Issuu on Google+

Florida’s Floating Graveyard p. 18

Saltwater Spring 2010

Extreme Mako -ver Fly Edition p. 14

Shedding New Light on

Swordfishing p. 38

Tarpon: The First Temptation p. 8

Supplement to Bassmaster Magazine

Why Kayak? p. 24 The Search For El Dorado

p. 32


f? 1

'D ,;af you're gonna - '.tall something Ile o

rP

it better have the

\$TONES -4to back it up

41,

A

¦

Al l

?,?r

?y ? i ! ?

PVW C"T

1a

'

T X

C_r '

y

1

Z..

Most towing. Most payload. Most horsepower. Most torque.* Thanks to an all-new, Ford-built 6.7L Power Stroke® Diesel.

41

w.•

A

77, i, it

M E = I

...

n

1 .

ALL-NEW 2011

SUPER

DUTY

BUILT

®

*Class is Full-Size Pickups over 8,500 lbs. GVWR.

afi nib'

?

ti'•}? ?

^1P'•

5.:.

rr }W , ?R

ps

x rn

r

{.?s

?

?

f; ,1 i f n

k /

GET MORE INFO AT FORDVEHICLES.COM

'


Table of Contents Spring 2010 Volume 2, No. 1

Saltwater

Features

8

8 The Quest

Catching a giant tarpon isn’t easy, but the challenge is worth it. BY DAVE LEAR

14 Makos On The Fly

San Diego angler Conway Bowman has taken fly fishing to the extreme, perfecting the art of hooking the meanest shark that swims. BY COLIN MOORE

18 The Death Chill

24

An extreme winter storm in Florida killed hundreds of thousands of snook. As anglers look at floating graveyards along the state’s coastlines, many wonder about the future of the species. BY DAVID A. BROWN

24 Kayaking The Flats

If saltwater angling brings to mind huge waves, giant boats and seasickness, consider the skinny-water kayak alternative. BY DAVID HUNTER JONES

32

28 Destination Islamorada

Many coastal cities in the U.S. claim the title “sportfishing capital of the world.” Here’s why this fishing village on the southernmost tip of Florida deserves to wear that crown. BY MARK COOPER

32 Viva El Dorado

Witnessing the sapphire water of the Pacific Ocean turn to a kaleidoscope of fluorescent green, neon blue and Aztec gold via the flashing sides of countless dorado is a sight to behold. BY JAMES HALL

38 Daytime Sword Fighting

A hungry broadbill’s timely bite 1,600 feet beneath the sea uncovers a new fishery off the Florida Keys. BY COLIN MOORE

Departments Columns Front Deck The Fight Of Our Lives Last Cast Send In The Subs

4 56

Regulars Freeze Frame ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Series New Products In Focus

6 46 53 54

ON THE COVER

2

Saltwater Spring 2010

Fly anglers have long sought their prey in the briny coastal waters of the United States. Tarpon, bonefish and permit continue to be the most sought-after species. For those longrodders with a more adventurous side, mako sharks should be added to this list (page 14). Cover photo by Gary Tramontina


Frequent use of Power -Pole °

shallow water anchor s may cause obsessive behav ior.

Once you feel the stopping power and boat control of a Power-Pole shallow water anchor you’ll want one on anything that moves. Complete systems start at $895. Call 813.689.9932 or www.power-pole.com

_ WERPOL E SWIFT. SILENT. 5ECURE.

6

Power-Pole is intended for use on boats only. Do not attempt.

p&ormance


Front Deck

By JAMES HALL Editor

The Fight Of Our Lives Do me a favor: Think of your favorite fishing spot. Perhaps it is a pier where your grandfather first taught you how to cast, or a flat where you hooked your first redfish, or where you plan to take your son or daughter for his or her first fishing experience. Now swallow this fact: You can no longer fish there. The water and fish that have always been available to you and your family are now gone. Your rights as an angler in America have been stripped away. The fabric of how Americans weave our natural resources into everyday life is about to change dramatically. This is not me being an alarmist, nor is it an effort to create panic or controversy. It is an absolute truth. “The Obama administration is allowing preservationist and anti-use agendas to drive natural resource policy in the country,” says Chris Horton, conservation director for BASS. This means the regulations that govern the lakes, rivers and oceans we fish will be created by folks who simply do not want humans to interact with the species that dwell within the confines of these bodies of water. President Barack Obama last June created the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force to develop and implement strategies for management of the United States ocean territory and the Great Lakes. All tributaries leading to the oceans or Great Lakes can fall within the task force’s jurisdiction, as well. And how do they plan on managing said fisheries? They will be in the business of zoning. This group will make recommendations for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), where fishing is not allowed. This group will determine who can use water and when it can be used. This group will do everything within its power to keep you from fishing. You can see the ramifications of these agendas right now. In Florida and North Carolina, the red snapper fisheries have been closed. In California, the process of creating MPAs is in full swing. A proposal has already been submitted creating massive MPAs in the Gulf of Mexico. “The Obama administration is dismantling the American model of sciencebased fish and wildlife management and natural resource use. This has been the greatest environmental success story in the history of the planet!” explains Phil Morlock, environmental director for Shimano and one of the most outspoken conservation leaders in North America. “The president is ordering the task force to change this direction, and anglers will suffer greatly because of it.” There is little doubt that we are in the fight of our lives to protect a fishing her­itage that has existed since the founding of this nation. Don’t let Obama and his task force steal it away. Take two seconds and log on to www.keepamericafishing.org. Click on “send a letter,” fill in your contact information and a letter of concern will automatically be sent to your congressman and all interested parties at the White House. I don’t know about you, but as the grandson of a fisherman, the son of a fisherman, and the father of two future anglers, I will do everything in my power to keep this administration from stealing away our rights. Join me in the fight.

Saltwater r? n . . . s . r . .

Editorial Editor In Chief:

Dave Precht Editor : James Hall Senior Editor : Ken Duke Assistant Editor: Jennifer McCormick Editorial Assistants: Cheryl Giordano, Tyler Reed

ART & PRODUCTION Art Director :

Rick Reed

Senior Designer :

Laurie Tisdale

Designer/Art Coordinator :

Holly Julien

Senior Production Coordinator :

Torrance Johnson

Production Coordinator :

Becky Bartell

BASS/ESPN Outdoors Vice President and General Manager, BASS:

Tom Ricks

Senior Director, Event Operations & Business Development:

Jamie Wilkinson Senior Director, Marketing:

Amy Skiff

Senior Director, Sales & Sponsorship:

Michael Cassidy

Senior Director, Publications:

Dave Precht

Conservation Director :

Chris Horton

Tournament Director :

Trip Weldon

Director, Membership:

Mitch Frank

ADVERTISING 407-566-2277 | sales@bassmaster.com Director of Endemic Sales:

Deborah Smart 407-566-2466 Senior Advertising Manager : Cindy McKee 407-566-2460 East Endemic Region: Gary Abernethy 828-681-0113 West Endemic Region: Trisha Schulz, Brian Thurston 206-281-1977 Leaha Wirth 971-322-7548 Florida Endemic Region: Matt Connell 407-566-2450 New York : 212-456-7777 David Grant, Scott Paciello, Greg Cozine, Junny Ann Hibbert, Steve Hiel, David Karatz, Jason Kessler, Nancy Pavlisko Atlanta/Southeast: Jeremy Poore 404-799-4919 Chicago: Jeff Hoffmann 312-245-4233 Shannen Gillespie 312-245-4216 Jeremy Bowman 312-245-4209 Detroit: Susan Kiltie 248-359-1167 Crissy Obermok 248-349-1169 New England: Patricia McTeague 212-456-2054 Southern California: Angela Niemeyer 818-295-4768 Steven Petran 818-295-4876 Kae Shoji 818-295-4679 San Francisco/Northwest: Brittney Cantando 415-486-3060 Sarah Young Pinckney 415-486-3054 Published by BASS, LLC P.O. Box 10000 • Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 Web Site: www.espnoutdoors.com E-mail: editorial@bassmaster.com

Member Services

E-mail: customerservice@bassmaster.com Phone: 877-BASS-USA Copyright ESPN Inc. • All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the ­permission of Bassmaster Magazine is prohibited. Bassmaster Magazine cannot be held responsible for any kind of unsolicited materials. PRINTED IN THE USA. de Thy

P.P

4

Saltwater Spring 2010

F,


t _

Why More Anglers “Wind Up” at West Marine

ys:

-

The Newest Reels are Here Right Now! Come see the latest saltwater spinning gear at West Marine today! Clockwise from far left: Daiwa’s hot new Saltist Series reels are designed to perform consistently in the toughest conditions. Penn’s International Torque Spinning Reels have the big game performance features trophy hunters crave.

11

?

Shimano’s new Baitrunner Reels make a classic reel even better! Find out what more anglers are discovering every day. West Marine has the saltwater fishing gear you want most!

Visit our stores! For the location nearest you, log onto westmarine.com

West M ari nc'


Freeze Frame

The Launch

Some believe bank-bound anglers are handcuffed to fishing just a few yards from where the ocean meets the beach. However, with a rod twice the length of the average man, a lure that soars like a javelin and a man who knows how to get the most out of the mechanics of casting, fish 150 yards distant are not safe. Photo: Gary Tramontina


Quest By Dave Lear

Photo: David McCleaf

The

Catching a giant tarpon isn’t easy, but the challenge is worth it

E

Except for the hum of the big outboards and the occasional squawk of a blue heron lifting off in protest, the 25-foot center console was strangely quiet. Our four-man crew was lost in thought. At the helm, Capt. Mike Perry was silently praying for an end to his temporary jinx. His dad, Jim, was tagging along for luck. Mike Reid, our designated angler, was busy contemplating the ordeal before him. And as an observer, I was hoping this would be our day. With a nip in the air, we had shoved away from the Spring Island dock moments earlier and started our trek through the marsh en route to South Carolina’s Broad River and the expansive Port Royal Sound. The pristine low country was chock-full of marine life, yet our objective was clear. We were on a quest to put Reid on his first-ever tarpon, and our locale offered an excellent chance for success. Fed by the surrounding nutrient-rich salt marsh and tidal creeks, the Broad River empties into the ocean near Hilton Head Island. Starting in midsummer and through the fall months, the smorgasbord of shrimp and baitfish flushing out with the current attracts large concentrations of tarpon. Big, brawny fish, typically topping 100 pounds, tarpon are cunning, tenacious adversaries that use every sinewy muscle in their bod(Continued) ies to throw the hook. Achieving our goal was not going to be easy.

8

Saltwater Spring 2010


www.berkley-fishing.com

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Berkley Gulp! Alive! The revolutionary fish-catching system from the people who know fish and fishing best! ®

®

Each Gulp! Alive! bait is loaded with more scent, more flavor, more action and more value per bait. Making it the most potent bait you can buy! Plus, you can reload Gulp! Alive! by soaking it back in the liquid Gulp! attractant.

O

1 c l ? l ? I

-

3” Ghost Shrimp

? T ? ? ? ? .

PO

t O

5” Jerk Shad ®

Outfishes and Outlasts live bait. © 2010 Pure Fishing, Inc

GulpSW7x9.75.indd 1

2/18/10 10:51 PM


The

Quest The first order of business was to collect bait. Tarpon can be caught on a variety of offerings. In the Florida Keys, feathered and synthetic flies are the favorite choice. In Boca Grande Pass or off the Louisiana coast, jigs are king. Stickbaits, soft plastic lures and even trolled spoons will all fool silver kings. But in South Carolina’s low country, local experts such as Perry, Fuzzy Davis and Frank Fowler prefer meat on the hook. The typical menu calls for “liveys” on the surface and “doubledeadies” on the bottom. The ultimate “pogy bomb” consists of three dead menhaden imAfter collecting bait, Mike Reid paled on a large bronze circle hook. ­finally connects In the two previous tarponless days, finding with the oftenthe desired menhaden flipping on the surface elusive tarpon. was not difficult. We only had to zero in on the Photos: David Lear diving pelicans to locate the baitfish. The feathered pointers were nowhere to be found this morning, however. After checking a couple of spots, Perry located the mother lode over a sandy shoal a mile off the beach. Deftly, he threw the 12-foot cast net. His efforts produced bulging bags of flipping pogies. We filled the boat’s livewell to capacity and dumped the remainder into the cooler on the back deck. A bag of ice “I grew up in Annapolis and fished freshwater ponds and seawater added to the cooler made a slurry that as a kid,” Reid explained. “I’d catch sunfish, bluegill would keep those baits firm for chum. and a few largemouth bass up to a couple of pounds. Reid, a soft-spoken retired banker, watched these But this is a whole new, exciting world for me. I caught preparations in earnest. He had recently built a house a cobia with Mike (Perry) last spring, and he told me on Spring Island and was anxious to learn all he could about the size and numbers of tarpon here in the Broad about fishing in the briny. He had an excellent tutor in River. So I’m really looking forward to catching my Perry, the resort island’s full-time professional guide. first. I’m sure it’s going to be a challenge.” Fully armed with bait, we motored to the mouth of the sound where we had seen fish the day before. “I just MEGALOPS ATLANTICUS don’t feel good about this spot,” Perry explained as he When it comes to coastal gamefish, tarpon are a set another course. “These waves will bounce the baits prized catch in all sizes. Smaller fish are extremely all over the place. Let’s make a move.” acrobatic and worthy adversaries on light tackle, A few minutes later we were anchored to Perry’s satiswhile bigger ones are admired for their strength, faction near the northern lee shore. The calmer water stamina and jumping ability. Also known as silver and presence of other boats provided the assurance king or by the scientific name, Megalops atlanticus, lacking earlier. Perry quickly set out a spread of two live tarpon frequent the warm temperate waters of the surface baits on beefy spinning outfits, followed by a Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. staggered pair of dead baits on the bottom. The bottom A population also seems to be growing in the rigs were 8-foot heavy action conventional rods with Pacific via the Panama Canal. two-speed reels. The reels were spooled with 100-pound Tarpon are distinguished by greenish/blue backs, braided line with a 60-foot top shot of 50-pound fluorosilvery sides and large, penetrating eyes. The undercarbon. To finish, a section of 80-pound fluorocarbon slung jaw and mouth is very bony, while the large leader was snelled to a 10/0 circle hook. A fishfinder rig forked tail generates tremendous power. Tarpon grow with up to 8 ounces of lead sinker to hold bottom comslowly, reaching maturity after seven or eight years. pleted the setup. Some in captivity have lived for decades. According to “These fish have favorite zones,” Perry told us. “Many the International Game Fish Association, several fish of my spots are ledges where upwellings churn up the pushing 300 pounds have been landed along the West bait. But we also get plenty of surface strikes, too, so African coast over the last 20 years. In the United once we see what the fish like, I’ll adjust accordingly.” States, the 20-pound line class record of 243 pounds Chumming is also an integral part of the regional tarwas set off Key West in 1975. pon strategy. Perry uses a commercial grinder mounted

10

Saltwater Spring 2010


Acrobatics are the No. 1 defense for the silver king, ­oftentimes destroying an angler’s quest to bring it to the boat. Photo: David McCleaf

on a gimbal that slips into the boat’s rod holder. A mesh bag tied under the chute catches the ground oily flesh of the chilled menhaden. Dangled over the side, bits and pieces of the mash and oil drift away from the bag to form an enticing slick. Perry adds bigger chunks by chopping more dead pogies in half and tossing them overboard. With the rods set and the slick spreading with the tide, it wasn’t long before a shower of bait and a rolling tarpon appeared a short distance away. Suddenly, without warning, the starboard bottom rod bent over in a huge arch. As Perry and Reid scrambled into position, a huge tarpon erupted off the stern and cleared the surface like a Polaris rocket. It splashed down in a shower of foam, and the line immediately went slack. “Man, did you see that fish?” Perry shouted. “How big do you think he was, Dave?” “A buck-fifty, easy,” I answered him. “That was a slob. Too bad it threw the hook. Mike would have been on that one for a long, long time, though.” Reid, his eyes as big as a kid’s on Christmas morning, could only mutter, “Wow!” Jim, sitting on the gunnel near the console, laughed out loud. “I told you today was our lucky day, guys. We’re going to stick one of these fish.” After the adrenaline rush of that brief encounter subsided, the waiting game began. A couple of the nearby boats fought and released big bull redfish, and everyone dealt with the occasional bonnethead shark or two. The tide went slack. The tarpon disappeared. Perry changed baits, I recharged the chum and the other two men grabbed a sandwich. And just about the time Reid was taking his first bite, the port bottom rod bent over with a serious pull. “Fish on, Mike! Here, take the rod,” Perry told Reid in the hand-off. Reid did a quick shuffle to the corner of the cockpit and hung on as line ripped off the reel with a steady hiss. Forty yards astern, a 75-pound

tarpon made an aerial launch in an effort to get away. This time the hook set was solid. With Perry’s gentle prodding, Reid battled his foe for the next 15 minutes. The tarpon would gain the upper hand, then Reid would fight back, slowly refilling the reel spool inch by inch. Once the leader reached the rod tip, however, the fish surged one last time with a flick of its tail, and in an instant it was gone. “That’s all right, Mike. Nice job,” Perry told the weary angler. “They’re starting to bite with this tide moving again. We’ll get another one for a photo.” “I don’t want another one, at least until I catch my breath,” the sweating Reid said with a tired wheeze. “I can’t believe how incredibly strong those fish are.” The baits were barely back in the water before Reid was hooked up again. This time it was a much bigger fish and the tired angler struggled to gain the upper hand. At one point the tarpon would have pulled the slight-framed man overboard had Perry not grabbed him by the belt. With a grimace, Reid fought back and slowly gained the advantage. As the 125-pound tarpon came within reach, Perry carefully pulled on the leader. But just like its predecessor, this one, too, found a final spurt of energy. With a defiant splash that soaked all of us, it was gone, back into the depths. A panting Reid took the missed photo opportunity in stride. “Fighting those tarpon was the most exhilarating fishing experience I’ve ever had,” he told us on the ride back. “What a magnificent animal. They’re so powerful, and they look you right in the eye in defiance. It’s very cool. Of course, none of it would have been possible without my guide. He has a way with fish. Man, I can’t wait to do that again,” he said, grinning ear to ear. And so ended the quest, with another tarpon fanatic born. sw Spring 2010 Saltwater

11


It? ,

?

r r

'

A lighter, stronger, more fuel efficient four stroke.

“IT COULD ONLY BE A YAMAHA.”

.

f

d ") y

vfr

l

kx

}?,

?t

y l? „3

y

-

RICK MURPHY WEIGHS-IN ON THE NEXT GENERATION OF YAMAHA V6 OFFSHORE FOUR STROKES.

-

“In the last 25 years, I’ve competed in just about every major fishing tournament in the southeast. Sure, my sights are always on the win, but I’ve also got to keep an eye on the bottomline. The new Yamaha offshore V6’s are lighter, faster and even more fuel efficient. So my team can be more competitive and fuel takes a smaller bite out of my budget. I’d say that’s a win-win.”

AM

RICK MURPHY YAMAHA PRO ANGLER

CLASS-LEADING YAMAHA V6 OFFSHORE FOUR STROKES.

Here’s what they’ve got on the competition:

}

> Smarter—Up to 17% more fuel efficient than comparable 300hp four strokes > Stronger—4.2-liters of big-bore displacement, the largest in its class > Lighter—Up to 77 pounds lighter than others in its class

• • • I •,

•• • 1 . 1 • .• .

• • •

• ,

of

? ?

-

y \ JA

a

> Faster—Up to 19% faster at cruise RPM than other four strokes of similar horsepower

??a

> Dependable—Legendary Yamaha four stroke reliability Lighter. Faster. Smarter. Go get ‘er. Visit DiscoverV6offshore.com to learn more about the new Yamaha V6 Offshore Four Strokes.

11 1

•• • • • • • • e •

• •• • • • • • vt 1

i ' i

U' _ 1

l'?1

?

1 / „

\l?S

l l t

Follow me on Twitter™ and Facebook . ®

A?

1 1 1 1 • •••• •••••••••••1••••

•• 11.1 e • • • e • • • • 1 • • • • • • • ..1', 1 1 ?

?'p

'

`?••

!• • •

I

?'

, ,,?, d >? ?

'S? ,` "?j ? A , ?1 a?111,

eliabil' 1

To learn more about Yamaha Outboards, or locate the nearest Yamaha Marine Dealer, visit YamahaOutboards.com or call 1-800-88-YAMAHA. REMEMBER to always observe all applicable boating laws. Never drink and drive. Dress properly with a USCG-approved personal floatation device and protective gear. © 2010 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved.

Starts Here, I


Makos Fly on the

By COLIN MOORE

San Diego angler Conway Bowman has taken fly fishing to the extreme, perfecting the art of hooking the meanest shark that swims

W

large­mouth bass to fly fishing for sharks, makos were his primary target. At the start, it was easier said than done. Rather than a mako, the first shark Bowman ever caught on a fly rod was a 100-pound blue, one of the two dozen blues that were attracted to Bowman’s chum line on a warm summer day in 1993. “It was flat calm, and I took my 16-foot aluminum v-hull about 15 miles offshore. Once I found a good tide line I set up a chum slick, and within about two hours I was surrounded by blue sharks in the 50- to 150-pound range,” says Bowman, 43. “At that point I said to myself, ‘Wow, these are some pretty serious fish, and I’ve only got an 8-weight outfit.’” (Continued)

14

Saltwater Spring 2010

Photo: Conway Bowman

When Conway Bowman decided it was time to switch from fly fishing for


1??

"fr lll

SERENA MARINA

AND G0 LF Mazatlan , Mexico

t

A real find on the Sea of Cortez , Serena Residences is a world-class experience with its private marina , its championship golf course and its elegant residences. Still , what makes Serena extraordinary, is its unsurpassed hospitality.

All inclusive fishing package From

$ 725*

4 nights & 3 days of legendary saltwater action All meals , airport transportation , fresh bait, tackle, fishing licenses and taxes included

www.serenaresidences.com For more information and group specials: (310) 995-9283

jeff@serenaresidences.com

I/ • / * Rate per person, based on quadruple occupancy. Airfare not included.


ce-

HoIk

Makos Fly on the

r?

.

NEW .

1oIlOW Ms' ; ?'

?o

l

nus*ID

?yy'y0

60

a

P OW E R P R O H O L LOW-AC E BENEFITS Utilizes a 16 Spectra® fiber construction to create superior connection strength Enhanced Body Technology™ process creates incredible abrasion resistance and strength to diameter ratio 6 sizes = 40, 60, 80, 100, 130 & 200 lb. 3 colors = White/Hi-Vis Yellow/Marine Blue To purchase Hollow-Ace please visit one of these authorized retailers: DEALER J&M SAM'S FISHERMAN'S WORLD J. & B. TACKLE HOCKERS SUPER CENTER HOCKER'S SUPER CENTER BIG TIME BAIT & TACKLE BLUE WATER OUTRIGGERS CROOK & CROOK CUDJOE SALES GRAND SLAM SPORT FISHING GRAND SLAM SPORT FISHING KEY WEST BAIT & TACKLE EL CAPITAN INTERNATIONAL GULF BREEZE BAIT & TACKLE HALF HITCH HALF HITCH STRIKE- ZONE STRIKE-ZONE LAKE CHARLES TACKLE PROFESSIONAL SPORT SHOP PUGLIA'S SPORTING GOODS SUPERIOR BAIT & TACKLE FIRST LIGHT ANLGERS GOOSE HUMMOCK MONAHAN'S MARINE INC. RED TOP SPORTING GOODS KITTERY TRADING POST SPORTS UNLIMITED E. J. W. OUTDOORS INC. TEX'S TACKLE TRUE WORLD TACKLE 46 BAIT AND TACKLE EFINGER SPORTING GOODS FISHERMEN'S SUPPLY LLC FISHERMAN'S HQ GRUMPYS TACKLE REEL SEAT TACKLE DIRECT TONY'S BAIT AND TACKLE TRUE WORLD TACKLE MICHAEL'S BAIT & TACKLE SEA ISLE CUSTOM ROD STAR ISLAND YACHT CLUB TROPHY FISHING TACKLE WHITE WATER OUTFITTERS ATLANTIC GAME & TACKLE FISHING TACKLE UNLIMITED FISHING TACKLE UNLIMITED PORT A OUTFITTERS ROY'S BAIT & TACKLE

CITY ORANGE BEACH ORANGE BEACH NORWALK NIANTIC CLARKSVILLE CLARKSVILLE MARATHON PORT SAINT JOE MIAMI CUDJOE KEY JUPITER RIVIERA BEACH KEY WEST MIAMI GULF BREEZE DESTIN PANAMA CITY JACKSONVILLE MELBOURNE LAKE CHARLES NEW ORLEANS METARIE BATON ROUGE ROWLEY ORLEANS WEYMOUTH BUZZARDS BAY KITTERY GULFPORT MOREHEAD CITY WILMINGTON BAYONNE PALISADE PARK BOUND BROOK POINT PLEASANT BCH BEACH HAVEN SEASIDE PARK BRIELLE SOMERS POINT MANAHAWKIN BAYONNE STATEN ISLAND FREEPORT MONTAUK BABYLON HAMPTON BAYS MT. PLEASANT HOUSTON HOUSTON PORT ARANSAS CORPUS CHRISTI

ST AL AL CT CT DE DE FL FL FL FL FL FL FL FL FL FL FL FL FL LA LA LA LA MA MA MA MA ME MS NC NC NJ NJ NJ NJ NJ NJ NJ NJ NJ NJ NY NY NY NY NY SC TX TX TX TX

PHONE (251) 981-5460 (251) 981-4245 (203) 866-1075 (860) 739-7419 (302)537-1788 (302) 537-1788 (305) 289-0199 (850) 229-1100 (305) 854-0005 (305)745-3667 (561) 746-0526 (561)841-2848 (305) 292-1961 (305) 635-7500 (850) 932-6789 (850) 837-3121 (850) 234-2621 (904) 641-2433 (321) 956-3474 (337) 479-2999 (504) 522-3771 (504) 837-0291 (225) 293-FISH (978) 948-7004 (508) 255-0455 (781) 335-2746 (508) 759-3371 (888) 587-6246 (228) 863-5839 (252) 247-4725 (910) 791-1763 (201) 339-2628 (201) 430-3496 (732) 356-0604 (732) 892-2058 (609) 494-5739 (732) 830-1900 (732) 223-5353 (609) 398-2900 (609) 597-7250 (201) 339-2628 (718) 984-9733 (516) 868-8855 (631) 668-5052 (631) 274-7042 (631) 594-3336 (843) 881-6900 (281) 481-6838 (713) 827-7762 (361) 749-3474 (361) 992-2960

W!P

C7Fw

.3

? t i

.

p ? ?

WFD

Even if the rig was a bit light for sharks, even if the California angler didn’t anticipate the brute strength of a 6-foot-long shark, the business end of his rig had all the right stuff, including a homemade streamer fly and a steel leader. Bowman cast ahead of a fish that was zigzagging through the oily chum, and it ate the streamer. The fight was on, and by the time Bowman got the fish to the boat two hours later, he was hooked just as solidly as the shark had been. “I didn’t try to horse it, and the blue took a lot longer than it might have otherwise, but I wanted to catch a shark, any shark, on a fly outfit, no matter how long it took,” Bowman recalls. With that psychological impediment out of the way, Bowman went looking for the real source of his fascination: the mako sharks that were said to be stacked up in the inky Pacific off the coast of San Diego. His wasn’t a simple quest. Unbeknownst to Bowman at the time, he was overshooting his mark, thinking short-fin makos stayed a lot farther offshore from his hometown than they actually do. It’s understandable; the acrobatic makos are regarded as a deepwater species that shares the water with marlin and sailfish. Small wonder that, for two years after catching that first blue shark, Bowman ran by most of the makos as he made his way offshore. “In my defense, I was still trying to figure things out about makos,” says Bowman, the wetlands manager for the City of San Diego Water Department. “Based on what I thought I knew about them, I kept fishing way too far out. Gradually, though, after speaking with commercial fishermen and sport anglers, I got things sorted out.” That’s an understatement. In 1995, Bowman hit the mako jackpot. Fishing anywhere from within the sound of waves washing the beaches at Mission Bay to eight miles offshore, Bowman started catching the graceful sharks virtually everywhere he stopped. Some days he averaged 10 hookups; his best trip came a couple of years ago when he and a friend hooked 21 makos and managed to get 13 of them to the boat for release. “It took me awhile to put together all the pieces and find the right tide, the

right water temperature, the right moon phase and those sorts of things,” Bowman notes. “Makos are drawn to upwellings of the California current, where the entire food chain from phytoplankton on up is activated. There’s a big push of makos starting in late May, and they stay around into October. They spawn and then they go offshore somewhere. We don’t know for sure how far out they go, maybe 100 miles or so, but they always show up again the following spring.” When he first targeted makos, Bowman had the fishery to himself. He started his own guide service (www.bowmanbluewater.com) and became the shark fly fishing guru. Since Year 1, his boat has averaged 100 makos annually, or about 1,500 overall. That doesn’t include all the blue sharks and hammerheads Bowman and his friends have caught and released, or the 150-pound juvenile great white shark that Jeff Patterson of Abel Fly Reels subdued while fishing with Bowman in late July. To their knowledge, it was the first white shark ever caught on fly tackle. The largest mako Bowman ever caught weighed an estimated 350 pounds, and the circumstances that surrounded the catch were typical. Bowman was fishing an area known as the Trench just a few hundred yards off the beach. The mako ran through the slick so quickly that at first Bowman thought it was a sea lion chasing a baitfish. Once he realized it was an unusually large mako, he made a 40-foot cast with a big popper. One long gurgling strip of the popper was all it took to produce an explosive take. The mako ran straight for Bowman’s boat, and it was all he could do to take up the slack and attempt to set the hook. Luckily for Bowman, the mako zipped past the stern and was solidly hooked by the time it began a series of frantic tailwalks about 10 feet away from where the angler stood. After going airborne, the mako sounded and within a few seconds was 200 feet from the boat. It then somersaulted out of the water, dove again and headed for Asia. Bowman had to start an engine and idle toward the shark to regain line. An


hour passed before the fisherman was able to get the big mako close enough to unhook. It’s the mako’s propensity to jump several times during a fight, often as high as 20 feet or so, that endears it to anglers such as Bowman. As a rule, the fish make searing runs punctuated by spectacular cartwheeling leaps. However, there’s nothing predictable about their behavior when they first appear behind the stern of a fishing boat. Bowman favors a heavy tube fly of his own concoction that he dubbed “The Mako Bomb.” A buddy, Robert Dieble, hand-pours a resin head that, with the bright-­orange-and-red tube body, slides up the leader when a shark is hooked. A 14-weight outfit is required to cast the fly, the hook of which is attached to a length of Mason 68-pound-test steel leader with a haywire twist. “There are about a dozen or so of us regulars fly fishing for them off San Diego now, and we’re blessed that there are so many makos in our local waters from spring through fall. On a good day, you’re going to get a half-

iio

dozen shots or so. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world where you’ve got a better chance at makos. It’s fantastic.”  sw

Visit www.espnoutdoors.com to watch Conway Bowman and Bassmaster Elite Series angler Byron Velvick catch mako sharks on swimbaits and bass tackle.

r

cl ap)mon.'s

i

r

CHICO Fernandez FERNANDEZ Chico R E N O W N E D fly FLY fisherman, FISHERMAN, A UTHOR renowned author A N D world WORLD record RECORD holder. HOLDER. and H E chooses CHOOSES Hell’s H E L L ' S Bay BAY Boatworks. BOATWORKS. He

kk.

With blazing speed and jagged teeth, a mako may be the most intimidating prey available for fly anglers. Photo: Conway Bowman

HellsBayBoatworks .com I1 321.383.8223 1520 C haffee Dr. Titus Titusville, FL 32780 2780 HellsBayBoatworks.com 321.383.8223 I1 1520 Chaffee


Death The

Chill

By DAVID A. BROWN

An extreme winter storm in Florida killed hundreds of thousands of snook.

This grizzly scene was repeated along most of Florida’s coastline, leaving ­anglers wondering about the future of the state’s snook fishery. Photo courtesy of Pat Ford

As anglers look at floating graveyards along the state’s coastlines, many wonder about the future of the species

W

When the casual discontent of phrases such as “what a shame,” “hate to see that” and “bummer” yield to the stark reality of words like “tragic,” “disastrous” and “catastrophic,” something awful has occurred. Florida anglers have uttered those words a lot this year. Reason: a snook kill of, well, catastrophic proportions. The loss was big and the angling community’s profound sense of despair, enormous. As one of the Sunshine State’s premier gamefish, snook boast the ultimate package of aggressive nature, tremendous strength, aerial acrobatics and superb table fare. In fairness to Florida’s redfish, trout, cobia, mackerel, pompano, tarpon, bonefish and permit, there’s more than one game in the coastal shallows. However, the sleek silver cyclone with the black racing (Continued) stripe is special … and this loss hurts.

18

Saltwater Spring 2010


M a r k Yo u r C a l e n d a r s

2010 BTT Membership

WIN a Yamaha-powered Hell’s Bay Flats skiff! A great opportunity has been provided by Yamaha and BTT board member Chris Peterson, owner of Hell’s Bay Boatworks. Chris donated the newest edition of the Waterman tiller-steer (the console model is shown above) widely praised as the “best of the best” and used by guides and anglers everywhere. It’s to be powered with a 60-hp motor thanks to the generosity of Yamaha. This boat-motor-trailer outfit is the Grand Prize in the 2010 BTT Membership Sweepstakes. The Sweepstakes begins on o -, BONEFISH 14 TARPON T RUST MGM "." • -57 cur?.fo? rnav.n • RgnM • n....e. cawm..mn • coe.•.+o?w.aon«+

January 1, 2010 and runs to December 31, 2010. The final Grand Prize drawing will be held in January 2011. There are also monthly prizes of rods and reels, so enter now. Go to www.tarbone.org and click on the “Sweepstakes” tab for instructions on how to enter the drawing. We again thank Chris Peterson of Hell’s Bay Boatworks and Yamaha for their generous donations. Most importantly, the fish will thank you for the additional research dollars that go toward their benefit. In

797 ? ,

T

bonefish BcTarFwn Trust Sweepstakes

an spmaoa

• ra,vlm NpWPnixpnwr

run t

(

a

Mrn.

• awfuroun caaannn • .IOin BR Tayaa FlN Rr00 70

R1lMr1 I \ I I & 1A R M ) N TRIM 'M r rl • sr n g l c I . l (R Ic1 NrlY [MM IM bMfnll ° TvpOn iNm M ang a N N f n bf W OW

°•naVaRaan

mr.1n nan11YY

M+aa

nn I M

w n f % e m n a mwa •.leyeflaO A w a q . a a . R • a . v ? • _

.. .- ?

. .?

Go to www.tarbone.org and enter now!

?• a wM aqua %r•se on J.+ an Spa mMKM; ?., Nn, Rrw B•vw a w rmmaam• N+ ep • wwTM

M1?o; a.o o [o•MN • Iamn rnA ylu« +mwaoM • rn%ca.f? %?W MYW b Oa•arw ? • ^ N . 0 Mq . O T ' -e•bMOMaw W aw n m. M+lclo • i i aq awnaa.wvmrya•map? new c••aWnw

,Waaw

- B1T Store -

wvr c . a r r n awava rr.s•..pnua .nw.m

Photo: Aaron Adams

• WmwMp60nnaaar

?s

And be sure to watch the groundbreaking new show Pirates of the Flats on ESPN2 running through March 2010, for more chances and information.


Death The

Chill

“Snook are vital to our state’s economy because they are the one species that makes Florida a truly unique fishing destination,” said Tampa Bay guide Capt. C.A. Richardson. “Anglers travel from great distances to have the opportunity to catch snook, and that has a significant economic impact — not only for guides but for hotels, restaurants, et cetera.”

Each year, Florida typically sees a few nights dipping below the freezing point, and yes, some snook die from the cold. No one likes it, but that’s nature’s way. This year was extraordinary, as the first two weeks of January brought a cluster of freezes, including a string of three to four nights (depending on location) with temperatures dipping into the upper 20s. Light snow accumulated for the first time in more than a decade, and strawberry farmers struggled to keep from losing their ripening crops. Florida has seen this before but rarely in such concentrated doses. Typically, winter finds these fish huddling in the deep, protected waters of coastal rivers, canals and ship LIN basins. Plump from heavy fall feeding, snook survive winter with minimal movement while living mostly off their fat stores. Unfortunately, the brutal cold invaded many of the normally safe areas, and great numbers of linesiders perished. The damage reached from Wacasassa Bay to Flamingo on the Gulf Coast and Jacksonville to Port St. Lucie on the Atlantic side. The losses seem to have been greatest from west central to south central Florida, while southeast Florida (Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties) was the only region within the snook’s range that reported minimal kills. Alexis Trotter is a biological scientist with the Marine Finfish Biology section of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in St. Petersburg. She said lab experiments have found that snook start experiencing trouble in water temperatures of 62 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and die at approximately 54 degrees. Trotter has seen wild snook surviving in the lower 50s, and in rare cases, some have made it through the lower 40s. The speed at which the water temperature drops is the key, and the January event saw the ill effects of a MARINE SYS TEM sharp decline compounded by its longevity. The water chilled quickly, and the snook had no chance to 888-434-7726 ? ? 7 'I I 'i ? iT' 1? '•f 7[ recover.

* eKd wore,titsrzj is JP GPSANC HDGPS ANC?_ Let our otu' PS 14 taletke take PRECISION CPS GUIDED TRO

Q

IRV

High Ddni _ GPS_TechnoloOy rovidos t. , itionin A kilMKor'" arr utopile ' and a wireless trolling motor. rM Quiet, powerful and 7efined

for the discerning fisherman. 12 memory locations for st oring anc or sites ano rou t es all at the touch of a button.

20

Saltwater Spring 2010

WHAT HAPPENED

..r

..


Photo courtesy of Pat Ford

One might think that a fish sensing such peril would push farther into stable waters, but according to Ron Taylor, the FWRI’s foremost authority on snook, extreme cold triggers a secretion of cortisol that overloads the snook’s system. Known as “the stress hormone,” excessive cortisol disorients snook, interferes with their tactile responses, and makes them swim toward a threat, rather than away. Vision and balance become compromised, so they essentially lose their bearings — in much the same way lightning knocks out an airplane’s radar screen. This explains live snook floating belly-up or meandering aimlessly. Cold-stunned snook often lose their protective slime coating, and that opens the door for bacteria to cause sores, frayed tails and bloodshot eyes. At lethal temperatures, a snook’s heart shuts down and it’s game over.

No doubt, upwards of 250,000 dead will hurt Florida’s snook population for several years. HOW BAD WAS IT?

News and photos of dead snook flooded the FWC, and stories of snook kills made the news far beyond Florida. Considering the varying rates at which dead

(Continued)

inshore

Award-Winning Innovation Meets Legendary Fishing Boats. t(i

r. •(t ?1

? ,i

•t`i

z

'.A i???

r ?+?

.

«r /

?ti4

r'

.

+

Winner! outStanding deSign in SaltWater fiShBoatS

+?.:: .?srr

1'f }1 •

yr

VIP

MeMber cArd

j ob

20%

Sr

on gear

-

T.y ° :per"„ a m . . .,..

- -•- +?

MAKO 18 LT'.

Winner! outStanding fiShing craft up

0

Save Vup to

2009 Trailer Boats Magazine Excellence in Design Award

i . 1 ..J_ r .?7s?? ti4.. .

..

.. . .

?I t h -? '-

?

.

?'"_ w t

i?RS?A

P .'L ?C-+lili??

'e

st

to 24'—MiaMi international Boat ShoW

2009 National Marine Manufacturers Association Innovation Award

for 2 yearS!*

offer endS april 15, 2010!

Introducing the all-new Master Angler 18 LTS. The 18 LTS takes the MAKO fishing legacy to a whole new level. With the patented, award-winning Rapid Planing System, it provides fast planing, agile handling and top-end speeds unlike any other on the water. And it’s built using composite materials throughout the hull and transom for maximum ruggedness. Inside, the 18 LTS is just as impressive with massive bow and stern casting platforms, plentiful storage and a console loaded with functional features. For freshwater lakes, saltwater flats and wind-swept bays, the MAKO 18 LTS is the height of fishing excellence. ®

Break-through price

17,995

$

BOAT, MOTOR & TRAILER w/Mercury 50 ELPTO ®

Plus dealer prep and destination charges.

Find out more at mako-boats.com or call 888.434.7487 to request literature or locate your nearest dealer.

Available at Bass Pro Shops and mAko dealers nationwide. ®

* Some restrictions apply. See www.mako-boats.com for details. All prices shown exclude dealer prep and destination charges. Prices are based on United States Currency or Funds. Features, prices and specifications for boat models presented here are subject to change without notice. Accordingly, boats and features pictured may be different from those available from your dealer. Some boats are shown with optional equipment. © 2010 Tracker Marine Group


Death The

Chill

snook float and sink, along with scavengers and the daunting task of examining and verifying countless reports, Trotter said we may see another winter before the facts of this past one are clarified. “Rather than use the estimates, we’d prefer to compare this event with the two largest events in recent history — the (snook) kills of 1977 and 1989,” Trotter said. “Of those two, the 1977 kill is the worst cold kill in our records. That’s

LIQUA-BAIT LOCKER ™

LOCK OUT LEAKS AND LOCK IN FRESHNESS Ideal for simulated live bait Dri-Loc O-ring seal ®

Durable DuraView™ structure

not to say there weren’t large-scale cold kills before that; we just don’t have any records for them. We also don’t have a very good estimate of how many snook died during the 1977 kill. It was estimated that the number of snook killed was in the upper hundreds of thousands.  “If we compare this current kill to (those of 1977 and 1989), this one seems, at this time, to be more similar in size and scope to the 1989 kill. The final 1989 estimate ended up being between 125,000 and 250,000 snook for the entire state.” Among the possible impacts is the 2009 loss of newer year-classes, as cold affects younger snook the most. However, photos documented substantial losses of mature snook well over the 34-inch slot limit, and that means fewer mature fish for the summer spawn. Non-corrosive pinned hinges

'•

Vi i-- i

Air tight cap

Wallet perfect for pouches of bait Bait grabbers to keep fingers clean

Ac.4n?0

A TRADITION OF EXCEL L ENC E.

Decades of innovation, time tested quality and genuine love of the sport characterize Plano Molding Company. From this heritage we bring a new generation of products to the table...

For more information visit www.PlanoMolding.com

Dri-Loc® O-ring seal Durable poly-carbonate structure

Non-corrosive pinned hinges

Soft, protective TPR lining

ate. i

Pad-lock tabs

Cam-action latches

Patent pending purge-valve

PLANO’S GUIDE SERIES

POLY-CARBONATE WATERPROOF BOXES The next generation from Plano 22

Saltwater Spring 2010

follow us on

wrr•f

PROTECTING THE SURVIVORS

No doubt, upwards of 250,000 dead will hurt Florida’s snook population for several years. However, when left to lick its own wounds, nature is remarkably resilient at mending itself. Nevertheless, a helping hand can’t hurt, and on Jan. 15, the FWC offered just that. With an executive order that took effect at 12:01 a.m., Jan. 16, the agency extended the snook closure through Aug. 31. Prior to the executive order, snook season would have been closed from Dec. 15 to Jan. 31 and June to August on the Atlantic Coast; and from December to February and May to August in the Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County and Everglades National Park. The winter closure protects snook during their cold season vulnerability, and the summer closure guards them during the spawning period. Licensed anglers are allowed to keep one snook a day during the spring and fall open seasons, but eliminating this year’s spring harvest will give the fish a breather, while allowing the state time for thorough assessment. So, what can anglers do? For starters, take great care when releasing any snook you hook (see sidebar). Catchand-release fishing — intentional or incidental — remains legal during closed seasons. Even after the season reopens (presumably Sept. 1), keeping snook will be a right that anglers


The benefit of catch and release hinges on a fish’s survival, so make sure your snook is ready to go before dropping it back into the water. Snook that sink to the bottom or roll on their backs may be healthy enough to live, but they become easy targets for dolphins, sharks, eagles and ospreys. When dehooking a snook, keep the fish in the water and use a hook remover or needlenose pliers whenever possible. If you must lift a snook, do so with a damp towel or wet hands. Avoid touching the eyes or gills, and handle gently so you don’t rub away the protective slime coating. You’ll know when a “green” snook is ready to hit the water and run, but a tired snook usually needs a few moments to recharge its batteries. Snook have no teeth, so grip the stout lower jaw with your thumb and lead the fish through the water in figure-eight patterns to wash oxygen across its gills. A snook will harmlessly clamp its jaws around your thumb when it’s revived, so let go and watch your opponent swim away safely.

should consider foregoing. Taylor offers this perspective: “You don’t kick a dog when it’s down. Consider the fishery down, so don’t kick it. We can’t say ‘Don’t fish for (them),’ but take it easy on them.” Capt. Rick Grassett of Sarasota has long followed the motto, “Limit your kill, don’t kill your limit.” Stressing the diversity of Florida waters, he notes that snook fans can help ensure the future of this fishery by redirecting their efforts. “Snook are very stressed now and they can use some recovery time,” Grassett said. “Anglers should go focus on other species in the spring. I haven’t killed a snook in several years anyway, so it won’t make a difference to me or my clients.” Once snook season reopens, licensed anglers can do as regulations allow, but here’s food for thought: We can’t save the snook we lost, but we can certainly

Photo: David Brown

SAFE PARTING

preserve those that survived. Ideally, many will live to make lots of little linesiders with no memory of what happened in 1977, 1989 or 2010. sw For more on snook management, visit www.myfwc.com. To report fish kills, call 800-636-0511. To help with the restoration of snook, go to www.snookfoundation.com. To watch more on the snook kill, go to www.fishbuzztv.com

,WsI 0?• 11 on O7 luck. With gear like this, youI won’t I `'! I il 1 need to depend L

The sleek, stylish look of the Inshore Extreme spinning reel is really hiding a rugged, saltwater ®

beast that’s just waiting to reel in a trophy fish. Using only top-quality aluminum in the frame, spool, and handle, this reel is solid and flex-free. The forged spool even has a double-anodized tip for increased durability. Other serious saltwater features include a water-resistant, sealed multi-disk drag and five sealed ball bearings. All in all, the Inshore Extreme reel lets you stop giving credit to luck, and start taking credit for skill.

?h

Sealed Bearings

Stainless steel ball bearings are sealed to prevent corrosion, ensuring smooth operation in all conditions.

The large arbor spool provides superior casting.

'? T.,

. L 3 CONVENIENT WAYS TO SHOP!

BP100304

Shop online at

basspro.com

For a FREE catalog

1.800.BASS PRO 1.800.227.7776

For an adventure in itself

Visit Our Stores Nationwide


Kayaking

Flats

the

By DAVID HUNTER JONES

W

If saltwater angling brings to mind huge waves, giant boats and seasickness, ­consider the skinny-­ water kayak alternative

unknowingly waves you down with its tail. You’re able to get well within a cast’s length of the oblivious target, which is more focused on crushing oyster shells and eating the tender centers. A well-placed cast and a few twitches later, you’ve got a copper rocket burning up your drag. Snap a few photos, slide it back into the bluish-green water and stealthily move along to your next victim. It’s likely the following redfish won’t hear you coming, either. (Continued)

24

Saltwater Spring 2010

Photo: David McCleaf

While gliding across a sandy-bottom flat, a redfish


W/L?E/?NESS SYSTE MS

IB

J

\at°

JL

. ?

VERSATILITY MEETS FISHABILITY Go where you’ve been..and where you haven’t with the ultimate all-around workhorse, the Tarpon series. This award-winning kayak design offers both agility and speed, but also the right amount of stability for fighting against big game or against rough waters. Load up without slowing down from a streamlined layout that offers easy access to gear and S

'.

leaves plenty of storage for even the biggest gear junkie. The exclusive SlideTrax™ accessory system means outfitting can be easily added or removed at any time - no drills necessary. Be comfortable for hours and stay in the game with the ergonomic, multi-adjustable Phase 3® Seating System. Perfect for nearshore or even offshore, from redfish to kingfish to cobia, the Tarpon series does it all as the leading sit-on-top kayak for the versatile angler. www.wildernesssystemsfishing.com Follow us on Facebook

1,


Kayaking

Flats

the

PEACE ON THE WATER, PEACE OF MIND

David Blackwell, marketing and media manager for DOA Lures, prefers paddle power. It lets him bond and connect with his two kayak-­crazy sons while taking in Florida’s unspoiled coast. “In this day and age, you don’t want your kids getting 10 feet away from you in the mall, but out on the flats, my boys can be 50 yards away and everything’s fine,” he says. “They can explore and gain a bit of independence without me worrying. “Kayaks offer a much more natural way to fish. You just glide out of life and into the wilderness,” he says. “It really gives you a degree of freedom that you don’t get with a big outboard and the headaches of launching a boat and worrying about a dozen different things.” Jerry McBride, outdoors journalist and kayak guru, agrees. “I haven’t found a downside to kayak fishing yet,” McBride says. “I haven’t found any other way that even comes close to the number of fish I can catch. But catching fish almost becomes secondary to the feeling of freedom I get when I’m out there. The simplicity is wonderful.”

Both Wilderness Systems and Hobie make kayaks that are sturdy enough to stand in while setting the hook on fish. Photo courtesy of Wilderness Systems

McBride sold his powerboat years ago and now travels from his Jensen Beach, Fla., home to boating and fishing trade shows to give seminars on ’yak fishing. McBride credits the kayak resurgence to affordability, convenience and simplicity. “I don’t mess with boat ramps, and I’m on the fish before the boaters ever get near them,” he explains. “The other day I was working a place boats couldn’t access and got 11 pompano in 15 casts. The guys in the boat didn’t catch much of anything. In a kayak, you can slip through holes in the mangroves that big boats would have to run two miles to get to.” McBride says sitting on top of a kayak affords him a greater appreciation of coastal areas from Florida to Texas to New England. “When paddling at 3 or 4 knots, you can’t help but notice things you’d fly right over when buzzing around at 50 miles per hour,” he says. “You’re much more aware of your surroundings, and the whole experience is more enjoyable. “You can also get closer to the fish. It’s not uncommon to drift up next to a 30- or 32-inch trout or 45-inch snook and eyeball each other without ACCESSORIZE IT! spooking him. If I play my cards right, I can get With the resurgence in kayak pophim to bite every time.” ularity, manufacturers have saturatBlackwell agrees. ed the market enough to please any “You notice a school of rays, baitfish you never ’yaker. First, determine what your would’ve seen, and your kids enjoying themselves needs are and then decide which accesin nature when otherwise you’d be worrying about sories will work best for you. them falling out of a boat while on plane,” he says. Electric motors offset some of the advantages gas For those accustomed to the run-and-gun boaters have over ’yakers. MotorGuide (www.motor fishing style, the slower speed of the kayak is ofguide.com) and Torqeedo (www.torqeedo.com) often a welcome change of pace. fer kayak-specific models. “To me, drifting around and paddling in a Humminbird (www.humminbird.com) has crekayak is strangely more exhilarating. I love the ated a kayak-specific sonar/GPS unit, the silence it offers,” McBride explains. “Since I’ve 385ci Combo. Designed with the hard-core become more experienced in a kayak, 12 hours ’yak angler in mind, the 385ci sacrifices nothof paddling leaves me feeling refreshed. ing despite its ’yak-friendly design and installation. Conversely, after standing on a fiberglass deck for just four hours, my body is hating me.”

26

Saltwater Spring 2010


ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION

To those who do not consider fishing a sport, adding a kayak to the mix may make them reconsider. “A lot of people get into kayaks for the exercise,” he explains. “As they fish from them more and more, they realize their fish catches go up as well as their stamina. After a while, the fishing is a bonus to all the paddling you get to do.”

McBride says taking away the complexities of modern fishing makes for a more pleasant — and fishfilled — experience on the water. Kayaks let you avoid ramp fees, gas pumps and licensing fees. In short, you’re avoiding the headaches and bills associated with fishing the flats. McBride reasons that if you’re preparing to fish out of a kayak, you have to plan more carefully than when skiff fishing. If you fail to plan properly when kayak fishing, you don’t have the luxury of firing up the big motor and moving 10 miles. You need to know about the tide, water temperature and seasonal habits of your quarry. Learning these things will make you a better angler. McBride goes on to say that this forced preparation will improve your understanding of the sport and increase your success. “There is no difference between good skiff technique and good kayak technique. You don’t alter fishing technique, no matter what platform you’re on. If you do it right, you can get on fish much more easily and have a much more rewarding, healthy and therapeutic time doing it.” sw

SKINNY WATER ON A SMALL BUDGET

Kayaking is as good for your mind and body as it is for your wallet. McBride recalls that in the first wave of kayak popularity, boaters were strapping ’yaks to their bay boat, running to a fishy area, then slipping onto the kayaks to actually fish. They offered a better, stealthier approach to fish. Cost was an afterthought. “They felt like the kayak was a more efficient machine than the boat,” he says. “That was the original reason people got into them, but now a lot of folks are forgoing the boat and getting right into a kayak.” If you’re interested in taking the kayak plunge but still can’t take the initial investment hit, try renting a boat from one of the many vendors along the coastal United States. Boats can be had by the hour or day.

TIGHTER LINES.

j

1

f r

• ?'

More fish. Bigger fish. More marinas, boat ramps and big-name charter boat captains. When we say Islamorada is the Sportfishing Capital of the World, that isn’t a stretch.

bigiw ,?"

,. r:• `:1; ter.;

M11i?TtlCN

Is1

f

r

&

fla-keys.com/islamorada ~ 1-800-322-5397

MCTI-4526 ESPN Saltwater Magazine April ‘10 LO1Spring 2010 Saltwater 27


Destination

Islamorada By MARK COOPER

Many coastal cities in the U.S. claim

the title “sportfishing capital of the world.” Here’s why this fishing village on the southernmost tip

C

Centrally located among the 1,700 islands that make up the Florida Keys, Islamorada is brimming with quaint, local charm. But its true value lies in its versatile fishing opportunities. The island boasts one of the largest charter boat fleets in all of Florida and guides who specialize in a number of different species. Even Ernest Hemingway came to this paradise when he wanted to fish. A countless variety of inshore and offshore species can be mined from Islamorada, and with so many options, choosing which fish to target can be a tad overwhelming. Tarpon, bonefish and permit are the three most glamorous inshore species and are preferred by many fly and bait anglers chasing an inshore slam. Permit are the cagiest of the three but can certainly be exploited around some of the flats located near the bridges and Keys that have the most water movement on incoming and outgoing tides. The oceanside rocky and coral flats tend to hold fish, too. Pinpoint-accurate casts with a sinking crab pat(Continued) tern will provide the best chance to catch this spooky fish.

of Florida deserves to wear that crown

There is something for every angler in this south Florida fishing village. Photos: Seigo Saito

28

Saltwater Spring 2010

Spring 2010 Saltwater

29


Destination

Islamorada

Islamorada’s world-class flats fishing offers snook, tarpon, bone­ fish, permit and myriad other species to angle. Photos: Seigo Saito

Resident tarpon are always in the area, but the big migrating fish show up from April through June, with some stragglers before and after. An experienced guide who knows the routine will be able to put you right on them. Target the migrating silver king on a crystal clear oceanside flat, or pick off the backcountry tarpon meandering the flats. Catching one of these giants is guaranteed to cause tarpon fever, which has been known to make sane adults sell everything they own and move to the Keys (often resulting in swift divorces and bankruptcies). You’ll know what I mean when this acrobatic giant is dancing on the end of your line. The bonefish in Isla­ morada all have a Ph.D. in escaping anglers’ grasps, so you had better bring your “A” game if you want to catch them. These elusive beauties are plentiful on the oceanside and bayside flats around Islamorada, but the smartest (and biggest) fish can be found within sight of the famous World Wide Sportsman at mile marker 81.5 on the bay side. Beginners need not apply; be sure to practice your casting skills at home prior to the trip. Redfish, snook and trout are also worthy foes and constitute the alternative backcountry slam. Chasing these three usually will take you on a one-hour boat ride northwest to a sleepy little marina called Flamingo on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, better known as the Everglades. The flats at Flamingo have potholes that hold snook nearly year-

round. You’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for stingrays; redfish will often follow, foraging for the critters the rays kick up. Alt­ ernatives to the flats include the mangrove tree-lined banks near and around Flamingo and the ­islands within a few minutes’ run of the marina. Don’t forget to work your way up into some of the lakes and backcountry creeks, where you’ll have chances at all three species throughout your day on the water. Offshore fishing offers a whole new set of species: swordfish (which can be caught day and night), sailfish, yellowfin and bluefin tuna, wahoo, amberjack, kingfish and mackerel. The list grows if you include bottom fishing on the reefs and wrecks all along the coastline. There, you can find mutton and yellowtail snapper, grouper, grunts, barracuda and still more permit. And let’s not forget the shark population. You’ll find hammerheads and mako sharks offshore, and bull sharks, lemons, bonnet heads and lazy nurse sharks on the flats. Islamorada usually offers up fantastic weather that makes it really easy to capitalize on the many fishing opportunities, although every once in a while, Mother Nature will throw a curve ball (the Redbone Celebrity tournament in November Trip Check 2009 produced wind gusts up to 50 Location: 1 1/2 hours south of Miami International Airport in the beautimiles per hour). But even then, you ful Florida Keys. can still catch them. sw Getting there: From Miami International Airport, head south on the Florida Turnpike to Homestead, Fla., then take U.S. Highway 1 south. Watch for the sign for the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World” at mile marker 80 to 85. Lodging: An abundance of lodging is available in a wide range of prices, from places like the Ocean View Hotel and Sports Bar (www.theoceanview.com), with rooms starting at $130 per night, to the Cheeca Lodge and Spa (www.cheeca.com), with rooms costing more than $500 per night. Guides: Rates are roughly $500 to $600 for a full day of fishing, including lunch, and you can split the bow with a buddy to keep the cost down.

30

Saltwater Spring 2010

Mark Cooper, a former Denver Broncos player, grew up in nearby Miami and has fished Islamorada’s waters hundreds of times. Cooper lives outside Aurora, Colo., and is an avid freshwater and saltwater fly fisherman, writer, photographer and outdoorsman. You can e-mail him at mark@come2colorado.com.


Your FlyWay to the Keys { Florida Keys Outfitters is the place you can come for all your fly fishing needs and much, much more! My Florida Keys Fly Fishing School has helped anglers to learn and improve their fly fishing skills for over 20 years! Come fly with us!

r

a

3 l R °tFt a'9ri •'r'ti?'

'? . ; ar

f J o ofl i

f .f'

" yy Ut

w,: .

Lrlfl

-

' .S4woi

4a

As

Ji .

! {

j

777111

p

.t om

l l _?- ? a :_ ,._

a

?\

FLORIDA KEYS

FloridaKeysOutfitters.com 305.664.5423

Mile marker 81.2 Islamorada, FL

1:

¦

aY.


By JAMES HALL

Witnessing the sapphire water of the Pacific Ocean turn to a kaleidoscope of fluorescent green, neon blue and Aztec gold

T

via the flashing sides of countless dorado is a sight to behold

The late May morning dawned on me in Mazatlán as it usually does after

a tourist’s first night in Mexico: The sunlight found bloodshot eyes created by too many margaritas the night before. “Pelo ’e perro!” grinned Chappy Chapman, my host for the trip. It was way too early, and he was way too happy. “Hair of the dog, eh?” I replied with a smirk. “Perhaps I should wait till I’ve had breakfast.” I was south of the border to chase the incredible schools of dorado (which in English translates to “the gilded one”) that migrate up the Pacific (Continued) coast from May through September.

32

Saltwater Spring 2010

Photo: James Hall

Viva El Dorado


make eat. youR YL 1L!JJL1

-

••

ms

-

s`

-

?sleeP. fish. ?o?

??

'-

L -

-

-

_

_ IFESTY lifestyle _

_

ZX22Bay with Yamaha VMAX SHO 250 ?,v

AL mo

"12

SK

ll

? / 1

-

?

?• .

-AMP

ASIA

www.skeeterboats.com ZX24V

ZX2250

ZX20Bay LN E R

-wi ?

I

Whether you’re fighting red fish or tackling the tarpon, the ZX Saltwater Series will get you where you need to be. It’s everything you need in a bay boat – from the hull design and efficient deck layout, to the oversized console baitwell and double-duty stern jumpseats with storage beneath. The ZX Saltwater Series will get you where you’re going without leaving anything, or anyone, behind. We’re making it easier for you to live by your motto –

PERFORMANCE

fish.

Call 1-800-SKEETER to order a catalog, or visit your local authorized Skeeter Dealer.


Viva El Dorado

With me on the trip was Bruce Holt, executive director of G.Loomis, and his brother Ryan. We met our captain at El Sid marina and were gassed up and headed out by 7 a.m. “Got any aspirin?” I asked Chapman as we idled out of the harbor. “In an hour, you’ll forget all about your headache,” he promised. Assuming that meant we’d have an hour run, I asked how many miles we would travel to find the fish. “We’ll start checking buoys five miles out,” he returned. “First, we have to catch mullet.” I then found out there are a number of buoys off the coast of Mazatlán that mark artificial structures. Around these buoys, schools of dorado congregate. To tempt these predator fish, our captain preferred slowtrolling live mullet on the ocean’s surface. Pulling up to a beach just outside the harbor jetties, our captain grabbed a bucket and cast net and dove headlong into the water, swimming his way to the beach. Four casts later, he had 50 to 60 mullet between 7 and 12 inches in length. “That’ll do,” said Chapman. “Although yesterday we went through 80 mullet on a half-day charter.” As we headed to the blue water, Holt started putting together the rigs we were to use that day: bass tackle. Seriously. Three-piece G.Loomis heavy action Escape rods paired with Shimano Curados sporting 60-pound Power Pro braid. To the braid, a single 9/0 J hook was tied with a Palomar knot. To the J hook, a mullet was attached, from the lower lip up through the nose. Once we arrived at the first buoy, Ryan and I stood at the stern drifting the live mullet back about 30 yards

34

Saltwater Spring 2010

When it takes two anglers to hold up a dorado for the camera, you know you’ve struck gold. Photos: Bruce Holt

from the boat, keeping the reels disengaged. Once it was 30 yards back, we’d thumb the spool firmly, keeping the mullet trolling on the surface behind the boat. Chapman and Bruce started casting jerkbaits toward the buoy, quickly twitching them back. It was no more than five minutes before we had our first dorado sighting. One missed my mullet twice before coming back a third time and engulfing the bait. “Let him take about 30 yards of line, then engage the reel and set the hook!” shouted our captain in a thick Spanish accent. I did as told and was rewarded with a screaming drag. Before I had my fish halfway back to the boat, Ryan’s bait was assaulted. We had a double, and Bruce had just missed a fish on the jerkbait. The first two fish were in the 10- to 15-pound range — and they weren’t alone. The fish that missed Bruce’s jerkbait had about 200 identical cousins beneath it. Yes, this buoy was certainly laced with gold! “We go now!” shouted the captain before I could attach another mullet to my hook. “Huh?” was about the extent of my complaint before he had us on plane, heading to the next buoy. Not wanting to second-guess the guide — but absolutely second-guessing the guide — I had to ask, “Could we not have caught a couple more of those fish?!” “Not big enough,” he returned. I had just then experienced three firsts in my life: 1. caught a dorado on bass tackle; 2. saw a sea of dorado, creating waves of turquoise and gold beneath the boat; 3. left the biggest pile of fish I had ever seen. “This guy is freakin’ crazy,” I mumbled to Chapman, who just looked at me and smiled.


After about 30 minutes, the huge dorado was boatside, and the captain expertly gaffed it into the boat. It weighed in at 55 pounds! Come to find out, the dude was sane. At the next stop we saw just as many fish and caught them at will. Most came on the mullet, some came on jerkbaits. The next stop was the same deal. After catching three more, I said, “We go now!” The captain grinned and pushed the throttle down. And then we hit the gold mine. Ryan was trolling a mullet in the back of the boat when an enormous commotion erupted behind it. A monster fish then engulfed the bait and peeled off a hundred yards of line in a matter of seconds. This was not your average dorado. We all reeled in, and the captain followed the fish, which by now was somersaulting 300 yards distant. Ryan could see his spool. After about 30 minutes, the huge dorado was boatside, and the captain expertly gaffed it into the boat. It weighed in at 55 pounds!

A couple of hours later, we were out of mullet, had two coolers overflowing with dorado and were heading back to the marina. “So, how’s your head feeling?” asked Chapman. “Great,” I returned. And then quickly added, “but I am a bit thirsty.” sw For more information on Mazatlán’s saltwater fishing adventures, visit www.anglersinn.com. Click on the fishing tab, then the saltwater fishing tab.

cuSTO?" - ?. ¦o APS • Vehicle

wraps

n/luch lays ' Disp Show

m°re - -

1AWAKOWMAM

OOO OOM -

8

1

OE? Tel:954-425-8199 • Fax:954-582-9461 • Email:wade igx2000.co 2450 W Sample Rd Suite#20 • Pompano Beach, FL 33073


rr

SALTWATER SERIES

-r Minn Kota

April 1-9 r

®

BOMB ER

wi

p?(

April 10-16 ?,;

?OMBER

,I

h

RAMADA

t

r?

Riptide ST80 ®

Plus Berkley® products, Bomber® lures, Columbia® products, Costa Del Mar® sunglasses, Plano® case, Ramada® hotel points, Rugged Shark® shoes, Skeeter® rod, U2 Pro Formula™ livewell treatment and a Yamaha® cap

hi.?

RAMADA

Wilderness Systems® fishing kayak Plus Berkley® products, Bomber® lures, Columbia® products, Costa Del Mar® sunglasses, Mercury® sweatshirt, Plano® case, Ramada® hotel points, Rugged Shark® boots, Skeeter® rod, U2 Pro Formula™ livewell treatment and a Yamaha® cap

April 17-23

RAMADA

`BOMB ER

09

NSoao • ?E BHP

1?

April 24-30

Plus Berkley® products, Bomber® lures, Columbia® products, Costa Del Mar® sunglasses, Mercury® sweatshirt, Penn® Conquer 4000 reel, Plano® case, Ramada® hotel points, Rugged Shark® shoes, Skeeter® rod, U2 Pro Formula™ livewell treatment and a Yamaha® cap

Visit ESPNOutdoors.com/gearup for complete details.

Prize packages courtesy of: BOMBE R

L..-

=

`14-7li ??')-741Rwo

Be sure to catch up to date coverage of the 2010 ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Series on ESPNOutdoors.com.

By Image Graphics

R A M AD A

Starting April 1, 2010, ESPN Outdoors is giving away over $10,000 in prizes! Go online each day and register to win a prize package to be given away each Friday during the month of April.

O gu% N

i

Custom Boat Wrap

. SOMBE R

, 1117

I I I UUTDooHS

¦ Power-Pole™ Boat Positioning System Plus Berkley® products, Bomber® lures, Columbia® products, Costa Del Mar® sunglasses, Plano® case, Ramada® hotel points, Rugged Shark® shoes, Skeeter® rod, SpiderWire®, U2 Pro Formula™ livewell treatment and a Yamaha® cap

0 1

?I

[p51A DEL MA A

R A M A DA

Prize packages may vary from what is shown.

?RCUar

//p, ?( Columbia Sl+am?caC?

OFFICIAL ENGINE

IJ? D O N)NM?t M

?eaw . r

OdYAMAHA

Visit espnoutdoors.com/gearup and enter for your chance to win big!


Daytime

SwordFighting By COLIN MOORE

timely bite 1,600 feet beneath the sea uncovers a new fishery off the Florida Keys

38

Saltwater Spring 2010

M

Moments of discovery are rare these days. “Been there, done that” has become a national mantra. Now and then, however, at unpredictable times, a new horizon emerges. The light bulbs blazed on for five fishermen aboard the Catch 22 on Jan. 21, 2003. That was the day Vic Gaspeny’s cynical friends finally granted his request. Gaspeny wanted to see if what a Venezuelan fisherman had written about swordfish would work in the Atlantic Ocean off Islamorada where the continental shelf drops into the abyss.  (Continued)

Photo: Colin Moore

A hungry broadbill’s


'

iE

fJ 7E '

?

71

?

f r

Flats fishing for a Super Slam . . .

Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon & Snook Plus Trippletail, Jacks , 'Cuda's & lots more.

gONEF' `St

?;

r

pERf ?1? j

l

.

EL?ZE RIVER LODG E

IvA?I?-

V\R

??

?

?ti

?"$

ter-

Belize's best

._

All the sp atE4i la .mor o kee_,p oyr'Fishfng : aUyenture

f ly-BellzeexItJng.&evenlu al '

"'

SNOOK

?, -?`-"" - • _ ?`'-_ •• ? ? ?

- Toll Free: 1 -888-2 75-4843

Please contact us for

FREE DVD.

Info@BELIZERIVERLODGE. COM

www. BELIZERIVERLODGE .com

" P hoto Credit:

Bv rrx & Cathy Beck


Daytime

SwordFighting

.1 ?

1

1

n

Since that first daytime bite in 2003, hundreds of swordfish have been caught in the daylight hours out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina. Photo: Colin Moore

r•:

'

AN M .

A

CAPTURED. QUESTIONED. RELEASED. CONSERVATION.FRABILL.COM

It was Dr. Ruben Jaen’s claim that broadbills could be caught just as well in the daytime as at night, and Jaen, a respected trustee of the International Game Fish Association, had plenty of catch statistics to back him up. What he said wasn’t exactly heresy because other anglers — including legendary fisherman Michael Lerner — had caught swordfish elsewhere in daylight, but everyone knew that swordfish preferred to eat nocturnally active squid and night was the best time to fish for them. Still, Gaspeny wanted to test Jaen’s contention and finally convinced his skeptical companions to let him give it a try during their sailfishing foray. While the Catch 22 drifted along the continental shelf about 30 miles east of Islamorada, Gaspeny grabbed a wellworn Penn outfit loaded with vintage 80-pound-test mono, rigged it with a 12-pound downrigger weight and a 10/0 hook baited with a whole squid, and then lowered the weight and bait into the clear blue Atlantic. It took 10 minutes for the bait to reach the target depth more than 1,600 feet below, but soon the rod tip bounced a couple of times and Gaspeny was hooked up. The 65-pound

broadbill he boated after a 30-minute fight wasn’t big by swordfish standards, but it was huge in terms of proving a point. “That was the day I went from being a moron to being a genius, at least to the guys on the Catch 22,” said Gaspeny, who up until then was more famous for his exploits on the Keys’ tarpon and bonefish flats than as an offshore angler. But maybe that’s what it took: somebody who didn’t have preconceived notions about the rules of bluewater angling.

GIVING IT A TRY

“Until Jan. 21, 2003, everybody around here pretty much had the same idea about catching swordfish: It was a nighttime deal because the squid they feed on are more active then,” Gaspeny said. “In 2001, I read a short article by Dr. Ruben Jaen called ‘Deep-Dropping Technique for Swordfish’ about swordfishing at depths of more than 1,000 feet. That’s what got me curious, and I wanted to try it.” Gaspeny convinced Richard Stanczyk, the longtime proprietor of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina (www.budn marys.com) in Islamorada, that (Continued)


-

;,

f 44??

-t I \

i `?

1 _

iNk

THE WATER, MEMORIES AREN T MADE,

T HETR E CAUGHT

To discover all the ways boating and fishing can enrich your life, visit TakeMeFishing.org.

TakeMeFishing.org is proud to present the ESPN Saltwater Series.

C 7 r 1

sot

? OOi000R5

? /

tor


Daytime

SwordFighting

“This little thing with the swordfish has become an

developing a “new” fishery for his charter boat skippers and their customers was a obsession that we’ve invested about good idea. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 didn’t stop all fishing traffic to the Keys, but $400,000 in, counting tackle, time they definitely slowed what had been up until then a steady stream. It didn’t take much arm-twisting before Stanczyk conceded to and fuel and boat bills.”  — Richard Stanczyk Gaspeny’s experiment. “This little thing with the swordfish has become an obsession that we’ve invested about $400,000 in, counting tackle, time and other Stanczyk boat, the B n’ M, the crews had one fuel and boat bills,” Stanczyk said. “But it’s helped the stretch in which they had swordfish hookups on 108 of local economy, and everyone is benefiting, not just us. 109 offshore trips. The broadbill swordfish is a great gamefish, and lots of “Most fishermen know that marlin and sailfish roam boats go out after them now.” up and down the continental shelf at different times of Lots of boats go after swordfish, but nobody has the year, but a lot of them never stop to consider that caught more broadbills than the crew of the Catch 22: the shelf is a highway of sorts for all types of deep water Gaspeny, Stanczyk’s sons Ricky and Nick, his brother fish. There’s no telling how many swordfish are out Scott, and K.J. Zeherrig. Gaspeny has caught 147 broad- there throughout the year.” bills himself; during a two-day trip in June 2007, the If swordfish are as plentiful as Stanczyk believes, Bud N’ Mary’s boys accounted for 11 swordfish. Ricky their presence serves as an example of what wise fishery Stanczyk and his crew boated seven swordfish for their management can accomplish. Not so long ago there customers in one day. Between the Catch 22 and the weren’t a lot of broadbill swordfish left anywhere.

Redbone

@SLarge

TOURNAMENT

ERIES

F lkon!? RED •TROUT

SER IES

Join Us at AV a 0 Redbone Near You! l o w

0 For more info call or visit our website:

(305) 664-2002 www.redbone.org Become a Redbone FaceBook Friend

42

Saltwater Spring 2010

° ba ha`mas

O. •10

REDBONE

BONEFISH SERIES


Overharvest in the 1980s by longliners led to protected status in the ’90s, and now multiple broadbill hookups are fairly routine during a daylong charter.

TACKLING BROADBILLS

Trial and error and a lot of wasted boat fuel have taught the Stanczyks and Gaspeny about fishing successfully for broadbills. Job No. 1 for them was figuring out where to fish. One thing they found out quickly is that whether they ran north, south or due east, most bites in the deep Atlantic came in about 1,500 feet of water along the continental shelf. The fishing line is marked with felttip pens or waxed floss at incremental stages to determine the exact depth. “The learning curve was pretty steep. We didn’t know where to find broadbills at first but, drop after drop, we gradually narrowed it down,” Stanczyk said. “They tend to stage in certain places. Who knows why?

It takes almost 10 minutes

Current? Bait? Thermocline? for a 12-pound weight to ­deliver your bait 1,500 feet Spawning? Now we average about three beneath the ocean’s surface. hookups a trip. We catch fish 12 It takes considerably more months a year, though the weather can time to haul this fish back to be a limiting factor.” the boat. Photo: Colin Moore It’s difficult to imagine that fish almost a third of a mile under the surface, suspended in 38-degree water, would be affected by lightning (Continued)

DOWN EAST 252-671-(FISH) 3474 GUIDE SERVICE www.downeastguideservice.com

4

Complete vacation planning for Costa Rica, Argentina and North Carolina

Argentina duck & dove hunts

\4 7

Come Fish for North Carolina's Giant Red Drum, Cobia, Tarpon, and Striped Bass

?YQ?IYI ?

Your Costa Rica Connection for Pacific Sailfish/ Marlin and Atlantic Tarpon

r,

'Q•

Spring 2010 Saltwater

43


Daytime

These are the weights used for daytime swordfishing – 12-pound blocks of concrete that break away after a fish is hooked. Photo: Colin Moore

SwordFighting

and rain, but Stanczyk says stormy weather shuts down the broadbill bite. On the flip side, the few days after a full moon offer anglers the best chance to catch the biggest swordfish. The basic fishing setup the Catch 22 crew uses now typically consists of 80- or 100-pound-test TUF-Line high-visibility yellow braided line and an 8-foot length of 300-pound-test mono crimped to 9/0-12/0 J hooks and connected to the running line with 500-pound-test Sampo solid-ring barrel swivels. Whatever the rig, it conforms with IGFA guidelines because record qualification is always a possibility. The Stanczyks also stick with conventional revolving-spool reels (Shimano Tiagra 80 Wides) that they reel in manually. Some fishermen opt for electric reels.

“There are a lot of moving parts and variables that go into swordfishing, and we’re still learning,” Gaspeny said. “The rig we’ve settled on came about through trial and error. Other fishermen have their own versions, but basically they’re all the same. You need heavy-duty tackle to handle a big swordfish.” One also needs a very heavy weight to get the bait down quickly and keep it from riding up in the often-cyclonic currents of the Gulf Stream. Gaspeny and the Stanczyks soon learned that fighting a broadbill with an 8- to 15-pound weight attached to it made the job exponentially more difficult. They came up with a drop-away rig that caused the main line to break free of the weight when a broadbill hooked itself after slashing at the bait.

000, • ? •b

ri

F I S H

6 CBE

S A M P A N ?

• HOME

• HO-

• RESTAURANT • BAR • LOUNGE

•D

• MARINA

44

r

1

OUR FISH MOUNT REPLICAS ARE PERFECT FOR DECORATING YOURS • OFFICE

ii

•R

PA

• DOCKSIDE

Saltwater Spring 2010

FULL,, HALF & 3D FISH MOUNTS • FULL COMPLETE LINE OF "IN STOCK" ITEMS • FULL MOUNTS START AT?8 PER INCH • CUSTOM NIFD FM NMRCRIIE . ; - . 794 PORNFI 1 CTRFFT . MFRRITT ICIANIIFL , 3?Qri '2

888


Bio B?ooooo??

In a silent world bereft of light,

i

-V

. P R O D U C TS

it’s a wonder that any fish can

All Natural Attractants

find a bait, but swordfish, with

Fish With The Ed e!

eyes the size of teacups, are up

EDGE -

to the task.

t

A wing loop of 20- to 30-pound-test mono connects the weight’s running line to the main line. The wing loop is attached to the main line via heavy waxed line, and the weight’s running line is attached to it by a heavy (and cheap) snap swivel. The weight hangs down 20 to 50 feet on a length of 60-pound-test mono. In theory, the weight becomes disengaged from the main line at the wing loop when the swordfish thrashes about. Usually it works, which is why the Islamorada pioneers soon learned that using expensive downrigger weights wasn’t practical. They started making their own weights by pouring concrete into plastic bucket molds and sticking a short length of cloth into the mix to make a tie loop for the running line. Here again, there are other variations, including the use of a mesh bag filled with rocks for the drop.

A TASTE FOR ANYTHING FISHY

In a silent world bereft of light, it’s a wonder that any fish can find a bait, but swordfish, with eyes the size of teacups, are up to the task. Still, the Catch 22 guys help them out by attaching a Lindgren-Pittman Electrolume light to the main line above the weight connection. Such batterypowered lights are wrapped in clear housings capable of withstanding the pressure of 275 fathoms beneath the sea. Squid, arguably the favorite food of broadbills, have the ability to flash phosphorescent light to signal to each other in the inky blackness. Of course, it’s also a neon billboard for Atlantic predators such as swordfish. The electronic light, then, mimics nature, but the bait isn’t always squid. The swordfish don’t seem to mind. “You’d think that squid would be the all-time favorite bait, but we’ve done just as well, or maybe better, using a variety of fish bellies,” Stanczyk said. “Everything from dolphin to mackerel to bonita bellies will work, and the swordfish can’t whack them off the hook as easily as they sometimes do squid. When you lose your bait on a strike, it’s a long time winding it up. If you have to wind it up at all, (it’s) better to have a swordfish attached.” History can turn on a dime. If Gaspeny hadn’t caught that first swordfish on his first drop, it’s likely the burgeoning recreational broadbill fishery off south Florida wouldn’t have been discovered. Now anglers from Key West to the Carolinas are trying daytime swordfishing for themselves. As many have proved to their satisfaction, what works off Islamorada will work anywhere there is deep water and broadbills. sw

JP

._

J?.

tSS

-

?

noV.

VRn

'

al Gil©G

?

1 o9 d i

NuShield ad for fishing magazines:NuShield ad for fishing magazines 2/17/2

NuShield DayVue Reduces Glare and Protects LCD Displays The DayVueTM screen protector film combines antireflective technology and superior scratch resistance. Allows boaters to read the display clearly, and protects the screen from saltwater damage.

?t

4(v b t,4 L

V

V

Film over right half of display

• Works with any LCD display not using glass bonded infrared touch screen display system • Antireflective technology filters out 99% of UVB light • Minimizes reflective glare and protects screen against saltwater, scratches and oils • Super thin film installs quickly and easily • Works with polarized sunglasses • Available in sizes up to 50” diagonal • Fingerprints wipe off easily

N4

For further information contact 215-500-6426 Visit www.NuShield.com/marine and learn how to get 10% discount on your purchase.


NUI

fl

mug

The Passion Most tournament circuits around the nation, whether they are saltwater-oriented or freshwater-oriented, focus on the element of competition. This is certainly not the case for the Built Ford Tough ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Series presented by Take Me Fishing. Although the anglers participating want to perform well, they show up for the salty backdrop, the food, the camaraderie and most importantly, the cause. The money raised during these events goes directly toward finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

I

Photos: Gary Tramontina and Seigo Saito

wow

law -7-4-

P.

, nom `

-?

.ms s

-

t i . .

? ?I•

.

'

ter

*?

•+w . --?" ?

AMM

l ;

{I

¦

1

?

1 I rk

I

I

?rz ?

I ?

? ,r

J I

A

u.ir? ?)„r171.

`

?

?a

A

dn

? < ? +? I

n!

Aim

46

_

Bassmaster

a Ste

| April 2010

'Lo

lis

April 2010 | Bassmaster 47 Mf r . ??l??t`1tl i,


The Playing Field The Saltwater Series visits some of the most exotic fisheries in existence, from the Bahamas to the Florida Keys to Long Island, N.Y. Although the focus is always on the fish, participants canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help but smile when they absorb the beauty surrounding them.

48

Bassmaster

| April 2010

April 2010 | Bassmaster 49


50

Bassmaster

| April 2010


The Reward When fishing an ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Series event, the immediate reward is the fight of a bonefish or the feel of a trophy striper in your hands. Some participants experience the thrill of victory as they are awarded a trophy for besting the rest of the field. But all the fishermen walk away with the true reward of the event — knowing that they have assisted in catching a cure for cystic fibrosis. If you would like to participate in an event or make a donation “To Catch The Cure” for cystic fibrosis, go to www.redbone.org.

April 2010 | Bassmaster 51


DISCOVER A NEW SPECIES ON ESPN2.

OIL

%

?

u

C?1 1 I OUTDOORS

I, "Fin sualtal FREI

oR«??,?>e.

,

I

m I u

1 , fir

TAKE ME FISHING ` ? 9 ^7 hk?a?fMM .

SUPPORTING SPONSORS

*Columbia

POWER -POLE naoa..mr

Span ch.com

c?i2

Sundays at 8:30 a.m. Check your local listings Live coverage only on espnoutdoors.com


By DAVID HUNTER JONES

Gear Grab

New Products For Old Salts Columbia Columbia’s PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) line welcomed a new addition, the Blood ’N Guts series. Blood ’N Gutstreated garments repel liquids that would stain most clothes. The PFG line also features Omni-Shade, which provides built-in sun protection; OmniFreeze, which keeps you cool in the hot sun; Omni-Tech, which makes fabric waterproof and breathable; and Omni-Dry, which speeds drying of wet fabrics. www.columbia.com

Performance Fishing Gear Daiwa Daiwa has beefed up the high-speed Zillion bass reel to stand up to the rigors of saltwater fishing. The Zillion Coastal features six corrosion-resistant bearings, blue controls and special corrosion-resistant coatings and materials that will stand up to years of inshore abuse. The Zillion Coastal is also the fastest inshore-specific reel on the market, with a 7.3:1 retrieve ratio. Right- and left-hand retrieve models are available. www.daiwa.com Bomber Saltwater Grade Bomber has introduced a new lipless crankbait to the saltwater market: the Super Pogy. This 3 1/2-inch lipless rattlebait is offered in two pitch frequencies (high and low) and 12 colors. The high pitch model is best for windy days and offcolor water, while the low pitch is best for calm, clean water. 

TD Zillion Coastal reel

Super Pogy

www.bombersaltwatergrade.com

Humminbird With the 385ci Combo Kayak, Humminbird has taken all the guesswork out of rigging your kayak with electronics. It’s called a “Combo” because the kit includes everything needed to mount and wire the transducer. Also included is a battery, battery charger and dry storage bag. The 385ci also has a built-in GPS antenna and provision for SD cards, so Navionics HotMaps can be used. 

www.humminbird.com

385ci Combo Kayak

Spring 2010 Saltwater

53


In Focus

Take 10

Savvy fishermen know that finding birds means finding bait, which generally translates to finding fish. On this day in this spot, though, even the birds are taking a break. Take another cue from them and relax for just a bit; it shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be long before they take flight. Photo: Seigo Saito


Last Cast

By DAVID A. BROWN

Send In The Subs In theater, they’re called “understudies” — capable thespians with sufficient talent to step into the limelight should the big names become unable to perform. The sports world has backups, teachers have substitutes, businesses hire temps when staffing falls short. Fishing is no different, and often the B-teamers more than prove their merit when given a chance to shine. Sometimes alternative species appear as bycatch, but when state and federal regulations limit or exclude the take of your favorite sportfish, take heart in knowing that a suitable replacement is often close at hand. As the “sportfishing capital of the world,” Florida embraces this truth as strongly as any state — particularly in light of January’s extreme cold spell, which caused massive snook kills. In this case, temporary regulations shut down snook harvest all the way through the summer spawning season but left the species open to catch and release. A growing sentiment holds that forgoing even this conservation-minded option and giving linesiders some critical recovery time is a good idea. In the meantime, speckled trout and redfish provide solid inshore action, but don’t overlook the pompano, permit and cobia that swim these waters. Moreover, ladyfish, jack crevalle and bluefish may not grace anyone’s grill, but their abundance and willingness to eat practically any bait cannot be ignored. Offshore, grouper management in the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern Atlantic has become increasingly strict in terms of bag limits and seasonal closures. Anglers can still catch a few gags, reds and blacks, but downsize your tackle and fish cut squid on double dropper rigs and you’ll have a blast winding up grunts, triggerfish, porgies, spadefish and blue runners. The latter makes a dandy bait for pelagic predators such as kingfish and wahoo. Other coastal states see similar scenarios. North Carolina allows anglers to keep three king mackerel per day, but lightening wire leaders and fishing smaller baits enables anglers to fill out a limit of 15 Spanish mackerel. Alternative examples exist even in Louisiana’s fish-rich wonderland. Bayou State anglers can keep 25 speckled trout and five redfish a day, but if either one plays hard to get, hefty sheeps­ head inhabit the same marsh neighborhoods. Offshore, Louisiana allows two red snapper daily, while the aggressive lane snapper has a 20-fish limit.

56

Saltwater Spring 2010

More than just a whimsical notion, the alternative-species premise bears practical benefits. Fast action: In most cases, the subs are less persnickety than top-tier gamefish and can yield a lot of bites in not a lot of time. Seasoned anglers don’t mind waiting out the big one, but when you’re hosting novices — especially kids — fish that bite on nearly every drop are golden. Diversity: Tight regulations typically coincide with food quality, but don’t let that statement mislead you. Mix up your seafood dinners with a few different species and your taste buds will thank you. On the aesthetic side, some of the second-string species such as lane and vermillion snapper bear More than just a beautiful colorations, while watching the dorsal fin of a triggerfish collapse when whimsical notion, you depress the little spine (“trigger”) at the fin’s base the alternativenever fails to amuse. Economics: Strict regulations and seasonal closures can bear negative im- species premise pacts on the recreational fishing industry and coast- bears practical al economies that are heavily dependent upon fishingrelated tourism. However, benefits. awareness of and appreciation for the many alternative species keep the economic engine chugging along with bait and tackle sales, charter trips and peripheral expenditures such as hotel rooms, meals and fishing trip supplies. A couple of considerations: First, resist the temptation to max out a high bag limit just because you can. Wasting any natural resource is wrong, so keep only what you can eat in a few meals and release the rest. Second, take care to release fish in optimal condition. When possible, keep the fish in the water and use a long-handled hook remover to facilitate release. If you must lift a fish, use a wet towel to prevent slime loss and avoid touching the eyes or gills. Treating each fish like a headliner helps ensure the continuation of this great sport. For more from David A. Brown, go to www.espnout doors.com.


© 2010 Pure Fishing, Inc.

tip ` ,

;

`.

=

?

With SPIDERWIRE...

.Y . ??'

•••

1

???

?

"NL

Nothing Gets Away. Period

Vik

ow

r Iv

Crank that inshore trophy from the jaws of this mangled, twisted mess with a line spun from Dyneema®, The World’s Strongest Fiber™ - 15 times stronger than quality steel.

Need a stronger fishing line? It doesn’t exist.

1'

Dyneema'

The World's Strongest Flber,. “Dyneema®, and The World’s Strongest FiberTM are trademarks owned by Royal DSM N.V.”

• ? ? •• •?:•?

USiING

i

1

ze

fl,

I

www.spiderwire.com

bl'f f: f

?-

G N O T H I N G GETS A W A Y "


rr• © 2010 Columbia Sportswear Company. All rights reserved.

*C?,?yRy?

vow

4

NO GUTS.JUST JU T GLORY.

.rr r I

a

-I

o i l


ESPN Outdoors - Saltwater 2010