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Wa t e r LI FE

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

The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

February 2019


from Water LIFE magazine

T Tx xt t U Us s U Ur r F FIIS SH H P ! PIIX X! weʼll use ʻem! See page 4

30-inch red grouper 40-miles offshore, Sunday. Lester Kuhn

Lydia Zobrist with her first unassisted catch - mangrove snapper, Captiva Pass, 12-30


from Water LIFE magazine


Fredi Sison, red grouper Gulf - 15 miles west of Anna Maria Island, Jan 2019


30-miles out, catch and release AJ, with Capt. Korey Young from Water LIFE magazine

from Water LIFE magazine















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Now itʼs getting good! Last month Allegiantʼs top man, John Redmond, told guests at a Punta Gorda meeting the Sunseeker project was being downsized. One Hotel and a convention center is what I heard he said. I talked to one of the men working on the paving project on Paveing on Main Street at Bayshore, last month. This not part of the SunMain Street. He told me the seeker site but will reopen a favorite short cut from Bayshore to US-41 drainage was on hold since the size of the sump pump they are the only construction they have apmore like it used to be. using for site drainage has to be reI think Sunseeker will drag on. proved to date is the entrance way calculated since holding areas for They will probably repair the seawall and some landscaping. storm water runoff were being made Meanwhile, on the site, they were but they will need building plans besmaller on the site plan. Sounds like fore they can apply for a building pertrucking in new palms to landscape downsizing to me. This was particumit. If they changed things now, that the sales office and at the same time larly interesting since when Allegiant they were grinding up all the beautiful means they havenʼt started on buildsubmitted the site plan to the County, old palms from the rest of the site. ing plans. With the current building County traffic planner Venkat VatTo consolidate all 22 lots into one boom, my engineer friend tells me tikuti told me “With our approval of firms like his are at least a year out parcel they would have to apply for this site plan, Sunseekers underon new projects. what the Zoning Department calls a stands that this project cannot Kill and Combine, but Zoning hasnʼt I think they are looking for some change without going through the enyet-to-be-found money. Donʼt conreceived a request for that yet. tire submission process again.” fuse what you see on the site for On the brighter side, this month Maryanne Franks in the Planning Designs of construction. What you see the newly paved main street will be partment confirmed that last week. back open to local traffic, making the is dirt work. I still think this is going to She also told me there were still be a Real Estate Flip. Flip, Flip, Flip transition from US-41 via Bayshore no building plans submitted and that is still my thinking – MH Road to Edgewater Drive a little Note from a friend: I feel so disgusted and upset that itʼs difficult to even write this. Today we busted our ass kite fishing in dirty / blue green water. When we picked up our live bait in the morning from Scott he told us that on the news last night they issued a no swim advisory from Jupiter to, I believe, Delray because of “bacteria” in the water. The Gogs (editor notes: Google eye bait fish) have been so fragile that if they get even a small wound in their mouth from the hook or the line touching them they are getting covered up with sores and dying within hours. We witnessed in the live well, baits that had been hooked when the hooks were taken out they were already getting sores and red in just like a few minutes. So we finally caught a beautiful gaffer dolphin and when I put my knife in it and cut it open it is full of tumors from what we are told are flesh eating bacteria. Not safe to eat! heads up! this sucks beyond comprehension. Also, it was reported by 2 friends that a dead manatee floated by Sailfish (island) yesterday with no prop scars or wounds on it. I pray for the status of our ecosystems and our water.

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Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XVIII No 2 © 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:


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: Silent Sports Sawfish: Tonya Wiley

Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson







Day Trip By Car to Horse Creek By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor We commend Governor DeSantis for his recent actions. Appointing Chauncey Goss to the Water Management Board could help improve Florida’s water quality. The State has now stopped using aquatic weed killer – also good. What may not be so good is the Relaxing of Wetland Status by the Feds. Maybe that will somehow benefit the Lake O clean up, maybe it won’t. Clean water is on our mind in Lee and Charlotte County, but there is still one dirty water problem we are not hearing anything about. Phosphate mining takes 70 million gallons of clean water every day and makes it dirty. Phosphate mining produces waste that is unpossessable. Why have we heard nothing about phosphate mining from Governor DeSantis? Could Mosaic Mining have bought their way in? As a reader and voter, please acquaint yourself with phosphate mining. Google phosphate mining and look at the images. This is about to happen at Horse Creek, just upstream from the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve. The final decision will come in June at a DeSoto County meeting. So what can you do now? Take a ride. Go out to the Horse Creek area and see the countryside - it’s a nice drive for a Sunday. Cruise around a little and then maybe go to Arcadia for lunch. Try the Magnolia Street Seafood Grill. Eat, enjoy, form an opinion about phosphate mining.

And then call Governor DeSantis and tell him what you think. His number is (850) 717-9337, hit option 2 and leave your message. Tell him you were there. So where exactly is Horse Creek? From I-75 get off at Kings Highway, (SR769) exit #170 and head east. Kings Highway ends at SR 72; make a left. Horse Creek passes under SR 72 about 2 miles ahead. Get to know the area. Drive past Horse Creek and make a right on Tom Maizel Road. This is nice farm country with cows and horses, cypress hammocks and orange groves that are being picked right now. Tom Maizel makes a couple of hard rights and lefts and becomes Pine Level; keep going. You’ll pass a Historic Marker and a Church. The open expanse of grazing land ahead is at Florida Ave. You’ll go up Florida Ave in a few minutes, but pass on by for now. Just ahead is a wooden bridge in a shady tranquil spot. You’ll hear birds and other creatures. The water is low right now. This is Horse Creek too. You can stop right on the bridge. There is hardly ever any traffic, but if the mine comes here, there will be draglines with big trucks carrying sulphuric acid and ore right in this spot. There is a place to turn around just past the bridge - then double back to Florida Ave. Now you’ll make a right on Florida and head up to SR 70. The road is arrowstraight. Make another right on SR 70. You are headed toward Arcadia now. You’ll



NEW YEARʼS EVE SECRET – ON Jan 1, the Punta Gorda Police Departmentʼs online feed noted: “On Monday, December 31, 2018, at approximately 9:40 pm, the Punta Gorda Police Volunteer Unit was deployed for the New Yearʼs Eve event near Fishermanʼs Village... the vessel occupied by a single boat Captain, was involved in a single vessel collision with a marker pylon in Charlotte Harbor.” It sounded pretty uneventful, except for the fact that this was a brand new $128,500 (not a misprint!) Boston Whaler, with only 4 hours on it and it was a Police Boat, not a Volunteer Boat. The Captain (his name is being kept quiet) must have been going pretty fast. The boat is totaled. Someone said he wasnʼt authorized to drive this boat. The FWC has the boat and they are investigating. They have aid the Capt. was not BUI. Coincidently, there has been no story in the daily papers or on TV about any of this.

cross Horse Creek in two miles. Pull over, in summer the Creek can be 100 yards wide here. This is nature’s filtration area. The farm land you just drove through, from SR 72 to SR 70, is slated to become

the mine. They will re-route the meandering Creek into a straight ditch that connects to the Peace River. We can’t let mining destroy this area. Call the Governor. Ask him to take a stand publically.






Are There More Fish Now? By Fishin’ Frank Water LIFE Baitshop Here’s what I can't figure out: The best fishing we have had over the last couple months has been where the red tide had hit the hardest this summer – all along the in-side of Gasparilla Island and Cayo Costa and Islands to the north and south. The docks on the inside of these islands have had big snook and some smaller ones, a lot of over size redfish, sheepshead, black drum and a few other fish. Now why would they all be at this place instead of in the Harbor? Well, water temperature could be a factor as we have had some of the coldest waters in several years and it is possible that the short distance between deep water over 6-foot and shallow water under two foot deep might be the deciding factor. When a fish is trying to stay warmer at night they will drop down into waters more than 6-foot deep, as it takes a lot longer for the cold to get that deep. Shallow water can change temperature very quickly over night with just a little breeze – and that would account for why the fish like the shallows as the sun warms the shallow water very fast so by afternoon they can sun bathe, warming up in the shallows for the up-coming colder night. Another thing it might be is salinity. Fresh water coming into the Harbor can move fish out, but except for the end of last month, we have not had that much rain so I doubt that the salt content of the water is why they are here. Red tide yes, red tide is the most likely suspect to have brought so many types of fish to the Intracoastal at this time. OK, I know if you watch the news at night this might not make sense, but in my opinion the news broadcasts don’t make sense either, so here is my side of the argument. Red tide kills not only fish, but many types of algae and bacteria which can

make the water cleaner, maybe fresher? But it does not kill shrimp, oysters, clams, crab and things like that. So after a red tide, the shrimp, which are a simple creature at best, multiply and grow fast and breed. The more they eat, the faster they grow and they are without predators. Another thing the red tide would kill most of the things that eat these little creatures and then they feed on the dead fish and things on the bottom and the fish on the bottom put nitrates and things into the sand which help Coquinas or small tiny clams and shell fish to grow. Even the barnacles can multiply faster. All of these things could be whats driving fish to hang out in the Intracoastal. But I would suspect the reason there are so many fish in the Intracoastal water way and the docks on the inside of the Islands, is that the shrimp are migrating out of Charlotte Harbor in huge numbers and there just seems to be a lot of them. Which could be because of the dead stuff from the red tide or it could be just a cycle year where a ton of shrimp were hatched and there is just naturally millions of them. Whatever the reason is, there are huge bunches of shrimp leaving the Harbor each day and the fish are liking it. I would say the most apparent thing is that all of the fish are hitting live shrimp or dead shrimp but they are eating shrimp and like they say, match the hatch. So red tide maybe brought on more shrimp or food, or maybe it just is. And by the bye, the same thing holds true on any of the near shore reefs within 10-miles of the beach. Drop a shrimp down and hang on. This should go on, through the month of February, and there is a great possibility for you to catch a tasty shrimp dinner any night you can get to the passes during an out going tide.


Snappas!! FEBRUARY 2019

By Capt. Chuck Eichner Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Offshore fishing in the Gulf requires careful planning and preparation. For days prior to your trip you watch the winds and weather very carefully and hope the weather man is right. When your trip goes according to plan you can experience some great fishing and unexpected catches that make the day. Capt. Mike and friends planned a trip a bit different than most. They left their dock in Punta Gorda at 11:00pm and ran for 3 hours in the dark to their fishing spot. With 20 boxes of chum and bait aboard they watched the fish finder to tell them where to set the anchor. Scoping the bottom for 20 minutes and then the depth finder lit up like a Christmas Tree. Minutes later the stern of the boat sat right over the spot under anchor. Yellowtail snappers bit on every drop, but these were no average snappers. These yellowtails averaged 5- to 8- pounds, which is bigger than any I have ever seen! As the night wore on so did the crew as every drop produced a monster yellowtail. Then, the big ones started to bite! Yellow tail snappers over 10 pounds!



When the morning sun rose the fish box was packed with huge snappers and the bull sharks had moved in, so it was time to find a new spot. Fishing in 200 feet of water has its challenges, especially for the guy on the anchor! With that said, changing spots is not done without conviction and commitment. Motoring another 5 miles, the boat was set up on a ledge that was known for huge black grouper but no fish were showing on the meter. Once chumming started that all changed and fish after fish came aboard. Monster red snapper weighing 25 pounds had the drags screaming. Then, gag grouper pushing 25 pounds! The real bummer is that both the red snapper and gags were protected so all had to be released! As the day wore on red grouper also hit the deck but they went into the fish box. So how much better can it get? On the 15th hour of this trip an extra long battle ensued and an enormous African Pompano was gaffed! This fish was pushing 50 pounds which could be a world record! Back at the dock, a scale weighed it in at 47- pounds. This fish was so big that it would not fit into the “fish coffin” that is big enough for a man to sleep in.


So the tail was cut off to allow it to fit. It weighed 47 pounds without that tail piece, so this fish with a tail was mighty close to a world record. The next fish to be weighed were the 3 biggest yellow tail snapper that all weighed over 10 ½ pounds after sitting on ice for nearly 24 hours. The record book for yellowtail snapper is 10 pounds 9 ounces, so three snapper were contending world record fish! Finding Jurassic Park on the ocean floor is a rare occurrence but Capt. Mike proved it is out there! Great winter day of fishing! Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Backcountry Charters. He can be reached at 941-628-8040

Estero Bay: Non Stop Gamefish Action PAGE


By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero

The majority of the charters I ran last month were filled with non-stop inshore gamefish action. From redfish to tripletail, there have been countless opportunities to catch quality fish. Most of the action is primarily due to great tides with strong moving water and several cold fronts that were followed by impeccable weather. On days with a low tide, anglers would find fish that were forced to congregate in deeper potholes – easier to catch than those found on higher tides. But high tides were just as productive, but covering more water and mangrove shorelines were a must to keep the bite hot. January was truly a strong month for fishing and it paved the path for what’s to come in February.



As crazy as it may seem, there have been reports of juvenile tarpon being caught deep in our major rivers that feed out into Estero Bay. Artificial lures, such as white jerkbaits or paddletails, are great to have tied on and ready to cast when searching for these fish. When I’m running my trips I’ll fish the river systems in search of large crevalle jack and small bull sharks so it’s really a treat when you get to these areas and a pod of juvenile tarpon begin to roll. Having live pilchards for bait would always be a bonus, but is not necessary to catch these species. A livewell filled with shrimp and an arsenal of topwaters, spoons, jigs, and crankbaits is all you’ll need to entice the fish. Two of the most important aspects to fishing in the month of February is water

temperature and quality. Fishing in a backwater creek and along the beach out in the Gulf can be the difference between a good day on the water and a fantastic day of catching.

Windy days make me want to fish far in the backwaters where I can find clean and warm water. Then there are days where there’s no wind at all, which provides me with ample opportunity to scan the Gulf for fish and bait. If anglers takes into consideration wind, that affects water quality, and temperature that influences fish lethargy, this will aid in making decisions on where and how to fish for certain fish species. Fishing in Southwest Florida continues to stay strong and will get better with time. Remain current on FWC rules and regulations that are in effect to sustain our fisheries.


Waterways here will begin to get congested, so please boat safely and stay alert when navigating. When it comes to fishing, remember to have a variety of techniques and baits to present the fish. Their diet and temperament will fluctuate each and every week. Enjoy what our area has to offer through fishing and, as always, support local businesses. Capt. Joe Angius (727)-234-3171

10,000 ISLANDS Elephants Eating Peanuts FEBRUARY 2019

By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE / Everglades City For those of us who call the Everglades and 10,000 Islands home, 2019 is off to a roaring start. The weather has been mostly great, except for the very end of January, the water is beautiful, and the fish have been hungry. Been blessed with trips to get the new year started and if I can get lucky and not be scheduled to fish on the day a front comes through, it’s not been hard to find success. Inshore or offshore, doesn’t really seem to matter, fish are all over this month as they have been the past 13. Offshore, the big sheepshead are on all the piles and wrecks that are thru our area. The colder weather brings them in to spawn and this year there is sure a mess of ‘em. Fishing a 1/0 circle with enough split shot to get bottom (remember I am shallow down here, even offshore) on 20-30 lb flouro leader with a live shrimp is how I find them. Many people swear by fiddler crabs, and I am sure they work, but we can’t buy them down here and I don’t usually have time to go catch them, so shrimp is the bait of choice and it does just fine.


Many people think I am fooling around when I say to grab the smallest shrimp of the baitwell, those big convict fish just can’t pass them up. My motto is elephants eat peanuts!! Staying offshore, there should be some


tures of everyone catching them this month and knowing how many we have caught tells me they are in a peak of their cycle right now. About 5 years ago I caught tripletail all over, 4 years ago I couldn’t find a one, 3 years ago caught a few that season, 2 years ago wasn’t surprising to see one as I was running, last year we had a good year and this year is amazing – some of the biggest tripletail I have ever seen. My guest yesterday missed one that was well over 10 pounds. Lets see how the cycle works out, but enjoy them while they are here. Closing this month want to make sure all are aware that Everglades National Park now requires a permit and boater education course to operate in the park. An annual pass is in the 50-dollar range and the class is online. Reach out if you need info. Be safe out there. Capt. Charlie Phillips 863-517-1829 e-mail:

cobia around on the warmer days. Putting out a chum bag while you sit is a great way to bring them to you. Keep a live bait handy or a big soft plastic to pitch when one shows up. Some of these are real bruisers, so be careful bringing them in the boat and until they are in the boat gotta watch out for the sharks that will be trying to turn your cobia meal into their own. Tripletail are all over. Seeing all the pic-





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

Katy and Omar with a 12# Jack in Estero Bay with Capt Fred Gowdy


ReaderĘźs Photos


text us ur fish pix - see page 4

Kerri caught this trout with a spoon in the Mayakka River

Charlie Helton. First time at Skyway Pier, crushing monster sheep

Chris Mayne, yellowtail and mangrove snapper caught on the Seminole Wind! Capt Mike. And a Keys blackfin tuna

Marc Lapp caught trolling in the Apollo Canal

Mom, Lauren Zobrist with a juvenile gag grouper. (Her daughter Lydia, with her first fish, is on the front page!)

Brian Andrews, peacock bass us 41 Everglades Michael Thomas fishing under the I-75 bridge.

Shawn Marie Andrews Hidden Lake Everglades, oscar

Alexander Andrews Hidden Lake Everglades boffin

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

Winter Water


By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Well fellow anglers we find ourselves here in February. The positive part about this is, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel on this thing called winter. I know most people don’t understand how we can call this winter, with how things have been going to our north, but unfortunately for our fishery, the winter waters make a big difference. For a large majority of the year our water is well above 70 degrees. So this time of year when things are much cooler the fish tend to be more lethargic. This month can be a ground hog month, what I mean by that is it can go either way. If Mother Nature decides to punish us with a few more cold fronts things can stay the way they are. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, it just means we will be fishing primarily for trout. If things start to warm up as we move through the month, and spring starts moving into our area, our fishery could see a big change. So let’s go over what would happen with these two options for this time of year. First, we’re going to go with the forecast of things staying cool for the remainder of the month. Which I hate to be a downer, but will probably happen. Sea trout will be the best option to keep busy on a day of fishing. Deeper water will continue to hold fish – areas such as creeks and canals. I often find that fish will locate in deep water closer to the flats. Possibly because these guys are also ready for warmer weather. Shrimp will still be the bait of choice. For the anglers wanting to try their luck with some artificial lures, this is a great time. Soft plastics fished slow on or close to the bottom will be very productive. Small paddle tails and shrimp-pattern baits will be great choices. Just remember to keep your presentation slow. Alright, let’s cross our fingers and hope that these cold fronts begin to stall out before making it to South West



Florida. If this happens and our water temps begin to warm up, our fishery could really begin to change. The one fish that has been in their winter slumber will begin to feed. Snook, for the most part during the winter, lay low waiting for warmer water. With a little help from Mother Nature these guys could start feeding. Creeks will be some of the first areas to start seeing action. Even with warming water, snook will stay close to deep water. Large shrimp are great bait for early spring fish. I prefer to fish with no weight, let the current present the bait as natural as possible. The only down side would be a late cold front, this could shut these guys back down again for a few days. Let’s just hope that as this month passes our waters begin on their warming trend.

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


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Readerʼs Photos


text us ur fish pix - see page 4


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

Bass caught on Dec 26 in a North Port pond by Debbie Adams. First fish Iʼve ever caught!

Captiva Island tripletail Michael Kusmierek

Dom Pisano sheepshead, Sanibel, Florida

Doris Young from Newfoundland likes catching redfish and snook With Captain Rick Kelley

Lisa from Cape Coral Proud girl with her big sheepshead.

Marie May from Granbury TX caught and released this pompano close to Bull Bay in December

Barb Fickes PG canel snook

Adria Gutierrez with a red drum, Sarasota, FL


Mike Zahradnik, largemouth bass, Cape Coral, Florida

Walter Holmes. I love fishing .. i will win a tournament one day lol

Lee Binns, 51-pound cobia

Walter Holmes spotted seatrout caught at the El Jobean Pier



Dom Pisano Largemouth Bass, Cape Coral, Florida

Mark Stryde 28 in snook caught on artificials at the Burnt Store sandbar in the grass flats while I was wade fishing

Cane Kiesling red grouper Capt Mike


Madeline cronin, 8, caught the only fish of the day with this sheepshead. Her brothers got skunked!

Amberjack 30+ in Gulf out from Charolette Harbor caught by David L Jones 1/2/2019



Thank you so very much. Colin would rather fish than eat that was his first time in Florida and his first fish ever caught in Florida. He's my great grandson he'll be real proud. thank you again

A nighttime Jack cravelle for Meghan Rock!

Hello I'm Kyle Catalano. Here is my fish picture it's a 31 inch snook that I caught with Capt. Matt Lee Punta Gorda 1/1/19

Jim & Kathi Pierce with sheepshead caught in Boca Grande

Dom Pisano, mahi, Miami, Florida

Mark Pisano. mahi, Miami, Florida




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


ReaderĘźs Photos

Ron Smits from Bokeelia released this dandy gag grouper. Mark Marsh from Saint James City with some red grouper. 106-feet . West of Captiva Pass. Squirrel fish for bait .

4-yrear old Griffish Hazeltine, carrying on the family tradition of catching big snook. 32 incher.

Harold from Cape Coral, sheepshead

Harold and Lisa, Cape Coral. With a nice mess of sheepshead.

text us ur fish pix - see page 4

Bill stott from Indiana, 19 1/2 inch sheephead at Lemon Bay 1/9/19

Larry Hall from Venice. Glad to see plenty of red grouper biting offshore Venice. We come down twice a year and we love WaterLife!


Doug Courtice Cravalle Jack PGI

Henry M. from Maryland found good fishing in Boca Grande last week with Native Salt Charters.

Captian Dave with a Big jack in the River! North Fort Myers!!

Cpt. Patton and Deckhand with another BIG snook! All artificial, all the time!!


Canal Fishing

By Cameron Parson Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Canal fishing can be some of the best fishing in the area. Canals offer a variety of species to catch on a pretty


regular basis. The canals in Punta Gorda Isles and Port Charlotte can offer quick action with snapper, sheepshead, black drum, snook, redfish, jacks, trout, and tarpon. They're also good for protection if you're wanting to fish on windy days. Most of the fish mentioned above will be found around most any structure that's in the canals, while

jacks and tarpon seem to favor the open water of a canal. Dock pilings, rock walls (both riprap and boulders), bushes, bridges, and drop offs on canal mouths and intersections are all fishy spots. Fish are usually willing to eat as long there is some sort of tidal flow. The perimeter canal of Punta Gorda Isles offers all of this. The bushes on one side offer cover for the fish on higher tides, the drop off directly in front of them hold fish on lower tides due to the rocks. And there are docks everywhere. Just be mindful when pitching baits to the docks. Some canal intersections offer deeper water for fish to stay warmer during the winter months. Often times, the fish in those areas are


staged more in the center of the canal rather than the edges. They'll move place to place as the weather and tide changes. Water depth as little as a foot shallower or a foot deeper can mean the difference in finding a good bite. During the spring and summer months, juvenile tarpon use canals as an area to feed and stage up, and then move to another area when the tide changes. Start dissecting canals from the mouth and work the structure as you move in. Toss suspending twitchbaits like Mirrolure Mirrodines or suspending plugs like Yozuri Crystal Minnows. DOA Shrimp and Terroreyz are good choices, also. The strike zone for artificials will be within the first few feet of any wall or under any dock. Throw along the rocks and around the corners to cover more water in a shorter amount of time. Most bites will be a reaction strike. Fish live bait the same way. It doesn't matter if it's shrimp on the bottom or free lining a whitebait. Move to a different area if your not having any success. Look for differences in the tidal flow, water depth, and water temperature. The mouth of a canal may have 65 degree water and a depth of 6 feet while the next few canals may have 67 degree water and a depth of 10 feet. Small differences can make for a successful day of fishing. Catch some fish!


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


I recently moved here from Harrisburg Pa. to Punta Gorda .. caught this snapper on Laishley Pier.. bait from Michele at Downtown Bait and Tackle.. donʼt mind the gloves, Iʼm new here lol ... Walter Holmes Iʼll be in the record books soon!

Cameron Parson works at Rio Villa Bait & Tackle in Punta Gorda 941639-7166

My son Conner with his first snapper






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

Mike Kusmierek Offshore Captiva island red grouper

Neil Slifka, from Northfield Minnesota, black drum off the dock

Hello my name is Logan. Here is a picture of my 27.5-pound black drum

Brandon with snook Charlotte Harbor canal Jan. 2019

Helen Hughes first sheepshead caught in Port Charlotte

21 in. spotted sea trout Caught at the Burnt Store sandbar . 1/8 ounce rockport rattle jig head pearl white red eye paired with purple and chartreuse tail D.O.A. paddle tail Mark R Stryde

Caught just off the dock in Burnt Store Isles by Christian Thurek

A little late night snook fishing in Alligator Creek. Christian Turek

Griffen Courtice 15.5lb crevalle jack in PGI

Hi my name is Matt. Caught this on a shad trap. Thx again

Sam Yared, visiting Punta Gorda from Michigan, with his first ever black drum being admired by his brother William

My dad, Tommy with a 18 inch bass



Red Tide Completely Gone...

On the Line

Commentary by Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff On January 4 the FWC announced that for the first time in 18 months, no above normal levels of red tide were found anywhere in Florida. Did that mean red tide was totally gone from our local waters? Remember that red tide (K brevis) is always in our local waters in low concentrations, but ready to multiply and strike again; trust me, it's not going to become extinct any time soon, but maybe the round of dead stinky fish is over. Let's go to the score board and see the result of last year's outbreak: 589 turtles dead, more than any other red tide event in Florida’s recorded history. 213 manatees dead and 129 dolphins dead. In addition there were millions of dead fish removed from our beaches. The private economic loss due to this red tide is impossible to accurately measure, but we can get a handle on the amount of taxpayers money that has been spent on the problem last year; estimates range between $15 and $20 million. The question is, what have we learned and what did we get for that money? Frankly, not much. There is a great difference between generally held opinions, scientific opinion and scientific facts. Let's look at what we knew about red tide before this recent outbreak. Red tide develops 10- to 40-miles offshore, away from man made nutrient





z z


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sources. There are many algae that go by the name red tide, but I am referring to K. brevis, discovered and named by Mote Marine Lab and mostly found only in our local water in Southwest Florida. It is not found in freshwater systems, red tide can not exist in low salinity water. As of now, scientist can not predict a red tide occurrence, but by using wind and current data they can forecast its movement. So far no direct link between nutrient pollution (this includes man made pollution) and the frequency or initiation of red tide has been found. Presently there is no practical and acceptable way to control red tide blooms. That statement comes directly from the website. In the past, red tide came and everybody complained and demanded that something be done. Politicians promised more money and scientists began new cutting-edge research. Then the red tide left and everybody went back to normal and promises were forgotten – maybe this time they should try something different. Already, our new governor, much like our old governor, has promised to spend $2.5 billion over the next 4 years to fight red tide. Unfortunately he also promised that same money for blue-green algae research, Everglades restoration and water resource management. Of course he didn't say where the money would come from or exactly how it would be spent. Mote Marine has started a Red Tide Research Center with the help of a million dollar grant from the State, but infor-


FWC red tide sampling results January 29 Yellow is low concentration, Orange is medium. Grey is nothing

mation on what they plan to do different this time has not been released. There are some problems we should address now that things have died down. The sampling and monitoring of red tide has to be greatly improved. Take Charlotte County as an example; last year samples were collected by Charlotte County health department, Charlotte County Community Services, Florida Dept of Agriculture, various Commercial fishermen, Mote Marine staff and private citizens. That is just too many different people. The results of all this data and how this information is presented to the public is also a mess. Someone has to take control and manage the sampling and testing and release of information in a timely and useful manor.

e e


David Kitchens and Linda Outlaw. Fishing with Capt. Chris Fanelli


Since red tide comes from offshore, it's time to start continual and permanent, real time monitoring of red tide in all the passes of southwest Florida. Put some research funds into solving that problem. There is no lack of innovative ideas to help with the red tide problem. One of the cleverest comes from a group called Sarasota Bay Watch. They have recently purchased 3,600 pounds of live clams from the clam farms on Pine Island and are releasing them in Sarasota Bay. Already they have released over 250,000 clams and they intend to continue doing it into the future. Clams are filter feeders taking in gallons of water each day; they also filter and accumulate red tide toxin and this I why we are told not to eat shellfish during times of red tide. The Florida Dept of Agriculture controls commercial shellfish harvesting, so before they open the shellfish beds they take a sample of clams, grind them up and test for red tide. The clams are the saltwater version of the canary in the coal mine and probably are a good monitoring device for red tide in inshore waters. This is such a beautiful plan. The clam farmers get to sell clams with red tide in them that can't be sold as food. Sarasota Bay gets the benefit of cleaner water and we get a red tide monitoring device. Of course there will never be enough clams to filter enough red tide to have a significant impact; the real value is in the monitoring. Look at it this way: These free range clams have a lot of potential, and since red tide flushes out of them in 5- to 7-days, if it doesn’t all work out, we can just eat them.

Oyster Reef Update PAGE





New Local Book

By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor With an east wind and low tides last month at mid day, I walked out to the oyster reefs site in the Peace River behind the Punta Gorda Judicial Complex. The reefs were built during the summer of 2015. I have been concerned for the success of this project because it is submerged in fresh water so much of the time. I knew an oysterman up in Maine. I had sent him some pictures in 2015 and told him what they were planning to do here. “If anything grows there it will be real slow. They won’t get enough air,” he had said. “Maybe too much fresh water,” he added. The Nature Conservancy spent $300,000 to build these

to see some oysters. The shells zip tied to the mats were 3/4 covered with mud, the mesh-bagged shells looked pretty much as they were 4 years ago. The scattered shells looked the same. I don’t think it’s working out as planned, but I am not an oyster expert. reefs out of what amounts to a couple of truckloads of discarded oyster shells. In 2015 I was there when 30 of the of the claimed 1200 local volunteers involved went into the River and laid out the three designs of reefs. The Conservancy said they hoped the reefs made of shells would attract oyster larvae that would be ‘floating by.’ This approach has actually worked well on one East coast inshore area. To attract the oyster larvae they used either oyster shells zip tied to plastic mats, oyster shells in mesh bags or oyster shells just dumped out in a pile in the mud. Oysters are supposed to grow an inch a year so I expected

By Jennifer Huber Thereʼs A Captain in You is an inspiring memoir by Capt. Marian Schneider who created a business based on the dream of sharing and preserving the Gulf Coast environment in and around Boca Grande, Fla. Forty-six-year-old Marian had a boat and a dream when she embarked on a 27-year odyssey and the genesis of Grande Tours, the first ecotourism business in Charlotte County. Thereʼs a Captain in You is anchored in Boca Grande and Placida history. Marian hopes the book inspires others to chart their own course Inspired by her daddy's example and the lessons she learned from him, Capt. Marian built Grande Tours into a business whose foundation was in her love and respect of the environment and a desire to share with others and preserve it for future generations. Through Grande Tours, Marian introduced Charlotte County to kayak rentals, which were perfect vessels for connecting visitors with another side of nature. Marian was promoting ecotourism before most people knew what it was. Fundamental to the success of her business was her partnership with her native community of Boca Grande, a reciprocity of thanks and appreciation for what it had given her throughout her life. Capt. Marian closed Grande Tours retired in 2010. Now she spends her time between the Englewood area and North Georgia. This month, the public can connect with Capt. Marian through a series of scheduled book signings and ʻMeet and Greetsʼ. Visit her Facebook page, for times and locations. The book is available for $15.99 at Copperfish Booksellers in Punta Gorda, local booksellers, Gasparilla Outfitters, Boca Grande Outfitters, Gasparilla Inn & Club, Whidden's and on

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Sandbar & Dusky Sharks FEBRUARY 2019


By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Sharkin’ Sandbar and dusky sharks, that's what's biting..... those and maybe a few other giants! February is normally a pretty cool month before things start to warm for the spring fishing season. So what does a shark fisherman do in this cool climate? How about a little beach evening / night fishing for what is around in February. It's a beautiful time to Capt Bo Johnson of Tenacity Guide Service with a nice sandbar set the chairs on the sand, close to sunset, and shark, caught off Boca Grande. put the baits out for an evening bite. This time of year shark fishing is much slower in comparison to when the water is warmer. The average water temperature in South West Florida this time of year is usually 55- to 68- degrees. That means it’s time for the slow bite, but right now there are different and surprising sharks and other big creatures around and the cooler water temperature brings them closer to our shoreline. The main shark here now, that is not Christian Sommer with a sandbar shark around in other seasons, is the sandbar caught off the coast of Sanibel. shark. They are very distinctive in that goliath grouper, fish that are not near any they have a long dorsal fin and longer pecstructure. Sometimes we will find a tiger toral fins also. shark, a hammerhead or a sawfish in the Dusky's also don't mind the cooler wasame area of the beach. ters in February. They have somewhat of If you really want something big this smaller fins than the sandbar shark and month and you have a big go-way-outsometimes are hard to tell apart. boat, you can go 100 miles and look for Both can be caught off the beach and some of those tagged great white sharks both are great fighters. I do not fish much roaming off our coast this time of year. for sharks this month, but when I do, I tend Happy fishing and tight lines! to stay close to the beach and I get some Capt John Brossard 239-777-9279 nice big fish at times...and to my surprise we often also get hooked up with moving






the Golden Conch

By Peter Welch Water LIFE Sailing This event has drawn racers from Punta Gorda to Cape Coral in past years. Still popular now, the composition of the fleet has changed. Twelve boats and skippers that would previously race by Performance Handicap (PHRF) rules and

The Harbor 20s approach the mark

ratings are now in much smaller Harbor 20 boats. I asked one skipper “why”? Grinning, he said that post-race bar bills were getting too high! The Harbor 20 has two crew, where the 30 to 40 foot boats HARBOR 20 RESULTS: Non Spinnaker Results: True Cruising A Results: True Cruising B Results:

1st 1st 1st 1st



have 5 to 10 crew. The PHRF boats get “speed ratings” from the local sanctioning organization. Most skippers blame their “rating” for bad corrected finishing rank. Harbor 20s all have the same dimensions and thus the same rating. So the crew work is theoretically the only variable. The down side of the Harbor 20 is the low power and short range of the electric auxiliary motor, so thus they stay close to home port. Eleven of them completed four races on January 12 near the Punta Gorda shore. Results for First thru Third place are below. Fourteen Performance Handicap boats raced near Burnt Store. Two races Saturday and one Sunday. That fleet was segregated into three start’s based on their speed potential (4 boats in non spinnaker, 4 in large cruising, and 6 boats in smaller cruising) Day 1 featured winds of 13 to 16 knots with little direction change. If you got a good start, the finishing positions should be very close after the assigned performance rating correction was applied and

Crafty Lady P McFeeley Fancy Free Jerry Poquette Serendipity Mike Busher Perfect Match Walter Schroeder

SAWFISH: Data Acquisition

By Tonya Wiley Water LIFE Environment Several institutions conduct various research activities on the biology, distribution, and ecology of endangered smalltooth sawfish in the United States. These partners include State and Federal governments, universities, nonprofits, museums, and international organizations. The results of these research projects are used to make informed management decisions and enhance recovery efforts for this species. Researchers collect information about sawfish using a variety of methods: (1) sawfish captured during research field surveys for the species, (2) sawfish incidentally caught in federal fisheries, (3) sawfish carcasses, and (4) tissue samples collected from antique sawfish rostra (saws). Research field surveys for smalltooth sawfish are the most important method for collecting data. A variety of survey methods are used to capture live sawfish for scientific purposes, including longline, rod-and-reel, and gillnets. Once captured, measurements and samples are taken from each sawfish prior to tagging and release. These surveys are instrumental in monitoring trends in the abundance of the population. Fisheries observers aboard commercial fishing vessels are trained to measure, sample, and tag any sawfish incidentally captured in federally-permitted fisheries. These chance opportunities provide valuable insight in to the locations where fisheries overlap with sawfish and the condition of sawfish upon release. Necropsies of sawfish which have died in the wild provide the opportunity to collect data necessary for understanding age, growth, maturity, and reproduction. Carcass recoveries provide valuable opportunities because these data are especially important and can only be collected through dissection, and researchers are currently not comfortable sacrificing any healthy individuals

2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd


Two PHRF boats their mark

that was the case in many instances. At the end of day one Fancy Free lead Winning Golden Conch crew Non Spinnaker, Serendipity and Diva minimized. There were four of us in the Gorda were tied and Perfect Match had a first start and that race was started in light solid lead in Cruising. Most racers then wind. The two tall mast boats moved out tied to a dock at the marina and walked to with confidence but ran into a wind hole. the Platinum Point Yacht Club for dinner. Day 2 was a different story! At the pre- There was some compression of the fleet, but most ran out of wind and parked. vious day’s sailing area there was zero Fancy Free was parked near Play Mobile. wind. We waited and watched some boats They got going at about the same time but ability to maneuver slowly; perhaps via Fancy Free saved its time and finished tidal flow around the keel and rudder – first. not an acceptable race condition, so the The following week, safety boat traveled south where the Harbor 20s raced in gusts to 20 knots with rain. forecast was for light wind. Some wind was found and a new starting line moved to the south. The size of the race course was

Yellow Jacket J Scholz Playmobil Jay Nadelson Diva Gorda Rudy Gottschlich Glory Joe Onofrio

3rd 3rd 3rd 3rd

Flying Cloud Christie Van Heek Bonnie Lass George Darrell Seadaddler Nicholas Maggio Buckeye Art Gates

of this critically endangered species. Sawfish rostra are considered unique ‘trophies’ so over the years many have been retained in both public and private collections and they can provide valuable DNA. To find sawfish rostra researchers scour online databases, ask the public about sawfish rostra they own or have seen, and contact curators at museums, educational centers, aquariums, universities, and other public institutions. (Note: These antique rostra were collected prior to sawfish being listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2003. Now all sawfish species are protected in the United States and the removal or sale of sawfish rostra is illegal.) Sampling Small tissue samples are collected during field capture of live sawfish and from old rostra for genetic and stable isotope studies. Genetics are useful in understanding population structure, diversity within the population, and both the size and health of the current population in comparison to the historical one. Scientists are also using genetics to determine whether there is significant movement and genetic exchange between the U.S. and Bahamas populations of smalltooth sawfish. Stable isotopic analyses are run on tissue samples and compared to a variety of potential prey items in the environment to determine the diet and trophic position of smalltooth sawfish within the food web. Blood samples are collected from sawfish to investigate reproductive status and stress physiology. Hor-

All photos by Fran Burstein

mones within the blood are used to assess reproductive maturity and timing. Blood samples for stress physiology are being used to assess post-release mortality risk from a variety of fisheries and gears. Scientists are also using state-of-the-art technology to track the movements of smalltooth sawfish. This tracking involves capturing the animals, equipping them with acoustic transmitters, and releasing them. Depending on the objectives of the project, scientists may track them from a boat using hydrophones to determine short-term microhabitat use or set up a network of in-water receivers (acoustic listening stations) to track longer-term broad-scale movements. Acoustic transmitters can be active for up to 10 years. Larger juvenile and adult sawfish caught during surveys are also often fitted with GPS satellite tags. Because far less is known about these larger animals, researchers hope that satellite tags can reveal important adult habitats, movements, and migrations. Satellite tagging studies to date have shown that larger sawfish spent a large portion of their time in shallow coastal waters with periodic excursions to deeper waters off the shelf edge. If you catch or see a sawfish take a quick photograph of the sawfish, estimate its size, note your location, and please share the details with scientists. You can share your information by calling 1-844-4-SAWFISH (844-472-9347) or emailing

For more information about endangered sawfish visit:

or Contact: 941-201-2685






Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

FROM THE SMITHSONIAN: The Red Sea is the saltiest sea of all the seas that connect to the ocean without even one river meeting the sea. A popular hypotheses about the origins of the Red Sea's name is that it contains a cyanobacteria called Trichodesmium erythraeum, which turns the normally blue-green water a reddish-brown.

Walkway: First Section Now Open!

LAST MONTH If you are the gentleman who called us and left a message about the Goliath grouper on the January cover: Be Advised, that big mouth was a snook!!.... Not a goliath grouper!

CITIZEN PATROL: The FWC is offering rewards to citizens for reporting violations. To be eligible for a reward you must obtain a confidential code number. When reporting violations online, a code number will be sent to the email address you provide. If you do not wish to provide an email address, call 888-404-FWCC to obtain a code number. The telephones are answered 24 hours a day. The FWC says it is important to report violations as soon as possible and provide as much detail as you can about the physical descriptions of violators, vehicles, license tag numbers, etc. FWC also says: You may remain anonymous. You will not be required to testify in court. You may or may not be contacted for additional information, depending on your preference. Editor says** Um, No! It doesnʼt work that way. Your accusors must face you. STILL AT IT Officers worked a directed conservation patrol targeting illegal commercial mullet netting. A total of seven individuals were cited for a combination of quality control issues and seine net violations. In total, the officers seized three seine nets, over 1100 pounds of mullet and assorted fish.

WHATʼS GOING ON HERE? A new nano-technology (manipulation of individual atoms) fertilizer called Aqua Yield is

The first section of the new Harbor Walkway at Port Charlotte is now open and it appears the County has put the people who used to live under the bridge on notice. Shown here, Alfred Thomas from Missouri, was fishing from one of the new overlooks on January 29. “Iʼve had some nibbles,” he said, “but I just got here,” he added. The second section of the walkway will open after the erosion (from Hurricane Irma) at PowerPole Park is repaired. (PowerPole Park is not the name, people just call it that)

stopping citrus greening and doubling the yield from orange trees. It is being used in DeSoto County right now.

ALCOHOL WAS MOST DEFINITELY INVOLVED After drinking beer and swallowing live fish from an aquarium, a 28year-old Dutch man, who was not identified in the report, volunteered to swallow another fish, which he would soon find out would not pass so swimmingly as the two he had already swallowed: it was a spiky, bronze catfish. As the man's friends drank and chanted "Grote vis! Grote vis!" (Dutch for: Big fish! Big fish!"), a video of the occurrence, which was not shared, reportedly shows the man taking a big swig of beer before swallowing the fish. The catfish put up a fight, extending the spines and sharp barbs located on its dorsal, pectoral and adipose fins to prevent itself from sliding down the manʼs throat. When defending itself, the spines on its pectoral fins are also known to release a poison which is "generally harmless," but, according to the report, was very irritating. The fish quickly became lodged,

which caused the man to gag. The patient was "clearly in distress" the case report's authors later wrote, adding he then used "two fingers to induce [his] gag reflex, but the catfish only became more stuck. One of the man's friends then tried to apply the Heimlich maneuver but this too was unsuccessful. The man continued to gag before spewing blood into a bucket. "After several hours of unsuccessful self-applied treatment, along with more beer, honey and ice cream, the patient finally presented himself to the emergency department, where the fish was surgically filleted and removed.

Is the picture on the Punta Gorda Chamberʼs weekly newsletter the Art Deco District in Miami?

UNMERRY CHRISTMAS Officer Delano was on patrol in the town of Sebastian when he saw a man holding a large snook. The man was posing for a photograph next to the town park Christmas tree when Officer Delano approached. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of an over the slot size snook, no fishing license, and no snook stamp. A notice to appear was issued for the violations. The snook was seized. OYSTERS ON THE HALF WIT FWC officers were conducting water patrol in Yankeetown when they saw a commercial oyster vessel actively harvesting oysters. Officers conducted a

resource inspection on the vessel and found three of the four subjects onboard were commercially harvesting oysters without a saltwater products license. Approximately 23 percent of their oyster harvest were undersized, and the captain/owner had failed to transfer vessel title/registration within the required 30 days of purchase. Three subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for commercially harvesting without a saltwater products license. The captain was cited for possession of over five percent undersized oysters, failure to transfer vessel title/registration and was also issued a uniform boating citation for the vesselʼs expired registration.

CAT-TASTROPHE FWC officers were on airboat patrol in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) as they watched an airboat with two subjects on board. The airboat went behind a cypress head and the officers heard three consecutive shotgun blasts. The officers contacted the two subjects and found that one of the subjects harvested a bobcat. Bobcats are prohibited to be taken out of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes WMA. The individual was charged accordingly.

To go along with the trend of tiny houses there are now a tiny houseboats. Harborcottage is one manufacturer






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

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens



from Water LIFE magazine

Dave Raine -snook


Fish with a Guide

Youʼll learn something and youʼll catch more fish!

Hello. Fishing Frank told me to send you my 46 inch snook I got the other day. My name is John Slattery. If my 46 inch snook makes the cover of your fantastic fishing magazine next month, my life will be complete !!!!!Caught in Punta Gorda on a large piece of fresh Mullet.


from Water LIFE magazine

Editor notes: You almost made it! Next time, big fish, snook especially, need to be kept horizontal. The March cover is still open!

One of the most common fish around is still the black drum. The 41-Bridges, the I-75 Bridge, the Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda canals are all loaded with black drum. Some people say drum are no good to eat, but fish in the 22- to 24-inch range are really quite tasty. They like hugging the seawall, like snook. Use a 4-0 to 5-0 hook and put a good size blob of shrimp on it, I mean... multiple shrimp on the same hook and put it down just a couple of feet off the seawall. There are sheepshead around the ICW and the near shore reefs. There have been some big ones caught in the Harbor, but the bigger ones seem to be travelling in twos or threes, so it’s hard to target them. They are best inside the barrier islands, in Lemon Bay and the piers in that area. There are a lot of little redfish around. They are still small on the east side, the bigger fish are back further in the creeks and mangroves. Up by the Myakka there are quite a few in the cutoff. You may have to look for a while, but then you are in them. The biggest reds are hanging along the ICW. Snook is pretty pretty darn good everywhere – lots an lots of snook. Big monsters way up the rivers and canals (and I assume the Caloosahatchee) where the water is a little bit warmer. This is a great time to go after big fish. In the evening in the canal, guys are using big topwaters, the biggest topwater they can find, kinda like AJ topwaters. The technique is: work- work-workstop. Look for where the seawalls curve from one to another. Work against the tide. Definitely this is the year of the big snook. I’m hearing better trout down to the south St James PI Sound. Guys are using shrimp that pop backwards or turning the hooks around. Let it drift to the bottom and snap them up and then let them fall back. Out in the gulf, snapper is

going to continue to be spectacular: lane in 40-, yellow in 60- and mangs in every depth. The Big grouper are at 80-feet but they are ping-ponging back and forth. Sixty feet is the closest for keeper reds. Gags are in the passes and back up to the flats. Freshwater it’s the last month to get your crappie fix in. It’s still pretty good, but it’s on a minnow bite. Bass is real good. Shrimping is very good at night in the passes. Dipping at Placida has been excellent.

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

Fishing has been ok, but you gotta deal with the weather so sometimes you can’t get to where you want to. Sheepshead are good inshore at all the piers, all the docks, the phosphate, the trestle, and off shore on the close in reefs, we’re seeing a lot of the bigger ones, like 18 -19 inches. Inshore the guys had really good trout fish and a number of guys said they were doing OK on redfish. Topwater artificials are doing really well. Some places have a nice concentration of snook in the warmer pockets, in the back country. There is quite a bit of juvenile tarpon up in Godfrey and Buck, but Coral Creek is the more noteworthy one for tarpon right now. One of the guys said they were catching a lot of pompano on West Wall, up from Cape Haze. Offshore, on the days the guys get out they are getting red grouper, porgy, grunt and the usual mess of snapper. A couple guys got some African pompano around the 100-foot line. It seems like there are more and more of them around Freshwater is going OK too, lot of bass in the South Gulf Cove cattail reeds – 4-pounders are big 2- to 3-pounds are more usual there. Englewood Sports Park on River Road has some nice small bass action in the ponds fishing with light stuff.

Englewood Bait House

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


The BIG-4 SHEEPSHEAD Under the trestles, piers and docks




Fish you can expect in

BLACK DRUM All over the upper Harbor and canals

SNOOK Bigger fish are further back in the creeks

TROUT Pine Island Sound has the nicest trout

Text Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4


Nearshore and inshore water temps are low 60s Fishing has been good Red Tide in a few places

95˚ 90˚


Thomas Dimatteo tarpon with three remoras hanging on

from Water LIFE magazine


from Water LIFE magazine

85˚ 80˚


Ariel Rivera Jr largemouth bass, Cecil Webb WMA

72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚


from Water LIFE magazine


Slim Jim with a 26in yellowtail and tearing up on some red grouper sw Florida, second week of January


from Water LIFE magazine

Dave with red grouper while fishing with Bobby Irvin jr.


from Water LIFE magazine

This was the last picture we received before going to print this month


from Water LIFE magazine

Snook caught by Joe Sheaffer Placida Pier


from Water LIFE magazine

This is Rylie Cook from Toronto who did a catch and release of this 39-pound drum caught from a back yard dock in PGI

19-inch, 3-pound 6-ounce largemouth bass caught by Reuben Cotarelo







Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE Feb 2019  

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

Water LIFE Feb 2019  

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

Profile for waterlife