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t G he S im S A m N VE P e A ag a I e B LS 11 re ak ? !

Wa t e r LIFE Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay & the Gulf

The Don Ball School of Fishing

July 2014

Ain始t Scared ... much!


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Fishing Report Page 22

Pilgrimage to Fish-Mecca Page 19


Page 10

Bowfishing for Rays Page 7

What Is Down There?

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Always FREE!





JULY 2014

JULY 2014








JULY 2014

Tune in to Radio Fishinʼ anytime! Talk shows with Fishinʼ Frank @

Water LIFE inc.

Send letters and photos to:

Don Ball School

Michael & Ellen Heller Publishers

(941) 766-8180

217 Bangsberg Rd. Port Charlotte, FL 33952

Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication Vol XIII No 7 © 2014

13-year old Christian Bolero took third place and $400 in the catfish division at Fishin Frankʼs Shark Tournament last month. Christianʼs fish weighed 4.2 pounds. Christian is a graduate from the Punta Gorda class of the Don Ball School of Fishing class of 2013. Online registration on the website goes up August 15 for this yearʼs classes at Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Murdock and L.A. Ainger middle schools. The classes are for 7th graders only. This year the late Don Ballʼs wife Donna Ball will be helping us run the program.

No part of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied or reproduced without specific written permission from the publishers.

Contributing Editors:

Hey Mike Here is a picture of my step son Christian Van Der Veer and me with a nice redfish we caught in June. Adam Wilson Dear Sir, I caught this "trophy" trout in Bull Bay. It measured 27 inches and weighed 5 pounds. For your consideration.....many thanks in advance! Les Markiewicz

Walkers and fishermen share the Port Charlotte side of the US-41 bridge walkway since Punta Gorda outlawed fishing from their side. Recent reports indicate there has been some conflict over access and several people have told us there has been human excrement (not just pee-pee) on the walkway. Something must be done about those damn joggers! – editor!

Photography: Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago River and Shore: Fishinʼ Frank Charlotte Harbor: Capt. Billy Barton Family Fishing: Capt. Bart Marx Punta Gorda: Capt. Chuck Eichner Venice: Glen Ballinger Kayaking: David Allen Sea Grant: Betty Staugler Offshore: Capt. Jim OʼBrien Gulf Fishing: Capt. Steve Skevington Gasparilla: Capt. Orion Wholean Beach Fishing: Mallory Herzog Circulation: Robert Cohn Office Dog: Molly Brown

on the COVER: So big it will make you laugh! A Goliath grouper is landed and then released by Capt. Steve Skevington on a Paridise Charters trip late last month. More offshore, inside.

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JULY 2014



“I Must Have Misunderstood Something” .. beat poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti

By Michael Heller Water LIFE Editor I received an email from a man named Have I got this correct? The teeth in the sharkʼs jaw Alan Ogle is holding Scott who donʼt match up to the Google photos for a hammerhead. Do you agree? told me that I remember taking the the picture we ran last month of Capt. Alan Ogle, with the picture, but does anybody else remember hearing that jaws from what I said was his all-tackle-record hammerthose jaws were from his record hammerhead? Am I head shark, was inaccurate, that those jaws were not from dreaming? Did Alan not tell me that? Am I losing it? a hammerhead. I asked him how he knew this and he just ‘How do you know that is not a hammerhead?’ I asked said: ‘Google it,’ so I did ... and it appears he is correct. Scott and he told me he was an avid fishermen and diver, Alan’s record shark jaws were (almost) ‘urban fishing a fossil and shark tooth collector. “I've been obsessed legend’ in Punta Gorda in 1997 when I was editor of the with them since I was a kid. I see a lot of jaws misidentiPunta Gorda Herald and my office was right behind Bill’s fied. I just thought you should know,” he said. Tackle, which Alan owned.


Well yes, I should! Alan’s record was in the IGFA record book. I called the IGFA to see if I could look at a picture of the shark and maybe see its teeth, but the record has been surpassed and they didn’t have the picture any more. I tried to find Alan on the internet - again, no luck. So until someone tells him and he calls me, I’ll reserve comment. Maybe I’m losing it, maybe Alan had two sets of big shark jaws. There must be some explanation. If you know, or you think you know, please tell me!





Prepare to be Lucky By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Inshore What does it take to have a successful day of fishing on Charlotte Harbor? Luck! ... but not exactly. Being prepared for what ever the day brings is one of the biggest keys and as hard as it is for me to admit, I have been caught unprepared. With so many different species of fish it is easy to leave the dock focused on one without realizing one of your best days fishing for a different species could be right in front of you.

I have two really good clients that fish with me several times during the Spring. Generally our agenda is to snook fish. One glass- calm morning a couple years ago while running south in about 6- to 8feet of water, we came across a huge school of very large black drum. Since I had my blinders on and was focused on snook fishing, I was unprepared for them. I didn’t have any shrimp or crab for bait, both of which are very high on the drum’s list of food items. The simple task of me stopping by the bait shop for a couple dozen shrimp would have made that day even better. Often times when I’m tarpon fishing with clients the opportunity for other species comes along. Normally it is sharks or Spanish mackerel. Often these fish are

Both tarpon and drum eat blue crabs

JULY 2014

The sardines have finally shown back up!

seen as pests when trying to tarpon fish, but depending on my clients and the tarpon bite, we sometimes might want to try and catch them. On Father’s day this year I was fishing for tarpon with a client, Rich, who has become a good buddy of mine. We went up one of the local rivers to stay clear of the weekend boat traffic. I was far enough up that I had mostly cut bait. We both had our tarpon eyes on and were very observant. We saw a big school of large fish along a deep shoreline. After a few minutes of watching we realized we had come across a school of black drum. This time I was prepared. I had a couple dozen blue crabs for bait that day. To make things exciting we grabbed the light rods spooled with 10-pound Power Pro and caught a half- dozen fish the smallest of which was 20-pounds and the largest pushing 50! It bottomed out my 30-pound

Boga Grip with a third of the fish still on the deck! Luck may play a part of fishing, but being prepared will help you with the luck part every time - I promise you that!! If you would like to experience some of Charlotte Harbors finest fishing give me a call Capt. Dave Stephens 941-916-5769

Bowfishing the Flats JULY 2014

By Mallory Herzog Water LIFE Beach Fishing The last few years I've been stuck on land – which is also fantastic, relaxing and fishing on our beautiful local beaches – but it gets crowded and boring after 4 years. So thankfully, the last few months, I've had the opportunity to get out on the water more and do a little exploring. You know what’s better than having your own boat? Having friends with boats! This past weekend we went out with Bo & Deidra Johnson’s Tenacity Guide Service, hoping to catch some sharks and assist local tagging efforts. We arrived at the boat ramp about 8 a.m. and headed out to catch bait for the day. Sting ray is one of the best baits for shark due to it being one of their natural food sources but collecting them for shark fishing can be slow and tedious. Usually we find some sting rays and use a simple snatch hook to grab them as they swim by. But not Bo & Deidra! They collect their shark bait for the day in a fun and unconventional way, by bow fishing! They use Athens Archery Bows with a bow fishing kit attached. This essentially is like a fishing reel you attach to the bow. You can set it up on a buoy system for bigger game or have it attached to the bow fishing reel. These bows have lower draw weight so both men and women can easily use them. The website has more information on this up and coming fishing sport. We cruised over the flats searching for southern sting rays laying up and getting some morning sun. Almost right away we spotted rays cruising on the flats! It takes skill to hit one of these rays! They are fast moving and spook easily when they see you. It also takes a bit of doing to get adjusted to depth perception through the water. Bo was first to hit a ray.


We had my 7 year old son Aiden hand line it to the boat! It wasn't too long before we got the hang of it and were filled up with bait for the day! This was a lot of fun and got the entire family involved with collecting bait, which is usually a boring experience! We de-barbed the sting rays for our safety before putting them in the live well. Southern sting rays especially, have a large barb on the base of their tails that can stick you bad. Like normal fishing, there are bowfishing (spearing) regulations. License requirements are the same as for other methods of fishing here in Florida. Bowfishing may be prohibited in some places, so check before you head out or hire an experienced guide! Some counties even prohibit bowfishing.


FWC Says:


Spearing is defined as "the catching or taking of a fish by bow hunting, gigging, spearfishing, or by any device used to capture a fish by piercing its body. Spearing does not include the catching or taking of a fish by a hook with hook and line gear or by snagging (snatch hooking).

YOU MAY NOT SPEAR THESE SPECIES Billfish (all species) Spotted eagle ray Sturgeon Manta ray Sharks Bonefish Tarpon Goliath Grouper Snook Blue Crab Nassau grouper Spotted seatrout Red drum Weakfish Stone Crab Pompano African pompano Permit Tripletail Lobster Families of ornamental reef fish (surgeonfish, trumpetfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, porcupinefish, cornetfish, squirrelfish, trunkfish, damselfish, parrotfish, pipefish, seahorse, puffers, triggerfish except gray and ocean)

Top: Mallory with a tray, Andrew Herzog (left) and Bo with a couple more rays, Left: Fearless 7-year old Aiden bringing one aboard. Above: Dierdra and Mallory striking a pose.

More at: m/fishing/saltwater/r ecreational/spearing





JULY 2014

Super-Sized Slam By Capt Billy Barton Water LIFE INSHORE No matter what kind of fisherman you are in this world, no matter what kind of tackle you use, or what kind of fish you chase, no matter how big those fish are or what time or place you get it done at, you fish with a goal. You have a target. A mission. And if you complete your mission during that expedition, then it was a success. If you don't, well I suppose that's what keeps you coming back. All fisherman have this in common. We're all on a mission. Some fishing trips tend to stand out in our minds more than others. Some trips

we just want to forget even happened and some trips we will remember as long as we live. Those are the ones we all like to shoot for. I had one of those memorable trips this past month with a return client/ friend of mine, Mark Lee. Mark just retired after 30 years in dentistry and now owns a house in Punta Gorda. Over the past four years he's been out with me several times fishing the flats and nearshore in the Gulf. He's experienced a ton of great fishing and quite a bit of what this beautiful place has to offer. The one thing he was still missing however, was his first tarpon. It had already been

discussed on trips prior. Needless to say we went on a mission. Last month we were out early morning, fully prepared and in search of his first silver king. We both had our game faces on as we headed to the beaches on Gasparilla Island where the tarpon were showing themselves all around us. Live crabs were the bait of choice. The sun was just coming up. I knew, and explained to him prior that we could definitely have a chance at sunrise. I positioned us on the fish which, by the way, seemed very happy. We were the only boat on them at that point. After about 5 minutes of fishing – I had my head turned at that point – but I heard Mark’s drag screaming. I

scrambled to prepare space and get him set for battle. Mark was all smiles but he knew it had just begun. His jaw dropped as the fish flew 6 or 8 feet in the air. After 20 minutes Mark was exhausted and sweating profusely. He was ready to be done! I told him "man you gotta break his will!" The fish jumped several times during the battle but we had the fish boatside in roughly 30 minutes. We took several pictures and I revived her to be caught another day. The joy all over Mark’s face sent instant gratification through my salty veins. This is what I live for! There's no better feeling as a guide than getting your crew exactly what they desire. We laughed as it was only a little after 8 am. I tried to talk him into an XXL Slam – tarpon, shark, Goliath grouper – but he said his arms and back had had enough! So I went and threw the cast net on some live bait and we opted to go fish the grass flats in search of a Charlotte Harbor slam (snook, redfish, trout). We figured if we caught those fish, plus the

JULY 2014




Gags are Good 2 Go! season Opened July 1

tarpon, that would be a Grand Slam and a great goal for the day! First stop, Mark was hooked up. It was a solid 21-inch trout. Two fish to go and we knew it! The next species I was in search of was our snook. I headed us back into Turtle Bay where I knew there were some snook laying under the bushes. A short period on the clock and a 25-inch snook later, we

were down to needing just that one decent redfish. Which I assumed wouldn't be too tough to find. Well I was wrong. We hit a little road block. The first three species came so easily that when we had to hit a halfdozen holes and still didn't find our redfish, we began to wonder. I was getting a little discouraged and wondered if Murphy’s Law was gonna get us! It happened though! At roughly one o'clock in the after-

noon, and it was a solid 26-inch redfish. Mark looked at me, his face covered with sweat and an ear to ear grin. They don't call it a Grand Slam for nothing! We had accomplished our mission. The ultimate satisfaction went both ways and neither one of us was ever going to forget this day. Good luck to you, on your missions, fisher-folk! Capt. Billy Barton, Scales & Tails Fishing Charters 941- 979-6140

Caught close to 70 miles out on a calm day last month on Mike's boat called Shutter Speed. We had to vent this Gag Grouper and return it.

Capt. Dan Cambren, Hammerhead Charters. These fish went back last month, this month they will come home.




Got Ęťem while we could ...


JULY 2014

9 Day Red Snapper Season: Done!

By Glen Ballinger Water LIFE Venice The weather cooperated and we got out deep for red snapper a few times during the brief nine day season last month. Most of the red snapper were beyond 45 miles in 145 to - 180-feet of water – out deeper for sure! My first trip was with Capt. Bob Breton on Serenity Charters in Venice and the bite was fast and furious. Bob put us on them for sure, he works hard for each and every charter to catch fish. The mate even jumped in the water to retrieve a 14-pound floater that broke the line! Mid week I went again with Capt. Ed Johnson out of Nokomis. Ed is one of the most experienced captains around and has great spots within 30 miles of the Inlet. His charters are all 4 Karie Daniel, Glen Ballinger, Pat and Capt. Ed Johnson people or less. And I went again with Mike Fuller from Englewood on the Shutter Speed a 31-foot Contender. We got some nice snapper and also found large gag grouper out in 160' of water. We fished both live bait and frozen sardines.

Glen Ballinger and a nice snapper

Pat Tormey, Dave Nelson and 22 pounds from 160-foot depth on live pin fish

Save the Siltsnail On The Line JULY 2014

By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff Looks like some of my friends in the environmental community have reached a new level of ridiculousness and I'm talking about the Center for Biological Diversity. These guys are basically a west coast law firm that have found a way to save the earth for fun and profit. What they do is find an obscure species, then file a request


with the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service to have that species added to the Endangered Species List. The Feds have a short period of time to answer their request in a timely manor and when they don't, the CBD sues them. Now why would a big time environmental law firm sue a government agency that's trying to protect our wildlife? Well, for the money of course. If the CBD wins, the government (ie: we tax payers) have to pay their legal fees and I'm sure they get the going rate for high power Washington DC lawyers. The CBD wins most of their cases and they are really known for doing a ‘volume business.’ Back in 2011 they had swamped the Feds by filing 757 petitions requesting management plans be made for all of these species. The load was so great that the Fish and Wildlife Service ground to a halt. To get out of the fix the parties reached an out of court settlement (sound familiar? think Manatee ) ; the Fed's agreed to have a plan for the 757 species completed by 2018 and the CBD agreed to limit any new request to no more than 10 a year. This year they are using one of that allotment right here in Florida . In the northern part of the state, just a little southwest of Lake City, is the Ichetucknee River. Since it is only six miles long you really can't think of it as a real river. Its claim to fame is the blue hole springs that feed the river and the tubing down the river the locals do on a hot summer day. Some place on the west bank of the Ichetucknee River is the home of the Ichetucknee siltsnail. By snail standards this one is pretty small, about the size of a


pencil eraser; the siltsnail lives in the muck around the tree roots in the water on the bank of the river. The CBD has determined that there are 10 square yards of this area ( really!... just 10 square yards!) that are critical siltsnail habitat and in 2011 they put in a request to the Feds to protect this critical habitat and prevent the siltsnail from becoming extinct. The Feds have not responded to their request; so it’s now time to sue. This river is on state land and part of a state park, but I guess they figure they can get more money out of the FEDs. The CBD does list what they consider to be the threats to the survival of the siltsnail. The river is fed by an underground natural spring that has probably been flowing for a 1000 years, but the CBD has pointed out that some day the spring may dry up and where would the poor siltsnail be then? They are also concerned about the runoff from the wooded areas on both sides of the river. They do have a point; it is established scientific fact that bears do poop in the woods. The last threat is the most


alarming. The CBD describes the threat of nitrate pollution from atmospheric deposition. If you can't figure this one out ; let me take you back to your grade school science class. Nitrogen is the most abundant gas in our atmosphere. When there is lightning a portion of the nitrogen is “fixed” and falls to earth with the rain, where it can be taken up by plants. Think of it as natures free fertilizer. The CBD feels that the FEDs should do something about these threats and if they don't, they should be forced to pay the CBD for bringing the problem to their attention. If they win the suit the Ichetucknee Siltsnail will make it to the Endangered Species List. I think the CBD is missing out on free publicity and the big bucks in sports merchandising. If they could only get a pro team to change their name to the Fighting Siltsnails, they could really make some money. Maybe they should call the Redskins?





JULY 2014


The Reef Builder

Water LIFE Report Have you ever fished the Palm Island Ferry Reef? The Palm Island Ferry was sunk in March of 1999 by then Charlotte County Sea Grant Agent Rich Novak, with help from a dedicated group of local divers and fishermen. We were there. It was Novak始s intention to sink the Ferry stern first and have it land upside down on the bottom so the angled loading ramp (shown) would form a covered area of structure off the bottom. Two large concrete culverts were attached to the stern to weight it, and down she went, rolling, hitting and settling just as Novak planned. There were small fish on it almost immediately. Novak later sunk the giant concrete support beams and pilings from the old I-75 bridge in a criss-cross pattern to construct the Trembly Reef and one other large reef just north of Trembly, which after his passing in 2004, was commissioned in Novak始s name. If the fishing is good for you on one of Charlotte County始s popular artificial reefs, have a beer and thank Rich.

The Palm Island Ferry stopped carrying cars and began holding fish in 1999

OFFSHORE Capt. Dan Cambern of Hammerhead Charters landed this sailfish last month. We are seeing more and more of these in our waters every year.

Reef Fishing Report

By Capt. Orion Wholean Water LIFE Gasparilla Sound Recently, tarpon fishing has been the latest buzz, but most people have forgotten about the amazing offshore fishery here in south west Florida. In the summer months the weather, the species, and the excitement can be amazing. Amberjack, snapper, grouper, Goliath grouper and shark are just a few of the many fish you get into on some of the artificial wrecks . From 5 miles to 30 there's been an abundance of cobia ranging in size from 10 to 50-pounds. At about 20 miles and farther snapper and amberjack have been biting the second you get your bait in the water. Sending down a live threadfin almost insures your rod will be down to the gunnel battling an amberjack or giant Jack crevalle. Live shrimp or cut up bait work very well for yellowtail, lane and vermilion snapper. Be sure to reel your fish in fast or else the Goliath grouper or sharks will snatch them from you quickly. If you're looking for red grouper, look for Swiss cheese bottom and you will certainly find fish from the 20 to 30 inch range.

Capt. Orion Wholean - AJs on cut bait

JULY 2014



Scallop Survey July 26!

By Capt. Betty Staugler Water LIFE Environment Bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) occur throughout Floridaʼs Gulf Coast and up to West Palm Beach on the Atlantic Coast. Bay scallops are known as bivalves, meaning two valves (shells). Scallops open their valves when feeding or breathing and close it when predators approach. Bay scallops feed by filtering particles from the water. It accomplishes this by funneling water across two pathways called siphons. One pathway takes the water in where the particles are skimmed off and then the second pathway expels the remaining filtered water. A single adult scallop can pump as much as 15.5 quarts of water per hour. An adult bay scallop can reach sizes up to three inches. In the water, they are recognized by their many tiny blue eyes that line the rim of each shell. These eyes detect movement. When threatened, a scallop swims away by quickly closing its shell, expelling the water inside which propels the scallop through the water. Bay scallops live the majority of their lives in shallow water seagrass meadows. They prefer higher salinity waters (over 20 parts per thousand) and require good water quality conditions. There was a time when bay scallop populations in southwest Florida were healthy enough to support recreational and commercial harvest. Today, recreational harvest of bay scallops is only allowed in state waters north of the Pasco-Hernando county line to the west bank of Mexico Beach Canal. This yearʼs recreational harvest season is from June 28th through September 24th. For more information about recreational harvesting including legal requirements, bay scallop ramp guides, and tips for storing, cleaning and preparing bay scallops, read-

ers can visit

Bay scallops live a very short life, only 12-18 months. Each fall adult bay scallops reproduce, sending millions on tiny eggs into the water column. Although a bay scallop can produce both eggs and sperm, it cannot do it at the same time - So, each egg relies on other scallops for fertilization. Fertilized eggs become floating larvae within 36 hours. The free-floating eggs and larvae can travel considerable distances away from their source. After another two weeks they become tiny ʻspatʼ and settle out on seagrass blades. From here, they develop their shell and eventually drop to the sea floor. From the time spawned until adulthood, bay scallops are preyed upon. Only one out of the millions of eggs released will ever reach adulthood. Each year, in order to assess the status of bay scallop populations in local waters, volunteer “Great Bay Scallop Searches” are conducted. These no harvest events are a great way for citizens to contribute to science in a fun and meaningful way. This yearʼs Charlotte County event will be July 26th. I hope to see you then! Capt. Betty Staugler Florida Sea Grant Agent UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County (941) 764-4346


Call for Scallop Volunteers You can participate in the Scallop Search on July 26th. The search is a resource-monitoring program where volunteers snorkel, looking for scallops in select seagrass areas. The purpose of this program is to monitor and document health and status of the scallop population.

About 40 shallow draft boats are needed with up to 150 participants. participants Canoes and

Kayaks are also welcome. Snorkelers without boats are welcome, however boat space is limited. Scallop searchers will meet at 8:30am at Gasparilla Marina to receive survey equipment and instructions for the monitoring event. Lunch will be provided once you return to shore.

Volunteers need to bring: a mask,

snorkel and gloves and be able to snorkel/swim 50 meters (about 150 feet)—fins and weight belt are optional.

Reservations are required and survey sites and equipment are limited. The Scallop Search promises to again be a popular event—so sign up early!


For additional information and event registration scan the code to the right or visit: email: or by calling 941-764-4346.




Diving with Adam Wilson


By Adam Wilson Water LIFE Under Water I have been seeing more and more of the anemones.

JULY 2014

help staring at big old 15 pound gags that are right in front of me. My buddy Eric Pinkham, nephew of charter captain Dave Pinkham who ran the Legacy charter boat out of Venice, with a couple of monster 8 and 9 pound mangrove snappers (below).

We dived the Mohawk yesterday for the first time. It is pretty cool, but artificial reefs will never hold the allure of an actual shipwreck for me. There were only a couple of Goliath And look at my older stepson Christian (right) and Jake Rhines, two 16-year olds! We went to the Keys last weekend to help a buddy fill a 2,000 pound stingray order. They use them for stone crab bait. I kept a small one and it was delicious. We speared them out of a skiff on the flats behind Ramrod Key.

grouper on the ship. I was surprised by that and the fact that the exposed limestone bottom under the ship holds lots of little tropical fish and shells.

Gag grouper are extremely difficult to get pictures of. They only time I can do it is toward the end of the closure when they start to become less and less shy. I can't

Finally, here is Jake with a red grouper that weighed 21 pounds 15 ounces on a certified scale. One of the biggest I have ever seen!

JULY 2014


Private Stock By Fishin’ Frank Water LIFE Baitshop I am lucky enough to have a store where I can stock lures that don’t really sell. Why would I stock lures that are not popular and are not good sellers? Well for me, you silly goose – they are the lures I like to fish with. Below are a few of the classic lures which to me, like Patsy Cline's singing, will always be in style and will always be cool.

If I were to go for redfish, the Cotton Cordell Red-fin CS8598 is a shallow running lure that looks like someone squeezed it too hard. It is bright gold with an orange belly, it looks like red fish candy. While there are a lot of ways to work this lure, a slow steady retrieve with a sharp twitch works best. If you have less than two feet of water start and stop your reeling to give it a second to float up a little.. and keep the tip of your rod high. This was the first lure I ever caught a redfish on.

Switching to snook, they love to hit a top water lure. The fist snook I caught on a top-water I was fishing with my dad, the lure was a Mirro-O-lure 7M-26, the number 7M means it is a floating lure and the 26 means red back, white belly, sliver sides. Simple as can be, cast it out and when it hits the water, wait 3 seconds then tighten your line and shake your rod tip, wait another 3 seconds and then jerk your rod making the lure go just under the water, you should hear a choooos sound, wait for the lure to rise back to the surface, then jerk it again. The key to success is hearing that choooos which makes the snook crazy, Wait until you feel the weight of the fish before you set the hook. I hope you have a good heart, when that snook hits, it will stop your pulse. Top water lure fishing for any fish is the ultimate thing in fishing, not only do you get to fight the fish but you see the strike and that is really cool. If you have never worked a top-water lure and would like to, get a Devil Horse, there is no wrong way to work it. I have started thou-

sands of people using top-waters with a Devil's Horse lure. What makes it simple is that it has a prop on both ends front and rear and it floats flat on the top of the water. You can give your rod a sharp pull holding the tip of the rod close to the water, if your tip is up, you lift the lure off the water. What you need is to pull the lure sharply across the surface. If pulling is a problem reel quickly and stop, reel and stop, or just twitch the tip of your rod, or just toss it out and reel it in. This has to be the easiest lure to learn on. Crank baits or lures with a lip on them are some of the most versatile lures there are. Talk about easy to learn or use, they are shaped to look like a bait fish and the lip on the front catches the water as you reel forcing the lure below the surface. While you are reeling the water deflects off of the lip and makes the front of the lure move from side to side giving it a swimming motion. This action is very noisy and makes a


lot of vibration. Back in the 1980s a hot bass lure, the Rattlin Rogue, came out. It was the number one bass lures on the tournament trail for several years - blue back, silver side, orange belly. Wham, wham, wham, snook after snook. The only thing about the Rogue is it does not go very deep and is hard to keep down in a swift current. So when the current is fast I switch to a B15APBLF Bomber lure which has the same color pattern, but is a suspending lure, with big BBs in the body to keep it under the water and add a rattlin noise. Cast it sideways along the structure, reeling along the face of the pilings. The trick is to get the lures inches away from the pilings while not getting stuck on them. Feel the strike, set the hook, and run for the back of the boat.

Twenty six years ago the number one snook lure was the Maverick Golden Eye, still made today in Pennsylvania. It has a wobble un-like any other lure. The ghost color or the red head/ white body still to this day are the best lures for river snook under the docks. The Maverick comes in


two sizes and I use the smaller one for almost everything. Trolling is my favorite use of the smaller Maverick, no matter if I am in the Harbor for trout, Spanish mackerel, or in the Gulf where they catch the heck out of blue runners and dozens of other fish. The blue runners part of it make me take this lure whenever I go for king mackerel. Trolling the Maverick works. Soft plastic paddle-tail shad are an all around bait that has caught, I think, every species of fish here in Charlotte Harbor. I like the DOA Calshad 443 PEP/Chart, I like a 1/4 once jig head as I don't have the paitence to let it sink enough with the lighter weight jig heads and this bait needs to hop, move up and down, not dart

These lures are not fashionable, they just work and they are not expensive either. It is nice to be at the place in my life where I can use up wall space for my own toys, Life is Good, and good luck to you out there. Just because it is old and been around a while does not mean it doesn't work. Look at me I am still here! 625-3888



Trippinʼ Out

By Capt Billy Barton Water LIFE INSHORE If you are into the sport of fishing, and you're up for a new challenge that will make your day, you MUST go target a tripletail. Tripletail to me, are one of the most enjoyable sport fish to target in our waters. They take short, strong bursts of line off your spool in a split second and DO NOT like seeing the boat! Almost like a cobia, these fish are constantly on the move, finding floating grass or debris to feed under, or a channel marker to sit on. These predators are also notorious for hanging above crab traps and around buoy ropes where they feed on small shrimp, crabs, and bait fish that pass through. If you find them near the surface on a



piece of structure, when they see you, they usually just spook to the bottom. What you want to do is than back off of them in stealth, then position your boat a decent cast away from where you last saw them. You won’t need anything special for tackle, a small spinning outfit is perfect. What I use for them is 10pound braid, with about a 3 foot piece of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. At the end a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook and a small split shot sinker about a foot away from the hook. I've been fishing for these fish with live bait fish, however they will eat live shrimp too. Make your shot at the structure and let your bait slowly sink to the bottom. The objective is to keep them from running back to the structure when

JULY 2014

on trippletail

hooked. Other than that if you have them in open water just let the drag sing and enjoy the fight. When you get them in the boat be careful, these fish have serious armor (razor sharp gill plates, sharp spines and teeth, and thick scales) you name it, they have it. They're a little tough to clean, but make fantastic table fair that's well worth the work. I could go on for days about how impressed I am with them. This past month, fishing for tripletail has been nothing less than epic, however now it’s almost over. I hope this educated some of you out there. These are awesome fish!

Capt. Billy Barton, Scales & Tails Fishing Charters 941- 979-6140

Whether you are looking to list your home, buy a new home, or bring friends and family to join you in Florida, call me to help you find what you are looking for!

Lennore Shubel – Realtor Cell: 631-741-4589 Email:

What is Down There? JULY 2014



Origins of the hammerhead Old Hitler Adapted from a 2006 report By Scott Butherus The origin of the legends seems to have its roots in the deep channels of Boca Grande Pass. As with many tales of mythical creatures, the legend gains credence from the geographical attributes of the region. The Pass is a small strip of waterway off of Gasparilla Island that connects Charlotte Harbor to the Gulf of Mexico. Several steep underwater ledges, some as deep as 75 feet, pockmark the pass bottom and serve as a cauldron of activity for gigantic marine creatures. During the 1950s and '60s, Boca Grande was a major hub of Florida's railroads and a major shipping port for several industries, including the local phosphate mines. The huge shipping vessels that traveled through the pass on a daily basis along with regular dredging helped create an underwater channel on the Harbor floor that acted as a funnel during the changing "hill" tides, pulling entire schools of baitfish and crustaceans into the pass and down into the deep ledges. The abundance of food and available cover made it an ideal environment for large tarpon, which would crowd into the deep holes by the hundreds. The giant schools of tarpon would then attract an even bigger predator, sharks. Just like the dark murky waters of Loch Ness that fostered the imaginations of those looking for monsters, the deep ledges of Boca Grande, just a couple hundred yards from shore, offered a mysterious "what is down there?" atmosphere. There have always been large sharks along Florida's coast, but one stood out. The legend revolved around a gigantic shark that had a large gash in its top fin, an injury it sustained after a rumored run-in with a mullet fisherman sometime in the early sixties. The fisherman struck the shark with a machete after the creature mauled a net full of fish and began bumping his 15-foot

Was this him? Boca Grande, 1980s, this was a big animal

vessel with its flat head. Legend has it the hammerhead swam away with the large knife still embedded in its dorsal fin. The largest hammerhead ever pulled from these waters was a 17-foot, 1-inch, 1,386-pound monster that was caught using a chain, rope and an inflatable innertube off the Rod & Reel Pier on Anna Maria Island by Frank Cavendish and Ralph French in 1973. The shark,


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dubbed "Spiro," was caught using a 14-pound manta ray as bait. There have also been several documented reports of hammerheads of comparable, if not bigger, size along the Gulf coast. On February 22, 1983, Coast Guard helicopter rescuers plucked Robert Jones and Carol Mobley from their stranded fishing boat after three days off the coast of Clearwater while being circled by a school of great hammerheads. Heavy waves and engine troubles had forced the pair to jettison over 300 pounds of grouper which attracted the sharks. On August 7, 1999, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office helicopter pilot Carl Burgerhoff had to land on the northern tip of Gasparilla Island to warn beach goers after he spotted an estimated 15-foot hammerhead heading toward a group of young swimmers on an isolated beach. A biological possibility? The average lifespan of a great hammerhead is estimated to be 20 to 30 years, but they could live much longer. "It is possible they could live to be 70 years old or more, especially the larger ones," says Mote Marine researcher Dr. Bob Hueter. It is highly unlikely that the fish that spawned the legend of Old Hitler is the same fish still roaming these waters, but is it possible that every few years a different lunker of a shark moves in? According to Dr. Hueter, "great hammerheads do show site fidelity. The suspicion is that the same fish return to this site every year following the schools of tarpon." They also breed here. "There are some big sharks that come in every year. Old Hitler is just the name given to the biggest of those hammerheads," says guide Mark Futch, whose family has fished the waters of Boca Grande for "over a hundred years." As long as hammerheads the size of fishing boats are spotted along Florida's coast, the legend of Old Hitler will live on.

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Developments in Paddling PAGE


By David Allen Water LIFE Kayaking I’ve been asked questions by new-comers to Florida about what kind of kayak I would recommend. To adequately answer that question, it is first necessary to understand a little about the current trend in kayaking. There are more viable options today for the first time kayak buyer than ever before. In addition to the more traditional fiberglass and roto-molded polyethylene kayaks, Kevlar and carbon fiber are now being used much more often for construction of high end kayaks by Epic and Current Design. As the polyester resins used in fiberglass have become more expensive due to higher crude oil prices, Kevlar and carbon kayaks have become more competitively priced. Trylon, a rigid, thermoformed ABS plastic with a thin acrylic outer cap, is one of the newer materials

The 12ʼ-8”, $1,249 trylon Excursion 128 from Hurricane Kayaks weighs 47 pounds

that has made inroads at the marketplace. Trylon is strong, light weight, inexpensive to produce, and holds a beautiful, longlasting finish. Hurricane Kayaks and Swift are two manufacturers that are currently using Trylon. The newer material options are only part of the story. Kayak markets have been segmented in recent years to accom-



JULY 2014

Differing Levels of Paddling Intensity

“We were slammed,” the Canoe Outpost said of the Memorial Day weekend and the water was still pretty low then. Since the beginning of June the Peace River has now come up two feet and was at 3ʼ6” on June 25. More rain in the center of the state will bring it up higher this month.

modate almost any consumer interest. In addition to the more traditional touring kayak, you can buy a pedal-powered kayak, a “fishing kayak”, a sailing kayak, and of course the “sit-on-top” kayak. And recently, SUP’s, stand up paddleboards, have gained popularity, particularly among the younger paddlers. So where does all this information leave you in terms of selecting a kayak for your own personal use? Well, here is what I’ve seen over the last few years: Kayakers are selecting shorter, lighter weight kayaks, as opposed to the 15-18 foot long touring kayaks. I see many more kayaks of 13-15 feet in our club and on other paddles and this length is perfect for shorter trips on rivers and into the mangroves. And the lighter weight makes for easier handling on and off the car top. The question of “sit-in” or “sit-on-top”

In Mid June, a friend in Marathon posted this picture on facebook, saying that he came upon this Cuban raft when he got to his favorite fishing spot. It wasnʼt the first time this has happened. “Half the people in the world hate us and the other half canʼt wait to move here,” was one comment.

(SOT’s) always comes up with new paddlers and I always answer “We have no sit-on-tops” in our club of over 60 members. Having said that, if you have a bad back or stiff legs and hips, getting onto a SOT is easier than a getting into a sit-in. And for specialties like scuba diving they really fill the bill. Sit-in’s are more stable, more comfortable, dryer, and usually have some water-tight storage for picnics on the beach, so that’s my preference. You need to make your choice based on your own needs and interests. After discussing all the pro’s and con’s on the various types of kayaks the most important piece of advice is take your time in selecting a kayak. Don't be in a hurry to make a decision. Try as many different kayaks of different makes and models as you possibly can; they will all be slightly different in terms of comfort, stability and

"feel." Most dealers allow a potential customer to try out a variety of kayaks and paddles before making a buying decision. This is a great way to decide which kayak you like and which fits your kayaking style and budget. And consider your comfort. You will probably spend many hours paddling your kayak, often in hot weather, sometimes unable to get to a beach to get out and take a break. Make very sure that the seat and back-rest are perfect for you and that the leg braces and foot rests are comfortable and can be properly adjusted. You can’t tell if a boat is comfortable paddling it for 15 minutes. Take your time checking everything before you buy a kayak.

The Port Charlotte Kayakers meet each Wednesday evening at Franz-Ross Park next to the YMCA at 5:00 PM. All are welcome. For more information, contact me at 941-235-2588 or

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JULY 2014

Venice to Venice:

The Pilgrimage

By Glen Ballinger Water LIFE Venice I try to go to Venice, LA to fish at least once a year and after going with numerous Captains I found the right guys to go with. This year we tried fishing in June. I normally go in October for the big 200-pound yellowfin tuna run, but I booked in June with Capt. Jordan Ellis and the Mexican Gulf Fishing Company. I have chartered with him a few other times. He is tied in with Capt. Kevin Beach and Capt. Billy Wells. We chartered a beautiful 40-foot Freeman Cat boat called Shock Wave. He works it hard and uses his experience to consistently get on the big yellowfin. The equipment and tackle is top class. Basically, you charter the boat and pay for the gas and tip. That way the Captain is not thinking about how far he should run and how much extra the gas is costing him. He puts in a long hard day and the ride is super comfortable.



On the fishing end we caught live bait, some what like a blue runner, and then flat lined them around numerous oil rigs he knew had some action. Everyone caught a yellowfin, 70-to 88-pounders and we enjoyed eating them at the condo Jordan set up for us. When you add up the cost to fish and stay of two nights it will be about $500-600 per person with 6 people per charter. If you have any questions about going fishing in Venice, LA feel free to call me at (941) 323-5251.


Keys Dolphin Escape PAGE




By Capt. Chuck Eichner Water LIFE Florida Keys A fishing vacation to Marathon in the Keys is a 6 hour ride away. Fishing on Scott Jackson’s 29-foot Sailfish, two admitted novices at Mahi fishing got very lucky! We were tipped off that big Mahi were in 1100 feet of water, 30 miles out. We had 2 incredible days with all the action one could handle! Teaching myself how to rig ballyhoo from a You-tube video paid off as Scott skillfully trolled and then we pitched chunk sardines to dolphin up to 30 pounds at boat side, having 3 hooked at one time. When a big gaffed dolphin hits the deck you can expect pure chaos. Be sure to get out of the way ... or perhaps get your toe broken as I did!

JULY 2014

Tournament Cheating Nothing new – Money Ruins Fishing

Alabama doesnʼt mess around with anglers cheating in bass fishing tournaments. Steven Macon of Pell City, Ala., was arrested by Pell City Police Department last month after having been caught on video by the Alabama DNR taking a penned up fish in a basket and putting it into his live well. Then he brought it to the scales at the big D&S Bass Tournament on June 17. Local eyewitnesses confirmed that as soon as he put the bass on the tournament scales, DNR stepped in and local authorities made the arrest. Macon was charged with tampering with a sporting contest and his trial set for August 2014. His Facebook page has been removed, due to the public outcry from local anglers posting on his page.

Capt. Chuck, above and Scott Jackson below

Capt. Chuck Eichner, Action Flats Backcountry Charters 941-628-8040 or

We need sponsors for this yearʼs Don Ball School 7th Grade Fishing Classes. email

Another cheating story around bass fishing also reared its ugly head last month, this time in one of the most famed bass fisheries in America. Gary Minor Jr. of Albertville, Ala. and Robert Gillaspie of Boaz, Ala. were arrested and charged with Tampering with Sport Contest after authorities received a tip that the duo had been holding bass in a pen at a dock and using the previously captured fish to dupe competitors in local evening jackpot bass fishing tournaments on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. Sources say authorities setup a sting operation to watch the dock in question and caught the duo in the act and made the arrests. Apparently reports confirmed that the duo was using aquariums to pen up bass to later be used for jackpot weigh ins. Bond was set at $6,000 for each of the anglers. Brian Hoyle, of Rutherfordton, N.C. was caught weighing in a bass that had a hand-poured, 11ounce lead weight in its gullet

JULY 2014





Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True THE WAY IT IS IN PUNTA GORDA

Fishinʼ Frank speaks to the last crowd at the last Shark Tournament last month. Scuttlebutt asks: Will an age-bracket tournament replace the shark event or maybe a canal tournament, or a tournament where the species is announced when you take off?

ELECTRIFYING Biologists with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute use electrofishing to stun fish for sampling. Biologists sample 25 different locations within a lake each fall. Every fish is identified, counted and measured. The most common species sampled are : bluegill and large-

mouth bass. They are collected in nearly every system, every year.

MORE ELECTRIFYING Turkish Karadeniz Holding has agreed to provide two electricity-generating vessels to Ghana in a 10year supply deal. Karadeniz builds what are effectively floating power stations which plug into electricity grids after berthing. They run on fuel oil but can use natural gas as an alternative The Ghana investment is Karadeniz Holding's first in Africa. It already produces electricity for Iraq and Lebanon, through part of

its fleet of seven power ships with a combined capacity of 1,100 megawatts.

LIONFISHERS The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made several changes at a June 18 meeting in Fort Myers that will help combat the lionfish invasion in Florida waters. They have prohibited the importation of live lionfish; and are allowing the harvest of lionfish when diving with a rebreather and are allowing participants in approved tournaments and other organized events to spear lionfish or other invasive species in areas where spearfishing is not allowed. These actions will all be permitted.

SUCKER A new, absorbable chemically modified nanocellulose sponge designed by Empaʼs wood research group could be of assistance in future oil spill accidents. The

No Mo H20 The FWC at its June meeting in Fort Myers on Thursday passed a resolu-

A local powdercoating company is finishing a gate for the docks at Laishley Park Marina. The gate will be installed this month in the space shown below.

tion calling for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop an Emergency High Water Action Plan to maintain the Everglades ecosystem. This resolution follows numerous failed efforts by the Commission to seek a proactive solution to these emergency situations.

ALCOHOL WAS INVOLVED An FEC officer located a group of youths that were stranded after starting their tubing trip at the wrong end of the Yellow River in Santa Rosa County. HANG ON! Officers were on patrol in Port Canaveral when they observed a vessel returning from a day of offshore fishing. As the officers approached the end of the dock to meet the vessel, the operator recognized their presence and slammed the vessel into reverse, inadvertently ejecting his vessel passenger. He then picked up his passenger dumped his illegal snapper haul and fled. Later they both went to jail. BAD INSERTION The local Sheriff and

light material absorbs the oil spill, remains floating on the surface and can then be recovered. The absorbent can be produced in an environmentally-friendly manner from recycled paper, wood or agricultural by-products.

The plan for West Mation traffic

The new gate will have a keypad lock. We were under the impression that the City received Federal funding for the marina and boat ramp and that the conditions of the funding were: Never charge for parking, never charge for the use of the boat ramp and always keep public access open to the docks. Although ʻsecurityʼ will be cited as a reason for the gate, just because the marina isnʼt staffed 24/7 that is not enough reason to restrict the publicʼs access. The marina is not a private club.

FWC were tasked to use a side-scan sonar on a FWC vessel to find a lost piece of US Army equipment in the Santa Rosa Sound. Special Forces Group divers had been assigned, post mission, to recover boat motor lost during an aerial insertion in a two mile operating zone. They spent two days searching without success. FWC and the Sheriff located the motor. An award was presented, the motor will be used for parts.

Gator Watermelon art.... pretty cool





Get By in July - Fishing Forecast

Charlotte Harbor

Frank, at Fishin’ Franks 941- 625-3888

Tarpon are not as thick in the Pass now. They are there a few hours in the morning then they go inside on the hill or out in front of Gasparilla Island all the way up to Venice along the beach. Tarpon Reds from a charter with Capt. Billy Barton (top two photos, below) and a nice snook for Austin Phelps, with Capt Billy (bottom)

will take crabs or threadfins now, but the best is a small grunt below a bobber, just let him sit there and make his noise. We have a lot of sharks up around Harbor Heights; small bull sharks and even blacktips, that’s not that uncommon, but this is the first year in ten I have seen so many. The Harbor is in two halfs now. The west side is getting lots of water from the river, lots of bugs and nutrients for the bait coming down on the outgoing tide. On the incoming, the east side of the Harbor is getting cool clear saltwater out of the Gulf. That’s good for the redfish. Think east on incoming, west on outgoing; kind of a pin ball effect of fish moving back and forth. This is a magic moment in the year with just enough rain to make the fishing even better. There is also a big catfish population now because of all the food and forage. The tarpon seem to have picked up on this

and have been hanging out front of Whidden Bay. Catfish cut in chunks are the tarpon bait up river now. Around the US-41Bridges, there is very good snook fishing, they are done with their spawn and a lot of fish are coming up the Harbor already. Threadfins are moving back up and there are sardines now too. Bait is OK, but still not like it was. The early morning bite is pretty good. The canals in Port Charlotte are really loading up with snook and black drum. It seems like more than we had last fall! The PGI canals are picking up too. Big black drum are still cruising the area, they have been getting better and better for the last 4 years. There are still a ton of sharks in the Harbor and Spanish mackerel are moving back because of the bait. Tarpon are done with their spawn too. They are hanging up in the harbor and will be here for another month or so. We will

JULY 2014

also see a lot of tarpon in the Myakka and Peace Rivers this month. Gag grouper, keeper size, are on the artificial reef at Alligator Creek and in the deeper holes. The Rapalla 15 or Manns 15 is the lure, you want a 15-foot diving lure. Tripletail are still doing OK, they should keep up through the month or until the rain really comes in more, then they will push out to the salt. There are Spanish in the ICW and a lot of snook are still there with the sharks, all through the ICW. In the Gulf, grunts and snapper are on the inshore reefs. Drifting past the structure is working better than anchoring up and I’m not sure why. Try squid wings in chunks with the skinny part left on, a flappy tail with a 3-0 hook - the snapper will pound it. There are a few cobia and bonita on the reefs from 3 miles on out. Further out, king mackerel are past 15-miles and past 30-miles you have mahi, permit and red grouper in 60-to 80-feet of water, all doing real good. Captiva Pass has some nice gags in it

FIRST OF THE SPECIES CLUB: Capt Bart Marx of Alpha Omega Charters put these anglers in the club last month.


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JULY 2014


The BIG-4





and there are more on most of the near reefs. Close in Fish to expect in it’s hard to get keeper gags, but past 15-miles there are Gulf Temps keepers. You don’t go as are 85 far for the other groupers. Summer is here. In freshwater, it’s shellSalinity is now changing with the crackers, red eared sunBLACK DRUM Port Charlotte SHARKS All the way up to rain TARPON Moving up the HarSNOOK Moving back up the fish and talapia. Try the and PGI canals, US 41 Bridge bor, on the beach too! Harbor Heights. Harbor to the cannals catfish baits – blood and cheese on a small hook is catch a lot of them on a the best bet. Bass fishing now is all 95˚ lure most of the time. about frogs. Work them around the There are good trout pads, bass are keying in on the 90˚ on the beach at the mofrogs right now. ment along with black drum and a couple of 85˚ flounder here and there. Jim, at Fishermen’s Edge, The big schools of redEnglewood: 697-7595 fish are in Lemon Bay, There is tarpon out on the over the slot fish, but 80˚ beach, there are some in the pass, they don’t want to eat. mostly at night or early am. The Plenty of sharks are live bait guys are doing ok, but it still around. Offshore, depends on the tides. Lots of small mangrove snapper, tarpon in the creeks and ponds too. grouper and porgys are Left: Jake Rhines, Christian VanDerVeer and Dacoda Flenard at the trestle with a nice snook 72˚ Snook is really awesome, espeRight: Montana Meredith caught this nice dolphin off Cudjo Key last month. all over, along with cially the bigger ones! The passes 70˚ cobia around, some up in the Harwas unreal how many there were. pretty big herds of bonitas too. and the beach are loaded up with 68˚ bor, you can’t target them, they just King mackerel are around. Throw There must still be a lot of bait offthem. I’ve seen pictures up to 50inches caught on big mullet and big shore if all those bonita are hanging have to swim by your boat. Goliath a bait on a reef and you’re libel to grouper have been around too. A catch a king or a barracuda or around here. pin fish. The smaller ones, you can friend dove the other day and said it even a permit ... if you have a crab. We have had some scattered

Lemon Bay:

OFFSHORE REPORT FROM CAPT. JIM OBRIEN Predator II (941) 473 - 2150 Don't forget we have ice cold a/c for our customers!

PEANUT DOLPHIN I have some good reports coming in on schools of peanut dolphin from 35 to 45 miles out. BLACKFIN TUNA good reports on blackfin tuna from 35 to 65 miles out. TARPON are out off the beachs, in the passes in the lower part of the Harbor and Boca Grande Pass. Best bait is crab if you can get them, the pass crabs are the best, and lively threadfins. SHARKS -- are just about everywhere in the pass's, off the beachs, on

the inshore reefs and around Cayo Pelau and the entrance to Turtle Bay off of Charlotte Harbor. Best baits are whole mullet and I like to score them on both sides to let more scent out and I also use barracuda strips and bonita chunks because they're bloody. RED GROUPER -- are chewing real good in 85 feet and out to 120 feet of water. Best baits mullet chunks and squid. I talked to Matt that works for Mac freight out of Englewood him and his brother Mark Aberham was fishing out 38 to 40 miles and they limited out on red grouper 3 per person. They got 18 and Matt said out of the 18 grouper 5 of them were BIG - UNS, 3 were around

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10 lbs and 2 were 15 to 20 lbs. The big ones hit large pin fish, that's some good eating. Matt said they caught 12 nice mangs in the 20 inch range. AJ'S-- greater amberjack IS CLOSED till JULY 31st. Boy I don't see any shortage of these bruisers they are all over the offshore wrecks. COBIA -- are running up and down the beachs early in the morning, site cast for these guys, use a Berkley scented black and silver eel, thatʼll do the trick. MANGROVE SNAPPER -- are chewing real good in the passes and from 7 to 40 miles out the BIG - UNS are farther out. Best bait is shrimp

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens


BARRACUDA -- are thick out on the offshore wrecks. There are some monsters out there -cuda-tubes in bright pink and bright green are working well, as for live bait a big lively pin fish will do the trick too, they will hit anything. KING MACKERAL -- are still out there my reports coming in say they are from 7 to 20 miles out, the guys are trolling with clark spoons. They said they are not getting any smokers mostly small ones but still fun to catch on medium light tackle. I like to use about 12-inches of number 7 wire so you don't get cut off, you will get more hits on mono but more break offs.

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Water LIFE July 2014  

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

Water LIFE July 2014  

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