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Water

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

The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

May 2021

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Caleb Cassady, caught this bonnethead shark on Boca Grande beach

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Layla Bates with her largest bluegill ever.... Correction: I was told itʼs a red ear sunfish and not a bluegill ;-)

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Blaine with an amberjack off the towers west of Naples

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MAY 2021


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Capt. Alan Williams Water LIFE, Upper Harbor The fishing was good before the red tide outbreak. Yesterday morning things looked better, the bait was showing up again and the pet snook we have at our docks in Fishermens Village were back – I use them as a barometer on marine life in the Harbor...... but today it’s worse again. I had a few different subjects to cover this month but they have now been over shadowed by the elephant in the room. The effects of red tide have been evident the last 2 weeks from Charlotte Beach up to Harbor Heights. Fish kills were showing up in the Harbor and in canals on both sides of the Harbor. It's sad to see what's become of our richest commodity. It's also sad to see the birds diving on the remains of dying fish, knowing it can kill them too. To me the number one cause is humans. There are just too many people. The pristine Harbor, lush with turtle grass, shoal grasses, clams and oysters is dying at an alarming rate because we have upset the balance. We saw the rapid domino-effect after Hurricane Irma. The churning up of the

bottom released a smorgasbord of toxins and nitrogen that feeds the ever present filamentous algae (also known as snot grass) that now covers everything from the River to the Harbor. You can't hardly find a piling or crab trap that doesn't have green on it. I believe that a major factor in this event is the culverts dumping into the canal systems. Lush green lawns are made possible by fer-

tilizing and all that fertilizer sinks into the ground and drains into the canals. Grass clippings are still ending up in the water too. This has been going on forever. Every homeowner must tell who ever they have maintaining their lawn: No fertilizing, no Round-Up, and no blowing

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clippings into the water. There is nothing natural about having a bright green lawn in SW Florida in the winter. I think the other main reason for this bloom is Mosaic, the phosphate mining company that is eating up Florida. They just had a permit approved that allows them to release over 27 million gallons of

water a day into the Peace River, water they withdraw to wash the remains of their mining process. This water is released up river and comes to the upper Harbor, where this latest bloom happened. Coincidence? I don't think so. Maybe it’s mixing with something already in the bottom? I'm not a scientist, just someone who is extremely concerned about the future of our waters. Something is going on. This time in history will go down as

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the Great Migration in America. We can't stop progress. You no longer have to be tied to a cubicle in Minnesota or New York when you can do the same job from home here in sunny Florida. So they are coming. I can't really blame anybody for choosing Florida, but I think newcomers need to have a handbook and maybe even pass a test before setting up housekeeping here. It's not really their fault for not knowing the right and wrong ways of taking care of our waters. They must learn not to fertilize and learn the common sense-skills of operating a boat and to not run over the grass flats in the Harbor. The fish are still biting, you just have to move around a little more to find them. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope we ease into the rainy season which could help move red tide out of the north end of the Harbor. Take every opportunity to educate our new neighbors about our waters and our culture. Tell them Welcome, and to please ask if they don't know. Stay safe, be courteous and take a kid fishing whenever you can. I still like the idea of a hand book! Capt. Alan Williams 954 -347-5275 awilli9412@aol.com


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Water LIFE inc. waterlife@comcast.net www.WaterlifeMagazine.com Ellen Heller Publisher Michael Heller Editor

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Contributing Editors:

Photography: ASA1000.com Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop: Fishin” Frank Upper Harbor: Cameron Parson Peace River: Capt. Dave Stephens Punta Gorda: Alan Williams Estero: Capt. Joe Angius Everglades: Capt. Charlie Phillips Sailing: Fran Burstein Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson Office Dog: Augustus

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Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

Quick Commentary possible fall reopening if quota is available. This By Michael Heller will be the longest sumPiney Point is gone from the news like mer season since the Hunterʼs laptop. How can this be? The State FWC started setting seasays the acid pond isnʼt radioactive. They sons for fishing in the simply called it wastewater on the National Gulf state and federal waNews. One biased headline read: A Reserters off Florida. voir is Overflowing in Florida. Most of Florida doesnʼt even know about phosphate Private Dock mining, let alone how toxic the process is, 4-Rent so itʼs gone from view. Sailboat Water The party-line is ʻwe need phosphate for Quick out fertilizer to feed the world.ʼ Where are the off Edgewater WOKE people on this issue? Where is the in Port Charlotte National media to tell it like it is? Elect & Water available Seventy percent of the worldʼs phos$250/mo phate reserves are in Moroco. If this counTHIS IS PHOSPHATE MINING A toxic Fukishima-like plume radiates 941-769-4220 try truly wants to help feed undeveloped into Tampa Bay. What this will do to 2021 scalloping is still unclear. Edtor notes* nations, why not invest in Moroco? We have this is a favor for a neighbor less than 2-percent here. money and influence brought this about. You donʼt hear about it because MOSAIC, Worse yet, and unspoken, there are unAllegiant Airlineʼs Sunseeker Resort the mining company, can get water here, they derground connections from this area to There has been no progress. The rumor own the people who do the water testing and springs that come up out in the Gulf. that a GoFundMe page has been set up to because BIG money talks and MOSAIC You think they pumped all that out of Piney complete Sunseeker is (so far) false. Word on spends big money to buy influence. PhosPoint and dumped it into the Gulf? Yes they the street is Allegiant will need one year of posphate mining is coming here, to Horse Creek, pumped some of it, but I think they lost more itive cash flow before they even look at their because they bought DeSoto County a Rodeo to a sinkhole under the stack. Go ahead, Arena. Itʼs that simple. Sunseeker project. As an airline, Allegiant is prove me wrong. You canʼt, because no one actually in better shape than other airlines. AlleAt Horse Creek they will first install settlemonitors that. I believe that sinkholes are part giant relies on vacation travel while other airment ponds. Then they will petition to amend of the unspoken Best Management Practices lines rely on business. In the mean time, their permit to dig the ore out. the phosphate industry uses to make toxic Allegiant is still praying for an investor to revive They dilute their waste. What they canʼt ditailings disappear. And now, once again, they lute they pile up, Piney Point is one example the Sunseeker project. seem to have bought the media silence to and there are 24 other giant gypsum stacks Allegiant Airlineʼs next Earnings Call is stay out of trouble. around Florida that also canʼt be recycled. It May 4 at 4:30 - you can watch online at; RED SNAPPER SEASON The 2021 Gulf was no coincidence that the Piney Point https://ir.allegiantair.com/news-releases/newsred snapper recreational season is set to ʻstackʼ was so close to the Gulf. I think Emerrelease-details/allegiant-travel-company-anopen June 4 and run through July 28, with a gency Dumping was the plan all along. And nounces-date-change-first-quarter

Local SAILING

Photos and text for Water LIFE By Fran Burstein

There were 105 Individual Races This Season!

“The opportunity to sail on Charlotte Harbor is something very special-large open water with relatively small waves, most often good sailing winds and sun!” This vision of the Harbor, described by Christi van Heek, leads me right into the wrap-up of this seasonʼs racing. The total number of races surprised me, I counted 105 individual races! And then there are all the support crews on the Signal Boats, Pin Boats, Weather Mark Boats, Safety Boats, photographers, and other volunteers who organized and planned all the racing programs and regattas. Certainly, the conditions on Charlotte Harbor make sailboat racing a significant activity involving a cast of many. The actual racing counts are next. The Harbor 20ʼs raced 40 times. This includes the Isles Yacht Club Championship Series, the Hospice, Golden Conch, Conquistador and Leukemia Cup Regattas and the Fall Series Races sponsored by the Punta Gorda Sailing Club. The 2.4m class completed five regattas that included 37 races out of the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club. PHRF Class Racing included- The Hospice Regatta with four races and sponsored by the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club. The Punta Gorda Sailing Club sponsored the Conquistador Cup, the Fall Series and the Moonlight Regatta adding 11 races and The Platinum Point Yacht Club sponsored the Golden Conch Regatta and the Monday Series for 13 races. It is unfortunate that the Charlotte Harbor Regatta was cancelled this year due to Covid 19 concerns. The pictures that accompany this article were taken during the last 2.4 meter Regatta #5, April 2 and 3. Racing conditions were bumpy with 12- to 24-kts of wind. The pictures explain themselves.


Droppin’ in on the Tax Man MAY 2021

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By Tommy Davis Water LIFE Spearfishing Last month my first trip with the free diving Yes Man group was intense. We started at 6 a.m, heading out 60-miles. On my initial drop l saw a cobia in the distance and he swam my way. I shot early, tagged him in the head, but he ended up pulling the shaft on my assent. We moved in search of more pelagics and found a school of AP (African pompano), tagged one and then we all had to drop and play shark patrol. We ended up scoring one cobia, an African pompano and a mangrove snapper. On Saturday we dropped on our first wreck and saw nothing but two huge bull sharks... not the best start to the day, but we spent another hour working the wreck anyway, with nothing to show for it. CJ’s last spot did not disappoint! We arrived on the wreck. CJ said “this spot is magical,” and that the permit would be huge... but so would all of the sharks. Twenty seconds into my first drop I saw big schools of massive permit. I tried to drop down deeper and line up, but I still had a bad angle on the fish. We had three trigger pulls all yielding no fish. From the surface CJ is yelling that he

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couldn’t possibly put us in a better position to shoot fish. I’m in the water and just then I see two permit approaching. I start to turn toward the fish and I see Dan dropping in a better shooting position. Instantly I was again on shark duty, so I started to look around and I see two huge ones, also in pursuit. At this time, Dan is starting to line up the shot on one of the monster permit. I look back at the sharks and hear a Twap from Dan’s gun. I see the sharks growing in size and taking on detail as they close the gap. Dan is pulling the line kicking upward with all he has, but he is still descending deeper. I started to head directly for the shaft. The permit swims away from me (of course!) and right at the bulls. I went for the line, since the shaft was just too close to all those teeth. The permit was spinning in circles just in front of the sharks, and just out of reach. I started to pull the line and the second bull closes in from the other side and got his tail going in half circles, just like a cookie cutter. He was intense! I remained hopeful to recover at least

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some of the permit because it was a trophy fish – even the bulls had to take four separate chunks to eat it, then it was gone. We had to regroup and re-drop on the wreck. This time we knew what we were up against. Within the first minute I hear a trigger pull and turned around to see Jamie racing to a monster permit. The sharks are also racing. I watch Jamie grab the shaft and bear hug the permit and start his assent. Once Jamie had the fish a big bull came in HOTT and did not slow down at all. I realized I was too far to offer any protection so I started to line up a shot on the bull, but now CJ was in my way. I watched CJ extend his gun but the shark just picked up speed, lowered his head and spun slightly side ways. I could see the white lids starting to appear over the sharks eyes!

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I was expecting a red cloud, but then I heard CJs gun and the shark abruptly turned and started spiraling erratically; turning downward and starting to descend. So CJ was able to save half his reel and we got the permit to the boat! The sharks gave us a wider birth on the rest of our drops so we were able to add one more permit and 4 mangroves to the fish box for an amazing haul. The seas on the 90 mile ride home were glass calm and truly beautiful! What a trip! Editor Notes** Seventeen years ago Tommy Davis was one of the students in our old Don Ball School of Fishing program. Then he went on to fish and win in our Kids Cup Tournament. Today Tommy is still fishing and diving, a friend and a successful businessman in Fort Myers.


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Vanessa catches a sunset snook at Paradise Cove!

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email the county water quality manager... tell him what you think!

Brandon.Moody@charlottecountyfl.gov

By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor The red tide struggle is real, however it can be conquered and fished through. Yea we have some water issues going on in the north end of the Harbor. Is it the end of the world? ... not exactly. Anglers just have to adjust their approach and pay much more attention to the weather. When I say weather, this means the wind direction and the flow of the tides. We’re really quick to jump on the bandwagon due to a floating dead fish, but most of the dead fish we see have been blown in or pushed in due to tides. Another misconception is the ability to see red tide. This is a big myth, red tide cannot be seen. However it can irritate our respiratory systems. Well when dealing with an algae bloom that is blown around with the wind, pushed around with the tide, what is the best approach to consistently keep the rods bent? Pay attention to the winds, and tides! If our game fish feel or sense something changing in the water, there going to move into better water. So paying attention to the weather patterns play a big part of dealing with this. Normally I love to fish areas that have winds blowing the bait into that particular area. When we have issues with water quality those areas might not be your best bet. If we have had east winds for a couple days, I would recommend going west. The same applies if the winds have been from the west. Tidal flow also plays a big role in the water quality in an area. A strong incoming tide can bring bad water into an area that you want to fish. The same goes for an extremely low tide that can flush out water that fish don’t want to be in. Fish have been dealing with these issues for thousands of years, but us humans have just been adding to the problem, making it much harder for them. But remember, Mother Nature will kick all of our ass’s, eventually.

Over the past few years we have been groomed by the media to blame certain conditions for what is happening to our local waters. During the summer months, when the rains are heavy, we blame the water releases from the Caloosahatchee waterway. I am by no means saying those releases are good for anything – I, for one, think they should be sent south to filtrate naturally through the vast Everglades – what we have occurring now cannot be blamed on releases to our south, those releases are not coming our way. Can we blame this recent red tide on the water that flows into the north end of the Harbor from our major rivers? Possibly, but, this winter and spring has been extremely dry and the river is hardly flowing at all. We know overflow from age old septic tanks dump into our Harbor, during our rainy season, but there are no septic tanks flooding into our waterways during a drought condition. So what’s the probable cause? Over watering, and excessive fertilizer flowing into our waterways. It’s time to restrict what we put on our lawns, road sides and ditches. It’s time to limit herbicides spray and round up. PLEASE, make your voice heard. Write and email state officials all the way down to our local officials. Charlotte County has hired a new water quality manager. Let him know we’re not happy with our water. email Brandon.Moody@charlottecountyfl.gov. Tell him we must start monitoring what flows into our local estuary from our back yards and we need to test the river and Harbor bottoms, so we know what we are dealing with.

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.backbayxtremes.com .

MAY 2021


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The Manatee Graveyard On the Line By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff I noticed something unusual while looking at last year's manatee mortality data. A new category of manatee death Not Necropsied. This was very strange to me; I always thought that all dead manatees were shipped to St. Petersburg to determine the cause of death. Without that data you really can’t tell how many manatees died from cold, red tide or watercraft. Not doing that makes all the necropsied data worthless. I figured the FWC was low on money and short on personnel last year, so this year I paid close attention to manatee deaths and their causes. Right off the bat, there was a high number of manatee deaths so far this year (up until April 22) - In all of 2020 - there weren’t 637 manatee deaths, yet so far this year it’s 674. It looks like we may go over 1,000 manatee deaths this year, an all time record. When you look at the numbers, one county really sticks out, Brevard County is the Space Coast and the 10th largest county in Florida. Brevard is home to Titusville, Melbourne and Cocoa Beach. So far this year their death is 285 that's 42percent of the state total. Of those, 219 were categorized as Not Necropsied. That was too strange for me to ignore, so I decided to try to find out what was killing these manatees. Brevard County is home to the 156 mile long Indian River Lagoon. It's called a lagoon because there is plenty of water

flows into it but not much flowing out. There are only two ways for water to go out of the lagoon, the Sebastian Inlet and the Haulover Canal. Up near Titusville is Merritt Island, a 47.2 sq. mile mostly natural area. On the island is a small place called Manatee Cove Park, it is just under 30 acres. Recently some kayakers exploring the shoreline found a secluded cove and they found 14 dead manatee carcass and the bones of many more manatees. This is now called the Manatee Graveyard. The FWC was notified and they sent a group to investigate. They turned to Martine de Wit, a veterinarian at the FWC. He said, referring to the manatees: “Their guts are empty, their fat and muscle were depleted, their livers atrophied and they showed signs of starvation.” So what happened to cause these manatees to starve to death ? I first noticed the Indian River Lagoon back in 2011 when there was an unusual Manatee die off event. The cause was traced to something called Brown Tide, a totally different algae than Red Tide. The Brown Tide was thought to be caused by high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the lagoon. This year has had a particular cold winter in northeast Florida with a higher number than usual dying from the cold. This combined with a high level of floating algae and a high number of manatees in the area has set the stage for disaster. The current theory is that the high level of nutrients in the water caused an

explosion of floating algae which in turn blocked the sunlight from reaching the seagrass on the bottom of the lagoon. This caused the seagrass to die off. The average manatee eats about 10% of their body mass in this seagrass daily, so simply put, seagrass dies and manatees starve. People are split into two camps over this problem; the first is what I call the traditional manatee-environmental groups that demand that something be done and look for people to blame for the situation. They blame the Feds for removing the manatee from the endangered species list. They blame the FWC for not doing more to protect the manatee. They blame the agricultural runoff from farms and they blame the rest of us for leaking septic tanks and the high amount of fertilizer that’s used to keep our grass green. The other camp I call the Rational Environmentalist Group. They are saying we told you that the warm water dis-

charge from our power plants are artificially keeping large numbers of manatees in the area, rather than having them follow their natural instinct to migrate south during the winter. They also point out that human caused pollution will be a tough problem to tackle since Florida is growing so fast. In the meantime they say the big problem is the lack of flushing action from the lagoon to the Atlantic ocean and to solve that problem they propose building a new pass at the northern part of the lagoon to help the flushing action in the lagoon, like they did in Lemon Bay when they opened Stump Pass. The one upside to this problem is the focus on all the human related causes of manatee deaths. I can only hope that someday the main street media will stop saying that watercraft is the largest cause of human related manatee deaths. It’s a lot more complicated than that. “We have met the enemy and they is us.” Captronb@juno.com

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Eric Owens caught this snook in PGI canals

Davin Garamella, Spanish mack in Boca Grande with his brother Dawson and sister Kaylor Garamella

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Kacie Flack Boca Grande , Goliath grouper redfish and snook


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Shark Tips: Hereʼre Some Spring Pointers: By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Sharks May is a great time of the year to take the kids shark fishing. With the water warming up, basically it is all types of sharks this time of the year. You can go to different places and catch many small sharks such as bonnet heads, Atlantic sharp nose, black tips and black nose. Some days this time of the year we average 10to 15-sharks per trip. The kids love it because it’s a lot of action. And we see them before they strike, behind the chum line. The water has been 80° and more. Best time to go, as usual, is in the evening or early morning. But at certain areas they will bite all day ... it’s just a little slower during the daytime. Anytime around May 12 and May 27 are the best times to go due to the moon phase and the tides. But May is usually a great month all around. As weird as this sounds, the big fish seem to be coming in the back waters and a bit smaller fish are offshore within 5 miles. I’ve been catching some 7- to 8-foot fish in 4-foot of water in the back waters and 3- to 4-foot size sharks offshore on the wrecks. But on the wrecks you get an occasional shot at a tiger shark or hammerhead which is always a nice surprise. As far as the back waters, you get the occasional sawfish and that’s a rarity. May is always a great time of the year to fish as the water is transitioning from cool to warm. It’s pretty good for pretty much any type of fishing. Capt John Brossard - 239-777-9279 www.SharkChaserCharters.com

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Marita Rakow caught this beauty in Bokeelia

Sarah from Ohio with a really nice 26 1/2 inch snook, fishing with Capt. Paul. It was her first snook. Congratulations young lady!

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Barbara Brock catching some snook on Boca Grande, with my sis, Ann Carr, catching sheapshead


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Hi, itʼs Rob! Spanish mackerel, Cape Coral peir, on live shrimp

Laura Hearlihy got her first peacock, with Capt. Steve McDonald in the Everglades.

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Everglades peacock bass, caught on a jerk bait by Tim Hearlihy

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Linda Chepren. Peace River shark, catch and release

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Joe Sheaffer with a chilly April Manasota Beach snook

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Betsy Morris, Jack Crevalle

Six year old Logan Karol with a nice striped bass

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Randy with his first tarpon in the canals with Captain Tom Knapp Under 40”

4-year-old Landon Karol with his first striped bass

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Grandpa Don and Easton with 29" red grouper

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Hunter w/ Dad (Kevin) caught her first trout!


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Colton with a gag

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Dani with bonnet head shark

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Reece Ruff with his first fish - a beautiful mangrove snapper

Cole Wilson Bull shark

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Matt Murdoch from NJ with a 25 inch cobia in Bokeelia.

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Diana Wilkins from Torrance CA caught and released this catfish off the bank in Bull Bay on 27 March 2021.

Ben Wilson redfish. Biggest fish I ever caught.

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Bristol with a snook


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MAY 2021

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Caught this snook and at first I thought it was a tarpon but it was still an awesome fish, Cole Stephens

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Brianna, my daughter, loves to fish. Her first fishing trip in Florida Gulf of Mexico. She loves to fish Near Punta Gordy

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Conor Young, 11 yrs

Jesse and Joey, What a beast!! Placida

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Dennis with a 33 " snook Cape Coral yesterday, hes on fire

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Hi itʼs Rob again! My buddy Dennis, big jack, Cape Coral peir

Anthony Verrelli of NJ fishing on the Teesea with Capt. Tom, caught a 30-inch red

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Cameron Fox with his personal best bass You go, Cam man!

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Mely with a little gag out of Boca Pass

Great photo for WaterLIFE magazine with John Humphrey in Charlotte Harbor Photo by Mary Humphrey

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Two firsts today, first 22 -incher and first limit for for Joel and Tom.

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Mike Sasser 24-inch redfish Boca Grande


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Estero Bay: The true Essence of Fishing By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero A variety of large fish are on the prowl this month. One of the benefits of fishing in the month of May is the surplus of baits, healthy water conditions, and steady weather patterns. These three key elements in fishing help maintain a more consistent and predictable bite. Though we won’t experience as many cold fronts, the one weather factor that will influence the fishing is rain. Rain changes the water temperatures and salinity. For now water temperatures continue to rise and fish like snook will begin to feed more aggressively toward the mouth of rivers and along our beaches. The key to success this month is being able to adapt. The ability to adapt is what allows anglers to become better suited toward their fishing environment. A versatile fisherman

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will be able to make crucial decisions on where and how to fish. Most of the time it’s easy to say that a fishing spot “looks good”. Just because it may look good doesn’t mean that there will be feeding

fish. Always look for signs of life such as bait, birds, stingrays, mullet, and moving water. This will help in making the decision to continue fishing a spot or move. When guiding, my job is to get my anglers on a great bite and to keep the rods bent for as long as possible. If the backwater bite is slow I must adapt to the situation and make moves to where I think the best bite will be. Migratory fish such as king mackerel,

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tarpon, and sharks make for a fantastic day out on the water. We’ve had success with spinner sharks, barracuda, permit, and bluefish too. I’ll typically use 6090-pound steel leader with a long shank circle hook. For larger sharks I won’t use anything less than 100-pound cable. Resident tarpon and snook have already made their way out of the rivers and are spending more time on the flats or in the Gulf. Tarpon fishing is in full swing and won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Large threadfin herring, pinfish, and pass crabs are a must when fishing for tarpon. On windy days or when the current is strong I’ll use a 1/2oz weight above my bait, whereas on calmer days I tend to suspend my baits under a floating cork. However you decide to fish this month,

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A gator trout caught in Gasparilla Sound by Charles Parrish

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Pompano caught in Charlotte Harbor. By Tony DeStefano

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Sam Monawar Randolf NJ. His first visit to Punta Gorda and his first redfish

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Lacey Lynn Ward with her first snook caught in Pine Iisland Sound. Trophyʼs come in all sizes

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Don Villane... Spotted Sea Trout caught Lemon Bay @ Grove City...

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Jen Perkins with another really big 32-inch snook today at Iona shores

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you really can’t go wrong. Remember to be able to adapt and not forget to have fun while fishing. It’s so easy to look past the natural beauty and true essence of fishing. Being able to slow down to appreciate what Southwest Florida has to offer is half of the fishing experience.

Captain Joe Angius 727-234-3171 speakeasyfishing@gmail.com speakeasyfishing.com

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Carmen Roger's, Randolf NJ on spring break with Spanish mackerel


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Austin Knight, age 6, and Brian Knight age 8, both from North Port. Austin caught and released this nice 2-pound tilapia. Brian caught and released a10.9 oz catfish. This was the biggest fresh water cat he ever caught!

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My name is Jessica Legan These are my tilapia

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Jessica Stevenson and her sonʼs Michael and Brock enjoyed their first salt water fish trip with Capt Karl Butigian in Boca Grande. Michaelʼs first salt water fish was a huge snook. Brockʼs first salt water fish was a very nice trout. Capt Karl did a great job taking good care of the boys! Mike Shaffer

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Faith Hilmer with a snook!

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Walter JOUSMA

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Paul Stebing with a catch and release Kingfish (editor*maybe AJ?)

Kris Bell king mac just out of Venice

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Gerry Stead from Eden, NY Snook caught near Mullock Creek

Jim Thompson Englewood snook


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Ulysses D Orazio, 35-inch snook

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Brian Hawlwy with a beautiful Cobia

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Zoe Hopkins with nice Cedar Key trout

Mike Perkins caught this 26 inch snook today at Iona Shores

Barbie AKA Z nice redfish

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Kristin & her son Jameson with a 26-inch redfish

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Capt. Jesse Smith & his son Jameson with a 29-inch red

Eddie Lainhart , 6 pounds, 21 3/4 -inch mangrove snapper.

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Bryson Cumberland


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Alex Green with his first Atlantic sharpnose shark with Earl Horecky

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Lacey, from Grove city Ohio, catching some nice big mackerel with Capt. Rick Kelley

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Robbie Wilson catching a black drum with an artificial lure off the dock in Punta Gorda Isles!

Michael with a great trout

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Broc with a snook

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Jessica snook

Dave Adams, Venice with a nice 40+ inch cobia, off of Stump Pass

Jim Kline, 14 pound catch and release snook at back woods pond, Rotonda West

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Adapting to Conditions

By Cameron Parson Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Having windy conditions on a day of fishing can be frustrating at times. North winds help assist the tide in pushing out more water than normal, making your usual spots sometimes inaccessible. South winds help with pushing tides up higher than predicted. West winds can make for a super choppy Harbor. Long story short, we have to adapt to the conditions.

Ideal conditions always seem to be water as slick as glass. I prefer a 5-to 10knot wind, due to being able to drift at an ideal speed. I love fishing the incoming spring tides, especially with a west wind blowing toward the East Wall. This wind helps to create some current around the points of the islands. Soaking cut baits is extremely effective due to the wind and water washing the scent around the islands, helping draw the fish to you. Snook, redfish, and even some bigger trout are always in the area. And the incoming tide will bring them closer to the bushes. Feeder creeks are also great places to fish with an incoming tide and west wind. South winds are extremely effective in helping cover more water if you're drift fishing. Often times, I'll start out on the inside of the bar and over deeper grass looking for trout on topwaters. As the Sun rises, I move to the outside in search of pompano, cobia, sharks, and even tarpon. I also favor a south breeze when fishing the deep holes of the Harbor. Slow drifting ladyfish, mullet, and big threadfins will produce tarpon and sharks. Don't be surprised if a cobia is in the mix.

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The key is to set up a good drift. Not too fast, and not too slow. Use the breeze to your advantage and pick the area apart. The trolling motor is ready in case I need to chase a hooked fish or turn around in a hurry. If it's just too breezy to get to your normal areas, the surrounding canal systems are always holding fish. This is the time of year to utilize live chumming. Get your live bait if possible and head back in. Jacks, snook, snapper, and juvenile tar-

pon can all be caught in one area. Most anglers seem to hide from a breezy day. Others use it to their advantage. The only way to learn how to use it is to do it. Obviously you're not going far if there are whitecaps on the Harbor, but a good breeze and light ripple on the water can really be your friend ... if you should so choose.

Cameron Parson can sometimes be found at Rio Villa Bait & Tackle in Punta Gorda (941) 639-7166

Florida Water Quality Crisis Summit Punta Gorda Isle's Civic Association Wednesday May 26

5-8 p.m.

941-626-2299

MarchAgainstMosaic@gmail.com

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Everglades and 10,000 Islands: By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE 10,000 Islands April was a windy month for us down in the Everglades and 10,000 Islands. While the fishing was good, the wind made it tough, but it’s pretty typical for this time of year, just seemed to be more days with, than without. That’s the great thing about our slice of paradise, while going offshore may not be an option, you have at least 10,000 plus places to hide if it’s blowing hard. Doesn’t mean there will be any fish there, but it sure makes the day more comfortable!! In all truth folks, that is why it is important to seek new spots on every trip you take. As you look for these spots, make sure to notice the direction they are situated in relation to winds and also bad weather and file them away. Many of you don’t get to fish only the best weather days, you have to fish the time you have available so knowing your

Esposito and Horecky for 4th slot snook on artificial this week, near Pineland

Tom Nowak, redfish

area, what spots are going to be blocked from a NE or SW wind blowing hard, knowing where that deep cut is on a negative tide day with a NE wind (and even better ... if it’s blocking and calm for fish) can make the difference between a challenging day or an enjoyable one. While we all know that being on the water is as good as it gets, it is work and little tricks you develop by noticing pat-

MAY 2021

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terns and constantly building and developing on each trip that make the job easier. Ok, on to fishing, we have been catching some great trout down on the grassy areas around Pavilion South. Jigs, hardbaits and corks and shrimp or artificial will work fine. If you like shark fishing, plenty of those in that area as well. Chum slick and some fresh oily bait on a heavy rod drifted behind the boat is all you need for shark. They are lots of fun - a big lemon shark is a hard fighter and something too many snub their nose at. Redfish are on the points and bars out front to one bay back lately. We are using cut ladyfish, mullet and live shrimp. A simple knocker rig, depending on current, works, but if I can get

away with it, I prefer a large spit shot on a flouro leader to a circle hook. Easy to cast and works great for most all species. Most redfish we have been netting are averaging in the 22-inch range. Snook are on the outside and feeling amorous this time of year. Little males may mean a big female is around. Live bait, and artificial will do the trick, but treat them good and get them back in the water so they make next seasons babies. Final note, ENP Rangers can and will enforce the kill switch lanyard law that went in effect April 1st, so make sure to wear it. We all should anyway, but many don’t and hate to see you have a costly oversight. Stay safe out there. Capt. Charlie Phillips, President, Florida Guides Assn. Owner/Captain, Hope Fishing Adventures Everglades City, Florida 863-517-1829 hopefishing.com


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The BIG-4

TARPON here, early, in the Passes to the south

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

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SHARKS bigger now and Hanging near the tarpon

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May

CREVALLE JACK in and out of the canals

MANGROVE SNAPPER most everywhere in the Gulf

Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay, Placida, Gasparilla Sound

Water is pretty good out there and with an east wind it’s a great time to walk along the beach. A TTMR-11 is a Frank @ Fishin’ Franks great lure for walking the beach. 4200 Tamiami Trail, behind ABC Still a bunch of catfish around out in Progress at the new shop is coming the middle of the Harbor. They are a along. We are done with the carpen- pain, slimy and dangerous, but they do try and are setting up the bait tanks. pull on the rod good. If you have kids I want to be open later this month, on the boat they are the most exciting but full inventory will be a while. fish in the world! Mackerel are out in the Harbor. The That leads to tarpon because when red tide is close to the surface, but any- you fish for tarpon you fish for cats. thing deep is Deep holes not effected. in the Harbor Pretty good have had schools of tarpon. At Spanish... and Cape Haze in closer to the the passes pass some and even kings. A yelalong the low dot on the beaches there mackerel are sporadic means stop schools of don’t eat! tarpon. With warmer Tarpon weather, still bait would good bonnet be ladyfish, sharks on the which can be east side and in found off Pine Island Mangrove Sound. You Point and can catch Cape Haze – mackerel and that’s where sharks both on to find ladyCaught this beauty 35 miles off shore a poppin’ cork fish for your in 102 feet of water. Personal Best! rig with a 2-0 tarpon fun. FISH PIX! 33 1/4 Long and 20.4-pounds hook and 30There has Mike Hoff pound leader. been mixed Put it down 3- feet, or 2-under the bob- fishing in Lemon Bay. Sporadic mackber in shallower water. Trout: erel moving through and a few reds on Still some bigger ones south in Gaspar- the flats. Snook, should be going to Ski illa Sound and Pine Island Sound and Alley soon, to get ready to spawn. I some down near Cape Haze. think the water has been good there. Snook are still moving down the It’s hard to get reports from the Gulf; rivers, but that ends as we get into May snapper, grunts, smaller reef fish, where spawning starts. Then the party is lanes are all in the mix. Stories of cobia out on the ICW. and AJs are hit or miss with weather. from Water LIFE magazine

Englewood Bait House

Head-Boat Offshore Fishing 941- 475-4511

There has been red tide in Charlotte Harbor The water is at 80 deg. Fish are moving around

95˚ 90˚ 85˚ 80˚

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚ 45˚

FISHING RIGHT NOW:

DEPENDS WHERE


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Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE May 2021  

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

Water LIFE May 2021  

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

Profile for waterlife

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