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Water LI FE

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

The Don Ball School of Fishing

December 2016

Txt Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4

10,000 Islands page 8

Dylan Leahy, Port Charlotte Middle School

Kids Offshore

page 15,16, 23

BettyĘźs Quest page 15















Now a


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eMail letters and photos to:

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from Water LIFE magazine

A proud grandpa texted us this:

Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XV No 12 © 2016

My grandson Braylen Mcalexander's first fish, an 18-inch snook. That's my boy!

Txt Us Ur Fish Pix We like Fresh Fish so please donʼt send old photos.

We like the First Catch so donʼt send us fish if you are also sending the same fish to another publication, like for instance ... the Charlotte Sun

NO PART of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied, reproduced or reused without specific written permission from the publishers (and thatʼs never happened!).

Contributing Editors:

941 457 1316

We received pictures of several beautiful bass and a big jack crevalle along with this simple message: My name is Josh Ainscoe. Ok that will do!

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Bigger is Better, higher resolution is best. Please donʼt adjust, crop or sharpen your pictures.

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store this number in your phone!

Txt to 941-457-1316 Be sure to include (at least) your name and type of fish (txt only, voice calls cannot be answered) You may also eMail pictures to:

Photography: Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop Commentary: Fishinʼ Frank Peace River: Capt. David Stephens Punta Gorda: Capt. Chuck Eichner Venice: Glen Ballinger Estero: Capt. Joe Angius Everglades City: Capt. Charlie Phillips Diving: Adam Wilson Kayaking: Bob Fraser Sea Grant: Capt. Betty Staugler Beach Fishing: Mallory Herzog Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Delicious Seafood: Nicole Coudal

On the Cover:

Txt Us Ur Fish: Barry Shiflett landed this beautiful sheepshead on Thanksgiving morning ʻbefore the feast,ʼ and then texted us the photo. Thank You Barry!


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The Christmas Gift By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor It was still dark, last month, at 6:45 a.m., when we boarded the Reef Raider and pulled out from the Englewood Bait House dock, at the foot of the Tom Adams bridge. The clocks hadn’t changed yet. We made our way south through the shallows of Stump Pass and out into the Gulf. The weather had been iffy, with 15knots predicted... but it was out of the northeast and the area we planned to fish was somewhat protected. Hooks were baited before the anchor went down. The sun was just coming up

Brent King, Punta Gorda class, didnʼt let a busted arm slow down his fishing.

and all the kids were ready to fish. First line down, and BOOM! They were catching. It was mostly Key West grunts at first, then some snapper and grouper, a few lizard fish, two toad fish... Mine’s bigger. Look a yellowtail! ... a cluster of jellyfish swarmed by, it was fun. For some kids it was their first fish ever. For others it was a first species. I got three, I got five – the accomplishment, the learning, the laughs and excitement... it was contagious and it ran around the boat. I took pictures of as many kids with their fish as I could. They were all so proud. That first trip last month was for students from L A Ainger and Murdock middle schools. The second trip, two weeks later, was for Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. Different spots, same results. Capt. Jack Pierson has been taking our Don Ball School of Fishing students fishing, every fall, for the last seven years. Jack’s help is typical of the support local merchants give our program. They believe, as we do, that kids need to be hands-on-involved in the environment, that kids need to learn Ethical Angling and go on to live ethical lives. It all comes together through fishing. Kids in our classroom program learn tides and weather, to tie a hook on a line, work their reels and do a little indoor casting. On our outdoor trips they learn to handle fish, unhook and then release them. There is always some one-finger touching - getting to know fish - going on



The sun was barely above the horizon when the fish started coming aboard on last monthʼs Don Ball School of Fishing anual offshore trip. Here Azalie OʼBrien, from the Murdock class, reels in her first fish.

too. They get to hone their fishing skills by feeling the line with their thumb so they can tell when a fish is trying to take their bait. They learn that fish can be slippery and still have sharp edges. On the first trip, as we headed back in, a pod of dolphins came up behind the boat. Everyone was on the aft deck watching and clapping, and the more they clapped the more the dolphins seemed to jump! Memories were made that day. We work hard at making this program informative and fun for the students. Last month we graduated 80 kids, gave them all rods and reels, tackle and tackle bags,

t-shirts and pliers and took them out for a seine-net pull and a fishing trip. The whole thing costs the kids $12. This year we had help from Tommy Davis. Tommy was a graduate of our Don Ball School of Fishing 14 years ago. He’s not the first graduate to come back to volunteer with the program, but he’s a good example of what we are trying to instill in our students: Do the right thing, even if no one else is looking. Thank you Tommy. For Christmas this year, please don’t send me any gifts. I got everything I needed last month. Thank you all!

Merry Christmas from Ellen and I!




A Couple of City Slickers



One of the practice casting tanks Fishinʼ Frank had set up at the Fort Myers Boat Show

By Fishin’ Frank Water LIFE Baitshop I hope you made it to the Fort Myers Boat Show. Wow! This was the largest boat show I have ever seen on the west coast of Florida. There was everything from Jon Boats (even a couple of kayaks) to Monster Yachts and bay boats, flats, boats and pontoons... there were boats of every type you could imagine and thousands of people came to look and buy. We set up our Fishing Village at the west end of the boat show. I warned people coming from the east side of the show that if they walked a bit further they could walk off the end of the earth. It was that hard to believe the show had an end. We heard fishing stories from all over the country. I heard about wall-eye, halibut, salmon, trout, bass, every possible fish, and we saw pictures of a lot of fish, but this year I had one very strange experience with a couple of city ladies. I was standing at our casting tank showing a couple guys how life-like the Savage trout looks. I mean it’s a dead ringer for a live trout. Savage makes a few sizes of their trout and I had the 12-inch and the 6inch ones in the tank for demonstrations, which I did a lot of that weekend. I had just showed some guys how realistically the lures swim and they went off to pay for a couple of them, since they were heading out to do some snook fishing that very night. As they were walking off, a couple of women about my age walked up to the tank and stood there looking into it. Now these ladies did not have the look of people wanting to buy a lure to go fishing. I can sense stuff like that, but hey... you never know. So I asked them: May I help you? Can I explain something? The woman closest to me, the one in pressed kaki slacks, had now bent over the tank and was staring at the larger of the two plastic trout. And she says to me: “Do you know that fish has a hook in it?” Whoa now! OK... I’ll bite. Thinking they were giving me a hard time, I said ‘Well, you know, with fishing,

sometimes that happens. A fish can get snagged, especially with all of the hooks we have in that tank.’ Hey, I thought that was a pretty funny answer ... until she says to me “Well are you going to get that hook out of that poor little fish? OK, City Slicker alert!! So I realized this was not an outdoor person, but I am now wondering what to do? What to say? She was just a concerned older lady who REALLY needed better glasses since she is standing right there, less than three feet from a plastic lure, and looking at it. Trying not to hurt her feelings or ruin her day, I said “The fish is a little stressed, right now so I am giving it some quiet time, if I try to get the hook out now it could cause physical or emotional damage to the fish. Once it has had some quiet time, I will remove the hook, as gently as possible.” I can introduce you to women from major cities who would out-fish you or me and out-hunt us as well, but this one... I am not sure if this person had ever left the confines of the concrete canyons before. As a final warning to me, with a look of daggers and disgust, she tells me “You better get that hook out of that fish soon,” and I promised her I would and that it would not harm the fish, which I knew was true, since, after all, it was made of plastic. With a last mean look in my direction, she walked off. So now I can honestly say, with out a doubt, Savage make the most life-like realistic plastic trout I or two middle aged City Woman have ever have seen. In the last 32 years of being in the tackle business that meeting takes the cake for getting chewed out over a lure. Take my advice, try a Savage lure, but do it in secret if you have friends from the big city who don't get out much. And to the two woman I say: I did not hurt the fish when I removed the hook ... I just put the lure back in the box and put it back up on the display for the night. 941- 625-3888 239-634-1043


Bait Harder to Find

By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor It’s that time of year on Charlotte Harbor when the water begins to cool down and the bait gets much harder to find. When the water temperatures stay below 70-degrees, some of our game fish just don’t want to chase down their meal. That does not mean the fishing is going to be bad, it means that you need to adjust your approach. Shrimp will become the go-to bait for the next couple months. The best thing about using these guys is you can always get them. We have several great bait and tackle shops all over Charlotte County so I’m sure you have one nearby. Of all the natural baits, shrimp is the most versatile. It can be fished countless ways, and the best thing about them is everything will eat one. I have two ways that I prefer to fish them, one is on a jig head. The color of jig you choose comes down to personal preference. The second way I fish shrimp is on a



popping cork with a jig head. This technique works better in shallow water. There are several different styles of floats. From the traditional popping cork to the more advanced slide with rattle style. Also the choice of bobber is personal preference, what you feel the most confident using. Confidence is key.

During the winter months our trout fishery can be at its best. At this time of year they will seek out deeper water. The local canals and creeks are great areas to locate these guys. Normally when you find them, you find a large school. You might have to spend a


little time doing your homework, but it will be well worth it. The redfish fishery is still good during the winter months. You may have to look around a little for the bigger fish. Most of the local creeks and rivers will have plenty of rat reds. These guys are under the size limit, but they are willing to bite. A jig head works great for these fish. If you find yourself in a creek with heavy tidal flow you might have to use a heavier jig. Another great fishery that Charlotte Harbor has to offer right now is sheepshead. Not to be confused with the northern freshwater species, these guys are actually in the porgy family, and are amazing fighters, not to mention great table fare. Anything that spends it life feeding on crustaceans has to be good eating. They get their black and white stripes honestly, by being masters at stealing your bait. Docks and structure with barnacles and oysters will be holding these guys. I like to focus on the older crusty ones. Slow things down and your rod will stay bent!

If you would like to experience some of South West Florida’s finest fishing give us a call, or send us an email. All of our charters are private and customized to fit you and your party’s needs. Capt. Dave Stephens 941-916-5769


The Southern Sector PAGE




10,000 Islands / Everglades City

By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE / Everglades City November down in the swamp was a transition month. The hard summer we had has quickly yielded to cooler temps, no humidity, a lack of rain and an over abundance of wind. But such is life, many things we can control, but weather ain’t one of them!! In spite of the wind and changing conditions, fishing has been pretty solid. But as the weather transitions, so do the fish and they have been moving about lately, causing us to have to hunt from day to day, to have success. Offshore, when I have been able to get out, has been pretty good. The sheepshead are starting to be found in better numbers with a few big fish in the mix. It’s not quite prime time, but this winter season is looking to be a good one for herding lambs. I like to use a 1/0 circle hook and just enough weight to hold bottom. Going up current of my structure and using the tide to carry my offering back, it’s simply a matter of maintaining contact with your bait while leaving it sit. When you start feeling the bite, or if you suddenly feel nothing at all, then slowly start taking the bait away, either with a slow motion on the rod or by reeling, when you feel the weight of the fish, then get him to the boat before the Goliaths get him first. We have been producing some pompano and small

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permit as well with this method lately. Along the edges of the piles and wrecks, the sand bottom has schools of permit and pomps patrolling for a bite to eat and often, when they encounter your shrimp offering, the game is afoot. It’s not unusual to catch several at the same time if your anglers are fishing near each other. While you are out there, be on the lookout for cobia cruising thru, big schools of large jacks, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Off Naples and Marco add to that some large red grouper on the bottom, with some smoker Kings higher up. If you’re doing some bottom bumping for reds, always have a blue runner on a flat line for the kings that pass by. The cooling water temps are bringing them to the region in packs right now. There’s a reason why Collier County’s most important commercial fishery is King Mackerel…. we have an abundance of them. Inshore, speckled trout will be on the grass and points of the keys this month. Schools and the fish should be getting a little better and more aggressive. We have been finding schools on the grass areas around Rabbit Key as well as the bars and points of Round and White Horse


Keys. A popping cork and a big live shrimp from the tackle shop are about all you need, but of course Artificals will also do well for trout of all sizes. There are a zillion little jacks and ladyfish running around right now. Expect your baits to get pounded on the retrieve with these aggressive little buggers. But there are some bigger ones in the mix too, so don’t set that pole down to grab something if it’s a family heirloom, you could most certainly hear a splash and find it gone. The snook are moving to the back to get ready for the winter. I have been finding fish thru the entire region lately; from out front on the islands, to in the back, around the little feeder creeks. Don’t be afraid to explore, you know as the water cools where the fish will be, so ‘start there and work your way out,’ would be my suggestion. Still a ton of mullet in the area too, so net a couple dozen finger sized ones and get to work. While you’re on the snook hunt, don’t be surprised by the tarpon that are still around. I have seen some big fish the past few weeks, all through the area, so keep alert. As we close out the year, I want to wish each of you, from my family to yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to writing and trying to help everyone find success on the water as we go into 2017. Y’all take care and I will see you in January. Capt. Charlie Phillips: 863-517-1829 e-mail: Web:

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Fishing with Feathers By Capt. Chuck Eichner Water LIFE Inshore Feathers tied to hooks were some of the earliest fishing lures made by man. Fly fishermen strictly create their “flies” from feathers and other materials. Interestingly for the spin-fisherman, feathers and synthetic materials are still an important part of the fishing landscape for nearly all lure types. Over the years I have learned many lessons when fishing artificial lures. Bass fisherman were some of the first to add feathers and hackle to treble hooks on plugs. Saltwater lure manufacturers have also been adding feathers to spoons since I was a kid and probably long before that. Now that our fish are officially in a winter pattern, lures and shrimp are pretty much our options to catch fish in colder waters. The basic rules for December are to fish once the sun is high and the waters have warmed, never starting out before 10:00 am. The later in the day, the more active the fish. For my fishing, just about every lure I use in the winter has some type of feather, hackle, bucktail hair or a combination of that on their hooks. Some come rigged that way and I also make my own feathered hooks often replacing the bare treble hook on many different lures. You can also buy pre tied treble hooks if you don’t want to go to the trouble of tying

your own. I have learned that using the right combination of colors and materials greatly affects how many fish hit my lure. There is a tricky relationship between how much ma-

terial to use, how long the feathers and what color combinations. The goal is to enhance the action of your lure without altering its basic designed performance. This does take some experimentation and I keep a sharp pair of scissors on board to trim my hand tied lures, trying to achieve the right balance of color, action and flash. My favorite winter lure types are as follows: Walk-the dog type topwater bait such as a Zara

Spook Jr., prop baits and chugger plugs for trout. Replacing the treble hook with an undulating feathered hook normally gets me twice as many hits that often occur when I pause the lure.

Bent metal spoons like Johnson Sprite, Gator and others for trout and redfish. These lures are a cast and wind type of bait and some come with feathers. If not, you can easily add some extra color and action with a feathered hook. Fish seem to prefer different color combinations on different days and in different water colors so experimentation is recommended. Bent fluted spoons like the Drone, Tony Accetta,

King and others are great on kingfish, mackerel and bluefish. Bluefish are around all winter and the others come and go depending on water temperature. These lures definitely work better with a feathered hook! Be sure to replace the feathers because they will get bit off. It’s extra work, but worth it. Jigs such as large bucktails and smaller ones for anything from grouper to pompano depending on jig size. Most jigs come with some form of hook adornment. Once the feathers get bit off it’s time for a new jig! The best place to buy your feathers, hackle and synthetic material is a local fly shop. Take a look at some premade hook patterns and copy that to start with, then branch out with different color combinations. I also like to add flash with tinsel, flashabou and other modern fly- tying materials. You tube videos show you how to do it with ease. With a little glue and thread you are in business. When you are out-fishing your buddies and you are all throwing the same basic lures, they might not notice the difference in your lure. They might just think you have the lucky rod! That will be your call; if you want to share the secret of your hand tied creations! Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Backcountry Charters He can be reached at 941-628-8040


Spoons with feathers attracted these kingfish last month





Bonito Schools on Hard Bottom PAGE

By Mallory Herzog Water LIFE Fishing

Fall in southwest Florida has been cozy. Cool temperatures have every one getting settled in their winter patterns, including the fish.

Inshore, the redfish and trout are just starting to show up. Can’t find white bait? No problem. Large live shrimp are a great bait for this time of year. Use it for trout under a popping cork or fish it suspended under a float to keep it out of the grass. Live shrimp on a jig head is a favorite for redfish. Throw your bait near oyster bars and mangrove shorelines.

Near shore, in the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve had success using live and artificial bait. On a recent trip Nicky hooked into some nice King mackerel while trolling a few miles off the beach. Trolling is a great way to pass time while headed to the wreck you plan on fishing. You can also troll through bait schools and over hard bottom. Remember that king mackerel have teeth and to use a heavy bite leader or light wire so you don’t lose tackle. Favorite live bait this month has been cigar minnows and large threadfins and blue runners. Remember your sabiki rigs! Bonito schools are hanging out around hard bottom and attacking small to

medium weighted jigs, they are an easy and fun catch on light tackle. Snapper have been an easy catch on frozen bait. Squid or cut up sardines have been bringing the BIG snapper to the surface.

While fishing a bonito school, greater amberjack started to chase our hooked fish, trying their hardest to bite at its tail to knock it off the hook and have a quick meal. The season on them opens January 1. This is a strong fighting fish commonly caught on jigs, live bait and lures. Capt

Andrew threw out a top water plug, chugging it along to see if he could catch their

attention. It wasn't long until he had followers. BIG greater amberjack were chasing it in packs of 5- to10, just missing the treble hooks and making a commotion on the surface. Finally he hooks into one on a Penn Battle 6000. This fish was a fun fight, with runs to the bottom, but the treble hooks held up and he was able to get this fish boat side for a quick photo before release.

You can contact Big Bully Outdoors for a charter trip with Mallory’s husband, Capt. Andrew. Call 941-661-9880 or visit





Legislative Two Step On The Line

tive land. Fully 75-percent of the voters approved the amendment. Every one of the 4.2 million people who With Capt. Ron Blago voted for the amendment understood the intention of Water LIFE Senior Staff the amendment was to take the money and buy land, but Remember back in 1987 when when Florida started unfortunately the Florida legislature did not have such a their lottery system? The big selling point to get people clear understanding of the amendment. to approve of State gambling was that all the money The first problem is that from lottery sales was going to the legislature feels it is their be used to improve schools. THE NEVER ENDING PROJECT job to allocate funds, not the Well a funny thing happened to voters or the Florida ConstiEDGEWATER DRIVE that money on the way to the tution. The other problem is school house; the legislature cut the doc stamp funds were althe budget for education and reready allocated to other projplaced the cuts with the money ects. When faced with that from the lottery. So in reality dilemma the legislature imthe schools never got better and mediately began to use the the kids never got smarter. amendment money to pay for That's the old two-step; sell the existing services such as: people one thing and deliver  $174 million for something totally different. salaries and administrative Now it looks like the old cost for DEP, FWC and Detwo-step is back, alive and well partment of Agriculture emin Tallahassee. This time the ployees. scam is being run on the Florida  $124 million for Risk Forever program. Back in 1999 Management expenses for the when things were pretty good in DEP, FWC and Dept of AgriFlorida; the legislature agreed to culture. This includes workset aside $300 million a year to man's comp claims and buy environmentally sensitive insurance against sexual haland in Florida. rassment and minority disThe program worked pretty crimination claims . What a difference one month can make when well until the legislature started  $38.5 million for the they actually do some work. The bridge decking on to cut the funding; so that by the Edgewater Drive Expansion across the Elkcam DEP to build sewer treatment Waterway is complete and the grading and utilities 2010 the program was cut to plants. appear to be moving ahead. The 4-lane project will less than half of what was prom $21.7 million to the add two lanes of traffic to Edgewater Drive and diised in 1999. In 2011 the legisrect them around four new round-abouts between Dept of Agriculture for imHarbor and Midway. lature approved only $2- million plementation of agriculture We are hearing mixed sentiments about the in the budget for land purchases. best management practices. coming round-abouts. Some older drivers fear they Even Governor Scott thought  $623 thousand for might have problems navigating them in traffic, while this was a bad deal and arranged salaries to for FWC execuone younger driver was heard talking about ʻdriftingʼ for enough money to be alloaround them at speed. Tire marks on the pavement tives. and on the new white curbs will be the witness. cated to allow the program to Now a group of environkeep going. mental organizations have The environmental community became very confiled an injunction in State Court for a summary judgcerned about these developments and placed a constitument to order the State to put this money back in the tional amendment on the 2014 ballot called the Water trust fund. As the former president of the Florida and Land Legacy Amendment. The amendment required Audubon Society, Clay Henderson, recentlysaid about the establishment of a Land Acquisition Trust Fund; to the situation “ The legislature greatly exceeded my exbe funded with 33-percent of the money collected from pectations for mischief.” A ruling should come out of doc tax fees (money from taxes on real estate transacLeon County this month. tions) and use that money to buy environmentally sensi-

Pier Fishing


The Tom Adams Bridge Pier

By Bobby Vitalis Water LIFE Pier Fishing This flounder was caught at Tom Adamʼs Bridge Pier from low to high tide. I have caught Flounder there in the morning and in the afterafternoon hours. The flounder weight is from one to two pounds, which is most common, and they are a good eating fish too. In this area, the legal length for the flounder is from 12 inches or over. I have caught flounflounder from the beginning of the Pier, to the end of the Pier. The most productive place to catch these flounder is right next to the Pier. The Flounder do stay close to the bottom. There are two ways to catch flounder. Either go spin casting, or use bait. I like spin casting most of the time. When spin casting, the artifiartificial lure that I am using is the D.O.A C.A.L 3inch shad tail model # 309 color (GLOW/GOLD RUSH BELLY). The jig head I use for the Shad tail is a D.O.A C.A.L short shank 3/8-ounce weight color (WHITE). For the people who use bait, try using live shrimp. If you are not able to get live shrimp, then try using dead frozen shrimp. When putting the shrimp on the hook, the hook size to use is from 2/0 to 3/0 owner or gamagatsu circle hooks. When spin casting with this lure, for my main line, I use 30-pound test SUFIX ADVANCE SUPER line (BRAIDED), color (Green). For my leader line, I use 3 feet of 20-pound test 100 percent SEAQUAR FLUOROFLUOROCARBON leader line. Have a great time fishing!



ReaderĘźs photos



Txt Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4

24 inch snook caught at the Miserable Mile, Jen Perkins 11/6/16 Bruce "tc" Cartagena - Boca Grande area Snook with Chris Slattery, Reel Intense Charters

Rick Hermanns caught this over slot Redfish in Smokehouse Bay using a GrassPig.

3-foot Cobia , 2-feet of water!, East Wall of Charlotte Harbor, 11/08/16, Bruce Saulnier D.J. Hembree, Redfish, 39-inches Kurt Meeks 36-inch Bonnethead shark, Port Charlotte Harbor, Nov 12

Justin Albert, Stuart Florida Snook 31inches

Jane and a 21-inch Redfish from Estero Bay, with Bob Mignogna


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

Granddaughter Ivey Shiflett, from Alabama, with her first inshore slam - trout / snook / redfish / sheepshead

Cassi Moesley with a North Port bass Girls fish too!


Huge large mouth bass caught in Naples by Dale Werner

Kevin, 16-inch black drum







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

ke Malinoski, 32-inch, 10-pound redfish

My name is Dan and this is my personal best largemouth from the St John's!

Nicholas McGraw, night snook I also have this one of my little brother, Nolan McGraw (above)

Steve Knock, redfish, caught over by Marine Dynamics, Englewood. To the awesome people at Water LIFE This is a 29-inch snook caught up river on October 29. He hit an X-rap and got more than he bargained for. Thanks for all you do, Joshua Couts

Mike Rigsby, Lemon Shark, Key West

Chrissy Marie - Cecil Webb Bass ..Theyʼre Bitin! Yee-Haw! Left: More fishin! Happy Saturday yʼall!

Storm with nice trout near Boca Grande

Dave Hersl, Bonnethead, released, Caloosahatchee River, November 3

Mike Rigsby, blacktip and snook



Estero Bay:

By Captain Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero Bay

Winter in southwest Florida is here and in full swing, leaving anglers with calm cool-crisp mornings followed by warmsun filled afternoons. Weather transitions such as this creates some of the best water quality conditions on our local grass flats. These conditions not only bring out a plethora of bait, such as pinfish, pilchards and mullet out toward the flats, but also attract a lot of hungry redfish, snook, and trout. The month of December has proven to give anglers multiple opportunities to cast to shallow-water tailing redfish,

Winter Transitions EMAIL:


lethargic monster backwater snook and gator trout staged up in sand potholes.

As much fun as throwing the cast net is to load up the livewell, a wet net can become a chore when air temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to dress appropriately during the cold winter months so it will it keep you warm and comfortable and wanting to go on while netting bait. Having a variety of baits to use will give you the advantage when fishing for picky, lethargic fish. That being said, I find myself having the most successful days on the water, especially if the water temperature is low, when I pur-


chase and fish with live shrimp.

Shrimp this month will be big and healthy and will be the happiest in cold water temperatures. The shrimp will also become one of the most sought after baits, because they are slow moving and an easy meal for fish. Inshore game fish do not want to waste a lot of energy chasing baitfish and lures when water temperatures are too cold. When they become lethargic the fish want the bait to be presented almost directly in front of their face and definitely don’t want to chase it around the mud or grass flat. Cut pinfish, mullet, and ladyfish on a jig head are also great alternatives if shrimp is scarce at the

tors are “signs of life”, such as bait, sting rays, birds, etc. whereas other indicators can be the fish themselves.

Be mindful of the areas you fish and be confident in the decision of moving from one area to another. In Estero Bay boaters and anglers are allowed to run their vessels outside of the channel, due to the manatee zones ending last month. Always run across our grass flats responsibly

local bait shop.

At this time of the year I focus a lot of my energy and time into locating fish in the backwaters of Estero Bay. Pods of large redfish will, and have already, begun to dominate the backwater mud flats, while a lot of fish are still being caught around oyster bars and mangrove islands.

Our large female snook have already made their way to the backwater rivers, creeks, and mud flats. There is a large portion of mid-ranged snook, 24- to-28inches, along our beaches, passes and docks, all looking for easy meals to stock up on before retreating to the backwaters. Speckled sea trout are getting larger and more abundant on the grass flats and hard sand bar drop offs with the cooler water temperatures. The larger gator trout sized fish can range anywhere from 18- to 28-inches and will happily take an offering from a shrimp under a popping cork. To be a successful angler, always be aware of your surroundings. Each fishing spot an angler fishes has indicators if fish will be there or not. Some of these indica-

without creating any prop scars and be cautious for waders, kayaks or other boats coming around any mangrove bends that might have a blind spot. Enjoy the fishing adventure you embark on and cherish the wildlife and waterways of Southwest Florida. Captain Joe Angius (727)-234-3171

Welcome Back Snowbirds! DECEMBER 2016

By Capt. Betty Staugler Water Life / Sea Grant

What you missed: If you’ve been away for the summer, you probably want to take note that the U.S. Coast Guard moved some buoys on the outside of Boca Grande Pass. The realignment of the pass buoys also resulted in a slight realignment of the tarpon fishing gear restriction boundary by FWC. Also, in March, a massive brown tide bloomed on the east coast in the Indian River Lagoon, resulting in massive fish kills and seagrass die-off. Of note, brown tide is caused by a different organism, with a different bloom mechanism than our Florida red tide. Scientists believe this bloom resulted from the combination of nutrient rich freshwater released from Lake Okeechobee coupled with excess nutrients entering the water from failing septic systems in the lagoon’s watershed. In May, a freshwater cyanobacteria bloom originating from Lake Okeechobee, made its way to the coast via the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. Lake Okeechobee always has an abundant supply of nutrients, but normally the lake is so turbid that it blocks the sunlight needed to drive photosynthesis by the algae. This year however, our calm and dry May, led to still, clear waters that allowed the algae


to bloom like crazy. Then the summer rains hit, and the flood gates were opened allowing the bloom to exit with the lake waters to the east and west. The St. Lucie Estuary was hardest hit, but the Caloosahatchee was also severely impacted. Happening Now: Since September, southwest Florida has been experiencing a red tide bloom. This bloom has resulted in dead fish washing up on our beaches, and when I was out with FWC sampling fish in November we encountered a lot of baitfish, mostly pinfish, that were dead or dying, most likely red tide casualties. Coming Up: If you find yourself not fishing on a Monday, between February and May, you may want to check out my office’s upcoming Water Quality Seminar Series. Each month a different set of expert speakers will discuss different topics, such as: tracing pollutants in the water, both nutrients & petroleum (Feb. 13), reuse water (Mar. 13), harmful algae blooms (Apr. 10), and Florida Friendly Landscaping (May 8). Look for announcement with registration details here in January’s edition. Of interest: So if you can’t find baitfish, what do you do? Well, it may interest you to know that researchers at the University of Florida are hard at work developing a baitfish aquaculture program. To date, researchers have developed culture

The Road to Boston



A parasitic isopod in the mouth of a menhaden

methods for pinfish and pigfish. There’s still much work to do, but baitfish aquaculture could take some pressure off our wildstock populations, and ensure baitfish are readily available and at the sizes desired by anglers. Weird and Creepy: Did you know that parasitic isopods frequently take up shop in the mouths of menhaden? Yes, these creepy little inverts, attach to the base of the tongue and suck blood. Eventually the menhaden’s tongue falls off and it begins using the isopod as its tongue. The isopod will stay attached as long as the fish is alive getting its blood meal

from the fish. Word to the wise, once their host dies, the isopod detaches and looks for a new host…and they bite! I was lucky enough to get a great shot of a parasitic isopod in a freshly dead menhaden’s mouth last month. By the way, isopods are known to parasitize other fish as well, menhaden just seem to be at the top of their favorite list. Capt. Betty Staugler, Florida Sea Grant Agent. UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County (941) 764-4346

Editor Notes ** Charlotte Sea Grant agent Capt. Betty Staugler is a runner, a pretty serious runner. This summer, in Eugene Oregon, Betty quallified as a competitor for the 2017 Boston Marathon. Weʼve asked Betty to share her preparations leading up to the race. Here is the first of her monthly reports.

Our accommodations in Boston for race week have been arranged. At home, on December 12, I begin my 18 week Boston Marathon training plan. My plan starts at 40 miles a week and builds to 60! During December Iʼll be running Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, and Sat – 6 to 7 miles, and Sun – 10 to 11 miles. I run Hills 2 days a week; for us flat landers, thatʼs bridges, overpasses, and parking garages. And, Tuesdays = speed work (run fast). Iʼve been running 40 miles a week since October so December should be a breeze, except all these holidays, with lots of food, and desserts! Thatʼs going to be tough. Being a morning runner, Iʼm out the door by 5:45am so I have enough time to run, shower, eat breakfast and get to work. Except Wednesdays. I sleep in on

Wednesdays! One new addition is that I have to start doing strength (choke, choke) training because Boston has hills, real hills! I really hate that, but a friend of mine made me a training plan so Iʼm trying to suck it up and do it. At the moment my goal is to finish the Marathon in less than 3 hours 50 minutes (roughly 8:45 per mile). Out of 26,171 applicants, 23,214 runners were accepted into the 2017 race. This left 2,957 Boston-qualified runners rejected from the race, due to the large pool of applicants and the limited field size. The Boston Athletic Association caps the field at 30,000 runners— time qualifiers make up nearly 80 percent of the race, while the remaining field is comprised of invitational athletes, many of whom are running for charities.





Don Ball School of Fishing – 2016

Everyone was talking fishing and having fun

Gavin Croke, Punta Gorda



Emilee Burch, Port Charlotte with a triggerfish

Creed Orick, Murdock

Program Director Donna Ball helping the kids

Michelle Rambo, Punta Gorda


Jacob McCarthy, Punta Gorda

to our 2016 Sponsors

Gavin Morgan, Murdock

We couldn’t do this without you!

TO HELP us for next year, please contact us NOW Call Donna at 941- 505-9122 or email:




Lanny Tannin, Punta Gorda




Kollyn Lucy, Port Charlotte


Tanner Martin, L.A. Ainger


Nikko Frattarelli, Murdock


Justin McQueen, Punta Gorda

Deanne OʼDay, L.A. Ainger


Isaiah, Port Charlotte


Cael Newton, Punta Gorda

Grouper coming aboard!

Adriel Heredia, Port Charlotte Ashlyn Stephenson, Punta Gorda

Michael OʼBrien, Murdock



Caelan Crigler, Punta Gorda









Entertained By Dolphins Kayaking:

By Bob Fraser Water LIFE Kayaking One can have a good day kayaking even when the fish aren’t biting. It’s nice to be outdoors paddling around the backwaters of SW Florida enjoying nature, whether it’s watching the dolphins, seeing different kinds of birds and sometimes finding manatees swimming around. We’ve had a lot of rain and windy conditions so I only went kayak fishing a few times during this period.



Many times, while kayak fishing, I see dolphins playing in the water and chasing fish. Two weeks ago I fished Gasparilla Sound, and I only caught a few pinfish. This was only the second time in the last four years that I didn’t catch any trout in Gasparilla Sound. I’m not sure if it was all the rain we had or if the red tide had an effect on the fishing. I was entertained by three dolphins that day, so it made up for the lack of fish. I’m amazed how the dolphins swim around in shallow water. Many times I see them in four feet of water. They go much shallower too. Sometimes they get very close to my kayak. Today the dolphins seemed

to be playing and not feeding. When they are feeding, they can look like a torpedo going through the water. Fishing from a kayak is a lot of fun, but you are limited to how far you can go to find fish. In a boat, you can cover much more ground to try to locate fish. But this doesn’t always mean you can find the fish even in a boat. There are so many variables when fish-


ing saltwater; the tide, the wind, and too much rain affect the fishing. Many times when I kayak fish, I will finish up the day in a spot I tried earlier in the day because of the change in the tide. Just because you don’t catch something in a particular spot doesn’t mean it’s a bad area, the tide just might not be right at the time. If you would like to enjoy looking at wildlife and the scenic surroundings of Charlotte Harbor from a kayak or if you, want to fish, or both, give me a call or visit my website. Bob Fraser 941-916-8303 North Port, Fl, Kayak Fishing Guide www.kayakfis



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

Readerʼs photos Txt Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4


One of those rare days when a charter captain gets to fish, Capt. Bill Lotito caught a nice Charlotte Harbor redfish, fishing with Capt Marc Miller

2016 Hospice Regatta


Sailing photos By Fran Nasher Burstein


Jason Meeks 24-inch snook, PGI canal, Nov 19

Justice Sargood, bass on the fly

By Peter Welch Water LIFE Sailing The second year for this regatta, put on by the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, had 13 entrants in 4 classes, for two days of racing. Four Harbor-20 boats from Isles YC were new to this event and merit mentioning. Bill Hart was very successful in club racing with the club’s Harbor-20 from 2012 up until his recent retirement from racing this year. The attraction to him was the boat’s good performance without having to sit on the edge of the deck. These boats sail well with one or two crew. That was a strong motivator to the Isles YC. Their previous club boat required ‘hiking out’ and would still turn over in a strong gust. There was no wind at the scheduled Saturday start, but strong sun predicted wind from the south west, so the start line was moved that way and racing began in a 2-to 5-knot wind. The ebb tide helped boat speed to southwest, but slowed return to the finish. The big boats with tall masts coped and the Harbor 20s struggled in the first race. Then the wind rotated 90 degrees to northwest and increased to 10 knots. Race management rapidly changed the race

direction to NW and started the last race of the day. This race, in flat water with sufficient wind, was what all sailors live for. Sunday’s wind was 8 to 15-knots all day. The Harbor 20 fleet completed 3 races in flat water in the north Harbor. Christie Van Heek and crew had two firsts and a second to pull ahead of Susan Baumann by 3 points. The other three fleets had a 21-mile race from north of Ponce Inlet (Marker 2) to Marker 6, near Burnt Store. The J boat Still Crazy finished 14 minutes ahead of the S2 Soul Shine, but with their timecorrection-for-boat-speed-potential, Soul Shine became the winner in the spinnaker class. In the end, based on its competitiveness in the racing classes, the Harbor 20 one-design of Christie Van Heek was named the overall regatta winner and Van Heek was chosen to go to Galveston for the finals. Profits from this event and other Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club actions were estimated at $10,000 and went to support Tidewell Hospice, thus benefitting all Charlotte County residents. Full race results at:


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Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME According to a new study, naturally occurring microbes that once thrived around deep-sea shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico have transformed significantly since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Dramatic changes to the microorganisms living on and near historically significant shipwrecked vessels could wreak havoc on the vessels and on ocean life, researchers say. Chemicals used to enhance the performance of naturally occurring microbes after the oil spill came from research by the J. Craig Venter Institute and Synthetic Genomics Inc, both funded directly by BP. Now, it turns out, the microbes, thought to only consume oil, are equally willing to consume other forms of organic life as well.

FIRST LIVEWELL In 1971 Okeechobee Bass Legend Roland Martin rigged a bilge pump in a watertight storage compartment on his boat and created the first aerated live well. Martin said: “In 1971 no boats had live wells! The next year, Forest Wood of Ranger Boats came out with the first bass boat with an aerated live well.” Forest L Wood is the namesake for the Walmart FLW Tournament. In a 1971 tournament photo, below, Roland Martin is at the right. “We practice catch and release now,” Martin said.

companies would receive commercial fishing licenses.

WHAAAAAT? A Charlotte County K-9 tracked a subject back to a residence where a friend of the man lived. After rejecting several requests to search the house, the man consented to a search, but told the police they could not search the attic. An investigation continues into this incident.

SHAKY SHAKEDOWN Last month, the world's most expensive destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, suffered a third propulsion casualty. Water intrusion in driveshaft bearings on both shafts led to a full shutdown North America's first in-stream tidal turbine is now powering homes of her propulsion, USNI News reports. in Nova Scotia, Canada. An in-stream tidal turbine works a lot like an underwater windmill using the flow of the tides to turn an impelThe casualty oclor, like a windmill uses the air to turn its blades. curred during a transit of the Panama Canal, and FWC officers located the subject and arrested Zumwalt also made contact with the lock him on a derelict vessel warrant and on the walls, causing minor cosmetic damage. She new criminal law violation of not changing needed a tug assist to get the rest of the way the address on his registration. through the canal.

NO MON, DONʼT DO THIS MON The Bahamian government recently floated a proposal to give Chinese investors commercial fishing rights. The draft report, prepared by the Bahamian Embassy in China, calls for the creation of up to 100 partnerships with “the government of the Peopleʼs Republic of China or its substantial representatives.” China would also be able to lease up to 20,000 acres of Crown land and all the joint venture

BIG & IMPORTANT CHANGE FWC officers assisted a probation officer trying to locate one of his parolees. The address the suspect had been reporting to probation did not correspond with the address contained on his vessel registration. Due to his evasion, they had not been able to locate him in months. The

TINY ROBOTS inspired by flexible creatures such as octopuses, caterpillars or fish are now being made. These machines can stretch, twist, scrunch and squish in completely new ways. They can transform in shape or size, wrap around objects and touch things more safely than ever before.

DUMBASS During a resource inspection, the officer requested to look at the fish and an individual dumped half of the cooler out attempting to conceal a number of fish. When the officer inquired about the rest of the fish, the individual explained those were fish that he did not want him to see. The individual was subsequently cited for five offenses.

ROUTINE ASSIGNMENT In November, FWC officers participated in a targeted morning enforcement of a Panther Speed Zone. Between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., more than 22 vehicles were stopped, While on one traffic stop the officers witnessed a hit and run where both vehicles fled the scene. The fastest speed they recorded was 85-MPH in a 45-MPH Construction Zone.. while workers were present... within the Panther Zone. Editor asks* How much was THAT ticket!!?

THERE WILL BE LAWYERS Officers responded to a boating accident involving injuries. A local boater was on-plane and did not see a cable slung just three feet off of the water by contractors hired to perform work on a bridge. The boater made contact with the cable and got thrown out of the boat, ripping the pulling platform off of the boat. His vessel continued up the river and crashed into mangroves. Within a few moments of the accident, another boater saw the man in the water and came to his rescue and called for help.

WHAT NO GATORS? FWC officers arrived at the Sunpass Toll Plaza on Alligator Alley and met with the toll takers who had called about a snake. The officers took possession of a live 13.5-foot Burmese python.

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Trout with Lemon, Basil & Almond Crust


By Nicole Coudal Water LIFE Delicious!

My husband and I fish quite often, but every once in a while we enjoy having someone take us fishing, and that’s just what we did recently when a friend, who’s also a fishing guide, offered to take us out and let him do all the work! It’s nice to let a pro show you his best spots so you can catch great fish, and we ended up having an awesome day. We caught redfish, trout, snook, jacks and flounder just to name a few. It was an exhilarating and fun day on the water and I was especially glad to take my trout home! Spotted sea trout (speckled trout) is a very pretty and colorful fish, and its meat is delicate, sweet, light and flaky. You’ve probably had (or at least heard of) the famous dish called "Trout Almondine” -- trout cooked in lots of butter until crispy, then topped with lemon and toasted, slivered almonds. Simply put, it’s awesome. But my version captures the flavors of that classic recipe, along with a little freshness. The crunchy crust over the fish -- breadcrumbs, basil, parsley, lemon, ground almonds and melted butter -- is so yummy that I’m sure it would be great on just about any fresh, delicate fish! Nicole Coudal is an avid fishing gal who hails from New England but has lived in SW Florida for 25 years. Her blog: showcases her "coastal inspired" cuisine using fresh, seasonal ingredients, from sea to land.

1/4 c. whole or slivered almonds, toasted

1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs or Panko bread flakes Zest of 1 lemon

8-10 fresh basil leaves, minced

Small handful fresh parsley, minced

2 Tb. unsalted butter, melted (or 1 Tb. butter + 1 Tb. olive oil) 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper FISH:

2 Trout fillets (or any thin, white, flaky fish) 1 Tb. unsalted butter 1 Tb. olive oil

1) Toast almonds in a non-stick skillet over low heat about 5 mins; turn off heat and allow to cool. Transfer to food processor and pulse several times until finely ground. Add to a mixing bowl, along with remaining Herb Crust ingredients and mix well. 2) Heat oven to 375 degrees.

3) Place a non-stick/oven proof skillet over medium/high heat. Add butter and olive oil. 4) Lightly sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper then place in hot skillet. Cook about 2 minutes on first side, then flip.

5) Immediately top fish with herb mixture (really pack it on there!) then place the skillet in the oven to allow it to finish cooking and the crust to brown (about 2-3 minutes). 6) Remove from oven and serve.








December – Predictions and Suggestions

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens


Fish With A Guide!

Charlotte Harbor

Frank at Fishin’ Franks 941-625-3888

Keep your eyes open anything can happen right now. We have been getting intermittent red tide. Out of 16 samples, half were medium to high concentrations. We will be dealing with it along the ICW and probably on the east side of the Harbor. The concentrations are not very high, so mostly smaller fish, with smaller gills, will be affected. Because the red tide is drifting in patches it creates a weird phenomenon; a spot of it will kill thousands of small baitfish and then huge schools of redfish have been coming in to eat the dead baitfish. This isn’t something we’ve seen before. The little fish die of a lack of oxygen, their gills become paralyzed, but they are not poisoned. The intermittent nature of the red tide is very different. If you

Youʼll catch more fish and youʼll learn something new, every time!

Tiernan, 10 yrs old, caught and released this 18 inch catfish at Sunset Cove Punta Gorda on November 23!


from Water LIFE magazine

Speak Easy Fishing Charters Captain Joe Angius USCG licensed & Insured Phone: (727)


eat clams, oysters or muscles they hold built up high concentrations of red tide because they are filter-feeders, but because there are such tiny bits of red tide, I dont think the redfish can eat enough to poison themselves. I’ve been talking to the guys and this is the best we can come up with. That said, massive schools of reds are idling around from Matlacha to a half mile north of Pirate Harbor. The Indian Fields, Ice House, Two Pine they all have tons of reds. Fourteen pound black drum from PGI canals, At Skating Rink and Meghann and her 18 month old son Augustus Mangrove Point there are Lewis. Caught on the Fin Chaser FISH PIX! more reds, but more large on 11/29/16 in Lemon Bay. fish are to the south than the We are hoping the king macknorth. erel fishing will hold through To find other schools of reds December. You have an excellook at the lower end of the West lent shot at them in Charlotte Side. Bull Bay has been hit on Harbor right now. Without going and off by red tide, maybe the into the Gulf, they are hitting, bedead bait feeding phenomenon lieve it or not, shrimp under a will increase the number of reds in Bull Bay. I had one Captain re- poppin’ cork or moderate sized spoons, 1/2- to 1-ounce spoons, port 30-to 80 reds on a 4 hour silver NOT gold. charter and his number one bait When you are looking for of choice was shrimp. those 15-to 20-pound kings, As you get further south, to know there are Spanish mackMatlacha... half blue-crabs seem erel out there too. to be doing better down there. The tarpon still here have regSnook is out of season this ulated themselves back into the month, but there are a lot of them canals and rivers. Trolling in at Punta Rasa around the mouth Shell Creek, try Bombers and of the Caloosahatchee. In Charsize 10 X-raps in brown and lotte Harbor, the East Side has green colors. In the PGI and the most fish, but most of them other canals switch to a Rattleare under-slot size up here. The trap or a D.O.A. TerrorEyz, in the East side has the numbers the mid sizes. south side has the bigger fish. Tripletail are in the near Gulf. Bigger yet in the passes. Watch the stone crab traps and in Seatrout are coming on in the Harbor around floating debris nice numbers all along the East and stand alone pilings. The averSide and again in Turtle Bay. age size has been 15-inches. Pine Island and the Gasparilla In freshwater the water is Sound have been hit or miss on trout, but I’m hearing big trout up lower, fish are away from the from Water LIFE magazine



The BIG-4 TROUT Lemon Bay seems to be the trout spot.



Fish you can expect in

REDFISH Schools and groups moving around to the south

whole, to better entice a grouper to bite.

WHITE GRUNT Bottom fishing Gulf will produce grunts

TRIPLETAIL Crab traps and stand-alone pilings

Lemon Bay - Placida Jim at the Fishermen’s Edge 941-697-7595

Phil Dodson with a 42-inch redfish, caught with Short Drift Charters!


from Water LIFE magazine

shore, out to the middle, so I’d fish a crank bait maybe orange and darker, or gold and black. In panfish, crappie is picking up, minnows, black and green beetle spins or jigs would be the crappie bait. Offshore, more Kings, and Spanish, we’ve had so many different reports; Grouper were at 22 miles, but they are moving in closer all the time now. There have been keeper grouper in Captiva and other passes. Snapper, grunts, porgys, if you are going out for dinner right now it’s not a big trick. A 2-0 circle hook, 2 ounces of lead and a live shrimp. If you want a bigger bait try a Spanish sardine. If you are going to use squid for grouper, don’t cut them up, use them More

Fishin’s been pretty good. The biggest problem is the wind and the red tide. A lot of guys are using shrimp because the water is cooling off, but dead sardines or ladyfish chunks work too. A lot of good snook has been caught, night time is really snook time, daytime has been good for trout and redfish ever since the water cooled off a couple of degrees. Now there are sheepshead around the trestle at Placida – good size sheeps. Snapper are getting smaller because they’ve been picked over for so many months, but there are small sharks and black drum filling in the void – there have been a lot of drum this year. Flounder fishing has picked up at beach and inside, at Stump and Little Gasparilla Pass. Redfish has been good, I’m seeing all kinds of pictures of them. Fishing top waters in Widden and Turtle Bay we caught some nice reds. Offshore is OK too ... if you can get out when the weather is calm enough. There has been quite a bit of big cobia. Guys fishing at 7 miles had their biggest one at 65 pounds, they said they caught them all day trolling Stretch 30 or CD 30, whatever Bomber calls them. We’ve got amberjack around, a bunch of the guys got into them and said ‘Oh My God!’ Sherman’s Reef, off the bottom side of Boca, going out, was where they said the fight was. Some kings are around too, like 5-miles off-


Nearshore Temps are high 60s they get warmer as you get further from shore

95˚ 90˚ 85˚ 80˚

75˚ Sean Fletcher with a 36-inch snook


shore. Guys telling me the fish are eating whatever falls to the bottom. A lot of guys are going to dead sardines, shrimp or dead bait, on the bottom right now. Been sharks around, a lot of black tips. I had a friend make some fish chowder with black tip and it was really tastey. On freshwater, a lot of guys are getting into talapia. Guys are catching bass in the small ponds around the back side of Rotonda and at the Sports Complex, throwing little spoons, RattleTraps or any kind of buzz bait that wakes from Water LIFE magazine

Don Ball School of Fishing Offshore Catches

Andrew Garbers, in the Don Ball class at Englewood, caught a lizzard fish, a grouper and a toad fish...among others!

Mate Mark helps Clay Hayse with a grouper

72˚ 70˚ 68˚ 50˚ 45˚


Still Good






Water LIFE Dec 2016  
Water LIFE Dec 2016  

Fishing, boating and other water related subjects in the pristine environs of Charlotte Harbor Florida and the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Pres...