and nearshore waters. It’s not uncommon to catch some offshore fish there as well; it happens every year.

Although the temps are still high, you can have a successful day on the water if you modify your techniques. Remember to apply sunblock before you leave the dock, wear appropriate protective clothing and drink plenty of water. Stay safe and have fun!

The Texas heat and drought are one for the record books and can make a day on the water unpleasant if you plan to stay much past noon, but there are some methods to help you be productive until things start to cool off. Many of the estuaries that were impacted by the floods are some of our deeper bay systems, and that is a good thing this time of year. Heading out early will greatly increase your odds and give you more time on the water while it is cool, relatively speaking. I have found these bays have been forgotten by some, and they’ve never been fished by those new to our sport, which makes for less crowds on the water. I target the deeper reefs in the upper stretches of the bay near the rivers. Locating new washouts can also pay off, and those are not on the maps or public knowledge, so doing a little recon before you head out on each trip can make for a more productive day.

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

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The IGFA world record redfish weighed in at 94 lbs. 2 oz. It was caught off the North Carolina Outer Banks in 1984.

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By Emily Rose Hanzlik

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n September, with the famed mullet run in full swing, big bull redfish will be following schools of mullet and feeding heavily. It’s one of the best times of year to hook up with a bull red, and my favorite place to target them is in the Sebastian Inlet. Red drum, more commonly known as redfish, are a familiar species to most saltwater anglers. With beautiful coppercolored scales fading into a white belly, their distinctive mark is an eye spot at the base of the tail. Catching a red with multiple black spots is a true honor for many inshore and nearshore anglers. This eye spot is not merely a decoration, it also serves as a defense mechanism to confuse predators into thinking a redfish’s tail is its Reds can be found on the coasts of Mexico all the way to Cape Cod, Mass. Their habitats can vary widely due to redfish being euryhaline, which means they tolerate a wide range of salinity. Redfish are typically a nearshore species, meaning they can be found in estuaries, bays, mudflats, oyster beds and off of beaches. Young redfish prefer estuaries, where there is an abundance of prey as well as protection from larger predators. Once they reach about three years old, they tend to move off of the beaches into coastal areas. Once redfish reach maturity, at three or four years, they begin spawning. Their spawning season usually takes place from mid-August to mid-November; however, this may vary due to temperatures and other factors. Redfish usually congregate to spawn near or inside tidal inlets or fast-flowing water to ensure as many eggs as possible are fertilized. Males produce a drumming sound to attract females by contracting their muscles to vibrate their swim bladders. Females produce one-half to two million eggs per season. Most eggs do not make it to the safety of bay areas. During the mullet run, large schools of redfish follow migrating mullet. The easiest way to target these fish is to drop a live mullet below the main school of mullet. If you’re specifically targeting bull reds, you’ll want to give it a go at night. Drifting large chunks of ladyfish on an outgoing current will almost always produce a large fish. Occasionally, you will come across large schools of redfish feeding on the surface at the mouth of the inlet on an outgoing tide. When this occurs, use topwater plugs, swimbaits and large jigs. In the backcountry around the mangroves, gold spoons, live shrimp and small crabs work best.

Emily Rose Hanzlik holds 51 IGFA world records in various categories. She hails from West Palm Beach, where she has a part time Bowfin Guide Service as well as fishing classes for Jr. Anglers. Find her on Social Media @emilyhanzlikoutdoors.

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Artificial reefs initiate the development of natural, thriving habitats for various species of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life, such as smaller organisms that are vital food sources for other marine species, with the overall goal to create an ever-evolving ecosystem while enhancing fisheries and improving water quality.

“Improving and creating sustainable fisheries, coastal habitats and waterways is CCA Florida’s purpose,” CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski said. “Today’s reef deployment is an extension of that commitment and also of our partnership with Duke Energy – signifying our mutual dedication to protecting Florida’s marine habitat for today and generations to come.”

Since 2018, CCA Florida and Duke Energy have released more than 110,000 redfish along Florida’s Gulf Coast in effort to relieve the declining population. The Duke Energy/CCA Florida Reef deployment is an expansion of its collaboration and symbolizes its continued dedication to enhancing Florida’s marine habitat and expanding fishing opportunities for local anglers.

New Artificial Reef Deployed Off Mexico Beach

For more information, go to ccaflorida.org.

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T hose looking for some new numbers to fish off Mexico Beach now have them thanks to CCA Florida, Duke Energy and the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association. In May, the organizations teamed up to deploy four 38,000-pound and four 5,000-pound artificial reef modules off Mexico Beach. They are calling the new honeyhole “The Duke Energy/CCA Florida Reef.” The eight reef modules were deployed by Walter Marine at the prepermitted Sherman Site, an area known for attracting red and gray snappers, amberjack, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, gag grouper and cobia. These specific reef structures, ranging in height from 8 to 25 feet, provide greater habit diversity while attracting fish and appealing to recreational anglers. The reef site is located offshore 11 miles west of Mexico Beach at approximately 29º 55.384, -85º 40.765.

“Duke Energy Florida recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship and the economic benefit it provides to the communities we serve,” Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president said. “We are proud to invest in CCA Florida’s work with the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association to bring this new artificial reef to Mexico Beach, a win for marine life, local anglers and outdoor enthusiasts along Florida’s West Coast.”

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E verything offshore will start to notice when water temps drop a little at the end of the month, and even more obvious will be shorter daylight hours. All the fish we pursue will start thinking about one of three things: spawning, gorging to fatten up for winter or migrating back south. I’m most concerned with the grouper/snapper complex and the wahoo, so this puts my fishing in overdrive for the next few months. Groupers and snappers will be hot as a firecracker until after Christmas. Wahoo fishing will be at the peak by then as well. Another species I like to stay tuned into are the beeliners (vermillion snapper). When you stay in touch with these guys, you pretty much stay in touch with everything, because everything out there loves to eat a beeliner. The full moon is going to be on Saturday, Sept. 10. This will be a good time to spend the night at the break and have the livewell full to fish just before dawn. Beeliners will chew hard during this full moon, and the bite will shut down as soon as the moon disappears on the western horizon. If you can keep the bright lights going all night, the squid and the biggest, fattest beeliners will be readily available for the taking. When you have these two things gathered up in mass, you definitely have the wahoo and grouper there also. This is a good reason to keep the light line out with a fresh squid or a Boston mackerel just past where the light disappears into the dark water.

The only problem is the kings are there too. You may like to catch kings, and I apologize for that last sentence, but if I catch a king, it’s accidental. A lot of folks don’t even consider fishing at night, and certainly not fishing the light line at night, but it can be extremely effective for wahoo and kings. The first wahoo I ever caught from an anchored boat was at night, and it was a heck of an experience. We saw the fish swim under the lights, and I quickly put out a live beeliner. The beeliner swam away from the boat, and just as he got to the dark water, we saw the bite. I was instantly addicted to this style of bottom fishing and light lining versus just trolling for wahoo, tuna and dolphin. Dolphin will not eat at night, normally, but the night bite for tuna can be good. The stack of beeliners is the main thing I’m looking for as a good starting point for a place to fish. Gags and scamps will definitely go with the food (beeliners) until the beginning or middle of October. Then the gags will leave the beeliners to migrate inshore in search of cigs and sardines and to spawn. For more information, see www.barefootcatsandtackle.com.

Tim Barefoot

THE CHANGE WILL BEGIN IN SEPTEMBER

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 FLORIDA 9

“Now, on top of a short red snapper season, it is our understanding that there are discussions about broad area or season closures of all bottom fishing to stop red snapper encounters altogether,” reads the letter. “This decision would be crippling economically for our states that rely heavily on our coastal Legislatorseconomy.”havecalled on NOAA to hold off on area closure consideration until data from the ongoing South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count can be considered. Results of this study, which began in 2021, are expected by 2025.

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It’s worth noting that last year’s data from a similar study, the Gulf of Mexico Great Red Snapper Count, indicated there were up to three times as many red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico as the numbers federal managers were using to make management decisions. On that note, Gulf legislators are not pleased with how “more accurate” state data is being calibrated into the “fundamentally flawed” MRIP data that federal managers have used to set regulations for years. The “data calibration framework” included within proposed rule changes would result in reductions of the state annual catch limit for some states and increases for others. State annual catch limits would increase for Florida and Louisiana by 100,000 and 50,000 pounds, respectively. Texas’ limit would remain the same, while Alabama and Mississippi’s limits would decrease by 586,000 and 95,000 pounds, respectively.Theproposal would also increase the overall red snapper overfishing limit from 15.5 million pounds to 25.6 million, while increasing the acceptable biological catch from 15.1 million to 15.4 million. That might sound pretty good for anglers; however, legislators pointed out that this would reduce allowable catch from 97 percent to 60 percent of the sustainable limit.

Here we go again. The hubbub over federal management of red snapper seems never ending. Most recently, Southeastern legislators penned a letter asking NOAA to suspend consideration of area closures in the South Atlantic. Meanwhile, legislators from states on the Gulf of Mexico are pushing back against new proposed federal regulations. Both groups contend the federal government is not using “the best available science” in management decisions.

“By requiring the states to calibrate their more accurate—and NMFS certified—catch data to an outdated and fundamentally flawed MRIP, NMFS has failed to find an effective solution and is not making decisions based on the best available science while refusing to appropriately integrate the new data,” reads a letter from legislators. For more information on the continued political wrangling over red snapper, visit coastalanglermag.com.

The South Atlantic fishery seems to be in a situation similar to what the Gulf fishery faced a few years ago. Following years of ridiculously short red snapper seasons to rebuild the stock, anglers on the water report red snapper so thick that it’s the only species they can catch. These fish must be released, despite the high likelihood they will succumb to pressure-related injuries. Ultimately these discards count against fishermen.

Proper guide placement makes a difference, as well. On some rods, the first guide is too close to the reel and/or the legs holding the rod to the blank are too short. This creates an angle at which the line hits the guide and adds drag to the line and lure. This simple detail can reduce casting distance as much as 10 percent. If you find a rod you really like, but the first guide is not seated properly, consider moving the guide. On the reel side, I prefer a slightly conic spool that dumps and winds line evenly. That is pretty much all you need from a reel dedicated to long distance. For line, stick to braid for its smaller diameter. I prefer braid with a smooth finish without coating. When distance is what matters most, do not hesitate to drop 25 to 50 percent lighter line than what you would normally use. For example, 40-lb. braid is common when surf fishing for striped bass. If you need longer casts to reach the fish, it is worth dropping to 30or even 20-lb. test. If you’re using a heavy lure, tie in a shock head 50 to 100 percent stronger to absorb the impact of the cast.

10 FLORIDA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM2 LOCATION JUNE 2020 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

Legendary angler Patrick Sebile is a world record holder and an award-winning designer of innovative lures and fishing gear.Check out his creations at abandofanglers.com.

LURES PATRICK SEBILE ROD, REEL AND LINE FOR DISTANCE

W e’ve talked a lot in this column over the last few months about lures that help achieve long-distance casts. Now, I’d like to cover the rest of the equipment that will help you cast farther and reach more fish.The first key element is the rod. When it comes to casting for distance, you want a fast-action rod. This is true if you are a surf angler, a boat angler targeting fast-moving tuna, or an inshore angler targeting shallow-water reds and trout that are easy to spook. The more flexible your rod is, the less momentum it will impart to the lure. Make sure your blank is stiff. Rod blanks come with a lure weight range. Most of the time the optimal lure weight for casting distance is between 1/2 and 2/3 of the weight the rod is rated for. So, for a 2- to 6-ounce rod rating, the best weight for long casts is typically 3 to 4 ounces. A rod rated for 3/8 to 1 ½ ounces usually casts farthest with a 3/4 to 1 ounce lure. Choose a rod that matches the lures you’ll be throwing. The rod handle is also a big deal when it comes to distance. For a spinning rod, you want the length of a forearm, plus a fist, between the reel seat and the butt of the rod. Length gives you leverage, but you don’t want it to be too long. For surf-casting rods, about 1 ½ times the length of your forearm seemsHigh-qualitybest. guides also make a big difference in how far you can cast. Typically you’re going to have to spend more for quality guides, but consider it an investment that results in consistently longer casts.

The blade is full tang, meaning it doesn’t stop at the handle but extends to the length of the grip for the ultimate in strength. The blade is made from 420 surgical steel, famed for its sharpness and its resistance to corrosion.

The handle is made from genuine natural bone, and features decorative wood spacers and a hand-carved motif of two overlapping feathers— a reminder for you to respect and connect with the natural world. This fusion of substance and style can garner a high price tag out in the marketplace. In fact, we found full tang, stainless steel blades with bone handles in excess of $2,000. Well, that won’t cut it around here. We have mastered the hunt for the best deal, and in turn pass the spoils on to our customers. But we don’t stop there. While supplies last, we’ll include a pair of $99 8x21 power compact binoculars and a genuine leather sheath FREE when you purchase the Huntsman Blade. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in your hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the impeccable craftsmanship. If you don’t feel like we cut you a fair deal, send it back within

30 days for a complete refund of the item price. Limited Reserves. A deal like this won’t last long. We have only 1120 Huntsman Blades for this ad only. Don’t let this beauty slip through your fingers. Call today! Stauer… Afford the Extraordinary .® Full tang stainless steel blade with natural bone handle —now ONLY $79! BONUS! Call today and you’ll also receive this genuine leather sheath! Not actualshownsize. 14101 Southcross Drive W., Ste 155, Dept. HUK831-01 Burnsville, Minnesota 55337 www.stauer.comStauer ® *Discount is only for customers who use the offer code versus the listed original Stauer.com price. California residents please call 1-800-333-2045 regarding Proposition 65 regulations before purchasing this product. Rating of A+ Bad to the Bone -aEXCLUSIVEFREEStauer®8x21CompactBinoculars$99value-withpurchaseofHuntsmanBlade Huntsman Blade $249* Offer Code Price Only $79 + S&P Save $170 1-800-333-2045YourInsiderOfferCode:HUK831-01 You must use the insider offer code to get our special price. •12" overall length; 6 ¹⁄2" stainless steel full tang blade • Genuine bone handle with brass hand guard & bolsters • Includes genuine leather sheath What Stauer Clients Are Saying About Our Knives êêêêê “This knife is beautiful!” — J., La Crescent, MN êêêêê “The feel of this knife is unbelievable...this is an incredibly fine instrument.” — H., Arvada, CO

the last few months about lures that help achieve longdistance casts. Now, I’d like to cover the rest of the equipment that will help you cast farther and reach more fish.

The first key element is the rod. When it comes to casting for distance, you want a fast-action rod. This is true if you are a surf angler, a boat angler targeting fast-moving tuna, or an inshore angler targeting shallow-water reds and trout that are easy to spook. The more flexible your rod is, the less momentum it will impart to the lure. Make sure your blank is stiff. Rod blanks come with a lure weight range. Most of the time the optimal lure weight for casting distance is between 1/2 and 2/3 it to be too long. For surf-casting rods, about 1 ½ times the length of your forearm seems best. High-quality guides also make a big difference in how far you can cast. Typically you’re going to have to spend more for quality guides, but consider it an investment that results in consistently longer casts. Proper guide placement makes a difference, as well. On some rods, the first guide is too close to the reel and/or the legs holding the rod to the blank are too short. This creates an angle at which the line hits the guide and adds drag to the line and lure. This simple detail can reduce casting distance as much as 10 percent. If you find a rod you really like, but the first guide is not seated properly, consider moving the guide. On the reel side, I prefer a slightly conic spool that dumps and winds line evenly. That is pretty much all you need from a reel dedicated to long distance. For line, stick to braid for its smaller diameter. I prefer braid with a smooth finish without coating. When distance is what matters most, do not hesitate to drop 25 to 50 percent lighter line than what you would normally use. For example, 40-lb. braid is common when surf fishing for striped bass. If you need longer casts to reach the fish, it is worth dropping to 30- or even 20-lb. test. If you’re using a heavy lure, tie in a shock head 50 to 100 award-winning designer of innovative lures and fishing gear. Check out his creations at abandofanglers.com. The very best hunting knives possess a perfect balance of form and function. They’re carefully constructed from fine materials, but also have that little something extra to connect the owner with nature.

If you’re on the hunt for a knife that combines impeccable craftsmanship with a sense of wonder, the $79 Huntsman Blade is the trophy you’re looking for.

12 FLORIDA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

SPINNINGSALINAREEL OKUMAFISHINGUSA.COM

ECS CUSTOM RODS

Okuma’s new Salina spinning reels are lightweight, ready for battle, and designed for inshore and offshore duty. These reels are constructed of Okuma’s LITECAST body material which is 15 percent lighter than die cast aluminum. They are built for everything from light inshore to heavy offshore, and they’re perfect for high-speed vertical jigging or all-day casting.The Salina features a 6HPB +1RB corrosion-resistant stainless-steel ball bearing system with a full grease pack and waterproof seals. Salina’s Hybrid Carbonite and Japanese felt Dual Force Drag system puts out over 33 pounds of drag. With Okuma’s HDGII: High-Density Main Gear and precision machine cut brass pinion gear, you will get a smooth retrieve cast after cast. Okuma also uses a machined aluminum, screw-in handle arm with a machined aluminum twotone anodized ball handle knob. The three larger size reels feature a manual bail trip Therefunction.aresix models of Salina. The 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000 size reels feature high-speed 5.8:1 gear ratios. The 8,000, 10,000 and 14,000 size reels feature standard gear ratios of 5.4:1. All models have an interchangeable screw-in handle system that can be changed from left to right-hand retrieve. For more information on Salina Spinning reels, visit your local retailer.

OKUMA

New Okuma ECS Custom rods are designed for the harsh environment east coast fishermen face daily. They are constructed with a hybrid 24ton carbon and e-glass blank that features Okuma’s UFR-II: Ultimate Flex Reinforcement rod tip technology for the ultimate in lifting power. With spinning, casting and trolling rods, the new ECS Custom series will adorn the back of your boat nicely. There are two spinning rods in the lineup with a 6’ Heavy and 6’6” Medium Heavy. Three casting rods for live bait and bottom fishing come in 6’ Heavy, 6’6” X-Heavy and 7’ Medium actions. There are also two trolling configurations. Two rods feature Roller Stripper and Roller Tip. These rods come in a 6’4” Medium Heavy and 6’ Heavy action. The other two trolling rods feature all roller guides and are both 6’ Heavy and X-Heavy actions. With the brute strength and drag-ripping speed anglers see on the east coast, Okuma went with only high-end components on the ECS Custom rods. All spinning and casting rods feature ALPS deep press 316-grade stainless steel guide frames with zirconium inserts. Models with All Roller Guides feature ALPS RX Series Rollers as well as Sea Guide Neptune Adjustable Rod Butts. All ECS Custom rods feature machined aluminum, anodized rod gimbals. For more information on ECS Custom Rods please visit your local retailer.

You Can Trust Your Local Mastry Suzuki RePower Center – It Simply Makes Sense REPOWER When you purchase a new Suzuki outboard from an authorized Mastry RePower Center you qualify to become a member of the Mastry Suzuki Owner’s Edge. Owners receive an identification card that provides them with important information about their Suzuki outboard motor as well as a passport to additional benefits during ownership. Members enjoy a detailed engine maintenance schedule, Mastry Suzuki RePower Trade Program and special pricing from Mastry Suzuki Partners. THE ALTERNATIVE TO BUYING A NEW BOAT When Considering A Repower, Consider These Factors: • McKenzie Marine has decades of repower experience providing proper rigging, controls, propeller matching and in water testing • With a Mastry Suzuki RePower, owners gain improved performance, less noise and greater reliability • Options that will fit most any budget, financing available • Mastry Suzuki RePower’s exclusive Owner’s Edge Program* • All Suzuki RePowers come with Suzuki’s 5-years of protection suzukirepower.com | 1-800-545-4574 *Get with the Program! With 13 Locations Across Florida There is a Mastry Suzuki RePower Center Near You In the Saint Augustine area - McKenzie Marine is your certified Mastry Suzuki RePower Center McKenzie Marine 100 Douglas Park Drive Saint Augustine, FL 32084 mckenziemarine.com904-770-2488 McKenzie Marine is Northeast Florida’s premiere marine service center and storage facility. Located on a private road in the heart of St. Augustine we offer over 12 acres of well maintained space. We can accommodate the storage of boats, boat trailers, RVs, travel trailers, and more. Our NEMA Certified technicians are highly experienced in all aspects of marine installations, upgrades and repair. We are a Suzuki Marine Outboard RePower Center with Mastry Engine Center providing the best options, information and package pricing for excellent performance in repower. At McKenzie Marine, you can expect the best! We have all of the credentials you should require when selecting a company to service your boat. When you are in need of boat repair, maintenance, storage or Suzuki RePower, McKenzie Marine is the best choice!

AT Trailer Center is a great place for the DIY guys as well as for folks who’d rather have it done by a professional. Just call them and schedule a time to drop off your trailer for preventive maintenance, re-wiring or maybe a complete rebuild. The knowledgeable and friendly staff will gladly help you out in any way, answering questions or giving solutions to your trailer needs. When speaking with the staff at AT Trailer Center, they said this is the first of many they will be opening all over the state of Florida. Building and selling thousands of trailers over the last 35 plus years has taught them there is a huge market for replacement parts and service for trailers of all types.

2 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SALES • PARTS • WWW.ATTRAILERCENTER.COM407-892-1100SERVICE4820E.IRLOBRONSONMEMORIALHWYST.CLOUD,FL34771 SERVICE Preventative Maintenance • Complete Rebuilds All Trailer Types Serviced PARTS Marine Grade Stainless Steel Parts Custom Axles • Accessories Large Parts Inventory For All Trailer Types. SALES We Have Aluminum Boat, Pontoon, PWC Trailers Available as well as Utility, Equipment, Dump And Enclosed Trailers. Serving Your Trailer Needs For Over 35 Years 150 PLUS TRAILERS IN STOCK READY FOR DELIVERY! TRAILER REPAIRS MADE EASY

If you own a trailer of any type, you have had problems with it at some point. AmeraTrail (AT) is now here to help you with those issues. For more than 35 years

AT has manufactured thousands of trailers for hundreds of boat manufacturers and sold thousands of utility-type trailers. They recently opened the first of many new service and repair centers. Whether you own a boat trailer, an open utility trailer, an enclosed trailer, a dump trailer or really any trailer, AT Trailer Center is there to help you at a location not too far from their manufacturing plant right here in Central Florida in St. Cloud. It’s located at the old manufacturing plant many have driven past for years at 4820 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy/SR192.

By Phil Wolf

Both sales of parts and service are now available to existing customers and to others who just need replacement parts for their current trailers. AT Trailer Center has just about anything needed for your trailer, even if it is not one they originally built. They will service all makes and models and have a huge inventory of replacement parts, wheels, tires, lights, axles, hubs, hitches, and more. If it is not in stock, they can get it within a few days in most cases.

Providing a place where folks can come and get just what they need or get repairs done right and for a fair price just makes good sense. They are conveniently located within an hour or so from all over Central Florida and either coast. They also sell all types of trailers and have over 150 trailers in stock ready for delivery. So if you need a company you can trust for your trailer needs, give them try. Tell them you read about them in Coastal Angler Magazine for a special discount!

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WEBMASTER RYAN CLAPPER FINANCE & SHIPPING DEPT. DARLENE TAYLOR DISTRIBUTION SHAWN JOHNSON JERRY TAYLOR CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Capt. Glyn Austin Capt. Lukas Brickweg Skye Burkhardt Capt. Chris Cameron Gary Carney Capt. Barry Englehardt Rex Hannon Charlie McCullough Capt. Jonathan Moss Marco Pompano Capt. Jim Ross Capt. Evan Sanders Capt. Michael Savedow Capt. Jamie Thrappas

4 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM FORECAST CHARLIE McCULLOUGH Coastal Angler Magazine charlie@coastalanglermagazine.com

ST. KELLY

JOHNS RIVER COASTAL ANGLER BREVARD/VOLUSIA For advertising inquiries, phone 321.777.2773 or email info@CoastalAnglerMagazine.com EDITOR IN CHIEF BEN MARTIN OPERATIONS TRACY PATTERSON ART DIRECTOR LAURA

Florida will soon begin to cool down, but the St. Johns River water levels are up and fish are still behaving in their summertime patterns. Water temperature will be the key to catching bass; they love cooler water during the daytime hours. The “bite” doesn’t last long—daybreak, moon over, moon under, and right before a storm are when they feed aggressively. Downsize your lures and mimic fish fry that are schooling. Rattletraps, crank baits, Senkos and flukes will find fish. High water means the bass have lots of places to hide; look for small creek runoffs that have water flowing out. Start outside on each side of the runoff and work your baits with the current. Soft plastic colors for the river: 1) black with blue flakes, 2) black with light blue accent, 3) dark colors. Watch the afternoon storms. Lightning is notCrappieforgiving!season is almost here. The largest specks are usually caught in November in the Shad and Crappie Derby, but during September and October the word begins to slip out that slabs are coming in. Black crappie are usually found jigging structures all along the river and near bridge and dock pilings in the early part of the season. Deep water in the bends and overhanging or fallen trees is a great combo for slabs. Try a white curly tail on a 1/8-ounce jighead, then drop to the bottom and jig it 3 times every 2 feet on the way up. Patience is key; run and gun fills the frying pan. Catfish up to 20 lbs. and sunshine bass up to seven pounds round out the late summer targets. Fish for cats with peeled fresh shrimp or red worms, and use just enough weight to hold the bottom. Look for sunshine bass (stripers) to bite hard plastic lures at the mouth of the Wekiva River and both the south and north mouths of Lake Monroe at sunrise.

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6 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COMJanuary layout.indd 15 12/13/2019 10:24:28 AM

Fired Up Fishing Charters firedupcharters.com | sharkfishingcocoabeach.com(407)222-3573 CAPE CANAVERAL SEPTEMBER2022

Kings have been a hit or miss, but the larger ones are starting to show up again. Capt. Joe has had some good days.

CHRIS

HINT: you don’t always need to go to the reef. Try the nearshore and the wrecks. You will start to see more blackfins and sails now as well. Cobia. They are all over. Get out there with your bucktails and look around. Tip your bucktail with some squid or your favorite rubbers. No place specific, but the reefs are a good start. Late in the day they have been surfacing on rays, turtles and free swimming. They love some live bait, too. September is a great month for wreck fishing. Use all your normal tactics from three ways to knocker rigs. Live bait definitely works the best. Use lighter tackle for more fun. Amberjack and every other species have been sitting right above the wrecks and it’s been great. The cold water pushes them to the surface. You can also try anchoring and chumming. Use some lighter fluorocarbon for the mangos. They have been plentiful! Even the muttons have been surfacing. Don’t forget about chicken rigging all the monster sea bass and triggerfish! Man we have had some studs lately. It’s a lot of fun for the kids. Get out there and enjoy the water...and good luck!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 BREVARD/VOLUSIA 7

The Red Bull Crew caught a sweet sailfish with Capt. Joe on the Fire Fight. These guys had a fabulous day aboard the Fire Fight with Capt. Joe, limiting out on some chunky kings.

OFFSHORECANAVERAL FORECAST

CAPT. CAMERON

What a great month we had in August! Gotta love it. The bunker have been easier by the day to get. They have been in the Port and along the beach. The earlier you can get out there the easier it is to net, or you can find the pelicans diving and/or boats will give them away. Please be courteous. Just because you have the live bait now doesn’t mean they want it, so try spinning minnows as well if there not chewing the bunker.

PORT

(321) 636-3728 FORECAST 13 BREVARD JANUARY 2019 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM 1W 12:23 AM 2.0 6:19 AM 0.3 12:46 PM 2.1 6:54 PM 0.3 2Th 1:12 AM 1.9 7:11 AM 0.4 1:30 PM 2.0 7:45 PM 0.3 3F 2:06 AM 1.9 8:05 AM 0.5 2:18 PM 1.9 8:37 PM 0.3 4Sa 3:02 AM 1.9 9:01 AM 0.5 3:10 PM 1.9 9:27 PM 0.2 5Su 4:00 AM 2.0 9:56 AM 0.5 4:04 PM 1.9 10:16 PM 0.1 6M 4:57 AM 2.1 10:46 AM 0.4 4:59 PM 2.0 11:03 PM -0.1 7Tu 5:50 AM 2.2 11:34 AM 0.3 5:51 PM 2.0 11:49 PM -0.2 8W 6:40 AM 2.3 12:21 PM 0.2 6:42 PM 2.1 10F 1:21 AM -0.5 8:15 AM 2.5 1:51 PM 0.0 8:19 PM 2.3 11Sa 2:07 AM -0.6 9:01 AM 2.6 2:38 PM -0.1 9:08 PM 2.4 12Su 2:55 AM -0.6 9:47 AM 2.6 3:26 PM -0.2 9:58 PM 2.4 13M 3:44 AM -0.6 10:34 AM 2.6 4:16 PM -0.3 10:50 PM 2.4 14Tu 4:36 AM -0.5 11:22 AM 2.6 5:08 PM -0.3 11:44 PM 2.4 15W 5:31 AM -0.3 12:11 PM 2.5 6:04 PM -0.3 16Th 12:42 AM 2.3 6:30 AM -0.2 1:04 PM 2.4 7:04 PM -0.3 17F 1:43 AM 2.3 7:33 AM 0.0 2:00 PM 2.2 8:05 PM -0.3 19Su 3:54 AM 2.2 9:41 AM 0.1 4:03 PM 2.1 10:08 PM -0.4 20M 4:58 AM 2.3 10:42 AM 0.1 5:05 PM 2.1 11:05 PM -0.4 21Tu 5:57 AM 2.3 11:38 AM 0.1 6:03 PM 2.1 11:58 PM -0.4 22W 6:50 AM 2.3 12:29 PM 0.0 6:55 PM 2.2 23Th 12:48 AM -0.5 7:38 AM 2.4 1:17 PM 0.0 7:42 PM 2.2 24F 1:34 AM -0.5 8:21 AM 2.4 2:02 PM -0.1 8:26 PM 2.2 25Sa 2:17 AM -0.4 9:01 AM 2.4 2:44 PM -0.1 9:07 PM 2.2 26Su 2:59 AM -0.4 9:38 AM 2.3 3:25 PM -0.1 9:47 PM 2.2 31F 12:30 AM 1.9 6:17 AM 0.2 12:41 PM 1.9 6:45 PM 0.1 1Sa 1:18 AM 1.8 7:06 AM 0.3 1:24 PM 1.8 7:34 PM 0.1 2Su 2:11 AM 1.8 8:02 AM 0.4 2:15 PM 1.7 8:29 PM 0.1 3M 3:12 AM 1.8 9:02 AM 0.4 3:13 PM 1.7 9:27 PM 0.0 4Tu 4:15 AM 1.9 10:02 AM 0.4 4:16 PM 1.8 10:24 PM -0.1 East Coast Tide Charts Tide Charts brought to you by these businesses January 2020 Miami, Government Cut (Approximate Times) Time Height Time Height Time Height Time Height BoathouseDiscountMarine.comDiscountMarineSuppliesBOATHOUSEMELBOURNESERVICECENTER (321) 254-2535 557 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne Schedule an appointment today for all your boating needs! FULL SERVICE Engine Service • Trailer Repairs Bottom Jobs • New Engine Repowers Electronics Installation MASTER YAMAHA & MERCURY TECHNICIANS WARRANTY CENTER Proud to be a Five Star, Certified Service Department HHHHH Snook are just one of the species that anglers can find in the Port Canaveral area this month. With good water qualities this year, anglers can catch huge tarpon that are roaming the deeper sections of the lagoon this month. Jonathan Pastermack landed this excellent specimen recently.

BANANA RIVER LAGOON: I was remembering back to August of 2014 and March of 2016 when the Banana River experienced two huge fish kills due to oxygen deprivation related to algae blooms in these waters. The culprit then was highly toxic stormwater runoff that drained directly into this area from houses located in Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach neighborhoods. The rainwater was poisoned by residential lawn fertilizers from these homes. This year, we are not seeing these types of effects on the Banana River waters for two reasons: 1) The residents in these communities are sick and tired of destroying this incredible ecosystem just to have a “pretty” lawn, and have decided to skip applying bags of fertilizer (a.k.a. lagoon poison) to their grass, and 2) Muck dredging project being conducted in the residential canals of these areas have removed over 197,000 pounds of “legacy” nitrogen that had been deposited in the muck from these types of fertilizers over the years. The result of these actions is that the Banana River Lagoon is becoming healthier than it has been in years. Hoorah to those of you who have helped in this process! Snook, trout, redfish and tarpon are responding to the water quality improvements and have shown up in the best numbers we’ve seen in years. Hopefully this area of the lagoon system will continue to recover from the toxic assault of years past, and anglers can continue to reap the benefits of their actions along this section of the Space Coast. Tarpon are just one of the species that anglers will see as they boat and wade these waters in September. Small flies, jigs and lures that imitate glass minnows will get the juvenile fish to strike. Fluorocarbon leader in 25- to 30-pound test will increase your hookup ratio. Larger tarpon will respond to live mullet, pogies, croakers and ladyfish as baits. Rig these large baitfish on a 60- to 80-pound test fluorocarbon leader and a 7/0 VMC circle hook. Snook, mangrove snapper and speckled trout action should remain really good during morning periods for anglers fishing near shoreline mangrove trees or mullet pods out on the flats. Saltwater Assassin 4-inch sea shad or the 4- to 5-inch soft plastic jerk shad in the Northern Minnow, clear/ gold flake, and Houdini color patterns are great artificial lures to use on these fish. Live fingerling mullet or shrimp are the best natural baits to try.

PORT CANAVERAL NEARSHORE & BANANA RIVER LAGOON

It’s important to note that redfish in this region will become CATCH AND RELEASE ONLY under the new FWC regulations for this section of Florida. These new rules were adopted by the FWC over the summer, and go into effect September 1, 2022. The coverage area includes all of the Banana River Lagoon.

PORT CANAVERAL: Snook season will reopen this month, and the Port Canaveral area is a hot spot for anglers looking to hook one of these prized gamefish. The deep basins inside the Port often hold schools of snook. Anglers should try near piers and dock pilings within these basins with live mullet, pogies and croakers rigged on a sliding sinker or knocker rig. I typically use a 5/0 or 6/0 sized VMC 7385 circle hook in these larger baitfish. This same technique will work at both jetties at the east end of the Port, where the fish often congregate during the dawn and dusk periods to ambush schools of mullet that are migrating down the beach. Lipped diving plugs like the Rapala X-Rap series with a green or black colored back work well near the jetty rocks. I prefer the 12 and 14 size models when fishing for snook in these areas on an artificial lure. Redfish, flounder, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, shark, bluefish and jack crevalle are some other types of fish that can be found in and around Port Canaveral waters this month, so anglers will have a great variety of fish to choose from on most days.

8 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

CAPT. JIM ROSS Fineline Fishing Charters www.FinelineFishingCharters.com

biggest factor impacting success of surf fishing anglers along the Space Coast. While many are deterred to battle with the slime, there are fish available to catch for those determined few. Whiting and pompano continue to show in spurts from Patrick Air Force Base to Sebastian Inlet. Many of the pompano are undersized, with a few keepers in the mix. The whiting are also relatively small compared to the bulls we get in the winter and spring. But with that being said, if you can put a catch together with a handful of whiting, croakers and one keeper pompano that’s a good day under the current conditions.

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FORECASTSPACE COAST SURF FISHING

Blast off with September surf fishing along the Space Coast. This time of year traditionally marks the beginning of the fall mullet run. Millions of baitfish will be migrating down the shore lines and evading all the opportunistic predators along the way. Big snook and tarpon along with jack crevalle, bluefish, ladyfish and sharks will be a few of the species electrified by this phenomenon.Surffishing tactics may vary from angler to angler depending on their experience and species-targeting techniques. Live bait rigged with or without a weight is always a good choice when presenting to these nearshore water predators. Also using a fish finder rig or split shot can be effective in presenting your baits down in the strike zone if there’s high surf. Alternatively, casting a diving plug, swim bait or bucktail along the first and second trough will ensure a high probability for success. Currently our surf fishing charters are catching whiting, pompano, catfish, blacktip sharks and jack crevalle with the occasional snook in the mix. The red slime that’s plagued our central east coast region stretches from Fort Pierce to Cape Canaveral. This has definitely been the

Fishbites, sandfleas and peeled shrimp have performed the best for the whiting, croakers and pompano.

Pompano rigs with white and chartreuse floats have seemed to outperform the rest. Currently, the first and second trough have produced more exciting catches then beyond the sandbar. I look for this trend to continue with the slime that’s taken over, accompanied by the fact that the bait fish are going to start pushing down the shoreline running in those inside waters. All in all it’s an exciting time of year to hit the beach for surf fishing. If we could see relief from the slime, it would make it that much better.

CAPT. LUKAS BRICKWEG Cocoa Beach Surf Fishing

Charters www.cocoabeachsurffishingcharters.com(321)205-4672

Capt. Austin’s grandson, Noah, with a blacknose shark (left) and a nice tarpon he caught and released himself!

Greg from New Jersey with a big tarpon he hooked in Sebastian.

S

10 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

SEBASTIAN INLET TO EAU CAUSEWAYGALLIEFORECAST

eptember is on of my favorite months to fish from Melbourne to Sebastian. The bait is plentiful and the snook, trout and redfish are as well. Snook season opens up and anglers will be out in droves trying to get their keeper fish. Our entire area from Melbourne to Palm Bay and Sebastian is a great place to catch snook as well as redfish, tarpon and big jack crevalle in September. The mullet run should start late in the month and the threadfins and sardines will be on the beach nearshore as well. Tarpon, snook, sharks, jack crevalle and kingfish will be following the schools of bait looking for that easy meal. Best bet is to use some of that live bait and fish the outer edges of the bait pods. The Rapala X-Rap Long Cast in size 14 will be an excellent hard bait to use when targeting the bait pods. I also like to use Hogy Eels and D.O.A. Baitbusters during the mullet run along the beaches. All of the above lures use single hooks instead of trebles which are better for the fish that you have to release—and safer for the angler. The mullet should also pour in the creeks from Melbourne down to Sebastian and the gamefish are sure to follow. No need to go way back in the creeks; anglers can fish the mouth of the creeks and around the many oyster bars and docks closer to the Indian River Lagoon. I use the same baits in the creeks as I use in the Lagoon during the bait run. I like to focus on the flats, spoil islands or mangrove shorelines loaded with bait in the Indian River Lagoon from Melbourne to Sebastian in late September. My favorite bait to use is the Rapala Skitterwalk V, and the Twitchin’ Minnow and Twitchin’ Mullet are great subsurface baits for fishing the mullet run. If soft baits are your preference, D.O.A. C.A.L. 4” jerkbaits in the mullet pattern or rainbow trout work well, or the 4” jerk should do the trick also.

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

SEBASTIAN INLET SEPTEMBER2022

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 BREVARD/VOLUSIA 11 2022Inaguaral 2022 Inaguaral HuntforRedFishers, Hunt for Red Fishers, inOctober in October CashPrizesfor Cash Prizes for -Youth Amateur ProPro - Amateur - Youth 1st,2nd,&3rd 1st, 2nd, & 3rd RafflesandGiveaways Raffles and Giveaways TournamentFormat Catch,Photo&Release Catch, Photo & Release Tournament Format

n the Space Coast of Florida lies the fabled Indian River Lagoon, home to one of North America's most biologically diverse ecosystems. Full Tale Outdoors is a partner working to bring about recovery, restoration and renewal to the community and its local waters. The Hunt for Red Fishers in October Fishing Tournament was born to support thatBuildingmission. on word play with a historically significant tournament to the area, Full Tale Outdoors is helping bring something back to the local community, with a twist. It is a Christian-based ministry organization taking groups of people onto the water to help catalyze change. The goal is to reach people who are hurting and experiencing loss and provide a vessel for healing. Currently, they are using kayaks to launch this mission.

Hunt for Red Fishers Tourney Heals Lagoon and Community O

the

Full Tale’s founder, Trevor Williams, through a season of change, overcoming struggles with addiction and navigating life post-divorce, was seeking ways to heal and recover. The outdoors and finding God there brought a level of peace that started the healing journey.Trevor was a single father of three young children who wanted to explore the outdoors with Dad. It proved to be a challenge. However, through mentors like Chris Brandes, Robert Arrington, David Causey, Michael Elliott and others, Trevor learned to navigate these places. Then he learned how to introduce his children to these same activities. This brought him much peace, joy andToday,happiness.Full Tale Outdoors is bringing a fishing tournament to the community to engage other stakeholders, enthusiasts and partners with the mission of reaching those with similar stories. They are offering solutions to men and women who are struggling with life’s pains. They are ushering people to help through nature, the outdoors and finding serenity and peace on the water.The tournament will be held on a marine estuary that is similarly imperiled. On Sept. 1, new state regulations will make redfish catchand-release only for the Indian River Lagoon system. To support that change and the lagoon, the tournament will be held with a “catch, photo, release” format. Submissions will be entered electronically; measuring devices and tokens will be given at the captain’s meeting on Friday, Oct. 7. Fishing days will be Oct. 8-9. Scoring will be based on redfish total length, girth and total number of spots, combined. Based on entries, there will be cash prizes for first, second and third in each of three divisions: Pro, Amateur and Youth. Registration is open online at their website www.huntforredfishers.com. To stay up to date on the latest, follow their Facebook and Instagram. There will be event raffles and giveaways. Currently Florida Insider Fishing Report, Catch A Memory Outdoors, Captains For Clean Water, Courtney Martin, and Reel Fishworks are tournament sponsors. Sponsor opportunities are still available. For more information, visit www.huntforredfishers.com.

Tim Tincher hooked this whopping 57 lb. mahi mahi off Port Canaveral.

BRAGCOASTAL ANGLER

Abel caught a pinfishusing a salted clamas his bait at Port Canaveral.

Ashley and Andy Phillips doubled up on bull reds in New Smyrna Beach. Hers was 25 lb., 10oz; his was 24 lbs. even.

Tim caught and released a nice snook on the Indian River Lagoon fishing with Capt. Glyn Austin of Going Coastal Charters. BREVARD/VOLUSIA

NFC Ring Girl Sabrina and friend tooktheir limit of kings fishing off PortCanaveral aboard the Fire Fightwith Capt. Joe. Alex hooked a stingray off a dock on the Indian River in Cocoa. John Lorton of Melbourne with a nice Indian River Lagoon redfish.

Rodeny Edwardslanded this 47.3 lb.wahoo fishing offPort Canaveral.

SEND US YOUR CATCH PHOTOS! BOARD

Shane Nonay caught a nice 23-inch snook while fishing off the Jetty Park Pier.

Email your high-quality photos (at least 1MB) along with all the photo details — species, size, location, who caught it (and how!) — to webmaster@coastalanglermagazine.com.

I

t’s a good time to get out and fish the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon for some great tarpon action. There are large schools of tarpon feeding on shrimp and mullet right now in the river. This day started out like any other, driving around and looking for topwater action and signs of baitfish. When we would see baitfish pushing the top water column, we knew the action wouldn’t be far behind. So, we would stop the truck and grab our poles and swimbaits and start casting toward the schooling baitfish. This technique has always given us good results. You never know which fish are following the bait schools, but rest assured that there are feeding fish close by. I usually throw a swimbait that resembles the baitfish that are schooling. On this particular day, not only were the fish chasing mullet, but shrimp also, so I went with a color that had some tan and pink. I caught multiple species that day and when the action would start to slow, we would load up and drive ’til we spotted more baitfish on the surface, then start fishing again. This technique is a good one for those without a boat. The Gator Creek, pump house and Biolab areas are all good areas to start the day out. You never know what you’ll catch; I have caught trophy size snook, reds, trout and big tarpon in all these areas. By the way...the tarpon in the photo was released quickly and lived to fight another day! “Keep those Poles Bent and those Reels Cranking!”

ish

14 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

Fis Fes

— By Gary Carney GO2 Weapons www.go2weapons.comInc. Brayden Indian TarponRiver

The time has finally come! Hello and welcome to this month’s edition of Pro Tips. My name is Capt. Jonathan Moss and I am so glad that you are here! Yes, the time has finally come. Redfish are now completely catch and release in the Indian River Lagoon region. This new rule passed by FWC stretches from New Smyrna Beach south to Stuart, Fla., and covers specifically in Brevard County, the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, Sykes Creek and the Banana River. I’m positive that some who are reading this are angry about the rule change. Others, like me, are thrilled and are pushing for more catch and release changes made to include snook, trout and blackStaydrum.with me please and hear me out. This rule change is not about not letting people eat fish. I want everyone who legally fishes to be able to enjoy a meal with their friends and family. I love eating fish. In fact a good fish sandwich, in my opinion, is hard to beat. But if steps are not taken now, there will be no fish for anyone to enjoy, both in fishing and

Tight Lines, CAPT. JONATHAN MOSS Go Castaway Fishing Charters www.gocastaway.com | www.thecaptainslogtv.com(407)760-8593

PR TIPS

(ABOVE) Brian with a beautiful Mosquito Lagoon redfish caught on August 4. (BELOW) A picture taken the same day of the sea grass growing in the lagoon.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 BREVARD/VOLUSIA 15 2771 W New Haven Ave, Melbourne, FL 32904 321.956.3474 SNOOK SEPT.OPENS1 Your Choice!

ThisaretheseaourpollutionclippingsfertilizerthesewageOften,ourquality.issuewillredfishunderstandAnd,consumption.Icompletelythatmakingcatchandreleasenotfixthegreaterathand:waterUnfortunately,localwatersaredirty.chemicalsandaredumpedinriver.Additionally,runoff,grassandotherareenteringlagoons.Thisdoesfewthings.First,allofforeignsubstancesfeedingabrownalgae.particularalgaegrows

and spreads quickly, causing our waterways to turn brown. The stained, cloudy water then does a few things. It inhibits the sunlight from reaching the bottom which stops photosynthesis from occurring. Photosynthesis is how our sea grass gets fed. Have you noticed a decline in sea grass? Have you seen reports of manatees dying due to starvation? This is the cause! Secondly, summertime heat warms our waters to temperatures that reach the middle to upper 80s. This brown algae thrives in warm water. Warm water also has less oxygen than cold water. The algae literally sucks the oxygen out of the already low-oxygenated water and this is what causes our summertime fish kills. There is so much more I could say or add to this article, but of course I am limited on space. So let me end with some positives. This summer our lagoon waters have been the clearest I have seen in years! That’s huge. Grass is growing and I am so thankful to see it grow again. We must all come together on this issue of water quality. This is not so my clients can catch fish. I am fighting for our lagoons—not for me, but instead, for my children. Now is not the time to kill fish or even fertilize our yards. Instead, we must push for clean water. We must hold those dumping pollution in to our estuary accountable. We must all be one voice for the future generations of anglers.

Snook season opens September 1. Bag limit is 1 per person. Slot size limit is 28” to 32” overall length. A snook permit on your fishing license is required to keep one. The best places to target snook in our area can be the Intracoastal Waterway bridges and docks, Ponce Inlet channel and jetties, Spruce Creek, Tomoka area and Haulover Canal. Also, in the Edgewater Backcountry try mangrove and oyster shorelines and points with deeper drop-offs and flowing current. Use a larger bait or lure to target keeper-size snook. Try live mullet, pinfish, pigfish, croakers or large shrimp. For artificials, use swimming-type plugs for surface action or jigs for fishing deep. Fall can have some of the best action of the year at Ponce Inlet. Main attractions are big spawning redfish. Also snook, sharks and tarpon can be caught by drifting the Inlet channel and its western entrance, which is the most popular technique. Free lining whole or half blue crabs, live pinfish, pigfish or mullet on an outgoing tide can be the best choice most days. Use heavy enough tackle to land the big reds quicker so as to not stress them any more than necessary by an extended fight with light tackle. The best way to photograph your trophy red is to hold them horizontally; do not hang them vertically by the jaw with a fish grip. And return them to the water as fast as possible. If you want to know the weight of your big red or any large fish, measure the length and girth with the fish in the water, then calculate the approximate weight using the formula: length times girth squared, divided by 800. Late summer patterns will continue for a while longer on Mosquito Lagoon. For seatrout in early morning, go with top water lures and soft plastic jerk baits. After the sun is up, use live pigfish or croakers freelined on drop-offs, in holes and sloughs near mullet schools. For lagoon redfish, stay shallow with soft plastics, select shrimp, live finger mullet or cut bait. Nighttime dock light fishing will continue to be good. Fall migratory fish will be feeding on baitfish and shrimp attracted to the lights. Snook, trout, jacks, bluefish and ladyfish can be thick at the right lights. Fish moving tides, especially outgoing, for the best action.

he long awaited first day of fall arrives this month after a long Florida summer. The first fishy change of the season is the start of the mullet run. Most of the migrating baitfish stay in the ocean along the beach and near the inlet, but some of the schools come inside and travel along the Intracoastal Waterway on their journey south, followed by inshore migratory game fish. Cast net mullet for bait. Use larger ones for bull redfish, tarpon, sharks and bigger snook. Use finger sized for jack crevalle, bluefish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, as well as resident fish like flounder, trout, mangrove snapper, slot size reds and snook. Free line baits on the surface or fish them deeper with a small weight under the bait schools. Try mullet live, fresh dead, or cut. Lure and fly fishermen can have good action with top water or subsurface lures which imitate mullet.

Nick landed a inquicktarponteenageforaphotoandreleaseEdgewaterBackcountry.

T

CAPT. MICHAEL SAVEDOW Edgewater Guide

River

EdgewaterRiverGuide.com(386)689-3781

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16 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

September is a great month to fish with the advent of cooler water which makes the fish more active throughout the day. In addition to the cooler weather, it is the beginning of the mullet run which attracts reds, snook and tarpon among others.This has been a good year for snook, and I expect the months of September and October to be even greater. During high tide, fish tight against the banks using a popping cork with shrimp or mullet. A popper such as the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore and the Z-Man ChatterBait with a DieZel paddle tail works great. The redfish will be chasing schools of mullet and staging around structure waiting for prey to pass by. The popping cork with a shrimp drifting with the tide works well or free line a mullet. Sub surface are another good option. Fish the mouths of the canals on an outgoing tide for best results.

Tight lines and take a child fishing, Barry

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As for tarpon, early in the morning before the sun gets too high the tarpon will be surfacing. They will be after bait fish and crabs. I free line live mullet and crab and trail a mullet under a balloon. I like throwing a 6-inch surface lure at the tarpon when they are surfacing. Don’t get frustrated; the tarpon have a tendency to not eat...no matter what you present to them.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 BREVARD/VOLUSIA 17 Come Experience TheFishin’HoleDifference Off Shore & In Shore Tackle Live & Frozen Bait Expert Rod & Reel Repair ANGLERS CLOTHING 450 N. Beach Street Downtown Daytona Beach 386-252-9804 OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK thefishinholeinc@gmail.com SALTWATER PRO SHOP

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This earlyanglerjuniorgotanmorningworkoutcatchingthisniceredfish!

PONCE INLET BACKWATERS&FORECASTPONCE INLET SEPTEMBER2022

18 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

S eptember is finally here! So begins the mullet run. In all honesty, this is my favorite time of year because everything is eating! Tarpon, snook, redfish...you name it. What also gets me going this time of the year is the lack of people on the water. School just started, so as a guide I get this experience to myself most of the time! What I find at the beginning of the run is everything wants mullet, so net them and save a few bucks at the bait shop. (I own a bait shop, actually, so feel free to stop by Yellow Dawg Bait & Tackle to buy some!) But seriously, net mullet in early September and you will catch fish. As far as snook go, you have to drift the mullet in lights on an outgoing tide. Anything else would be waste of time.When it comes to tarpon you need side scan. You can toss to rolling fish or see them and slow troll and catch all you want, but the key is seeing them on your finder. As always, if you see us on the water say hello! Tight lines! See you out there!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 BREVARD/VOLUSIA 19 Boat Lifts • Docks • Decks • Seawalls • Dune Crossovers • Piledriving Marine Contractor CALL FOR A FREE 321-720-DOCK•FLORIDADOCKLIFE.COMQUOTE#DOCKLIFE Boatlift Canopies • Dock Canopies Carport and RV Canopies & All Your Canopy Needs Just CanopiesA Shade Above the Rest! 772-634-2927 • Telephone10FREEwww.justcanopiesinc.comjustcanopiesinc@gmail.comMinuteEstimate Radius Beam • Popular and Proven • Built with side protection instead of standard overhangs • Excellent for pontoon boats or areas with property restrictions Radius Verandah Beam • The People’s Choice over the last two years • Standard overhangs at 24” that gives your boat maximum sun and rain protection • Excellent wind resistance and overall durability

20 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM 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. | (386)NewSmyrnaOutfitters.com402-8853 Mon-Sat 9am-6pm | Sunday Closed WinterBallyCaughtHoo Under NEW Ownership by Cody Moore, Third Generation Fisherman americantackle.us SEE THE FULL LINE OF MICROWAVE GUIDES PERFORMANCEAT INCREASE YOUR FISHING HARDWAREHARDWAREANCHOR&STORAGEOPEN7DAYSSOUTHEASTVOLUSIA’SLARGESTSELECTIONOFINSHORESALTWATERTACKLELiveShrimp,SeasonalFish,BlueCrabsandFiddlersShrimpNets&UnderwaterLEDLightsANCHOR&STORAGEOPEN7DAYS MARINE & TRAILER SUPPLY (Located a 1/4 mile from Riverbreeze Park) 726 North US1, Oak Hill, Florida 386-345-0746

Lots of mangrove snappers. We don’t miss a beat. My friends and I would all like to shout out to Larry Finch (or Larry Fish as everyone knows him). He’s done more for surf fishing than anyone we know. Hey, Larry! We’re all thinking about you. So, we’re all waiting for some redfish and the pompano to return. We hope the late summer bite is really hot! It’s time to stay on the water and play some good music. These mangrove snapper and I area heading for the smoker. Marcopompano@gmail.com 212-4838

| Surf Fishing Guide | (386)

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 BREVARD/VOLUSIA 21 I t was bound to happen: Sooner or later, everything on the beach rusts and disintegrates. So it goes. My neighbors will be very happy, because my trike made so much noise squeaking and humming on the road to the beach. A new one is due. My old Schwinn tricycle, set up like a fishing machine, knows it’s time for a new one, and the search is on. Ya, mon! I’ve looked at a few and owned many, but I think I found the one I need. This time, I’m going for a fat theaboutmostputgreattoothatmuchraiseraiseinbasketnewspaper-boyaoldperfectmydiskwithgettinginonItowhatsparingbeachaluminum-framedtiretricycle.I’mnoexpense.It’sIdo,soI’mgoinggetit.Luckyforme,ranintoHubBicyclesClydeMorrisBlvd.PortOrange.I’maSuntrikesevenspeedsandbrakes.I’musingoldrodholders,inshape,frommybike,andIboughtrealold-fashionedbikeforthefront.Wowie,zowie!I’mthegamenow.Ithehandlebars,theseat.IhavesoroomforstorageI’llprobablybringmuchbait.It’satimeformetothistogether,sinceofthefish—justallofthemonbeach—aregonefor now. The water temperature is 85 degrees, which means the fish have moved north to cooler water. So, we’ve been going on the boat, a 17foot Montauk Boston Whaler, 31 years old, with a brand new 70 hp Suzuki on it. It runs great!With Sophie, my niece Dalie, and Ula, the giant 7-1/2-monthold wolfhound puppy, we pull up to the hidden islands in Ponce Inlet. I’m letting the dog run, and we’re loving life.

ORMOND BEACH SEPTEMBER2022

...We’re all waiting for some redfish and the pompano to return. We hope the late summer bite is really hot!

Sol Fishing is excited to announce that we have began filming our very own TV show that will debut on Waypoint TV, YouTube and other platforms in 2023! Sol Fishing will travel the Southern United States featuring avid local youth anglers between the ages of 5 and 17 years old. We will feature local captains in each region to showcase the diverse fishery in the Southern United States. If you are an avid youth angler between the ages of 5 and 17 and are interested in being one of the youth anglers for a future episode, you can reach out directly by visiting solfishing.com.

CAPT. EVAN SANDERS Sol Fishing Charters & Gear www.solfishing.com(407)529-5896

CAPTAINKIDS

Sol Fishing’s “Captains & The Kids” TV show will be targeting a variety of species throughout Season 1. Just a few include stalking redfish on the flats of Mosquito Lagoon, dock fishing for monster snook, and battling peacock bass in South Florida. Sol Fishing will also be featuring youth anglers on the show while fishing offshore for a variety of saltwater species such as red snapper, amberjack, grouper, mahi mahi, sailfish, kingfish and muchSolMORE!!Fishing is thrilled to be able to expand our nationwide Youth Angler Program into a TV show! This all is made possible by the amazing companies who support Sol Fishing and youth anglers. Thank you to Sportsman Boats, Simrad Yachting, Gemlux, Beyond Braid, Daiichi Hooks, Fitzgerald Rods, Seadek, and many more for making this show happen!

Sol Fishing also wants to thank all our retailers who stock Sol Fishing’s gear such as our hats, decals and performance shirts. Stop by Outriggers, Donald’s Bait & Tackle, 38 Live Bait & Tackle, E & J Bait & Tackle, Sunglass Cabana, Shades of New Smyrna Beach, Boaters Exchange, Bikini Co. (Ormond Beach & New Smyrna Beach) and Pedago of NSB to get your Sol Fishing gear to help support the Youth Angler Program!

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22 BREVARD/VOLUSIA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

With the temperatures cooling off, the bottom fishing out of Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach starts to turn on! We are known in the area for donating trips to local youth anglers every month to go out and tag sharks, however NSB local and youth angler Tyler Hodges got an extra special treat! Instead of fishing and tagging sharks, we took advantage of the beautiful conditions and ran offshore to one of the local ship wrecks which is a part of the Volusia County artificial reef program!

OCTOBER 8TH, 2022 Hosted by Fish on Fire Gates open at Noon, tasting is from 2pm till 5pm Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Dr, Orlando, FL 32812 12th ANNUAL Charity Event To Support Youth Fishing Organizations Live GypsybyMusicElise

Among the many advantages of Suzuki’s proven technologies are simplified and installation, silky smooth shifting, instant throttle response, performance, and superior fuel economy. With Suzuki Marine’s reputation for performance and reliability, can rest assured your fishing day is going to make memories that will last for years to

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5 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY applies to qualifying purchases of Suzuki outboard motors sold and delivered to the retail purchaser, for pleasure (non-commercial) use only, from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. See Suzuki Limited Warranty for additional details. Suzuki, the “S” logo, and Suzuki model and product names are Suzuki Trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive.Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. 2021 Suzuki Marine USA, LLC.All rights reserved.

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5 YEAR applies to qualifying purchases of Suzuki outboard motors sold and delivered to the retail purchaser, for pleasure (non-commercial) use only, from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. See Suzuki Limited Warranty for additional details. Suzuki, the “S” logo, and Suzuki model and product names are Suzuki Trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2021 Suzuki Marine USA, LLC. All rights reserved.

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With a deadline of Sept. 30, eight tagged largemouths worth thousands of dollars are still swimming in Florida waters.In celebration of Season 10 of FWC’s TrophyCatch big bass program, FWC tagged 10 largemouth bass with bright pink tags in Florida lakes. Just two of those pink-tagged largemouths had been caught as of presstime, so eight are still out there waiting for anglers to catch them and collect thousands of dollars worth of gift cards.

The eight remaining pink-tagged bass are still swimming in the following Florida waterbodies: Lake George, Lake Talquin, Lake Walk-in-Water, Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Lake Trafford, Lake Istokpoga, Lake Rousseau and Johns Lake. With the 10-Tag promotion ending Sept. 30, FWC is dropping hints by way of online maps showing the area where each of the remaining bass were tagged. These new tagging maps of the remaining lakes could lead lucky anglers to the pink-taggedThroughbass.Florida bass telemetry and tagging studies, FWC biologists have found that where a largemouth bass is tagged and released can frequently coincide with where an angler catches the same bass weeks, months or even yearsDewlater.caught his 10-Tag bass within yards of where the fish was released with its pink tag in Lake Griffin. Of course, these hints come with a caveat: while bass can be predictable, there are many exceptions to their typical home range patterns and some bass are not homebodies at all. In contrast to Dew’s catch, the second reported 10-Tag bass caught by RJ Crawford in Newnans Lake was more than 3 miles from where it was tagged. These hints don’t eliminate water in which a 10-Tag bass might be found but should be treated as higher-probability areas. View each of the ranges on the maps located on the 10-Tag Celebration web page. For more information, go www.trophycatchflorida.com.to Bass Worth Thousands in Lakes

The first pink-tagged bass was caught by Florida angler Dale Dew from Lake Griffin on May 22. Florida angler RJ Crawford caught the second pink-tagged bass from Newnans Lake on June 11. Both anglers were awarded $5,000 Bass Pro gift cards and $1,000 AFTCO gift cards. They will also be entered in a drawing for an additional $10,000, which will be awarded at a ceremony this fall.

Still Swim

Florida

Eight Tagged

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 FLORIDA 15

Apply for a Grant to Support School Fishing Clubs

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The grant program is open to new or existing freshwater and/or saltwater fishing clubs or teams at public, private and charter schools throughout Florida. To be considered for the grant, school fishing clubs or teams must have a minimum of five members and be represented by a school faculty member or parent who will follow the provided instructor’s manual.Thedeadline for submitting applications is Sept. 16, 2022 at 5 p.m. The application can be found online at MyFWC.com/SFC by scrolling down to “Florida’s R3 Fishing Grant Program.” Applicants can complete the form online or download the application to submit by mail or e-mail. Submit the downloaded applications to R3Fishing@MyFWC.com or mail them to: FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management Attn: School Fishing Club Program Grant 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee, FL 32399. The 2022-23 School Fishing Club Program is supported by partners including Mud Hole Custom Tackle, Pure Fishing, Coastal Conservation Association and Baitstick Fishing. For more information, contact Brandon Stys at Brandon.Stys@MyFWC.com.

16 FLORIDA SEPTEMBER 2022 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

B ack-to-school season is underway and Florida parents, teachers and school staff can apply for funding to support school fishing clubs for students. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) 2022-23 School Fishing Club Program, previously named the High School Fishing Program, offers school fishing clubs or teams the opportunity to apply for the Florida R3 Fishing Grant. The application period is open until Sept. 16. This grant program is focused on engaging youth anglers to ensure the future of fishing in Florida.

The Florida Sport Fish Restoration R3 Fishing Grant will award up to 40 high school fishing clubs or teams $500 to assist with club expenses and the purchase of fishing licenses or gear for participants. Participating clubs and teams will receive an updated educational curriculum comprised of lessons and activities on fisheries conservation and resource management, plus a chance to win prizes by completing the program’s Conservation Project.“The School Fishing Club program is an important program for teaching the next generation of anglers about ethical angling and conservation in Florida,” said Director of Marine Fisheries Management Jessica McCawley. “I look forward to seeing the hard work and creativity each club puts into their conservation project activities each year to help preserve the health and quality of aquatic habitats.”

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• Keep Them Alive: Storing scallops in a livewell is a great idea if you’ve got one. They can also be kept in a cooler of ice, but be careful to drain the freshwater out of the cooler as the ice melts because it will kill your scallops. You want them to be living right up until you clean them.

Bay scallop season is winding down along the west coast of Florida. In most zones it will continue well into September, so here are some tips to help you have fun on the water and maybe pick up a last-minute limit.

• Find Your Spot: The most common advice on finding a good scalloping area is to look for the boats. It’s good advice. The flotilla bearing diver-down flags is hard to miss when you find it. Be courteous, give everyone plenty of room and drive the boat slowly, keeping an eye out for swimmers.

• Hunt the Slack Tides: Finding scallops is generally easiest on a slack tide during calm days when currents are minimal. When the water is still, seagrass stands up straight, and it’s easier to spot scallops at the base of the grass.•Look in the Sand: Pay attention to those sandy potholes on the grass flats. Scallops like grass, but they are easier to see against a sandy bottom. Many times, if you spot one on the sand, there will be several in the grass around it.

• Clean Them Quickly: An alternative to keeping scallops alive is to just clean them right away. There should be at least one person in the boat at all times, and this person can clean the scallops while the rest of the team is searching. Scallops open up when they are put on ice, so chunk them in a cooler and clean them while you’re on the water. You can discard the shells into the bay.

TIPS FOR BETTER SCALLOPING By CAM Staff Charters.FishingGrassRockofcourtesyPhoto

• Search in a Pattern: Some divers search in a grid by swimming a straight line out from the boat and then moving sideways 5 or 10 yards before returning to the boat in a straight line. This way you’ll always be looking at fresh bottom.

For more information, including complete rules and regulations, go to MyFWC.com.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 FLORIDA 19

• Be Sure to Hydrate and keep yourself greased up with sunscreen. Also, know the seasons, limits and safety regulations for the area you’re scallop hunting.

• Slow Down: If you find one scallop, slow down and search the area thoroughly. There’s usually another one nearby.

One trick to finding productive bottom is to pull a keen-eyed diver on a rope at idle speed. This will help cover water quickly, and once old eagle eye spots a few, you can put out the anchor.

THE MULLET ARE COMING!

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Bait is Everywhere: Live bait is king when it comes to getting bit. A single good throw of the cast net should provide all the bait you need once you find a good school of mullet. Many anglers prefer fishing 5- to 8-inch mullet, because they’re small enough to cast and they’ll draw strikes from fish of all sizes. However, if big tarpon are pounding a bait school, some anglers swear a foot-long mullet catches bigger fish. Either way, freelined mullet are tough to beat. Gamefish look for isolated and injured baits on the outside of the school. Your mullet, hooked just behind the anal fin, will look like the perfect meal as it struggles to stay near the surface. For more on the mullet run, go to coastalanglermag.com.

schools of mullet as they move down the coast. These are perfect feeding areas for gamefish because they provide ambush points as well structure to herd mullet against. Loud and Proud: When it comes to fishing artificials, anything that resembles a mullet is likely to get slammed around actively feeding fish. The hard part is getting marauding fish to notice your lure among thousands of real mullet. This is the time to make a commotion. Early in the mornings, loud topwater plugs that pop, walk-the-dog and throw a lot of water around will get noticed. When the topwater bite slows, it’s time to break out sub-surface plugs, spoons or paddletails on jigheads. Cast around the edges of the bait pods, because gamefish often target baitfish that stray from the pod.

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Find the Bait: Giant schools of bait pull all of the gamefish out of their summer patterns. Tarpon, redfish, snook, jacks, flounder, sharks, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more transition from whatever they were doing and begin tailing and herding mullet pods. The predatory fish move with their food source. As an angler, you’re wasting your time if you’re not on top of the action.From a boat or from the beach, keep moving until you see fishy looking water. It’s unmistakable when you witness mullet fleeing from leaping jacks and tarpon, but the action can sometimes be harder to spot. Wear your polarized shades, keep the sun at your back and look for diving birds and the ripples of nervous water. There will be gamefish wherever there are huge schools of bait. Also, stay current with mullet activity in your area by sharing information with other anglers and being a regular at the local bait shops.

Check the Pinch Points: Seawalls, rocky shorelines, jetties and any other structure that juts from the shore will consolidate and channel

D epending on where you fish on Florida’s east coast, the mullet schools have either already arrived or they are on the way. Each fall, mullet flood down the coast in an enormous migration to their spawning grounds off south Florida. Along the way, they are assaulted by everything that eats fish. It’s a special time to be an angler. Here are some of the basics of fishing the mullet run to help you get in on the action.

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BLUEFIN SPAWN STUDIED OFF NORTHEASTERN U.S.

For as much as we do know about the ocean and the species we love to pursue as anglers, it’s amazing the things still left to be discovered. A scientific paper recently published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences presents evidence that the Slope Sea off the northeastern coast of the United States is a major spawning ground for Atlantic bluefin tuna. The Slope Sea is an area of the Atlantic bounded to the north and west by the northeast United States Continental Shelf and to the south by the Gulf Stream. Science to this point had identified two populations of Atlantic bluefins. One returns to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn and another spawns in the Mediterranean Sea. A 2016 paper established the Slope Sea as a third spawning ground for the species, and this most recent research suggests the Slope Sea is a good place to be a larval bluefin. Researchers used plankton nets to collect larvae in the Slope Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. They compared larval growth in the two regions by studying larval otoliths, which are small bones found in the heads of tuna. Researchers also conducted larval transport simulations to estimate the movement of larvae floating in ocean currents forward and backward in time to evaluate the origin of the larvae. What they found was evidence that Slope Sea tuna larvae grow at a similar rate as those in the Gulf of Mexico. The paper notes that an additional spawning site likely offers resilience for the species in the face of harvest as well as climate change. For more information, read the research at cdnsciencepub.com.

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Florida angler John Kelly seems to have figured out how to catch big snook with a fly rod. According to the International Game Fish Association, Kelly caught this beautiful 88-centimeter (almost 35inch) snook with a crab pattern on the Indian River Lagoon on July 28. Snook longer than 40 inches are caught pretty regularly from Florida waters, so this one isn’t a true monster. However, IGFA said it could potentially set the all-tackle length fly world record for the species, replacing Kelly’s own record for an 86-centimeter snook he caught in early June. On top of that, Kelly submitted another application for a 91-centimeter snook he landed in early August. These potential records are currently pending and under review by IGFA. Records or not, it’s probably safe to say that Kelly has something figured out about targeting slob snook with fly tackle. For more information, go to igfa.org. a

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PHOTO BY RICHARD SIMMS

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White catfish are rare anomalies that never fail to set social media abuzz each time an angler catches one. In most instances, biologists attribute the looks of these beautiful pinkishwhite fish to leucism, a genetic trait that results in reduced pigmentation and the pale, sometimes patchy coloration they display.

The Tennessee River’s WHITE BLUE CATS

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On June 28, 15-year-old Edwards Tarumianz caught a gorgeous, almost pure white blue catfish on the Tennessee River near downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. It was the latest in a string of such fish to come from one small stretch of river. While catching a white catfish has been likened to winning the lottery, it seems the odds are much higher on the Tennessee River below Chickamauga Dam.“It’s become pretty clear to us that we’ve got a little recessive gene floating around in the river right here in the Chattanooga vicinity,” said Richard Simms, owner of Scenic City Fishing Charters. “I actually saw another one just a week or so ago. A guy, just a regular fisherman, caught a piebald. So, yeah, we’ve got a recessive gene floating around.”

Scenic City has three captains who specialize in guiding anglers to catfish. They’ve encountered four of these white catfish since 2018. Simms keeps records of his catches, and he estimated Scenic City catches about 5,000 catfish a year. While one white catfish in 5,000 caught is hardly good odds, it’s a lot better than one in a million. This one stretch of river is producing more of these strange fish than anywhere else we’ve heard of.

By TAM

CATCHINGKINGSISABUNCHOFFUN

To get an idea of what a day chasing kings is like, I spoke Capt. Matt Paylor, of Sound-N-Sea Charters in Morehead City, N.C. For gear, he likes a 7-foot, live-bait trolling rod with a Shimano TLD reel filled to the brim with 20-pound line. Smaller, school-sized kings eagerly hit trolled spoons and frozen cigar minnows, and you can catch a lot of them.When 10- to 20-pounders are hanging out around a structure, such as artificial reefs, wrecks or ledges, casting to them with swimming plugs and topwaters can lead to fast action. For a challenge, try a 10-weight fly rod rigged with a sinking line and a big streamer fly attached to a wireAleader.20-pound king mackerel can make a fly reel sing, Paylor said, however, if you want to get the big ones, you have to use live bait. His go-to is live menhaden, but he also uses live bluefish in the 2to 3-pound range. For trolling live bait, tie 15 feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon to the end of your main line, and to that attach a double hook live bait rig made with No. 5 single-strand wire and size 4 “quad strong” trebleCapt.hooks.Paylor said kings are very predictable.

Paylor said a rule of thumb is to troll live baits at around 2 miles per hour. When you get a bite, the rod slams down and the reel starts screaming. Make sure your drag is not set too tightly or it’ll be over.You’ll get a nice long run when the fish is first hooked. The smaller fish of less than 20 pounds will run out of energy pretty soon. Bigger ones, from 30 to 50 pounds, won’t tire as readily, and the real monsters may do it a few times before they tire. Keep your drag set light and let the fish do its thing; follow it with the boat if necessary. A fish (besides sharks) that is the bane of king mackerel anglers is the amberjack. If you troll near any high spot, usually the top of a shipwreck, there may be a school of them there. Their detractors call them “reef donkeys” with disdain. When you are trolling with a carefully prepared trolling rig and putting in hours looking for trophy kings, one of these bad boys can mess you up. Tournament anglers especially dislike them. If you are out trolling for kings and a school of amberjacks show up in your trolling spread, don’t get mad. Have fun! These fish are a blast and hit topwater plugs with abandon. Cast soda-bottlestyle poppers in the 5- to 6-inch-long range such as the Rapala Magnum Xplode or the Yozuri Bull Pop, retrieve them with a big pull and a pause to make a huge splash, and be prepared for an amazing display. Often a group of them will come up together and slash at it with reckless abandon until one finally gets hooked. Be prepared with a heavy casting rod. I’ve caught them on 12-weight fly rods with the biggest popper I could make. They can show up at any time over any wreck or reef. You just have to be ready. If you’re not fishing in a tournament, why not go have fun with them instead of cursing at them. They will come in fast, hit hard and then keep you occupied for about 20 minutes while they try to pull you out of the boat. This article was reprinted from CoastalReview.org.

Gamefish Royalty

With their aggressive nature, willingness to hit almost anything, and ability to make drag screaming runs when first hooked, king mackerel are just a bunch of fun. Because of these qualities, there is a king mackerel tournament somewhere almost every weekend. Plenty of boats head out in pursuit of them from every port, and plenty of tackle dedicated to them is sold in coastal shops.

“They are so consistent with their yearly patterns that if you caught them in a spot in previous years, they are probably going to be there again,” he said.

He recommends using a sea surface temperature chart and seeing where the water is hovering in the 70-degree range and starting your day at a reef or wreck in that zone. If you see bait working—and especially if you see kings feeding—give it a serious shot. If you have seen kings feeding in open water, you’ll never forget what it looks like; they skyrocket out of the water like a submarine-launched missile.

By Capt. Gordon Churchill

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RECORD CUBERA CAUGHT OFF N.C.

An angler from New Jersey caught a North Carolina state record for cubera snapper on Aug. 3. Thomas Madsen caught the 58-pound, 8-ounce fish offshore of Hatteras while fishing with Capt. Tyler Fleetwood and Sea Dream FishingMadsen’sCharters.big fish measured 49.5 inches total length and had a 41-inch girth. He caught it using a Shimano jigging rod, and a Diawa Saltist reel with 80-pound test. It replaces the previous record, which weighed 58 pounds and was caught off Beaufort Inlet in 2016.The IGFA all-tackle world record for Atlantic cubera snapper was caught off Louisiana in June of 2007 by Marion Rose. It weighed 124 pounds 12 ounces. For more information on North Carolina state records, find the State Saltwater Records webpage at deq.nc.gov.

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“Until I caught this guy, I didn’t even know [xanthic bass] existed,” Chrenko wrote in a Facebook post. “For someone that lives and breathes fishing for smallmouth, this is one I’ll remember my entire life… I can only imagine that this little guy had to overcome crazy odds to survive the first couple of years of his life from predation. Being neon-orange would make for a tough life as a small freshwater fish.” Chrenko released his orange smallie after taking a few photos. For more weird fish, go to coastalanglermag.com.

This is not someone’s escaped goldfish; it’s a bright orange smallmouth bass. Angler Josh Chrenko caught the rare genetic anomaly this summer from the Muskegon River in Michigan. Biologists explained that the fish’s odd coloration is due to a rare genetic condition called xanthochromism, which— like albinism or leucism—is usually caused by a recessive gene.

Xanthochromistic fish are orange because the red pigmentation in their skin is replaced by yellow pigmentation.

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