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Water LI FE

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

the Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

October 2020

FISH PIX! Water LIFE magazine

Todd Balsinger with a nice redfish in Lemmon Bay

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Christopher Perry

$1Bill Challenge

Grand Champion

4th period winners pages 6-9

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11/1/20


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OCTOBER 2020

tion

he elec t r e t f a l il ‘t g in h t No

eMail letters and photos to:

Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XIX No. 10 © 2020

NO PART of this publication (printed or

electronic) may be copied, reproduced or re-used in any manner without specific written, witnessed and notarized, permission from the Publisher

Contributing Editors:

Photography: ASA1000.com

Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop: Fishinʼ Frank

Upper Harbor: Cameron Parson

Peace River: Capt. Dave Stephens Punta Gorda: Alan Williams Estero: Capt. Joe Angius

Everglades: Capt. Charlie Phillips Sailing: Fran Burstein

Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson

From the Ponds: Nicholas J Office Dog: Agustus

The County has its itʼs plumbing started at this new lift station on Bayshore and Main, but the pumps and the connection.... and the site drainage from Sunseeker to the Harbor are all on indefinate hold.

MOSAIC PHOSPHATE MINING: Who issued the permits? FROM SWFWMD RE MOSAIC: The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) does not regulate the mining and phosphate activities conducted by Mosaic. Under the operating agreement between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and SWFWMD, FDEP is responsible for the regulation of Mosaic. Albert A. Gagne Jr., P.W.S. Regulation Environmental Coordinator Environmental Resource Permit Bureau Southwest Florida Water Management District

Editor Notes* We asked Mr Gagne if we could see the Operating Agreement. He sent a link immediately. My thinking is a court could issue an injunction to stop MOSAIC from expanding into Horse Creek if it found the operating agreement between the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the State was somehow defective. The question should be: How can the Water Management District give its management authority away to the State? The Districtʼs main function, by itʼs charter, is to Protect Water Resources. Mining only degrades them.

Outlet Pipe s

217 Bangsberg Rd.

Port Charlotte, FL 33952

pe

FishPix, text only number 941-457-1316

io n Pi

(941) 766-8180

iss

Ellen Heller Publisher Michael Heller Editor

I have to feel sorry for Sunseeker... if there even is a Sunseeker any more. The airline industry is in big trouble and this project is owned by Allegiant airline. Before Sunseeker comes back the airline industry will have to come back. They are saying 4-years. I wouldn’t be surprised if they flip it before then. In the mean time, I worry about how the site, in its current condition, affects the Harbor.

The plan... at least according to the site plan I saw on file with Charlotte County, was to have large underground settling tanks near the waterfront where water from the site would be contained. Apparently DEP thought this was important. The rain and runoff don’t stop just because the project has been shut down. There is lots of fresh concrete which will change the pH of rainwater flowing into the River. There is a new pumping station at the intersection of Bayshore and Main Street, but it sits only partially completed. I’d like to see the plans again, to understand the runoff requirements, but the County told me because of terrorism concerns I am no longer allowed to see what Sunseeker is doing. One thing is for sure, whatever happens with Sunseeker, taxpayers will wind up paying – MH

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COMMENTARY BY MICHAEL HELLER

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Sunseeker Resort Progress Report

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Suction Pipe

Look carefully at the photo. Theser are settlement areas. There are a lot of pipes. The acidic, radioactive toxic sludge that phosphate mining creates is piped around between their sites to settlement areas like this. They want to put pipes in DeSoto county to pipe their toxic mix to settlement areas at Horse Creek by the Peace River. They will also truck in tankers of sulphuric acid, regularly.... All just upriver from Punta Gorda.


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A Haunting for Halloween OCTOBER 2020

By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor I felt like I had intruded on a private moment; like I was walking into a hospital room with only the immediate family present... just as they were about to pull the plug. “You guys want to be alone,” I asked. I happened upon Frank and Terry as I was driving by, they were standing out back, by themselves, as the last remnants of their store, Fishin’ Franks, was demolished. “No, it’s all right,” Frank said and then the three of us stood there watching. There were tire tracks in the dirt from trucks that had already hauled some of the debris away. “We just got here,” Terry said. The machine was in the center of the store, working towards US-41. There wasn’t much left. The machine was close to the spot where an out-of-control DWI pick up truck went airborne, the night before Memorial Day, and somehow landed on Frank’s roof, where it caught fire and burned Fishin’ Franks’ to the ground. The machine was sifting through the rubble and ashes, separating the metal things and pileing them up off to the side. “There’s the rack for the cast nets,” Frank said, as the big bucket lifted a jumbled ball of wire with its end tooth and

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dropped it on the pile. “That’s the frame from one of the casting tanks,” Frank said, pointing as the next thing came. And so it went for 10 or 15 minutes, the last remnants of a local landmark were disappearing. Frank and I both lost our houses in Hurricane Charley. Frank also suffered major Charley damage at the store. This was more of the same... all over again. I shook my head. Ug! I was talking to my friend Ralph, a few weeks ago, about Hurricane Charley and how I got emotional recently, reading my own column about the storm. It was good, but not that good. Ralph said he had a similar reaction to something else related to Charley, not too long ago. I don’t care what anyone says, you never really get over it. It comes back to haunt you at different times... and standing out back of Frank’s that day was yet another haunting. “There goes the shirt rack,” Frank said, snapping me back to reality. The machine swung its bucket around and released another piece onto the metal pile. My mind slipped back to the first time I walked into Frank’s store 23 years ago. Almost everyone in town has some fond memories from Fishin’ Franks. The sun was relentless. I went to my truck to get my camera and a hat. I walked over to where Frank and Terry were standing and then took a few

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Fishinʼ Frank at the demolition of his burnt out bait and tackle store last month

more steps forward to take a picture. Frank walked by on my left. I thought Frank was looking at something, but he crossed in front of me. Then standing behind the track-hoe he lifted his arms in a ‘what can I do?” gesture and he smiled. Click. It was classic Frank; amidst what had to have been a solemn, personal moment in his life, he stopped to do something for someone else, to help me with my picture. Ask anyone, that’s Frank – I love you, man! Everyone I talk to only want the best for Frank and Terry. There have been Go-

Fund-Mes and facebook groups and stickers and t-shirts and a catfish tournament, all to show Frank the community’s support. Last week I got a call from a fellow who works at the Elks Club wanting to hold a benefit to help Frank. It hasn’t stopped. These actions all say; ‘thank you Frank and Terry for all the years. Frank is still waiting on the insurance company, but whatever Frank and Terry decide, whether they rebuild or move on with their lives, I know everyone will support their decision. People in this community only want the best for them.


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OCTOBER 2020

WINNERS: Lures & ROD CREDITS

Without Fishinʼ Franks, this year ROD CREDITS are Bass Pro cards valued at $25 for each rod credit. We will mail you your Bass Pro Card

If you did not earn more than one ROD CREDIT you can pick up your Shakespeare Rod & Reel combo NOW at the BoatHouse 4295 Laura Street, Port Charlotte Second Place LURES ARE also at the BOATHOUSE NOW: 4295 Laura Street, Port Charlotte

Lures, Rods, and uncollected t-shirts not picked up from the BOATHOUSE by October 15 will be put back in tournament stock for next year

2020 $1 Bill Challenge Tournament

Englewood Bait House & the REEF RAIDER offshore head boat 941-475-4511

Wilson Pools 941-766-1661

Thank You to our Sponsors!

ANGLER Christopher Perry Jacob Florea Dylan Schaefer Luke DʼOrazio Emma Koebel Juliana Florea Leonardo DʼOrazio Gabriel Setser Ben Koebel Alyx Schaefer Justin Medina Trey Setser Lacy Hamsher Anthony Rice Caleb Richardson Trey Setser Ethan Rice Ryan Larson Reid Locke Julius Acosta Sebastian Beadle Devin Boe James Jusisko Mitchell Vermeulen Molly Vermeulen Joshua Richardson Shawn Boe Caeden Roese Thomas Jurisko Robert John Gage Lawrence Rolie Sporer Michael RIBAS Logan Karol James Rearden Steven John Liam Berman Olivia DeSimone Darlene Russo John McCullough Lydia Zobrist Brayden Hayes Lexi Smith Callie Smith

Final Standings POINTS 157 151 137 126 116 116 99 92 91 85 84 54 83 74 68 54 51 42 40 37 35 27 25 24 24 22 22 20 15 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ROD CREDITS

7 5 7 4 3 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 2 3 2 4

1 1 1 1 1


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2625 Davis Blvd Naples FL 34104 (239) 732-8050

4295 Laura St. Port Charlotte. FL 33980 (941) 979-5219

Christopher Perry

Michael Heller Tournament Director 2020 was the closest year yet, for scoring in the $1 Bill Challenge. At the end of the third period, last year’s champion, Jacob Floria was in the lead with 89 points. Jacob knew he couldn’t win the boat again but he wanted to compete anyway. Emma Koebel and Luke D’Orazio were 10 points behind. Then Dylan Schaefer’s 77 points was up two points over Christopher Perry’s 75. Juliana Florea, Jacob’s little sister, was right behind them at 74 points. It was close! After the 4th period fish were entered Jacob was still ahead with 121 points and Dylan and Christopher were tied at 107 for second place. And Juliana was right behind them at 106 Then came the final tally. At the end of the $1Bill Challenge the angler with the longest fish in each of the 30 species, over the whole summer, is awarded an additional 10 points for each species. Juliana had one of the longest fish adding 10 points to give her 116. Dylan had three of the longest fish bringing his total up to 137. Jacob also had 3 of the longest fish for 30 more points, bringing his total to 151, but Christopher Perry had five of the longest fish for 50 additional points. Christopher couldn’t be caught at 157 points. After four months of fishing and kids answering four educational video-Fish-Quizzes, also worth points, the winner was decided by 6 points! Christopher is a sixth grader at Imagine School in Punta Gorda. Toward the end of the event, Christopher’s grandfather (who helped Christopher and his dad keep track of the fish), texted me saying: “We encouraged Christopher to try for different species, so he specifically targeted these species to get different experiences this year. He submitted 8 different fish (the maximum permitted) during these 4 periods.” That approach turned out to be the winning strategy. Congratulations to Christopher Perry and all the other anglers in this year’s $1Bill Challenge! It was fun!

2020 Grand Champion

Water LIFE $1Bill Challenge

The Grand Champion wins a 10-foot aluminum jon boat, but there is no picture of Christopher with his new boat this year. Jon boats, like almost all other boats, are backordered because of the pandemic. But when the new boat arrives we will have his picture here. This is Christopher, his dad Chris, and Christopherʼs grandfather Richard Perry on grandpaʼs boat. They are a fishing family!

Shown are Christopherʼs 7 first place fish Lane Snapper 14-inches

Spanish Mackerel 22.5-inches

SailCat 24-inches

4th Period LADYFISH First Place: 21.75-inches, Christopher Perry #303 2nd Place: 20-inches, Luke DʼOrazio, #319 3rd place: 17.5-inches, Alyx Schaefer, # 305

Barracuda 35-inches

4th Period AMBERJACK First Place: 21-inches, Christopher Perry #303

Mangrove Snapper 14-inches


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OCTOBER 2020

Dollar Bill Challenge 4th Period WINNERS! M yan C ichlid

C a t fi s h

Sailca t

First Place Myan Cichlid: 13-inches, Luke DʼOrazio # 319

Tilapia First Place Catfish: 17-inches, Dylan Schaefer #304 2nd Place Catfish: 16-inches, Leonardo DʼOrazio, # 318 First Place Sailcat: 22.5-inches #328 Ben Koebel

Pompano First Place Tilapia: 17-inches, Justin Medina #302

R e d fi s h

First Place Pompano:16.5-inches, Gabriel Setser # 315

First Place Redfish: 22.25-inches, Alyx Shaefer, #305 2nd Place Redfish 18-inches, Danial Acosta, # 326


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Dollar Bill Challenge 4th Period WINNERS!

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G ag Gr o uper First Place Sunfish: 11.25-inches, Juliana Florea, #341

S u n fi s h

Mangrove Snapper First Place Gag Grouper: 12.75-inches, Jacob Florea, #340

Gr unt

Snook First Place Grunt: 8.5-inches, Juliana Florea, #341

First Place Snook: 25-inches, Lacy Hamsher, #346 2nd Place Snook: 22.75-inches, Trey Setser, #342 3rd Place Snook: 14-inches, Anthony Rice, # 320

First Place Mangrove Snapper: 11.5-inches, Dylan Schaefer, #304 2nd place Mangrove Snapper, 11-inches, #306, Emma Koebel 3rd Place: 11-inches (later time) Julius Acosta # 327

P i n fi s h First Place Pinfish: 8-inches, Jacob Florea #340


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FISH PIX! f fr ro om m

FISH PIX!

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9-foot hammer off Boca Grande. Matt Armstrong

Eric Dixon Another great day in the Estates with 2 largemouth.

Get Ready To Downsize

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By Cameron Parson Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor The fall season is all but here. Water temperatures are already starting to drop. Some of the best shallow water fishing is coming up, and the time to downsize some of your gear is all but here. However, we still do have plenty of bigger fish, such as tarpon, roaming the Harbor and still willing to play. Redfish Rodeo is in full swing. Schools of these fish can be found from Pirate Harbor, South to Matlacha and Bokeelia, and into Pine island Sound. You'll see them pushing water and busting bait if they're in the mood. They'll take most anything you toss at them, but my favorite is watching them rush a topwater in a frenzy. The Rapala Skitterwalk, in chartreuse, is my go-to plug for the occasion. With cooler water temperatures, trout will become more abundant. Some are already just starting to make a showing, but not in any large numbers. As the water cools, they will be moving into potholes and more onto the open flat. DOA shrimp under popping corks, twitchbaits (Mirrolure Mirrodines or Sebile plugs), weedless jerkbaits, and topwaters can all be utilized. The majority of the fish will be on the small end for now, but bigger fish will gradually show up as the season progresses. The water will also clear up, pretty much to gin clear, also. Rule of thumb is

OCTOBER 2020

if you can see the fish, they can see you. Longer casts on lighter gear will be the norm. Generally, I'm using 8- or 10pound braid with either 20- or 25-pound fluorocarbon. For topwaters, I use 25pound mono for leader as mono doesn't

sink like flouro does. My rods are usually 7-foot 6-inch medium-light powered with fast actions to get that longer distanced cast – there's not much for the fish to break you off on in open water. It pays to downsize your gear in the

fall for maximum performance. Potholes and prop scars will be holding fish. Potholes are generally the normal hideout, but prop scars offer a sort of highway for fish to move across the flats without being noticed quite as much. Often times, that dark spot you see just sitting in a prop scar is a fish. It can be anything from a snook or redfish to a gag grouper in some areas. What may look like a clump of weeds may not necessarily be, take a closer look and you'll realize that clump of weeds has a distinct fish shape. You'll then have your shot. Just remember, snook, trout, and redfish are still closed for harvest for the time being. We are all waiting on the final word on when it will open, but, this gives time for the fish to breed maybe a few times more. Let's make sure there will be more fish for future generations. Before they disappear, be sure to get your shot at a few tarpon in the Harbor. They will hang around until the first major cold front (usually around mid October) busting on ladyfish and other bait around. Look for the birds, catch your bait, and slow troll it behind the boat. The tarpon won't be far behind. Sharks may even take a swing at your baits, and they're a fun by catch for the moment. This will be the final push of some big fish before having to wait until next spring for large numbers again. Catch some fish!!

Cameron Parson can sometimes be found at Rio Villa Bait & Tackle in Punta Gorda (941) 639-7166

Charlotte County requests No Wake Zone for Alligator Creek

FISH PIX!

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Ziara Arden I caught this fish last night in Punta Gorda 34-inch snook

Does this have anything to do with the new Buckley’s Pass connecting PGI to Alligator Creek? Or was it the straightening of the channel? We are not aware of any problems, so why more no wake zones? We are anxious to see who or what motivated this. Last month the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received an application from Charlotte County requesting approval of a draft ordinance to establish a Slow Speed Minimum Wake boating-restricted area within Alligator Creek to include its 62 appurtenant finger canals and natural tributaries, including but not limited to: North Fork Alligator Creek and South Fork upstream to the limit of navigation. The County contends that the boating safety zone is needed to protect public safety from hazards such as vessel traffic entering and exiting Alligator Creek which presents a blind corner and an obstruction to visibility that may obscure other vessels or other users.

The draft was quickly approved by the FWC. Charlotte County will next publish notice of two public hearings. Public may provide written comments, recommendations, requests, inquiries, or other correspondence to the Boating and Waterways Section, 620 So. Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600; or email at waterway.management@myfwc.com.


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CHARLOTTE HARBOR: By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor As the heart of hurricane season is in full effect here on the Gulf Coast, a lot of things are happening. The rains we are getting are turning our local waters darker. The browning of the waters is not dirty. It’s coming from the runoff. The excess runoff flowing through the foliage on the ground, running through the soil turns our waters a tea color. For thousands of years this has happened, and for thousands of years it has kept our Harbor healthy. The fall is a special time on Charlotte Harbor, many things happen that are very important for the life of its future. Probably one

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of the biggest phenomena, is the mullet. Our local economy once depended on this fishery for its survival. There was a time when commercial fishing meant way more to our local economy than tourism. Now, for the local recreational anglers, the mullet run signifies schools of redfish are moving into the Harbor, and they are hungry. As large schools of mullet gather on the bars, they stir up the bottom. If you’re a predator fish looking for an easy meal, mullet are the guys you want to follow around. Well... fall is that time of year. We have large schools of glass minnows that are pushing into the Harbor. Following the schools of glass minnows are ladyfish. As our water temperatures continue to cool down, other pelagic fish will also make their presence known in the Harbor. As things cool down, the fishing in Charlotte Harbor heats up! If you would like to experi-

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Still Following those Mullet

ence some of Charlotte Harbor’s finest fishing, call or send me an email. All of our charters are private and customized to fit your needs. Capt. Dave Stephens 941-916-5769 backbayxtremes.com

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Educating Young Anglers Since 1998

KIDS FISHING! 2021 ZOOM Classes! for 6th and 7th graders

This is the 20th year of our Kids Fishing Classes.

Because of current conditions in the County Schools, this year our fishing classes will be ZOOM classes. Same great program, same local specific workbook, Same Capt. Cayle, but attend class from home, one night a week.

We will mail out the workbook. Then one night a week, for six weeks, we will have a live class. Students receive a Shakespeare rod and reel and a tackle box full of local specific tackle and a t shirt. Costs is $15 For more info and early sign up:

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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 10

FISH PIX! f fr ro om m W Wa at te er r L L II F FE E m ma ag ga az z ii n ne e

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Tommy (snook) and Andrew (redfish) and black drum

FISH PIX! FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Barb F with a nice red on Alligator Creek with Capt. George

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

from Water LIFE magazine

Brittany Cortes and Dalton Rybka, Pine island

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from Water LIFE magazine

Miss Cindy and her Trout! Lemon Bay beauty.... ...the fish of course!

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Bill caught this 30-inch redfish in Lemon Bay

David Sawtelle with a Bonnethead shark he caught in Estero Bay

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Bass fishing with Bella Cape Coral canal

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Caeden Roese 24.5-inch sailcat


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FISH PIX! f fr ro om m W Wa at te er r L L II F FE E m ma ag ga az z ii n ne e

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Laishley Park. Allie's big catch!

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Caeden Roese with skate

from Water LIFE magazine

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Missing name ... with a nice barracuda

FISH PIX!

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Keeper Mangrove Snapper from Englewood by Big Al

Gary Berart snook Charlotte Harbor

Fran Surma visiting from Chicago First cast, her first fish. Nice Jack!

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This is my friend Nick Stewart first day in Florida moved here from New York with his first ever snook

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Jayni Green with a Sea Trout!

Fred OʼDell redfish Pine Island Sounds

Emerson, Henry and Pop Pop fishing in Pennsylvania on Hanko's 4th birthday.


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Bank Battleground Bass

Report from the Ponds:

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like land mines! On September 10, early morning, I hit up a monster bucketmouth I’d been trying to get for a while, then finally it exploded violently on my frog, close to the bank. I just react fast, jerk the pole up hard for the hook set and o.m.g. I had so much weight and tension on my line the pole snaps in two. I fell back, got up and felt my line, hoping it was still on, but the frog dislodged and I lost the mega pond monster, it was The One, I know it! Now I can only hope to get another opportunity hooking it. That’s my second pole I snapped recently, fighting monster Bank Battleground Bass. On September 16, also early morning, I had a very aggressive strike and blow up on the frog again and I reeled in a solid 24-inch pond monster largemouth. Then on September 22, the first day of fall, we had our first cold front drop in. I rushed out with excitement in the early morning to hit up a lush pond I have been fishing for 5 years and never hooked a trophy bass in. Finally after a few casts with the frog I get another major blow up and a good hook set and reel in a 23-inch hard fighting bass. I was super happy and the cold front was the reason for my success.

OCTOBER 2020

By Nicholas J Water LIFE Bass Addict September 2020 will be a month to remember with the continuous tropical storms and daily crazy weather that came in with the arrival of Hurricane (Sucker Punch) Sally. Labor Day weekend was a mix of hot big lurking lunkers up from the deep to start taking up residence in those areas. humid windy weather, but for the most Bass get more territorial now and will part it wasn't that bad for bass fishing hang out in a hot spot with a lot of bait and I was fortunate to hook a trophy fish activity, waiting to ambush and pond Monster that weekend on a jigged bank-slap them all day. These are what I Junebug Sticko. call Bank Battleground Bass. We are having a record weather year Now more than ever, you have to apand if you like to fish, weather makes a proach the bank’s edges super stealthily. So even despite the erratic weather difference between having a productive Largemouth bass will already be staand the on-and-off bite action this past day, a slow day or just getting skunked! tioned up along the bank edges, ready to month, I was still able to hook 4 lunker So far this season there has been a ambush their prey, especially on the pond monsters, three on the booyah total of 23 tropical storms, 8 hurricanes mornings when the baitfish activity is weedless frog and one on a jigged and 2 were major hurhigh. You don't want to spook Junebug Sticko. ricanes. It’s no wonthem off, tread the banks And all these bass strikes were close der the bass won’t lightly! to the bank in heavy vegetation, I come out to play. This is the best time to start hooked 3 of them in the early morning We have had so throwing the weedless frog out and one at sunset. As far as lure recommuch rain this past and working it in the water mendation that's not changing much month I have discovreeds along the bank. When you since the strike's and hook ups have been ered newly formed are doing this, you better be consistent. I am still sticking with the ponds created from ready for major blowups and be weedless frog, Stickos and swim jigs for the massive overflow ready to make a good hook-set now. This month I will add swimbaits to of water in yards and to get my arsenal. parking lots – don't be the job Hopefully surprised if you find done. for us bass me bass fishing in addicts, Octoa second broken rod your front yard..lol ! This ber will be a My latest Deptherm reading, just bemonth I had month of fore this report, was 88 degrees at 17two of the more treats feet deep. The water temperatures rose biggest blow then tricks again a few degrees out deep, but I really ups ever from from Mother didn’t get any hook ups this past month pond monsters Nature. Get at those depths. All the action last month on the Booyah out and hook was along the banks. weedless frog. yourself a The higher pond water levels have It was right bass and created nice vegetation barriers along the along the bank Good Luck banks providing more cover and security edge and the doing it! for the now-plentiful amounts of bait bass went off fish. This set up is definitely drawing the Three early morning specimens from last month


OCTOBER 2020

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Joe Sheaffer with a nice Bull Bay Red 9/16/20

FISH PIX!

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Jonathan (6 years old) caught his black drum at Loverʼs Key state park

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"The Dag"with a catch anʼ release red snapper during a day out with the Slim Jim:)

Englewood Waterfest Swims Around the MAC from Water LIFE magazine

from Water LIFE magazine

On the Line

Opinion By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff The powerboat races that were scheduled for November 19 - 22 at Englewood Beach have been cancelled due to fears of the corona pandemic. This is a big disappointment to the fans who like to watch the races and especially for the all volunteer board and their many helpers. Although a disappointment, this pause does present an opportunity to review the results of past races and plan for the future. The original Waterfest started six years ago and was planned to be held at Punta Gorda, with the boats racing in Charlotte Harbor. Unfortunately, that was in the age of manatee madness and several environmental groups were able to get the races stopped. So at the last minute the organizers were able to move the race to Englewood Beach. That first year was full of challenges for the organizers. The biggest problem was they had no money to pay the Power Boat Race Association; after all, these guys don’t race for free. To help the event get started; the Marine Advisory Committee recommended and the Charlotte Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved over $100,000 to get the race through the first year. It was expected that the organizers of the event would be able to fund themselves through ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, advertising fees and vendor sales. The goal was to become self sufficient and not take taxpayer money in the future. A financial review was done after the first race; and let’s just say several financial discrepancies were found which caused the BCC to withdraw their financial sup-

Was the turnout as expected?

port. The Englewood Chamber of Commerce; thinking the race would be a good thing for Englewood, stepped in and helped form a new 501- C 3 nonprofit organization called Englewood Beach Waterfest Inc. The BCC would not provide cash to the organization, but would provide what is known as in kind services. They provided

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

PAGE 15

Ron Wisnewski. Bonita from offshore Captiva

the Englewood Beach Complex for their exclusive use along with Chadwick Park for a staging area. The Sheriffs Department provided additional police security for the event. The MAC even approved grants of $42,750 in 2018 and $50,000 in 2019. This money was approved with the understanding that the goal was for the race to fund their own event. In 2020 the MAC did not approve Waterfest’s request for funds. It was time for the baby bird to leave the nest. This year (remember that the MAC fiscal year starts in Oct.) Waterfest was again turned down for a $45,000 request. The smoking gun appeared for the MAC members when we found out that Waterfest was paying Mote Marine to bring their educational displays to the race: and they were making donations to other charities. The MAC felt there was something wrong with a nonprofit taking boater taxpayers money and then turning around and giving that money to other nonprofits of it’s own choosing. Because of the corona pandemic the MAC did not meet for five months and unbeknownst to the MAC, Waterfest officials went directly to the County Commissioners and requested they overturn the MAC vote.... and they did. In my over 20 years as a MAC member, this is only the third time that the BCC has reversed a MAC recommendation. I was told by one on the commissioners that their vote was based on an Economic Impact Study that Waterfest had presented that stated 30,000 people had attended the race and that the event generated $5,882,500 in economic benefits for Englewood. That really piqued my curiosity and made me want to take a closer look at the Waterfest operation. Remember, if you take taxpayer’s money you also get taxpayer’s oversight. NEXT MONTH: Show me the money Captronb@juno.com


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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur Fish Pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 10

FISH PIX! f fr ro om m

W Wa at te er r

L LI IF FE E

m ma ag ga az zi in ne e

FISH PIX! FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Nice yellowtail

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Karen from Pa with a fighting jack on Alligator Creek with Capt. George

from Water LIFE magazine

Nice snook Karen caught on Alligator Creek with Capt. George

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Wes Gibson caught this sheepshead in Burnt Store Isles

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Key Largo Trip Barb and Karen and the guys

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Liam Averkamp with his first Charlotte Harbor jack and snook

Chase Cooley, age 4. First catch snapper

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Presley Bollinger, age 4 first redfish

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Bella Bollinger, age 3 first tilapia

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Jackson Cooley, age 7 first catch snapper


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• Best Pr ic es and Com plet e Fit m ent Ser vi ce

• B o a t L i f t C a p a b i l i t i e s - E n s u r e P r o p e r F i t m e n t , C o r r e c t To n g u e W e i g h t , E a s e O f L o a d i n g •

• C o m p l e t e Tr a i l e r M a i n t e n a n c e a n d R e p a ir Pa r ts a n d A c c e s s o r ie s

SHARKS: More Hammerheads than Ever By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Sharks Finally! With regular rains and shorter days, the water is finally cooling down a little bit. Last month the water was so warm, 90+ degrees, that you had to go offshore during the day to catch sharks. But in the evening, fish are all over the beach and local passes, feeding on outgoing tide and the weather has been nice before the evening rains. Sharking has been good with more smaller fish being caught than monsters. I believe it's from the water being so warm that the big ones go offshore where the water temperature is slightly cooler.

Lots of blacknose, blacktip, and Atlantic sharpnose are being caught on the flats off Cape Romano and the nearshore reefs. The trick is to fish after the evening storms or early in the a.m. and get back in by noon, for best results. The best days to fish this month for our area are the first 5 days of the month, the 15 thru the 20 and the last couple of days in the month, with the best moving tides, to fish and catch. As usual, the early and late bite is the best, but if you have the right location you can find sharks all day long this month. Happy sharking!

Capt John Brossard 239-777-9279 www.SharkChaserCharters.com

FISH PIX! f fr ro om m

W Wa at te er r

L LI IF FE E

m ma ag ga az zi in ne e

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Tommy and Raven Ali and crew with a goliath grouper and a bull shark

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Luca Kammerer caught his first fish aboard Pop Popʼs boat in Stump Pass


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FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 10

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

FISH PIX! Ben Koebel with a beautiful mutton snapper for the $1 Bill Tournament, but mutton was not a tournament species

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Rhys Brossard with a 4pound peacock bass caught in downtown Naples

from Water LIFE magazine

Lane Hughes, Boiling Spring pa. 11 years old. Fishing with Gram and Pap

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Joey Blasi, black drum off friendʼs dock in Englewood

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Ken Taylor Lodge Lead at Dickʼs Sporting Goods in North Port with some nice colorful peacock bass caught and released by sight fishing in the Everglades. High quality polarized sunglasses are a must to see fish

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Larry's 28-inch red with Capt. Pauly Tarpon Bay

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Dave from Ontario Canada red grouper largest one was 33

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Kerry with a 40-inch barracuda out of Stump Pass

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Stephanie Sondock, gator trout on a live shrimp

Mike Hodgson with a nice vacay snook in Bull Bay 9/10/20


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Estero Bay: Tips and Tricks for Fishing Shallow By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero Estero Bay: Inshore fishing this time of the year is exceptional. Cooler weather is upon us and there’s plenty of fish roaming our waterways to go around. In October, schools of mullet are my focus when it comes to fishing for redfish. As the large school pushes the shallow flats they stir up the grass, kicking up shrimp, crabs, and other elusive baitfish. The inshore gamefish are attracted to this activity and it allows for them to prey on easy offerings. Keeping your distance from these feeding fish is key, especially in shallow water. The shadow from your rod tip or bait flying over them after a cast will spook even the most naïve fish.

In order to have a successful day fishing the shallow grass and mud flats of Estero, one must be outfitted with the proper gear. My recommendation is a long 20-30-pound fluorocarbon leader with a light 2/0 circle hook. Having 15-pound braided line will help also in your casting distance. When you use shrimp or a crab,

Pier & Jetty Fishing : with Bobby Vitalis This spotted trout was caught at Tom Adam’s Bridge Pier in Englewood. A good time to go fishing at this Pier is early in the morning hours, right at sunrise when the water is at high tide. This spotted trout was caught at the beginning of the Pier next to the mangroves. The most common weight of spotted trout is from 1- to 2-pounds. When fishing for spotted trout, I like using artificial lures most of the time. There are two different lures I am using which are made by D.O.A lures. It is the D.O.A 3-inch shad tail, color Figi Chix, Model number 441 or the D.O.A 4-inch jerk bait, color Figi Chix, Model number 441. When using these lures I use a D.O.A short shank jig head, weight 3/8 ounce, color natural (silver) or chartreuse. The way to use these lures is to bounce it along the bottom. Also, when using any type of shad tails (lures), you can also give it a slow steady retrieve. Not only has the color of these lures caught trout, but,

I have rods rigged with 10-pound braided line, giving me the best opportunity at a good cast. The best baits to use when approaching fish that are aware of their surroundings is cut bait. Cut pinfish, mullet, and lady fish are all great candidates for the job. Now you can either cast your bait into the school of mullet and let the fish find your bait or patiently wait and snipe the fish you are after.

PAGE 19

Providing Pandemic Assurance

Taking clients out in Estero Bay to sight cast fish can be difficult and is very time and tide sensitive. We may only have five or ten opportunities before this window closes, but the reward of a large gamefish is worth it. If ‘hunting’ your fish isn’t what your after, you can always fish the local reefs out in the Gulf. Most of the time we will find the breeder schools of redfish or blackdrum along the coastlines. This becomes a great option for charters because there’s several different species you can target, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket... so to speak. Captain Joe Angius 727-234-3171 speakeasyfishing@gmail.com www.speakeasyfishing.com

they also catch redfish too. For those people who do not use lures, and just use bait, a good bait to use anywhere is live shrimp. Shrimp can be used to catch many different species of fish. The hook size to use when putting the shrimp on the hook is from 2/0 to 3/0, brand Owner or Gamakatsu circle hooks. When using the shrimp, use the smallest egg sinker

weight as you can. When using artificial lures at this Pier, for my main line, I suggest you use nothing less than 10-pound- test braided fishing line. And, for my leader line, I use about 3-feet of SUFIX Inviseline 25-pound test, 100-percent Fluorocarbon leader line, which is nearly invisible in the

As time goes by and more charter reservations are booked itʼs important for guests to know that guides are looking out for them. On my fishing charters safety and comfort are a top priority. With the pandemic still impacting our lives, I want to ensure my guests that Iʼm practicing the necessary safety precautions. This is to not only protect me and my guests, but to protect their families as well as mine. All of my fishing gear that clients use has been disinfected and can be disinfected at anytime throughout our fishing charter. Sanitizing wipes were a must-have, even before the pandemic occurred. I also utilize my sunbuff neck and face shield as a mask. Anyone that books with me who has a special request to aid in their safety and well being is more than welcome. Captain Joe Angius

water. When fishing at this Pier, the fish are there; the thing is, you just have to catch them! In addition to spotted I also caught this Spanish mackerel, but this Spanish mackerel was caught at the South Venice Jetty. It was caught right at sunrise at low tide. Spanish mackerel come in schools. Sometimes they are there and sometimes they’re not. A good spot to fish for the Spanish mackerel is at the end of the Jetty. The way to catch Spanish mackerel, most of the time, is to use artificial lures. The lure I am using is a plug. This plug is called the Rapala X-rap xr10-SB, color silver blue. The way to use this lure is to cast out as far as you can. When reeling your line in, give it a slow steady retrieve. When fishing at the South Jetty, I use heavy tackle because the fish can get pretty big there. For my main line, I use nothing less than 30- to 50-pound test braided line. For my leader line, I use about 3-feet of nothing less than 30- to 50 pound test Sufix Inviseline 100-percent fluorocarbon line. When catching these fish, check the fishing regulations for the area you fish. So, have a great time fishing!


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SCUTTLEBUTT

OCTOBER 2020

Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

Editor Reports: FACEBOOK JAIL Facebook kicked me off because on 9/11 I refered to the hijackers as ʻgoat rapers.ʼ Facebook said I was ʻinsensitiveʼ and my comment didnʼt meet their ʻcommunity standards.ʼ I was only afraid the goats were offended!

SITUATIONAL UNAWARENESS In testimony last month before a U.S. Coast Guard investigation panel into the grounding and capsizing of the 200-meter car carrier Golden Ray, it was determined that: “the captain continued to give

maneuvering orders for some time, even after the vessel's propeller and rudder were out of the water.”

RESCUED AND REPRIMANDED FWC Officers responded to a missing person who was in a canoe near Ozello. The missing person was on the phone with his son when a severe storm began to blow the canoe out toward the

Gulf. The son reported the incident to law enforcement, who launched a search and rescue operation. Citrus County Sheriffʼs Office Aviation unit located the missing individual and directed Officers Ulrich and Hughes to him by vessel. The man refused medical attention and was transported to a nearby boat ramp. Once at the ramp, the man was found in possession of two undersized red drum and three undersize spotted seatrout. He was cited appropriately and received several written warnings. WOLF FISH WOES Port Investigations confiscated a shipment of live Golden Wolf Fish (Hoplerythrinus unitaeniatus) cleared by US Fish & Wildlife and US Customs to enter Florida at Broward Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Wolf Fish are also referred to as Trahiras and are prohibited for importation into Florida without a permit issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservationʼs Executive Director. MADE FOR GOOD PHOTOS On the night of September 19, during a deployment in the Western Pacific, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter

Waesche suffered an engineering fire. At 1718 hours on Sunday, the crew reported black

subject was unresponsive, but shortly after the officers ʻassistedʼ him, he began talking. The officers noticed a strong odor o alcohol emenating from the subject.... You know the rest of the story.... One of the subjectʼs friends took him home. They are all still laughing! SELF DRIVING BOAT Mayflower was launched last month to monitor the worldʼs

smoke, and a fire was discovered in the exhaust stack and adjacent compartments.

PEPPERONIED According to the Charlotte County Sheriffʼs Office, a Port Charlotte man, 56-year-old Sean Bradley, is facing battery charges after his girlfriend says he slapped her with a slice of pizza. WASNʼT HURTINʼ NO ONE Officers on water patrol were approached by another vessel reporting a man floating in the water near the shoreline. The officers maneuvered their patrol vessel toward the shore and located an unresponsive male subject floating upright with his face just above the waterline. Help from Highlands County EMS was requested through FWC dispatch. The officers entered the water and pulled the subjectʼs head above water to make sure his airway was clear. At first the

oceans for plastic pollution and temperature.

WHEN ORCAS ATTACK In the last month, multiple sailing yachts off Spain have been damaged or disabled by aggressive orcas ramming their hulls. The yacht Beautiful Dreamer was struck more than a dozen times just north of A Coruña. The Spanish Navy's own racing boat Mirfak was also among those vessels attacked. In total, more than a dozen similar attacks have been catalogued by Spanish authorities at locations between Gibraltar and Galicia. Many of the boats had their rudders broken off or disabled.

FISH PIX! READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 10 from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Capt Lou Silva with a Fall Pumpkin

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Way to go!!! Tim aka "Groupa"...at it again;) Some of the sw finest red

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Tommy with a snook

Scott M Lehner snook on cut bait/ outgoing tide. South of Marco island

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Tammie with a nice redfish caught and released

Toby Vidlak of Mcfarland Wisconsin got this 28-inch redfish in Estero Bay

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

On Sept 4. 42-incher on live bait. Sergio

Skip Richey 23-inch redfish Boca Grande Causeway


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Everglades & 10,000 Islands - Fishing is good, business is slow - come on down! By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE 10,000 Islands

Can you believe it, we have had our first “cold” front sweep thru Florida and had a morning temperature below 70 degrees this past month! Exciting times for sure, and actually a bit earlier than normal. The first front usually occurs late in October. But 2020 has been nothing but madness so I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t have a blizzard roar thru for Christmas this year! Anyway, while not much of a big deal for us, this cold front is a sign of things to soon come in my local waters. As the temperatures cools north of here, the great migration will get underway. Our scaled friends who have enjoyed the summer months in the FL panhandle and beyond are coming back home. Kingfish, cobia and large schools of tarpon will soon be passing thru so the start of October means it’s time to get back to work friends. In September, I did stay busy, running a few trips for charter and fishing myself

my preferences. Now just because I like the simple bucktail doesn’t mean you won’t find topwaters rigged and ready on my boat this time of year. The calm mornings thru Sept and into October provide some great opportunities to target predators on Capt. Joe Garcia of Southern Glades Charters topwater. I like with a stud snook, caught around Marco the spooks with quite a bit as the bite has been strong. the walk the dog action but there are othStaying mostly inshore and working ers, like poppers, darters and more, that simple shrimp tipped bucktail jigs has work just as well. Color is really preferproduced a great many snook, redfish, ence, but you will more than likely see me snapper, trout and more on most all my using a red headed white body somethingoutings. or-the-other more times than not. The joy Tide is important and you should give of topwater is that no matter the size of some thought on when to fish and what the fish, there is something primal when time is best to be there, before you head out. I like to fish the deeper areas of my region on the low tide periods as a personal favorite. The water is low, and the fish are unable to push up in the mangroves to feed. This lets us work the bank throwing that jig up tight to the trees and then very slowly hopping it back to the boat. This produces and produces well. Another great part of throwing a jig is they are inexpensive and when you hang one in the mangrove root or on an unseen log or rock, you don’t cry like you do losing a $10 hard bait. My jig of choice is the Don’ Potbelly Jigs made down in Naples FL. The GM series or glass minnows are

you get that explosion from beneath. Enjoy everyone, they are what I dream about. Y’all get outside, turn off the radio, airplane mode the phone and enjoy some fishing in October it’s good for the soul. Be safe and I’ll see you out there. Capt. Charlie Phillips, President, Florida Guides Assn. Owner/Captain, Hope Fishing Adventures Everglades City, Florida hopefishing.com 863-517-1829


Fall Don't Fail Me Now! PAGE

22

By Capt. Alan Williams Water LIFE Upper Harbor If I had to pick my favorite time of year to fish, I would say spring and fall. With fall being at the top of the long list of two. As the days get shorter the water temperatures start to drop and that gets the fish in a hungry mood. The term Red October comes to mind like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. It seems like everybody is catching redfish and as I write this it's not even October yet. I guess the redfish have a different calendar – it’s ok by me if they want to start fattening up early for their wintertime offshore spawn. It will only get better as we get farther into fall. I firmly believe the closures have had a positive effect on all of the species involved - redfish, snook and trout. I'm a catch and release guide 99-percent of the time. You'll get more pleasure out of the fish in the long run by taking a quick pic-

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ture and letting them swim away and grow. Let 'em go, let'em grow. I know this is not a popular way of life, especially for some of the returning snowbirds who can't wait to have a condo-wide fish fry and fill up their freezers. Sadly those days are water behind the boat for the ‘if it swims, eat it’ crowd. I guess it's a lot easier for me since I'm allergic to fish – that’s Mr. Murphys little joke on me. Please send all hate mail to BR 549, attention: Hungry. Anyway I digress. As the rainy season comes to a close, the salt water levels start

to increase in the Harbor. The primary summer baits for live-baiters will change from white baits to shrimp as the water temperatures drop. This is a good time to throw artificials around flooded mangrove shorelines as well as live pinfish, shrimp and chunk baits. There have been plenty of small 10- to 40-pound tarpon in the PGI canals and, early mornings, out-

OCTOBER 2020

side the bars and holes from Burnt Store to Ponce Park. Black drum are still plentiful around the bridges and canals. Some nice trout have been showing up a little early on the flats. Snook are making their way back from the beaches after their spawn.Look for them anywhere you have good moving water and especially any flats and points next to deeper channels or holes. Treat snook extra kind because they're still stressed from the spawn. Last month we got the most rain we've had all summer. The water levels are still pretty high even on a low tide and with the high water coming down the rivers the water is really dark. Dark water is a natural occurrence this time of year. As the rains taper off so will the water levels. Keep that in mind as you make your way around the rivers and flats. This is probably the busy season for prop shops and mechanical shops repairing lower units. The early morning temps have made for some smiles from the fishermen and the fish. Get out and enjoy the waters. Stay safe and I’ll see you out there!

Capt. Alan Williams 954 -347-5275 awilli9412@aol.com

REDFISH: age vs length

Redfish grow fast in their juvenile years, as much as 1 inch a month in the year that they are born. By the end of their first year they can be as long as 14 inches. As adults they tend to grow more in girth then in length. This is a chart with some approximate redfish growth rates:

1 year 2 year 3 year 4 year 5 year 6 year 7 year 8 year 9 year 10 year

9 to 14 inches 14 to 19 inches 19 to 24 inches 24 to 27 inches 27 to 30 inches 30 to 32 inches 32 to 34 inches 34 to 36 inches 36 to 38 inches 38 to 40 inches


OCTOBER 2020

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TARPON Still hanging around the Harbor

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

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REDFISH Catfish Creek area and south into Pine Island

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October

SNOOK Hanging out around the moving water

MANGROVE SNAPPER just wonʼt go away! Everywhere

September – Predictions and Suggestions Status Report: Frank at Fishin’ Franks See page 5

country areas to some big mommas from the beach to the Harbor.

Nearshore fishing should be great this month. In the shallower waters in the Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay, Gulf, we have been seeing a pile of manPlacida, Gasparilla Sound grove snapper still along with some nice Capt. Kaelin Olayer key west grunts and lane snappers. Flyin’ Hawaiian Spanish Fishing Charters mackerel have snook like moving water shown up in October has pogood numbers tential to be one and the king of the hottest mackerel months of the shouldn’t be year for both intoo far behind. shore and offshore fishing!

Offshore fishing remains Big schools of consistent redfish tend to with some show up all nice red and around Charlotte gag grouper Harbor and they in the 60-to will be hungry! 100-foot Bait off the range, mixed beach attracts in with an asbig balls of bait, sortment of which bring in Robert Henzler snapper and the pelagic fish FISH PIX! snook porgies. Amsuch as kingfish, berjacks will Spanish mackbe getting a erel and bonitas. little more fired up as this water temperaThe inshore fishery is in the best shape I ture cools down. I’m expecting to start have seen in a while! There is bait every- seeing some cobia and kingfish showing where and lots of hungry fish not too far up on the deeper wrecks soon, along with behind. We are seeing snook and redfish some hungry barracuda and sharks! from 6-inches all the way to 40-inches all over the Harbor. There have been a great Capt. Kaelin Olayer number of trout as well. Ladyfish and Flyinʼ Hawaiian Fishing Charters jacks seem to be everywhere along with Captkaefishing.com Cell: 941-716-1425 some nice sized mangrove snappers. from Water LIFE magazine

There are still a good number of tarpon in our area! From juveniles in the back

PAGE 23

The water is cooling off a little. Nearshore water temps are now low 80s

95˚ 90˚ 85˚ 80˚

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚ 45˚

FH Offshore Charters Fhoffshorecharters.com

Englewood Bait House

Head-Boat Offshore Fishing 941- 475-4511

FISHING RIGHT NOW:

STILL EXCELLENT!


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Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE October 2020  

Boating, Fishing (lots of Fishing) and living on the Water in the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve

Water LIFE October 2020  

Boating, Fishing (lots of Fishing) and living on the Water in the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve

Profile for waterlife