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Water LI FE

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

The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

April 2019

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Johnny Gordon Jr with a huge Jack caught and released in Naples

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Ray Kitchen with his 28-inch grouper, fishing with Capt. Doug

Txt Us Ur Fish Pix! weʼll use ʻem! See page 4

FISH PIX!

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Carol F. caught this redfish, estimated at about 15 lbs

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Doug P. showing off a nice snook

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APRIL 2019


APRIL 2019

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Include anglerʼs name and what kind of fish.

PHOSPHATE MINING Mosaic is now hinting at 2023 for submitting their zoning change request for a mine in DeSoto County. The thinking is, a slowing world market for phosphates means they wonʼt need ore from DeSoto County until then. But the April hearing date is still on the Desoto Zoning Commission schedule. The possibility of a phosphate mine on Horse Creek, just upriver from Charlotte Harbor, remains very real.

CORRECTION – QWater LIFE, I just wanted to let you know that Mr. Hellerʼs article “chief says the Boat was Uninsured” erroneously stated that Officer Kohl shot and killed “ Jeanette Knowlton” librarian, 2 years ago. Mrs. Knowlton first name was Mary. just fyi. Janette Knowlton, County Attorney Ed notes* Sorry, Janette, Iʼm losing it! ...and I even misspelled your name!!

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SUNSEEKER RESORT PROGRESS REPORT

So it turns out they didnʼt have the money! Because late last month, Sunseeker announced they had found financing with TPG 6th Partners, a ʻglobal asset management company.ʼ I thought Sunseeker was going to do this for cash...the cost of one airplane, what happened to that plan? Pffffsssst! As soon as they got their financing they came out with a new site plan. No more nine buildings, only three, all tucked together, as close to the bridge as possible. On the 20th of February I called the County and asked if there were

any building plans submitted by Sunseeker. According to the County there were not. The County approved Sunseekerʼs new site plan immediately. The rendering is below. Supposedly there are three buildings and a parking garage. The garage is next to an entrance from US-41. Right after the old Harbor Chevron

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-4 US

APRIL 2019

Txt fish Pix ONLY to 941-457-1316

station was torn down on the site, I met and talked to the contractor who was hired to do the required EPA testing and monitoring of the soil. He said he had to monitor the gas stations spot for the next, I think he said, 5 years. “This could be a problem,” he told me, pointing just up 41. “They have a parking garage going in there.” The garage he said, was going to be next to the gas Parking station property. “Theyʼll have to Garage move the entrance,” he told me. How could he have known that? The site plan at the time was different. Was this the Sunseekerʼs plan all along? Bait and switch? Start grandiose Entrance then scale way back? That wouldnʼt be a real estate Flip, that would be a full blown real estate somersault! – MH

Hi Water Life— Iʼm a regular reader, boat owner, fisherman and two year resident of Florida, but would like to ask you a question regarding something we caught (snagged) while fishing off the coast of New Jersey a few years ago. I have been trying to figure out what the heck this thing is for almost 10 years and thought maybe you could help. The slimy, fleshy object about the size of a fist was reeled in on a hook, freaking out everyone on the boat before we tossed it back. I hope you can help a new Floridian solve this mystery. Tony Mangia, Port Charlotte

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waterlife@comcast.net www.WaterlifeMagazine.com Ellen Heller Publisher

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Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XVIII No 4 © 2019

NO PART of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied, reproduced or re-used without specific written 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: Capt. Chuck Eichner Venice: Glen Ballinger

Estero: Capt. Joe Angius

Everglades City: Capt. Charlie Phillips Kayaking: Bob Fraser Sawfish: Tonya Wiley

Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson

We checked around and found itʼs a Natica, Neverita didyma, a northern moon snail, also called a shark eye. They have a mucousy outer band. Naticarius Neverita didyma, the common name is the bladder moon snail or moon shell, is a species of predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Naticidae, the moon snails.

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Dear Mr. Heller, just a note to say I enjoy "Water LIFE" each month especially the continued updates on the Sunseeker project. Thank you.. John Quimby...

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APRIL 2019

$25 Winners and Red Tide

By Michael Heller Water LIFE Commentary Some pictures have value. Sometimes for content, sometimes there is an emotion, sometimes for art or something else... so starting right now, if I think you have submitted a valuable FISH PIX photo I’m going to give you a $25 voucher good at Fishin’ Franks Bait and Tackle. You don’t have to buy anything, you don’t have to sign up, fish size doesn’t matter. There is no catch, It’s good for a year. I will pick one or two winners for different reasons every month. Now, BOOM! Carter Shaffer, (photo right) you are the first winner! And BOOM! Skyler Bushey, you win too! Don’t do anything different, you can’t get an advantage, just go fishing! AND, extra for middle-schoolaged kids in Charlotte County, if we pick your FISH PIX we will also enroll you for free in our fall Be The Fish program - you will get a rod and reel and a tray full of tackle. This month we have almost 140 FISH PIX in print that’s outstanding! To fit them all in I’ve added four pages to the magazine. Now all we need is a few new advertisers, so we can keep publishing more and more FISH PIX. Advertisers and sponsors make this publication possible. We’re getting bigger, not just for more FISH PIX, but also for our $1 Bill Challenge Kids Tournament that starts on May 15 (see page 13). If you are a business owner, please consider advertising with us and/or sponsoring our kids programs. We reach a lot of SW Florida residents. On to other things: big tarpon are already showing up to the south – guides have been posting nice tarpon pictures on social media. Sharks are here now. For the last year we’ve had quality cobia and we’ve been over run with big black drum. Snook have been big and sheepshead were huge this year. But a lot of it is still area specific. I think after Hurricane Irma, when all the bad water drained out.... and last year after all the dead red-tidecreatures were eaten or washed out, many local areas underwent a kind of primal cleanse, and since then new

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Left: A 50-pound-plus grass crap, caught in Rotonda on 6-pound line. In the photo are Carter Shaffer, Clayton Shaffer and Aidan Flack. The fish was released alive, it was the second fish Carter ever caught! Above: Skyler Bushey with a catch and release gar at Port Charlotte. Both photos earned $25 FISH PIX vouchers, good at Fishinʼ Franks.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

creatures have flourished there. Other spots are still dead. Supposedly Mote Marine was coming up with a solution for red tide, but last month I read a column about Larry Brandt, a University of Miami red tide researcher who said Mote Marine, which he pointed out is neither accredited nor academic, has attempted to block publication of his research about red tide in scientific journals. In a talk at the Bradenton Yacht Club last month, Brandt claimed Mote sent a team to Miami in an attempt to redirect his research. Brandt said that in at least two instances, State agencies ‘brazenly manipulated statistics, assuming no one would notice,’ and then went public with the news that there is no correlation between man made inputs and red tide—an unproven line, that Brandt says Mote put forward. According to Brandt, Mote has developed an entrepreneurial research agenda in lieu of a common-sense scientific agenda, and has presented it to the public as an

answer to red tide. Also according to Brandt, Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, an Honorary Mote Trustee, is at work helping Mote cash in on the hysteria. Andy Mele agrees. Mele, whose title is Waterkeeper for the watchdog group Suncoast Waterkeeper, says elected officials, thinking it’s the only option available, have been ‘beating a path’ to Mote’s doors with funding. Mele wrote: “The problem is that nanobubbles, magic clay powders, UV reactors or any of Mote’s other touted technological answers to red tide have yet to be proven and even then, they may turn out to be unscalable to the dimensions needed to combat red tide.” All of this will probably be far too expensive to deploy in any meaningful way. The answer, according to Brandt, is prevention. “Choke off the nutrients at their sources, even if they lead all the way to Tallahassee. Animal waste, phosphate mine runoff, crop fertilizers, lawn and golf course fertilizers.... and human waste.... must all be controlled down to nothing.”


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Estero Bay:

King of Kings

Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero Spring is finally here in Southwest Florida and there’s only one color that has been on my mind: Silver. With the abnormally warm weather the area has been experiencing, high water temperatures have attracted a variety of baitfish. From pilchards and threadfins to mullet and crabs, bait is here in high quantities with big gamefish not far behind. The gamefish are snook, tarpon, kingfish, and permit. All four species have arrived to their April feeding grounds and are ready to be caught. This month there will be challenging times where anglers can find themselves making difficult decisions. At times these large silver gamefish are going to be feeding in areas that are extremely difficult to get to with an average sized boat. Picking and choosing the right

day to cross open water to fish the beach, or run over a shallow water flat to find snook in potholes is the difference between success and failure. Know what you and your boat’s limits are and make fishing decisions based off of that. I’ve pushed my limit before, never withclients on the boat, and found what I can and cannot do on days that don’t have optimal fishing conditions. Once I have a good understanding of where I want to fish and what for, I’ll outfit my rigs for that specific species. For large springtime snook and tarpon my bait of choice is large white baits and pass crabs. The white bait I’m able to net up early in the morning, either by chumming on a grass flat or cast netting along the beaches, but when it comes to pass crabs, anglers can either buy them at select bait

APRIL 2019

shops or net them themselves. Typically the night before I need pass crabs, I’ll anchor under local bridges with a bright spotlight shining in the water. You’ll see the crabs swim past your boat and you can net them with a large long-handled dip net. The pass crabs are the best to use for permit. Fishing for kingfish I find it best to use large live pilchards or troll spoons and Rapala Magnum 30 lures. The waterways are extremely busy this time of the year with jet skis, pontoon rentals, and fisher-people. Use caution as you navigate from spot to spot and be aware of posted signage. FWC has been making their presence known, in a good way, enforcing the rules and regulations for our ecosystem’s conservation. Fishing this month will be spectacular and the weather should be just as good. Experience what Southwest Florida has to offer through fishing and enjoy every day that’s given to you. Capt. Joe Angius (727)-234-3171 www.speakeasyfishing.com speakeasyfishing@gmail.com


Bait Moves In APRIL 2019

Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Warm weather has got the Harbor coming alive. Over the past few weeks large schools of thread fin herring started to move into the Harbor and following them have been the predator fish. The last few mornings, the big Spanish mackerel have been sky rocketing on bait everywhere you look. Locating these guys is pretty easy - just locate the bait. Normally you can see large schools of herring on the surface. Diving birds such as terns and pelicans can point you in the direction also. In my opinion, mackerel are an

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over looked game fish that can make a tough day of fishing a very good one so even a novice angler can have a very successful day on the water. There are a couple techniques that make it very easy to catch these guys, with the easiest being trolling. Go to your local tackle shop and pick up a few small Clark “squid spoons” and some light single strand wire. I like the #00 size spoon myself. Head out on the Harbor and look for the bait schools or birds diving, and start trolling, maybe put a 1/4-oz lead above one spoon and flat line the other. The other way is one that requires a little more patience: chumming. This also requires a trip to your local tackle shop. You’re going to need a chum block and a box of sardines. It’s pretty much the same as the first technique except you anchor up and bring the fish to you. Once you have a good chum slick going then free line small pieces of sardine in the slick. The best thing about fishing this way is your not just going to attract mackerel. Other fish such as cobia and sharks will probably come check out the fishy smell, so be ready for possibly something a little bigger. Another fish that has been on the move and feeding very well has been snook. The consistently warming waters have got these guys on the feed very well. This is the time of year when snook start making the transition from the deeper water to the warmer flats. Locating feeding snook this time of year requires one thing: Locating areas that are holding a food source. If

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you were laying around for a few months this past winter, not eating, you would now want something high in fat. Big snook didn’t get big by eating a low fat diet. The one food source I look at is mullet. Areas with a high concentration of mullet will have big snook. Another food source this time of year is crabs. I catch a lot of big fish that spit up crabs. The hard part is you don’t know where the crabs are. This takes years of fishing to figure out, and that knowledge can’t be bought! The best way to locate big hungry snook is to go fishing. Look for a food source and good moving water with some structure. You never know you, might just find yourself a honey hole.

If you would like to experience 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 www.backbayxtremes.com


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SHARKS: From Zero to 100 in one month!

By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Sharking April is another of my favorite months of the year for sharks. We still had some cool water in March and with it some slow shark fishing, but March ended warmer and April is starting with a big bang. The water temperature was a little cool, around 72, but now another few degrees has made a whole lot of difference. Practically all sharks have started biting. From the little Atlantic sharp nose to the monster bull sharks, they are all taking line. In the area where I fish, South of Marco Island, so far anyway, the bigger sharks tend to be closer in to the estuaries. Right now they can be found in shallow waters and cruising around the near shore flats. When you are shark fishing, watch out for those monster tarpon picking up your shark bait by mistake. That happens regularly in April. Keep a grip on your rod! The near shore reefs from one to 10 miles out are holding the one to four foot ‘eater’ sharks, animals such as the tasty Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose and blacktips.... which have been very acrobatic lately. By the way, I am going to give you a piece of knowledge that has taken me 15 years to learn: sharks bite 96-percent less on wire than plastic coated wire. Put two rods out and test my theory. I have been testing it lately and it is still very accurate. One of my customers brought fishing rods on the boat with coated wire and he out-fished me 7 to 1. Try it yourself. Happy Sharking. They are out there!

from Water LIFE magazine

Rochelle Nault catch and release big blacknose off Marco Island.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Pierre Nault with an eater blacktip shark, released unharmed

Closing the ICW to All Traffic? Sculling Controversy

Commentary By Patrick E. McCarthy Co-Founder, Venice Nokomis Recreational Boaters Coalition

Some of you may recall last September's event that closed the ICW in the City of Venice to boat traffic for a entire Saturday to conduct sculling races. Due to the Red Tide at the time, the impact on recreational boaters was minimal. The event only drew one out of town "krewe" and was considered a huge bust. We obtained over 1,000 emails from the city of Venice that showed the under handed methods used by the Sarasota Scullers to obtain their permitting. I think it borders on criminal. As an example, the "public" comment period was cut from 30 days to 15 days and notice was not publicized in such a manner that the everyday boater would find out about it. Our Freedom of Information Request to the USCG six months ago has gone unanswered. They claim to "have a date" (Sept.28, 2019) but at this time they have no permits. We believe that rules and procedures were not followed last year and "higher ups" railroaded this thru. MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars were spent on the rowing park up in Bendersonville off I-75. Apparently that's not good enough for them – they want the ICW too. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me." This year we are watching more closely.

Capt John Brossard 239-777-9279 sharkchaserfl@gmail.com sharkchasercharters.com

FISH PIX!

APRIL 2019

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Mike Brossardʼs blacknose shark caught off Marco Island

Closed section of the Venice ICW


REALITY CHECK APRIL 2019

Capt. Chuck Eichner Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Our Florida ecosystems constantly compensate for many natural events that occur every year. Whether it is a drought, excessive rainfall, cold or warm temperatures or red tide, Mother Nature steps in and adjusts. After a year’s worth of red tide behind us with countless dead fish one would expect the fishing to be very poor. Many things have changed on the Harbor, but there are still fish out there and when things go right you can still have the fishing trip of a lifetime! I have observed nature compensating in many ways for the loss of marine life and aquatic grasses. To be sure we lost a lot of fish and there are barren areas devoid of life - all an effect from red tide. But many sea creatures somehow benefited. Our Gulf/Harbor shrimp run this past winter was epic – the largest and most abundant population of shrimp I have ever seen, and this inspired an influx of redfish. Typical trips in the fall and winter had many 50 redfish days; mostly smaller reds, but that’s the most I have caught in 12 years! One fish that got nearly wiped out is speckled trout. Ask any fishing guide, the numbers are low and this fish should be protected with no harvest. However, I have been finding pods of trout that weighed 5- to 6-pounds! That’s right,

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catching numbers of trout that are 25- to27-inches, this has never happened before. These are big females that don’t get lifted out of the water prior to release. Snook have been challenging at times, but find the right spot and you can catch 50 easily. I will say that snook average smaller than usual, but an occasional 10-

to 20-pounder does show up once in a while! Our baitfish population has been huge and came in early, go figure. My insight into what is happening is that many of our local fish were wiped out and now we are seeing migrations of fish from the Gulf into the Harbor. Basically, fish are coming from elsewhere to

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set up shop because there is a good food source! Creatures in nature find a way to compensate when conditions change. A term called “carrying capacity” comes to mind which basically says that living organisms will occupy a region that will support them. For deer hunters, if farm land is hunted heavily one season you might expect few deer the next. However, the extra space and existence of good feed conditions will attract deer

from other areas. I think the same has been happening here. From my vantage point we also lost 90-percent of our mullet population. We all know the Harbor dolphin love mullet. For the first time dolphin have been en-

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tering the canal systems at night and stalking and hunting around underwater fish lights. They have been cornering mullet and blasting fish out of the water into the early morning hours. They too have had to compensate! In recent weeks, I have had some of the best fishing in years. Gator trout, big redfish and lots of snook. The catches of jack crevalle have also been epic! Large and small jacks are hard to get away from some days. One big thing that is different is that there are vast areas with no fish at all and hardly any visual marine life on the sea floor. But find the place where the fish have settled in and it’s game on! I see lots of shallow draft tower boats running the shallows looking for fish. You might think this is a big advantage. I don’t think it is. I pick spots based on what it offers to attract fish, even sometimes after a boat has run over them. I think the fish have adjusted to boats buzzing their habitat and they back off deeper when boats are approaching. Then they resume their feeding position after waters settle. The new Charlotte Harbor has some new rules for now. You have to put in your time to be successful and pay attention to the details. Patience will pay off big! Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Backcountry Charters. He can be reached at 941-628-8040


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text us ur fish pix - see page 4

APRIL 2019

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

Cape Coral, 3/3/19, Kurt Neff

Bonnethead shark caught 3-4-19 off Nokomis Beach. John Pickell

I fish almost every day for bass. I hooked at least 15 five pounders last year. You will see me with plenty of large bucket mouths as each week goes by. Here's a largemouth from Saturday and an evening one from last week. Nicholas J. from Ft. Myers.

Art Alcock with a nice catch and release AJ.

Danielle Bordes caught this puffer fish in Alligator Creek

This is me! Cathy Price Just offshore 7 miles from Boca Grande . Red Drum! Caught 4 at the same time with mullet and deep lures. All four rods hit at once. Was crazy! Of course catch and release.

Christian Sommer with a catch and released triple tail.

Randy Campione with a nice 200 pound bull shark off Sanibel Florida Hugh Kesler with a 93-pound WAHOO

Natalie Bordes caught this Jack Crevalle in Alligator Creek.

Brian Teunis, Punta Gorda, 30-inch grouper, in 115-feet of water on March 1


APRIL 2019

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Sought After Fish

Matt Martin

Cameron Parson Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Fishing is one of the greatest recreational sports and the biggest recreational activity here in Southwest Florida. Anglers of all calibers love the thrill of catching that once in a lifetime fish. Tarpon, sharks, snook, cobia, redfish, and permit are just a few in this area. We all love to catch fish and we do encourage a healthy release if the fish is not to be harvested. Snook and redfish are the two most sought after species in our region... other than speckled trout. Due to last year’s red tide, both are protected from harvest until further notice, which seems to be another small while from

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now. Although there are numbers of these fish out there, the numbers are not high enough to open the seasons for now. The closure will help fish stocks to replenish. To date, there have been over 2,000 redfish released into Charlotte Harbor to aid replenishment and over 10,000 in total released in red tide affected areas. These fish will breed. These fish will ensure that future generations will have plenty to catch. Snook have bounced back pretty hard since the freeze of 2010. A three year closure was in effect and it worked really well. Anglers seem beyond satisfied with not only the numbers, but the quality of snook being caught. There are plenty of trout to catch, but like any other fish, you have to find them. Mild winters can make trout fishing a little tricky, but, they are out there. Most seem to be complaining that there are not enough trout or they have to sort through so many smaller fish before finally hooking a keeper. At one time there used to be a closed season on trout. The closure wasn't overly long, just a few months per year, but it was that closure that ensured there would be enough fish to go around for everyone. Bigger trout seemed to be the norm. A "gator," or over-slot fish, was fairly common 15

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

Andrew Mitchell

years ago, it was nothing unusual to catch quite a few trophy trout.....my best was a 22-, a 25-, a 26- and a 28inch trout in one day, with the bulk of the fish being in the slot. There are plenty of ways to help with conservation efforts. Help the

Ashlynn Trombley with her first tripletail caught and released off Ft Myers Beach fishing with her favorite Captain

Patrick OĘźSullivan

mortality rate of a fish by handling the fish properly. Don't use a rag or gloves. Live release the fish in the water. Make sure your catch is revived properly before swimming away. Hold your fish horizontally rather than vertically. Donate. Get involved with fish tagging programs. It's not just the responsibility of the State. It starts with us anglers. Fishing is all about fun. We all want a little something to eat every now and then, but, the fun is in the catching. We need to conserve whatever we can if we want to ensure that future generations will have great days on the water. Cameron Parson works at Rio Villa Bait & Tackle in Punta Gorda 941- 639-7166

Sheepshead while fishing for bait Rick Doll of Punta Gorda.

Rachel Smits from Bokeelia with a catch and release amberjack in100 feet of water west of Boca Caught on squirrel fish


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APRIL 2019

ReaderĘźs Photos text us ur fish pix - see page 4

Slim Jim sporting some nice ARS, the SW Florida bite is popping off, come and experience it for yourself!! (ARS American Red Snapper)

Tom aka "The Paraflex Kid"with an decent 22-inch porgy, this kid can get the job done!!!! SW Florida Baby!!!!

Grandpa Gordon took Carter and Lenox for a memorable day on the Peace River in March. These 2- to 4-pound topsail cats made for a great fish fry an hour later.

C.J. Miller with his two red grouper

Bonnethead shark, Gasparilla Sound caught by Joe Sheaffer 3/8/19

James Wasdin with two huge red grouper. He was the slayer of the day

Robert Eichner 9-Pound 11-ounce sheepshead, caught in two feet of water

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Mike Meehan standing over the days catch Capt. Chris put us on the fish every time

Maria from South Carolina with a nice Charlotte Harbor Snook, and Capt. Fred

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Mike Mehan with his two red grouper

"Super Dave"with a nice AJ caught and released offshore SW Florida action

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APRIL 2019

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Starting May 15 the 2019

$1Bill Challenge kids fishing tournament ages 6 through 15

4 Months of Summer Fishing 30 Species • Fish When You Want Winners every month

Win a Tracker Boat!

Information / Sign Up online at www.waterlifemagazine.com Produced by the Charlotte Harbor Reef Association a 501-c-3 non-profit Florida corporation

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APRIL 2019

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

Johnny Gordon Jr with a triple tail caught and eaten on the same day ! Super good eating Sarah-Marie with a huge smile on her face after catching a nice snook in her back yard. It was released after the picture.

Abilene in the rain with a snook her mother caught and released in a Punta Gorda canal.

Biggest fish I have ever seen or caught! 31" alligator gar on mullet Rueben

Paige Balsinger, kingfFish caught 25 miles offshore, south of Venice Jetty.

Thomas Canto caught two 30-inch groupers 45-miles off Bonita Beach

Doug McCullough crab “the prey” catches puffer fish “the predator” Tampa Bay

Nicholas

Barry Lung caught this speckled sea trout on the Peace River

Lolo Harris caught this 32-inch red grouper in 114-feet of water.

Kurt Hensley, snook in Myakka River

Russ's weekend! Hole in one yesterday, 34-inch snook today!

Jeff Stumbo Goldengate Estates with a 22in Peacock Bass


APRIL 2019

Readerʼs Photos

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Jim D'Ascenzo 7-pound mangrove snapper Islamorada

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Kingfish while Spanish mackerel fishing a few miles off beach of Captiva Pass, Anthony Muia

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Toby Vidlak caught this redfish on a Lemon Drop SST Slayer in Estero Bay

Captain AJ Center, Chad left, Andrew right

s J. Another pond lunker Ft. Myers

John (woody) Wood of Venice sheepshead off Venice Inlet.

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Michael Collins caught this jack on a Lemon Drop SST Slayer in Estero Bay

Caught west of Boca 26-inch grouper caught by Shelia Summers 3-3-19

Doug McCullough/Marina Bay in Fort Myers, FL (Large Mouth Bass)

Vin Petrucillo with a catch and release amberjack caught in the Gulf

Katie Goodwin and Britt Azzolini double up on crappie and bass

Nicholas Magazzeni caught this trout in the Apollo Canal trolling with a DOA!!


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APRIL 2019

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

Marc caught the gar in the Apollo Waterway in Port Charlotte

Logan Earwood 29-inch snook caught at Ponce De Leon

Elk Durr drum

Six year old Lenox Gallant with her first fish caught on the Peace River

Here is a pic, from the other day, of a 15inch sheepshead caught at Ponce deLeon

Laura Shepherd catches a bonnethead shark while vacationing with her family in Port Charlotte

Jaxon Hale caught a stingray

Luciano with his first redfish

Alex B. from Ohio at Ponce Inlet. Snook on the last cast on a vacation filled with monster snook and her first red, a 28 inch tagged beauty on dead mullet. It was one of the fish tagged and released by CCA Florida; as part of their Red Tide Recovery Initiative. The fish will go on to spawn up to 2 million eggs.

Ethan Mix, first snook of the season, Pine Island Sound, March 16, 2019

Florida pompano at Englewood Beach Pier! Kim Kietzman


10,000 ISLANDS APRIL 2019

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Fishingʼs Been Consistently Good

By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE / Everglades City Last month was a great month down in the 10,000 Islands and Western Everglades National Park. Inshore and offshore the bite was solid and we finally have had patterns of no/low wind to get offshore. Starting inshore, the snook bite has been strong as the fish are moving out to start making the next generation of linesiders. Targeting fish in the creek mouths and points with shrimp tipped bucktails, soft plastics on jig heads and bass style hooks as well as hard baits in both diving and topwater, have all done well. Remember the snook will always be facing into the current waiting for prey to

be swept out with the tide. Presenting your bait in the way a real one would swim will find you a snook or 20 if you play your cards right. Still a lot of pressure on them with so much other water closed so consider catch and release and treat all with care and respect. Speckled trout have been all over lately and in good sized schools. I have done better in the back open areas around bars personally than out front, but many are just the opposite. Tried and true popping cork with a jig head and soft plastic are usually all that’s needed, but you will catch the bigger trout on bait that imitates a baitfish vs a shrimp. Also finding some redfish on the bars

where I am targeting those trout, but I have to say they are consistently below slot. I would say these are the redfish I saw about this time last year that were 6 to 10 inches and now are 14 to 16 inches. Great to see and I love every one, but just not been producing many keeper redfish this month. Just like the snook, treat the little ones good and get them back as they are next seasons keepers. Offshore has been where I have stayed mostly in March as there was so much opportunity around. From Spanish macks on jigs, to cobia on live bluerunners and permit on crabs the choice is yours. The one thing I have not done well on again was the red grouper in the waters I used to I was picking up clients from Ohio, early in the morning, have strong showings. Typically, when I took this picture approaching the dock at the Rod this time of year, on live bottom and Gun Club in Everglades City. in 40-feet of water, I could find We caught over a dozen species in a 6 hour trip. several keepers fairly easily, but that was not the case in the few are 1 to 4 anglers, shore or boat fishing alexploration trips I tried last month. Lots of most any water in SW Florida. Search on lane and other snappers to make up, but facebook for Invasive Fish Roundup 2019 slow on the grouper. or online for the same name. Great prizes, If you are looking for something fun lots of fun and for a great cause. and for a good cause in April, sign up and Y’all be safe and I hope to see you out fish the Invasive Fish Roundup taking there! place April 26 thru the 28. It’s a chance to Capt. Charlie Phillips 863-517-1829 raise public awareness on the negative ime-mail: hopefishing@hotmail.com pacts of releasing invasive species. Teams Web: hopefishing.com

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Jill with a nice snook in Estero Bay with Capt. Fred Gowdy

Husband and Wife, Bob and Sallie Lumsden, wife out-fished husband, 9.8 pounds to 9 pounds, on the St. Johnʼs River

William Quintana largemouth bass Lehigh Acres backyard canal

Bentlee age 5, caught a nice black drum while fishing with his daddy, this is his biggest catch. leftBentlee with a small mangrove snapper caught off the sea wall on a live shrimp

Who's your daddy? SW Florida Sizzle, Baby;)!!! This guy is putting some serious time in SW Florida, come and get you some.

Walt Wheeler nice snook

Hooked a lot of nice quality bass this weekend but this one gave me the best hit and action. This bucketmouth hit my frog like a gator! Theyʼre only going to get bigger as time goes on!

Jeff Stumbo Goldengate Estates with a 12 inch largemouth bass

Michael Kusmierek, Cape Coral mangrove snapper


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On the Line

Commentary by Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff Ever since Charlotte County began charging boaters to park at County boat ramps I have been trying to get a clear accounting of how much money the fees bring in and how is it spent. Recently I received a report from a County staff member that shows the fee revenue from 2013 up to 2018. To me, this report raises more questions than it answers. First off, the total revenue for both boat ramps and beach parking was $502,672.91, up 22-percent from 2017 with beach parking up 78-percent and boat ramp revenue up 25-percent for the year. Remember that 2018 was the yearlong red tide in our area; so I am puzzled as to why total revenue would rise in a bad year, considering that in the prior 3 years the total revenue has decreased each year. This fact has caused me to take a closer look at these numbers. Englewood Beach is by far the biggest money maker for the county, bringing in $186,064 last year; but remember there is another beach in the County, the Port Charlotte Beach Park which generated only $35,701 last year. This is where it gets confusing; the report list two sources of funds: The Port Charlotte Boat Ramp with $25,560 and Port Charlotte Beach Tennis with $10,140 Considering that the

Ely Millikin, catch and release amberjack

Chris Dans of Punta Gorda with one of 7 snook taken on 7 consecutive casts the night of March 10. This one was 30 inches.

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John (the Snook King) Slattery 32-inch snook

Do the numbers add up?

park there also has a beach, a swimming pool, a playground, a fishing pier, bocci courts and indoor meeting rooms, it's hard to believe that the majority of the parking revenue comes from the boat ramp at this facility. Charlotte County has 9 boat ramps with parking fee machines. Two of them: South Gulf Cove and Hathaway Park, have their machines covered; not because they're broken, but because they don't produce enough money to make it worthwhile to send someone out there to collect it. Maybe the county can use those

machines for spare parts, considering that last year they spent $73,649 for maintenance cost and $50,000 of that was for labor cost. The other 7 ramps produced a total of $61,465 of revenue with the Placida boat ramp bringing in the lion's share with $36,421 last year. I purposely left out the Port Charlotte boat ramp from this analysis because frankly there is currently no way to determine how much of the parking fees come from the boat ramp. What have I learned from this exercise? First off, the County is making a lot

PAGE 19

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Jack crevalle on live bait Mike Knapp from England PGI canals

of money by charging people to park at our beaches and boat ramps. The money collected at the Placida ramp is greater than the total amount collected from all the users at the Port Charlotte Beach Park. With the exception of Placida, the revenue from the other boat ramps is only $25,044 total, that is less than 5-percent of all the money collected. Now there is a big discrepancy between the county's figure for total boat ramp revenue of $166,690 and the figure I came up with of $61,465. That's more than $100K. Where did that money come from? I suspect it comes from annual parking passes the county sells for $50 plus a $3.50 fee That's right, you have to pay a fee on a fee. Last year the county generated $149,917 from these passes. To my knowledge there is no way to determine how much of that money came from people parking at boat ramps versus parking at the beach. In order to make the numbers work, the county would have to assume that 83-percent of the parking pass money came from boat ramp use; not likely in my opinion. Here is the biggest thing I learned. None of the money generated from the parking fees from both boat ramps and beaches is used to maintain the facilities that collected that money. It all goes into the County's general fund to be used anyCaptronb@juno.com way they see fit.


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APRIL 2019

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Myakka River, El Jobean spearfish for triple tail. Then japanese fish printing Gyotaku then fillet and eat! John Meneo 32-inch snook Indian river Everglades Tony Gutierrez

16 yr old Owen Mummery from Nova Scotia, shows off his monster ladyfish, caught of the Englewood Pier while visiting his grandparents in Florida. “No fish like this in Nova Scotia!”

Fishing with Capt. John Baines finding some early blackfn offshore

Jeanne' and a release snook

Port of Isles 281/2-inch snook Justin 3/20/19 at 8:30 pm

Jeanne' and A big black drum

Nicholas J with another frog crushing pond monster largemouth in Ft. Myers. After 3 hrs of pond hopping on the greens in the rain today, with no hits, and finally on one of my last casts with a frog I hook this beast! Made my first empty 3 hours all worth the effort. I got BassFever365...lol


APRIL 2019

History Missed?

By Fishin’ Frank Water LIFE Baitshop In the fishing business I often hear: We need to get more women involved in fishing. My answer is, what part of the 50s do you live in? Women, girls, females of every age fish and are really good at it. One of my pet peeves is that tackle companies do not notice that women are a part of the fishing industry. However, finally one company has stepped up. Penn has brought out the first reel designed by and built for females. What is the difference? Well let’s start out with the differences between boy and girls. OK, yes there are those

parts, but what I am thinking about is the wrist. A woman’s wrist is different than a man's wrist. They move differently and while the bones are proportionate in size, a woman’s wrist is smaller than a man’s of the same height. So Penn has changed the gear ratio of the reel and the length and angle of the handle. They used a lighter weight rotor and painted it with pink accents and called it the Passion Reel. It comes as just a reel or on a combo rod. The rod is well balanced with the reel and has good guides that after years of use will still hold up.

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Every other so-called woman’s reel is just the same reel they sell men only painted nicer colors; not really what I would call a woman’s reel, just a prettier version of a man’s reel. Woman catch fish, use lures and or bait, and here in South west Florida there are couples where the women is the angler and the husband drives the boat or reads while she fishes. This is common place. Fathers often dream of having a boy so they can have someone to fish with. Well to be honest, when a little girl goes fishing with mom or dad they figure out quick if they hold the fishing pole they get to spend time with their parents and often are excellent anglers by the time they are 6 years old. While boys, when they are young, spend 3 minutes holding the rod, 5 minutes playing in the bait bucket and then see a crab or something and are off chasing what ever it was they just saw. With boys it is usually after they are 6 that they really start to figure out whether they are into fishing. Then, once hooked, they will be at it every chance they get. But to be truthful, it is the girls who when young will spend all day just fishing with Dad. This is not science or fact-based, just 35 years of me watching and listening to my customers.... who, by the way, are about 40-percent female. This is not an ad for the Penn Passion reel, this is an important moment in history that is being over looked.

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Shannon Johns with a single bass and then two on the same lure!

Hey girls someone finally noticed that you fish, and are good at it. I just thought you’d like to know! Never under estimate girl power when she is holding a rod and reel, because guys, you are gonna get whupped. frank@fishinfranks

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David Steinberger (l) and Randy Smith on a veteranʼs trip with Jason Sherrill on Bad Habit

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Brothers Hazeltine Day out on the Myakka catch and release

Andrew Cahill, Trey Ashley, Randy Smith and Brett Smith on a veteran trip with Veteran Excursions.

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Trey Ashley on a trip with Veteran Excursions.


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Jan Seibert sea trout caught on Charlotte Hharbor Len Rizzo with his first lady fish.

Ben Bollman (Cape Coral) with a pompano on Pompano Beach visiting mom and dad, aka Puber

Skyler Bushey, Port Charlotte jack

Catheryn Miller with nice jack in Charlotte Harbor

Red Fish Charlotte Harbor. Patrick Brasington Michael Cruz with a crevalle jack!

Rick Huff with a hard fighting jack crevalle in Charlotte Harbor

Izzy Rogner - My first Kingfish!

Cameron Bushey, snook

Tony with a nice Wiggins Reef sheepshead with Capt Fred Gowdy

Russ CHAMARD took me fishing. My name is Keith Mullins from Ontario. We were out with kayaks out of Placida. We caught several snook and red fish, but this 42incher caught and released was a BEAUTIFUL snook. Russ caught the fish and released it and what impressed me was he never positioned the fish vertically the whole time so not to harm the organs - great fisherman and conservationist. The fish took Aprox 12-minutes to land and we estimated its weight at 22 to 25 pounds. We measured it at 42 inches.

Skyler Bushey, catch and release snook, Port Charlotte Captain John Baines finding some early blackfin offshore of Boca Grande during the middle of March.


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Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

GOOD FIND! FWC dispatch received a call from a girlfriend of a commercial fishing vessel operator. The reporting party told dispatch that her boyfriend had called her, saying that his fishing vessel was sinking, and they needed help. She was unable to give dispatch any vessel description and only was able to advise that he was heading towards the Marquesas Keys. Officers responded by vessel to search the area while their Lieutenant contacted the reporting party directly and gathered more information. Through coordinated efforts, officers found the two men in the water hanging on to a life raft with their vessel almost completely submerged. The two men were brought on board the patrol vessel and returned to Stock Island Lobster Company.

SNEAKY SNAKE The Police Department had received several complaints about a man walking around the down town area, carrying a large rattlesnake. When a police officer arrived, he recognized the man with the snake as local homeless person. For everyoneʼs safety, the officer called the FWC and instructed the man to place the rattlesnake in its cage and put it in the back seat of his patrol car. When the FWC officers arrived, the man was no longer on scene and the officer advised them the rattlesnake was loose on the backseat of the patrol car. COMING Sportsmans Wholesale, a large format outdoor discount store, is supposedly coming to Charlotte County with a planned opening the first week of June. You can look at their North Carolina store in a video on their facebook page to get an idea of whatʼs what.

road with animal traps on the vehicle roof. The traps contained water bowls and cracked corn. Officer Araujo saw two individuals exit the wood line and head towards the vehicle. Officer Araujo identified himself to the subjects who spontaneously stated that they had a license to trap bobcats. Traps contained cracked corn and water were placed on the ground to feed live chickens... used to attract bobcats. The following charges were filed with the State Attorneys Office; trapping out of season, not attending to traps within 24 hours, placing bait on a Wildlife Management Area, and attempt to take bobcat out of season.

The FWC released redfish frye in numerous SW Florida locations to counteract the effects of last Summerʼs red tide. Some breeder fish were also released, like this one being turned loose on the ramp at Ponce Park. PLAYING CHICKEN Officer Araujo was working plain clothes patrol in an unmarked vehicle in the Picayune State Forest during the opening weekend of Spring Turkey Quota Hunt. He noticed a vehicle parked on the side of a dirt

Phosphate and Our Water Special to Water LIFE By Denise Hart, photos by Michael Moroukian My husband and I followed the directions in February’s Water LIFE, exploring Horse Creek, a major tributary of the Peace River that’s essential to our drinking water supply. The creek flows through DeSoto County, joining the Peace just above the Charlotte County line. We had worked on water issues in NH, when water mining and bottling plant proposal threatened our rural community that depended on wells. Water is life, plain and simple. Protecting Horse Creek played a starring role in the DeSoto County commissioners’ 2018 denial of the Mosaic Company’s request to rezone 18,000 acres from agricultural to mining to establish a phosphate mining operation. Mosaic is appealing. We wanted to learn more about the creek and this land. As we traveled east on Kings Highway (SR 769), the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority (PRMRWSA) operations plant came into view on our right. You can’t miss its water tanks and blue-painted pipes. The Authority has two water reservoirs there, 85 acres and 640 acres respectively. More than 900,000 people in four counties depend on this water, including our home in south

LOOK NO HANDS! Officer Winton and Lieutenant Spoede were on patrol at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River when they saw a jet ski violating a posted slow speed zone. The officers conducted a vessel stop, at which time the operator exhibited signs of impairment. After performing poorly on field sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence. Once back at the marina, the operator, who was handcuffed, jumped off the officerʼs patrol vessel and attempted to swim away. Fortunately, the officers had previously ensured that the subjectʼs life jacket was secured properly and were able to reel him in.

out the use of this term for weather messages in December 2018. In High Seas Forecasts, PAN PAN indicated there are winds of 64 knots or greater within at least one section of the forecast. Audio alarms for significant weather, such as 64 knot winds, will continue to be activated even though the term PAN PAN will no longer be used. The term SECURITE will be used as an indicator that important information, including instances of winds 64 knots or greater, will follow in the forecast section. The term "PAN-PAN" was used as a marine radio-communication protocol to indicate an urgent event aboard a vessel, when there is no immediate danger to life or the safety of the vessel itself. The FWC is requesting people to report horseshoe crab sightings. If you download the FWC REPORT app for your phone. The app sends your report and GPS location with it.

BYE BYE PAN PAN As of last month, the NWS is no longer using the term PAN PAN in its High Seas Forecasts. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) agreed to phase

Sarasota County. When we left Kings Highway and turned on SR 72, it was like going back in time. Traffic became sparse. The two-lane road rambled through flat terrain with tilled fields for vegetables and tree-dotted citrus farms. A mobile home park was on the right. Cattle and horse ranches spread out before us, livestock contentedly grazing. This was Old Florida in real time: the beauty of open land, wide sky, crops, livestock and scattered homes. At Horse Creek near SW Gator Trail, we parked the car and walked back to the bridge. Dragonflies and hawks circled. Willows grew along the bank and patches of black-eye Susans climbed its upper reach. The water ran reddish and clear, with a strong, visible current. We continued on Tom Mizell Road, taking in more ranches, citrus groves and a field with hay baled in long, white, plastic tubes. A sign above a mailbox proclaimed “Give Up All For Jesus.” At mile 20.5 we found the Old Pine Level historical marker for the first DeSoto county seat in 1887. Massive, ancient live oaks dripped Spanish moss. The sweet scent of orange blossoms from the nearby grove hung in the air. At 26 miles, the S curves in the creek were very pronounced, and the water had carved a little valley. You could see how high the river swells in

the rainy season from the tree roots exposed on the upper bank. We continued following it to the wooden bridge then turned and headed to Arcadia for lunch. If the Mosaic Company were to pursue a phosphate mining operation here, Horse Creek would be rerouted and channeled and the surrounding land devastated. The mining process would use and pollute millions of gallons of water. Not a good idea.

The Mosaic Company is appealing DeSoto Countyʼs July 2018 denial of a rezoning change for phosphate mining . A mediation session is scheduled for April 3, 2019 at 9 a.m. in the county commission boardroom, 201 East Oak Street, Arcadia, FL, desotobocc.com


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The 2019 Conquistador Cup Regatta By Peter Welch Water LIFE Sailing Forty years ago two Punta Gorda sailors started the Conquistador Cup Regatta. They were motivated by a walk on the bridge to Port Charlotte when they stopped to contemplate what the Harbor

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would look like filled with sailboats racing. To this day, one of the race courses goes as close to the bridge as possible. Visualize 30 boats trying to be first to the rounding mark closest to the bridge. But the race has a more powerful draw...the Conquistador Helmet that is entrusted to the winner of the “reverse start” race on the second day of the regatta. This distance race starts slowest boats first and the fastest boats have to pass all of them to finish first and get custody of the Helmet. This year there were 30 boats racing to get custody of the Helmet. There were three races scheduled for all six boat classes on Saturday in winds of 7- to 15- knots from the north east. Each class had their own start and were scheduled for three races. At the end of Conquistador Cup winner PathFinder (orange sail) scoots by day one the leaders were Fancy Free, stealing the wind from her sails.

The Leukemia Cup, held in late March, fielded only Harbor 20 boats this year. Many local sailors have moved to these smaller boats Photos by Fran Burstein

Learning to Fly (spinnaker), Fancy Free ( non spin), Serendipity (cruising A),Windy City(cruising B), Yellow Jacket, (Harbor 20), Triple Threat (multi hull) Sunday’s race determines which skipper has custody of the Helmet for the year and is expected to return for the next year’s regatta to defend custody of it. This race, besides a test of speed, is also a study on picking the correct courses to harness the benefit of tidal flow on one half of the circuit and avoid adverse effects on the other half. The multi hull

KAYAKING Unpredictable Weather at Boca Grande By Bob Fraser Water LIFE Paddlesports I had a charter at the end of March with two men who were visiting from Wisconsin and Michigan. We had rescheduled the trip from a Tuesday to the following Thursday because the weather report looked much better. My favorite place to fish is Gasparilla Sound, for several reasons. First of all, you don’t have to paddle very far to catch fish (my clients pay me to take them fishing, not paddling). Secondly, it’s easy to launch a kayak and you don’t have to compete with motor boats. When there is an east wind, I fish at Three Sisters, off of 19th. St. Hoagens Key can usually block the east wind. Being in a kayak we are limited to going to the lee side of an island. Hoagens Key is the only island close enough to paddle to. Boats can travel across Gasparilla Sound to Bird Key, Turtle Bay or other places to get out of the wind, but not so in a kayak.

APRIL 2019

The weather report for Thursday called for west winds 7-to 9 mph in the morning, not bad for kayaking. We launched by the Boca Grande fishing pier. From

boats started this race last, but the Corsair multi Path Finder finished first (with a six minute lead) and now has custody of the Helmet for one year. It is expected that they will defend their use of the Helmet at next years regatta. Conquistador Cup: Overall Finish by class Spinnaker Learning to Fly G Buckingham Non Spinn Fancy Free J Poquette Cruising A Serendipity M Busher Cruising B Windy City Diane Fowler Harbor 20 Yellow Jacket Jeff Scholz Multi Hulls Triple Threat J Novak Conquistador Cup Winner: Path Finder G Entrikin

the launch it looked calm, but of course when you start paddling, it’s a different story. Today was no different. The winds felt more like 15- to 20-mph, but we stayed out for three hours and fished. We were all soaked from water coming over the kayaks. The last hour, we fished close to the shoreline of Peekins Ranch Cove to get out of the wind. On the way back to the launch site, it was a very rough paddle. When we came around a point we were facing right into the west wind and it was like hitting a wall. It was one of the hardest paddles I’ve ever had. The fishing wasn’t very good. There was a slack tide all day. I did manage to catch a Spanish mackerel on a Z-Man soft plastic, which surprised me. I usually catch Spanish on live shrimp or a silver spoon. I also caught a trout on live shrimp under a popping cork. With the slack tide and strong wind it was a tough day.

Bob Fraser www.kayakfishingwithbob.com


APRIL 2019

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By Bobby Vitalas PIER FISHING Tom Adams Bridge Water LIFE Pier Fishing Shark is a good sport fish to catch. It’s amazing how fast these sharks can move in the water. They give such a good fight. I have to walk up and down the pier in order to bring these sharks in. This blacktip shark was caught at Tom Adams Bridge Pier. This shark was caught from low to high tide. You should be able to catch shark on this Pier at any time of the day. If it’s windy or calm, it does not matter. I have caught many types of sharks at this Pier. You can catch the blacktip shark, nurse shark, bonnethead shark, and the spinner shark. When fishing for shark, I like using dead bait. I have caught more sharks on dead bait then live. The type of bait I am using to catch this shark is ladyfish. I cut the ladyfish up into 2- to 3- inch chunks. Cut lady fish can also be used to pinfish. Also, certain types of shark will eat live shrimp. catch redfish, snook, and bluefish too. When casting with cut ladyfish, for my main line, I use If you want to catch ladyfish at this Pier to use for 30-pound to 50-pound test Power Pro braided line or the bait, try using jigs such as the Eupro, or the Silly Willy. Sufix Advance super line (Braided), color green with a The jig weight size to use is 3/8 ounce. If you cannot two ounce egg sinker weight. If you want to use monofilcatch ladyfish to use for bait there, try using dead or live

SAWFISH: Risk of Entanglement By Tonya Wiley Water LIFE Environment Entanglement of marine species in lines, fishing gear and other debris is a problem seen with unfortunate regularity in the southeastern United States. This includes Endangered Species Act-listed species such as North Atlantic right whales, giant manta rays, sturgeon, turtles and smalltooth sawfish. Each species is susceptible to entanglement based on their physical attributes, but none more so than sawfish. The toothed rostrum of the smalltooth sawfish could be considered one of the most unique morphological traits in any species, yet this feature has also directly led to the species’ decline. Sawfish are rays that generally swim along the sediment surface where marine debris can accumulate. The toothy rostrum is easily entangled in any debris the sawfish encounters, which can lead to injury, deformation, or death by suffocation or starvation. Sawfish have been reported entangled in a variety of man-made items including dock lines, trap lines, nets (gill nets, cast

nets, trawls, etc.), fishing lines, pvc pipes, coffee cans, dog toys, and elastic bands. While strides have been made in recent years to raise awareness about sawfish entanglement, this threat continues to affect the species. Historically, a number of commercial fisheries incidentally captured smalltooth sawfish in the southeastern United States, though none more prominent than inshore gillnet fisheries. Because juvenile sawfish rely on shallow inshore waters as nursery habitat, gillnet fisheries for mullet in these same areas resulted in extensive incidental capture of sawfish. Once entangled, the toothed rostrum was difficult to remove from nets so often these fish were simply killed as bycatch. The 1995 gillnet ban in the state waters of Florida has been instrumental in reducing the number of sawfish killed by this gear. However, illegal use of gillnets still results in mortality of sawfish. Recently, two sawfish entanglements have been highlighted on social media. In late 2018, the National Park Service re-

Pier

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ament line as your main line, you can do that. Between my main line and wire line, I use a barrel swivel. For my wire line, I use 20inches of AFW 7x7 40-pound test Surflon Micro Supreme Knottable, nylon coated stainless steel leader, color camo, Model number DM49-40-A. Wire line is necessary due to the sharks sharp teeth. There are many other wire lines you can get, not just this one. Some wire lines come already attached with the egg sinker weight on them. When attaching the hook to the wire line, use circle hooks. The hook size I use for the cut ladyfish is a 5/0 size hook. Note: before you go fishing for shark, make sure you check all the fishing regulations (rules) for the area that you fish at. There are certain shark you can catch (land) and other types of shark that are prohibited that have to remain in the water at all times from shore or vessel (boat). The fishing regulations (rules) may change in the future and you may also need a permit to catch these shark, along with using non-offset non stainless steel circle hooks. So, good luck and happy fishing!

Itʼs easy to tangle up a sawfish in a gill net

ported a sawfish entanglement in Bistrates just how deadly these nets can be to cayne Bay National Park (seethis endangered species. Law enforcement https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-sto is still investigating this case and has rery/saving-endangered-sawfish). In this in- quested that anyone with information to stance a sawfish was trailing lines from a please contact 305-242-7741. lobster pot. Excessive entanglement can It is a shared responsibility of all outaffect mobility, feeding, and thus overall door enthusiasts to keep our waters free of fitness. If unattended, these entangled an- trash and debris, which could result in enimals are likely to perish. Fortunately, tanglement. Next time you’re out on the park rangers were able to secure the lines, water, do your part to pick up any trash or and remove them from the sawfish. debris and if you ever encounter a sawfish In a separate event, the National Park please let us know by calling Service responded to a tip that an illegal 1-844-4SAWFISH. gillnet was in the waters of Everglades National Park near For more information about endangered sawfish visit: Chokoloskee, Florida. Upon https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/smalltooth-sawfish retrieval of the net, law enhttp://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/fish/sawfish/ forcement discovered a dead Contact: Tonya@havenworth.org 941-201-2685 www.havenworth.org sawfish. This example illus-


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EMAIL:

WATERLIFE@COMCAST.NET

APRIL 2019

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

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

941-916-5769

FISH PIX!

Al with a little snook from the Venus Waterway. Northwest Charlotte County

FISH PIX!

3 year old Abilene caught this bluefish all by herself

from Water LIFE magazine

Explore!

Fish with one of our Guides Youʼll learn something and youʼll catch more fish!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

27-inch snook, Logan Earwood, 3/18

Spanish mackerel are the thing people find easiest to catch right now..... unless you are specifically looking for them! They are in the near Gulf and along the sides of the Big Pass and in Charlotte Harbor from MKR No.5 to Alligator Reef. They are coming all the way to MKR No. 2 and the 41-Bridge, but it’s all related to the glass minnows. If you see a lot of minnows there will be a lot of mackerel. With the Gulf dropping in temperature, the kings are closer to shore, maybe 3 to 5 miles. Look around the crab trap buoys. There are more threadfins, whitebait, sardines and glass minnows than I’ve seen in the last 10 years. The water cleared up and there was a dramatic drop in the number of fishermen throwing cast nets. Now we have nice cleanse from the red tide and a tremendous influx of things. Everybody is shark crazy right now; bulls, blacktips, black nose.... up and down the coast, shark fishing is really on fire around the beaches and up in the Harbor. Big lemons and bulls are already around the passes. This is a shark month. And it’s one of the better snook years we have ever had. Up in the Harbor and up in the canals, snook are definitely on the move. This is when they want to head to the ICW, Cape Haze or off Bokeelia on the outside edges. It’s about the passes now, and even the mouths of Bull and Turtle Bay, snook will be facing into any place there is a big water flow. Yellowtail snapper is still on fire. People drive to the Keys to catch smaller fish than we have here! Most reefs have great yellowtail right now, but you need 60-feet of water. Try chumming with Jack Mack and old dried noodles soaked in menhaden oil, that is the

chum for yellowtail, the oil makes the noodles sink. Go easy! Redfish are doing pretty good. In the bays and on the east side, the reds seem to be looking for the shade now. Heavy branches over deeper water and a piece of whitebait are the recipe for redfish. Trout should be moving in this month. I think the best trout will come in May and June, better than November and December... that’s my forecast, let’s see if it holds up.

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

Fishin’s been pretty good. Guys are having success with a lot of different fish. Spanish are in close and in passes. King mackerel are closer in too. Bait has flooded in and they are after it and coming into Boca Grande Pass now. The other fish guys go to the Gulf for are snapper. Mangs, lane, yellowtail and vermillion are all to be had along with porgys and grunts too. AJ and reef fish are thriving at the Boxcars and Bayronto. Lots of barracuda too.The guys say ‘cuda got thick all of a sudden. Inshore, pompano have been in the Harbor and on the beach, along with whiting. Black drum are still here and a few sheepshead are still around too. Snook, trout and redfish are thriving. Red tide might have reduced their numbers, but the ones here are hungry. Lemon Bay seems to be devoid of fish in the lights around the docks at night. Greenbacks, whitebait, sardines, cigar minnows are here and the guys catch them with sabiki, but we don’t see any pinfish around at all. The tarpon are around and guys are jumping them, but when the water got cooler and dirtier they moved away. rpon like 71-72 degrees.

Englewood Bait House

Head-Boat Trips Offshore Fishing Info: 941- 475-4511 also live shrimp etc


APRIL 2019

BACK ISSUES @

The BIG-4 SHARK Numerous species and sizes. Better hang on!

April

WWW.WATERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

Fish you can expect in

TARPON Moving up from the south into the passes

SNOOK Moving toward the ICW and creek mouths

JACK CREVALLE There are so many and many are so big

Text Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4

PAGE 27

Nearshore water temps are lower 70s Inshore temps are mid 70s Lots of fish and baitfish are around

95˚ 90˚

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Sheepshead, caught by John Snyder Sunday March 17, Fort Myers Beach

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

85˚

Full moon snook Port Charlotte Trey Ashley in the blue shirt Kyle White in the tank top

80˚

75˚

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

72˚ 70˚ 68˚

Caught this cobia 60-miles west of Gasparilla Pass. 42-inches to the fork. Lester Kuhn

50˚ 45˚

Labella Sandler and cj Miller caught and released Dory

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Captain John Baines finding some early black fin offshore of Boca Grand during the middle of March.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Tony Stockstil, snook caught in the Peace River 3/24 from Water LIFE magazine

LAST CAST

Doug Courtice, PGI, 32-inch snook "Brownie" with an ARS This is the last picture we received before going to print for this month catch and released. SW Florida action

FISH PIX!

FISH PIX!

Michael Kusmierek Cape Coral Fl King mackerel

FISHING RIGHT NOW: GREAT!

from Water LIFE magazine


PAGE

28

EMAIL:

WATERLIFE@COMCAST.NET

APRIL 2019

Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE April 2019  

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

Water LIFE April 2019  

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

Profile for waterlife