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Wa t e r LI FE The Charlotte Harbor Reef Association

January 2019

Clown Knifefish 26-inches, caught in Venice by Michael Clifford Ed Notes: this is a freshwater, invasive species that has not yet been seen in the wild on the west coast of Florida. This fish came from a private lake, said to have been stocked years ago


from Water LIFE magazine


from Water LIFE magazine

Christian Sommer with a tiny goliath grouper caught and released in a Port of the Islands canal, on a jig


from Water LIFE magazine

Snook 44-inches without the tail pinched approx 30-pounds from the West Wall on a MirrOlure Bruce Quickel


from Water LIFE magazine

Robin Sprague aboard Capt. Bertʼs SeaLady mahi-mahi bull caught off Key Largo on 11/29

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put in their inflight magazine. Online, they are now trying to book vacation rentals in the unThey rolled in a temporary built buildings yet my own disbuilding with wall ac units and crete requests for sales power coming from a temporary information about buying a pole. They cut up the existing ascondo have still not been phalt for landscape areas and replied to. have brought in some palms and With no real, hard, conplants. The mini golf course is struction anywhere, still I say, being demolished under the existeither they have nothing and ing demolition permit. They got apthey are scrambling to come proval to build a seawall. To the up with funding ... or, like John Our guess is this will be a sales office and untrained eye it looks like the projRedmond, the CFO, suggested people will be able to buy their $1Million ect is starting up, but according to condos here. How many people, is not clear. a year and a half ago, this is the building department no engigoing to wind up being a Real neered plans for either the seawall I think Allegiant Airlines, the proEstate Flip, Flip, Flip, Flip is still my or the condo buildings have yet been jectʼs owner, wants to have a picture opinion. Have a flippinʼ Happy New submitted. of something that looks ʻtropicalʼ to Year, everyone! – MH


Updated FWC statewide abundance estimate for the Florida manatee:

QUOTE: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) accomplished an important conservation goal by publishing the results from the second statewide population estimate of the Florida manatee. Results from the 2015-2016 manatee abundance survey suggest there were between 7,520 and 10,280 manatees in Florida, totals higher than an earlier abundance estimate suggested.

Editorʼs Comment: The Report of their Demise was Greatly Exaggerated!

Bayshore Area According to Wink News the County is shutting down the park for 2 weeks for repairs. I believe they said in a few weeks. I sent an e mail about 2 months ago to the County, asking them when were they going to fix the pier. In true County fashion I never heard back from them. I bet if I told them that I represented Sunseekers I would have heard back from them A.S.A.P. The County Commissioners only want to represent special interests not the tax paying public. Who in

their right mind would rebuild Main Street without building plans or engineering done. I think it isn't going to be a Flip, Flip but a Flip Flop. Thank You for keeping us informed, since the County Commissioners don't think the public should know. John Almeida Punta Gorda Editor notes* I donʼt know for sure how this project is transpiring with Charlotte County, but in most municipalities the County would require a developer like Allegiant/Sunseeker to pay for infrastructure improvements, such as turn lanes and street

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Hello Mike - via US Mail I just had to send this to you. (Attached was an article about a seawall permit being approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. It said the permit was not issued to Sunseekers but to a Mr. Ben Mammina. The article said Allegiant/Sunseekers did not return the paperʼs call for more information) I feel the same as you do about this project. Keep up the great work. Joe Bigus Burnt Store Marina

Water LIFE inc. Ellen Heller Publisher

(941) 766-8180

FishPix, text only number 941-457-1316

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Independant - Not affiliated with any other publication! Vol XVIII No 1 © 2019

NO PART of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied, reproduced or re-used without specific written permission from the Publisher

Contributing Editors:


Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Baitshop: Fishinʼ Frank

Upper Harbor: Cameron Parson

Peace River: Capt. Dave Stephens Punta Gorda: Capt. Chuck Eichner Venice: Glen Ballinger

Estero: Capt. Joe Angius

Everglades City: Capt. Charlie Phillips Kayaking: Silent Sports Sawfish: Tonya Wiley

Pier Fishing: Bobby Vitalis Diving: Adam Wilson






The Benthic Zone

By Michael Heller Water LIFE editor Sewage and pollutants, all the phosphate mining seeps and spills, all the agchemicals .... everything liquid we put on top of the ground makes it into the porous underground of Florida. So I have to believe some of it makes its way into the Gulf, coming up through the Benthic Zone, the lowest level of the Gulf’s water. I like to think of Florida as one of those green-on-one-side, scrubby yellow kitchen sponges you buy at the supermarket. The thin green side is Florida’s lush vegetation, the big fat yellow spongy part is Florida’s porous underground, the part where the aquifers flow. Years ago there were bubbling freshwater springs out in the Gulf - actual upswelling of water you could see on the surface, on a calm day. Those springs were fed from aquifers beneath the Gulf floor. Today the freshwater springs in Florida have a diminished flow, but fishermen are still fishing the offshore springs in the Gulf, so there must still be something happening down there, but what? A 2007 report titled: Submarine Groundwater Discharge Along the West Florida Shelf: subtitled: Is Groundwater an Important Nutrient Source for Florida's Red Tides? doccumented scientists from the US Geological Service (USGS) and the University of South Florida as they looked at the precipitation associated with hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. They found had a two-fold effect


on the movement of nutrients on land to the submerged west Florida shelf in the Gulf: (1) an immediate effect by enhancing surface runoff and (2) a delayed effect by recharging the coastal aquifer and increasing submarine groundwater discharge along the coast, a year later. The same thing happened last Summer after 2017s heavy rains and then Hurricane Irma’s rain on top of that. In descriptions of Florida's groundwater system, the most commonly discussed features are freshwater springs, sinkholes and the highly transmissive Floridan aquifer. Sinkholes north of Lake Okeechobee have been found to be connected to the Gulf 70-miles away. Scientists also know there is a connection between Warm Mineral Springs at Northport and a cluster of underwater springs off Fort Myers Beach. All our underground pollution, all the deep injected sewage we are pumping underground.... is that in those connections? Ten years ago, to test for a link between submarine groundwater discharge and nutrients on the west Florida shelf, USGS scientist Christopher Smith measured and tracked radon (222Rn) and radium (223, 224, 226 and 228Ra) isotopes. He recorded: “Movement of nitrogen from the land to the ocean through submarine groundwater discharge—the flow of water from underground aquifers into the ocean, either through discrete submarine springs or by more diffuse flow from benthic sediment into overlying seawater.” Smith added: “In coastal areas it is these shallow aquifers that are directly



Nitrogen and Heat: This graphic from another 2009 report, shows heating and exchange of underground salt and fresh water flows into the sub-surface ocean by Miami. The same thing is happening on Floridaʼs SWW coast, but to date very few studies have been done.

recharged by precipitation and they are also the most sensitive to human activity— such as application of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.” One aquifer he studied was at Tampa where a relatively thick section of mixed sedimentary deposits form a prominent ridge inland from the coast, referred to as the "Pinellas Ridge." This local ‘high area’ is a recharge zone for the surface aquifer and the underlying Floridan aquifer. Smith found that recharge along the Pinellas Ridge created a ‘steep hydraulic gradient’ between the sub-marine groundwater and adjacent surface-water bodies which was ‘subsequently driving nutrients derived from human activities, such as fertilizer application and septic-system seep-

age, to the coastal ocean.’ Judging from estimated spring-discharge rates and measured nutrient concentrations, Smith found the total dissolved inorganic nitrogen being discharged by one Gulf spring near Tampa to be: “The same as the nitrogen level in the major rivers feeding Tampa Bay.” Along with the nitrogen are dinoflagellates, some of which feed red tide; dinoflagellates are the most prominent microbes found in the benthic layer. There is still uncertainty as to the overall role of submarine groundwater discharge to the Gulf and red tide. Very few studies, other than Smith’s, of benthic flux in the Gulf, have ever been conducted. I think we just don’t want to know.


All Jacked Up PAGE



By Capt. Chuck Eichner Canals that exit into the Harbor are Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor great places to start your search. The January in southwest Florida finds mid-day sun seems to activate the chilly water temperatures and letharbaitfish and jacks so don’t bother getgic fish... except ting up for one: the jack early to go crevalle. Jacks fishing. seem to migrate in Lure seand out of Charlections are lotte Harbor all pretty simyear long and ple. White often move into or shad colour canal systems ored plastic in the winter. swim-tails Rich Dutson with a Jack caught Canals generally on a ¼ hold warmer water FISH PIX! on his dock in NW Cape Coral on ounce jig 12 December and the further head or back into the canal shallow divsystems, the warmer the water is. The ing plugs. The key word is fast reattraction is really not only about the trieve! Jacks will only follow a slow warm water but about the presence of moving bait for so long, so if you get baitfish. a follower speed your retrieve up. Jacks are the only fish that want a fast moving bait in the winter. Spoons work well and jacks also like live shrimp. To fish shrimp, place a half of shrimp on a jig head and cast to pilings and other structure. Shrimp generally don’t have to be fished Jack crevalle are nomadic, never fast and you will lingering and always on the move. find sheepshead, They only pause to push baitfish up snappers, redfish against seawalls or corner them and black drum around docks. Jacks are just about also pulling on the hardest fighting fish that swim your line. and they attack lures readily! Since jack To target them in canal systems I crevalle are pelagic generally use a trolling motor to cover species they will water as I cast and fish canal intersec- travel through the tions or larger basins that have heated Harbor searching up in the afternoon. I constantly for bait along the way. Look for change locations until I get a strike flocks of seagulls and pelicans diving and look for areas with moving water. and you are likely to find jacks and from Water LIFE magazine


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


At the Panama Lodge from: Tom Valenti

ladyfish under them. Winter jacks will range from 3- to 8-pounds with an occasional fish over 10 pounds that will have your reel spooled on light tackle. In the warmer months we often don’t give much thought to this fish, but in the winter nothing is quicker to hit your line! Jacks are drag screamers and will make for a great winter day of fishing!

Rooster fish catch and release

Cabara Snapper caught in Panama

Frank Garafalo with Rooster

Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Backcountry Charters He can be reached at 941-628-8040

Dorado with fly rod

Sailfish caught by Steve Boveau







By Capt. Charlie Phillips Water LIFE / Everglades City I want to start off by saying Happy New Year and I hope Santa was good to you. We are so appreciative of all the support thru 2018 and look forward to a bright and shiny 2019 for all. Last year was a challenge for so many in the charter industry as some struggled with hurricanes and others with water issues, so I would urge you to vacation at home in the new year and support a Florida community when you look for something to do on a long weekend. The captains would love to get you on the water, the hotels would love to have you stay the night and the restaurants would love to keep you

fed. We are all only able to do what we do, because of your support; so we thank you and hope to see you this year. Ok, all that said, we are off to an interesting start in 2019 for the fishing in the

Cool Down Comes Early, But Thatʼs OK EMAIL:


Round Key at 10,000 Islands is growing back after Hurricane Irma

10,000 Islands and Everglades National Park. Typically, we don’t really cool down till sometime in the middle of this month, but, in my opinion, we really began early with some big fronts in December. That got us into our winter patterns and species a little earlier than usual, but that’s ok too. Offshore, I have seen some solid catches of red grouper coming off the live bottom areas south of Marco Island. Starting in 40 foot of water and working out, anglers are finding true fire trucks using live and cut baits. In these same areas they are also finding some solid snapper bites with big lane

and mangrove snappers feeding on smaller hooks with the same live and cut baits. Both species will also readily hit a jig worked thru the area. This is how you will find me covering water and finding my targets. Braided line is a huge help in detecting the strike, along with a short, stout, jigging pole. Look for sheepshead on the wrecks and piles of the area this month and target them with live shrimp, or shrimp tipped jigs using enough weight to feel bottom. Bag limits are down now, so don’t forget and update the fish regs app on your phone, or grab a new hard copy to make


sure you are in the know. Inshore, the redfish are still all over the area and will hit almost anything that is thrown at them. Concentrating on the low tides, work the edges of the deeper water areas where these fish will be forced to move to as they wait on water to rise. There are lots of small fish in the mix, which is wonderful to see, so treat them with great care and get them back in the water for next year’s slot. Snook are closed, but you can still find them on the sunny days in the darker bottom areas and thru the creeks and rivers in the back country. This time of year, I like to target them with mostly artificals, like Saltwater Assassin shad-style baits, rigged weedless. It’s lots of fun and extremely effective. Stay safe out there!

Capt. Charlie Phillips 863-517-1829 e-mail: Web:

Estero Bay: JANUARY 2019



Low Tides and High Expectations

By Capt. Joe Angius Water LIFE Estero

The extreme low tides that Southwest Florida experiences throughout the winter months provides anglers with countless opportunities to catch quality fish in high numbers. Our unusual tide fluctuations are influenced by the distance of the Sun and the Moon and wind direction. Generally speaking, the Sun and the Moon place the greatest impact on the gravitational pull that affects the Gulf of Mexico’s tides.

areas and focus on the near shore and pass fishing.

Docks near the channel, deep passes, and near shore reefs will hold a great amount of fish like triple tail, pompano, snapper, sheepshead, cobia, and permit. I’ve had

Another approach to fishing on a low tide is to fish far away from those backwater

why I fish and enjoy taking guests out to share similar experiences. During the month of January this speaks volume as you may not know what type of bait, tide, or weather will get the fish fired up.

To be successful this month, be prepared with different types of baits such as shrimp, mangrove crabs, pilchards, and cut lady fish. Also, remember to present these baits in various ways as well. Don’t be afraid to have a spread of baits free-lined, tipped on a jig head, under a popping cork, or suspended in the water column using a knockerrig. Variety will increase your chances at more frequent bites and potentially bigger fish. The fishing in Estero Bay and Bonita Springs will continue to get better with more fish species moving into our waterways now. For me, the cooler months are always the best to fish. Not only does the fishing pick-up, but the weather is usually perfect with temperatures at or below 80-degrees.

Accompanied by celestial factors effecting tides are weather systems that can either force water out of the shallows (East winds) or push water further into our bays, canals, and rivers (West winds). Last month was a prime example.

Fishing these unique environmental events makes navigating on low tide challenging, but very rewarding, if you can access the deep potholes that are holding an abundance and variety of hungry inshore fish species. But be careful, many boats may have a difficult time reaching the areas that I’m talking about.

Nick Ruby pops the question to Ashley Agard. She said YES!

days where I’m pushing my clients over a mud bar, contemplating life, and thinking of how nice it would be to have more than a foot of water to fish in. Those are the days that I wish I took my own advice and remained near the Gulf to fish. Unpredictability is what always draws me back. It is

If you happen upon a slow bite, you can always just enjoy lunch and a cold beer on the water without breaking a sweat. The fish may have the same mind set, so be patient as you soak your baits under the bushes and along the oyster beds. As fishermen and fisherwoman, it is our responsibility to remain up to date and stay knowledgeable on the current rules and regulations. Enjoy your time on the water and have a Happy New Year! Joe Angius (727)-234-3171

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An Artificial Time Of Year By Capt. David Stephens Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor

It’s starting to look like our winter fishing pattern is in place. We had to deal with some roller coaster weather patterns at the end of last month and a big moon on top of that. It’s all pretty typical in late fall, however, it does make for difficult fishing at times.

One of the biggest complaints I hear this time of year is about the lower tides. My recommendation is, when you’re not catching fish, use these winter lows to do some scouting. It’s a lot easier to locate deeper pot holes during low water versus high water. Then, when the tide rises, follow it into the area and right to where you want to


fish. Just be sure you know when it will turn again, or you could be stuck for few hours or even a few days!

Water temperatures this time of year rarely see the 70-degree mark, so for the most part, over the next couple of months, live shrimp will be your best option; even for the live bait guys. These little crustaceans are universal and are eaten by just about everything that swims.

The options and ways to fish shrimp are endless, I’ll share a couple that work best for me: Probably the most well known is under a popping cork. This technique can be used from fishing the pot holes on the flats, to fishing the mangroves.

When I fish under a popping cork this time of year I prefer to use a jig head. Nothing real heavy, just a 1/8oz will do the trick. I’m often asked about color, and I say it’s up to you, if you have a color preference then just use it.

Another way to fish shrimp that is very effective this time of year is on just a jig head. Depth and current makes the difference in what weight I use. If I’m fishing pot holes on the flats I normally use a 1/8oz. If the water is deeper with a current, your going to want to go heavier 1/4oz.

If any of y’all live-bait guys been wanting to try some artificial - well this is the best time of year to start. There is not a over abundance of bait in the Harbor now, so fish normally are easier to catch on lures this time of year. Since shrimp is the go-to bait this time of year, it would make sense to stay on the pattern. Lures such as a DOA or a Z-Man shrimp work great now.

Another lure that works great this time of year is a small paddle-tail on a jig head. The most important advice I can give you here is to move the bait extremely slow. As for colors, match the water conditions. If your fishing clean, clear water, use a light color. In darker water use a darker color. Just because it’s winter does not mean the fish go hide and don’t bite. You just got to adjust your approach to feeding them.

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


Fis hi n g the To m Ad a m s By Bobby Vitalis Water LIFE From Land This sheepshead was caught at Tom Adam’s Bridge Pier. A good time to go to catch sheepshead is ether early in the morning or late in the evening. This fish was caught from low to high tide. Sheepshead are also a good eating fish. The legal length to keep sheepshead in this area is from 12-inches or over. A good spot to catch sheepshead is from under the Pier, or cast out to the pilings near the bridge. Sometimes you will see the sheepshead swimming around the pilings under the Pier. There are only two best ways really to catch sheepshead. Ether use live shrimp or live fiddler crabs- there is a bait shop across the street! You want to get these baits close to the bottom, since that’s where they are feeding. Sometimes the sheepshead are there and sometimes they are not.




You do not need heavy tackle when fishing for sheepshead. All you need is a good spinning reel and a medium action rod. The type of main line I use is power pro braided line no less than 10-pound test, and, due to their protruding teeth, I would use no less than 25-pound test 100percent fluorocarbon leader line and no more than 2 feet long... and try using hook size 3/0 circle hooks. Also, use egg sinker weights. If you are going to fish under the pier, you do not need much weight. If you are going to cast out to the pilings where

the bridge is, you are going to need just enough weight to get as close to the pilings as you can. At this Pier, the water is looking pretty good (clear), and I do see fish such as mullet and crevalle jack sometimes in the water. So, if you want to go fishing in this area, give Tom Adam’s Bridge Pier a try. Good luck fishing!

Tommy and Raven Ali, with snook and redfish, last month


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Readerʼs Photos



text us ur fish pix - see page 4

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

Hi my name is Matt. Caught this early this morning using a 10-inch green pumpkin worm

Tanner catching jack crevalles off the dock in Cape Coral

Capt Fred Gowdy Bonita Beach tripletail Everglades canals tarpon and bass They call me the legend of the South!!!! Here's two, one I caught last night in 39degree weather monster hog

Karen Andrews, catfish, Myan cichlid and Brianʼs oscar at Everglades National Park

Hi my name is Matt. Here's a pic of a largemouth bass I caught. Thx!



Preston Lampereur from Green Bay WI caught and released this Goliath Grouper. aprox 325-pounds


Jacob and Andrew Hall with a pair of small snook caught in the Everglades on popping corks.


Katie Goodwin with a 14-inch bass in North Port


Vanessa from Newfoundland catching redfish with Capt. Rick Kelley

Chris Dans of Punta Gorda caught this 42 inch 29 pound snook on a Shadalicious soft plastic on Nov. 30

n Jones. His first salt water fish.

Mike Kusmierek, Cape Coral, snook

Kalib Karr, snook

Artist Dale Werner with huge sheepshead caught in Estero Bay with Capt. Barracuda Charters

Emmanuel DeLaCruz and his 34-inch gag grouper with Capt. Paul Lambert

44-inch, 30-pound snook without the tail pinched, West Wall on a MirrOlure. Bruce Quickel.




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


Readerʼs Photos


text us ur fish pix - see page 4

Jim Griffley with a 2 1/2 foot catch and release bonnethead shark. Used shrimp for bait. Great fight on light tackle. Caught 2 miles off Naples beach. Jeremy Richter from Wisconsin Rapids Wi. Caught and released this dandy black tip

Robin Sprague aboard Capt. Bertʼs SeaLady, 30-pound mahi-mahi bull, caught off Key Largo on 11/29 in 629-feet of water in 4- to 5-foot seas!

Luke Englund, rainbow trout, November 20 Guadalupe River Texas.

Forrest, dreaming big! Suellyn Ortiz

Marketa Robinette with a 2 1/2 foot bonnethead shark caught and released in the Everglades using shrimp for bait.

Mike Kusmierek, Cape Coral, snook

Big mangrove, Terry Huffman – Big fight! Terry Huffman, amberjack

Rick Huff on his 30th birthday. A 28.5-inch cobia caught in Charlotte Harbor with Capt. John Baines

Kaden Karr, snook

Gary Glenna with an eater blacktip shark caught off Marco Island with Capt. John Brossard

Chris Griffley with a 5 foot blacktip shark caught in the Everglades using ladyfish for bait. It was caught, tagged and released alive.

Winter Shark New rules coming for shark fishing in SW Florida JANUARY 2019

By Capt. John Brossard Water LIFE Sharkin’ The mosquitoes are about gone and so are the gnats, so how about going land sharking? This is the time of the year to get out on the beach or near your favorite salt water bridges and put out a big rod for big fish.

Dylon Jacobs with a couple sharks caught off land by Marco Bridge and Big Carlos Pass.

It's 6 p.m. on a nice January evening. You are sitting by your favorite bridge and you have a 1/2 jack or a whole catfish on the bottom ....with a big egg sinker to keep it where you want it. Pick Big Marco Bridge, New Pass, Big Carlos Pass or your favorite beach.... maybe Bunch Beach or Sea Gate Beach. These are all good places to go this time of year to hook up to a monster of the deep.


Yes, you might be there for a few hours before the big bite, but when it comes, HOLD ON! As a by-catch, there are big goliath and sawfish to be caught and released also. The action is somewhat slower, but there is the occasional sandbar shark, or

some blacktips.... and the spinner sharks pretty much stay year-round in this area. I normally use baits that will not get bothered by catfish, so as not to have to re-bait every 1/2 hour. Stingray chunk, whole catfish and whole jacks are some of my favorite baits for land fishing. Go out there and try it. Send us some pictures to post and put in the magazine. Open beach shark fishing could become history sooner than you think.


New Regulations Shark Fishing SW FL This is still just a proposal at this time, but it will pass. As of February 2019, from both on land and off a vessel: All protected sharks such as tiger, hammerhead


The regulation also proposes: No more chumming off land and the mandatory use of circle hooks only when targeting sharks.

and lemon sharks are to be kept in the I recommend you release all water at all times your sharks unharmed, for our and be released.... future fishermen, unless they Tim Nagy with a few sharks and they must be in caught off the beach and at New will be kept to eat. As much as Pass Edge the water even we like shark fishing, I hope when being phoour children will fish and like it tographed. just as much and enjoy fishing as we do. No more bringing protected sharks in Happy New Year, everyone! the boat or up on beach. You will have to Capt John Brossard keep protected sharks in the water at all 239-777-9279 times.






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

A pair of nice reds caught by Joe Sheaffer 12/7/2018 Gasparilla Sound

Barbara Fickes PG canal snook

Judy Lynn Jones. Charlotte Harbor Nov. 2018. 27 inches. Released

Matthew Rogers Pearl River NY with grandpa Rich at Punta Gorda. This is Matt's first snook!

David Diggins Charlotte harbor snook

Rick Huff on his 30th birthday. A 28.5-inch cobia caught in Charlotte Harbor with Capt. John Baines

Ian Roberts All artificial All the time North Fort Myers!!

My name is Pete Wagner. I caught this snook at Harbor Heights Park boat ramp on Dec 11. I was using a Storm jerk bait.

Troy Snyder

Brian Hall, nice spotted sea trout

FIRST FISH! Mateo Berlanga, age 5 mangrove snapper



Fish Farts and Watermelon Pushes and Blow Ups

By Fishin’ Frank slick, that is where the smell comes from. Water LIFE Baitshop I would often be running across the This is a sequence of random thoughts flats with people on the boat and turn in as 2018 was a random kind of year. sharply to a shore line and they would Sometimes you run your life, sometimes say, ‘What did you see?’ I would reply, I life runs you. It’s like being in a boat smelled fish farts. going fishing; often we are so consumed If it is an open water area, local knowlwith getting where we want to go that we edge is helpful as I know where the pot don't see what's right there in front of us. holes or depressions are under the water How many fish do we so I can motor run over on the way to to the edge of our fishing spot? where the pot Sometimes when I holes are and am running my boat to cast into that a spot I was pretty group of holes. darn sure the fish were If you are biting at, I see or new to an area, smell something that watch the slick will make me turn, and try to get stop, and start fishing. up wind and as My friend Robert far back from likes sniffing for wait as you can termelon rind or a cast. WD-40 sent in the air. Have you Often, when bait is ever thought bunched up or fish are about chumfeeding on bait fish, ming with fish you can actually smell oil on the flats? it. Well me too! Back to the boat. But I found out Baby goliath grouper in CharWhen I am cruising that was one of FISH PIX! lotte Harbor with Captain Baines along I like to get the Cathy Miller angler. Celebrating my dumber boat up on plane then ideas. I thought my Godsonʼs 30th birthday. So proud of our back off the throttle so Harbor goliath grouper and sawfish coming I often find fish back in a big way the motor slows, but looking for the the boat remains on slight surface plane, then I can scan the shore line for slicks from bait fish or other schooling fish pushing the surface. By that I fish, so with all of that fish smell in the mean....think of when you were in a water it has to work! ALL the fish in the swimming pool and you push your hand world are mine now, ha, ha, ha - a thought just under the surface of the water and with a maniacal laugh. Well, what really you can see the surface swell just a little happens is that the oil makes the surface and it produces waves like a tiny boat of the water like glass. The fish look up wake. So too with fish, and sometimes and bam, there you are and boom, off they blow up. That is when a fish gulps they go. Once that oil went across the surdown a bait fish which is right at the surface those fish hauled butt and they kepface and the fish’s head will breach out of trunning. the water creating a pow or pop kind of Which brings me to my last thought, swirling-sound that is absolutely a fish the calmer and clearer the water the farfeeding. If you see the whole fish jump ther back away from the fish you have to out of the water and belly flop back stay. I can tell you many fish like snook down, that is a mullet, a great eating fish, will not run when they see you, but they but it will not often bite your bait, they darn sure wont bite when they see you. are just there to sell real estate or make We at Fishin’ Franks and Fishin Franks you crazy. II in Fort Myers, hope your 2019 will be Once you see or smell something, it awesome and that you get time to fish and starts to get tricky. First thing is to stop. It enjoy the wondrous place called S.W. Fla. is better not to go from full run to boom Thank you for a really amazing 2018 and shut down, often that will spook fish. watch out 2019, ready or not, here comes So I try to ease the throttle back and Fishin’ Franks, bigger and better than slow down gradually. And I try to keep ever. my eye on what I saw. One other thing; if you smelled watermelon-rind look careFishin’ Franks Bait & Tackle Port Charlotte: 941- 625-3888 fully at the water. If you see a slight oil from Water LIFE magazine

Fort Myers: 239-634-1043



Enroll your 6th or 7th graders in our new


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Havenworth Coastal Conservation

By Tonya Wiley Water LIFE Environment Smalltooth sawfish are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, which makes it illegal to target, harm, harass, or handle them in any way. While it is technically illegal to catch a sawfish (except with a research permit or in a fishery where incidental take has been authorized) captures do occur while fishing for other species, but any sawfish caught while fishing must be released as quickly as possible. The guidelines here were developed to aid anglers in quickly and safely releasing incidentally caught sawfish. These guidelines take into account the safety of both

the endangered sawfish and the angler. Sawfish are large, powerful animals that can cause serious injury, so use caution if you do catch one.

SAILING: 2.4 Meter Races

By Peter Welch Water LIFE Sailing Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club has become the winter home to 2.4 meter sailboat racers from the USA and Canada, Norway and the US Virgin Islands. Over 20 boats were registered to race last month. These are boats designed for disabled sailors. Boat controls are modified based on doctor’s assessments of physical ability related the sailing tasks. The speed potential of the boats are identical, thus finishing position is driven by sailing skill. For tabulations, the racer's worst result is deleted and 6 out of 7 races are counted. Getting a great start and guessing the wind shifts is essential. Race finishes are often very close for first thru third place. The stamina to function at the highest levels for six races determines the finishing order for the top four overall. In series 1, December 4 and 5, 21 boats were registered and 12 completed all 6 races in winds of 10 to 20 knots. The high percentage of non-completions suggests either their previous events had fewer races or that their preparation for this event was flawed. Twenty boats registered for the second series and 17 completed all seven races in winds of 5- to 20-knots. This suggests that the sailors found and repaired the problem components from Series1. When a racer’s scores were adjusted, exclusions Series 1 Top finishers: 1st Dee Smith (USA) 2nd Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) 3rd Allan Leibel (Can) 4th Bruce Millar (Can)




 The number one rule to remember when handling and releasing a sawfish is to leave it in the water at all times. Do not lift it out of the water onto your boat or a pier, and do not drag it on shore.  Never try to remove the saw (rostrum) or injure the animal in any way. Sawfish use their rostrum for detecting and catching food so in addition to being illegal, removal of the rostrum severely limits the animal’s chance to find enough food to survive.  Use extreme caution when handling and releasing sawfish as they can thrash their saw violently from side to side  Never use a gaff or rope to secure a sawfish  Keep the gills, submerged  If it can be done safely, untangle any line wrapped around the saw  Use a de-hooker or cut the line as close to the hook as possible.  If tangled in a vast net, untangle and cut the net, removing as much of it as possible from the animal.  In all instances, release the sawfish quickly. Sawfish are extremely susceptible to entanglement in recreational fishing lines and commercial nets. Mishandling and the purposeful injury or killing of captured sawfish is both illegal and detrimental to the recovery of the population. If you catch or see a sawfish take a quick photograph, estimate its size, note your location, and share the details with scientists. The details of your sightings or catches of sawfish help to monitor the population and track the recovery progress. You can share your information by calling 844-4-SAWFISH (844-472-9347) or emailing Some fishermen have expressed concern that report-

ranged from 3 to 20 points. 2.4 meter racing resumes January 2627, south of Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, in the Peace River.

Series 2: Top finishers 1st Dee Smith (USA) 2nd Bruce Millar (Can) 3rd Tony Pocklington (USA) 4th Bjornar Erikstad (NOR)

photos by: Fran Burstein

Shouldnʼt Do This!


New Regulations say sawfish need to be kept in the water

ing encounters will result in the closure of their favorite fishing locations. However, the smalltooth sawfish is already listed as an endangered species and critical habitat has been designated; neither of these actions has resulted in any closed fishing areas for recreational or commercial anglers. Your encounter reports will be used to track recovery of the population and steer research efforts, which will ultimately benefit the species and the areas in which you fish. Adam Brame, the Sawfish Recovery Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries, points out: “We are confident that NOAA and recreational anglers can work together to recover smalltooth sawfish so future generations can experience the thrill of encountering such a unique animal.” For more information about sawfish visit: or Tonya Wiley, president: 941-201-2685 Tax-deductible donations to help us continue our mission to promote the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources through research, outreach, and education can be made at

Local Sailor Peck to be Honored

Water LIFE report US Sailing picked a fully worthy recipient for their 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award which will be made this month. Dennis Peck started sailing at age 11 and began sail racing at 19. He raced at the national level starting at age 30. He started teaching sailing in 1975. Dennis lives in Port Charlotte with his wife Brenda and together they have made accessible sailing for others a priority. This introduced Dennis to the Martin 16, a sailboat that allowed the teacher to work with a wide scope of students with physical limitations. From 1996 thru 2004 Dennis went to boat shows to speak about and demonstrate accessible sailing. Then around 2009 he moved to the 2.4M boat, which has now become the predominant accessible racing boat in the world. Dennis also devotes time to a summer sailing school for kids. Dennis says the Martin 16: “...was designed so disabled sailors could sail by themselves and be free of the bond of the wheel chair. It is adaptable to electronic aids that allow high level quads that can travel alone in wheel chairs to sail.” Dennis added “We have taught some from 5 to 83 years old. Also those with no mobility from the neck down. Most are para and quad level. Also blind and mentally challenged. It has opened a new life for them and for me. At 2.4 M races you will see wheel chairs, and prosthetics left on the dock while their owners are free to race and enjoy an adventure on the water.”


The Year in Review Top 10 Stories of 2018

On the Line

Commentary by Capt. Ron Blago Water LIFE Senior Staff At the end of every year I go through my note books and find the 10 news stories I personally think were the most interesting. Last year was a special year in Florida; we now have a new governor and a new senator, but unfortunately we still have the same old problems. Here's my list and some accompanying factoids: 10 - Baby It's cold out there. In 2018 we started out with a severe cold snap throughout the country. On January 18 there was snow in every state in the union including Hawaii. That same day, the temperature outside my house in Englewood was 32 degrees. Cold weather killed 30 manatees in 2018. It's even cold outside as I write this article. I think I'll stay inside and curl up with a good book, like the latest report from the UN on Climate Change. 9 - Mosaic Mining the biggest phosphate mining company in the world is working with Mote Marine to see if special clay (phosphate mining waste) when dumped in our local waterways, will kill Red Tide. I bet it does... plus everything else that lives in the water. This vital research; partially funded by Mosaic, may be unnecessary since Mosaic is ready to start mining in the Horse Creek watershed which flows into the Peace River, which in-turn empties into Charlotte Harbor. We could all find out first hand, and the hard way, if fertilizer waste encourages the growth of Red Tide. Factoid – the annual salary of the Governor of Florida is $130,000; the Sarasota County Administrator makes $185,000 and the CEO of non profit Mote Marine rakes in $286,000. 8 - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission went through a lot of changes last year. Gov. Scott gave 6 of the 7 commissioners their walking papers and appointed new



Plan that the DEP has deferred permitting to Charlotte County. 4- The Fisheries Restaurant is closed permanently. I have a lot of good memories about that place with its Old Florida Charm. Grouper sandwiches, mullet spread, and Key Lime cheese cake will all be missed. The whole marina was

ones as replacements for 5 year terms. The new people on the board have some strange ideas about saltwater fishing for example: They want to ban shark fishing from all public beaches. Several of the commissioners are proposing an idea to ban all fishing from public beaches. I wonder what's going to happen to all the Kids Beach Fishing events run by both Sarasota and Charlotte Counties? 7 - Florida voters approved an amendment to the State Constitution to outlaw offshore oil drilling in State waters. I thought we already had laws on the books to take care of that problem. Is it just me or The top of of Charlotte Harbor was Red Tide Free all Summer does it seem like we have but a general water panic kept business slow here too more amendments than Constitution? sold. The boats and the shops are gone; 6 - Mote Marine is building a $130 they call it progress. million dollar facility in Sarasota County 3- The Harbor Walkway project is at Benderson Park. The county has let nearing completion ; the concrete walkMote lease 22 acres of the park for $100 way along and under the US 41 Peace per year. The county and Mote are exRiver Bridge is ready to open, this will pecting to have 700,000 visitors a year at include a new fishing pier. All they are the new facility. Mote would like Sarawaiting on is the repair of Hurricane Irma sota to donate $20 million dollars to get damage to the park where the walkway things going on the project. At least they can count on the large visitor overflow from the World Class Rowing Facility located next door. It's really, really good to be a non-profit. Factoid- The top 1% of taxpayers pay 37.3% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% of the population pay no income tax at all. This soak the rich plan really seems to be working. 5- The Sunseeker Resort project seems to be stalled. The story going around the last MAC meeting is that the County has issued a permit to them to remove 10,500 square yards of shoreline mangroves for the project. Some folks called the FL DEP to find out how this is possible and were told that because Charlotte County has a Manatee Protection


terminates. Charlotte County now has 12 public boat ramps and 10 fishing piers. Factoid- The largest company in Florida is PUBLIX with revenue of $34 billion dollars last year. 2 - It's been bad year for manatees, so far this year there have been 804 dead manatees reported, a little shy of a record 830 in 2013. The last aerial survey of 2018 saw 6131 manatees so the FWC is using computer models to estimate the total manatee population in Florida; their best guess now is the total population is between 7,520 and 10,280. It is my hope that the FWC will finally muster the courage to follow the Federal Government's lead, and remove the manatee from State endangered species list. 1- The big story last year had to be Red Tide. Let's look at what it cost us. 209 dead manatees, 74 dead dolphins, over 300 dead turtles and over a billion dollars in lost tourist and business revenue. The State estimates that over 267 tons of dead fish were removed from just the public beaches. Right now the FWC cannot find any meaningful levels of Red Tide in our area. Is it really gone or is it just hiding somewhere offshore, ready to strike again? What causes it, can we predict it, can we control it, can we kill it ? These are the questions I asked Mote Marine back in 1980. I'm still waiting for an answer.






Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

TOURNAMENT MONITORING All Atlantic highly migratory species tournament operators will be required to submit an HMS tournament catch summary report within 7 days after tournament fishing has ended. An Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) tournament is a tournament that awards points or prizes for catching Atlantic highly migratory species (i.e., swordfish, billfish, sharks and/or tunas). NOAA Fisheries uses the data to estimate the total annual catch of highly migratory species and the impact of tournament operations in relation to other types of fishing activities.

CATCH STATS Fishing and seafood consumption in the United States increased, with landings and value of U.S. fisheries continuing a strong, positive trend. Across the nation, American fishermen landed 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, while the U.S. imported 5.9 billion pounds of seafood, up 1.6 percent. The landed fish and shellfish represents an increase of 344 million pounds (3.6 percent) from the year before. The value of the landings also increased to $5.4 billion, up $110 million (2.1 percent). Overall, the highest value U.S. commercial species were salmon ($688 million), crabs ($610 million), lobsters ($594 million), shrimp ($531 million), scallops ($512 million), and Alaska pollock ($413 million). By volume, the nationʼs largest commercial fishery remains Alaska pollock, which had near record landings of 3.4 billion pounds (up 1 percent). SALTWATER REMAINS POPULAR Recreational fishing remains a key contributor to the national economy, with 202 million marine fishing trips taken. The top six recreational U.S. species ranked by harvested weight were striped bass, bluefish, red snapper, sheepshead, yellowfin tuna, and red drum.

Staff will report back to the Commission at the February meeting for final review.

THREE DUCES FWC investigators were dispatched to a hit and run boating collision involving two vessels on Lake Rousseau. The occupants on the striking vessel were ejected from their vessel and It looks like someone was taking shallow bottom samples in the one of the occuPeace River above the SR-761 Bridge, last month, but what we really pants in the other need is deep bottom sampling, so we know whatʼs down there. If you vessel was injured can shed any light on who and what is happening here, please conby the impact. The tact us at: two subjects who were ejected swam that will benefit from the new species back to their vessel and fled from the guidelines. scene leaving the victimʼs vessel with a two-foot long hole just above the waterHARBORVIEW The Florida Department line. As the victimʼs vessel headed back of Transportation District One began a Project Development and Environment study in April 2017 to evaluate widening Harborview Road from two to four lanes between Melbourne Street and I-75 in Charlotte County. FDOT has scheduled a tentative Public Hearing for this study on February 5, 2019 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center.

RED SNAPPER CHANGES At its December meeting in St. Augustine, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission directed staff to proceed This is the first edition of the FWCʼs Wildlife with a proposal that would set Floridas magazine from June 1947. They talk the 2019 Gulf red snapper GATOR BAITORS Officers on foot about conservation and education and depatrol conducting surveillance on a clining fish populations. All the editions are recreational season. Under the pond containing an American alligaonline at current draft proposal, the Gulf season would be open June 11 The new Harbor Walk section along the US-41 Bridge in Port tor saw evidence of bait being used to cations/florida-wildlife-magazine/ through July 12, with a possible Charlotte seems to have survived the December storm. The entice alligators on the waterʼs edge. walkway will apparently not open until the damage from Hur- The officers saw numerous vehicles fall reopening if quota is availNOT THE HOLLYWOOD OSCARS ricane Irma in 2017 is repaired at the park where it ends. able. This season would apply approach the pond during the early A report we recently received said oscars to those fishing from private morning hours and they saw six indihave pushed the bluegill out, in all the recreational vessels in state and federal to the boat ramp they saw the vessel that viduals use lights in a manner capable of freshwater canals south of US-41, going waters and to charter vessels that do not struck them and went towards them. The disclosing the presence of an alligator in across the old Alligator Alley. operator grounded the vessel and fled on have a federal reef fish permit and are the pond. The six subjects then were oblimited to fishing in State waters only. foot. It was determined the striking vessel served attempting to take the alligator by was stolen. A search for the occumeans of bow and arrow and fishing rods pant(s) was launched and a Citrus and reels equipped with hooks and reCounty Sheriffʼs detective was able to straining lines. They were arrested. End locate the individual. The subject was of story! arrested and cited for two felony counts, two misdemeanors and two NO BIG LOSS Harpoon Harrys, the UBCs. Punta Gorda restaurant known for its stunning waterfront views and less than SPECIES MANAGEMENT mediocre food, has sued their landlord, Last month the Florida Fish and Fishermenʼs Village, in a dispute over veWildlife Conservation Commission aphicle access, after cars were restricted proved Species Conservation Measfrom the wharf during certain hours. ures and Permitting Guidelines for 9 of Unfortunately, the restaurantʼs lease was the more than 50 species in the up for renewal at the time they filed their agencyʼs Imperiled Species Managelawsuit. The landlord raised their rent and ment Plan. The Florida bog frog, crystal the tennants refused to sign. ʻTechnidarter, Shermanʼs short-tailed shrew, cally, they are squatters on the property, Georgia blind salamander, Southern now that the old lease has run out,” a tessellated darter and four species of local lawyer told us, adding: “Someone wading birds including the little blue over there at the restaurant didnʼt think heron, tricolored heron, reddish egret this through very well.” and roseate spoonbill are the creatures



Buying a Yak? ... think about transporting it


port their kayak to the water. When you don’t make it as easy as possible you don’t get out and enjoy the water as much. You By Ryan Nowakowski might eventually wind up putting that Water LIFE Paddle Sports kayak up for sale when it’s viewed as too Kayaking in southwest Florida is a much of a hassle. staple for many visitors and a valued Kayaks can weigh anywhere from 25 to part of life for its residents. It’s a great 150 pounds. There are many ways availway to experience the different areas able to transport a kayak including: roof that make this one of the most visited racks, hitch extenders, carts, and trailers. places in the world. The water offers so Devices to help transport your kayak will much and kayaking is one of the best range in price from $150 and up. ways to take advantage of it. A kayak can extend forward or backward on a One of the tricks I like to pass on to smaller vehicle, or stick out the back with a When people come to buy a kayak I new kayakers about loading a kayak single support on a trailer hitch (bottom) go through a series of questions that handed is to get a bath mat, the kind Middle: Marcus and the Hullavator lift everyone should answer for themthat’s rubber on one side and soft on selves: “How experienced are you the other. Put the mat, rubber side on the water?” “Where would you down, on the trunk, or hood of your like to go with your kayak?” car (depending on which way you “Where are you going to store it?” want to load it). Then lift one end of To find the ideal kayak all of those the kayak from the ground and rest questions need answered, but an it on the mat. Go around the other important and often overlooked end of the kayak and slide the kayak question you should be considering up on the mat and on up to the roof when you buy a kayak is “How rack. You’ll be able to angle it on will you transport your kayak?” and secure it from there. The worst thing that you can do Another option for getting a kayak when buying a kayak is not take into onto the roof is the Hullavator (see midconsideration how you will be getting dle photo), a device that levels and lifts your kayak from point A on land to the the kayak up to the roof rack. There are water at point B. It can make or break usually several options that will fit any your whole experience and more imporsituation, all you have to do is ask. There tantly, it can prevent you from wanting are so many places to go, the easier you make transporting a to get back out on the water time and time again. kayak, the more likely you are to do it again. For people living right on the water, this aspect of kayaking Ryan is owner of Silent Sports Outfitters in Nokomis 941-966-9477 isn’t as big of a deal. Everyone else, however, needs to trans-


FI fr











PI m








Capt. John Brossard with a big Jack caught in Port of the Islands, on a Rattle-Trap.

Capt. Chris Turner put Ross on this hog of a redfish in Gordonʼs Pass last month. It was caught and released.

Kayak Fishing


from Water LIFE magazine

Dec. 5, Scott Hill, snook, east side Charlotte Harbor from a kayak on Gulp jig. Released unharmed.


from Water LIFE magazine

Gulf Coast Kayak guide Mike L 30" Bull Redfish during The 15th Calusa Blueway Slam Kayak Tournament.


from Water LIFE magazine

Chad Roy, 33" snook, Caught while kayak fishing at Punta Rassa.






January – Predictions and Suggestions Charlotte Harbor Frank at Fishin’ Franks 941-625-3888

BackBay Xtremes Capt Dave Stephens



Fish with a Guide


from Water LIFE magazine

Nick Lorden 30-pound black drum

Youʼll learn something and youʼll catch more fish!

Mark R Stryde 26-inch snook caught in Bokeelia on chicken on a chain paddle tail


from Water LIFE magazine

Snook continues to dominate the fishing here. I’ve seen more pictures of big snook in the last three weeks than ever. I’m also hearing less about smaller snook, now it’s 35-to 40-inch snook in the canals, the Peace River, the Myakka.... in any back area, come after-noontime, them old big snook are looking to eat. Sheepshead are doing so well fiddler crabs are in high demand all over the State. Ski Alley and up by the Lemon Bay (Tom Adams) Bridge for the big ones, inside of Captiva Pass, off the Phosphate Docks, all the spots have nice fish. They are scattered on mangrove shorelines and will spawn soon. There are silver trout up the River to the power lines, but nobody goes up there for them. Look at the flat between Colony and Ponce Park; it usually holds redfish and trout, but everyone just drives by on the way to fish somewhere else. There are fish there, but no one is talking about it. Sea Trout have been larger up River, but more plentiful in Gasparilla and Pine Island Sound and on the east side of Charlotte Harbor. In Bull Bay, up past the fish shack, to the left, there has been a bunch of trout where it deepens to 5 feet. East Side, West Side, all around the town: big giant monster redfish have been in the ICW, at Cayo Costa and behind Gasparilla, if there is a dock, big reds will be there. Not a lot of keeper reds up in the Harbor, just middle slot down. Tripletail are good from Venice south along the coast. Watch for floating debris. It doesn’t take much to attract tripletail. Look for them in the Harbor now, too. Grouper: Punta Rassa, Captiva all over, out front, the cool water has brought the gags in really close. Snapper, grunt

and all the other grocery fish.... it’s a banner year on all that stuff. The wind is your only worry. In freshwater, the crappie fishermen are going crazy, it’s a really good year, everywhere, for crappie.

Lemon Bay, Placida, Gasparilla Sound Jim at Fishermen’s Edge 941-697-7595

The water is clear and there has been no red tide. Fishing has been pretty good around the piers. All the guys are going out to catch sheepshead now. Guys catching an occasional redfish and snook around there too, before the sun gets high. It’s been better for snook on Placida and better on El Jo for snook. We caught 4 keepers yesterday morning and one that was almost 40- inches, using a jig with a root beer shrimp tail. I like the Haw River lure in smoke or root beer. I’ve sold that lure for 20 years, maybe longer. Out in the Bay it’s been really good. One of the guides, fishing a jig with a minnow tail, showed me pictures of redfish, snook and really nice trout. Lot of ladyfish in the back country and the usual winter jacks too. Lot of baby tarpon in all the creeks and all the ponds. A white hair jig seems to be the best - almost like a crappie jig, for taking tiny tarpon. Most are like 15-inches, but some are bigger. Offshore, when guys get out, they are getting decent red grouper, gags, lane, mangrove and yellowtail. Some guys getting into tripletail, but there are not as many crab pots on the water - with red tide, a lot of guys didn’t put their pots in yet this year, so you have to look. There have been a few cobia here and there, the last week it was so windy no one could get out so I’m not really sure. Some guys are catching bass in South Gulf Cove in the cattails or reeds - same in Rotonda.

Englewood Bait House

Head Boat Offshore Fishing Info: 941- 475-4511 live shrimp etc


The BIG-4 SHEEPSHEAD Under the trestles, piers and docks

Text Us Ur Fish Pix! see page 4




Fish you can expect in

GAG GROUPER In close now, try the nearshore reefs

SNOOK Canals and creeks. Fish the River, after noon


TROUT Bull and Turtle Bay. Pine Island Sound too

Nearshore and inshore water temps are mid 60s Fishing has been very good Red Tide is gone (for now)

95˚ 90˚ 85˚


from Water LIFE magazine

Josh Slawkin with a catch and release large stingray caught on mullet 1 mile out of Doctors Pass in Naples



30 pound black drum caught under the Matalacha Bridge using red rockport rattler jig head and white and chartreuse Gulp shrimp

75˚ 72˚ 70˚ 68˚

from Water LIFE magazine


from Water LIFE magazine

Brendan Cronin age 11, speared this AJ off a wreck in 70-feet off Ft Myers. He got lucky, and stoned it!


from Water LIFE magazine

Jess, over slot 38-inch catch and release snook in Charlotte Harbor, on artificial.

Venice, X-mas morning. 14 fish total with a 5 fish bag weight of 25 lbs. 6 oz. ... and with daily total 41-pounds 2-ounces by 8:30 am. Thanks Santa! Michael Clifford


from Water LIFE magazine

Ron Smits from Green Bay Wi. holding 75 year old Dick Czech' s Goliath Grouper. Dicks from Pine Island. Aprox 350 lbs .


from Water LIFE magazine


from Water LIFE magazine


from Water LIFE magazine

Matt Karr snook 32 inch

This spot is reserved for the last picture we receive before going to press every month

Cody and Jess, live bait, Jess with 20inch sheepshead. Charlotte Harbor.

50˚ 45˚







Water LIFE January 2019