Coastal Angler Magazine | January 2020 | Daytona/New Smyrna/Deland Edition

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DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND EDITION

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Winter's

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Photo courtesy of Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service, bigolfish.com

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hether saltwater or fresh, good striper fishing awaits those hearty enough to brave winter on the water. So layer-up, zip into that parka and go. Some of the biggest fish of the year are feeding right now. On the southern end of their fall migration, striped bass are holed up for the winter off North Carolina. They’ll be chowing down and following schools of bait up and down the coast from Wilmington to the Outer Banks. Many years, Oregon Inlet sets up as the epicenter for the bite, but striped bass can be found in most area inlets. The key is to follow the birds and find bass blowing up on menhaden, glass minnows or eels. The action can sometimes come in close enough that surf casters can catch stripers from the beaches of the Outer Banks, but the best bet is to hire a local captain with recent intel and a fast boat. A little farther south, Wilmington offers another option, as stripers pile into the Cape Fear River, where they hold around structure, drop-offs and creekmouths and can be caught on artificials or even flies. These resident fish are a separate group from the highly migratory fish that winter off the Outer Banks. Cape Fear stripers are catch-and-release only, and must be returned to the water immediately. Keep an eye out for tagged stripers swimming these waters. Finally, on freshwater reservoirs across the Southern states and up through the Mid-Atlantic, fisheries stocked with striped bass produce pretty well for anglers this time of year. While smaller schoolie-sized stripers tend to get tough during the coldest temperatures of the year, the larger fish will still feed. The action won’t be as fast as dropping downlines to massive summertime schools, but the fish that do eat tend to be larger. Tactics will vary depending on the fishery, but when water temperatures stabilize or during a warming trend of a few days, the biggest fish in the lake tend to move up shallow—sometimes very shallow— behind schools of small shad. Find the flickering shad, and you’ll find the stripers. Sometimes you’ll see them plucking bait near the surface. Stealth is imperative in catching them, and a soft plastic such as a Fluke will usually out-produce live baits in such situations. It’s easier to cast and slowly retrieve an artificial. Another popular tactic is to cover a lot of water trolling wide spreads of small live baits or pulling an umbrella rig loaded with swimbaits, or both. When prospecting like this, it’s wise to seek out good information on where the stripers are holding. On many lakes they spend winters down by the dam. On others, you might find them way up in the creeks.

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12/10/19 9:01 AM


It’s boat show time! And the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which produces 18 boat and sportshows across the country, is investing in more experiences and education than ever to meet the desires of attendees and inspire the next generation of the boating workforce. Attendee favorites will return, too, from fishing ponds to Super Thursdays. Here are some 2020 show season highlights. • With a need for skilled workers in the marine industry (more than 31K open jobs), NMMA boat shows are expanding Boating Career Days, offering the chance for students and job seekers to learn more about opportunities in the boating industry, get career advice from marine professionals and check out job openings. Last year the program attracted more than 550 students across eight shows. In 2020, the program is expanding to 14 markets: New York, Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City, Nashville, Louisville, Atlanta, New England, Atlantic City, Minneapolis, Northwest, Miami, Norwalk and Tampa. • New for 2020, NMMA is introducing The Discover Boating Experience (DBX), the “Hub for Boaters,” an educational marketplace that provides space to mingle, enjoy expert seminars, explore new products, learn boat care, discover new technologies, learn to navigate a boat show and more. DBX offers a place to relax and have a drink while enjoying a variety of topics, inspirational stories and live music. • The Progressive Boat House features an Occulus Rift Virtual Reality boat race game, the Annapolis School of Seamanship’s expert seminars and a docking pool with a remote-control boat and helm station to master docking skills. • Returning favorites include free fishing for kids and special deals, like $5 tickets after 5 p.m. and Super Thursday, offering deeper discounts, exclusive pricing and incentives. • Ongoing education for boaters and anglers of all skill levels is a hallmark of NMMA boat shows with free daily seminars.

The Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show, Presented by West Marine cruises into the docks at Miami Marine Stadium Feb. 13-17. Great deals and hands-on experience with hundreds of boats and the associated gear are the big annual draw. Highlights of the 2020 boat show include:

• Costa Conservation Village will showcase the work of some of Florida’s leading environmental organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy, Captains for Clean Water, and Costa’s Kick Plastic program.

• Presentations on sustainable seafood from esteemed Chef Allen Susser and an opportunity to get a signed copy of his new cookbook, “Green Fig and Lionfish: Sustainable Caribbean Cooking.”

• Junior Captains Program, where kids ages 13-17 can learn to operate a boat with Annapolis School of Seamanship.

• Boat US on-water training with Intro To Boating, Women on the Water and Precision Docking.

• The Progressive Boathouse, offering boating seminars, a remote-control docking pond and an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality boat race game.

• Wining and dining at three full-service, sit down restaurants at

the Show including: Latin Café, V&E Restaurant Group Showcasing menu items from Havana 1957 & La Cerveceria De Barrio and SuViche featuring select menu items from Novecento.

• For more information, visit www.MiamiBoatShow.com.

For more information and the schedule of 2020 NMMA boat shows, visit to www.boatshows.com. 4

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The easiest way to find bait when you’re ready to go fishing is by using the new Baitfinder App, available for free download on both Apple and Android devices. Bait shops are the best possible resource for local information on what’s biting, and on what bait, to ensure you have the right equipment and knowledge before you head out to target a specific species of fish. Everything about Baitfinder is designed for anglers, by anglers, allowing all bait shops in your area to advertise their bait availability in real-time. There’s no more last-minute anxiety about locating bait or driving all over to locate the bait you’re looking for. Anglers can reserve their bait of choice prior to getting to their favorite bait shop to pick it up, and it’s all easily done on the app! Let your friends know of this free app, and encourage all your local bait shops to enroll at: WWW.BAITFINDER.COM

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By Nick Carter

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otivating yourself can be tough when daytime temperatures fall into the low 20s and ice forms on the edges of Southern tailwater trout fisheries. Even on these dam-fed systems, where water temperatures remain relatively consistent, trout become difficult when tiny midges are the primary food source. But there’s a phenomenon that occurs on some tailwaters that makes fishing the cold snaps worth sucking ice out of your guides. It’s called a shad kill. When it happens every fish in the river takes part in the feast. Shad kills are caused by extended cold weather. When air temperatures drop into the teens or lower for several days in a row, baitfish in reservoirs that feed our tailwaters suffer from plummeting water

temps. Either stunned and dying or just diving deep to find more comfortable conditions, shad and blueback herring get sucked into dam turbines. What’s washed out into the tailwater is a mix of chopped up, whole dead, and quivering stunned baitfish. “All of a sudden, they get flushed out into the tailrace. It’s like chumming the river in that upper mile or so below the dam,” said Bill Stranahan, who guides with Southeastern Anglers on Tennessee’s Hiwassee River. “Good browns and rainbows will key in on it. The ones you catch are so stuffed they look like they’re about to pop.” Fed by high-mountain winters on Appalachia Lake, the Hiwassee shad kill is a good one. In the Arkansas Ozarks, the White River sees shad kills almost every year. The Cumberland River in Kentucky and Georgia’s Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier are two other tailwaters where trout put on the feedbag for these events. But shad kills are not like a hatch you can follow by calendar. It takes rapidly cooling water temps to disorient the numbers of baitfish necessary to be noticeable in the tailrace. During the winter’s hardest freeze, intrepid anglers should hit the water near the dam and watch for activity. “You’ll see them floating down the river stunned or dead,” said Stranahan. “Sometimes you’ll see fish coming up to the surface to swipe at them.” White and flashy are the keys to catching fish during a shad kill. White Zonkers or other bunny flies, white Woolly Buggers, anything that looks like a dead or dying baitfish will work. Stranahan said to match the size of the baitfish you see in the water and to experiment with depth and presentation. Sometimes a jerky retrieve is preferred, while other times a dead drift is the ticket. At times trout will feed on the surface, and some days call for a sinking line to get the fly down. Shad kills can be ephemeral or they can last a couple weeks when conditions are perfect. It’s the kind of thing you have to be on the water to encounter, and when it happens it brings out the biggest fish in the river.

Contact Southeastern Anglers through their website at www.southeasternanglers.com.

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after wrestling it from between the pilings, it turned toward open water. As I felt the battle shift in my favor, the line parted, likely from earlier contact with the pilings. “That can happen when you’re fishing up tight like this,” said our skipper, “but some days you have to dig in to get the big ones. Other times we’ll find them in more open water around oyster bars or in the surf.” Captiva Island, on Florida’s southwest coast, is prime territory for snook, redfish, sea trout, tarpon and a variety of other inshore species. “Our waters produce so well because we have a ton of bait, structure and opportunity here,” said Fischer, proprietor of Tarpon Fischer Charters (http:// www.tarponfischercharters.com). “Pine Island Sound, on the backside of the island, for example, has several passes that allow water and bait to flow in and out. The Peace, Myakka and Caloosahatchee rivers also empty into here. I run a lot of my charters out of South Seas Island Resorts (https://www.southseas. com) at the north end of Captiva, and from there you can be fishing in the sound or the open Gulf in a matter of minutes.” Snook and redfish top 40 inches, tarpon range from chickens to 200 pounds and sea trout are abundant. Those species are resident, noted Fischer, but come December and January, offshore action also kicks in with snapper, sheepshead, grouper, kingfish and cobia, among others. For anglers, these waters call for medium-light spinning tackle. Rig a size 3/0 J-hook or a light jighead on a 2 1/2-foot leader of 30-pound mono to freeline live baits around structure, mangroves or the surf edge. Add a 1/2-ounce splitshot two feet above the hook to get down in deeper water or stronger currents, or add a float two feet above this rig to fish the flats. If you prefer to throw lures, toss a 4-inch paddletail, Rapala Skitter Walk or Zara Spook. Fischer favors a 7 1/2-foot, 8- to 17-pound class Bull Bay rod and Shimano 4000 spinning reels for his inshore fishing. Keep in mind this area occasionally suffers from red tide blooms. “It can be here one week and gone the next.” Fischer said. “If it occurs during your visit, simply head for the cleanest water you can find.”

By Tom Schlichter

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apt. Nick Fischer nodded at a boat dock ahead. “There should be a Launching is available at South Seas Resorts (if you are staying there) or good one under there,” he said. “We had a couple there this morning from the Sanibel Island Public Boat Ramp ($5/hr. parking fee: 239-472-6397; but saw a real solid fish just before we left.” 888 Sextant Dr., Sanibel.) Nearby, the ‘Tween Waters Inn is another good spot It didn’t take long to confirm a nice snook was home. I hooked it and, to spend the night. More info at www.fortMyers-Sanibel.com.

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t’s prime time for wahoo in the sparsely populated southeastern Bahamas, where a fleet of boats shows up each winter specifically to target some of the biggest wahoo in the world. Just off San Salvador and Cat Island, precipitous ledge drops within a 15- or 20-minute boat ride from shore are a magnet for wintering wahoo. The prime wahoo season runs from November to about April, when fish are densely congregated. Triple-digit weights are not uncommon, and the average wahoo will tip the scales between 50 and 60 pounds this time of year. High-speed trolling is the name of the game. Pulling lures at 14 knots and zig-zagging along the ledge over depths from 400 to 600 feet is the kind of fishing that produces world records. Five current IGFA line-class record wahoo came from the waters off San Salvador and Cat Island. Two of those weighed more than 150 pounds. When that reel goes off, screaming from the pull of a big fish moving at 60 mph, it’s important to crank down on the drag and power it to the boat as quickly as possible. Oceanic whitetips are thick in the area, and they’re known to show up and rip a trophy fish to shreds.

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Winter can be brutal, but to the saltwater fly fisherman it can be the greatest time of year to catch some quality fish on the fly. The beaches, flats and bays are practically deserted, the “sunshine” fishermen having retreated to their firesides at the appearance of the first raindrop or snowflake. It’s time for the serious fly flingers to put on thermals, grab a fly rod, and head for the water. Two of my favorite wintertime saltwater fish are the speckled trout (or spotted seatrout) and the redfish, two game fish that thrive in cooler water and make for some great fly rod action even “when the frost is on the pumpkin.” The speckled trout is a coastal fish found on the shallow mud flats and sand flats from North Carolina to Texas. A fish generally traveling in large schools, the “speck” is capable of providing fast action on the fly whether you’re wading or fishing from a skiff, kayak or boat.

A proven way to locate the “speck” is to look for depressions, channels, holes or cuts on or along these areas. Once located, cast into them with a floating or intermediate line, a 9-foot leader and a baitfish pattern. A weedless fly like a Bent Back works well. The key to catching speckled trout in cold water is to retrieve the fly sl-o-o-o-wly using short, jerky strips. The strike is often as light as an aunt’s peck on the cheek, so keep close eye contact with your fly. Another worthy wintertime adversary is the redfish, a fish found in the same areas as the speckled trout. Redfish (red drum), can tip the scales from 5-pounds to a heavyweight of 40 pounds. These members of the croaker family take up residence near breakwaters, pier pilings, channels, estuaries and marshes. They are a great match for the fly rod. Redfish can be finicky eaters and sometimes the fly needs to be placed close to their noses, especially in colder water. An accurate cast is essential in fishing for these rascals. Come prepared with a 9- or 10-weight rod, a floating line (weight forward), a 9-foot leader and a pocket full of crab patterns, as reds favor crustaceans. Don’t hang up your fly gear at the first signs of the winter solstice. Winterize yourself and go fly fishing; it beats sitting in a chair and dreaming of warmer weather.

For more Bowman, go to

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By CAM Staff

E

veryone seems to gets excited about those spring runs, when cobia push north in their migration and can be targeted by sight while cruising the beaches. With the run-and-gun nature of these tactics, it’s arguably the most exciting way to catch them. But it’s not the most efficient. Die-hard cobia fans know that wintertime, before the big move, provides some of the best fishing of the year. Consolidated is a good way to describe cobia populations during the winter. On the Atlantic coast as well as in the Gulf of Mexico, fish have moved southward and offshore in search of comfortable water conditions.

At no other time are cobia populations so dense around the Florida Keys, but they can also be found grouped up on deeper wrecks and reefs along both Florida coasts. In the warmer waters of the Keys, deep jigging the ocean-side reefs with butterfly jigs or 1-ounce bucktails will haul up a mixed bag, which will likely include cobia, and chumming them up to the surface is also tried-and-true tactic. Out on the reef line, anchor up and drop a chum bag of chopped-up frozen baitfish and wait for the action to come to you. Cobia will show up with sharks, as well as various mackerel and snapper species. Whether it’s pinfish or shrimp, present your bait weightless, and you might want to add a wire leader for the toothy critters in the melee. Farther north on both coasts, resident cobia are schooled up and easier to locate than they are at any other time of year. Find a good winter day, with warm sunshine and calm seas, and make the run to offshore wrecks or reefs. The key to this is water temperature, so look for temperature bands with surface temps around 70 degrees, and find some good structure with bait present on the sonar. Again, chumming can bring cobia right up to the surface, which leads to fast action on live baits, but jigging is a tactic that is both fun and effective for targeting fish you actually spot on the screen more than 100 feet down. It’s quicker, cleaner and more efficient than live bait. The key to this technique is finding the magic depth where the cobia are schooled up. Drop a 2- to 6-ounce jig, depending on the current and depth, vertically to the depth you’re marking fish. Experiment with the action until they eat. Some pump a jig up with fast, short jerks, others prefer to swing it up high and let it flutter back down. Both techniques will work, and the jig should be sweetened with either a 7-inch soft-plastic trailer or a natural bait like cuttlefish. Some of the biggest cobia of the year come off wrecks and reefs in winter. So head down to the Keys or make the run offshore and catch them before they scatter with the spring run.

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By CAM Staff

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ahamian waters did not disappoint for the more than 70 anglers competing Nov. 7-10 in Bimini’s Wahoo Smackdown IX. Hosted by the historic Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina, more than 1,500 pounds of fish were landed during the event. A fleet of 14 boats fished, with 11 teams making it to the leaderboard. Over the two days, 108 fish were caught, the largest weighing

52.7 pounds. Team Blitzsea, out of Pompano Beach, Fla., took top team honors with their six largest of 16 fish weighing a total of 251.4 pounds. It earned them $8,200 in cash winnings. Second place Team Remain Calm, also out of Pompano Beach, Fla., earned $4,500 in cash winnings with 13 fish for a total catch weight of 238.3 pounds for their six largest. Another Pompano Beach team, Team Mi Novia, finished third, taking home $2,500 in cash winnings for a total catch of 13 fish and a total catch weight of 190.7 pounds for their six largest. Team 4 Play caught the largest fish of the tournament, at 52.7 pounds. Outstanding catch went to Indecisive for a 23.5-pound king mackerel. Top Lady Angler went to Lisa aboard Blitzsea. Top Junior Angler went to Luke Pinder aboard Bad Habit. Tournament coordinator Beth Watson said the weekend “went flawlessly,” despite some rough seas and rain with squalls up to 40 knots on Day 2. “The teams that did attend were amongst the most competitive we have seen in all of our years of hosting fishing tournaments,” she said. Tournament festivities included live local entertainment nightly, a cocktail reception for the Captains’ Meeting, a barbeque at Sharkies Bar & Grill on day one of the tournament, and a closing awards party in the Hemmingway lounge, featuring a buffet, live entertainment and a full open bar. Sponsors included David Dunleavy Performance Fishing Apparel, Juno Bait, Carey Chen Marine Artist, Morita Custom Gaffs, CS Custom Lures, Starbright, Paul Cuffaro Brand, Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill, Mermaid Vodka, Tropic Ocean Airways and Piper’s Angels. With more than 50 record-setting catches in the waters around the island, Bimini has often been referred to as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World. Plans are already underway to make Wahoo Smackdown 2020 the biggest best one yet!

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he following fees will be applied to boats staying in The Bahamas for up to 3 months: • Boats up to 34 feet: $150 (no change) • Boats 35-99 feet: $300 (no change) • Boats 100-149 feet: $500 • Boats 150-200 feet: $800 • Boats over 200 feet: $1,000 The fees cover both a cruising permit and fishing permit, as well as the departure tax for up to three people. Each additional person will be charged a $20 departure tax. The fee is good for a second re-entry within a 90-day period. For stays longer than 3 months: • Boats up to 34 feet: $300 annually • Boats 35-99 feet: $600 annually • Boats 100-149 feet: $1,000 annually • Boats over 150 feet: $2,000 annually For a stay longer than 12 months, special arrangements must be made with Bahamas Customs and Immigration. Concurrent to the fee structure announcement, the government plans to launch an on-line entry portal (Click2Clear) this spring to streamline the process for boating entry permits and fishing licences. Attendance Fees, Fishing Permit, Transportation and Overtime fees are all included in the price of the cruising permit. The only additional fees would be for additional departure tax if there are more than three people at a cost of $20 per additional person. It is illegal to tip government employees. Boaters are asked to report if they are ever asked for these types of payments to the local marina manger or dockmaster.

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DAYTONA • NEW SMYRNA • DELAND

J

FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK

anuary is the start of the year and a great time to reflect on 2019 and then look forward to 2020. We here at Coastal Angler had a great year filled with family, fishing, and fun. We made even more new friends in the fishing industry, we had the opportunity to work with major boat builders like Everglades, SOLACE BOATS, and Grady White. But as usual, the best part of our year was you the readers. We met a ton of our loyal readers this year and it was truly awesome. You guys and gals are the real reason we keep this magazine going. So, with the end of 2019 we wanted to say a big THANK YOU!!!! For 2020 it will not just be more of the same from us. Our video

Contact Information: Chris Chibbaro | Coastal Angler Magazine | Daytona, New Smyrna and Deland | 386-478-9234 | cchibbaro@coastalanglermagazine.com

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content on Facebook and Instagram TV will continue to grow and we have some AWESOME shoots coming up over the next few months so stay tuned. We are also looking to turn more attention to our Western Volusia territory. We all know there are some fantastic fishing opportunities in Western Volusia, and we are going to go find them! If any of our readers know someone, or are interested in writing fishing reports for that area, please email cchibbaro@ coastalanglermagazine.com to get involved! Tight lines, The Chibbaro Family

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12/15/19 9:23 AM


NSB SURF FISHING REPORT & FORECAST THE OPINIONATED SPORTS GUY

January in New Smyrna Beach

W

ell folks, it’s the middle of December and it still feels like summer here at the beach. So it’s only 80 and not 90, but I think you get my drift. Over the last few years here in Central Florida, it seems like we have missed out on spring and fall and instead have just had two seasons - summer and winter. Of course, try complaining to someone like my father out in Colorado. They just had their second major snowstorm of the season and my whining just falls on

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deaf ears. Being that the weather hasn’t changed much with the season, the same goes for the fishing here. The ocean water temperature is still above normal, so the normal migrations haven’t really started to happen. There are still plenty of bluefish (albeit small ones) and whiting out there. Large redfish and nice size black drum are still around in the surf and there are some nice sized jacks that have been caught. Cut mullet is still the bait of choice; fresh dead shrimp ... one thing that’s tried and are also working. There have been a couple of stories of true - people are still catching small pompano being caught, fish here at the beach. but I have yet to see any real results. The fact that they are out there does mean it won’t be long before more will be on the way. I’m guessing it will just be a matter of weeks before they will be here; after all, it can’t stay this hot forever, right? There’s been a real lack of sand fleas this year (a pompano’s favorite treat), so I’m going to recommend trying clams when they finally do arrive. Remember to let the clam dry out in the sun or get it leather-like so it will stay on the hook better. Another favorite is blue crab knuckles. I think just about every fish out there loves those. There is some good news over in the Intracoastal! Some nice size mangrove snapper have been caught along with trout and snook. My buddy (Dennis Redfish) was fishing off his dock using a mud mullet and hooked onto a 10 pound Flounder, a.k.a. Doormat. After a long fight he had to hop the fence to drag it up on a smooth rock to make it easier to land. Of course, the timing couldn’t have been worse, as his neighbor came outside and claimed half the fish. I think my buddy gave him some of the lesser quality meat just to be nice. The fact that snook, trout and flounder are being caught on a regular basis in and around the area is a great sign for our local ecosystem. It’s been a strange year for sure, folks, but one thing that’s tried and true people are still catching fish here at the beach. Grab your gear and get out for some quality time with Mother Nature. It’s guaranteed to help calm the nerves and, who knows? Maybe you will land the big one we all dream of!!

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

12/15/19 9:23 AM


FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. BARRY ENGLEHARDT

Tomoka Report

J

anuary brings new challenges to fishing in East Central Florida. The biggest challenge being the weather fronts; one day there may be a high, and the next day low. Fish react to these front changes by being less active with a low. I have been on a great bite many times and noticed one day was great and the next day nothing due to a front change. Temperature changes are coming for January, followed by cold water. All said about the weather, January attracts some fish to the shallow water. Black Drum become more abundant along with Trout and Sheepshead. Fishing structure such as rocks, docks, bridges and sea grass are a good places to start. For those of you who are not early risers, I have some good news. When water temperatures drop the Red fish school and go to the shallow water to get warm in the afternoon sun. It is really exciting to see 100 to 200 fish together. Throw your bait or lures to the edge of the schools so you don’t spook them. Whatever your choice of bait work it slowly in the cold water. Good fishing

Captain Barry Englehardt | fishwithcaptainbarry.com

Family owned for over 30 years

DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND

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12/15/19 9:23 AM


FISHING REPORT & FORECAST INSHORE ADVENTURES WITH SKYE

Happy New Year everyone and I hope this year is prosperous for all!

T

he last few months and into this month of January, we have had very little cold fronts coming through. The water clarity is getting a bit better due to some of the cooler weather. As you know winter in the flats and back country is not defined by any specific date but rather by the temperature difference from the passing cold fronts that are 60’s in the morning hours and hitting the 70’s by the afternoon hours, with that making the water temps jump a few degrees warmer. All of these factors affect species targeted and the methods used. Fishing in the Lagoon has been pretty successful you will find yourself reeling in and getting those “grandslams” multiple times, you know the ones you work hard for in the heat of Summer. snook, trout, and redfish. I’m Still seeing Tarpon in the far south of the Lagoon as well. Where Are The Fish Hanging…and what baits to use, you ask? Depending if I’m headed to the back country or on my paddle to the back country I stop to fish near-by docks and bridges, I have been finding Snook, schooled redfish and trout by the dozens! With free lining a shrimp and depending if the tides moving and how fast it is ripping, I’ll toss on a split shot. With the cooler water temps Snook have found themselves schooled up in their winter hangouts. You can land these beauties by the dozens right now. Due to them being schooled up, the size of the snook you land varies. Simply free lining a live shrimp or working a soft plastic, a DOA 3’’ Shad Tail or ‘3” Paddle Tail is my preferred bait choice, Snook, Redfish, Trout they all hit and can’t resist these soft plastics. Where you can find cooler water in the Lagoon, you can find Trout! You will find them up in the shallower water where the temperatures are warmer, basking in sand holes and grass patches. Using a soft plastic on a weedless hook retrieving it back slowly with a pop and sink pop action, small top waters, popping corks and live shrimp are all great baits to use when targeting Trout. Due to the wind, wind and well more wind, it stirs up the muck and makes the water dirty and the water clarity poor. Mosquito Lagoon Water Levels and Clarity With cool fronts coming in and temps not being as warm the water clarity is looking much better in the lagoon. Depending on where you are targeting fish and Due to wind, you will find it hard to sight-cast in certain areas. With a lot of time and days scouting the lagoon these last couple months searching for grass, between the wind, fall weather, cooler temperatures and random 4 DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND

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cold fronts, just scouting around staying on top of the Red fish and looking for grassy flats. I have found myself discouraged in mucky, dirty water with no grass and red fish scattered here and there to paddling hours, crossing marshes and landing into clear water, huge grassy flats and schools of tailing redfish. With the help of North winds pushing water out of the Lagoon making way for cooler and gin clear water clarity! It’s a new Year and many great things to come so get out there and make this year an epic one!!

Keys To A Successful Fishing Trip *fish shallow ends, sand holes, and grassy flats where the water is warmer. *when using artificial, depending on the water clarity and depth (select the proper color choices and weight if necessary) *do to the weather temp changes and targeted species (what they are feeding on may change that day) you can’t go wrong having live and artificial baits on board! *Try not to get discouraged or give up, they are out there, just keep scouting until you find that school or reel in just that one, happy fishing!

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

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12/15/19 9:23 AM


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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. SHANE RYAN

TIDE CHART

January Offshore Fishing

JANUARY 2020

PONCE INLET (HALIFFAAX RIVER) Ja nu Janu nuaaryy,, 2019 TIDES FOR PONCE INLET (HALIFFAAX RIVER)

DAY AY

st

2nd TIDE

1 TIDE

1 Tue 2 Wed

I

f it hasn’t kicked up for December with cold fronts pushing cooler water our way, it’s bound to be January. Regardless, I think the next two months are some of the most productive of the year for real trophy fishing. On the troll we have Sailfish and Tuna passing us later than usual with the mild winter conditions. I don’t think we have really seen any cool air make it our way this year in December. Kingfish are still going strong on the inshore reefs. Using planers and trolling spoons the action has been really consistent. Wahoo have been firing on the high-speed troll using lures at around 15 knots. Look for good edges and blue water in that 100-170 for your most consistent action but push out to the deep if water conditions aren’t clean on the inside. The bottom is really fun to quickly hammer your red eyes, and triggers are relatively reliable as well. With grouper out of season now I stick to chicken rigs unless a few AJ’s are riding back to the dock as well. If the weather permits fishing, I would drop what you got going on and make it happen. Good luck and tight lines! Capt Shane Ryan | Back to Blue Outdoors

4 Fri 5 Sat 6 Sun 7 Mo n 8 Tue 9 Wed 10 Thu 11 Fri 12 Sat 13 Sun 14 Mon 15 Tue 16 Wed 17 Thu 18 Fri 19 Sat 20 Sun 21 Mon 22 Tue 23 Wed 24 Thu 25 Fri 26 Sat 27 Sun 28 Mon 29 Tue 30 Wed 31 Thu

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3 Thu

                                                             

3rd TIDE

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

4th TIDE

7:17 am 5:37 5:37 pm  7:17

5:06 5: 06 am

2.8 ft 

11:19 11: 19 am0.2 ft

5:14 5: 14 pm

2.6 ft 

7:18 am 5:38 5:38 pm  7:18

6: 01 am 6:01

2.8 ft 

12: 12:11 11 pm0.2 ft

6: 6:06 06 pm

2.6 ft 

7:18 am 5:39 5:39 pm  7:18

12:29 12: 29 am-0.3 ft

6:50 6: 50 am

2.8 ft 

12:59 12: 59 pm0.2 ft

7:18 am 5:40 5:40 pm  7:18

1: 15 am -0.3 ft  1:15

7: 34 am 7:34

2.9 ft 

7:18 am 5:40 5:40 pm  7:18

1: 57 am -0.3 ft 1:57

8: 15 am 8:15

7:18 am 5:41 5:41 pm  7:18

2:38 2: 38 am -0.3 ft

7:18 am 5:42 5:42 pm  7:18

3: 17 am -0.2 ft 3:17

7:18 am 5:43 5:43 pm  7:18

11:41 11:41 pm-0.2 ft

COEFFICIENT 

6:53 6:53 pm

2.6 ft 

1: 1:43 43 pm

0.1 ft 

7:37 pm 7:37

2.6 ft 

2.8 ft 

2: 2:25 25 pm

0.1 ft 

8:18 pm 8:18

2.6 ft 

8:54 8: 54 am

2.8 ft 

3:05 3: 05 pm

0.1 ft 

8:57 8:57 pm

2.6 ft 

9: 31 am 9:31

2.8 ft 

3: 3:44 44 pm

0.1 ft 

9:36 pm 9:36

2.5 ft 

3: 55 am -0.2 ft 3:55

10: 10:08 08 am2.7 ft

4: 4:22 22 pm

0.1 ft 

10:15 pm2.5 ft 10:15

7:19 am 5:43 5:43 pm  7:19

4: 32 am -0.1 ft 4:32

10: 10:44 44 am2.6 ft

5: 5:00 00 pm

0.2 ft 

10:54 pm2.4 ft 10:54

7:19 am 5:44 5:44 pm  7:19

5: 09 am 5:09

0.0 ft 

11: 11:21 21 am2.6 ft

5: 5:38 38 pm

0.2 ft 

11:36 pm2.3 ft 11:36

7:19 am 5:45 5:45 pm  7:19

5:48 5: 48 am

0.1 ft 

12:00 12: 00 pm2.5 ft

6:19 6: 19 pm

0.2 ft 

7:18 am 5:46 5:46 pm  7:18

12:21 12: 21 am2.3 ft

7:18 am 5:47 5:47 pm  7:18

6:31 6: 31 am

0.2 ft 

12:40 12: 40 pm2.4 ft

1: 09 am 1:09

2.2 ft 

7: 21 am 7:21

0.3 ft 

7:18 am 5:47 5:47 pm  7:18

2:04 2: 04 am

2.2 ft 

8:18 8: 18 am

7:18 am 5:48 5:48 pm  7:18

3:04 3: 04 am

2.3 ft 

9:19 9: 19 am

7:18 am 5:49 5:49 pm  7:18

4:07 4: 07 am

2.4 ft 

10:21 10: 21 am0.3 ft

7:18 am 5:50 5:50 pm  7:18

5:09 5: 09 am

2.5 ft 

7:18 am 5:51 5:51 pm  7:18

6: 07 am 6:07

2.7 ft 

7:17 am 5:52 5:52 pm  7:17

12:36 12: 36 am-0.6 ft

7:02 7: 02 am

2.9 ft 

1:08 1: 08 pm -0.1 ft

7:08 7:08 pm

2.8 ft 

7:17 am 5:52 5:52 pm  7:17

1: 29 am -0.7 ft 1:29

7: 54 am 7:54

3.1 ft 

2: 2:00 00 pm -0.3 ft

8:03 pm 8:03

2.9 ft 

7:17 am 5:53 5:53 pm  7:17

2:21 2: 21 am -0.8 ft

8:44 8: 44 am

3.2 ft 

2:52 2: 52 pm -0.4 ft

8:56 8:56 pm

3.0 ft 

7:17 am 5:54 5:54 pm  7:17

3: 13 am -0.8 ft 3:13

9: 34 am 9:34

3.3 ft 

3: 3:43 43 pm -0.5 ft

9:49 pm 9:49

3.1 ft 

7:16 am 5:55 5:55 pm  7:16

4:05 4: 05 am -0.8 ft

10:22 10: 22 am3.2 ft

4:36 4: 36 pm -0.5 ft

10:42 10:42 pm3.1 ft

7:16 am 5:56 5:56 pm  7:16

4: 58 am -0.7 ft 4:58

11: 11:11 11 am3.2 ft

5: 5:29 29 pm -0.5 ft

11:36 pm3.0 ft 11:36

7:15 am 5:57 5:57 pm  7:15

5:53 5: 53 am -0.5 ft

12:01 12: 01 pm3.0 ft

6:25 6: 25 pm -0.5 ft

7:15 am 5:58 5:58 pm  7:15

12:32 12: 32 am2.8 ft

6:50 6: 50 am -0.3 ft

12:53 12: 53 pm2.8 ft

7:23 7:23 pm -0.4 ft

7:15 am 5:58 5:58 pm  7:15

1:30 1: 30 am

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7:51 7: 51 am -0.1 ft

1:47 1: 47 pm

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7:14 am 5:59 5:59 pm  7:14

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0.1 ft 

2:45 2: 45 pm

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9:23 9:23 pm -0.3 ft

7:14 am 6:00 6:00 pm  7:14

3:36 3: 36 am

2.5 ft 

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3:46 3: 46 pm

2.3 ft 

10:22 10:22 pm-0.2 ft

7:13 am 6:01 6:01 pm  7:13

4:39 4: 39 am

2.4 ft 

10:54 10: 54 am0.2 ft 

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2.3 ft 

11:17 11:17 pm-0.2 ft

7:13 am 6:02 6:02 pm  7:13

5:38 5: 38 am

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11:49 11: 49 am0.2 ft

5:42 5: 42 pm

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JANUARY 2020

7:04 7:04 pm

0.2 ft 

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7:54 pm 7:54

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10:45 10:45 pm-0.2 ft

11:19 11: 19 am0.2 ft 

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2.4 ft 

11:41 11:41 pm-0.4 ft

12: 12:15 15 pm0.0 ft

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2.6 ft 

  71 high    75 high    77 high    78 high    76 high    73 high    69 avereraage    64 avereraage    58 avereraage    52 avereraage    48 low  46 low  48 low  54 avereraage    64 avereraage    75 high    87 high    ery high 96 very  ery high 102 very  ery high 104 very  ery high 100 very  ery high 93 very  82 high    69 avereraage    58 avereraage    49 low  46 low  49 low  a v er a g e era 55  62

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT JAMIE THRAPPAS

HSFC Tournament Dates Set for 2020.

Ponce Inlet & Backwaters

A

Our 20th Annual Offshore Challenge is 3/21-4/4, 32nd Lady Angler 6/6 and the first time ever Kayak tournament 8/8. Some other notables HSFC happening in January are; HSFC General Meeting and seminar (Millie’s Restaurant w/ Chef Jeremy Wimmer-How to prepare Your Catch) on the 16th, then on January 18th we will have our Fishing workshop Day event at the HSFC headquarters and the KCFT clinic day 9 am - 12. We are changing things up a bit and we are going to do a carnival style clinic with games and prizes. Kids will receive a free rod and reel (again compliments of Fish Florida) For more information go to www.hsfc.com and like us on Facebook.

new decade of fishing begins this month! January is usually full of cooler windy days from the North East, which will have me hidden in the creeks many days. I’ll target a variety of species, but Sheepshead and Black Drum will be the focus. Find deeper channels along mangroves and use fiddler crabs as the go to bait; however, shrimp and sand fleas will also produce. A fish finder rig with a 1 ounce or less egg sinker above a swivel and about 12” of leader finished with a #1 J hook will do the trick. You can also produce these fish along structures like docks and bridges using the same bait and rig. I usually will put a piece of fish bites or a small piece of gulp bait on the hook, many times the fish will get the live bait and take one more chomp on the artificial which helps get a few extra fish! Also, don’t be surprised if you get a few nice flounder this way. Pompano will be in the channels so keep an eye on your fish finder, if you mark a bunch of fish in the middle water column it might be worth stopping and trying your luck with a banana jig or a pompano rig. I also always have at least 1 rod rigged with a Gotcha plug as Spanish Maceral and Blue Fish will be on the hunt, you will sometimes see these guys busting the surface. If you happen to notice a bunch of birds diving in the river or near the inlet you can bet there are going to be some of these toothy fish feeding under them! Warmer and less windy days in the month will allow for some productive fishing at the inlet so watch the weather and plan your trips accordingly. As always, look for us on the water and say hello if you see us passing by! James Thrappas | Splash Brand Representation LLC | 386-366-3424 splashbrandsllc@gmail.com | NATIVE EYEWEAR

FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CHRIS CHIBBARO

Central St. Johns River

A

s most of you know, January typically starts the largemouth bass spawning and these fattened up fish will start to bed any day now. Not only January but up through April and May you will find these fish on their beds. Wild shiners are by far the best bet, since no bass will let a shiner anywhere near the beds. I love lizard and snake baits for artificials as they are some of the most common “egg stealers” and will provoke a bite of any overprotective momma bass. A word of caution when catching these bedding females, HANDLE THEM GENTLY. We all love to hunt for these trophy fish, and we want to make sure they are here for years to come so get them out of the water, get your photos and get these big girls safely back to swim away for another day. Chris Chibbaro – Coastal Angler Daytona 6 DAYTONA/NEW SMYRNA/DELAND

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FISHING REPORT & FORECAST CAPT. MICHAEL SAVEDOW

Edgewater Report

W

elcome to 2020, the new year brings all the different fishing seasons and patterns of the year to come. January can be the coldest temperatures of the season both air and water. The cold means clear water in the Edgewater Backcountry A good Snook for Tory with Capt and Mosquito Lagoon, with visibility Michael Savedow as deep as 6 feet or more. The clear water is one of the biggest factors affecting winter inshore fishing. The clear water calls for fine tuning tackle and tactics to get more bites from targeted species, downsize terminal tackle, lighter fluorocarbon leaders, and smaller size lures. Be sure to tie your hooks or lure straight to your floro if possible. Fish slowly as cold fish will be sluggish, start time for a winter fishing trip does not have to be that early, during a mild period, sunrise or just after is a good time to begin, but on the coldest mornings, waiting until the sun has been up an hour or two can be a good choice. If you wait until mid day into the afternoon, giving the fish a little time with some sun on their backs to warm up. On a nice sunny day, late morning into the afternoon can be good to hunt Reds and Trout on the flats of the backcountry and Lagoon. After the shallows have warmed a few degrees, fish dark bottom, oyster bars, dark grass areas, and sand spots for the best results. Tail hooked select size shrimp, small live finger mullet or mud minnows, 3” light color soft plastic for artificial. Black drum can be found both deep and

shallow, bait shrimp or crab, bottom fish near drop offs, channels and holes in the backcountry, Ponce Inlet jetties and Haulover Canal. The southern flats of Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River can have shallow schooling black drum, look for tails and wakes. If pressured they will become spooky like winter redfish, try to get into position in their path, and wait for them to come to you. Bluefish, can be found all through the backcountry in winter, ICW channel, bridges, inlet, and surf. If they are not picky, they are swimming. If they are eating use free lined live shrimp, cut bait, small darting flashy lures all will catch them. A good fly-fishing target, their sharp teeth need a little heavier floro leader or trace of light wire, you may want to use lures or flies which are already scarred up because they will be abused by the toothy Blues. Sheepshead are always a winter target, fiddler crabs, small live shrimp, peeled frozen shrimp, small pieces of crab, oyster or clam will catch them. Fish close to structure, bridge and dock pilings, jetty rocks, oyster bars, any underwater structure. You can chum them by scraping barnacles from pilings or dropping crushed oysters. Use only as much weight as needed to hold your bait in position, and a small sharp hook for their hardtoothy mouth. Along the ICW and backcountry, deep spots can be good target zones with fish on the bottom where temperatures are more stable than the surface. Drop live shrimp, small live finger mullet, mud minnows, or a 1/16 or 1/8 oz. jig head with small tail or 3” Gulp shrimp to the bottom for Trout, Reds, Drum, Sheepshead and more. 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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Chelsea Dean with a bull red from the NSB rocks

Capt Marshall Wallot from New Legacy Charters with a local tripletail

Aaron Highers with a big ole grouper

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Eric Christian with a lagoon redfish

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Keving Gill with an 18lb tripletail

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By John Saporito

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ith winter temperatures upon us, its time to switch tactics when targeting inshore gamefish. The warmer months feature an abundance of life on the flats and shallow beds, but winter shows the opposite trend. Both gamefish and their prey seek out stable water temperatures, many moving upriver and into creeks to find refuge from the cold. Due to the high specific heat capacity of water, many fish will escape the cold by moving into deep-water areas of our bays and estuaries.

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Often, fish will congregate in passes, boat channels, and around bridges, where the bottom has been scooped out, creating places that assure consistent water temperatures. These deep-water haunts are excellent places to score in winter, where fish can keep themselves at the appropriate temperature while exploiting the bottom structure and moving water to help with their feeding activity. Whenever deep moving water is in play, there is one technique that stands out above the rest: jig fishing. Jigs are the most effective tool when it comes to pulling fish out of a lateral current. Their unique ability to ride naturally through the turbulence and get down to the bottom where fish are holding makes them ideal for this style of fishing. A single upright hook allows them to bounce off most obstructions and has the strength to hold heavy fish in heavy current. But not all jigs are created equal. The two main styles of jig in use today are the nose-eye and offset-eye. The nose-eye jig has its eye in a forward position on the head of the lure, while the offset-eye jig has its eye in a centered position on top of the jig’s head. The offset-eye jig is superior thanks to its knack for maintaining a horizontal orientation during retrieve. This makes natural presentation with the offset-eye jig a cinch. Weight is a critical factor when using jigs. The lightest possible jig that can get and stay within a few feet of the bottom will net you the most fish. Too heavy a jig will drag uselessly in the bottom sediment, while too light a jig will be unable to reach the deep-water strike zone. Water depth, current speed, wind speed and direction, line material and diameter, and the type of trailer used on the jig are all variables that go into weight selection. Once you’ve selected the appropriate jig, cast it up-current, allow it to sink to the bottom, and let the current sweep it toward any fish-holding structure that might be present. This structure may consist of bridge abutments, dock pilings, boulders, sand waves, ridges or holes. If you can get your jig to glide through the strike zone close to structure in fast deep water, hold on! A jig can help you clean up with your favorite inshore gamefish all winter long. John Saporito is a lifelong fisherman and student of the seas. Visit him online at guerillaangling.com and follow on Instagram @guerilla_angling.

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COLD WEATHER BASS HAMMERING SHAD

Travis Poole with a fine winter bass caught while fishing with C-note Charters. By Randy Cnota hen the north winds blow across Florida, bass experience significant shock from rapidly dropping water temps. Those fronts actually kill many shad; not all, but many. Through the fall and winter, bass tend to school and follow balls of shad to take advantage of feeding opportunities available due to the cold. The abundance of forage and the natural urge to fatten up turn bass into eating machines. Airline_Ad_CoastalAngler_8-1-14_Layout 1 8/1/14 1:14 PM Page 1 action and As a shad dies, it flails about in a jerky twitching

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eventually sinks. If any bass are around, it will never make it to the bottom. Lures that mimic this action and excel this time of year include jerkbaits, A-rigs, spinnerbaits, lipless and deep-diving crankbaits and spoons. The flutter spoon is a personal favorite due to its ability to trigger a feeding response when other lures won’t. The erratic fluttering motion as it falls appears as a very familiar sight bass have been witnessing as shad succumb to the cold. When they strike, you’d best be holding on tight! Spoons are a great tool for scouring depths from 5 to 50 feet. Not only do they generate bites in open water where schools of bass roam for bait balls, they are deadly fished around deep and shallow grass beds. For this, rig a spoon on 50-pound braided main line with a 15-pound-test monofilament leader and cast to grass edges. Allow the spoon to fall into the grass, and then rip it out to generate bone-jarring strikes. Note: 99 percent of spoon bites come as the lure falls on a slack line. Suspending jerkbaits provide a different action needed for winter bass. When it’s bitter cold and bass are depressed from the conditions, you need to slow down while still presenting a shad imitation. Fished on light fluorocarbon line, jerkbaits reach deeper depths than you might think. In clear cold water they produce with reliable results. Long casts and slow retrieves with long pauses between twitches will get cold bass to move and strike. As winter moves toward spring, I cast a lipless crankbait at shallow grass near deep drop-offs. Bass will start moving closer to spawning areas long before they actually spawn and will continue to feed. If weather conditions create a slight rise in water temps, this technique can be hard to beat. Even if water temps are still in the low 50s, but have increased slightly, a fast retrieve will allow you to cover vast areas and pluck off many bass that have started to scatter from their winter schools. During these coldest times of the year is when some of the biggest bass are caught. Don’t let the conditions deter you from searching out that trophy bass. Bundle up and get after it! Randy Cnota is co-publisher of the Panama City/Destin/Forgotten Coast edition of Coastal Angler Magazine and owner of C-note Charters. Contact him at (229) 834-7880 or randyc@coastalanglermagazine.com.

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

or those who enjoy targeting speckled trout of larger proportions, we know they are not easy to come by. The majority of trophy trout hunting is done in cooler water temps and below normal feeding patterns. Utilizing solunar tables for feeding times can improve your hookup ratio and help you get the edge on gator trout. When I was a child, I would look at the calendar on the wall and see how many fish were on the day I had a trip planned. Multi-fish days built the excitement and anticipation while zero

fish still left me wanting to go, but lessened my expectations. During my younger years, I also found no consistent correlation between my success and the number of fish on the calendar and soon felt no reason to review it. I felt it was more of a folktale than a tool. As I matured into a somewhat better angler, and started spending more time saltwater fishing, I once again started to study the solunar tables along with the tides. To be clear, these tables are not a magic act, nor do they place fish where they are not, but I am a believer that if you are on fish, they will be more aggressive during the feeding times specified in the tables. Many people misinterpret the major as the better bite. This is not necessarily the case. The major vs. the minor is the length of time the bite will last. The major is typically two hours long while the minor is about an hour and a half. Both can share the same intensity of the feeding period. I plan each trip around the bite times. Naturally, I fish more than the two hours of the major bite, but I place myself in what I feel is the prime area during the bite. One rule that I stick to is to fish during the feed times rather than travel from one spot to another. On a recent trip, I wasn’t having any luck and considered moving locations. I checked the time and realized the bite was approaching. I decided to not move during the bite and continued to fish the once non-productive area to realize an aggressive feed during the specified time slot. I find this approach especially true when hunting gator trout. They do not feed that often and are difficult to catch, therefore utilizing the solunar can give you the edge for catching these larger specks. As I stated previously, these solunar tables do not guarantee you will catch fish. However, if you have the correct conditions of tide, wind, water clarity, temps, bait and most of all FISH, giving it your best during the feeding times greatly increases your odds of catching fish, and gator trout. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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urf Expo is coming to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center Jan. 8-10. It is an enormous one-stop shop, where retailers can stock up for the upcoming season. The expo’s Bluewater category is designed specifically for retailers of fishing gear, apparel and accessories. Here is a list of Bluewater vendors at January’s Surf Expo: Smithfly, Monster Cooler, Fish Hard Gear, CEECOACH, Big Ocean Sport, Apparel by Home Run, Kanga Coolers, Float Pak, Mang Gear, Fish Hippie, Ugo Wear, Reel Happy, Hooked Soul Fishing Company, 5Fin, AFTCO, Marsh Wear Clothing, Heybo Outdoors, HUK, Tormentor Fishing Products, Jeep by Buck Wear, Bimini Bay Outfitters, Salt Life, Pure Lure Reel Fishing Gear.

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MARK SOSIN

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ll of us have enjoyed those rare days when fish would ingest virtually any lure or bait tossed in the water. Those experiences are certainly the exception, because fish are selective about their diets and seldom vary extensively in their choice of foods. Only when they cannot find enough of their standard fare will they range in their choice. Let me share a few examples: It was a beautiful day on the offshore grounds with a strong current that should hold fish. As the hours passed, our frustration increased. We couldn’t even raise a fish. Finally, the captain told us to reel in the lines. It seemed obvious he was going to try another spot, but that wasn’t his intention. Instead of moving, he took the trolling lures off the rods and rigged them with a single hook. One of the outfits had a sinker so it would go deeper. Then he turned the boat broadside to the current and cut the engine. We were now being pushed by the natural flow of water. A live baitfish was put on each hook and then streamed off the starboard side of the boat. He chopped up dead bait and threw a handful overboard as chum every couple of minutes. It didn’t take long before the big guys hit the live bait, and it suddenly became a banner day because the skipper did something different. More than 50 years ago, the late Joe Brooks told me no

one to his knowledge had caught an Allison (yellowfin) tuna on a fly, and he was sure I could do it. Joe set up a trip for me to Bermuda, where yellowfins responded to chum. I had fished chum slicks with a fly with my father since I was a young boy, and we simply cast in the slick and retrieved the fly. I can’t remember ever having a problem with that method. We were anchored on the edge of a bank in Bermuda, with the current taking chum off the edge into deep water. Tuna were devouring chum, and I was sure it would only take a cast or two to hookup. To say I was wrong was an understatement. The tuna ignored the fly as I retrieved it. They swam around it and kept eating chum. Finally, in desperation, I dropped the fly into some chum that lingered on the surface and did not move it. To this day, I can see that tuna inhaling the fly. It weighed 53 pounds and 6 ounces. The point to remember is that if the more common method isn’t working, try a modification. A friend and I were both fishing the same plug. He kept getting strikes, while nothing touched my offering. Finally, he showed me how he periodically vibrated his wrist. It made the lure flash, and that’s all it took. In a similar situation, another friend and I were using diving plugs. He kept hooking fish while I couldn’t buy strike. While I followed a standard retrieve, he would pause for an instant periodically. That allowed the plug to float upward before diving again. Simple, isn’t it? Before you claim there are no fish where you are fishing, try a few variations to standard practice. You might be surprised with the results.

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heepshead are some of the tastiest fish in the ocean. They are abundant throughout the Gulf and up the Atlantic coast, usually holding tight to structure like piers, pilings, seawalls, jetties and wrecks. Sheepshead are easy to find, but difficult to hook. They have hard mouths and teeth designed to crush the shells of barnacles, shrimp and mollusks. They’ll crush bait, and the hook, without an angler even knowing they were there. That’s why a dropshot rig is a good tool to have. The standard Carolina or fishfinder rigs are effective, but the added sensitivity of a dropshot, where everything is in line, lets you know the fish is there before it gets away. You’ll get two taps. Set the hook on the first one, because the second tap means the fish is gone. Fishing a dropshot rig is simple. Drop it to the bottom and reel up any slack. With a sensitive rod, the smallest peck is transmitted to the angler’s hand. Here’s how to tie it: • Use a double uni-knot to secure 6 feet of 15- to 20-lb. fluorocarbon leader to a 10- or 15-lb. braided mainline. • Use enough weight to stay in contact with the bottom, and tie it into the end of the leader. • Choose your depth, typically about 2 feet up the leader, and use a Palomar knot to tie in the hook so it rides point-up. Use a sharp J hook (#1-4) depending on the size of the bait, whether it’s a fiddler crab, sand flea, pieces of clam, or shrimp.

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INSTANT SAVINGS

IN

SAVSTAN IN T GS S

SE AVE LE CT RIG SU HT ZU KI NOW OU TB ON OA RD S

REPOWER FINANCE

Instant Savings on select models when you buy a new Suzuki Outboard. See your dealer for details.

REPOWER FINANCE Rates as low as 5.99% on new Suzuki outboards on approved credit.* [60 Months]

To learn more, visit www.suzukimarine.com. Gimme Six Extended Protection promotion applies to new Suzuki Outboard Motors from 25 to 350 HP in inventory which are sold and delivered to buyer between 01/01/20 and 03/31/20 in accordance with the promotion by a Participating Authorized Suzuki Marine dealer in the continental US and Alaska to a purchasing customer who resides in the continental US or Alaska. The Gimme Six Promotion is available for pleasure use only, and is not redeemable for cash. Instant Savings applies to qualifying purchases of select Suzuki Outboard Motors made between 01/01/20 and 03/31/20. For list of designated models, see participating Dealer or visit www.suzukimarine.com. Instant Savings must be applied against the agreed-upon selling price of the outboard motor and reflected in the bill of sale. There are no model substitutions, benefit substitutions, rain checks, or extensions. Suzuki reserves the right to change or cancel these promotions at any time without notice or obligation. * Financing offers available through Synchrony Retail Finance. As low as 5.99% APR financing for 60 months on new and unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors. Subject to credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on creditworthiness. $19.99/month per $1,000 financed for 60 months is based on 5.99% APR. Hypothetical figures used in calculation; your actual monthly payment may differ based on financing terms, credit tier qualification, accessories or other factors such as down payment and fees. Offer effective on new, unregistered Suzuki Outboard Motors purchased from a participating authorized Suzuki dealer between 01/01/20 and 03/31/20. “Gimme Six”, the Suzuki “S” and model names are Suzuki trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2020 Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.



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