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GO PINK / MAHI’S LIKE THIS COLOR

GUIDE 2018

TIED UP

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SPEAR US THE DETAILS Five common-sense tips for a better day of spearfishing. Page 20

• Hauling • Detailing • • Bottom Painting • • Dustless Blasting • • Rack Storage •

COIN FOR CORAL State supports reef restoration with funds for Mote Marine Laboratory. Page 12

ON THE COVER Saltwater cures everything! The Keys have so much to offer mariners — great marinas, restaurants that have “boat parking” — not to mention outstanding fishing and diving. This issue is devoted to the salt lover in all of us.

SAFELY UNDERWAY Accidents happen, even on a beautiful day in the Florida Keys. Page 14

50 & 63 Coco Plum Drive • Marathon • 305-289-0285 Publisher Jason Koler jason@keysweekly.com

Everything You Need for a Day on the Water!

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2018

Managing Partner britt@keysweekly.com Editor Sara Matthis sara@keysweekly.com Account Executives Lesley Aaron lesley@keysweekly.com Stephanie Mitchell stephanie@keysweekly.com Nola Acker nola@keysweekly.com Evan Schaffer evan@keysweekly.com

Staff Writers Kristen Livengood kristen@keysweekly.com Gabriel Sanchez gabriel@keysweekly.com Katie Atkins katie@keysweekly.com Office Manager Charlotte Hruska char@keysweekly.com Production Manager Anneke Patterson anneke@keysweekly.com Art/Design Travis Cready travis@keysweekly.com Javier Reyes javier@keysweekly.com Keys Weekly Newspapers 9709 Overseas Hwy., Marathon, FL 33050 P. 305.743.0844

Published MMXVIII www.keysweekly.com

Key West 5450 MacDonald Ave. No. 5 Key West, FL 33040 P. 305.453.6928 Tavernier 91760 Overseas Hwy. Tavernier, FL 33070 P. 305.363.2957


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LURE THEM IN

Some good bets for summertime dolphin fishing Summertime in the Florida Keys means the mahi mahi are here. The voracious eaters like warm water, weed lines, fresh food and traveling in schools. “The ‘best mahi lure’ varies per angler,” said Neil Rojas general manager of Cudjoe Sales on Cudjoe Key. “What we have found to work best is a pre-rigged ballyhoo with a trolling skirt slid down over the nose. Iland Lures, Sea Witch, Stub Bub and Billy Baits are some very common skirts for this.” Summer colors are blue and white, pink and white, and green and chartreuse, he said. “These baits are typically trolled at around 5 knots wherever birds, weed lines or debris are present,” he said. Yank at Big Time Bait and Tackle in Marathon said CJ lures, made locally, are the No. 1 lure for mahi fishing because of the bright pink color. “This is the king,” he said. Drag it behind the boat and wait for a bite!

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A to Z Jigs, weighted jig head* $3.50 to $4 for various sizes/count

CJ lure $15 rigged

CJ lure $14 unrigged

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Palmetto trolling lure $14

CJ trolling lure $14 unrigged $15 rigged

Billy Bates mini turbo slammer trolling lure $19

*Use weighted jigheads to get bait deeper into the water, such as under a weed line where mahi might be hiding from the sun. Attach live bait, pilchards or ballyhoo.

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2018


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keysweekly.com 7


SEA STYLE By Kristen Livengood Trust us, what they wear for a day of boating in Nantucket is NOT what we wear in the Florida Keys. Although it’s beautiful out on the water, it’s also harsh. It’s sunny. It’s windy. It’s salty. We need gear that can stand up to the elements and protect our bodies. From deep-sea fishing to sandbar Sundays, here’s the scoop on what to wear.

CUTE HAT & A BUF Big Pine Key flea market, $6 These wide-brimmed hats are good and cheap, but stock up. They usually last only one or two trips, but man, they provide a lot of shade. Add a Buff around your neck, and boom, sun protection at its best.

BACKPACK COOLER Yeti Hopper Backpack, $299 Trekking down the dock to the boat is a lot easier hands-free with a backpack cooler. Not to mention not having to lift the iced-down, traditional cooler with no wheels.

A LIFE JACKET West Marine, $149

NON-SLIP, NON-MARKING SHOES Amazon, from $79

Pricey — but sleek and convenient — inflatable lifejackets can be worn offshore for those “just in case” moments. A lot of flats fishermen also swear by them for solo early morning backcountry trips.

“Stock Island Nike’s” are so in right now. A staple in commercial fishermen’s wardrobes, boat boots now have across-the-board appeal, that are even cute on rainy Florida Keys days, not just out on the boat slaying fish.

POLARIZED GLASSES Etsy, $20 Polarized glasses to help spot the fish like Costa Del Mar can cost around $200, and are still king when it comes to fishing. But other favorites are wooden sunglasses that can be found on Etsy. And, bonus, they float!

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2018


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BOWLINE KNOT Use: Forms a fixed loop at the end of a rope. Easy to tie and untie.

B1 – Create a small loop but leave enough line to make the larger final loop.

B3 – Pass the line behind the section above the small loop.

B2 – Slide the end of the line through the small loop.

B4 – Pass the line back through the small loop. Pull tight to complete.

Knot Know-how Learn three useful boating knots

Too often inexperienced boaters rely on the adage, “If you can’t tie a knot, just tie a lot.” That may fly when tying your shoe, but most dock masters don’t appreciate a tangle of line cluttering their pier. Part of basic seamanship is knowing the correct knot to employ under the right circumstances. Ask any Conch – knowing how to moor to a pier is just as (if not more) important as parking within the lines. Follow this guide to learn the basics and look cool in front of the locals. By Gabriel Sanchez

10

SQUARE (REEF) KNOT Uses: Used to secure two lines together. First knot taught to Boy Scouts.

S1 – Start with two ropes.

CLEAT HITCH KNOT Used for: securing your boat to fuel docks and waterfront restaurant piers.

C1 – Wrap the line around the far horn of the cleat, then the near.

2018

S2 – Cross the ropes and make a half knot.

S3 – Cross them a second time.

C2 – Bring the line over the middle and under the far horn.

S4 – Pull the end through the center.

C3 – Now do the same on the near horn.

S5 – Pull both ends outward to complete the knot.

C4 – Make a few more figure eight turns around both horns.


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Mote Marine Laboratory’s science-based coral reef restoration initiative for the Florida Keys received major support in the state of Florida budget signed by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year. A total of $500,000 was appropriated by Florida’s legislators and approved by the governor for Mote’s Coral Reef Restoration Initiative, in coordination with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Department of Environmental Protection. This is the second year Mote has received government funding for coral restoration; last year’s appropriation will allow scientists to restore 25,000 corals to Florida’s reefs in the 2018 fiscal year, and the new appropriation will allow an additional 25,000 corals to be restored in the 2019 fiscal year. “Florida Keys coral reefs are the basis of a $6 billion annual economy and 71,000 jobs in Florida; reef restoration is critical for preserving and nurturing the beauty, biodiversity, cultural values and economic impact of this natural treasure,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, president and chief executive officer of Mote. “The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Restoration Working Group, and many others, have recommended the need for intensive coral reef restoration in the Florida Keys to address decades of coral loss. We want to meet this need through successful, science-based restoration strategies.”   In the past decade, Mote scientists have planted more than 35,000 corals onto Florida’s reefs, working with multiple partners to achieve effective restoration. In May 2017, Mote opened its Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (IC2R3), along with the Alfred Goldstein Institution for Climate Change Studies, at its longstanding Summerland Key campus, expanding scientific capabilities and nursery space to produce coral fragments for restoration.   For years, Mote scientists have restored depleted coral reef areas with fragments of staghorn coral, a threatened branching species, along with massive reef-building species of brain, boulder and star corals grown in nurseries using an innovative method: microfragmentation and fusion. This method, whose restoration applications were pioneered by Mote scientists, involves breaking corals into tiny microfragments to significantly speed their growth.   Significantly advancing this technology, Mote scientists are employing research infrastructure partially funded by the National Science Foundation to identify and selectively restore a variety of genetic strains of corals that are more resilient and resistant to disease, warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. The newly funded Mote Coral Restoration Initiative will allow scientists at Mote’s IC2R3 to employ this research to outplant multiple coral species, including reef-building brain, boulder and star corals and branching elkhorn coral grown in Mote’s landbased nursery, and staghorn coral grown in its underwater nursery.

$$ FOR RESTORATION State supports Mote Marine Laboratory’s coral growing efforts

Mote planted 500 staghorn corals on Hope Reef before the hurricane with the help of community groups, including wounded warriors. CONOR GOULDING/Mote Marine Laboratory

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Said Mote CEO Crosby: “We sincerely thank State Representative Holly Raschein, as well as her many legislative co-sponsors, for her support of this innovative reef restoration initiative. Governor Scott is also to be applauded for his endorsement of applying and advancing evidence-based coral restoration science and technology to address and mitigate the global threats that challenge the existence of Florida Keys coral reefs.”


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A salvager readies a boat to be towed to shore. CONTRIBUTED

BE SAFE, NOT SORRY By Gabriel Sanchez and Sara Matthis

“DON’T GO FASTER THAN THE SPEED AT WHICH YOU WANT TO HIT SOMETHING.” — John Newton, founder of the Grand Banks Boats

On June 11, a family of six was swept into the sea on the oceanside of the Middle Keys. The time elapsed from “everything’s fine” to a panicked 9-1-1 call probably took just seconds. This story, fortunately, has a happy ending. “I think they just got caught in the storm. It was a little pontoon boat and they probably took a wave over the bow and the stern submerged,” said Jared Frank of Tow Boat U.S. in Marathon who salvaged the boat after the family was taken to shore by a good Samaritan. “But I’ve seen everything. People run out of gas, batteries are dead, and boats run aground.” Frank said the Keys are moving into the season where captains need his services most. During the summer, visitors descend on the crystal clear blue waters of the Florida Keys. For some, that means the boat hasn’t been in the water for a year, and may have engine failure; for others, it means they are unfamiliar with the territory. “That’s especially true this year. After Hurricane Irma, a lot of the markers are missing,” he said. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to be stuck on a flat.” Accidents happen, but boating accidents are happening in Monroe County more than any other place in Florida. Monroe County has already had four fatal boating accidents this year.

To report a boating accident to FWC, call 1-888-404-3922, or *FWC from a mobile phone or through the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety mobile app.

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Last year, Monroe County reported 96 total boating accidents, the highest in the state. According to the Fish and Wildlife statistics, 58 injuries and six fatalities resulted from those accidents. FWC classifies accidents by cause and type. Inattention, collisions, and Jet Ski accidents are the most prevalent. The majority of the vessels involved in accidents were less than 26 feet in length and most happen in the Upper Keys. Things like lobster mini-season, an influx of visitors, and consumption of alcohol have become significant factors for boating accidents during the summer. “I think it’s an accumulation of all of the above,” said FWC Officer Bobby Dube. “They come on vacation and no one expects to be involved in a boating accident or fatality.” Dube urges boaters take a boater safety course, make sure they have all the required safety gear before they leave the dock and leave a “float plan” with a trusted friend who can alert authorities if a mariner is overdue.


WELCOME BOATERS! message is then sent back to land-based search and rescue authorities. Because each EPIRB is registered, it provides responders with a name, the type of boat and size, emergency contacts and location. The more advanced type of EPIRB can also provide responders with a GPS location within 100 yards of the activated device.

SAFETY FIRST LOCATORS ACTIVATE IN AN EMERGENCY By Sara Matthis “If you’re 20, 30, 40 miles offshore, well, I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to have one,” said Capt. Jason Long of Best Bet Sportsfishing charters in the Middle Keys. “Unfortunately, I don’t think enough people do.” Capt. Long is speaking of EPIRBs — Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacons. The devices, about as big as a telephone handset, automatically send off an alert when they get wet — i.e., the boat is sinking. Some can also be engaged manually. The equipment, introduced in the 1980s, used to cost thousands of dollars. The price now ranges as low as $400. They are not just for professional fishermen. Recreational fishermen should have them too, as should long-distance cruisers. Every captain desperately hopes they never NEED one. EPIRBs work by sending out a 406MHz signal to a system of polar orbiting satellites. The

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites are used to detect the alerts. According to the agency, 275 people were rescued in the United States in 2017. Of those, 74 were on land from alerts issued by Personal Locator Beacons, or PLBs, which also have marine applications. “You can have an EPIRB on your boat, or a PLB sitting on your shoulder,” said Gale R. Kulp of Sea Tow Foundation.

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PLBs start at about $250. They have a shorter battery life than an EPIRB (24 hours versus 48 hours) and are registered to a person rather than a boat. Kulp said the devices are suitable both for experienced mariners undertaking a big trip, or uncertain newcomers who want extra peace of mind. “Whatever happens, it’s nice know you can call for help,” she said. RENT A DEVICE The Sea Tow Foundation is promoting the use of the safety devices by allowing boaters to rent the devices for a week at a time — a “try before you buy” campaign. The EPIRBs cost $95 a week and the PLB cost $80 a week. Note, boaters should order the devices two weeks in advance to allow time for registration and shipping. For more details, visit boatingsafety.com.

keysweekly.com 15


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“My experience was amazing! From the moment I was referred to this company I felt taken care of! The public adjuster, Curtis, was compassionate and professional! The office staff was amazing! Great communication! After my house was hit by a tornado, as a result of hurricane Irma, I had been dealing for months with my insurance company that was only willing to pay 1/3 of the cost of my repairs. Five Star got me enough money to cover the cost of repairs plus compensation for incidentals as a result of the storm (water leak, tarping, debris removal, etc.)! I am so grateful for all they did to help me during this difficult time! I highly recommend them to anyone gra instead of dealing with your insurance company to get what you deserve too.” – Tami S.

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CHARGED UP You have your baits rigged, but when you hit the key you hear nothing but that oh so irritating clicking of a drained battery. With the Coleman 12v solar battery trickle charger you can keep your batteries fully juiced. Just use the supplied alligator clips to connect to you battery and just leave the panel in the sun. It’s weather proof and cheap enough to replace often. $43 « any auto parts store

SANDBAR SADDLE

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Billed as a “multi-use personal floatation device,” the Human Bobber is designed for “the leisure sports enthusiast.” We think its perfect for bobbing at sandbar at high tide. Worn around the torso as a life vest or down as a pair of shorts, the Bobber can also be used as a cushioned kayak seat with back support. Accessorize with the Beverage Bobber (sold separately). Developed by Fort Lauderdale natives and featured on Shark Tank. $90 « h3osports.com

This pad for paddleboards, surfboards, and kayaks is so genius, it’s the kind of thing you wish you invented yourself. The pad straddles the edge of the upright lip of the tailgate and is held in place with two straps that wrap around it. An extra strap goes over the top of the board to hold it to the truck. That’s much easier than a combination of pool noodles, old towels and rope. There are several makers of tailgate surf pads (use that search term), all priced similarly. $30 « amazon.com


TOP THINGS TO KNOW WHEN SPEARFISHING IN THE KEYS By Kristen Livengood Going under the water free diving or tank diving can be dangerous with shallow water blackout, ropes and lines to be tangled in, and gear malfunctions — adding a dead fish dangling beside a diver doesn’t help. Here are five tips to stay safe while spearfishing.

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2018


1. This is the most important rule of all – always have a dive buddy. Be it free diving or tank diving, having a buddy at your side can save lives in situations like shallow water blackout or running out of air. 2. Know your gear. Where is the safety on the speargun? How does your dive computer work? Knowing the ins and outs of the gear will keep you safer underwater. 3. Speaking of spearguns, there are a couple common unwritten rules everyone should follow. Don’t load the gun on the boat, don’t hand a loaded gun over the side of the boat, and don’t bring a loaded gun back on the boat. 4. Know the rules. There are bag limits, size limits and slots, and seasonal closures of certain fish like grouper. There are also some fish you can never shoot, like snook, and some places you can never bring a speargun, like the Dry Tortugas National Park and other special protected areas as well as by most Keys’ bridges. Knowing these things will keep your karma good while out on the water. 5. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t push the limits. That grouper under the rock may look like the most amazing thing you could ever land, but it’s not worth blacking out over, or using the last drop of air and getting decompression sickness. Play it safe – there will always be another fish another time. ALESSANDRA HALLY/alessandrahally.com Spearo AJ Hally of Into The Blue Spearfishing Charters out of Key West knows how to safely bring up the big fish while freediving.

keysweekly.com 21


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