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Water

LI FE

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

Txt Us Ur FishPix!

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The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

April 2021

FISH PIX!

Ron Smits from Bokeelia caught a tarpon on a crab in the Pine Island Sound

FISH PIX!

Abby with a jack from Novak Reef

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

My best friend Andres DiGrigoli caught this monster bass!

FISH PIX! Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Capt Dan Camp with a nice tripletail caught off of Bonita Beach with Capt Fred Gowdy

Daniel Steele, found this redfish out wading grass flats with my wife from Water LIFE magazine

www.waterlifemagazine.com PLEASE DO NOT RETURN THIS MAGAZINE TO THE RACK!

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APRIL 2021


APRIL 2021

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Some Things Happening Here ...

By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor And just like that Fishin’ Frank was back! He’s taken over the old Little Ceasar’s location, at 4200-P Tamiami Trail,

it’s just up 41, on the other side from the old store, in the shopping center where Westchester Gold is – kind of between ABC Liquor and the TruLieve Dispensary! Last week, the facebook page entitled Bring Back Fishin’ Franks changed its name to Fishin’ Frank’s Fishin’ Club and people were posting their catches and wishing Frank luck with the new store, so I posted I would put their wishes and fishes in the magazine this month. WOW! I spent a day doing pictures, but I got them all in! And then all your regular FISH PIX started arriving! This month we have more pictures of anglers with their catch in the mag-

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azine than ever before. Thank you ALL I hope I got all 195 names right! Frank’s coming back is also a great relief for me personally, since our kids $1Bill Challenge - a summer-long kid’s fishing tournament is open for registration (info @ www.waterlifemagazine.com) and I was struggling to decide where our designated tournament pick-up spot would be – we give out numerous prizes every month - I needed a place to leave all that stuff for pick up, but now we will be back at Fishin’ Franks like always. That’s a win-win to me. What is not a win is what washed up at Jaycees Park, along the Caloosahatchee in Cape Coral, last month. A dead 5-foot arapaima is Floridas latest invasive find. Listed as a Conditional Non-Native Species, this fish is also one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. The arapaima grow quickly. Average size is 6-feet and 200 pounds, but some reach 15 feet (!) and weigh up to 450 pounds (!!). They have ta-

clearly

pered, copperish-green heads and upturned bucket-shaped mouths like a tarpon. The arapaima can remain underwater for up to 20 minutes before it must come up to the surface to breathe. They are obligate air breathers - they take in all of their oxygen from the atmosphere. Arapaima eat almost anything. They jump – up to 8 feet in the air, to catch birds and small mammals! Adult males guard the eggs aggressively. Could it get any better? This fish sounds like a whole new level of fishing fun, to me! And it’s a food-fish too. In South America they are known as the Cod of the Amazon because their dried, salted, meat can be kept without refrigeration. If there's one 5-footer swimming around, there are more. The FWC guesses is it came from Lake O. I’m figuring a crimped 8-0 hook, with a live chicken, on the surface, might be a good way to start!

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FISH PIX! f fr ro om m

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

W Wa at te er r

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Krisan. First Jack at Bokeelia

Dave Stewart of Cape Coral caught and released this Goliath Grouper on a squirrel fish west of Boca Grande from Water LIFE magazine


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EMAIL:

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

217 Bangsberg Rd. Port Charlotte, FL 33952

WATERLIFE@COMCAST.NET

SCUTTLEBUTT

Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

COINCIDENCE? Filamentous algae in the Harbor (below left) and a new filamentous plant or fungus which has recently begun appearing in outdoor flowerpots around the area. Similar? Related? phosphorus? Nitrogen? Poop?

Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XX No. 4 © 2021

NO PART of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied, reproduced or reused in any manner without the notarized written and witnessed, permission of the Publisher

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

Harbor

Flower Pot

BIG FINE COMING! The U.S. Coast Guard is overseeing a diesel spill cleanup after a 100-foot yacht caught fire in the Marquesas Keys Wildlife Refuge, about 20 miles west of Key West, Florida. The yacht burned to the waterline and sank in the Refuge.

Office Dog: Augustus

RE: the $1Bill Tournament

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Please:

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Include anglerʼs name and what kind of fish

APRIL 2021

Hi!

My daughter Lacy was in your tournament last year! You guys do an awesome job with this tournament. She is super excited for this yearʼs upcoming $1 Bill Challenge. This will be her second season. It truly was the highlight of her Summer last year and ours just watching her take on the challenge! Lacy became so independent with getting online and taking her quizzes all by herself. We were really impressed by her determination. She has since learned how to rig her own pole and is proud to say she owns two fishing poles now. Her interest has now spread to helping preserve our beautiful waters. She now studies all sorts of fish species and keeps up to date with fishing regulations. She knows what stores carry Water LIFE and keeps a few in her backpack to take with her to school. Fishing to Lacy is serious business! We say THANK YOU!! Such a cool thing youʼre doing for the kids in this community!! Sincerely, The Hamsher Family Crystal, Mark & Lacy

Editor notes* This is great news! Thanks!!

SAY IT ISN’T SO The Florida White butterfly, the one whos’ arrival signifies the start of tarpon season.. .is endangered!

NYET! Russian officials said reports of an explosion during a munitions transfer last month at the port of Fokino, a key base for the Russian Pacific Fleet, “Had nothing to do with reality.” The report, which has since disappeared, said a floating crane was unloading mines and torpedoes from a large anti-submarine ship when the crane’s boom fell while lifting several mines and damaged the vessel's hull, lead to water ingress and capsizing. All pictures of the incident, coincidently, went missing as well.

WORD IS... The owners of Fishermen’s Village have bought the property across from Sunseeker and will build a large restaurant and marina there..... We are not sure if that development is contingent on Sunseeker or not, but a water taxi between the two properties seems like a given.

SAILING

Charlotte Youth Anglers Club has formed on Facebook and is planning more outings. Kids can still join this group and go fishing! Connect on facebook. Next outing April 10. Location to be announced.

CHI-NA! Mainland China is the world’s top consumer of seahorses, buying some 500 tons per year for aphrodisiac potions and other concoctions.

Sunseeker Resort... No-Progress Report

Still nothing of note to mention. Some plumbing drains are going in. I am trying to get information about airline operations at the airport, but so far the airport is not cooperating. They’ll come around.

The Conquistador Cup Regatta

Photos and text for Water LIFE By Fran Burstein

The Conquistador Cup Regatta is a two-day racing event that takes place during the first weekend in March. This year, 39 boats raced, including ten H20s and 29 rated by PHRF. Day two of the race features a reverse start where the slowest boats start first with the hope that most of the boats will meet close to the bridge at Marker 4 creating an exciting view of gathering white sails and boats scrambling for the best position to round the mark. After a total race of 8.5 nautical miles, the first boat over the finish line wins the regatta. The winner this year was Thomas Horner sailing a Tartan 33.3. Details of the scores by class and pictures of the regatta can be found at https://www.pgscweb.com/ConquistadorCupRegatta.html

The winner this year (above) was Thomas Horner

Teasing the wind approaching Marker #4


APRIL 2021

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Now It Begins!

Capt. Alan Williams Water LIFE, Upper Harbor One of my favorite times of year has arrived. Spring brings new life to wherever and whenever it arrives. In Charlotte Harbor, it brings about the shift of fish in wintertime haunts and patterns to fish in the search mode, looking to feed and fatten up for the future spawns. Snook and tarpon come to mind. Different species are making their way into our waters in search of easy and abundant meals - bait has started heading into the Harbor in ever increasing numbers. With these migrations, the influx of Spanish mackerel, cobia, permit and pompano are on the rise, but one species that has been noticeably missing are the schools of black drum. I've heard of some sightings along the East Side bars, but I haven't been seeing them in theirusual haunts like at the bridges or up the rivers. I've heard the reason for this may be cycles. It's just an off year. I've seen the same thing happen with juvenile tarpon and sheepshead, but this year the juvenile tarpon seem to be on an upswing in the canals and rivers. It should be a good spring/summer bite and hopefully it

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will be strong. I certainly hope so, for the sake of every frustrated fly fisherman who has spent countless hours casting and hoping for a decent shot with a well placed fly. Ok, maybe it's mainly me, but I do look forward to those opportunities. Spring is also the best time to catch a trophy 40-plus-inch snook. They are

roaming now and will chase down a bait on the flats, at the points or in the creek mouths. White butterflies are showing up on the Harbor and that is a sure sign tarpon will be in the passes in ever increasing numbers. It's that time... knocking on the door. The sheepshead bite is still happening on a pretty consistent basis, but as the temperatures warm up their spawning ac-

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tivity will come to a slow roll if not a almost complete stop. With the influx of bait has come the up-tick of good size jack crevalle, chasing and crushing baits. These fish would be our Number-1 gamefish if they jumped! Pound for pound they are a good tackle tester. They are like a roving biker gang causing trouble for any wayward bait schools they encounter. Jacks tend to show up on a good incoming tide that brings the bait into the Harbor, canals and rivers. Sometimes they get so focused on there query that they don't want anything else. If you encounter this, downsize your baits and match the hatch for a consistent bite. Enjoy this time of year because it's one of the best times to catch and not just be fishing. Pass it on. Take a kid with you whenever you can and do your part to take care of our Estuary. See you on the water. Capt. Alan Williams 954 -347-5275 awilli9412@aol.com


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

Lisa with some nice peacocks and largemouth bass caught with Capt Fred Gowdy.

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The West Wall of Charlotte Harbor in April 2004 The mangroves used to hang down to the water... then came Hurricane Charley, in August 2004

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Luke Wade. Black Drum

By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring on Charlotte Harbor and I’m having a hard time distinguishing the difference between weekends and weekdays. The plus with the pandemic is, it’s helped people to find love for the outdoors. The negative, is the added boat traffic. I probably shouldn’t consider it a negative, it’s great seeing people out enjoying what this area has to offer and what brought them to this wonderful place, but I must admit, it’s a little frustrating dealing with the added boat traffic. It would also be great to see all these same people try to preserve what we have. I myself am guilty of not being more involved in preserving our estuary. Over the years I have seen the decline in our water quality. There is no quick fix to make it like it was 25 years ago. However, if we all work together and take care of the small things, it will help. What we put into our waterways ef-

APRIL 2021

Spring Has Done Sprung!

fects our fishery, that ultimately effects things for generations. We’re very fortunate to have a Harbor that was not contaminated due to shipping on an industrial level, however, what is happening is, we’re loving what we have to death. Over the past years we have had a major loss of habitat that supports our fishery. We have seen major losses in our local grass flats. These areas are very important to the future of our fishery. Not only do these areas provide a nursery for juvenile fish such as snook, trout, redfish and other game fish to hide, but they also provide areas for food sources for these fish to thrive. Prey such as small crabs, shrimp and baitfish call these grass beds home. Unfortunately these areas of natural sea grass which have been lost due to contamination will not just pop back up. Natural sea grass is slow growing and needs several things to thrive. The most important thing is clean water, the second is sunshine. In order for these areas to receive good sun light, we must have that clean water. I’m sure over the past few years you have noticed the high levels of algae in the water. It’s that nasty green stuff that gets stirred up when the wind blows. This is not normal, nor is it good for our Harbor. It blankets our natural grasses blocking the sunlight and killing large areas of flats. The algae is due to large amounts of nitrogen being introduced into our waterways. Nitrogen is a product of fertilizer and I hope it’s not too much to ask for you to hold back on that extra fertilizer on your yard - especially when we have rain headed our way.

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


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Shark Fishing: Itʼs Getting Serious

By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Sharks April is one of my favorite times of the year to shark fish. The water is warmer and you never know what will end up at the end of your larger rods. Whether it is a big Goliath Grouper, a 150-pound tarpon, a monster cobia, sawfish or even a big tripletail, it is not always what you are targeting that ends up taking the bait. Sometimes it is a gigantic snook as well. All of these fish can and do show up when you are shark fishing. The best times to fish in April is on the full moon and new moon tides, those 2 days are April 12 and April 27. Go out and try a little sharking this month, I bet you will not regret it. Capt John Brossard - 239-777-9279 • www.SharkChaserCharters.com

FISH PIX!

Nick first shark at Marco Island, heʼs from Minneapolis

FISH PIX!

Kelly McLaughlin from NJ with a bull shark caught in Bokeelia

from Water LIFE magazine

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

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

Jennifer Arroyo 55in 65 lb Cobia

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Brittany Cortes and Dalton Rybka

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Brian with a shark just 4 weeks after hip replacement!!!


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Fishingʼs Fun, Catchingʼs Better By Cameron Parson Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Sometimes the bite is not what we expect. Redfish and snook get lock-jaw. Tarpon only slap their tales and swim in the opposite direction. The breeze is not what was predicted, blowing from the wrong direction. It can be frustrating when the plan doesn't come together. But, like a hungry fish, you adapt...you target what WILL take a bait. Having a backup plan can usually save the day on a slow bite. Having multiple rods on the boat or in the truck, mainly a bigger rod, can make or break

your day. Most people tend to scoff at the idea of catching jacks and ladyfish. Truth is, they can save a day of fishing. While they may lack good table fare, they make up for it in the fight. Jacks can give blistering runs hard enough to heat up the drag a bit. Ladyfish can be tough to keep on the hook due to their natural acrobatics. But all in all, they're a decent backup plan, and good bait. Sharks are always willing to put up a fight for any caliber of angler. Sharking doesn't take much ef-

fort. A small strand of wire and a circle hook attached to a fist sized chunk bait (from the fish mentioned above) will get the job done. And sharks are something we have plenty of. They won't be far behind pods of bait or schooling fish such as ladyfish or jacks in the Harbor. It's a way to unwind and relax until Rodney the Rod Holder starts calling your name. Sharks are also great entertainment for new anglers. They're fantastic for getting kids hooked on fishing. They think they've hooked something absolutely huge...long runs and violent headshakes... and add to the excitement it’s a SHARK!. Then that person gets to see their catch, gain the bragging rights to go with it. It doesn't matter if it's the first shark or their 100th. The fun is in the catching.

APRIL 2021

FISH PIX! f fr ro om m

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

W Wa at te er r

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m ma ag ga az zi in ne e

Jen Perkins 32 inch Snook at Iona Shores

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

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Scott and Rachel Lenart with some red grouper

FISH PIX!

Michelle Jaeger from Grimes, IA caught this Cobia in the Gasparilla Sound

FISH PIX!

My cousin on vacation from philly with his first snook

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Kacie Flack. Nice mango

Angler is Jason Thompson Fish is 9-pound hogfish

from Water LIFE magazine


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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

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

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Zach with his first snook trolling

Big Al, sheepshead at the Placida Pier. Zac Russell. My nephew with a snook

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Matt Richards from Iowa fishing with Captain Tom Mettner on the Peace River. Crevalle Jack.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

My name is Mike Leslie I caught this sheepshead on Boca Grande pier. I am from Kalamazoo Michigan / Placida Florida this is the biggest sheepshead I have ever caught!

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Lori Kumpf with Jack

Brian Horecky snook and a 5 lb red on jerkshad Charlotte Harbor

Dave Utley from Bloomington Indiana caught his first snook 23 inches at Iona Shores

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Roger Jaeger from Decorah, IA caught this 50-inch cobia 45miles out from the Boca Pass

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Dan Gillen caught a 35” snook and 28” redfish in Charlotte Harbor with Capt Tom Knapp


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APRIL 2021

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Jaylynn and Tim

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Maren Jaeger caught this cat fish from the dock in the Punta Gorda canals

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Roger Jaeger from Decorah, IA caught this red grouper 45 miles out from Boca Pass

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Jalynn Keen. 10 to 18 lbs. Stump Pass

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Jorge Prieto 35” snook Caught in Matlacha on live shrimp

Peggy DeBari with a couple of the macks she caught out in the Harbor on March 5

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Mrs. Kincade with a nice Hickory Pass sheepshead Capt Fred Gowdy

Kasie Sheaffer with her first sheepshead

Bob Cardarella from Mcfarland Wisconsin. 20-inch sea trout - out of Punta Rassa

Michael Collins from Mcfarland Wisconsin boated this 22 1/2 inch sea trout fishing out of Pineland

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine


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Kidsʼ Summer Fishing Tournament ONLINE

Presented by Water LIFE magazine & Fishinʼ Franks

Sign your kids Up... write their number on a $1Bill and take them fishing!

Sign Up Online NOW!

www.waterlifemagazine.com

Win A BOAT!

Last Yearʼs Winner Christopher Perry in his new boat!

A Summer Long Fishing Tournament for Kids age 5 -15

Lots of great prizes - winners appear in this Magazine, each month! Information - Sign Up - Rules @: www.waterlifemagazine.com produced by The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

A 501 (c) 3 Non Profit Corporation educating young anglers since 1998

Questions?: chra@comcast.net or 941-766-8180

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Johnny Kartheiser

Steve Gilley

Mike Jones

Mark Bowsher

Nancy Golden

APRIL 2021

Everyone Here S Welcome Back Frank

Jasmine Burlew.

Capt-Cody Cristello

David Fiedler

Jacob Metz

Eric Suarez

WATERLIFE@COMCAST.NET

Wende Abernathy

Randy Kelly

Sierra Lamb

Justin Ritchey

Lauren Giunt

Jeff Evans


APRIL 2021

Says: k & Robert!

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Jennifer Statton Carrico

Johnathan Clevinger

Nancy Golden

Amber Unger family fishing

Tracy Blackburn

Christine Scott

Ray Tippins III

Erin McCormack

Beau Taylor

PAGE 13

By Fishin Frank Water LIFE Baitshop Howdy boys and girls, As you may have heard, I am back! Yes Fishin’ Franks should be opening at 4200-P Tamiami Trail in Charlotte Harbor. It’s about two blocks north of the old store location, on the other side of the road.

It has been a long 10 months and while mostly frustrating we have had some fun snook fishing and catching some sharks. But I have been in the same boat as you. Where to find the tackle to make fishin’ more fun and heck, I guess best way to say it is, I used to have perhaps the largest personal fishin tackle collection in the Country - now I have to go to other bait shops and while they are nice, they are not what I was used to, so we are waiting on a lease to get started. The fishing has come back and is getting better by the day, maybe they were waiting for us?! May is when we plan on being open, just as bigfish season is in full swing. Keep in mind, due to Covid we most likely will not have a huge selection as we open, but each week it will get better, with more and more tackle coming in. The new store is 3000 sq feet which will allow for expansion for a few years, as I am the king of 10 pounds of stuff in a 3 pound bag,

Lots of fish, from the mouths of the Rivers both Peace and Myakka to a mile up river, big snook and some tarpon are in both rivers, while in the Harbor Spanish and cero mackerel are in large schools. Pompano and smaller schools of permit are both in, and in front of, Bull and Turtle Bays. DOA Cal shads in brighter colors are working great, and a trolling Xrap 08 lure is a mackerel favorite.

from Christa Staples

Kate KBec

Each month I will be here with tips and tactics to help you with your fishin adventures. Thank you all, for your continuing support. Fishin’ Frank


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APRIL 2021

Everyone Says: Welcome Back Frank & Robert!

Katie Gwinn-Poulin

Scott Davis

Haley Tustin

from Amber Unger

Jayson James

Terence Pavone

Nikki Chadwick

from Adrian Garcia

Donald Cain

Tyler Shaffer

Kim Ventimiglia

from Chad Morrison

Kellee Sturges-Anderson Joe Lorenz,

Caleb Lewis

Cory Bennett

Jeannie Ann

Scott Davis


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PAGE 15

Everyone Says: Welcome Back Frank & Robert!

Rodney Becklund and friends

Richard Davis AnnMarie Favara Whitley

Laura Hearlihy

Jeff Evans

Ray Tippins III

from Genifer Marsden

Alex Corwin

Brooke Piccolo C.j. Lisson

Kate Geist

Dave Gazerr

Jason James

Rob Labbe

Capt-Cody Cristello

from Trina Miller

Austin Taylor


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APRIL 2021

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Audrey. First black drum. caught snake island Venice.

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Mike C. from Rotonda jack caught on Boca Grande beach

FISH PIX! Patti, sheepshead

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Sam Snapper

Big red on Lemon Bay caught by Libby!

FISH PIX!

Larry,LD,Doug and Jim did it again Red grouper

from Water LIFE magazine

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Mike Hodgson with a nice Manasota pompano 3/12/21

FISH PIX! FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Buddy's wife Trish Shaffer with a nice Jack in the Keys.

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Ryan Zahratka with a Mayan Cichlid and a tilapia that he caught!

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Dan Browder from N. Michigan with a 19 inch pompano, Venice Inlet

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

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APRIL 2021

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PAGE 17

Winter is Over

By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero The fishing and water conditions continue to keep getting better. It’s amazing to see the health of our fishery in Southwest Florida flourish. Not only has the inshore gamefish closure made a profound impact, but a more controlled water release from Lake Okeechobee has so far minimized the damaging effects of red tide. Even though our area experienced red tide, it came and went fairly quick. Right now, with steady temperatures, the water is teeming with bait and a variety of fish. Tarpon, snook, redfish, and permit are this months primary targeted species. Bait is loaded up on the grass flats and off of the beach making charter days a lot

easier. Pilchards, threadfin herring, pinfish, and mullet are all proving to be successful baits to use. The other two baits I would recommend having on board are live shrimp and pass crabs. Shrimp and pass crabs is what we’re catching permit and tarpon on. Late last month we began catching larger migratory tarpon off of the beach and at this rate I think we’re going to start seeing the numbers increase exponentially. One of my favorite fish to catch are the juvenile tarpon that litter the backwaters of Estero Bay. As we begin to approach summer, the juvenile tarpon will be scattered throughout the Bay. They range in size from five pounds and upwards to 80pounds. Now remember, these are fish that are sitting in two to four feet of water. Catching them is a lot different than fighting one out in the passes. There’s rock structure they can break off on, mangroves to get

FISH PIX!

tangled in, and mud they kick up. You’re also fishing in a more secluded area where other boats aren’t around. In the more popular tarpon areas you’ll most likely be surrounded by several boats, which some will be inconsiderate when it comes to fishing for the silver king. April is the month where we catch the last week or so of spring breakers and season begins to settle down. What I’ve noticed is that people are making their way to Southwest Florida now because they have received their vaccine. March was a solid month for fishing and it looks like April will be even better. There’s no better time to get out on the

water and fish than right now. Experience what Southwest Florida has to offer through fishing, boating, and supporting local restaurants and businesses.

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

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

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

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Another successful fishing trip with Captain Kaelin out of Stump Pass into the Gulf

FISH PIX!

from Water LIFE magazine

Rob Keating 25" snook and 17" snook Cape Coral Pier

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Mike Perkins Iona Shores 26-inch snook

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Randi Zahratka with a tilapia caught near Port Charlotte


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white shirt - Jonathan Dick

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blue shirt - Mark Jolma

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Grey shirt - Dave Wise

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Maddie and Brian Horecky inside Captiva Pass on a Mack blitz

Jeannie Robinson. Puffer and a redfish. Thanks again, I have loved your publication for many many many (10+) years!

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Andy and Coco caught this Jack at the 41 bridge

Great day on the water out of Venice Inlet. 4 grouper and assorted snappers.

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Brian Morris of Venice with his first snook, a 30-incher, caught near Cape Haze Ferry

Todd & Michelle with her first Jack

Fishing in the wind out of Stump Pass Flying Hawaiian crew. 10 to 18 lbs. Tim & Kacie Flack and Jalynn Keen.

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Jackson Bright/Kerrigan with his first cubera snapper


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READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

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This is Jesse Lant, age 14. Caught on lure in Shell Creek and released

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Johnny V. with his personal best largemouth bass. We love your magazine!

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Dennis with 33-inch fat snook from the Cape Coral Pier

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Charles William Bischoff and Lee Strauss

John Hooper. Blackfin busting baitfish schools

Vance Shea of Englewood

Natalia Shea of Englewood

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Vincent Citta caught this nice Jack off the dock in Charlotte Harbor

Earl Horeckyʼs 29-inch snook on a jerkshad near Pineland

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held!

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Konnor and his first snook that he caught and

Anna Wade, redfish

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Mackenzi Strauss and her first cuda

Levi Hissom huge Tarpon


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Shark from the Pier

By Bobby Vitalis Water LIFE Pier Fishing This blacktip shark was caught at Tom Adam’s Bridge Pier in Englewood. These sharks that I am catching are small, but they are fun to catch. Sharks can get a lot bigger than these. A good spot to fish for shark on this pier is in the middle of the pier. A good time to catch shark on this Pier is later in the afternoon hours; and this shark was caught from low to high tide. At this pier, I have caught blacktip shark, bonnethead shark, and spinner shark. When catching shark on this Pier, the bait I am using is cut ladyfish. I cut the ladyfish in 2-to 3-inch chunks. Not only cut ladyfish are good for shark, but you can also catch snook and redfish on this bait as well.

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If you want to catch ladyfish at this pier to use for bait for shark, try using pompano jigs like the Slly Willy or the Eupro jig. The jig weight size to use is 3/8 ounce to 1/2 ounce. If you cannot get any ladyfish for bait, try using live pinfish. Also, I have seen shark eat live shrimp and snook and redfish do eat shrimp too. When casting for shark at this Pier with cut ladyfish or pinfish, for my main line, I use 50-pound test Sufix 832 Advance super line (braided), color low-vis green, with a 2-ounce egg sinker weight. Between my main line and wire leader

line, I use a barrel swivel. For my leader line, I use 45-pound-test wire leader line. Wire line is good to use because of the shark’s sharp teeth. When attaching your hook to your wire line, I use a barbless non-offset, nonstainless-steel circle hooks, in size 4/0 to

APRIL 2021

5/0 hook, when using cut ladyfish or the pinfish. These circle hooks are good for the shark, snook and redfish because the hook gets caught in the corner of the mouth. When using live shrimp, use hook size 2/0 to 3/0 circle hooks. Note: before I went fishing for shark, I got a shark permit. I had to go online and take the test to get my permit. When catching small shark at this Pier, I use a pier net to land the shark. Then, when releasing, after hook removal, I put the shark back into the net and lower the shark back into the water. Shark fishing is fun. After putting the bait in the water you just wait patiently until you get a bite. Sometimes the shark are there and sometimes they are not. So, before you go fishing for shark, check all the fishing regulations and try using all these baits I have mentioned. So, have a great time catching fish!

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Joe Sheaffer with a nice Englewood Beach Redfish 3/16/21

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Logan Hissom caught 2 goliath grouper and huge tarpon.

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Ella, permit off Novak Reef

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My friend Jill 33-inch snook Cape Coral Pier today


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It Keeps Getting Worse On the Line By Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff For many years people have been asking me about the flats boat sitting in my front yard. It i-s a 1996 ActionCraft 18 foot Coast Line. I bought it at an Englewood CCA chapter annual auction. No one bid on the boat except me so I got it at a really good price. As I switched over from offshore fishing to inshore, I used the boat more and more for back country charters. The motor, a 115 HP Mercury, had a ton of hours on it and I knew it was at the end of its life cycle; so I just parked it and moved on with my life. I always had in the back of my mind that one day I would restore the boat to its former glory and I did just that - I had it professionally done. New 4 stroke motor, Power Pole, GPS/ Fish Finder and a lot of extras. The guy who did the boat detailing did a great job and it looks like a brand new boat. It wasn’t cheap, but I’m glad I did it. Now I can take that off my bucket list. This boat had not been registered for a long time so I went through my records and found and old registration from 2002; back then it cost $33.00 to register the boat; now its up to $48.38 an increase of 47% and it’s only going to get worse. I found out through the MAC that your boat registration will increase between $5.00 and $10.00 per boat to help fund a new Derelict Boat pro-

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gram. While waiting to register my boat I picked up a copy of the Florida Saltwater Recreational Fishing Regulations for January 2021. I read it from cover to cover and was amazed at how much I didn’t

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Big Red on Lemon Bay caught by Libby!

know. Back when I first landed in Florida in the late 70s there were no regulations; no size limits, no bag limits, no slot limits,

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no closed seasons and no saltwater fishing licence required. I remember being at Hart’s Landing on Sarasota Bay and watching a guy clean a bucket full of 10- to 12-inch trout. I went down to talk to him and in my most diplomatic style I told him that fish that small were not worth killing and cleaning. He looked at me and said: “Mister, if they take my bait they cross my plate.” That’s just the way it was back then. We are now bombarded with hundreds of fishing regulations. We have rules for State waters, which are out to 9 miles on the Gulf side and Federal rules past that. We also have different rules on the Gulf side of Florida and the Atlantic side. In 2019 we had a very bad Red Tide in SW Florida, so to protect the species the FWC closed fishing for trout, redfish and snook... but only in SW Florida. In Feb 2020 the FWC extended the closed season another year until May 31, 2021 but only for SW Florida. even though Gil McRae - Director of FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said “There is not a dramatic decline in these stocks when compared to historic levels. “ But it only gets worse; there is talk about extending the closure again; but once again only for SW Florida. The next FWC meeting will be May12 -13. What I didn’t realize was that for each of these fish species there are now differ-

PAGE 21

ent management zones ; for snook we have the Gulf side and the Atlantic side each with different rules. For redfish there are three zones and for seatrout there are five zones each with different rules and regulations. No wonder people have had enough of all this micro-managing our fishing. It's time for the FWC to recognize that fishermen are a threatened species and need protection from over restrictive fishing regulations. I can honestly say that in the 40-odd years I’ve been fishing here it has only gotten worse. Captronb@juno.com

STATE REEF FISH PERMIT

The FWC has had a mandatory Florida Reef Fish Permit for about a year. It requires recreational anglers have the permit with them when they target reef fish in the Gulf. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation. According to the FWC: Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Applicable species include: mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, hogfish, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, almaco jack and gray triggerfish. Everyone needs this permit; Army, over 65, veterans, even the disabled must have this permit. The reef fish permit is available where you obtain your fishing license and online at myFWC.com. The purpose of the permit is to get your address so the FWC can send you surveys about your fishing and your catches. It is not clear if there are penalties for not having this permit.

READERʼS PHOTOS Send us ur FISH PIX! Weʼll use ʻem!! see page 4

Caught these 10 miles off Boca February 15th 2 o'clock in the afternoon

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Marshall and Jodi with a pair of Estero Bay redfish...Capt Fred Gowdy

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Vance Shea Englewood


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John with a nice Estero bay seatrout...Capt Fred Gowdy

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Everglades and 10,000 Islands: By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE 10,000 Islands

March fishing in the Everglades and 10,000 Islands was a grind for us at Hope Fishing Adventures. We had some good days, but we had some days that we had to work for each fish we brought aboard. Patterns have changed, fish that were in one place are gone the next day and even if you find them they might eat and they might not – it was one of those months that made me scratch my head and wonder why in the world I do this stuff. But you have to have some challenges and it’s the puzzles that keep things interesting so you mix it up, see what changed and keep plugging (or in my case shrimp tipped jigging) away. I have fished most all days inshore this past month vs offshore as the wind has been challenging, turning out of the east this past month. Offshore wrecks were producing some fish here and there, but nothing too promising yet, to make me want to make the long runs to see who’s home. That will change though, as we start April, so stay tuned.

Speckled trout fishing has slowed dramatically from where it was in February. Water temps are a bit higher, but nothing crazy...but the water is dirtier. Not from the rain that will soon get started and flow out the western Everglades, but from the wind.

The wind dirties the water and the tide pushes the chocolate milk inside. It’s just life this time of year. You can still pick

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Debbie Czech Johanessen

APRIL 2021

We Have to Have Challenges

up some nice trout, working jigs on the channel edges, but with hard baits and jigs it’s just harder to catch big numbers.

Redfish have been decent, and I have found several oversize ones this past month on cut ladyfish in the backcountry areas around oyster bars. Some slot fish as well in those areas, so play your cards right and you might get to take one home for supper if that’s your fancy. Snook as well on that subject. Season is open down our way and many folks visit our area right now for just that reason.

With that in mind, it has made the slot snook lottery a bit harder to cash in on, but there are still plenty of fish around. One thing I love seeing is all the small snook that have been through the area the past several months. Healthy populations start with lots of young’uns, and on the snooklet side, we sure got em. For both the reds, snook and trout as well - all

species really - if you are not going to eat them soon just let em go. Don’t harvest to let them get freezer burned. It’s a waste, period.

Plenty of inshore snapper around lately if you are needing a meal to try. We have been catching some keeper lanes and mangroves on hard bottom using live shrimp and jigs. Nothing better than fresh snapper fried up with some slaw and cheese grits!! Be 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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TARPON here, early, in the Passes to the south

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens www.backbayxtremes.com

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April

CREVALLE JACK in and out of the canals

MANGROVE SNAPPER most everywhere in the Gulf

April – Predictions and Suggestions

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

April can be a great month for fishing. Warmer water temperatures and hopefully some calm wind should make

pinfish. We have been seeing a great number of redfish as well in the same areas. Trout are still around in the deeper grass flats and potholes. Tarpon should start to show up down in Pine Island and Charlotte Harbor any day now.

When the wind lays down enough to get out in the Gulf, we have been seeing some killer fishing. Kingfish have showed up in good numbers around the bait balls. They have been good on live bait or trolling spoons and lipped lures. Porgies and lane snapper have FISH PIX! Max Riesbeck with a kingfish off the Venice Jetty been consistent out in 65-70ft. for some hot fishing. We have had a The red grouper bite has been on fire good push of king and Spanish mackout in the 100-to 110-foot range, along erel in the Gulf along with some black- with some nice yellowtail snapper and fin tuna and bonita! The bait is vermillion snapper mixed in. There showing back up and the fish are ready are a pile of sharks around right now as to eat. well. Some big amberjacks and cobia are still lingering around the deeper Our backcounty fishing remains wrecks. Shrimp, pinfish and cut sarconsistent with quite a bit of nice fish dines have been the ticket offshore. around. Snook fishing is starting to heat from Water LIFE magazine

up. They have been holding around the mangroves, docks and oyster bars scattered through Charlotte Harbor. They have been willing to bite a pilchard or a

Capt. Kaelin Olayer Flyinʼ Hawaiian Fishing Charters Captkaefishing.com Cell: 941-716-1425 FH Offshore Charters Fhoffshorecharters.com

Englewood Bait House

Head-Boat Offshore Fishing 941- 475-4511

The water is warming everywhere Temps are now high 70s Fish are moving around

95˚ 90˚ 85˚ 80˚

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚ 45˚

FISHING RIGHT NOW:

VERY GOOD!


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Profile for Water LIFE magazine

Water LIFE April 2021  

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

Water LIFE April 2021  

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

Profile for waterlife