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Water LI FE

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

the Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

November 2020

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I caught this giant large mouth bass. My name is Cole Stephens and I am 13 years old. I caught this fish on a crankbait. I was hoping for you guys to put it in your magazine. Thank you!

Editor Notes** Good Job! Howʼs This?!!

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Steve and Kelly Thomas visiting from Texas with a nice Lemon Bay Red! Submitted by Mike Springer in Rotonda West

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Big black drum caught with Capt Fred Gowdy of Estero Bay, in Charlotte Harbor

Brandon Freeman with a 44-inch Cobia, out of Stump Pass

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NOVEMBER 2020

! could tell h t n o m ? This is it over

eMail letters and photos to: WaterLIFE@comcast.net

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

(941) 766-8180

FishPix, text only number 941-457-1316

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Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XIX No. 11 © 2020

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Contributing Editors:

Photography: ASA1000.com

Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop: Fishinʼ Frank

Upper Harbor: Cameron Parson

Peace River: Capt. Dave Stephens Punta Gorda: Alan Williams Estero: Capt. Joe Angius

Everglades: Capt. Charlie Phillips Sailing: Fran Burstein

Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson

From the Ponds: Nicholas J Office Dog: Agustus

Sunseeker Resort

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Wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass for Charlotte County, No-Progress Report going from a hotel with payCOMMENTARY ing guests, bed tax revenues, BY MICHAEL HELLER business taxes, real estate Just when I thought I didn’t taxes and all sorts of other inhave anything to write about, come for the County.. going Allegiant laid off 100 pilots. from that to a Church which That’s a lot when you only have would essentially operate tax 115 planes - not counting the free... they must be besides ones they took off the flight line themselves in the County Tax to dismantle and sell the parts Assessor’s office. off. The airline is hurting. And Scientology is more Allegiant isn’t paying attenthan a church. Their NARtion to its Sunseeker project, CONON program is a drug but other people are. rehabilitation sequence that In the Rumor Department, a allegedly includes a form of rumor that surfaced last month mind-altering brain-washing, was that Tom Cruise came to administered by a staff with Sunseeker before construction stopped Photo: Betsy Williams, photography Charlotte County to look at the no medical degrees. What Sunseeker property. This comes might we have gotten into? from several contractors associated Scientology probably won’t with the project. The rumor has been circulating for several wind up here, but the point is, there are a lot of unforseen or unpreweeks. Supposedly Mr. Cruise is interested in the site as a hub for dictable outcomes that could now fall upon this project. I just hope the Church of Scientology. the County officials keeps the Citizen’s best interests in mind.

LETTER: Is the Sunʼs WaterLine going into a death spiral? To Water LIFE Is the WaterLine going into a death spiral? It is hard to get a physical copy. If you buy a Sun at a gas station or grocery store, you won't get a WaterLine or their TV magazine any more. There are no longer complimentary WaterLines at baitshops and restaurants. The only way to hold it in your hands is to pay extra for a home delivery subscription. It is my guess that the readership has declined by at least 2/3 from two years ago. If I am an advertiser, I would expect a substantial rate reduction for such a reduced readership. Will the Sun do it? The Sun is still a fine paper, but they are charging more for fewer columnists and features. The new ownership has made some abrupt and arrogant decisions. They certainly kicked their Desoto County subscribers to the curb without notice. If WaterLine revenue is reduced, will they chop it off at the knees? It looks like gunshot podiatry to me.

I really like the Water LIFE and look forward to it every month. But if the Waterline goes down, I will miss it almost as much as Fishin' Franks. Mr. Heller, is there a business opportunity approaching? John Ress, Arcadia

Editor Replies: WaterLine was my vision and my creation and I still have a fond feeling for it, but Yes, looks to me like itʼs sinking. With the pandemic, I bet their readership is down by 3/4 or more. A weekly magazine in a daily paper, especially one with high ad rates, is a hard sell to advertisers. Making WaterLine a stand-alone free publication, in addition to being an insert in the Thursday paper, was strictly a reaction to me quitting (after they screwed us!) and starting this magazine. Iʼm glad the new owners saw through the previous publisherʼs petty vendetta, the extra paper and ink cost had to be killing them. This is the way news-products die. Visibility is reduced and the staff is reassigned to new tasks or worse. All their racks have been picked up, but sadly there was no mention in their latest edition. In a way, it is a shame, but in another way, Iʼm finding some devilish glee in the news. - MH


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W Wa at te er r

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Jim Moscoso caught the redfish 9/25/20

Kimberly with a drum

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Wade Fishing

By Cameron Parson Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor The water has started to clear up pretty well and a good portion of the salinity has returned. Along with that, the water temperature has also dropped. This is my favorite time of year to get in the water on the super low tides. Snook, trout, redfish, flounder and even pompano can be caught within walking distance of a shoreline. And the cooler it gets, the better. Wade fishing on super low tides helps give you an idea of the topography of the area. Potholes and sandspots are easy to pick out. Troughs can easily be walked through to access more of the flat. Fish tend to be "trapped" in these areas and hold there until the tide rises again to safely move to the next staging area. The main advantage you have while wading is silence. You're walking rather than utilizing a trolling motor to sneak up on fish and you don't have water slapping the boat. The other advantage is that you gain access to multiple areas too shallow for your boat to get through. You may walk 30 yards or more through ankle deep water then into a spot of 2 feet, maybe more. For those without boats, there are several areas to acces by foot, within a short drive. Gear for Wade fishing is basic and light. A 7foot medium power rod, 2500 sized reel, and 10pound braid is optimal. Leader is 25pound fluorocarbon due to water clarity. The bulk of what you're fishing is open flat, so there's not much for the fish to break you off. Light braided is my go-to for getting that extra distance on the cast. Golden bream jerkbaits or paddle tails are a great ticket to

catching fish. I prefer weedless hooks due to grass in the shallows, but will use 1/8-ounce jigheads in troughs. Most any topwater plug will do. The Rapala Skitterwalk SW-08 or Storm Chug Bug are great options for search baits. If you're willing to go the extra mile, invest in a boogie board and extra rod holder. It's so much easier to be able to put the rod down to re-tie and use both hands. Carrying a few extra lures becomes less of a chore. And... you can bring a snack and thermos with you in the cooler months. The practicality of it all just makes sense. Tie the board to you and pull it close when needed. There are complete wading setups that can be purchased. Some have a basket to hold bait in the water for you, others will simply hold drinks and extra gear. There are multiple options on complete setups or building your own. Generally, I work the flat like I would in a boat. I'm looking for signs of life...mullet, skipping needlefish, and any pushes on the surface. Even a small, continuous boil is an indicator of a redfish, its tail just isn't quite breaching. Tossing a topwater over the area is a quick way to cover a lot of water. Spoons and small paddletails will also work. Cast over a sand spot or pothole 2- or 3-times and move

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Jim Moscoso caught this snook 9/26/20

NOVEMBER 2020

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on, casting at everything in between until a fish finds your lure. Be sure to make mental notes on the fishing conditions. Tidal stage, water depth, wind conditions, and even the color and size of your baits. Most can be replicated the next year. You'll suddenly remember every detail of a great day and switch tactics if needed. Seasons can differ. The bite may happen anywhere from a week or two early up to a week or two later. My friends and I have had quite a few epic days of fishing. Some of the best days were actually in 15-mph north winds and super low water. One of the banner days we had consisted of walking up to taking redfish and watching them eat the lure. We were fortunate in the fact that those fish were so completely oblivious to everything going on around them. We walked within 15 feet of them feeding and even had 2 fish start tailing right between us! Mind you, we were only maybe 20 feet apart! On other days, there was barely a breeze and it was super sunny. The bite was much slower. The wind hadn't pushed the tide out to what was predicted. Fish were spread out quite a bit more. Presentations had to be slowed down a tad. But that only meant we had to work a little harder to put a bend in the rod.

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

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Another 2020 Demise NOVEMBER 2020

By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor No, this is not politics, we’ve had enough politics to last a lifetime. And this is not about COVID, enough of that too. I said goodbye to an old friend – I may see him briefly again, but the end is in sight. I’m losing one of my favorite fishing shirts. It’s a Columbia… a seersucker one. It was my favorite in the heat of the summer, it was deliciously light. But now the tops of the shoulders are faded from years of sun and the material is thin from all the washing. The buttons are intact and the collar still holds its shape, but the end is near. There are a few holes from a teething puppy, not Agustus, the cocker spaniel puppy we just got last month, but from Molly Brown, a puppy we had 15 years ago. This shirt is that old, maybe older! I was trying to think exactly when I bought this shirt. I must have really liked it because I bought two of them at the same time, both exactly alike. I alternated them in my wardrobe, they aged together like twin brothers, but then about two years ago, after a fatal splash of chlorine... one of them was gone. Sentimental me, I cut the ruined part off and moved the remainder to the rag box in the garage, its soft cotton material is now waiting to perform one last paste-

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wax job on my hot rod. Gasparilla Pass. They were hanging on to I might actually have bought the a pool float and getting sucked out into shirts at the old Laishley Marine, not the the Gulf when we pulled them aboard. I one that closed and is now the Goodwill could think of more shirt stories, but store in Punta Gorda, but the Laishley there is one particular story that changed Marine before that, the original store that this shirt’s legacy forever. stood on Taylor Road, I was working on a brochure about kitty-cornered, by the Punta Gorda. The people who hired me Railroad tracks. This suggested that a photo from the shirt has some serious kid’s Interactive Water history. Playground It was a dress shirt would be when I first got it and a good I didn’t just wear it image to any old place. include. I remember I The playwas wearing this ground is in shirt the night of the park right the big Manatee next to the maMeeting in rina, so one SatPunta Gorda urday afternoon I in 1999 when hopped in my I brought up boat and shot the United Naacross the River to My f avor tions’ ploy to ‘use the the marina. ite o ld sh irt manatee to gain public sympaI was barefoot, in thy’ that’s what they wrote in 1984, and a pair of cutoff jeans that’s what started the whole manatee and wearing the shirt. thing in Florida. This shirt was there! It was hot and the shirt was only fastened I have pictures of me wearing the shirt with a few buttons. I tied up the boat, and at our Kids Cup Banquet in 2004 too. walked over to the playground with my I remember wearing this shirt ... camera. (again, understand, I really mean this It was perfect. About a dozen kids shirt or the other shirt just like it) the af- were frolicking in the water and parents ternoon my wife and I rescued a retired were sitting around talking. I spent 5couple from an outgoing tide at Little minutes taking pictures and walked back

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to my boat. I was putting my camera into its waterproof box when a Punta Gorda Police Car pulled up. Someone had called the cops on me. They told the police I was a pervert, taking pictures of children. I laughed, I told the cop who I was and what I was doing. He laughed too and he left. Then I went home and told my wife the story. “Look at you,” she said. I had not shaved, I was in frayed cutoffs... maybe I did look a little ‘soft.’ Ever since then, my wife Ellen has called my favorite shirt my pre-vert’s shirt. There is no appropriate joke about molesting children and certainly Ellen didn’t mean it that way, but there also really was no appropriate reason to call the police without someone first having the decency to talk to me. The damage was done, my shirt’s reputation was ruined and I never wore it out in public again. It became part of my garage wardrobe and then last month, when I put it on I heard a faint rip. I pulled my right shoulder around and then my left, I stretched my neck, but I could see nothing. It wasn’t until later that my wife, the shirt hater, commented on the shirt’s new vent - a rip down the back. There was happiness in her tone. So now I have a new candidate for the Rag Box, where the shirt will be living with the remnants of its dead brother. I’m thankful this year is almost over!


Snook are Making Ready for Winter PAGE

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By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor It looks like we made it through hurricane season (for the most part!) here in South West Florida. We were lucky and didn’t have any major storms. Unfortunately the northern Gulf states didn’t fair so well, hopefully those guys will be back up and going strong soon. Over the past couple weeks we have had some cool mornings, which has been a welcome relief – I’m not sure if it’s me getting older or if it was just a hot summer, but it was hot this summer. The cooler mornings will have the fish on the move over the next few weeks, especially if a major cold front pushes down. The biggest movers will be our snook. These guys are considered a tropical fish and do not care for cold water. As the water temperatures slowly begin to decline, these guys do things to prepare for a Florida winter. One thing is, they will be feeding heavily to put on a fat reserve. Another big move will actually be moving, as in migrating. The cooler nights along with the shorter days triggers a nat-

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ural instinct to move closer to or into deeper water. The north end of Charlotte Harbor has miles of deep water residential canals. These areas become safe havens for snook and many other species of fish in winter. There are also two rivers that feed into the Harbor that have deep water. Not only will the snook be looking to prepare for winter, but a lot of our other fish species are feeding very well, too. This time of year large schools of jacks are roaming the bars in search of schools of bait. Once they locate them, they’re like heat seeking missiles. The water erupts into a white water mayhem with bait jumping everywhere, you almost feel bad for the bait fish. The cooler water will also have the trout beginning to school up. The fall is a great time to locate some very large trout. Some of the biggest trout I have caught have been in the fall. Places that hold large concentrations of food will be holding some of the bigger fish - areas such as oyster bars and grass flats with good numbers of pinfish. These bigger fish tend to be more loners, or only a couple fish hang together. The mid range fish will also be schooling up on the local flats and bars, look for

broken bottom. A mixture of grass and sand holes. As we move into fall we should also see the clarity of the water begin to change. The rains are beginning to subside which means less rain runoff. The positive thing about this is the water looks much more inviting, but there is a negative. As the water becomes clearer, the fish get more spooky. So just be stealthy and you

NOVEMBER 2020

should be fine. We will talk more about that next month.

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 backbayxtremes.com


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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 • 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

Potpourri of Sharks in November By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Sharks With the water temperature dipping slightly this month, sharks are on the move and are very active. You can be in the back waters and catch 5 different types of sharks in one outing and up to 6 or 7 in one day. Near shore wrecks have been holding a lot of 2- to 3 1/2- foot blacktips, blacknose and the occasional big hammerhead. While in the back water, there seem to be bulls sharks and lemons in the deep holes and good moving waters of certain passes in the Naples to Everglades area. The optimum tides for the best bite are at the full moon, early and late in the month, also at no moon exactly in the middle of the month. All fish feed better on a good moving tide. So here’s my Tip of the Month – If you can catch fresh bait, always do.... Fresh caught fish is way better than using frozen bait, even if it is catfish or shrimp. Happy Thanksgiving to all the fisherman out in our area.

Capt John Brossard 239-777-9279 www.SharkChaserCharters.com

Six sawfish found dead on side of Chokoloskee Causeway Special to Water LIFE from Tonya @ Havenworth Sawfish Conservation

NOAA officials seek information from anyone who may have details about this incident and are offering a reward up to $20,000 for information leading to a criminal conviction or the assessment of a civil penalty. The animals, the dead sawfish and

two dead bonnethead sharks, were found along the causeway between Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island. Two of the sawfish are missing their rostra (saws). One other had its meat removed, leaving only the carcass. A sawfish biologist from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will perform a necropsy on the animals to try to determine the cause of death.

Smalltooth sawfish are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The species is generally only found off the coast of Florida, especially southwest Florida where sawfish give birth. They reproduce every other year and give birth to just 7-14 young. NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously.


Pumpkinʼ Pickinʼ Time

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Capt. Alan Williams Water LIFE Upper Harbor This time of year going fishing has a few new monikers. Heading to the coppermine, mining for river gold, bull dog roundup, heading to the pumpkin patch and a long list of other descriptions. Yeah, it's redfish time on the Harbor. This is the time of year the redfish come into the Harbor to fatten up for their trek off shore to spawn. Big breeder fish show up in schools that get the heart rate going as you see their big push headed your way. There’s nothing better to me than seeing that big wake, like a submarine headed for your bait. Natural, cut baits or artificials will work on these hungry fish. I love throwing artificials at these groups of fish. A gold spoon is an old time favorite that covers water and can be cast a great distance. A soft plastic D.O.A. , a Z Man or any of your favorite baits rigged weedless or with an 1/8 oz. weighted hook works

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well. This is also the time of year I break out the Gulp shrimp to entice any tailing fish you may see on a low tide. Pin fish with their fins cut off under a cork is a can’t-miss, at times. I like to target flooded shorelines and oyster bars with this approach, as well as cut baits such as lady fish and mullet. A good spread of these baits will put Rodney the rod holder to work if you have the patience. The old never fail this time of year is shrimp which will attract anything that swims... which at times can be a nuisance.

I usually chum an area with shrimp to get them going. I like to use shrimp as an alternative to the white bait that most people are throwing. I believe it's something different on their plate. I bite the tail off of the larger shrimp to put a little more scent in the water. Larger chunks of cut bait will help deter the ever plentiful catfish. I truly believe the closures have increased the redfish numbers, especially the smaller rat-reds that are 1- to 2-years old. These fish will make for some excellent fishing in a few years as they continue to grow. The snook fishing continues to be good in the Harbor and up the rivers. As the water temps drop the bite will get better as the fish move into there winter haunts. It will really get them going if we get a couple of decent cold fronts.

NOVEMBER 2020

The trout bite has been improving with some good gators showing up. Mangrove snapper are just about anywhere you find structure and holes. I believe we will have a good sheepshead season as I’ve had clients catching them in the river. It's a nice surprise to see them come into the boat. The water is still dark so sight fishing them isn't here yet, but as the rains stop and more salt water heads up the Harbor it's only a matter of time. Tarpon are still being caught in the deep holes and along the bars. Look for diving birds to help locate the schools of bait they are focusing on. Get out and enjoy this time of year because the fish are. Stay safe and healthy and see you on the water. Capt. Alan Williams 954 -347-5275 awilli9412@aol.com


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NOVEMBER 2020

FISH PIX! f fr ro om m W Wa at te er r L L II F FE E m ma ag ga az z ii n ne e

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Mike Smith with a great sook with Capt Scotty Roe.

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Keith Thompson with a good snook with Capt Scotty Roe.

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Mary Roe with a solid redfish!

Tight lines Captain Scotty!

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The kingfish are here, Carl Cucco fishing aboard Garyʼs 32 Contender out of Punta Gorda caught this 30+ pound kingfish out of Boca Grande Pass

Snook, Chokoloske, Albert Sklarski,

Cathy Smith with a hog jack with Capt Scotty Roe

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Brittany Cortes with a redfish and a couple of snook and Dalton Rybka with a redfish

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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 6

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Snook caught in the canal at Rotonda West behind my house. idnʼt weigh or measure it. Craig Kantruss

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Nice sheepshead off the dock by John H from PA.

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John Meikle with a 28 inch snook on the Peace River

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David Adams, first drum

Hello Fish Pix! photos attached of my son Noah, caught a 24-pound black drum off El Jobean Pier.

Jeff Culpepper of Dallas Ga. His first trip to Charlotte Harbor and his first Red.

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London Wigington with a bass he caught in his neighborhood in Estero Florida. It was caught and released

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Mandy and Barb with twin reds Charlotte Harbor w Capt. Jamie


Estero Bay is Alive and Thriving PAGE

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By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero Pristine and vibrant blue Gulf salt water competes against dark tannin stained creek water. The quintessential image of water while fishing Southwest Florida in November. As of now the area is on track to provide this experience to all water enthusiasts. Along with this type of water quality comes exceptional fishing, where bait and fish life is plentiful. Unfortunately, recent Lake Okeechobee fresh water releases has put our area at risk of losing what I and others cherish so much: clean water. The Southwest Florida region as a whole has come a long way in terms of ecosystem regeneration and inshore fish population. Due to the closed season restrictions put in place on snook, redfish, and trout, I’ve seen an incredible bounce back specifically in Estero Bay. This estuary is the place where these species go to grow. Not only are they growing, but they’re thriving. It’s a hard

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pill to swallow when you experience what the fish closure has done first hand and suddenly all of the progress that was made may be gone. It’s uncertain what exactly will happen from the fresh water releases this year, but if history repeats

itself, it could be catastrophic. Needless to say the fishing seems to be getting better each and every day. The backwaters are teeming with life from redfish, snook, and crevalle jack while the Gulf is holding tarpon,

NOVEMBER 2020

mackerel, and drum schools. What I’d love to see is an influx of sheepshead and pompano move into the Bay and allow my clients that like to keep fish an option to do so. Even though we’ve been catching some around the passes and mangrove edges, it could definitely be better. I believe changes in the water temperature will help congregate these fish. Fall fishing is here and in full swing. Simply put, with current conditions, it couldn’t get any better. As I move forward fishing this month I’ve learned it’s important to be resilient. Take each charter with a positive attitude, move where the fish are moving, and pay close attention to the politics who have the future of our waterways in their hands. Always remember to stay current on FWC rules and regulations and abide by them for the sake of our fisheries. Come book a fishing adventure to experience what the true SWFlorida has to offer!

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

Municipal Water Chlorination Exposes Us to Many Bad Things By Erin Brockovich Water LIFE Special Since the early 1970s, total organic carbon (TOC) has been an analytic technique used to measure water quality during the drinking water purification process. TOC in source waters comes from decaying natural organic matter (NOM) as well as synthetic sources. Humic acid, fulvic acid, amines, and urea are examples of NOM. Some detergents, pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, industrial

chemicals, and chlorinated organics are examples of synthetic sources. Before source water is treated with disinfection, TOC provides an estimate of the amount of NOM in the water source. When water is chlorinated, active chlorine compounds (Cl2, HOCl, ClO−) react with NOM to produce chlorinated disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Researchers have determined that higher levels of NOM in source water during the disinfection process will increase the amount of carcinogens in the processed drinking water.

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires the removal of TOC and NOM... If you are a Utility using chloramine... (editor notes** Our Local Utilities do this!) you FAIL! You chose to use ammonia as a sequestrating agent to stop the formation of "regulated: disinfection byproducts... rather than remove the TOC = Dirt! Your decision is destroying infrastructure and exposing your consumers to dangerous microbacteria, brain-eating amoeba and toxic chemicals.


NOVEMBER 2020

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Fish Canʼt Resist a Bucktail Jig

By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE 10,000 Islands October fishing in the 10,000 Islands and Everglades National Park has been outstanding to say the least. The past several weeks the lesson has been: moving water produces fish that wanted to feed. Pretty simple method on my old boat, try to target the lower stages of the falling tide using small bucktails that imitate the massive bait pods of glass minnows. Long cast, slow hops back to the boat then repeat. It doesn’t take long in the areas we have been fishing to find a willing dance partner and that’s just the way we like it!! I have been happy to see large numbers of snook of all sizes coming boatside this past month. A few big ladies made appearances, but far more snooklets in the 18- to 24-inch range have been the norm all thru the eastern portion of the 10K islands. I target these fish using the trolling motor to work mangrove shoreline with oyster bottom, good flow, but area of eddies and calm water and depth of 3- to 5feet. Often the wind will bunch these pods of bait in the corners and cuts in the channels that are a hotbed of activity. Keep an eye out for that dimpled water, it might just make your trip. Many of my guests are inexperienced fisherman, some just learning to cast

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the day they come aboard. Fine with me, my job is to be a coach, chief encourager and use my knowledge and experience to help them find success. The simple bucktail is one of my favorite methods to teach with and one I would suggest you always keep extras of. They are cheap to replace, they cast well with light spinning gear and tipped with a small chunk of shrimp, everything will eat them. As I work the trolling motor, I watch their casting and I keep the boat just out of reach of the bank until they get the hang of casting. It doesn’t take long, and they have the hang of it. This new skill sets the stage for the rest of the day, and beyond ... I always hope. So keep some bucktails handy and tie one on yourself next time you get out. If you

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know what the acronym KISS stands for, the bucktail should be the illustration that is beside the definition. Two notes to end on: the first is I would love feedback if any of you are finding small to medium Goliath grouper all over lately. From 5- to 50-pounds, we have found them everywhere while red and snook fishing this past month, let me know. Second: if you have any info on who killed the 6 sawfish on the Chokoloskee Causeway recently, please reach out to NOAA. There is no room for wonton slaughter of this critically endangered

PAGE 15

species. Our area is one of their last home ranges, acts like this hurt us all. Y’all be safe, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I will see you on the water.

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


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FISH PIX!

NOVEMBER 2020

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

John the ( Snook King ) Slattery with three FAT snook on dead mullet. Love your Magazine !

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Stephanie Sumasky, snook caught at Hickory Pass

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Great night catching this red with captain Aj

Katie Goodwin with a 34 inch redfish

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Jeff's son Cason Culpepper with his first red

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

TJ Duffy with a 5 spot redfish

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Red grouper out of Boca Grande by Nauti Knots Charters.


NOVEMBER 2020

IF

YOU CAN ʼ T GET OUT,

Culvert Culprits & BLACK HOLE BASS Report from the Ponds:

By Nicholas J Water LIFE Bass Addict The beginning of October turned out to be a very challenging and frustrating month for me, pond fishing for bass. Like a light switch, the bite went cold and the bait fish and bass virtually disappeared from the banks – even my irresistible frog was getting no attention. Something spooky was going on. Like a fish detective I found myself trying to solve the mystery of Where’s the Fish?Where’s the Strikes?, while working the banks of many ponds struggling to hook a bass. It’s rare I get skunked on my fishing sessions, but this past month was the most in a while I have experienced. Even Ospreys circling the ponds were not spotting the bass. I quickly had to change my strategies, tactics and mind set to get the attention of trophy lunkers because they were staying held up tight. There’s no doubt after months of tropical storms pounding Florida it’s taking its toll on the largemouth activity, making it so unpredictable. I wish we could get a big break from the almost daily super gusty winds. I have a anemometer on me when I am fishing the banks that gives me wind strength and temperature for a little extra info. Now that fall has kicked in we are getting brief touches of coolness here and there, but it didn't affect the bite that significantly as I would of liked. It’s get-

F OLLOW U S

ting dark earlier now with the time change back one hour, which means shorter daylight hours for bass fishing. Also water temps are slightly changing, my latest Deptherm reading was 82-degrees at 15-foot deep. Since the bank action went cold, I figured the bass would be using underwater structures close by. I refer to these type largemouth subsurface dwellers as Culvert Culprits or Black Hole Bass. Now with higher

water level in the ponds this makes fishing culverts, drain pipe openings and connecting pond-to-pond underwater pipes that have subsurface floor drains which I refer to Black Holes. Bass love these spots to chill in, it makes a great ambush spot without still being too far from the bank to go back and forth from, kind’a like snowbirds....lol! Here’s a great tip that will help you

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immensely before the rainy season comes. During our drought season when the ponds are at there lowest, take mental notes of where the culverts, drains, black holes or other type of structures like rocks, tree limbs, sandbars that are still exposed are, before they are all underwater. This info will benefit you later on. The technique and set up I use to get bass in these spots is pretty simple and straight forward. I use my Ringing the Diner bell technique, were I use a open swim jig hook with a soft bait like a Sticko, Crack Craw, Zoom Horny Toad or a Swimbait. I just keep casting out to those Culverts, black holes and other underwater structures until I get their attention for the strike. Then I will switch to a weedless jig-hook set up and dance the soft bait in the mouth of the culvert and provoke the strike. For the Black Hole bass I let the soft bait drop in the hole and

PAGE 17

lightly dance it until they strike, they’re both very simple and very successful techniques for fishing these spots. Now for the action! On September 29 I hooked a real nice solid male trophy lunker largemouth on a Junebug Sticko out of a pond culvert and also on October 10 I hooked another nice young male on a Swimbait from a pond culvert. On October 11, I spotted 2 bank cruisers together, I hooked one on a Sticko dragged it on the bank then grabbed my other pole quickly casted back out and hooked the other one on a Swimbait and dragged it on the bank for a double – that was great fast action! Then on October 12 I hooked another outstanding lunker male out of a black hole pond floor drain, so I couldn't be happier! Despite it being a very frustrating and challenging month pond fishing for trophy bass, by me changing up my strategies and tactics very quickly I was able to salvage the month, get back on track and hook a couple of real nice largemouths and a bunch of small ones too. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Day and also hooking me a trophy size Butterball bass and I hope you get out and hook one too!


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18

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 6

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Michael's first snook and first sheephead. Both on live shrimp, both then released

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from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Here's a Slim Jim sighting in Sept with a slob SW FL red grouper!!!!

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

David Adams,first Snook

Tim aka"Groupa"back at it again with this pair of SW Fl's Red Groupa's in late Sept!!!

Decent 20-inch PB mango for Tim aka "Groupa" SW FL action has been hot

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Joe Sheaffer with a nice October Blind Pass Beach trout

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Shaelynn Denton With a jack she caught for bait to catch a shark.

TJ Duffy with a 34-inch redfish

Joel Wilson of Rotonda with a Lemon Bay red.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Capt. Doug Padgett, Burnt Store Bar, seatrout

31 inch redfish Estero bay Capt Fred Gowdy


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

F I S H P IX !

FISH PIX!

Omar, hunt for red October Red 30-inches, caught out by Boca Grande

FISH PIX!

Night time snook by Robert Henzler

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Ethan Morton, saltwater trout

Englewood Waterfest to Give Back the Money from Water LIFE magazine

On the Line

from Water LIFE magazine

Opinion By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff Last month I gave a brief history of the powerboat races on Englewood Beach and how the organizers received a $45,000 grant from Charlotte County tax payers to help pay for the event. Since the grant was issued the races this year have been cancelled due to the Covid Pandemic and I have been told the grant money will be returned to the County budget. So what is the Englewood Beach Waterfest, where do they get their money, and how do they spend it? The Waterfest is a 501 C-3 non-profit organization founded in 2015, their purpose is to organize and manage a three-day powerboat race event at Englewood Beach each year. When I need basic information about a non-profit I first go to Charity Navigator.com, which rates non-profits on a number of organizational and financial measurements; and I was surprised to see in their last report, done in 2018, Waterfest received a failing grade, mostly for failure to obtain an independent audit of their financial statements. This in itself does not necessarily mean that there is anything shady or inappropriate going on, but it does show that the 11 voting members of the Waterfest Board have to provide more transparency of their financial records; especially if they want to receive taxpayers money. The next place I go to get information is the IRS Form 990 which shows their revenue and expenses. The form shows that in 2018, Waterfest had revenue of $296,131 and expenses of $287,187. They also show $101,086 in net assets; what those assets are, I don’t have a clue. The business address for Waterfest is 601 South Indiana Ave,

from Water LIFE magazine

Englewood which happens to be the same address as the Englewood Chamber of Commerce. There appears to be a very close business relationship between the two. In 2018, Waterfest paid the Chamber to do an economic impact study to determine the economic benefit to Englewood from Waterfest; the Chamber outsourced the work to a small company in Tallahassee. Their report said that there was $5,882,500 in economic benefits to Englewood from the race and they estimated that 30,000 people attended the race. That figure has me puzzled. One of the sources of income for the race is ticket sale at approximately $20 a ticket; if you have 30,000 people attend the race you would generate $600,000 which is more than twice the amount listed on their 2018 Form 990. They also bring in money from sponsorships - which cost anywhere from $300 to $7,500 - and they collect fees paid by vendors. How did they come up with that economic figure? They asked 294 people at the race how much money they spent to see the race.... and based on that, they estimated that race fans spent $969,500 for accommodations and $1,166,600 spent in local restaurants. This economic impact report is available on the Englewood Chamber of Commerce website. As everyone knows, Englewood is a pretty small town, there are no Holiday Inns or Hamilton Hotels here. I suspect that most of that money is going to Venice and North Port in Sarasota County. What bothers me with these type of studies is that they don’t compare their study to the economic impact on a normal three day weekend when there is no Waterfest. It’s not like the people here are waiting for a boat race before they go out to dinner or rent a room. Now for the expenditure side of the balance sheet.

Mote gets paid $5,000 to show up, shown here in 2019

Waterfest's largest expense is the money they pay to the OPA World Champion Race Organization to hold the races in Englewood. That figure is approximately $150,000, that's more than 50-percent of all their expenses. I hope you didn’t think those guys race for free. They also paid $48,000 to outside contractors and $29,000 for advertising and promotion expenses and they spent $6,000 for accounting expenses. Now let’s look at where they wanted to spend the $45,000 in grant money from Charlotte County. They needed $8k to rent a helicopter, $8k to rent a crane to lift the race boats in and out of the water, $5k to rent tents, tables and chairs for the VIP area, $5k to SEA TOW to clear the race course, $5k to Mote Marine to bring their environmental exhibits to the race and $5k to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Dept for on the water enforcement. My suggestions to the people that run Waterfest are : 1 Do what it takes to remove that failed rating from Charity Navigator. It just looks bad. 2 Be more transparent in your financial reporting. Use an outside, independent auditor. 3 Stop using taxpayers money to finance a private boat race. Captronb@juno.com


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SCUTTLEBUTT

Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

PHILS ON 41 Looks like they closed forever. Please return our rack or call 766-8180. thx!

WHO KNEW? The officer conducted surveillance of the area and observed a flock of sandhill cranes arrive together. Shortly afterward, an individual was observed throwing birdseed to the cranes and taking pictures. The officer issued the individual a resource citation for feeding sandhill cranes.

HIGH PRICE OF AMMO More than four years after she was delivered, the futuristic destroyer USS Zumwalt has conducted her first live-fire

SM-2 missile test. But Zumwalt's unique cannons were not part of the test, as the Navy has not yet found a practical and economical means to supply them with ammunition. The Zumwalt class was originally envisioned as a 32-vessel series, and the unique cannon was designed to take a purpose-built ammunition round. However, the class was scaled back to three hulls by the previous administration; the cost per round for a correspondingly smaller quantity of ammunition went up to nearly $1 million per shot. PREVIOUSLY ABANDONED Officers responded to a sailboat beached for over a week. Upon arrival to the location the owner was found living in the sailboat. After an inspection of the sailboat it was determined to already have been classified as a derelict vessel. The owner was cited accordingly. BIG NOTHING Officers were on patrol in the western area of Loxahatchee Federal Pre-

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Evan from Libertyville Illinois caught this shark at the Placida Pier

serve. Near the dirt road called the L-6 levee, they observed an individual running toward them. A man and his young son had been in their disabled boat for approximately four hours. They had no means of communication. Their boat had become disabled in a very remote area of the Federal Preserve. The officers gave the man and his son a ride to their vehicle. End of Report.

TAIL ROPED Last month the Royal Navy crew for Loch Ness received an unusual request for assistance. The lake is known as the home of the fabled Loch Ness Monster. A World War IIera Consolidated PBY Catalina floatplane, decked out in U.S. Army Air Force livery, was adrift on the lake. The crew of the plane ran into engine trouble while attempting to take off. With the plane sitting in the middle of Loch Ness, it was decided the safest way to help

would be to establish a tow. After some troubleshooting a Navy lifeboat hooked up a tow rope and slowly pulled the plane to Urquhart Bay. With a wingspan of more than 100 feet, fixing points are few and far between. The best option turned out to tow, backwards, from underneath the tail, which barely cleared the bow of the lifeboat with the rope. HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE? While on land patrol, FWC Officer Pettifer received a call about a charter captain allegedly landing a lemon shark, removing the head and dumping the carcass at a boat ramp. The officer responded to the boat ramp and recovered a large lemon shark carcass with its head removed. Officer Pettifer identified the charter captain through the vesselʼs registration which was given by the complainant. Officer Pettifer

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Doug Freeman with a 36-inch bonnethead shark, in Charlotte Harbor

met with the charter captain and found him in possession of the lemon shark head.

TERMINALLY STUPID Officer Hudson observed a subject fishing. The subject saw the officer in a marked patrol truck and walked towards his cooler, removed a fish, and placed it at his feet underneath seagrass in shallow water. Officer Hudson observed an undersized mangrove snapper underneath the grass and instructed the subject to pick it up, to which the subject pushed the fish away causing it to swim off. But the subject had an undersized schoolmaster and an undersized mangrove snapper in his bait bucket. End of story! ALMOST ATE IT Turkish rescue divers saved a crewmember of a fishing vessel who was trapped in an air pocket when the boat capsized off Samatya, Istanbul. According to a survivor, the fishing boat flipped while attempting to hoist a fully-laden net and its catch over the side. The vessel's cook was belowdecks at the time and was trapped in an air-filled compartment within the hull. After four hours, divers found him and helped him swim out to safety. MOSAIC ACID FIRE Hillsborough County Fire Rescue put out a MOSAIC acid fire, after a truck wreck. Mosaic trucks hundreds of thousands of gallons of acid through our areaʼs

back roads. They do it at night to avoid causing too much attention. This incident was earlier this year.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Doug Freeman with a nice Lemon Bay tripletail

TASTE OF THE BLUES Although an invasive species, some people up north are happy to see blue catfish. They are fun targets for angling because they grow big and can provide a challenge for recreational fishermen. But blue catfish eat basically everything, including blue

crabs and other fish. Not only do they compete with other larger fish for food … they eat those other larger fish too. As a result, these apex predators are throwing the food web off balance in the Chesapeake Bay. So resource managers are encouraging people to eat them. The blue catfish were introduced to a river boardering the Bay by man. CHICKEN LITTLE “The Nabarima is sinking, the situation on board is critical, the pump room is inoperative, the generators are damaged, the automatic valves do not work, the working conditions are sub-hunan, the physical integrity and the lives of the workers are at

risk. This could be an ecological catastrophe without precedent in our history”. That was the Sept 1 distress call. Now, miraculously, the ship is level. This has something to do with the US oil Embargo not allowing them into port.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Patrick, snook


NOVEMBER 2020

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

IF

YOU CAN ʼ T GET OUT,

Leeland Kimplen bass caught behind his house in a retention pond off Pepper Rd. in Punta Gorda

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Sayje Denis 35-inch snook, Charlotte Harbor

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PAGE 21

KIDS FISHING! ZOOM Classes! for 6-7 graders

This is the 20th year of our Kids Fishing Program. This year itʼs virtual!

Capt. Cayle teaches from our local specific workbook, Students attend class from home, one night a week. Students receive a Bass Pro rod and reel, a tackle box full of local specific tackle and a t-shirt. Costs is $15

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Snook at the PGI Inlet

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from Water LIFE magazine

Toni Conran from Pirate Harbor, permit and trout

Kieth Thompson with Capt Scotty Roe getting a fatty red.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Mike Bowers with nice Black Drum in Charlotte Harbor.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Joe from Michigan with a beautiful barely slot red drum out of Tarpon Bay - safely released

For more information and early sign up

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Jonathan Feng caught his 3 pounds rainbow trout in Dawsonville, Georgia.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Mike Bowers with a limit a red Grouper caught out of Venice Inlet

Scott and Shelly Hill, Charlotte Harbor October reds this morning.


22

the PAGE

SHRIMP RUN

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NOVEMBER 2020

of pounds are caught in a single, one-hour tow. The shrimp are so thick you do not have to cull them, just pick out the trash fish and shovel them into the ice hold. By Jack Rudloe The jumping flipping shrimp immediSpecial to Water LIFE ately turn into dancing dollars bills. The inNo one understands the run or why the shrimp do it. stant boats start catching them, a whole But the shrimpers knew when it was about to start. financial ecosystem churns into motion. Suddenly the hoppers, or pink shrimp change from a Before the first boat hits the dock, the dull brownish red and become clear. The swimmerets that fish houses start calling their brokers in the beat rhythmically beneath their tails rapidly turn a vivid Fulton Fish market. orange red. The first boat that comes Then they swarm over the botin loaded to the gunnels gets tom, like a plague of locusts, with rich, and after that, the fish whiskers touching tails. They get houses cut the price. Fish so thick you can see them swimtrucks still line the docks, ming on top of the water, usually with buyers waving cash, trywith an armada of sea robins. Charlotte Harbor shrimper John Mahaffe emptying a net ing to get their share of the abord his shrimp boat Iron Ox, a decade (or more) ago Their predators go crazy gobcatch. Japanese seafood dealers bling them. Flounders and trout Wives start shopping for new refrigerators and washappear at the docks bidding for the largest come up in the nets stuffed with ing machines, they think about replacing the sofas or getshrimp. shrimp, with whiskers hanging ting face lifts. Car dealerships start polishing up the used The underground economy explodes: out of their mouths. pickup trucks and rolling out new ones as bankers make whores start migrating down to the fishing Penaeid shrimp are generally their way down to the waterfront, collecting debts and docks to ply their trade. Dope dealers start nocturnal, and stay buried during handing out new loans. calling their suppliers and convoys of daylight hours, but not during the Then, just as suddenly as it starts, the run is over. The trucks, cars and motorcycles carrying pot, run. nets come up empty, the shrimp have vanished. Tired, coke, crack and meth come rolling down They keep moving day and happy crews head to the dock with heavily laden vessels the highway. It even ripples overseas, far night, and so do the trawlers to party and spend their riches. away to the Andes, where the peasants above them. By the third day capthe authorʼs book You can tell when the last great run occurred by the yank their kids out of school, and have them tains walk around with glassy eyes. year and models of the pick up trucks; brand new to start pulling coca leaves. Deckhands think their backs are going to break as they with, and then broken down and rusted away as the years Then more boats come and the prices keep dropping. crouch over the piles of shrimp with sore, rostrum-stuck, pass. The runs become legends, remembered for years to It becomes a feeding frenzy until total-market-glut sets in waterlogged fingers. come. and they keep dragging for less and less. Still the shrimp keep coming. Sometimes thousands

FISH PIX!

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

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Laney Padgett, Burnt Store Bar tarpon

Night time snook by Robert Henzler

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur fish pix! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 6

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FISH PIX!

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Rich's bucket list

Scott Lenart with a Rotonda talapia

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

In the Gulf heading to the Middle Ground. Robert Rosa

Capt Scotty Roe with a good one

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

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Team Highlgand/Fickes 32-inch goliath Grouper

Sunset snook, Robert Henzler


NOVEMBER 2020

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The BIG-4

TROUT schooling on the 3to 4-foot deep grass flats

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

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REDFISH roaming from Pine Island to Boca Grande

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November

SNOOK On structure and feeding agressively

MANGROVE SNAPPER still wonʼt go away! Everywhere

November – Predictions and Suggestions Status Report: Frank at Fishin’ Franks “If Biden wins, I’m done.”

Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay, Placida, Gasparilla Sound Capt. Kaelin Olayer Flyin’ Hawaiian Fishing Charters

as our migratory baitfish come through our area. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bonita and sharks are following those bait schools. Fishing with live bait or spoons can be a productive way to target those drag pullers. Quite a bit of gag grouper and some nice red grouper are scattered in close, as well.

PAGE 23

The water is cooling off a little. Nearshore water temps are now low 80 to high 70

95˚

The offshore bite has been great lately as well, when the winds let up! The mangrove snapper bite has been on fire lately with some fish pushing 8pounds coming over the rails! In the Bay, Red grouper there are snook remain consison almost every tent in the 70bit of structure 100 ft depth from Lemon Bay range mixed in to Pine Island. with lane and Lots of hungry yellowtail snook in the 20snapper. Gag to 30- inch range grouper are waiting to be should be good fed just about this month as everywhere as well, as the they are starting water cools to move into their down. Quite a backwater homes. bit of king Balazs Hepp with a 41-inch Our redfish fishmackerel, amFISH PIX! snook caught in Gordon Pass ery has been great berjacks, in Naples using a Gulp shrimp as well. Lots of barracuda and schools roaming Goliath around from Boca Grande to Pine Island, grouper are hanging around the deeper along with a lot of nice scattered fish wrecks. Blackfin tuna and cobia should along the mangrove shorelines in bebe making their appearance anytime now. tween. Trout have been starting to Live baits such as pilchards, pinfish and school up in the 3- to 4-foot grass flats threadfins have been the most productive and we are seeing some over 20-inches baits for a successful day offshore. mixed in those schools. White bait and Capt. Kaelin Olayer pinfish still are the ticket for these hunFlyinʼ Hawaiian Fishing Charters gry inshore species! Captkaefishing.com Cell: 941-716-1425 Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico are slap full of a variety of hungry fish! Inshore fishing remains red hot and the Gulf is just as good when the weather cooperates!

90˚ 85˚ 80˚

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚

from Water LIFE magazine

Nearshore Gulf fishing is in full swing

FH Offshore Charters Fhoffshorecharters.com

Englewood Bait House

Head-Boat Offshore Fishing 941- 475-4511

45˚

FISHING RIGHT NOW:

VERY GOOD!


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Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE November 2020  

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

Water LIFE November 2020  

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

Profile for waterlife