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Water LI FE

Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay, Venice, Estero, 10,000 Islands and the Gulf

Txt Us Ur Fish Pix!

The Don Ball School of Fishing

November 2017

weʼll use ʻem!

Info: page 4


from Water LIFE magazine

Tim Flack and Aidan Flack, with tarpon in a freshwater pond. The arm is Tim!

Don Ball School

Kids Outings pages 16 & 19

Brayan Monteiro with another of several 38-inch Redfish, from Placida


from Water LIFE magazine





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Now a

Fort Myers store !! Fishinʼ Franks#2

14531 N. Cleveland Ave, (US41) N. Ft Myers 33903 • 239-634-1043

eMail letters and photos to:

WE WANT YOUR FISH! Txt Us Ur Fish Pix txt to:

941 457 1316

store this number in your phone!

We like the First Catch so donʼt send us fish if you are also sending the same fish to the Charlotte Sun ;-( We like Fresh Fish so please donʼt send old photos. One or two photos is all weʼll probably have room for. Bigger is Better, higher resolution is best. Please donʼt adjust, crop or sharpen pictures.

FISH HANDLING: If you are harvesting your catch do what you want, but If you are RELEASING YOUR CATCH: Use wet hands on a fish you will be releasing. No Dry Towels, it

wipes off vital fish slime. Hold big fish horizontally so as not to damage their organs, Donʼt hold big fish from the jaw, it could tear or break and Never put your hands in the gills.

No Fishy Fish if you are not in the picture it may not get into print.

No blatant Ads ... but if a Guide helped you, itʼs OK to say so.

Txt picture to 941-457-1316 Include (at least) your name and type of fish (txt only, voice calls cannot be answered) You may also eMail pictures to:

Txt fish Pix to 941-457-1316

WANTED! More Respect on the Water

-To Water LIFE The rods are rigged, the cooler loaded and your buddies are meeting you at the dock for a relaxing day on the water. Bait is easy to find, it can be heard popping on the surface. The sky is turning pink announcing the sunʼs arrival. With a live well full of bait you head to your first spot, breathing in the salty air and feeling thankful for mornings such as this. As you creep up to the flat, excitement bubbles in your chest as shadows slowly give way to tailing fish. Rods in hand and bait on the line, you wait, watching every ripple for clues. Then the drags sing and the fight is on! Fish are caught, back slapping, selfies, and playful banter commence. Then a passing boater sees bent rods and he comes to a stop. No big deal, because who wouldnʼt be interested in what is obviously some good fishing taking place. But then he comes closer and watches some more. Again, not a huge imposition, except that added stress of constant eyes directed on you, and maybe the pressure to move on. Then he comes closer still and proceeds to spook the fish you were working. Words are exchanged in frustration and a phrase heard countless times is thrown in your face, "You don't own the water!" That one line is everything wrong with the current atmosphere today and it points to the lack of etiquette on the Harbor. It is such a silly concept, to even suggest that anyone "owns the water." We donʼt own the water we are just borrowing it. Everyone is free to go where they want, but with that freedom often comes either ignorance or a lack of respect. A hundred yards might be pretty far, but a half-cast away is way too close. If you want to

fish where someone is already fishing, you have to be both stealthy and polite. When someone is already on a spot, you have to be respectful and ask permission before you move in. And if they wave you off, you need to leave, quietly. There are other fish around. People are flocking to our little corner of paradise, which means more boats on the water. With a fishery that is undermanaged and fishing tournaments on the rise, it seems the notion of having a quiet, relaxing day fishing is about to become a thing of the past... unless we choose to make a change. Pay attention when operating your boat and give a wide berth to those stopped and those who are fishing. They may not own the spot they are on, but you must respect the fact that they were there first and they have the right to be there and enjoy it for as long as they please. Most fishermen use their time on the water to unwind and make memories with their family and friends. Some people have the luxury of going fishing when they please, while others save for months to get on a boat for a day or two. Regardless of your situation, we all have the same right to enjoy the water. Florida's population in 1980 was roughly 9.7 million. By 2020, they are projecting it to be over 27 million, which means about 1300 people per day are coming to our state. Thatʼs not something we can change. But we can work to insure that even with an ever increasing number of boats, everyone will have an opportunity to spend the day on the water. Itʼs time to come together as a fishing/boating community and do our part to educate each other and to respect each other's right to a peaceful, fun filled day on the water.

Water LIFE inc.

Michael & Ellen Heller Publishers

(941) 766-8180

FishPix, text only number 941.457.1316

217 Bangsberg Rd. Port Charlotte, FL 33952

Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XVI No 11 © 2017

NO PART of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied, reproduced or re-used without specific written permission from the publishers. (and thatʼs never happened!)

Contributing Editors:

Photography: Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop: Fishinʼ Frank Peace River: Capt. David Stephens Punta Gorda: Capt. Chuck Eichner Venice: Glen Ballinger Estero: Capt. Joe Angius Everglades City: Capt. Charlie Phillips Kayaking: Bob Fraser Sea Grant: Capt. Betty Staugler Beach Fishing: Mallory Herzog Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson Office Dog: position open



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Manatees Could Die! NOVEMBER 2017


Commentary By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor "When litigation is used to regulate, that’s abusive. That’s wrong. We took the first step last month to end the Sue and Settle process entirely at the EPA.” Scott Pruitt, EPA chief. Sue and Settle is how the manatee regulations went into effect. A previous head of the FWC set it up and then went to work for the Manatee Club. They sued the FWC (and others) and then agreed to settle the suit if the FWC put the manatee regulations into effect. With the Sue and Settle approach the public is cut out of the decision making process and there is no room for an appeal since the lawsuit was settled. Clever! Last month I wrote about failing seawalls, now maybe that could affect manatees. Fort Myers and Cape Coral intervened to help homeowners deal with seawalls that collapsed, but not so in Charlotte County. Last month I concluded my column with these words: It will be interesting to see how the local Counties will deal with property owners who are unable, or unwilling, to replace their failed seawalls. After the Magazine was printed and delivered I called Ben Bailey the head of the Charlotte County Building Department. Bailey was in a meeting so I left my number and he called me back. I wanted to know if there was a list being compiled of the affected properties. “I’m not aware of any list,” Bailey told me. “The Building Department wouldn’t get involved unless there was an unsafe situation,” he told me, “like if

it was eroding under a pool or a house.” “You don’t have to have a seawall,” Bailey said. “You could just have rip-wrap (piled up bags of cement) or even just a natural bank.” I didn’t know that. “You should talk to Joanne Vernon, the County Engineer,” Bailey told me. So I called Ms. Vernon and I left her a message. And three days later I called again. Then a day later I called a third time and spoke to someone else in the Engineering Department to get Ms. Vernon’s email. I composed a correspondence and attached a number of pictures. Still no answer. I removed the pictures and sent the email again. I never heard anything back. Maybe Ms. Vernon is simply overwhelmed. Maybe she has too much on her plate to deal with the seawall situation. If that’s the case, Ms. Vernon should look for work elsewhere. This County needs administrators who care and are willing to go the extra mile, not ones who won’t even return a phone call. Mark Gering is the City Engineer in Punta Gorda. He took my phone call on the first try. Mark explained the City actually owns the seawalls in PGI, so a property owner couldn’t ever change a seawall design to a natural bank, not in Punta Gorda. “There are all sorts of seawalls in the rest of the county. Wood, fiberglass, vinyl and galvanized metal. There is no county regulation governing any of that,” Gering told me. This is a pretty serious situation. If the County allows ‘natural banks’ and property owners simply elect to not fix their seawalls, the real estate values on


The seawall here fell into the canal and disappeared. According to Charlotte County, a natural bank like this result is acceptable. What is this revelation going to do to prime sailboat waterfront property values in the effected area? Who cleans up the concrete in the canals? The property shown here backs up to Severin Road in Port Charlotte. There are many.

prime waterfront properties close to the Harbor are going to tank. Natural banks and piles of rip-wrap will have folks who care about their neighborhood moving elsewhere. What about about preparing for the rising tides of Global Warming, how’s that going to work with no seawalls? One of my neighbors is already talking about moving for this very reason and I just might be right behind him. We can’t afford to gamble our single biggest investments. How Sunseeker Resorts expects to build and sell million dollar condos in this area is beyond me. Maybe they just don’t know yet. Boaters in our canal are now driving past partially sunk davits and large sections of submerged seawalls. Sand that

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washes out from behind these broken and missing seawalls is now filling in the canals.... canals the County just finished dredging. Where is the Army Corps of Engineers? They flex their muscle heavily over dock construction in order to protect manatees. How about now? Let me take a more emotional, environmental approach: How many manatees must die in the twisted underwater piles of seawall-concrete and steel? How far do the canals have to encroach inland before babies start drowning and gators start coming ashore? You get the idea. Too bad we can’t Sue and Settle any more. We could sue the County and settle for them dealing with this mess.

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Good Fishing Now Closer to Deeper Spots -By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor I think it is safe to say Fall has arrived to South West Florida. We are starting to feel some cooler mornings and the water temperature is also on the fall. What does that mean for fishing? It means a lot of our fish are on the move. This time of year can be a little challenging if you’re not on the water frequently. During most of the year our water temperatures are above 80-degrees, so when it begins to drop the fish start moving. During the cooler months of the year, our local fish will migrate to areas that are closer to deep water. This does not necessary mean you need to fish deep to catch fish. It just means that you will have more success fishing areas that are close to deep water. I like to focus on flats that fish can retreat to in case of a freak cold snap. Of all the fish, snook seem to be the most effected by weather changes, especially water temperatures. If the water gets below 70, these guys’ metabolism slows way down and so they don’t feed as much. This is the time to target some of the bigger snook. On a recent charter, we were

sand brim, one that wasn’t long ago ate, that came floating to the surface. This wasn’t a little brim either, it was a 7- or 8-inch long fish! Long time ago, the old snook anglers that taught me about fishing-for and catching big snook, always said if they can get it in their mouth they will eat it. Growing up on the Peace River, we would fish only big baits. Seeing that happen reminded me just what a snook can really eat. To think this particular fish was only 32-inches... imagine what a 40-to 42-incher could fit in its mouth! having a really good bite during the mornAs long as the water temps ing. I wasn’t keeping count, but I was keepdoesn’t make any drastic jumps ing busy. this month we should have some If you have live-bait snook-fished, I’m really good fishing. sure you have seen them spit up a bait at As the boat side. Well, c o o l e r on this morning, weather is we hooked up on bad for some a really nice fish species, its and after about a not necessarthree or four ily bad for minute battle we others. The got her boat side. cooler water Well, what this time of she spit up wasyear can n’t the bait I was have a good using. It was a A snook spit up this sand brim effect on our sea trout. As the water temperatures drop, the trout will school up in deeper water. The deeper potholes on the flats are great places to locate them. Also, you don’t want to overlook the creeks. Just because cooler weather is coming, that doesn’t mean the fishing will slow down. It just means you will have to adjust your technique. If you would like to experience some of Charlotte Harbor’s finest fishing, give us a call or send an email. All of our charters are private and customized to fit your party’s needs. Capt. Dave Stephens, 941-916-5769





Just Call it Lake NO: PAGE


By Capt. Betty Staugler Water Life / Sea Grant Restoring the Greater Everglades ecosystem is complex and challenging. At the center of it all is Lake Okeechobee. Lake O. receives water from a 3.4 million acre watershed that includes the urban area of Orlando and the agricultural areas along the Kissimmee River. Surrounding the Lake is a network of man-made canals, levees, and water control structures, designed to provide flood protection and fresh water for a current population of over 8 million residents and a multi-billion dollar agricultural industry. Today, it’s easy to look at this engineered system and wonder “what were they thinking?” But 100 years ago, best available science looked very different. Today we recognize that this flood control and water delivery system has substantially impacted natural ecosystems in south Florida, including the St. Lucie, Caloosahatchee, Lake Okeechobee, and the Everglades. But fixing the problem is not easy and it will be very costly. Historically, Lake O. received the bulk of its water from the Kissimmee River to the north, Fisheating Creek to the west,



Tiny Sparrow May Be the Next Excuse

and from various smaller rivers and creeks. Prior to all the engineering of Lake O., during high water events, the majority of water flowing into the lake overflowed the southern rim of the lake and was carried south into the Everglades as sheet flow. Today the Everglades is roughly one half of its former footprint due to urban and suburban development along the eastern and western margins of the historic Everglades, and the conversion of marsh land south of the Lake into agricultural production. Another feature of Lake O’s engineering, is that historically the lake’s margins could expand and contract with flow levels, but with the construction of the Herbert Hoover Dike, the lakes margins were set, making it function more like a bathtub than a natural lake. When water levels rise the lake does not expand and instead becomes deeper. The depth of the lake triggers the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule 2008 (LORS 2008), which aims to hold the lake between 12.5 and 15.5 feet to minimize the risk of dike failure. Currently inflow to the lake exceeds outflow by as much as 4-6 fold, and the

The Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow

capacity of outflow canals to the south are much smaller than the capacity of outflow canals that carry water east and west thru the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. As such, 45-percent of the annual averaged water flows released from the Lake, between 1998 and 2014, went to the Caloosahatchee, 21-percent to the St. Lucie, and 34-percent went south to the Everglades Protection Area. Compounding this problem of high releases is that both the St. Lucie and the Caloosahatchee River basins contribute significant additional local runoff to their estuaries. In fact, for both basins, local runoff is a larger contributor of freshwater flows than Lake Okeechobee. Thus to reduce the damaging high freshwater discharges to the estuaries, inflows from both the Lake and the local basins must be reduced. An unavoidable reality of any action designed to reduce discharge to the estuaries and move additional water south to the Everglades, where it is needed, is a complex web of regulations, statutes, and countless legally binding agreements. There’s State law that protects the rights of existing legal water users, which essentially means if I have a permit to withdraw x amount of water, a new permit cannot be issued that would reduce the amount allocated to me. Then there’s water quality issues. Moving water south, especially into the Everglades Protection Area (EPA), requires it meet strict water quality standards. For instance, the Florida Everglades Forever Act (1994) prevents water managers from discharging water into Everglades National Park if total phosphorus (TP) concentrations exceed 10 parts per billion (ppb). Total phosphorus in the lake’s watershed averaged 117 ppb in 2015, so in order to send it south it must first be treated. Unlike discharges into the Protection Area, discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosa-


hatchee estuaries are not subject to these strict water quality standards. Another federal law that has significantly affected Everglades’ restoration, is the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA prohibits the “taking” of listed species, and habitat protection is afforded where “critical habitat” is designated for a particular listed species. Like the ESA, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) also prohibits the “takes” of covered species. In this instance, laws require reasonable and prudent measures be considered to minimize the take of the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, the Everglades Snail Kite, and the Wood Stork. The Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow is of particular concern because it only occurs in the Everglades and its population has allegedly been reduced to fewer than 3,000 birds. In a 2015 Independent Technical Review conducted by the University of Florida Water Institute, to determine options to reduce high volume flow to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and move more water south to the southern Everglades, the authors concluded that despite all of the challenges outlined above, that relief to the estuaries and the ability to move more water south could be accomplished using current technologies. To reduce damage to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, freshwater inflow and nutrient loads from both Lake O. and the local basins need to be reduced. On average, 70- to 80-percent of the freshwater discharged and 65- to 80-percent of the nutrient load to the estuaries originates in the local basins, with the remainder coming from Lake O. The solution requires large volumes of storage north, south, east and west of the lake to manage lake levels within a desirable range, reducing damaging high and low flows to the estuaries, and moving more water south for agricultural, urban and ecosystem uses. But despite repeated demonstrated need for large volumes of storage, unfortunately very little new storage has been designed or constructed in the system; and what is planned is only a fraction of what is needed. Even if all storage needs were achieved, water quality still remains a significant problem for the estuaries and a legal hurdle for moving water south of the lake into the Everglade Protection Area. Thus a comprehensive and coordinated approach for providing storage and treatment is needed to improve water quality and protect these ecosystems and the vital services they provide. Capt. Betty Staugler, Florida Sea Grant Agent. UF/IFAS Extension, Charlotte County (941) 764-4346



The Reality of Redfishing

By Capt. Chuck Eichner this and as such we cannot pick out reds in a school of mullet. What you can look for Water LIFE Inshore is a slight color change to red or orange in Charlotte Harbor is known for its superb redfish fishing and has earned quite a the black water... which is not easy. Step number two is finding the reds in reputation for it over the years. It has also an area where the tide is just right. Redearned a reputation for being one of the fish schools visit spots on very specific toughest places to catch redfish on all the segments in time that often last only an professional tournament trails. But still, hour and they generally don’t sit still as you constantly see photos of large redfish they are on the move. and tournaments that boast great catches. By example recently, my friend Mike So how have your catches of redfish called me and told me to come south to an been this year? All of us stumble onto a oyster bed that he just caught 8 redfish on redfish here and there, but when you see and the water was churning with fish. I all the hype about big schools of redfish and how to catch them, are you able to make this happen? The guides make it look easy, right? Well, I can tell you, it is not easy and if you rarely if ever find a school of redfish then you are like most everyone else out there. You can follow all of the advice, such as look for mullet, fish cut-bait, be quiet, make long Looks like this redfish has experienced many anglers casts... the list goes on. It’s what is not was catching bait and 20 minutes later I talked about that makes the difference in told him I was headed his way. He said finding schools and actually catching ‘don’t bother, the fish disappeared.’ I then those fish. headed to Burnt Store Bar to fish and he First, a true school of redfish is from called back and said he found another 10 to 200 fish. There will be plenty of school near Cape Haze. Mike had just redfish schools in November around the boated 3 fish and could see the reds movHarbor. Finding them is step number one and it’s not easy. You must have eyes like ing over a sand spot. Across the Harbor I raced at 40 mph. Fifteen minutes later I an osprey to see them in the dark water. approached his boat and he raised his Yes, they hang with mullet, but mullet are arms in disgust. The fish had left as the jumping everywhere and for sure the redtide receded just a little. fish are not everywhere. We set up, fished and waited to no All of the top redfish anglers have one avail. The common point between both thing in common; extraordinary vision that allows them to see in the water. Most locations was Mike has eagle eyes and spotted the fish at both locations and the of us (including myself) do not possess

fish left just after the tide started going out. It is important to say that he has paid his dues and has thousands of hours of fishing and has an idea of what areas might hold schools of fish. He tried to be there at the right time and was able to spot them. Another very important consideration in this pursuit is controlling boat noise. Everyone’s interpretation of this is different, but here are the rules that I follow. Shut your gas motor down 500 yards from the spot, use your trolling motor to get closer and use the wind or a push pole to maneuver into position. Automatic anchors are noisy, very noisy, and they spook fish. An anchor without a chain or an anchor pin are needed to quietly stabilize the boat. Walk quietly in the boat and, obviously, don’t drop hatch lids. For bait, you better have plenty of whitebait, pinfish, crabs, shrimp and cut bait because they like different things on different days. It sounds crazy, but recently a school of redfish were working down the east side bar and came right past me. I had fresh hard crab on the bottom and they swam right over and kept on going….. I still can’t get over that! Easily


50 reds had to smell the crab and they all passed it up. Catching any redfish is spectacular. Our mangrove shorelines hold plenty on higher tides and you can expect to catch a few here and there. Weather and tide heights change dramatically this month with lower tides starting and it will be windier as well. However, on the high tides, oyster bars and just plain sand bars will hold some large groups of redfish and if the water continues to clear, they will be easier to see. Stalk them with great caution, look for red tones in the water and if you are really lucky you may find a school. Chum of any kind will keep them in the area and then hang on!

Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Backcountry Charters He can be reached at 941-628-8040








Stump Pass now Bump Pass By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff With the completion of the Stump Pass project last summer, most people, including myself, thought that this would be the end of it. The Pass was dredged, the groin was installed, problem solved, mission accomplished , time to move on to bigger and better things. I should have known better. Along comes one little hurricane and a whole bunch of new questions pop up. The first being, where does the Pass start and where does it end? A simple question with a lot of different answers, depending on who you ask. Take Capt Jack Pearson, the owner of the Englewood Bait House, a historical landmark in the Englewood fishing community. Capt Jack runs a very successful head boat out of the bait shop and uses Stump Pass to get offshore. He has over 20 years of experience navigating through all the changes Stump Pass has gone through. Capt Jack has recently reported that sand is building up in a portion of the inshore part of the Pass which has now dropped the depth to only six feet in that area. The area in question is very dynamic, with water flowing in from Lemon Bay, Rag Alley, Ski Alley and the South

There is really not much to the new groin (right) on the north side of the cut. The inside shore of the cut (below) is changing and sand is moving underwater. Further back in the cut there is a ʻbumpʼ

channel that leads to the ICW. Capt Jack's boat has a four foot draft, so I am sure that he can make his way through this area to get offshore. The problem is that Capt Jack wants to buy a bigger boat so he can take more people further offshore for a good day of fishing, but he says he is holding off until he

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is reasonably sure that he can make it from his bait shop at the base of the Tom Adams Bridge to the Gulf without hitting the bottom. This brings us back to the question of where does the Pass start? I thought that the Pass started at the point where you turn off the ICW into the channel leading offshore, but I was wrong once again. The Army Corp of Engineers, who has the final say for the dredging projects, think that the Pass begins where Ski Alley enters the main channel, so that is where they issued the permit to begin removing sand. The area from that point back to the ICW was never dredged. The next question is, where did that sand come from? With all the surveys done of this area over the last 5 years, I can't believe that a big underwater mountain of sand was missed by every


body except Capt. Jack, but Jack says it was there before Hurricane Irma. Water movement and the changing patterns of flow, the hydraulic nature of the area, may now be adding to the high spot. On a recent offshore trip, Capt. Jack told Water LIFE Publisher Michael Heller there has also been a change in the north shore leading out of the Pass. Surveys done after the storm indicate that over 40,000 cubic yards of sand have have moved back in the pass as a result of Irma. That is 20-percent of all the sand that was removed from the pass in the first place. To put it another way; that was an estimated one year’s worth of sand filling in the Pass in one day. There is a bright side to this and that is that in the past, FEMA funds were given to the County to repair damage due to hurricanes. Let's hope they keep that policy in place. The last question is, where did the groin go? I really had the idea that I would be able to take my fishing rod and my little bait bucket and be able to walk out 150 yard on top of the groin and do a little fishing in Stump Pass. Yet again, it appears I was mistaken. I knew that the groin would slope downward and go under the water, but I never figured that the whole thing would be underwater most of the time. The most of the groin I have seen above water is a section of about 20-feet next to shore, composed of rooks covered with algae. I guess if I go fishing there I better wear a pair of waders and a hard hat so I won't crack my head when I slip on the algae.

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f r o m Wa t e r L I F E m a g a z i n e

Al Barry Port Charlotte ,Tom Barry Eden NY nice king mackerel out of Charlotte Harbor

Jeff Scarritt with a South Gulf Cove tarpon!

My na Last n a few

Cub Scout Andrew Fiorelli 9 catching dinner (tilapia ?) at camp

Donevy m

Seven year old Autumn Szymcek caught this giant barracuda fishing near Boca Grande


Bo Reynoso age 13 from North Ft Myers Large Mouth Bass-

Gene Hanlon caught the fish off the Stump Pass.

Lots of small snook in the Harbor, where are the big ones? Bud Crihfield

Capt. Bob Davies and a snook

Dom and Jack

Dave. Snook caught in Pine Island S safely released to have lots of bab

Dom 29 and 30 inch snook


eaderʼs Photos


Txt Us Ur Fish Pix! see

ame is Westyn Relats and I am 8 years old. night when fishing with my family I caught w mangrove snappers. I am showing my little brother Ethyn the fish.

FISH PIX! f r o m Wa t e r L I F E m a g a z i n e

Gabriel with his first bass. Caught in a North Port canal

yn Relats and I am 6 years old. I caught some mangrove snappers with my family last night.

Sound, bies

page 4


Gene with grouper

Cameron Parsons and Rick Smith with a Great Barracuda, off shore out of Stump Pass

Robert G. Allen of Arcadia with a 28-inch Peace River snook!

Ethan Bowersox, flounder I caught over in Lemon Bay, around 14 inchʼs

Tracey with a 29-inch snook

Troy Carmichael 40-inch and 19 lb

Caught by Donnie Green. Flounder it is!





Guide Fee Increase at Everglades Park Now on Hold

By Capt. Charlie Phillips in the guide industry as well as tourism in fifty dollars may not sound like a huge Water LIFE / Everglades City general. Can’t say it’s surprising with all number for some folks, but for a guide it Not much to report as folks are scramthe challenges faced in our area, but it still represents a hard earned day of their life bling to survive now. I can’t pay the bills hurts, especially as we enter the fall, when with a very healthy tip to make up that with my boat (which is waiting on some traditionally a guides season kicks off. But amount. So having that given back is one repairs anyway) so I am able to fall back such is life, and this is when people will day more that an Everglades National on my profession before fishing, commerfigure out just how strong their business Park guide can absorb and survive this cial explosives. plans are. I hope all come thru and the slow down. I want to thank the Everglades What brought me to National Park, Superintendent Florida after a life in EOD Ramos and Secretary Zinke (bomb squad) for the Army for taking time to talk with us was a job in the commercial and for trying to assist in the explosive world, blasting recovery of our communities. everything from bridges, to Our boat should be back beaver damns, but mostly up and running and better limestone. As you can imagthan ever in November and I ine, this is a nitch world can’t wait to get back out and and with over 20 years exstart running trips. In the perience in the craft, I am meantime, check out Floridanow able to work all thru for a list of hunthe country as a safety condreds of licensed and insured sultant ensuring that everycaptains in all areas of the one keeps their fingers and state that would love to take toes in one piece and in you out for a day of fishing. place. The tradeoff though Y’all be safe out there, is it’s all consuming, 20 thanks for the love and supMe with Secretary Zinke, Capt. Brandon Acosta and Superintendent Ramos hour days, and crazy hours, port and see you next month. but it’s short term and I am thankful to phones start ringing soon, so I would ask have some income. Currently I am in all of the readers to consider booking cap- Capt. Charlie Phillips: 863-517-1829 North Carolina, but I’ll be starting back e-mail: tains all thru SW Florida and the Keys for towards Florida tomorrow. Web: their next getaway. With your continued support, we will come out of this stronger than ever. Some good news to share was earlier As we close out October and enter into this month I was invited to represent the the second month since Irma came to Florida Guides Association at a recent town, Everglades City is leaps and bounds meeting at the Everglades National Park further along from where it was left on headquarters in Flamingo. Park SuperinSept 10th. The streets are a little cleaner, tendent Pedro Ramos, and Interior Secrethe debris piles a little less prevalent (extary Ryan Zinke were there. They had cept for Mt. Trashmore, as it’s now requested a sit-down with industry leaders known, where all the garbage is staged affected by Irma. They wanted to listen to right along the road entering town). We us about what we needed from them. have several restaurants back open and eager to give you a great local meal, along Right off the bat, both he and Superintendent Ramos announced that the prowith hotels that have clean comfortable posed guide fee increases that were rooms for an overnight stay. And best of all our fish are hungry and ready to please. coming in 2018 had been tabled and we would be looking at a $50 increase vs the While it is getting better, it’s going to $750 one proposed. Seven hundred and be a challenging season for a great many

10,000 Islands / Everglades City


FISH PIX! from Water LIFE magazine

Captain Gavin Hazeltine, at it again with this 35-inch snook.

Editor notes* Gavin and his buddy were on the cover last month catching tarpon on the Myakka.

Estero Bay: NOVEMBER 2017


High Expectations for Big Fish

By Captain Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero The good news is that with the seasonal shift comes the best of Estero Bay, in terms of fishing. The bad news is new dredging projects, condominium high-rises and increased boat traffic in Estero Bay have definitely made an impact on the fishery within the last month and going into the month of November it will be no different. As the weather begins to shift more toward cooler with less rainfall, anglers can expect to see even more boat enthusiasts and local construction projects progressing. With a variety of added stresses to our fishery, to be a successful angler during November, it is important to know how to deal with the changes and follow the fish accordingly. First and foremost is the current bait situation in and around Estero Bay. As of now, there are a ton of opportunities to net mullet, pinfish, threadfin herring, pilchards, mojarra, creek chubs, and pass crabs. My suggestion is to focus your energy on the feeding habits of the species of fish you desire to catch. This will allow you to pinpoint what type of bait you need, eliminating time wasted looking for other varieties. A great example of this scenario occurred last year in November. On one of my charters I had every type of bait in my livewell that I listed above, along with a

dozen shrimp that I purchased for backup. It turns out that the redfish that morning did not want pinfish, mullet, or cut ladyfish. Instead they desired a small piece of shrimp, tipped on a hook for mangrove snapper, under a popping cork. The snapper setup worked and the child on board landed a few upper slot redfish that day. The takeaway from this story is to always have some live shrimp in the livewell, even if it’s one dozen, and to understand that the fish are changing their feeding habits to a more “low and slow” approach. Estero Bay and Fort Myers Beach provide several opportunities for catching prized inshore fish species this time of the year. The four species on the top of my list are tarpon, redfish, snook, and speckled sea trout. These species are the ones that I like to pursue first. Considering that there will be days when it is extremely difficult to get one of those four fish to bite, a successful angler will move on to fish areas that are more productive. In, or near, major passes, grass flats, and channels can provide anglers with a more consistent and active bite because of the depth and tidal fluctuations these areas experience. Right now, our fishery is producing plenty of jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, pompano, ladyfish, speckled


sea trout, bluefish, and mangrove snapper. Fishing for these species is a lot more fun than waiting for a bite in the backwater that might not occur for another hour or so. Lay your ego aside and exhaust your options for catching fish. Doing so can turn a frustrating day into an action packed day of fishing. Fish hard and pursue the excitement that fishing has to offer. Everything else that is happening in your day of fishing will fall around that concept. There will be ample opportunity for anglers to catch a variety of fish, as long as they are prepared with live shrimp and an attitude to “take what you can get.” Especially with Thanksgiving approaching, it’s always a great feeling to be able to provide a lot of fish for the dinner bounty. Be cautious as boat traffic increases, rules and regulations may have changed, and signs for dredging are posted and active. If you have a question or concern about the fishing in Estero Bay, please do not hesitate to contact me. It is my passion to keep anglers informed on current water and fishing conditions and to help anyone become a better and more successful angler. Take advantage of what Southwest Florida has to offer and fish responsibly so it will always be here in the future. Captain Joe Angius (727)-234-3171 Speak Easy Fishing Charters





Don Ball School Trip

Water LIFE Staff Report The cool part is there are always kids along who have never caught a fish or handled a fish or been on a boat before. Some have never been offshore either, but after we come back to the dock they canʼt say any of that anymore! There are lifetime memories kids are creating and if you watch the faces of the adults on board, our Don Ball School of

Fishing captains and program staff, the mate and even the boat captain, youʼll see their smiles too. At one point Capt. Jack Pearson came down from the bridge to help unhook fish when the fishing got really crazy-good. This trip was for Punta Gorda and Murdock students. Weather almost forced cancelling, but as it worked out we were just ahead of a front and the fishing was great. On this trip, the first of two offshore trips this year, 25 students caught and released a total of 125 fish and everyone contributed to the count! We caught and released numerous species including porgyʼs, grunts, snapper, one shark, various grouper, one lizardfish, a toad fish, some spot tails and a legal sized triggerfish. A big thanks to Capt. Jack at the Englewood Bait House who drove the boat. You can contact Capt Jack at 941-475-4511 to book a space on one of his regular head boat excursions.




Three Mackerel Types

a jet black dorsal and a near straight lateral By Mallory Herzog Water LIFE Fishing line. Spanish also have yellow spots and It is starting to feel like fall in Florida! are generally much smaller in size. Both The first cold front of the season dropped species can eat the same bait, especially arthe Gulf temperature a few degrees. This tificial. has triggered our cooler water Gulf fish to One of my favorite ways to catch these feed. Kingfish is a yearly favorite that is using a weighted diamond jig – any many anglers wait color. on. They are the Bouncing it BIG brother to the off hard Spanish mackerel bottom or and highly sought casting into after to throw on the distance the smoker! These towards a two species are bait school often caught in the works. It is same waters, somea losing battimes the same day. tle as all It is important to species of Which one is this? be able to identify mackerel your catch, since the regulations are very have sharp teeth and are known as tackle different for each species of mackerel. Arthiefs. riving back at the dock with a limit of the Fishing with live bait for kings, the wrong species could land you in some hot Captain likes to use cigar minnows, small water. So how do you tell the difference? blue runners or white bait and a 4/0 circle There are actual three types of mackhook with a stinger to 60lb wire. Occaerel. King, Cero and Spanish. The most sionally, king mackerel get picky and will common in our waters are king and Spannot eat from a wire if heavily pressured. If ish. The easiest way to identify for most that’s the case, switch it up with a heavier anglers, is the lateral line. This is the line mono-leader and free lined bait out back. runs down the middle of the fish. On the As for the Spanish, they are happy with king, this line has a pronounced "dip" and pinfish or white bait and it’s a blast to fish continuation near the anal fin and a gray them on light tackle - with 2500 reels to a color to its dorsal. Where as a Spanish has 3/0 circle hook. They are drag screamers!

Other winter species will continue to swim in closer, invading our near shore wrecks as the season moves forward. Snapper and cobia enjoy cool temperatures. Gag grouper is a great addition to your dinner plate and is in season until December 31. These fish congregate on ledges, rocky bottom and bridge structure. A trolling fisherman's favorite; covering as much ground as possible, use a deep-diving lure to grab this grouper's attention from underneath his ledge. Near shore winter fishing is a great way to get familiar with the Gulf and our local wrecks since you can catch these species only a few miles from shore on a fun and relaxing half day trip with a tasty ending!

To book a trip with Capt Andrew Herzog Call or TXT 941-661-0304 Visit







Wind is the New Normal By Fishin’ Frank Water LIFE Baitshop Fishin’ on windy days has become the new normal, so when my old buddy Blake came to town with his two sons, at least we were lucky and the wind was only blowing hard from the east-north-east. I say lucky as it is easier to hide from the east winds. We started out heading to the east side. We stopped at mangrove point and idled back over the bar, we knew the water was deeper once you got across the outer sand bar and the fish like to hang out under the mangroves. With the tide falling, that deeper trough should be the place. Well it was... for one little snook. However, we did have a school of white bait swim right up to the boat. Blake could not stand it so he got out the cast net and smartly threw at the edge of the school. They looked pretty small, and most were, but we did get a couple of throw-able size to fish with. Blake

caught an under-slot snook so after a half hour of no other fish we continued our way down the east side. What we were looking for were islands which had deeper pot holes out in front of them. By deeper I mean 6 inches or more of added water depth. I like to use the wind to my advantage, so knowing it is almost impossible to cast into the wind, I would anchor on the north east corner of an island where we could cast to the back of the Island – east being the back and the north side of the island. That way we cover two sides with the wind at our backs. If we fished for 20-minutes and no fish I would let the boat drift to be along the north shore of the island where we could cast the front or west side of the island and if that did not work it was one more short drift to cast the pot holes out in front.

When all that did not work, we moved to the next islands and by the third island we had caught a couple smaller snook, a little red fish, a few smaller mangrove snappers and a lot of needle fish. The fish were all caught by free lining or using poppin corks. The poppin cork did catch more fish this day than the free line ones did. And the needle fish just attacked any bait under a float, the most needle fish I have even seen on the east side... weird. So time to change tactics. Headed out to the bar and noticed a bunch of bunch of Crab traps.... well crab traps are baited to attract crabs and fish eat the same stuff so that is a lot of chum, so to speak, so we started drifting along between the crab traps. Trout were there and we caught several, but only a couple big enough to keep, and while the boys were fishing with white bait I saw the keeper trout, 16- inches or so, were both caught on shrimp under the poppin corks, as were two bonnet sharks that hit the shrimp under a poppin cork with a jig head instead of just a hook. So all in all, not a great day, but not a bad day. We caught a fish about ever 15-minutes dur-


ing the time we fished, averaging it out. I will say, the small white bait was a bit better for the snappers we caught and of the three snook, two were on white bait. As far as the sea trout 50/50, the bigger ones were on shrimp. Fishing with a steady wind is not as easy as fishing with a light breeze, but you can find ways to use it to your advantage.

Fishin’ Frank Port Charlotte 941- 625-3888 Ft Myers 239-634-1043



Don Ball School of Fishing: Anual FWC Seine Net Pull at Ponce Park


By Michael Heller Charlotte Harbor Reef Assn. Every year for the past eight years we have been lucky enough to have the staff from the FWC Research Lab in Murdock come out to Ponce deLeon Park to show our 6th grade kids about fish sampling. The FWC samples areas of the inshore Estuary every day, so they are intimately familiar with all the species here. The FWC uses a large Seine Net to do their sampling, but they bring a smaller version for the kids to use. A seine net is bound to rigid poles. The bottom end of the net is FWC staff biologists Rebecca Blaxton, Jarelle Johnson and Chris Hessell help the students set out a adorned with purse sein net. Then the net is circled into a purse to collect fish. lead weights, the top is strung with floats. The kids pull the net out straight and then while one end is held in place, the other end is walked around in a circle. Once both ends meet, the net in the middle is gathered up in a ‘purse’ entraping all the creatures in it. As they examine the contents, there is a quick, on Students see what they have collected. Those not working site, identification and then the samples are transferred with the seine net collected samples with dip nets. Below: a tiny redfish, shrimp and a mud crab to buckets for further examination and study. We had about 60 few mud crabs, and a bunch of horseshoe crabs. people in the water There were gobi and hopolow and a ton of anlast month, 52 stuchovies (which dents plus our staff, they learn are the FWC and helpers. the most abunThe students coldant fish in the lected many of the erstuary... and local species; tiny are also called redfish, trout, a few glass minitsy bitsy flounders, nows, around lots of blue crabs, a here.

Lucky FISH PIX Shirt


Please Help!

The shirt you buy will help teach a kid to fish!

All proceeds go to support the DON BALL SCHOOL OF FISHING and help us to produce the programs you see here

Available at both Fishinʼ Franks stores 4425-D Tamiami Trail Charlotte Harbor

14531 Cleveland Ave (US41) North Fort Myers





Kayaking Encounter with 8-Foot Bull Shark By Bob Fraser Water LIFE Kayaking I decided to take my 11-foot fishing kayak out for a few hours of flats fishing. I haven’t been out for over a month because of the hurricane, rain and windy weather. So I went out on October 17 to see what I could find. I went to my favorite place, Gasparilla Sound, the place where I take many of my clients to catch seatrout. I started out fishing with my favorite twitch bait, a dark back/red belly Mirrordine. I caught a small grouper, a lizardfish and a puffer fish, but no trout. I tried a live shrimp under a popping cork, only to catch one catfish after another. I stopped using shrimp after catching several catfish and went back to using artificial. I did catch a large ladyfish on a live shrimp. The fish made one jump and when he hit it looked like someone threw a hand grenade in the water, there was a big explosion. Sometimes a dolphin will do this, but I didn’t see any that day, so I thought maybe it was a tarpon. About 30 seconds after the explosion an 8-foot bull shark came swimming by my 11-foot kayak. I threw out another live shrimp and I saw the shark swim by my cork and then off he went. My light spin-

ning gear didn’t have a chance, so I tightened up the drag and let the line break, saving me $25 worth of braided line. I looked around and saw another fin sticking out of the water behind me. I decided the sharks were too much competition for me and they were a little too close for my comfort. There were hundreds of mullet jumping and feeding just off of a near by sandbar. I guess that the sharks were feeding on the mullet. These sharks were swimming in 4 feet of water. For the first time going fishing, I was glad I didn’t catch any keepers because I usually put them on a stringer. I’m sure if I had a stringer of fish hanging off the side of my kayak the sharks would have attacked the stringer and in the process probably flipped me over. Lesson learned; don’t ever put your fish on a stringer when fishing from a kayak. Put them on ice in a cooler, not only will this be safer, but the fish will stay fresher as well, especially if it’s warm out. If you are wade fishing and put fish on a stringer, make sure you have a long rope to keep the fish away from you in case there are any sharks around.

Bob Fraser 941-916-8303


FISH PIX! from Water LIFE magazine

Send Us Ur Fish Pix!!

see page 4

We got this beast of a bull shark last month. Tim Szymcek

Artist Dale Werner with a nice 24-inch snook while out fishing with Captain Barry Cuda Nicholls during the Coast Guard Auxiliary Contest

Captain Barry-Cuda Nicholls with a slot size redfish during the Coast Guard fishing competition last month





Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

LION KILL Ken Ayers Jr. of Panama City took home the FWCʼs recreational Lionfish King award with a total of 1,250 lionfish harvested. Joshua Livingston of Destin became Florida's first Commercial Champion for his efforts in removing 4,560 pounds of lionfish

Public Works is collecting storm debris since the contracted firms were unable to respond to Charlotte County for storm debris collection. The Public Works Department has now shifted its focus from everyday operations to storm debris removal, but a lot of stuff is still piled up.

after Hurricane Irma, and made efforts to contact their owners. The deployment represented FWCʼs commitment to disaster relief, environmental protection and safety.

TRIGGERING CONFUSION A November weekend has been added to the Gulf gray triggerfish state season. The gray triggerfish ANIMAL RESCUES InvesOpening Up to Drilling recreational season in Gulf tigators from the Captive state waters will be open two Wildlife section responded additional days this month to to the Desoto County Eduprovide anglers with fishing opcational Center to assist portunities that were missed with the removal of three due to bad weather from Hurriwolves. These wolves were cane Nate earlier in the seapotentially in danger of son. Gray triggerfish will open drowning in their enclosure in Gulf of Mexico state waters due to rising water from for recreational harvest Nov. 4 Horse Creek that was and 5. The season was previflooding the property. Also ously open Oct. 7, 8, 14 and removed were a bobcat, 4 U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has 15. The season was also open raccoons, one coyote, one announced a proposal for the largest oil and Oct. 21 and 22 as an extension iguana and a house cat. All gas lease sale ever held in the United States due to the impacts of Hurrianimals were placed at 76,967,935 acres in federal waters of the Gulf cane Irma. other facilities. Flooding of of Mexico, offshore Texas, Louisiana, MissisDuring this state season openthe Santa Fe River due to sippi, Alabama and Florida. The proposed ofing, the Gulf state waters miniHurricane Irma caused a fering is scheduled for March 2018 and mum size limit is 14 inches fork wildlife facility on the river includes all available unleased areas on the length and the daily bag limit is to request assistance in Gulfʼs Outer Continental Shelf. two per person, per day. transferring a 600-pound The season is now closed in Gulf black bear to another facility. Federal waters for 2017. HYPERLOOP Entrepreneur Richard Branson and his Virgin Group have SNAPPED UP FWC Officers reWET TEXAS CARS Almost half a invested in Hyperloop One. With Hyceived a photo from the social million cars and trucks damaged in perloop, passengers and cargo will media website Snapchat showing a Hurricane Harvey have been sitting be loaded into a pod, and accelerate dead velvet spike with the caption in holding lots and are set to head gradually via electric propulsion “Heʼs Down.” After interviewing the back out onto the roads or into through a low-pressure tube. The female subject who posted the scrap yards with salvage titles. pod quickly lifts above the track snapchat photo, it was determined Thousands more that were uninusing magnetic levitation and glides that she was with two other male sured are out in the wild and could at airline speeds for long distances subjects who were riding around a be headed anywhere, with no infordue to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. few days earlier when they saw the mation stating they've been in a Virgin Hyperloop One is also workspike and shot it. After interviewing flood. The National Insurance Crime ing on projects in the Middle East, the male subject and searching his Bureau put the total at 422,000 vehiEurope, India, Canada, and the U.S. property he was found to be in poscles. For comparison, there were session of 10 bags of fresh deer about 300,000 vehicle claims from SHOCKING NEWS FWC Officers meat and a .270 caliber rifle and Hurricane Katrina and some on water patrol on the Apalachicola several bear skulls in his barn. 250,000 from Superstorm Sandy. River when they saw a small boat Charges were directly filed. Another 215,000 vehicle claims occupied by three subjects. There have been filed in the wake of Hurriwere no fishing poles on board the NETTED Officer Morrison received cane Irma in Florida. In the end, boat. As surveillance was being cona call concerning a subject taking about a million vehicles are exducted, one of the occupants placed snook with a cast net on the Gaspected to have been damaged by electrical wires into the water and it parilla Trestle. During surveillance, Hurricane Harvey alone. The cars was determined the suspects were the fisherman was seen catching and trucks are all supposed to have using an electric shocking device to one snook in a cast net and storing their VINs entered into the NICB's take fish. The vessel was stopped his catch. A resource inspection loVINCheck database, where conand the shocking device was cated six undersized snook that had sumers can see if a vehicle has seized. The three suspects were been caught in the cast net. The been damaged or branded as salcited. subject was issued a citation and vaged. The VINs are also put into several warnings the National Motor Vehicle Title InDEAD BOATS Officers identified formation System. more than 150 displaced vessels, TALKING TRASH Charlotte County


Water LIFE Staff Report Irma impressed meteorologists with her ferocity. Nine of her 122 deaths were in Florida, most during severe thunderstorms. Irma showed sustained winds of 185 mph for 37 hours, the longest any tropical cyclone around the world has maintained that intensity. The previous record was 24 hours, during Super Typhoon Haiyan in the northwest Pacific, in 2013. Irma's 185 mph winds, with gusts to 215 mph, were the highest on record for a storm in the Atlantic Ocean (not counting the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico). When the entire Atlantic Basin is included, Irma is tied with the Florida Keys / Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Gilbert in 1988 and Wilma in 2005, for the second-highest winds on record. Only Hurricane Allen, in 1980, had greater winds, which were recorded at 190 mph sustained. At 185 mph, Irma was the strongest storm on record to impact the Leeward Islands. The Okeechobee Hurricane in1928 and Hurricane David in1979 were the previous record holders at 160 mph. Irma was a Category 5 hurricane for three full days. This ties her with Allen for 2nd as spending the most time as a Category 5, trailing only the 1932 "Cuba" hurricane which was a Category 5 for only 6 hours longer. Irma was so strong it registered on devices designed to detect earthquakes Barometric Pressure is a way to determine the strength of a storm. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. It's referred to in inches, in the U.S., but other countries and most all scientists use millibars, a Metric measurement. At 915 millibars, Irma had the lowest pressure of an Atlantic hurricane outside of the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on record. Accumulated Cyclone Energy, or ACE, is a way of measuring a hurricane by adding up the wind energy used by a tropical system over its lifetime. Irma generated the most ACE (44.2 units) by a tropical cyclone on record in the tropical Atlantic and also the most on record in a 24-hour period, breaking the old record set by Allen in1980. If you add them all up, Irma generated more ACE than the first 8 named storms of this yearʼs Atlantic hurricane season combined (ArleneHarvey). Reliable Hurricane History only goes back, loosely, to the 1890s. The satellite era of recording every hurricane only goes back to the early 1960s. Planes weren't used to measure minimum central pressure until about 1945. Some hurricanes slipped through the cracks of being observed prior to 1960 and others were not properly sampled before WWII. BY Sustained WIND Alan 190 mph Irma 185 mph Wilma 185 mph Labor Day 185 Rita 180 Andrew 175 mph Camille 175 mph Gilbert 175

BY Lowest PRESSURE Wilma 882 mbar Gilbert 888 mbar Labor Day 892 mbar Rita 895 mbar Camille 897 mbar Alan 899 mbar Andrew 900 mbar Irma 915 mbar

The 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season is still the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was notable because there were so many storms that the list of storm names was used up and six Greek letter names had to be used. The season officially began on June 1, 2005, and lasted until November 30, although storms persisted into January 2006. A record 28 tropical and subtropical storms formed, of which a record 15 became hurricanes. Of these, a record seven strengthened into major hurricanes, a record-tying five became Category 4 hurricanes and a record four reached Category 5 strength. Among these Category 5 storms were hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.






November – Predictions and Suggestions Charlotte Harbor Frank at Fishin’ Franks 941-625-3888

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens



from Water LIFE magazine

Fish With A Guide They Need Your Business!

Andrea Burchers 150pounder Charlotte Harbor with captain Chris Frolich

Youʼll catch more fish and youʼll learn something new, every time!

Shane Crihfield from Ohio. 33 in. Red Cant wait to catch this guy again


from Water LIFE magazine

Speak Easy Fishing Charters Captain Joe Angius USCG licensed & Insured Phone: (727)


Offshore, after Irma, the hard bottom straight out of Boca, is now sand. All the rivers poured out way over flood stage and Irma blew 4- or 5-feet out of the Harbor. Add that together and that acted like a fire-hose blowing water and sand out into the Gulf. The good side is, all that water being pushed out at once took so much sediment out that the Harbor water is brown now, but it’s clear. It’s like someone flushed the toilet on this place. In the Harbor, fishing is pretty iffy.’ Going around the Harbor, inside, there are pompano and a couple of cobia. Snook is better now, we’ve got some trout and still not enough decent redfish fishing. As far as the trout goes, the east side is flat loaded with trout but they are small. With a bobber and shrimp it’s mega-easy to find trout on the east side, but we didn’t find any over 14inches. Lots of trout in Turtle Bay, more keepers than shorts. The pompano in the Harbor are on the inside of Hog Island and down the west side. We’ve seen flounder around Ice House 2 down the mainland of Pine Island to the bridge There have been a few black drum from Matlacha up to Port Charlotte Canals. In Ackerman and into PGI there are very large drum - up to 60 pounds. Redfish are scattered around the Harbor. On the east side you can find a slot fish but you’ll have to look for them. These fish are in unusual places, maybe because of the tides and wind making things shallow. It’s better south than north, but only slightly. Lemon Bay has

had some of the best reds. Bigger snook up the rivers. Smaller on the east side. Bull better than Turtle. The Tom Adams Bridge has had a lot of big lunker snook up there. You’ll need effort at Placida. Out in the Gulf in as little as 15 up out to 30 feet some monster king mackerel and a ton of Spanish mackerel. Gotta get below the Spanish to catch the kings. The Spanish are taking the top 10 feet. Grouper is good in 40- to 60-feet. Lots of snapper and miscellaneous fish. For tarpon grab a couple of ladyfish for bait and go to the deep holes and drift them.

Lemon Bay - Placida Gasparilla Sound Jim at Fishermen’s Edge 941-697-7595

Fishin’ has been OK. Offshore there has been a lot of action on king mackerel and Spanish. Some guys I know got into wahoo out in 75 feet - fish in the 20-pound range. They were trolling ballyhoo, because thats what they do up north. Other guys were catching assorted snapper, porgys and grunts. There was one Captain into a nice sailfish, and blackfin tuna have been caught too. Guys into the grouper went pretty far, mostly for reds and gags, and some bigger fish, high up in the keeper-size 30-inch redfish, that was out 80-plus feet or more. They go that far so no one will come up on them. It’s been pretty good offshore. Inshore has been good too. A lot of people have been bringing in pictures of pretty nice trout in the 20s and snook over 40inches. They were using a whole mullet or some guys cut a ladyfish in two pieces. Cut la-




The BIG-4 SPOTTED SEA TROUT On the grass flats around the area.

dyfish are good for snook and tarpon. There is a lot of nice bait around now, so while the water is still warm, go with what’s working. There have been pompano along with mangrove snapper, but the snapper are getting smaller size now. Along the beach, up Manasota towards south Venice, there are a lot of flounder. There is more rocky bottom up that way, more structure for them. And guys are still fishin tarpon, believe it or not! Pretty good fish, way over 100 pounds, late night drifting in the Pass. The local creeks like Buck, Coral and Godfrey, they all have smaller tarpon in them. Guys fish the suspending lip baits like Yozuri and the small Rapallas working them back slower with a twitch, for tarpon. The fish respond to the fleeing minnow situation. Freshwater, the guys catching bass are using frogs and worms. People like to work the ponds in South Gulf Cove for bass and maybe bluegill.

Fish you can expect in

GROUPER Good on the reefs Deeper water means bigger

REDFISH Now starting to school up around Two Pine

SNOOK Nice fish up into the rivers and creeks


Nearshore water temps are now mid 70s Fish are slowing down

95˚ 90˚


from Water LIFE magazine


from Water LIFE magazine


A rarely seen sailfish caught by Jimmy S aboard the Pelagic with Capt. Travis Ormond, released happy and healthy 30 miles out of Stump Pass


Gene with his 33" redfish from Boca Grande

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚


from Water LIFE magazine

Tim Pucci caught the two smallest fish of the day 25 miles out of Boca!


Alex caught this little puppy after breaking his pole in three.... with the help of three friends! Alex is 6'5" plus, big fish!


from Water LIFE magazine



from Water LIFE magazine

Morgan Taylor with her 45.5-inch Peace River snook! Caught last month



LAST CASTThis is the last David Diggins big red in the surf


from Water LIFE magazine

Bo Reynoso age 13 from North Ft Myers-Large Mouth Bass


from Water LIFE magazine

picture we received, last month, before going to print






Water LIFE Nov 2017  

Fishing, boating and other water related subjects in the pristine environs of Charlotte Harbor Florida and the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Pres...