CH Su m Ki EC m ds Pa er ge 12 Ca m p
Wa t e r
Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay & the Gulf
The Don Ball School of Fishing
Biggest Hammer Ever Tagged by Mote Page 7 Cuda on our FLATS? Page 8
Tarpon Have Problems Page 12
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Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication Vol XIII No 6 © 2014
In a show of force, records provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission indicate Capt. James W. Huddleston, 44, of Palm Harbor was scheduled to make a June 3 court appearance in Fort Myers where he was facing second degree misdemeanor charges, up to six months in jail and a $500 fine if convicted on charges of using illegal fishing gear - a bottom weighted hook, shown in the FWC report photo, above. FWC, officers approached Huddlestonʼs charter boat around 8:50 a.m. in Boca Grande Pass on Thursday, May 15. The officers said an observer in a nearby boat had tipped them off that Huddleston and his clients were using a form of bottom weighted “jig” outlawed as a foulhooking device last year by the commission. Huddlestonʼs clients were not charged and they were all allowed to continue fishing using other gear. We had no court report at press time. BOATERS NEED TO BE ESPECIALLY VIGILANT when running under the US 41-Bridge, outside the center marked channel. There have been a lot of fish and a lot of anglers fishing from the southbound span of the bridge lately. Snook, cobia and sharks are the main attraction. The problem is the bridge is 98-feet high at the center and landing a good sized fish even from a lower elevation takes some doing. A landing net on a long rope is the preferred procedure. Sometimes the net is left dangling.
Dear Michael, It has been about five months now, but at this point I haven't heard anything from you about when the Seminole is going to be scuttled. Please contact me because I am understandably curious. Sincerely, Thomas Mckeown Editor Notes: Tom, The current owner is struggling with funds to complete the gutting of the old shrimp boat before it can be sunk as a reef.
No part of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied or reproduced without specific written permission from the publishers.
Photography: ASA1000.com 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: Capt. Bo Johnson hooked this big hammerhead in Boca Grande and handed it off to the Mote Marine boat that was also there. See page 7.
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No Problems with Sharks By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor The newspaper I call the Daily Disappointment ran a front page story last month about shark fishing from the beach. Apparently someone complained that it was scary for bathers. I get that, but bathers complaining about fishermen should not be front page news in a place that brags about being the ‘Fishing Capitol of the World.’ Sharks are here, beach fishermen just make them more visible. Sharks are feeding on tarpon in the Pass. Do your homework. What would have been a better story for the newspaper is this, from beach shark fisherman Mallory Herzog’s blog. Mallory also writes a regular column for this publication (see page 7). I decided we needed to try a new area since Boca Pass has been SO crowded with fishermen and boats making it a bit hard to land a fish. Shark guys I can’t stress enough that you must start cleaning up after yourselves!!!! Last time I was in the pass I gathered up a cooler full of garbage from just the spot I was sitting in. Bonita tails all over and at least 4 leader sections and glow sticks laying all over the sand. We also spoke with a park ranger who was very upset over some late night vandalism. They are working on installing a security camera at this location.
Land based shark fishing is under intense scrutiny already. We don’t need to add garbage piles and vandalism to the list of complaints! That is the same, un-remedied, complaint Capt Orion Wholean wrote in his column here three months ago. The daily newspaper could have served the community much better by focusing on the bigger environmental problems. Hammerheads, tigers, lemons, short fin makos and sand sharks are now protected, but bull sharks are not. What do you think? Should they be? You can’t eat the bigger sharks. “There is nothing wrong with catching and eating an editable shark, say 4 feet and under,” Mallory wrote “Those can be tasty. But anglers who go out daily murdering 7-foot-plus bull sharks are simply assholes! I'd love to sit next to them while they try to choke down that yummy ammonia-meat,” A nice fit of honesty if ever I heard one! Do bull sharks deserve the same ‘respect’ that the Respect The Tarpon group advocates for their species, or are bull sharks simply too bad ass? Maybe that kind of respect is reserved for game fish? I don’t know, I’m asking. Where is the line to be drawn? Who draws it? At some point all the Ethical Angler talk has got to comes to fruition. Either we’re going to be walking the walk or
Alan Ogle, in 1997, owner of Billʼs Tackle Shop on Marion Ave at Taylor in Punta Gorda, shows the jaws of his 991-pound, IGFA All-Tackle World Record Hammerhead caught on May 30 1982 near Sarasota. The jaws hung in his shop window. Alanʼs record stood until May 23 2006 when another local shark angler, Bucky Dennis caught a 1280-pound hammerhead outside Gasparilla Pass. Hammerheads are now protected from harvest.
we’re not. It shouldn’t be a hard choice. In 2006 I went to Placida in the middle of the night to photograph Bucky Dennis bringing in his world record hammerhead shark. What I saw was this fat, grey, dead, pregnant female shark, draped jelly-like over a boat trailer. It didn’t leave me with the kind of memory that I wanted to associate with a World Record. The pressure is on the fish, but the pressure is greater on the fishermen, pressure to do what we teach our kids: To do
the right thing even when no one else is looking. I still find some irony in the accolades lauded on anglers by the allegedly conservation conscious IGFA for killing the biggest and usually oldest members of a species. Am I the only one who feels this way? Is this The Right Thing? It has been a great spring for sharks and although shark fishing from the beach may make the Chamber of Commerce cringe, shark fishermen don’t attract the sharks, actually it’s the other way around.
Manatee Wars Flare Up Again PAGE
ON THE LINE
By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff For the last few years there has been an unofficial truce between the sides of the great manatee war. Historians may differ as to the starting date of the war; some may say 1967 when the manatee was put on the endangered species list; others use 1991 when the first county in Florida implemented a Manatee Protection Plan. I prefer to use 2000, the year the Save the Manatee Club filled a lawsuit against the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service (FWCC). The lawsuit contended that these government organizations were not doing enough to protect the endangered manatee. The result was an un-appealable out of court settlement which resulted in more manatee zones and additional restrictions on boaters and waterfront property owners. Recently, the peace has been broken in what I call the Battle of Kings Bay. Kings Bay is a 600 acre area on the Crystal river in Citrus County. The area is best known as the place where a large number of manatees winter-over for four
months a year. The manatees have been coming to this area long before the white man showed up and everyone seemed to live in harmony. Citrus County recognized how special this area was when they placed it in their Manatee Protection plan in 1991. Everything was fine until someone figured out how to make money off these manatees. Tours to see the manateesswim with the manatees-touch the manatees. FWS officials became concerned and put more restrictions in place to protect the manatee. Local citizens and county officials became concerned over what they called the onerous federal regulations that endanger the fishing and tourist industry. To fight back they formed their own group called Save Crystal River, a contingent of citizens, community leaders and business owners. In 2012 they filled a petition with the FWC to have the manatee de-listed from endangered to threatened. Their logic on the matter is pretty convincing. Back in 2007 the Feds issued a manatee population report that estimated the population to be 3,300 and recommended that the manatee be de-listed. The peti-
Store-bought Romaine lettuce is in the budget to feed the manatees at Crystal River.
tion asks the Feds to explain why they haven't followed their own recommendations. But for seven years the Feds did not responded to their petition, citing budgetary constraints. Save Crystal River has now taken the next step and filed suit against the Feds to force them to answer their petition. In order to be successful you need
good legal representation. Along came a group called The Pacific Legal Foundation which has agreed to represent the cause. Before we say “let's kill all the lawyers” remember that this is exactly what the Save the Manatee Club did when in 2000, they were represented by the law firm Earth Justice, whose motto was Because the Earth needs a Good Lawyer. These firms work just like the lawyers you see on the TV commercials. We will represent you, if you lose you owe us nothing; If you win the government (ie. We the taxpayers) will pay your substantial legal bills. The Pacific Legal Foundation has some pretty good credentials. They were the group that went to the Supreme Court and got the bald eagle removed from the Endangered Species list. The firm says their client had to sue because the Fed’s 2007 recommendation called for de-listing and now in 2014 we have a population of 4276 manatees so there is even more reason to de-list. The firm said: “Litigation has become necessary in order to make government follow the finding of science and obey its own rules.” What's really endangered here is accountability in government and credibility in regulations. Let the battle begin. Captronb@juno.com
Feds Tweak Endangered Act Staff Report The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA proposed two rules and a new policy to improve the process of designating areas of “critical habitat” consulting on the effects of federal actions on critical habitat to “ensure that any actions they authorize, fund or carry out are not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification” of designated critical habitat.” The new definition of “adverse modification” directs the review of federal actions on how changes would affect the designated critical habitat's ability to support recovery of the listed species. In other words, how the “conservation value” of the critical habitat is being affected.
It also sets standards used for designating critical habitat and how the Feds consider exclusions from critical habitat designations. Under the Act, the government can evaluate the economic, national security and other impacts of a designation and may exclude particular areas if the benefits of doing so are greater than the benefits of designation. Clarification of the term ʻother impactsʼ was not provided. A new definition of ʻadverse modificationʼ will allegedly lead to greater clarity as indesignating critical habitat and conducting section 7 consultations, These regulatory improvements, proposed last month, are consistent with Executive Order 13563, issued by President Obama in 2011.
Hammers and Tigers and Bulls, Oh My! JUNE 2014
By Mallory Herzog Water LIFE Beach Fishing It’s no secret that spring time means the big sharks are here in large numbers. This year more than ever the sport of land based shark fishing has taken off, partly due to all the attention in the media. Kind of a blessing and a curse I suppose! The beaches are more crowded with shark fishermen and that is making residents and tourists a bit unsettled. Many are concerned the fishermen are drawing the sharks in close to where they like to spend their afternoons relaxing. As a land based sharker myself I strive to choose day time fishing areas with out swimmers! Even if that means walking a mile while dragging my gear behind me. We must strive to set a positive example for the up and coming shark fishermen! This year I was blessed to meet a few groups of shark fishermen who are really doing right by these fish. Handling them properly, not over doing it on their hook sections. Just generally being as responsible as they can be. Most are now participating in the NOAA Cooperative Shark Tagging Program. The more people tagging sharks the more research NOAA is able to gather on these amazing ocean creatures that are vanishing too quickly. Florida does its part to protect. Tiger sharks, lemon sharks and hammerheads are now on the NO KILL list. This year I have seen at least 5- to 10 juvenile tiger sharks caught along our beaches from Venice to Sanibel. That is a wonderful sign that our state's prohibited species ban is working. These young tigers are able to take refuge in our shallows and grow into amazing large sharks. The hammerheads are here and in large numbers also. Captains locally have spotted "packs" of hammers swimming together. Mostly adults 10- to14-feet in length. Ham-
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Left: Dehooking with dehookers and, often, a bolt cutter. Right: Mote Marine tagging their largest ever hammerhead. You can see the tag on the dorsal fin. Tag data includes water temperature, which NOAA will be using to help predict hurricane development.
merhead sharks at 14 feet are estimated 30to 40-years of age. They are known to appear yearly with the tarpon, a food source a hungry hammerhead just can’t resist! After four years of fishing, my husband was lucky enough to land his first hammerhead from shore, an amazing moment and amazing fish. Usually only one a year is caught, this year however at least a dozen or more 13+foot hammers have been caught across the state. Two of which sadly were fatalities. This happens in any kind of fishing. There are losses and it’s sad and unfortunate. When fishing for these over sized sharks it’s important to their health and yours to use the right equipment that is strong enough to handle the battle. Hammerheads will fight
to the death. Use circle hooks with appropriate gaps to prevent gut hooking. Keeping your fish in the water is also key to revival. Mote Marine was able to tag two hammers off of Boca Grande just this past month. Special thanks to Captain Bo Johnson of Tenacity Guide Service for handing off his hammer to Mote for the tagging process! This is amazing for research purposes locally. Bo and first mate Deidra really gave their clients a show when they spotted this hammer as they were already hooked up on a bullshark! Captain Bo thought fast and threw a bait at this extra large hammerhead! This hammer hit the bait on top of the water, like you were throwing a top water plug at snook, but on a much larger scale! Before he knew it he was hooked up for the fight of a life time, passing the rod around the boat letting everyone feel the power of the amazing ani-
mal. She measured 13.5 feet and was Mote Marine’s‚ largest tagged hammerhead ever! (That makes me even more excited for years to come!) My favorite part of fishing in the ocean is you never really know what species is on the end of your line. I hope for a day when we see shark number's and species of the 1950s and 60s return and when sand tigers and dusky's are your every day catch. Back then, tiger sharks were as prevalent as bull sharks and blacktip sharks are today.
Unpredictable Waters PAGE
By Capt Billy Barton Water LIFE INSHORE May lived up to its extra-fishy reputation this year! From the northern end of the Harbor down south to Pine Island and on to Gasparilla and Boca Grande, everywhere you turn there's a boat of anglers looking for that trophy catch! The tarpon and sharks are here in full swing. There are snook all over the beaches, the cobia are everywhere and the grass flats are full of big hungry redfish waiting for an easy meal. That pretty much sums up why I can't spend my time fishing freshwater. In
salt water the fish are just powerful. They have heart. They get the adrenaline pumping. You never know what you're going to run into out there in the salt and you never know what could end up at the other end of your line. The daytime produces trophy fish, but a significant amount of our fish down here will actually eat at night time as well. Tarpon, sharks, cobia, snook, redfish, trout and big snapper all eat at night. Good areas to target these fish at night are places where there is a good amount of artificial light casting shadows on the water, such as the 41 bridges. The bridge lights call in bait fish from all over at night. They also create shadow lines on the surface of the water that run parallel with the bridge itself. In turn, your predators (especially snook and tarpon) will hide in the shadows and ambush their prey into the light as it flows through with the tide. The full and new moon phases bring us our strongest tides of the month and will usually produce the best night-time feed. I had the pleasure of taking my little brother Matt out on a night time fishing venture last week. The moon was full and we had decided on going out to the bridge for a few hours in search of a night time tarpon. I had a couple dozen shrimp left from my charter earlier that day. Our plan
was to use the shrimp to catch some catfish, then to soak some catfish tails on the shadow lines and see what happens. A lot of folks look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them how much I love catfish tails for bait. Yes I found a use for those nasty critters! I promise you too, they do work! The bridge was full of life that night, the big fish were active and we had it all to ourselves. One reason I love going at night is things are usually quiet and you tend to have less company. Needless to say, I don't like admitting this, but we had chances at over a dozen BIG fish, most of which we never got to see. Things were not going in our favor.
We had jumps from three large tarpon, but didn't get them to the boat. The highlight of our night however was two back to back 20 and 30 pound cobias which were both caught on the same piece of bait. When I caught the first cobia the catfish tail was actually sliding down my fishing line during the battle so the fish never got it down. After landing that fish I took the same piece of bait, put it back on the hook, threw it out and it wasn't 10 minutes before Matt was hooked up on his fish too. It was epic! We ate cobia all week long (cobia photos this page) that,
my friends, is no fish story! Catching two big fish on the same piece of bait; I'd say you could classify that in the, "out of the ordinary" section. Several times during day trips last month we had fish caught that were out of the ordinary. The wheels in my head continue to turn about some of them. My client landed a 200 pound Goliath grouper with a spear tip sticking out of his head (photo at right). It came out right between his eyes and had barnacles growing off of it. Of course I preformed a quick boat-side surgery on the fish, relieving him of his migraine before letting him go. We also had a 3 foot barracuda landed on the flats (left page, top) while targeting redfish, a trout that looked like he hadn't eaten in months, (page left) and a
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redfish with a HUGE healed up prop scar down his side (left). I also had a gentlemen land a five to six foot spinner shark on a half of a star rod. The rod literally exploded in his hands while he was battling the fish! Ahhh yes. Good times... sounds boring doesn't it!?! You never know what to expect out there. You never know what you'll run into and you never know what could wind up on the other end of your line. Pretty exciting, if you ask me and enough to keep me coming back! I hope you guys and gals are rippinâ€™ lips like crazy! Tight lines and here's to smellinâ€™ fishy!! Capt. Billy Barton, Scales & Tails Fishing Charters 941- 979-6140
Big-Fish Season PAGE
By Capt. Bart Marx Water LIFE Family Fishing There were some big fish caught on some of our trips this past month. May was exciting. Chuck and his brother Bob kept one red and one trout, enough for a nice fish dinner. George and his wife got some nice mangrove snapper, they had some yellowtail snapper too. Another young man flew in from Ohio where he said that morning it was 38 degrees and it was like 84 the afternoon when he caught his 40-inch black drum at the US 41 bridge. Then, about five minutes later another young man caught a 42-inch black drum, both on crabs. The crazy thing was I bought crabs at Fishinâ€™ Franks and they said that they were tarpon crabs. I had a few left over so I went back and cast a crab and about 20 minutes later (on my day off) and I caught
myself a 38-inch black drum. This was just the beginning and I didn't even know it. On a Tuesday trip I had 3 anglers and we ventured out into the Gulf from Placida. We were fishing in 50-feet of water catching some snapper and porgies. The temperature was rising and we needed a breeze, they wanted to ride along the beach and see some tarpon. We cruised the beach about 1/4 mile off where there were some boats, we saw a fin and thought it was a dolphin so we went to see it. Wrong! It turned out to be a hammerhead shark that Capt. Bart estimated to be around 10-feet long. I tried to get some video but no good, sorry, but I have 3 witnesses/anglers who can confirm the sighting. Really, yes, Jean, Jenny and Denny were all
there. And there was a birthday celebrated on one of our trips too, those three ladies could fish! They were also from the great white north. The birthday girl caught a 28-inch, 6-pound king mackerel. They were catching snapper, yellow tails and mangroves. Then, after a 20 minute tug a war, the sister pulls in a 45-inch 26-pound king, they don't call them smokers for nothing. Nine yellow tails, 10 mangroves, 2 kings... they had food for the week and they had great birthday celebration too. Then I had a chance to take my son out to cap off the big fish extravaganza. He got an 8or 9-foot nurse shark with a closeup shot - too cool. He played about 20 minutes or so and I asked if he needed a break. He immediately handed me the rod. He was the one to get the photo though. So it is big fish season for sure!! If you would like to play tug a war with some of these critters give me a call and we can get you hooked up. C.Bart Marx 941-979-6517 or email@example.com Always remem-
FWC Approves Sea Cucumber Management
Staff Report The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at its April meeting in Tallahassee established a commercial daily trip and vessel limit of 200 sea cucumbers in both state and federal waters. This change went into effect June 1. The change was requested by the existing commercial fishery as a proactive measure. In Florida, there is currently a small commercial fishery for sea cucumbers for the live aquarium trade, but sea cucumbers have been commonly targeted elsewhere in the world as a food product due to their high value in Asian markets. Consequently, the rapid, unregulated development of sea cucumber export fisheries has led to fishery collapses and sea cucumber depletions elsewhere in the world. Sea cucumbers are vulnerable to overfishing due to their sedentary nature. Because of their life-history characteristics, such as their late reproductive age, they need a dense population in order to successfully reproduce during their long life span.
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GREAT CONCEPT The Hardee County School District has run a
program called Outdoor Classroom since 1987. The classes, under the guidance of teacher Kayton Nedza, introduce grades 3 through 8 students to the Peace River and the Charlotte Harbor Watershed, with the hope that educating them now will ultimately help improve water quality in the future. Shown here on May 23, the 5th Grade Estuary Study is in progress on Charlotte Harbor near Marker No. 1. Students lowered a lead line to measure depth, sampled and recorded salinity, Ph and phosphate and observed plant life. The boat and captain were from Kingfisher Fleet at Fishermenʼs Village. KIDS SUMMER CAMP: Registration is open for the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Centerʼs (CHEC) Eco-Day Camp from June 2 to 6, camp days are from 8am to noon. CHECʼs Eco-Day Camp involves children in a variety of outdoor and environmental activities including: wading, hiking, taking a boat trip and more as they learn about Florida wildlife, habitats and ecology. This week long camp will engage your child while they learn about science and the environment. The camp is designed for children leaving 2nd grade to entering 8th grade. This camp is held at CHECʼs Alligator Creek Preserve office, 10941 Burnt Store Road. The cost to attend is $60. Children attending must dress for the outdoors—jeans, sneakers (no sandals or open-toed shoes), hat, and t-shirt. They should bring an extra pair of shoes, sun screen, bug spray, bag lunch and their enthusiasm. For more information, call 941-575-5435.
TARPON : Pressure From Many Directions
Commentary By Orion Wholean Water LIFE As the tarpon season we have all been longing for has finally arrived, so have the tournaments and so have the controversies. There are two ways to catch these beautiful fish in Boca Grande pass, there is live bait, and there is the jig which is the source of controversy. The jig is simply a lead head with a body bait and a hook, basically itʼs just an artificial lure. Both methods are difficult to hook up and land the fish of your dreams and both take skill like you wouldn't believe. People say the jig is a snatching device and the live bait is harmless to these beautiful fish. The truth is there is more than just a jig problem in the pass. Problems include attitudes by some local fishermen, boats driving over lines with fish on, protesters during tournaments and worst of all, the sharks. From my experience in this past month of May I have seen 90% of fish caught during the day get eaten by the massive packs of bull sharks waiting for a snack. Weather itʼs live bait or a jig, just the effect of catching the tarpon make it vulnerable to an attack by a shark. The only difference is that live bait kills a fish (being the bait). every time! We all need to remember we are off to catch the fish of a lifetime and this is supposed to be a fun and exciting event. Tarpon are beautiful fish and the source of $110 million coming to our economy. It is important to respect these fish in their natural waters and to be sure to achieve a clean healthy release of tarpon every time. Capt. Orion Gasparilla Big Game Charter Service 941.249.0177
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Scallops 11 Million Sounds Like a Lot
By Capt. Betty Staugler Water LIFE Environment Last month we released approximately 1,000 spawner bay scallops into Lemon Bay as part of Sea Grant's ongoing restoration efforts. The scallops, donated by Bay Shellfish Co., were the second release for 2014. In March Bay Shellfish Co. donated about 2,500 juveniles which were released in Gasparilla Sound. In 2013, roughly 11 million bay scallop larvae and 30,000 juveniles were released into these estuaries. Although that sounds impressive, it will take many more years and many more releases before we can expect bay scallops to gain a foot hold here. This is because bay scallops only live about a year and they are eaten by just about everything, so only a small portion released will ever survive to spawn. I don't really expect to see any gains from 2013's releases until at
least 2015. This is because 11 million bay scallop larvae is really just 20 bay scallops that spawned two times. We need several pockets of a few hundred scallops to spawn in order to start seeing recovery. That won't happen in a hatchery, but if we can get enough survivors in the estuary over time it could happen. Plans are already in the works for another larval and juvenile release this fall or winter. Capt. Betty Staugler Florida Sea Grant Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County (941) 764-4346 More on Scallops: In Tallahassee, Governor Rick Scott announced the bay scallop season will open three days early this year. The change is aligned with opening the season on a weekend. The season runs July 1 to September 24.
Harbor Patience Pays Off PAGE
By Capt. Chuck Eichner Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Often anglers measure the success of their fishing trips by how many fish they catch or how heavy the cooler is at the end of the day. Fishing this spring reset my thinking on success as this was the toughest fishing spring I have ever had and that includes my first year when I didnâ€™t even know where Turtle Bay was. That is quite a statement and it all relates to the absence of baitfish. No one understands what has happened to the migration of baitfish this year and to date I have not heard of any scientists investigating it. I hope this was a natural occurrence and if so, I know nature has a way of healing itself. Without the ability to hurl numerous free swimming baitfish as chum, patience prevailed with what little I had and of course we threw lures to fill in the gaps. I certainly caught fish on every trip, but my numbers were way down on snook, although I believe there are still plenty of snook around but they follow the baitfish migrations. With a different approach to fishing the Harbor, patience, which society seems to have very little of any more, became a rehearsed mantra in my mind
and with that came experiences with nature that were more memorable then the fish themselves. On two occasions I found sea turtles mating in the Harbor. Normally these creatures are shy, but with love in the air
they allowed us to photograph them at a comfortable distance. The first mating pair frolicked up and down in the top 3 feet of the water column with flippers flapping and heads bobbing with the male and female belly to belly. They drifted off of Cape Haze Point for over 30 minutes while we observed them. The second group of turtles was a threesome with one turtle stacked on top of the other bobbing aimlessly with 3 sets of flippers flapping as they dropped into the water column and then struggled to get all 3 heads above the water line. Pretty cool stuff and a bit of a comedy
show to say the least! Crabbing was a hit or miss proposition this spring as I am a recreational crabber but somehow always had a pot of crabs to steam while giving my traps extra days to fill with crabs. Charlotte Harbor offers so much more than fishing but on the fishing front I did have remarkable fish come
This large snook required me to spend 20 minutes in the water bringing her back to life
boatside including multiple 20 pound snook, 10 pound grouper, 8 pound redfish and 5 pound trout. Any one of these fish on a given trip were enough to call the day a success! Tarpon fishing was predictably challenging in shallow water and there have been plenty
around. When you seem them in 5 feet of water they will test your patience as some days I cast to 50 tarpon without a bite but still consider it a success. With summer weather now in full force I pray for lighter winds, easier bait catching and will certainly be more patient waiting for the bites. Capt. Chuck Eichner, Action Flats Backcountry Charters 941-628-8040 or www.BackcountryCharters.com
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End of an Era
By Fishin’ Frank board their boats and shoot it while it was Water LIFE Baitshop laying on the deck were common. The bad Sharks. Right now they part was the bullets would go through the are considered, sort of, shark, through the deck, and maybe the well, cute - maybe even cuddly. That is a fuel tank. Bullets skipped or ricochet first for the human race and I would guess across the water. It was very dangerous. it only applies if you are a dry-land perAbout this time, we decided to do an son. For the rest of time sharks have been end of spring tournament; of course considered the enemy. sharks were the target. The problem was We were thatwhich moved heavy that shark tournaments were about killing goods every where. If you wanted to go to and throwing away the sharks. This was the New World it was by boat. And what not good as 1 shark could make a the do you think was the ever present danger main course for a family BBQ. So we deon those boat cided to do the journeys? Sharks. first No-Waste Sharks would shark tournament eat the garbage where the sharks tossed over would be brought board, they were in already gutted always hanging and iced so the around and when meat would rea ship went main edible. down, well... they In the summer were there. Only of 1985 the first when we started Fishin’ Franks moving things Shark Tournament by air, truck, or took place at the train did the Laishely Park boat dread of the ramp. Laishley shark lessen, was still a trailer Chuck Hepp lands a bullsharknear the Pass during a past tournament By the 1970s park back then and no one really paid any attention to them. many of the local fishermen lived there. Not until Jaws. That movie started a That format continued for five years until thing; shark fishing. I decided we would add catfish to the People had always caught sharks, but tournament. Catfish were the by-catch of Jaws made it cool to kill them. Now peoshark fishing anyway. The tournament ple were going out to get the bad guys. brought in huge crowds. This type of thinking went on for years The nurse sharks were not being eaten, and along the way people began to figure which is strange since nurse sharks are out how tasty some sharks were and so one of the tastiest sharks of all. Worse yet, the meat hunt was on too. the nurse sharks were not being disposed Bringing a live shark onto a boat was of properly, so they were taken out of the considerd goofey, shooting the sharks tournament. alongside the boat, or as they were being A few years later in the 90s another byreeled in became common. catch of shark fishing, the stingray, was Shark fishing became more of a coded added to the tournament. At one time we phrase for drinking and dumb things even discussed adding tarpon to the tourstarted happening more and more. Stories nament since so many people fishing for of fishermen who would bring a shark on sharks at night around the Pass were
Some years there were a lot of sharks, some years there were a few.
catching tarpon, but we never got around to the tarpon. By then the attitude was changeing about sharks and catch and release tournaments began popping up. A group of scientists had started a research project on sharks and our tournament became a source of shark parts for testing. They collected vertebraes, skin, jaws and fins, everything shark. People protested about a kill tournament, but it was a productive thing. You can not get a vertebre sample from a live shark, the shark gets a little upset with that. Now 29 years have passed since the first shark tournament. Our average tournaments were between 500 and 600 entrants, but in the last couple of years it dropped to a low of 250. For those who entered, the tournament was still about getting friends or family together and spending the night on the Harbor. Most years it was a tricky thing. We never had a rain out. Fishin’ Franks’ Severe Weather Challenge became the nick name for the tournament. We had lightning and tornados. One year the anglers went out in the middle of a tropical storm. It usually rained and blew hard. Another year, 7 boats went down and at least 15
people were pulled from the water. No one was hurt, but everyone had a great shark fishing story to tell. Over the years we ran the tournament really well and really poorly. Some decisions we made when it came to judging were brilliant and some were really stupid. We learned from our success and from our failures. So here we are in a place in time where jumping in the water with a hammerhead to release it and walking it out to deeper water to make sure it survives is considered the right thing to do. The research is over and the big friends and family BBQs do not happen. Families once gathered on islands on the river or had parties at the beach but now open fires are not permitted. It is just a different time, so we are ending the Shark Tournament. This month will be your last chance to be part of the orignal event. We do not know if we will have a catfish/stingray tournament again or not. I am looking for feedback on what you would like. It has been a 29 year roller coaster ride and I thank you all for riding the wild rails with us. You can contact Fishin’ Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org 625-3888
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By Bobby Vitalis Water LIFE Pier Fishing This black tip shark was caught at Tom Adam’s Bridge Pier, from low to high tide in the afternoon hours. I have caught shark from the beginning of the Pier to the end of the Pier. You can catch different types of shark there. It does not matter if it is calm or windy, the shark are biting in both conditions. I am using cut ladyfish bait to catch shark. I catch ladyfish for bait buy using R&R Sabiki rigs, model # BR2 hook size 22 with a two ounce pyramid sinker, or GOT-CHA lures in size 7/8 ounce to 1 ounce weight with color (chartreuse head), and the D.O.A C.A.L jerk bait in the copper crush color model # 321. Sometimes the ladyfish are there, and sometimes they are not. Before you place the ladyfish on the hook,
cut it up in two to three inch chunks. When bait casting with cut ladyfish, I use 50 pound test SUFIX ADVANCE SUPER LINE (BRAID), as my main line, with a two ounce egg sinker. For my leader line, I use 16 inches of AFW 7x7 40 pound test SURFLON MICRO SUPREME knottable nylon coated stainless steel leader color (camo), model # DM49-40-A. You can try many different wire lines, not just this one. Pick out the wire line that is best for you to use. When attaching the hook to the wire line, I suggest you use anywhere from 3/0 to 5/0 OWNER or GAMAKATSU red circle hooks. The thing I like about circle hooks is that the hook gets set in the corner of the mouth. So, if you want to have fun catching shark, try using cut ladyfish for bait.
The Olʼ Fishʼn Hole JUNE 2014
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By Capt. Jim O Brien Water LIFE Offshore Hey ya - all I hope everyone is doing well I hope ya - all got out and got some fishing in between the winds we have had. It's just like last month, the winds was blowing 15 to 20 kts with gusts and now it’s 15 kts with gusts to 20 kts. Wow I don't believe it I tell ya, when Mother Nature gives you a window of opportunity you better jump out it! I just fished an offshore fishing tournament and buddy was it rough. We were bucking 5 to 6 footers coming back, head on, we took water over the top of the fly-bridge and now I’m writing this article 2 days later and the winds are 15 to 20 kts still. Whew! There is going to be another fishing tournament June 14 at Gasparilla Ma-
rina put on by Lemon Bay Touch Down Club with up to $12,000 in pay outs for red grouper, snapper, and a mystery fish. Inshore red fish, trout, . You can get brochures at Fisherman’s Edge and Gasparilla Marina or contact John Redman 941-456-1186. If everything goes well I will be fishing it. Well the fish'n tournament we fished last month was windy and nasty, but we caught some grouper and snapper. Even at anchor our lines were
From Capt. Jim OBrien TARPON -- biting good in Boca Grande Pass and out on the beach - best baits live blue crabs, pass crabs and live mullet. COBIA -- moving all around Charlotte Harbor and some are moving out to the offshore wrecks and reefs -best bait big lively pin fish or a Berkley scented black and silver eel. I keep one rigged and ready all the time. KING MACKERAL -- still being caught in
out 45 degrees with 8 oz of weight on! Our guys weighed in 2, 8pound grouper but 2 African pompanos won - an 11-pounder caught by John Mcintrye and a 10-pounder caught by Randy Comer. Good job guys! There were some mangs brought in along with a variety of fish, there were 32 anglers. I think John said it was their first fishing tournament and everyone had a blast. Well folks it’s that time again. My lips are on the floor and my writing hand is cramping so if you have a good ol fish'n story or a recipe for cooking fish that we can share with our readers or if you want to book an offshore charter with us aboard the Predator II give us a call at (941) 473 - 2150 AND REMEMBER GET OUT AND SNORT SOME OF THAT GOOD CLEAN SALT AIR C U Z IT’S GOOD FER YA! ! !
40 to 60 feet of water drifting, use chum and free line a live pin fish. Trolling use silver spoons, king spoons is a good choice. SPANISH MACKERAL and BONITA -some of the Spanish mackerel are running with the Kings. I was talking with the guy 3 docks down from me and on Saturday May 17 he caught 1 big King mackerel and a nice size Spanish mackerel trolling silver spoons. SHARKS -- all over the place up in Charlotte Harbor out on the beaches and on
the inshore and the offshore wrecks and reefs. There have been some nice ones caught off the middle beach at night - best baits chunks of mullet and chunk bonita. BARRACUDA -- on most of the offshore wrecks right now 30 miles out they will eat just about anything that is lively and trying to get away. MANGROVE SNAPPER and LANES -we caught some nice ones in the 20 to 22 inch category 30 miles out -best baits cut squid and squid heads.
RED GROUPER -- chewing good from 100 feet, out deeper we are catching some decent ones to 110 feet. Some are in the 24 to 26-inch range, but a lot aref throw backs, 18 to 19 inches. Some friends in fast boats I fished with were fish'n 120 to 140 feet of water and limiting out every time -10 to 20 pounders, now I tell YA THATʼS A NICE! We are catching most on stink baits, chunks of mullet and chunks of sardines.
Lots of Salty Water Lots of Fish By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Inshore There have been a lot of sharks; little blacktips, sharpnose and spinners. Go out and get some chum blocks. Get on any of the holes in the Harbor, flatline some cut bait - the frozen threadfins are even working, if you have a hard time getting the live ones. The sharks will come to your slick. I’ve been doing good with snapper lately. Snapper is just starting to move
into the Harbor Fish the deeper mangrove shorelines around PGI and it’s docks. With the whitebait missing, I’ve been doing good with quartersized pinfish that I have been cast netting on the bar on the east side, south of Alligator Creek. I chum them with tropical fish food and bread. With pinfish for bait there is also a good chance your snapper fishing by-catch could be a redfish. There have been some snook around. The best bite I’ve had lately is Bull Bay where there is moving water, by the entrances. Use bigger threadfins and bigger pinfish. Cut a pinfish in half, snook will eat that too! Tarpon fishing on the beach is with crabs and herring, up the Peace River I dead -a lot. Up past Nav-A-Gator I thought I
hooked a tarpon; it made a pretty good run, but it never jumped. When it got to the boat it was a 5 foot bull shark! Pretty good surprise. We haven’t had any rain yet, then it won’t be long before the freshwater starts pushing them out of there. Capt. Dave Stephens 941-916-5769 www.backbayxtremes.com
FRESHWATER NOTICE on BASS: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is in the midst of public meeting to discuss a possible rule change for largemouth bass. The proposal under consideration is for a STATEWIDE FIVE-FISH DAILY BAG LIMIT, ONLY ONE OF WHICH COULD BE 16 INCHES TOTAL LENGTH OR LONGER. In other words, four of the five largemouths would have to be less than 16 inches total length.
SHARK!...It's What's For Dinner JUNE 2014
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Donald Graves used his arm-strength to land this big bull shark with Capt. Steve last month.
By Capt. Steve Skevington Water LIFE Placida Keeping your shark for the grill or deep fryer may someday be a thing of the past. Year after year, fishing regulations in the Gulf of Mexico get progressively tighter. The people that make these rules do a great job, most of the time, in managing our fisheries and making sure there are lots of fish out there for our grand kids to catch. Sharks are one species that have been getting more protection in recent years. These rules are based on good science and lots of accurate research. I like to fish sharks offshore with lots of chum and wait until they are eating everything I put in the water... Once they are all heated up it's just a matter of putting bait in front of them. We fish with 40-pound line and 108pound steal leader with just an 8/0 circle hook. Thatâ€™s all you need to land even some of the biggest sharks. Look for bonita and Spanish mackerel crashing bait on the surface, there are always sharks nearby. Free lining a bonita-steak will almost always result in a bite! If your fishing to keep one, have a plan. Shark that tastes good has been gutted shortly after being landed. You need to have lots of ice handy and, of course, be careful of all their teeth. The limit is only one shark per boat, per day. As of this writing, sharks we are still allowed to keep for the dinner plate
are: bull, black tip, spinner, atlantic sharp nose, black nose, and a hand full of less popular others. But no lemons, no hammerheads, no short fin makos, no tigers, and no browns, (aka Sand Bars)...and nothing under 54 inches long coming from Federal waters. Regulations change, be sure to check the regulations yourself before taking a shark home for dinner. They are great on the grill or deep fried and there are definitely plenty out there to catch. Good luck sharking! If you don't get any, call me! Capt. Steve Skevington (941) 575-3528
The satellite tagged 14ft+ 2,300lbs great white shark named Katharine was swimming southwest and offshore of the Marathon Florida Keys late last month.
Kaykaing The Port Charlotte Mangroves By David Allen Water LIFE Kayaking Charlotte County is blessed with some of the best mangrove tunnel kayaking short of the Everglades. First, let’s make sure we all know what we’re talking about: mangrove tunnels are channels cut through large, dense mangrove areas, usually bordering bodies of open water. Years ago many of them were used for mosquito control. These channels are narrow, winding pathways that completely surround you with vegetation, often blocking out the sun. Some are so narrow that you can barely swing a paddle. The water is usually very shallow so traversing at high tide is advisable. It’s easy for “first timers” to lose their sense of direction in the shadows and turning around in the narrow channel can be a challenge. All said, the tunnels are an interesting break from open air kayaking. Our kayak club, the Port Charlotte Kayakers (PCK), paddles the four main mangrove areas in Charlotte County several times a year. In no particular order, the main tunnels are; the Woolverton in Placida, the Triple Lakes between the Manchester Waterway and the Myakka Cutoff, the area south of Ponce De Leon Park in Punta Gorda, and the Grassy Point mangroves off Edgewater Drive. The Woolverton Trail is widely known as one of the best trails in Florida and it is regularly maintained to keep the channels open. The area between Ponce Park in Punta Gorda and Alligator Creek is the area where you will find a series of mangrove tunnels that are easily accessible and fun to paddle. Our club usually does some branch and tree removal several
times a year, but you still may occasionally find one of the channels blocked. The mangrove route between the Manchester Waterway, the Triple Lakes, and the Myakka Cutoff was discovered fairly recently by club member, John Keaveny. who had been exploring the area and with the help of Google Earth, was able to find a path through west of the Lakes. The adjacent map shows this area and the Manchester Waterway which can be easily accessed from the Tippecanoe Park launch site near the Sports Park . Last, and also least, is the smallish mangrove area just off Grassy Point, about a mile east of the Port Charlotte Beach Complex. Middle to high tide is essential to getting in and around the mangroves there, but once you’re inside, the channels are very open. It’s also easy to explore new routes through narrow openings in the main channel, but be careful. It can be difficult to find a way back out. I know from personal experience! Some time ago, the PCK decided to try the mangroves off the Triple Lakes, launching from Tippecanoe Park. Even though it was not high tide, and the Triple Lakes and mangroves are shallow in
spots, we elected to try the Lakes route and so we wound up dragging our kayaks over several low spots. From the put-in, a paddle of roughly two and a half mile takes you to the entrance to the Triple Lakes canal. This segment is fairly wide open and relatively deep; an easy paddle for most kayakers. We moved easily and quickly through the three lakes, touching bottom only a few times, emerging into the Myakka Cutoff, with Hog Island directly in front of us. After a short break, we headed northwest toward the entrance to the tunnels. Near the entrance on the Myakka Cutoff, the mangroves are fairly open and it’s easy to get lulled into a sense of an easy day on the water. But a few yards beyond the entrance, all thoughts of an easy paddle are quickly forgotten. The tunnels narrow down very quickly to a width of a couple of yards in the wide spots and even though we are experienced in paddling through mangroves, those off the Myakka Cutoff are about the toughest. As we paddled, you could continuously hear the scraping of paddles on the man-
grove branches even though some of our group had reduced the length of their paddles by separating the two halves. A heavy tree branch had fallen in one spot, and we all waited while each kayak was partly “scooched” and partly paddled over the intruding obstacle. At the exit from the tunnels back into the Manchester, the water became even shallower, mostly due to a buildup of sediment and shell. We had to get out of our kayaks and carry them the last 25 yards to the Manchester. It was good to see open water again and realize that we only had a short distance back to the launch site. I suppose many of you are wondering why anyone would take such a paddle, so difficult and challenging. Part of the answer is because we enjoy kayaking and being on the water regardless of the difficulty of the paddle. Even the tough ones are enjoyable and good shared fun. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True Located off of Biscayne Boulevard (US 1) in North Miami, Aquafair, opened in 1956 and featured a diving horse, plunging from a high platform into a pool of water. The park closed in 1959. The horse was never injured.
Southwest Florida counties, municipalities and organizations have joined to engage and educate citizens on the
responsible use of fertilizer. Their slime monster symbolizes the effect of overfertilization and runoff.
FWC officers received information about a picture of speared goliath grouper being posted on facebook. Officers were able to track down two individuals involved in spearing the fish. After interviewing the subjects the fish was retrieved from a nearby dumpster. A warrant was obtained for the violation.
hunters killed over 12,000 birds on only 2 reservoirs. Highly successful! Most anglers despise them as they gobble up bait fish and fingerlings of sport fish at an alarming rate. This just-completed boat tipped over at
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the bodyworks dock. It is very lucky for the new owner that it happened before he left the dockm someone observed. Top heavy boats have tipped over before. Apparently, there are no "credentials" necessary to start building or launching boats.
An FWC officer received a call concerning a subject cleaning and filleting an undersized cobia on the Bay County fishing pier. When the officer arrived he found the fisherman talking with Panama City Beach Police Officers. Apparently, in landing the undersized cobia, the fisherman knocked over several other fishers and they had called the police to file a complaint. The officer found a bag of filets on the individual and he confessed to filleting the fish on the pier. A citation was issued for failure to land cobia in whole condition. Police banned the subject from the pier.
The Oyster Bar at Fishville has closed and will reopen as a steak restaurant this fall. The old Captain and the Cowboy restaurant, one of the few failures on the Restaurant Rescue TV show, is now reopening under new ownership as the Smokinʼ Pit BBQ. Weʼre probably on the way as you read this!
Texas Parks and Wildlife is researching weather or not to open a cormorant sea-
son in the near future. South Carolina opened one up in February and the
The top 11 counties for boating deaths. Charlotte is not one of them! No Lockout, Operatior Inexperience and Collisions With Other Vessels were recorded as causes of many accidents.
June Fishing Forecast
Frank, at Fishin’ Franks 941- 625-3888
There have been a bunch of big black drum in the upper Harbor at the mouth of PGI and at the I-75 and 41 bridges. Something like 10,000 just did a spawn. It doesn’t matter day or night they will eat either or.
The redfish are in schools on the lower half of the east side and toward Indian Fields (at Matlacha above Pine Island). If there is a little shade you probably have a redfish in it. From Pirate Harbor up to Cormorant Key and from Bunrt Store to Indian Fields there are reds. It’s been better on the Pine Island side than the mainland side, better west than Two Pine. More strange: If you are out in the Gulf right now the predominant factor is pollen. There are huge drifts of pollen and I think there are fish eggs and spawn floating with the massive amounts of pollen. The pollen is mostly from the Australian Pine trees. There are huge mats of green, it looks like algae but it’s actually tree pollen. We don’t know, but two people came in the shop and said they saw bait eating it. Maybe they are eating plankton close to the surface. We hear of light green
Grandson Nick Panozzo, 9 years old, caught this 28" black drum while visiting his grandparents in Punta Gorda Isles from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
There are still more snook than there should be on the east side. I think a lot made it to the east side and decided to stop there and spawn. They are all around the islands, some are by the bar, but mostly they are in back. The river is at 1.3 feet at Arcadia so there is no fresh water coming down. It’s all about the salt for spawning snook. In salt, the vast majority of the eggs survive, in fresh water most eggs die. That’s why in rainier years all the fish go out to the Gulf to spawn. Strangely this is the best year on permit in the Harbor we have ever seen. All the pictures we see aren’t pompano but are permit. Alligator Creek to Burnt Store, from the passes and beaches all the way to 41 and the Bayshore Pier we are seeing permit. A few years ago we might have thought they were pompano but they are permit. The permit don’t have the yellow. Cobia fishing right now is great and it’s going to continue great through this month. The yardstick over the last couple of months has been stuck on spectacular, the best ever. People think is has slowed down now, but only compared to the last two fantastic months. Now is still good.
Kingfisher Fleet guide Bill Lotito nets threadfins in the early am, for his clientʼs
Top and right from Capt. Billy Barton
More bait and pollen scum? I shot this in the Harbor between Marker No.1 and the Tire Reef the last week of May. – MH
and darker colors too. Could it be pollen is trapping the eggs and bringing on a big feed? (see photos to the left) Triple tail is doing pretty good. I wouldn’t have thought so, but it was 60 degrees in the morning a couple of weeks ago and they like the cool. Check the markers in the Harbor. Out in the Gulf check anything floating! As far as tarpon goes, the fish are finally staying in the Pass and should stay there till the next Hill Tide. Try different size tails on a jig. Colors haven’t seemed to make as much difference as changing
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the shape of the body. Crabs are the best live tarpon bait right now. Work them close to the bottom. If you are in the current use a big ball bearing swivel. A 1/4 oz rubber cork or a No 1 split shot will work but the swivel will stay in longer and takes longer to come up. Draw a triangle from the mouth of Bull Bay to Jug Creek Shoal and over to Boca Grande Pass. That’s your area for tarpon with crabs hooked in the side and fished deeper. You can freeline a thread fin, but you really want your bait close to the bottom in 10 to 15 feet of water. Deep, that’s the key. This year
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being in front of the fish and putting the bait in their Fish to expect in face seems to be working. Go figure! There are a lot of boats in the Pass and the fish often break up into smaller schools. Sometimes that TARPON In the passes, holes, COBIA around the US 41 SHARKS Everywhere, Bulls, SNOOK Moving to the salt. gives you a better opportuSound and on the beach too! Bridges. Night is best. hammers, tigers, you name it. Fish the beach or ICW docks. nity. Guys have been trolling for tarpon a little Right: Jeffrey Lindaw be just south of Cape Haze more this year, from Two Pine to said he heard about Pirate Harbor in 5- to 6-feet. Rattle- where the bar comes out in 6 sending pictures in feet of water. There have and just wanted to traps, Storm swimming mullets and try it out and see if it been some monster rays Bombers work. Bombers are still is gets printed. “The with 5to-6 foot wingspans the best troll for tarpon; it’s hard to WaterLIFE magazine seen there. From in front of keep the Rattletrap from going too is awesome! and helpful to me as a Turtle Bay down to Bull’s deep. The Rattletrap has to be fishermen! Here's a Bay, look all along the front fished on a short leash and it’s hard 28 inch snook I of that bar for rays. to do. Some guys like to bounce it caught and released The Peace River is holdusing an x-rap lure!” and skip it off the bottom. Maybe he wrote.” ing tons of sailcats. From that’s getting some attention. FlatHere you go, Jeff! Harbour Heights to the 41 ten the barbs on the hooks or take Below: A nice red bridge. If we don’t have rain grouper from Capt. off the treble hooks and replace the Joe Miller El Jo Bean, the Rim Canal at back one with the single hook from PGI and the pier at Placida a butterfly rig with no front hook. along the will produce sailcats that will place. shore line. North of the bridge, Sharks, I almost forgot our last shark tournament! The winner will around Lemon Bay Park, there come from a couple miles offshore, are some redfish lurking straight out of the Pass in 20- to 30- Jim, at Fishermen’s Edge, around. Ski and Rag Alley and Englewood: 697-7595 north of Stump Pass on the inStill no whitebait. I think we’ve side, around the islands, there taken too many small ones and they are some nice redfish too. can’t spawn. Tarpon are on the beach There is some pretty good fishnow and it’s starting to pick up. ing right now. There are sharks all There are quite a few tarpon up over, in the Pass, in the Harbor and in the Harbor feeding on in the Gulf, big ones too! threadfins but no sardines. There are lots of mangrove This has been a good year snapper in the passes and on the for cobia and they are still bitnearby docks and piers. Good size ing. Offshore, red grouper are fish 14- to 15 inches. There are feet of water. At Mary’s, the Power really good, yellowtail and Spanish mackerel, and whiting on Pole and Novak reefs, lately 20 -30 mangrove snapper are hot and the beach. A number of snook are reports at Pine Island and one of bull sharks have been surrounding amberjack ... drop a big silver jig coming from the beaches at Gaspar- or a buck tail, and twitch it once some big yellow mouth gator-trout the boats fishing there. illa and Little Gasparilla, fish from in front of Turtle Bay. For stingray the best bet would and you got one. I had a few trout
Gulf Temps are 81
and warming. Big Fish are still moving around
95˚ 90˚ 85˚ 80˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚
BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.fishingpuntagorda.com
FISHING RIGHT NOW: