Coastal Angler Magazine | November 2019 | Daytona Beach/New Smyrna/Deland Edition

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DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND EDITION

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FISH OF A LIFETIME IN SOUTHWEST ALASKA By Tom Schlichter

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o one has to tell you a halibut has taken your bait. As you set the hook with all your might, the heavy rod takes on a full bend, tip pumping rapidly as the beast powers down and away in a series of short, explosive bursts. Within minutes, beads of sweat begin to roll down your brow, and soon your back and arms begin to tire. The battle continues for another five to 10 minutes—or longer— and the enormity of the fish at the end of your line becomes apparent. This is the fish of a lifetime. This is why you came to Alaska! What saltwater angler hasn’t fantasized about taking such a trip? Yet there’s more to the beautiful, chilly waters in the far Northwest than outlandish flatfish. Ferocious-looking lingcod, giant, bright orange shortrakers, yelloweyes and other rockfish are also on the menu, as are king, coho and chum salmon, whether jigged or trolled in open water or tempted with the long rod in a river so full of fish you could walk across the dorsal fins. From breaching whales and soaring bald eagles to grizzly bears, sea lions, otters and endless miles of wild, unspoiled vistas, nature abounds in the forty-ninth state. Of course, where to start is a major questions you’ll need to tackle when planning your first Alaska fishing adventure. By and large, Southeast Alaska is the first choice if you are seeking major-league halibut. From the town of Ketchikan northwest up the coast to Chichagof Island, there are fishing lodges to accommodate your needs in such towns as Sitka, Juneau, Elfin Cove and Gustavus, plus places from which the most adventurous can set out on their own. One of the most popular spots is Tanaku Lodge. At the northwest corner of the famed Inside Passage, it’s tucked inside Elfin Cove, about 25 miles west of Glacier Bay National Park. From here you can get a terrific sampling of Alaska’s great coastal fishery, while seeing astounding amounts of wildlife and enjoying your stay in comfort. “The fishing is always great around here,” said Dennis Meier, co-owner of Tanaku Lodge with Jim Benton. “That’s a given, but we pride ourselves on making the entire experience the best it can be. Our skippers and mates are tops in the business, our lodge staff is helpful and courteous, and you’ll find the accommodations here to be first class all the way around. We may be off the beaten track, but that doesn’t mean we compromise on quality.” Tanaku is a full-service lodge with all-wood interior, vaulted ceilings, and wood burning stoves to keep you warm. Bedroom suites feature two full-sized beds and either a shared or private bath. Huge, wrap-around windows and outdoor decks offer fabulous views of the harbor. You don’t even have to bring foul-weather gear, as slicks and boots are provided for each angler. Leave your tackle home, too; the lodge offerings are in excellent shape and a perfect match to fishing you’ll encounter.

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As for the fishing, there are so many possibilities it can make your head spin. Halibut is the perfect first choice, since big ones can be found just a short ride away. Prepare to fish heavy and in water depths of 130 to 150 feet, though. Expect rods and reels suited for tuna and cannonball weights up to 2 pounds with a herring, pink salmon strip or side of pink salmon for bait. Even with all that heavy gear, a big halibut can still kick your butt. If you want to make things even more exciting (read: strenuous) try tempting these beasties with 1-pound jigs. It took me only 10 minutes of jigging in the Inside Passage to set the point to a 90-pound brute that beat the heck out of me before coming aboard. Over the next two days, I managed four more on jigs as we rotated between fishing for halibut, salmon and rockfish, depending on the most favorable tides. What a blast! As previously mentioned, salmon fishing is the other big draw here. While stocks of kings and cohos have slipped somewhat over the past few years, the number of king (Chinook), coho (silver) and pink (humpy) salmon is substantial. Anglers can troll for salmon, jig them, or set up a trip to wade a nearby river and catch them on the fly. Wherever you decide to stay on your Alaskan adventure, it’s wise to clearly state your wishes when booking a trip—especially if you hope to sample river salmon fishing or want to try for additional species like lingcod, shortrakers and various other rockfish. Not all are available from every lodge. While there are occasional off days even in this remarkable fishing wilderness—weather can be a serious issue late in the season—the odds are you’ll experience some of the best fishing of your life.

For information on Tanaku Lodge in Elfin Cove, AK, visit www.tanakulodge. com, or phone: 800-482-6258.

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Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures By Nick Carter

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pearfishers seeking a little variety in their bottom time should take a close look at the waters off New England. You won’t find warm tropical waters off the Northeast coast, but you will find a freediving experience unlike any other. Destinations like Montauk, N.Y. and Block Island, R.I. have long been recognized for some of the best striped bass fishing on the planet. The bass blitzes around Long Island Sound are legendary, and huge schools of stripers in these rocky waters offer conventional anglers and spearos the opportunity of a lifetime. Matt Belanger, of Newburyport, Mass., is one of a growing contingent of divers hooked on what New England has to offer. He’s a member of TriState Skindivers, and a big 54.2-pound striped bass he speared off

Block Island in July topped the club’s season-long TriState Leaderboard Spearfishing Tournament. “The striper is sort of our signature inshore species,” Belanger said. “It’s a very skittish fish. A lot of guys say they can hear your heartbeat. You’ve got to be really stealth when you go after a big striper.” Belanger’s description of a typical dive was intriguing. With a 50- to 60-foot bottom littered with Volkswagen-sized boulders, strong currents and visibility averaging 10 feet, it’s a different environment from Caribbean reef dives. The veil of dingy water actually makes hunting stripers easier. On the drop, you fin down through a school of striped bass to the bottom. “You’re in the middle of a giant school of hundreds of fish,” Belanger said. “Then, when you hit the bottom, they always spook… all at once. It’s crazy. It makes this big noise, almost a boom.” The secret to sticking a big bass is bottom time. After about 25 seconds, Belanger said the school begins to reconvene. Then you must spend precious seconds selecting a target from hundreds of circling fish, while minimizing movement and sound that might spook them. The goal is to take the largest fish in the school. You’re allowed only one fish per day with a 28-inch minimum size limit. A 28-inch striped bass weighs 10 to 15 pounds. They get much bigger. The IGFA all-tackle world record weighed 81-pounds, 14-ounces. It was caught from Long Island Sound off Connecticut. The speargun world record weighed 68.4 pounds. Dave Hochman, who guides Block Island Sound, stuck that fish in 2008. Hochman is the guide who put Belanger on the big striper he killed in this year’s tournament. If one fish per day seems scant to travel for, there’s a lot of excellent eating on a big striper. Also, when you get your limit—with speargun or rod and reel—there are other interesting and tasty species like tautog, black sea bass, fluke and others. A word of warning: Area waters can get sharky, with great whites a concern. A good captain will know where shark encounters are least likely. For information, contact Dave Hochman of Spear-it Charters through his website at www.spearfishcharters.com.

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SHRINK WRAPPING


By Justin Witt

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he Rio Pico region of Chubut province, Argentina is known to a select and adventurous few as the best big-trout country in all of Patagonia. Comprised of an immense network of lakes and drainages flowing through the Andes of southwestern Argentina, these waters are spectacular, and they’re as far off the beaten path as it gets. The diversity of the fishery is astounding. The area hosts an almost unbelievable quantity of waters in all shapes and sizes, and the region is known for trout that reach “unusual size” in pristine water with very little fishing pressure. “It was incredible. I was fishing dry flies up a little spring creek for trout as long as my leg,” said Greg Baugus, who visited the remote

area with Hemispheres Unlimited, an agency specializing in fishing trips of a lifetime. But spring creeks are not all Rio Pico has to offer. Rainbows, brookies and browns were introduced over a century ago and can be pursued with a wide variety of tackle and techniques. From large lakes and rivers to high-elevation trickles, anglers have the option to throw dry flies on delicate tippets, chuck 6-inch streamers on a heavy sink-tip line, or nymph any day of the week. It all boils down to personal preferences, and it’s all done within the gorgeous expanses and dramatic backdrop of the Andes. Some spots are numbers games, with consistent action for what in Patagonia amounts to smallish fish—fish that would be considered large almost anywhere else in the world. Most folks come down hunting bruisers, though, the photo fish, the monsters that stand out in truly amazing adventures. Hemispheres Unlimited offers perfect trips for those seeking adventure. Their Rio Pico Trout Bum program pairs anglers with local guides who grew up on these drainages and know them like the backs of their hands. It’s a unique, low-cost option for anglers more interested in fishing than luxury lodging. There’s no mint on the pillow, for sure. Instead, the Hemispheres Unlimited team makes certain preparations are in place so you can make the most of your time pursuing the fish that brought you to Argentina in the first place. Accommodations for the Trout Bum program are best described as authentic, in true, local, Patagonia style. Unless there is a specific need for backcountry camping, groups usually lodge at local hospedajes, either in town or out on one of the waters. Each spot has its own characteristics, advantages and style, and Hemispheres helps each group choose the best option for their desires. The program can be set up in a wide variety of styles, ranging from boat fishing every day of the trip to mixed trips with easier wading, all the way to more extreme hike-in and camp expeditions. For more information on the Rio Pico Trout Bum program and everything else Hemispheres Unlimited offers, go to hemispheresunlimited. com/blog/diving-mizpah.

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Photo courtesy of www.sfctravel.com

By CAM Staff

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nglers seeking stellar offshore fishing, including the best Atlantic blue marlin fishing on the planet should book passage to Cape Verde. This island nation about 350 miles off northwest Africa is a horseshoe cluster of 10 islands and eight islets that are a popular tourist destination for Europeans. The fishery is renowned for the consistency of big blue marlin. Billfish Report ranked it best in the world for 500-plus-pound blues, edging out venerable Kona, Hawaii by the numbers in its annual rankings based on 2018 statistics. Last years numbers were 110 blue marlin heavier than 500 pounds, including a 900-plus-pounder and one grander, which stretched the scales to 1,037 pounds. It’s the kind of place where releasing three marlin heavier than 500 pounds in a day is considered possible… because it happens. With big-game fishing this good, the marlin fishing is obviously the headliner. It’s best from April through July, with March and August usually being good as well. It’s a happy coincidence that this time frame coincides with the best seasons for yellowfin tuna, sailfish, wahoo and dorado. Four islands, Sao Nicolau, Sao Vincente, Santo Antao and Maio, harbor most of the medium-sized recreational fleet. The channel between Sao Vincente and Santo Antao is the epicenter of this international hot-spot for blues. For more information, go to www.capeverdeislands.org.

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ve he R ! e Old Florida Waterfront Charm Re-Discovered N t s e O R R fO eas The Perfect Vacation Getaway for Fishing, Boating and Outdoor Enthusiasts NOWteR s N Wi Accommodations are nestled on 6 lush tropical acres of pristine waterfront directly on the Indian River Lagoon. As you make your way down the one lane road you will truly be stepping back in time. Your hosts Kim and Robert Pruitt have re-captured the very best of Old Florida charm with modern conveniences and services to make your stay truly memorable and unforgettable.

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FLORIDA

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erious saltwater anglers know how important trim tabs are to optimizing any boat’s ride, performance and fuel efficiency. The ability to fine-tune a boat’s ride is even more important with today’s high-performance center console offshore, bay and flats boats. Adjusting a boat’s running attitude with trim tabs can also compensate for how a boat is loaded, ensuring a dry, safe and comfortable ride. While modern boats have become much “smarter” and more technologically advanced in recent years, operating trim tabs was still largely trial-and-error for the boater. That has changed with the recent unveiling of Dometic Marine’s new Smart Trim Tab System, designed to give owners of inboard/outboard and outboard powered boats precision control never before possible. This new system is a “smart” reinvention of the trim tab—offering robust construction, user programmability, quick, accurate response and intuitive operation. “Today’s modern vessels are becoming smarter and more connected,” said Eric Fetchko, President of Dometic Marine Americas. “With this new introduction, we’ve taken trim tab technology and performance to a new level for boat builders and boaters alike. This will be a true game changer for the industry.” Dometic Marine has engineered the Smart Trim Tab System for inboard/outboard vessels, as well as today’s popular high-performance boats powered by single, twin, triple or quad outboards. It has the ability to connect with the Optimus Electric Steering System, joystick control and shift-throttle controls. Dometic Marine’s CAN-based smart actuator can also be used as a

standalone component to integrate with a boat’s control system. For instance, using this connected technology, wake boarders and wake surfers will be able to precisely control the shape/size of their wake by commanding an exact actuator position. This system uses a Smart Dial controller for intuitive operation and a customizable user experience. User programmable settings (Home and Favorite) make it easy to get the boat into optimum running attitude, whether the goal is to smooth the ride, maximize fuel efficiency or fine-tune the perfect wake. The easy-to-use smart dial can also be turned manually to level the boat quickly as conditions change, with built-in LED lights that indicate trim tab position. This system’s smart actuator provides unparalleled positional accuracy and repeatability. Dometic Marine’s sophisticated all-electric design reduces complexity and increases reliability. The robust actuator shaft and housing design provides strong performance in both the push and pull direction. The design also features superior actuator sealing to prevent leaks, even with extended use in the harsh marine environment. Additionally, the installer has the ability to control the speed at which the tabs deploy and retract. When synchronized with Dometic Marine’s Optimus 360 electric steering, joystick control and shift/throttle controls, the Smart Trim Tab System can respond to RPM and gear position inputs for even greater control. The tabs auto retract when the key is turned off, when the vessel is put in reverse, or any time the vessel is put into joystick mode. This exciting new Smart Trim Tab System will be available to OEM installers beginning in December 2019. For more information, visit www. seastarsolutions.com.

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DECEMBER 5th Thru DECEMBER 8th

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THANKSGIVING

IN THE KEYS

By Nick Carter

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he year-round mahi bite is legendary in Atlantic waters off the Florida Keys. This time of the year the sailfish bite is phenomenal as well. Winter is a relative term when you’re talking about Monroe County, Fla. Wintertime lows average in the high 60s at night and highs run in the mid-70s. It’s downright comfortable. Apparently it’s the same with water temperatures. Just past the reef line, which runs the length of the Keys, big pelagic species show up in numbers to overwinter and feed on abundant schools of baitfish. Chief among them are sailfish. Capt. Chris Johnson, with SeaSquared Charters out of Marathon, looks forward to Thanksgiving every year, but not because of turkey. Late November is the beginning of sailfish season. It’s a time of diving frigatebirds and showering ballyhoo, when sight-fishing sailfish is the biggest thrill on the water. Mornings begin early. Low-light is key to finding sails and other pelagics as they push schools of baitfish up to the surface and into the air. Diving birds are the dead giveaway. From a tower, the activity is visible, as birds circle progressively lower and then plummet from the sky to take part in the massacre. “When you show up on the reef and you’re seeing spraying bait and birds, it’s game on,” said Johnson. “It’s usually an early morning thing, but it can go on into the day when there’s good cloud cover.” Depending on where in the Keys you set out from, the reef is just a 3 to 7 mile run from the docks. The sharp outer reef edge, which drops steeply into the 100-foot depths, is the topography that holds fish. Unlike most fisheries, where anglers attempt to intersect roving sailfish, fish actually congregate to feed off the Keys. Plentiful bait schools on the reef in close proximity to deep water create a unique situation where sailfish move into the shallows to corral and crash balls of baitfish. “This is what we’ve got that’s unique from anywhere else. It’s exciting, with lots of visual activity,” said Capt. Johnson. “We get sailfish spraying ballyhoos in 20 feet of water.” When it’s on, it really is sight fishing. Anglers must be able to cast

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live bait with accuracy that puts it on the edge of a spraying school or directly on the nose of a visible sailfish. The action can be hit or miss, but there’s nothing like it when a sailfish picks up the bait, feels the steel and starts tailwalking across the surface. Johnson said a good day sees double-digit release flags flying. When the bait showers die down, the fish remain in the area. Johnson said he’ll move off the reef edge in search of color breaks, weed lines and current breaks where baitfish are easy targets. “You want that blue water from the Gulf Stream up on that powdery water from the reef,” he said. “Sailfish love to hunt and chase bait up into that powdery water.” And where there are sailfish chasing bait, other species gather to feed as well. “If you’re into sailfish, you’re going to catch the other stuff, too,” Johnson said. “We see a lot of kingfish, blackfin tuna, dolphin, cobia, and even the occasional white marlin.” Sight fishing becomes power drifting, as Johnson deploys a spread of live baits and bumps the engine in and out of gear to cover water while presenting lively baits. Pilchards, cigar minnows and sardines are all on the menu. But when fish are keyed on ballyhoo, they won’t eat anything but ballyhoo, and a ballyhoo in open water out off the reef is bound to get hammered. In the right conditions, Johnson deploys kites with bridled goggle eyes. This tactic is particularly useful for skittish sailfish, as most of the tackle is suspended above the water where it’s not as visible to the fish. With the bait dancing near the surface, anglers might notice a fin or bill circling the bait. Then anticipation gives way to adrenaline, as the bait is inhaled and the speed and aerobatics of a fighting sailfish take over. The action is enough to make an angler forget everything but sailfish… until it’s time to unload a cooler full of blackfin and dolphin at the docks. Contact Capt. Chris Johnson and SeaSquared Charters through their website at www.seasquaredcharters.com.

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It’s a boy!

Troll, cast or fly a kite in the warm waters of The Florida Keys, and you could be rewarded with a real bundle of joy. Then again, if a rambunctious bull dolphin isn’t what you were hoping for, you could be blessed with a behemoth blue marlin – truly the mother of all gamefish. fla-keys.com 1.800.fla.keys COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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Photo by Andrea Whitaker A diver awaits pickup at the surface after a drift dive off of Palm Beach.

By John Lidington

D

rift diving is a major part of the Palm Beach County dive scene, so a lot of divers are introduced to this discipline in our waters. Any open-water diver should have skills to handle diving in currents. But developing and applying some special habits makes such dives smoother, safer and more fun. On the ideal drift dive, divers let the current carry them over long stretches of bottom. The boat drifts overhead tracking the “float ball,” a buoy connected by reel from the surface to an underwater dive guide. The most comfortable dives are those where a diver “goes with the flow” of the current. That means limiting the need to swim against current and facilitating easy pickup back on the surface.

The dive briefing is about more than where to find the goliath groupers or turtles. Listen carefully. Is the dive guide running a continuous drift or planning to tie off for a while? Are there bottom features that alter the current? How strong is the current and how good is the visibility? This information will help refine your dive plan. When the captain shouts “Dive, dive, dive!” you should be ready to jump in quickly. That means having your equipment ready early. One tip in addition to what you know by heart: After testing its power inflator, suck all the air from your BC. You’re then ready for a “negative entry,” where you hop in and immediately begin your descent. As you descend, note the strength and direction of the current with your compass. The stronger the current and the lower the visibility, the more you need to focus on staying near your buddy and the group. A one-knot current carries you about 100 feet per minute. If visibility is 70 feet and you’re poking around in a hole for a minute, your buddy will be gone when you look up. If you’re in a strong current, do your best to maintain neutral buoyancy and dive at a safe distance from the bottom to prevent bumping the reef. At the end of the dive, use your Surface Marker Buoy (SMB). Sure, the well-trained eyes of the pros running the charter boats are great at picking out bobbing divers. But, while it’s a pain to deflate and re-roll “safety sausages,” they can make retrieval of the group faster and smoother. If released when you reach your safety stop, they give the captain a two-minute warning on where divers will be surfacing. There’s a lot more to drift diving than the few tips I can offer here. PADI offers a Drift Diver specialty course that efficiently bundles theory and training into a few hours work coupled with two dives. If you want to jump-start your skills, give Pura Vida Divers a call at 561-840-8750 or visit www.puravidadivers.com.

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DAYTONA • NEW SMYRNA • DELAND

N

FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK

ovember is the time of year we give thanks for our blessings, and here at Coastal Angler we have a lot of them. Firstly, we are extremely thankful for you our readers!!! We have met a myriad of great people with kind hearts and big smiles while publishing this magazine. There are so many things we are thankful for this year, there are just too many to mention. During this time of year, most people start the hustle and bustle of the holiday season where we typically fish less and have more on our “to-do” lists. However, we think you should do the opposite and FISH MORE! This is a time for family and friends alike to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Well, there is no better way to do this than fishing.

Taking a group of people fishing is the perfect way to get everyone together and create some fantastic memories. So many of my favorite memories were in the outdoors growing up. My cousins and I still laugh about the times that we drug those who didn’t normally fish into the outdoors and let them experience what we love so much. There were successes and failures on those trips, but neither mattered. What mattered is that we were all together, working towards a common goal of the day. So get your friends and family outside this season, there are plenty of fish out there, and even more memories to be made! Tight lines The Chibbaro Family

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NOVEMBER 2019

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 1


FISHING REPORT & FORECAST DAVE FARLOW

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NOVEMBER 2019

High Bridge Report

H

appy Thanksgiving all!!! If you’re anything like me, you will be giving thanks for the abundance of fish mother nature has and will continue to provide for us. November is typically a very productive month for folks here around the Highbridge area. Redfish are in abundance and are starting to school up in the mud flats back here. Once you do find them schooled up you can literally throw anything in your tackle box at them including the kitchen sink!! With hurricane season behind us, we can start to look forward to our winter fishing. (If you can call it an actual winter). The trout are definitely more active this time of year and everything is fattening up for the impending cooler weather. Black drum will be prevalent around the bridges and most oyster beds. Snook will remain strong through the warmer weather, however when it cools off you can bet that they will get lock jaw something fierce. Flounder will have made their way offshore to deeper waters. Pompano will be strong along the surf with the usual Whiting being mixed in. Over all, this is the beginning of my personal favorite time of year to fish. Get your cooler weather gear out and don’t be afraid to venture new areas for it will prove to be a great month of fishing!! Until next time, remember, keep you lines wet and your rods bent!! Dave Farlow is the co-owner of Salty Dawg Outfitters @ High Bridge

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM


FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. BARRY ENGLEHARDT

Tomoka Report

L

ooking back in my logs I find that November produces a steady catch of reds, snook and trout. Water temperatures are in a good range to where the fish are aggressive to chase a bait. Artificial lures are my top baits in November. I begin with top water lures at first light, then a suspended lure as the sun gets higher in the sky. After all is said and done, I always end up using a jig with a paddle tail. There is little grass in the basin and river; however, there are logs, stumps and limbs. In the situation where there is debris I use a bullet weight with a screw and rig it with a worm hook and a 5 inch soft bait rigged weedless. I slowly work it over logs, stumps and limbs. I also use this rig when the water is high above the banks. Casting this bait into the marsh grass, and slowly working it out with a slight jerk when you get to the edge of the bank it creates a vicious strike. The best area for trout has been the canals in the basin, oyster beds and docks in the ICW.

Captain Barry Englehardt | fishwithcaptainbarry.com

Family owned for over 30 years

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NOVEMBER 2019

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 3


BACK TO BLUE OUTDOORS

Of

Fall Bass Fishing

F

ishing our northern East Coast for bass during the fall can be calming and breathtaking with what cooler temperatures Florida has to offer this time of the year as Fall approaches. There are many places to explore and fish whether you want to catch bass crappie or spec. From Lake Monroe, Lake Okeechobee, Saint Johns river to little bass ponds in your local neighborhood you can accomplish it all! Large grass structures in low fishing traffic has allowed explosive growth of the largemouth bass populations the cooler weather also helps the growth of these big bass when looking for these trophies. This time of the year as it begins to cool down and the temperatures will begin to drop the females start to move in as the males have been getting things ready for the females migration. For the months of October and November I find using artificials to be most beneficial. Some of the

most effective ways to land that trophy bass is using live shiners looking for that 9 to 10 pounder? I find the most effective way to do it is using live bait this time of the year casting them close to a nice mat and allowing the bait to run under it, hold tight your hooked!!

INSHORE ADVENTURES WITH SKYE Feel free to check out my inshore fishing adventures on Facebook @ Inshore Adventures with Skye and on Instagram brassyhooker87

NOVEMBER 2019 BACK TO BLUE OUTDOORS

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DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 4


BACK TO BLUE OUTDOORS

Offshore

T

he offshore fishing in November is usually the start of our Pelagic species. They start making their way here with the favorable water conditions. Look for good numbers of Sailfish balling up bait or free jumping around productive areas. You should try dragging floss rigged Ballyhoos or Bonita strips on fluorocarbon. I would add a plainer rod in for the occasional Wahoo or King fish. Adding a plainer can also help bring deeper sails up to your spread as well. I often try to run a couple dredges and teasers to create as much an ecosystem as possible. An easy day with a lot of action can always be dragging two plainers with kingfish spoons over areas with structure in under 100’ feet of water. Once you start getting good bites burn a hole in that area but keep moving until you find that area holding the fish. It’s still grouper season and with the snappers thinned our slightly we

have a better chance firing live pinfish down without being hammered repeatedly by sow snapper. Keep the leaders in that 6’-10’ range and string circle hooks tend to work best. As always, you can chicken rig up some Redeyes and triggerfish throughout the day and even stimulate the bite along with it. Capt Shane Ryan | Back to Blue Outdoors

ing

the der it,

Lure Review Snook Candy Jigs

I

had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful and passionate local lure maker, and founder of Snook Candy Jigs. I learned quite a bit in our meeting, both about jig making and about jig makers. What impressed me most about Snook Candy Jigs was the attention to detail, and all of the color options. All of these jigs are made one at a time and tied by hand right in Central Florida. The quality is unmatched, and the owner of the company is always accessible to anglers using his product. One of the jigs I liked the best was a “croaker” pattern. The colors were just right, a little reflective flash, and best of all a small rattle near the head of the jig. I tried them down at Ponce Inlet and found out they not only caught snook (3 under slot, and 1 keeper), but I also caught 2 redfish, and a grouper! When I tested them in the pool to see what they looked like I was again impressed! The fall rate was perfect, the flash wasn’t too much, but could be seen, and the quality of the skirt was obvious by how the “flare of the hair” stayed wide and created a large profile in the water. I definitely give them the seal of approval, and if you check my tackle bag from here on out, you will find some Snook Candy Jigs for sure! You can order these wonderful jigs through Instagram or the company’s website.

BACK TO BLUE OUTDOORS


BACK TO BLUE OUTDOORS

Fall Mullet Run

T

he smell of autumn, the change of colors, leaves falling at your feet, a cool breeze in the air. Yes, it is that time of the year that all us anglers wait for, the mullet run! Every fall in Florida as the temperatures begin to cool fishing is on fire. The fall temps trigger the natural instincts in mullet to head south along the Atlantic coast. These migrating mullet will stay in large schools that are irresistible to large predators that’s including most game fish. About Mullet Mullet are a silver/grey fish. They are a ray finned fish found worldwide in a coastal temperature and tropical waters. There are 80 species of mullet, can you believe that?! They can be found in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters around the world. The massive amounts of mullet that are found in the surf and intercoastal water ways during the fall mullet run send fish into a frenzy. Masses of inshore fish such as Snook, Tarpon, Redfish and Seatrout. Hooking up to fish is nearly nonstop! How To Fish the Mullet Run This is really a no brainer and just about anyone could land fish during the mullet run. As for myself, I follow the schools of mullet casting on the outsides

of the schools hooking up and landing nearly every cast. I find that casting in the middle of the school is less successful because predators will often wait to pick off any fish that swims away from the school. It is that simple! Mullet is the Bait! During the fall mullet run, mullet is the bait to use during this time of the year. Full grown mullet are great for shark and tarpon fishing. I prefer to use finger-sized mullet, free lined, which lands me just about anything. When targeting bull reds, large Snook and tarpon, I up my liter to 80lb+. But for the most part this back country lady angler enjoys sight fishing and scouting Mosquito Lagoon and the marshes of the Tomoka Basin! I myself will be targeting the Bull Reds on occasion in the inlet, but spending most days targeting Snook, Tarpon and slot Reds in the back country and flats! I enjoy artificials and keeping busy while on the water. enjoying the art of angling artificials and sticking to light tackle is what i do! Occasionally targeting what the mullet run has to offer, so what are you waiting for, get out there and fish! Inshore Adventures with Sky Facebook @ Inshore Adventures with Skye and on Instagram brassyhooker87

BACK TO BLUE OUTDOORS


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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT JAMIE THRAPPAS

Ponce Inlet & Backwaters

N

ovember is another of my favorite months to fish, especially because it will finally be cooling down! I’ll still spend most of my time at the inlet focusing on the big reds and snook as the mullet run comes to an end. These Redfish will be holding tight to the bottom, and finding the right bait like larger pinfish and even blue crab will help get one to chew. However, as we start to get cold fronts and certain days when the winds are blowing hard I will find myself switching gears and tucking up in the mangroves. I expect the flounder and mangrove snapper bite to be pretty solid on mud minnows and shrimp. The black drum bite will also turn on during these cooler fronts. Personally I love catching and eating these smaller 20” fish, it’s a delicious white meat that does not get the credit it deserves! Towards the end of the month when we get our first few chilly days you can bet, I’ll be targeting those stripped bait bandits, the ever-elusive sheepshead will begin to get thick! Fiddler crabs with a piece of fish bites on the hook are my go-to for these tasty fish! Look for us out there and say hello when you see the yellow dawg passing by! James Thrappas | Splash Brand Representation LLC | 386-366-3424 splashbrandsllc@gmail.com | NATIVE EYEWEAR

FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. BRYN RAWLINS

Central St. Johns River

N

ovember brings cooler weather to our area of the central St. Johns River and surrounding lakes and this makes fishing better. It’s a great time to be on the water for speck fishing. All methods of fishing can be productive right now including trolling, vertical jigging, and drifting with minnows. With the high water levels leading into the fall, we’re looking forward to a very productive season; in fact we may have a record season for specks if we have favorable conditions. Lake Woodruff, a secluded 2,200 acre lake, is a premier Speckled Perch Lake in Florida and has plenty of open water for trolling. Use live Missouri minnows fished under a bobber or drop a small colored 1/16 oz jig in holes within the heavy cover. When trolling use a variety of small jigs trolled slowly across the open expanse of the lake until you locate productive areas. One way to increase the size of your stringer is to always use the lightest line that will work for you. Ask your local fish camp for advice and current conditions and hot jig colors. We have seen such an improvement on Bass fishing since recovering from our last Hurricane. The St. Johns River and surrounding water ways is really making a comeback. Wild river shiners are a great bait to use during the winter months when you’re hunting for big Bass! Fish the shiner near floating vegetation with a weedless hook and bobber pegged at 2 ½ to 3 feet. Remember when using shiners, you want the action of the bait to be realistic, so never use swivels, led or leaders on your line and always leave plenty of slack on the water until it’s time to set the hook. For anglers that use artificial lures try a Devils Horse. Work the lure slowly around cover with a steady retrieve. Call us anytime for an up to date fishing report. 1-800-525-3477 Capt. Bryn Rawlins | Highland Park Fish Camp, DeLand, FL 1-800-525-3477 | www.highlandparkfishcamp.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

NOVEMBER 2019

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 7


Ponce Inlet

NSB SURF FISHING REPORT & FORECAST THE OPINIONATED SPORTS GUY

TIDE CHART NOVEMBER 2019

Date 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

High AM Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

Low ft

PM

12:43 1:39 1:37 2:36 3:35 4:29 5:16 5:59 6:40 7:20 8:00 8:39 9:18 9:59 10:43 11:31

2.7 2.6 2.5 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.9 3.1 3.3 3.4 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.6

12:58 2:01 3:07 4:11 5:08 6:01 6:53 7:43 8:32 9:20 10:06 10:53

2.7 2.8 3.0 3.2 3.5 3.8 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.1 3.9 3.7

ft 12:20 1:13 1:07 2:02 2:59 3:53 4:43 5:28 6:11 6:53 7:35 8:16 8:57 9:37 10:20 11:07 11:59 12:24 1:21 2:22 3:26 4:27 5:24 6:17 7:09 8:00 8:50 9:38 10:26 11:16

AM 3.8 3.5 3.3 3.1 3.0 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.8 2.8 2.7 2.7 2.6 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.1 3.0 2.9 2.8 2.7

8 DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND

ft 5:44 6:41 6:40 7:38 8:34 9:31 10:27 11:18

PM ft 0.0 6:50 0.2 7:47 0.4 7:41 0.5 8:32 0.6 9:21 0.6 10:07 0.6 10:51 0.5 11:32 12:05 12:11 0.2 12:50 12:48 0.1 1:32 1:26 0.0 2:13 2:03 0.0 2:53 2:41 0.0 3:35 3:20 0.0 4:20 4:04 0.1 5:11 4:55 0.2 6:07 5:55 0.2 7:02 6:58 0.2 7:56 8:01 0.2 8:50 9:06 0.2 9:44 10:11 0.2 10:38 11:13 0.1 11:29 12:12 12:19 -0.4 1:08 1:08 -0.4 2:00 1:55 -0.4 2:50 2:42 -0.3 3:39 3:28 -0.2 4:28 4:16 0.1 5:20

NOVEMBER 2019

0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0 -0.2 -0.3 0.0 -0.1 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.3

November Surf Update

F

all is definitely in the air, and with the cooler nights and less humidity during the day, it’s a perfect time of year to get out and fish. The big question right now is - where are all the mullet? Due to a long hot summer the water temps just haven’t changed much and it seems everyone’s favorite bait fish are running a little behind this year. A lot of people complain that it’s slow and there’s nothing going on this time of year - well, other than the weekly festivals that happen on Flagler Ave way too much. It’s true for about the next two months our little island will not be quite as crowded as it normally is. The summer visitors are gone and the Snowbirds are still up north enjoying the beautiful fall foliage and the change of seasons. This is my favorite time of year, as New Smyrna feels like the quiet little town of many years ago. No fighting for parking spots or waiting in line behind the many blue hairs that play the lottery. Of course, that means the beaches and parks are less crowded as well and for you local anglers this is a great time to enjoy some excellent fishing and better yet, some peace and quiet the way mother nature intended it. Things start to change in the surf with the cooler weather. The “regulars” such as whiting, sand perch, and croaker are still around, as well as shark and those dreaded catfish. The recent and exciting news is that several large redfish have been caught in the surf. These are most likely bull males spawning and they tend to cruise a little closer to shore than most would think. Try using a frozen mullet or live ones once they arrive, or perhaps a piece of shrimp, and working the first trough at low tides. In many cases, some of the larger fish will cruise the closer trough as the little fish get trapped during low tide and it makes for easier hunting. Most of us would be shocked to see how such large fish can swim in shallow water but trust me, you can catch some big ones close to the shore. Other fish that have been caught are sheepshead some flounder and jacks. They are also feeding on live and chunked mullet and, believe it or not, the gator spoon is still a trusty option if your wanting to go with artificial bait. There has also been some tarpon around, but they seem to be waiting for the mullet like the rest of us. Overall, this year has been pretty consistent and it only seems to be getting better. As I mentioned before, we are one of the fishing capitals of the world so hurry up get out soon, as it’s just a matter of time before the people up north realize that cold weather sucks and pack up their flip flops and shorts and head back down here. As of now I’m happy to not be yelling at some older lady or gentlemen with New Hampshire plates as they change lanes without notice or just simply stop in the middle of the road because they think they see a yard sale sign For you local anglers out there, take a day off and hit up some of your favorite hot spots while you can, for in just a few months once again we have to share our little wonderland with part-timers asking the same question over and over, “When do the pompano start running?” Trust me – it’s not that far off.

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. MICHAEL SAVEDOW

Little Frankie Caught Black Drum with Capt Michael Savedow

N

ovember can begin the transition from warm Florida to early winter fishing patterns if we have chilly weather this month. The subtropical coastal migrating species will begin moving south where they spend the winter, including Tarpon, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish, Pompano, and Spanish Mackerel. The mullet run follows the same south bound route, how soon and low the water temperatures drop will determine the timing. Resident fish Redfish, Snook, Seatrout, Snapper and many other species remain in our waters through winter. The cold-water species will begin to move in, including Sheepshead, Black Drum and Bluefish. Mosquito Lagoon water levels can remain high after a flooded autumn, in the lagoon and backcountry, shorelines can still be a good bet with high water. Check also shallow grass, and the flooded marsh, more sight fishing if clearer water, more blind casting soft plastics and soaking cut or live finger mullet/mud minnows in cloudy water. Early morning throw top water lures over shallow grass, edges, and over top of submerged drop offs. Once the sun is up, switch to sub surface, soft plastics with 1/8 or 1/16 jig head for deeper water or weed less jerkbaits in the shallows. For the backwaters free lined live shrimp or finger mullet are always a go to bait, hard plastics like MirrOdines and twitch baits also good. For Pompano in the surf, look for clean water, fish the sloughs between sand bars, sand fleas, cut clam, “fish bites” and peeled shrimp can be best

choices for bait. Some Pompanos also find their way into the backwaters. Snook season is still open, 28” to 32” slot size limit, 1 per person a day, a Snook permit on your fishing license needed to keep one. To target bigger fish, go with bigger baits, like mullet, pinfish and select shrimp, free lined for surface action, with small weight for deeper spots, on artificials, larger swimming lures for surface, jigs and bucktails for deeper. You want to fish Ponce Inlet jetties and channel, bridge pilings, docks, Spruce Creek and Tomoka areas, Haulover Canal, nighttime, early morning before sunrise, moving water can be best in the tidal areas. November also continues the bull Redfish spawn, Ponce Inlet is the center of attention, they can also be along the Intracoastal Waterway, NSB bridges, and Haulover Canal, anchor or drift and soak half or whole Blue Crabs, live Pinfish, or Mullet. Before the chill comes, Snook, Tarpon and Sharks can also be in the inlet with the big Reds. Some years the first cold spell can come this month, if it’s fast and hard, lagoon fish can get a little shocky after a year of warm water as they get used to the first cold water of the year. The near shore ocean this month can be very good for southward migrating schools of Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish, from near the beach out to about a mile. Keep an eye out for surface activity like white water strikes and diving birds, they will be feeding on smaller size baitfish so match the hatch with small long casting shiny spoons, Gotcha plugs and flies. Capt Michael Savedow / Edgewater River Guide www.EdgewaterRiverGuide.com / 386-689-3781

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

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NOVEMBER 2019

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 9


Eli Gill with a gorgeous snook

The Bock brothers brought in this beauty of a redfish

JJ Ellis crawled the rocks for this redfish

Tim Russel with a Ponce Inlet Bull

David Jones about the Knot Tide Right with a Ponce Permit

fishing forget I’ll pay and fis Not ju it’s fun license of a ki a 17’ s visit ra on Fac

10 DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND

NOVEMBER 2019

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CAPTAIN’S SPOTLIGHT

Rare Breed Charters

Specializing in Daytona’s Exciting Fishing Action

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R

are Breed Charters first came about from countless conversations with friends and guests of Gobblers Lodge (see archery article in this issue). I would find myself talking about where I hunt and what am I up to after hunting season. It was a natural transition, summer I’m fishing, fall I’m a hunting, and the other seasons I am doing both! I’ll never forget the first time I was asked “Will you take me hunting and fishing? I’ll pay you money.” I was being propositioned to be compensated to hunt and fish! What a dream concept, getting paid to do what you truly love! Not just saying you love your job because you fool yourself into thinking it’s fun, but fishing and hunting for a living is truly living. I am now a licensed Master USGC captain and pride myself in a safe, exciting and one of a kind inshore or offshore fishing experience. We are equipped with a 17’ skimmer skiff flats boat, and a 2400 tournament pathfinder. Please visit rarebreedcharters.com to book your custom experience, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram Rare Breed Charters / 386-341-0793 rarebreedcharters.com

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DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND 11


SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CAPTAINS Inshore Offshore Outdoors

Specializing in Daytona’s Exciting Fishing Action

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www.gobblerslodge3darchery.com 386-341-0792 • Daniel Levesque • Osteen, Florida

ARCHERY SPOTLIGHT

Gobblers Lodge

G

obblers Lodge Archery Range was a byproduct of a construction minded insane bow hunter and outdoorsman. Before the construction of the range and the pain staking process of dealing with the local building dept. Myself and a handful of my outdoor buddies were slinging arrows from makeshift platforms and rickety old stands. My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas of 2015 as I thought, what I really wanted was another 3D archery target. Having nearly a dozen already, I quickly said, “A 3D target but not another deer!” Christmas morning I opened a shiny wrapped present containing a Delta McKenzie 12 DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND

NOVEMBER 2019

Turkey Target which sent me into hyper drive. I quickly began with concept design and presented my plans and ideas to the local building dept. With the help of family, friends and the good Lord above Gobblers Lodge was born! After a slow start, and 2 years after being open, we decided to have a Grand Opening. This was the real eye opener. We had hundreds of people turn out to the event! The range has also hosted a wild game feast, youth archery tournaments, veteran groups and many other visitors, even New Smyrna Beach Middle School’s “Adventure Club”. The range has a variety of archery and outdoor fun and excitement. For the seasoned archer we offer a unique and challenging experience, and for the novice, we offer friendly instruction and assistance along with rental equipment. Gobbler’s Lodge is the perfect location for your birthday parties, team building, or cooperate events. Please visit glodge3d@gmail. com for full details or contact Daniel directly 386341-0793 And don’t forget to www.gobblerslodge3dstvhrty.com follow us on Facebook and Instagram!!!! 386-341-0792

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OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, WHERE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES ABOUND

Photo by Peter Dutton/flickr.com

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keechobee County is your paradise outdoors. This beautifully serene rural community still values the old Florida lifestyle, with down-home Southern hospitality and scenic land undisturbed by towering growth. Okeechobee County is at the northern shore of the awe-inspiring Lake Okeechobee. Lake Okeechobee is 730 square miles of fishing nirvana. Lake Okeechobee, named by the Seminoles as “big water,” is host to a number of guides that will take you to treasured “fishing spots” that will give any angler stories to take home. Largemouth bass dominate the fishermen’s attention throughout the year, while the well-known speckled perch (crappie) take front position during the peak of tourism season which runs from October through March. Lake Okeechobee also offers scenic trails that are excellent for

walking, jogging, biking and bird watching. The trail that surrounds this massive lake is the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (L.O.S.T). This trail just about surrounds the entire lake and leaves no nature lover disappointed. Okeechobee is a well-loved area for rare and hard to find birds aplenty, the snail kite and caracara just to name a couple. Don’t be concerned by the loud cry of the sandhill crane, as these beauties are in every corner of our community and have no issue stopping traffic or wandering neighborhoods. Okeechobee County is not just about the lake, though locals are extremely proud of their greatest natural asset. Okeechobee is home to a number of other sporting activities that definitely make the location a sportsman’s paradise. Hunting is popular with not only seasonal visitors but residents as well. Deer, hog, duck and even gator hunting keep the hunting guides busy and the hunter’s hauling trophies home for bragging rights. Looking to improve or develop some great shooting skills? Okeechobee has a number of gun ranges that offer shooting sports of all kinds. Most of these facilities are outdoors and offer lodging, shopping and the greatest ranges and instructors around. There is also an indoor archery range conveniently off our main street and a new state-of-the-art gun range just on your way into town. Although Okeechobee offers fantastic outdoor adventures such as air boating, horseback riding and other entertainment, there always comes a time when the day draws to a close and the day’s activities bring on a fierce appetite. Okeechobee offers wonderful food options to the most spectacular steaks to the tastiest seafood! With dinner served and memories made, it’s now time to dream of what Okeechobee may bring the next day at any of our hotels, motels, campgrounds or RV resorts. Looking for your paradise outdoors? Welcome to Okeechobee, Florida. For information on any of these great getaways, visit www.visitokeechobeecounty.com or call 863-763-3959. Introducing Okeechobee’s Inaugural Visitor’s Guide. This beautiful guide will be your destination must have. You may request your free guide via phone or the Contact Us section of the website listed above.

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By Ed Killer

S

tuart, Fla.– The thump on the end of the line nearly pulls the rod out of your hand. It’s the kind of thump delivered by an apex predator confident in its choice to devour the offering. The line peels off the reel at a blistering pace. You can feel the trophy at the opposite end of this tug of war begin making its way to the surface. You prepare yourself for one of those mental memories you swear will stay with you forever. When this fish goes airborne, you know it’s going to be so cool. Backlit by the golden rising sun, the shower of spray from the head shakes will be glorious. You know your followers on social media are going to love it. The beauty of this encounter, for anyone who visits Martin County to fish, is that literally a half-dozen species of game fish can be plugged into the scenario. Is the soon-to-be leaping fish a tarpon, snook, sailfish or bass? Could it be a mako shark or perhaps a blue marlin? This area is known for incredible sport fishing. It developed that reputation more than a century ago, and continues to build upon it with every catch. And as fishing techniques and targets evolved, so did Martin County’s reputation as a world-class fishing destination. INSHORE Presidents once traveled to Stuart to fish for giant tarpon. Grover Cleveland, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding all plied the waters of the St. Lucie River in search of the “silver king.” In 1905, Cleveland purchased land in Stuart and was planning to build a home here, but never did. However, he was credited with catching one of the largest tarpon ever caught in the river’s North Fork. At the time, 200-pounders were common in the river system each spring. As popular as tarpon are, snook may be Martin County’s staple fish. The waters surrounding downtown Stuart are one of the only in the world where four species of snook can be caught – common snook, tarpon snook, fat snook and swordspine snook. Only the common snook typically reaches the legal size for harvest of 28 to 32 inches in length. Huge common snook, upwards of 30 pounds are caught lurking around bridges, marinas, rocky shorelines and spillways in the winter and spring. By summer, these fish stage closer to the St. Lucie Inlet, where spawning occurs. Live baits like sardines, herring, menhaden, mullet and shrimp are all irresistible, but artificial lures and flies work well, too. On the shallow grassflats and around the spoil islands in the Indian River Lagoon, anglers catch spotted seatrout, redfish, black drum, jack crevalles, ladyfish and sheepshead. During the winter, spring and summer incoming tides, anglers can sight cast these targets in 3 to 5 feet of water. Like the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay, Martin County is one of

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those rare places where an angler can pursue a bonefish, tarpon, permit slam. During winter, some of the tastiest fish that swim, pompano—swarm the inshore waters. OFFSHORE Ironically, it was a poor year of tarpon fishing in the early 1930s that generated exploration of Martin County’s offshore fisheries. Early in the century, the county produced a lucrative fishing business each winter as commercial fishermen pursued bluefish and Spanish mackerel off the beaches. They would ship their catches, salted and iced, on rail cars to markets in the north. The first winter visitors to Martin County were fishermen from northern coastal towns. But when the tarpon fishing went flat for a couple of years, recreational fishermen started heading into deeper water offshore to find action. What they found would change the area forever. Sailfish are a majestic species of pelagic fish, meaning they travel great distances on open ocean. After exploring the best methods and bait-rigging techniques to catch these fish, which can measure 6 to 8 feet long and swim up to 40 mph, a charter fishing fleet developed. In January of 1938, editor of the Stuart News Ernie Lyons invited outdoor writers from all over the country to come to Stuart and catch sailfish. In a week, nearly 1,000 sailfish were caught. One writer reported to his readers back home, “You may as well call Stuart the capital of sailfish.” Lyons jumped on it. Soon the City of Stuart applied for a charter naming it “Sailfish Capital of the World.” Today, the iconic image of the leaping sailfish can be seen on signage for public and private entities and even on the city’s garbage trucks. A tournament last winter produced over 700 sailfish releases in a single day. But a bluewater angler will have a chance to catch excellent game and table fare, too. Kingfish up to 50 pounds roam the reefs in 40 to 60 feet of water every spring. Cobia up to 70 pounds can be caught when the manta rays come into shallow waters each winter. Dolphinfish are caught offshore year round. Fishing for mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper and lane snapper is very good in 40 to 70 feet of water throughout much of the year. Fishing for gag, red and black grouper, scamp and amberjacks is best on the deepwater artificial reefs, of which the county has placed dozens offshore over the past 50 years. Tilefish and snowy grouper are on the deep flats in 700 feet. Wahoo are best during the summer for high speed trollers. In recent years, expert charter captains have developed a fishery for daytime swordfish where they also occasionally catch a mako shark. Each summer, the diving for spiny lobsters creates an offshore armada along the county’s healthy coral reefs. Suffice to say, the fishing along Martin County’s shores is about as good as it can get. The hard part is picking what to fish for.

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Reel in the memories. Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is a fisherman’s paradise. Ocean, lake and river ecosystems are home to more than 800 species of fish, from the ever-popular sailfish and snook to largemouth bass and perch. Forget your gear? Visit one of Martin’s many bait and tackle shops or outdoor retailers. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, head out for an adventure and reel in the memories.

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By Mikey Erickson

A

lot of people know Costa Rica is the “Billfish Capital of the World,” but that’s not all it is. Double-digit numbers of tarpon and an abundance of snook can be caught on the Caribbean Coast out of Tortuguero, where rivers like Rio Parismina and Rio Colorado follow the coast and open up into the ocean. Days of 30 or more fish are possible. And the river-locked town of Tortuguero is a true gem.The culture has a lot of Jamaican and Spanish influence. The season here is from February to May. Great spots for freshwater fishing include the beautiful Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal and the rivers running through northern-inland Costa Rica. Rainbow bass, better known as “guapote,” are the main target of freshwater anglers. They are prized for intelligence, aggression and great tasting meat. The Machaca is another exciting fish that has earned the nickname “mini tarpon.” The town of La Fortuna in Arenal is a very nice place to visit. Everything is green and full of life due to the volcanic soil. There are also hot springs. The best season for this area is from January to May. On the northern Pacific Coast, fishing is great all the way down the coast from Papagayo to El Coco, Flamingo to Tamarindo, Nosara to Samara, and Santa Teresa to Tambor. The sport fishing in this area picks up from May to August with species like mahi, marlin, sailfish, roosterfish, snapper and wahoo. This region is beautiful, and the culture is very European. If you get the chance to explore this region, take it! The best fishing in the central Pacific region is near Jaco, Herradura, Quepos and Manuel Antonio. I’ve lived four years, fishing constantly, and it offers year-round angling. The marlin and sailfish bite is insane from December to June, and from April to November the mahi come in huge numbers to debris pushed out by the rivers. There are also many FAD’s (Fish Attracting Devices) 100 miles off the coast. Overnight trips offer double-digit marlin and sailfish! The southern Pacific Coast offers many great destinations both inshore and offshore. The Sierpe River offers great freshwater fishing, and places like Golfito, Drake Bay and Puerto Jimenez offer killer inshore fishing. These areas known for giant roosterfish year-round, and also feature great marlin and sailfish from August to March, mahi-mahi from May to October and tuna year-round. All in all, Costa Rica is the fishing destination of a lifetime for freshwater, inshore, offshore and spearfishing. Come explore what the land of Pura Vida has to Offer. Mikey Erickson is co-editor of Coastal Angler/Costa Rica and Tres Niñas Tours Manager. Contact him at mikey@coastalanglermagazine.com, info@tresninastours.com, U.S. Cell: +1(561)310-2665, CR Cell: +506-8305-0041. Visit www.coastalanglermag.com/costa-rica/ and www.tresninastours.com.

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TIPS FROM A PRO

BIG BASS IN MEXICO

BRANDON LESTER

T

his summer I took my second trip to Mexico’s famed El Salto. It didn’t disappoint, dishing out some of the meanest 7- and 8-pound bass I’ve ever seen. Of course, we caught numbers as well, but this time I slowed down and enjoyed everything Angler’s Inn at El Salto has to offer. On this trip, the lake was down 45 feet. El Salto is an irrigation lake, so water gets used a lot in summer. Low water levels concentrated the fish. We caught a bunch on lipless baits, a few on jigs and a good number on crankbaits. By and large, though, the best pattern was a Texas-rigged Photo by Jon Tatum worm. It’s awesome how the lake is different during different seasons. It makes each trip unique. On the first day, guides feel you out to make your trip as fun as possible. Everyone has a different goal. Some guys want numbers; some want their best shot at a 10-pounder. On Day One, we landed 70 to 80 fish, easily, but I didn’t catch any over 5 pounds. On Day Two, my very experienced guide took me after the big ones. We fished for bass suspended in standing timber. It was a little harder to catch them, but the fish were much bigger. Down

there, you can pretty much catch fish any way you want, but you can’t catch big fish doing whatever you want. The guides at El Salto have the big-fish patterns nailed down through the seasons. Last year, I went in January and we caught big fish deep cranking, so the pattern had changed completely. One thing that didn’t change was how mean the fish are. That brings me to my other takeaway: Big fish require the best gear you can throw. I fished extensively with the new 11-inch X Zone Blitz Worm, in both plum and red bug. They bit the fire out of both colors. The bait has very little salt content, so it floats off the bottom, which gives it much better action. The baits are also very soft and easy to rig. Mustad just came out with a complete line of tungsten, and I put it to the test. We used a 3/8-ounce tungsten bullet weight, and loved it. The Mustad line has Titan X finish on it, which is awesome. Most objects in nature aren’t shiny, so this mattestyle Titan X finish is more natural. The sizes are etched onto each weight. It’s a nice touch that makes selection easier. A 5/0 Grip Pin Big Bite hook is the perfect big-bass hook. There were a few sessions where I caught at least 50 fish on one hook. That’s one of the best things about a Mustad hook. Drag it across rocks and set the hook over and over. The points on their hooks will not roll. Feel free to ask me on social media about the trip and any of the gear mentioned here.

For more Lester visit,

FISHINGMAGAZINE.FISHING

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ake Picachos, Mexico might not warrant the title of the world’s best trophy lake, but it might just be the world’s most fun bass fishery. Picachos is the newest of northwest Mexico’s storied bass fisheries. The dam for this 14,000-acre reservoir on the Presidio River was completed in 2009. It was opened to anglers in 2013. A decade since its formation, the lake is pumping out almost unbelievable numbers of 3- to 5-pound fish. According to Angler’s Inn International, it’s not unusual for a pair of skilled anglers to catch 200 to 300 fish a day. According to Ron Speed Jr.’s daily reports, Picachos regularly produces 150-fish days with big fish each day topping out at 6 to 8 pounds. That’s incredible action for solid fish. The lake record is 12-pounds, 14-ounces, and the bar is expected to rise as the fishery matures. An ample forage base of tilapia, plenty of heavy cover, clean water and catch-and-release regulations point to a bright future. Mornings and evenings generally see an outstanding topwater bite, which is a ton of fun for conventional anglers with walking baits and poppers as well as for fly-rodders throwing bass bugs. Spinnerbaits, lizards, stickbaits, Flukes and shallow-running crankbaits also provide action that leads to bleeding bass thumb. Lake Picachos is about 30 miles inland from the Pacific Coast resort town Mazatlán. Fishing is great year-round, with a peak from February into June. For information, go to www.anglersinn.com or www.ronspeedadventures.com.

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EXPERIENCE THE

M

ore litigation looms in the latest chapter of the three-decade saga to protect the world’s largest salmon run. Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to thriving sport and commercial fishing industries, is under the gun again as the U.S. photo by Nick Carter Environmental Agency recently removed protections that again Julie Carter with a Kvichak River sockeye. open the door for the proposed Pebble mine. Pebble mine is an exploration project investigating enormous deposits of gold, copper and other minerals near the headwaters of the Kvichak River and lakes Clark and Iliamna. These remote and pristine waterways offer some of best rainbow trout fishing in the world and feed Bristol Bay with the clean water that supports massive sockeye and Chinook salmon runs. Trout Unlimited recently joined other groups in filing suit against the EPA, alleging that the EPA ignored science and the potential impacts of developing the mine when it withdrew the Bristol Bay Proposed Determination, which are protections for the region that have been in place since 2014. “Billions of dollars have been spent in attempt to restore salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, Bristol Bay sets records for its salmon returns year after year. All we need to do is have the humility and common-sense to leave this landscape alone,” said Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Sacrificing a place such as Bristol Bay for some gold is a short-sighted fools-errand. We are not a litigious organization, but we and millions of other sportsmen and women will not allow greed to compromise the most important salmon fishery on the planet.”

FIGHT!

For more information on the Save Bristol Bay campaign, go to SaveBristolBay.org.

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FLY FISHING

The permit is the Holy Grail for many serious saltwater fly anglers. Many, including me, have traveled and spent endless days pursuing these great gamefish with little to show for our efforts. Of course, the challenge is what’s special about permit fishing, not the number of fish brought to hand. However, there is one place where an angler can have great success catching permit on the fly; that place is the Yucatan Peninsula’s Punta Allen. Here, just a few kilometers south of Tulum in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, is the world’s most fertile and diverse permit saltwater fly fishery. The Unicorn of the Flats Ghostlike, spooky and finicky are three words to describe permit. It is one of the most difficult saltwater fish to catch on the fly and has been the Achilles heel for many saltwater fly angers. But if there is one destination where one can successfully sight cast to large schools of permit consistently, it’s the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Because of the vast numbers of permit ranging from 2 to 20 pounds, a fly angler will have multiple shots per day. In addition, Yucatan permit are aggressive eaters, making them a great target for the less-experienced or first-time saltwater fly anglers. Flies and Tackle The primary food items for permit are crabs and shrimp. A good selection of these patterns will give the angler the best chance at success. For crab patterns, I like Merkins and Ragheads in sizes 4 and 6. I find the color of the fly should match the color of the habitat you’re fishing. For example, if you’re fishing over light colored sand, then a fly pattern should be tan or even white. If you’re fishing in turtle grass or a darker bottom, then a green or even a dark brown works best. Tackle A 9-foot, 9-weight rod matched with a large arbor reel that holds 250 yards of 30-pound Hi Viz Dacron or micron backing is the perfect combo for Yucatan permit. Since a majority of the fishing is in shallow water, I suggest only using a weight-forward tropical floating line. Keep your leaders long: 10 to 12 feet with 16- to 20-pound tippets. Casting to Permit It’s important to be able to quickly and accurately cast 30 to 60 feet when targeting permit on the flats. Your ability to make longer casts will increase your chances of catching more fish. Of course, you can hook a permit close to the boat, but it’s always to your advantage be able to make the long cast when the opportunity presents itself. The back-hand cast is another to be able to execute. Permit schools will often present themselves on the opposite side of the boat, so being able to make a quick back cast is very important.

For more Bowman, go to

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