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Water

LI FE

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

The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

July 2019

Happening Now! Kids $1Bill Challenge Monthly Online Tournament through Sept 15 Take Your Kids Fishing! First Period Results pages 6-9

FISH PIX! Water LIFE magazine

Catching, at CHECʼs Cedar Point Kids Fishing Camp page 21

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Jay Joe with Mike Webb's first fish of the day, African pompano. Aboard the B D II

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The Paraflex Kid getting his red snapper fix with this PB lunker - Way to go Kid!

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SUNSEEKER RESORT PROGRESS REPORT

These Sunseeker guys better get their act together soon or they risk alienating the local population. Last month I received a promo touting the activities Sunseeker will offer when the resort is completed. Absent among the choices is Fishing or Boating. Come on Sunseeker, how about supporting the thing that brought you here? The water is what will draw people to your resort. Aside from that, not much new to report this month. There is a pile driver on the site but still no building plans. They have been working on the seawall cap. Apparently

JULY 2019

Txt fish Pix ONLY to 941-457-1316

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

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FishPix, text only number 941-457-1316

Some day there will be water coming around this corner

Laurene Calabrese, snook page 14

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they had some flooding from the rain last month, Now they have a well-point system pumping near the old gas station site. Iʼll have to check into that. Twenty years ago, when the No-Name-Storm hit, the water in the Harbor pushed across Bayshore and all the way up to US 41 - that property along Bayshore is elevation 4-feet, so now the question is: What happens when No-Name 2.0 arrives? The Sunseeker parcel has a raised seawall along the Harbor at the choke point at the Bridge. When the next storm pushes up from the South, the Sunseker site will push water into the Bayshore area like a funnel. The remedy would be to complete the seawall along the Harbor side of Bayshore Park. In my way of thinking, the County should have required Our diving writer, Adam Wilson, Sunseeker to do that found this spear gun while diving last month. as a stipulation to their building permit; kind of If its yours, call Adam at 941-456-1831 like requiring them to and tell him about it. pay for a turn lane into the property from U.S Adam would like to return it to its rightful owner. Highway 41. – MH

Found! Expensive, Unique SPEAR GUN

George Riggs, snook page 27

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Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XVIII No 7 © 2019

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Contributing Editors:

Photography: ASA1000.com

Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop: Fishinʼ Frank

Upper Harbor: Cameron Parson

Peace River: Capt. Dave Stephens Punta Gorda: Capt. Chuck Eichner Venice: Glen Ballinger

Estero: Capt. Joe Angius

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

Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson

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My Secret Spot JULY 2019

By Michael Heller Water LIFE Editor There is always something new to see when you go fishing. You just have to keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings. Often, you don’t have to go far. Last month I watched a big-ol’ snook cruising up the seawall in my canal, pinning (I think) smaller fish up against the oysters and eating them. It was very un-snook-like behavior. At first I thought it was a jack, the way she hit right at the surface, jacks are always coming up our canal and doing that, but then I got a second look and it was definitely a snook. Always something new! Our canal is usually alive with fish. We live right off the Harbor... actually it’s still the Peace River, just down from the US 41 Bridge, off Edgewater Drive in Port Charlotte. We’re five houses in from the open water, so a lot of fish come and go. I have gotten to know the immediate area – especially the spots I can cast to from my dock. What I have found is there are all sorts of little fishy hang-outs close by. We have lived here for 22 years - in two different houses thanks to Charley. Over that time I have caught, let me think... redfish, snook, trout, spadefish, sharks, catfish, jacks, snapper, tarpon, grouper, baby goliath grouper, ladyfish, flounder, mackerel, rays needlefish, baitfish and I forget whatall- else, all from our dock. We get alliga-

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tors, manatees, mullet and snakes in the canal too, but I have still not caught any of those... and no cobia either. There are ducks and cormorants in the canal and once, a neighbor’s dog fell into the canal and I had to jump in to get him out before he got his paws up against the sharp oysters on the canal wall. And there are crabs, hundreds of little ones that scurry up and down the pilings and do everything they can to avoid being seen. Everywhere you look there is something alive. In 2001 our seawall collapsed and in the process of having it rebuilt, the bottom of the canal gained some elevation along our side. As the construction went on I watched fish come down the canal and then angle out as they neared our property - probably because of water quality and the depth. The bottom was shallow where the seawall fell out, so while the construction crew was still around I had them re-sculpt the bottom with their backhoe. At the Harbor end of my dock, we left some rubble in a semi-circle. Now almost 20 years later, we have a nice little reef which holds lots of little fish, and lately a lot of snapper. This structure helps attract the bigger fish, or at least it gets their attention as they wander by. Every now and then I’ll hang a chum block from my dock. The fishier it is, the better.

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Standing on my dock, facing east, I look at the canal as my own little ecosystem. I watch the oysters and barnacles grow and I study the way the water changes and how the fish behave. It’s an ongoing process. Down from our dock, on our side, is a culvert that drains from the street to the canal. There is a nice deep hole where the culvert empties out. That hole sometimes holds a fish on a low tide. Blue-crabs like it around there too. There is a culvert across the canal as well. My neighbor to the right has an old sailboat on a lift. It hasn’t moved in 15 years. It is in easy casting range. Fish like the shade and it’s a great place to flip a top-water plug, early morning. Across the canal is a pontoon boat on a lift. More structure. Next to it is a concrete

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dock with a fish light and an open lawn. I have taken to throwing a plug across the canal and landing it on the lawn. I wait a minute and then flip it into the water. Sometimes I get hit as soon as it lands. A lot of times it gets snagged in the grass. Up the canal is a vacant lot with a big overhanging tree. The next house up has a fish light. Casting into the water under the tree is good. Fish hang there even when the light is not on. Once I hooked a nice sized snook in that spot, but it got tied up on an old boat lift leg, still underwater since Charlie. I waded out to release it. It’s nice how fishing the same spot for so many years can generate so many different memories. I guess that’s one part of fishing that keeps me coming back.


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JULY 2019

Dollar Bill Challenge Online Tournament - Fish All Summer!

FISH QUIZ # 2

Earn 3 points for each correct answer Points go toward winning the 2019 Tracker Boat! (see rules for full info)

Answers are due before noon July 15. Text answers to the phone number you received when you signed up.

Is it legal to use a treble hook, or multiple hooks, with natural (live) bait? a.  Yes b.  No c.  Sometimes

2. An Estuary has what kind of water? a.  Mostly Salt b.  Mostly Fresh c.  Mixture of Salt and Fresh

How to Enter Your Kids

1) Read the Rules and Sign Up online at www.waterlifemagazine.com

2) This is an online Tournament. Fish any time you want, from Cape Sable to Venice, from eastern Okeechobee to 50 miles out in the Gulf.

3) Every fishing period, text us your longest two fish out of 30 tournament species, freshwater or salt. Make sure the dollar bill with your angler number on it is in each picture. 4) The longest fish in each species wins a Shakespeare rod and reel. If you already have a Shakespeare rod, we will give you ʻrod creditsʼ which you can redeem for a higher-end rod, when the tournament ends.

Second Place for every fish, every month, receives MirrOlure MR17 or MirrOlure Top Pup lures Third Place receives a fishing t-shirt. Each month there is an extra credit 5-question Fish Quiz. Text us your answers for a better chance at winning the 2019 Tracker 1032 Boat. This tournament is produced by the non-profit Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

3. What are the bag limits for ʻUnregulated Speciesʼ of fish, in Florida? a.  Two large fish with a combined weight of 150-pounds b..  100-pounds total weight for smaller fish, no matter how many fish that is. c.  Both of the Above d.  Neither of the Above

4. When might a lure be better than live bait? a.  In bright sunshine b.  At Dawn or Dusk c.  On a moonless night d.  All of the above

5. When lifting a tarpon out of the water, what is the maximum legal length the tarpon can be? a.  3-feet long b.  4-feet long c.  5-feet long

Prizes: Rods, lures and t-shirts

Winners: After July 4th, bring your dollar bill with your angler number on it to

Fishinʼ Franks (4425-D Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33980) Frank will have your rod or lure or t-shirt. You must collect your winnings before July 31

Text your answers like this



First Fishing Period Quiz

Answers: 1D-2A-3C-4D-5A

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Dollar Bill Challenge 1st Period WINNERS!

Period #1: May 15 to June 15

Snook

First Place Snook: 29.5-inches Charlie Dibbanah #206 2nd: Dylan Shaffer #203 25.5-inches 3rd: Thomas Juriscon #217 22-inches

Period #2 now fishing: June 16 - July 15

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Ja ck Crevalle

Bass

First Place Bass: 23-inches Matthew Gartner #222 2nd: Justin Medina #201 21.75-inches 3rd: Justin Medina #201 21.5-inches

First Place Jack Crevalle: 31-inches James Jurisko # 216 2nd: Luke DʼOrzio #211 12-inches 3rd: Daniel Acosta # 209 11-inches

EACH PERIOD, ENTER TWO FISH FROM ANY OF THESE 30 SPECIES:

redfish, snook, trout, black drum, cobia, red grouper, gag grouper, amberjack, bluefish, jack crevalle, triggerfish, hogfish, Key West grunt, spadefish, sail catfish, ladyfish, pompano, mangrove snapper, lane snapper, Spanish mackerel, tripletail, pinfish, barracuda, bass, crappie, tilapia, sunfish, catfish, gar, Mayan cichlid Thank You to our Sponsors!


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Dollar Bill Challenge 1st Period WINNERS! Period #1: May 15 to June 15

Period #2 now fishing: June 16 - July 15

Sailcat

Gar

First Place Gar: 22-inches Gavin Medina #224

941-625-3888

JULY 2019

First Place Sailcat: 15.5-inches Charlie Dubbaneh #206 2nd Place: Julius Acosta # 210 11-inches

Mangrove Snapper

First Place Mangrove Snapper: 14inches Matthew Gartner #222 2nd Place: Nadia Duibbaneh # 207 13.5-inches 3rd: Alyx Shaffer #204 12-inches

L a d y fi s h

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

First Place Ladyfish: 14-inches Leonardo DʼOrzio #212 941-639-8721

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Dollar Bill Challenge 1st Period WINNERS! Period #1: May 15 to June 15

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Black Dr um

Period #2 now fishing: June 16 - July 15

T ilapia

Bar rac uda

First Place Tilapia 12.75-inches Dylan Shaffer #203

First Place Barracuda: 7.25-inches Jacob Florea #226

1516 SE 46th St. Cape Coral, FL 33904 (239) 549-2628

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

First Place Black Drum: 34-inches Jaekwon Pringle #208

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

Wilson Pools 941-766-1661

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Estero Bay: What tide is It? PAGE

Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero

Fishing during the summer months can be unbearable at times. Not only is the air temperature high, but there are a ton of mosquitos and ‘noseeums’ throughout the night and early in the morning. Typically I offer clients three options for fishing when conditions get this bad. We would either meet early in the morning before the sun comes up, four to five hours before the sun goes down, or strictly fishing at night. Even though the fishing can be fantastic, I try to avoid the middle of the afternoon as much as possible.

Only in some instances will I offer clients the option to fish the afternoon, but will forewarn them about the heat. For me to come to this decision I will ask myself, “What tide is it?”

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I’ve learned over the years to be more tide driven than anything else. It’s no surprise that the weather won’t line up exactly as you wanted it to, or certain fishing conditions that you favor aren’t always

optimal. The one thing that you can count on and predict quite accurately is the tide. By knowing what the tide will do for the day can help anglers make decisions of where and when to fish. The best way to become a tide-driven angler is to take

notes, physically or mentally, of your fishing trips. This may sound like a lot of work, but for me it has helped me understand fish movements, lunar and solar activity, and what conditions will produce the most success at certain fishing spots.

A perfect example of using the tides for your advantage is what happened to me last week. Since we have been experiencing a lot of rain I knew most of that rain water made its way into Estero’s creeks and rivers. Typically I like to fish for juvenile tarpon on an outgoing tide, but in this case an outgoing tide would be moving too much freshwater through the bay where I fish for them. I tailored my trip around fishing my tarpon spots during the incoming tide where water with high salinity would be. These conditions provided more dissolved oxygen in the water, making the tarpon in this particular spot more prone to use energy to feed. Unfortunately there will be times where nature has her way. You will have the best fishing tides and the best conditions possible and still not be able to catch a fish. Getting out and spending time on the water is the only way to become a better angler. Reading about it is one thing, but actually putting these methods and theories to the test will shape your way of fishing. An effective way to learn new techniques is to fish alongside someone who loves fishing as much as you do. It’s a reminder that in pursuit of catching

JULY 2019

fish, fishing is more about community, accomplishments, and ultimately a lifestyle. This summer be mindful of how dangerous the heat and humidity can be. Wear protective clothing and sunscreen and remain hydrated throughout the day. Try to follow all of the new rules and regulations, while enjoying what Southwest Florida has to offer through fishing.

Capt. Joe Angius (727)-234-3171 www.speakeasyfishing.com speakeasyfishing@gmail.com


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Grand Right of Passage

By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Well folks it has been a scorcher out on the Harbor the past couple weeks. The lack of rain has kept the water temps way up, this has been making morning fishing more successful. The fish have started to become less aggressive as that big ball of fire gets straight above and honestly I can’t say that I blame them. Another issue I have noticed from the lack of rain is some areas of stagnant water. If you fish around the East Wall I’m sure you have noticed this. It’s typically a result of decaying vegetation, and the lack of flow to flush it out. It seems it just moves back and forth with the tides. All we need is a real good rain fall to flush some of these back creeks and stagnant areas out. One of my favorite fisheries has been doing very well this year. Probably second to chasing big snook would be, catching juvenile tarpon on light tackle. On my recent charters we have been fortunate enough to land multiple fish everyday. Some of my regular clients like to kick it up a notch and chase a grand slam. That consists of landing four different species all in the same day, a tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. I know it sounds rather easy, but I promise it can be very difficult at times. To some it just happens and it’s no big deal. To other anglers it’s kind of a right of passage, an accomplishment as an angler. Well to one of my clients-turned-good-buddy, it’s bragging rights. In the Moya household if you don’t have your grand slam badge your going to hear all about it. Ivan Moya and I tried several times to get this done for him without success, several summers ago, but each time we just seemed to come up short one fish. Either the tarpon wouldn’t cooperate or it was the redfish. Well, spring of last year Ivan paid for a girls trip for

his wife Sara, her friend Shannon and my wife Rach. Well... on Sara’s first trip with me she caught her tarpon, snook and a red. So the hunt was on. A trout would complete her slam. After a run to an area where I was doing well on trout, the hunt was over, and the smack talk began. For over a year Ivan and his boys tried, only to come up one fish short. So for over a year Sara was top angler in the house, the only one with the coveted grand slam and from what I was told she often reminded the men in the house about it. That summer we tried several times for Ivan’s slam without success. He even had to witness his buddy David accomplish the task on his very first fishing trip with me. It seemed the stars would just not align for Ivan. This year on Father’s Day weekend I took Ivan and his son Tyler out fishing. We started out the morning with

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two tarpon to the boat very quickly. I looked over at Ivan and Tyler: ‘Hey, ya’ll want to see if a red will cooperate?’ And just like that we were off on the chase. We made a 15- or 20minute run, pulled up to a shoreline and after 10or 15-minutes we had a 27-inch and a 31-inch red in the boat. The feeling: This really could happen, was beginning to set in. So off we go again to look for trout. I pulled up to a cut in the bar tossed out some chum, and nothing happened. At this point, the tide was slack and it was high-noon hot, just bad conditions. But after about 10 more minutes the water began to trickle out the cut and things kind of started to happen. We pulled the hook on what seemed like a hundred trout, (3to 5 actually), and then it happened. Ivan had his trout, then we pulled the hook on what seemed like another hundred, (actually 2- to 4), and then it happened again and Tyler had his trout. Long story short: Two snook later on Fathers’ Day weekend, Ivan and his son Tyler accomplished their grand slams. So now 3 of the 4 have their slams. Jordan, the oldest son, had a summer job and was unable to go. I’m sure it’s going to be rough for him until he gets his ticket punched ... especially from little brother. On our idle back up the Creek I asked Ivan; Now what are we going to do? He just smiled and said ‘fish for fun’!

If you would like to experience some of Charlotte Harbor’s finest fishing, call or send me an email. All of our charters are private and customized to fit your needs. Capt. Dave Stephens, 941-916-5769 www.bayxtremes.com


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Potential Random Catches

By Fishin’ Frank Water LIFE Baitshop

Writing can be tough each month. Sometimes I have to wonder, did I just write about that? Is that fish still here now? What is the weather doing or gonna’ do? Every once in a while I even consult the magic “8” Ball before I write.

Isaac Garcia won a trphy for stingray, at the Punta Gorda Elksʼ kids fishing tournament. Fishinʼ Frank presented him with a rod.

This month I want to talk about recent random catches. There is still tripletail in the Harbor and in the near Gulf, not lots and lots, like in the winter months, but enough, and the cool thing is the ones that are here are big, often reaching close to 30 inches.

Even though the tripletail that are here are larger fish, I still use the same small lures or baits like I would if they were 14-inch fish. This information looks kind of strange as I write it, but yes, it does seem to work. The “8” Ball says Yes too! The Strike King Rage Menace is a smaller twin-tail grub, which when paired with a pink Rockport Rattler jig head becomes a tripletail treat. They are really attracted to it on a slow steady retrieve kept just a foot or so under the water.

Color sometimes depends, but white is usually your best bet. For live bait, fish the regular size shrimp or choice size, but not the select or hand picks. With whitebait I choose the smallest ones in my live well and I rig it with a 20-pound flouro leader and a No.2 hook. Bob Rosa Fishing in Estero Florida got this nice largemouth bass

Chuck Hepp, nice red snapper, 60 miles off

Next on the random-catch list is cobia. For cobia I like the Felmlee Eel lure. That was always my top choice, but the company stopped production for a while. Now Felmlee has been bought out and the eel

has been brought back.

I just use a 4/0 “J” hook through the front of the eel, letting it float or drift along while reeling and twitching slowly. As far as color goes, they only come in one color and it works. So basically you have a choice of one.

JULY 2019

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

The other thing I use is gold spoons, like a ¾-ounce Johnson Sprite gold color but you gotta’ crank slow, so the spoon wobbles but does not spin or rotate.

As far as live bait goes, a crab fished 3-feet below a small float is good, or a crab free lined. Whitebait or threadfins are also excellent for cobia when freelined.

Both of these fish are here to catch, but they are not here in what I would call fish-able numbers, so just take an old rod you don’t use much and rig it for the possibility of coming across one of these tasty fighting fish. There is a lot of bright sun light now and both of these fish are shade lovers. So think about this: When you are anchored up or drifting where is the biggest amount of shade around? It’s the shade under your boat! If you see one of these guys underneath you, stay calm – (right, like that will happen!), but do the best you can, keep arm movement to a minimum, the more you wave your arms or make big casting movement the more likely you are to spook them off. Don’t rock the boat, they have come to the shade, so take your time, cast beyond the fish and a bit in front, so that when you reel in the lure and the fish will intersect and then, hopefully, it will be FISH ON! frank@fishinfranks 941-625-3888

Everglades slam Capt Fred Gowdy

Alyx Schaefer (age 6) with a tarpon. He was at his grandparents' house, standing on the back of the docked boat. He hooked and played it all by himself. He was so excited to enter his tarpon for the $1Bill Challenge, but tarpon are not in the competition. It was 35-inches. Released and swam away..

Daniel Acosta with a shark and his $1Bill Unfortunately sharks are not one of the 30 tournament species in the $1 Bill Challenge


Beach Bite JULY 2019

Cameron Parson Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor

The early morning bite along the beach has been doing extremely well. I'm generally not a fan of being up early, but it gives the chance to get on some fish before the heat of the day kicks in. And lately, it feels like a desert most everyday out there. Light gear and minimal tackle is all that's needed.

Lately, the beach bite has been great. Snook, jacks, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish have been crashing bait just inside the surf. Whiting are taking shrimp

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on the bottom. A few juvenile tarpon have been getting in on the action around sunset. Though most fish are small, they've been providing an easy and fun trip to the beach in the early morning and evening times.

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

My go-to lure for the surf is a 1/4 oz bucktail in the green ghost color or the DOA Terroreyz in green/pearl. As I'm walking along the beach, I'm looking for any sign of life....fish roaming along the bottom, bait rushing by or getting busted, birds diving along the shoreline, all while I’m throwing parallel with the shoreline itself. Most of the fish will be just inside the first trough, pretty much where you step into the water.

As the sun rises, you'll have more opportunitys to sight cast a few fish before people start crowding the beach. Look for long, dark shadows roaming along the bottom. Usually mostv will be juvenile snook, but there's usually a bigger snook not far behind. And as a novice fly fisherman myself, it creates a small challenge and good practice.

Be sure to look for areas of patchy rocks or boulders on the bottom. Several different species of fish will frequent these spots. In this case, a shrimp jig such as the Vudu Shrimp will reign supreme. Snook, trout, redfish, flounder, snapper, sheepshead, and whiting can all be caught around the structure. Even small grouper and pompano can make a sudden appearance. In the early to late evening, I generally switch to a plug such

as the Rapala X-Rap or a 4-inch swimbait.

Throwing lures that give some good vibration in the evening hours will draw the strike. Listen for sudden pops or splashing on top and make your cast to the general area. Most of the fish along the beach are schooling fish so the chances of getting bit are pretty good. Even blind casting can be productive, you cover more water in a short amount of time and it helps you to put together a pattern when you hook up. If you want to beat the heat, get up early or go out later. There's a ton of fish to target without being soaked in sweat after just an hour or two. It's a great time of year to fish! Just be sure to stay hydrated and keep safe in the heat.

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

941- 639-7166

Gary Reger fishing calm waters off Stump Pass

Peter Casciotta 36-inch snook, Matlacha

Txt Us Ur Fish Pix see page 4


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JULY 2019

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

Wayne Goode caught and released this 30" snook along the west wall by softtwitching a Yo-Zuri Crystal minnow.

-Max Riesbeck snook on the Avet sx paired with a St. Croix inshore mojo rodMax Riesbeck snook on the Avet sx paired with a St. Croix inshore mojo rod

Nice snook Stump Pass Beach 5/31 Caught by Joe Sheaffer

Jeff “lil J” Strauss with his first snook on his first boat ride on his first cast.

Jacksonʼs giant Jack in Islamorada

Redfish caught by Joe Sheaffer in Turtle Bay 5/28/19

Doug Courtice. Crevalle Jack

$25 WINNER

Caught this red grouper on 6/16/19. Great fight! Venice FL Adriana Chaffin

Hello my name is Laurene Calabrese. I caught a snook. Here is my photo from yesterday from Water LIFE magazine

Sprout with a Big Bass

Jay Joe, aboard his boat Bad Donkey II 24-inch red grouper, Gulf of Mexico


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ReaderĘźs Photos

Smorgasbord of fish red grouper red sapper king fish porgies triple tail scamp grouper gag grouper on Serenity with Captian Bob

Wally tackles tarpon

Slim Jim back again tossing lunker red grouper left amd right!!! SW Florida Baby

txt us ur fish pix - see page 4

Fisherman Brooks Fussell from Apollo Beach caught with Captain Joe Miller A huge 26#s

Ryland Rognar, snook

Matthew Gartner-Large mouth bass

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Wendy between Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel.... live in Cape Coral

Tarpon - Capt. Ken Mercer, NautiKnots Charters. Boca Grande Snook- Bryce Mercer, Charlotte Harbor

Sanibel Danny

Joe LeLoup, Sanibel Florida, red grouper

Doug Austin caught this 4 1/2 lb bass while visiting from PA. Caught in a Kings Gate pond

Zander Larson redfish


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FISH PIX!

Readerʼs Photos

JULY 2019

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W Wa at te er r L L II F FE E m ma ag ga az z ii n ne e

Michael Kusmierek, Captiva Florida, Grouper

Angler Skyʼs first time fishing Bill and Tammy Agnew (Flackʼs) brother - sister. red snappers

Nicole D. Rosskamp largemouth bass, 6/9/19

John C with a decent porgy SW Florida Fishing!

Nicole D. Rosskamp, tarpon, 6/11/19

Brian Kerrigan with his first boated tarpon. Bout time!

Peter Gray, Toronto CA Redfish caught in Gasparilla Sound

Katie Goodwin with a gar out in Cecil Webb

Last cast Greyshark at the ramp. Hazeltine boys catching the big boy ones!!

Greyshark with a with monster gar


SHARKS JULY 2019

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PAGE 17

You Can Tag One Too!

By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Shark Fishing Water is at 88-degrees, unless we have rain to cool it down. Bonnetheads and black-tips are all over the local beaches and backwaters at this time. The bigger sharks are just in deeper water in the same close locations. At night everything comes in to the beach, so at night just cast off the beach to get the big one! Remember, if you are using catfish for bait, do not be surprised if you get a tarpon here and there. I scious and want to catch and release know I have... even on catfish some fish and help out the future heads! stock, how about catching some Sawfish are close in sharks and releasing them with a tag the Goodland area and on it so someone else can catch Caloosahatchee River. it again in the future? They are also taking When reported, the baits. you get a little It’s always best prize such as a to fish early or hat, and you can late, but if you find out exactly have a good where that fish has feeding area and traveled in the time good tide, they will since it was caught bite all day... as long as you tagg ing r epor and released. use fresh bait, including catfish. I t car d You can order free find it’s always good to change out tags at: greyfishtagresearch.org bait within an hour or so. No matter if you are a shore or a If your not catching shark right boat sharker, you can order these now, you must not have your line in tags and they will send them to you the water. in the mail. Instructions tell you how If you’re environmentally conto tag the fish. I have made my own stabber, but I do stab them with a knife first to make the tag easier to insert.

Dan Nelson with a bull shark caught in the backwater of Gordonʼs Pass in Naples on a rainy evening. It was tagged and released

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Jack Peterson with a nice blacktip shark caught off Naples Beach. It was released

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

Dylon Jacobs with a 6 and a half foot Bull Shark Caught off Marco Island Beach , Jack was used for bait.

BREAKING NEWS: The FWC course that fulfills the requirement of mandatory education is now online at: MyFWC.com/SharkCourse. To remain legal, you must complete the course every year.

Rebecca Peterson with a bull shark she caught right off Doctorʼs Pass in Naples. Boated, tagged and released.

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Dylon Jacobs with a 6 foot bull shark caught off the beach after sunset at Doctors Pass in Naples. Used Bonita for bait.


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Human Population Down, Fish Population Up

By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE / Everglades City I feel like my Dad saying this, but “man it sure got hot quick.” June brought with it a hard start to rainy season and then some very hot days. Such is life down here, but Laura and I take it with a smile as those hot days allow us to once again return to town since as the thermometer goes up the head count goes down around here. But while the human count may be down, the finned head count is still high, you just need to make a few adjustments to find fishing success. This month I began the normal trend for summer patterns with early starts to the day and trying to be back in before the worst of the heat and storms push through. The great thing is, most days the weather in June and thru about September, is cookie-cutter, calm cool mornings with a land to sea breeze changing over to a sea breeze as the land heats up. Predictable weather patterns make planning ahead pretty easy, unlike in winter when you never know when the next front will push through. Inshore this month, we have done a lot of snook fishing using topwater hardbaits to get the day started. Nothing like finding that ambush spot you know holds a snook which won’t disappoint as the explosion occurs. A snook hit on a topwater can be heart stopping, no matter if it’s your first time seeing it or your thousandth. We’re still catching some good trout on the deeper

Went to the middle grounds yesterday. Saw some big grouper come aboard, and some huge American red snapper.

troughs, using shrimp-tipped bucktails, worked slow across the bottom. Some pretty fish too, lately, as they are clean and healthy. I find my juvenile redfish in all the normal places as we work the shoreline and based on the fish I have watched growing, in the next few years I think the Everglades and 10,000 Islands will have great numbers of redfish. The unsung hero in June and probably through the summer for me has been the great shark action we have had inshore this month. Lemons, blacktips, bulls, spinners, nurse sharks and more have all been very happy to sample our cut ladyfish offerings. Hard fighting and deserving more credit than they get, these sportfish can make a boring day special, very quickly.

Offshore this month, we targeted cobia and permit with mixed success. Seeing a few nice fish, but mostly encountering smaller versions of both. Some solid snapper bites on the rockpiles lately with pompano in there as well. Still not finding many red grouper in my normal shallow water locations but made up for it with a few gag groupers instead. Overall June was a great month. Want to close this month with saying goodbye to an old friend and fellow fishing guide from years back in Everglades City. Capt. Pat Kelly was a great person, a past president of the Florida Guides Association who passed me the helm. He was a great fisherman, teacher, mentor and champion on behalf of sportfishing everywhere. They broke the mold with Capt. Pat and he shall be missed.

Capt. Charlie Phillips, President, Florida Guides Assn. Owner/Captain, Hope Fishing Adventures Everglades City, Florida hopefishing.com 863-517-1829

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PAGE 19

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

Jeff Stumbo JR here with my 18in black drum at Venition Bay in Naples Jerry snook

Jordan Windle with a big trout he caught on Tigertail Beach. Marco Island.

Big eye or toro, Tammy Agnew

Bob Windle with a nice catch and release beach snook on Marco Island while vacationing from Virginia. Caught on a shiner.

Fatherʼs Day tarpon. Tim Rotunda canals

Kacie Flack , 13-pounds red snapper Aidan Flack 10 lbs red snapper. Fifty miles out of Englewood

Devin Valazza first catch ever. Punta Gorda Isles canal. Mojarra fish.

Zane Valazza caught his first fish, a catfish at PGI canal. I sent you a picture of his brother Devin just a bit ago.

Hilary and Adelise Davey caught this goliath in the PGI canal.

Nicholas J with another frog smashing largemouth Ft. Myers


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JULY 2019

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Estero bay snook, red and tarpon Capt Fred Gowdy

redfish and snook

6/25/19 , about 50 miles offshore, Venice FL. Giant Red Snapper. Tim Chaffin

Brittany Cortes snook and flounder


JULY 2019

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cushions canvas covers

Fishing Day Camp On the Line

By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff Back around 1990, when I first bought my house on Lemon Bay in Englewood, one of my neighbors was a piece of property called Cedar Point. Its claim to fame was that much of it was a spoil area where the Army Corps of Engineers dumped the dredged material from Lemon Bay when they built the ICW in the 60s. It amazed me how fast the place went from dump site to environmental preserve by just changing ownership. I first took notice of the property when Charlotte County expressed an interest in buying the place. At that time the County was considering using the

because it is a beautiful park with miles of nature trails and a walkway on Oyster Creek that connect to the Ann Dever Park. You can walk for miles and never see another person. A few years ago CHEC came to the Marine Advisory Committee (MAC) for seed money to run a kid's fishing summer camp out of Cedar Point. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) had loaned CHEC a ton of high level fishing equipment including Penn reels and Ugly Stick rods, hooks, weights, lures, cast nets, bait buckets and plenty of printed educational materials. All CHEC had to do

property as a County recreation and camping facility. The plan was to have a deep water boat ramp right next to the ICW with a direct run to Stump Pass. Plans called for a camping area for travel trailers and even a primitive camping site with wooden tent camping platforms for the Boy Scouts and others. They were even going to put in a swimming pool and tennis courts. The County bought the land and then everything changed. The environmental community convinced the County that the land should remain as natural as possible; so the County turned over management of the property to the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) in Punta Gorda. In keeping with the keep it natural theme, they put in water lines, a sewer lift station, electric lines and a beautiful two story building. They also put in a paved road and a parking lot with sidewalks. It was a classic bait and switch. Cedar Point, which is on Placida Road directly across the street from Lemon Bay High School, is probably the most unknown public facility in all of Charlotte County, which is a shame

was teach kids how to fish. They decided the best way to do that was to have two, week long, fishing camps. Since MAC had money in the game I thought, since I lived so close, I would walk down and see how the camp was going: in a word it was sad. The first year they had a total of five kids the first week and none for the second week. CHEC had done all the work to get the money and the FWC equipment but they forgot to recruit adults that knew how to fish, let alone how to teach kids how to fish. What happened next is kind of a blur in my memory, but I either volunteered or was drafted to help with this program. The next year the FWC told us to get more kids or return the equipment. The CHEC management got smart and offered a few scholarships to get enrollment up and by the third year things were starting to come together; both weeks of the camp were filled with 10 kids each. This year the program really exploded; we are now up to three one week camps. We had told ourselves that we would limit numbers to ten kids per

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camp, but the demand was so great that we are now up to 14 kids per camp. As I write this article we just started the last camp for this summer. In the previous session they caught and released more snook than pinfish, so Lemon Bay fishing is getting better. You can't run something like this without a lot of support from people in the community. The long time Resource Manager of Cedar Point, Bobbi Rodgers

brother and sister from Lemon Bay High School and Corrina Adams from FGCU. The volunteers get in the water with the kids, bait hooks, un-tangle fishing lines, tie leaders and do what they can to help. A special thanks goes to Jim at Fishermen’s Edge Bait and Tackle in Englewood for providing the live and frozen shrimp that we used for bait. For next year, CHEC was able to get another grant through MAC to purchase

deserves credit for putting this program together. Bobbi is going to retire at the end of this year so this her last camp. Nan Fetzer is our head consular in charge of looking after the kids. That's a tough job considering the camp is from 9 am to 3:30 pm. In real life, Nan is an administrator at Vineland Elementary School so she does have some practice. We also had help from a group of volunteers: Abby Parker and Ben Parker,

10 kayaks from Silent Sports in Nokomis. They have already been delivered to Cedar Point and thanks to a donation of 10 child size life preservers from Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor; we will be able to take some of the kids for their first kayak ride. If you want more information about Cedar Point and the programs they offer just give them a call at 941-475-5197. Captronb@juno.com


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Fletcher McDonough catching perch, with his Grandpa Bob, in Maine.

Brittani Azzolini with a nice snook at the bridge at Casperson beach!

Amanda Wasserman caught this grouper while on vacation in Key Largo.

Nicholas J with another gar hooked on a Junebug Crawl Jig Ft. Myers

Amanda Wasserman caught this shark while fishing with her dad Jerry in Key Largo.


Thatʼs My Boy JULY 2019

Capt. Chuck Eichner Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Most of the time when the fishing reports say that sharks are everywhere you just drop a line, but I can’t catch them. Have you had the same luck? This has gone on for 18 years now. But when I am not trying for sharks, maybe fishing for tarpon, they are biting off my line. When my 8 year old grandson Jonah Adler comes to town, the first words out of his mouth are ‘let’s go shark fishing’. So at the end of June we left the dock to catch threadfin herring for bait and then we put the shark rods out. After an hour of chasing the herring with no luck Jonah asked to use frozen bait and start fishing. Setting up near Cape Haze Point I put a chum block over the side and we cut sardines in pieces, dropping them over board every minute or so. An hour later, with not a bite, I lamented about how great the shark fishing was supposed to be. Jonah thought it was time to go back and jump in the pool. On the way back in we passed a huge school of threadfin herring on the top in

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10-feet of water. Jonah offered to put the anchor over and minutes later the chum block had attracted the herring to the side of the boat. Frozen sardines, suspended under a float, were drifted behind the boat. Minutes later a rod buckled over and the drag was singing! Jonah, now a.k.a., Shark Boy, grabbed the rod and fought the

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shark for 5 minutes until the fish was thrashing wildly at the side of the boat. I decided to net the fish and announced that when the fish hit the deck to run in the other direction! As sharks will do, they go crazy and are dangerous

PAGE 23

with their jaws chomping wildly when pulled out of the water. Jonah decided to run to the bow of the boat and the shark trapped him against the gunnel. He was safe but he had no where to go. It was hilarious to watch Shark Boy dancing with a blacktip shark snipping around his feet. Great fun and we had lines back in the water for another big bite. This time a good sized Spanish mackerel was zipping around the boat, pulling drag before finally making it on board. Then we called it a day, ready for the short ride home and a fish dinner. The recipe for catching sharks was basic, fish where their food source is and chum to get them close to the boat. Nothing beats a kid fighting it out with a shark for fun!

Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Backcountry Charters. He can be reached at 941-628-8040


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SCUTTLEBUTT

JULY 2019

Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

FWC BWI Starting this month, newly enacted legislation gives the FWC more law enforcement powers, including administering on-the-water sobriety checks and breathalyzer tests.

HOOK EM HORNS! A carbon dating from one of the ancient fishhooks found in the Steinhatchee River in Taylor County, Florida returned a date of 3,040 years before present. The shanks are made from deer antler and the barbs are made of raccoon baculum bones. The shortest is 3 1/4 inches and the longest is 4 7/8 inches. The baculum bone comes from the racoonʼs penis.

VENICE BANS SHARK FISHING No shark fishing from the Venice Pier of from Venice beach so now shark fishermen are simply saying they are fishing for tarpon.

NO NAMES GIVEN Officers Thurkettle, Polly, Kleis, Knutson and Curbelo conducted a license check of businesses believed to be selling freshwater/saltwater products without having the proper licenses. Seventeen criminal violations were found. Editor notes** This is an FWC report and they didnʼt name the business??

NOTE TO THOSE SUPPORTING PHOSPHATE MINING: The Solution to Pollution is NOT Dilution

INDICATORS Dolphins and turtles are sentinel species — Like a canary in the mine, they are indicator species of the health of the environment. By the time they are affected, everything below them is affected.

Designated a US highway in 1926, the Tampa to Miami (Tamiami) Trail is the southernmost 275 miles of US-highway 41. The work began on the Trail in 1915 but funding slowed the initial progress.

Steffen Malskaer got the difficult task of retrieving oceanographic moorings and weather station on sea ice in North West Greenland this year. Colleague noted that rapid melt and sea ice with low permeability and few cracks left the melt water on top of the icy surface.

FISH PIX! from Water LIFE magazine

Created by American artist Jimmy Swift, this spraypainted rock is at Palolem Beach, South Goa, India. The rock was first painted in March 2015 and is repainted annually

HOLE IN ONE Officer Barry conducted a boating accident investigation on a PWC that struck another vessel in the Fort George River. The operator of the PWC was wake jumping, lost control of the PWC, and struck the broadside and stern area of the other vessel coming to rest inside the vessel.

Readerʼs Photos Text Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4

Jim Beal caught this 31-inch red grouper off of Venice 21-miles out

Bob Rosa got this nice red grouper off of Venice

Jim Donarski, red grouper, thank you

Jim Morean with a nice black drum off Alligator Creek Reef. Big school of them there, that day

Lil Finley has caught some trophy fish! But always has fun in the canals with catfish! Uncle Ian and Finley

Ridge Morrow, 3, largemouth bass, fishing in backyard pond with Uncle Randy

Cole and Blake Hoch, fishing with grandpa, in North Port


Tracking Sawfish JULY 2019

By Andrea Kroetz, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center Water LIFE Environment Acoustic tagging has become increasingly important for science. Scientists are using this amazing technology to track critically endangered smalltooth sawfish in south Florida to better understand their movement patterns and habitat use. Telemetry data are helpful to fishery managers who are designing plans to recover and conserve this endangered species. Scientists place stationary acoustic receivers in key locations to collect and archive data remotely from tagged sawfish as they pass within range of the receiver. Each acoustic tag has a unique identification number and transmits information on the date and time at which the animal passes near a receiver. Although data collection by the acoustic receivers is limited by the number and location of receivers in place (e.g., an animal must pass near a receiver for the data to be collected), large acoustic sharing networks are in place to allow multiple institutions with active acoustic arrays to collect and share data with colleagues tagging and tracking animals.

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mating scars, and each of these sawfish were implanted with 10year acoustic tags to track their movements long-term. This male was detected on receivers in the Florida Keys from the time of tagging through February of 2018 where one month later he was detected on receivers in the far northern portion of the park (approximately 74 miles as-thecrow-flies). This individual was then detected on receivers located in the same backcountry area that it was originally captured in March of 2019! As collaborative acoustic networks continue to expand, and the technology improves, the opportunities to gather vital inforOne adult male smalltooth sawfish, tagged and tracked mation on smalltooth sawfish from 2017-current. Tagging locations are red circles, detection locations green balloons. Red arrows indiwill increase and improve our cate the direction the sawfish traveled. ability to manage and protect the population to recovery. All research is conducted So far more than 40 smalltooth sawfish under Endangered Species Act permits have been tagged with long-term acoustic and Everglades National Park permits. tags and these tags have provided invaluable data on the movements of both juvenile and adult smalltooth sawfish. For example, in April of 2017, a mature male sawfish with fresh mating scars was captured, tagged, and released in backcountry waters of Everglades National Park. This male was captured along with two mature females, also with fresh

For more information visit www.SawfishRecovery.org or call 1-844-4SAWFISH. or visit: http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/fish/sa wfish/ or https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/smalltooth-sawfish, or local contact: tonya@havenworth.org 941-201-2685

PAGE 25

Bay Scallop Season Opens July 1

Water LIFE Report Recreational bay scallop season for Franklin through the northwestern portion of Taylor, as well as Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties opened July 1 and will remain open through Sept. 24. This includes Carrabelle, Lanark, St. Marks, Cedar Key, Crystal River and

Homosassa. There are guides in the scalloping areas who will take you scalloping, which involves snorkeling in shallow water and usually takes a half day or less. Bag and vessel limits for 2019 through the entire bay scallop harvest zone are 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or a 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel. Scallops may be collected by hand, or with a landing or dip net. There is no commercial harvest allowed.

Readerʟs Photos – Text Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4

Jackson Bright with his first silver king

Bob Windle with a nice redfish caught by Tigertail beach on Trout Tout. It was released to fight again.

Maya Nelson's catch and release trout

Willy Hepp with his dinner , 42 inch cobia Caught in Marco Island on live shrimp.


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

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

941-916-5769

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18lb snook caught off Boca Grande beach. Ken Rams.

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Fish with one of our Guides

Youʼll learn something and youʼll catch some fish!

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Jeff Wright 45” Cobia caught in Charlotte Harbor between the north and south banks.

Trent Cheatham Fat Everglades tripletail

The canals are doing much better than they should be, with the heat. Still a lot of black drum, mangrove snapper and a ton of snook. Incoming at the mouth of the canals is usually best. There are also drum in the deeper holes and around the bridges. I think it’s shade they are looking for. Tripletail in the Harbor are scarce but the ones I’ve seen are 20-some-inch fish. There are a ton of sharks in the Harbor still, from 6 inch newborn pups up through 10- to 12-footers. Close to the sandbars are the black tips, Atlantic sharpnose are in 6-to 14-feet. Bonnet sharks on the sandbars too; it’s a shrimp bite for them, but you don’t need live shrimp. For the rest of the sharks, it’s all about fish - they are hitting any of them! Tarpon are moving up in the Harbor. Good night fishing for tarpon at the 41 and I-75 bridges and at El Jobean... but not before 10 oclock. It doesn’t matter if you throw a big Rapalla single hook lure or you are chunking out dead bait, they are eating it. One night may be better off a bobber, the next freeline. The incoming is best. Boca Pass is still very good on tarpon. From Boca up to Venice, along the beaches, there are a lot of tarpon, but going south you have to go down all the way to Punta Rassa to find them again. Out in the Gulf, still permit on the closer in reefs, then it’s snapper, grunts and porgys all the way to 110 feet of water. Past 100 you will find the nice grouper and big American red snapper. The weedlines out there are holding mahi dolphin and sailfins. From the lower part West Wall across Bull and Turtle Bay, there are scattered redfish and gazillions of snook. Snook are thick in the Gasparilla Sound and along the beaches too. Redfish south of Alligator Reef and there have been some monster redfish down

JULY 2019

by Indian Fields and south of Matalacha. The trout are holding around St James City. Soft plastics rule the day for bass. Flappin’ shad and lizards are doing good, it’s the wrong time for lizards, but that’s what they want. Tilapia are hot too.

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

Everybody going out and no matter which direction they are finding a lot of fish. People have been commenting on how much bait and activity there is. It’s been pretty good offshore. The red snapper seems like it got picked over at first and now it’s either slowed down or the fish moved. They are still catching them, you just have to go to different spots. Still nice yellowtail, mangrove, vermillion and lane; there are plenty of snapper opportunities. I’ve seen pictures of nice red grouper and some nice gags.Guys fishing at the Bayronto caught some nice mahi out there better size then the little ones, like 24- to 30-inches. Some guys are still getting into cobia, mostly offshore, but a couple up in the Harbor. And there are permit over 20-pounds at the Shrimp Boat and Power Pole sites. In freshwater, tilapia and some bass in the ponds, the Sports Park and Rotonda guys are catching them. Gars are around too, especially after we get some rainfall. They like the Devil’s Horse swimming lure. Inshore fishing has been pretty good with snapper inside the Bay on structure like the Phosphate Dock and the Trestle. There are decent flounder around, along with snook and redfish. Tarpon fishing is really still pretty good in the Pass and there are still lots of sharks around. You can shark fish with pretty good success right now. Still some sheepshead offshore at the Novak reef. I guess they didn’t go on vacation.

Englewood Bait House live shrimp etc.

Head-Boat Trips Offshore Fishing 941- 475-4511


JULY 2019

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The BIG-4 SHARK ALL OVER, In the Pass, up in the Harbor

July

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Fish you can expect in

TARPON Still here. Pass, Beaches, Bay and Harbor

RED SNAPPER Nice fish from 30- to 50-miles out

SNOOK Big near the ICW Bull and Turtle Bay area

PAGE 27

Nearshore water temps are high 80s. There are nice fish around. Slow your fishing down!

95˚ 90˚ 85˚ 80˚

75˚

Ryan Windle 38-inch catch and release snook at Tigertail Beach while vacationing from Virginia

72˚ 70

Bill Flack “Dreaming of the Bite”

68˚ 50˚

Ian Roberts and Dave Patton caught a “big” cobia off Sanibel!!

45˚

$25 WINNER from Water LIFE magazine

George Riggs 36-inch snook. Alligator Creek, personal best.

Viktor with a 34 in. snook Caloosahatchee River, June...oh and on a $20 Wal-Mart pole with 6-pound line..lol..

LAST CAST

FISHING RIGHT NOW: VERY GOOD!

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

Karl Labosco nailed this large mouth Bass at the Big O on May 22, 2019 with Captain Mark Sheppard. 7.8 lbs. Great guide!

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I know itʼs nothing to brag about got this big sail cat that weighed roughly 5-pounds Angler name is Logan

Juan (aka) KID with a silver king - Caloosahatchee River, June 2019


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JULY 2019

Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE July 2019  

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

Water LIFE July 2019  

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

Profile for waterlife