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*Note From The Tournament Director* You donĘźt have to read this whole manual !!

This is our own custom Fishing Resource that we use in our 6 week Don Ball School of Fishing class. At the end of the tournament you will have the opportunity to sign up for that class. Right now, this manual is something to look through. There is a lot of good local fishing information here. Each of our 4 Fish Quizzes will be based on information in this manual.

After each fishing period we will post the answers to each Fish Quiz on this website and in our Water LIFE magazine.


FounderĘźs Message Fishing Resource Manual

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Dedicated to protecting the fishing legacy passed on by our ancestors, the Charlotte Harbor Reef Association's goal is to educate young anglers and to place new fish habitat in Charlotte Harbor, the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waterways. The 2017 educational program, funded by the Charlotte Harbor ReefAssociation and with help from Charlotte County, the Fish Florida Foundation and the University of Florida Sea Grant program, this insures our youth will have the knowledge to enjoy, protect, and appreciate our beautiful and fragile environment. Charlotte County also assisted in establishing the Don Ball School of Fishing by seed-funding our first year's program in 2000. We hope you enjoy our school.

This is an 7 week course with one Saturday of fishing and one Saturday with an in-the-water Seine Net Pull.

Starting this week you will receive some valuable fishing equipment at each of your classroom sessions. It is all covered by the one $12 fee you paid for this course.

Sincerely, Jerry Jensen

Founder of the Charlotte Harbor Reef Association and the Don Ball School of Fishing

Who was Don Ball? Donald C. Ball, Jr. 1952-1998 Born in Kentucky, Don grew up in Eustis, Florida. The eldest of three children, Don established himself as a leader at an early age. When Don attended high school, he was the class president every year. Don excelled in academics and participated in athletics. After graduating from Florida State University, Don served in the United States Marine Corp. After separating from the military, Don moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and started a family and a career in real estate. With the desire to be closer to family and the beautiful waters of Charlotte Harbor, Don, his wife, daughter and son relocated to Charlotte County, Florida in 1986. Don continued his professional career by becoming a Certified Financial Planner for A.G. Edwards. His hard work and dedication earned his promotion to Vice President. Don was very active in many organizations; Coastal Conservation Association (previously the Florida Conservation Association), The United Way, Kiwanis and the Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda Little League. In addition to his involvement with civic associations and

YOU MUST BE PRESENT IN CLASS TO COLLECT YOUR TACKLE By the end of this course your fishing tackle collection should look something like this.

This is the handout schedule:

Week 1: Tackle Bag and Workbook Week2: Utility Tray and Floats

Week 3: Hooks, swivels, split shot, youth programs, Don also had a passion for outdoor recreation. He enjoyed fishing, boating, and diving with his family. On May 14th, 1998, Don lost his battle to a brain tumor. With honor and deep respect for a great man, it is our pleasure to present the 2016 Don Ball School of Fishing. Our sincere thanks go out to the following Captains for helping, in one way or another, with the 2017 Don Ball School

Capt. Cayle Wills, Capt. Bart Marx, Capt. Scott Sichling Capt. Capt. Capt. Billy Barton, Capt. Betty Staugler, Capt. Ralph Allen

jigs and practice plug

Week 4: Lures and Soft Plastics Week 5: Rod and Reel

Week 6: Gold Spoon, spool and line Week 7: Pliers and Graduation Shirt

You will be expected to tie a hook on your leader and tie the leader on your line by the time classes are over. The Don Ball School of Fishing has a Facebook page. Post some photos and share some fish stories of your own!


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Be The Fish

Fishing Resource Manual M A Y K K

If you are going to catch fish you have to learn to think like a fish.

A IV R

R

Charlotte Harbor Estuary

This book is like no other. It is a local how-todo-it resource manual put together just for you. Hopefully you will find it helpful for years to come. Your goal should be to learn to fish responsibly and to become the care takers of the environment in the future. ItĘźs all up to you.

When you complete this course you will be ready. You will receive a graduation shirt, a tackle bag filled with tackle and a really good Shakespeare rod and reel to start you on the way to a lifetime of fun fishing. Your journey begins right now!

Good Luck, stay safe and have fun! Donna Ball, Director The Don Ball School of Fishing (941) 815-1734

Gulf of Mexico (the Sea)

For the next eight weeks you will have the opportunity to learn about fishing in the Charlotte Harbor area. Licensed, local, professional fishing guides are your teachers.

READ! Take the time to read as much of this Resource Manual as you can. Anglers need to understand many things if they want to catch fish and keep the fishery healthy for years to come.

PE

ER

RIV

E

In order to get close enough to catch any fish you have to understand how, where and when that fish will feed. And you have to be quiet.

If you pay attention you can learn a lot about the environment, the ecosystem and the estuary that is Charlotte Harbor and in the process you will learn about the fish that live here.

E AC

Boca Grande

What is An Estuary? Estuaries are water passages where the tide meets a river current; an arm of the sea at the lower end of a river. Charlotte County has the second largest estuary* in Florida. Charlotte Harbor has a surface area of 270 square miles with an average depth of 7 feet. The deepest part, approximately 70 feet, is in Boca Grande Pass. The Myakka and the Peace rivers supply a steady flow of freshwater that mixes with the saltwater to create a pristine harbor and healthy fishery. There are numerous beaches and barrier islands, some accessible only by boat, that offer many miles of beach and wade fishing opportunities plus wonderful areas to picnic, walk, or go shell hunting. Additionally, the county has more than 400 linear miles of man-made canals, most of which are located in residential areas. The harbor itself, the nearshore gulf, and a considerable distance up the two rivers are often brackish (mixed salt and freshwater), but there are substantial fresh water fishing opportunities available throughout the county. The upper portions of the Myakka and Peace rivers and Shell Creek, which flows into the Peace, offer freshwater species. The Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area is a state fee-charging preserve that has a large freshwater lake. That lake, coupled with the miles of freshwater canals in the county offer anglers unending freshwater opportunities


Where to Fish During High and Low Tides Fishing Resource Manual

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Everyday, 365 days a year, the water levels of Charlotte Harbor estuary are constantly changing. This phenomenon is due to the tidal flow that is caused by the gravitational forces of the sun and moon. Since these changing water depths greatly influence the location and movement of fish, our greatest opportunity for finding fish will depend on these tidal move ments.

First you must understand how changing water levels influence the movement of fish. fish During low tide periods when the water is shallow, shallow fish feel vulnerable and move into deeper water for safety and comfort. This movement will tend to concentrate the fish in deeper water that occur in potholes, channel cuts, and the edges of flats and sandbars.

During periods of high water, the fish tend to be more scattered and are present in areas where the water depths offer them safety. During this period, fish also tend to orient more to structure and the availability of food. (Know This for the Test!) Tidal movements not only affect the movement of fish but also influence the availability and location of their food. Baitfish have no permanent home. They are here today and gone tomorrow. They are swept along by tidal flows. Predator fish know this and set up feeding stations where they can pick off the baitfish as they are moved by the tidal currents. Since fish location and activity are also affected by other factors such as temperature, water clarity, salinity, and time of year, the following are general "rules of thumb" that the successful angler follows when fishing at low and high tides. - Concentrate your efforts during the periods of changing tides since fish activity lessens at dead low and high tides. - During low tide periods fish areas of deeper water where fish tend to be concentrated.

- During high tide periods fish areas that contain structure such as mangrove roots, docks, piers, and bridge abutments.

- Find areas where tidal flows are the strongest. These areas will tend to concentrate food and contain greater fish activity. Tidal flows increase where the path of the water is restricted by either man made or natural structures. If you are going to maximize your time on the water, you must apply your un derstanding of how tidal flow affects the location of fish and their feeding activity. Good fishermen never leave home without consulting their tide tables.


What Causes the Tides Page 4

The tides are a natural phenomenon involving the alternating rise and fall in the large fluid bodies of the earth caused by the combined gravitational attraction of the Sun and Moon. The combination of these two variable forces produces the recurrent cycle of the tides. Tides may occur in both the oceans and seas, to a limited extent in large lakes, the atmosphere and, to a very minute degree, in the earth itself.  The period between succeeding tides varies as the result of many factors.  The tide-generating force represents the difference between 1: the Diurnal Range (the centrifugal force produced by the revolution of the earth around the common center-of-gravity of the Earth-Moon system) and 2: the Mean Range (the gravitational attraction of the Moon acting upon the Earth's overlying waters). Since, on the average, the Moon is only 239,000 miles from the Earth compared with the Sun's distance of 93,000,000 miles, this closer distance makes the Moon’s influence on our tides 25 times stronger than that of the Sun. The effect of the tide generating forces of the Moon and Sun acting at angles to the earth's surface cause an accumulation of the waters of the oceans at two positions as measured through the center of the Earth. The force actually withdraws water from all points 90 degrees away from the positions of these tidal bulges. As the earth rotates beneath the greatest and smallest of these tide-generating forces, a sequence of two high tides, separated by two low tides, is usually produced each day. This is the semidiurnal tide. As the planets move around the sky, twice in each lunar month, when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are directly aligned, the force acting on the tides is increased. If the Moon is aligned between the Earth and the Sun, it is called a new moon If the moon is aligned on the opposite side of the earth from the sun it is called a full moon At those two times, the Sun and the Moon exert their gravitational force in a mutual or additive fashion. The highest high tides and lowest low tides are

Fishing Resource Manual

produced at these times. These tides are spring tides. At two positions 90 degrees in between, the gravitatioal forces of the Moon and Sun tend to counteract each other to the greatest extent and the range between high and low tides is reduced. These are neap tides. The semi-monthly variation between the spring and neap tides is called the phase unequality. The angle of the Moon's monthly orbit to the equator and the angle of the Sun during the earth's yearly orbit to the equator produce a difference in the height of succeeding high tides and in the extent of depression of succeeding low tides. In extreme cases changes in planitary orbit and alignment can result in only one high tide and one low tide each cycle The thing to remember is the Sun and the Moon have the most effect on the tide

Charting and Predicting Tides

Tides are charted and predicted based on Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW). This became effective in 1980 when the government prescribed that data on all United States coastlines would be the same:


Fishing Resource Manual

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Typical Tide Graph Sample: at Punta Gorda Fl.

Here’s what the measuring points are: Mean Higher High Water (MHHW) Highest Mean High Water (MHW) Mean Tide Level (MTL) Mean Sea Level (MSL) Mean Low Water (MLW) Mean Low Lower Water (MLLW) Lowest

**** Mean Low

Lower Water is the water depth shown on Nautical Charts **** (try to remember that!)

Look at a seawall or piling someplace. See where the water level is when the tide is in, then see where it is later when the tide is out. Fishermen often have a ‘feeling’ for where the tide is at any given time of day. The difference in height between MHHW and MLLW is called the Diurnal range of tide.

The Mean range of tide is the difference in height between MHW and MLW. The actual range of tide in the waters of the open oceans may amount to only one to three feet. However, as the ocean tide approaches shoal waters of the shore its effects are enhanced. In Nova Scotia along the narrow channel of the Bay of Fundy, the difference between high and low waters may reach 43 1/2 feet At New Orleans, the tide is affected by the Mississippi River, being about 10 inches at low stage and zero at high. In every case, actual high or low tide can vary considerably from average, due to weather conditions such as strong winds, abrupt barometric changes, or prolonged periods of extreme high or low pressure. A 10 mph wind from the same direction for 10 hours can add or subtract 6 inches to a tide.

1-Day of Tides – Example Punta Gorda Florida 26.9283° N, 82.0650° W 2011-10-17 2011-10-17 2011-10-17 2011-10-17 2011-10-17 2011-10-17 2011-10-17 2011-10-18 2011-10-18 2011-10-18 2011-10-18 2011-10-18 2011-10-18 2011-10-18 2011-10-18

05:24 EDT 07:28 EDT 12:12 EDT 14:00 EDT 18:58 EDT 20:53 EDT 22:59 EDT 00:09 EDT 06:13 EDT 07:29 EDT 13:00 EDT 15:02 EDT 18:57 EDT 22:11 EDT 23:54 EDT

2.08 feet High Tide Sunrise Moonset 0.18 feet Low Tide Sunset 1.32 feet High Tide Moonrise 1.24 feet Low Tide 2.02 feet High Tide Sunrise Moonset 0.23 feet Low Tide Sunset 1.32 feet High Tide Moonrise

Where local tides are measured


WhatĘźs all that funny stuff at the bottom of this tide chart? Page 6

Fishing Resource Manual

Based on Florida folklore, the Solunar table was created to determine the best time for fishing based on the positions of the Sun the Moon and the Tides. The closer the Sun and the Moon are to you at any given moment, the stronger their influence. Scientists recorded the capture of record fish and large numbers of fish. Over 90 percent were made during the dark of the moon (new moon) when the effects of of the Solunar Periods appear to be greatest, and during the actual times of the Solunar Periods. When a Solunar Period falls within 30 minutes of sunrise or sunset (weather permitting) you can anticipate great fishing action! The day of a NEW or FULL MOON will provide the strongest influence in each month. When you have a moonrise or moonset during that period the action will be even greater. And, finally, when the Solunar times occur during a NEW or FULL MOON, you can expect the best action of the season!

Location Punta Gorda, FL Baltimore, Md Boston, MA Charleston, SC Cristobal, Panama Eastport, ME Pt. Pulaski, GA Galveston, TX Halifax, Nova Scotia

Ft. 2 1 10 5 1 19 7 1 4

In. 0 8 4 10 1 4 8 5 5.2

Some Average Rises and Falls of Tides around North America Hammon Roads, VA Key West, FL Mobile, AL New London, CT Newport, RI New York, NY Philadelphia, PA Portland, ME

2 1 1 3 3 5 6 9

10 10 6 1 11 1 9 11

St. John's Newfoundland St Petersburg, FL San Diego, CA Sandy Hook, NJ San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA Vancouver, BC Washington, DC

Month Long Sample Tide Chart for Boca Grande

2 2 5 5 5 11 10 3

7.2 3 10 10 10 4 6 2


FISHING ON THE HIGH TIDE Fishing Resource Manual

READING MATERIAL

Summertime on Charlotte Harbor means high tides and good fishing. The angling challenge with the extra high tides of summer is where to find the fish. With each incoming tide redfish, snook and trout meander their way into the feeding grounds. Starting from the lower tide phases, gamefish will warily make a trek into the backcountry. The middle tidal phases can be difficult because the fish are spread out over our expansive flats. As the flow of tide adds inches to the water depth, the range of exploration expands. The expanding waterline floods mangroves, oyster beds and weedy bottom that previously were too shallow for safe feeding. Savvy anglers need to position themselves to take advantage of the incoming water. There is indeed a certain strategy that needs to be employed. Many strategies have come from extensive hours of not catching any fish compared to the short scopes of time where and when the fishing is hot. In short, many fishing spots have short windows of time where the fish are either passing through or positioned in a feeding mode for a length of time. There are incoming tide spots and outgoing tide spots and a rare few are both. Incoming vs. Outgoing Tide- If you consider that fish are migrating with the rising tide to feed then it would seem that they would be hungrier and more aggressive on the incoming. Conversely, on the outgoing tide the fish have already been feeding and are gearing up to migrate back out of the shallows as the tides recede. Which fish is going to be more aggressive, an incoming tide fish that has been led by the dinner bell of the high tide or the outgoing tide fish that has been feeding for hours and is heading out? Most anglers I know love the incoming tide. Obviously, this is because they catch more fish on the incoming tide. For the high tides of summer I prefer the top of the outgoing tides, but the last 2 hours of incoming are pretty hard to beat. Perhaps some anglers are just better at understanding the predatory instincts of redfish and snook on certain tide phases. The next question is where do fish go on a high tide? Generally speaking, they move further into the

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backcountry with rising waters. Thery choose funnel areas that modify water flow and they look for shoreline irregularities that will allow them to position themselves to ambush prey. Finding them sounds simple enough but it requires persistence. There are so many great looking spots when the bushes are flooded. A few things to look for are:

 Mangroves with indentations that are flooded on high tide and void on low tide (preferably located next to deeper water).  Mangroves that have adjacent oyster beds.  Mangroves with obvious current flow.  Creek channels leading from the backcountry.  Mangroves that contain hard banks.  Baitfish activity of any kind.  Mullet jumping or swirling.  Oyster beds.

Fishing techniques are basic. For artificials, high tides are the perfect time to become a “bassmaster�. Cast spoons and weedless soft plastics in rapid fire fashion and cover lots of water. This is a great time to work a topwater bait as well. Bait fishing requires more patience, but is hard to beat. Fish pinfish or cut bait on the bottom and hang on. The most important key is to make accurate casts with your bait tight against the bush. A cast two feet from the bush is usually a waisted cast as gamefish will usually not stray far from their water flushed sanctuary.

There are some other considerations for high tide fishing. The huge influx of freshwater will create extra current flow particularly on the outgoing tide. Fish may position themselves to take advantage of the extra water flow and the groceries that flow out with it. With huge rainfalls you may have to consider the varying salinity. If the water becomes too fresh, then baitfish may avoid the area as well as what your fishing for. Lastly, super high tides that are wind driven can be the kiss of death for fishing. Extra flooded waters give the fish way too much room to roam however the lack of tide flow that usually comes with it does more to shut down the bite then the extra water. Fishing is always about being in the right place at the right time.


FISHING LINE Fishing Resource Manual

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THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT TYPES Several years ago monofillamant was the most popular fishing line, but local bait shops we spoke to today say they now sell about 80-percent braided line and 20-percent mono. Mono will catch more fish. Fish apparently don’t see it as easily, but braided line is stronger, lighter and theirfore you can cast it further, so you don’t have to get as close and you don’t spook the fish. Strength for strength, braided line is skinnier than mono. A piece of braided line that will break at 20 pounds is about the same thickness as a piece of mono that will break at 6 pounds. Problems arise when you take a small lightweight 6-pound-test line rated reel and spool it up with some 20-pound braided line. line The skinny braided 20-pound line will fit on the reel and pass around the rollers just fine, but it will break at a much higher test (20-pounds) than the 6-pound reel was designed for, so the reel itself will break before the line. Monofilament is used for both saltwater and freshwater casting reels. Monofillament is the recommended line for spinning reels. Cheap monofilament lines are stiff. Relaxed lines are slightly more expensive, easier to cast and do not spring or stick out on the reel. Replace monofilament at least once a year– more frequently if it is subject to intense casting activity or heavy lures on a regular basis. Line can also be weakened by numerous long runs or fights with large fish. Never discard monofilament into fishing water. It is a threat to both fish and birds as well as being illegal. Most tackle shops and many area fishing piers have recepticles for old fishing line. Microbraided Line Most people simply call it braided line, but it’s a very fine woven braid, a micro-braid. The line is made of nylon and kevlar a super strong space age thread used to make bullet proof vests. It is extremely light but because of it’s composition won’t hold its color very long. It sometimes turns a milky grey. Braided dacron is preferred by some offshore fishermen using conventional reels. It is relaxed on the spool and has little stretch so it gives good hook setting response. Dacron is resistive to fatigue and an excellent trolling line. When casting or fighting a fish, line can come in contact with all types of abrasive elements including barnacles, rocks, docks, logs, and even other fish. Line should be stripped of all abrasions. Some anglers recommend that after a particularly tough fight with a fish, at least 10 feet of line should be cut off and all swivels, snaps, leader, lures or hooks retied. Joining two lines Overlap the ends of two lines of similar diameter for about 6 inches. Choose one end and form a Uni-Knot circle, crossing the two lines about midway of the overlapped distance. Tie the Uni-Knot, making six turns around the two lines. Pull the tag end to snug the knot tight around the line. Use the loose end of the overlapped line to tie another Uni-Knot and make it snug. Pull the two standing lines in opposite directions to slide the knots together. Pull them as tight as possible and snip the ends close to the nearest coil. Leader to line When tying a leader of no more than four times the test weight of the line, double end the line and overlap with leader for about 6 inches. This may seem awkward at first but the light line must be doubled to gain the strength needed for the knot. Make the Uni-Knot circle with the doubled line. Tie the basic Uni-Knot, making three turns around the two lines and snug the knot. Now tie the UniKnot with leader around the doubled line. Again use only three turns. Pull the knots together as tightly as possible and trim the ends and loop.


FISHERMENĘźS KNOTS

Fishing Resource Manual

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For fishing in Charlotte County, there are five knots which should meet most needs. If you only learn one knot, learn the clinch knot!

Improved clinch knot This knot is easy to tie and is very good for attaching swivels, snaps, and hooks. The improved clinch knot works well on jigs and with lures that have a split ring attached to the eye of the lure. To tie the improved clinch knot, pass the line through the eye of the hook, swivel or lure. Double back and make five turns around the standing line. Hold the coils in place and thread the end of the line through the first loop above the eye, then through the big loop. To tighten the knot, hold the tag end and standing line while pulling the coils together. Be careful that the coils are in a spiral and do not overlap each other. Slide the knot tight against the eye and then clip the tag end. All knots will tighten better if they are kissed, that is moistened slightly with saliva before being pulled completely tight.

clinch knot

The palomar knot This knot has excellent strength. It is particularly good for holding snaps, swivels, hooks, and smaller lures. To tie, double about 4 inches of line and pass the loop through the eye. Let the hook or other terminal tackle hang loose and tie an overhand knot in the doubled line. Make sure there is no twisting in the lines. Do not tighten the knot. Pull the loop of line far enough to pass it over the hook, swivel, or lure. Make sure the loop passes completely over the attachment. Pull both tag end and standing line to tighten. Clip the tag end about 1/8 inch above the knot.

palomar knot

A little practice while watching television is a painless way to develop and keep knot tying skills. The tell-tale sign of an improperly tied knot is a pig tail at the end of the line when you reel in line and the hook or lure is not there.


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Fishing Resource Manual

The surgeonʼs knot This reliable knot is best used for tying heavy monofilament leader or shock line to a monofilament or braided dacron line. To tie, lay the line and leader parallel, overlapping 6” to 8”. Treating the two lines like a single line, tie an overhand knot, pulling the entire leader through the loop. Leaving the loop of the overhand open, pull both the tag end of the line and the leader through again. Hold both lines and both ends to pull the knot tight. Clip the ends close to avoid foul-up in the rod guides.

UNI-KNOT SYSTEM surgeonʼs knot While there is no perfect knot for every fishing situation, Vic Dunaway’s Uni-Knot System is designed as a basic knot that can be varied to meet most fishermen’s needs. The knot can be used to tie line to hooks, lures, swivels and snaps, line to leader, line to line, and line to spool. It is described as a 100 per cent knot, which means on a steady pull the line will break before the knot gives way. When tying hooks, swivels or lures to the line, run at least 6 inches of line through the eye of the hook and fold it to make two parallel lines. Bring the end of the line back in a circle toward the eye. Make six turns with the tag end around the double line and through the circle. Hold the double line at a point where it passes through the eye and pull the tag end slowly to snug the turns. Pull the standing line to slide the knot against the eye. Continue pulling until the knot is tight. Trim the tag end flush with the closest coil of the knot.

uni knot

LOOP KNOTS ARE FOR LURES

Creating a loop knot for a lure Tie the same knot to a point where turns are snug around the standing line. Slide the knot toward the eye until the desired loop size is reached. Pull the tag end with a pliers to maximum tightness. This feature of the knot gives a lure or hook a natural free movement in the water. When a fish is hooked, the knot will slide tight against the eye.

More Knots on page 42-43!

loop knot


All About RODS & REELS Fishing Resource Manual

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On a spinning rod, the reel seat and its guides hang below the rod. Because it is strong, light weight, and resists corrosion, graphite is the best material for a reel seat. The handle of a spinning rod is usually made of Rinse your rod & reel off everytime you finish fishing foam or composite cork. Both are good materials that Anglers use a fishing rod to deliver a bait or lure fit and cushion the hand. On larger rods it is desirable to to a specific target. The rod also serves as a lever when have an additional gripping space in front of the reel you set the hook and it absorbs the fish’s energy during seat. The handle should feel comfortable as it is used for the fight. long periods of time. The strength of the rod and the test weight of the A 6- to 7 1/2-foot spinning rod is a good line is critical since together those two factors determine all-round size for fishing Charlotte Harbor and most how much pull can be applied to a fish without the line open fresh-water in the county.

or the rod breaking.

Most fishing rods have a recommended lure and line weight range printed on the lower part of of the rod. Spinning and baitcasting rods are usually classified as follows:  Ultralight: 2 to 6 pounds  Light: 6 to 10 pounds  Medium: 10 to 14 pounds  Medium-heavy: 14 to 20 pounds  Heavy: Above 20 pounds ...but fly rods are classified differently:

SPINNING RODS Rods are made from a variety of materials with the most popular being graphite and fiberglass. Graphite is lightweight and frequently combined with fiberglass or other materials such as boron, to add strength and sensitivity. Some rods are made of two or more sections. Multipiece rods can be taken apart for storage or transportation and are easier to keep intact than long one piece rods that can have their tips broken off in car doors and ceiling fans. A spinning rod needs a minimum of five line guides and a tip. Line guides spread out the stress on the rod when the fish fights. The frame holding the guide should be chrome or stainless steel. Stainless often has a blackened finish. Golden frames, while initially attractive, can be susceptible to corrosion.

SPINNING REELS Spinning reels are easy to learn to use. After a brief lesson and a little practice, anyone can cast with reasonable accuracy and distance. Spinning reels are excellent for up to 30-pound-test line mono line or up to 60-pound braided line, Beyond that line weight, spinning reels do not hold line efficiently and must be excessively large to hold a large quantity of line. Important features on spinning reels The drag mechanism is a system of flat washers system that create resistance when line is being pulled from the reel. The drag serves to tire


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the fish as it pulls line off the spool. Drag is adjustable and must be set so there is not enough resistance for the line to break.

Fishing Resource Manual

is engaged. The reel should not be cranked while the fish is pulling line off the spool. Let the rod and the drag fight the fish. Baits spin when retrieved and that can contribute YES! Do Try This Yourself to twisting. This type of twisting can be reduced signifTo set the resistance, hook a hand scale, (Boga Grip, X- icantly by using a ball bearing swivel between the line Tools scale or other measuring device) to a fixed object. Tie and the leader. Twisted lines can usually be relieved by the line to the hand scale, step back a few paces and pull the playing the line out behind a moving boat and trailing it rod into a fish fighting position. The drag should be set to 25 for a few minutes. Nothing should be attached to the line per cent of the line’s breaking point. That means the drag setting for 12 pound test line is proper when the drag releases at during this process. 3 pounds of pressure on the hand scale. It is important to get a ‘feel’ for this.

Ball bearings: An important consideration when buying a reel is the number of ball bearings. Ball bearings are used on various critical moving areas of the reel. The more bearings there are, the smoother and more efficient the reel will be.

Anti-reverse: The anti-reverse works with the drag. When the anti-reverse is in the ON position, the reel can not spin backwards. When the anti-reverse is in the OFF position, the reel is in ‘free spool’ and can spin backwards or forwards. Free spool is useful when the angler wants the fish to pull line off the reel without resistance, a common bottom fishing technique.

BAITCASTING EQUIPMENT Baitcasting reels differ from spinning reels in very visible ways. The reels are of completely different designs with spinning using a fixed line spool and baitcasting a revolving one. In spinning, the reel and line guides are mounted under the rod. In baitcasting, the reel seat and line guides are on top. The line guides on baitcasting rods are considerably smaller than those on spin casting. Baitcasting rods have a variety of handles while most spinning rods have the same type. Baitcasting has increased in popularity because of new materials that lighten reel weight, and development of anti-backlash devices that work effectively.

The reel body: The reel body should be graphite, graphite composite, or anodized aluminum. A painted reel has the least durable finish. Graphite is light weight, which can be a major consideration when casting all day. Spinning reels like spinning rods must be matched to the proper line weights. Line tests and amount of line the reel holds at that weight are printed on the reel. Reels, like rods, are classified from ultralight through heavy. For best performance the reel, rod BAITCASTING RODS and line must match. When they do, the combination is Baitcasting rods are made from said to be ‘balanced.’ Most spinning reels come with a the same material as spinning rods, that feature that allows the handle to be placed on either the is, graphite or graphite in combination left or right side of the reel. with fiberglass or boron. One of the unique factors of baitLine twisting: Spinning reels have a line twisting casting is the variety of handles availproblem. It will be difficult for you to put line on a reel able. The pistol grip was once popular, manually without some twisting, even when directions however now saltwater fishermen freare followed explicitly. quently prefer a straight handled rod Most every tackle shop has the proper equipment to with the handle at least 10 inches or put line on a reel without twisting, plus the angler only longer. buys the amount of line needed. Such length and shape allow at least Line twisting also is caused by reeling while the drag three things to be done:


Fishing Resource Manual

First, with a straight handle, the rod blank can be extended the full rod length with the grip built around the blank rather than attached to it. The through-handle blank gives a rod added sensitivity. Second, this design adds to the overall rod strength both in setting the hook and fighting the fish. Long handled rods may have a trigger to aid in casting, but the true advantage of the length is how easy it makes two handed casting. For many people that is a physically more comfortable technique. Particularly if there is a lot of casting to be done. Third, pistol grips do not fit in many boat rod holders, which can be bothersome when one is trolling or just putting the rod down for a minute.

The guides of a casting rod should be ceramic or an oxide for saltwater fishing. Since most local anglers fish both fresh and saltwater, it is better if fresh-water rods also have those type guides. Like spinning equipment, baitcasting rods have the lure weight and line weight printed on the blank. These rods are classified from ultra-light to heavy. Newer rods have a larger range of lure/line weight than older traditional classifications. It is important when buying a rod to have a clear idea how the rod will be used. Of course, no one rod meets all uses and most fishermen own a number of rods. When a casting rod is matched with the proper reel and lure/line weight, it will cast farther and with more accuracy than comparable spinning equipment. Casting rods range in size from 5 to 7 foot. The most preferred length around Charlotte Harbor is a medium heavy 6 1/2-foot rod. CONVENTIONAL REELS A baitcasting reel belongs to a type of reels called conventional. On a conventional reel, cranking the reel handle turns the line spool. Conventional reels are used for casting, bottom fishing, and trolling. The baitcasting reel is designed to be cast, although it also has features which allow it to be used for trolling and bottom fishing. There are a number of features

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unique to a conventional casting reel. Some have levelwind, anti-backlash, constant anti-reverse, free spool, and the star drag. Level Wind: The level wind plays retrieved line across the spool evenly to facilitate easy exit when cast. For conventional reels handling line over 30 pound test, a level wind is not used, primarily because of the stress placed on it when a large fish makes an extremely long and powerful run. On reels without a level wind, the angler nudges the line with the thumb during retrieval to help it distribute evenly on the spool. Monofilament lines above 30 pound test are usually not cast for long distances, rather they are used in trolling, heavy jigging in very deep water and in downrigger applications. Braided lines, due to their smaller diameter can be used to 50- or 60-pounds. Anti-backlash: The anti-backlash feature slows the spool and stops overspin. To adjust the antibacklash, a lure is attached to the line and the rod is held at a 45 degree angle. The reel is put in free spool and the anti-backlash adjusted until the lure barely pulls line from the spool by its own weight. The Free Spool: The free spool is operated by either a button or a thumb bar on the reel, which when pressed, disengages the line spool, allowing it to spin freely. Drag System: The drag system of a conventional reel has an alternating series of stainless steel and leather-like composites or teflon washers. The drag is adjusted by tightening or loosening the large star located on the same spindle as the cranking handle. Proper adjustment of the drag is based on 25 per cent of the test weight of the line. Anti-reverse: All casting reels have as part of the drag system an anti-reverse. This feature, when engaged, insures the spool can only be cranked in one direction and stops the handle from spinning backward. Ball Bearings: Ball bearings in conventional reels are critical for a smooth and long lasting life. Three ball bearings are recommended for baitcasting reels and two for other conventional reels. More than that significantly increases general maintenance and a fewer number reduces smoothness. Conventional casting reels come in a variety of body shapes and materials. Most are made for right handed operation, but some left handed models are available.


Page 14 When buying a reel, it should be fitted on a rod and handled like it would be under fishing conditions. Different reels feel different and weigh different amounts. Casting reels require more hand effort than spinning reels. If you doubt that, hold a conventional reel and loosen your grip slightly. The rod will rotate and the reel will revert to an upside down position. Baitcasting reels come with a number of additional features not discussed here, including retrieve ratios, multiple drag adjustments, and quick change spools. The selection of various options is an individual one, but there are now conventional casting reels available with features that will meet most needs.

SPINCASTING REELS Spinning and baitcasting reels are equally at home in fresh or saltwater environments. That is not true of spincast reels, which operate best in freshwater, but can also be used for light saltwater fishing. Spincast reels are sometimes viewed as a combination spinning/baitcasting reel because the line spool is fixed like a spin ning reel, and it mounts on a baitcasting rod. Easily recognized by the cone shape that covers the spool, they are referred to as closed faced reels. Line is attached to the spool through a small opening in the center of the cone face and is retrieved by a spinner head that drops it loosely around the spool. Casting is controlled by a thumb button located at the rear of the reel. Depressing the button readies the reel for a cast, and when the thumb is lifted, line is released. Because the spool is fixed, the reel will not backlash. This feature has made the reel very popular with freshwater fishermen. Spincast reels come in a wide range of sizes, from micro reels capable of casting a 1/32 ounce lure

Fishing Resource Manual

with line weights of 1 to 4 pound test to magnum reels that use 20 pound test monofilament or some heavier braided lines. Some of the most popular spincast reels are designed for crappie/spec and bluegill fishing. These reels can be quite light, 5 to 6 1/2 ounces, and when matched with an ultralight graphite baitcasting rod can be fished all day without significant fatigue. They are particularly comfortable for children and others who do not have great arm and wrist strength. While extremely easy to use, spincast reels are not without problems, the most significant being line pinching and twisting. All spincast reels come pre-spooled with the appropriate line for the reel. The way line is collected and placed on the spool makes it difficult to not have some twist in the line when it is replaced. A good tackle shop can dismantle the reel and place the spool on a winding machine to insure no twisting. This is normally not a costly service. The problem of line pinching results from the way line is placed on the spool during retrieval. The spinner head has a pin, either metal or ceramic, that picks up the line and drops it loosely on the spool. A fighting fish pulls line tight on the spool during the fight and can cause line to be buried between the loose coils. After the fish is landed and subsequent casts made, the pinched line can stop the flow of line off the spool. To correct the problem, the reel face must be removed and the line worked free. ROD AND REEL MAINTENANCE It is imperative that an angler spend time after each fishing trip doing simple maintenance of their fishing equipment. Each rod and reel should be rinsed off with fresh water to get the salt off. Clean the guides by running fingers around them to break loose the salt residue. Do not use a hard spray, rather rinse the rod with a gentle column of water. The reel seat should be exposed periodically and cleaned to stop salt build up. The guides, their ceramic inserts, and the feet and wraps should be visually checked. Reels can to some extent be salt proofed by a thorough application of saltwater resistant grease inside the body of the reel. Even new reels should be given a coating to stop the intrusion of saltwater. Saltwater resistant grease is also heat resistant. Cork and composite handles that are stained by hand oils can be cleaned using rubbing alcohol.


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Where to Fish from Land Englewood Area: Tom Adams Bridge Placida Pier Coral Creek Pier Boca Grand Trestle Gulf Shoreline El Jo Bean Trestle

Murdock / Port Charlotte Area: Beach Complex Pier Harbor Heights Park Dock Under / On 41 Bridges Bayshore Piers Punta Gorda Area: Laishley Park Pier Gilchrist Park Pier Nature Park Pier Ponce De Leon Park Cecil Webb / Babcock Lakes Alligator Creek

HereĘźs a tarpon caught in the surf at Englewood Beach.

In the past you could hold a big tarpon like this, but now the FWC says only tarpon less than 4-feet long can be lifted out of the water for a picture.

Tarpon studies have shown tarpon that are released while in the water by simply breaking or cutting the leader have the greatest rate of survival.

Holding any fish against your shirt (or with a dry towell) is bad because it removes the protective slime from the animal.

It is always best to release a fish while it is still in the water.

Where to Fish by Boat

 Snook and redfish along the mangroves during higher tides  Trout on the grass flats  Snook and redfish in the potholes during lower tides  Snook and redfish in the creeks  Variety of species at the Alligator Creek reef

Note* For more detailed information on where to fish by boat, see the Places to Fish section on Page 16-17 of this manual.


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4

Fishing Resource Manual

Northern Charlotte Harbor Where to Fish By Boat

1

4 1

2

2

2

4

1

3

3

5

2

1) Snook & Redfish along the mangroves during higher tides 2) Trout on the grass flats 3) Snook, Redfish & Trout in the potholes 4) Snook & Redfish in the creeks 5) Variety of species on the artificial reef here


Fishing Resource Manual

Southern Charlotte Harbor Where to Fish By Boat

1

1

3 1

4

5 2

4

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2

4

2 2

3

1) Snook & Redfish along the mangroves during higher tides 2) Trout on the grass flats 3)Snook, Redfish & Trout in the potholes 4) Snook & Redfish in the creeks 5) Variety of species on the artificial reef here


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Fishing Resource Manual


Do the right thing....... Fishing Resource Manual

.....even when no one else is looking

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PLACES TO FISH Page 22

FOR OTHER SPECIES

How many times have you heard a Charlotte County resident say they rarely catch fish when they go fishing. It’s hard for me to believe because there are more fish within Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound and the surrounding waters than most anywhere else in the U.S.. Most folks who live here came from a northern state and they are not used to fishing in shallow waters, often less than 5 feet or what we refer to as a deep hole of 20 feet. Our waters are generally clear and you would think that if there are fish in the water then you should be able to see them. Right? Up north, 15 feet is shallow and deep is over 50 feet. Everyone does occasionally have a skunked day on the water, but more often it’s when they pursue the glamorous species, tarpon, snook and redfish. But this article brings us back to earlier southern Florida fishing experiences when we had a hard time catching fish before we employed the basics. This article is primarily about catching many subtropical species that do not include the tarpon, snook or redfish. The fish you can expect to easily encounter without a sophisticated effort includes mangrove snapper, assorted bottom species including grunts and flounder, ladyfish, sharks (primarily blacktip and bonnethead), jack crevalle, speckled trout, bluefish, mackerel, goliath grouper, hardhead and gafftop catfish, black drum, barracuda and many others. There are a lot of other fish besides snook, redfish and tarpon and primarily these fish can be pursued in open waters not around extreme shallows and mangrove islands. In short, to catch fish on just about any occasion there are 3 basic styles of fishing to employ- drift fishing, anchored bottom fishing and trolling. It sounds simple enough and the baits to use for each style are actually simple enough as well. The warm weather bait of choice would be live shrimp, live baitfish, live crabs or fresh cut bait including ladyfish and threadfin herring. Perhaps the easiest and cheapest baits are frozen squid and Spanish sardines. The most relaxed fishing is drift fishing and it is very productive as well. The biggest thing to fishing success is fishing in the

Fishing Resource Manual right spot. The basic rule of ‘where-fish-will-befound’ typically involves a bottom change in depth. For example, an 8-foot bottom that falls off quickly to a 12-foot depth offers the fish a breakline of depth to ambush from and becomes a fish magnet. The second rule is current flow which helps fish position themselves to take advantage of an incoming or outgoing tide on a bottom feature. With these 2 rules in mind here are 2 examples of spots that are pretty much a sure thing: Go to the Jug Creek Bar and set up a drift on an incoming tide on the outskirts of the bar where shallow meets deep and you will catch fish. Location No. 2 is Johnson Shoals just outside Boca Grande Pass where you let the tide pull your boat past the edge of the shallow water ledge as it juts down into the channel. These locations are fish super-highways and there are thousands of fish in our area. Set up a bottom rig with a light sinker with a snelled hook about 12 inches above the sinker and bait-up with a shrimp or squid. Match the hook size to the bait size. Another approach is to use a jighead tipped with bait and drift this behind the boat. You will not go home skunked! This same tactic can be employed around the harbor adjacent to heavy weedbeds or in the middle of a large expanse of grass. A different rig would be one that suspends your bait below a float as you drift along. Impart an occasional jerk as you drift along which creates sound and draws the fishes attention to your bait. A second productive fishing technique is bottom fishing from an anchored boat. Again, being where the fish are is the key. The many public reefs hold fish however less visible spots hold plenty more fish. For instance, the mouth of the Peace River or intersection of Matlacha Pass with Charlotte Harbor are great places to throw the anchor and put a few lines out. My general rigging method is to place a 1/0 to 3/0 hook on 2 feet of 30-pound mono leader and pitch a shrimp or cut- bait out. Have at least 2 lines out so that one can be fished weightless and the other with a few split shots to get it the near the bottom. Heavier current flow may require more weight. You can expect sharks, trout, jacks, ladyfish, mackerel and occasionally a grouper, tarpon or cobia. You really never know what will bite. Another good location is the old pilings from the phosphate docks on the north side of Boca Grande. These pilings hold a lot of fish. Anchor up, place a chum bag over the side and get ready to


Fishing Resource Manual

reel. Goliath grouper love this spot. Many other bottom fish will jolt your rod and often break you off before you can pull them from the structure. The key here is the structure. It offers a place for the predator fish to stage behind and ambush their prey. This is the basic fundamental of the successful angler. Visualize the bottom and any ambush point that is derived from a bottom depth change, or position your boat to fish man-made structure. Identify these spots by reviewing a chart and using your depthfinder to locate the subtle bottom contours. More obvious places include man-made rip-rap, rocks, seawalls, pilings and bridge abutments. Sandbars are snackbars for fish and are a sure thing for action. You can drift or anchor on sandbars that form points or pockets and have moving water around them. As a general guideline, fish a spot for 20-30 minutes before moving on to the next. Fish travel different paths on different tides and at different times of year. Be patient, but fresh bait should get some attention if your in the right spot. One of the favorite baits on the Harbor is cut ladyfish. Catching ladyfish is at least half the fun of having them for bait. Ladyfish love to hang on the outside of the east and west bars, mouth of the Myakka River, Bull and Turtle Bay. Generally in 3-6 feet of water they can be caught throwing soft plastic lures and spoons. Let the wind drift you down the edge and blind cast until you hook up. With a few ladies in the boat your ready to go fishing. On a recent fishing trip, we had a slack tide with high northeast winds that put the kabash on fish catching. Our third fish of the day after 5 hours fishing was a ladyfish. Redfish, sharks, snook and most other species love cut ladyfish. Hoping to save a slow fishing day we took the one ladyfish and went to a nearby mangrove island and cast out a healthy chunk. So far that day a livewell of pilchards could hardly raise a bite. After only 10 minutes of soak time with a ladyfish chunk a huge redfish ate the bait. One heck of a battle ensued and 10 minutes later a redfish of over 14 pounds came boatside. Two more bites produced catfish which really gave a good account of themselves despite being less glamorous.

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Trolling is a basic form of fishing where you cover lots of water while fishing lines out of the back of the boat. Despite the fact that you won’t see many boats trolling Charlotte Harbor we do it often when guests come into town. We can talk and enjoy the weather and casually fish while the swells of the harbor impart extra action into our lures. Mackerel and ladyfish are really suckers for a small white bucktail with a twister tail attached. A silver or gold spoon also works well. Put your boat in gear and make a long cast with 2-3 rods, letting a little extra line out as the boat moves forward. From Burnt Store Marina to Boca Grande Pass there is always a school of fish to be had. Set a troll up for 20 minutes and if no fish are hooked, move your boat up another mile or so into a new area. One thing to look for is small white birds dipping on the water or pelicans diving. This indicates bait on the surface and almost always there are fish nearby. If you are not getting bites know that upsizing or downsizing your lures can make a huge difference. Another method of trolling is to use your trolling motor with live bait. The hard part is catching the scaled sardines and threadfins but slow trolling with a trolling motor can be deadly. The Peace River can be very good as well as trolling in 5-12 feet of water parallel to the bars throughout the harbor. Tarpon are commonly caught this way. If you don’t want to bother with a cast net then buy a sabiki rig and catch your bait around the roving pods of threadfin herring that are seen on the surface. For the ultimate in action try slow trolling threadfins parallel to the beaches and hang on! Any beach area within 100 yards to several miles offshore has lots of fish and big fish to excite any angler. Expect sharks, barracuda, kingfish, huge redfish, snook, jacks, cobia and you-name-it... it is there. There are as many fishing techniques as there are fisherman however the basic methods above will produce a variety of fish every day on the water. No need for a high performance boat or 50 years of fishing experience to have success. The key is fresh bait, identifying good bottom locations to fish and trolling, drifting or bottom fishing the area. Nothing is more important than perhaps confidence. If you carefully select an area and believe it will produce then it likely will.


Circle Hooks Page 24

Fishing Resource Manual

What they are —-- How they work Circle hooks have been used by commercial fishermen for decades due to their ability to efficiently catch fish. The principle behind the hook is simple. After the hook has been swallowed the fisher applies pressure to the line, pulling the hook out of the stomach. The unique hook shape causes the hook to slide towards the point of resistance and embed itself in the jaw or in the corner of the fish's mouth. The actual curved shape of the hook keeps the hook from catching in the gut cavity or throat.

When to use them Circle hooks can be used on any species of fish caught on hook and line. Commercial (grouper/snapper/swordfish) fishermen have been successfully using circle hooks for years. How to use them Basic Rule: Don't impede the hook with bait; that is, don't put the hook in the bony portions of the bait.

Circle hooks in size 19 (big offshore) and a size 2 (inshore)

Bottom Fishing For bottom fishing simply replace your standard hook with a circle hook. When a fish eats the bait allow time for the fish to completely swallow the hook before steadily reeling in the line. DO NOT attempt to set the hook by sharply jerking the rod as this will pull the hook out of the fish's mouth. Trolling For trolling it is best to attach the hook to the bait with a rubber band or waxed string. This allows the hook to hang freely above the bait. Live Baiting For live bait simply hook the bait through a fleshy part of the fish. This allows the bait to tear loose when the

fish strikes.

Hooking Techniques There is only one technique: DON'T SET THE HOOK. Steadily and slowly reel in the slack in the line until the hook sets itself in the fish. This requires some patience and restraint. Patience to make sure the fish has had time to swallow the bait and restraint in the initial urge to violently set the hook.

Benefits The hook sets itself when you reel in the line. There are Fewer gut-hooked fish. Fish caught with circle hooks have a higher survival than gut-hooked fish. A fish hooked in the corner of the mouth tends to fight better than a fish hooked in the gut. With the hook in the corner of the mouth the line is generally out of the way of the fish's teeth so you can use a lighter weight leader.


HOOKS SWIVELS SPLIT RINGS & SINKERS Fishing Resource Manual

Terminal tackle is the term for all fishing equip ment, except lures, used at the end of the fishing line. Hooks, swivels, snaps, split rings, beads, leads/weights, floats and leaders are ‘terminal tackle.’

HOOKS Hooks are the single most important piece of terminal tackle, Charlotte County anglers need only be concerned with a relatively small range of hook sizes and types. Although size is important, a range of Long and short shank ʻjʼ hooks hook sizes can beused to catch the same fish. All hooks are either straight or off-set. For straight hooks, the shank, point, and bend are in-line. When placed on a level surface the hook lies flat. Place an offset hook in the same position and the hook point will either jut up or down slightly. On some off-set hooks the shank is also bent. The bend causes the hook to rotate in the fish’s mouth when set or bitten. Off-set hooks are believed to have a slightly better chance of hooking a fish than in-line ones. Hooks may be finished in gold, bronze, nickel, blue, cadmium plated/tinned, and stainless steel. Blued hooks are used almost exclusively for freshwater fishing. Cadmium plated/tinned and nickel are both long lasting and used for saltwater fishing. Gold and bronze hooks rust quickly. They are considered ‘fish friendly’

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because they can be left in a fish and will rust away in a short time. Stainless steel hooks are primarily used on lures although they can be bought loose and are popular with some saltwater fisherman since they do not rust and spoil the appearance of a tackle box. It is recommended stainless steel hooks be used on lures only since they do not rust if left in a fish. Hooks carry size numbers of either one or two digits, or numbers separated by a slant. Numbers not separated by a slant decrease in size as the number gets larger, while numbers Hook size: ʻ1/0ʼ not the same as ʻsize 1ʼ that are separated by a slant increase in size as the number increases. For example, 22 is a very small hook, and 9/0 is a very large hook. There is no 0 size hook. For saltwater fishing, a long shank off-set hook such as an Eagle Claw 66N in sizes 2 to 2/0 in a nickel finish works well. It can be fished either on the bottom or under a float. A fish will seldom swallow a long shank hook, and because of that they usually are easier to remove. A short shank bronze finished hook works well for live bait in sizes 2 to 2/0. O’Shaugnessy and Aberdeen are types of in-line style hooks. O’Shaugnessy are made from heavier wire, should be used in sizes 3/0 to 9/0 with either live or cut bait, and can be fished either on the bottom or under a float. These hooks are good for heavy mouthed or slow biting saltwater and freshwater fish. Aberdeen hooks are made from thinner wire and can be found in micro sizes. One advantage to using a thin wire hook is that it will straighten when snagged if pulled with a hard steady pressure. These hooks are usually used when the fisherman is targeting a particular size fish that matches the hooks capabilities. The Carlisle is a long shank bronze off-set hook that is particularly good for large minnow and worm fishing. Its length helps prevent the fish from swallowing the hook.


HOOKS SWIVELS SPLIT RINGS & SINKERS Page 26

Terminal tackle is the term for all fishing equipment, except lures, used at the end of the fishing line. Hooks, swivels, snaps, split rings, beads, leads/weights, floats and leaders are ‘terminal tackle.’

HOOKS Hooks are the single most important piece of terminal tackle, Charlotte County anglers need only be concerned with a relatively small range of hook sizes and types. Although size is important, a range of hook sizes can beused to catch the same fish. All hooks are either straight or off-set. For straight hooks, the shank, point, and bend are in-line. When placed on a level surface the hook lies flat. Place an offset hook in the same position and the hook point will either jut up or down slightly. On some off-set hooks the shank is also bent. The bend causes the hook to rotate in the fish’s mouth when set or bitten. Off-set hooks are believed to have a slightly better chance of hooking a fish than in-line ones. Hooks may be finished in gold, bronze, nickel, blue, cadmium plated/tinned, and stainless steel. Blued hooks are used almost exclusively for freshwater fishing. Cadmium plated/tinned and nickel are both long lasting and used for saltwater fishing. Gold and bronze hooks rust quickly. They are considered ‘fish friendly’ because they can be left in a fish and will rust away in a short time. Stainless steel hooks are primarily used on lures although they can be bought loose and are popular with some saltwater fisherman since they do not rust and spoil the appearance of a tackle box. It is recommended stainless steel hooks be used on lures only since they do not rust if left in a fish. Hooks carry size numbers of either one or two digits, or numbers separated by a slant. Numbers not sepa-

Fishing Resource Manual

rated by a slant decrease in size as the number gets larger, while numbers that are separated by a slant increase in size as the number increases. For example, 22 is a very small hook, and 9/0 is a very large hook. There is no 0 size hook. For saltwater fishing, a long shank off-set hook such as an Eagle Claw 66N in sizes 2 to 2/0 in a nickel finish works well. It can be fished either on the bottom or under a float. A fish will seldom swallow a long shank hook, and because of that they usually are easier to remove. A short shank bronze finished hook works well for live bait in sizes 2 to 2/0. O’Shaugnessy and Aberdeen are Split ring, swivel, snap swivel types of in-line style hooks. O’Shaugnessy are made from heavier wire, should be used in sizes 3/0 to 9/0 with either live or cut bait, and can be fished either on the bottom or under a float. These hooks are good for heavy mouthed or slow biting saltwater and freshwater fish. Aberdeen hooks are made from thinner wire and can be found in micro sizes. One advantage to using a thin wire hook is that it will straighten when snagged if pulled with a hard steady pressure. These hooks are usually used when the fisherman is targeting a particular size fish that matches the hooks capabilities. The Carlisle is a long shank bronze off-set hook that is particularly good for large minnow and worm fishing. Its length helps prevent the fish from swallowing the hook. The Kahle is a wide gap off-set hook that comes in bronze, nickel, and gold finish. It can be used for cut or live bait, bottom fishing or under a float. A fish seldom escapes from this hook. The best sizes for local waters are 4 through 3/0. Tru-Turn Hooks John W. Campbell often fished near his grandfather’s gristmill as a child. After getting his hook hung in the mill; he carefully bent the hook back. Even though this


Fishing Resource Manual

hook had a kink in it, it was his favorite. Years later while playing with a paperclip, John noticed a bent paperclip rotated towards pressure. In spring of 1959; while fishing an Alabama pond he hooked a nice bass. As the fish neared the boat, the bass made a final effort and got away. John began to think and the paperclip idea struck him. So he bent his hook with a bend that was perpendicular to the point. It rotated towards pressure, just like his paperclips and that favorite hook he used as a young boy. The single most important aspect of a hook is its sharpness. Laser honed hooks are the sharpest now available. The sharpness of a hook is easily checked. Place the hook on your fingernail and drag it slowly across. If it does not catch as it is moved, the hook needs sharpening. For smaller hooks up to 5/0, sharpen just the point. Above 5/0, sharpen the edge like a knife. There are a variety of stones, files, and other devices for sharpening hooks, some of which are battery driven. It is a good idea to have a hook sharpener in the tackle box and to check the sharpness of the hook periodically while fishing. If the hook is dull, sharpen or replace it. Barbless hooks are also available. If you wish to practice catch and release, such hooks are excellent. Many fisherman, after catching a number of fish and still wanting to continue fishing but not keep the fish, crimp the barb with pliers so a fish can be removed easily.

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serve as the attachment point for remaining terminal tackle, such as weights, leader, snaps, and hooks or the lure. Swivels come as rated or non-rated. Non-rated swivels do not indicate how much weight they are capable of sustaining. When fishing for small fish, this is not a particularly important consideration, but for fish above 10 pounds, it is better to have a weight tested swivel. Rated swivels usually start at 10 pound test and progress upward. Three-way swivels, used most frequently when the angler needs to have a line to hold the weight and a line to hold the baited hook, do not come rated. Almost all swivels are made of brass and come in three finishes: natural brass, chrome, and blackened. Blackened swivels are recommended. Shiny swivels can cause a fish to hit the swivel rather than the hook, or just the opposite, spook the fish. Swivels are sized like hooks. The following numbering illustrates the progression of smaller to larger: 12, 8, 6, 2, 1, 1/0, 3/0, 5/0. For fishing in the harbor and Line twisting, natural movement of lures and baits, freshwater, sizes 10 to 5 are the most common sizes replacement of bait at the proper depth or site, and nuquired, while for near-shore and off-shore, sizes from 3 merous other problems a fisherman must solve in order to catch fish are reasons for swivels, snaps, split to 4/0 will handle most fishing needs. Ball bearing swivels are the most effective for derings, weights, leaders and other terminal tackle. feating line twist and are recommended for all fishing How and where the angler fishes and which fish are targeted decide which terminal tackle will be used. situations, and especially for trolling. Whether the fisherman is casting, trolling, bottom fishing, using a float, working from a bridge or pier, or fishSNAPS & SNAP SWIVELS ing under other conditions, the choice of terminal tackle There are a variety of types of snaps, and they significantly effects how many fish will be caught. come with and without swivels. The four most common snaps are the safety pin, the interlock, the coastlock, and SWIVELS duolock. Line twisting is a fundamental problem that must be overcome or it can significantly interfere with casting, The safety pin snap is the weakest of the snaps, does particularly with spinning and spincasting reels. A line not have weight ratings, and should not be used for fish with substantial twist is more susceptible to breaking larger than two pounds. It is very easy to use and is and can change lure or bait action. good for speckled perch/crappie, bream and silver trout. Swivels are designed to defeat twisting, and also


HOOKS SWIVELS SPLIT RINGS & SINKERS Page 28

Terminal tackle is the term for all fishing equip ment, except lures, used at the end of the fishing line. Hooks, swivels, snaps, split rings, beads, leads/weights, floats and leaders are ‘terminal tackle.’

HOOKS Hooks are the single most important piece of terminal tackle, Charlotte County anglers need only be concerned with a relatively small range of hook sizes and types. Although size is important, a range of hook sizes can beused to catch the same fish. All hooks are either straight or off-set. For straight hooks, the shank, point, and bend are in-line. When placed on a level surface the hook lies flat. Place an offset hook in the same position and the hook point will either jut up or down slightly. On some off-set hooks the shank is also bent. The bend causes the hook to rotate in the fish’s mouth when set or bitten. Off-set hooks are believed to have a slightly better chance of hooking a fish than in-line ones. Hooks may be finished in gold, bronze, nickel, blue, cadmium plated/tinned, and stainless steel. Blued hooks are used almost exclusively for freshwater fishing. Cadmium plated/tinned and nickel are both long lasting and used for saltwater fishing. Gold and bronze hooks rust quickly. They are considered ‘fish friendly’ because they can be left in a fish and will rust away in a short time. Stainless steel hooks are primarily used on lures although they can be bought loose and are popular with some saltwater fisherman since they do not rust and spoil the appearance of a tackle box. It is recommended stainless steel hooks be used on lures only since they do not rust if left in a fish. Hooks carry size numbers of either one or two digits, or numbers separated by a slant. Numbers not separated by a slant decrease in size as the number gets larger, while numbers that are separated by a slant increase in size as the number increases. For example, 22

Fishing Resource Manual

is a very small hook, and 9/0 is a very large hook. There is no 0 size hook. For saltwater fishing, a long shank off-set hook such as an Eagle Claw 66N in sizes 2 to 2/0 in a nickel finish works well. It can be fished either on the bottom or under a float. A fish will seldom swallow a long shank hook, and because of that they usually are easier to remove. A short shank bronze finished hook works well for live bait in sizes 2 to 2/0. O’Shaugnessy and Aberdeen are types of in-line style hooks. O’Shaugnessy are made from heavier wire, should be used in sizes 3/0 to 9/0 with either live or cut bait, and can be fished either on the bottom or under a float. These hooks are good for heavy mouthed or slow biting saltwater and freshwater fish. Aberdeen hooks are made from thinner wire and can be found in micro sizes. One advantage to using a thin wire hook is that it will straighten when snagged if pulled with a hard steady pressure. These hooks are usually used when the fisherman is targeting a particular size fish that matches the hooks capabilities. The Carlisle is a long shank bronze off-set hook that is particularly good for large minnow and worm fishing. Its length helps prevent the fish from swallowing the hook. The Kahle is a wide gap off-set hook that comes in bronze, nickel, and gold finish. It can be used for cut or live bait, bottom fishing or under a float. A fish seldom escapes from this hook. The best sizes for local waters are 4 through 3/0. Tru-Turn Hooks John W. Campbell often fished near his grandfather’s gristmill as a child. After getting his hook hung in the


Fishing Resource Manual

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mill; he carefully bent the hook back. Even though this hook had a kink in it, it was his favorite. Years later while playing with a paperclip, John noticed a bent paperclip rotated towards pressure. In spring of 1959; while fishing an Alabama pond he hooked a nice bass. As the fish neared the boat, the bass made a final effort and got away. John began to think and the paperclip idea struck him. So he bent his hook with a bend that was perpendicular to the point. It rotated towards pressure, just like his paperclips and that favorite hook he used as a young boy. The single most important aspect of a hook is its sharpness. Laser honed hooks are the sharpest now available. The sharpness of a hook is easily checked. Place the hook on your fingernail and drag it slowly across. If it does not catch as it is moved, the hook needs sharpening. For smaller hooks up to 5/0, sharpen just the point. Above 5/0, sharpen the edge like a knife. There are a variety of stones, files, and other devices for sharpening hooks, some of which are battery driven. It is a good idea to have a hook sharpener in the tackle box and to check the sharpness of the hook periodically while fishing. If the hook is dull, sharpen or replace it. Barbless hooks are also available. If you wish to practice catch and release, such hooks are excellent. Many fisherman, after catching a number of fish and still wanting to continue fishing but not keep the fish, crimp the barb with pliers so a fish can be removed easily.

Line twisting, natural movement of lures and baits, placement of bait at the proper depth or site, and numerous other problems a fisherman must solve in order to catch fish are reasons for swivels, snaps, split rings, weights, leaders and other terminal tackle. How and where the angler fishes and which fish are targeted decide which terminal tackle will be used. Whether the fisherman is casting, trolling, bottom fishing, using a float, working from a bridge or pier, or fishing under other conditions, the choice of terminal tackle significantly effects how many fish will be caught.

SWIVELS Line twisting is a fundamental problem that must be overcome or it can significantly interfere with casting, particularly with spinning and spincasting reels. A line with substantial twist is more susceptible to breaking and can change lure or bait action. Swivels are designed to defeat twisting, and also serve as the attachment point for remaining terminal Green corks are weighted tackle, such as weights, leader, snaps, and hooks or White corks are not the lure. Swivels come as rated or non-rated. Non-rated swivels do not indicate how much weight they are capable of sustaining. When fishing for small fish, this is not a particularly important consideration, but for fish above 10 pounds, it is better to have a weight tested swivel. Rated swivels usually start at 10 pound test and progress upward. Three-way swivels, used most frequently when the angler needs to have a line to hold the weight and a line to hold the baited hook, do not PoppinĘź Corks. You pull out the ĘťpinĘź lay your line in the slot and come rated. slide the pin back in on top of the line to hold it in place.


HOOKS SWIVELS SPLIT RINGS & SINKERS Page 30

Fishing Resource Manual

Terminal tackle is the term for all fishing equipment, except lures, used at the end of the fishing line. Hooks, swivels, snaps, split rings, beads, leads/weights, floats and leaders are ‘terminal tackle.’ HOOKS

Hooks are the single most important piece of terminal tackle, Charlotte County anglers need only be concerned with a relatively small range of hook sizes and types. Although size is important, a range of hook sizes can beused to catch the same fish. All hooks are either straight or off-set. For straight hooks, the shank, point, and bend are in-line. When placed on a level surface the hook lies flat. Place an off-set hook in the same position and the hook point will either jut up or down slightly. On some off-set hooks the shank is also bent. The bend causes the hook to rotate in the fish’s mouth when set or bitten. Off-set hooks are believed to have a slightly better chance of hooking a fish than inline ones. Hooks may be finished in gold, bronze, nickel, blue, cadmium plated/tinned, and stainless steel. Blued hooks are used almost exclusively for freshwater fishing. Cadmium plated/tinned and nickel are both long lasting and used for saltwater fishing. Gold and bronze hooks rust quickly. They are considered ‘fish friendly’ because they can be left in a fish and will rust away in a short time. Stainless steel hooks are primarily used on lures although they can be bought loose and are popular with some saltwater fisherman since they do not rust and spoil the appearance of a tackle box. It is recommended stainless steel hooks be used on lures only since they do not rust if left in a fish. Hooks carry size numbers of either one or two digits, or numbers separated by a slant. Numbers not separated by a slant decrease in size as the number gets larger, while numbers that are separated by a slant increase in size as the number increases. For example, 22 is a very small hook, and 9/0 is a very large hook. There is no 0 size hook. For saltwater fishing, a long shank off-set hook such as an Eagle Claw 66N in sizes 2 to 2/0 in a nickel finish works well. It can be fished either on the bottom or under a float. A fish will seldom swallow a long shank hook, and because of that they usually are easier to remove. A short shank bronze finished hook works well for live bait in sizes 2 to 2/0. O’Shaugnessy and Aberdeen are types of in-line style hooks. O’Shaugnessy are made from heavier wire, should be used in sizes 3/0 to 9/0 with ei-


LURES Fishing Resource Manual

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flutters and flashes as it goes through the water. The two most popular colors for local saltwater fishing are silver and gold. A good rule of thumb is the darker the day the darker the lure, thus on bright shiny days, silver is the The word artificial means something created by choice and on darker days, gold should be tried. For human art or effort, not by nature. That is an accurate freshwater, the most popular colors are silver, gold, and description of artificial fishing lures which are made black. from such things as hair, feathers, plastic, lead, stainless Trolling spoons steel, and wood. Trolling spoons are a single hook lure not made in a Lures are designed and shaped to catch various types standard size range because each manufacturer creates and sizes of fishes at different depths. There are lures their own sizes, so when selecting a spoon, choose the that dance, dive, flutter, splutter, crawl, jump, rattle, and lure according to the hook size needed to catch the tarimitate a variety of other swimming actions and disturget fish. bances that cause fish to strike. Hook sizes in the 1/0 to 3/0 range will handle most of There are thousands of lures of all different shapes the fish caught in the harbor, canals, and rivers. The and sizes but most can be grouped into a few basic hook size is usually printed on the lure or lure container. categories. Trolling spoons normally come with a swivel attached on a split ring. If the lure only has a split ring, SPOONS One of the most popular and efficient type of lures ever add a swivel. That should not, however, replace the ball created is the spoon, so called because the first one was bearing swivel that needs to be used between the standmade from a silver tablespoon by Julio Buel who acci- ing line and the leader. A proper trolling speed is 3 to 5 miles an hour above dentally dropped a silver tablespoon overboard while the movement of the water. Lures should be trolled 50 to eating lunch on 100 feet behind the boat. The size of the spoon, line, his boat. Buel, a and rod and reel need to be matched to the targeted fish. teenager at the While a rule of thumb is the bigger the spoon the bigtime, was fishger the fish, that does not mean large fish will not hit ing for lake small spoons. trout in VerIn Charlotte County spoons can be trolled along canal mont. As he sides, river and creek banks, channels, around structures watched the like reefs, docks, and markers, and parallel to shorelines. spoon flutter downward through the clear water, a large lake trout suddenly appeared and bit the spoon. Buel rowed ashore and got another spoon, cut the handle off, drilled a hole at the head of the spoon and soldered a hook on the concave side. Thus the birth of the fishing spoon. Spoons are popular because they are easy to use and are particularly attractive to predator fish. They are made from stainless steel, chromed or gold colored plated brass, or painted steel. Painted steel models work in saltwater but rust easily, so they are recommended for freshwater use only. The spoon attracts fish because of its action. It

Casting spoons One of the most popular casting spoons in Charlotte County is the Johnson Sprite, either silver or gold, in weights from 1/8 to 3/4 ounces. Many anglers consider this type of spoon to be one of the most effective lures for redfish. It works well near mangroves, and if a fisherman doesn’t get one caught in the trees once in a while, then the spoon isn’t being fished correctly because most fish stay close to cover. A casting spoon can have either a treble hook or single one. The treble hook spoon can be bare or bought with hair or other material added as attractors. The weedless spoon is also an excellent lure for saltwater grass beds.


LURES Page 32

Fishing Resource Manual

choice and on darker days, gold should be tried. For freshwater, the most popular colors are silver, gold, and black.

The word artificial means something created by human art or effort, not by nature. That is an accurate description of artificial fishing lures which are made from such things as hair, feathers, plastic, lead, stainless steel, and wood. Lures are designed and shaped to catch various types and sizes of fishes at different depths. There are lures that dance, dive, flutter, splutter, crawl, jump, rattle, and imitate a variety of other swimming actions and disturbances that cause fish to strike. There are thousands of lures of all different shapes and sizes but most can be grouped into a few basic categories.

Trolling spoons Trolling spoons are a single hook lure not made in a standard size range because each manufacturer creates their own sizes, so when selecting a spoon, choose the lure according to the hook size needed to catch the target fish. Bullet Floating Lima Bean Swimming Oval Wobbler Slider/Glider Shad Laughing Horsehead Bottom weighted Banana Round Grave digger Darter Football

The spoon attracts fish because of its action. It flutters and flashes as it goes through the water. The two most popular colors for local saltwater fishing are silver and gold. A good rule of thumb is the darker the day the darker the lure, thus on bright shiny days, silver is the

Casting spoons One of the most popular casting spoons in Charlotte County is the Johnson Sprite, either silver or gold, in weights from 1/8 to 3/4 ounces. Many anglers consider this type of spoon to be one of the most effective lures for redfish. It works well near mangroves, and if a fisherman doesn’t get one caught in the trees

SPOONS One of the most popular and efficient type of lures ever created is the spoon, so called because the first one was made from a silver tablespoon by Julio Buel who accidentally dropped a silver tablespoon overboard while eating lunch on his boat. Buel, a teenager at the time, was fishing for lake trout in Vermont. As he watched the spoon flutter downward through the clear water, a large lake trout suddenly appeared and bit the spoon. Buel rowed ashore and got another spoon, cut the handle off, drilled a hole at the head of the spoon and soldered a hook on the concave side. Thus the birth of the fishing spoon. Spoons are popular because they are easy to use and are particularly attractive to predator fish. They are made from stainless steel, chromed or gold colored plated brass, or painted steel. Painted steel models work in saltwater but rust easily, so they are recommended for freshwater use only.

Hook sizes in the 1/0 to 3/0 range will handle most of the fish caught in the harbor, canals, and rivers. The hook size is usually printed on the lure or lure container. Trolling spoons normally come with a swivel attached on a split ring. If the lure only has a split ring, add a swivel. That should not, however, replace the ball bearing swivel that needs to be used between the standing line and the leader. A proper trolling speed is 3 to 5 miles an hour above the movement of the water. Lures should be trolled 50 to 100 feet behind the boat. The size of the spoon, line, and rod and reel need to be matched to the targeted fish. While a rule of thumb is the bigger the spoon the bigger the fish, that does not mean large fish will not hit small spoons. In Charlotte County spoons can be trolled along canal sides, river and creek banks, channels, around structures like reefs, docks, and markers, and parallel to shorelines.


Fishing Resource Manual

once in a while, then the spoon isn’t being fished correctly because most fish stay close to cover. A casting spoon can have either a treble hook or single one. The treble hook spoon can be bare or bought with hair or other material added as attractors. The weedless spoon is also an excellent lure for saltwater grass beds. The only technique needed in fishing a spoon in shallow water is to vary the retrieve speed slightly. In deep water, the retrieve can be stopped and the spoon allowed to drop and flutter before beginning the retrieve again.

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and motion. Weight is controlled by the size of the lead head, but the shape of the head and the materials used with the jig can impart both physical and visual motion. That is, while the jig may drop in a straight line, the dressing on the lure can imitate anything from a smooth swimming motion to darting or erratic moves that signal escape or fright.

Jig heads Jig heads come in different sizes and weights. The lightest used around here is 1/16 oz, the most A spoon with the ‘skinny’ end attached to the leader common are 1/8 or 1/4 will dive deeper into the water. A spoon with the ‘fat’ ounce. Match the jig size to end attached to the leader will swim more shallow. the bait you are using. Below are some different jig While a ball bearing swivel is a necessity for trolling shapes: spoons, a barrel swivel between the standing line and the leader will overcome line twist when using a casting spoon. In addition to shapes, jigs also come with spinner Jigging spoons blades, weedless, designed These spoons range in size from 3/8 to 16 ounces. with cork screw wire to hold The jigging spoon is heavy bodied and designed to be baits or plastics, and painted worked vertically rather than retrieved like a casting in every color imaginable inspoon. The term jigging comes from the motion needed cluding fluorescents. to manipulate the lure. Jigs also come with feathThe spoon is lowered to the desired depth, usually just ers, hair, mylar and nylon slightly off the bottom. The rod is raised sharply, then skirts, helicopter blades atbrought back to the normal position. This action makes tached behind the head, and Hedonʼs Spook the lure rise and fall sharply, imitating the eating or spo- soft plastic bodies in endless radic motion of bait fish. sizes and shapes. Jigs are also frequently used to fish live, frozen or cut JIGS bait. The modern jig is a lead head lure with a hook and While choices seem endless, there are a limited numline eyelet molded into it. These lures are dressed using ber of lures consistently effective in Charlotte County a variety of materials and baits. In Charlotte County, jigs and Harbor waters. Two of the most popular jigs are the from 1/32 ounce to 3/4 ounce are used, depending on bucktail and the marabou. the targeted species. The bucktail is a hair jig so named because the origJig is derived from the French word “giguer,” which inal lures were made from the tail hair of a deer. Synmeans to dance. One way of working a jig is to dance thetics hairs are now used. The two most popular colors the lure along the bottom by using a slow retrieve with are yellow and white. a periodic upward movement of the rod so the lure rises The marabou jig is a feather lure originally made sharply, then falls. Whether fished with spinning, spin- from the covert feathers of the African marabou stork. cast, or baitcasting equipment, to work effectively the Covert feathers cover the quills of the primary and seclure and tackle must match. ondary feathers of a bird and are located at the front of the wing and tail. In the water, these feathers display a The most important elements of a jig are weight, color spreading and flexibility that is attractive to fish. Feath-


LURES Page 34

Fishing Resource Manual

Trolling spoons Trolling spoons are a single hook lure not made in a standard size range because each manufacturer creates their own sizes, so when selecting a spoon, choose the lure according to the hook size needed to catch the tarThe word artificial means something created by get fish. human art or effort, not by nature. That is an accurate Hook sizes in the 1/0 to 3/0 range will handle most of description of artificial fishing lures which are made the fish caught in the harbor, canals, and rivers. The from such things as hair, feathers, plastic, lead, stainless hook size is usually printed on the lure or lure container. steel, and wood. Trolling spoons normally come with a swivel atLures are designed and shaped to catch various types tached on a split ring. If the lure only has a split ring, and sizes of fishes at different depths. There are lures add a swivel. That should not, however, replace the ball that dance, dive, flutter, splutter, crawl, jump, rattle, and bearing swivel that needs to be used between the standimitate a variety of other swimming actions and disturing line and the leader. bances that cause fish to strike. A proper trolling speed is 3 to 5 miles an hour above There are thousands of lures of all different shapes the movement of the water. Lures should be trolled 50 to and sizes but most can be grouped into a few basic 100 feet behind the boat. The size of the spoon, line, categories. and rod and reel need to be matched to the targeted fish. While a rule of thumb is the bigger the spoon the bigSPOONS One of the most popular and efficient type of lures ever ger the fish, that does not mean large fish will not hit small spoons. created is the spoon, so called because the first one was In Charlotte County made from a silver tablespoon by Julio Buel who accispoons can be trolled along dentally dropped a silver tablespoon overboard while canal sides, river and creek eating lunch on his boat. Buel, a teenager at the time, banks, channels, around was fishing for lake trout in Vermont. As he watched the structures like reefs, docks, spoon flutter downward through the clear water, a large and markers, and parallel to lake trout suddenly appeared and bit the spoon. shorelines. Buel rowed ashore and got another spoon, cut the handle off, drilled a hole at the head of the spoon and Casting spoons soldered a hook on the concave side. Thus the birth of One of the most popular the fishing spoon. casting spoons in Charlotte Spoons are popular because they are easy to use and County is the Johnson are particularly attractive to predator fish. They are Sprite, either silver or gold, made from stainless steel, chromed or gold colored in weights from 1/8 to 3/4 plated brass, or painted steel. Painted steel models work X-Wrap in olive color ounces. Many anglers conin saltwater but rust easily, so they are recommended for This is a GREAT lure for sider this type of spoon to be freshwater use only. local fishing one of the most effective lures for redfish. It works well near mangroves, and if a fishThe spoon attracts fish because of its action. It flutters and flashes as it goes through the water. The erman doesn’t get one caught in the trees once in a two most popular colors for local saltwater fishing are while, then the spoon isn’t being fished correctly because most fish stay close to cover. silver and gold. A casting spoon can have either a treble hook or sinA good rule of thumb is the darker the day the gle one. The treble hook spoon can be bare or bought darker the lure, thus on bright shiny days, silver is the choice and on darker days, gold should be tried. For with hair or other material added as attractors. The weedless spoon is also an excellent lure for saltfreshwater, the most popular colors are silver, gold, and water grass beds. black.


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The only technique needed in fishing a spoon in shallow water is to vary the retrieve speed slightly. In deep Jig heads water, the retrieve can be stopped and the spoon allowed Jig heads come in different sizes and weights. to drop and flutter before beginning the retrieve again. The lightest used around here is 1/16 oz, the most common are 1/8 or 1/4 ounce. Match the jig size to the bait A spoon with the ‘skinny’ end attached to the leader you are using. Below are some different jig shapes: will dive deeper into the water. A spoon with the ‘fat’ end attached to the leader will swim more shallow. In addition to shapes, jigs also come with spinner While a ball bearing swivel is a necessity for trolling blades, weedless, designed with cork screw wire to hold spoons, a barrel swivel between the standing line and baits or plastics, and painted in every color imaginable the leader will overcome line twist when using a casting including fluorescents. spoon. Jigs also come with feathers, hair, mylar and nylon skirts, helicopter blades attached behind the head, and Jigging spoons soft plastic bodies in endless sizes and shapes. These spoons range in size from 3/8 to 16 ounces. Jigs are also frequently used to fish live, frozen or cut The jigging spoon is heavy bodied and designed to be bait. worked vertically rather than retrieved like a casting While choices seem endless, there are a limited numspoon. The term jigging comes from the motion needed ber of lures consistently effective in Charlotte County to manipulate the lure. and Harbor waters. Two of the most popular jigs are the The spoon is lowered to the desired depth, usually just bucktail and the marabou. slightly off the bottom. The rod is raised sharply, then The bucktail is a hair jig so named because the origbrought back to the normal position. This action makes inal lures were made from the tail hair of a deer. Synthe lure rise and fall sharply, imitating the eating or spo- thetics hairs are now used. The two most popular colors radic motion of bait fish. are yellow and white. The marabou jig is a feather lure originally made JIGS from the covert feathers of the African marabou stork. The modern jig is a lead head lure with a hook and Covert feathers cover the quills of the primary and secline eyelet molded into it. These lures are dressed using ondary feathers of a bird and are located at the front of a variety of materials and baits. In Charlotte County, jigs the wing and tail. In the water, these feathers display a from 1/32 ounce to 3/4 ounce are used, depending on spreading and flexibility that is attractive to fish. Feaththe targeted species. ers used today come from turkeys or are artificial. Jig is derived from the French word “giguer,” which The casting technique most commonly used with this means to dance. One way of working a jig is to dance type of jig is called flipping. The angler, using a 6-1/2 the lure along the bottom by using a slow retrieve with foot rod or longer, suspends the lure the length of the a periodic upward movement of the rod so the lure rises rod, swings it toward the target site, then releases the sharply, then falls. Whether fished with spinning, spin- lure so it pulls line from the reel and settles gently in the cast, or baitcasting equipment, to work effectively the water. This technique doesn’t cause the kind of water lure and tackle must match. vibration that a long cast does, thus doesn’t spook fish holding close to structure in shallows. The most important elements of a jig are weight, color It is recommended that jigs be fished with the flow of and motion. Weight is controlled by the size of the lead the water. head, but the shape of the head and the materials used With plastic and other artificial materials have come with the jig can impart both physical and visual motion. some problems when storing these lures. The angler That is, while the jig may drop in a straight line, the must be aware that the materials on some lures bleed or dressing on the lure can imitate anything from a smooth melt so the most fundamental rule is never place a soft swimming motion to darting or erratic moves that sig- plastic lure on a hard-bodied plastic lure. nal escape or fright.


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LURES Continued

The word artificial means something created by human art or effort, not by nature. That is an accurate description of artificial fishing lures which are made from such things as hair, feathers, plastic, lead, stainless steel, and wood.

Gulp soft plastic scented baits in a bulk container. This container sells for around $20!

FISHING PLYERS

Every fisherman must have a pair of plyers. From tweaking a lure, pulling a knot tight, cutting line or removing a hook from a fish’s mouth plyers are invaluable. Fishing plyers made of stainless steel are best because they won’t rust, but style and quality even among stainless plyers still vary greatly. Many anglers keep their plyers on a lanyard since dropping your plyers into the water usually means they are lost forever. Shown here are the top-of-the-line $270 Van Staal titanium plyers on the left and a $3.50 pair of Chineese stainless’ plyers on the right. Either one will work.


LIVE BAITS Fishing Resource Manual

SHRIMP Shrimp are the most popular bait used by fishermen in Charlotte County because all fish eat shrimp and shrimp is an easy bait for anglers to obtain. Shrimp can be bought frozen at all tackle shops, certain local supermarkets, and other outlets that Horn handle bait. Live shrimp are available at many tackle and bait shops. While frozen shrimp are an effective bait, live shrimp are recommended because their movement and smell are attractive to fish. Live shrimp can be difficult to maintain, particularly during the summer months. Additionally, shrimp are very sensitive to salinity changes, so shrimp bought at a bait store have to be handled properly or they can die quickly. Shrimp need an aerated bucket and be careful, the hard pointed ‘horn’ at the top of the shrimp’s head can stick you. Freeze pack method This method uses liquid filled plastic containers that can be frozen repeatedly. The freeze packs are placed in the bottom of the cooler. An inexpensive foam cooler will work fine. A towel, soaked in the shrimp’s tank water, should be wrung out and placed on top of the packs. Place the shrimp on top of the towel, and then fold the remainder of the towel on top of the shrimp. This arrangement will keep the shrimp alive for a day, but the cooler must be used only for the shrimp and the lid opened and closed quickly so the inside temperature does not warm. Aerated live wells Shrimp are very sensitive and need to be kept in their own water as long as possible. New water should be added in small amounts to avoid salinity shock. Bait buckets During the cooler months bait buckets are effective and shrimp can be kept for more than one day by sinking the bucket to the bottom where the water is cool.

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The fisherman should remember to put some feed such as lettuce in with the shrimp since they are cannibalistic. FISHING WITH SHRIMP There are several effective live shrimp fishing techniques: freelining, under a popping cork, using a sliding sinker rig, on a jig-head and trolling. Freelining Freelining uses minimum terminal tackle, thus allowing the the bait to move naturally. A heavy monofilament leader from 10 to 30 inches long is attached to the standing line with a Surgeon’s Knot. The Mustad 9174, a short shank live bait hook, is very good for this method. Depending on the size of the shrimp, a 2 to 2/0 hook should be used. Hook the shrimp under its mouth and pass the point behind the eye and horn. but in front of the brain, which is a dark spot visible slightly behind the eye. Hooked in this manner the shrimp will stay active and look natural in the water. This presentation is good for moving matter and is excellent for snook. Tackle should include 8 to 20 pound test line. The angler must learn not to set the hook every time there is movement on the line as shrimp naturally swim and move around to avoid fish. A small split shot can be used to control the depth. Shrimp on a popping Cork Fishing a shrimp on the shallow grass flats using a popping cork will not only produce trout but other species as well. A three-inch weighted popping cork is recommended – the green poppin’ corks are weighted, the white ones are not – the weight helps the angler get casting distance which is critical in clear water conditions. Hook the shrimp through the head and use a short shank hook such as a Kahle, size 2 to 2/0, depending on the size of the bait. The shrimp can also be hooked on the side of the head with the point passed under the horn so the hook runs side to side. Sliding sinker rig for shrimp Because so many fish feed or live on or near the bottom, presenting a bait near the bottom increases an angler’s chances for catching a variety of species. The preferred rigging is an egg sinker or bullet weight 1/4 to one ounce, a small red bead as shock absorber, and a barrel swivel. The leader, up to 30 pounds, is tied to the barrel swivel. An extra long shank, 2 to 2/0, depending


LIVE BAITS Page 38

SHRIMP Shrimp are the most popular bait used by fishermen in Charl o t t e County because all fish eat shrimp and shrimp is an easy bait for anglers to obtain. Shrimp can be bought frozen at all t a c k l e shops, certain local supermarkets, and other outlets that handle bait. Live shrimp are available at many tackle and bait shops. While frozen shrimp are an effective bait, live shrimp are recommended because their movement and smell are attractive to fish. Live shrimp can be difficult to maintain, particularly during the summer months. Additionally, shrimp are very sensitive to salinity changes, so shrimp bought at a bait store have to be handled properly or they can die quickly. Shrimp need an aerated bucket and be careful, the hard pointed ‘horn’ at the top of the shrimp’s head can stick you. Freeze pack method This method uses liquid filled plastic containers that can be frozen repeatedly. The freeze packs are placed in the bottom of the cooler. An inexpensive foam cooler will work fine. A towel, soaked in the shrimp’s tank water, should be wrung out and placed on top of the packs. Place the shrimp on top of the towel, and then fold the remainder of the towel on top of the shrimp. This arrangement will keep the shrimp alive for a day, but the cooler must be used only for the shrimp and the lid opened and closed quickly so the inside temperature does not warm. Aerated live wells

Fishing Resource Manual Shrimp are very sensitive and need to be kept in their own water as long as possible. New water should be added in small amounts to avoid salinity shock. Bait buckets During the cooler months bait buckets are effective and shrimp can be kept for more than one day by sinking the bucket to the bottom where the water is cool. The fisherman should remember to put some feed such as lettuce in with the shrimp since they are cannibalistic.

FISHING WITH SHRIMP There are several effective live shrimp fishing techniques: freelining, under a popping cork, using a sliding sinker rig, on a jig-head and trolling. Freelining Freelining uses minimum terminal tackle, thus allowing the the bait to move naturally. A heavy monofilament leader from 10 to 30 inches long is attached to the standing line with a Surgeon’s Knot. The Mustad 9174, a short shank live bait hook, is very good for this method. Depending on the size of the shrimp, a 2 to 2/0 hook should be used. Hook the shrimp under its mouth and pass the point behind the eye and horn. but in front of the brain, which is a dark spot visible slightly behind the eye. Hooked in this manner the shrimp will stay active and look natural in the water. This presentation is good for moving matter and is excellent for snook. Tackle should include 8 to 20 pound test line. The angler must learn not to set the hook every time there is movement on the line as shrimp naturally swim and move around to avoid fish. A small split shot can be used to control the depth. Shrimp on a popping Cork


Fishing Resource Manual

Page 39

Fishing a shrimp on the shallow grass flats using a popping cork will not only produce trout but other species as well. A three-inch weighted popping cork is recommended – the green poppin’ corks are weighted, the white ones are not – the weight helps the angler get casting distance which is critical in clear water conditions. Hook the shrimp through the head and use a short shank hook such as a Kahle, size 2 to 2/0, depending on the size of the bait. The shrimp can also be hooked on the side of the head with the point passed under the horn so the hook runs side to side. Sliding sinker rig for shrimp Because so many fish feed or live on or near the bottom, presenting a bait near the bottom increases an angler’s chances for catching a variety of species. The preferred rigging is an egg sinker or bullet weight 1/4 to one ounce, a small red bead as shock absorber, and a barrel swivel. The leader, up to 30 pounds, is tied to the barrel swivel. An extra long shank, 2 to 2/0, depending on the size of the bait, is used. This technique relies heavily on the scent of the shrimp and is helped by the hooking method. The shrimp is threaded on the hook starting at the tail and the hook point comes out just below the head. An Eagle 66N hook is good for this baiting procedure. Another method is to hook the shrimp in the tail. The shrimp can be hooked on a jig head (break off the tail first) and fished on the bottom.

If you want to use a poppin cork, pass the hook through so the point comes out the top of the tail. When the cork is popped, the shrimp will jump as it naturally does. With any of these riggings, a small on-line weight can be used to settle the shrimp. While the size of hook can range from 2 to 2/0, the rule of thumb is the smaller the bait the smaller the hook. Trolling a live shrimp Trolling is a very good way to find fish, especially the predator species. It is well suited for canals and creeks as well as the harbor. One of the most effective trolling rigs for shrimp is a barrel swivel, monofilament or wire leader material, and a Trol Rite or tear drop jig head, size 1/0 to 4/0. Yellow is the most popular color. A shrimp is hooked like it was being freelined and if it is trolled very slowly, the bait will look like it is swimming naturally. SOME OTHER LOCALLY POPULAR LIVE BAITS

Blue crabs Small or silver dollar-size crabs can be trapped on the grass flats or purchased at any shop that caters to tarpon fishermen from April through July. Freelining or bottom fishing are the best methods for this bait. Large blue crabs are used for black drum. The crab’s top shell should be removed and the crab split in half. A sliding sinker rig will present the bait properly. Cobia also are attracted to crabs, and when crabs shed, they are an outstanding bait for redfish. Here again, a sliding sinker rig with pieces of crab will attract redfish as well as other fish. When fishing soft crabs, holding them on a hook is a problem. They can be attached to the hook, by a rubber


LIVE BAITS Page 40

Fishing Resource Manual

SHRIMP Shrimp are the most popular bait used by fish ermen in Charlotte County because all fish eat shrimp and shrimp is an easy bait for anglers to obtain. Shrimp can be bought frozen at all tackle shops, certain local supermarkets, and other outlets that handle bait. Live shrimp are available at many tackle and bait shops. While frozen shrimp are an effective bait, live shrimp are recommended because their movement and smell are attractive to fish. Live shrimp can be difficult to maintain, particularly during the summer months. Additionally, shrimp are very sensitive to salinity changes, so shrimp bought at a bait store have to be handled properly or they can die quickly. Shrimp need an aerated bucket and be careful, the hard pointed ‘horn’ at the top of the shrimp’s head can stick you. Freeze pack method This method uses liquid filled plastic containers that can be frozen repeatedly. The freeze packs are placed in the bottom of the cooler. An inexpensive foam cooler will work fine. A towel, soaked in the shrimp’s tank water, should be wrung out and placed on top of the packs. Place the shrimp on top of the towel, and then fold the remainder of the towel on top of the shrimp. This arrangement will keep the shrimp alive for a day, but the cooler must be used only for the shrimp and the lid opened and closed quickly so the inside temperature does not warm.

Aerated live wells Shrimp are very sensitive and need to be kept in their own water as long as possible. New water should be added in small amounts to avoid salinity shock. Bait buckets During the cooler months bait buckets are effective and shrimp can be kept for more than one day by sinking the bucket to the bottom where the water is cool. The fisherman should remember to put some feed such as lettuce in with the shrimp since they are cannibalistic.

FISHING WITH SHRIMP There are several effective live shrimp fishing techniques: freelining, under a popping cork, using a sliding sinker rig, on a jig-head and trolling. Freelining Freelining uses minimum terminal tackle, thus allowing the the bait to move naturally. A heavy monofilament leader from 10 to 30 inches long is attached to the standing line with a Surgeon’s Knot. CAUTION! The Mustad 9174, a short shank live bait hook, is very good for this method. Depending on the size of the shrimp, a 2 to 2/0 hook should be used. Hook the shrimp under its mouth and pass the point behind the eye and horn. but in front of the brain, which is a dark spot visible slightly behind the eye. Hooked in this manner the shrimp will stay active and look natural in the water. This


WADE FISHING Fishing Resource Manual

Page 41

Wade fishing is effective for a number of reasons. First, the flats and oyster bars of the harbor hold a variety of species. Secondly, fish are used to having other things in the water with them, and wading allows the angler to approach fish without the sounds of water slapping the boat hull or motor noises to spook them. A fisherman moves along slowly when wading, thus areas are fished more thoroughly than from a boat. Wade fishing is an inexpensive way to fish, and if proper clothing and equipment are used, it is physi- is held against the angler’s legs while it is put on the cally pleasant and an angler can become involved with stringer or released. Many first time wade fishermen forget to bring the environment. Birds and other wildlife are easily drinking water with them. The angler should tie a water seen, and it is common to see fish swim past. bottle to a line and tow it. Drinking water is important because most fishermen stay in the water for a long peCLOTHING AND RELATED EQUIPMENT Proper shoes are important for comfort and riod of time and get very thirsty. Wading exposes the angler to the sun plus the safety. Anglers can buy neoprene soled shoes made for reflected rays from the water. To be properly protected wading. Many fishermen use sneakers, preferring the old canvas high-top style, which stops sand from get- the angler needs a hat which at least covers the ears if ting into shoes and also protects the ankle from oyster not the neck, sun glasses, and sun screen. shell scratches if a slip is made. Dive boots are also an excellent wading shoe. They zip up the side, protect the ankle, and keep sand and other debris out. Some wading shoes are constructed with a Kevlar inner sole to help protect against stingray barbs and other ‘sharps’ underwater. Most people wear a swim suit or shorts during summer wading. When the water temperature drops, waist high waders held up by suspenders can be used. A multi-pocket fishing vest is necessary to carry the various fishing equipment and accessories needed. The angler should carry leader material, clippers, hooks, some light weight terminal tackle, pliers and knife. If lures are used, they can be pre-rigged with leader and carried in their individual boxes or in plastic lure boxes available at most tackle shops and discount stores. Pre-rigging saves time when changing lures. If live bait is used, a floating nylon web bait bag or bucket can be towed on a long line. A stringer should also be towed on a 10 to 12 foot line. These items are trailed behind the angler in case a predator fish takes a swipe at them. When landing a fish, the angler can use a short handled net, or if the fish can be handled, the rod is placed in the fishing vest rod holding loops and the fish

FISHING EQUIPMENT A 7 to 8 foot rod of medium weight with 10 to 20 pound test line works well. If lures are being used, a baitcasting rig is usually the best while for live bait, spinning equipment is recommended. In either case, thought should be given to the weight of the reel. A graphite reel is recommended. When wading, the angler naturally holds the rod and reel high to protect against accidentally submerging the equipment. This unnatural position is fatiguing and the fisherman should periodically place his rod in the vest rod loops and stretch arms and chest to relieve tightness. If the reel is submerged in saltwater, it needs to be cleaned immediately after the fishing trip and properly greased and oiled. Shallow running lures work well wade fishing, as do spoons. Suspended jigs are particularly effective for trout and redfish. WADING TECHNIQUES AND AREAS When wading, the “Stingray Shuffle” is used. This entails slowly moving one foot forward while dragging it lightly across the bottom so surface characteristics can be felt and the wader doesn’t step on a ray. Cautious and intentional movement is always recommended.


FISHING IN THE RAIN

Page 42

Summer rains change the aquatic dynamics of Charlotte Harbor fishing. After two years of drought conditions in Charlotte County we were deluged with rainstorms. The end result has been phenomenal fishing! The rainstorms flush tannic acid from the mangroves that line the Peace and Myakka rivers and their tributaries. Our waters went from very clear to dark as Texas tea in a matter of a few weeks and the freshwater influx from these storms has a profound effect on how fish behave. These storms affect the salinity, water clarity, water color, tide heights, current and many other factors less obvious. Our gamefish feel way more comfortable in shallow water under the cover of dark water. We fished on 3 different days for only 4-5 hours each trip. We fished multiple locations on the outside of the bars running parallel to the east and west side. The day before each trip it rained several inches which created elevated high tides and heavier currents. Take advantage of an outgoing tide with the run-off that creates an extra strong water flow. The extra water flow stimulates the baitfish and bottom dwellers attracting redfish, snook, trout, tarpon, shark and a variety of other fish. On these trips we used small white bait which can be encountered over every grassbed in Charlotte Harbor. Massive schools of trout have moved in with the summer rain pattern and they position themselves to take advantage of the strong tidal flow which flushes baitfish in their direction. In each of these trips we caught more than our share of our trout in 3-6 feet of water free-lining in the open. They were mostly small trout with some legal ones mixed in. In prior weeks speckled trout were nearly impossible to find but the summer rains have brought them in. The dark water also seems to entice tarpon and sharks to mill around in shallower water. In waters less than 5 feet we have been hammering the blacktips up to 5 feet, with many tarpon generally under 100 pounds. The method is simple; fish with cut bait on the bottom and hang on. This is patience fishing and some spots will wear you out with catfish. However, a singing drag with a hard pulling jumping fish (many of the blacktips jump in shallow water as well) is certainly worth waiting for. Tarpon have no where to go

Fishing Resource Manual

but up – and having 10 jumps from one fish is not out of the question! The shark variety is terrific this year and it’s possible to sight fish shark on the last stages of an outgoing tide. Again, these sharks appear to enjoy the extra water flow attracting them into the shallows. On a calm day simply scan the shallows for wakes. Often the dorsal fin will be seen breaking the surface in only a foot of water. These sharks are aggressive and will eat just about anything thrown in front of them. As is typical for southwest Florida an afternoon thunderstorm often produces heavy downpours and high winds. This often does 2 things: it drives all of the boats off the water and makes the fish bite. The influx of rain water has a tendency to cool off the surface water which in turn increases their appetite. A calm spell that often follows after the rain gives testimony to the effect of the rain. Fish in nearly every direction can be seen moving and boiling on the surface. Approach them slowly and they will attack a surface plug right after a downpour. For redfish purists, the dark water gives you stealth. The fish cannot see you nearly as well and are less spooky. Positioning your boat around a mangrove island or oyster bar can be done with easy casts to your target. The redfish will be reckless and will follow their noses to a tasty pinfish, whitebait or shrimp. It seems that the summer rains have brought the big reds into the Harbor with 10 to 16 pound fish being very common now. Hooking them is one thing, getting them out from the mangroves is another! The common thread between all species previously mentioned is the fishing method. Simple bottom fishing is hard to beat. Cut bait, live bait, crabs, shrimp, pinfish or sardines- fish them on the bottom with little or no weight. Use a heavy leader because the water is dark and the chance of hooking a monster is better than ever. Look for more fish to be in shallower water and easier to get close to. The real magic is in believing the fish are there because you can no longer see them. Confidence in where you are fishing will be your biggest ally. Use the rain guage to tell you when to go fishing. The high tides, dark water and mix of fresh and saltwater are an attraction for the fish in Charlotte Harbor.


Summer Fishing

Fishing Resource Manual

On Charlotte Harbor there is a hot bite that starts about 6:15 as dawn is breaking so you need to have your lines in the water early. The ideal tide is a high incom ing to the top of the outgoing tide w hen you’re fishing the bushes. Redfish, snook and occasionally a small tarpon will wander into the shallows, feed along the mangrove edges and also skirt the oyster bars along the flats. The best approach first thing in the morning is to use a top-water bait like a small Zarra Spook or a Yozuri minnow or similar bait where you can impart a “walk-the-dog-cadence” which will bring tremendous strikes from redfish. Bait fish are very plentiful in summer and the scaled sardines about 1 - 2 inches are everywhere in the Harbor, so small baits are a great ticket. Larger plugs will sometimes be avoided by the fish so you have to match the hatch – use the same size and appearance bait as what the fish are naturally eating. Typically after the first hour of the morning you’ll notice that instead of blasting your baits the fish will start to boil on them and miss them, then shortly thereafter they will stop hitting your top water baits completely. That is the signal to go sub surface. If you locate an area where you’ve had a lot of blowups it’s good to go back to it with a sub surface lure like a jerk shad or maybe a spoon to see if you can still pick off a few fish. Ultimately, the bite will quiet down as the water warms up so the thing to do is go out and catch bait then come back to some of the areas where you had strikes first thing in the morning.

Page 43

How to Hold a Big Fish Flipinʼ a live bait up under the mangroves and not getting it stuck in the branches takes practice.

A fish spends almost itʼs entire life swimming horizontally. All of itʼs internal organs are suspended in that weightless horizontal position. When you take a big fish out of water it is no longer weightless so when you hold it vertically you can damage itʼs internal organs. Bigger fish held by the jaw can also suffer a broken jaw, thatʼs why it is important to support large fish with two hands, one under the belly, and hold them horizontally flat. Do you know what kind of fish these are?


Fishing OFFSHORE for Permit Page 44

Stalking big, wary permit on the flats is one of the most difficult ways to pursue these fish leaving even the most accomplished anglers contemplating easier quarry on many an occasion. While many permit are taken in shallow water situations, bigger specimens are more easily targeted on deep water reefs and wrecks. Here permit are less skittish and easier to fool which greatly tips the odds in our favor. Wreck permit in Southwest Florida tend to run in the 10 to 30 pound range and are available well into the mid summer months. The first order of business is to locate a school of permit. GPS numbers for our artificial reefs and wrecks are readily available via navigational charts, the internet, and local tackle shops. The best locations start at 10 miles out and receive less fishing pressure than the near shore structures. Once you arrive at your selected destination carefully monitor your depth finder to locate the structure. You can also keep a watchful eye out for packs of cuda that tend to give away the wrecks location by stacking up right on top of them. Permit may not always hold right over a wreck so a little hunting may be required. Run a concentric search pattern in the general area of the wreck and watch for permit cruising 5 to 15 feet below the surface in large pods. Once the fish are located it is best to deploy a marker buoy so that you can anchor up tide of these schools or run successive drifts past the schooling fish. Wreck fishing for permit tends to be best on clear calm days when the fish can be easily sighted and tend to feed more aggressively. Permit tend to vacate the upper water column and seek deeper water once the winds and seas kick up. When this occurs their appetites wane and they can become difficult to locate. Mr. Permit also tends to feed more heavily during strong outgoing tides. During slack and incoming tides schools of permit feed poorly and will often break up into smaller constantly moving pods which become increasingly harder to locate. The best bait for permit are small live crabs. Pass crabs, sand crabs, and blue crabs with a carapace approximately the size of a half dollar piece will out fish any other lure or bait hands down. When crabs are not available, shrimp tipped jigs, live lined shrimp on small live bait hooks, and even Berkley Gulp shrimp fished on a jig or a 3/0 circle hook will do in a pinch. When fishing with crabs utilize 3/0 circle hooks and either cast to or free line the crab with the current to the waiting permit. When fish are holding in the 10 -15 foot range adding a 1/8 ounce split shot to get the bait down to the fishes eye level will increase your hook up percentage. To get the best fight out of a permit and to fool

Fishing Resource Manual

their excellent eyesight in clear offshore waters it is recommended to utilize medium light tackle spinning gear filled with 20 pound test Power Pro braided line and 3 to 5 feet of 20 pound fluorocarbon leader. Permit have soft rubbery mouths and pose no threat to light leaders. When an angler does get broken off it is usually due to the permit taking the line down into the wreck or Mister Cuda developing a taste for crab. Once hooked permit fight hard. They turn their silvery grey, saucer shaped bodies sideways to use the current to their advantage and beat those powerful sickle shaped tails to burn up your drag with long, stubborn, deep circling runs. Offshore permit fight dirty and will use every trick in the book to cut you off on any available bottom wreckage.

WEATHER RADAR IMAGES

Before venturing too far offshore most anglers check the radar images for rain and storms. On a map like this the arrows point to the direction of the wind while the numbers show the height of the top of the clouds.


Fishing Resource Manual

Page 45


A Few More Knots Page 46

TheDouble Uni-knot The double Uni-knot is actually a pair of Uni-knots tied back to back and is versatile because it can be used to join light monofilament backing to super braid lines when filling a spool, any two lines of equal or nearly equal diameter, or any light line to heavier mono leader material, especially if you first double the light line. Begin the knot by overlapping the lines by at least six inches. Hold both lines together with your left hand and make a loop with the tag end of the line that exits to the right. Then make five wraps around both lines inside the loop and exit the loop with the tag end of that line. Moisten that portion of the knot and pull tightly making sure the wraps do not overlap and are snug against each other. Switch hands and repeat the procedure, but in the opposite direction. If you are tying two lines of unequal diameters together, use less wraps (notice that the illustration shows three wraps — if the lines are of equal or nearly equal diameters, use the same number of wraps). Then moisten that portion of the knot and pull tightly, again making sure the wraps do not overlap. Now, moisten the space between the two Uniknots and by pulling on both standing lines in opposite directions, draw the knots together. Make sure there is no space between the knots and they tightly abut each other.Trim the tag ends and go fishing.

Fishing Resource Manual

The Improved Clinch Knot The Improved Clinch Knot is a knot with about a 95 percent breaking strength when tied properly. It is mostly used for joining light lines (15-pound test or lighter) to hooks, lures and flies. Heavier line can be used if only three turns are placed in the knot — it is just too difficult to snug the knot properly with more turns. Inset the line through the eye of the hook and make five turns (3 or 4 for heavy lines). Then push the end of the line through the small space (loop) at the hook eye. Then slip the end of the line through the large loop. Moisten the knot and pull the knot tight by holding the hook in one hand and the line in the other. Pull the standing part of the line and not the end of the line (tag end) that was pushed through the loops. Trim off the excess.


Fishing Resource Manual

The Duncan Loop / Uni-Knot The Duncan loop is also referred to as the Uniknot and is rated at 95 to 100 percent breaking strength. Itʼs a favorite of many anglers because itʼs easy to tie and forms a loop that allows a lure, hook or fly to swing freely. And it cinches down when a fish strikes absorbing some of the shock of the strike. Once closed the loop can be slid open again by using a thumbnail. Since the knot is in the water when the loop closes, it is lubricated eliminating friction that can weaken it. Begin the knot by passing about 6 inches of leader through the eye of the hook and fold the tag end so it lays parallel to the standing portion. Then grab the two pieces of leader with one hand and fold the tag end back towards the hook with the other hand and begin making wraps around the two parallel leader segments. Make 6 wraps around the two parallel leader pieces away from the hook eye, but inside the loop formed by the fold back. Then moisten the knot and pull the tag end away from the hook eye until the wraps are snug. Any size loop-opening can formed at this point. Trim the tag end and go fishing. This is also a good knot for attaching line to the spool of a reel.

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The Blood Knot The blood knot — often called a barrel knot — is a neat, clean and strong knot for joining similarly sized sections of lines (example: adding more line to a reel). However, by doubling the standing line and following the same directions, a larger diameter line (like a leader) can be joined to smaller diameters. Begin by crossing the two sections of line forming an X. Leave enough ʻextraʼ line to complete the knot on each side of the X. Hold one side of the X (two pieces of line) in one hand while wrapping the tag end of the other side of the X around the standing line with the other hand. Use three wraps with heavy line and five to seven with light lines. Insert the tag end into the loop made by the first wrap near your fingers. Using your other hand, pinch the wraps keeping the loop in the middle open and make the same number of wraps around the other standing line with the tag end. Then pass the second tag end through the same loop as the first tag end, from the opposite side of the loop. Make sure the tag ends stick out from the loop far enough so they donʼt slip out when you tighten the knot. Moisten the knot and quickly and firmly pull on both sections of standing lines. Do not pull on the tag ends. The ʻbarrelsʼ on both sides of the knot should form neat, tight coils. Trim the tag ends close to the knot.


What Are Fish Feeding On? Page 48

Disect a fishʼs stomach to see what it has been eating

From Water LIFE magazine Every year, as part of our 8 week program we ask the FWC stop in at each of the five schools and make a presentation to our students. The exact nature of the presentation is left up to the FWC personnel who appear. All this is coordinated out of the FWC field office in Murdock. The FWC staff who makes the presentations are field and lab workers from the Murdock facility. Most of the presentations to date have centered around the stock sampling that the Murdock office does every day in Charlotte Harbor. Chrystal Murray and John Hadden are two of the people in the water pulling the huge nets and recording the fish one by one. Part of the sampling includes examining the stomach contents. Chrystal and John induce warm water, pumped into the fish to make them regurgitate. They explained all this in an AV presentation to the class and then came the fun part. Chrystal and John had bagged up the stomach contents from snook, flounder, mullet, mackerel and a slew of other fish caught the day before and brought it all to class, iced down in labeled plastic bags. In their power-point presentation they had explained the food chain from the ‘Trophic Levels” perspective: Level 1) Primary Producers (organisms that make their own food like

Fishing Resource Manual

plankton, seagrass, algae and leaves (in our area, mangrove leaves). Level 2) Primary Consumers (those that eat the primary producers) like mullet, barnacles, oysters, shells and clams. Level 3) Secondary Consumers (those that eat the primary consumers) like sheepshead, crawfish, crabs, shrimp and pompano. Level 4) Apex Predators (those that eat both primary and secondary consumers) like largemouth bass, snook, redfish, spotted sea trout, sharks, cobia, Spanish mackerel and Gulf flounder. “To catch fish you have to know what they are eating,” Chrystal told the class. The students donned rubber gloves, poured the stomach contents into trays and dissect them to see what was inside. Students then identified the stomach contents and listed them on a Trophic Levels and Food Web form Chrystal and John had made up for the class. Then the students looked over the results and decided what bait or lure was best to use to catch the different species at this time of year. This was the essence of our Be The Fish approach to teaching kids about fishing. Think like a fish (or like a fish eats in this case) to catch fish. John and Chrystal went way over the top in preparing for this class and it was greatly appreciated by the students, teachers and parents in the room. Chrystal and John had our kids sitting with pencil and paper figuring out fishing. That’s a big kudos for the them and for the FWC. Billy Barton, the teacher of the class at Punta Gorda and I left the building together after the last student was picked up. We were marveling at how good the kids were. No flying cobia stomachs, no half digested sardines sailing through the air, no mushy touches, not even a messy table. It just couldn’t have worked out any better. Thanks again, John and Chrystal.


10 Fishing Tips for success Fishing Resource Manual

Page 49

1) Fish like moving water - find moving water and you will find more fish.

2) Fish are opportunistic feeders - fish like to ambush their prey - look for structure like rocks, pilings, reefs etc to find fish.

3) If you are fishing in a canal fish along the sides not in the middle, catfish like the middle and you don’t want to catch and have to unhook catfish. Look for dock pilings, overhanging bushes and places where drainage pipes dump into the canal and fish there.

4) Lighter line is harder for fish to see, so use the lightest line to catch more fish (but not too light or they will break it off) 12-pound mono line is just about right for most fishing.

5) Use a lighter rod - too heavy of a rod is not ‘sporting’ and after a while the heavy rod is hard to hold. 6) Monofilament line will catch more fish than braided line of the same weight

7) Use fluorocarbon leader, it is almost invisi ble to fish in the water

8) Try to just tie the leader to the line directly with a knot, don’t use swivels except to keep the line from twisting, as when you use certain lures 9) Scented baits like the Mirrolure and Gulp brands are great but don’t leave them on your line overnight or they will become rock hard and almost impossible to get off the hook.

10) Be quiet when you are fishing, especially from a boat. Noises like hatch covers slamming shut will scare fish.

DO YOU KNOW WHICH IS THE SNOOK AND WHICH IS THE REDFISH? Snook have a long black stripe (a lateral line which they use to sense sounds) Redfish usually have one or more round black spots, often on the tail. We donʼt know what they are for... maybe to look like eyes?


KEEP THIS IN YOUR WORKBOOK !

Page 50

– Quiz please DO NOT guess 2017 Don Ball School

Name_________________________________

1.

During periods of _________________, fish tend to be more scattered and are present in areas where the water depths offer them safety. a.  High water b.  Low water c.  I donʼt know

2. a. b. c. d. e.

What influences the tides most?  The weather  The earthʼs magnetic field  The Sun and Moon  Mercury and Mars  I donʼt know

3. Which fish is more likely to be caught when fishing on the grass flats? a.  Snook b.  Redfish c.  Trout d.  Mangrove Snapper e.  I donʼt know 4.

A ______________ hook, tends to hook a fish in the corner of the mouth, as opposed to the gut, resulting in higher survival rates. a.  “J” b.  Circle c.  Kahle d.  Aberdeen e.  I donʼt know

5.

Non-stainless hooks degrade faster than stainless hooks. a.  True b.  False c.  I donʼt know

Fishing Resource Manual You will be given another copy

6. The best way to hold a fish is: a.  Vertically by the jaw b.  Horizontally, supporting the belly with your hand c.  With dry hands d.  By the gill openings e.  I donʼt know 7.

What is an Ethical Angler? a.  An angler who always has the right tackle b.  An angler who only fishes from shore c.  An angler who only fishes from a boat d.  An angler who does the right thing when no one else is looking e.  f. An angler who does the right thing when someone else is watching f.  I donʼt know

8.

a. b. c. d. e.

9.

this? a. b. c. d. e.

The most abundant baitfish in an estuary  Anchovy  Menhaden  Bigeye Scad  Thread herring  I donʼt know Which Knot is  Cinch knot  Square knot  Loop knot  Back knot  I donʼt know

10. The water is usually deeper on which side of a bend in the river? a.  Inside b.  Outside c.  I donʼt know

$1 Bill Challenge Resource Manual  

This is the workbook we use in our six week Don Ball School of Fishing class. You don't have to read the whole thing now! Look it over, at...

$1 Bill Challenge Resource Manual  

This is the workbook we use in our six week Don Ball School of Fishing class. You don't have to read the whole thing now! Look it over, at...