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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 2021

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Chase Hathaway Grand Champion!

Christian Díaz, age 13, caught this striped moharra off a dock in Charlotte Harbor, on a paddle tail

FISH PIX!

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Sam and his brother with redfish caught on a family trip with Capt. Dave Stephens, last month

KIDSʼ FISHING

$1Bill Challenge Final Results Page 9

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OCTOBER 2021


OCTOBER 2021

Time for us to Downsize By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor We’ve been giving this some thought for a while, but last month our decision was made. We’re going sell our house and downsize. I turned 75 in August and last month after dragging an extension ladder to trim a tree, my sciatica went out again and just like that I was laid up for a week. Not too bad this time, but still a problem. So I got another shot in my back and I’m here putting the Magazine together, but I have to be realistic; I can’t do what I used to do. That’s a hard admission. I have some light work I will do before we sell. The door casings I installed when we built this house after Charley are some kind of weird wood and although it’s been primed and sanded and repainted three or four times with different paints, the paint just peels off, so I’m going to replace all the casings. I know, I could sell it as is, but I want to fix a few things first. It’s just me. And the front door, a steel ThermaTrue door (don’t buy one of those!), has wicked water into the wood in spite of the fact that I put a galvanized sole under it and it was sealed, primed and painted on every surface. Water got in between the frame and the sidelight glass. Bad design. I can’t sell it like this, so I’m looking for a new door. And I had the dock pilings wrapped and the new top is waiting to get

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screwed back on but I know my back is not ready for that job, so I will need to have help. If you have one of those standup deck screw guns... give me a call! Our plan is to list the house with a realtor in December, but I want to try and sell it ourselves before that. Without a real estate commission, the numbers will be better for the buyer and I think we will sell it sooner. I think the number of people this Magazine reaches will help find a buyer. Only time will tell. Our house is a fortress, I built it a foot higher than FEMA regulations with extra steel and filled concrete block. We’re six houses in from the open Harbor on a sailboat canal with a new seawall and great views through PGT hurricane glass. The pool is 9-feet deep, blah, blah, blah....too much to list here, so I put a link on: WaterLIFEmagazine.com where you can see everything. There are also some articles that appeared in this magazine when we built the house so you can also see the sticks and bricks that went into it. Where will we go? I’m not sure yet, but we are going to move off the water. In addition to everything, skin cancer means I can’t be out in the sun much, so no boat, no daytime fishing... stick a fork in me I’m done! ... well not really, but skin cancer is no joke and it comes back to bite you when you get old, so be careful now!

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Built after Hurricane Charley, our house is a foot higher than FEMA mandated elevation. More information on this house for sale @ www.waterlifemagazine.com

I have a builder friend in Northport, there is a house in Punta Gorda we are interested in... we’ll find something, but we’re not in any hurry. I’m talking to a pool guy I know about having the pool resurfaced before we list it. Things are happening and by the time the northern buyers get here in person there will be more done.

In the mean time, we are going to continue to put out the magazine and do what we do. The County has approved our 2022 Kid’s program so it looks like the $1Bill Challenge will happen again next summer. And since our delivery guys had to quit, Ellen and I are back on the street, delivering magazines again... thank God at least it’s cooling off! See you out there!


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Water LIFE inc. waterlife@comcast.net www.WaterlifeMagazine.com Vol XX No. 9 © 2021

Ellen Heller Publisher Michael Heller Editor

office: (941) 766-8180

Contributors:

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 Office Dog: Augustus

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Include anglerʼs name and what kind of fish

My good friend Paul Wagenseil with a carborita a.k.a. Black grouper, been diving with him since he was 12. I dunno….I got a scamp at least. Adam Wilson

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In the Year 1875 EMAIL:

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Four Letters

Punta Gorda Chica Charlotte Harbor April 4, 1875 My dear Pa, Today is our resting day and it is one of Floridaʼs best. The wind blows fiercely and the air is withal balmy and pleasant with much sunshine and invigorating properties. While sitting on the front piazza I conceived the idea of noting the few passing events in the form of a diary and add little or much as the case may be until the first opportunity arrives to send. This is what I promised to do for Mother but I never seemed to get at it. You have left us and you all three will naturally like to know how we progress— minutely. So here goes

Thursday April 22, 1875 Last Saturday evening we had letters from home and from you. We were all glad to hear of your safe arrival in Key West and the near prospect of your reaching home. We had heard by the “Robt. E. Lee” that there was no fever in Key West and so felt relieved on your account before your letter came. The pigs did not come. Phillip could not find them when the Bonny left. The tobacco also was carried up the river and we are waiting for the return of the “Bonny” to get it. At present we are “low down” on the tobacco question. After getting underway, George proposed they should try and find the “Bonny” and get our tobacco! It was a grand hunt for tobacco! But such sights as they saw up the river! You and I can have but a faint idea of the beauty of Florida scenery, judging from what surrounds us here. Up the river it was a small paradise. Dense foliage, making a perfect wall on either side of the stream hanging vines, lofty trees, high banks, beautiful flowers, with all imaginable perfumes—filling the air with incense and at times almost overpowering the senses; rare birds—rich in plumage and sweet of voice, beautiful bayous, gorgeous lilies, deer etc etc. Anna was in raptures and she vowed she never saw nor imagined anything could be so beautiful. They found palmetto leaves 6 feet across and with stems 9 feet long; cypress and maple, and grass 10 feet high. But 15 miles of rowing on a fever river was too much to pay for the sight. This was the price to get back home. Still they enjoyed it immensely. Tomorrow Fred and Anna go hunting. The result Iʼll chronicle when they get back. Fredʼs boat house is getting on nicely. The rafters were placed on today. When finished Iʼll sent you a sketch of it. Charlotte Harbor June 6, 1875 My dear Pa, On Thursday evening both the “Bonny” and “Santa Maria” reached here from Key West. Mr. Curry has not been very anxious to get his money and therefore I think the remainder can be put off some little time yet. The new party consisting of George, De Coster, Key, Waldron, and three others were about starting for a round hunting trip. The lat-

Sunseeker

OCTOBER 2021

There has been more activity on the site. The biggest of the buildings is getting ready to go up another floor. Looking at it, it is hard to believe they are only halfway to the top! And looking at the water on the site, we think the County should have required them to build their Storm Water Retention areas BEFORE they let them start anything else. The Sunseeker site drains directly into the Aquatic Preserve. est party turned up on Friday night starved and miserable. They had been on the Gulf, got upset and the last two days had very little to eat. George cut his foot on oyster shells and they lost their load of lemon trees and limes and plums. Still they brought back two 300 pound turtles—“loggerheads.” Last night we had turtle eggs, for dinner turtle steak, today we had more steak and eggs and have some left for tomorrow. The second turtle still lives boxed up in De Costerʼs dock and next week we expect to try some more. The last week with us has been clam and a fish week. That is considering the turtle a fish! A Spanish black man about a week ago sailed up in a small boat containing 300 clams. We bought 150 for $2.25 and from that time until Friday—just a week I believe— we had roast clams, clam soup, stewed clams etc alternating at each meal. The last disappeared about the time George arrived from the Keys with the turtle. Each clam was larger than any I ever saw at the north and very fine eating. Four clams would make a meal for our family and the same would do for Fredʼs. Their flavor was throughly clammy and not at all coarse. I wish you had some before you left us. But we will hope for better luck next time.

Thursday June 10, 1875 Yesterday afternoon Bags and I took a sail down the bay. We took the “single-barrelled-double-barrelled gun and the white boat. We went nearly to the old wharf and George shot a “golding” (a large blue crane). We brought him back—reaching the house about 1⁄2 past 6. While George and Fred were debating whether the bird was good to eat or not, “Easter” appeared ... and on the strength of that, Fred cooked it. We had some and it was quite good. Anna sent it over for our dinner. Thermometer is at 91° today. We have 50 oranges up and the bananas are looking better.

Private Dock FOR RENT

off Edgewater, Port Charlotte. Elect & Water available, $250/mo. Sailboat Water, Great Harbor Access! 941-769-4220


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Everglades & 10,000 Islands

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Like the snowbirds, we will have many fish migrating south By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE 10,000 Islands

Capt. Dave Smith of Gator Raiderz and his team helped two ladies harvest the first two of 5 total animals they have planned for their hunt.

We are getting our fishing season started here in the 10,000 Islands and Everglades National Park and from all indicators, things are looking to be busy. The phone is ringing and people are excited about getting down to fish with us as we roll into October with most of my available days already taken. No complaints here, as following the doldrums of the summer months, I am ready to get back out and start taking excited visitors in search of something special. I am a little biased of course, but I believe my slice of Florida is about as perfect a place to accommodate that as there is in the state.

Riding with them around Lake Trafford, just outside of Immokalee, I was happy to see the high numbers of over all wildlife and the amount of gators that were present. While many could only be seen from a distance before disappearing, their numbers reflected to me the presence of a healthy lake with plenty of food able to sustain these tough reptiles.

FISH PIX!

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Mandy, beautiful tarpon with Gator Creek Outfitters

As the cold fronts start hitting the panhandle area, I am watching that is the indicator that we are going to see some new kids come to town.

This past month we again were pretty slow to start the month but did start running towards the end. Inshore, we had some decent days with the snook, trout and reds and offshore it was mostly looking for snapper and a grouper or two since red grouper have now closed in federal waters until the new year. But you know that’s ok, the humble little grunt or Florida Snapper as many headboats call them, makes for some fine eating, just smaller filets. Grunt and grits are a traditional meal for many, so we never hesitate to keep a few for the table ourselves and to talk guests into giving them a try when they want an eating fish

Like the snowbirds, we will have many fish migrating south too, in search of warmer climates and water to spend the winter months. And though we won’t be anything resembling cold for quite a while, I am feeling a difference some mornings in the pre-dawn air. Fall is here, you just gotta look real hard to find it.

picking up another balloon boquet. Loose ballons are a wildlife hazard!

we catch in state waters.

Also got out and participated in some of this year’s gator hunts with a great friend and fellow guide from the Punta Gorda area this past month. With a group of ladies from a women’s outdoors group called “Her Wilderness”,

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Bryan & Maxwell Miller. Red Drum

Also, later this month, will mark another start to our very important Stone Crab season, so make a trip down to Everglades City and visit one of our fresh off the boat options to get your fix after a long 6 month closed season. Yall be safe out there. Capt. Charlie Phillips, President, Florida Guides Assn. Owner/Captain at Hope Fishing Adventures Everglades City, Florida 863-517-1829 hopefishing.com

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Becky w a nice snook in Charlotte Harbor with Capt. George


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Steve Staletovich. Out in 70foot, trolling a white Rapala diving plug

Parker Worden, 8 years old, sail cat fish, Mullock Creek Marina

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Estero Bay: The Season for Redfish By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero We all know that October is a month geared toward redfish. Redfish will be all over the flats and mangrove shorelines of Estero feeding heavy, primarily on pinfish and mullet. Even though they’ll be one of the main targeted species this fall it’s important to not limit yourself to just redfish. Fall fishing provides anglers with countless opportunities to fish for several different species in a single outing. Not only is the opportunity there, but the quality of fish seems to be greater as well. Bigger, heavier, and more active fishing is what excites me about the weeks ahead. A fish species that often gets overlooked is sharks. They’re such a great fighting fish and right now so abundant in our Gulf waters. Be sure to have some heavier gear on board and at the minimum a heavy action rod with a 4000-series reel. This setup will allow you to catch some of the smaller sized sharks ranging from three to five feet. Anything larger and your light tackle will be put to the test. When it comes to leader, don’t skimp on the cheap pre made steel leaders. Try to make your

own 60-to 90-pound steel leaders with a 3/0 to 7/0 Owner hook. Once you have to increase your leader past 100-pound, try to buy a high quality pre-made one. Aside from catching sharks and redfish another fish species that I try to locate and target is the black drum. In this region I found them to be spotty, water temperature dependent, and fast moving. Fall fishing does give anglers a great chance at fishing large schools. As soon as I start catching some smaller ones in the backwater, mixed in with my redfish and snook, I know that they’re going to be in and around the major passes. Having shrimp and crabs is a must, but Gulp! Shrimp on a jighead proves to be

OCTOBER 2021

and support local businesses by hiring our areas guides to give you an experience you won’t forget. Good or bad, you will have an unforgettable experience!

Captain Joe Angius 727-234-3171 speakeasyfishing@gmail.com speakeasyfishing.com

just as productive. I’ll use the same heavy action rod with a 4000-series reel but use a 40-60-pound leader. Fall is upon us and it’s generally known as the season of change. This season get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Whether it’s a new fishing spot, lure, fishing friend, boat ramp, or time of day, just get out and challenge yourself to something new. Doing this will actually make you a better angler and see Southwest Florida (or wherever you’re fishing) from a new perspective. Enjoy what our area has to offer through fishing


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Itʼs the Phosphates from Piney Point, Stupid!

On the Line WORLD and is proposing to open kept filling up. In 2003 the EPA gave the By Capt. Ron Blago mines along the Peace River and its trib- DEP permission to dump 100 million Water LIFE Senior Staff utary Horse Creek. gallons of waste 60 miles offshore in the There is nothing better than a tale of Here is an example of how the phos- Gulf; which they did and that caused ancorporate greed and government incom- phate industry does business. Take a lit- other immense red tide outbreak. In petence, especially if phosphate mining tle place called Piney Point in northern 2006 the State found another sucker and is at the heart of it. Millions of years ago Manatee County, on the southern end of transferred the property to HRK Holdwhen dinosaurs roamed the earth they Tampa Bay. ln 1966 Borden Chemical ings LLC. who had plans to clean up the all came to Florida to die and as luck bought a large piece of land and built a mess and use the land as a facility near would have it, their decayed bones were number of facilities to process raw phos- the Port Manatee shipping project. full of phosphate which turned out to be phate. Over the next 30 years the land In late March of this year a leak was the main ingredient found in one of the for artificial fertilvinyl liners under one izer. Man came of the ponds at Piney along and decided Point and an estito dig up those mated 200 million bones and ship gallons of wastewater them around the leaked into Tampa globe to help feed Bay; and again anthe world. Everyother Red Tide outthing was working break. as planned, workAlready HRK ers had jobs, phosHoldings has been in phate companies court trying to minigot rich and public mize their losses. The officials got “taken court has appointed care of.” There an independent rewas only one ceiver to manage and major problem; as close Piney Point. the dollar-rich Even if they close phosphate was This pipe is releasing phosphate slurry from Piney Point, into a ditch that leads to a Piney Point what do shipped out of stream, that leads to the Gulf. Sea Grant says: when you see white foam itʼs man you do with the over Florida they left all made phosphate; when you see brown foam itʼs naturally occuring phosphates. 450 million gallons the waste products of waste? You can’t behind. dump it back in the The largest of the waste was phospho was transferred to at least a half dozen mine it came from, you can’t dump it in gypsum a white powder that the State different owners. In 2001 Mulbery Corp the creeks and rivers near the mines; it described as slightly radioactive byprod- acquired the property and in an effort to does tend to kill the fish and every other ucts - like radon and uranium and heavy clean up the property for future use, they living thing it comes in contact with, and minerals like cadmium. The stuff was put in large settling ponds and sur- you can’t dump it offshore because of toxic enough that the Federal EPA rounded them with gyp stakes. Also that algae and Red Tide problems. would not allow the miners to put the year, tropical storm Gabrielle dumped So the State DEP has a novel solustuff back in the holes they mined it over 8 inches of rain in the ponds caus- tion; they have issued a Notice of Draft from. ing them to overflow and dump over 10- Permit for their planned underground The miners solution was to pile the million gallons of waste into Tampa control deep water injection wells. What waste into what they called gyp stacks. Bay. This caused a large algal bloom a brilliant solution from our protectors Some of these stacks were so high they and red tide outbreak. The heat was so of the environment; let's just dig a deep were listed as the highest spot in some high on Mulberry Corp that they just hole and pump all that toxic waste as counties. Unfortunately the phosphate abandoned the property and walked deep as you can, out of sight out of mind. What could go wrong? What are industry has a long history of taking the away from the place. phosphate and selling the mined out Somehow the Federal EPA wound up the odds of polluting the Florida property or filing for bankruptcy and with the land and immediately trans- Aquifer, the source of all of our fresh leaving their mess for others to clean up. ferred title to the Florida DEP; why the water, which has underground tributarCurrently there are 27 permitted phos- State would agree to take responsibility ies that go far offshore to fresh water phate mines in Florida with 9 still being for a facility which now holds over 460 springs in the Gulf. Fifty years of workmined. The leader of the pack in Florida million gallons of toxic waste is beyond ing on this problem and this is the best they can come up with, God help us all! is Mosaic which happens to be the my ability to understand. largest phosphate producer in the Well, it just kept raining and the pond Captronblago@gmail.com

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

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Taron Grab, Capt. Alan Williams

Brogan “bass master” Kane


Patterns Will Change PAGE

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By Cameron Parson Water LIFE Spillways and Ponds The summer is over and fall has begun, but our only version of fall seems to be brown palm fronds dropping to the ground. The first cold front usually happens in October and a smaller chance of rain and less humidity now make for a much more pleasurable day on the water. And the fishing pattern will change. Salinity will gradually return and the current coffee-pot-black and tea stained color will disappear over time. Water temperatures will drop, resulting in migratory species passing through. Spanish and king mackerel, cobia, and pompano are a few to look for. Tripletail will even make a showing. King and Spanish mackerel can be found anywhere from Boca Pass to 20 miles offshore. Spoons and plugs will take them just fine, but try a small blue runner or big threadfin on a stinger rig, fished over live hard bottom for the bigger fish. Tandem rigs with a bucktail in the front and spoon in the back will quite usually catch doubles of Spanish macks around bait schools. Cobia tend to frequent the Harbor pretty much year round, but the best times are spring and fall with water temperatures from 72- to 76-degrees. While they may be be scattered about in the spring, I find them to be more plentiful on the nearshore and offshore wrecks, reefs, and some ledges in the fall. Live pinfish and squirrel fish are always a good bet if one comes swimming to the boat. Tripletail can be seen floating under the nearshore and offshore buoys, usually starting at least a few miles

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off. They may be on one line one day, and further out the next. And some can still be caught around the Harbor if you know where to look. Live shrimp and D.O.A. shrimp work extremely well; just be patient. They can be a friendly fish in that they will offer multiple chances to be caught before they turn away and swim down the line. Pompano will usually be caught skipping wakes along the bars in the Harbor and around

Boca and Cayo Costa in the surf. My favorite is either a small pink bucktail or a silly jig, but chartreuse and yellow will still work just fine. Shrimp on a jighead works well, too. Look for manatees and big rays as they’re usually either right under or on top and never very far behind. Tarpon will hang around until the first major cold front. Most will be found from the middle of the Harbor all they way to El Jobean and 41 bridges. Even Boca Pass will still have fish rolling and feeding on occasion until

Marcy Hilston of Englewood caught and released this 32 inch redfish in the back of Bull Bay on a Mirrodine 17MR with her husband Dane

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By Bobby Vitalis Water LIFE Pier Fishing This Spanish mackerel was caught at the South Venice Jetty. It was caught right at sunrise at low tide. Most of the time Spanish mackerel come in schools. Sometimes they are there and sometimes they are not. In this area, the legal length to keep the Spanish mackerel, is from 12inches or more measured from the fork of the tail. A good spot to fish for mackerel is at the end of the Jetty. Most of the time I

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John the ( Snook King ) Slattery. 38-inch snook on dead mullet. Happy 65th Birthday to me! I Love your Magazine !

Spanish Mackerel from the Venice Jetty

catch Spanish mackerel by using artificial lures. The lure I am using is a plug. This plug is called the Rapala x-rap model number XR10, color is glass ghost. The way to use this lure is to cast out as far as you can. When reeling in, give it a slow steady retrieve. Another good lure to use is Pompano jigs or the Clark and Tsunami spoons in color silver or gold. When using these spoons, you can use a bobber with about 5-feet of heavy fluorocarbon line between the bobber and the spoon due to

the first front shuts them down. There's always a solid handful of fish that will stick to the bridge areas through the winter. Ladyfish and mullet will usually get bit. Large and jumbo shrimp are great bets, also. Juvenile tarpon will still be roaming through the canals. They'll usually stick to certain areas throughout the winter and stay there until the season changes again. As they reach that 30- to 40-pound range, they'll then move out to join the spawning crowds in the Harbor and Passes. The major fish that most anglers seem to target in the colder months is speckled trout. They’re easy to catch and can save a day of fishing for sure. Topwater plugs and twitchbaits always take fish. Shrimp, pinfish, and whitebait under a float is always a good bet over deeper grass flats and potholes. But be sure to catch up on their regulations as they have changed. No less than 15-inches, no more than 19-inches. One fish of which can exceed 19-inches. Bag limit is 3 per person or 6 per vessel, excluding captain and crew. They are a fragile fish, so be sure to handle with care. As with any fish, wet your hands before handling and refrain from using gloves or rags as these remove the protective slime coating - their immune system. Catch some fish!

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

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OCTOBER 2021

FISH PIX!

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Greg and Sonya Carpenter and Donna Ball with some nice redfish

their sharp teeth. I use 40-pound test to 50-pound test line. Also, you can try freelining with the spoon or try a GOTCHA lures in size 7/8 ounce to 1-ounce.

Even if you’re using Gotcha lures, you still want heavy fluorocarbon line due to the sharp teeth. Or use wire line leader around 40-pound test, which I do use. I suggest you use wire line. When fishing at the jetty for Spanish mackerel, for my main line, I use nothing less then 30-pound test braided line. For my leader line, I am using nothing less the 40- pound test Sufix invisline 100 percent Fluorocarbon leader line which is invisible in the water. So, if you want to catch Spanish mackerel, this is the way to go! Have a great time fishing!


OCTOBER 2021

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From Michael Heller Tournament Director This year Chase Hathaway, a sixth grader at Port Charlotte Middle School is the $1 Bill Challenge Grand Champion! Chase landed seven first-place fish, had two overall largest species and aced the 5 video fish-quizzes. That all added up to 123 points and Chase won the boat... which, sadly, for the second time in as many years, is on back-order. There is a rule in this event: If you won the boat once, you can not be the Grand Champion and win it again. Jacob Floria won in 2019 and Christopher Perry was last years winner, they fished again this year, and their score is at the bottom of the spreadsheet, not because their accomplishments were any the less, but because they had their moment already. You can see in the standings below that the scoring was close through the first three fishing periods and in period four it got even closer. In the fourth fishing period, Lucas Bixby and Juliana Florea (Jacob’s sister) both entered 8.5 inch pinfish. Luca’s fish came in on Tuesday and Juliana Florea’s 8.5 inch pinfish came in on Wednesday. The rules say, in the event of a tie, the first fish submitted wins. That was significant for Juliana, but that wasn’t the only tie or the only time that rule came into play. There are three ways to score points in this event. Biggest Fish every month, Correct Answers on the fish quizzes, and Biggest Fish Overall in each species as calculated at the end of the event. Going into the final calculations Chase Hathaway, fishing the $1 Bill Challenge for the first time, was in the lead with 119 points. In second was another first-timer, Reef Inman, with 117 points, and Justin Medina was right behind in third with 113. Juliana Flores was in fourth at 112. All the points for the monthly entries and quizzes were added up, Then we added in the extra points for Biggest Fish in each species, overall. Juliana had one of the largest species, an 18-inch tilapia worth 2 additional points, so Juliana was now at 114, but Justin Medina had two biggest species, a 22.5 inch trout and a 31 inch gar that moved him into a tie for second with Reef Inman, who didn’t have any of the largest species for additional points. I went back and added everything up again. Still tied! Now the ‘First Fish Submitted’ rule came into play again. The rule says: In the event of ANY tie score, the angler with the earliest fish entered wins. This was for second place in the overall Grand Championship it was going to come down to each angler’s very first 2021 $1 Bill Challenge fish submitted. Reef Inman’s first tournament fish, a 26 inch snook came in on June 12 at 1:38 pm. and Justin Medina’s first fish, a 16.5 inch trout also came in on June 12, just four hours later at 5:55 pm! So Reef finished in second place and Justin finished in third, with Juliana coming in fourth. This was a great event! Final Standings The remainder of the field did not score

ROD CREDITS redeemed at Fishinʼ Franks, Port Charlotte Bring ID and your $1 Bill

Ellen and I both offer our congratulations and thanks to all the 2021 $1Bill Challenge anglers and we want to give special thanks to all the parents who took the time to take their kids fishing and maybe learn a little something too. YOU are making a difference! Thank You! Michael & Ellen Heller.

Charlotte Harbor Reef Assn.

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$1 Bill Challenge GRAND CHAMPION! ICE CREAM! for $1 Bill Anglers!

Chase Hatahawayʼs parents own Captainʼs Creamery, ice cream shop, 24123 Peachland, next to Finn Sushi. They have invited all the $1 Bill Challenge anglers to stop by for a free ice cream. Tell them your name, show them your $1Bill and enjoy!

Chase finds out he won!

Chase Hathaway with a beautiful winning bass, above, and six other winning fish that he entered

Single largest fish in each eligible species, caught by each angler. Winners are shown in red


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Jack Crevalle 16.5-inches #427 Trey Setser

Redfish

29-inches

#413 Justin Medina 2nd #401 Lacy Hamsher 13-inches

Trigger Fish

Christopher Perry

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Cobia - 40.5 inches #403 Christopher Perry,

16-inches

Spanish Mackerel 23.25-inches # 432 Chase Hathaway

$1 Bill Challenge

Snook

25.75-inches

# 432 Chase Hathaway 2nd #427 Trey Setser 19.25-inches 3rd #401 Lacy Hamsher 17-inches

OCTOBER 2021

Winners - period 4

Myan Cichlid 13.25-inches

#412 Ben Koebel 2nd #426 gabriel Setser 10.5-inches 3rd #437 Lucas Bixby 6.5-inches

Pinfish

SPONSORS

Thank You..!!

8.5-inches

#437 Lucas Bixby


4

OCTOBER 2021

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PAGE 11

(final period) August 16 - September 15

Sunfish

4.5-inches

#411 Emma Koebel

Ladyfish 18-inches #442 Reef Inman

Bass

19-inches

#409 Juliana Florea 2nd. #411 Emma Koebel 12.5-inches

Trout

19-inches

#442 Reef Inman

Gar 31-inches

Tilapia

#413 Justin Medina

Red Grouper

#454 Blake Moyer

17.5 inches

#408 Jacob Florea 2nd. #426 Gabriel Setser 15-inches

25.5-inches

Gag Grouper

#454 Blake Moyer

20.25-inches


12

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Will it Be a Red October? PAGE

By Capt. Alan Williams Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor September 22 marked the official calendar date of the beginning of fall. Maybe it doesn't feel like it from the temperature and rainfall, but it's here. What really gives it away are the signs on the Harbor. The number one sign, anticipated all year, is the arrival of big schools of breeding Redfish and the term Red October. They are here and roaming our waters in search of easy prey to fatten up on for their spawning migration offshore. Nothing gets the heart beating faster than the sight of a big push of over-slot redfish pushing over the flats. I love seeing the copper in these schools when the light from a sunrise or sunset really enhances them. These fish have been showing up from the Matlacha Pass, Burnt Store bar, Mangrove point, East Wall, West Wall, Turtle Bay, Bull Bay... in other words just about everywhere you've got decent water. I like a low tide and to see the push of these hungry fish. Look for areas of mullet schools. Throwing a gold spoon, soft jerk baits, top water Spooks or Skitter Walks or a well placed fly will get some massive explosions and runs. If you know they are in an area, and not in schools, stake out and the use cut-baits of ladyfish, mullet, crab or shrimp. That will all get their attention. Nothing gets the blood pumping like a good hard run from these copper bulldogs... and as the water temperatures drop it should get them moving even better! The other sign of fall is the bait migration further up into the Harbor. Baits of all sizes and shapes have been showing up. With these schools come the predators

like ladyfish and schools of sailfin catfish and jacks... followed by the top of the food chain, tarpon and sharks. Tarpon have been the main focus out on the Harbor in the deep holes as well as at Alligator Reef. It brings about the old adage: Find the birds, find the bait, find the fish. These fish have been showing up in all sizes. There have been plenty of 20- to 40-pounders with full grown ones mixed in. Rolling juveniles are a blast to target on fly or on a Terror Eye or Bait Buster. This is the time of year to fish both live bait and artificials. You can put out a couple of lively ladyfish about 5- to 7-feet down under a bobber. I liked to

stay on the trolling motor to keep them from trying to hide under the boat. It's tough world down there and they know it. While they’re doing their thing behind the boat, I'll be casting at any targets that show close to the boat. Hopefully they’re busting bait and within casting range and if not, I'll still throw the Bait Buster lure and count it down into the water column.

Today’s technology is making it harder for the fish to hide. Side-Scan or Fish Eye View can give you the advantage of locating the ones not showing at the surface. I have mixed feelings about this technology. One day fish will absolutely have no place to hide and one day all the information these screens will show will diminish the thrill of the hunt. I like to use what Mother Nature shows me to figure out the puzzle. But then again I held out from texting for many years, then that went out the window and I joined the world

OCTOBER 2021

of texting. Still not a fan.... but I guess I have some dinosaur in my DNA. Just as you can't stop progress, you can't stop technology making our lives easier. It's a double edged sword. On a final note, the closures have helped with the snook, redfish and trout populations. The trout may have taken a little beating since the opening of the season on June 1 since everyones focused on these guys for a meal. But there are some good trout still being caught. There have been a lot of small snook and redfish being caught in the upper Harbor. It's a good sign for our future stock. Get out and enjoy this time of year. It's one of the best for fishing on Charlotte Harbor. Take a kid fishing when you can and pass it on. See you on the water-.

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


OCTOBER 2021

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PAGE 13

Shark Fishing Continues to be Very Productive

Itʼs all FALL-ing into place

eye sight and can be pretty picky. However when the tides flowing good they seem to be more aggressive. If necessary By Capt. David Stephens areas that have schools of mullet. I know I recommend to down size your tackle. Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor when I say mullet, I get a strange look. Often times a lighter leader and smaller The fall pattern has finally set into Well these often overlooked vegetarian hook will have magical results. South West Florida. We are still experifish play a big role in catching predator As we move further along into fall, encing some afternoon rainstorms. It fish. When mullet form large schools my favorite fish will become very acseems as if I'm getting chased in earlier and are feeding on algae, they stir up the tive. Even though on my recent charters than I can remember in recent years. It bottom. While doing this they stir up the we have been able to catch might just be me; perhaps I'm 50 plus, they've been on the just getting a little older and smaller side than I prefer. being more careful! Don't get me wrong, seeing Well anyway, lets talk about these smaller fish is actually what's been happening in the great. Yea, you guessed it, Harbor the past couple weeks the bigger snook should start and what's about to start happenfeeding heavy after spawning. ing. The next few weeks we First off, if you like chasing should see a major push of big silver fish that jump, it was snook moving back up into crazy heading into the full moon. the Harbor. These guys will We had fish all over the Harbor be moving closer to their blowing up on bait and feeding winter haunts. We'll get like crazy. However the closer more into that next month. we got to the big moon those Well folks, we are not out fish seemed to slow down, prob- Three generations: Grandpa Jim, dad Scott and grandson Sam of our storm season yet, so ably due to the brighter skies at remember to keep your eye on night. But don't worry, when the moon small crustaceans and bait fish that pred- the sky while you are out enjoying our begins to shrink, the big silvers will start ators feed upon. So overlooking the fish great Harbor. to be a lot more aggressive early in the that jump a lot might be a bad idea. day. I still recommend keeping your For the anglers that just want to catch If you would like to experience some of eyes open for schools of ladyfish. This a few fish for the table, the mangrove Charlotte Harbor’s finest fishing, call or could led to one of the best tarpon bites snapper bite has still been very good. send me an email. All of our charters are you never expected. Over the past few days, we have done private and customized to fit your needs. The best fall bite that has been going very well on any bar that has grass and Capt. Dave Stephens off is redfish. It seems that just about or oysters. 941-916-5769 any place I pull up to reds that are willThe biggest key seems to be moving www.backbayxtremes.com ing to play. For me the key seems to be water. These little guys have excellent

Capt. John Brossard Shark Chaser Charters Goodland, FL 239-434-6781

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FISH PIX!

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Dale Werner caught this large redfish with Capt. Barry Cuda Charters in Estero Bay!

Victor Hancock, largemouth bass caught on artificial bait


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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

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FISH PIX!

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Konstantine Belgrade with a blacktip in Charlotte Harbor and Erik Noack and his daughters Kami and Erika with another black tip in Charlotte Harbor

FISH PIX!

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FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Jamie's beautiful redfish with Capt. George

7 yr old Easton Weatherholt with a nice bass

FISH PIX!

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Dave and Levi Crum with many redfish with Jamie from Alligator Creek Outfitters

Another big snook off my dock , Debbie Mason Punta Gorda... and a shark too!

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Gary and Kelly Francoeur: speckled sea trout and snook in Turtle Bay.


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Beth Costa of Punta Gorda with a permit caught on the flats with captain Karl Butigan aboard for a guide trip.

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Bryce Burnett with some spotted sea trout he caught while fishing in Estero Bay.

Above and below: Ethan caught over 20 fish with Capt. Tom Knapp - It was his first day saltwater fishing!

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FISH PIX!

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FISH PIX!

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Rob, Mely n Dave, always tight fishing!

Kara Mia, slot snook from the Apollo Canal.


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OCTOBER 2021

SCUTTLEBUTT

Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT has agreed to make a direct investment - not a loan - of $3.5 billion in the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone, or KCCDZ. This massive proposal would include constructing a mixed-use residential/commercial/seaport project on underutilized lands belonging to the Karachi Port Trust. In a release, Pakistan's Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that the project would include residential resettlement assistance for "more than 20,000 families, mostly fishermen, living in the surrounding slums." THE SEAFLOOR is thought to hold trillions of dollarʼs worth of metals and the Pacific-island nation Nauru, is making bold moves to get a jump on the global competition to plumb these depths. The targets of these companies are potatosized rocks that scientists call polymetallic

nodules rich in manganese, copper, nickel, cobalt that are claimed to be essential for the economy amid the green revolution. Massive excavators, typically 30 times the weight of a D-16 bulldozer, drive along the seafloor, suctioning up the rocks, crushing them and sending a slurry of crushed nodules and seabed sediments from 4,0006,000 meters depth. The processed waste waters, sediment and mining ʻfinesʼ (small particles of the ground up nodule ore) will be piped overboard, to depths as yet unclear. SLEEP LIKE A GATOR Officer Beck received a Wildlife Alert tip about a subject in possession of an alligator inside a residence. Upon arriving at the residence, Officer Beck located a six-foot alligator on a bed under the covers.

CLAMMED UP Officer Self observed three males actively digging in the grass flats near New Pass during a low tide. An inspection found that the three subjects were in possession of the following: 2,412 hard clams (125 of which were undersized) and an assortment of live shellfish including Venus rays, whelks, pen shells and tulip snails. All three individuals were issued Notices to Appear

Attracting tourists at Punta Gorda

An outcry emerged following the massacre of nearly 1,500 dolphins during the annual Faroe Islands "Grind hunt" The Grind hunt is a communal tradition that has been practiced for hundreds of years, but this year's event has been condemned as “cruel and unnecessary." The Atlantic white-sided dolphins were herded into shallow waters at Skalabotnur beach in Eysturoy, where locals manually harvested the mammals using knives. The scale of this yearʼs killing was so shocking that even many Faroese, who take pride in the festival as their cultural heritage, expressed dissatisfaction. The local press, which has historically shunned publishing stories on the event, quoted a former chairman of the whaling association who said that the excessive killing "destroys all the work we have done to preserve the Grind.” "It was a big mistake, they estimated it to be only 200 dolphins . . . Somebody should have known better."

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

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Just a typical day in Charlotte County paradise for Chris Perry and Westo Bartlett. Snapper, grouper and trigger fish.

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FISH PIX!

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Robbie Wilson caught this tarpon off of his dock in PGI and released into the canal.

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Humberto African Pompano

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Mr V. night fishing, Port Charlotte


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41 inch snook finally finally caught by Robert Henzler of the Charlotte Harbor Derelicts, the one he dreamed of catching! Punta Gorda Florida! Finally realized his life goal!

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FISH PIX!

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PAGE 17

FISH PIX!

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

Ray with his first trout and his first redfish

Rob Kale, 52-inch barracuda caught on 20 pound spin gear and cuda tube lure at the boxcars

FISH PIX!

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FISH PIX!

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Dave Crum with Capt. George, nice tarpon!

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Capt Ron helped me catch this redfish. Joanne

Bryce Herrick, 6-years old, from Bufton SC, with a striped mojarra from a Punta Gorda canal.

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FISH PIX!

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Levi Crum with first tarpon with SW Fishing charters

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12 yr old Max Miller. 40-inch snook. His sister 9 yr old Kaiya 22-inch snook.


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OCTOBER 2021

Now only closed on Wednesday ... until we find help

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Andy & Chrissy with daughter Cynthia with her river snook

Andy & Chrissy Myakka river snook

Caught a bull dolphin and some blackfin tuna this Keys trip. Had a lot of fun with friends and good fights, Cole Stephens

FISH PIX!

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FISH PIX!

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Betty Ford with a redfish

Levi Crum with nice snook with Southwest Fishing Charters


OCTOBER 2021

Explore!

Fish with one of our Guides

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The BIG-4 LADYFISH Large schools around Charlotte Harbor

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

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Fish you can expect in

SNOOK Working their way back from the Gulf

October

COBIA Moving around the upper Harbor

Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay, Placida, Gasparilla Sound

PAGE 19

TARPON In the Harbor holes and the rivers

have killed a bunch of breeder redfish last month. There are not as many in the Gasparilla Sound and they are Frank @ Fishin’ Franks smaller fish, the big hog monsters are 4200 Tamiami Trail 941-625-3888 not going to go to the shallows. These Only closed Wednesday ... for now are Palagic fish that are running in the Tarpon is the big story around the Harbor. They seem to be from Alligator Gulf, they like staying in 4-to 6-feet of water and are less likely to be on the Reef to the middle hole and angled shallow flats. Hammered gold spoons over to Cape Haze, where guys are and pinfish are two of the better baits finding the most of them. for them right now. Ladyfish Snook seem to be the fishing is as bait of choice, good as it’s FISH PIX! and the VMC been in a hot skirt jig long time. A for ladyfish is lot of smaller the king of snook are on lures; you the east side hook them, lift and the bigand hold and ger snook are they fall right around Cape off the hook Haze and into the working their livewell. Most way up the other lures tear west wall to the fish up el Jobean. more. The 41 Free-lining, bridge still or using a balhas them loon when the stacked up wind dies and pretty good. there is no curThe best rent is a good lure around trick. Ladyfish Susan Alvis, South Venice Jetty snook the bridges is will swim to the crawdad the bottom so Rattletrap in browns and orange. you set a bobber to keep them 2-to 3Trout fishing is OK, some in the feet off bottom. Use a 6-to11-foot Pine Island Sound by the Matlacha cut leader, set it over the side and drive and a little on the east side. away from it 60-feet. You use a ballon Cobia are doing pretty good in the because it’s hard to find a bobber big Harbor, just keep your eyes out. They enough to float a ladyfish. A D.O.A. are on most of the nearshore reefs too. Bait Buster in purple, under a bobber, Out in the Gulf snapper and is the #1 way to hook a tarpon right grouper are still out in over 90-feet. now. Bobber jigging is very effective. Bass and crappie must be heating If you have to cast it out, count 10 up. We are starting to sell more minand slowly reel it back in... it has to be nows, which means they are getting slow. When you think slow... slow scouted out. Guys are finding them down a little more. under pepper trees, they like to spawn Redfish are still a big deal on the in those tangled branches and roots. west side and east side, but the main Not selling crappie jigs but minnows concentrations are south on Bokeelia and bobbers are selling, so I guess we Cape Haze and the Burnt Store Bar. know how they are fishing them! The These are fish coming in from the fish are 10 inches and over.... I think! Gulf... big oversized breeder fish are Bass fishing is getting better. Shinstill showing up with schools coming ers and topwater frogs are what they in. Unfortunately the red tide seems to seem to want right now.

The water nearshore is in the mid 80s Keep an eye on the sky

95˚ 90˚

from Water LIFE magazine

85˚ 80˚

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚ 45˚

FISHING RIGHT NOW:

VERY GOOD!


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OCTOBER 2021

Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE October 2021  

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

Water LIFE October 2021  

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

Profile for waterlife

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