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W a t e r LIFE Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay Florida

Keeping Boaters and Fishermen Informed

$$$ Tournament


July 2006

Tournament Profits Page 3

New House Progress

Page 14

IGFA Junior Angler World Championship

Shark Stingray Sailcat

Severe Weather Challenge

Page 16

Burnt Store Couples Tournament

Page 7

More Manatee Misinformation Page 27

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w w w. C H A R L O T T E H A R B O R M A G A Z I N E . C O M




Water LIFE


July 2006

July 2006

Eye Opener:

Water LIFE



To u r n a m e n t s a s a P r o f i t a b l e B u s i n e s s

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Editor A local professional tournament organizer is putting on his own kid’s tournament in August. The event has nothing to do with us or our Water LIFE Kids Cup tournament, although the similarity and the common use of the term ‘Junior Angler’ appears to be confusing to some people in the community. His tournament is strictly a ‘for profit’ event. “I’m in the tournament business to make money,” he told me when I asked him about the event. “We’re going to give away trophies, tackle and savings bonds as prizes for the kids and I am setting up a $1200 scholarship fund at the high school,” he said. Lots of businesses make money off of kids. The toy industry wouldn’t exist if people didn't make a living off of kids nor would the restaurants that cater to the kid crowd. I’d still like to see all the profits from every kid-driven event go back to helping the kids in the community. And I don’t like the idea of a dollar pay out for kids, even if it is in the form of a savings bond. “A payout to young anglers might endanger their amateur standing since they are competing in an event that awards monetary prizes,” one local fisherman observed. But more importantly, money puts the emphasis on winning instead of on having fun. When anglers fish any for-profit tourna-

ments they are supporting the organizer, another angler pointed out. But is there anything wrong with that? Tournaments are a business and tournaments are big business in southwest Florida. Lately there have been rumors that both the county and the state are considering licensing fishing tournaments in an effort to regulate the number of events or possibly to tax the income. “I wonder how many anglers who fish in a tournament give thought to all the money that moves around,” an angling friend pointed out at dinner the other night. So we took the Kids Cup and ran some numbers out on a napkin. KIDS CUP INCOME 125 anglers @ $100 4 $2500 sponsorships 4 $1000 sponsorships 15 $100 sponsorships Income $28, 000

$12,500 $10000 $4000 $1500

KIDS CUP EXPENSES Hats $1750 T-shirts $1000 Tournament shirts $500 IGFA Memberships $1700 Dinners $1500 Trophies $ 600 Mail, Postage, Printing $1000 Other Expenses $1800 Expenses $9850

Ki ds Cup Profi t $18, 150 (With the Kids Cup, the profit goes to the Don Ball School of Fishing which teaches about fishing and the environment to 7th graders in five of the local middle schools.) Then we did some more math. What if we took a forprofit pro- tournament with 125 boats that charged a $400 per boat entry fee? That’s $50,000 coming in per event. Then deduct the regular expenses, and take out money for cash payouts. (say $25,000 at each event) Now calculate that out for five events a year and then add in additional income from, say, T.V. sponsors. A savvy tournament organizer could make serious money. Like anything else, in the tournament business it takes time and work to make it all happen, but the local community benefits from fishing in several ways. Local tournament organizer Jerry Cleffi helps Port Charlotte and Charlotte High tournaments raise $15,000 each for school programs ... he helped us with our Kids Cup event this year, but something about the idea of an adult, any adult, even Jerry, profiting from


a kids Add up the number of contestants, fish- multiply by the entry fee, factor in ing some big sponsors and youʼre looking at more than fish moving around in tour-

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local tournaments.

Water LIFE

Page 4

July 2006


Letters and e-mail to Water LIFE Magazine

S ub j e c t : P o l i t i c a l Bul l s hi t I couldn't believe my eyes when I read your comment about "liberal know it alls " in your editorial about unsportsmanlike conduct. I take it you are a right wing neocon who can't separate his politics from an event so fantastic as the Kids Cup. The short sightedness of the County's Visitors Bureau and the lack of support from your competitor seems to elude you. I did a 4 page spread several years ago for you when you worked for the competitor who now fails to cooperate with you. I was a contributor there myself for eight years, but have recently turned free lance, meaning I now get paid for my stuff. It also means I no longer get get printed in your competitor's paper. I took my daughter bass fishing in the glades when she was 8, gave her her first spinning outfit when she was 10. She can outfish most of my male friends. If you are looking for

support, don't antagonize those who would have sympathized with you if you hadn't needlessly and stupidly inserted a political comment that had no bearing on the article. I remember when you first got here and wrote an article about killing a harmless black snake. I should have known then. Geo rg e Mi ndl i ng , a liberal in Port Charlotte Editor replies: A wise pundit observ ed: The only difference between a liberal and a conserv ativ e is the liberal hasn’t been mugged y et.

Subject: Po tenti al Fees fo r bo at l aunchi ng at Lai s hl ey and Po nce Parks During the City Council meeting last Wednesday the subject of possibly charging for the use of the boat ramps at both Laishley and Ponce Parks came up for consideration. Council directed staff to research Charlotte County, and other city's, policies regarding charges for this service.

The primary argument for such a fee was that there is an understanding that the majority of boats being launched are from out-ortown, and perhaps out-ofcounty owners. I have taken a position against such a charge, however, I am currently in the minority. My concern is that both city and county taxpayers will have paid for the park and should not be again charged for its use. I have also been informed that there may be some CC-MAC concerns related to grants from their committee in support of Laishley Park and then charges by the city. You may wish to ponder this question. It is my understanding that Charlotte County does charge a fee, however, I also understand that the fees do not yield the amount estimated by the county staff and that it cost a great deal to administer i.e., pay for attendants salaries etc. Please do not let the position I have taken influence your independent thinking. It is the

independent thinking of your members that brings value to the issues you consider. Dav i d Phel en Co unci l man, Di s tri ct 5

Sno o k Po achers Just thought I'd pass along some unfortunate info. I just returned from what was to be a relaxing day of beach snook fishing, which started great, and ended badly. I was fishing one of the state park beaches on Gasparilla Island (Boca Grande). I had a few shots at some nice snook (none caught), and surprisingly caught a half dozen baby grouper on a white Clouser fly. All was good. But, as I exited the beach near the public restrooms, I came across a bucket full of filleted snook carcasses. The snook poachers were so brazen as to rub their crime in the faces of law enforcement officials and law abiding sportsmen. I notified the FWC and state park rangers. The poaching took place sometime prior to 8:00

am on Friday 06/23. If anyone has any info, please contact the proper authorities. Let's hope for an arrest and conviction of these wildlife criminals before any more of our resources are stolen. Sincerely, Dav i d Ko hl man

Scal l o ps I've heard that there is good shallow water scallop harvesting in these waters. . . Is it true? When? Where? Ken Ro ul eau

Ken. . . unfortunately, there is no scallop harvesting south of Tampa. Our waters have been closed to ‘scalloping’ for years. In fact the only area that currently supports harvesting is the area from the PascoHernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. Scallop season in that area begins July 1 and will run through September 10th. Look at the link to the Florida Fish and Wildlife C o n s e r v a t i o n


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WRITE US! e-mail (preferred) Regular MAIL: 217 Bangsberg Rd. Port Charlotte, FL 33952

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 Kayaks: David Allen Local: Capt. Andrew Medina Tournament Report: Capt Jerry Cleffi Sea Grant: Betty Staugler

on the COVER:

Ricky Stewart bagged this nice mutton snapper as part of his catch in the IGFA Junior Angler World Championship last month. More inside.

on our WEBSITE:

Tide Graphs: For local waters

Weather: Links to all of our favorite sites.

Back editions: Pages of previous editions Artificial Reefs: Lat. and Long local 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 real estate advertisers

July 2006


Water LIFE


Page 5

What are they trying to tell us?

One of the local seagrass monitoring areas is at the back of Turtle Bay, as seen in this pre ʻCharleyʼ photo. How the hurricane affected grass in this area is not clear.

By Betty S taugl er Water LIFE / Sea Grant Seagrasses are flowering plants that grow underwater in marine and estuarine environments. In addition to flowers and their seeds, seagrasses, like plants on land, have roots and leaves that do different jobs for the plant... that is, the roots access nutrients buried in the sediment, while the leaves photosynthesize (convert sunlight to energy). Having roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds makes seagrasses (and their freshwater cousins) different from algae. Light is an important factor effecting the distribution and abundance of seagrasses. In the same way that smog or clouds affect the amount of light available for plants on land, colored or cloudy water can limit the amount of light available to seagrasses. Water green with phytoplankton (free-floating, microscopic algae) can also reduce light that reaches the bottom, reducing water clarity and compromising seagrass photosynthesis. Seagrasses -- as well as fish, crabs, and nearly all other organisms that live in estuaries -- are also affected by salinity. In Charlotte Harbor, one seagrass species is found only near Boca Grande Pass, where salinity is high. On the other hand, another species of seagrass is more tolerant

of freshwater, and frequent changes in salinity. Water clarity and salinity are naturally variable in all estuaries around the world, including Charlotte Harbor. These variable conditions are often magnified in un-natural ways, ultimately impacting seagrasses.

So how can we tell if our seagrass resource is changing?

Seagrasses in Charlotte Harbor are monitored in two ways. Since 1982, SWFWMD has conducted aerial surveys to determine seagrass acreage within Charlotte Harbor. This is accomplished by taking photographs from an airplane flying at a known elevation, and then identifying regions of seagrass coverage in each image. In this way, researchers can estimate seagrass resources across a very large area in a short amount of time. The conclusion of this ongoing program is that the distribution of seagrasses across Charlotte Harbor seems to be stable, if not declining at a slow rate. However, while maps from aerial photographs may be describing the locations where seagrasses are growing, they are less accurate at describing how much seagrass is growing at a particular location. In contrast, a monitoring program conducted by the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic

Preserves (CHAP) describes both where seagrasses grow, and how much seagrass is there. Twenty-six permanent underwater transects have been monitored annually in upper Charlotte Harbor since 1999. Think of a transect as a road with between 5 and 15 locations spaced along its length. Each year, staff from the CHAP return to these precise locations – several hundred throughout Charlotte Harbor, Gasparilla Sound, Lemon Bay, and elsewhere -- by getting in the water, with dive masks near the bottom, to estimate how much seagrass is present. An analysis of the transect data recently completed by the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC), CHAP, and SWFWMD indicated a ‘significant decrease’ (Used this way, ‘significant decrease’ means saying, with confidence, seagrass resources are declining at these precise locations.) in seagrass abundance (amount of seagrass at locations along each transect) as well as a decrease in seagrass distribution (seagrass found in fewer places) along many of the transects in the study area. This is in contrast to the conclusion reached when analyzing maps alone, that seagrass resources seem fairly stable. Of course, in a variable environment such as our estuary, it is important to consider the impacts of water clarity and salin-

ity on seagrasses. Hence, the same transect analysis report, included the suggestion that seagrasses in Charlotte Harbor are affected by water clarity, salinity, and nitrogen, components of water quality which the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program has identified may be changing for the worse. The purpose of long-term resource monitoring programs such as the two described is to detect changes in the environment. Once detected, research into the causes of the change must be conducted, so that solutions may be identified. Being able to analyze both seagrass datasets together will be an important step in this process. Analysis of the CHAP transect data has shown us where seagrasses are stable, and where they are in decline. When combined with maps that suggest stable or possible decline in seagrasses, we can say with more confidence where, and by how much, our seagrasses are changing across the region. Source: Seagrass Transect Data Summary and Analysis From a Six Year Period: 1999-2004, CHEC (May 2006), and Jason Hale, CHEC. Betty Staugler is the Florida Sea Grant Agent for Charlotte County. You can reach her at 941-764-4346.

Page 6

Water LIFE


July 2006

Water LIFE

July 2006

Sixth Annual Couples Tournament at Burnt Store MAGAZINE

Wat er LIFE S t aff R eport One hundred and thirty couples fished in the 6th Annual Burnt Store Couples Tournament, last month. Sixty of them brought in fish. Fishing was apparently tough that day or people weren’t really trying that hard and concentrating instead on having a nice time on the water. The targeted species were one redfish and two snapper. Redfish, if you’ve been out on the water lately, have not really been cooperative, at least not the big ones and snapper, well how many redfish anglers are snapper hunters as well? The combination of the two species proved to be elusive for a large number of teams. There were 8 redfish in the 6-pound slot, 6 in the 5-pound slot and the rest were 4-pounds and under. Everyone got a blanket 3-pounds for the first snapper weighed in and then the actual weight of their second snapper came into play. The biggest second snapper weighed in was Larry Schwell’s 2.16 pounder, then there were 18 snappers in the one pound range and a bunch smaller than that. The names on the top of the prize money list were not the normal names that appear time after time at the top of the list in other local tournaments. Teddy Teter took first place for $1,500. Kerry Trotter 2nd Place for $1,000. Paul Lambert the first fisherman I know, took third for $700 with a 6.84 pound red, the biggest on the leader board and then came another unknown; Owen Gorman for $500 in fourth. Jamie Reynoso had the largest snapper and Coleen Trotter the biggest red. In all, $7,000 was paid out in prizes. “The food was great, the restaurant was packed and everyone had a great time,” harbormaster and tournament organizer Don Thompson said. photos by

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Lots of couples, lots of fun and a bunch of nice fish...even the fiberglass redfish Bruce Laishley is holding up , below, is a nice specimen!

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30' Luhrs Alura 1988 -S/220hp Cummins Diesel. New 2001, VHF, depth, fish finder. Loran, GPS, 2 batts, fresh bottom paint, original owner. $29,900

28' Scout Abaco 2004 - T/225hp Yamaha 4 strokes, very low hours, like new. Asking $95,000.

28' Prokat Prosports CC 2003 - T/225 Yamaha 4strokes, only 227 hrs., fully rigged for offshore fishing. Tri-axle trailer included. Asking $84,900

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25' Proline WA Cuddy 1998 -225hp Mercury EFI. Clean boat, lift stored. Asking $28,500

25' Carolina Classic 1997 - 300 hp Volvo Duoprop, clean boat thats ready to fish! $46,900

Page 8

Water LIFE


July 2006

July 2006

Water LIFE

Night Snook Secrets

Capt Chuck Eichner and Austin Dominguez with a nice night time snook that came after midnight.

By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Fishing is an addictive sport that is not confined to daylight hours only. Often I lie awake at night analyzing where I will fish the next day or perhaps anticipate the experience of an upcoming trip. This same addiction leads me into the night to fish and there is no better time than now to stalk snook in the dark. Fishing in the dark is less complicated in many ways than day time fishing. First, the easiest and safest places to fish are in canals. The only other night fishing I do is at Boca Grande Pass and that is far from easy and has its own set of hazards. Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and Englewood have hundreds of miles of canals. They hold huge numbers of snook and they’re sizes range from medium to monsters. This fishing is really not all that hard once you know a few basics. The key to successful fishing is to have live whitebait, mullet or ladyfish or fresh cut bait from mullet, sardines, ladyfish or even hardhead catfish. Here are my two approaches to night fishing for snook. Method one is the aggressive approach where I cast a lively pilchard, sardine or threadfin to pier pilings, mangrove overhangs, seawalls, rip rap or private snook lights. Mostly I rig a 2/0 Owner bait hook with 40 pound leader on 30# Power Pro line on medium saltwater tackle. Using a trolling motor I slowly move down a canal pitching to these targets. The lights from adjacent homes and docks allows you to see to cast and when a snook inhales your bait you will feel a sharp bang on your line and then it’s time to set the hook. Overhanging snook lights are easy targets and often you will see fish under the light. The latest rage is a submerged underwater snook light that casts a radiant green glow. It attracts snook and tarpon like a magnet. They are locally produced by Big Fish Partners and you can

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get more information at I have one myself and on some nights count 50 fish on the light. Interestingly, there is a county regulation on the books that states you cannot take a fish from an underwater light. I don’t know exactly what this means, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Editor Notes: This is TRUE Method 2 is the relaxation method. Snook will eat off the bottom and can be scavengers. A fresh piece of cut bait on the bottom will attract snook. Use a mullet head and step on it to loosen up the juicesthis bait is hard to beat. The other cut baits previously mentioned will also work. I like to anchor the boat where there is a confluence of 2 or more canals or near the mouth of a canal where there is good current flow. Rig 2 rods with 7/0 circle hooks with 50# leader, stout tackle and a light weight to keep it stationary. Stout tackle is required because the chance for a big boy is real and you will need stopping power. Sharks and rays frequent canals and may also bless your line. The biggest snook are often caught at night. The simple rule is big bait- big fish. Rig a whole live ladyfish or mullet and cast him out on the bottom with sufficient weight to keep him from wandering too far. A 9/0 circle hook is about right. You will not have a problem with junk fish messing with your bait. When you get a fish to chew on a big bait your adrenaline with be cooking. It’s best to give him a little line to eat it and then real tight allowing the circle hook to do its job. Occasionally, the big bait- big fish rule is broken and on a recent outing 18 year old Austin Dominguez from Mt. Airy Maryland had his hands full with a 30 pound plus snook that ate a medium pilchard. To say landing this fish was an event would be an understatement. The

fish was hooked near pilings on a light tackle set up- a St. Croix 7’ TS70MM rod with 20-pound Power Pro on a Shimano Stradic 2500FH with 30-pound leader. A raging aerial battle, criss-crossing of pilings and drag burning for nearly 10 minutes ensued but the monster was landed. A tribute to Austin’s fishing skills and this was after landing 2 small tarpon. By the way tarpon are a standard by-catch when night snookin’. What a wonderful thing

that is. There are a few tips that I have found make night fishing more enjoyable. Use a chart plotter from your launch site to where you fish and get there just before dark after catching your bait. Your ride back will be a breeze following your track. For the fishing part, turn your depth finder back-light on and use to illuminate lines for tying on rigs. Keep a flashlight handy for showing the way to land and de-hook the fish. Bug repellent is a must but a nice trade-off to the cool night air. Canals attract baitfish at night which in turn causes the snook to follow them in. Your depth finder will reveal large clouds of bait in the water column that you won’t normally see during the day. Some canals have 10-20 feet and the deeper water is often cooler, another big plus. I find the higher tide phase and particularly the top of the outgoing to be very productive. Often the fish bite in spurts with quiet spells along the way. Fish long, fish late and hang on. It can be a wild ride trying to tame one of nature’s most powerful fish in the dark and the sound of a 30 pound snook landing after a 2 foot leap just might wake up the neighbors dogs. When all the dogs start yapping at once, you know you have crossed the pinnacle of night time snook fishing.

Capt. Chuck Eichner is a local charter captain. For information or to book a guided fishing trip call 941-505-0003 or go to his





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Theory: Why Shrimp Disappeared Water LIFE

Page 10

By Fi shi n’ Frank Water LIFE S enior Guide Weird year - no shrimp. This has not ever happened before that I know of. Some years have been better than others, but always there has been some shrimp. Last year there was a reported migration of marine life, fish, shrimp, crabs everything all bunched up in a mass movement. All different species that do not live in friendly cohabitation, species that eat each other darn sure do not swim together unless something is happening and they are running like hell to save their lives. Massive earthquakes and category 4 hurricanes like Charley will make animals forget their differences and run away together. At the time all we could do was wait and see and what we finally saw was a black hole in the gulf devoid of life – an area with no oxygen. A completely dead zone. That is what they where running from. So what happened to the shrimp? Where did they go? I have an idea what happened to the shrimp this year, and this could be true but they are my opinions and observations, not facts. Most people in the bait business have agreed with me, but I can not back this with proof, so you decide. Last fall, in August, we started getting big shrimp in the shop and lots of them – jumbos, monsters, handpicks, it was amazing because August is traditionally the heart of the pee-wee season. In August the shrimp are little tiny, or as the guys say, ‘two-to-a-hook,’ shrimp. Shrimp in August are hard to find and usually there are not many to be had. But in August 2005 we were getting all the shrimp we wanted and shrimp as big as we wanted. Right then I began to worry, Robert says ‘my cup is half empty.’ Me, I do not think it is half empty or half full, I think the damn cup broke. Nature does not change its routine for no reason, so what was the reason? The one thing I knew was we would pay for our prosperity later; and boy did we. By December the shrimp were almost gone. By May they were gone. Shrimpers who have been doing this all their life did not know what was happening. All they knew was there were no shrimp. I think in order to understand what is happening now you have to look into the past. Shrimp, in a normal year, migrate out into the gulf. Before the shrimp leave the bays they lay eggs, lots and lots of eggs, which hatch and start moving. These baby shrimp get to be useable size just as the last of the adults leave for the gulf. This migration does not happen all at once it is slow and happens over three months or so. What happened last fall was the shrimp did not migrate. They stayed and bunched up in a feeding frenzy. They fed on all of the marine life that was killed by the red tide. It was, in my mind, classic cause and effect. The state

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of Florida dumped 1.2 BILLION GALLONS of phosphate sludge into the Gulf of Mexico, and that sludge is toxic, radio active chemicals, (remember phosphate is a fertilizer). And what is red tide? It is an algae that is part animal and part plant. So what happens to a plant when you dump, one- point-two billion gallons of fertilizer on it? Hell, I bet it grows and blooms. So soon we had very bad red tides and as time went on the red tides were lasting almost all year and then in a crescendo of over crowded algae, a dead zone was created out side of Tampa Bay. The zone, void of life and oxygen, was created from a massive algae bloom. When the algae and tiny marine life gets too thick, overwhelming an area, it starts to die and as it starts to die off the decaying life uses all of the oxygen in the water. It hit ‘critical overload’ and the bloom could not sustain it self. What was left of the phosphates had by now washed around the tip of Florida into the Atlantic and now, with-out the huge food source the algae died. The red tide faded out and all that was left was an unbelievable amount of dead plant, animal and marine life on the bottom. Shrimp are not really affected by red tide for some reason and as a shrimp will eat anything in front of it, for them it was banquet time. The shrimp ate and grew fat. And then they got caught in nets, lots and lots of nets, from Louisiana, Texas, Florida everyone was getting in on the big easy money catching shrimp. While catching big shrimp each night –

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July 2006

thousands of pounds of shrimp, they also caught small fish and the fish were dumped overboard as they were too small for eating and had no dollar value. The large shrimp brought in the big dollars and the rape and pillage mentality went on until there was little left. The mentality at the time was to fill the boats to the gunnels sell them then go get more. Tens of thousands of pounds of marine life were killed so the catch could happen. And these men fed their families and paid their car payments, and got to keep their homes. I would like to see them find another way to make money, but who am I to say what is right and what is wrong for shrimpers? The one thing I am certain of is that, I hope who ever took the payoff to allow that dumping got enough money to live drunk on an island for the rest of their lives. How else could they sleep at night? They killed more fish and wild life than all of the commercial and recreational fishermen could have in a decade. If it was not a bribe than it was pure stupidity. Trace the time line. Maybe I am all wrong but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck it is probably a duck ...unless the state is making the observation in which case it is a bull frog. The good news is, it is over. Did you notice there were no major red tide blooms this year. Small localized occurrences, but nothing like we had been going through. Why does it seem like red tide comes just after large rain storms in the gulf? I believe it is because the rain drops hitting the surface creates a lot of extra oxygen and that somehow kicks the red tide bloom in gear. Then comes the runoff, bringing fertilizers from the yards and farms to feed the bloom and it gets bigger. Years with lots of tropical storms and hurricanes do not have the same effect on red tide as rain storms alone do. Winds create large waves which disperse the red tide keeping it from concentrating, that’s one good thing about big storms. We, here in the upper Charlotte Harbor, have a built in buffer for the red tides – the Peace and Myakka Rivers. Red tide dies in fresh water, so as long as the Peace river is running it keeps the red tide levels down at the lower end of the harbor. The pee-wee shrimp you are getting at the bait shop are the best sign that things are getting back to normal here in the waters of Florida's west coast. Little ones will get bigger and make more babies and the life cycle of bait shrimp will go on. I predict by September, all will be back to normal and next season will be looking good. I hope you are catching lots of fish right now. Next month I will be getting back to fishing myself and I’m looking forward to it.

Fishin Frank can be reached for fishing at 625-3888 or at: www.fishinfrank or stop by the store in Port Charlotte.


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Mike Panetti is closing his Port Charlote location but heʼs not leaving town or quitting the boating business. Watch for more details next month!

Water LIFE

July 2006

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3/2/2, 1621 sq. ft. built in 2003. Home shows like brand new. Nothing to do but move in. Living, dining, & fam. rm., storm shutters, storage shed, fenced yard, 20 min. to Harbor 1 bridge, MLS 600193 $399,900, call Ellen at 235-5648

WHY WAIT TO BUILD!! This 3/2/2 pool home overlooks a lovely waterway, has 1614 sq ft and was built in 2005. Home features many upgrades including Granite kitchen countertops, wood cabinets, ceramic tile, walk-in shower and more. This home also comes fully furnished with beautiful furniture. This is a must see!!! Bring all offers!!. MLS # 634989 $350,000 Call Gerry at 268-4249

Centrally Located 3/2/2 Home Built in 1990, with 1549 sq ft. Shows pride of ownerhip, only lived in seasonally. New roof, soffit, fascia & gutters. Tile throughout except Living rm & bedrooms, breakfast nook, eat-in kitchen, master bath has dual sinks, walk-in shower & his ʻn hers walk-in closets. A great family home. MLS # 639512 $ 209,900. Call Andy Rodriguez at 235-5648.


3/1.5/1 pool home with 1344 sq ft in a very private setting, home is on 2 lots with privacy fence around both lots, 12X12 workshop with electric, living & family room, separate dining room, large walk in pantry, metal roof, Huge lanai and pool area, great for entertaining. Call today before its gone!!! MLS # 626061 $183,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648


Located in Gardens of Gulf Cove. Beautiful 3/2/1, 1168 sq ft. home features large family room & kitchen, ceramic tile, all appliances less than 1 yr old, tile roof, security system & more. Clubhouse has 2 swimming pools overlooking a lake, tennis courts, RV & boat storage. Just minutes to the beach. Call today before its gone!!! MLS # 638691 $179,900 Call Gerry Gilbert at 268-6954

P a g e 11


Beautiful 3/2/2 with 1392 sq ft built in 2002. Home shows like a model, ready to move into. Private country living on 2 plus lots, Home features large stone waterfall in front entry, 12 X 21 large pond filled with Coy & Goldfish, cathedral ceilings, carpet, tiled entry, A gardeners delight with 300-400 plants. This home is a must see!! MLS # 632486, $249,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648

Best priced home in Deep Creek....3/2/2, 1320 sq ft, built in 2000. Nothing to do but move in. Home shows like a model, some of the features include open living , Dining & kitchen to enjoy, bay window in breakfast nook, wood cabinets, pantry, tile throughout except bedrooms, master bedroom has trey ceilings & walk in closets. Home is located on nice quite cul-de-sac. MLS # 637920 $229,900. Call Ellen McCarthy at 235-5648

Beautiful 3/2.5/2 pool home on Saltwater canal, with 1937 sq ft, built in 2001. This home is located in Collingswood Pointe area, and has 108 feet on the intersecting canals, Only 20 minutes to the Harbor. Some of the features include , solid surface counters, breakfast bar, walk-in closets, intercom & security systems, sprinklers, storm shutters, jetted tub in master bath and more. Don‚t miss this one!!. MLS 635104 $549,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648

Gorgeous 3/2/2 pool home, 2060 sq ft, built in 1989. This home has so much to offer including hardwood floors thru-out except for tile in baths & foyer, 2 breakfast bars in kitchen, bay windows, 4 walk-in closets, master bath has jetted corner tub with a view, dual sinks,& vanity, beautiful landscaping and the list goes on. Great home for entertaining, You won‚t want to miss out on this one!!!!. MLS # 634149 $259,900 Call Rieka at 235-5648.

Gorgeous 3/2/2 Pool Home sits on 5 fenced lots, 2071 sq ft, built in 1990. Former model home has many upgrades. Living, family and dining rooms, intercom system, tile throughout except 2 bedrooms, cathedral ceilings, storm shutters, huge laundry room with tub & built in ironing board, 2 driveways, 3 butterfly gardens & more. This is a must see!!!! MLS # 639101 $459,900. Call Ellen McCarthy at 235-5648

Deep Creek Beauty!!! 3/2/2, built in 2003, 1596 sq ft, this open & airy home has everything you want, living,family, & dining rooms, vaulted ceilings, 2 pantries, walk-in closets, plenty of storage, custom window treatments, breakfast bar and more. Nordic spa also included in price of home. MLS # 638693 $229,900 Call Donna Brooks at 235-5648


WHY WAIT TO BUILD!!! JUST REDUCED. Two beautiful BRAND NEW 3br, plus den, 2 ba, 2 car garage, 1974 sq ft homes featuring porcelain tile floors throughout, except bedrooms, wood cabinets with sylestone counters in these real quality homes. MLS # 485276 & 485277, $279,900. Call Gerry at 268-4249

Beautiful 3/2/2 pool home built in 1991, 1503 sq

ft. Home features new roof, stainless steel appliances, wood cabinets, solid surface counters, ceramic tile throughout except bedrooms and more. Great big lanai wonderful for entertaining, Hurry this one won‚t last long!!! MLS #635828 $265,000 Call Diane at 235-5648

A REAL CHARMER - This 3/2/1 home sits on an oversized corner lot and has 1815 sq ft, and was built in 1970. Some of the features include, new roof, a/c, hot water tank, appliances, and new saltwater heated diamond brite pool. This home is a must see!!! Call Today before its gone!!!!! $225,000 MLS # 634705 Call Gerry at 268-4249

Sailboat canal pool home in prestigious beach complex area, 4 bedrm, 3 baths, 2 car garage. This home has all the bells and whistles with 2,777 sq ft, built in 1998 and shows pride of ownership. Magnificent interior with niches, alcoves, arches, transom lights, roman showers, garden tub, walk-in closets, wood cabinets, and more. This home will fill pages of upgrades, call to see today. Offered at $798,000 MLS # 635844 call Ellen at 235-5648

Water LIFE

Page 12


July 2006

Letter Questions the Change in slot size for snook

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Dear Chairman Barreto: (Rodney Barreto is the Chairman for The Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission) This letter is to inform you of my opposition to the adoption of the proposed rule change for the measurement of snook per Rule 68B-21.005 as listed per FWCC Meeting Agenda Item # 8 subheading (2) – Size Limit on Snook for the Commission’s Thursday, June 8th, 2006 meeting agenda. I feel that any change in the adjustment to measurement and slot limit for snook, which may be legally harvested (Currently from 26 to 34 inches - overall relaxed tail length) to the proposed measurement of 27 to 35 inches (pinched tail method) is premature and that any ruling should be postponed until after the stakeholders/work group proposed at the Snook V Symposium held at the Florida Wildlife Research Institute on February 9th and 10th, 2006 has a chance to convene and input from this group and any interested members of the general public can be used to evaluate the proposed change in the current slot and measurement method for the legal harvest of snook in the State of Florida. I was a member of the recreational angler advisory panel at the Snook V Symposium and spoke on various issues regarding snook on February 9th, 2006. I felt that the symposium was very productive and would like to see future symposiums so that they will provide a forum for all interested parties to discuss snook management options for the state. I take issue to any change where the time frame is insufficient in order to inform the angling public, as I believe this to be the case with this issue. The recent snook workshops held May10th in Fort Lauderdale, May 11th in Fort Myers and May 15th in Saint Petersburg had a total attendance for public comment on the proposed rule change of one (1) reporter in Fort Myers and five (5) anglers in Saint Petersburg. This simply is not enough participation for a rule change to occur at this time in my opinion. The media coverage regarding this rule change in magazines and newspapers has been sporadic at best and was not as thorough as I think it could have been. I myself would have attended the Saint Petersburg workshop to give my input if I had known about it in time. Please also consider the following statement in the findings of the 2005 Stock Assessment Update of the Common Snook (Centropomus undecimalis) by Robert G. Muller and Ronald G. Taylor, published January 31, 2006.

Jake Bates caught this snook June 28 it was 12 pounds and 36. Jake said it was the biggest snook he had ever caught. He was so excited that he called it a night...the fish was releases. No other catch would be able to compare to that one!!

As stated on the last page of the Executive Summary (Pg. 4) of the assessment: The change in measuring total length from relaxed to pinched has the potential to increase the harvest of snook in the lower end of the slot. If every angler currently measured the relaxed total length and switched to the pinched tail total length, then the harvest could increase by 3% on the Atlantic coast and 22% on the gulf coast. This statement troubles me since I believe that most Florida snook anglers want additional conservation measures implemented for the legal harvest of the Common Snook and not those with a potential to increase the current harvest. I have other suggestions that may be discussed as to management and angling options for snook but would like to have them thoroughly discussed in the snook workgroup/stockholders group before being suggested to the Commission. These include the removal of the exemption for shore bound anglers from purchasing a snook stamp and additional enforcement intercepts by FWC – Law Enforcement staff regarding snook anglers. Please consider delaying the proposed changes for snook length measurement to a future date after input from the snook workgroup/stockholders group currently being formed by the Division of Marine Fisheries Management (DMFM) and please forward my name for inclusion in this group. Respectfully Submitted,

July 2006

Water LIFE

– like driving on the freeway Running the Shoreline – to get to their fishing spot. Each and every boat would run right along the shoreline, move out to go around me, and then move right back to the shoreline and disappear out of sight. I kept asking myself why they were running so close to the shoreline. It’s no secret that a large majority of our inshore species uses the vast mangrove islands we have as A boat comes close to the outlet of the barge canal on the sandbar south of Ponce Point structure and places to feed. The seas were extremely calm By Capt Robert Moore feel I now have it pretty much figured out. that day so it wasn’t for a smoother ride. Water LIFE Senior Guide Where we (both you and I) boaters run I then cranked up my motor and headed Life is a puzzle. It seems we are always our vessels will strongly influence the back to the dock. Half way home you can putting together a puzzle. After you put fishing. Not only the fishing but the envi- only guess where I was running, about the puzzle together, say for example your ronment all around the areas we fish. I 100 feet from the shoreline. occupation, your job becomes much easier admit I can be a slow learner, especially if It hit me pretty hard actually. Not more and productive. If you fail to put that puzit involves unwanted change and some than 20 minutes earlier I was cussing 31 zle together at your work I can guarantee inconvenience. The signs were always boats for doing something I felt was not you aren’t going to be that successful at it. there, but I just refused to pay attention to really necessary. Now I was doing the Then there is this puzzle I try to put them. Then early one day I was fishing a same thing. I felt like a cow using the together when it comes to fishing. Some shoreline about three miles from a popular same path that I have become accustom to. days after successful days on the water I boat ramp. I was anchored up and enjoying Not smart enough to take a quicker and think I have a lot of that puzzle put the fishing. Every 10 minutes or so I safer path. This is when I began paying together and then Wham! The puzzle has would catch a redfish or snook. Then it attention to the habits of other people and changed and I feel like I am back to just happened, it was like the flood gates had myself. taking that puzzle out of the box and start- opened. I watched (and counted) 31 boats When I ran from point A to point B I in the next three hours that ran within 100 only saw myself running. How much ing over. Honestly though, I enjoy that aspect of fishing. It keeps me challenged feet of the shoreline as they ventured out harm could I be doing if I was cutting it on the water for a day of fishing. The best and motivated. But there is one section of close to a shoreline? But if you sit back I could tell no one was looking for fish, my fishing puzzle I have been putting and watch as multiple shorelines get run together since I begun guiding in 1995 and they were just running down the shoreline over every 10 to 20 minutes, you don’t

Page 13

have to guess anymore about the harm being done. The harm not only being done to the fishing but to the environment (grass beds, erosion, etc.) as well. Do not think that I am singling out any particular group of boaters. WE are all doing it – the guides, the weekend warriors – everyone including myself. I am just as guilty as anyone. But my thinking has really changed on this. I am not about to judge any one or force my opinions on them. My only goal here is to hopefully make everyone stop and think about what good comes out of running miles of shoreline and then have them come to their own conclusions. I think I have now joined the pool of old timers who have been saying the same thing for years. They put this part of the puzzle together years ago seeing the same thing I have. Now when I am running from point A to point B, I ask myself two questions: 1) Will it hurt the fishing/environment if I run this way? 2) Will it hurt the fishing/environment if I don’t run this way? The answer is usually always easy to find, but only if your willing to look for it. If anyone has a reasonable argument on how we are helping our fishing and environment by running 50 feet from the shorelines, give me a call because I would love to hear it.

Capt Robert Moore can be reached for comments, fishing information or to book a charter at (941) 637-5710

Page 14

Water LIFE

Insulation and Drywall ... This New House Part 14

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE editor We made good progress this past month. It’s ten months into the hard construction and maybe 5 weeks to go. We got the electric done, the insulation is all in and the drywall is well underway. In the interim, my friend Paul Hart, who did the stucco work for us a month ago, came by with a tractor and a laborer and spent a half-day cleaning up all the concrete rubble around the front and north side of the house. Paul went way beyond the call with this task leaving not a single piece of broken concrete in the dirt. I swear I could plant flowers and they would grow, but that’s just the kind of guy Paul is. They don’t come any better. Again thanks. You can add being and electrician to the list of trades that I don’t want to do for a living. Not that it’s as tough as being a block mason, but being an electrician, especially a one-man-band electrician - wiring a whole house alone - is a never ending job. Other’s more knowledgeable than I (like the county’s electrical inspector, Jim Anderson) had indicated wiring my own house wouldn’t go as quickly as I had predicted. Jim was right. On the brighter side, my wiring work passed on the first go around, on the dim side it took me three hard weeks to bring it to that point. The wiring wasn’t hard, in

fact having been ‘weaned’ on the tiny wires of 12volt aircraft radios with 50 or 100 wires in a harness, the big, fat 10/2 and 12/2 wires used in the average house are easier to see for a guy my age, but they run so far and every run means going up and down the ladder a dozen times. My legs are stronger, but my back is sore and I’m glad the wiring is done. I’m not a better person for it, but we saved about 10 grand. The day after I passed my electrical inspection it was on to the next task at hand - insulation. Now I may have been dumb about the electrical work, but I’m not stupid when it comes to insulation. I don’t do insulation. Fiberglass, even in boats is not one of my favorite things, so I called around and wound up striking a deal with Richard Droege at West Coast Insulation in Sarasota - cold call, no referral. Richard came over to the house, measured it up and we agreed on a price. Then on schedule and as promised his crew showed up with a truckload of the pink itchy stuff and went to work. It took three guys 5 hours to insulate the house and the garage. It would have been quicker if I had not had them insulate the main interior walls separating the living room from the guest bedroom and utility room and the walls around and floor under the upstairs master bedroom. We have a separate AC unit for upstairs and we want to keep things energy effi-


weʼre pushing hard to be in before August 13

cient. Richard and I made small talk while his guys cut and stapled the ‘batts. We put R 30 in the ceilings, and R19 in the 2x6 walls and under the bedroom. The county requires every new home to submit professionally prepared energy calculations along with the building permit application. At the end of all the insulating there was a county inspection to make sure we did what our calculations had specified. The whole focus is to reduce energy use. To that end, we put in a separate switch upstairs so at night, when we go to bed, we can shut off the downstairs AC. We could have had a programmable thermostat downstairs, but how do you know what time to program it for? I figure when I go upstairs to hit the hay, I hit the switch ... what ever time it is. The insulation crew was a professional team. One guy worked from a rolling scaffold, wheeling himself around the room, hand over hand by the ceiling trusses, stapling up four foot sections of insulation effortlessly. The other guy, he introduced himself as Perro, (but isn’t perro Spanish for a dog, I asked? – No , Perro, he said ... OK Perro!?) was the team leader. He worked on stilts, walking around the house doing the tight spots up high that the rolling scaffold guy couldn’t get to. He peeled the paper backing off the insulation around the can lights to keep the danger from a fire down. The third ‘hombre’ was an all around low man who did the walls

and filled in with what ever else needed doing. Everyone wore masks and they even left a few masks for me to wear – breathing fiberglass is a bad thing. Insulation done, I vacuumed up the pieces and walked around. The house had taken on a different feel. Gone was the view looking up to the silvery underside of the roof. Gone was that open feel. The insulation gave the house a homey feel, a secure personality. Sound won’t travel in this house, which has its good points and, I just realized, its bad ones. If I’m in the upstairs bedroom and wifey is in the kitchen at the other end of the house will she hear me when I call out for a cold drink? I think there is still time to put in an intercom. When the insulation was done it was on to the drywall. Jim Stephens is my go-to guy on drywall. Jim is another fisherman. I met him at a F l at s M as t er s tournament two months ago. He’s sponsored by Seacoast Supply, the biggest drywall supplier in the

July 2006

area. They told me they are selling 2,000,000 square feet of drywall a month in this area. Jim has been a great help. He arranged to get the drywall delivered and for Robert Becerril’s drywall crew to hang it. The next day a truckload of drywall arrived and with a little artful manipulation the guys from Seacoast filled the downstairs through the front door and then squeezed their big truck down the 9-foot alley on the north side and ‘boomed’ the ‘rock’ up to the bedroom patio. It was a plan we had come up with the day before and it worked like a charm. Sometimes you get lucky! Jack and the plumbers from H2O plumbing snuck in and set the tub in the upstairs bathroom. The hangers took three days and then left at noon. The tapers came in an hour later and that’s where we are today. Next, Jim will spray the texture on the walls and ceilings and then it’s on to the trim.

July 2006

Perfect Timing for Tarpon By Capt Dan Cambern Water LIFE Offshore I got a call the other day to do a tarpon trip with a film production crew from the United Kingdom. They wanted to get some fishing action for a video feature they were shooting to promote our area to prospective property buyers and renters from the U.K. and Europe. We were supposed to meet at 11 a.m. and go out for a couple of hours and get some action before the flew over to the Bahamas for more fishing. Talk about a rough job, but I guess somebody has to do it. I was hoping to get them out earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon for the hill tide, but that was the only time slot they had to work with. While I was at the boat getting ready for the trip I got a call to let me know they would be about a half hour late as they were finishing up another video of the area. I made a couple of calls to find out what the bite was like and heard the action had been slow all morning in both the pass and on the beaches. This only added to my doubts we were going to have much luck in the middle of the afternoon with a slack tide. I don’t know how long a half hour is in the U.K., but they finally showed up at 1:30. They loaded up their camera and sound gear and we were off to film the mighty silver king. My plan was to go out Little Gasparilla Pass and work the beaches on the way down to Boca Grande pass. As we made our way down the coast looking for rolling pods of tarpon the sea breeze was starting to pick up and the light chop made it hard to even see if the fish were there. I stopped to talk with Capt. Mark Bennett as he was finishing a trip and he confirmed that it had been slow all day. It was now almost 3 o’clock and the tide was beginning to roll out of the pass so I headed down for our last hour. I assured the crew that we would at least see

Water LIFE

a tarpon. As we approached the pass I scanned over all the boats to see if any body was hooked up. The film crew was more interested in filming another boat fighting a fish because they could get a better angle filming from our boat. Looking down from my tower I could see a few crabs starting to exit the pass and I thought any minute now the tarpon ought to chew. The camera was rolling as they were getting footage of the number of boats fishing in the same area when right in front of us a boat jumped a fish. Capt. Waylon Mills on the boat Blaze was hooked up and their fish was giving us a show. I carefully stayed to the side of them so the crew could get a good shot. I’m not sure who was more excited, the crew or the people fighting the fish as we urged them on. In about 10 minutes they had the leader and released the tarpon to fight again. Mission accomplished, the crew had got what they came for and they were ready to head back to the dock. I said “Do you want to give it a shot?” and they said “Sure.” As luck would have it, the hill tide had kicked in and just as I put out the second line the guy holding the first rod said ‘I think I’ve got one.’ When I looked his pole was doubled over. The fish gave us several good jumps before settling in for a 25 minute battle. Once I got the leader in my hands I pulled the fish up for a couple of pictures and released the estimated 125 pounder. Several other boats were now hooked up and the bite was on. They were totally satisfied and I was also quite happy with the way things had played out. By being 2.5 hours late we were able to catch the beginning of the hill tide and they got the footage they wanted. They said they had never seen action like that on the other side of the pond and were really excited to have the video to add to their production film. In other fishing news there has been good action way offshore for dolphin,

Page 15


Capt. Dan with Nick Grassera and his 125 pound poon.

wahoo, tuna, and a few sailfish. Get out at least 40 to 50 miles and look for signs of life such as birds working on bait pods or any type of floating debris. Capt. Todd Gilbert had a couple of good trips out fishing on Glen Horton’s new 40-foot Cabo. Glen and his sons Danny and David and other guests are having a blast running out 80 to 100 miles offshore to explore areas where the fishing pressure is almost non-existent. I’ll be heading out on a couple of over

nighters soon and will be fishing the full moon in July for big snapper at night as well as doing some trolling during the day. It is a good time of the year to get way out there as long as you watch the weather and keep an eye out for developing storms. Be safe and have fun. Captain Dan Cambern runs Hammerhead Charters out of the Placida Fishery boat docks and can be reached at 941-625-6226 / 941-380-6226 or

Water LIFE

Page 16


July 2006

Kids Cup Finalist in IGFA Junior Angler World Championship at Key West

Water LIFE Staff Report Out of 34 junior anglers who fished in June’s IGFA Junior Angler World Championship, last year’s Water LIFE Kids Cup runner up, 15 year old Ricky Stewart finished 6th. Ricky, took the place of Kids Cup winner Drew Rossi since by this year Drew was too old to fish in the IGFA. “We got down to Key West and the weather looked great for fishing,” Ricky said. “On the first day we caught a lot of fish: grouper, snapper, barracuda, yellowtail, and mackerel.” The IGFA event awards points for each species caught. “We scored 138 points the first day,” Ricky said. Ricky was paired up with Corey Mack, another junior angler from Padre Island Texas. Corey was the Kids Cup winner at Padre Island. The two boys fished aboard the 30 foot contender “Tight Lines, skippered by Capt. Jim Thomas. “We fished 5 miles west of the Marquesas and a shipwreck there,” Ricky said. The boys used ballyhoo and shrimp for bait. “On the second day we caught most of the same fish. I had an amberjack on but we lost him close to the boat,” Ricky said. “And we were on a big school of permit, but we couldn’t get them to eat.” In the two days of fishing Ricky said his biggest fish was a barracuda and a huge mutton snapper. When asked for advice for other junior anglers Ricky said: “Try your best, fish hard and be ready. The captain we had wouldn’t let us stop fishing. Ricky added, “It was great.”

2900 Palm Dr. - 1997 custom built 3/2/2 pool home on a corner orversized lot, Charlotte Park area. Features include: redone pebble-teck pool with automatic cleaner, new roof with warranty, new heat pump with warranty, garden tub in the master bath, porcelain tile, and more. Call me today for details.MLS# 616642 $289,500

24312 Vincent Ave. - This is Florida living at it s finest. This custom built KB 3/2/2 plus den home is just waiting for the perfect family to move right in. Located across the street from the prestigous Burnt Store Golf Club and greenbelt directly behind (will never be built on), this home has it all plus location! Call me today for more details, this home will not last long at this price. MLS# 634088 $299,000

451 Viceroy Terrace Brand new 3/2/2 + den pool home has fabulous features including: energy saving insulated glass windows, custom hickory wood cabinets, granite counter tops, ceramic tile in master shower, tray ceiling with crown molding, marble garden tub in master bath, 13 x 26 roman style pool with full cage and bay barrio ceramic tile, and stainless steel just to name a few. MLS# 635787 $379,000

Bayridge Pl. - This prime river front property is now on the market and will not last long. With over 10,550 square feet this cul-desac, oversized lot is just waiting to be built on. Stunning view of the Peace River, with a breathtaking view of our one of a kind west coast Florida sunsets. Call me today for more details. MLS# 628570 $895,000

5000 Riverside Drive Spectacular riverfront estate site waiting for you. 100 ft. dock and breath taking view of the Peace River, this deal will not last long. Call me today for more details on this one of a kind property. MLS# 626972 $1,350,000

3000 Caribbean Dr - This 3/2/2 waterfront home screams for some Florida entertaining. Ceramic tile throughout, Berber carpet, 10,000lb boat lift, dock, and spacious walk in closets are just a few of this homes fabulous features.MLS #615382 $429,000

July 2006

Water LIFE


When asked for advice to give other junior anglers, Ricky said: “Try your best, fish hard ... and be ready.�

all photos: Ricky Stewart fishing the Junior Angler World Championship

Page 17

Kyle Wrenn of Cape Coral and Tyler Smith of Port St. Lucie bested the 32 other boys and girls to win the fourth annual Mercury/International Game Fish Association Junior Angler World Championship Tournament. Wrenn, 15, won the overall title in the tournament's junior division with 349 total points. Points were awarded in the all-release angling challenge based on the species and degree of difficulty. Wrenn earned 125 points alone for catching and releasing five tarpon over the tournament's two fishing days. Releases of amberjacks, barracuda, dolphin and sharks rounded out his point total. Finishing second in the junior division was Richard Black, 13, of Tavernier who scored 327 points and earned the junior division stringer title by catching 10 of the targeted 23 species -- the largest number in the tournament. Sean Thomson, 16, of Jupiter took third-place honors in the junior division with 307 points earned for catches and releases of seven species. The overall winner in the small fry division was Tyler Smith, 8. who caught and released fish from six species -- barracuda, jack crevalle, ladyfish, permit, shark and mutton snapper -- to earn 202 points and the title. Second-place honors in that division went to Paul Pauchey, 9, of Islamorada who caught fish from eight species, earning 186 points. He also won the small fry division stringer prize for catching the largest number of species. Tyler "Catfish" Sage, 9, of Weston took third place. Though he tied Pauchey on points, he only caught six species to Pauchey's eight. Other stringer award winners included 10-year-old small fry angler Anabel Epstein of Islamorada, who released eight species, and 13year-old junior angler Irene Robinson of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, who had five species. The young participants, ages 5 to 16, each qualified for the championship by winning an IGFA-approved fishing tournament in the United States or abroad. Youngsters age 5 to 10 competed in the small fry division, while anglers age 11 to 16 fished in the junior

Page 18

Water LIFE

Area Real Estate News


PROVIDED BY: Dave & Marlene Hofer RE/MAX Harbor Realty (941) 575-3777 Recent area news i tems :

1. An investment group led by Michael Dinkel of Orlando has purchased a 514 acre tract at I-75 and Toledo Blade in North Port. The mixed use property brought $133K per usable acre. Turnberry Trace will provide a total of 120 villas south of Bobcat Trail on Toledo Blade to be priced in the $250-$300K range.

2. North Port is also seeing growth from other mega projects; Gran Paradisio on Rt 41 across from the Plantation Golf Course Community in South Sarasota County is the 1st phase of the enormous 11,600 West Villages. The initial builder group consists of Lee Wetherington & Sam Rodgers (1999 homes). Tuscano will consist of 1600 homes on 2500 acres including a 27 hole golf course on East Manasota Beach Road. Stoneybrook on Venice Ave & River Road will consist of 700 homes by Lennar. Blackburn will provide an additional 1400 homes at River and Center. Neal and Benderson Homes will develop the Woodlands with 2596 homes, then of course, there is Isles of Athena that will bring another 15,000 homes on 5,700 acres east of Toledo Blade in North Port.

3. The Sierra Club filed suit against the Babcock Ranch in an attempt to squelch the development of this controversial property. The suit will likely set back the development for an additional 6 to 12 months.

4. Charlotte County is moving toward the formation of an Industrial Development Authority. The welcome endeavor means that the County may finally take advantage of the State ordained ability to provide tax free bond issuance as a stimulation to developers to make industrial development in the County a reality.

5. North Port City Council defeated a huge impact fee proposal, opting instead to gradually phase it in over a few years. Charlotte County wasn't quite as sensitive to affluent "would be" home owners. Effective June 1, the impact fee for a 4,000 sf home increased from $2,700 to almost $16,000. As long as builders keep the size of their new homes under 600 SF, they will see no increase at all. That's one way to encourage the construction of "affordable" housing.

6. The condominium development community appears to be taking a different path heading towards providing affordable housing. By the time the fruits of the condo speculation craze hit the market in mid- 2008, we should have well over 2,000 unoccupied shiny new condohomes for rent at affordable rates! 7. Runner up of the "duh" award goes to a

July 2006

Cleveland Bank that last month rated the 71 most "overpriced" communities in the country (I'm not sure why the media recognized them as some sort of authority on the subject). Punta Gorda weighed in at number 7. Their unfortunate use of the term "overpriced" refers to the ratio of area home prices to area income levels. Since our local demographics is weighted down by nonworking retirees while the desirability of homes continues to make their prices soar, it is logical that it might be considerably higher than it would be in a northern city where less desirable homes are owned by the gainfully employed. 8. It was close, but Charlotte County Councilman Adam Cummings actually won the "duh" award. Maybe recognizing the critical need for County action on, oh so many fronts, he quipped "if you create a nice community, people may be willing to pay more to live there." 9. Charlotte County is proceeding with the plan to rehab the Courthouse now instead of waiting to resolve parking issues.

10. After years of on again off again plans, Florida has now allocated $6.2 million of the $8 million price tag to widen Aqui Esta by 2010. How the much sought after $22 million budget shrank to only $8 mil can only be attributed to hard nosed negotiations by our highway departments .... or maybe... 11. Charlotte County allocated $12 million to build a new 30,000 sf library in West County at Wilmington and Sunnybrook for 2008-09.

12. Punta Gorda has cleared the way for Chris & Ron Evans of Captain's Table (Fisherman's Village) notoriety to respond to Punta Gorda's Request for Proposal to build a restaurant and other amenities in conjunction with the redo of the Laishley Park Marina on Marion.

13. TEAM Punta Gorda has proposed a 60 boat mooring field at Gilchrist Park. This will be a nice stimulation to our boating tourist traffic. Sal es Stati s ti cs :

Vacant lot sales slid further into the deep freeze with only 51 going under contract out of a total inventory of more than 10,000, a far cry from the high volume of 1,455 in March, 2005. Median lot prices are now down about 9% vs. a year ago but that's only for those that actually sold. In order to solicit a significant number of sales, prices would have to have dropped significantly more - indicating that would- be sellers are still in denial. The condominium market continues to languish in the face of an oppressive level of inventory and expected units coming on line.

Water LIFE

July 2006

Shark Tournament

Page 19


You can count on bloody-rotten weather forFrankʼs

Above: Capt Angel Torez receives a handshake and a $1200 first-place check from Fishinʼ Frank.

Wat er LIFE R eport Fishn’ Franks bi-annual shark tournament a.k.a. the Fishn’ Frank Severe Weather Challenge, was once again a success and as a bonus brought with it an official end to the drought. Though the weather left much to be desired, Frank’s loyal customers helped to make this tournament the second largest shark tournament in the shop’s history. The entries totaled an astounding 428 people last month. For those not familiar with this Charlotte Harbor tradition, each year Fishn’Franks hosts two shark tournaments with cash prizes for the top 4 shark, stingray, and sail cat. This tournament is

not expensive to enter, a mere $30, making it possible for people to enter simply to have a good time, or to spend quality time with friends, without denting their wallets. A bonus to this tournament is that a person does not need to have a boat to have a chance of winning. This opens the door to many people who may not have otherwise entered a tournament. Winning fish have been caught from land, piers, backyards, as well as boats. The Sunday morning weigh-in brought with it smiling faces, though a little soggy and smelly, bragging about their catch or cursing the one that got away. Also present were the marine biologists

from the FWC Fish Lab, Greg Poulakis and Jason Seitz, and their associates. Every year the FWC Fish Lab donates their time to the tournaments to assist with answering questions and also to obtain tissue samples from the fish for scientific research. Because of the small number of fish weighed- in at last year’s tournament, there were cash prizes left over. That money was payed out this year when Frank and Terry held a surprise raffle, making some people very happy. Everyone involved did a wonderful job in the tournament and Frank and Terry thanks everyone for making the tournament possible every year. “We deeply

appreciate their patronage,” Frank said. #1 #2 #3 #4

#1 #2 #3 #4


Shark: Angel Tores 89.25 inches Shark: Billy Gryzik 79 inches Shark: John Fandozzi 78.75 inches Shark: Duane Turpak 77.85 inches Stingray: Stingray: Stingray: Stingray:

Bryan Morris 42.5 inches Lonnie Crislip 39.25 inches Mark Brooks 38.85 inches Larry Snell 38.55 inches

#1 Sailcat: William Miller 4.11 pounds #2 Sailcat: Mike Murray 3.98 pounds #3 Sailcat: Robert Brandle 3.96 pounds

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Englewood Isles – Head out to the Gulf for some offshore fishing from this well-loved 3/2/2 hurricane resistant home. Storm shutters, truss tie downs, cross bracing, 15ʼ elevation, Dade County rated garage door, newer skylights, 8 X 16 walk about attic, 124-feet of seawall with 4000 lb davit, separate dock with water & electric and artist studio or workshop. Offered at $839,000.

Rarely available 3-bedroom mobile home (land owned) with Gulf access in friendly 55+ community. Newer A/C, roof, carpet, ceiling fans & hurricane resistance measures. Screened side lanai and large back patio overlooking the waterway. Minutes to the beach and everything Englewood has to offer. Offered at $169,000.

Page 20

Water LIFE

Proper Venting of Reef Fish Still a Priority MAGAZINE

July 2006

New Species of Hammerhead Discovered

S t aff R eport For the last several years the Florida Sea Grant Extension program and Mote Marine Laboratory have been promoting proper venting of offshore fish (particularly grouper) caught in deep waters (60 feet The Cryptic Shark or deeper). We have distributed thousands From Betty S taugl er of venting tools and informational Water LIFE / Sea Grant brochures through this outreach effort. A genetically distinct The Sea Grant/Novak venting tool is species of hammerhead now commercially available from Aquatic shark has been discovered Release Conservation, Inc. You can reach in South Carolina's waters, them at 1-877-411-4272 or on the web at emphasizing the importance of protecting their habitat. ʻXʼ marks the spot where a venting tool, which looks like a hypodermic Florida Sea Grant is not aware of any syringe, is supposed to be inserted to release air from the swim bladder. Temporarily called the other commercial suppliers of venting "cryptic species," the ninth tools. An alternative to purchasing a ventrecognized species in the using the following procedure will allow the stomach to ing tool is to make your own using a 16 gauge needle hammerhead family was return to its normal position within a few hours. (cannula) and 3 cc syringe (the syringe serves as a handiscovered by Joe Quattro, Hold the fish gently but firmly on its side and insert dle) purchased from a farm supply store. a biology professor at the the venting tool at a 45 degree angle approximately one Why vent? Many marine reef fish have a gas-filled University of South to two inches back from the base of the pectoral fin (fin organ called a swimbladder, which controls buoyancy Carolina, while studying on the side by the gill). Only insert the tool deep and allows the fish to maintain itself at a certain depth coastal fish with other biolenough to release the gases. You will hear the sound of within the water column. When fish are quickly brought ogists. gas escaping. If the fish is extremely bloated, use the to the surface by hook and line, gas in the swimbladder Quattro noticed that hand holding the fish to exert gentle pressure on the can over-expand, resulting in injury to the fish. If there was something differfish’s abdomen to aid deflation. released in this buoyant condition, the fish may float ent in the genetic makeup Keep a good grip on the venting tool, so that an away and die from exposure or as the result of being an of some of the hammerhead unexpected jerk from the fish does not dislodge the tool easy target for predators. sharks. He noted that the and cause injury to others. The fish’s everted stomach Swimbladders can only expand so far before they DNA that's passed from should not be punctured. This practice is not efficient in burst. When this happens, gases escape into the fish’s mothers to their offspring releasing gas from the body cavity and results in addibody cavity, where they continue to expand. The preshad different characteristics tional injury. sure is sufficient to push the stomach out the mouth in these sharks than in othReturn the fish to the water as soon as possible. If and the intestines out of the anus. necessary, revive it by holding the fish with the head Venting releases gas from the body cavity, thus pointed downward and moving removing pressure on the internal organs. Venting also the fish back and forth to pass allows the fish to overcome buoyancy problems and water over the gills until the swim back down to its habitat depth, enhancing its fish is able to swim unassisted. immediate survival. Scientific studies have shown that In between uses, clean the species such as red grouper, black sea bass, gag, and red venting tool with chlorine snapper derive immediate benefit from venting. bleach, and be sure to use a When should a fish be vented? After reeling in a fish, syringe cap or place a cork on closely observe its condition. If the fish is bloated and the tip of the tool to prevent floats (unable to control its buoyancy), or if the fish’s personal injury. stomach is distended out of the mouth, the fish should be vented. If the fish appears normal, not bloated, and is able to swim down to habitat depth on its own, venting Source: Venting: A Guide to Fishinʼ Franks is not necessary. Releasing Reef Fish with 625-3888 How do you vent a fish? Vent a fish with a miniRuptured Swimbladders, Florida Cash Prizes mum of handling. If the fish’s stomach is everted out of Sea Grant its mouth, do not puncture it or attempt to push it back into the fish’s body. Expelling the swimbladder gases Sign out Saturday afternoon @ 3 p.m. Fish all night, be back by 8 a.m. on Sunday

ers. Quattro and his colleagues also found that the cryptic species was not as abundant as the scalloped hammerhead, a familiar and common coastal shark. Although young sharks of the cryptic species were found in Florida and North Carolina, only shark "pups" were showing up off the coast of South Carolina. "If South Carolina's waters are the primary nursery grounds for the cryptic species and females gather here to reproduce, these areas should be conservation priorities," Quattro said. "Management plans are needed to ensure that these sharks are not adversely impacted so that we can learn more."

One More Tournament July 22

Theyʼre Baaack! and theyʼre really BIG this year!!

July 2006

Screaming Reels

Over the Line

By Capt. Andrew Medi na Water Life Charlotte Harbor While watching the Flatsmasters Tournament Series on Sun Sports I saw something that just got my goat. I always write that conservation and obeying the marine laws are the single most important thing on the water, but here’s what I observed in the FlatsMasters broadcast. It was two redfish. In this tournament, the largest combined weight of two redfish wins. There are tournament rules, and state laws. One tournament rule is you have to obey all the state laws. Tournament officials should have used better judgment when they edited the clips to use for TV. One team, I won’t mention names, (you can watch a re-run and find out for yourself) caught a good fish, but it was too big – just a hair or so over the line. So right on TV, with the cameraman on the boat, the angler says “put it in the well, it will shrink.” Well, it won’t shrink! The fish was over 27 inches which state law says is the maximum slot-size for harvesting redfish. State law says you cannot have possession of a fish over 27 inches. Possession is considered moving the fish from the place it was caught. Once you take the fish off the hook and put it in a well or on a stringer you possess it. So if one of the tournament rule is you must follow all state fishing regulations this team should have been disqualified. Why weren’t they? There can be a difference in measuring techniques of a tenth of an inch, especially now that the measurement is taken with the tail pinched (no two pinches are the same) but it would have been better if a Fish and Wildlife officer was present at the FlatsMasters weigh-in. Then we could have had his opinion on the subject. Maybe the answer is to require tournament directors notify the State or County so there will be an officer present to oversee the weigh-in. That might be a good thing. The county could even collect a tournament fee that could be put towards education or boater safety courses for youths. I’m a tournament angler and will be for a long time. I follow all rules whether its speed zones or abiding by fishing regulations. But like my dad told me a long time ago, you can’t beat a cheater. Maybe this will open some eyes, because the only ones who are going to suffer is “all of you.” On the local note, sharks are still running around Marker 1. Cut mackerel still seems to be the bait of choice, but I doubt if they would turn down a hunk of lady fish. Cobia - and lots of them – are making their way into the harbor at Gilchrist Park and the US 41 bridges. Cut bait is also producing most of the fish. Snook by the hordes are on the east side from Alligator Creek to Burnt Store Marina. Redfish are a little picky, plenty of rats but the larger reds, I’ve been finding, are still down near Pine Island. The blow downs near Charlie Pass still holding some fish. But for the sure bite trout on all the bridges on the Peace River, hitting DOAS or shrimp. Tarpon seem to be hanging all over the bridges in Punta Gorda and El Jobean. Larger thread fins and DOA Bait Busters still producing. Well there it is. Just remember be safe on the water, take a kid fishing, obey the law and just have fun. Capt. Andy Medina can be reached at (941) 456-1540 or on the web at

Charlotte Harbor FISHING GUIDES

Water LIFE

Page 21


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Page 22

2006 Key West Rendezvous Or What Sailors Will Do For a Party

By Bob and Mary Anderson Water LIFE Sailing Contributors A race to Key West. After two years of saying, “I’d like to do that,” we finally raced in the Key West Rendezvous and joined the Boca Grande start at noon on May 17. The first Key West Rendezvous was held twenty-one years ago with a race from St Petersburg to Key West. It has now become a tradition. Over the years three more starting points have been added and now there are four locations to start the race to Key West. The original from St Pete, Sarasota (this year was their first), Boca Grande, and Naples. Each race starting point is a separate and distinct race. They are staged so that in theory all the boats would arrive in Key West at approximately the same time. Thus the term “Rendezvous”. Even my simple mind can figure out the secret to this race’s twenty-one year success; it’s Key West. Key West has bars, weird people, bars, sunsets, bars, restaurants, bars, fun things to do. Oh, yeah, did I mention they had bars? How could it fail? Seven boats started from Boca Grande, and five were members of PGSC; Bahama Hunter, Tom Bragaw; Fancy Free, Jerry Poquette; Sea Fever 2, Ed Zysko, Ironic Breeze, Chuck Taylor; and JourneyOn. There was only one start so all three fleets started together. Wednesday at noon we were at the starting line along with northwest winds of 15+ kts. As the wind began to build the waves did the same, and you know what kind of ride you get with sizable waves off the stern quarter!

Water LIFE


Up/Down/Side-to-Side. But we were flying! What a sail! From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. we averaged 7.5 kts. by the GPS. For our boat, that’s incredible! At 9:30 p.m. with the wind howling behind us we were doing a steady 8 kts. - until the whisker pole folded in half and then we were back to mere hull speed. We found out later that our fellow PGSC sailors had their fair share of whisker pole problems, too. Fancy Free bent theirs early but quick work with a hack saw and some all purpose duct tape allowed them to continue to use their pole. Ironic Breeze lost their pole overboard but luckily they had another on board - which they bent. (Note to self: do not use whisker pole after dark.) As dawn was breaking a mere 19-20 hours after the start, we were looking at the lights of Key West. For those of you who have not sailed into Key West at night use this as a warning there are more channel marker lights and shore line lights than we could believe. Another thing we didn’t believe was that we were about 3 miles east of where we should have been. We finally believed it as we were waiting for Towboat US to pull us off the sand bar. My new chart from Waterproof Chart had a mistake in the co-ordinates for the Northwest Channel Marker #1, and for the last 20 hours we’d been aiming for the wrong channel. Oh, we found a channel but it was only suitable for kayaks, canoes and other small water craft. We scored a DNF for the race, but hey, we were in Key West! It was time to party! We had a great time at the bars, and watching the weird people, and we went to bars, and we did fun things, and we ate and drank, and watched sunsets at Mallory Square. You know, all the fun things you’re supposed to do in Key West! We also got to see our

July 2006

Bob/ Mary Andersonʼs Journey On south bound to Key West Photo by PGSC commodore Chuck Taylor

fellow PGSC sailors receive their trophies. After a weekend of parties, on Monday we turned around and headed back to Punta Gorda with the wind on the nose under the “iron genny”. Now that we know the lay of the land - ah, er, I mean lay of the water, we are definitely going to sail the Key West Rendezvous again next year!! It’s not just a sailboat race; it’s an adventure.

Growing Up Fishinʼ July 2006

I put together this story so I could share some special memories I have of my son and his fishing. Most stories are about dads and sons fishing. As a mother, I think fishing is the best thing that could ever happen to a child. A mother doesn’t have to fish, but she has to love seeing the face of her child fishing. There is nothing in the world that replaces the look of a child with a fish on the end of a line. A lot of mothers miss that, I am glad I never did miss that chance. – Sandi Lugiewicz

S peci al to Water LIFE I remember when I bought Robert his first fishing rod. It was a blue Snoopy pole with a plastic hook, and he was 3 years old. We went on a family picnic to a river in Indiana; Robert along with his sister and brother each had a pole and would go fishing with their dad. I sat on the sidelines, with headphones on, listening to the Moody Blues, watching them fish, and taking pictures of all of the fun. A few years later, we moved to Arizona. As a single parent, with 3 kids and no TV for a couple of years, I would drive to Kiwanis, a local park that had a stocked pond, to keep my kids entertained. Robert and his brother Mike took fishing rods, Sabrina took her roller blades, and I took my blanket to sit on, my headphones with the Moody Blues, the Sunday paper to read and a camera to take pictures of all of the fun. Robert got a little older, we moved to a neighborhood that had a stocked pond – I had to move there, I knew fishing would be the only thing to keep them out of trouble. I struggled financially to get into that neighborhood, after all, Arizona is the desert, and there are no rivers, lakes, and not many ponds stocked with fish. Every January, I would take trash out to the alleyway, and there would be 50 Christmas trees stacked up against my back fence. Robert and his friend, Bill, stashed them there until they could drag them down to the pond, late at night, tie them up with a cinder block and throw

Water LIFE

them in. Robert kept meticulous records of where he threw those cinder blocked trees; he knew that later on they would be great fishing spots. I took pictures of them dragging the trees, it looked like fun. In junior high, Robert used his bike with big baskets (he had a paper route) to bring a huge carp home. He put it in in my pristine clean bath tub until I got home from work so I could see his prize catch. I had to take pictures of it. It must have been fun catching that one! (Side note: he had that paper route so that he could pay for his own plane ticket to go to Florida every year and stay with his grandparents, so he could REALLY fish). During his junior high years, our refrigerator was sparse on some days, but there was never a shortage of cottage cheese containers – to me they were the dreaded cottage cheese containers. Open one up and SURPRISE! There was always bait! So when he was in high school and old enough to get a real job, I suggested he work at a pizza shop so he could have free bait (old pizza dough). I was tired of running out of bread for school lunches; I wanted him to get his own bread dough. So he got a job at the pizza store. That’s when he really started fishing at the neighborhood pond. He had lots of bait. I always had a curfew for my kids. After awhile, Robert no longer had a curfew (his brother and sister still did). When he said he was going fishing, he was going fishing. Once every two weeks, at midnight, I would get on my bike and ride around the pond to see if I could find him (just checking). Sure enough he was always there, fishing, fishing, and fishing. I would take pictures – it always looked like he was having fun. The local police who patrolled the area became his friends and our family’s friends. Mickey (from the Tempe police) said he was always picking up other high school kids for getting into trouble, but this ‘long hair’ who looked like trouble, was always quietly fishing. Then one day, Robert graduated from high school and he decided to move to


Florida where he could always fish. The same time he was planning on moving to Florida, I was finally going to move into a house on the neighborhood pond. I thought if I moved onto the pond, I could watch him fish when he came to visit. I loved to watch my kids’ fish. It always looked like so much fun. But the house on the pond did not keep him from moving to Florida. Robert has been in Florida for 10 years now. I really miss him, but it has been the best thing that ever happened to him. He has more friends than most people have in a lifetime. Matter of fact, he caught the ‘catch of his lifetime’ Kristie, in Florida. I was Robert’s ‘Best Man in his wedding. He was my ‘Best Man’ when I got remarried. The four of us got married in Maui together. While in Maui, Tom and I went to the beach and Robert and Kristie went fishing. I took a lot of pictures of Kristie and Robert fishing. It still looked like so much fun. Now that Robert is in Florida, I come visit him once a year, so I can watch him fish and he can tell me fishing stories. It is great to watch him cast a line right outside his back door. It still looks like so much fun and I still love to take pictures of him out on his dock, but it’s not a blue Snoopy rod any more. Last month, I had an incredible life changing experience that I will write down in my book of most fun things I have done ever – I personally went fishing for the very first time. Yes, that’s right, I am Robert’s mom and I have never been fishing before. Well, I have gone fishing with other people, but I have never held a fishing pole or fished. This year I went to Florida, for only one weekend, in June. It was my all time shortest visit ever, but I really missed seeing Robert, so I just went for the two days. Robert and I were in Home Depot shopping when we got the call from Angel. He said if we picked him up 3 hamburgers and 3 fries and met him on Robert’s dock in 30 minutes he would take us for a boat ride in the Harbor. Believe it or not, I had never been out on a boat either. Who would believe, Robert’s mom,

Page 23

Robert and his Snoopy pole. Today, Robert Lugiewicz works at Fishin Franks in Port Charlotte.

never in a boat? We were out on the Harbor for about 30 minutes, when Angel said, “I have one mackerel left from this morning, do you want to try a line?” My response: “No, I couldn’t, I have never been fishing.” To Angel, all I have to say is that if you quit the captaining business, you should go into sales. Ten minutes later, my pole was bent in a big upside down ‘U’. I thought I probably snagged a big piece of wood or something, like what you see in the movies. Robert and Angel said it was a fish, and to sit down. And so it went, Robert kneeling next to me coaching me: ‘O.k., mom, now let the pole down slowly, now reel it in real fast – now let the pole down slowly, now reel it in real fast.” I thought I was in the delivery room all over again! After an hour and 10 minutes, I was getting my picture taken with a 100-pound bull shark. What fun! Now someone was taking my picture and I was fishing. I think the next time I am in Florida I might just go fishing again.

Page 24


Water LIFE

July 2006


Sometimes Unsubstanciated ... but often true!

Englewood An Englewood marina, that has sat unoccupied for two years, is reportedly again under contract. The potential new owner plans to operate the facility as a full service marina: a refreshing thought since most marina sales these days are to make room for condominiums or dock-aminimums.

Red Tide The red tide status numbers for the area have been at zero for the last six months. Until late June, that is, when the digit moved off the zero peg slightly. While not a cause for alarm this is a trend worth keeping an eye on. Small concentrations were noted off Sarasota at Longboat Key and South of Fort Myers.

Finally a Win! Jimmy Fry captaining the the Cabinets Plus team weighed in at 13.35 pounds for two redfish and captured the Charlotte High School Redfish Challenge. “I finally win a tournament and there was no photographer to take pictures,” Fry said. Lyn Bevis and the J. Lyn Bevis team Re/Max were 4100ths of a pound behind Fry in second at 13.31 pounds and Miles Meredith on team Waterproof Charts was one-100th behind them in third at 13.3. Talk about a close finish. And no photos! “The school

photographer ʻflaked outʼ and didnʼt show up” an official noted. Construction continues on the new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World retail store in Ft. Myers, located at I-75 and Alico Road. Set to open in early November. A focal showpiece will be two aquariums that will display saltwater and freshwater native fish.

Hammerhead Follow Up After an autopsy, Mote Marine has reported that Bucky Dennisʼs 1240 pound hammerhead had 55 pups inside which accounted for 250 pounds of the big hammerʼs weight.

Mercabo Property Sold Again The old Mercury Marine testing facility at Placida has reportedly been sold again. The new owner is reportedly a hotel chain Lee Strauss a New Dad MacKenzi Lei Strauss was born April 13 at 4:14 pm. She was 6lbs 4oz. and 19 inches long - the proud parents are Fisherman Lee and Lori Strauss. Her big sisters are Alexa and Kylie.


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Water LIFE

Paddling with the YMCA July 2006

By Davi d Al l en Water LIFE Kayak Editor A group of teenagers, ranging in age from 12 to 16, dragged 10 red kayaks down to the beach, then returned to the container for paddles and PFDs. This was the first kayaking session of the summer at Dotzler Park in Port Charlotte. This program, sponsored by the Charlotte County YMCA, is designed to introduce youngsters to kayaking and to provide them with the skills necessary to enjoy this sport for years to come. Kayaking outings and instruction are scheduled for each Monday at 9 a.m. Dotzler Park is located on Bayshore Drive. Dotzler Park is a 21-acre spread with a nice beach that opens onto Charlotte Harbor. The park is on Bayshore Drive, just east of Edgewater Drive. Thanks to the strong support of Jeremy Singleton and Lenny Jimke, both with the local YMCA, the park has been almost completely restored after Charley. There is a basketball court, skateboard ramps, a climbing tower, and a house for indoor activities. Twenty to 30 youngsters show up every morning to participate in these activities. We got the kayaks into the water without much trouble, got the PFDs on and started the orientation. We covered the basics; how to get into and out of a kayak, how to hold the paddle and execute the forward stroke. The kids caught on very fast, and shortly we were ready for the first paddle down to the Grassey Point area.

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Grassey Point is about two miles from Dotzler Park, a fair distance for first time paddlers. Our plan was to paddle through and explore the mangrove channels that go through the Point, take a break and a drink, and return to Dotzler Park. We stayed along the shore on the outbound leg, checking out the Yacht Club and homes in that area. There were also schools of fish swimming in the clear, shallow water along the edge. We entered the first mangrove channel, and stopped along the shady side for a break. It was a hot morning and the 2mile paddle was tiring for the first-timers. We explored the mangroves to the end, about a half-mile from Alligator Bay, then started the return paddle. There were a lot of birds in the channel and they flew ahead of us as we disturbed them. There was a slight breeze in our faces as we returned to the launch point and some of the kids were getting a little tired. But everyone made it back in good shape, ready to go again next week. This activity is supported by the Port Charlotte Kayakers. The Port Charlotte Kay ak ers meet each Wednesday ev ening at Port Charlotte Beach, at 5:30 PM. Come to a meeting and see what we are about. For more information email to:

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Water LIFE

Mining Permit Receives Setback Page 26


July 2006

Business as usual wonʼt work in a Florida economy driven by environmental sustainability. Water LIFE Report On Friday June 16, Administrative Law Judge Robert Meale released his recommended order for permits related to the expansion of Mosaic's (IMC) Ona/Fort Green phosphate strip mine. The judge declined to recommend the issuance. The proposed Ona strip mine site is located near the tiny town of Ona in Hardee County. The permit proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection will allow Mosaic (the mining company) to strip mine a significant portion of the tiny water body, Horse Creek. Horse Creek provides 15 percent of the freshwater flow to the Peace River-drinking water source for residents in Charlotte, Sarasota, and Desoto Counties and the City of North Port. Likewise, the freshwater flow from the Peace River helps keep Charlotte Harbor’s estuary healthy. That estuary provides economic vitality for Charlotte and Lee Counties, local municipalities and countless businesses large and small. The National Estuary program estimates that the economic value of the entire Peace River basin approaches $5 billion – far more than the $500 million that phosphate strip mining provided Florida. The public impact of strip mining the headwaters of Horse Creek can be measured in two clear ways: a reduction in fish species and reduction in freshwater flow to the Peace River. When the number of days that the water authority cannot take water from the river

increases, more storage capacity is needed which means the municipalities have to expend more money for water storage. These are among the reasons why Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota Counties along with the Desoto Citizens Against pollution and why the Peace River Manasota Water Supply Authority challenged the Ona strip mining permit. Of greatest significance, Judge Meale’s denial of the permit represents substantial validation of concerns shared by Charlotte County and its allies. Two major strip mining permits and Ona have been denied by two different Administrative Law Judges. That the Ona permit is denied based on the lack of adequate financial security underscores what Charlotte County has said all along, ‘If the mining companies cannot afford to do it right, then Florida cannot afford phosphate mining.’ In his original Recommended Order issued May 2005, Judge Meale advised DEP to issue the permit with the addition of 24 new or revised conditions. Specifically, Meale found in his original order that (Mosaic’s) proposed mitigation was substantially deficient because the amount of financial security was insufficient. He believed that (Mosaic) should have included in this amount the cost of acquiring, transporting and placing sand tailings on all 3,500 mined acres (including wetlands and uplands) so that the postmining topography was restored to pre-

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This is not a winter snow scene. This is the Peace River, white with phosphate sludge that ran into the river from a mine upstream during the 1980ʼs.

mining conditions. FDEP removed those significant conditions in its Remand. Mosaic announced the closing of the Fort Green Mine earlier this year (a source of sand tailings for the restoration of Ona, they claimed) and most recently revealed a plan to sell the sand tailings from the Ona Mine. Without the financial controls and the sand tailings, there is no way to provide for successful and acceptable restoration of the environment. With DEP’s removal of his cornerstone conditions, Judge Meale may have decided Mosaic was no longer capable of providing reasonable assurance that the pre-mining conditions would be restored. Whatever his reason, his recommendation is quite clear: deny the permit and do not accept the reclamation plan.

No matter his thinking, the judge concluded that the applicant (Mosaic) failed to meet the conditions set by law. Even now, FDEP is holding a series of meetings to explain and introduce their new management plan for the Peace River watershed. DEP and phosphate strip mining are both at a crossroads. Two Administrative Law Judge’s have said that the current regulation of phosphate strip mining is inadequate. Business as usual won’t work in a Florida economy driven by environmental sustainability. Will this new management plan account for the recommendations made by two different hearing officers in two different cases? Will this FDEP Secretary make a choice for ‘business as usual’ or ‘better business’ ? The fight against the phosphate

July 2006

Water LIFE

Report of Manatee Demise Greatly Exaggerated

By Capt. Ron Bl ago Water LIFE S enior Guide The judges have made their ruling and by a vote of 5 to 0 the manatee has been kicked off the endangered species list and dropped down to the minor leagues of threatened species. This was a bitter defeat for the coaching staff at the Save the Manatee Club. They had just selected a new supreme commander, Pat Rose, their former lobbyist. I’m sure he will do as good a job for them as Executive Director as he did convincing the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission that the manatee should remain endangered. Before anyone starts to pop the champagne corks, let me remind you that this new development in no way changes the manatee protection measures already in place. The manatee zones stay the same and the speed regulations stay the same and of course the enforcement of manatee regulations stays the same. No manatee hunting allowed. I was surprise by the lack of moral indignation in the local press over the delisting. You would think that after 10 years of boater bashing the headlines would be full of moral outrage over the delisting of the manatee. There was a little whimpering from some of the manatee defenders. On the editorial page of a local paper was a pretty picture of a nursing manatee calf with its mother and the head-


line ‘Down listing mammal a disgrace.’ The letter had the unusual opinion that “the manatee’s demise is connected to government regulations that are manipulated by waterfront developers with an agenda of greed.” That is a personal opinion and they have a right to express it; but then it goes on to say “Most manatee mortalities are human related, occurring from collisions with watercraft, particularly pleasure craft.” That statement my folks, is a flat out lie and frankly I can’t understand how a paper that supposedly has all the news that’s fit to print, would let that slip by. How hard would it be to put a statement under the letter that said ‘State records indicate that 76-percent of all manatee deaths are not human related.’ One of the local news reporters took the delisting pretty hard. He blamed the action on “an array of some of the state’s most powerful interests-boat makers, marine engine manufactures, fishing associations, developers and Realtors.” I get the feeling he thinks there is a boating and fishing mafia out there that’s out to do in the manatees. I could tell you if that’s true, but then I would have to kill you. What really surprised me was his comment, “boaters, not science, were behind an action that will assuredly remove much of the protection accorded to manatees in recent years.” Talk about getting it

Page 27

NOT ONLY ARE THERE A LOT OF MANATEES IN FLORIDA, THEY EXIST IN GREAT NUMBERS AROUND THE WORLD. This photo of an Australian manatee was the subject of a discussion on negative impacts manatees have on delicate resources like seagrass.

wrong. The decision to delist the manatee was the first decision on manatees that was based solely on science. In 1998 the FWC hired outside marine mammal population experts to review the data on Florida manatees and these experts said delist the manatee. The SMC did not like that, so with the blessing of the SMC the state adopted the international (IUCN) standards for classifying species. The FWC put together another panel of scientist in 2004 to review the manatee situation using the new criteria, and guess what they said? They said ‘delist the manatee.’

I salute the FWC for having the guts to make the call. The politically correct thing to do would have been to do nothing and call for more research. No matter where you stand on the manatee issue the decision to delist the manatee recognizes the scientific fact that in spite of 30 years of increasing human population growth in Florida, increasing waterfront development and more boats on the water – and lets face it, more pollution everywhere – the number of manatees has increased from under 1,000 to over 3,000. And that’s a scientific fact.

Page 28

Water LIFE


July 2006

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July 2006

Fishing with Capt. Ron Blago

A Little Help Please

Most of the people who know me accept the fact that in general, I’m a pretty lazy guy. For example right now it’s raining and I have a leak in my roof. My goal is to find a bucket big enough so that I can go through the night without having to empty it every hour. That’s just my way of handling problems. I accept that I’m on the back side of the hill of life and I’m not going to be any smarter, richer or healthier then I am right now; and I certainly don’t intend to work any harder then I do right now. That doesn’t mean I’m not a person with ambitions or goals for myself because just like that guy Earl in the TV show by the same name, I have my own list of names I like to cross off the list. Each year I run a Kid’s Fishing Camp for a week in the Englewood area. It’s not a big thing and this year I already have 15 boys and girls signed up. That’s about all I can handle. Each day I take them to a different place in Englewood to fish. One day we wade, one day we go to the beach, another day we fish off the pier. I try to keep it interesting. Fortunately, the Englewood Sports Complex picks up the tab for the bait and tackle the kids use. I donate my time and energy into putting it all together. On the last day of camp, Friday, July 28th, I want to take the kids fishing on Lemon Bay and this is where I need help. I’m looking for a few

Water LIFE


volunteers with boats that will take a few kids fishing from 8 am till 11:30 am leaving and returning from Indian Mounds boatramp. You don’t have to be a guide to volunteer. In the past some of my guide friends had to cancel out at the last minute because they booked a charter. I definitely understand how important a payday is this time of year. You don’t need a fancy top dollar flats boat to volunteer. As long as you have all the required safety gear on the boat your fine. Pontoon boats are great. All the kids will have their own fishing equipment and I will provide the bait. We probably won’t go more than a mile or two from the boatramp. If you can find it in your heart to take a kid fishing on that day, please give me a call at 4743474 or at the ESC 861-1980. Make sure you mention Kid’s Fishing Camp that way I’ll know your not trying to sell me a burial plot. I guarantee you’ll have a good time. Fishing is not too bad. A lot of trout are now in Lemon Bay and tarpon are still off the beach. There is still tons of bait around. The dredging of Stump Pass is finished and all the equipment is gone. A nice deep channel remains. Now is the time to try for snook on the beach and for Spanish mackerel just outside of the pass. Offshore fishermen have had to go out pretty far, 30 to 40 miles, to find grouper. The economy minded fishermen have been getting good catches of mangrove snapper and cobia at the near shore artificial reefs. That is if you can get passed the giant goliath grouper that live on these reefs. Capt Ron can be reached at (941) 474-3474 for information or to book a charter.

Adults needed To Take Kids Fishing

Page 29

If you can find it in your heart to take a kid fishing for just a couple of hours please give me a call at 474-3474 or call me at the Englewood Sports Complex at 861-1980. Make sure you mention Kid’s Fishing Camp Capt. Ron Blago

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Page 30

July Fishing Report

Charlotte Harbor

Ro bert at Fi s hi n' Franks Po rt Charl o tte: 6 2 5 -3 8 8 8

July is a good month to look for tarpon in the harbor. The bait will start to disperse when the rivers start flowing from the rain. Then the tarpon will concentrate in pods more rather than being spread out as they have been. Live bait like sugar trout will work well. Artificials like the D.O.A. Bait Buster will be popular. Even fly casting, this time of year, especially early morning when there is no wind, will be enticing for tarpon. You’ll also find some pods of tarpon along


the beaches. There are still a lot of small bl ack ti p sharks around all over in the harbor. Anchor near a channel marker or bridge with a chum bag. That should get the sharks. This is a great time to have fun with sharks and fish for them with lighter tackle and 15– to 20–pound line. A small steel leader and a sardine is a good set up. And one by-catch of that kind of fishing will be cobi a zoning in on Todd Gilbert and David Horton with a nice sailthe chum slick. They fish they caught and will eat the same bait. released 60 miles offContinued on shore while fishing with Capt. Dan Cambern facing page

Try fishing under the mangroves using Old BaySide glow shrimp for snook and redfish Use with a 1/4 oz. red jig head. Skip the shrimp under the mangroves and work out with a slow retrieve keeping the jig from getting snagged in the roots. I like doing this early in the morning this time of year. As the day heats up, move out onto the flats that have lots of sea grass. Use the same jig and shrimp 12 to 18 inches under a paradise popper with 20-pound leader. This will produce lots of sea trout.

Old BaySide Techni Glow Shrimp

July 2006

July 2006

Water LIFE



This also a good time to look for Julyʼs Julyʼs Target Target Species Species permi t on the calmer mornings. Look for them at the near-shore reefs. Early morning and late afternoon after the sea breeze dies down are the two best times to find the fish. There are not a ton of them, but MACKEREL are on the bar COBIA are scattered all SNOOK are out of season but TARPON are best in the there are enough to make it worthat Boca Grande Pass around the harbor big. Catch and release only. Pass and on the beach while. Drifting a live crab with a split-shot is a very productive anchored up. Try bottom fishing for for them in the more calm waters. And come up and take the fly and approach. The Novak Reef and Mary’s yel l owtai l , the yellowtail bite has sharks ... the largest ones will be on the then jump. It’s incredible. Reef are both good permit spots. been unbelievable for the past several outside edges of the bar and down along Also guys fishing tarpon Out along the beaches and in the months. Target them and wait for the the intracoastal towards the beaches say cobi a fishing has been passes, redfi sh and snook should be others to show up. where they are feeding on the migrating good in the harbor around very abundant now. Snook will be at Closer in to shore, the S pani sh snook and redfish. the deeper spots at the tartheir absolute heaviest weight this mackerel are starting to move out of pon holes. They go togethmonth since there will be one more the harbor. The rain pushes them out Lemon Bay er, tarpon in the harbor and spawn in July around the new moon. Ji m at Fi shermen’s Edge cobia. Night fishing is by far the most produc- big-time, and they are now starting to cluster up on the bar on the north side Engl ewood: 697-7595 The offshore fishing has tive way for reds and snook. Early of Boca Grande Pass. We’ve had a pheFishing has been pretty good as of been good too. A lot of morning and twilight are next best nomenal summer with mackerel so far. late. There have been a lot of fish on decent grouper and some times. The bait of choice right now Tri pl etai l are still fairly abundant the beach and a lot of snook in Ski snapper and porgys, those would be pinfish for both. Otherwise, up in the harbor and worth fishing for if Alley. Snook are also in the passes and ‘jolt porgys’ – the 7 or 8 any artificial lure of the bigger size like you are patient. Blind cast the channel at most of the docks around both sides pounders are here in good the large Bombers or YoZuris or 3/4 to markers and crab trap buoys. Shrimp of the island. In the spawning areas numbers. 1-ounce bucktails are the way to go and crabs are the best bait or you can try where they are congregating I’ve had Bl ack grouper and gag with artificials. guys catching 40 to 43-inch fish this grouper are 50 or 60 miles Anyone willing to travel the distance the small...small...bait fish. Around the bridges, the whi ti ng week. out and there is quite a bit offshore right now will find a considerOut along the beach there are snook of dol phi n offshore, small able amount of small dol phi n, boni ta will start to move in now and be accompanied by the si l ver and sugar on the beach too and bl ack drum, dolphin but a lot of them, and bl ackfi n tuna. Anchoring around trout. The silver trout are actually very whi ti ng, pompano and smal l ‘chicken dolphin’ they call any of the wrecks out there or over one big this year. sharks. And we’ve had quite a bit of them; 20-inch fish. of the ledges is best. Most of the time, Bl ack drum should start showing mackerel around down by Boca Grande Inshore there are some the fish will come to you while you are up in schools in the Punta on the north-side bar. Guys have been redfi sh around, quite a bit Gorda Isles canals or out catching mackerel up to 6 pounds there. of them in Whidden’s Creek around the U.S. 41 and IBut the biggest part is still the tarand up in Catfish Creek too 75 bridges. pon fishing. They are doing great catch- – there are some pretty good If you’re into the July ing them on fly and on crabs. They size keeper fish in those 22 stingray, shark and sail- catch them on threadfins up in the harareas. And there are still cat tournament, the sail bor. In the harbor it’s an early morning quite a few sharks, cats should be at the thing with tarpon, you have to be up blacktips mostly and mouths of the canals, there early. If you are later it’s harder. A some with good size stingrays are tough because lot of tarpon are still in the Pass so that to them. Guys have they move around so much fishing is still pretty good too. Guys been targeting them in but a tip would be to look catching tarpon on a fly seeing that fish Lemon Bay just inside the

Page 31

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Page 32

July 2006

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Water LIFE July 2006  

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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