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Water LI FE

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

The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

March 2020

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FISH PIX! Water LIFE magazine

Ron Smits from Bokeelia fished the Gulf with 3 friends. They caught over 75 Permit in 4 hours, on large shrimp

A nice Placida red by Joe Sheaffer 2/11

FISH PIX! Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX! Water LIFE magazine

Dayna Harper with a redfish caught fishing out in Boca

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Kayla and Merlin Lewis with a tarpon caught off Boca Grande

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Terry Neff with the largest snook she ever caught

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Kidsʼ Summer-long Fishing Tournament

MARCH 2020

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$1 Bill Challenge

June, July, August, September

Text-in-your-fish

WIN A ROD AND REEL FOR THE LONGEST FISH IN ANY OF 30 SPECIES ... EVERY MONTH!

Lures from MirroLure for 2nd place winners each month.

$15

y r t en

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aJ n i W

Kidsʼ Tour nament Sh irts for all com petitors!

For Kids

age 6-16

The Challenge is to catch some nice fish this summer and to learn a few new things about local fishing in 4 videos from Water LIFE and Fishinʼ Frank This is our 3rd year!

When you sign up we give you a number. You write that on the back of a dollar bill. That $1Bill must be visible in every picture of every fish you submit

Information and 2020 Rules @ www.waterLIFEmagazine.com


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WE WANT YOUR FISH! Txt Us Ur Fish Pix txt to: 941- 457- 1316

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This Monthʼs Gold Star $25 Winner

Page 10 Terry Huffman Clean up and for dinner: BBQ African Pompano ribs and grouper throats

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SUNSEEKER RESORT PROGRESS REPORT

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The routine view I have of the Sunseeker project is from the RaceTrack gas station across from it on US 41. I like looking at the top of Charlotte Harbor while I fill my truck. They are building a landmark, something that, when coming up the Harbor, will be visible from, perhaps, Mkr. Movinʼ On Up, on the East Side! Workers tie re-bar on the way up to No 4. I have to imagine, what will be the 4th floor of Sunseekerʼs D-Lux Hotel that at sunset, when the sun is low, the reflection off the Sunseeker glass will be pretty spectacular. And Iʼm sure there will be lights down low around the RiverWalk around the outside of Sunseeker. So on the right high tides, there might be some fish below. So what do you think? Are they going to let people fish from any part of this resort? Will the old Banana Bay pier be open for fishing again?? – MH

Charlotte Harbor Sailboat Racing News

The 11th annual Charlotte Harbor Regatta featured three racing days on Jan. 31- Feb. 2. Five sailboat classes raced on two separate circles that included the 2.4mR, Harbor 20 class boats at Circle 1, located between Marker 3 and the bridge. The Hobie Wave, Hobie 16 and Wetta classes raced on Circle 2. There were 43 boats and 75 sailors competing. The weather over the three-day event included low winds on Friday, pouring rain and a squall that tested even the best sailors on Saturday. Sunday dawned with photo and text by Fran Burstein the gift of bright sunshine and good wind for racing. Twenty 2.4mR Class sailors competed in Regatta #4 of the Winter CanAm series. The scheduled start time of the first race was 11:00AM, but due to an exceptionally low tide, boats could not sail out of the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club Basin until 2:00 in the afternoon. Fast work from the race committee got the course set up and race marks in place and a day that began with temperatures in the 50s and wind in the 20s warmed up into the mid 70s with 10- to15-knot winds.

thru March 2: March 7: March 14: March 15:

Sail Calendar

Conquistador Regatta H20 Championship Series #3 H20 Championship Series #4 PGSC Winter Series Race 3

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NO PART of this publication (printed or

electronic) may be copied, reproduced or re-used in any manner without specific written, witnessed and notarized, permission from the Publisher

Contributing Editors:

Photography: ASA1000.com

Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop: Fishinʼ Frank

Upper Harbor: Cameron Parson

Peace River: Capt. Dave Stephens Punta Gorda: Position Open Boca Grande: Mallory Herzog Estero: Capt. Joe Angius

Everglades: Capt. Charlie Phillips Kayaking: Bob Fraser Sailing: Fran Burstein

Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson From the Ponds: Nicholas J

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Bioremediation MARCH 2020

Looking through this month’s edition you will see there are four of us writing about water related issues. We didn’t plan it that way, it’s just that water is on everyone’s mind.

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and other Dirty Words

By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor The mining company MOSAIC digs up Florida’s phosphate ore to make fertilizer. In one part of the process, MOSAIC treats their ore with microbes of cyanobacteria. This takes place up the Peace River from Charlotte Harbor. Whether MOSAIC’s cyanobacteria, in any way, effects Harmful Algae Blooms downstream is unclear.... because no one is testing for that! Introducing microbes to mining is called bioremediation. Wiki defines it as: ‘A process used to treat contaminated water, soil and subsurface material, by altering environmental conditions to stimulate growth of microorganisms and degrade the target pollutants.’ MOSAIC has Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), that’s the target pollutant which needs to be degraded. That is why treatment of their mining waters is required. There is acid and sulphate in phosphate mining water because they process the ore in man-made lakes of sulphuric acid. Biological treatment is the cheapest way to deal with it. Bio-strategies take advantage of the ability of microorganisms to metabolize iron and sulfate. Biologically treated

water results in iron and sulfur compounds with low solubility, which leads to their settling out of suspension. What they don’t collect in clay settlement ponds is slowly discharged into the Peace River, where it settles to the bottom and... who knows what happens then? Actually, no one knows, because they don’t test for that either. Last month I read a DEP outline that said MOSAIC will have “several Nutrient Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) on Horse Creek.” Those stations will be discharging their settling outflow six, (6), SIX! miles upstream from our drinking water intake point. Six miles. Bioremediation is also being used in conjunction with the application (spreading) of treated human sewage on fields and pasture land around central Florida. All this bio treated stuff sinks into the ground. Then everything flows downhill, into the lakes, rivers, aquifers and then out to the Gulf. Weeds along the way are sprayed with herbicide, they sink to the bottom too. A few years ago, one of the scientists who works for the Sanibel Captiva Water Conservancy told me the bottom sediment in the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor is in a constant state of flux, that things on the bottom were mixing and combining with each other all the time. ‘It’s a time

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There is some toxic irony in the fact that the Peace River oyster reefs at Punta Gorda, sponsored by the mining company MOSAIC, are being choked by a filimentous algae which might be the result of the MOSAIC companyʼs mining discharges into the River upstream.

release capsule,’ she had said. There are, as yet, unknown consequences to all this bio-tampering. Already the Charlotte County water company is seeing compounds in the Peace River that are reacting with the specialized chlorination they are forced to use. Their water has TTHMs (chlorine byproducts) which can react with elements in the bottom mud to create CO2 and new compounds of carbon. The CO2 robs the oxygen from the water and promotes the growth of algae, which is fed by sewage and fertilizer. Last month, at one of the scheduled remediation workshops for the proposed

phosphate mine at Horse Creek, MOSAIC brought sample jars, showing their process. One observer pointed out that the jar labeled ‘Phosphate Matrix’ had algae growing in it. That observation immediately reinforced a number of people’s opinion that: Mining contributers to the algae problem.


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CHARLOTTE HARBOR: By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor This month I am writing about some things I’ve seen happening in our fishery. These things have been happening slowly for several years. A few weeks ago I took Water LIFE editor Mike Heller and his brother in-law Greg out fishing. We actually had a very good trout bite, however when we tried for a redfish, it was easy to see changes in the Harbor first hand. The past several years we have seen an invasion of an algae that was not here before. This hair-like green slime, has slowly moved onto our local flats and is suffocating our turtle grass beds. I first noticed it on the East side of the Harbor and now it’s made its way up the Peace River. I’ve been told it’s a filamentous algae. This type of algae is attracted to high phosphorus and nitrogen levels. I’m not a biologists or scientist, but I’m pretty sure fertilizer runoff plays a huge roll in the introduction of this algae in our waters. Hurricane Irma dumped massive amounts of freshwater into our ecosystem in 2017. I know, I said earlier, it’s been several years, but just maybe this was the same time this algae bloom started. I’m not great at remembering specific dates of events, however I do know that during Irma we lost a great deal of our grass flats. The volume of freshwater rushing through the creeks onto the flats washed away massive areas of grass. The worse part is these grasses take years to replenish themselves, if at all. Irma also washed out all the chemicals and nutrients that had soaked into the

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MARCH 2020

Changes in a Short Time

ground around the Upper Harbor. Life in Charlotte Harbor begins with a healthy grass flat. This is where juvenile fish find cover from predator fish. Shrimp and crabs live in the grasses. Predator fish depend on the grass to roam for food. It’s a big circle of life that depends on a blade of grass, kind of crazy if you really think about it. A client of mine, Paul Rotter, gave me a fishing regulation book from 1982. I’m going to tell ya’ll what the regulations were for our big 3 that year snook, trout and redfish. You were allowed to posses 4 snook that had to be 18inches or more. Redfish was 12-inches, and no bag limit. Trout was 12-inches and also no bag limit. I know, we are talking a way-different time and I know our population was nowhere near what it is today, but it’s still just crazy to me to think we went from this to what we have now. Here’s the FWC decision last month:

By Executive Order, all three species (snook, trout, redfish) will remain catch-and-release through May 31, 2021, in all waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County. These temporary regulations were made to help conserve these popular inshore species that were negatively impacted by prolonged red tide that occurred in late 2017. It’s time we take a hard look at what we are doing to our Harbor. If things are not done soon it’s going to be too late... if it’s not too late already. We can’t stop people from moving here, however we can speak up about fertilizers that contain high levels of harmful chemicals. And we can’t keep destroying our ecosystem for phosphate. My great grandfather was one of the ol’timers that sold his ranch to the phosphate companies. If he knew then what would’ve become of it, he would’ve thought different. Now, MOSAIC, the mining company, is trying to move south and very close to our Harbor. Please say NO to MOSAIC. It’s crazy that this much has changed in our fishery since the size and bag limits above, and it happened in pretty much one generation.

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

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

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Joe Miller, African pompano

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Brian Halley, sheepshead caught in Charlotte Harbor

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Ron Dubbs, 26-inch tripletail off Sanibel with Capt. Chris Blake

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Bob Diemer with a nice catch and fillet tripletail out of Stump Pass


Pier Fishing in Lemon Bay MARCH 2020

By Bobby Vitalas Water LIFE Pier Fishing This redfish was caught at Tom Adam’s Bridge Pier. It was caught from low to high tide in the early morning hours. Note: you can’t keep redfish, it’s catch and release only in the southwest region, but they are fun to catch. Usually, redfish have one black dot on both sides at the base of the tail. Then again, some redfish have more than 2 black dots or even no black dots at all. When fishing, I like using artificial lures most of the time. The lure I am using is made by D.O.A. lures. It is the 4-inch Jerkbait, model number 441 color FIGI CHIX. This jerk bait comes in a 12-pack or 50-pack. And the jig head I am using for the jerk bait is a D.O.A. short shank, 3/8 ounce weight, color Natural. These jig heads come in a 3-pack. The way to use this lure is to cast to the

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area where you want to start. Get this jerk bait down to the bottom before you give your rod a twitch. When reeling your line in, give the rod a twitch ever so often. A good spot at this pier to fish is at the beginning of the Pier. For people who just use bait and not artificial lures, I suggest you use live shrimp. Shrimp can be used to catch many different kinds of fish. When putting the shrimp on the hook, try hook size 2/0 to 3/0 circle hooks. The brand hook name I use is Owner or Gamakatsu. Try using the lightest egg sinker weight when using the shrimp. When using artificial lures, for my main line, I use no less than 10 pound test line. And, for my leader line, I use 25 pound test SUFIX Invisline, 100-percent fluorocarbon leader line, which is invisible in the water. So, if you fish with artificial lures, try this jerk bait wherever you go fishing. Good luck and happy fishing!

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Catching redfish from the Tom Adams Bridge fishing pier


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Everglades & 10,000 Islands - Mostly Inshore PAGE

By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE / Everglades City Been a good month for us down in the Everglades and 10,000 Islands. Hope you all have experienced the same in your slice of Paradise. This time of year is busy, with all of our seasonal folks recovered from the Holidays and looking to enjoy the outdoors. Also, a surprising number of folks are calling, saying they need a short break from the cold and looking to fly south and do some fishing. Short trip or seasonal, we enjoy getting as many out as we can. As my dad used to say, “make hay while the sun is shining, boy,” so on the grind we stay and are thankful for it. Fishing has been very steady thru February. I have ended up staying mostly inshore these past few weeks, but we have not starved to find something to target. Starting in the deep backcountry we have been finding snook and small tarpon around the creek mouths and back bays, especially on the warmer days. These fish will warm up in the waters catching the

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first rays of the sun in the morning. That is a great place to target them with topwater offerings. For me personally, there is nothing more heart stopping than the explosion of a big snook slamming a topwater. Especially if you happened to be daydreaming! Been catching some nice redfish on the lower tide stages using shrimp-tipped bucktail jigs. I like to target these fish in the deep cuts, just before the outside. On the lower tide stages, they really have no where to go, so take advantage of their limited area to roam and fish where the fish are. This method produces lots of other species for us as well, including snook, snapper, grouper (of red, gag and goliath variety), black drum and even a nice flounder every now and again. I prefer to use the Don’s potbelly brand of jigs that are locally made down in Naples. They have many colors and varieties, but the white, white and red, pink and the glass minnow version with the reflective strip down the side are my favorites. A couple dozen shrimp go along ways when you are tipping jigs.

Remember, you are just putting some scent on the jig, no need for half a big shrimp. Offshore has been good, but like I say, most of my trips have stayed shallow. Ran some traps this past week and found quite a few tripletail, though most were small. Still a blast to catch and release, especially on the fly gear. Lots of bait schools offshore, though much is small. If things cool down again I expect the sheepshead fishing to fire up hard to end out the month as well. If you have yet to go, March will be about your last chance for comfortable camping down here. Not saying you can’t in April, but if we warm up, the swamp angels make it not for the faint of heart!

MARCH 2020

Y’all be safe and see you next month.

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


MARCH 2020

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Report from the Ponds

By Nicholas J Water LIFE Bass Addict In my last report I was anticipating and hoping that the weather patterns would change and start stabilizing with more constant warm mild sunny days building up heat in the ponds to get the pre-spawn action going, but evidently Mother Nature has different plans. We are still in that weekly cycle of a few days extremely hot and humid in the 80s - with morning and evening temps averaging 70 degrees and then by the weekend another rainy, windy, cold front would sweep through Florida and dip the morning temps into the 40s and 50s and put the daytime temps in the 60s and then it would heat back up again. This unstable, inconsistent, weather pattern is still effecting the bass bite pretty hard because of the constant unstable high barometric pressure. It would dip a little, then shoot back up into the 30+mb range, hardly ever dropping to 29mb or lower. It's ok for the pressure to go up or down at a slow rate, but at a fast rate it suppress the bass bite even more.... but I am still catching fish. Besides the nice healthy lunkers I have been hooking, I am also hooking undersized bass that are being effected by the barometric pressure and the weather... which is suppressing their appetite. Once that stabilizes, the bass will get more active and start fattening up and creating more bite opportunities leading up to the spawn. I believe it’s global warming

Feb 6

Strike King pro skirted jig head with a partial Crack Craw added

that's been creating these unusual yearly weather patterns we have. Ok, now let's talk about the elephant in the room, the WIND! Is it just me or is anyone else tired of the wind yet?...lol! We just can't get a break. Ever since last fall each month till now we have had these nasty, gusty swirling wind patterns that haven't slowed down for nothing.... and it’s definitely another major factor that's not helping anglers or the bite either. I pond hop for trophy bass practically everyday and for 2-to 4-sessions now I have been definitely talking a beating on the banks, fishing. I’ve been having to cast into and against the wind, most if the time it seems with little relief... and I use braided line, so I am constantly dealing with wind knots, line loss and re-spooling.... but when you’re on a mission to hook the Bucket-List-bass of your life, it's a beating worth going through. Despite the terrible weather this past month, with

Feb 9

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very few perfect fishing days, I was still able to hook and land some very nice trophy largemouths. On Feb. 6, after a nasty rainstorm, in 40-mph wind, I hooked a trophy pond monster. On Feb. 9, I hooked another sunset trophy bass in cold sustained 25 mph windy weather and on Feb. 19, on a very hot and humid tuff-bite day, I hooked another true trophy monster. It must be my lucky bright orange shirt...lol. Then between Feb. 21-22 we had a very windy cold front move in causing a 24 degree drop in temps within 24-hours. The bite was very tough for those two days, but that's a bigger trophy to me when the bite is shut down hard. Because of the constant tough bite this past month, trying to hook bass below the surface was a very low percentage for me. I would say 99-percent I hooked this month were with the Booyah weedless popping frog.

Feb 19

Feb 23

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Fishing in the heavy vegetation and matted grass along the banks, the big bass were waiting to ambush bait fish, especially when it was super windy. In the past few months all my trophy pond monster Largemouths have been on the frog over all other bait lures and soft plastics. If you have never bass fished with a weedless frog you don't know what you are missing. Besides a lot more strike opportunities, the action and excitement of bass blow ups on the frog is outrageous and addicting. Besides still using the frog, Stickos and swimbaits, my lure recommendation this month is a Strike King pro skirted jig head with a partial Crack Craw added to the hook so you can cast out far with it, even when it’s very windy, and it cuts though the rough water with ease and control so you can hook bass that are out deeper still. My last pond water temperature reading just before doing this report was 72degrees at 13-feet deep. Of course all ponds are not the same in size, depth and water volume so you can end up with different readings and results. Once these monthly, messy fronts finally diminish and we get into a real consistent warm weather pattern and the pond water levels stabilize the bass and the bite, we can get back on track. Now that March is here it is definitely time to start getting out and hitting the ponds for Trophy Largemouth Bass and I really look forward to seeing your fish here in Water LIFE magazine, so get out and hook one today!


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Red Tide vs Fake News On the Line

By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff CNN just did a news piece on harmful algal blooms in Florida. They stated that there was a strong link between red tide, blue-green algae and man made pollution. This has been a commonly held belief among a lot of people; but it is still up in the air among the scientific community. There has always been a lot of mis-information about red tide and blue green algae, especially on the west coast of Florida. The opinions seem to be divided into two separate camps; one camp believes that red tide blooms are caused by man made pollution or at least aggravated by pollution. The other camp believes that red tide is a natural phenomena influenced by tides, currents, nutrient up flows, weather, climate and many other factors we don’t clearly understand. Both sides use what I call SWAG (scientific wild ass guesses) to support their arguments. So where does a guy go to find some real facts about red tide and HAB’s ? Well to the experts of course! Recently, there was a symposium on Red Tide and Harmful Algae Blooms, held in St Petersberg that featured 75 researchers from 27 unique institutions;

they all agreed on 100-percent. Under the heading Research priorities for bloom detection and monitoring, they all agreed they should improve routine monitoring of near shore, offshore and deep water for Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs).

these people are the experts... or at least they say they are. This was not your normal boring lecture series, but an honest attempt to address the problem. The result was a 37 page report called 2019 State of the Science for Harmful Algal Blooms in Florida. They divided the report into a HAB (red tide) section and a Cyanobacteria (blue green algae). For each one of these they Huffman Clean up and for dinner: attempted to dis$25 WINNER BBQTerry African Pompano ribs and grouper throats cuss what each was; where it They were also in agreement that they started? how does it grow? how do you should develop models that can separate monitor it? and what can we do to conpoint source and non-point sources of trol or eliminate it? pollution. The really unique part of the report But only 46-percent agreed that they was the attempt by the participants to try to come to a consensus on what priorities should conduct more comprehensive and consistent monitoring. And only 34-perthe scientist felt were most important. cent felt that conducting pilot studies to This is where I realized that there is a mitigate blooms using new technologies great division in the field of experts. was worthwhile and 54-percent felt that There were only two priorities that from Water LIFE magazine

Caught this 22 inch largemouth bass on a black plastic worm in Port Charlotte. Carl Poszny

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from Water LIFE magazine

Lilly Stein caught a big black drum from the canoe

FISH PIX! FISH PIX!

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Roni Halley Jack Crevalle Charlotte Harbor

from Water LIFE magazine

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from Water LIFE magazine

Mike Harold of Kansas, fishing off the Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda Pier catches a baby goliath

MARCH 2020

they should understand the factors that contribute to initiation, persistence, and decline of blue-green HABs. It was at this point that I realized that the scientists were competing against each other; the red tide scientist against the blue-green algae scientist, the onshore lab scientists against the offshore monitoring scientist. Scientists listed what they know, what they think they know and what they think they should know. This is a rather refreshing approach to the subject and I learned a few new facts, such as there are at least 10- to 12-types of red tide around the world and in the Gulf of Mexico and that they are always there. They don’t know what makes them bloom or when they will bloom, but they are always there. Another interesting fact I learned is that there have been 57 red tide outbreaks in the last 66 years in our area; so I get the idea that red tide will always be with us and there is nothing man can or will do that will change that. Of course, what are they were competing for was money. In this year's proposed State budget there is an item for $10 million dollars to be spent for HAB research and all these 75 researchers from 27 institutions are all competing to get the largest share of that money. I think it will be a long time before we find out anything new or useful about red tide. Captronb@juno.com


MARCH 2020

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• Best Pr ic es and Com plet e Fit m ent Ser vi ce

• B o a t L i f t C a p a b i l i t i e s - E n s u r e P r o p e r F i t m e n t , C o r r e c t To n g u e W e i g h t , E a s e O f L o a d i n g •

SHARKING:

• C o m p l e t e Tr a i l e r M a i n t e n a n c e a n d R e p a ir Pa r ts a n d A c c e s s o r ie s

They Jump Like Tarpon with Teeth!

By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Shark Fishing The water has stayed in the 70s and even in the 80s at times lately! That calls for a great sharking winter-season for the local area everywhere. I am catching more black-tip sharks than I have in years – a very steady catch, every trip I go on. Kids love black-tips and so do I. They skyrocket like tarpon just about every time they get hooked. What a sight to see, I never get tired of it! Still fishing in pretty shallow bays and sandbars to get the big fish to bite. We are getting smoked with 6000-series tackle. There is no getting skunked these days. I have had to up my reels to 8000-series in order

not to have to change locations when hooked up to the big ones, off the Shark Chaser. As long as the water is moving in or out, the bite has been on. Bait of choice has been the front half of a hard-headed catfish, still alive. The noise it makes and how fresh it is works great. Not to mention that nothing other than sharks will eat them... well, maybe a goliath grouper, on occasions.

We have been hooking some nice tiger sharks off the Everglades also... and some big bull sharks. It seems like the females are full of babies now as they have huge bellies on them at this time of year. Remember, we welcome pictures to put in the magazine of the sharks that you are catching and where they are being caught. Tight lines! Capt John Brossard 239-777-9279 sharkchaserfl@gmail.com sharkchasercharters.com

Shark of the Month Bonnet-Head Shark

They are all around our local waters in the winter and will eat shrimp. They only grow to 5 feet maximum and are fun to catch on light tackle. They are in the Hammerhead family, but not protected like its cousin. You can eat them and they are quite tasty, if prepared correctly. They are usually found on sandbars and near the beach. It is recommended to release all sharks, although you might want to try eating one at times, just not too often, as they contain a higher amount of mercury in the meat then a person should eat on a regular basis.


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MARCH 2020

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

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from Water LIFE magazine

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Nice Gasparilla sheepshead caught by Joe Sheaffer on a swim jig 2/4/20

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from Water LIFE magazine

Dylan Christner, redfish

Bart Besaw Green Bay Wi amberjack 105-feet Gulf of Mexico

Nellie Johnson from Camden, Ohio caught a couple nice sheepshead.

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from Water LIFE magazine

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from Water LIFE magazine

Steve with a nice African pompano, 60 miles out of Venice

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from Water LIFE magazine

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Dave Stewart, Cape Coral Florida. Sand Bar shark. West of Boca in the Gulf of Mexico

Bart Besaw, Green Bay Wi. 34-inch red grouper, west of Boca

Scott Lenart with a tilapia

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from Water LIFE magazine

Linda Pae of Punta Gorda caught her first snook on the Peace River on January 31 just after sunset.

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from Water LIFE magazine

Ty Ostrowski from Port Chester NY caught this 7-pound largemouth bass with his Grandpa in a lake off Veterans Blvd Port Charlotte plus 9 more. Wow way to go Ty!

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from Water LIFE magazine

Ron Wright from Michigan caught this 32 inch 'Fire Truck' out of Gasparilla.

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Loumaes first sand brim caught

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fro


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Bill from Pennsylvania. Fast Jack

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Backdraft Fishing Team, from Burnt Store Marina finished in 2nd place DORADO division 2019 CABO TUNA Jackpot

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PAGE 13

Max Riesbeck with a 5'9 blacktip shark

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Cole Blake, large mouth bass, Englewood

Black drum Charlotte Harbor, pulled in by Tommy Bruce of Kansas off the Suzzi Lou

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Sister-in-law down from Indiana for a visit. Boca Grande, south beach. Happy day for this lady. Score: Teresa: 3 Men: 0.

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Zane Highland bonnet head shark w Capt. George

Mary from Kansas 32 in snook with Capt. Jamie

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Lane Hall, Lakeland Fl Charlotte Harbor permit

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Paul Stebing with his big catch and release amberjack

Michael and Laura Riccardo from New Jersey fishing with Capt Joe Miller out of Venice


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Troy from Michigan had a good day on the Gulf, out of Gasparilla, with this 34-inch firetruck

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Ryann Taylor, California

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Robert Taylor Cobia Cape Coral Fl

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Dana Stergeous. Stripper bass. San Francisco Ca

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Nice 20-inch largemouth bass. Caught before Sunset, by Dale Werner

Mike Navakas, 26 inch red grouper caught west of Captiva.

Kayla Lewis snook caught in Venice Florida

Charles Douglas, 34-inch snook at El Jobean

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Charles Douglas, redfish, Casper Beach

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Spike Rickert, My first sheepshead, Charlotte Harbor

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Peggy DeBari with a couple of sheepshead caught on Alligator Reef


MARCH 2020

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Brothers Steven and Daniel Speedling, aboard the MissKim, with some nice red grouper at Stump Pass Marina in Englewood

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8-pound black drum from close reefs off Estero Bay Capt Fred Gowdy

PAGE 15

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Greg with a 5-pound peacock, Everglades canals and a 7-pound sheepshead from close reefs off Estero Bay. Both with Capt. Fred Gowdy

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Left and Right: John Vandenbroeck, Cynthia Timmer, Ed Raquel, Scott Timmer, Capt. Fred Vandenbroek. There were 122 boats in the tournament and we lost $80,000 by 9/10th of a pound!!! This was the first time any of us participated in this tournament and we will be back. It was a blast!!! from Water LIFE magazine

55-inch King caught by Chris Johnson off Sanibel.

Brantley Lewis caught in the Englewood lakes Brantleyʼs first fish!

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W Wa at te er r

L LI IF FE E

m ma ag ga az zi in ne e

Largemouth bass, catch and release, caught in a Port Charlotte pond. By Hans Buehler from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

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Tate Gift with one of 10 bass caught on 12 baits!


Estero Bay: Spring Fishing is Here PAGE

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By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero I have to start out by saying how thrilled I am about the FWC’s extension on “catch-and-release only” for snook, redfish, and trout. This extension is set to run through May 31, 2021. The boundary line starts North from the Hernando/Pasco county line South to Gordon Pass in Collier County. Without this strict and persistent effort, I believe our area in Southwest Florida would experience negative and adverse fishing conditions. On my fishing trips, personally, I’ve noticed an increase in catching a high number of fish. It’s great to know that not only me, but other responsible fishermen, fisherwomen and charter captains alike

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are releasing these species back, knowing the positive impact this makes on our fisheries. Catching redfish in various sizes and numbers has been a common occurrence. They have been feeding very aggressively on shrimp, pilchards, and cut ladyfish. While fishing for redfish using live shrimp, speckled sea trout and pompano seem to find their way into the strike zone. Since pompano are not on the catch and release list, they make for a fantastic fight and even better table fare. Pompano just started to show up in the last two or three weeks, but it seems like they have finally come to our area in high numbers. Even though pompano are one of my favorite fish to catch and eat, sometimes it’s nice to experience a change of pace. For clients who want to target snook, redfish, and trout I try to encourage them to

fish further south near Marco island where we can still harvest these three species, while following normal rules and regulations, and experiencing a new perspective on Southwest Florida, which is a treat in itself. Marco Island and the 10,000 Islands are one of my favorite areas to explore, fish, and provide guests with the most exceptional shelling. Every time we shell there seems to always be something new and exciting discovered that makes the trip worth while. March can be an unpredictable month due to high winds and fronts that approach our area. It’s also because of these weather conditions we have the most diverse fishing and shelling. On calm days you can enjoy catching big pelagic fish that feed on our near shore wrecks, whereas on windy days you can fish the backwaters and shell in remote areas. Be respectful to our wildlife, responsible while boating, and please follow the rules and regulations that are implemented for our fisheries.

MARCH 2020

Captain Joe Angius Estero Bay-Marco Island-Fort Myers (727)-234-3171 Speakeasyfishing.com


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Dave Smith caught this nice 15” convict at the north Venice jetties.

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Anglers name is James fishing in Englewood!

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Kerrie Sheaffer with a beautiful Valentine redfish from Gasparilla Sound from Water LIFE magazine

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Mike Bowers with a nice offshore redfish and a chunky 24-inch Charlotte Harbor snook

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Amy Lueck from Minnesota caught and released this 24 inch gag grouper

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Captain Bryan 24-inch red grouper in the Gulf

PAGE 17

Louise Huffman First sheepshead of the season

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Regina Mcgillivray, from Ellington, Ct, sheepshead in Burnt Store area.

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Barry Jackson from Pa catching Barbʼs pet snook Henry. PG canals

This released gag grouper had both Norm VanDenbusche and Tony Ellisʼs lures in its mouth - a team effort. Tony Ellis with a keeper red grouper out of Stump Pass. Norm VanDendusche with a nice red grouper.

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Thomas Marsden with a nice bass caught in Venice!

That's Joe Diebolt, the Cincinnati fireman with a Big Fire Truck Red Grouper

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DANGER! PHOSPHATE MINING

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Sulphuric Acid Lakes on Top

At MOSAICʼs leaking Bartow South Gypsum Stack will acid, eating through the limestone below, cause yet another sinkhole? Acid Discharge

Acid Discharge

¡

By Tim Ritchie Water LIFE/March Against Mosaic THE MOSAIC Bartow South Gypstack has been leaking since October 2019. There have been no public updates or reports. And the MOSAIC Bartow South Gypstack is still discharging - continuously, on average everyday, 2.6 Million Gallons of acidic radioactive/blended wastewater, into the Peace River from OUTFALL D-002, which dumps into an unnamed ditch, then into the Six Mile Creek then it discharges directly into the Peace River, then flows down River to Charlotte Harbor which is PROTECTED by the National Estuary Program.... which the mining company helps fund through donations. That is 78-Million gallons per month being discharged into the watershed, drinking and bathing water for Charlotte, Desoto and Sarasota Counties. MOSAIC Fertilizer LLC has been invited to the Charlotte County Commissioners Chambers a number of times to discuss this process, but on Tuesday February 25, they cancelled yet again, saying they wanted to put off coming before the

LEAKING

MARCH 2020

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Acid Discharge CLOSE UP VIEW FROM HERE

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Board until the end of the year because of workshops they are involved in, in Desoto County. The DeSoto workshops are being held because the citizens of DeSoto County do not want CSAs (Clay Settling Areas) that will be 300-500 acres in circumferences, 200-feet tall and filled with acidic radioactive blended wastewater, in their neighborhood. THE CSAs would be between SR70 and SR72, off of Kings Hwy. They are stalling, hoping the DeSoto County Commissioners will give in to them before they have to appear. MOSAIC only needs DeSoto to approve their zoning before they can dig. We want to see Joc O'Rourke, CEO of Mosaic Fertilizer LLC in the Charlotte County BOCC. Or send Gregory Ebel, the new Chairman of the Board. And we want to see them soon. Lets see what kind of a crowd they will attract. We need national attention NOW to stop what MOSAIC phosphate mining is doing to Florida. Next year will be too late.

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Rich Esposito near Pineland with Earl Horecky

Monster lobster 9-pound 14ounce, caught off Sarasota by Chad Tripp while scuba diving


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PAGE 19

Keeping it Together

By Cameron Parson Water LIFE Fishing Spring fishing is all but here in SW Florida. Reports of tarpon, cobia, and tripletail are already starting to come in. Sharks are here in abundant numbers and many other species of fish will follow. The question is, are you ready? I find myself doing some routine maintenance on my gear, around this time of year. Since I don't fish as hard as I'd like to, my braided line usually lasts about a year. My spools will see fresh braid every year in preparation for the spring migration of fish. Every reel, from my 2000- to my 8000size receives new braid. The internals receive new grease and oil to stay smooth. I've owned the same few cast nets for a few years now. I will hang the net up by its horn and thoroughly check the lead and draw lines. Usually any holes I notice in the net are done last. Reinforcing a net doesn't take much effort, however it does take a little practice. Holes need to be mended with a mending needle. You can find mending techniques on YouTube. And also check the biggest thing. My boat will be rigged and ready. All maintenance will be done ahead of time. Batteries charged. Trailer maintained. I want to spend

as much time on the water this spring and summer as possible. The less I have to worry about, the better. Take the time this month to prepare your gear...there will be windy days and rainy days ahead to do it. Local bait and tackle shops can give you some tips on how to maintain your gear. Catch some fish!!

Cameron Parson can sometimes be found at Rio Villa Bait and Tackle in Punta Gorda: 941 639-7166

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

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Brittany Cortes, snook

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Sharon Brashears caught this bonita in the Gulf near Captiva.

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Ty Regis trout Manasota Beach.

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Humberto, tripletail

Bethanie Sheaffer with her first snook 2/20/20


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Rich Esposito near Pineland with Earl Horecky

Bokeelia sunset over 21-inch trout by Earl Horecky

Gary from Massachusetts with a nice sheepshead out of Boca Grande

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Mike Leslie just caught first Spanish mackerel at tip of Boca Grande I have a home next to Boca and am from Kalamazoo Michigan also

Ethan Mix 2-8-2020, Pine Island Sound

Jim Adkins. Redfish

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Sam all the way from South Dakota with one of many permits to the boat today

Morgan Krastes sheepshead and sting ray, Boca Grande in February

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Adelise and Hilary caught this drum off a PGI seawall

Jean Guy with a nice Bonita caught offshore

RJ caught this nice 20-pound dolphin out of Key West


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SCUTTLEBUTT

Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

REGULATIONS Gulf red snapper recreational season opens June 11 through July 25, with a possible fall reopening if quota is available. Snook, trout and redfish remain closed in SW FL until June 2021 THIEF While conducting vessel water patrol, a FWC officer observed a vessel enter a posted manatee slow speed zone at a high rate of speed. A stop was initiated and the officer observed the lack of an ignition key and a wire wrapped around the outboard motor kill switch – A computer check revealed an active warrant. The vessel owner did not know the operator and wanted to press charges. You know how this ends! FINALLY! At the Miami Boat Show GPS and Boat Electronics manufactures said they were working to include locating chips in their products to deter theft.

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Anna Horecky near Captiva with dad, Earl Horecky

CHINESE SPIES Over the past 18 months, four Chinese civilians have been arrested for taking photographs of the Naval Air Station at Key West. The latest incident occurred last month when two Chinese nationals were found to be in possession of electronic devices containing photos of the buildings

and facilities, including an antenna site and several government buildings.

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SWF fishing at its finest Capt. Lou Silva

Scott HillCharlotte Harbor snook Feb 18

PAGE 21

ANOTHER THEORY Using 12 years of satellite data, scientists have demonstrated how the Circular Artic current is now faster and more turbulent as a result of rapid sea ice melt. Scientists say this change could alter the currents in the Atlantic Ocean and

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Rick Viox Spanish mackerel Feb. 18

cool the climate of Western Europe. They say that due to ice melt, the Beaufort Gyre is now more exposed to the wind, this spins the gyre faster and traps the freshly melted water in its current. Persistent westerly winds are now keeping the fresh water from leaving the Arctic Ocean. BUT....If the direction was to change, the wind would reverse the current, pulling it counterclockwise and releasing all the fresh water it has accumulated at once. Ed says: Sure it will.

chart and ignored information displayed on other electronic equipment.(radar?) It concluded that he became cognitively overloaded due to high stress.

LOST SNAKE FOUND In a Feb. 19 announcement, the Florida FWC said a rare rainbow snake was spotted in a Florida forest for the first time in 50 years. Tracey

DRONE BOAT SWARM China has developed an autonomous naval combat vessel called JARI. Its small size and 500-mile range would be a limitation for solo oceangoing service, but it is intended for use as

Cauthen discovered the snake (Farancia erytrogramma) while hiking in the Ocala National Forest, north of Orlando.

a daughter craft from conventional manned vessels. Numerous JARI boats could be deployed at once for swarm attacks on enemy surface combatants. The one in the picture is about 32 feet long.

SITUATIONAL UNAWARENESS While navigating in severely reduced visibility near the English Channel, the master of the Red Falcon lost orientation when his vessel swung out of control, departed the navigable channel and was spun around through 220°. In his confusion, the master drove the ferry in the wrong direction resulting in a collision with the moored yacht Greylag, which was sunk on its mooring, as a result. Visibility varied between 0.2 and 0.5 nautical mile, but dropped to about 50 meters at the time of the collision. The Marine Board findings report stated that the master became fixated upon the information displayed on his electronic

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ASTEROID CAUSED ALGAE BLOOMS An asteroid moved 24 times faster than a rifle bullet as it struck Earth some 66 million years ago. The space rock left a sterile crater nearly 20 miles deep in what is now the Gulf of Mexico. Its supersonic shock wave flattened trees across North and South America, and its heat sparked incomprehensibly large forest fires. The event lofted so much debris into the atmosphere that photosynthesis shut down. The non-avian dinosaurs disappeared. And nearly 75 percent of all species were extinguished. At the point of impact, the picture was even more dire. Not much survived, but at ground zero, life somehow managed to return quickly. New findings published last month in the journal Geology revealed that cyanobacteria, a blue-green algae associated with harmful toxic blooms, appeared in the crater just a few years after the impact.

Red hair is me, Kimberly Brown, blonde is Dayna Harper :) Fishing out in Boca


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Caught 40 miles out of Boca Pass, Tom, Randy, Rick and Mark, Super Grouper day, more coming out of the box

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Gary Reger with Myakka River snook release

Capt. Ken Mercer from Nauti Knots Charters and his Son Bryce. Pine Island Sound

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MARCH 2020

Mark Warfield caught this largemouth bass 7.6-pounds off a Veterans Blvd lake. Great catch Mark

Mike and Jen Perkins a number of nice snook from Shell Creek

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Gunner Hancock, Kissimmee River His first speckled perch

Last Cast This is the last picture we received before going to print

Glen Ballinger 14-pound red grouper Caught with Capt Joe Miller in Venice

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MARCH 2020

Explore! Fish with one of our Guides Youʼll learn new things and youʼll catch good fish!

The BIG-4 SPANISH MACKEREL In the Harbor in the Passes

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

941-916-5769

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Fish you can expect in

SHARKS Lots of hungry roaming around

March

SPOTTED TROUT Everywhere around the Harbor

REDFISH East and west side of Charlotte Harbor

March – Predictions and Suggestions

Peace River Charlotte Harbor Frank at Fishin’ Franks 941-625-3888

There are many places with fish around here. Spanish mackerel are in Harbor down by Cape Haze and up by the reef. Out along the beaches, anywhere from shore to 15 miles, there are decent Spanish. There are also pompano along the beaches and a ton of sharks. It’s absolutely amazing. Red grouper, in keeper sizes, are out in 80-feet of water. Snapper just started picking back up. This should be a good month on lanes and mangs and grunts too, no matter if you are 3- or 100-miles out. Kingfish are not in great numbers, but the best chance is 25 mile out. Anchor up on a reef to grouper fish, put some live bait or a frozen sardine out back - with a little weight below the bait - and then put it 20 feet down, below a bobber. That will put it in the strike zone. In the Harbor, redfish are still pretty good around Tippecanoe Bay. They are scattered on the west side and in pockets on the east side. The overall best bet for redfish is in Bull and in front of Turtle Bay. They are also scattered around the islands through the Pine Island Sound the reds seem to like to hang on the islands there. In the Gasparilla area, they are up in the creeks. Along the ICW, out of the main channel, you have Spanish, jacks, ladyfish, bluefish.... just a lot of different fish in the flats. There are also some little pockets of snook around the potholes, but you are just as likely to find an 11-foot lemon shark around the potholes as a snook. Bass are throughout the North Port and Port Charlotte canals. They average in the 2- to 5-pound range. Fish the darker plastics with a lot of purple or try slow rolling some of the crank baits. Bluegill and tilapia are hitting on wigglers. Just about everywhere you go, you find Myan cichlids. They are actually a very good eating fish – about the quality of a bluegill. In the Peace River, with an incoming tide, or the Myakka a half mile north of El JoBean, redfish are on the East and back side of the bar, behind the Trestle. Up towards Northport we see big reds, but they seem to only come out to feed as

PAGE 23

Nearshore water temps are now in the low 70s Fish are moving around

95˚

the water is coming in. Same with Shell Creek, where they want feed on shrimp, weighted, and almost on the bottom.

Lemon Bay, Placida, Gasparilla Sound Capt. Kaelin Olayer Flyin’ Hawaiian Fishing Charters 941-716-1425 Snook and redfish have been plentiful in the back country and have been ready to feed. The whitebait have moved in and the fish are eager to hunt them down. Fishing around the bars and potholes has been successful on the lower tides and fishing the mangroves and oyster bars on the higher tides has been great. There has also been a good number of pompano, permit, trout, ladyfish and jacks roaming around the outside bars and some Spanish mackerel hanging around the passes. The sheepshead and some black drum are still around on the bridges, piers, and docks. Sharks have been very thick as well, in the bays, on the beaches and offshore. There have been a good number of bulls, blacktips and sandbars. We have been seeing at least 3 sharks a night just while cleaning fish at Stump Pass Marina! Offshore fishing has been excellent when the weather let’s us get out! We have been targeting mangrove snapper, which have been running on the large side; we had a couple this month weigh in around 7-pounds! Red grouper have also been plentiful. Fishing around the 100foot depth has been the ticket last few trips out. (Remember that you can’t keep grouper past 120-feet until April) Gag grouper are everywhere and we have been having to release a pile of them everywhere we fish. We are seeing a good number of porgies and lane snapper. The goliath grouper and sharks have been very active, so make sure to bring a big pole. There have also been some reports of cobia, blackfin tuna and bonitas. As the water warms up, we should see more and more pelagic species come through. A good number of sheepshead, lane snapper and Key West grunts are closer to shore. Lots of bonitas and sharks are on the public wrecks which can make for a great fight! Plenty of Spanish mackerel and the occasional King mackerel have been hanging around the bait pods too. Fishing is good!

90˚ 85˚ 80˚

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚ 45˚

FISHING RIGHT NOW: GOOD! Englewood Bait House

Head-Boat Offshore Fishing 941- 475-4511


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MARCH 2020

Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE March 2020  

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

Water LIFE March 2020  

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

Profile for waterlife