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Wa t e r L I F E


Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay Florida

Keeping Boaters and Fishermen Informed

Yakin始 with the P.C. Kayaking Club Page 21


for the $68.50 Parking Ticket!

February 2005

Sinking Stuff Page 16

Page 23

Bait Hoods Page 25

Page 5


Cobia Mixed In Page 7


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Water LIFE






Water LIFE

KIds Cup Coming Back

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE editor I read a column in an industry newsletter written by the chairman of one of the big outboard manufacturers. To paraphrase briefly, he said that for all intents and purposes he wasn’t sure if boating wasn’t dieing a slow death. Excuse me? I beg to disagree. Boating isn’t dieing, it is only the marketing of boating that’s going dead. I used to think it was the environmental do gooders who were screwing things up, but now I know it’s the radical environmentalists, militant lawyers and municipal agents and the liberal local media. They are the groups with their own secret agendas and they are the ones screwing things up. Make no mistake about it it’s a conscious effort, but we’ve got them on the run - with real science and educated legislation. Now we have to see that the next generation is ready to carry the torch. While boat manufacturers are busy catering to women as potential boat buyers and tackle manufacturers are investing in professional tournament anglers as their spokesmen we see little if anything being done to promote and educate kids. So here’s our plan. We’re looking for a few new boating recruits, and who better than our own kids? In spite of the fact that the Oh Boy Oberto Redfish Cup is not coming back to Punta Gorda this year – chalk it up to hurricane damage – we are still going to run the Water LIFE Kids Cup redfish tourna-

ment again this year. It was just too good last year to let it slip away. Of course the Kids Cup will again be a benefit for the Don Ball School of Fishing, helping to educate the 7th graders at Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Murdock and Englewood middle schools about fishing. This year, in addition to having the kids fish for fun, we’re going to try and figure out a way to get the kids some ‘seat time’ behind the wheel of the boats they are on. It will be optional, it will be up to the captain but you have to learn to drive sometime. That’s the way the next generation needs to get into boating - hands on. The date for the Kids Cup looks like it will be Saturday July 16. There’s a lot left to be decided but here’s some of what we have come up with so far: Applications will be available April 1 at the local bait and tackle shops and online. The Palm Auto Mall, also hit hard by the hurricanes, but recovering fast, has stepped back up to the plate and said: ‘Yes, lets’ do it again.” So Palm and Laishley Marine will again be the event's big sponsors for 2005. Thanks guys, and thanks for being advertisers too! We’re all in this together. The Palm dealerships are rebuilding and expanding their showrooms as we speak. Their construction should be completed in a couple of months and by the time the Kids Cup rolls around we may not have



Sixty five young anglers turned out for the Friends of Boca Grande Community Centerʼs Youth Fishing tournament on January 22. Open free to kids ages 17 and under, the event proved you canʼt be too young to start fishing ... and we know youʼre never too old.

the Best Western’s catering facilities for the competitor’s meeting dinner, but we will have Palm Chevrolet’s new showroom and that’s where we’ll be meeting, and eating. We’ll make it a gala event! The Kids Cup fishing and weigh-in will again be based out of Harpoon Harry’s in Fishermen’s Village and since the Oberto Redfish Cup will not be back we are working to align the Kids Cup with the FLW Redfish Tournament coming to Charlotte County on July 23-24. The FLW event will be held out of Sump Pass Marina in Englewood and we’d like to get our Top-6 Junior angler teams to weigh-in


their fish on stage with the FLW pros during their final day. That would be the weekend following the Kids Cup. New this year for the Kids Cup will be two separate age groupings. There will be three finalists from each age group who will make up the top 6 competitors for the shootout. Entries will again be limited to 125. Most other rules will remain the same: artificials or shrimp, one fish per angler, live release etc. Capt. Ralph Allen will again be the weighmaster, and Gene Kingery will again be the moderator. We are looking for more great prizes and trophies again this year. Entry fee will still


Water LIFE


Deadbeat Report: Part II

Water LIFE Commentary By Michael Heller In case you missed the last installment of this sad saga, Capts. Robert Moore & Bob Boudreau, Water LIFE Magazine and the Kids Cup have all been ‘stiffed’ by someone associated with “The Preserve” project in Charlotte Harbor. Stiffed to the tune of over $6,000 and we’re trying to find out by who and why. In our most recent attempt to get to the bottom of the finger pointing (it’s not my debt ... it’s HIS debt) we spent a morning on the internet looking at the Florida Corporation’s Commission website, trying to find out who is the condo project called The Preserve. In the past, someone said they paid someone else who was supposed to pay us, but the bottom line is we never got the money. So who’s to blame? To date we have had people at Forelands, The Preserve, Charlotte Harbor Development LLC, Dream Resorts, and SunCoast Vacations all deny any responsibility. We have seen this attitude in the past; big business reasons they will let the little guys hang. ‘Little guys can’t afford to sue,’ is their thinking. Problem is, they’re right, so unless a lawyer volunteers his time all we can do is complain... but we will do so, loudly and continually until we get paid. On the internet there is no Sun Coast Vacations company, but Dream Resorts revealed Mr Pat Gerrard and Thomas Smith, as officers and the name of Murray Baker is also on the paperwork. I love the internet.


The Plot Thickens

It’s so informative. Interestingly, there are a number of names which kept coming up associated with these companies when we browsed deeper into the state’s Corporation Commission website. We saw that Ms. Carol Dunn (addresses in Arcadia, Lake Suzy and Port Charlotte) filed the first corporate papers for Charlotte Harbor Development Ltd. in February of 2002. All the other corporations came after that. When we called her, a lady with an attitude on the phone told us Ms. Dunn was no longer associated with that company, but her husband Ronald Oskey<?> was now the man in charge. But as luck would have it, Ronald was “in a meeting” right then, and never did call us back. Before the woman on the other end hung up on us she mentioned that it was Charlotte Development Corp. not Charlotte Harbor Development LLC, that was building the multi-million dollar Preserve project. That was another new name to us, so we checked it out immediately. On the internet, the address for Charlotte Development Corp. coincidently coincided with the address that Carol Dunn had used when she filed the corporate papers for Charlotte Harbor Development LLC – 3191 B Harbor Blvd, Port Charlotte – an office building behind a medical complex. Carol Dunn was also the name listed on the corporate filing papers for Charlotte Development Corp. Also of interest was the fact that the com-

Michael and Ellen Heller Publishers

(941) 766-8180

The project apparently has plenty of money for construction and a storefront in Fishermenʼs Village so why donʼt they pay all their bills?

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Water LIFE is not affiliated with any newspaper or other publication © 2005 Vol IV No. 2 Water LIFE

No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without the written permission of the publishers


pany used Jed Pal’s Englewood address as their business location. Jed is also on the board of Charlotte Harbor Development Ltd and he’s the person who contracted with all of us. Other names we came across at Charlotte Harbor Development LTD were, Marc Beshears, of Naples, Gordon “Murray” Baker, of Englewood, Patrick O'Regan, of Greenhills and Thomas Smith of Skelmori Florida. Could that be the same Thomas Smith and Murray Baker from Dream Resorts? Another coincidence! It only stands to reason that there is at least one responsible person involved who doesn’t know anything about this. I hope someone tells him/her what’s going on and he/she gives us a call.


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Contributing Editors:

Fishing / Environment: Capt. Ron Blago Charlotte Harbor: Capt. Robert Moore Gasparilla: Capt. Chuck Eichner Port Charlotte: Fishinʼ Frank Offshore: Capt. Steve Skevington Technical Advisor: Mike Panetti Sailing Advisor: Bill Dixon Lemon Bay: Don Cessna Kayaks: David Allen PGI: Capt. Andrew Medina

on the COVER:

Kayakers enjoy the solitude of the Peace River in January.

on our WEBSITE:

Tide Graphs: For Punta Gorda, Shell Point, El Jobean, Pine Island, Matlacha, Redfish Pass, and Lemon Bay. Weather: Links to all of our favorite weather and radar web-sites. Back editions: Pages of previous editions

Artificial Reefs: Lat. and Long. for 24 local artificial reefs

Manatee Myths: Read the original plan to create sanctuaries and refuges, as spelled out by the United Nations in 1984 Links to Realtors: Connect with our realestate advertisers

Fishing Eye Opener February

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By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Inshore Editor Starting the day off with overcast skies and a strong northeast wind certainly made it feel like late January, even with 75 degree weather. At the dock I loaded 100 regular shrimp and 4 dozen hand picks into the well. Joe Paula looked at me like I had lost my mind. Joe, I explained, we might very well go through all of those shrimp and then again it might be shrimp for dinner- either way it was a win-win situation. This was Joe’s second trip on the harbor after recently moving to the area and I figured this one would be an eye opener. The first eye opener of the day was when Capt. Chuck mis-judged the amount of water on the back of the east-side bar which resulted with me laying on the throttle to narrowly escape running aground on an outgoing tide. Throwing a large rooster-tail as the motor was banging bottom in 10 inches of water was not exactly the start I was looking for. After making it to deeper water, I looked at Joe who seemed unscathed, however I still had a white knuckled death grip on the wheel. Let’s go fish deeper water near some troughs at Hobbs Island for trout. The first spot produced small trout. A fish every cast brought 10-13 inchers aboard. A shrimp tipped jig worked well, but when I switched to a spoon a few legal size fish appeared. We changed spots frequently that morning in search of larger fish and most any spot with 3 feet of water or more had trout. We staked out on one pothole that I knew usually held small

reds and worked Texas rigged hand-pics. Joe was very conservation minded selecting the dead shrimp from the well. I am a strong believer in live shrimp and Joe proved that the trout were happy even with the dead ones. Live shrimp and crabs have distinctive flavor characteristics that are emitted and detected by nature (i.e., hungry fish). On the other hand, dead crustaceans lose that magic once they die which I was once told by a biologist is related to a pheromone that gamefish detect and find irresistible. But no redfish showed up on this spot so with a strong outgoing tide and the top of the east side bar just beginning to show, we opted to drift fish for reds. The technique was to set up a drift in very shallow water and make passes on the outskirts of various mangrove islands. Redfish in the clear shallow water just don’t tolerate any noise. I set the boat up on a course and hoped for the wind to push. Meanwhile, we cast ahead of the boat with Texas rigged hand-pics and drag and drop bait. It is a bit boring dragging the shrimp through knee deep waters where the bottom is visible and relatively featureless but it works. The first pass ended up with one small red however the follow-up passes had the boat dragging bottom- time for a new game plan. Motoring south to Burnt Store marina on a slack low tide, we decided to flip shrimp against pilings looking for sheepshead. As we idled into the channel a very friendly egret landed on the bow of the boat. A beautiful bird with yellow trim which spent 5 minutes with us before realizing he wasn’t going to get fed.



Perhaps the friendliness of this bird was because finding food was difficult for him that day. Afterwards I almost regretted not sharing a few shrimp with him, but I know feeding the birds is bad. Flipping on a number of proven pilings ended up with a blank and it was back into the harbor. The tide was coming back in, so we opted to try drift fishing for redfish again. Our first wind driven pass was fast with the wind at our backs but a fat 5 pound red slammed the shrimp and made for a little photo session. My Power-Pole anchor stopped us to position for the next cast. A few casts later I got snagged on something and a hard jerk freed up the shrimp. Then a red of about 6 pounds nailed the bait and the fight was on! This fish found his way off the hook after a scrappy fight. And so the afternoon went with lazy drift fishing and 6 nice reds. The one thing we learned was that the live hand-picked shrimp were clearly the favorite of the redfish over the dead ones. As our day was nearing an end, we noticed a bottle-nose dolphin heading our way. Perhaps the splashing of the redfish in shallow water or the scent of just released fish attracted the dolphin. The water was so shallow the creature could barely swim springing itself off the bottom as he worked closer. I told Joe that the fishing will be over in a hurry if he gets any closer when the ol’ captain had a take, rearing back on a tail splashing redfish. This fish was a brute and began stripping drag. Unfortunately, he was headed toward the dophin which was making a bee-line towards my fish. Horsing the fish as much as could be done with my medium action 7-foot St Croix rod, I just couldn’t control the fish. With the dophin almost a rod length away I scooped up the red and placed him in the livewell to be

Capt Chuck with a pair of reds.

released in another area. Once again, nature’s call was around us. Hungry fish, hungry birds and a hungry dolphin. This made for an exciting day that we won’t soon forget. When the waters heat up with the sunny weather, migratory baitfish will again invade the flats restoring a kinder balance to nature and attracting even more gamefish into Charlotte Harbor.

Cap t . Chuck Ei chner i s a l o cal chart er cap t ai n. Fo r i nfo rmat i o n o r t o b o o k a g ui ded fi s hi ng t ri p cal l 9 4 1 -5 0 5 -0 0 0 3 o r g o t o :

2005 Manatee Aerial Survey counts over 3100 beasts. Peace River manatee signs may come down

S t aff R eport The first aerial survey of the year for Florida’s manatee population has found over 3100 manatees alive and well statewide. Taking into consideration the ‘20-percent factor’ which concludes that a visual aerial count ‘sees’

no more than 80-percent of the entire population, it is reasonable to assume there are 3,720 manatees swimming around Florida. Now add the manatee populations of the Bahamas and the Caribbean (not to mention the manatees who swim from Florida to Cuba) and it is rea-


sonable to estimate the manatee population at over 4,500 animals. No extinction this year. In a related story, we have learned that the Federal manatee signs in the Peace River will be removed and stored until the county waterway clean up is completed and that could take years!


Water LIFE





Sponsored by Realtor Lori Moore (wife of our senior guide Capt. Robert Moore)

Send or e-mail ( a photo of your recent catch or a newsworthy fish photo. Photos selected for publication will receive a $25 gift certificate to Laishley Marine or Fishinʼ Franks. Photos will not be returned and may not have been previously published elsewhere. Remember to include caption information

A 23 inch sea trout caught by Sandy Guenther of Port Charlotte on January 8, 2005 in Gasparilla Sound using live bait from Fishinʼ Franks.

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SCREAMING REELS with Capt. Andrew Medina

Water LIFE

Kevin Merritt shows off a nice cobia caught and released on a January trip .

By Capt. Andrew Medi na Wat er LIFE Gui de One thing I know is that in late January and early February it’s hard avoiding cold fronts and finding enough water to fish the flats and shorelines of the harbor. It’s a difficult way of life, but if you muscle through the cold mornings and can withstand the beating brought on by extremely gusty winds and rough seas the fishing can be more rewarding than any angler could possibly imagine. It seems fishing all over the Harbor – into Pine Island Sound and along Turtle and Bull Bays – is doing very well. We are catching more than average size snook, trout and redfish, with an occasional cobia or flounder thrown into the mix. Shrimp, white bait and pinfish are all producing very nice catches. Even if you are fishing live bait, always keep one rod rigged with a jerk bait because with all the sting rays on the flats warming themselves in the shallows, you can bet you will see a few cobia swimming with them. If you pitch a jerk bait in front of a cruising cobia there’s a good chance your rod will soon be bent. Artificial jigs, jerk baits, and top water plugs have been producing a lot of trout and ladyfish out of the potholes just off of

Smokehouse Bay. The creeks and cuts just off the Harbor are jammed with a lot of bumper-sticker snook that are still fun to catch. Just remember, fish are really sluggish on the strike with the colder water temperatures, sometimes they are almost laying on the bait, so work your baits slowly and give the fish time to eat. Let the fish tighten the line itself before actually setting the hook or better yet, try a circle hook. Down sizing line and lure size will help considerably. With fish eating smaller shrimp and crabs, you have to match the bait to the diet the’re on, which means smaller jigs and jerk baits. The problem with down sizing lure or bait is casting ability, so that’s when you have to change line weights. For instance, if your fishing 12-pound-mono; down size to 8-pound-mono. Same goes for braids. Set your drag accordingly so you don’t have your drag set for 12-pound while your fishing with 8-pound. Nothing good can come out of an over tight drag. Having the ability to make long casts has definitely been the key to recent success. Be safe on the water and just have fun.

Capt Andrew Medi na can be reached fo r fi s hi ng and charter i nfo at(9 4 1 )4 5 6 -1 5 4 0 o r Emai l at

The Kids Cup Coming July 16




Water LIFE

New at the Henry Show Page


By Capt. Robert Moore Water LIFE Staff I had the privilege of attending the 33rd Annual Henry’s Dealer Show last month in South Carolina with my good friends from Fishin' Franks. The Henry’s Dealer show is one of the largest indoor shows where retailers-only come to see existing and new products for the upcoming year. The show primarily focuses on fishing and outdoor products and has over 600 exhibits from various manufacturers. I spent two days walking through the isles exploring the exhibitions. A lot of new products were introduced and obviously I can’t touch base on all of them, but there were a few that caught my eye and I would like to share them here. First, was a new soft bait being introduced by Carolina Lures. Carolina Lures has developed a soft plastic resembling a sand flea and fiddler crab. I was amazed at the amount of detail these baits had. The sand flea baits even had a two color scheme to resemble a female carrying eggs. While I was inspecting these baits it brought back childhood memories of when I would spend two weeks of summer on the beaches of Boca Grande with my family. My daily routine would be to dig where the waves crashed on the beach collecting sand fleas to use for bait. I would fish with nothing else but sand fleas the entire time catching redfish, snook and pompano along the beach. The folks at Carolina Lures have even developed a jig head designed especially for the sand flea. They also have a variety of color schemes to meet a lot of demands. I am willing to bet the die hard pompano anglers will all have these baits in their tackle boxes when introduced to them. Their fiddler crab baits also look very realistic and come in a variety of colors. I commented to one of the staff members that I would love to see one of the fiddler crab baits in black or dark brown to imitate the mangrove crabs we have in Charlotte Harbor. If you have ever

caught a redfish from underneath a mangrove bush and looked at the contents of his stomach you will see primarily mangrove crabs as their main diet. They advised me they were working on a dark color crab and I promise when they do come out with one I will be pitching them under the bushes myself. For more information you can check out their web site at Next, I ran into Gamma Technologies, known for Frog Hair tippets and leader material for fly fisherman. They were introducing a new fluorocarbon leader material for saltwater called Deep Blue. I am a firm believer in the advantages of using flourocarbon, especially in clear water situations. My main complaint has always been that most fluorocarbon lines are very stiff and have poor knot strength. I was amazed at Deep Blue’s suppleness and its ease in tieing knots, especially to braided line. I personally have yet to see that with any other manufacturer of fluorocarbon lines. Their sales staff let me participate in a line to line test of equal diameter with one of the other leading fluorocarbon manufactures. A small steel rod was tied to each end of a 20 inch piece of line. I would pull on one end and they would pull on the other. You really got the feel for what the breaking strength was for each line. The Deep Blue’s breaking strength was much higher than the other brand. Also, I could feel the Deep Blue line stretching where as the other brand had very little stretch and would break suddenly. I was given a sample spool of 25lb test and fished with it last week, using it as a leader while fishing for reds. Again, I was amazed with its knot strength and suppleness. The web site for Gamma Technologies is very interesting and informative; check it out when you get a chance: For the anglers who love to wade and kayak fish I came across a company called Stream Works. They advertise them-

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With Capt. Robert

selves for the fly fisherman, but some of their products I looked at would also be useful to any avid angler who wades or kayaks. When I wade I am constantly looking for ways to temporarily fasten things to my shirt for easy access and to keep stuff out of the water. Stream Works has several systems that securely attach to your shirt and will allow you to hang anything from a pair of pliers to a small tackle container. The key here is that all the systems I inspected held on very tight and did not come off until I wanted them to. They also have a well designed wading vest that in my opinion was designed by a fisherman. The pocket layout is convenient and the side adjustments allow it to be worn by anyone of any size. You can check out their products at Over all, I really enjoyed attending the show. It was both educational and informative. I would like to thank Frank and Robert down at Fishin’ Franks for taking me along as one of their guests. I’m already looking forward to next year. Tight Lines!

You can reach Capt. Robert Moore for fishing information or to book a charter fishing trip at (941) 637-5710 or (941) 6282650

or contact him v ia e-mail at





Water LIFE

SAILBOAT CANAL POOL HOME off Collingswood 3/2/2, built1990, with 1,792 sq ft. What a lovely land-

scaped home. You'll love everything about this home. New diamondbrite pool, cage to be installed, thanks to Charley. New roof and garage door in place. Newer 3 1/2 ton A/C. Sliders from all rooms on back of home to lanai and pool. Four walk-n closets, living and family/rooms, dining and breakfast nook, breakfast bar and so much more. MLS 450993 $449,900 Call Ellen today.


Home with pool featuring 3 bedrooms and 2 baths 2 car garage, 2012 sq ft under A/C with firmal living and dining room and huge 16x22 family room all open to kitchen with breakfast bar and nook. Home just off Ohara in Collingswood Pointe area of beautiful homes. All neutral colors to add your choice of decor to. Tile, carpet, volume celings thru out, 8ft pantry, inside laundry, storm shutters, garden tub, all Maytag appliances and the list goes on. MLS#448586 $288,000 Call Ellen.

Page 9


AQUA GARDENS TOWNHOUSE. 2/2/1. Better Hurry! This one will not last long! Largest end unit in complex. Lanai has been added to living room with enclosed court yard in back with Florida windows. 1426 sq ft of living space. Inside laundry, breakfast nook with bar. Completely furnished. Solar tinted windows and roll-safe shutters. Lots of room for storage in oversized garage. MLS #451923 $179,900. Call Ellen today!


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Just 3 minutes to Harbor. Home has been demolished. 90x125 Lot ready to build on. Seawall, water and sewer capped off and water meter left in place. Build your dream home! Near Grassy Pointe area. MLS#446024 $399,900, call Ellen.

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Saltwater Canal Lot 80 x125 Just Listed For $150,000. Buy now before the prices go any higher!!! MLS# 450833 Call Ellen Now!

Herritage Oaks 1,450 sq.ft furnished and a carport goes with the sale of this beautiful unit. Shows like a model and only lived in 4 mos.each

North Port Beauty on two Oversized Lots. 3/2/2, 2001 construction, Just off Toledo Blade inside the Sarasota line, but 10min. to Town Center Mall and shopping. Home features Great Room, dining, kitchen with nook and breakfast bar, wooden cabinets, tile in kitchen and bath areas, double entry doors. French doors to lanai area. Oversized Lanai and Patio area at pool with fountain. Pool just finished 2004. Nice country feeling away from noise. No deed restriction, parking for boat, RV, Motorhome. MLS# 451101 Price $310,000 Call Ellen

year since 2000. 3bedrooms 2 full baths, inside laundry, large kitchen with bar and nook at bay window. Lovely view overlooking lake. Master bedroom has french door to 8x29 lanai. High counters in baths, dual sinks in master bath, shower and walk in closet. And the list goes on. This one won't last. MLS# 451019 Price $219,500 Call Ellen

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Page 10

Dine on the dock ~ Million $$ View!

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N 26 38.040 W 082 03.958 Near Marker 55 On the Matlacha Pass Dockage Available

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By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Editor It has now been almost six months since Charley and things are finally starting to move ... a little. Progress is being made on roof repairs and remodeling around town, but new construction still lags behind. Along the ‘Edgewater Corridor’ in Port Charlotte, trucks continue to carry away houseloads of concrete rubble – headed to the dump, but by late January only one new home had begun to come out of the ground. The process is slow and the hurricane induced consequences and revelations which have surfaced since the storms are numerous. For me, the big thing is the way my life has changed. Before the storm I’d empty my pockets at night and have, maybe, a split shot or two, a swivel or some other fishy accoutriments mixed in with my pocket change. Now I find wire nuts, screw driver bits and nails when I dump my pockets. Used to be, I’d wear boat shoes or be barefoot most of the time when I was on the boat. Now I’m in sneakers every day, wearing socks, on land, in my truck. My truck, a new in 2002 Toyota Tundra was always clean and waxed. It didn’t have a scratch before the storms. Now it’s a work truck and I’m lucky if I have time to whisk out the sand from the carpet once a month. The pick-up bed isn’t only scratched it’s dented with several new post Charley ‘impressions.’ The time dropping off and picking up my pictures is worth saving when every day seems to be backed to the max with things to do. So I bought a digital camera. Time is important since there is still so much paperwork to deal with. First it was just the insurance forms but now insurance is pretty much settled. Today, our time is spent chasing checks and permits. Insurance checks don’t just get made out to the insured, they have to be made payable to our private adjuster, the mortgage company, and since we are borrowing more money, to the Small Business Administration. I have one



check we are still waiting on that has been ‘in the process’ since Nov 11; and when I finally get that check back, since it’s over $5,000, my own bank will put a hold on it for another week. This takes tracking and vigilance, not to mention Fed-X charges, phone calls and still more time ... often spent on hold. On my ping pong table, files from FEMA, the SBA, the Insurance company, demolition contractor, a title policy, new surveys and proposals are all keeping company with the in-progress drawings for our new house. The ping pong paddles haven’t surfaced in two months. We are currently waiting for a soil sampling and have engineering plans, and truss drawings in the works. The survey has been shot, but I have to go to Arcadia to pick it up. If everything goes in the right cubbyhole by the end of this month we’ll almost be on schedule. Then there will be another month of waiting until the county building department checks everything over and gives us our permit. To keep the money flowing there are progress reports for the financial institutions and draws on the loans which have to be completed. Over at the old house, we have ‘cut away’ our old garage and will be incorporating what’s left of that structure into our new plan. There is minor cement work and some carpentry waiting to be done on the garage and one side still has some broken glass to be replaced. Little projects for my ‘spare’ time. I’ve got a gearbox on one of my davits that is going bad but I was lucky enough to find a used replacement. Now, the drive gear has to be cut off the old box and welded onto the new one. I hope to have that done by the time you read this, otherwise my boat may not get back into the water. In the rental house we are living in, my wife refuses to hang any of our artwork on the walls (“it’s only temporary”) so where ever you look the walls are stark white. We call it the asylum. The lush green shrubbery that once was the tropical alure of our old yard has been shredded, so we’re going shopping for trees when we get an afternoon off. It’s not the same as it was, living in our shady little house on Bangsberg Rd in Port Charlotte, but in time things will get back to normal. I’ll know when that time comes because I’ll have split shots and swivels mixed in with my pocket change once again.



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P a g e 11

Water LIFE

Novak Scholarship Announced Page 12

S taff R eport The objective of the Tag-A-Giant (TAG) program is to gain new knowledge on the biology of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. TAG uses a range of electronic tagging technologies to study the movements and behaviors of Atlantic bluefin tuna. This research is establishing where and when bluefin tuna are spawning, and if they show site fidelity to the west or eastern breeding areas. Scientists are also beginning to understand how the bluefin tuna movements change as the fish grow in 2000, Rich Novak, at the transom, helps bring a bluefin aboard and how environmental variations affect their movements. the following message on the web: The tag team is made up of scientists from January 21 Stanford University, Duke University, and the “We began the day today by having a brief memoriMonterey Bay Aquarium. Fishermen play a key role in al for our colleague, Mr. Richard Novak, who passed our team deploying and retrieving tags. To date, over away one year ago today during TAG Carolina 2004. 90% of the 820 electronic tags that have been placed We announced our TAG effort to establish the Richard on fish off the coast occurred off the coast of North Novak Scholarship Fund for Bluefin Tuna Research at Carolina in winter months, often when weather and the Duke Marine Lab. For more information, or if you conditions were the worst along the eastern seaboard. would like to make a donation in memory of Rich It was on just such a trip in January of 2004 that send a check directly to the Richard Novak Scholarship Rich Novak, the Charlotte County Sea Grant agent Fund, Duke University Marine Laboratory, 135 Duke and an important part of the TAG program died while Marine Lab Rd., Beaufort, NC 28516. For any quesfishing with the team. tions, please contact Barbara Block: Followers of the TAG program monitor the . net in January to track the team’s progress. This year, A research scholarship for the study of bluefin tuna on Jan 21, one year after Novak’s death, Barbara Block in North Carolina waters will be given out every year the program director from Stanford University posted from this fund beginning in 2006.”


Man Against the Sea


S t aff R eport In 1953 a disastrous flood occurred along the Thames Estuary, caused by a surge tide off the North Sea, resulting in the drowning of some 300 people, and approximately 160,000 acres of farmland being swamped in seawater. An unpredictable phenomenon originating in the North Atlantic when areas of low pressure cause a sea mass beneath the surface to rise slightly, these 'raised humps' of water normally travel north of Scotland. Occasionally, however, the northerly winds can force them into the North Sea and, ultimately, to the Thames Estuary in England. Further complications are experienced by the natural rise of sea levels, caused by the melting of the polar ice cap. As it was becoming abundantly clear that the population of London was facing a serious threat of regular, and unpredictable, flooding, work began on the flood barrier in 1974. It took eight years to construct, and was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1982. The barrier itself is comprised of nine, huge piers set at intervals across the river mouth, which form


The Thames barrier in UP position

six main shipping lanes and four smaller channels. Between these piers are steel gates, up to 200ft wide, that lay in a concrete cradle on the sea bed 50ft below the surface. When the barrier needs to be raised, these gates are swung through 90 degrees by hydraulic arms to form the required barrier between the piers. It is an impressive piece of engineering similar to a large valve that is designed on the same principle as the everyday domestic gas tap. To ensure that in times of emergency the barrier will, in fact, perform its required function, it is tested on a monthly basis at low tide for several hours, and for a full day at high tide once every year. The testing dates are published well in advance to allow visitors to see the barrier in operation.


Water LIFE


Page 13

Capt. Steveʼs Offshore Report

Wi th Capt. Stev e & Capt Ji m. o f the Ki ng fi s her Fl eet Water LIFE Offshore Contributors Come across the US 41 bridge at 4:55 p. m. and look west into the sunset. Chances are good you’ll see one of the Kingfisher Fleet boats steaming back to the marina at Fishermen’s Village, returning from an offshore trip. “Lately we’ve been getting a lot of construction guys taking a day off to fish,” Kingfisher Capt. Jim said as a crowd gathered around the cleaning table to look at a hogfish. “Hogfish are a tropical fish so normally they are not that plentiful,” Jim said .“But they are getting more scarce. We’ve been getting one or two a week this season. Two years ago we were getting four or five every day.” Jim said. Working at a cleaning table near by Capt. Steve summed up his trip: “Offshore fishing has been good ... really really good. We’ve been going out three to six miles and the bottom fishing has “A hogfish like this one might be a $50 entree been crazy. Grouper, snapper, grunts and at a restaurant in Key West,” Capt Jim said. sheepshead are just everywhere and if you go a little further the AJ’s are really hitonce you get out there. It just depends how ting good too. We had seven in the 50-to far you want to drive.” 60-pound range yesterday, but you have to So far this winter there have been go 30 miles out to get into the big AJ’s scamps and gags and a ton of keeper right now. The nice part is it really doesn’t grunts. The best part is February will be matter where you go, fish are everywhere more of the same. January and February are

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Thanks to our friends, neighbors and customers for all your help.

Page 14

Water LIFE




1614 ALBATROSS DR - Vacant lot ready for first time building. Breathtaking long canal views both front and rear. Deep water canal in in Punta Gorda Isleswith harbor access and a view of the Albatross canal. Lovely built up neighborhood close to everything. $290,000 Too soon for MLS# Sorry, No Co Brokers

4282 LIBRARY ST. - Beautiful Saltwaterfront pool home. This home offers cathedral ceilings, a gorgeous open floor plan and barrel tile roof.Tastefully decorated . Seawall, Dock, 6,000 lb. boat lift. New pool cage scheduled for 3/15 New Central heat and air. Spectacular view down the canal overlooking wooded area. $449,000 MLS#445100

4261 GARDNER DR - Best buy on excellent saltwater front lot , oversized with Scenic waterview, very close access to charlotte harbor, only one bridge out. Has seawall, completely cleared. City water & sewer and side walks. $260,000 mls # 452883

Whether by Land or By Sea, you need a real estate expert in your area. CALL THE CAPTAIN! For information on current real estate trends and property values.


Approximately 333 feet of sailboat waterfront overlooking large basin and Charlotte Harbor. Modern Key West style home in Pirate Harbor with 3557sf of living space and panoramic views of the waterfront from all sides. Boat house with lift and dock, ramp area & swimming pool. Great Room floorplan with 18-foot ceiling, huge master bedroom, oversized 2 car garage and 3rd story widow始s watch. Only minutes to Gulf waters from this incredible location! 24201 Captain Kidd Blvd, Pirate Harbor. Priced at $1,689,000


Water LIFE


On the Line

Fishing with Capt. Ron Blago

Weather has Been Calling the Shots Lately

By Capt Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Executive Staff Weather has been calling the shots lately. When the air temperature is in the high 60's or 70's the fish are more than willing to cooperate. I fished every free day I had last month with the members of the Fishing College and for beginners they did pretty well. When the weather was good we caught a little bit of everything; trout, snook , redfish, sheepshead, flounder, black drum, grouper, snapper, bluefish and of course ladyfish. When the weather’s cold - forget about it. Here is a classic case: I'm teaching a class on jig fishing so I have three guys fishing a grass flat in Lemon Bay with Cotee jigs and they catch about 20 trout, 3 keepers and one 21 inch gator. The next day, 3 different guys – same flat, same jigs – after two hours of fishing, a total of one 9 inch trout was caught. Now my area of expertise is teaching the fishing challenged how to catch fish and if I do say so myself, I'm very good at it. In the four years of teaching the Fishing College there has been only one person I can remember who didn't catch at least one fish. On this day, of the three

guys, two came up fishless. The big difference was that the temperature had dropped 25 degrees in 24 hours and fish and fishermen did not adjust very quickly to the new environment. The funny thing is, that the other guy caught four fish, one of which was a 5 pound bluefish caught in 18 inches of water. Probably the biggest bluefish I have seen come out of Lemon Bay. If there is a lesson to be learned it's probably better to wait until the water warms up for a day or two before going fishing, and If you just got to go fishing in miserable weather, I guarantee you that at least one guy out there will catch a great fish. Fishing has been hot around the docks in Lemon Bay. Redfish, sheepshead and black drum have been caught using live shrimp. So far, offshore fishing has really been great this year. Even the headboats are bring back legal size grouper along with good numbers of snapper and grunts. The charter boats, in addition to big grouper, are catching amberjack and cobia. Capt. Ron Blago can be reached for fishing information or to book a charter fishing trip at (941) 474-3474

Whatʼs Selling NOW MAGAZINE

Area Real Estate

Page 15

This is NOT an Ad

Factual Information compiled by Water LIFE from the Charlotte County Association of Realtors database. Homes in the well established area known as Punta Gorda Isles continue to sell quickly and very close to or above asking price. Most houses in PGI are on canals with varying amounts of time to the Harbor. Canals and sea walls are maintained through municipal fees.

Bob O Li nk – Built in 2000 this 5 year old home is on a sailboat canal with Harbor access. It has 3bd/2ba, 2559 sq ft, swimming pool and lanai. It sold in November of 2004 for its full asking price of $699,000. It sold new in 2000 for $340,000.

Ci marron - A comparatively newer home built in 1985 on a canal 15 minutes to the Harbor. With no pool, 1740 sq ft, 3bd/2ba it was pending after just 10 days on the market and it sold close to its asking price of $439,900. It last sold in June of 2004 for $354,900.

Ocean Ave - This home was built in 1978 with 2007 sq ft just 10 lots up from the Harbor. It has a swimming pool, 3bd/2ba and many upgrades throughout. January 12, 2005 it sold for $1200 over the asking price of $629,900. It last sold in 2001 for $265,000. S abal - This 32 year old home sits on a canal 400 ft from the Harbor. It has 3bd/2ba, 2532 sq ft, no pool, but a new dock. It was listed Aug 9 and pending 3 days later on Aug.12, the day before Charley hit. Sale closed Dec. 2 for full asking price of $634,900. Ten years before that in 1994 for $173,500.

Water LIFE

Page 16

That Sinking Feeling MAGAZINE



Adding Structure to Tremblay Reef

Calm seas with water temperature still in the 60s made a great deployment day. The barge had holes cut in her deck and then was pumped full of water using two gasoline powered pumps.

By Betty S taugl er Sea Grant Agent Charlotte County On Thursday, January 6th, Charlotte County enhanced the Tremblay Reef with a 90 foot barge donated by Marine

Contracting Group, Inc. of Punta Gorda. You can find the barge at 26-48.415 N, 82-22.651 W. As many of you are aware, Charlotte County’s artificial reef program is administered by the County’s Sea Grant Extension program, with a tremendous amount of assistance from the community. This was my first reef deployment, so it involved quite a learning process making sure the event went off as planned and with all of our i’s

429 Matares Dr - Beautifully remodeled/updated waterfront home in Punta Gorda Isles - open pool (no cage allowed); boat lift; Double Dock. MLS# 450781 $489,900

dotted and t’s crossed. The end result was a spectacular site, but then I’m told they all are. If you build it, they will come, and I don’t mean just fish. Florida has a very active artificial reef program, one of the most active of the Gulf and Atlantic States. In addition to increasing reef fish habitat, artificial reefs improve recreational and charter fishing and diving opportunities, provide a socio-economic benefit

5036 Useppa Ct - Ultimate executive residence! Custom designed with uncomprising quality by Tim Towles Intersecting canal views & mangroves. Tip lot w/179' on water - granite counters, stainless appliances, porcelain floors, impact glass, coral stone fireplace and lanai Impeccably maintained - will exceed your expectations a MUST SEE!! MLS# 455139 $1,575,000

1601 Park Beach Circle- Alta Vista Condominiums True 100% Harbor front penthouse unit - professionally decorated - new paint - faux paint - new cabinets, granite counters & sink - upgraded Kitchenaid appliances floor to ceiling window view (nothing but Harbor view through windows).MLS# 455093 $589,900

to the local community, minimize user conflicts, and facilitate reef research. Thirty four of Florida’s 35 coastal counties are involved in some form of artificial reef development. There is quite an elaborate process involved in constructing an artificial reef. Each proposed artificial reef site must be permitted. This process can take 6-9 months to complete. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

730 Longbeach Court - Sailboat home 15 min. to harbor. 85' on water w/dock. Very little damage from Charley. Already has new roof, all new siding skirt and carport is coming. Structure is sound. Nice landscaping. Very open floor plan. This home will not last long. Furniture is negotiable. MLS# 455079 $275,000

24211 Captain Kidd Blvd - Hemingway-style home with game room, wood shutters, spa/hot tub, 2 boat lifts (6,500 & 12,500 lbs.) and boat house. MLS# 455612 $649,000

(ACOE) is the permitting authority for proposed reefs in federal waters, while both the ACOE and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) assume permitting responsibility in state waters. As the permittee, Sea Grant must conduct a bottom survey of the entire area proposed for reef development to ensure that the bottom is suitable (hard sand or continued on facing page



It took about an hour to pump the 12 individual compartments on the barge full of water and watch her sink.

Water LIFE


rock base), and without biological (seagrass, coral reef, shellfish or other hard bottom communities) or historical resources. Under current regulations, an artificial reefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s height cannot exceed one half the total water column depth at mean low water (MLW). The minimum allowable depth for an artificial reef in bays or estuaries is twelve feet MLW. An artificial reef cannot exceed one quarter mile in length on a side, and cannot be located in a shipping lane. Annual monitoring post deployment is conducted to evaluate reef stability and diversity and quantity of fish species. Funding for artificial reef construction and monitoring can come from grants, local government support, donation, in-kind support, or any combination of these. In the past, artificial reefs were constructed out of just about anything. Due to environmental and public safety concerns, allowable materials now focus on heavy, stable, durable and non-polluting materials. FDEP will only allow clean concrete or rock, clean steel boat hulls, other clean, heavy gauge steel products with a thickness of 1/2 inch or greater

Page 17

and prefabricated structures that are a mixture of clean concrete and heavy gauge steel to be used as artificial reefs in state waters. This eliminates fiberglass hulls, cars, tires, refrigerators, and many of the other previously used materials as possible reef candidates. The barge that we deployed was inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that it was scrubbed clean of any oils or other polluting materials, and did not contain any breakaway objects. After about an eight hour journey to the reef site, the barge took about two hours to fill with enough water before sinking to its final resting place. Yes, if you build it they will come. Hope to see you out there! Source: FWC Division of Marine Fisheries-Bureau of Marine Fisheries Management

Bet t y St aug l er can b e reached fo r mari ne ex t ens i o n i nfo rmat i o n at (9 4 1 ) 7 6 4 -4 3 4 6 .

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3656 PEACE RIVER DRIVE - Spectacular sunsets from the lanai and free-form pool. 4 BR and 3 BA with office/den. expansive glass across rear to afford magnificent water views along with a dock, 10K lift and deep water anchorage for a large boat. $849,000

33061 SERENE DRIVE Beautiful 10 acre country estate located on Shell Creek with a charming 3 bedroom, 2 bath home set amid stately oak trees. Property is fenced for your horses or livestock. Lots of room to park an RV or build a garage for all your other toysâ&#x20AC;&#x161;! $525,000

4900 RIVERSIDE DRIVE Beautifully renovated and expanded 2-story historic home, nearly 2 acres on the Peace Riverwith delightful caretaker cottage or mother-in-law home. Family room and master suite overlook the River, 7 original fireplaces, lots of decking for entertaining and enjoying the water views. $1,950,000

12155 EISENHOWER DRIVE - Key West style, 2-story, 3/3 home, built in 2003. Great salt waterfront location and quick Myakka River access. Lower level has garage parking for 3 vehicles along with a large game room and workshop. Wrap-around second floor deck for excellent views. Light and lovely! $650,000

25188 MARION AVENUE, UNIT 23 - The Peace River laps at your back door in this Emerald Point villa. Spectacular view of the harbor from this 2/2 unit with large rooms, your own pool and lots of open decks for enjoying the outdoors. Deeded dock included with this unit. $725,000

Page 18

Placida Deep Sea Fishing

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Water LIFE


Conquistador Cup Coming Early in March

S t aff R eport Due to some paper shuffling, last years Conquistador Cup was taken off the list of qualifying events for the Boat of the Year competition, but this year things are back to normal ... “if you can call this year normal,” Dave Hansen the race organizer and chairman said. “The hurricane took a terrible toll on the local sailing fleet, only three out of 14 S-2 class boats in the county are operational at this time,” Hansen said, “and there is a Naples regatta the same day as the Conquistador Cup,” he added. The Conquistador Cup still looks promising for 2005. The event has been held in Charlotte County for the past 12 years. It’s the county’s biggest regatta. “Every year we have had more boats than the previous year,” Hansen explained. Last year the event drew 54 boats. Based on the first day’s finish, the starting order is reversed for the final day of racing. “First boat over the line on the first day starts last on the second,” Hansen explained. “There may be fewer than 50 boats this year, probably 40 or 45,” Hansen said in a January interview. “It’s hard to tell right now. We may get more multi-hulls this year. I just don’t know yet.” Last year’s event was won by Robert Onsgard in his multi-hull Breaking Wind an F27 class boat from Texas that later went on to win its division in the national sailing championships. “Breaking Wind showed her speed here, finishing ahead of the rest of the field by two minutes,” Hansen said. Boats from around southwest Florida will come to participate in the Conquistador Cup. The winner gets a trophy and gets to keep the Conquistador’s coveted bronze helmet for the year until the next Cup race. This year’s Conqiuistador’s Cup takes place on March 5-6 using a course laid out at the top of Charlotte Harbor designed to be in full view of the spectators who gather at Fishermen’s Village. “I’m still not sure if Breaking Wind will be entered this year. I sure hope he comes,” Hansen said. “He has to bring the helmet back.”

Sailing Schedule

 Feb 2,16,23 Small Boats at Charlotte Beach Dennis Peck 627-6650  Feb 3 1:30 PM Weekday race #3 Jerry Haller 505-0499 meet later at 6:00 PM at International Super Buffet Bill Dixon 637-2694  Feb 9 PGSC meeting 7:00 PM Cultural Center Bill Dixon 637-2694

 Feb 12 Club Picnic and small boat Saturday Dennis Peck 627-6650  Feb 13, 20, 27 1:30 PM Spring series races Jerry Haller 505-0499

Boat Buying Tips



Local Sailing News

By Bi l l Di xon Water LIFE Sailing Editor Big news this month is that Charlotte Sailing Association has lost its Red Cross support for 2005 and will not be conducting the R/C learn to Sail Classes this February. Nationally, the Red Cross had stopped supporting sailing a couple of years ago, Charlotte and Sarasota Counties had been the only remaining programs. I wasn't here for all of it, but they tell me that Charlotte Sailing had conducted these Red Cross classes for 30 years and taught thousands to sail. Punta Gorda Sailing Club may provide funding for insurance and the Charlotte Harbor Community Sailing Center/US Sailing may provide the structure to resume low cost public learn to sail programs, but even so this is the end of an era. Founders of Charlotte Sailing included Bill Macintyre, Don House, Carm Hendrickson, Becky Baird, Bob Friedman, and Ed Mc Dowell. They were so keen to pass on their love of sailing that they built 6 prams which they called See-Mores to begin teaching with. Over the years, sunfish were added and eventually a 26 foot keel boat was acquired. On an upbeat note, Dick Potter 2005 Commodore of PGSC participated in a regional get together of Southwest Florida sailing clubs. The objective of this meeting was to co-ordinate schedules of major future regattas and Boat of the Year (BOTY) events. With a couple of conflicts left unresolved in 2006, they did this. 2007 should be conflict free. PGSC and other Charlotte Harbor racers went to the Sarasota Labor day regatta for years, but few if any Sarasota sailors came here for any of our regattas. Within the last couple of years, PGSC sailors led by '04 Commodore Bob Anderson and '05 Race Chair Jerry Haller have gone To Naples, Marco Island and Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society (CMCSA) regattas. Now, in return, many boats from the south have come up to Charlotte Harbor. According to one observer, half the boats at the recent Golden Conch regatta, A BOTY event, were from CMCSA. At the January PGSC meeting, several multi-hull sailors expressed interest in starting a multi-hull fleet beginning with the February 13 Sunday race (spring series race #1). I hope they get enough boats to put on a great show. Call Jerry Haller at 505-0499 for more information.

Look Before You Leap!

To avoid later disappointment it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

1) Who will use the boat? Just family or family & friends. 2) How will the boat be used? Fishing, weekend trips,water skiing. 3) When and how often will the boat be used? Year round or seasonally 4) Where will you be boating? Rivers, lakes, or salt water 5) What boat suits your personality? A fast fishing boat or a leisurely sailboat


Ken Cook / Boats Unlimited 4809 Tamiami Trail Charlotte Harbor



Water LIFE

2005 Golden Conch Regatta


S t aff R eport The race started in Charlotte harbor just off Burnt Store with the course marks set at the last possible moment, as is the tradition with this Platinum Point Yacht Club event. From the beginning the multi hulls and S2 7.9 boats fought for starting line advantage and then battled their way around the course using leverage and light air tactics whenever the wind subsided. Res ul ts o f the Go l den Co nch were: Mul ti hul l s 1st Bahama Hunter Tom Bragaw, 2nd Anhinga, Robert Libbey, 3rd Windbourne, Tom Flemming, 4th Tootsie, Joe Zaffarano. S pi nnaker 1st Rooster Tail, Dave Flechsig, 2nd Bamma Slammer Bob Knowles, 3rd Crime Scene, Peter New, 4th Flying Cloud, Bill Wilkinson. Genoa 1 1st Fancy Free, Wally White, 2nd Jammin, Jerry Haller, 3rd Learning to Fly, Geo. Buckingham. Genoa 2 1st Xcitor, Edward Luscinskas, 2nd Capriole, Barry Sroka, 3rd Ironic Breeze, Chuck Taylor, 4th Euphoria, Ed Brower.


191 Hoffer St.

- This Beautiful newer 3/2.5/2 is the home you have been looking for. The home has a canal view with a new dock and 10,000 lb boat lift. This home has many wonderful features. Call today and I'll be happy to discuss those features with you.....MLS # 453118 $497,000 2153 Palm Tree Dr. P.G.I.

Cleared lot ready for building Awesome wide open view of Charlotte Harbor. MLS # 456077 Offered at $1,100,000 Don始t Miss This One... Won始t Last Long!

Page 19

28507 Sabal Palm Dr. - Come build your

perfect dream home on this great lot! Minutes to the Peace River with Gulf access, dock, and sea-wall! Survey and site plan on file. MLS#445695 Offered at $199,900

8 Finch Court - Great lot in Rotunda Meadows, a fast growing area situated close to Englewood and the beaches and the Port Charlotte Town Center. Great investment for the future or build today! MLS # 454560 $38,000

16256 Alcira Circle

Vacant lot in prestigious Burnt Store Village. Paved road, electric, cable TV, phone, and public sewer. Will not last long! MLS#438640 Offered at $62,000

Water LIFE

Page 20




ScuttleButt Sometimes Unsubstanciated ... but often true

Tarpon Tangles In the never ending saga of traditional versus modern (read that live bait vs jig) fishing, the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce has moved their annual tarpon tournament back to July (from June last year) and is now planning the tournament as an ʻeveningʼ event with divisions for both live bait and jig fishermen. This concept apparently does not sit well with the Boca Grande Guides Association who now say they will pull out of the Chamber event all together and hold their own tarpon tournament in May. Conversation on the island revolves around the irony of a tournament designed to bring people to the island and bolster the summer economy has now become so important (to some) that the economy is now taking a backseat to the event and the people of the Island have been thoroughly divided by it. Also on the Lips of the Locals is how the new state tarpon fishing regulations will play out when the ʻno breakaway tackle rule begins to be enforced. Previously, break away lead jigs and live bait with loosely wired-on egg sinkers were the baits of choice for tarpon. “Could mean a lot of injuries when the fish spits the hook and a taught line with a big firmly attached weight comes zinging back,” one guide observed.

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Glad to Have You Back The “T” dock at Cayo Costa has been repaired and some new finger pilings have been installed, making the popular remote state park island once again a viable destination for local cruise and water taxi operators. Used to seem like we were an inconvenience for the Island staff one boat operator observed, but now it looks like they are glad to see us again, “ he added. Tour operators share some of their revenue with the state for the privilege of tieing up at Cayo Costa.

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Bye Bye Michael Michael Malone the Charlotte County sports marketing manager has left to take a job with ESPN. (Bet you didnʼt know the county even had a sports guy). Michael was one of the people behind the scenes who helped make the ESPN Redfish Cup happen last year. They apparently liked him enough to hire him away.

More Publications The Charlotte Herald Tribune has come out with Charlotte Life Itʼs an upbeat high end Sarasota style publication and has no relationship to our publications Water LIFE or Charlotte Harbor Magazine. To the south(west) the island of Boca Grande has a third weekly publication to compliment the Boca Beacon and the Gasparilla Gazette. The new one is the Boca Banner. I Think You Better Leave According to an industry source, one major tackle manufacturerʼs ʻupper level managementʼ person was escorted out of a big Bonita Springs hardware store after the man, who represents a company that sells retail through Wal-Mart – at prices below wholesale – would not take ʻnoʼ for an answer to the question of stocking his line of lures in the store. The words “Get Out and Stay Out” may have entered into the conversation.

Canal Clean Up Contractors bidding on Charlotteʼs canal clean up contracts are approaching the task cautiously. “How do you know whatʼs under there?” One marine contractor who picked up a bid packet asked. “Youʼd need a steel net to drag every canal,” he said. “But if it all works out this could be the start of a county wide canal maintenance program,” he added.

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Water LIFE


Paddlers from the Port Charlotte Kayakers club head out on the Peace River during another trip in late January.

By Dav e A l l en Water LIFE Kayak Contributor Port Charlotte Kayakers

Triple Lakes Charlotte Harbor Paddling at its Best

It was a crisp morning, with the haze just beginning to lift, as we put our kayaks into the cool water off Port Charlotte beach park. The parking lot was as crowded as a shopping mall, with kayaks being lifted off cars, hauled to the waters edge, and set down on the wet strip of sand. It was near high tide, a critical requirement for a trip through the Triple Lakes area as many of the channels are very shoal. At low tide, you can find yourself out of the kayak and dragging it through the shallows. Twenty-three kayaks of all sizes, colors, and descriptions were lined up on the beach, ready to go. The ground was loaded with kayaking gear; paddles, life jackets, bottles of energy drinks and snack packs. This was going to be a three-hour paddle with two breaks, so everyone was loading up with drinks and calories. The route would lead us from the beach, through the Manchester Waterway, up through the Triple Lakes, then into the Myakka Cutoff, and back north along the coastline. This is a beautiful paddle with

lots of wildlife, and with scenery varying from the open Bay to narrow, twisty mangrove lanes. It’s one of the more popular paddles with kayakers of all experience levels; it’s not too difficult for the beginner, but is always interesting for the more experienced kayaker. Overall, the trip is about seven or eight miles, roughly half of which is in sheltered water and half in open water. The first leg of the trip was a short, onemile jaunt across the west edge of Alligator Bay, to an un-named creek on the west edge of Muddy Bay. This no-name creek is a narrow mangrove channel that passes through a large pond just before reaching the eastern end of the waterway. Egrets were in abundance, flying down the creek ahead of our kayaks, landing for a few minutes and then rising again as we approached The pond was somewhat shallow, even at high tide, so we skirted the right edge where the water was deeper. Past a group of partially submerged rocks and concrete slabs, we entered the Manchester Waterway, just off the southern end of Midway Blvd. The Manchester is a broad, straight waterway, about 1.5 miles long, with large, beautiful homes on the north bank and lush man-

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groves on the south. We could feel the east wind on our backs now, helping us along, but knew we would pay for this boost on the way back. We took a brief break at the west end of the Manchester, just off Collingswood Blvd. The small beach on the north side of the waterway is guarded by several pilings and some strategically place rocks. It was a beautiful day, with warm sunlight sparkling on the water, a gentle breeze from the east. Back in our kayaks, we headed south to the entrance of the Triple Lakes channel. Immediately, the mangroves close in and the water becomes noticeably shallow. You can see small fish darting along side and ahead of the kayaks as we pass. Heron’s fly past us down the channel, racing us through the three small lakes. We are out of the wind now, down behind the mangroves and the current is about slack, so the paddling is easy and relaxed. Everyone is still chattering from the break. The Myakka cut-off is a wide, deep branch of the Myakka that separates Hog Island from the mainland. As we enter the cut-off, about one and a half miles from the Bay, we feel the northeast breeze on our faces. Not strong yet,

Page 21

but the paddling will be tougher from here on into the beach. We turn north into Charlotte Harbor and make our way along the western shoreline. Along this stretch of beach, we can see the piles of debris that have washed up after Hurricane Charley. Trees, plastic cans and drums, the remains of a chair, anything you can imagine, are scattered along the way. Our final break spot on Kayak Beach comes into view; a clean strip of sand with a gentle slope for an easy landing and launch back in. We have been paddling now for over two hours, and the last break is always welcome. An energy bar or the remains of a sandwich from the first break are quickly eaten, a quick drink, and we are on our way back to Beach Park. The wind is a little stronger now, but as we paddle back across Alligator Bay, we can see the park building in the distance and we pick up the pace. We beach our kayaks in the shelter of the point, and begin getting our equipment together to load into the cars. It was an enjoyable paddle with friends, but now all are anxious to get home to lunch and a good football game. The Port Charlotte Kayakers schedule at least two such paddles each week. We meet every Wednesday evening at Port Charlotte Beach Complex at 5:30 PM. Join us when you can. Dave Allen can be reached at (941) 235-2588 or via e-mail at: Our group has an active schedule over the next few months. (1) The club has induced the county to include kayak races in the Charlotte County Senior Games. The games are from March 11 through the 20th. (2) We are working with GCU to have a kayak outing for Alzheimer's patients. (3) We are concerned about the effect of phosphate mining, on the upper Peace River, on the estuaries along the river and in Charlotte Harbor and have been working with some people from the county environmental group to understand this issue better. (4) The club is tentatively planning an overnight kayak trip through the Everglades in late February. (5) Sweetwater Kayak of Clearwater is holding a kayak symposium in February. These symposia are very well a attended by kayakers from all over the state and beyond. There will be loads of kayak related activities. (6) Some of our members are hand building wooden kayaks. We are having a presentation at the February 26 club meeting on the subject by Dick Pfaff. Dick has built a beautiful kayak. If you have time, it should be an interesting presentation.

Water LIFE

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Picture of the Month



We got this via e-mail. In spite of the trashing this angler took, in spite of clothes all over the lawn ... it looks like heʼs getting a flat on the trailer!

Do Your Part Help Clean Up the Saltwater Canals


Because of drainage concerns the inland/upland canals are being cleaned up first. Saltwater canals close to the Harbor will not be cleaned for some time. Please do what you can to help out NOW.

Fishing can be fun for the whole family when itʼs kept simple. And using popping corks is just that, simple. Simply use a popping cork with one of the Old Bayside soft plastic baits on a jig head and your in business. Rig the cork about three feet up your line making sure the line lays flat in the cork. This setup can be fished while drifting the flats or anchored in canals or creeks. Just cast out the popper and work it back to the boat twitching the rod making the popping cork ʻpopʼ the water. Fish will come to the noise and see your bait. Then itʼs Fish on! Old Bayside Baits available at Fishinʼ Franks & Laishley Marine

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At The Boat Ramp ... February


Water LIFE

(and most everywhere else)

Cost of a Parking Ticket doubles to $68.50

By Capt Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Senior Staff As many unfortunate people have recently found out, the cost for parking at Charlotte County public beaches and boat ramps, has taken a rather sudden and drastic price increase. Call it another case of the law of unanticipated consequences. Last year Charlotte County officials were the first to begin charging boaters to park in their public boat ramps. The genesis of this plan actually started several years before when a few of the local boaters were complaining that they had trouble finding a parking spot on a spring afternoon. The perceived culprits were those out of towners who were sneaking in the boat ramp early in the morning and hogging all the parking spots. The locals wanted them out. Unfortunately they didn't remember that these boat ramps were built in part with State funds which came out of the pockets of all boaters. A plan was hatched to get these outsiders to pay to park in the local boat ramps; but before they realized what a dumb idea that was, it was too late. Just like sharks can zero in on a drop of blood, county officials zeroed in on a potential source of new revenue. If you can make some money by charging some people to park, then you can make more money by charging all the people to park. I guess we didn't see that coming. Now some of you boaters may say to yourself “Didn't we already pay for these boat ramps with the

Vehicles with a handicapped permit still must pay for parking when not parked in a designated handicapped spot

surcharge the county tacked on to our boat registration several years ago?” And technically you are correct. The nine dollars or so that is added to your registration fee each year was meant to go to the development of new, and the maintenance of existing, boat ramps. Many saw this as a lot like paying off the mortgage on the house then finding out they want you to start paying rent. The plan was to charge 50 cents per hour for parking. If you didn't pay you risked getting a $30 ticket. For those ‘high volume parkers’ the county offered a yearly permit. You would think that only residents could get the permits, but that's not true. The only requirement is to come up with $35.00

Pilings A Menace

plus sales tax of $2.45. (consider the sales tax as a tax on a tax). Permits are good for one year from the date of purchase. It's been about a year since Charlotte County has gone into the parking lot business; but a few interesting things have happened. County officials have found out that just because you're a shark doesn't mean there aren't bigger sharks around. It seems that the State legislature last year approved a $38.50 surtax on all parking tickets to help fund the court system. So failing to pay that 50 cent parking fee could cost you a whopping $68.50 for the ticket. The funny thing is that not one cent of that money

Page 23


will ever be used to maintain the boat ramp. It all goes to the state. Since the county had to buy and maintain the ticket machines, hire someone to pickup and count the money and of course pay the salaries and provide the vehicles for those nice parking enforcement fellows, it could be argued that the county is actually losing money on each ticket they issue. Here is a little bit of parking-lot trivia I've learned while researching this story: If you buy a permit it is only good for one vehicle. The permit has to be affixed in the lower corner on the passenger side of the front windshield. You can't give it to your buddy to use. Possession of a parking sticker does not assure the availability of a parking space. Drivers with a handicap permit do not have to pay to park as long as they are parked in a handicap parking space. If those spots are full and you park in another space you have to pay. Sorry grandma you're just going to have to wheel yourself up to that machine and buy yourself a ticket and put it on your dashboard like everyone else. Here's one I can't find the answer to: If I have a friend coming down for the season in a motor home could they buy a permit and park the old Winnabago at the boat ramp until spring? That may be the cheapest long term parking available in the county.

After magically disappearing for a few months, the slow speed signs going under the Tom Adams Bridge in Lemon bay are back up. A few of the manatee zone signs in the Bay are back up as well. The other day I found myself headed for one of them confusing it with one of the ICW markers. I think we have too many markers in the water. This is very confusing for the new boaters in our area and even for the locals, especially in the early morning when there is foggy conditions. All pilings look the same from a distance. – Capt Ron.

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These ʻBait Hoodsʼ made by D.O.A. are designed especially for soft plastics. The product was introduced early this year but it wonʼt be on local shelves for ʻabout six months.ʼ They can be rigged on a jig head or a worm hook and ʻpoppedʼ like a plug. The red hood combined with the new small size ʻfleckedʼ tail looks like a dynamite cobia bait.

Water LIFE



Poppin Corks, Bait Hoods and Soft Plastics By Fi shi n’ Frank Water LIFE Grand Advisor What a poppin' cork is supposed to do is imitate the sound of a fish hitting a bait, but if you over work the poppin' cork you can just as easily make enough noise to run the fish off. There are several different poppin’–style corks around and each one has it’s own special purpose. The traditional tapered styrofoam cork comes in three different varieties. The unweighted cork is the one you want for fishing with a jig under the float, or with a weighted bait. This is the white cork with a black stick in it. Use them when you want to keep your bait below the water. But when you are using an unweighted lure you need to use a weighted cork so you have enough weight to cast it out. The weighted ones are the white corks with a green stick in it. Both corks are white it’s only the color of the little stick in them that shows the difference. And then there are the green

popin' corks. The ones with the green paint have a rattle in them so you get a rattling sound along with the splashing when you ‘pop’ it . On spooky fish, the rattling cork works better. Just don’t pop them Instead, ‘tug’ at them and they will rattle. It’s more subtle. Sometimes the noise of the cork has to compete with the sound of the wind and waves. In that instance the rattling corks give you that little extra noise when you do pop it. But corks don’t stop with white or green. There are rounded corks with a wire in them. Those can be orange, yellow or green, it matters not. Those are the ones that you tie onto on each end. Those corks can’t slide on your line and that makes them good on the flats because it’s pretty much the same depth all over. You can make the leader the length you want and be more aggressive with the cork without it sliding on the line or having your bait dragging bottom. Finally there are the tapered wired and beaded corks that you can


‘smack’ and create an even louder presentation. I think they derived this from the old Carolina Clapper, a rig with beads that snapped together under water to make noise near the bottom. And finally there is something new in the poppin’ arena. The bait hood, just unveiled (but not yet available) is DOA’s new innovation and it could be good too. Bait hoods in theory are an excellent idea and this could be the most innovative design in soft plastic since the jerk bait. It looks like it will add diversitility to other plastic baits and its frontal shape should let it pop like a cork, or dive depending which way it is rigged. With a cigar float in front, unweighted, using the hood as a popper, could make this an amazing little gadget. The main thing now is to see if the theory on paper is the same as the way things work in the real world.

Fishin Frank can be reached at the store for fishing information or help with selecting the right equipment. If Frank ’s not around, just talk to




S t aff R eport Sheepshead are sometimes called the convict or zebra fish because of their silvery color with distinctive vertical bands. One of the most unusual characteristics of this fish is its head, which early English fishermen believed resembled a sheep. The fish has incisors, molars, and round grinding teeth

Water LIFE

not unlike those of sheep. Known as the ultimate bait stealers, their behavior has prompted the saying, “Anglers must strike just before they bite.” BAITS AND LURES Baits:These fish like fiddler crabs, barnacles, the meat from oysters, sand fleas, and tube worms. To catch tube worms, anglers must search the harbor’s flats for the small shell tube sticking out of the sand. Dig up the tube, and when ready to use, break off a short amount of shell, force the tube worm out, and spear it on the hook. Sheepshead can also be chummed by scraping barnacles off pilings with a shovel. Lures: These fish are seldom caught on lures. They may on rare occasion hit a jig. TACKLE, TECHNIQUES AND S ITES From November through February, fish to 10 pounds can be caught at the Placida Ttrestle and phosphate docks at Boca Grande. Summer time sheepshead range from 1 to 3 pounds. When fishing for the larger sheepshead around pilings, 20 to 30 pound test or a wire leader and a stiff rod is recommended. Two different terminal rigs can be used. A sliding sinker rig is always good, and when fishing off a pier or straight down, a 3 way swivel with a swivel sinker is also effective. Because of the fish’s teeth, certain hooks should be used. An 85 Eagle Claw, 3407 Mustad, or the 3467 Mustad, which is a hook specifically made for sheepshead are recommended. A 2/0 or 1/0 is the best size







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Water LIFE




Dear Water LIFE Thanks. We really enjoy your paper. We are starting construction on our retirement home in PGI next month so by next year I'll be able to pick up our "free" copies monthly. I have saved many of your articles as I will be a new boater to the area when we move there and I will be able to refer to the many articles that I have collected. Thanks again. Dan, Ohio Dear Water LIFE

I love your magazine, it keeps me informed on what's biting and where to fish. When I go down to my condo I can pick up my rod & reel load my kayak in the car and head to the best fishing spots. Keep up the good work.

Pool Sharks of Lemon Bay Inc 3285 Placida Rd, Pelican Plaza Englewood

(941) 698-9889 Joey has an oversized redfish ready to be released. Stop In and look through our Fishing Scrap Book!

Maintenance • Repairs Heaters • Pumps • Chemicals Covers • Cleaners

Pete, Port Charlotte

Dear Water LIFE Just a short note to tell you what a fine job you are doing. I'm a Michigan transplant who still spends 3 months in Mi. living on my boat and fishing for salmon, lake trout, steelhead, and brown trout. I retired and moved to Florida in 2000 and purchased a small skiff to fish the harbor and canals. The articles in you magazine have been very informative relative to fishing in this area. Keep up the "how to" articles and let the other magazine be an overgrown advertisement for used boats and charters! Bill. Michigan

Dear Water LIFE I too, could not understand why the County would close the boat ramp at the Tom Adam's bridge. Especially since this is the ramp used by the Englewood Fire Dept. to launch their boat during emergencies. This decision might just possibly be connected to the intended rezoning of the property directly across the street. Bill Stiver, of Stiver Tire, lives west of the bridge. I understand he now owns all the property between his home and the bridge. He plans to tear down the old Hyde place, the boat repair shack and the relatively new home next to his house and build an 18 unit condo on the property. Tom Dignam has graciously agreed to present Stiver's case before the Commission sometime in February. Obviously the boat ramp directly across the street would not be good company for "Upscale Condos". SEEYA, George, Englewood


To Water LIFE

Believing something doesn't make it so. I have been frequently asked why I get so upset with the State and Federal Wildlife Agencies over the manatee issue. My answer is that both of these agencies use a common unscientific approach in manatee protection matters. I don't claim that all the biologists and managers involved in manatee protection are ignorant, even though the title of my book contains the phrase "Conspiracy of Ignorance." To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, It's not that I think those people are ignorant, it's just that so much of what they know isn't so. Consider the fact that both wildlife agencies have promoted the use of slow speed zones as a primary method of adding protection for the manatee. They have done so without any scientific basis and have assumed that such zones are effective, even though a proper review of the manatee mortality data before and after zone implementation shows that isn't so in most of Florida waters. There is a underlying scientific reason why such zones don't really help protect the manatee. The agencies have not bothered to assess slow speed zone effectiveness in spite of the admonition in the Manatee Recovery Plan (3rd Rev.) which states that, "The focus of recovery is not on how many manatees exist, but instead the focus is on implementing, monitoring and addressing the effectiveness of conservation measures to reduce or remove threats which will lead to a healthy and self-sustaining population." It's time for our Legislatures (State and Federal) to insist that these wildlife agencies apply the best available science and demonstrate empirically why rules involving slow speed zones are necessary before anymore are implemented. Capt. Tom McGill, Merritt Island

Dear Water LIFE Love Water LIFE! Especially the "Hurricane" issues. Even my Port Charlotte Fishing guide agrees that my knowledge of local waters has increased since I've started reading your publication. Keep up the good work !!! Regards, John Bell, Kansas

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Mon-Fri 9AM-5:30PM Sat 9AM-3PM

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4265 Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte 941•625•2700

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Welcome to Winter



By Don Cessna Water LIFE Englewood Welcome to winter in Florida. With cold nights and occasional windy days we can only make the best of the conditions we are faced with. Certainly this is also the fate of the fish that inhabit the local waters. This morning the water temperature was 56 degrees, that's cold for most species living here. The cold is especially hard on the snook. Please remember to be careful while dressed for the cold weather. Accidentally going for a swim could become dangerous quickly and will also scare the fish. I would target different types of fish and some different areas at different times of the day. The fish still have to eat. The snowbirds especially enjoy fishing the beaches to catch whiting and maybe the occasional pompano or Spanish mackerel. This is when a surf rod comes into its own. That 10 foot, 12 foot or even longer rod can keep you from getting too wet while fishing the beach in the cold. It is a given that when fishing the beach you will get wet, with the long casting surf rod you can move far enough up the beach to remain dry and comfortable. The bait of choice is generally live sand fleas or frozen shrimp. Live sand fleas because you can catch them at the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge, shrimp bacause you can buy them in advance. We should also continue to have

Water LIFE


Things are looking down at the old Placida swing bridge as anglers search for sheepshead.

flounder at the beaches and around the mouth of the passes. Most of these cold water fish are excellent table fare. Fishing piers, the jetties and the trestle in Placida or El Jobean are good this time of year. Many of the near shore fishermen can find grouper in close now â&#x20AC;&#x201C; mainly blacks and gags with the occasional red grouper mixed in. There are also still a bunch of gulf sized mangrove snapper around too. Chumming is almost essential if you are going to be successful. Cut bait is the way to go and this can be frozen and kept on hand. It is a good idea to take a day once in a while and just have a bait catching trip to stock up. While out fishing the Gulf watch for pods of cobia and check the crab trap lines for a nice triple tail. In the bay and inland waters there are some tackle destroying bluefish around. Live or frozen shrimp are fine for snapper and in general the other fish found in inland waters. I think the best bet for

refish and trout would be the mouths of creeks, rivers, and passes as the fish will be seeking warmer water. The snook are working their way into places where they can find shallower water which will warm rapidly in the morning and throughout the day. Later each day they may be cruising the shallow shorelines and flats. We have been seeing very low tides and if one is trying to find snook feeding I would look for eddies in any of the creeks, rivers, and neighborhood canals. These eddies can also be found around boats moored or anchored. Be courteous and careful to avoid any damage to the boat. A better choice would be to fish downed trees or sunken boats or docks which also create eddies. This time of the year finding places which hold feeding fish becomes the key to catching them. We can use the very low tides to find the small spots where fish gather. Then as the tide rises there are opportunities for the



fish to gain access to the shorelines and flats and to areas of water in which they can find food. Take advantage of the low tides to locate structure and holes where fish may be found for future fishing. Certainly, once we have a week or two of warm sunny days the fishing should be really good and one could find the prospect for an extraordinary day. As the fish do, we need to use past experience to exploit opportunities during these cold days. The fishing can still prove to be excellent if you find the right places at the right time. Remember what you learn on the cold days can improve the prospects for the warmer days soon to come. Sometimes, (you have to admit) dumb luck pays off. As it may be difficult for us to get up and go we have to remember the cold also makes it difficult for the local fish. Shrimp are burying themselves in the mud and bait fish have vanished, fisherman offering up a quick easy snack may be just the ticket for them.

Do n @ Ray 's Bai t and Tackl e 4 8 0 . , Dearbo rn St. Eng l ewo o d Two bl o cks no rth o f the Indi an Mo unds bo at ramp (9 4 1 ) 4 7 3 -1 5 9 1



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Water LIFE


February Fishing Forecast Charlotte Harbor

R o bert at F i s hi n' F ranks P o rt C harl o tte: 6 2 5 -3 8 8 8 February is always tricky because of the cold weather. The colder species are the ones most targeted now, like t ro ut and s heeps head. The wind starts to play a role in where people will be fishing and where they can go. On the calmer days the trout fishing on the flats and in the deeper potholes has been productive. Live shrimp is still the best, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also a good time to

break out the artificials. Try using the soft plastics on jigs, keeping them close to the bottom on the cooler days. On the warmer days, experiment with suspending the bait or even try a topwater lure. Sheepshead are wonderful in February, both from shore and from a boat. The old phosphate dock at Boca Grande and inside the canals around the boat docks are great places for sheepshead. Cape Haze and Alligator Creek reefs are also good sheepshead spots. Continued on facing page




Capt. Andrew Medina shows off a nice redfish and a good sized float attached to his Boga Grip. At over $100 a pop the Boga Grip is too valuable (and too heavy) to let sink away.



Fishing Report Continued from facing page

B BIIG G-4 4

Water LIFE


F Fe eb br ru ua ar ry yʼs ʼs Ta Tar rg ge et t S Sp pe ec ciie es s

If you’re fishing sheepshead from shore, El Jobean is a really good spot in February and the TRIPLETAIL are along the TROUT are feeding well SNOOK are back in season SHEEPSHEAD are up in the Placida trestle is another really crab trap lines offshore and in good numbers and best at night. Harbor and in the Bay good spot. Frozen shrimp and frozen sand fleas are the best bait Lemon Bay because it’s sometimes too cold to get fiddler crabs. But if you can get crabs Ji m at Fi shermen’s Edge that’s the number one pick. Engl ewood: 697-7595 S nook season is now open. For the shore fisherman, fish the canals in S nook fishing is what most guys will concentrate on this month. El Port Charlotte and PGI at night and also try El Jobean. That’s the place for Jobean at 4 a.m. was really good last night when the tide was really hauling. snook. Laishley pier is another good spot to try for snook at night. Live There have been some really big trout, up to six pounds lately ... really big shrimp is the bait of choice. Big lures like the trusty Wind Cheater in the dark green color are also good. The dark colored soft plastics like the Old Bayside fish. There have been a lot of scattered redfi sh throughout Pine Island, Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay, some are smaller, but there are plenty of skeleton shad has also been really productive for the last month. Out and about in a boat, redfi sh are plentiful, but they are very small in them. Jerk baits, tube baits and the Gulp shrimp or Gulp curly tail minnows February. On the east side, in the small creeks and canals, you’ll have to weed work. I’ve had guys catching some cobi a while they have been targeting tri pl ethrough a bunch of them to find a legal sized fish. This is the place to be using tai l , that fishery has been pretty good. There have been Pompano in Stump a circle hook to help save the little fellas. Pass and a lot of whi ti ng on the beach. The biggest thing is, we have had a Other fish that can be plentiful out along the beaches on the calmer days pretty nasty red tide offshore. Guys going out of Englewood have been talkare tri pl e tai l and cobi a , work the crab trap lines just off the beach up to three or four miles out. The water should be calm there because the northeast ing about it and now it’s starting to creep down south. The grouper and winds of February will be blocked by land. Whi ti ng are usually fairly good snapper has been pretty good in spite of it, along with any number of other this time of year around the US 41 bridge. Usually the bigger whiting and reef fish offshore. I’m sure there will be some mackerel around soon. We should be into some pompano will be out along the beaches. some warmer weather and we’ve already had reports of free jumping mackerel In freshwater, February is the pre-spawn time for bass. Some males are reportedly starting to sit on the beds already. You can pick up some pretty large offshore. If it stays warm those fish will be back in earlier than normal. Inside fish now. Plastic worms and live shiners are the preferred bait when the fish the passes, and into Lemon Bay the sheepshead action has been real good. are feeding heavy. Crappi e is another fish that does well in February. They I’ve had reports of numerous nice sheepshead at the Placida Trestle and comlike the nice cold weather. They tend to concentrate in tight schools, so if you ing from the Phosphate dock at Boca Grande. Offshore there are still some find one there will be several or several dozen more. Bl uegi l l should be good sheepshead on the rockpiles there. this month too since they are starting to feed a little more. Lake Betty off Conway Blvd in Port Charlotte is a spot worth trying. Travi s at S tump Pass Mari na 697-2206 Offshore has been pretty good. Gouper, snapper and AJs are in water over 85 feet. Out in the deep water, the fishing has been on fire. CAUTION Inshore, there are lots of trout and reds and the whi ti ng are real thick A Red Tide outbreak was reported off Englewood in in the passes right now. On the beach, there are tri pl e tai l and quite a late January. Reports now have it moving to the south. few cobi a already. I had a 13 pound triple tail on a shrimp on a jig last


Stump Pass & The Gulf


The Charlotte County Coastal Conservation Association will hold it`s annual Banquet on Friday February 25 at Victoria Estates. There will be a new look to the banquet this year. A western style barbecue and open bar will precede dinner and the live raffle. There will be something for everybody at the silent and live auctions. Among the many things to be auctioned off will be a new boat, motor and trailer combo, works of art, exotic fishing trips and jewelry.Ticket prices are $125 per couple and $75 for singles. Corporate tables are also available. Contact Bob Leonard at 5058556 or Len Harris at 639-6546 for more information on this great event.

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n Feb 3: Midweek Sail Race #3 Charlotte Harbor


n March 5-6: Conquistador Cup, Charlotte Harborʼs largest Regatta.

n June 9-12: Caloosa Catch and Release, Captiva

n Feb 8: Kayak Fishing Seminar Grande Tours, Placida, 8 p.m. Free, 697-8825

n March 12: Flatsmasters Grand Slam Plug Tournament, Punta Gorda

n March 26: Old Mossey Plug Tournament, Punta Gorda

n March 30-April 1: Edison Big Snook Tournament, Ft Myers

n April 9: Bobby Holloway Memorial Tournament, Pine Island n April 9: Old Mossy Snook, Punta

n April 28-30: OʼBannon Tournament, Cabbage Key n May 7: Flatsmasters Summer Redfish Tournament, Punta Gorda

n June 11: Old Mossey Redfish Tournament, Punta Gorda n June 18: Couples Tournament Burnt Store. n July 10: Charlotte High Redfish Roundup, Punta Gorda n July 16: Water LIFE Kids Cup, Punta Gorda 766-8180

Please send us your event calendar information via e-mail to:





Water LIFE Feb 2005  

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

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