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Wa t e r LIFE C Ch otttte Ha ar rb bo or r a an nd d L Le em mo on n B Ba ay y ha ar rllo e H Kee pin g B oa ters & F ish ermen In fo rmed Sin ce 1 997

The official publication of the Charlotte Harbor Reef Association



SNORKELERS NEEDED for Sea Grant Scallop Survey Page 10

Kids Fishing Page 16

Capt Glen始s Outcast Offshore

PTTS Tarpon eMails

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Letter to the Daily Paper Page 8

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July 2012

July 2012

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July 2012

Inshore and Offshore Headquarters

Water LIFE Magazine inc.

Letters to

Tarpon eMails Two Perspectives

June 16 Mr. Heller, My name is Ray Combs and I am Owner of REC Media Group, and the television producer of the PTTS. A few day ago, I was having dinner at a local restaurant and I picked up a copy of Water Life Magazine. I read your commentary on page 11 about your recent experience during one of the PTTS events and I was deeply concerned. My goal during the production is to get the best possible coverage of the teams and, as I'm sure you can relate, the best shots. Our intention is never to hide or block anything nor to impede other's rights in any form whatsoever. That being said, I would like to offer my sincere apology for any distress or embarrassment members of my team may have caused you. Additionally, I would like to extend to you an invitation to come out to either of the two tournaments and ride on one of our camera boats this weekend to get some shots. You may even join me on the main boat with Joe Mercurio as we shoot. I'm sure you are aware of the issues surrounding jig tournaments in the pass. We all have different opinions and feelings on the subject. Personally, I feel strongly about encouraging open dialogue and communication between all parties and figuring out a way to share the pass for all anglers. Best regards, Ray Combs June 18 Mike Heller, It feels sometimes like we're all just talking in circles. Arguing for argument's sake and getting nowhere. Ug.... I just read an entire article/rant by some (presumably jigging) Captain that claims it's because of the renourishment, the commercial tanker traffic, the changing

currents, etc. On and on and on. There's always an excuse why it's not the jiggers and their boat operation. There's always another way to spin it. Bottom line is, the tarpon aren't here as they were before, and they aren't behaving in the same manners they have been before. No matter what side you may be on and no matter how many excuses/reasons you can come up with and spin - the fact is, if something isn't done, the fishery will continue to decline - and everyone will be out of a job - and out of the incredible experience of fishing for tarpon in Boca Grande Pass. No matter who wins this jig/anti-jig battle, all I can say is that I am pleased as punch that the area is getting a spotlight shown on it. The good news is that everyone is pushing for conservation - or at least, eyeing/research/studies on the number and migratory patterns of the tarpon, as well as ALL factors that may affect them. However, I, like many of the "Live Baiters/Old School," will continue to document, photograph, and DNA swab to show the damage the PTTS/jigging is doing. I think the impact they inflict is a factor, but even if (for some reason) the research shows differently, it's still unnecessary. Coco Hibb Water LIFE then asked for pictures

June 19 Mr Heller What a disaster. That's all I can say. The few photos I was able to take, well, suck. PTTS had boats everywhere blocking anyone with a camera. It was ridiculous. They were trying to herd anti-PTTS boats away from the weigh scales, they were blocking photos of the "release/sink" boat, they were blocking any potential photos of foul hooked fish, they were blocking photos of the fish being gaffed and dragged out of the pass. Coco

Mail: 217 Bangsberg Rd. Port Charlotte, FL 33952


June 19 Hi Michael, Obviously this is a heated debate down there and will most likely continue to be. From my perspective, I found this weekend's "peaceful protest" to be a deplorable showing of aggression. In my seven years of shooting in Boca Grande Pass, this was the first time I truly felt concern for the safety of me and my crew. I completely support their right to protest and get their message heard, however, their personal threats and verbal abuse was inexcusable. Although I am not an official representative of the PTTS, I am happy to speak with you about the events on Sunday from my point of view. Thank you for your dedication to researching the facts and objective journalism. That is an honorable trait in today's world. Best regards, Ray June 20 Mike, I'm hearing rumors that the "conservation minded" PTTS did not DNA swab any fish from this final tournament. Not sure if that's true or not, but would be curious to know. Thanks! Coco

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Contributing Editors:

Photography: Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Charter Fishing: Capt. Bart Marx Port Charlotte: Capt. Billy Barton Punta Gorda: Capt. Chuck Eichner Commercial Fishing: Kelly Beall Sea Grant: Betty Staugler Real Estate: Dave Hofer Inshore: Fishinʼ Frank Offshore: Capt Jim OʼBrien Kayaks: David Allen Sailing: Bill Dixon (on sailbatical) Office Dog: Molly Brown

on the COVER:

Capt. Glen Ballinger sent us a number of reports from his offshore trips last month out of Venice inlet aboard his boat Outcast. This red grouper was part of the fun. See page 15

Editorʼs NOTE* More to come

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The Duckʼs Revenge

July 2012

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE publisher I know there are some readers out there who are going to say ‘serves you right’ and maybe it does, but I’m not putting up with duck poop in my pool. We feed the small song birds, cardinals, sparrows and such with food my wife buys bulk from Crossties Farm and Garden store out on Hwy 17, but a couple of months ago we got a sack of bird food from someplace else. I don’t know if it was the different seeds, or millet, or what, but the ducks appeared soon after we put it out. We’ve had neighborhood ducks living in the canal for years, but now, suddenly, we had move-in ducks living in our yard. Then the ducks started swimming in the pool and making little ‘yucky, duckydeposits’. So we quit putting out bird food and the birds left... except for 3 stubborn Mottled ducks, what looked like one mating pair and a persistent follower. Our house is set back about 20 feet from the pool and elevated 8 feet above it. We have a nice deck outside the kitchen that faces the pool. The pair of ducks would respond quickly when I’d come outside to shoo them, but the left-out duck began to

Above: Mr Single Duck, itʼs all his fault. Right: Capt. Andy Medina posted ʻFrankenankleʼ on my Facebook page after I had surgery to repair my ruptured Achillesʼ tendon.

ignore me. Even when I'd run down to the pool making noise and waving my hands, he'd just swim across to the opposite side. So I came up with a new strategy. I'd go to the refrigerator and get some ice cubes to throw into the pool around him and roust him. Gerrunk, gerrunk the ice cubes would come out and when I had a handful I'd go outside and show him my

ice-pitch. That always got his attention..and off he would fly, but he would come back. And I’d get more ice. Eventually, just the gerrunk, gerrunk, gerrunk noise of the ice maker was enough to get the duck’s attention and he’d go airborne before I could get out the kitchen door. Now for the ankle part: I was down at the pool the last day of May vacuuming up Mr. Single Duck’s poop when I heard a familiar splashing sound in the canal. It was Mr. Single Duck who had just flown up onto the concrete walkway leading from the dock to the pool. I was squatting down with the vacuum pole and he didn’t see me as he waddled ahead. There is a small low concrete wall between the walk and the pool. I sprang up from behind the wall, waving my arms dropping the long aluminum vacuum pole to make even more noise. When I landed my right foot collapsed and I tumbled onto the lawn. The commotion scared the duck into an immediate flight of fright, but I hurt pretty bad. I reached down to feel my ankle and my heart sank. I could put my

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hand right around my ankle. It felt creepy. It wasnt broken, but there was no Achilles tendon on the back of my leg. The Achilles is the long tendon that connects the calf muscles with the heel bone. The achilles helps flex your foot up and down. The treatment for this injury is surgery asap, with conventional stitches outside and something like a bimini twist inside that attaches to a titanium screw in my heel. Recuperating will keep me from putting weight on my leg for four months! I’m on crutches (borrowed from Darrel at Fishin’ Franks - thanks!) and then I'll be wearing a knee high boot until Halloween. No boating and no driving. Gas prices going down, stinks to be me. But still, there may be a good side. As I sit at my desk trying to type with my leg up, to keep the swelling down, I know that every hour, when my wife goes into the kitchen to fill the big ZipLoc ice bag for my ankle, and the refrigerator makes that greeunk, gerrunk gerrunk grinding sound crushing up the ice, we are getting Mr. stubborn Single Duck’s attention. I figure that by the time I’m up and walking around and don’t need ice any more, either the duck will have gotten the hint and moved out for good or we’ll be getting ready to serve duck for Thanksgiving dinner.

Calm After the Storm

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By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Punta Gorda Fishing For most anglers monsoon summer rains and high waters keep you from putting your boat in the water. The tough part is that for the next couple of months rain will be part of the forecast on just about any given day. The fish are conditioned to expect this seasonal shift and adapt their feeding habits and fishy haunts. Predictable afternoon downpours are usually followed by a calm spell and on some days it is rain all day. When the scorching afternoon sun moves the thermometer on land to the low 90’s the shallows of Charlotte Harbor reflect temperatures pushing 90 degrees and that is hot for any fish! The beauty of it is that the cooling rains chill the water, increase the volume of water and with the additional water you see increased tidal velocity. This recipe excites our backcountry gamefish and some open water fish like the tarpon! Flexibility is the key in planning your fishing trip. Perhaps you will need to trailer your boat to work to catch the sweet time right after an afternoon storm in mid afternoon. Another alternative is

to fish on a day when they are calling for rain. Most anglers will avoid the water and you will have the harbor to yourself! With a couple of days of rain and almost no boat traffic you will be amazed at all of the fish that appear in places where they should be and perhaps used to be. With tournament anglers blazing the shallows preparing for the weekend tournament, recreational anglers exploring unknown territory and tower boat owners running the islands our fishery is constantly disturbed. A few rainy days will

prove to you that there are more fish around then you might think because boat traffic has changed fish patterns. Mother nature will give you plenty of interesting signs that things are different in the rain and before and after a storm. After a tropical storm you might see a wandering

alligator that followed the freshwater flow from a local lake. Pelicans must hunker down in the rain as well and seek companionship while waiting for sunshine to illuminate the waters so they can see to feed on baitfish. Summertime is a great time to fish the outgoing tide. More anglers prefer the incoming tide overall however high tides enhanced with extra fresh water create quite a sheet flow in the backcountry. The best method to locate fish is to hopscotch from island to island. Throw artificials or bait focusing on obvious water movement on certain parts of the islands, creeks, canals and areas where there are bottom depth changes. A lot of time you will see floating leaves, seaweed or aquatic stuff piling up in certain areas which is created by a tidal eddy with a swift current flow nearby. Snook and redfish love to skirt these areas because crabs, fish, shrimp and salty creatures are flowing in the mix. The higher the tides the further back into the bush the fish will meander. Gamefish will instinctively begin to move out towards open water with the falling tide. I have caught redfish in late afternoon in open water in front of the outermost islands where boats have run through all day. Fish know that it is a safe time after a storm to patrol these areas as the tide flushes morsels through the water column. An absolute great time to throw a hard or soft jerk bait or a

July 2012

top water bait covering lots of water. Every creek in the harbor will be swollen with a strong outflow after a rainstorm. Canals in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte will be doing the same. The fish will be in predictable locations ambushing from mangroves, seawalls or grassbeds as your bait passes by. Water clarity went through a dramatic change in June going from clear to dark and murky. Avoid muddy brown water but expect to only see a few inches below the surface. The recipe for a hot bite in the summer is a cool rain storm. After the rain and associated winds have passed we have a grandeur period where the water is often mirror flat. You will see more fish activity then you can imagine and the fish will be the only ones you are sharing the water with. Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Backcountry Charters and can be reached at 941-628-8040 or at

Fishing the ANGRY REACTION STRIKE for Bass (and Tarpon?) Stained Water

July 2012

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From Reaction strikes are different than the regular hungry strike….this is a strike out of anger. What causes reaction strikes? Well, I was fishing once and saw a very nice bass in this pond. I tried everything to catch her and she just wouldnʼt hit so I changed to a bug type lure and just kept casting over and over to the same exact place right by her…finally she struck. She was a nice 4 pounder. Pressure or a cold front has moved in or the bass are on their beds just to name a few. So, what kind of lures do you use to get reaction strikes? Usually a big lure with bright colors, white, pink, fluorescent, yellow and many more.

You can also use spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, big worms, swimbaits, jitterbugs and many more lures. Just repeat the casts to the same area. Sometimes even switching to a different bait will do the trick. Surprising the bass will get a reaction strike too, moving the bait fast, and maybe from behind the bass to his front so he canʼt see it coming. If youʼre having a slow day or maybe a “no” day try getting reaction strikes, you just might catch the bass of a lifetime. Water LIFE Editor notes* think about it in relation to jigs and tarpon. Are reaction-type strikes part of some tarpon hooksets?

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By Capt. Davi d S tephens Water LIFE Inshore Every summer when the rainy season arrives, the waters of Charlotte Harbor become stained like a glass of tea. The darker water comes from the dead vegetation mixed with the rain run off. No the water is not polluted this is a natural occurrence that is important for the health of our estuary. There are both positives and negatives of the dark summer waters. Hopefully I can help you turn some of these negatives in to positives. The biggest complaint that I hear when speaking to people about the water clarity is sight fishing. Well look on the bright side if you can’t see them they can’t see you. If you have ever sight fished for Charlotte Harbor redfish, you know it is not as easy as it sounds. When I’m out fishing the flats with artificials I do what we call fan casting. This is a simple technique, I will position myself to where the wind or current will push me across the flat I plan to fish. Put your anchor or pole down and make several casts if you catch fish work the area more thoroughly, if not move to the edge of your cast and repeat. Also I recommend a lure that you can cover a lot of water with fast. In this situation early I throw top water, later in the day a spoon. For the live bait guys out there, well I let the bait do the work for me. When I pull up to an area I’m going to fish I chum heavier this time of year than when I can see fish over the white sandy bottom. Many times fish will blow up on your chum in places you didn’t expect. Try to picture the area as it was when the water was clear. The grass lines and pot holes didn’t change. If you would like to experience some of Charlotte Harbors finest fishing give me a call or e-mail me and we will customize a charter that best fits you and your party’s needs.

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Note to the Charlotte Sun:

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Commentary By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE publisher Ok, so here’s the deal. The Charlotte Sun has refused to print my letters to them, letters that concerned the Flatsmasters Tournament and the Laishley Crab House, so I’ll say it here. A real newspaper has a responsibility to the community it serves, a responsibility to put out both sides of an issue and to investigate a story before it puts it in print. It is arrogant for a newspaper like the Sun to think they know what’s best for the community. Here’s the way I believe it’s supposed to work in the newspaper business: Unless a story is labeled as an opinion or as a commentary, it is irresponsible to print what an outside contributor writes and then publish it as fact. This problem is compounded exponentially when the newspaper is itself involved in the issue it is writing about, such as is the case with the Charlotte Sun being a competitor and sponsor in the Flatsmaster’s Tournament.

Big breeding female snook, dead in the Flatsmasters release boat in 2009. Would it be fair to say half the fish were dead? I asked - the answer from the release boat was ʻit would be fair to say they were all dead.ʼ

July 2012

You are Way Out of your League

A video shot from an apartment at Colony Point surfaced, showing the Flatsmaster’s release boat giving away live fish they were supposed to be releasing. They were giving them to anglers on another boat. And to make a point, when the release boat driver saw he was being recorded he dropped his pants and mooned the camera! These are arrogant folks. Fish handling has improved since this 2002 CHS tournament When I questioned Cleffi where Tournament Director Jerry Cleffi dumped the redfish down a about it at the time, the corrugated pipe into the Harbor. first thing he said was "That's not my boat, that's redfish and trout) were dead. (photo left) Fl at s mas t ers Rel eas e Bo at Gi v es John Flowers’ boat." Once again, the ‘Would it be fair to say half the fish Fi s h a Fi g ht i ng Chance. The writer survivability concern was clearly for were dead? ‘ I had asked the Flatsmasters states ‘Co ns erv ati o n o f fi s h i s hi s Cleffi’s own ass and not for the fish. release boat operator at the time and he (Jerry Cleffi, the Tournament Director’s) The FWC sent Flatsmasters a letter told me ‘it would be fair to say they were after they saw the video warning that it mai n pri o ri ty ’ all dead.' That was the quote the release I think that’s laughable! The Laishley was only because they were not present boat operator working for Jerry Cleffi Events Management Group owns the in person that they did not take action. gave me. Go back and read the story and Flatsmasters and holds the tournament to You’d think that all this would figure read the June 2009 story “You Can’t Fix drive food and beverage sales at the into a story about the release boat giving Stupid” while you are at it. Laishley Crab House and at Harpoon fish a fighting chance. “Fi s h are taken to areas that pro Harrys. The second priority would be the Long about now, a real newspaper thousands of dollars in profit each tourna- mo te s urv i v abi l i ty, ” Cleffi was quoted would be figuring out they are in way in the Sun's article, but in 2009 this ment generates. Fish, I think, are low in over their heads with the tournament peopublication also published another quote priority and are only props for the show. ple and they would start digging out the from the Flatsmasters release boat operaIn that same Sun article, tournament real truth about what’s been happening. tor who said: “We’re just taking them director Cleffi claims he ‘res earched the The Sun, on the other hand, by cateraround the corner to dump them off.” Bas s mas ters to urnament and then ing to its advertisers, has chosen to take That instance must have slipped Cleffi’s dev el o ped hi s o wn rel eas e bo at to sides with the big money. mind in the interview. ens ure the fi s h’s s urv i v abi l i ty. ’ I have to believe if Truth is, if not for law abiding, conservFlatsmasters really paid ation minded observers, dead fish would enough attention to the fish still be floating the morning after each they wouldn’t have these event and there would be no release boat. But put all that aside, and let’s assume problems. Are things better for the there was some release boat epiphany that tournament’s fish today than took place on Jerry Cleffi’s part and like Noah, Cleffi built a boat to save the fish. in 2009? I don’t know. In 2010 the Laishley group Then once Flatsmasters had that release banned me from their events boat things would have gotten better for “unless I only had ‘positive the fish. Right? That’s what the things to say.” Charlotte Sun would like people to Two months after the believe, but that’s also not true. ‘they are all dead,” incident The You Tube video of the Flatsmasters release boat giving Go back and look at our 2009 April away live fish instead of releasing them has over 2000 Water LIFE edition online, the fish in the the Flatsmasters release views. You can still search YouTube for ʻFlatsmastersʼ and boat had another incident. watch it. Call me if you know the guys getting the fish. first Flatsmasters release boat (snook, Last month I wrote about the Flatsmasters Tournament becoming a kill tournament when they included the very delicate sea trout in their catch and release events. The Sun newspaper reacted with a story which I suspect was driven by advertising dollars. In that story the writer, Lee Anderson, talked about how good the tournament was doing handling fish. Clearly there is a difference of opinion, (ask the dead trout) so here is what I’d like the Sun readers to know: In the Sun article titled:

Changing Weather Changing the Estuary?

July 2012

Opi ni on By Fi shi n’ Frank Water LIFE Baitshop Florida evaporates 51 inches of rain a year, so in order for life to exist in balance here we need an average of 1 inch of rain a week. After the first 2 days of Debby the ground was still bone, powder dry 8 inches down from the surface. So as much of a pain as storms are, we need tropical storm systems to survive. There has not been a rainy season here in S.W. Florida since 1988. We do have a rainy-er season, when we get more rain than other times, but since I-75 and the building of Murdock we’ve had no rainy season as us old timers remember it. Every afternoon between 2 and 4 p.m. it used to pour/ team rain, thunder and lightning cracking around you every few seconds. Forty mph winds, 2 inches of rain ... then just as fast as it started an hour later it was gone. This happened almost every day. So scary were these storms many people who had bought their homes in the winter sold them and moved north after their first experience with a true Florida rainy season. What I believe happened was when we built I-75, then the Mall and the other buildings in Murdock, it disrupted the circular flow of the air patterns. Back then I was an iron worker, tieing steel reinforcement rods for concrete structures. Each

day during the summer it was a race to see if you could get done before the storm hit. Lightning or no lightning steel rods had to be placed into wet concrete. So with lightning cracking around us and me holding steel rods and sticking them into the pour, we learned to work early and hard to finish before the storm started every day. Concrete, roof tops, and blacktop roads create a hot zone where heat goes up in a thermal rise –think of it as a wall of hot air blocking the local weather patterns. In the central part of the country a storm moving across the states will often go around a city and when storms do pass over a city, the rain does not make it to the ground. Before the 1990's the clouds would start to move in about 11a.m. from the Gulf, go up along the Myakka, back down along the Peace River then circle together like an old wagon train. When they got together bang - smash, thunder, lightning and rain. The last time I remember being really scared was when I was working on the old Service Merchandise Plaza, where Lowes is today. We had no thought of changing the weather patterns, affecting the history and the lives of every person here, all we were doing was building.

This is all what I have seen and have been a part of. Maybe the planet just changed from one year to the next? Maybe what I and others did had no part in it, but something changed and now we are dependent on tropical rains for the water we need to survive. In some ways it is nicer with no intense storms every day, but at what price? Maybe it will be better in some ways, but at what cost? Can the wildlife adapt to such a fast changing environment, or are we seeing the last days of Charlotte Harbor as an estuary? The fight to save Charlotte Harbor has just begun and I owe the Save the Tarpon people a word of thanks, it was their cry about the changing tarpon habitat which brought this to my attention. Stand on the shore, look at our beautiful harbor and join me in helping save it. Frank can be reached at 625-3888 or at

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July 2012

Bay Scallops in SWFL: A Protected Species

By Betty S taugl er Water LIFE / Sea Grant

The Florida bay scallop is a bivalve mollusk that grows and lives in seagrass beds in relatively shallow water, 4 to 10 feet deep. At one time scallops could be found from Palm Beach to Pensacola. Today, consistently healthy populations can only be found in selected locations along Florida's West Coast - principally St. Joseph Bay, and the area between the Econfina and Weeki Wachee rivers.

In recent years, bays scallops have been seen in greater numbers in southwest Florida waters, in part due to restoration efforts in the area. With greater awareness of their recovery, unfortunately come many reports of illegal harvesting. Readers should be aware that recreational harvest of bay scallops is prohibited in all southwest Florida waters. Legal Requirements

In Florida, commercial harvest of bay scallops is prohibited. Recreational harvest is allowed only in state waters from north of the Pasco-Hernando county line to the west bank of Mexico Beach Canal and only during a limited season, which runs July 1 through September 10, 2012.

For readers interested in traveling to the Big Bend during the recreational harvest season a few rules apply. In general, recreational scallopers between the ages of 16 and 65 must have a current Florida saltwater fishing license to collect scallops. There are some exceptions; these are listed in the FWC "Florida Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations," which is available in bait shops, FWC offices, or at the FWC web site. All non-residents over the age of 16 are required to buy a license unless they are fishing (scalloping) from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, party boat) that has a valid vessel license. Two new brochures: Recreational Harvesting of the Florida Bay Scallop Citrus County and Taylor County are available through Florida Sea Grant ( Both brochures include a boat ramp and marina locator for visitors to those areas. Life History

Scallops live about one year before either dying off naturally or being eaten by crabs, octopuses, or a variety of shell crushing finfish. Most adult scallops spawn in the fall, and after about two weeks, the swimming larvae attach onto seagrass blades where they continue to grow until late spring to early summer. They then fall from the grass blades and become free swimmers, unlike oysters and clams. To swim, the large white muscle most harvesters consume is used to pull their shells together rapidly, forcing expelled water to propel them quite rapid-

ly. Scallops are prolific spawners - a single scallop can produce more than one million eggs per spawn. Because they are so heavily preyed upon, only about one in a million will reach adulthood.

To monitor bay scallop populations in the state and maintain an abundant breeding population, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has reviewed the status of the fishery annually since 1993 by means of a statewide survey and monthly monitor-

ing for settling larvae.

Volunteer opportunities exist for the public to assist in evaluating bay scallop populations in southwest Florida. These are no-harvest events organized to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population in the respective areas. Reservations are required to participate. In Charlotte County, the 2012 Great Bay S cal l op S earch will take place on August 4th. Up to 40 boats and 150

snorkelers are being recruited to participate in the event where volunteers will snorkel in assigned locations of Gasparilla Sound and Lemon Bay looking for bay scallops. For more information or to reserve your spot visit: http://2012lemonbaygasparillasoundscallo Betty Staugler Florida Sea Grant Agent Univ ersity of Florida IFAS Ex tension Charlotte County (941) 764-4346

July 2012

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Cal l t h e Cap t ai n ! SAILBOAT WATERFRONT LOT1 8 0 Feet o f Seawal l ! J us t reduced $ 1 0 0 , 0 0 0 ! Si t uat ed amo n g s t g o rg eo us h o mes , 1 mi n ut e t o h arb o r an d 2 0 mi n ut es t o Gul f. Ready fo r y o ur dream h o us e, co n cret e do ck al ready i n p l ace. On l y $ 1 4 9 , 9 9 9


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Call the Captain! INCREDIBLE OPEN WATER VIEWS of Charlotte Harbor! Rare tip lot sold with the lot next to it. Combined waterfrontage of approximately 262 ft. Located in a protected open water estuary. Immediate access to Charlotte Harbor for world class fishing and boating pleasure. Seawall already constructed. $750,000

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Real Estate News

Page 12

Provided to Water LIFE BY: Dav e Ho fer RE/MAX Harbor Realty (941) 575-3777

Recent area news i tems:

1. Probitas Enterprises purchased a 5,735 acre farm for $18 Million ($3,135/acre). The purchasers found it to be some 60% more valuable than the Charlotte County Tax Assessor thought it was. This sale price should encourage the assessor to correct some of the valuation discrepancies that seem to prevail here for commercial and investment properties. 2. TEAM Punta Gorda, The Laishley Group, the city of Punta Gorda and Mote Marine have begun the search for architectural and engineering service providers. Bypassing many more suitable sites, all seem to be anxious to begin the multi year task of building this curiosity on the City's iconic retail site at Marion and Rt 41.

3. Charlotte County got some help from incredibly low mortgage rates to allow refinancing of its albatross, Murdock Village. Interest rates will drop


July 2012


2.95% for the next ten years on the remaining $49 million still owed. Let's hope that development of this site occurs before this loan comes up for renewal again.

4. The Punt Gorda CRA was extended for an additional 11 years past its originally intended 2019 expiration date. Taxpayers will be deprived of any incremental taxes that would otherwise be collected in the City Center taxing district, home to the Herald Court Parking Garage and some of the city's most costly retail space. 5. Three of Punta Gorda's council seats are up for election this year. All three were filled without the need for an election. Kim Nickelson-Devine turned in the only application for District 1, Rachel Kiesling, an incumbent, will continue to represent district 2 & Tom Cavanaugh will replace Harvey Goldberg in district 4. Redistricting will eventually eliminate the seat currently held by Bill Albers. The new council members will be sworn in November 7. 6. Clear Channel Radio's Ken Lovejoy will moderate two candidate's forums this summer. Candidates for all of the County board spots, sheriff, tax

Downtown Punta Gorda. The twin arrows are the city park boat ramp, below theat is the proposed site for a Mote Marine attraction

appraiser and assessor and election supervisor will participate. The debates will be streamed live at 7pm on July 12th and 19th. The sponsors haven't decided if the debates will be archived for later enjoyment, so go to to listen to them live. There will be no call in questions, so email yours in advance to 7. Sun Coast Media Group Inc., the newspaper chain owned by David DunnRankin, has borrowed $4.8 million from Florida Shores Bank SW. The loan was secured against 9 of the company’s properties. In other news:

Sales Statistics: Inventories of both vacant lots and houses continue to run about 20% below year ago levels. As the inventory of distressed properties continues to shrink, sales at the lower end of the market have heated up. Charlotte County matched national statistics for growth in home sales of 3.4% for April vs. March.

By Capt. Bi l l y Barton Water LIFE / Charlotte Harbor What's up all you fishin fools!? I hope the salt life's been treating everybody special! Spending 75- percent of my waking hours on the water is without a doubt a dream come true. Always will be. And I get the pleasure of writing about my experiences and sharing them with you all. I'm out there, and I see what's going on. My only hopes are that some folks read what I write and use it to better there own fishing experiences. This last month the fishing was just fantastic. On average in a four hour trip I'd say we caught about 50 fish give or take. I'm not talking about catfish either guys. I'm talking quality fish. You can pretty much pick and choose what type of species you want to target on the water this time of year. To me this is what always keeps things interesting. You really can't switch it up much if you're a fresh water fisherman. The salt water is where the excitement is! One fish that is just so exciting to target here inshore is mangrove snapper. Snapper are one of the tastiest fish in our waters, and pound for pound they are probably one of the scrappiest fish you can target here as well. The inshore variety might not look like much, but let me tell you those little suckers put up a fight! I put a ton of focus on these fish this time of year, and let me tell you, it is the time to get out and put some in the cooler! As of this year in Southwest Florida they have increased our bag limit on these fish to ten per person which makes for an even better reason to go target them. It was five, which if you ask me just wasn't enough for a fish that is so abundant in our waters. You don't get a whole lot of meat off of em unless

A new term was added to the ever expanding phraseology used by weather men to describe what they really donʼt understand. In discussing Tropical Storm Debby, whose where abouts and intentions were the subject of much ʻforecastingʼ last month, they said:

ʻThis is a Limited Reliability Forecastʼ

The Weather Channel

Keeper July 2012

they're twelve inches or better. I don't even bother keepin em under twelve inches truthfully. It's nice in my opinion to be able to bring home a better supply of snapper meat. So, needless to say this month I'm gonna give just a few tips on how to make your snapper trips hopefully a little more successful. For being a smaller fish snapper are pretty smart. They know water structure, and they have extremely good eyesight. I like to target these fish on our reefs, on mangrove shorelines that hold a good amount of underwater debris, tree limbs, and around boat docks especially. The larger the fish, the better its eyesight is gonna be. I like to use a good three foot piece of fluorocarbon leader, ten to twenty pound tied to a number one hook, when targeting them. If you need a small split shot sinker to get down in the current use one but I prefer to free line (use no weight) if possible. This light tackle makes them a challenge because when hooked the fish will almost always take a run for the structure and attempt breaking you off. Sometimes the fish will shut down a little bit during your slower periods of the tides. This doesn't mean they aren't there, it just means when the tide turns and starts moving the fish will turn on too. Some type of water movement ALWAYS makes for better fishing. The toughest of fishing days are usually the days that are ninety degrees with no wind at all and a slow moving tide. Even if the tides are no good for that day, a little bit of wind almost always will get things moving around a little more, and get the fish eating a little better. Snapper enjoy all types of bait fish. Shrimp, small crabs, whitebait, pin fish, cut mullet all can be baits of choice when targeting these fish. During the day in my opinion the shrimp tend to produce the smaller snappers. At night

however I have more confidence in the shrimp for the larger fish. My success lately has all been with small quarter sized pin fish, or live or cut threadfin herring. The larger snappers are going bonkers over the threadfins especially! Lately, if my customers want to target something to eat, snapper is most certainly on the list. Without a problem I'm sending home a limit of snapper for every person on the boat. Some of these fish have reached up to eighteen inches. If you ask me, for inshore that's impressive!!! Last but not least if you have a good tidal flow always remember to chum with whatever your bait of choice is. This will always improve your chances. I've been cutting my threadfins in tiny pieces and once every five or ten minutes I'll throw out a small handful. Chumming is very important it really gets them going.

If you're land bound and you can't get out on the water this doesn't prevent you from catching quality snapper in good numbers. The bridges on 41 and 776 are holding an extreme amount of snapper right now. El Jobean, the Placida fishing pier, Tom Adams pier in Englewood, and South Gasparilla pier in Boca Grande are all places to catch some good fish. I hope this leaves everyone with some better insight on some inshore snapper fishing. Now get out there and catch you some dinner!! Take a kid with you too. You get him hooked it'll be the best thing you ever did for him. Good luck out there guys and girls I'm signing out till next time. Capt. Billy Barton operates S cal es N Tai l s C hart ers. He can be reached at 979-6140 or :

Page 13

Snapper have been great (above) but redfish and small sharks are also showing themselves in a day of fishing

Page 14

Captain始s Corner

Offshore aboard


A Slew of Personal Bests

Compiled from reports by the crew Pete Lee celebrated his first day of fishing during American red snapper season by catching a personal best snapper. The seas were a little choppy but we made our way in two hours to about a 200 foot depth. The fishermen dropped their bait to the bottom and instantly the bite was on. Several grouper and snapper were already on board when the tip of Pete始s fishing rod violently lurched forward. The hooked opponent made a run for structure, but Pete turned the fish around and after a 10 minute struggle a 36 inch red grouper (approximately 20 pounds) came aboard. Pete did not have a personal best red snapper, but this was the largest red grouper he had ever landed. Several minutes later Pete had recorded another personal best: a Scamp grouper of approximately 12 pounds. A few hefty red snapper were boated at this location so Pete baited his hook with a frozen cigar minnow and dropped it towards the bottom. The bait never got a chance to get there. Pete held on tight as the aggressive hit and strong head shakes said he was now in battle with a big snapper. Eventually

July 2012

Got a Story? send us your pictures:

flashes of iridescent red became visible 30 feet below and Pete knew he was in the final stages of catching his red snapper. The 16 pound red snapper flopping on the deck was yet another personal best. On the third spot of the day, schools of almaco crowded around the Outcast and we watched as they eagerly hit small chunks of bait on our flat lines. Amazingly, Pete was again hooked into a big fish. The drag on his spinning reel screamed as the fish continued to pull out line on deep dives towards the bottom. Several minutes later Capt. Glen was gaffing a 10 pound almaco, yet another personal best for Pete and our largest almaco of the day. The bottom rigs were useless at this last location as huge fish (probably Goliath grouper) proved too much for our tackle, but the surface action was so relentless we just continued to catch and release amberjack and gag grouper (both out of season) as well as little tunny and a few sharks that were attracted by the chum. A school of dolphin (mahi mahi) swam near the boat and three were added to the day始s catch. Finally, our fish box was full and Capt. Glen signaled it was time to call it a day.

On June 3rd, the intrepid crew of The Outcast from Venice, FL set out to take advantage of the newly opened red snapper season. Capt. Glen Ballinger suspected the snapper fishing would be good, given his favorite numbers had been rested over 10 months and he was right. Then on the 16th Jeremy Wilhelm from Atlanta on vacation in FL.with his father Frank, ended up catching a real nice black fin tuna and the largest red grouper of the day! We left the dock at 6 AM and finished up cleaning the boat and fish at 8 PM on that trip. The day took us 80 miles offshore for a local Venice fishing tournament, and on the way back home we spotted a whale shark swimming on the surface. We stopped for about 10 minutes and enjoyed the beauty of this great animal. It stayed on the surface the entire time. We tried to catch a cobia that was near it, but had no luck. This is only the second whale shark we have ever seen off Venice. Fi sh aboard The Out cast w i t h C apt . Gl en Bal l i nger (941) 323-5251

July 2012

SNOOK: The Pier Angler

By Bobby Vi tal i s Jr Special to Water LIFE Check out this snook. Snook are a lot of fun to catch because they give an awesome fight. This one was caught at Tom Adam’s bridge in Englewood. You can also catch snook at Sharky’s pier in Venice. You will see the snook at certain times, in schools, right at the beginning of the pier, along the surf. The snook has a most distinctive body shape, with large fins and most of all has a prominent black stripe running the full length of the lateral line. However, snook fishing is out of season, so you have to throw them back in the water. The best time I have caught these fish is at the incoming tide in the morning. To find these fish, you need to look around docks, under bridges, around the mangroves, piers, and around pilings. There are many baits you can use to catch snook, but the most common bait is either pilchards (green backs), mullet, or live shrimp, which is very productive. Most of the time, I love using artificial lures, most of the time I cast. I have been trying several lures which I’m having very good luck with.

Diver Participation Sought for Fish Count

FLORIDA KEYS — Divers and snorkelers can participate in a series of July events hosted by Keys dive operators, in cooperation with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, to assist in identifying and documenting fish

Some of the best lures I have been using is called the Berkley Gulp Saltwater 3” New Penny shrimp. The good thing about this is it comes with its own strong scent, that will last all day. I do not have to put scent on the shrimp. The other lure I am using is the D.O.A C.A.L 4” Jerk bait Model #419 color (green back), which I have been having very good luck with. But, I have to put scent on it. The best jig head I’m using for these lures is the D.O.A C.A.L short shank from 3/8oz. to 1/2oz. weight, color (white or chartruse head). If the water is calm and shallow, I use the 3/8oz. weight. If the water has a current and deep, I use the 1/2oz. weight. There is one more lure I would like to share with you, which is called the GOT-CHA lure. It has a silver body with chartruse head and weight is from 7/8oz. to 1oz. With this lure, I have caught snook, ladyfish, shark, crevalle jack, blue fish, and Spanish mackerel. I can use this lure year round and always catch something on it. Now, for my main line, I am using 30lb. test SUFIX 832 ADVANCED SUPER line (braided). For my leader line, I am using 3 feet of 25lb. test

diversity and population trends. The Great Annual Fish Count is an international eco-event where volunteer divers and snorkelers gather data used by marine researchers, resource managers and policy makers to help assess reefs’ condition and their ability to sustain fish and marine life. Interested divers and snorkelers can organize their own fish count dives individually or through a dive club, or join local dive shops for special fish-identification dive and snorkel excursions. Kickstart the annual event Sunday,

Page 15

SEAGUAR 100% FLUOROCARBON LEADER line, which is invisible in the water. When tying your leader line to your jig head, I suggest you use the RAPALA knot because it will create more action out of the jig. So have fun fishing.

July 1, with Amoray Dive Resort, mile marker (MM) 104 in Key Largo, for an afternoon of diving and fish surveys. To register, call 305-451-3595 or visit Horizon Divers, located at 100 Ocean Drive in Key Largo, is to host a REEF fish ID class Thursday, July 19, starting at 9 a.m. and followed by afternoon dives to conduct fish surveys. For details, call Horizon Divers at 305-453-3535, e-mail Snorkel the afternoon away Tuesday,

July 24, with Sail Fish Scuba, located at MM 103 in Key Largo, during a fish identification snorkel scheduled to depart at 12 p.m. Reservations are required and the trip is limited to six snorkelers. For details, call 305-453-3446 Fish identification and survey materials are to be available before each excursion and REEF staff members accompany each trip. More than 160,000 surveys have already been submitted for research. Survey results can be reported and viewed online.

Page 16

July 2012

CAPTAIN, GUIDE AND TEACHER By Capt. Bart Marx Water LIFE Fishing July is the time of year for family outings. Going to the beach on family vacations taking in the sunshine. Then they’re some that like to set up fishing trips or go to the different entertainment parks. I prefer to do the fishing thing, if I travel out of state we try and do a fishing charter. This is to me an opportunity to let someone show us the local waters. And a great time to be in close quarters with family and to spend time with them. This is all about family time and teaching kids to fish. For several years now I, Capt. Bart, have taught the seventh grade Don Ball School of Fishing class at the P.C. Middle School. For me it has been great fun working with the students. Some have hard questions to answer and this makes it all worth it. This means that they are doing some thinking on their own. Trying to ‘Think Like a Fish’, as the school encourages them to think. And there are the silly questions, I will call them. The what if ones fit in this category, or why. Getting back on track here, it is about teaching the kids to fish. Yeah, the goal is to teach them as much as we can in the limited time we have in class. With props like actual fishing poles of different sizes and uses, cast nets and lures just to name a few. You can only teach so much in the class the rest they have to learn out on the water, from the beach or boat. This is where they have the chance to apply the knowledge that they have learned in class, and this is where the teacher gets graded. If they catch fish or not lets us know if we are doing a good job or if they were paying

Caloosa Thank You

To: Michael Heller Don Ball School of Fishing Dear Mike,

attention in class. There are many students taking this class that never have a chance to fish on a boat, and this is not a bad thing. There are several places around where you can fish from shore and catch some good fish like snook, reds, snapper and trout. And there are the other places that you tend to catch stingrays, and catfish. The best piece of advice that I can give is fish in one spot till you figure out the patterns and times that are best to catch quality fish. Or you may have friends or neighbors that have a boat that will take you fishing. The other option would be hire a guide. This is where I enjoy working with the kids that go with me on the boat. While we are on the water I can help with there casting

and perfect the techniques of presentation of lures and live baits. On recent trips, I have had ten year-olds and six year-olds that could cast very well by the end of our trip with a spinning rod. And they also learned how to use popping corks to catch trout on the grass flats in Charlotte Harbor and where to cast when they are close to the mangroves to catch snapper, flounder and reds.

If y ou would lik e to tak e a k id fishing and get them schooled, giv e me a call and we can get y ou hook ed up. Capt. Bart Alpha & Omega Charters 941979-6517

I want to thank you for allowing Caloosa Middle School to pilot your fishing program at our school this year. Your class not only taught our students about the “art” of fishing but introduced them to how important it is to conserve our natural eco-systems in Southwest Florida. Additionally, you not only provided them the knowledge they need to be successful but you also provided them the fishing equipment necessary for them to continue develop their skills. As you know many of our students are coming from families that are struggling financially and this gift is one that will benefit these students for years to come. We look forward to continuing this program in the future at Caloosa Middle School. Please feel free to use our school as a model in order for you to develop this program across the School District of Lee County. If you ever need anything please contact me Sincerely, Dr. Ken Best Assistant Principal Caloosa Middle School

Thank You Fishermen’s Village

For the generous donation of proceeds from Marina Day 2012 to The Don Ball Scool of Fishing Through gifts like the one from Fishermen’s Village we are able to teach fishing, ethical angling and local conservation to 7th graders and provide them with the equipment to help them begin a lifetime of responsible fishing.

July 2012

Moving up the Manatee Money Trail

‘It’s hard to believe that we spend more money on the single species of manatees than all of our saltwater species combined’ By Capt. Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Senior Staff

The other day I was watching a re-run of the April meeting of the FWC in Crystal River, on the Florida TV channel. What caught my interest was a discussion on putting manatee speed zones in Flagler Co.

Flagler is a small county on the Atlantic coasts, south of St. Augustine and north of Daytona; is not known as a hot bed of manatee activity. I've been around long enough to know that once a proposal makes it on the MFC agenda, it's pretty much a done deal. The FWC staff members got up and told of all the hard work they did meeting with the shareholders working out the plan and of course there were the paid representatives of the various environmental groups who got up and praised the FWC staff for working with them to make the plan. It was all buddy-buddy, good old boy, I'll pat your back and you pat mine style of regulation that has happened so many times before.

There was one guy who came over from Flagler Co. to Crystal River to speak on behalf of local boaters and fishermen. He asked if there was a scientific basis for these manatee zones and are you sure that these manatee speed zones won't actually have the opposite results and actually cause an increase in manatee deaths?

The guy has a point; there is a theory that a boat that comes off plane has its hull and prop sitting lower in the water so that if he hits a submerged manatee there is a greater probability of injury. No one offered to answer his question; not the FWC staff or the environmental groups or

around a yearly salary of $64,000 per employee. In fairness about 50% of the FWC budget is spent on law enforcement which doesn't leave much to spend on hunting and fishing in Florida. In fact the Marine Fisheries Dept has a budget of about $3.7 million dollars and only 30 full time The manatee club says shore to shore manatee speed restricemployees to manage tions are necessary in Flagler Co. because of the long docks all the saltwater species of fish in Florida. It’s the FWC commissioners. Instead the hard to believe that we spend more money commissioners voted unanimously to make Flagler Co. the proud owners of 2.7 on a single species, manatees, than all of our saltwater species combined. miles of manatee speed zones in their intracoastal waterway.

What bothered me the most about what happened was the realization that people like you and me, never get to vote on these rules or for the people that make them, all we do is pay the bills with our taxes. I was around back in 1999 when the FWC was formed by combining the old Marine Fisheries Commission with the Freshwater Fish and Game. I supported the plan back then because it was believed that commercial fishing interest had paralyzed the MFC. It was hoped that by combining the organizations that the average recreational user would get a fair shake. It looks like I was wrong.

Getting back to Flagler Co. and their unanswered question; here is a scientific fact for you – in 2010 there was not one single manatee that was found dead in Flagler County. So far in 2011, still no dead manatees – can someone tell me what we are getting for our money.

To Water LIFE From: Denis Grealish, FWC

As previously discussed, the current correct statute reference for interfering with someone fishing is F.S. 379.105, no longer 372-705 as referenced in the article: Thanks

379.105 Harassment of hunters, trappers, or fishers.— (1) A person may not intentionally, within a publicly or privately owned wildlife management or fish management area or on any stateowned water body: (a) Interfere with or attempt to prevent the lawful taking of fish, game, or nongame animals by another. (b) Attempt to disturb fish, game, or nongame animals or attempt to affect their behavior with the intent to prevent their lawful taking by another. (2) Any person who violates this section commits a Level Two violation under s. 379.401. History.—s. 2, ch. 90-170; s. 27, ch. 2006-304; s. 9, ch. 2008-247. Note.—Former s. 372.705.


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Recently I wrote about the Save The Manatee Trust Fund with their budget of over $4 million dollars. That is chump change compared to the $287 million the FWC has in their budget. Over $122 million goes to salaries for their 1947 full time employees. That averages out to

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July 2012


Two Enjoyable Paddles

By Davi d Al l en Water LIFE Kayaking Charlotte County is blessed with some of the best kayaking to be found anywhere. From paddling the open Gulf to the quiet local creeks and rivers, finding the birds and other wildlife as your kayak glides quietly by; it's the best. And two of the more enjoyable paddles are within 20 minutes driving time from Port Charlotte.

Shell Creek, north of Punta Gorda, and Marine Park in North Port are two paddles our club regularly enjoy. These two paddles are very different in terms of the surroundings, the wildlife one sees, and sometimes, in the difficulty of the paddle. Here is a little description of these two venues so you can see what makes them so attractive to paddlers. Marine Park is located on the western end of Chancellor Boulevard, just off Highway 41. There is a good concrete ramp and launch area plus adequate parking. There is even a covered pavilion for a picnic. However, there are no restroom facilities at the park.

The Myakka River is about 1.5 miles downstream from the launch point. The channel is clear and fairly wide most of the way with little current. As you approach the River, mangroves appear on both sides of the channel and add to the feeling of separation from the surrounding homes and residential areas. The Myakka is quite narrow where the channel enters the River…perhaps 400 feet across.

Turning north after entering the Myakka, the River breaks into several channels around islands with side-channels, some of which are dead ends. Roughly 0.5 miles upstream of the entry is a rookery island. Many different species of birds make this island their home, particularly in the spring when the hundreds of nests are full of hungry, squawking, hatchlings. It’s quite a sight, even if you’ve seen it many times. Good photo-ops too.

Paddling downstream after entering the Myakka, presents an entirely different picture. The River becomes much wider, the banks are populated with residential areas and you lose the feeling of being out in a natural area. If you are ready for a challenging paddle, you can continue to the El Jobean Bridge, 6.3 miles from the entrance from the channel and beyond…past Hog Island and into Charlotte Harbor. As a counterpoint to the Myakka River, Shell Creek is located about 10 miles northeast of Punta Gorda and flows mostly westward from its origin east of Highway 31. Overall the Creek is about 8 miles long and empties into the Peace River just north of the I-75 Bridge.

Hathaway Park, located on Washington Loop Road, is the usual launch site on the Creek, with a concrete ramp, restrooms and picnic facilities. Hathaway has an adequate Park and Pay parking area with space for trailers. Washington Loop Road is about 6.5 miles north of Punta

Gorda on Highway 17.

Once you're in the water you obviously can either go upstream to the east or downstream toward the dam. Very different paddles.

If you select the downstream course, you will soon find the Creek opening up, the foliage less dense, and you will probably see more birds and other wildlife. If you paddle about 3.5 miles downstream, you will come to a large lake behind the dam. The dam cannot be portaged so this is the usual turn around point. Unfortunately, there are no beaches near the dam.... we usually take a break in our kayaks before heading back up stream. If you elect to paddle upstream from the dam, you will find a completely different scenario. The Creek, about 70 feet wide at the ramp, narrows within the first mile and the surrounding trees and shrubs seem to hug the banks. I think Shell Creek is one of the most beautiful creeks in the area. With tall stately trees near the water, Spanish moss abounds and lots of wildlife.

The current picks up noticeably as you progress upstream, particularly after a heavy rain and it can be a tough paddle, with the current pushing you around the bends in the creek. After about 2 miles of upstream paddling, the water becomes more and more shallow, and the banks, closer and closer, until you finally run out of water or fallen branches block the path. There are a few sandy banks on the upper stretches where you can beach the kayaks for a break. Paddling back downstream to the ramp is often a sleigh ride with the current pushing all the way. These are just two of the many good paddling spots found in Charlotte County. The 30 to 40 different paddles that the Port Charlotte Kayakers take each year are each different in their own way. That’s what makes this one of the best paddling areas in Florida.

The Port Charlotte Kay ak ers meet each Wednesday ev ening at 5:00p.m. at Port Charlotte Beach Park . All are welcome to come and learn about k ay ak ing. For more information contact Dav e Allen at 941-235-2588 or


The Olʼ Fishʼn Hole

With Capt. Jim O'Brien Water LIFE Englewood

Hey gang how ya- all doin’? I hope you are taking advantage of this beautiful fish'n weather we are having. The fish'n has been red hot. On our last charter we had offshore, we had 6 people and limited out on red grouper by noon. What a day. Most of the other captains and guy's I've talked to have been doing very well also. The back bay guides I talked to are doing a lot of beach fish'n for tarpon. They said the tarpon were all over the beaches from Boca Grande to the Venice jettys. They are casting blue crabs 3 to 4 in. across. A lively thread fin or a squirrel fish does well also. Don't forget greater amberjacks are closed until August 1, 2012 , and our tasty grey trigger fish is closed in Federal waters for the rest of 2012. I personally don't see a shortage of ether one of these species in our area, but our Gulf Council says we have. KINGS AND SPANISH MACKEREL are just off the beaches and cruising around the inshore reefs there are still some nice Kings out 25 to 30 miles.

BLACK FIN TUNA and BONITA are being caught in 25 to 60 feet of water. RED FISH are being caught off the west wall and the front door of Bull Bay. TARPON are chewing real good off the beaches and Boca Grande Pass. Best bait 3 to 4 in. blue crab, a fiesty squirrel fish or a 6 in. mullet.

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SNOOK - Catch an release are chewing pretty good under the mangroves in Bull Bay and also out on the beaches. Use live bait.

PERMIT are on some of the near shore reefs, and the offshore wrecks, some BIG- UNS are coming in from 30 miles out. Best bait is small silver dollar size crab, if you can't get any small live crabs, Berkley has scented small crabs they work pretty darn good. SHARKS- Some nice black tips are being caught just off Cayo Pelu and just outside the front door of Bull Bay. There are some sharks being caught on the near shore reefs. Good baits are chunks of bonita, and mullet.

MANGROVE SNAPPER, YELLOW TAIL SNAPPER AND PORGIES- Nice size ones are out from 25 to 35 miles, now I'm a talk'n BIG - UNS 20 TO 25 INCHERS. We got into some nice yellow tail snapper just the other day, in fact we got them at 2 different places. Best bait is chunks of sardine, live shrimp and squid. ED GROUPER- The bite has been good from 25 to 45 miles out. Most fish are running from 22” to 28”, bigger ones farther out. REMEMBER GAG GROUPER opens JULY 1, 2012. Best bait live pin fish, live squirrel fish and my IRISH COCKTAIL which is a slab of mullet with a squid head, the BIG - UNS can't pass that up.

For this month’s article we had a group that was a lot of fun. In the picture from bottom left to right is Pam Zimmerman, her sister Penny Sonters. Middle left to right Mac Mcloud, Pete Boulton, from England and standing up Joey Cloherty and in the back left corner Guy Allen Sonters. Pam, and her sister Penny, was a hoot. The biggest fish they had ever caught was a bass or Walleye. When they got hooked up on grouper all I heard was a lot of laughter and some serious grunting. They were

reared back with poles bent to the max. They said they were having a blast. We limited out on red grouper by noon and we were still throwing keeper grouper back. We down sized the rods and focused on catching snappers and porgies. Later, Pam was so excited she called me from South Carolina. She had been talking to the doctor she works for about being down right POOPED out on catching fish and wanted me to e-mail her some pictures if I could. I told her no problem. What do you think when the doctor sees her pictures? Think I will

be taking a doctor and family fish'n? I will let you know if it happens. Well I've flapped my gums enough again so it's time to get out of here. BE S UR E TO S NOR T S OME OF THAT S A LT A IR C UZ IT’S GOOD FER YA !

If you have any questions or if you have a good ol' fishin’ story or a recipe for cooking fish that I can share with our readers give me a call. To book an offshore charter with us aboard the Predator IICall (941) 473-2150

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Water LIFE Distributor 始s Club

July 2012

You can always get a free copy of Water LIFE at these locations



4419 So. Tamiami Trail S. Venice 493-0025

Water LIFE Distributor 始s Club

You can always get a free copy of Water LIFE at these locations

July 2012


Page 21

Sometimes Unsubstanciated, But Often True

Landl o cked Stated adv ance bi l l fi s h pro tecti o n A bipartisan amendment that would end the importation of billfish into the United States for commercial sale was offered Thursday, June 7, 2012 by Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) as part of a sportsmen’s package of amendments to the Senate Farm Bill. This legislation will be a big step in the long-overdue recovery of billfish. Is No Pl ace Sacred? Google is applying the technology it used to create a street level view of America’s roadways to America’s hiking trails. According to a June 6 announcement, Street View Trekke a backpack

device, will enabling Google to photograph beautiful places such as the Kibab Trail into the Grand Canyon or the Appalachian Trail through the mountains so anyone can explore them.

Bay Co unty - Resource Protection Officers worked a detail during the opening of red snapper season and the closed season of greater amberjack. They observed a fisherman who appeared to catch an undersized greater amberjack, gaff it, and place it on the deck of the vessel. The fish was not returned to the water and, after further observation, the officers located two

amberjack fillets on the deck of the vessel. When asked why they filleted the fish, the fishermen advised the fish was dead and they gaffed it because they thought it was big enough. Citations were issued.

Mo re Frankenankl es DADE COUNTY - Officers responded to Jackson Memorial Hospital after the victim of a boating accident was admitted for multiple injuries. A father, operating a personal watercraft in the Intracoastal Waterway south of Julia Tuttle Causeway, was towing his son on a kite board when the kite broke free. The kite lifted the son 30 feet into the air and the subsequent fall back to the water caused compound fractures to both ankles. The vessel operator was cited for failure to have a mirror or observer on board while towing a skier. Li g hteni ng Death The Bass Foundation mourns the loss of division championship angler, Lorenzo Magdaleno, 51, from Lake Placid, Magdaleno was pronounced dead by Florida officials on Friday, June 8, after a bolt of lightening apparently struck Magdaleno and his boat partner, Mike Hardin, while they were fishing shortly after noon prior to the final day weigh-in of the TBF Southern Division Championship on Lake Okeechobee.

Charl o tte Co unty officers stopped a small vessel for violating a slow speed zone. They discovered that the serial numbers on the motor had been removed and defaced. The motor was seized and turned over to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office forensics division where the serial number was recovered from the outboard motor’s freeze plug. The serial number

Comcast DTA Grievance

‘I hate that too,’ the Comcast guy on the other end of the phone said as I complained about the lack of functions on the new DTA or Digital Television Adapter remote. It feels cheap, I told him and he agreed. The DTA is a device comcast apparently developed to thwart the new high tech TVs that come with their own signal unscrambler. Comcast could’nt have people picking their signal up so easily, so enter the DTA. The biggest complaint is the new DTA is cheap and not well thought out. With this new adapter I now have 3 remotes for my main TV and two for the

other sets in my house. The programable remote for my expensive wall mount set no longer works. I liked that remote because I could block the religious channel, QVC and a bunch of other channels I never watch. Not any more, to go from 10 to 13 I have to pass through 11 and 12. To adjust the picture takes a different remote and I have three new power supplies that must always be on or I am told I'll lose the signal and have to call Comcast to have the DTA reset. I believe that happens on a power surge too. And my well thought out wires in the

revealed that the motor was reported stolen out of Charlotte County approximately one year ago. The case has been turned over to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office criminal investigations division. Parents : Did you know if your child is on a school lunch subsidy program you may be eligible for special discounted service rates from Comcast and other cable service providers?

What Happens When He Gets Bo red Ki l l i ng Ani mal s ? FWC officer received a report in late December 2011 of someone shooting sandhill cranes in cow pastures and leavSchooling fish maintain their distance from sharks ing them. During the fourlaying on the sandy bottom. month long investigation, several other animals, including a took place by shooting across property doe deer and a bald eagle, were found dead lines from public roadways and shooting or wounded with a variety of different gunthe firearms as the barrel was placed across shot wounds. The Seminole County the chest of a front seat passenger. Sheriff’s Office also was investigating two A total of 11 felonies and 12 misdecows and an emu that were shot in the same general area. The officer’s investiga- meanor charges were filed. tion revealed that a male, who was bored, bought a high powered pellet rifle and went out looking for things to shoot. He shot a total of three sandhill cranes with the rifle. After a week or so, the male became bored with the pellet rifle and bought a shotgun. He shot a doe deer at night using his headlights to shine the deer. After a week or so he bought a .270 caliber rifle and shot a bald eagle with that firearm. All of these animals were left where they were shot. All of the incidents

wall install for my wall mount TV now has a wire hanging down for the power supply. I have three more drains on my electric bill and I have to buy batteries for each of the three new remotes. One DTA adapter has already failed and had to be replaced, meaning I had to go call (and wait) for comcast and then go back to the Comcast store. But wait there’s more: To program each new DTA remote there are numerous 5 digit codes that each must be tried

Alaska Airʼs new salmon wrap

one by one until the right code is found. (My Magnavox TV has 20 codes to try each 5 digits long). The worst part is Comcast customers are (so far) helpless to do anything about it. – Mi chael Hel l er

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Charlotte Harbor:

Frank at Fishin' Franks Port Charlotte: 625-3888


There’s not much to report with all this Debby activity. This storm will change a lot of stuff. When the wind stops blowing the harbor will get a good flushing out. Silt and muck and algae all gets stirred up and when the river really starts flowing the tannic ware will do the harbor good. Traditionally, when this happens the fish move way back up into the trees and start feeding in new grounds. When this is over the redfi sh and snook will be amazing. Right now, the only fishing has been at the spillways. Small snook and small tarpon have been consistent even during Debby. All the stuff coming down river, minnows, bugs, and crabs are a huge food source. The upper Harbor from the middle hole north will be mostly fresh water which means the S pani sh mackerel will be out into the Gulf. Even some small mahi-mahi dolphin might be around the passes. We could also see


the chicken dolphin, the small ones, coming in. The one thing that will be hard to find up in the northern end of the Harbor will be the small bait fish. Bait will be at Boca Grande and from Burnt Store to Jug Creek they won’t have enough salt to be up here. Threadfi ns will be mobbing to the south end of the harbor but we will see ri ver shad, tal api a and a lot of the other fish that were up in the rivers being pushed down to the tip of the harbor The gag and snapper bite on the near shore reefs should be good. The tarpon should be here feeding like crazy after Debby’s weather settles down. You could see tarpon up in rhe rivers because the fresh water doesn’t bother them. If I looked for tarpon now, it would be way up in the harbor or out along the beach-

Professional Fishing Guides

es. The beaches have been torn up pretty good, so there should be a lot of fish cruising the beaches. Spanish mackerel should be on the beaches too. We had one guy out Saturday, braving the storm and he got the snook of a lifetime, a fish over 40 inches. He told me, reeling it in a wave grabbed it and pushed it like a surfer right up to where he was. But he had no camera or cell, he had left everything back because of the weather. It was maybe a 44 inch fish and he had no proof of it.

July 2012


Continued on facing page

Photo By Kristie Kulik

Biologists take samples from a bulll shark entered in the annual Fishin Franks Shark, Stingray and Sailcat Tournament, last month in Port Charlotte. Shark 1st Place – Joshua Prunier 68 1/2 2nd- Mitchell Smith 66 1/8

StingRay 1st Place – 1st Stephen Davis 41 3/4 2nd Robert Gator Earnest 40 3/4 CatFish 1st Place – Chris pack 4.68 2nd John Willams 4.46

Charlotte Harbor & Boca Grande


Offshore Fishing Trips: 1/2 day • 8hr • 10 hr • 12 hr We help put your charters together

Shark, Tarpon, Grouper, Snapper, Kingfish, and MORE!

Nighttime Trips Available

Capt. Jim OʼBrien USCG 50 ton license since 1985


July 2012

The The BIG-4 BIG-4

continued from facing page

Debby woke up a lot of peoples freshwater urges. In freshwater fishing the one thing is, the storm has cooled everything down a couple of degrees. There are shellcrackers at the spillways and the Hillsboro has some big bass.

TARPON Are in the passes and in the Harbor

Lemon Bay:

Jim at Fishermens Edge, Englewood: 697-7595

There are some people going fishing, but not many. There are some tarpon around up in the Harbor. A guy from Plant City told me he had caught some really nice redfi sh and trout down south, the biggest trout was a 29-incher. A few guys had snuck out right before the storm and said the grouper bite was good in 35 feet nice keeper sized gags, but they couldn’t keep them at that time. There is no offshore action at all today. Gag opens in July, I hope it turns around. I expect grouper should be good after the end of the first week of this month. The Bomber CD25, a big lipped crank bait in gold with a black back is what they were using. We are going to have a huge influx of fresh water coming into the Harbor, a lot of stuff will be pushed out from the back after all that wind from the southwest. Stump Pass has apparently taken a hit. The beach was good for snook before the storm and they should still be there in Lemon Bay between the passes. Look around in Lemon Bay, there is no major river dumping in so the salinity is still high. Use a lure as a search bait. Try a topwater or a shad assassin soft plastic bait. The last time we had all that fresh water washing out we had a lot of al l i gator gars around Turtle Bay. Who knows what will happen this time? There have been tarpon at El Jobean bridge straight along, a lot of small fish are around now.

Fish Fish to to expect expect in in

SNOOK Top of the Harbor, some on the beaches

With all the wind and rain I’ve made a serious dent in my rod repair work and I’ve had a chance to stock up on some new stuff. I’ve got a lot of crank baits, the new Yozuri in the sashimi color, the color changing Crystal minnow is a really cool lure that looks different from different angles and is almost holographic. I got some of the new Starr Paraflex rods in that are rated for 50 to 100-pound braid and are as thin as a pencil. Guides have been telling me they can’t believe the size of the fish they get with these thin rods. Guides like them for women and children because they are light and yet strong enough for shark fishing.

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July July

SPANISH MACKEREL along the beaches

Gulf Temps in the mid 80s

GAG GROUPER on the nearshore reefs

Above: a cow snook caught by Drew Wickstrom in Stuart with captain Andy Tasker, 39 inches long and 29 pounds. Below: Capt Billy Barton (below top left) with some of the catches from last month.

Fishing right now:

Adapting after Debby

Below: Seasonal offshore confusion

Bl a ck T i p B a it & T a c kl e Our b ai t i s g uarant eed t o cat ch fi s h o r di e t ry i ng !

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July 2012

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Water LIFE July 2012  

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