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7GREAT LIVE-BAIT BOATS / GUIDE TO FISHING HAWAII’S BIG ISLAND

SPORT

FISHING SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2014

GET HIGH TO SEE MORE FISH P 80

TA G G I N G AND TRACKING

MAKOS 30

T R O P H Y - S E AT R O U T SECRETS FROM 10 TOP GUIDES

USING THE TOOLS OF TECHNOLOGY TO FIND FISH P 74

CRANKBAITS: PLASTIC OR WOOD? P 22

BY GUY HARVEY

HOW EXPERTS BEAT THE DREADED WIND KNOT

W H Y B O AT S R A I S E MARLIN — AND HOW YOURS CAN DO IT BETTER

P 10


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CONTENTS

50 SEPT EMBER/OCT OBER 2014 V OL UME 29 ISSUE 8

FEATURES

30 TROPHY-SEATROUT SECRETS FROM TOP CAPTAINS 36  How to Target Big Specks from Texas to Virginia By Chris Woodward

70

MISSION FOR MAKO 44

 Tagging Mako Sharks to Unlock Secrets of Their Abundance and Migrations By Guy Harvey, Ph.D.

RAISING HAVOC 50

8 10 16 22 28 32 34

 The How and Why of Using Your Boat to Attract Big-Game Pelagics By Jim Hendricks

A GUIDE TO BIG FISH OFF THE BIG ISLAND 56

 Why Kona Remains One of the World’s Prime Destinations for Blue-Water Game Fish By Jim Rizzuto

28

DEPARTMENTS

ON THE COVER: Photographer Andy Murch, expedition leader for Big Fish Expeditions, shot this massive mako’s portrait near Catalina Island off California.

64 70 74 78 80

EDITORIAL GAME PLAN FISH FACTS GEAR GUIDE NEW PRODUCTS IGFA PENDING RECORDS SF DIGITAL SF BOATS FISHING MACHINES FISH TRIAL ELECTRONICS NEW BOATS BETTER BOATING

90 LAST CAST

SUBSCRIBERS: Address subscription service/questions to Sport Fishing, P.O. Box 6364, Harlan, IA 51593-1864. For subscription inquiries, visit sportfishingmag.com/cs.

Sport Fishing (ISSN 0896-7369, USPS 1631), September/October 2014, Volume 29, Number 8, is published nine times per year — monthly January to June, and bimonthly July to December — by Bonnier Corporation, 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789-3195. Entire contents copyright 2014 by Bonnier Corporation. May not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Bonnier Corporation. Periodicals postage paid at Winter Park, FL, and at additional mailing offices. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $19.97 for one year. Canadian subscribers, add $14 for postage. All other international subscribers, add $28 for postage. U.S. funds only. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sport Fishing, P.O. Box 6364, Harlan, IA 51593-1864. Printed in the USA. Canada Return Mail: IMEX Global Solutions, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2 Canada. DISCLAIMER: Bonnier Corporation is not responsible for injuries sustained by readers while pursuing activities described and illustrated herein, nor failure of equipment depicted or illustrated herein.

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EDITORIAL DOUG OLANDER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CHRIS WOODWARD EDITOR STEPHANIE PANCRATZ MANAGING EDITOR SAM HUDSON ASSOCIATE EDITOR JIM HENDRICKS PACIFIC COAST EDITOR CHRIS BALOGH DIGITAL EDITOR CINDY MARTIN COPY EDITOR ART CHRIS MCGLINCHY ART DIRECTOR BRENDA WEAVER ILLUSTRATOR ADVERTISING SALES SCOTT SALYERS GROUP PUBLISHER O305-253-0555 DAVE MOREL PUBLISHER O407-718-6891 NATASHA LLOYD MARLIN PUBLISHER O954-760-4602 ANDREW W. TOWNES III MIDWEST / TELEVISION / EVENTS O407-571-4730 MATT WHITE NEW YORK / NONENDEMIC SALES MANAGER O212-779-5405 DAN JACOBS TOURNAMENTS AND EVENT PRODUCTION O407-571-4680

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DOUG OLANDER

EDITORIAL

SENATE MELTDOWN SMELLS

I

These lawmakers talk a good game when it comes to assuring constituents how much they care about our great traditions of fishing and hunting.

8

n a period of just three days in our esteemed U.S. Senate, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act went from a widely popular piece of legislation with broad support on both sides of the senatorial aisle to a legislative corpse. The root bill — described as “historic” and crafted over years — would have been a major boon to the nation’s 40 million sportsmen, expanding public access, improving habitat, protecting hunting/fishing rights and more. So how did it end up suddenly DOA in July? Something stinks like a week-old herring. The source of the foul odor? Politics. More specifically, the politics of self-interest and partisanship. Ironically, the Senate proved very bipartisan in its partisanship, with plenty of blame to go around among both democrats and republicans for the death of what should have been a no-brainer win-win success. With tough re-election races coming down to the wire, many senators viewed the bill not as legislation that would benefit the nation and many of their own constituents but rather simply as a vehicle for them to curry favor with specific interest groups back home. The result? More than 80 amendments tacked on, often with little significance to fishing and hunting, and some even contrary to their interests. Just a few examples: Q An amendment that would have ended the exemption on lead fishing weights and lead bullets as “toxic substances” by Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Q An amendment that would have effectively prevented the Environmental Protection Agency from clearly defining headwater streams and wetlands to be protected under the Clean Water Act, by John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Q An amendment that would have ensured guns couldn’t be purchased by individuals under court-ordered temporary restraining orders, by Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Q An amendment that would have allowed guns in U.S. post offices, by Rand Paul (R-Ky.). And the list goes on. Capitol Hill insiders refer to amendments like these as “poison pills.” That is, much as their sponsors would deny it, these self-serving and/ or controversial amendments would assuredly poison the whole stew. That’s just what happened, particularly and inevitably with gun control in the mix, pro or con — a surefire recipe for bitter discord and deadlock.

OCTOBER 2014

There has been criticism aimed at Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for effectively tabling the bill rather than allowing debate of all 80-some amendments. But those amendments clearly not germane to sportsmen’s interests could and should have been left for another time and place; had Reid allowed debate on them all, the bill would have become a hostage to endless rancor. The depth of cynicism and self-interest to which both sides have sunk is further evident by republican charges that democrats simply wanted the Sportsmen’s Act to help them in tough re-election bids, while democrats accused republicans of killing the act to make sure that didn’t happen. Of course you can bet most of these lawmakers talk a good game when it comes to assuring their constituents just how much they care about our great traditions of fishing and hunting. But their actions speak much louder than their words, at least for anyone paying attention. And this country’s sportsmen need to be paying attention. As one insider on the Hill told me: “In general, sportsmen’s groups don’t have PACs (political-action committees), don’t do scorecards or endorsements or enemies lists, etc. There’s a whole set of political tools our community of 40 million generally doesn’t use that others use every day to influence members of Congress.” The death of the Sportsmen’s Act seems to prove that claim. Ironically, those who attached poison-pill amendments ended up helping the animal-rights groups that had been lobbying against provisions in the Sportsmen’s Act. Such political posturing by senators has killed other broadly supported and much-needed legislation this term as well, most recently a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill. With elections just around the corner, voters who are passionate about their opportunities and rights to fish and hunt should see through all the partisan finger-pointing to hold accountable those politicians who helped kill legislation the National Shooting Sports Foundation called a “historic” and a “once-in-a-generation” bill.


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SAM HUDSON

GAME PLAN

TIED UP IN KNOTS I

really thought I had wind knots figured out. Those annoying braid boogers and bird nests were no-shows through my rod guides for months. But on a recent flats-fishing trip, a nasty wind knot in my 10-pound braid forced me to rack my rod. The truth is that wind knots in gelspun polyethylene line (commonly known as braid, whether Spectra or Dyneema) are almost entirely the fault of the angler. Blaming my tackle wouldn’t fix my tangle. IT’S SCIENCE; DON’T FIGHT IT

Wind knots this tight require cutting, not untangling. One fix is to replace your depleted braid with a higher pound-test with a brand such as Spiderwire (above). 10

Numerous line companies independently admitted to me that there wasn’t a silver-bullet solution to their manufacturing processes that could help anglers prevent wind knots. “One of the most prominent characteristics of braid that allows wind knots is its lack of memory on the spinning spool,” says Ben Miller, project manager at Sufix. “Braid releases and unwinds far better than traditional nylon monofilament

OCTOBER 2014

for much longer casts, but this freedom has its pros and cons.” A wind knot is created by an overrun of slack line that’s slipped off your spinning-reel arbor. The slack line then forms a loop within the spinning reel when the bail is closed. Once it’s time to cast, you might be able to cast away that looseness, but chances are a snarl, tangle or knot is inevitable. “Wind knots are truly a byproduct of spinning tackle,” says Miller. “A wind knot to a spinning reel is the same as a backlash to a baitcasting reel.” Manufacturers often add proprietary coatings to braids for numerous reasons, one of which is to give the line some body. Braided lines used for extended periods eventually lose their coatings, increasing the potential for wind knots. “I’m not a fan of braids with minimal coating,” says Joe Meyer, product-development manager at Spiderwire. “They trap water and get heavy, but also they become very limp without much body

ADRIAN E. GRAY (TOP)

Prevent Obnoxious Wind Knots in Your Braided Line


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GAME PLAN to them. A little more body, or simply moving up to heavier weights of line, tends to cause fewer tangling issues.” TIGHT IS RIGHT

“Finger” the main line as your cast nears completion to keep braid taut. Then, manually flip the bail to prevent loops and twists from entering the spool.

to really help cut down on the ‘break-in period,’ when I see the most wind knots.” When casting while fishing, I keep my hand near the spool, and “finger” the line just as the lure is about to hit the water. Braid closest to the lure stops, but if you’re not careful, line closer to the reel keeps coming off the spool, causing loops. I always close the bail by hand — making sure not

44 LONGER

HOLDS

ICE

to turn the handle to close the bail — before reeling. If there’s a wind-blown bow in your line from casting, reel in your line carefully to pick up slack before working your lure. DITCH THE ROD TWITCH

One apparent paradox that even an experienced fisherman must contend with is how to prevent wind knots

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The most important mindset an angler can have when it comes to braid is to always keep his line tight. And that starts when adding line to your spool; doublecheck that your braided line is applied under pressure. Anglers who use a line winder to fill their spinning reels must be careful, says Miller. When anglers use line-winding machines to load spinning reels, the line doesn’t rest on the spool the same way it does once a reel has been cast. “Do not overfill the spool on a spinning reel, since that can easily cause wind knots,” says Capt. Jot Owens, of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. “I like to go about three-quarters full, leaving ⅛- to 1⁄16-inch space to the outside edge.” Many anglers complain that freshly spooled braid causes wind knots, but Owens has found a helpful solution. “I will tie on a 1-ounce sinker and cast hard a dozen times,” he says. “This seems


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GAME PLAN Wells often Watch out for loose line that’s slipped doesn’t move the rod tip at all to work off your reel’s arbor — that slack a twitchbait — he is often the catalyst controls all movefor wind knots ment at the reel and headaches. using a half-crank and pause retrieve. Light soft-plastic baits that require twitching and jigging mean less line tension on the spool. That loose line often digs into the reel when put under the pressure from a fighting fish, so

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expect the next couple of casts to be short as the line frees from itself. “For a bait that does require twitching of the rod tip, make the twitches as small as possible,” says Wells. “Reel as you twitch to help cut down on the amount of slack in the line.” S E L F - E X A M I N AT I O N

If you’re certain it’s not your actions causing the wind knots, take a detailed look at your spinning-reel setup. “Wind knots may occur after a sudden acceleration at the beginning of the cast, when the braid collides into the rod guides and causes a loop that continues to accelerate,” says Capt. John Stacey, Northeast regional sales manager for Cortland Line. Some new rods use low-profile guides designed specifically for thin, braided lines. Older rods used for throwing mono traditionally needed larger guides to reduce the friction of the mono against the guides. “Braid guides should be smaller, because braid is thinner and subtler,” says Stacey. “If you’re using an olderstyle mono rod with big circle guides, you are just asking for trouble in river city.” Examine your spinning reel, and confirm that the spool rotates properly when winding or it could cause knots, points out Meyer. I make sure my braid is stacking consistently from top to bottom, and not bunching up at either end. Also, see if there’s any wobble in your spool when cranking. Inspect the line roller at the bail to make sure it’s clean and free moving. If the roller is stuck in place, it can force line twists into the line without an angler ever knowing. And about that spinning setup that I had to rack? I realized the old, faded braid didn’t have a chance when I fished topwater in windy conditions. I respooled with heavier, 20-pound braid and haven’t had any trouble since.

SAM HUDSON

when using baits such as soft-plastic jerkbaits and walk-the-dog topwaters that continually require suddenly slacking off in a tight line. Add wind into the equation, and it’s very tough to keep all slack out of the line. “What I try to avoid is broad movements of the rod,” says Capt. Billy Wells, of Venice, Louisiana, and a Seaguar pro staffer. “Zero stretch in braid means you don’t have to move the rod tip as much to walk the dog or set the hook.”


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FISH FACTS

Pacific sailfish

BILLFISHES’ DROOPY EYES SF FISH FACTS EXPERTS NORTHEAST

Mike Fahay, Sandy Hook Marine Lab, New Jersey SOUTHEAST

Ray Waldner, Ph.D., Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida GULF OF MEXICO

Bob Shipp, Ph.D., University of South Alabama, bobshipp.com WEST COAST

Milton Love, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara, lovelab.id.ucsb.edu FAR PACIFIC

Ben Diggles, Ph.D., Queensland, Australia, digsfish.com BLUE-WATER PELAGICS

Eric Prince, Ph.D., courtesy of NOAA Fisheries Lab, Miami

16

OCTOBER 2014

Q While reading your March issue of Sport Fishing, I came across a stunning revelation in the photos of billfishes. The similarity among all those images of live billfish lay in the eyes. Every sailfish or marlin had its eyes looking down. I realized that the majority of pictures of such fish I had seen elsewhere had the same issue: The billfish looked sad or ashamed to be captured, and thus didn’t smile for their photos. I’ve found the same drooped eyes on the marlin and sailfish that I have captured as well, and am wondering about the cause for this. I know fish have no eyelids, so perhaps this could be a response to the bright light of day?

Matt Allen Tilloo Cay, Bahamas

thing I have not seen is the eye rolled upward. Eyeballs are in a bony cup with one open side for the iris and pupil. The eyes of billfish are much more mobile in the socket than those of other pelagics such as tunas, mackerels, jacks, etc. When a billfish is swimming normally, the eye looks straight out or is angled slightly down, as far as my photos and observations go. When you look at a billfish head from above, you cannot see the pupil; when you look at a billfish from directly below, you can see the pupil. Hope this helps. Tight lines! — Guy Harvey TUNA WITH PUS SACS Q

Bula, experts! While fishing here in Fiji, we came across a massive school of yellowfin tuna. We boated a few fish and got back to the beach to fillet our catch, and found that one of the tuna had these odd white bumps throughout the entire fish. As my knife went through the fillet, it would slice through Kudoa

Probably no scientist on Earth has spent more time observing billfish underwater than Guy Harvey has, so we put this one to Guy, and here’s his response. — Ed. A Eye have an answer for you! Billfish roll their eyes back and down particularly when hooked or while jumping, etc. This is to protect the eyeball from the irritation caused by hook or leader. One


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FISH FACTS some of these white bumps and create slime on the knife. I’d never seen anything like this before, nor had anyone here. Limited information on the Internet. We did not eat this fish. Can you help us with the mystery? Fiji Pete Fiji A Although I can’t be sure without examining some of that white stuff under a microscope, I think you have a fish infected with a protozoan parasite called kudoa. There is a number of species, many of which infect fish muscle. These form those white, pus-filled sacs you quickly noticed. Each sac contains very high numbers of microscopic organisms that produce an enzyme that dissolves the surrounding muscle. A live fish can more or less cope with these parasites; however, after the host dies, the parasites continue to live for a short time, busily dissolving muscle tissue, thus creating a hole where a white sac used to be. These hole-ridden fish are unsalable and can form a considerable problem for fish

distributors. Are these parasites dangerous to humans? Well, if you cook the fish, the parasites are dead and just more protein. And, until recently, it was thought that consuming kudoa from uncooked fishes was also harmless. However, a kudoa that caused intestinal issues from flounder eaten raw was recently reported in Japan, so you never know. — Milton Love BIZARRE BUTTERFLY KINGFISH Q I read in SF recently of a pending all-tackle-record catch of a species called the butterfly kingfish. The 91-pounder was caught off Australia on a trolled Rapala lure. This was the first I’ve ever seen of this totally bizarrelooking fish, and I’d love to know more — what it’s related to (the back looks like a mackerel or tuna, but not the front!), where it’s found, and what are its habitat/food, maximum size, and commercial/food value.

Kari Sherman Anchorage, Alaska A

Good question, Kari. The butterfly kingfish (Gasterochisma melampus) is

Butterfly kingfish

a species rarely encountered by anglers but more commonly by commercial longliners targeting southern (Pacific) bluefin tuna and swordfish. This species is mainly found in deeper oceanic waters of the Southern Ocean, where surface-water temperatures range from 46 to 54 degrees F, though occasionally isolated specimens are encountered in the north Pacific. One

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OCTOBER 2014


Ocellated frogfish

notably large specimen of nearly 6 feet and 135 pounds was taken 400 miles north of Hawaii on a longline set overnight at a 100-foot depth. It took a bait of squid, but stomach-content analysis suggested it had also been feeding on fish. The species grows to a maximum size of around 6½ feet and more than 150 pounds. You’re right about their looking like a cross between a mackerel and a tuna, because like both of those groups, butterfly kingfish are classified as a primitive out-group of the family Scombridae. They get their common name because juveniles have massively oversize pelvic fins, which reach up to 30 percent of the fish’s total length. However, the pelvic fins stop growing once the fish reaches around 28 inches in length, and they begin to look in proportion to the rest of the fish as they grow into large adults. Butterfly kingies are too rare to have much commercial value, but they are good to eat. — Ben Diggles MAMMOTH FROG Q

During a recent fishing trip off the coast of North Carolina, we caught this interesting-looking fish. It was hooked while we bottomfished in about 70 feet of water. The pectoral fins were very much like a hand and arm, and the pelvic fins looked like feet. I’ve never seen anything like it, but I think it’s a type of frogfish. Can you tell me the exact species and a little bit about it?

HAWAII SURPRISE: A PEACOCK AMONG FLOUNDER Q

I have been fishing in Hawaii for

more than 30 years, and until this past weekend, I had never caught or seen this fish. I think it’s a peacock or

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Josh Humphrey Swansboro, North Carolina A You caught an ocellated frogfish, Antennarius ocellatus, Josh, and a fairly large one. This member of the frogfish family, Antennariidae, differs from other frogfishes inhabiting the Atlantic Coast of North America in a number of characteristics, particularly its size: It can reach a length of more than 15 inches, while no other frogfish in the area grows larger than 8 inches. The three ocelli, or eyespots, on each side, from which the fish derives its common name, are also diagnostic. This species is known to range from North Carolina to Venezuela, including the Gulf of Mexico; it’s also known from the Eastern Atlantic. — Ray Waldner

MORE FISH FACTS Visit our Photo Galleries at sportfishingmag.com/fishfacts.

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19


FISH FACTS flowery flounder, but I didn’t know we had flounders in Hawaii. I caught three in one day, on flies, while stalking bonefish on flats near Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam. All three were between 5 and 8 inches in length. Could you please verify the species and how common they are in Hawaii? Also, how big can these get? Mike Hogan Aiea, Hawaii A

Mike, you’re correct in your

Flowery flounder

identification of this pretty little flatfish as a flowery (or peacock) flounder (Bothus mancus). This species is a member of the left-eyed flounders (family Bothidae), which means that both of their eyes are found on the left side of the body in juvenile and adult fish. Flowery flounders were originally described from Tahiti but occur throughout the tropical and subtropical coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region, including the Hawaiian Islands. They are relatively common throughout

their range, and frequent coral-reef flats as well as sandy or rubble reef edges down to at least 400 feet. Flowery flounders are not a large flatfish, growing to a maximum reported length of only around 19 inches, but they are supposedly very tasty to eat. Like other flounders, they’re a master of camouflage, able to change their color within seconds to match their background. They also commonly bury themselves in the sand, completely covered except for their eyes. Thus camouflaged, they lie in wait for passing prey — mainly small fish, crabs and shrimp — to pass by. Once they’re within range, the flounder launches a lightning-fast strike to capture its unsuspecting prey, which is why these flatfish were vulnerable to your bonefish presentations. — Ben Diggles

CHALLENGE OUR EXPERTS (And Win up to 10,800 Yards of Line!)

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OCTOBER 2014


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GEAR GUIDE

SUPPORTING CAST T

Striped bass (top) and others hit hard-body plugs without restraint, making the case to pack plenty of plastic and wood (above) for your next trip.

22

oday’s hottest topwaters, lipped baits and subsurface plugs are built from modern plastic blends, manufactured to last longer and attract more fish than ever before. The largest lure manufacturers shy away from timber, leaving woodwork to custom companies that specialize in the handcrafted production process. The effort and time that goes into each wooden plug is immense. Plastic and wood baits both have worthy spots in any angler’s tackle box. In fact, many of today’s top hard-plastic baits mimic the mesmerizing motion that wooden lures once monopolized. If you’re not utilizing both types — plastic plugs with innovative features or the classic wobble of crafted wood — I strongly suggest diversifying your arsenal. D I S T I N C T A D VA N TA G E S

Wood and plastic plugs each offer unique characteristics. It’s up to the angler to decide exactly what he’s looking for in the lure, and in

OCTOBER 2014

what scenario he wants to fish the lure. With plastic hard baits, expect to get consistent action straight out of the box, while the movement of a specific wooden lure model can differ slightly from plug to plug. Still, when a wooden plug is tuned properly, it’s tough to beat. “What makes us different is that we start with an actual bait and 3-D scan it,” says Mike Bennett, of Savage Gear. “From our 3-D scan, a positive is made to use as a temporary mold to adjust swimming action. After adjustments, we make a permanent mold.” Plastic baits like Savage’s Manic Prey and Freestyler also tend to have brighter and morevibrant colors, along with a larger range of actions and styles. “Patrick Sebile specifically sets out to design his baits for given techniques and applications,” says Chris Pitsilos, Sebile Lures product manager. “For example, the power keel on a Stick Shadd allows

ETHAN GORDON (TOP), NICK HONACHEFSKY (LEFT)

Keep Both Wood and Plastic Plugs in Your Tackle Arsenal


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GEAR GUIDE

WOOD

PLASTIC

PLUG AND PLAY MODEL

LENGTH (INCHES)

WEIGHT (OUNCES)

STYLE

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURE

PRICE*

Bomber Mullet

5 8

Twitch

Realistic finish

$5

Rapala X-Rap SubWalk

2¾ to 6

³⁄8 to 2

Walk the dog

Internal holographic foil and rattles

$10 to $15

Savage Freestyler

5¼ to 6¾

1½ to 3¼

Glider

Suspending and fluttering action

$10 to $13

Sebile Bull Minnow

4 to 5

½ to ¾

Lipped

Xternal Weight System

$8

Shimano Orca 190 Topwater

3

Pop and dive

Aerodynamic design; weight system

$30

Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bonita

6¾ to 8¾

4 ⁄ to 10

Trolling

Sashimi color change

$55 to $65

Gibbs Polaris Popper

3¾ to 6³⁄8

1 to 3½

Popper

Sugar pine; gurgler action

$17 to $19 $19 to $22

5 8

Lemire Needlefish

5 to 10

1½ to 4

Twitch

Birch; slow sink tailward

Phase II Bunky

4

1

Darter

Cedar; dives deep on retrieve

$11

Rapala BX Waking Minnow

¾

Lipped

Balsa core; copolymer shell

$13

*Rounded to nearest dollar

the bait to cut through water and aid in the swim action.” For Sebile, it’s not about a specific species to target, but rather modifying molds and designs to get the exact action he wants. Wooden baits rely on the materials from which they’re crafted to attract fish species. “What started years ago in the surf-fishing community has to lead to quality custom wood plugs across most

24

OCTOBER 2014

fishing scenarios,” says Capt. Gene Quigley, of Shore Catch Charters in Manasquan, New Jersey. “Cedar plugs are naturally buoyant, floating completely level in the water; that’s hard to replicate with plastic.” Also consider that wood is heavy and solid — much heavier than plastic — so it’s easier to cast wooden plugs longer distances. They often reach fish when other plugs can’t.

ALLURE OF THE MOTION

“I believe a wood lure has the best action in the water, especially in the hands of a skilled fisherman,” says Dick Fincher, of Phase II Lures in Westport, Connecticut. “It’s important when picking a wood lure to know what that lure is designed to do.” Popular Phase II wood plugs like the Scooter Floating Popper and Junior Darting Swimmer come with a


fishing-suggestion card for this reason. Anglers steeped in the history and tradition of fishing are more apt to consider wooden plugs. “If an angler learned about wood lures from a previous generation, and if he himself is skilled in casting,” says Fincher, “chances are, he will have a wood plug tied to a rod.” For plastic plugs like the Shimano Orcas, sometimes the action is all about mayhem. Orcas are made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) thermoplastic, an impact-resistant and tough material. Polycarbonate, polypropylene and ABS plastics differ in density, weight and cost, but each is extremely durable. Lure manufacturers pick one plastic over the other when designing a lure to act a certain way, whether that’s a strong, lipped swimming action, durability and strength during high-speed trolling, or a hollow plug that utilizes a weight-transfer system. Orca’s topwater version is meant to be worked fast and erratically, while the sinking-pencil version works well around feeding fish and panicked bait schools. “Shimano Orcas are built from

PLASTIC

Shimano Orca

Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bonita

Bomber Mullet Sebile Flatbelly Walker

plastic to allow for mass production, but also so they can be molded into a distinct round profile,” says Ted Sakai, senior brand manager at Shimano. “The main targets with the Orcas are tuna. You really want to be able to ‘jack’ the lure, causing it to dive and roll, but also to skip across the top of the water.” B U I LT T O L A S T

Some of the toughest hard baits in today’s market utilize polycarbonate,

a plastic resin also used in applications such as bullet-resistant windows and Blu-ray discs. Yo-Zuri’s Crystal Minnow and Sashimi Pencil incorporate polycarbonate, as do many of Bomber’s saltwater plugs, such as the Magnum Long A. Nonwood-lure companies have an advantage as they continue to experiment with new materials. Manufacturers such as Yo-Zuri can build tougher lures, but also

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GEAR GUIDE Mongo poppers come in both wood and plastic. This lit-up bluefin trevally was fooled by timber.

SMOOTH AS SILK 8 YARN SPECTRA FIBER CONSTRUCTION BRAIDED UNDER HIGH TENSION TO CREATE A LINE SURFACE THAT FEELS SMOOTH AS SILK

CAST LIKE A BULLET REDUCED LINE FRICTION ON THE SPOOL AND THROUGH THE ROD GUIDES ALLOWS SUPER 8 SLICK TO CAST LIKE A BULLET

SILENT AS AN ASSASSIN SMOOTH SURFACE DESIGN REDUCES FRICTION AND LINE NOISE, ALLOWING YOU TO FISH WITH STEALTH AND SILENCE

WOOD

Phase II Scooter

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OCTOBER 2014

WOOD

Gibbs Danny Surface Swimmer

product, says Smalley. “Each lure has its own ‘knife,’ a sharp-cut piece of steel used to shape each specific lure,” he says. “Then there’s a drilling portion for the through-wire — it must be perfect, completely dialed in.” Sanding, sealants, drying, primers, painting and assembly all follow, illustrating why wooden handcrafted lures will never be mass-produced. “Anglers love the action of our metal-lipped swimmers, often called ‘Dannys.’ Its action in the water is difficult to replicate with plastic,” says Smalley. “Add the sex appeal we give with paint, plus the natural buoyancy and weight of wood, and coastal anglers catch all kinds of fish on our lures.” Wooden plugs are most popular in the Atlantic striped bass and bluefish fisheries, but they also catch seatrout, redfish, tarpon, and snook. Even if the wood loses some of its finish, it doesn’t stop attracting fish. As Fincher explains, “It’s fair to think of wooden plugs as an art, but art with a purpose — which is to catch fish!”

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AVAILABLE IN 8 SIZES AND 4 COLORS (HI-VIS YELLOW, MARINE BLUE, TIMBER BROWN, AQUA GREEN)

incorporate fish-attracting features such as hollow bodies, rattle chambers, weight-transfer systems and 3-D prism finishes. “Yo-Zuri alters polypropylene into a foam material called Power Body for its balance, action, and strength when producing Sashimi Bonitas and Sashimi Bull Poppers,” says Chris Bishop, national account manager at Yo-Zuri. “We have not received a single broken Sashimi Bonita or Bull Popper, even from anglers targeting species such as wahoo.” Wood-lure manufacturers can’t build their lures via injected molds, but instead start from dowels of wood consisting of birch, pine, balsa and cedar. “Our popular Danny and Pro series of swimmers and topwaters is built from Pacific sugar pine,” says Matt Smalley, of Gibbs Lures. “Our Tuna Candy plugs are made from birch, a harder and moreresistant wood that handles strikes from bluefins.” From those blocks of wood, it’s a 55-step process to the finished


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Animal Nature Abu Garcia says it built the Revo Beast baitcaster for throwing big lures and wrestling heavy fish. Everything — from its 22 pounds of max drag to its deeper spool for extra line capacity and oversize ergonomic handles — speaks to power. Abu even coated the Beast’s side plates with titanium. The Beast features an alloy body, 7.1-to-1 gear ratio and Carbon Matrix drag system. The reel weighs 9.35 ounces and holds 180 yards of 30-pound braid or 12-pound monofilament. It costs $349.95.

Deep Diver Simrad Yachting’s new BSM-3 Broadband Sounder Module features CHIRP technology that allows it to reach depths of 10,000 feet with heightened target separation, clarity and resolution. The module is optimized for Simrad’s NS Series, including the new NSS evo2 and NSO evo2 systems, and is compatible with a range of Airmar transducers (including wide-angle CHIRP). Features include bottom-color tracking, easy split zoom, and a variety of scroll speeds and power settings. The BSM-3 module costs $1,999.

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OCTOBER 2014


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Sun Style Bollé has announced 13 styles for its polarized Marine Collection, featuring two lens tints: Inland Glow for low-light conditions and Offshore Blue for open water. The lenses also feature antireflective treatment to reduce glare and a hydrophobic coating to repel water. Thermogrip temple tips and nose pads keep the frame fit comfortable and secure. All frames are made from b-88 nylon. (Pictured are the Kicker, for offshore, and the King, inshore). Most sunglasses in the Bollé Marine Collection cost $129.99.

Breeze Catcher Sailors aren’t the only ones who benefit from wind information. Knowing accurate wind speeds can help anglers log and plan their fishing trips. Vaavud has introduced a wind meter that plugs directly into your smartphone, and operates using a free (iOS or Android) app. As the two-cup anemometer spins, it calculates wind speeds from 4 to 45 mph with plus-or-minus 4 percent accuracy, and provides current, average, and maximum readings. The app interface also gives users access to wind measurements made by other Vaavud users globally. Available in red, green or white, the meter costs $49.95.

Road Rods Okuma’s new three-piece Nomad Xpress travel rods include seven 7-foot models: Four are boat rods with pound-test line ratings of 20 to 40 and 30 to 60; three are inshore rods with line ratings from 8 to 17 pounds and 12 to 25 pounds. Blanks are made from 24-ton carbon; Okuma uses a European spigot ferrule connection for a one-piece rod feel. The rods come with double-foot guide frames and aluminum-oxide inserts. Boat rods feature EVA grips; inshore rods feature cork handles and a split-grip design. The rods cost $99 each.

The A-List Raymarine has added the a9 (9-inch) and a12 (12-inch) multitouch multifunction displays to its a-Series lineup. The units allow pinch-to-zoom and come with a 10 Hz, 50-channel internal GPS; they’re also powered by the company’s latest Lighthouse II user interface (and include U.S. vector and raster charts). Designed for speed, the a9 and a12 employ a dual-core processor and a dedicated graphics processor, and can be controlled via Wi-Fi networking and Raymarine mobile apps. Anglers can also sync with Navionics mobile apps to immediately upload waypoints, routes and even charts. Available in three configurations — chart plotter only, plotter/ sonar, and plotter/sonar with CHIRP/CHIRP DownVision — the units cost $1,899.99 to $2,999.99.

30

OCTOBER 2014


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IGFA PENDING WORLD RECORDS

B D

XCasting a Savage Gear lure from the beach this past May at Cabo rewarded Wesley Brough of Shingle Springs, California, with a pending all-tackle-record 19-pound, 6-ounce Pacific agujon needlefish [A]. The existing record is a 16-pounder from Islas Secas, Panama. W Missing the century mark by mere ounces, this 99-pound, 12-ounce narrowbarred mackerel [B] made the mistake of nibbling on a Sebile Koolie Minnow lure trolled by South African D.C. Lubbe. He fished off Mozambique’s Bazaruto Island and landed the pending all-tackle record in 25 minutes. If approved, the fish will narrowly defeat the existing record of 99 pounds caught off Natal, South Africa, in 1982. XA handsome 20-pound, 9-ounce yelloweye rockfish [C] made Florida angler Raleigh Werking’s day out of Seward, Alaska. He made the pending 16-pound line-class-record catch in June while fishing a herring. The current men’s 16-pound-class record is 19 pounds, 6 ounces, from the Gulf of Alaska in 2006. W Pending both as the women’s 50-pound line-class and the junior-angler record for the species, this 80-pound, 12-ounce almaco jack [D] would shatter the present women’s 50-pound-class record of 46 pounds, 1 ounce from Costa Rica in 2008, and defeat the girl’s junior-angler record by 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Allison Erinakes of Burleson, Texas, made the catch while fishing out of Tropic Star Lodge in June. Amazingly, she boated it in just eight minutes.

International Game Fish Association, 300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004 ph: 954-927-2628; fax: 954-924-4299; igfa.org

32

OCTOBER 2014

A

C


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OCTOBER 2014

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What’s the most important quality of a great angler?

In mid-July, the tackle industry unlocked its new-product treasure chest of innovative fishing gear and accessories at the premier U.S. tackle trade show — the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). See video and photos of products hitting the shelves in coming months at sportfishingmag.com/icast-2014.

Perpetuating the sport, passing off good fish to kids, practicing catch-and-release, and praying Darcizzle ends up on your boat! — Kelly Robertson

Knowing exactly how much pressure your fishing gear can take, and being able to take it to that limit. — Jonathan De La Rosa

Knowledge of the targeted species, including habitat, forage base and techniques to catch them. — Bill Martin

Keeping cool, calm and collected under pressure, and actually caring for the fish’s well-being. — Brandon Lee

Being able to listen to new ideas, and understanding that no matter the experience you might have, there’s always more to learn. That’s what drives us to keep fishing. — Thomas Smart Jr.

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To become a proficient angler takes years. Observe the people who are catching when you are not. It is not luck; they are doing something different than you. After you have become a proficient angler, the one thing that will make you a great one is the ability to still learn and adapt. Every trip is productive — either you catch, or you learn why you didn’t. — Bob Mchugh

Knowledge ... to find the fish, of what gear and rigs to use to target sought-after species, and of how to work the rod to get the fish into the boat. — Lynda Oreal

This is just a sample of what you’ll find on our Facebook Fan Page. Join the conversation at facebook.com/sportfishing.

®

Learn More SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

35


30 TROPHY SEATROUT SECRETS FROM TOP CAPTAINS BY CHRIS WOODWARD

36

OCTOBER 2014

WILL DROST

How to Target Big Specks from Texas to Virginia


Some anglers classify trophy seatrout as bucket-list fish. Giants weighing more than 15 pounds are caught in Floridaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Indian River Lagoon, but specks to 10 pounds are found throughout their range.

SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

37


The first trophy spotted seatrout I ever caught seemed like an alien. I had picked at 1- to 3-pounders throughout the morning, when all of a sudden this 6-pounder piled on my D.O.A. Bait Buster in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. When I brought that slab boat-side, I thought it must be another species. And it was only a 6-pounder. I’ve seen photos of trout over 10 pounds, and I know some anglers who target Cynoscion nebulosus like any rabid fly dropper after the holy grail of bonefish. The all-tackle world-record 17-pound, 7-ounce seatrout hailed from Fort Pierce, Florida, near where I caught my trophy. But line-class records have fallen from Texas to Virginia. To better target these gator trout and cull out the ankle-biters, I asked 10 fishing guides and top anglers to give us some tips. Below are 30 suggestions they provided. Several captains mentioned using oversize baits, and many talked about the need for stealth. So those similarities certainly hammer the ultimate take-home message. Each fishery does differ in its tidal frequency and amplitude, water conditions, bottom composition and weather patterns, but the more general tactics can cover broad regions. The guides are listed from west to east and south to north, starting in Texas.

CAPT. KEVIN COCHRAN

Corpus Christi, Texas 361-688-3714

1

2

WILL DROST

(guide-service owner and pro photographer) Lake Charles, Louisiana 337-302-9455

Capt. Gary Dubiel Oriental, North Carolina (Tips 25-27)

4

Will Drost Lake Charles, Louisiana (Tips 4-7)

Capt. Greg Hildreth Brunswick, Georgia (Tips 23-24)

Capt. Jason Stock Bradenton, Florida (Tip 12)

Capt. Geoff Page Sarasota, Florida (Tips 14-16)

38

OCTOBER 2014

Capt. Ed Zyak Jensen Beach, Florida (Tips 17-22)

Captains and pro anglers throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic offered their trophy trout tips. This popular species tops the inshore list for many saltwater anglers. Truly big trout require the utmost stealth.

WINTERTIME IS THE RIGHT TIME

The majority of seatrout I’ve caught over 8 pounds are in 6 inches or less of water and have been hooked on days more suitable for duck hunting. In the throes of winter on the Gulf Coast, the only food source available for gator trout is mullet. In an all-out effort to survive, mullet must seek shallow, muddy waters because these areas are the fastest to warm from chilly overnight conditions. This is where you find true trophy trout. 5 USE EXTREME STEALTH AND PREPARE FOR LONG CASTS

These shallow waters call for either drifting (without

WILL DROST (2)

Capt. Sonny Schindler Bay St. Louis, Mississippi (Tips 8-11)

SAFETY IN NUMBERS

Giant trout often show up in the same small area in numbers. If an angler manages to catch one, more are probably present. It pays to be persistent once a big fish is caught.

Capt. Chris Newsome Gloucester, Virginia (Tip 28)

Capt. Kevin Cochran Corpus Christi, Texas (Tips 1-3)

FEEDING STATIONS

Big trout ride out cold snaps in channels and deep basins. They tend to use protected channels early in the cold season, and then stubbornly stick to deep, open basins in the second half of winter. Because big seatrout feed on other fish, they show up — after cold fronts — wherever the mullet and small trout are located. Normally, the “feeding station” will be associated with either a shoreline or the fringe of some major structural element lying near the deep basin or channels. 3

Capt. Robert “Capt. Walt” Walter Pocomoke City, Maryland (Tips 29-30)

FISH LOW LIGHT

Jumbo trout can be much easier to catch in lowlight conditions, when they feed more actively, particularly in areas with clear water. Fishing for trophy trout at night is productive in winter, when the water is more often clear.


the trolling motor) or wading. Long casts are key. I use 20-pound PowerPro double-uni-knotted to 30-pound fluorocarbon, a Shimano Core baitcasting reel and a 7-foot Waterloo rod. These rods are built for true trophy-trout fishing. They are light yet have the backbone for chucking big suspended baits and topwaters a country mile. They also still possess the power and finesse to feel a subtle bite.

NO RATTLING LURES A 10-pound trout didn’t get that big being reckless. I think these fish are smart and easily spooked. In this shallow water, I rarely use lures with rattles. I usually choose MirrOlure Floating Paul Brown lures. They were made for this type of fishing. I like bright colors in extremely clear conditions and dark colors in muddy water. I might add that I would rather have off-color water. When throwing topwaters, I like MirrOlure She-Dogs.

7

KEEP THE DRAG

I use more drag than you would think — a 9-pound trout is no “weakfish.” They have very tough mouths. I like to be aggressive with the hook and won’t back off the drag until I know things are going my way.

Hooked trout occasionally thrash and jump, offering some unexpected acrobatics. Their two spiked teeth (inset) latch onto prey with vengeful intent.

CAPT. SONNY SCHINDLER

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi 228-342-2295

8 USE THE WIND OR THE TROLLING MOTOR TO SET UP

I see people lose their trophy fish before they even make the first cast. Most of the areas where we look for big trout are in 4 feet of water or less. When people idle in on a quarter-throttle and throw a big wave over the area, they’re as good as done. We have had four or five of our boats working the same SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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50-yard area of shoreline bringing in big trout on every boat. Then, another boat comes in, pushing a wake into the bank. It’s like a light switch when that wave rolls in on the bank. 9

BIG BAITS USUALLY MEAN BIG TROUT

The “problem” we have targeting big trout on the barrier islands off the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in the Louisiana Marsh is the small trout. You might hook a trophy trout on one cast, and then on the next cast, a 6-inch speck nails the same lure or live bait. Your best bet is to use the biggest artificial baits you can, like the Zara Super Spook or jumbo Savage 3D Shrimp. If you know one of the bait shops has larger live shrimp or larger croakers, get up early and get the good stuff.

KEEP A VARIETY OF LIVE BAITS IN THE BOAT 10

Florida’s Capt. Geoff Page fishes suspending baits and D.O.A. Shrimp, using a twitch-twitchpause method — with excellent results on big trout.

40

Some mornings we get up at an ungodly hour to fill the livewells with a variety of bait. I have three livewells in my boat, and I like to put them all to good use. During certain times of year, I am rolling with one well full of jumbo shrimp, one full of big finger mullet, and another full of palm-size pogies

OCTOBER 2014

(menhaden). I can’t tell you how many times those trout will turn up their noses at beautiful live shrimp and not let a pogy touch the water before they inhale it. Variety is the spice of life. 11 FISH THE DAYS LEADING UP TO AND FOLLOWING THE NEW AND FULL MOONS

Weather permitting, we fish almost every single day from April to December, so we fish every moon phase. Our guides do agree that the few days leading up to and following the new and full moons are the best. When you get light winds and find yourself casting at first light in May and June, three to five days before or after the new or full moon, that is when the deck is stacked in your favor. CAPT. JASON STOCK

Bradenton, Florida 727-459-5899

12

LOOK FOR MULLET

Big trout love to get shallow with big schools of mullet as a buffer against the dolphins trying to sneak up on them.


SEASONAL VARIATION

13

The bigger gator trout like to push in super shallow in the winter months, and in summer, they move to deeper, moving-water grass flats. I prefer to use the Sebile Stick Shadd with a twitch-twitch-pause routine. During summer, they go to deeper flats with points and rock jetties to actively feed. If I am using live bait, I want the biggest live bait in the well, and I want it as far away from the boat as possible. CAPT. GEOFF PAGE

Sarasota, Florida 941-586-3756

14

SET THE STAGE

In spring and fall, find clean grass flats that aren’t run over by boats daily. Ideally, you will also find schools of black mullet and pilchards or glass minnows. February through April are my favorite months for targeting big gator trout. 15

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

Fish around the new or full moons, and stay as far off the area you plan to fish as you can. 16

TWITCH-TWITCH-PAUSE

I use three types of lures — topwater (Super Spook), subsurface (MirrOlure MR 17 MirrOdine) and soft plastics (Saltwater Assassin 5-inch jerk bait). With the subsurface suspending baits use a twitchtwitch-pause action. I also fish D.O.A. Shrimp with the same method. CAPT. ED ZYAK

Jensen Beach, Florida 772-485-3474

CHRIS WOODWARD (OPPOSITE), SAM ROOT / SALTYSHORES.COM (TOP)

17

GET OUT OF THE BOAT

Wading is my preferred method when fishing for trophy trout. It makes you stealthier and lets you fish an area more thoroughly. It also keeps you in tune with subtle changes you might miss in the boat, like water-temperature fluctuations, change in bottom composition, and the pull and direction of the tide. I fish several spots where the outgoing tide runs one direction for the first few hours, and then changes as more land gets exposed with the lower water. 18

FISH LOW-TIDE STAGES

I like to fish lower stages of the tide. This helps concentrate fish and narrows the search a bit. I like the last of the falling and first of the incoming tide. 19

20

“HUNT” TROPHY TROUT

I use a lot of the skills I’ve learned in the woods when I target these fish. I scout an area before I fish it; I wait for a clear, sunny day and try to learn an area. I look for how fish travel on and off the area. I look for sand holes, sand cuts, drop-offs and potential ambush points for big trout. I look for a way I can quietly get into the area, where I want to be casting when the sun comes up, and how I want to fish as the tide rises or falls. This is huge; you don’t want to be stumbling around, spooking good fish because you really don’t know where you are. It is hard to watch those giant wakes pushing off. 21

SLOW DOWN AND HAVE PATIENCE

If I know there should be a big fish in a spot, I pick it apart — sometimes spending hours there and covering every inch. Many of my really big trout have been a true test of my patience and confidence. When nothing is happening, it will make you want to move. If you know they are there, stick and stay. 22

USE THE RIGHT LURES

Here are some of my top-producing lures over the past 20 years: D.O.A. Shrimp ¼-ounce in glow/ gold, D.O.A. Airhead in Arkansas Glow, MirrOlure 5M and 7M in green-back silver-side, and full-size Zara Spook chrome and bone. CAPT. GREG HILDRETH

Brunswick, Georgia 912-617-1980

AVOID THE CROWDS

I look for out-of-the-way or overlooked places. A small piece of good habitat that does not get pressured much might hold big fish. I look for good tide flow, a food source and nearby deeper water. Amazingly, some of these places are right next to popular boat ramps.

Concentrating on low-tide stages for trophy trout means fishing shallower water, which helps to concentrate the fish and narrows the search area.

23

GO LIVE

While Georgia’s speckled trout grow nowhere near as large as they do in other states, if I were targeting nothing but trophy trout, I would use live bait such as 3- to 4-inch finger mullet, river pogies or small pinfish. Most of the oversize trout are caught in SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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deep water (12 to 20 feet) around structure such as docks and bridge pilings. 24

TIDE MATTERS

In areas with large tidal amplitude such as coastal Georgia, fish a slip-float rig that adjusts as the water level rises or falls. You’ll find most larger trout very close to the bottom. Wait until the tide slows a little so the bait stays longer in the strike zone. CAPT. GARY DUBIEL

Oriental, North Carolina 252-249-1520

SEARCH SHALLOW, GRASSY AREAS AND MARSH EDGES OVER SHELL BOTTOMS

25

Big trout in my area like to get in shallow water, and are typically in small groups or removed from groups of smaller fish. Many of our creek systems 42

OCTOBER 2014

have grass blooms each spring, and trophy specks move into holes in the grass to ambush mullet. We also find trophy fish tight to the marsh grass along the main river shorelines over shelled bottoms. 26

USE A SLOW RETRIEVE

With any size hook, the retrieve remains unchanged and vital: three or four slow cranks with the reel, then pause and allow the bait to fall, anticipating the strike on the pause. Our big trout are very lazy. With massive amounts of bait, they rarely run down a bait, so slow is better. 27

BRING LONG-CASTING TACKLE

In my area, the water has some tannin to it, and it’s not possible to sight-fish or see potholes. Long, accurate casts are often necessary. Tackle selection makes all the difference in the world with trophy fish. High-modulus, lightweight fast-action rods — like Temple Fork Outfitters’ new GTS TWS S693-1, 6-foot-9-inch ML-action spinning rod — are perfect

JASON ARNOLD / JASONARNOLDPHOTO.COM (TOP), WILL DROST (OPPOSITE)

Sandy patches within grass beds generally hold trout. Stealth is key to finding the biggest fish. Keep the noise and boat wakes to a minimum.


surface commotion as it feeds, so it’s possible to determine which species is feeding. We look for large swirls with a sucking/popping noise when targeting trophy specks. CAPT. ROBERT “CAPT. WALT” WALTER

for this very technical fishing. Adding a light Penn Conflict 2500 reel spooled with 10-pound-test braid gives you better distance without increasing weight. I also find it important to use a smaller-diameter fluorocarbon leader, and not to fish more than 15-pound-test. CAPT. CHRIS NEWSOME

Gloucester, Virginia 804-815-4895

28

LIVE CHUM

I fill my livewells with peanut bunker (small menhaden), and then live-chum over the flats. The baitfish scatter, and we look for trophy specks crashing the bait on the surface. My clients then cast lures to the surface action. This technique helps locate fish over a broad area. I run across specks, reds, stripers and bluefish here on the Chesapeake Bay. Each species makes a different

In Texas and Florida, anglers commonly get out of the boat to better approach likely trout haunts, and to learn the subtleties of different locations.

Pocomoke City, Maryland 410-957-1664

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FIND FAST, CLEAR WATER

To target the larger, trophy Chesapeake Bay speckled trout, I begin by finding specks feeding. I look for clear, fast-moving water, so I target structure that blocks the tide. The water meeting the structure is then pushed more rapidly around it. Sod banks (both submerged and sticking out of the water), points, rocks (submerged piles as well as jetties), grass beds and wrecks fit the bill. 30

BUMP UP BAIT SIZE

When we find specks and start catching them regularly on a particular structure, we remove the smaller lures we’ve been using, and tie on either a 5-inch Storm lure (chartreuse or white) or a 6-inch Hogy Lure Texas-rigged with an 8/0 hook. Smaller specks still try to hit the lures, but you usually can’t and don’t hook them. SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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TAGGING MAKO SHARKS TO UNLOCK SECRETS OF THEIR ABUNDANCE AND MIGRATIONS

MISSION FOR MAKO 44

OCTOBER 2014

DOUG PERRINE

BY GUY HARVEY, PH.D.


Tagging the majestic mako shark is a challenge; learning about where these global nomads go is fascinating.

THE POPULATION OF MAKO SHARKS that lurks in the swift, north-flowing current off Mexicoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Caribbean coast is not a complete secret. Capt. Anthony Mendillo, who operates Keen M International, can tell you as much. Makos attack his dredges when heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fishing for sails and white marlin. Sometimes they grab hooked sailfish, and they love to chew on the jumbo-size bonito (little tunny) that frequent these waters.

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I

JOINED MENDILLO IN LATE MARCH WITH MAKO IN MIND. MENDILLO HAD HOPED TO GET HIS FAVORITE BAIT FOR ISLA MUJERES MAKOS, DOLPHIN FISH (DORADO). BUT DOLPHIN, WHICH WOULD BE MORE ABUNDANT LATER IN SPRING, WERE SCARCE AT THAT TIME. THE SOLUTION: MAKE DECOY DOLPHIN. NEXT THING I KNEW, WE WERE TROLLING TWO HOOKLESS DOLPHIN DECOYS ON THE RIGHT SHORT AND LONG RIGGER LINE. ON THE LEFT RIGGER, MENDILLO PULLED DEAD BONITO ARMED WITH A LARGE, SINGLE J-HOOK.

We had been working the edge of the current line in 200 to 300 feet of water when — kaboom! — a 400-pound mako skied on the short decoy. We watched it go airborne with the decoy firmly in its jaws not 30 feet off the transom. The shark arched and flipped in midair, landing heavily on the water’s surface, then mounted another attack on the decoy in

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OCTOBER 2014

a burst of foam. Not happy with the taste of pinewood, it crossed our wake like a blue marlin to grab the swimming bonito. Then we were truly hooked up, line pouring off the Shimano reel as the mako raced away across the surface, throwing curtains of water. This, I thought, is very much like marlin fishing, but for sharks. But we were there for

The latest Guy Harvey original: In the absence of mahi, Harvey and Capt. Anthony Mendillo (right) came up with wooden teaser decoys for makos.

more than just the (amazing) sport of hooking makos. KIWI MAKO: 6 0 M I L E S P E R D AY

Three years ago, Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute began tagging and tracking makos from Isla Mujeres. At that time, I deployed three pop-up archival transmitter (PAT) tags, two of which went the full six-month term before popping up. Shortly after that, the GHRI sent satellite-reporting SPOT (Smart Position and Temperature) tags to New Zealand for deployment on makos there by our colleagues Dr. Malcolm Francis, Scott Tindale and Dr. Clinton Duffy. Based on their results, Dr. Mahmood Shivji, director of the GHRI, realized that these tags were working extremely well (which was gratifying, since they’re not cheap at $1,700 per tag


COURTESY GUY HARVEY / NSU-GHRI (OPPOSITE, TOP), GEORGE SCHELLENGER / NSU-GHRI (RIGHT), M. SHIVJI / NSU-GHRI (BOTTOM)

plus about $1,000 more per tag for satellite time per year). The tags were providing information on these sharks’ movements in unprecedented detail because the makos were coming to the surface multiple times each day. More so than the PAT tags, SPOT tags provide accurate, multiple daily detections, helping scientists to a rare view of the migration patterns of makos. A SPOT tag enabled us to follow a Kiwi mako dubbed “Carol” as she covered nearly 10,000 miles from northern New Zealand to Fiji and back, and then up to Tonga, in just under a year. She made headline news in the process, averaging 60 miles per day. At the same time, Shivji and Dr. Brad Wetherbee were deploying SPOT tags on makos out of Ocean City, Maryland. From our previous studies on tiger sharks in Bermuda and the Bahamas, we know that tigers and oceanic whitetip sharks spend a great deal of time at the surface; this allows a SPOT tag to transmit its approximate location to satellites. Successes like that of Carol sparked our decision to switch from PAT tags to SPOT tags for Mexican makos. For that operation, we turned to Mendillo. He has been fishing his 41-foot Mike Fitz (a singleengine boat, and the best day boat I have fished anywhere) off Isla Mujeres for more than a decade, concentrating on different

species at different times of year. The run of makos off Isla occurs during March and April, along with sailfish in the early part of the year. White marlin go off in May and June, whale sharks from June into September, and swordfish whenever it’s calm enough to catch them while deep-dropping in the daytime.

It’s hard to miss the SPOT tag attached to the fin of this mako, about to be released. Dr. Brad Wetherbee checks over a SPOT tag attached to the dorsal of a shortfin mako.

GEARING UP

Armed with several SPOT tags, Wetherbee, filmmaker George Schellenger and I all went back to Isla Mujeres at the end of March 2013. The weather gods were against us, and we battled horrendous seas for four days but still managed to deploy three SPOT tags. Unfortunately, we could not work on the sharks secured alongside the boat

Carol — one movin’ mako: In less than a year, this small female put about 10,000 miles on her odometer, traveling from New Zealand to Fiji to Tonga, averaging 60 miles per day.

Track individual sharks interactively in the Atlantic and Pacific at ghritracking.org.

because it was so rough. We brought them into the boat, secured them, covered their eyes, and irrigated them while the SPOT tag was attached to the dorsal fin and then released. It was definitely not as easy as that might make it sound. Schellenger and I filmed all the releases and watched as the chunky makos took off into the blue — very gratifying. On our first day, we had four mako bites but caught just one. Throughout the week we also raised sailfish, white marlin and blue marlin. I booked Mendillo for 10 days at the end of March this year too. Little did I know that he had embraced this project big-time — so much so, he had actually built an aluminum derrick and lifting platform on the stern of Keen M before we arrived. The platform could be moved on rollers across the transom, and would allow us to load a mako on the platform and SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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then raise it out of the water. Scientists could attach the SPOT tag easily and without having 200 pounds of charged-up shark actually in the boat. SUCCESS, TIMES 11

Graced with beautiful weather this time, we trolled decoys and fresh bonito for makos with astonishing results. While a few makos would sneak up and bite just on the rigged bonito, the majority, particularly the bigger fish, would launch on the dolphin decoy from underneath or by coming across from the inside out and crash the decoy just as crazily as would a 500-pound blue marlin. But with makos, there’s never any warning. Veteran fishing photographer Scott Kerrigan, on board for several days, waited patiently on the flying bridge for the shot. But neither he nor any of us were fast enough to get that first jump. TV-fishing-show host Diego 48

OCTOBER 2014

As a stream of saltwater courses over its gills, this mako is quickly tagged and measured by scientists out of Ocean City, Maryland.

Toiran joined me for a day and caught a fine 200-pound mako, which he’d show later as an episode of his show, Fishing the Keys. His SPOT-tagged mako is named Diego; all of these sharks, as well as other pelagic species we work on, can be followed on the interactive GHRI tracking site: ghritracking.org. Schellenger did rig GoPros

on each dredge, and we were fortunate to have a couple of makos devour the mullet off a dredge (after taking a shot at the camera housing!). This footage makes for very exciting content, with makos fast and agile, and their black, expressionless eyes menacing. Typically we would catch one of every three makos that we raised. Many that seemed well hooked came off; in fact, some were hooked several times and still got away. I considered the likelihood that they were simply holding onto the bait, not wanting to let go. We did hook a couple of makos using the pitch-bait approach, so bait-and-switch tactics with the decoys did work to a certain extent. We raised 36 makos, all but four of which bit, during this expedition. From those 32 strikes, we caught and tagged a total of 11 in this expedition — not great catch numbers but some incredible action.


Prior to releasing it, we measured each shark, took a fin clip for DNA analysis, and removed the hook as the platform was lowered into the water so we could release the mako. Schellenger and I went into the water with each mako to get shots of the SPOT tags in place underwater, and to get the departure shot. We also revived them when necessary by towing them behind the boat using a small barbless hook in their lower jaw. This approach to fishing makos — which is still evolving — is much more exciting than drifting or being at anchor to set up a chum line. It allows you to fish in heavy current where makos frequent, and where there might be no opportunity to anchor. MARYLAND MAKOS ADDED TO THE MIX

Given the incredible results we were getting in New Zealand and Mexico, the GHRI expanded its mako shark research in the Atlantic off the United States in May of this year by joining forces with Capt. Mark Sampson, who operates Fish Finder Adventures based in Ocean City, Maryland. With Sampson’s long-standing shark-fishing and shark-handling experience, the GHRI team deployed eight more SPOT tags on makos — although this time by lifting the 5- to 6-foot sharks

into the boat and onto a mat with specially designed tailers. After a very short struggle and expert handling by Sampson, including quick removal of the barbless circle hooks, the sharks calmed down astonishingly quickly. The eyes of the sharks were covered with a wet towel, and a seawater hose was inserted into the shark’s mouth, keeping the gills well aerated. That’s when the GHRI “pit crew” moved in to quickly attach a SPOT tag, under the watchful eye of Sampson. The entire process from lifting the makos into the boat to tagging, measuring, DNA sampling and release took just minutes. To release the fish, the mat with a shark on it was lifted over the gunwales, allowing the shark to “dive” into the ocean. This diving action seemed to really help revive the sharks quickly, as they all swam off very strongly. All eight tagged sharks have been reporting multiple times daily following their release (see Project 3 on the GHRI tracking website).

Mako sharks figure prominently in many of Guy Harvey’s original paintings, such as The Hunter Hunted. His work helps fund research projects like this.

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS

The important bottom line for this whole exercise is to learn more about the abundance and migrations of this species in the

COURTESY GEORGE SCHELLENGER / NSU-GHRI (OPPOSITE, BOTTOM), GUY HARVEY / NSU-GHRI (2), GUY HARVEY INC. (TOP)

THE GREAT MAKO RACE The GHRI is promoting the Great Mako Conservation Race, scheduled for March and April 2015 off Isla Mujeres. The project’s goal is to increase public awareness and understanding of this fascinating shark in a fun way, while at the same time increasing participation in citizen science and conservation — involvement I find so many recreational fishers appreciate and are passionate about. Anyone who wants to be a part of this event and study can sponsor a SPOT tag and the satellite time for $3,500. This private sponsorship of tags will allow the study of the movement behavior of these makos in exceptional detail, a key requirement for proper management and sustainable fishing. You can also charter one of Anthony Mendillo’s game-fishing boats and catch your own mako; the shark will be given your name. The tag batteries last nine to 14 months, depending on how frequently the tag is able to report information to satellites. Our record with makos is 16 months (and counting), and three-plus years on two different tiger sharks. The Great Mako Conservation Race winner (the longest distance achieved in six months from its tagging date) will receive a fishing trip with hotel accommodations in Isla Mujeres.

western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. We hope it will produce answers to questions such as: Is there a connection between these makos and those that roam the western Atlantic farther north in cooler climates? How much time do they spend in Mexican waters? How much time in U.S. waters or roaming the Caribbean? Where is the greatest fishing effort and by which country? Who is managing these fish? According to latest catch statistics, approximately a half-million mako sharks are killed each year in the North Atlantic. Makos have the best-quality meat, plus their fins and teeth fetch a high price. One of our tagged makos, JoAnn, was caught by a commercial fisherman from Isla Mujeres in March this year after being at large just short of a year and providing the GHRI with valuable data. Two makos tagged off Ocean City last year were caught and killed by commercial fishermen off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland at the end of summer. We have definitely only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the movement patterns of these amazing sharks, but much remains to be learned. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Guy

Harvey has invested considerable funds (generated from royalties on licensed merchandise) and time/ effort into marine research, education and conservation, particularly concerning large pelagic species. Long-term projects like tagging and tracking these fish will add greatly to the database on highly migratory species. SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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RAISING

HAVOC THE HOW AND WHY OF USING YOUR BOAT TO ATTRACT BIG-GAME PELAGICS

MARC MONTOCCHIO

By JIM HENDRICKS

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OCTOBER 2014


A

A HEART-THROBBING SCENE UNFOLDS ON THE DECK OF A SPORT-FISHER AS A MARLIN POPS UP IN THE TROLLING SPREAD, DORSAL FLUNG HIGH AND PECTORALS AGLOW. WITH POWERFUL, STACCATO SWEEPS OF ITS MASSIVE TAIL, THE BILLFISH BURSTS TOWARD THE RIGHT FLAT LINE. ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE AS THE BILLFISH ATTACKS. THE CREW SCURRIES TO ACTION. A ROD BENDS DOUBLE. A CLICKER SCREAMS. LINE MELTS AWAY IN A HIGH-SPEED BLUR.

ASCENT TO GLORY What attracts pelagics such as sailfish to a sport-fishing boat? Many say it’s the same thing that draws offshore fish to floating objects.

It is what offshore anglers live for. Yet when it comes to big-game fish, this scenario seems to repeat more for some boats than others. Such “lucky” sport-fishers seem to possess mythical powers, raising innumerable fish from the depths as if by tractor beam. But do boats really attract offshore species such as mahi, marlin, sailfish, tuna and wahoo? Are some boats more apt to raise offshore fish than others? And if so, what it is that causes fish to home in on such an unnatural object as a boat? These are the questions to which I sought answers from a variety of offshore-angling experts who have fish around the world, from Hawaii to Cape Hatteras to Guatemala. SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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RAISING

HAVOC

More than one expert has likened a boat to a floating object on the offshore grounds, where game fish are attracted to things such as weed lines and kelp paddies, as well as discarded pallets, offshore weather buoys and man-made FADs (fish-aggregating devices). In their shade and sanctuary, these floating objects often harbor a community of marine life spanning the food chain. So why wouldn’t fish view a boat — despite its transient nature — in the same way? Anecdotal evidence suggests that a boat in and of itself — whether moving or stationary — will attract fish, according to most of the experts I talked with. What’s more, most believe that visual cues associated with the boat have a stronger influence on 52

OCTOBER 2014

fish than do sounds or vibrations. Supporting these assertions are observations by Hawaiian fishing authority and writer, Jim Rizzuto, who tells of two large yellowfin tuna swimming in the shadow of a 30-foot sport-fisher as it trolled for marlin. “The ahi were snuggling up against the hull and seemed not at all upset at the sight and sound of the boat,” Rizzuto says. In addition, a big blue marlin showed about the same time. He estimated the fish in the 1,000-pound range. “All of these big fish seemed to be attracted to the boat and didn’t want to swim away” Rizzuto said. They appeared to make the boat their home, at least until the crew caught the yellowfin, though they failed to get the marlin.

During a recent trip down the Pacific Coast of Baja California, I witnessed a similar phenomenon in which a huge school of mahi vacated their residence under the floating carcass of a dead seal, preferring the shade of our drifting 39-foot SeaVee. The school stayed with us as we caught and released fish for more than two hours until we decided to throttle up and head for port. BIG TEASER

In some ways, a moving boat might be even more attractive to predatory fish than a stationary object. This is due to what some might call the big-teaser effect. Like a large, hookless teaser lure designed to create a commotion on the surface to simulate a school of fish attacking bait and draw the attention

PAT FORD (TOP), RICHARD GIBSON

PA S S I N G FA D


A BOAT IS LARGER THAN ANY TEASER, ATTRACTING FISH FROM A DISTANCE. FISH SEE THE BOAT, THE TEASER, THEN YOUR BAIT. angling expert explains. The type of wake a boat lays down can also affect success, according to Randy Ramsey, president of North Carolina-based Jarrett Bay Boatworks. “Billfish are sight feeders, and a clean wake allows them to see the baits or lures more easily,” Ramsey explains. Three factors that help keep create clean wakes include a hull that’s free of fouling, properly aligned running gear and well-tuned propellers, Ramsey believes.

range may produce a set of harmonics that raise billfish like the Pied Piper.” How does he know when he has achieved this? The fish tell him so. “I know I’m pulling at the right speed when we’re getting as many or more bites than the boats around us.” The type of hull construction might also play a role, Ramsey contends. “I look at boats such as Big Oh, Chainlink, Inspiration and Sensation — boats that have been successful with different crews,” he says. “One thing they all

PIED PIPER

ANIMAL MAGNETISM A boat

attracts big-game fish such as marlin using both visual and auditory cues. Shade and engine harmonics play roles.

of a curious predator, the prop wash, froth, and splashing of the boat hull may accomplish the same thing. Most big-game anglers assume that a boat moving through the water is your biggest teaser and the first thing that notifies a billfish of your presence. A boat is larger than any teaser, attracting fish from a distance. They see the boat, the teaser, then your bait. Some captains believe that the boldest fish are also the largest ones, at least when it comes marlin, and so they are more likely to get close to the boat. “In Hawaii, the lures closest to the boat often draw strikes from the biggest fish,” Rizzuto says. Yet, the longer trolling lines usually take smaller fish. “As a result, big-game trollers generally position their largest lures just a few wakes back,” the Hawaiian

Most experts agree that sound also plays a role in how well a boat raises offshore fish. While no one has conducted empirical testing, boats emitting the thrum from a pair of big diesel engines certainly catch a fair share of offshore fish. Yet, could this be the result of the greater number of twin-diesel sport-fishers out there trolling? Plenty of fish have also been caught by anglers trolling with multiple fourstroke outboard engines. That number seems to be on the rise as more and more supersize center-console boats head out to pursue big-game fish. Many assert that the key seems to be the resonance set up between two or more marine power plants, rather than the type of engine. This results in a pulsed low-frequency sound underwater that draws in fish from a distance. It is been long established that sharks are attracted to low-frequency, pulsed white noise, much like the sound of injured baitfish or a pair of out-of-synch diesel engines. We can only assume that billfish are attracted to this noise as well. The correct harmonics make a big difference in whether fish will come to the boat to look at the lures, according to Capt. Brad Philipps, who runs Guatemala Fishing Adventures and has released more than 25,000 billfish. “A captain’s preference for a particular trolling speed may reflect his boat’s ‘sweet spot,’” he says. “Engines turning at a certain rpm

Fish such as blue marlin may rise from the depths to investigate the splashing created by a passing boat.

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RAISING

HAVOC blue marlin strikes as earlier in the year. So Bagwell had the boat hauled and ordered tune-ups on the twin 485 Detroit diesels, transmissions and running gear. After the tune-up, Silky was again running as smoothly as its name, according to Rizzuto. And the fish returned to its wake. Silky and its crew picked up the pace, releasing a steady stream of billfish, just as before. The lesson here: Sport-fishers require regular tune-ups if they are to maintain the harmonics that attract fish. “A squeaky bearing or bent prop blade could blow up into expensive problems,” says Rizzuto, “but none bigger than dragging down the fish count.” Echoing that sentiment is Jarrett Bay’s Ramsey. “One thing is for sure,” he says, “if a boat has a bad vibration, bearing noise, bent prop shaft or other issues, this hurts the boat’s ability to raise fish.” Ramsey points to evidence based on the success of new boats. “Have you ever noticed that new boats seem to catch better than older ones?” he asks. “I think it is because the bearings and running gear are tight. Crews and owners should pay attention to this as their boats age, and ensure everything is running properly.”

LARGE AND IN CHARGE

Bigger boats seem to raise more fish, but that might be simply because more offshore sport-fishers are large.

have in common is that these are wooden-cored boats. While these hulls might not be popular, wooden-cored boats might make them better at raising fish.” S TAY T U N E D

Sometimes the harmonics can turn sour. This was the case with Kona, Hawaii, Capt. John Bagwell, according to Rizzuto. Bagwell and his boat, Silky, had been on a hot streak. He and his crew had won the 2013 Skins 54

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Tournament with a 645-pound blue marlin, and followed it up a few weeks later with Henry Chee Award for the highest-scoring skipper in the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (Aug. 3-10, 2013). “Later in the year, however, Bagwell began to wonder if his 45-foot Viking had lost its competitive edge,” says Rizzuto. “The captain began to think the engines didn’t sound right.” The fish evidently felt the same, as the boat was not getting as many

It seems that bigger sport-fishing boats consistently rack up higher scores than do smaller boats. But again, this might simply be a matter of numbers: In most parts of the world, there are more large sport-fishers offshore at any given time than there are smaller boats. And because of their size, larger boats can go biggame fishing on days when marginal weather and large seas force smaller boats to stay in port. Yet, according to many experts, fish don’t care what kind of boat you are on. In my experience, I have found success in raising striped marlin off Southern California behind even smaller boats, including a single-diesel-powered 26-foot convertible and a single-outboardpowered 22-foot center-console. Yet in most cases, the marlin were as thick as fleas offshore. On tougher days, the larger boats with twin engines seemed to hold the advantage when it came to trolling.

RICHARD GIBSON

S I Z E C A N M AT T E R


Running large hookless teasers, daisy chains of artificial squid, or dredges can help create more commotion and enlarge your offshore “footprint” while trolling in a boat that’s smaller than rest of the fleet, and this can help level the playing field when fishing among the big boys. SOUNDER PROOF

How can you tell if your boat’s fishy? There is a way to test its fish-attracting power, according to Rizzuto, but it relies on keeping your eye on the fish finder. Sport-fishers equipped with high-quality fish finders — especially the newer CHIRP high-definition sounders — can mark fish such as marlin and tuna as deep as 20 to 30 fathoms. “When you spot a marlin or tuna down deep on the fish finder, turn your head around and look at your wake,” Rizzuto advises. “Then count to 20.” It takes about 10 to 20 seconds for a curious blue marlin to swim to the surface to investigate, he contends. “If you don’t see the fish slashing at your lures or tracking them, mark

the spot on your GPS chart plotter and circle back after you are sure your lures have cleared the area with no interest from a billfish,” he adds. “Troll over the area again, and give the fish another chance to investigate.” Raising fish such a marlin or tuna in this manner will prove that your

of offshore success. It is the crew’s intimate understanding of how to take advantage of a boat’s fish-attracting characteristics that proves critical. The crew’s ability to select the best lures, gauge the proper trolling distances and choose the right speed — not only for the boat, but for the ever-changing

“A SQUEAKY BEARING OR BENT PROP BLADE COULD BLOW UP INTO EXPENSIVE PROBLEMS, BUT NONE BIGGER THAN DRAGGING DOWN THE FISH COUNT.” boat has fish-attracting power, Rizzuto claims. “Every week I hear stories from skippers who have marked fish down deep and brought them up successfully for a solid strike,” he adds. MEN AND MACHINE

Of course, a boat alone will not catch fish. The experience, knowledge, and hard work of an energetic captain and crew rank as essential elements

sea conditions — can often mean more than anything else. Just as a fine guitar requires a talented musician to make music, a modern fishing machine requires the skill of its captain and crew to make fish rise to the trolling spread. And when it comes together, there’s nothing in this world that’s more exciting. That’s why I call it raising havoc.

Our members return each year as faithfully as the tides. DemoekjeeWh[_dl_j[Z\ehWhWh[l_i_j jeekhb[][dZWhofh_lWj[YbkX´ through the pages of EY[WdH[[\9bkXB_l_d]Magazine. Visit our website to request your copy or call our Membership Department to inquire about the possibilities of a guest stay. OceanReefClubMagazine.com 305.367.5921

>EC;IL? BB7I9ED :EC? D? K C IC7H? D7:E9AIL?BB7>EC;H;DJ7BI SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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A Guide to

BIG FISH off the BY JIM RIZZUTO

Calm waters off the Big Island attract abundant sport fish all year, including blue marlin (inset), wahoo, mahimahi and yellowfin tuna. Most popular port city to leave from? Kailua-Kona.

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BIG BRIAN POWERS / HAWAIIANIMAGES.COM, BRYAN TONEY (INSET)

Why Kona Remains One of the World’s Prime Destinations for Blue-Water Game Fish


ISLAND

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Sixty years ago, Kona skipper George Parker made

Kona’s consistent billfish success sparked a worldwide revolution in big-game fishing because these big fish were caught on lures pioneered and developed in Hawaii waters. Meanwhile, big-game fishermen elsewhere had been saying you could catch billfish only with bait. Even those doubters caught the Kona wave and started catching marlin on Kona-style lures. Kona is also the perfect starting point for novices who have never caught a fish in their lives. It happens every day, 365 days a year. Newcomers are well served by a well-maintained fleet of top-of-the-line boats and expert captains. Plus, Kona’s big fish hunt in deep, calm waters near shore. The 100-fathom line is a 10-minute run from Kona’s two main fishing fleets at Honokohau Harbor and Keauhou Bay. What’s more, the biggest fish of any week is usually a marlin in the 500- to 900-pound range caught by a complete newcomer on a four- or There’s no better live bait for big marlin than a bridled skipjack tuna, caught fresh from the fishing grounds.

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six-hour trip. On any day of the year, a visitor can find a suitable charter and hope to catch one or more of Hawaii’s mighty four: billfish, ahi (yellowfin tuna), mahimahi (dolphinfish) and ono (wahoo).

BILLFISH OF EVERY KIND Blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, sailfish, shortbill spearfish and broadbill swordfish — Kona’s waters are home to every billfish found in the Pacific. But each has a different story, and you should know those stories when you make plans. Big blues are the billfish that pay the bills in Kona. Blues of all sizes are here year-round, but they are usually most common during the summer tournament season, from June through early September. Mid-Pacific currents can supply a fresh run at any time, however. For example, in 2013, April surprised offshore trollers with fish heavier than 500 pounds on every day of the lunar cycle. Catches like these

show that the lunar cycle has little, if any, influence on billfishing in Kona (unlike the effect different phases might have in other fishing areas). Kona’s three 2013 granders were hooked up in January, March and July. March, which might otherwise be considered the offseason elsewhere, has turned up more of Kona’s historic granders than any other month, and that includes the 1,649-pound Kona alltime record in 1984. The 1,376-pound IGFA record for 130-pound class was caught in May 1982. Indeed, granders have been caught in Kona waters every month of the year. Licensed commercial fishermen are allowed to sell blue marlin in Hawaii, but professional skippers prefer tag-and-release for clients who want to let vital fish go. In any given week, more of Kona’s blues are tagged than kept. Visitors should make their wishes known when setting up a charter. Striped marlin cruise through Kona water’s year-round, but the big run extends from December through March. The Hawaii state record, 212 pounds, turned up here at the end of March 2011. That’s big for a north Pacific stripe, which is noteworthy because South Pacific stripers max out at more than double the weight of their northern cousins. Striped marlin are most attracted to Kona when winter waters cool down into the mid-70s. During those “chilly” times, the luckiest trollers might get up to a dozen striped marlin bites, and hook about a third of them. Those same striped marlin conditions also attract shortbill spearfish of world-record size. Kona’s frisky

KEVIN HIBBARD (2)

headlines around the world when he caught the first certified, world-record grander Pacific blue marlin. Since that 1,002-pound giant in November 1954, Hawaii’s lee eddies have churned up a stream of 1,000-pound blues that continues today. Kona waters average two or (as in 2013) three granders per year, along with more Pacific blue marlin IGFA records than any other sportfishing hot spot. That parade of records continues. In March 2013, Alex Nuttall boated a 958-pound blue marlin with Capt. Chip Van Mols on the Kona charter boat Monkey Biz II to claim the IGFA women’s 130-pound-class record.


Kona fishermen catch other billfish too, such as striped marlin (pictured), swordfish and shortbill spearfish.

To Harvest or Release? Billfish tag-and-release fishing is common in Kona. Fishermen can choose from among a wide range of excellent boat captains who will respect your preference to release marlin catches. But make sure to come to an agreement before booking the charter because some captains will keep a healthy marlin if the clients don’t mind. If you wish to weigh a billfish as a trophy, you need to work that out in advance too. Skippers will bring back marlin to the docks that die during the fight or can’t be revived successfully rather than leave the fish to languish as shark bait. The sale of billfish is legal in the islands. For local families, billfish have been a desirable source of high-quality protein for centuries.

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SPECIES AVAILABILITY JAN

FEB MAR APR MAY

Albacore Tuna Bigeye Tuna Mahimahi Pacific Blue Marlin Shortbill Spearfish Striped Marlin Swordfish Wahoo Yellowfin Tuna E XC E L L E N T

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GOOD

FA I R

JUN

JUL

AUG SEP OCT

NOV DEC

shortbills presently hold 16 IGFA marks for tackle as light as 4-pound-class, and even on fly gear. Record-seekers troll hookless teasers to draw a spearfish within range, and then present a lure, fly or bait on the most sporting gear available. For most visitors, however, the


Kona’s impressive charter fleet and prolific waters allow visiting anglers the opportunity to land a record marlin on a half-day, four-hour trip.

Broadbills are the secret sensations for fishermen who know when, where and how to catch them. Most of Kona’s rod-and-reel swordies are caught at night during ika-shibi (traditional hand line) trips that target tuna. With its giant staring eyes, the broadbill is readily attracted to lights at night and to the squid schools that gather in the glow. The state record 503-pounder took the bait in June 2006 at the start of what are usually the three best swordfish months. Only a few boats cater to the night-fishing trade.

HAWAII TUNA FUEL JET REVOLUTION Fifty years ago, Hawaii troller Henry Nishikawa ignited the jet revolution when he caught a world-record ahi on a metal-headed lure drilled through and through with holes. His 269-pound yellowfin didn’t last long in the record books after anglers in the eastern Pacific discovered a tribe of bigger tuna off Mexico. Yet the IGFA record book is still overwhelmingly Kona on the ladies’ side: Kona catches made by women hold the 16-, 20-, 30- and 50-pound-class marks. Though Kona waters attract

resident schools of yellowfin year-round, ahi are most abundant in late spring and throughout summer. As schools migrate west to east through the islands, the big runs reach Kauai first by Mother’s Day in May and Kona by Father’s Day in June. When the action is wide open, lucky boats can catch as many as 10 a day, all in the 100- to 220-pound range, by trolling or live-baiting with aku (skipjack tuna) or opelu (mackerel scad). During the rest of the year, ahi specialists target them with green-stick gear, and continue to catch a few each trip. Hawaii’s state record ahi (a July catch) of 325 pounds is unusually large for central Pacific yellowfin tuna. Kona’s biggest ahi each year normally hits 250 pounds (258.5 in 2013). The state record bigeye (277 pounds in July 2013) and the biggest albacore (89.2 pounds in April 2011) both were caught on the Big Island’s windward (eastern) coast. The albacore weighed more than any on the IGFA record list but did not qualify for world-record status because it was caught on commercial-fishing

Shore Fishing THE BIG ISLAND’S jagged reefs make shoreline fishing difficult, and its rugged lava-rock sea cliffs add considerable danger. Big Islanders have developed special “slide-bait” techniques and equipment for overcoming the hazards and obstacles, but the method is more equipmentdependent than most visitors can handle. If you know how to cast for surf fish, however, you can easily adapt your skills and use them to catch Hawaii’s many multicolored snapper, wrasses, goatfish, jacks, barracuda and assorted other surprises. Bring your favorite surf spinning reel with you, and be prepared to buy a matching 8- or 9-foot rod at a local tackle shop. Rig with a ringed torpedo sinker, 30-inch length of leader and a tarpon-style hook. Tip the hook with a strip of ika (squid) or a slice from a mackerel scad. Cast out the weight as far as you can, and reel it back fast enough to keep it swimming just under the surface. Locals call this “whipping.” A quick surface retrieve can draw strikes from omilu (bluefin trevally), lae (leatherskin jack), kaku (barracuda), aha aha (needlefish) and awa awa (ladyfish). Some of these will bite through your nylon leader, but don’t switch to wire. In Hawaii’s ultraclear waters, a metal leader will scare away wary shore fish. If the surface retrieve gets no attention, let your bait drop down to a lower water level. Keep it above the reef or it will snag immediately. A bait that moves 3 or 4 feet above the reef catches moano (manybar goatfish), kumu (white saddle goatfish), taape (blue-lined snapper), roi (peacock grouper), toau (blacktail snapper) and other reef dwellers. To focus exclusively on bigger game, whip with poppers and metal spoons such as Kastmasters. Local favorites include PILI poppers and Mark White ceramic plugs.

SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

JIM RIZZUTO, KEVIN HIBBARD (OPPOSITE)

spearfish is a surprise catch when trolling for blues and stripes. For black marlin, Kona is outside the normal migration range. The entire Kona fleet sees only a handful each year, and these are much smaller than the giants of the Great Barrier Reef far to the south. Old-timers will remind you that the state record weighed 1,205 pounds, but that once-in-ageneration fish was caught in 1980. The biggest of 2013, an August catch, weighed 678.5 pounds.

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MAHIMAHI, HAWAII’S GIFT TO THE WORLD Nearly 60 years ago, Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club official George Perry set the 130-pound-class IGFA world record for dolphinfish with a 72.5-pounder. That record didn’t last long, but the name “mahimahi” is Hawaii’s gift to the world, because it replaces the confusing name “dolphin” on restaurant menus. Though Hawaii has no current IGFA mahimahi records, the state-record 82-pounder confirms the potential. That record fish was a September Kona catch, but mahimahi are available any time the current drags a “floater” within trolling distance.

Mahimahi live up to their name (it means “very strong”), and the brightly colored, agile acrobats do their muscular tricks in Kona waters year-round. Occasionally huge schools gather around flotsam and jetsam for a wide-open bite that can go on for days. Then, skippers gear down to match the catch with sporting 20- and

Flashy metal jet 30-pound-class lures are a top rods. Unless a Kona trolling choice skipper finds a for ono and ahi. floater, mahi are This trio has an original shape, incidental catches on marlin and tuna trips. dating back to the 1960s. By the way, the mahimahi record aside, Perry went on to catch the largest blue marlin in each of the first two Hawaiian International Billfish Tournaments. The HIBT became an annual Kona fishing feature in 1959 and soon inspired dozens of other Kona tournaments. During the most popular tournament months of June, July and August, events compete with each other every week.

ONO BLITZES, SUMMER PHENOMENON Eighty years ago, a mysterious fellow known only as “J.B. Stickney” caught a 124.75-pound wahoo in Hawaii waters to set the world record. That was five years before the IGFA was founded, a time when records were compiled by Van Campen Heilner of Field & Stream and Francesca R. La Monte of the American Museum of Natural history. Ono — what wahoo are called in Hawaii — average 30 to 40 pounds, which makes J.B.’s catch even more extraordinary. Big ones do show up now and then — state-record-holders Tom Brandt and Sky Mullins surprised their 133.2-pound ono off the windward coast of the Big Island in December 2000. The major ono run reaches the Big Island in May of each year and hangs around into early September. Some ono are caught year-round, with early morning being your best chance. Kona skippers typically troll the 40-fathom line at the start of each

trip to pick up any ono that might be harassing the nearshore bait schools. To ward off the ono’s sharp teeth, skippers rig their special ono lures with single-strand stainless leaders. Ono slash at heavy-headed subsurface lures like weighted jets and lead-head feathers. On a typical trip specifically for ono, a successful boat might catch three or four fish. In years when ono blitz the summer currents, boats are known to hook as many as 40 on a single trip. Other fishing areas might see the diversity of big-game fish that Kona has, but few have them in the sizes regularly seen here. In Kona, your next strike could come on any day of the year, in any phase of the moon, at any turn of the tide, on routinely comfortable seas, and be one of the Pacific’s biggest and most exciting game fish. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In his 50-year

writing career, Jim Rizzuto has produced more than 2,500 articles and 15 books about fishing in Hawaii.

TO HOOK UP with some top Kona captains, call the Charter Desk at Honokohau Marina at 888-566-2487 or visit a list of Kona charters at sportfishingmag .com/kona-captains.

Mahiamahi (above, left) and ono (below) are mostly chance catches but can bite in bunches at certain times of the year.

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JIM RIZZUTO (TOP), KEVIN HIBBARD (CENTER), ADRIAN E. GRAY (BOTTOM)

gear. Kona fishermen regularly catch albies (tombo ahi) in the 60s and 70s on sport fishing tackle.


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SPORT FISHING

BOATS

FISHING MACHINES BY CHRIS WOODWARD

SEVEN GREAT LIVE-BAIT BOATS

Center-Consoles with Robust Livewells, Convenient Rigging, Extra Rod Holders and More

SPECIFICATIONS LOA ........................34 ft. 10 in. BEAM ................................ 10 ft. DEADRISE ............... 24.5 deg. DRAFT ...............................21 in.

Contender 35ST

L

ive bait. Liveys. Fresh meat. Wherever you fish and whatever you target, chances are you’ve tried using live bait at some point in your angling life. If you fish from a boat, you’ve already evaluated the vessel for handling, keeping and deploying live prey. So what characteristics make an offshore vessel keen for live-baiters? When I asked several top boat manufacturers for their opinions, I heard mostly about superior livewell systems. But while the number, location and capability of livewells certainly rank highest on the list of qualities for a live-bait boat, I was sure there must be more. Besides livewells, I suggest the following features should also be considered: 1) The number and location of rod holders, including a place to perch one or more kite rods or multiple lines to feed a kite (i.e., a rocket launcher);

Contender’s livewells are each fitted with a 1,500 gph pump, placed into a sea chest. The wells drain from the bottom, top or both.

2) Convenient rigging station for bridling materials, dip nets, etc.; 3) Optional bonito/tuna tubes for larger liveys — or at least room for installing them aftermarket; 4) Ample electrical outlets for kite reels; and 5) A strong saltwater washdown system for cleaning up slime and scales.

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Some qualities are subjective, of course. What is convenient to one angler might not be for another. And many specific live-bait-boat features must be added as options. So as you investigate potential boats for their live-bait qualities, keep all the details and possibilities in mind. To get you started: Here are seven offshore center-consoles that offer superb live-bait amenities. They are listed alphabetically. CONTENDER 35ST

Daryl Deka and Team Hardway run a Contender 35ST called Doing It All out of south Florida, winning top prizes in live-bait tournaments such as the Silver Sailfish Derby out of West Palm Beach. This past season they took the championship title in the Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series. Deka says their Contender features 48 gunwale rod holders and five electrical outlets around the boat to deploy multiple kites from any location. The team’s 35ST also comes with four wells — two standard 40-gallon tanks in the transom, a 55-gallon well in the aft deck and an 85-gallon well in the bow deck. Each is filled using its own 1,500 gph pump fitted into a sea chest.


The wells drain either from the bottom or from an overflow at the top, or from both, which Deka says does make a difference to some baits. “The sardines like it best with the top overflow closed and bottom open. The scales fall off them easily, and the bottom drain pulls out the scales, keeping the bait from choking,” he says. “Herring like a little overflow from the top, like 25 percent, and the other 75 percent flowing out the bottom. The herring swim up high in the well, and too much suction out of the top stresses them. The goggle-eyes and speedos stay at the bottom of the well, preferring the top-overflow setup.”

SPECIFICATIONS LOA ........................... 41 ft. 7 in. BEAM ........................ 12 ft. 2 in. DEADRISE ................... 23 deg. DRAFT ..............................24 in.

Hydra-Sports Custom 4200 SF

HYDRA-SPORTS CUSTOM 4200 SF

The 4200 comes with two 45-gallon, pressurized transom livewells, each with a seacock, two drains and two rotary pumps connected to a highspeed pickup. “We build redundancy into all of our systems,” says Alex Leva, Hydra-Sports Custom president. “Say you were loaded with goggle-eyes for a tournament; you might operate both pumps (changing over the water every two minutes) and both drains to keep these baits healthy and alive.” Also, as the boat runs, the force of water into the pickups spins the rotary pumps faster than the 12-volt system runs them, Leva says. The added volume of water must exhaust through the extra drains. Hydra-Sports can add a bow baitwell into the foredeck, and as INVINCIBLE 42

This 42-foot-9-inch open fisherman employs a proprietary sea chest that feeds water to the wells at all

The 4200’s pressurized livewells hold 45 gallons of water each. They feature a seacock, two drains and two rotary pumps connected to high-speed pickups.

many rod holders as you can fit along the gunwales. A dry-storage locker forward provides indents to secure two cast-net buckets. A tricked-out tackle center with 10 drawers just aft of the leaning post puts all bridling supplies, hooks and

leader material in easy reach. The tackle center is lined at the back with four rod holders, so you can easily anchor the rod you’re rigging. Truly customize your 4200 with fore and aft rocket launchers and tuna tubes astern to subdue the largest live baits.

speeds. Livewells in the sole aft and in the transom comprise 170 gallons. The transom well sports an acrylic lid to better monitor bait health.

“For fast boats, it’s all about getting to the fishing grounds first. But it doesn’t help if you get out there and your bait is dead,” an Invincible

LEFT: Acrylic lids allow captains to better monitor bait health in the livewell. BELOW: Invincible’s proprietary sea chest helps feed water to the wells at all speeds.

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SPORT FISHING

BOATS

FISHING MACHINES

spokesman says. “When a boat SPECIFICATIONS is on plane, there’s so much air LOA .......................42 ft. 9 in. under the hull that standard BEAM ...................... 11 ft. 7 in. DEADRISE ............. 22 deg. pickups are not able to grab DRAFT ...................... 23 in. enough water to keep the wells properly fed. Our pickups in the box are fully shielded. There’s always water in there.” Invincible can also install above-deck wells that are removable, with flush rigging that makes the wells essentially plug-and-play. Customers can also choose more optional in-deck wells. Anglers who pitch live baits also appreciate the single-level deck surrounding the cockpit. The flat layout promotes better footing and easier movement fore and aft. A deluxe tackle station with rigging space and a full tackle-box system stands aft of the helm. JUPITER 38 HFS

Jupiter offers its customers as many as four livewells of varying sizes located in the transom, the tackle station and in the deck. The typical setup involves a bronze through-hull with a seacock and a flow-control directional inlet, enabling an angler to adjust the flow from the 1,600 gph pump for the size, quantity and health of the bait. The livewell tubs also come with two overflows and a dedicated drain to enhance that flow control. “But here at Jupiter, we are all about building the boat to the customer’s

SPECIFICATIONS LOA ....................... 38 ft. 2 in. BEAM .....................10 ft. 7 in. DEADRISE ................ 24 deg. DRAFT ........................... 24 in.

Jupiter 38 HFS

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needs. Does he want it plumbed a certain way? OK, we’ll do that,” says Bob Bissinger, Jupiter sales and marketing manager. Bissinger says a lot of customers ask for swivel rod holders in the aft corners to hold kite or bent-butt downrigger rods. Jupiter also has an option for electric-reel outlets that can be placed wherever the customer desires. The 38 HFS comes standard with a rocket launcher behind the helm seats, a small rigging station next to the livewell with a sink, and freshwater and saltwater washdowns.

Invincible 42

Bissinger adds: “Our hull and deck design does away with screws and fasteners that impede quick and safe movement around the deck. There are no ‘toe bangers.’ Our tower pipework terminates on the console, not the floor, for added space and easier movement.”


Regulator 34

SPECIFICATIONS LOA ..................... 33 ft. 10 in. BEAM ....................10 ft. 11 in. DEADRISE ................ 24 deg. DRAFT ........................... 27 in.

REGULATOR 34

Regulator added even more insulation to its livewells for 2015 on all models; the 34 comes with a 25-gallon transom tank and an optional deluxe livewell leaning post with 40 gallons of bait storage. The 34 provides four standard rod holders on the gunwales and four more on the seatback, perched just above the tackle center in the helm unit, for ease of rigging. Adding a hardtop or T-top

increases the rod-holder number by five, plus anglers can order many more rod-holder pairs that can be installed anywhere in the gunwales. Choose from in-line holders, pipes angled to 30 degrees, or whatever you need, the company says. Regulator also installs a freshwater shower at the transom-gate door in addition to saltwater and freshwater washdown systems, for ease of cleaning up bait slime aft or washing your hands.

The new triple-outboard-powered Regulator 34 offers extra rod storage inside the console.

SEAVEE 320Z SPECIFICATIONS LOA ....................... 32 ft. 5 in. BEAM ...................... 9 ft. 4 in. DEADRISE ................ 25 deg. DRAFT ...........................20 in.

SeaVee 320Z

SeaVee builds its boats to customer request, so the company can provide as many as four livewells aboard the 320Z — a standard 55-gallon transom tank, a second transom well (45 gallons), a 60or 80-gallon forward in-deck well and a 100-gallon aft in-deck well. “Multiple livewell systems yield the ability to better target species by choosing the best bait for the application,” says John Caballero, SeaVee marketing manager. “Each of the four wells can hold a specific bait such as goggle-eyes, herring, sardines, etc.” In addition, bow livewells give anglers quick access to fresh bait during a hot bite. An angler can also throw a cast net, and then conveniently turn and deposit the bait into a bow in-deck well without handling and harming the fish. SeaVee’s sea chests use more-robust bilge pumps instead of livewell pumps; SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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SPORT FISHING

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FISHING MACHINES

the pumps are always fully submerged in water, where they remain cooler and avoid air locks. The pump strainer also prevents damage from grass and debris. “Bearing the above in mind, the sea chest is a more capable system in pressurizing a livewell than an in-line pump alone,” Caballero says. Pressurizing a well reduces the sloshing of water inside. A well’s overflow is generally closed via a seacock. SeaVee usually allows a 2-inch overflow at the highest point of the well and closes the bottom drain with a removable plug. “We avoid using a stem (overflow tube or stand pipe), since it acts as a whipping post for bait while underway,” he says. YELLOWFIN 36

Yellowfin and Gem Products designed a unique intake system that’s flush with the bottom of the boat, and prevents grass and debris from clogging the livewell pumps. The 36 comes with a 55-gallon well on the transom — flanked by rod holders so you can bait up quickly and easily. Anglers can also order a leaning post with an additional 80-gallon tank. The company designs round wells RIGHT: Yellowfin’s round livewells bring water in from the bottom and force it out the top to efficiently turn over the tank in optimal time.

that bring in water from the bottom, forcing it out the top, which Yellowfin says is best for life-giving water flow. Livewells are pressurized to keep baits from sloshing while the boat is moving.

Buyers can, of course, get silly with rod holders, and the helm seat features tons of tackle-box storage. The 13-inch-wide covering boards allow a mate with a cast net to move fore and aft carrying an armload of bait, without jumping down to the deck. Dedicated to live-bait and tournament fishermen, Yellowfin also offers a suite of options throughout its boats, from multiple console designs to cockpit and foredeck add-ons. “Yellowfin is a custom shop,” the company’s website states. “Your options are limited only by your imagination.”

Yellowfin 36

SPECIFICATIONS LOA ...................... 36 ft. 8 in. BEAM ..............................10 ft. DEADRISE ................ 24 deg. DRAFT ...........................20 in.

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The Micron brand gives me the outstanding performance I expect… I’ve been using Micron CSC antifouling from Interlux for the last 20 years. I choose it because it provides excellent, long lasting protection. My customers like that it’s low maintenance, and great value since they don’t have to have the boat repainted at every haul-out. Micron CSC is reliable and we use it on both power and sailboats. Scan this QR code to see Cliff’s video

Cliff Eastman Owl Creek Boat Works

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REAL Testimonials by REAL Americans


SPORT FISHING

BOATS

FISH TRIAL BY JIM HENDRICKS

PURSUIT DC 325 A Dual-Console That Does It All

T

THE FISH TRIAL of Pursuit’s new DC 325 in early June proved to be one of my most

Pursuit’s DC 325 (top) features a new smoothriding hull. A 25-gallon covered livewell in the port side of the transom (right) easily accommodates 50 lively pilchards.

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OCTOBER 2014

This trip marked the first time I’d fished offshore from a dual-console boat. It was also a first for David Glenn, marketing director for S2 Yachts (parent company of Pursuit Boats), and his best friend, Sonny Hendrix, who joined us for a day of dolphin fishing. Before heading offshore, we rendezvoused with a local bait boat near the Fort Pierce Marina to load the DC 325’s 25-gallon covered livewell — on the transom bulkhead’s port side — with 50 pilchards, in case we wanted to cast baits to dolphin or other fish. The Pursuit cruised out at 32 mph, powered by a pair of counterrotating

Yamaha F300 four-stroke outboards, which were turning 4,000 rpm. The DC 325 features an infused, fiberglass structural-grid construction system, a factor I could sense in the quiet confidence of the hull. When not driving from the plush captain’s chair, my favorite seat was the aft portion of the lounger on the port side opposite the helm. It features fold-down armrests and a backrest that’s angled perfectly when facing forward. I tried the wraparound bow loungers (each with fold-down armrests), the aft-facing cockpit seat on the port side, and the fold-out

JIM HENDRICKS (ALL EXCEPT TOP)

unusual boat tests in more ways than one. On a windless, sultry day, the Atlantic Ocean off Fort Pierce, Florida, laid peaceful — a welcome respite from the usual lumpy, wind-blown conditions I had experienced on all my previous boat tests this year.


bench seats (one across the transom and one on the port side) in the cockpit. There’s not a bad seat on the boat.

down slightly but kept the boat moving — a critical factor when fighting any sizable fish from a dual-console. I picked up the rod as Glenn cleared the lines and instructed me. “We’re going to keep the boat moving, and once the fish has tired, I want you to bring it along the starboard side of the cockpit where I can gaff it,” he said. That’s exactly how it played out. After a few photos, we iced the 15-pound cow dolphin in the starboard in-sole fish locker — one of two 36-gallon insulated fish boxes under the cockpit deck. We cleaned up the diamond nonskid deck with the raw-water washdown system (there’s also a freshwater shower head in the cockpit on a retractable hose) and started fishing again.

Keeping the boat moving is the key to landing sizable fish aboard dualconsoles such as Pursuit’s DC 325.

HOW DOES IT FISH?

Let’s cut to the key question: How well does this dual-console fish? I learned that the DC 325 fishes every bit as well as an express sport-fisher of similar size. Many anglers have tried to compare dual-console boats to center-console boats, quickly pointing out that you can’t fight a fish down the side. Yet, that’s not really a fair comparison. A dual-console is more akin to an express sport-fisher but with an open bow. You can’t fight a fish down the side of most express models, but that has not dampened desire among anglers for that type of boat. “This boat was designed for families who want to do a lot of things on the water, including day cruising, diving, entertaining and, yes, fishing,” says Glenn.

port a “county line.” (“It’s so far back, it’s in the next county,” he explained with a chuckle.) He also ran two daisychain squid rigs as teasers ahead of rigged ballyhoo (which we kept in the covered bait compartment in the center of the transom). The DC 325, which features a completely new running surface, laid down a relatively flat wake with clean trolling lanes at 1,400 rpm. One of the twin Raymarine e125 Hybrid-Touch SETTING OUT A SPREAD multifunction displays indicated We found a color break about 13 miles a speed over ground of 5 to 6 mph. offshore in about 80 feet of water, so The optional Raymarine electronics Glenn decided to put out a trolling package includes a CP300 sounder spread, using the optional Rupp module, 55 VHF radio and one e125 Revolution 18-foot outriggers built into display. The second display, Raymarine the integral hardtop. He set a medium4 kW high-definition color radar with a length trolling line to starboard, and to dome antenna, and the autopilot on our boat were add-ons. It didn’t take long to find fish; the county line PERFORMANCE got bit first. A dolphin went POWER Twin Yamaha F300 outboards airborne. Hendrix slowed LOAD 250 gallons of fuel, three adults, fishing gear,

UNIQUE TRANSOM DESIGN

While re-deploying one of the teaser lines, I noted that the swim steps on either side of the integral outboard bracket extended farther aft than most — nearly to the back of the outboard cowlings. This allows you to step farther back (via a transom door in the starboard corner) to wrangle a hooked fish around the outboards. For the future, Pursuit plans to equip the exterior transom bulkhead with a step-across so you can move easily from one platform to another. The starboard swim step also has a pull-out Garelick boarding

ice, full livewell, 30 gallons of fresh water TOP SPEED

49.4 mph* @ 5,800 rpm

TIME TO 30 MPH BEST MPG

10.9 sec.* 1.27 @ 32.4 mph (4,000 rpm)

* on Yamaha performance tests and with a lighter load, the DC 325 topped out at 51 mph and reached 30 mph in 9.6 seconds.

HULL LOA

34 ft. 6 in.

BEAM

10 ft. 10 in.

DEADRISE

20 deg.

WEIGHT DRAFT

11,775 lb. (dry w/ engines) 32 in. (motors down); 22 in. (motors up)

FUEL

300 gal.

MAX POWER

600 hp

BASE MSRP

$285,000* *(with optional electronics and power as tested; add $76,595 for other options as tested)

Pursuit Boats Fort Pierce, Florida 800-947-8778 pursuitboats.com

With a wide walkthrough between consoles, the DC 325 offers unfettered movement along the centerline from bow to transom.

SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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SPORT FISHING

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FISH TRIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION about boats, electronics and accessories, visit sportfishingmag.com/new-boats.

blast, the DC 325’s wraparound windshield reaches all the way to the hardtop. You can completely shield crew by closing the center section of the windshield, but it also has a visor you can open at the top for a bit of ventilation. There’s also a door to close off the walk-through.

a vacuum-flush toilet, shower, and vanity with a Corian countertop in the starboard console. Our boat also featured two optional air-conditioning systems — one for the cabin areas inside the twin consoles and the other for the helm deck. In an innovative touch, the companionway to each console compartment features a dual-action doorway in which the overhead hatch CREATURE COMFORTS slides out of the way as you swing open We took advantage of the downtime to the door. No more banging your head if grab some cold drinks and deli sandyou forget to open the overhead hatch. wiches from the built-in cooler under Speaking of innovation, I really like the portside aft-facing seat in the the windlass setup. Like many boats cockpit. The seas were so flat, we could today, the anchor is deployed and have used the galley on the starboard retrieved through a slot in the stem side abaft the captain’s chair, which below the forepeak. The windlass is a featured an optional 120-volt electric Lewmar Pro Series model, but with this grill, to cook up some burgers. It also system, the anchor line feeds under a has a small Isotherm refrigerator/ special roller that maintains tension, freezer. To power both, our DC 325 helping the gypsy keep a secure bite. was equipped with an optional 4.2 kW Unfortunately, the wahoo proved Fischer Panda diesel generator, as well scarce, so we reeled in the lines and as a standard shore-power system. took advantage of the calm sea condiThe DC 325 features a cozy berth tions to gather performance data while within the port console. This is in offshore. Though carrying 250 gallons addition to an enclosed head with of gasoline, 30 gallons of fresh water, live bait, ice, drinks, food, fish and three adult males, the twin F300s pushed the DC 325 to an impressive top speed 49.4 mph. Our best mpg of 1.27 at 4,000 rpm and 32.4 mph means this boat offers a range of more than 380 miles with the 300-gallon fuel capacity. That kind of range is sure to please anyone who takes delivery of the new Pursuit DC 325. With the comfort and versatility of this boat, most crews will want to stay out on the water for a long time, particularly after they Sonny Hendrix shows off one learn how well of many dolphin caught during this dual-console the fish trial of Pursuit’s new DC 325 off Fort Pierce, Florida. can fish.

ladder for climbing back aboard after taking a dip. The DC 325 comes standard with a rod holder in each gunwale, with an option for three more — one additional rod holder in each gunwale and one in the center of the transom. There is also an undergunwale horizontal rod rack on the starboard side. In addition, you’ll find lockable storage for four rods inside the port console. Where you might expect to see rod holders along the aft edge of the hardtop, this boat features a retractable electric sunshade. Once deployed from inside the hardtop, it offers shade for the cockpit. DOLPHIN CENTRAL

Within five minutes of resetting the lines, we were bit. This time, other dolphin followed as Hendrix fought the hooked fish to the boat. I grabbed a spinning rod, pinned on a pilchard from the transom livewell, and cast to a “shadow fish,” and we quickly had a double. To keep the boat moving slowly forward while we dealt with the fish, we engaged the Raymarine autopilot, which was interfaced with the optional Yamaha Helm Master system. The fact that we were able to fight and land two active dolphin from the cockpit of a dual-console serves as strong testament to the prowess of these boats as fishing machines. Adding to the comfort of the experience were coaming bolsters that rimmed the cockpit (except the transom door). With a box full of iced mahi, we decided to pull in the lines and head farther offshore to look for wahoo. To shield the helm deck from wind 72

OCTOBER 2014

JIM HENDRICKS (2)

Pursuit’s David Glenn puts the extended swim platform and pull-out boarding ladder to use.


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THRESHER 155

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SPORT FISHING

BOATS

CHRIS WOODWARD

ELECTRONICS

SEARCH ENGINES I

Captains search for new fishing locations — such as rocks, wreck pieces, even birds — using not only intel, but also combining side/down-scan, radar, autopilot, and even photo overlays.

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know that asking anglers to stop fishing and start searching for new structure is about as sacrilegious as flag desecration. Being on the water is precious, but prospecting should actually save anglers time in the long run, plus you can do it when the bite lags or during slow seasons. “Prospecting is a difficult habit for saltwater fishermen. Freshwater-tournament anglers have this down to a science,” says Capt. Shaun Ruge, who runs Riptide Charters in Massachusetts. If you always return to the same locations, “you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Worse yet, you don’t learn anything with easy repetition.” In fact, says south Florida Capt. George Mitchell, in years past, prospecting was really the only way to fish. “Way back when, we had only a compass, watch and landmarks; we had to ‘find stuff.’ Sure, there were a few known locations, but

OCTOBER 2014

most of the time, we’d drift an area while looking at the paper recorder. If we got a bite, we’d take note of the landmarks,” Mitchell says. Mitchell, who uses Furuno electronics, and Ruge, who runs Raymarine gear, employ not only sounders, but also plotters, radars, AIS, and autopilots to create systematic, time-effective prospecting strategies. And while they do search for permanent ocean fixtures, they also investigate temporary structure such as anchored ships and bait schools. They and four other captains, pro anglers and brand experts agreed to share their tips. SOUNDER TIPS Q “When I’m running, I always dial in and watch the bottom machine. I find all kinds of stuff,” says Bill Platt, a Garmin pro-tournament fisherman

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Pros’ Tips for Using Electronics to Prospect New Fishing Spots


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SPORT FISHING

BOATS new spots — at up to 30 mph. “Sure, I get better detail at slower speeds. But at higher speeds, I am looking for different signs. I’m looking for larger, more-obvious signs of life.” RADAR TIPS

Side-imaging technology can help anglers see exactly how rubble, a wreck or other structure is oriented on the bottom.

out of Texas. “A lot of times, I run over a little piece of structure. I turn around and spend maybe 15 minutes looking. I might find the whole structure — maybe even the mother lode.” Q “Anytime I’m anchoring in deeper water, I always have my StructureScan on and set to 80 feet,” says Florida Keys captain and TV host Tom Rowland, who uses Lowrance HDS 12 units. “I have found pieces of wrecks that have broken away that hold better fish than the main part.” Q Side Imaging helps determine exactly how rubble or a wreck lays on the bottom, says Bill Carson, Humminbird marketing product manager. “This allows the captain to drop waypoints for a wreck to include bow, stern, and sides, providing pinpoint accuracy for dropping on the structure with wind and water movement.” Q “While fishing for striped bass and bluefish along the shoals, I zigzag the drop-offs to find where fish are holding along a piece of structure that might stretch for a mile,” Ruge says. “A small pile of rocks can be an oasis in the sandy desert around Cape Cod. I will drop a waypoint, and then go back on a day when sea bass or fluke are my targets.” Ruge adds that he uses CHIRP (CP450) and DownVision to prospect

Capt. Mike Smedley uses his Simrad StructureScan to find and follow bait schools as they move so he can stay on the fish. 76

OCTOBER 2014

Q One trick is to turn on radar and look for the local charter guys. “They’re usually on top of each other,” says Capt. Mike Smedley, who charters out of Youngsville, North Carolina, and uses Simrad evo2 and NSE systems. “Then go in and look for bait with StructureScan.” With StructureScan, Smedley says he can also keep an eye on the bait school as it moves because the cone reaches 200 feet left and right. Q “I run radar all day long,” says Ruge. “More often than not, a flock of birds pops out of nowhere, and the grass immediately becomes greener threequarters of a mile away. “Keeping an eye on radar is prospecting beyond what the eye can see — sort of

MORE ELECTRONICS Visit our Electronics section at sportfishingmag.com/electronics.

multitasking in another dimension. This also lets me adjust my hunting pattern. Now I know that some fish are setting up deeper. If this pattern repeats, I can adjust the depth at which I hunt with sonar. I started shallow — maybe it is time to look deeper?”

Capt. Shaun Ruge’s track line (left side) shows him following bait. At right, his radar shows birds over bait three-quarters of a mile away.

OTHER ELECTRONICS Q “Let’s say you’re out for a summer day of dolphin fishing off the east coast of Florida,” Mitchell says. “You can set your autopilot to follow a general depth contour, and then set your bottom alarm to reflect either a drastic depth change or fish.” Q Mitchell also says that when he fishes for wahoo, he creates a zigzag route on his plotter based on his target area. He sometimes runs the route with his autopilot, but he usually changes the path slightly on the second pass. Q “I use my electronics to display aerial-photo overlays and to study the areas closely,” says Rowland. “I often find things I was not aware of and might have overlooked.” Q “Sometimes I find drill ships out of Venice with AIS,” says Platt. “Drill ships generally stay in the same place for a long time. I can drag around them for marlin and tuna.” Q “Before I even get to the boat, I review bathymetric charts, using Navionics SonarCharts, to find drop-offs and depth changes,” says Ruge, who also works for Navionics. “I select them with general knowledge of fish habits at certain times of the year. On the boat, I program a few waypoints and then start hopping from structure to structure.” Captains I spoke with all agreed that prospecting keeps anglers in the fish. Today’s electronics make the job so much simpler by providing highdefinition, accurate and versatile tools.

At left on screen, a spot Capt. Shaun Ruge found studying his Navionics SonarCharts paid off.


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SPORT FISHING

BOATS

NEW BOATS BY CHRIS WOODWARD

Scout 300 LXF livewell and tackle drawers. Designed for a maximum of 600 horsepower, the 300 LXF offers power-assist hydraulic steering and 212 gallons of fuel capacity. Forward and belowdecks, Scout provides cushioned comfort for the family with ample seating and a fully outfitted console berth. Beneath the bow seating, fish boxes complement the in-sole fish box. Additional standard items include dual swim platforms with a center walk-through, transom door, starboardconsole storage for brushes and lines, an electric marine head, Lenco trim tabs, and flush-mount rod holders. SCOUT’S BRAND-NEW 300 LXF — a

forward-seating, center-console luxury model — comes with the company’s Nu-V3 high-performance fuel-efficient hull. The 300 is the fourth LXF, joining the 275, 320 and 350.

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OCTOBER 2014

The new 300 features a C-Zone digital-switching electronics system, programmable from a remote key fob. It also comes standard with a hardtop and tempered-glass enclosure, Fusion stereo, and a deluxe leaning post with a

SPECIFICATIONS LOA BEAM TRANSOM DEADRISE DRAFT

30 ft. 2 in. 9 ft. 10 in. 20 deg. 22.5 in.


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SPORT FISHING

BOATS

JIM HENDRICKS

BETTER BOATING

GETTING HIGH O

n the water, elevation increases your chances of spotting fish and indicators such as bait schools, birds, kelp paddies, and weed lines. Boating anglers who sight-fish for species such as bonefish, cobia, marlin, tarpon and redfish rely on elevation to spot their quarry. Some boats, like convertibles, are designed from the outset with flybridges offering built-in altitude. But there are other ways to get high on boats. CASTING PLATFORMS

A station on a hardtop (top) helps you spot schools of bait when castnetting. A Yeti cooler can also serve as an elevated casting platform (above).

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Casting platforms are usually 12 to 18 inches tall. Fishmaster’s Casting Platform ($275), for example, is 16½ inches tall, with a nonskid fiberglass platform that measures 32 inches across the back and 23 inches across the front. A quickrelease turnbuckle device secures it to the deck. Many anglers get double duty from a sturdy super cooler, standing on it to look for fish and cast, as well as using it to ice drinks and food. Medium-size super coolers from brands such

OCTOBER 2014

as Engel, Esky, Yeti and others work best. Yeti’s Tundra 45 ($349.99), for example, is rugged enough to support most any adult, and the nonskid feet on the bottom prevent the cooler from sliding around. It stands 15⅜ inches tall. Accessories such as deck tie-down kits and SeaDek EVA foam nonskid foot pads ($79.99) for the top make the 45 even better suited as an elevated casting platform. POLING PLATFORMS

Flats-fishing guides long ago recognized the importance of creating a higher vantage point. The solution took the form of poling platforms: lightweight aluminum-frame platforms that bolt to the aft section of flats skiffs. From on high, a guide can spot fish, as well as pole, more effectively. Flats boats from builders such as Hell’s Bay and Maverick usually come with poling platforms. But you can also retrofit a boat with a poling platform from custom shops such as Blue Point Fabrication in Titusville, Florida, which sells a basic model for $700.

COURTESY (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) YETI COOLERS, BOSTON WHALER, SEAVEE BOATS, MAVERICK BOAT COMPANY, JUPITER MARINE

Four Ways to Gain a Higher Vantage Point and Find More Fish


Some bay-boat owners also buy poling platforms but mostly for the elevation factor, as these craft are often too large to pole easily. Instead, bay-boat anglers often use bow- or transommounted electric trolling motors with remote controls, so the captain can run the boat from the platform. The platforms generally range in height from 3 to 4 feet above the deck. Taller models have a step or two along the frame to make it easier to climb. Some can be accessorized with rod holders, removable safety rails, and even seats or leaning posts. TOP IDEAS

If you’re ordering a new boat or outfitting an existing one, consider ways to get some extra elevation using a hardtop or T-top. A common idea is to build an elevated lookout position on a hardtop. This usually includes a lightweightaluminum frame (aka half-tower or mini tower) in which the spotter can stand, though many also have seats or leaning posts built into the frame. Most boatbuilders offer these as options on new models, and can even rig them with helm controls.

A second type dispenses with a frame; instead you sit on a seat on the hardtop itself with a recess below (extending to where you’d normally find the electronics box) for your legs and feet. If you go with either of these ideas, think about how you will get up and down. You might need to have steps integrated into the frame of the top. Some tops also have openings through which you can access the lookout position. Another method involves an opening in a hardtop or canvas T-top, which allows a spotter to stand atop the console for greater elevation. (Some have just a frame on top of the console with no top at all.) Adding nonskid tape such as 3M’s Safety-Walk on the console improves footing. Most of the time, you need the expertise of a custom marine fabricator such as Birdsall Marine Design in West Palm Beach, Florida, or Marine Specialties in Oldsmar, Florida, to help you design and build these projects. Make sure the top is sturdy enough to support the weight of a person or two, and that it won’t render the boat top-heavy. The fabricator and/or the original manufacturer of the hardtop can help you make these critical decisions. The cost for such custom projects can range from $2,000 to $15,000 or more. TOWERS

Towers have separate frames and platforms (aka a crow’s-nest), and offer an ever-higher vantage point of view, as Casting and poling platforms (left) lend the extra height that a team needs to fish the flats effectively. With an elevated station, consider how you will get up and down. The Jupiter 38 Caribee (below) has an access hatch in the hardtop.

A true tower has its own platform. While some are designed solely for spotting fish, others, like the one above, also have helm controls, resulting in an elevated second station.

well as a higher price. Costs range from $5,000 to $50,000 or more. Towers find their way onto all kinds of fishing boats, including centerconsoles and large sport-fishing yachts. In one of the most specialized tower applications, boats known as Texas sleds — flat-bottom or tunnel-hull boats with scant inches of freeboard — are rigged with towers for spotting redfish on the skinny coastal waters of the Lone Star State. While many towers are rigged with helms, a fair number are not, designed solely for putting spotters aloft, who then communicate their sightings to the helmsman. If you are ordering a new boat, it’s simpler to have the tower built and installed as part of the original purchase; you can integrate the rigging and fold the cost into the financing for the boat. If you wait until after the purchase or want a tower for an existing boat, you’ll need a company such as Birdsall or Marine Specialties to design and construct a tower that’s just right for your boat. ALTITUDE WARNING

The taller your boat, the more likely you will wait at drawbridges. Also, on a trailer, your boat might exceed the legal height for highway vehicles (ranging from 13½ to 14 feet, depending on the state) or have trouble clearing overpasses. The best solution lies in having a fold-down structure, usually just the upper portion. A good marine fabricator will know how to build such a system. Whether you’re buying a new fishing boat or outfitting an older one, use these tips to gain elevation, because the higher you get, the better the view and the more fish you see. SPORTFISHINGMAG.COM

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We have invested millions of dollars in our own state-of-the-art quality test labs and millions more in our factories. So our tools will go toe-to-toe with the top professional brands. And we can sell them for a fraction of the price because we cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to you. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just that simple! Come visit one of our 500 Stores Nationwide and see why now more than everâ&#x20AC;¦ IF YOU BUY YOUR TOOLS ANYWHERE ELSE, YOUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE THROWING YOUR MONEY AWAY!

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LIMIT 1 - Save 20% on any one item purchased at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. *Cannot be used with other discount, coupon, gift cards, Inside Track Club membership, extended service plans or on any of the following: compressors, generators, tool storage or carts, welders, ï¬&#x201A;oor jacks, Towable Ride-On Trencher, Saw Mill (Item 61712/62366/67138), Predator Gas Power Items, open box items, in-store event or parking lot sale items. Not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase date with original receipt. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/26/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

WITH ANY PURCHASE LIMIT 1 - Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase. Coupon good at our stores, HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/26/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

NOBODY BEATS OUR QUALITY, SERVICE AND PRICE

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2.5 HP, 21 GALLON 125 PSI VERTICAL AIR COMPRESSOR

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SAVE 40%

$

8" HUNTING KNIFE WITH SURVIVAL KIT LOT NO. 90714/61733

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LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/26/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

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2499

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LOT NO. 68528/69676/69729 LOT NO. 69675/69728 !$ ! *

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SUPER QUIET

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MIG-FLUX WELDING CART

3/8" x 14 FT. GRADE 43 TOWING CHAIN

Not for overhead lifting.

LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/26/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

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27%

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Customers and Experts Agree Harbor Freight WINS in QUALITY and PRICE


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TO LIST YOUR CHARTER BOAT OR RESORT, CONTACT: Bill Simkins Sport Fishing Magazine, 460 N. Orlando Ave, Ste. 200, Winter Park, FL 32789 Phone (407) 571-4865 • Fax (407) 637-3519 • E-mail: bill.simkins@bonniercorp.com $5.00 per word – 20 word minimum. Make checks payable to: Bonnier Corporation 88

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LAST CAST

Where 1,000-pound marlin come from ... Yes, this is a blue marlin, a larval specimen that would leave room to spare on top of a dime. The photographer spent three years trying to get such a shot before he ďŹ nally succeeded.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DOUG PERRINE

90

OCTOBER 2014


e n exemplifies th Brant McMulla r, n ra he te ot ve br , ed er th on Seas his fa ily. Fishing with ily are a symbol m Fa of on iti defin n fam n, The McMulla nces, wife and childre about. Creating family experie is fin w of what Yello dominating ories and a few long lasting mem s. tournament win McMullan family Yellowfin, The to ng hi ve simply itc sw e Sinc ed by Yamaha ha ning er w po fin w llo in and their 32 Ye ampionships. W SKA National Ch e ippi th ss si ed is at M in e m th do d setting an s ar ye 5 st fis la 0 lb king h. 3 out of the ess with a 74.1 oc pr e th in rd state reco n Family. to the McMulla s on ti la tu ra Champions Cong SKA National 13 20 , 11 20 , 2009

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Scan code* to learn more about the new F200 In-Line Four or visit YamahaOutboards.com/F200InLine. Follow Yamaha Outboards on Facebook®, Twitter ® and Instagram® *Message and data rates may apply. May not be available on all devices. REMEMBER to always observe all applicable boating laws. Never drink and drive. Dress properly with a USCG-approved personal floatation device and protective gear. This document contains many of Yamaha’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement. © 2014 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved. 1-800-88-YAMAHA


Sport fishing october 2014 usa