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Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay Florida

Keeping Boaters and Fishermen Informed

June 2005

HANDLING SMALL SHARKS Page 18

Redesigned Tarpon Jigs Page 4

Manatee Signs A New Hazard Page 5

Waterfront Property Sales Analysis Page 18

Kids Cup Tournament Coming July 16

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June 2005


June 2005

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The Perfect Ending to a Good Day

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Editor Last month, as Kids Cup Tournament details began to pile up on my desk, my friend Capt. Ralph Allen – he runs the Kingfisher Fleet and is also the weighmaster for the Kids Cup Tournament – We both agreed we were in need of some fishing. We headed out around 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, with a livewell full of shiners to look for fish and talk over some Kids Cup details. The afternoon passed quickly but on the way home, we stopped at one last spot, a place along the west wall where last year’s Kids Cup winner Tommy Davis and I had found fish earlier in the week. When Ralph and I arrived in the area the tide was almost full out and the hole along the shoreline that hopefully held fish was barely accessible. The water was clear - that transparent yellow color the Harbor takes on before the rainy season clouds things up. We anchored and fanned out a broad offering of chum with a chum bat, but there just weren’t a lot of takers. Ralph caught one little

fish, that was it. The Harbor was quiet and flat. The day had already begun to cool down and this particular evening offered up nothing but peacefull solitude and tranquil calm. All that was missing were the fish. Then, from behind the trees the quiet was broken by a loud splashing ‘snook-pop,’ and then a little while later, another even bigger ‘pop.’ A small creek lead from the spot we were in through thick leafless branches and back into the green mangroves. Now, we had a plan. We pulled the anchor quietly and poled over to the creek mouth where we could look in. It wound around a corner and into an overhung little lagoon. Another big splash called us from deep inside, so we worked the boat ahead, bending limbs and quietly pulling our little skiff ahead, branch by branch. If the tide was three inches higher the poling platform would have hung up on one big bough. If it were three inches lower there wouldn’t have been enough water to float, but at the time we were there it was just right, so we

MAGAZINE

made our way ahead into a splendid dark little tree-covered grotto. Daylight radiated in through the spaces in the canopy, but it was more dark than light. Standing bent over, side by side on the bow, in the only spot we could, we cast into the limited space we had. Overhanging trees blocked every other angle. First cast, first snook. Then another. Still, total silence. The only noises were the fish splashing as they came alongside the boat. We didn’t talk much; we didn’t have to. We caught a few more good sized snook and saw other snook chasing baitfish just outside our reach. It was the right place at the right time. We were in that quiet undiscovered wonderland fishermen often dream of. By the time we left, the tide was so low we had to get out and push the boat back across the sandy shoreline, just to get into the slough on the inside of the bar. The sun was down, no one else was around, we had the harbor to ourselves. It was the perfect ending to a good day.

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A 65-pound cubera snapper speared by Dan Maxwell on Memorial Day Weekend in 135 feet of water, 85 miles off Boca Grande. Other deep divers on the trip were Seth Comer, Jeff Leonard, and Russ Crocker.

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June 2005

MAGAZINE

Shark Tournament June 11

Tarpon Jigs Undergo Modifications: 216 pound fish caught! Water LIFE Staff Report If you have questions about tarpon jigs allowable in Boca Grande this year, you’re going to need to meet the Forker. Jason Forker is the state Fish and Wildlife Commission officer assigned to Boca Grande Pass. “We’ve issued a number of warnings to fishermen already, but no citations,” officer Forker said, drifting with his partner in a county boat. “Warnings to both jig fisherman and traditional anglers using wired on lead,” he added “I’ve seen some creative solutions (to the ban on break-away tackle,) but no citations have been issued so far this year. This is an educational process,” Forker said, “ and everyone is trying to get it right. No one is saying they are not going to abide by the new law because they don’t like it.” What I am hearing,” Forker said, “is people say that they bought a lure at a local tackle shop or West Marine, or wherever, and they assumed it was legal.” Although break away jigs are illegal in the Pass, with most other tackle, if the intent is to retrieve it back, it is legal. In order to comply with the new no-breakaway law, anglers have been approaching Forker on the water and showing him different innovations they have come up. All these creations are designed to allow them to continue to use the jig-style approach to fishing. Forker described some of the more creative solutions he has seen so far. “The most innovative thing I am seeing is guys who are cutting the old style lead jig with a notch to hold the hook and then filling the notch with hot lead making the jig and hook, effectively, a one piece item. Now that this is an

Above: The ʻnewʼ concept in tarpon jigs has the hook molded into the lead making it a one piece appliance. Grouper jigs were made the same way many years ago.

Left: We did our own unofficial testing of cable ties using the three most common sizes. We stretchied several of each size with a Boga Grip to measure the ʻbreak.ʼ The smallest ties (.100 in width) broke at between 20 and 24 pounds. The medium sized ties (.140 in width) broke at between 48 and 54-pounds. The biggest ties (.190 in width) bottomed out the 60 pound Boga Grip every time. Note: ties from different manufacturers may test differently.

Inset: The attachment point on a tarpon jig used before the law changed had the hook attached to the jig with a small cable tie. Cable ties are still legal but now the breaking strength of the cable tie must exceed the line strength the angler uses.

approved method it will certainly not be long before some enterprising jig manufacturer, perhaps even a local fisherman, goes into production with it. Another "approved" method of jig fishing in the Pass would be to use a plastic cable tie that is of greater pound test than the leader/line the angler is using. May’s first Professional Tarpon Tournament Series used a greater than a 50pound test plastic tie with 40-pound line, which Forker said was approved in advance through Tallahassee by the tournament officials. “We’re not going to issue any citations this year. This is an educational period,”

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Forker said, “But if I see the same guy twice after I have given him a warning I will write him a ticket,” he added. “You can let everyone know that if they have questions or want me to take a look at what they have come up with, I am always available,” he said. Kenny Hyatt caught the biggest tarpon ever weighed in a tournament on Sunday May 29 using a modified jig and a fire-tiger tail on 40-pound line. The fish weighed 216.2pounds. “The new (non-break-away) jigs work just fine,” Kenny said.

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Contributing Editors:

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

on the COVER:

Landing a tarpon in the Professional Tournament Series at Boca Grande.

on our WEBSITE:

WWW.charlotteharbormagazine.com

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

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

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


June 2005

Water LIFE

Manatee Zones Altered in Jacksonville

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Changes in SW Fla. will require DEP input

S t aff R eport The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has modified a portion of the manatee protection zone in downtown Jacksonville, a change that will allow boats to travel up to 25 mph in a broader area of the St. Johns River. Under the regulation establishing the Lower St. Johns River Manatee Refuge in 2003, boats traveling in the area could not exceed 25 mph in the navigation channel and were required to proceed at slow speed in all areas outside the channel. It’s a busy channel but not nearly as busy as the Caloosahatchee River at Fort Myers. The new amendment to the Jacksonville regulation establishes a 300-foot slow-speed buffer along the north bank of the river and a 1,000-foot slow-speed buffer on the south bank, allowing small boats to travel at 25 mph outside the marked channel. The modified rule has been published in the Federal Register and is effective immediately. “The signs are going up as we speak,” said Chuck Underwood of the Jacksonville office of the FWS. “The change was made because of ‘public safety concerns’ and to enhance enforcement,” Underwood said. Under the original guidelines, any vessel operator wishing to travel at greater than slow speed had to use the navigation channel. That meant both small recreational boats and large vessels had to share the same relatively narrow space. “Both (state and local) law enforcement folks came to us and said they had a problem in this area, concerns about boating safety,” Underwood said. “We realized that, yes, there was a problem there.” When reminded that boat traffic congestion in narrow channels, in both Lemon Bay and the Caloosahatchee River, were major topics of concern at both the Punta Gorda and Fort Myers federal manatee hearings, Underwood danced around the subject saying “the issue in Jacksonville wasn’t brought up as a ‘public comment’ in the hearing, but as a ‘safety issue’ by public safety officers.” Public safety officers, he

said, were “ State Fish and Wildlidfe officers, and the Jacksonville Sheriff and Waterway Commission officers.” Underwood was asked if that meant public comments at state hearings don’t count for much, but he did not reply. “If information comes up that shows us we were wrong, we can change our minds,” Underwood said. “Changes come on a case by case basis and we are not going to consider change in several areas at once.” Also in Jacksonville, some of the wooden manatee zone markers will be replaced with floating rubber buoys to lessen the danger of collisions. “I don’t see that happening anywhere else,” Underwood said, adding that State and Local enforcement agencies, which had balked at enforcing the original configuration, have now agreed to help enforce the modified area. Rumors are already circulating that this decision benefitted a specific Jacksonville stretch of waterway where several of their state and local politicians had homes on the shore and large wooden markers were an eyesore. Underwood was also asked about soft floating markers being used to replace the hurricane damaged markers in the Peace River. He replied; “I honestly don’t know about replacing them. It depends on the contractor.” Underwood said he had no knowledge about the contractor’s responsibility in the Peace River and said he was unaware the contractor was cutting off the damaged markers below the surface. “I would hope that the people who are doing it (cutting the markers off below the surface with an underwater saw) know what they are doing and are in compliance with their contract.” Underwood was asked to produce a copy of the specifications for the work under the contract and a copy of the information the Jacksonville Sheriff and waterway ‘public safety officers’ submitted to have the Jacksonville zone changed. “I don’t know if I can get that for you,” Underwood said. After three follow up e-mails and two phone calls we still do not have a response to that request.

At Marker No. 21 (the first big bend of the Peace River above the I-75 bridge) one piling sticks up high enough for Fishinʼ Frank to stand on it and have his beltline show above the water. During the low winter tides this stump will be a dangerous obstacle.

Water LIFE Staff Report Pilings left by the contractor lay at the Laishley Park Boat Ramp after being cut off underwater. The contractor, a firm from Indiana, was hired by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for $30,000 to remove hurricane damaged markers in the Peace River. It is particularly troubling to look at the one that was split off before being removed. (photo right) There are at least two feet of barnacles showing on the split part before it went into the bottom. That means two feet sticking up on the part thatʼs left. If one marker is cut like this, are there more. Charlotte County commissioners saw our report about pilings being cut off underwater last month and referred the matter to the countyʼs Marine Advisory Committee. They in turn referred the matter to the county extension office. The countyʼs marine extension agent Betty Staugler got the job of going out on the water to see what she could find. On Friday May 27, Betty went up-river with Fishinʼ Frank. Frank had worked with the contractor that installed the markers last spring. Frank knew where the markers were before the hurricane. “Right off the bat, we found several markers cut off above the bottom surface. One, in an area east of Peace River Marker No. 21, was cut off three

Split Off: One of 8 pilings removed and left at the Laishley Park boat ramp.

feet above the bottom. “Thatʼs an area where in the winter, with the low tides, boaters have to run with the jack plate all the way up.Itʼs shallow,” Frank noted. In two other areas, complete signs were left just below the surface totally intact. (cover photo) “That is exactly where the sign was placed originally. This can only mean the contractor didnʼt even bother to look here,” Frank said.

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Ta r p o n R e t u r n , I n s a n i t y F o l l o w s

74 hook-ups, 7 weighed fish, 188 pound first place

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE editor A few years back someone made up t-shirts that said “Don’t Be an Ass in the Pass.” Apparently they didn’t make enough shirts because not enough people got the message. I put my boat in the water and headed to Boca Grande for the first big Professional Tarpon Tournament of the season. Tarpon fishing in the Pass at Boca Grande has been way off for the last few years. I had almost forgotten how crazy it used to be when the fish were thick in the inlet and jiggers and live baiters were battling it out, beating each other with boat brushes, fighting for Pass supremacy. It didn’t take long to refresh my memory. This year things started anew at Boca Grande – new fish, new rules and new faces. The jiggers have effectively taken over the weekends - live baiters, the traditional-style tarpon fishermen, run out – relegated to fishing weekdays and at night. On weekends there isn’t a traditional old-style inboard live-bait fishing

boat in sight, only outboards, mostly ‘wrapped’ boats with colorful logos and graphics, fishing teams dressed in bright team-shirts ...and camera boats and other official boats with their ‘official’ crews in pink. A few non-competing, plane old recreational anglers in their plane old boats, are often in the mix as well. On this day, there are perhaps 60 boats in the small space that defines the fishing area at Boca Grande. As the fish move around the boats all chase after them. Some of the recreational anglers are already hooked up when the tournament began at 9 a.m., but in no time there are several tournament hook-ups and an official shouts to one camera boat: “Go,go,go! The blue boat over there, they are hooked up. Go get ‘em!” Radios crackle, anglers are shouting boat to boat, boats back down hard or speed up quickly to get out of each other’s way. “Heyhey! No, no! Look out! Get back.” Lines are already entangled as a 100 plus pound tarpon jumps in the air, splashing down to the rise and fall of the collective adrenaline

and the “ooohs” and “aaahs” of anglers near by. Another fish is brought boatside and released, “Lookout, shark! It’s a Hammerhead!” ... more action. My peripheral vision is a blur of colors: there are babes in bright bikinis, dogs aboard, guys in towers, outboard smoke in the air. The morning is heating up. Today the tarpon are here big- time. I watch for rolling fish, bent rods and taught line. At all costs, anglers want to stay out of each others way. There is money, big money involved. Money means pressure and no one is forgiving when someone else busts their big jackpot. Things get interesting as two anglers, both hooked up begin heading towards each other. Look out! Look out! Off to my right, there is another angler hooked up. The captain surges ahead, following the fish while his angler on the bow struggles to get his rod in a belt. A camera boat rushes over. The boat in front of him goes hard astern churning up an eruption of white foam. A voice from somewhere on a PA system shouts instructions to

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someone, somewhere else. More radio chatter. This is the graduate class for on-the-job boat handling, a shock treatment for adrenaline junkies and a wake up call for the unprepared who stray into the arena. A Team Century captain yells to me “You ain’t got time to take pictures, get out of here.” I look at all the camera boats and then at my watch. I shrug, I have plenty of time, Then a captain in a Dorado 23 breaks off another angler’s hook up and the immediate focus changes to bigger problems. “Hey! Wait, Oh No! What? Why you ... mutter, mutter.” Another fish, maybe a 150 pounder on someone else’s line jumps and there is a loud “Whooooa” from the angler as it splashes down. It’s 9:36 and the tournament is just beginning. Soon I am following another boat with a fish on the line. The camera boat in our area is slow to pick up on the action. There are four of five camera boats and cameramen who jump from boat to boat when it looks like there might be a better camera angle. Now the camera boat wants to be where I am. They tell me they don’t want me in their ‘shot,’ but I think maybe they don’t want me photographing the jigs because the lead might be gone or what the jig looks like, or how the fish might be hooked. A voice from over my shoulder yells, “Hey you! You’re too close.” I Ignore it. “Hey! Come over here NOW!” the voice demands. The voice-man identifies himself as Wade Davis, a tournament official. The fishermen now has his fish reeled in and alongside his boat. It makes a good picture and I’m not going to give it up. “You are not in charge of me,” I tell Wade when the action subsides, reminding him it’s ‘open water.’ “But you’re not part of the tournament,” he says. “I’m going to have

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June 2005

Marine Patrol come over and talk to you,” he threatens. “You do that,” I answer, thinking maybe next week I’ll be out here with buckets of blood and a load of dead fish chumming up the pass for some shark fishing. ‘This isn’t your private spot,’ I remind him. For the first time I understand the frustration the traditional guides must have felt when the ‘jig-cowboys’ came in and took over Boca Grande. Now a few jiggers want it all for themselves, and they don’t want any outsiders, like me, in ‘their’ pass. I wonder what will happen when a sailboat under sail, with its inherent right-of-way, cuts through their spot. A number of anglers in this tournament are my friends, professional anglers, nice guys, friendly fishermen and always courteous on the water, but there are some guys, guys I don’t know for a reason, who are arrogant, insolent, and aggressive. They are the ones who ruin the reputation of fishing where ever they go. Back in the pack, another fish on another line comes up in a low arching roll. If fish were cars this one would have been an SUV. Monster tarpon. It comes up and goes down in slow motion, taking line like a submarine and breaking it off effortlessly. I find myself rooting for the fish. On my other side, a fish is coming boatside, one team member is laying on the deck trying to reach out and touch the leader to score a release. An official boat observes the action. The fish thrashes; “Hey, Hey, look out! Watch your hands! The leader swings by, “Over there, yeah! Get it! The leader is touched – a WWF tag-team style slap, Yee-haah! High fives, cameras, noise, action. Another boat with a fish on approaches, “Look out, get back!” Anglers yelling, outboards churning, white foam... It’s 10:15, the tournament is almost half over, but

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June 2005

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Water LIFE

Handling Small Sharks

MAGAZINE

June 2005

S taff Report With help from the Kingfisher Fleet Sharks like any other fish will do better if they are released with the hook removed from their mouth. When you reel a small black tip shark up to the boat he is most likely interested in getting away. The best tools for de-hooking a small shark are a good set of pliers and a strong grip. Bring the shark boatside and grab it firmly behind the head. Some anglers, especially those fishing for sharks using a float or a poppin' cork like to grab the leader by the float to conAbove: When trol the shark as they get set to grab you take them it. Often it is easiest if you have out of the water, someone else hold the rod while you grab the shark behind the head are getting control of the shark. It is very unlikely that the shark Right: A firm will turn and try to ‘snap’ you. More grip is essential. Donʼt be afraid likely is that he will be trying to to squeeze escape. Small sharks thrash around tight. when alongside the boat so it is Below: You can important to be decisive in your handle the action and firm with your grip. shark ʻhead and When releasing the shark, many tailʼ when you are ready to anglers find it easiest to control the release it. animal by holding its head and tail.

No Windows in Ruskin?

By Capt. Ri ck Kel l y Before leaving for a day on the water, whether it is fishing your favorite hole or that favorite cruising spot, your most likely to check the weather forecast, or, as I like to call it, your ‘local guesscast’. Our weather forecasting generates in Ruskin, FL where NOAA houses all the latest in radar, satellites, computers and airplanes. They do a good job warning us of hurricanes, thunderstorms and lightening, but one of the most important forecast for the boater, is ‘wind’. It has always amazed me when the forecast calls for 10-to 15-knots; we always get the 15 knots. Have you ever wondered who gets the 10-knot winds? For many years, I ran charter-fishing trips on the Chesapeake Bay where we had our own formula to figure the winds for the day. If the ‘guesscast’ called for

10-15 knot winds, we would add the two numbers together (10 + 15 = 25) to arrive at a more accurate forecast. I have now spent nearly 20 years in Southwest Florida, generally fishing 200 days a year and have found this formula accurate here as well. This formula only applies to the open water of Charlotte Harbor. I started this story on a day when I attempted to fish with a ‘guesscast’ of SE 10-15 knot winds. By 9:00 a.m. it was so windy we returned to the dock. Fortunate for my clients and I, we were fishing close, and were able to escape with only a bumpy ride home. However, it could have been a potentially serious condition. That evening the wind was reported with gusts over 30 knots. So who got the 10-15 knot winds? In my line of work, if I caught fish only about half the time, would I still have a job? Can’t they do better? Sometimes the ‘guestcast’ is so far off you are made to wonder if they ever open the windows, or ‘Do they even have windows, in Ruskin?


June

Water LIFE

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Water LIFE

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Port Charlotte June 20 thru 30

Naples June 13 thru 23

Mother Natureʼs Redfish Revenge MAGAZINE

June 2005

Cape Coral June 6 thru 16

At Mobile anglers ran between the two bridges and then out into Mobile Bay for 30 miles.

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Maintenance • Repairs Heaters • Pumps • Chemicals Covers • Cleaners

By Capt. Andrew Medi na Wat er LIFE Tournam ent Gui de Let’s call this one Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish anglers against Mother Nature. The first leg of the Redfish Cup kicked off on the 12th of May in Mobile Alabama and ran for a 3-day period. Seems easy enough, go to Mobile Bay, catch 2 Redfish each day and hope you have enough weight to make it to the 3rd day. Right? Wrong! In the month of April, Mobile Bay and all of Alabama had 27 inches of rain, making the salinity level drop and pushing fish towards the saltier water of the Gulf of Mexico. Mobile Bay is a lot like Charlotte Harbor, with multiple fresh water rivers emptying into the fishery. Usually this is a good thing, but when too much fresh water is flushed at one time, fish will move away. The tournament started off on Thursday morning at the Battleship USS Alabama which is tucked 30 miles up in Mobile Bay. With most of the teams finding their fish in the cleaner water near Dauphin Island, other teams decided Louisiana was the place to be. So right off the bat you had a 30 mile run to Dauphin Island, and those who went to Louisiana it was another 90 miles on top of that. The morning run was not that bad with light chop on the water, it took about 30 minutes to make the run to clean water and the fish were where we found them during pre-fishing; around the Dauphin Island Bridge. Most anglers when targeting a redfish will concentrate on grass flats, marshes or mangroves. But when you found perfect set ups with plenty of grass, marshes and loads of finger mullet there were no redfish around. So we thought of the local red-

fish pass where the big bulls would hunker down in deeper water with a swift moving current. Once we applied this theory to Mobile Bay, to our surprise the redfish were mostly over size. We chose to stick to the plan and weed through the oversized fish. We caught a half dozen, but only two fish made the slot. That’s what fishing all the different states and areas is all about; adapting. We took to jigging one-oz jig heads with rubber bodies in 11 to 18 feet of water. It was a lot different than us South Florida boys are used to. The return trip back to the dock was another story. With Mobile Bay facing North and South and being shaped like a funnel, a couple of factors came into play. Afternoon southerly winds, outgoing tide, water emptying out of major shipping channels all combined to put 5 to 6 foot seas in Mobile Bay. A 30 mile run in that will take its toll on one’s body parts, not to mention one’s boat. Some teams found the open water just too rough to make the trip back to weigh in. Others made it back, but not before the time ran out. All in all there where some hog Redfish weighed in, showing that for some the gamble paid off. Anthony Randazzo and Billy Wallbaum - of Louisiana weighed in 13.24 on the first day, 13.53 on the second day for a 26.77 pound two day total. Then in the third day Top-5 finals they weighed in 14.65 to capture first place. The highest placing local team was Mike Friday of Naples and Danny Latham of Punta Gorda. They weighed in 21.37 pounds in the first two days of fishing and wound up in 7th place. I look at it this way if you add up bruises, broken bones, injured backs and busted up flats boats. The real winner, looking at the scoreboard, was Mother Nature. Congratulations to all the anglers who weighed fish and Good Luck in Chalmett. Remember, what ever you do just have fun and be safe on the water.

Capt Andrew Medi na can be reached fo r fi s hi ng and charter i nfo at (9 4 1 )4 5 6 -1 5 4 0 o r e-mai l hi m at: BentRo ds 4 U@ao l . co m


June 2005

Offshore

Report

By Capt. Stev e Skev i ng to n Water LIFE Offshore Contributor Kingfisher Fleet It's going to be hard for us here in Southwest Florida to get any sleep at all this month. These fish just flat refuse to give us any rest at all. Between tarpon chewing up the pass, cobia, and permit cruising the near shore wrecks, it's hard to even know where to start. For those of you looking for a fresh red grouper, the next few months are prime time for these fish as they more closer and closer to the beach. We had several limits of red grouper over the last month. On a very recent trip, we released over 20 amberjack, 10 or so cuda, a shark, 2 goliath grouper (in the 200 lb class), 15 or so red and gag grouper, and 2 small mahi mahi. Ah... What to do? Go fishing of course! If memory serves, the fish really take their gloves off in June. June is a great month to sit on top of your favorite wreck and deploy a chum bag. Then wait a very short time for the fish to come to you. Throwing jigs and small plugs is probably the most fun way to take advantage of the susceptible "chummed" fish. You can expect to see big cobia, amberjack, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, amaco jack, permit, and cudas in your chum slick in June. There is plenty of action to be had this month. If for some reason you can't find any fish... Just take up golf. Tight lines and bent rods.

Water LIFE

MAGAZINE

P a g e 11

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June 2005

MAGAZINE

P GSC Sai ling Sum ary

By Bi l l Di xon Water LIFE Sailing This year 36 boats signed up for the Spring Racing Series. This is down some from spring of '04, but it is still a very respectable turnout, considering all the boats still in some boatyard somewhere. PGSC had a wonderful spring awards banquet on May 11, despite hail, thunder, lightning and much rain. The Spring Series winners were: Spinnaker Fleet: Bama Slammer, Bob Knowles 1st; Crime Scene, Peter New 2nd and Flying Cloud, Bill Wilkinson 3rd. In the Non Spinnaker fleet: Learning to Fly, George Buckingham 1st; Rub-ADub, Bill Curtis 2nd: Jammin, Jerry Haller 3rd. For the Cruising Fleet: Miz Liz, Paul Wolbers 1st; Diva Gorda, Rudy Gottschlich 2nd; Caprice, Mike Savino 3rd. In Multihulls it was: Bahama Hunter, Tom Bragaw 1st and Surrender, Tom Ray in 2nd.

Here’s a brief commercial. The Punta Gorda Sailing Club has arranged to have a member of the Boat U.S. Catastrophe Team, Dewey Ives, come and speak about what protected boats and what did not during Charley. Dewey was here August 14, and for a considerable time after that, surveying the damages. The public is invited. The meeting will be at the PG Boat Club Building on West Retta Esplanade at 7:00 p.m. on June 8. At a racing skipper's meeting on May 11, it was decided to hold the Summer Series races on SUNDAYS starting at 4:00 p.m. Note this is a change from all previously published information, including what was on the club’s web site late last month. Race days will be Sunday June 5, 12, and 26. Small boat Saturday races and picnic will be held on June 11 at the Port Charlotte Beach beginning at 10:00 a.m. For information call 941-637-2694 or

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33' Carver Mariner 1995 Twin 250HP Crusader. Very spacious boat- reduced to $69,900

33' Sea Ray 330 Sundancer, 1992. Twin gas engines. Maintained in excellent condition throughout, lift stored. Reduced to $44,500

23' Grady White Gulfstream 1990. Twin 150 Mercury Blackmax. Solid riding and very roomy fishing boat. Asking $19,900

26' Chaparral SSI 260, 2001. Outstanding condition, looks like new. Lift kept and never bottom painted. New engine May ʻ04, Asking $39,999

25' World Class Cat 1999 Twin 115HP Yamaha 4-strokes 2004. Five year warranty on engines, great boat & ready to fish. Asking $51,000

25' Proline 25 Sport CC 2002. Single 225HP Mercury Optimax 2002. Only 50 hours! Trailer included. Reduced to $45,000

33" Cruisers 3372 Express 2002. Twin 320HP Mercruiser VD's. Beautiful boat, lift stored. Asking $149,500

46' Post Convertible 1992. Twin 550HP Detroit Diesels 6V92 1993. Beautiful boat - New water maker & new bottom 2005. Asking $330,000

40' Sea Ray Sedan Bridge, 1997. Twin 3116 upgraded Diesels with bronze risers. Equipped & professionally maintained. Asking $228,000

30' Grady White Marlin 300 2001. Twin gas Yamahas. Dry stored and pro. maintained, nice condition throughout Asking $124,900.

38' Chris-Craft 381 Catalina. Twin 330HP gas Pleasurecraft engines. Great boat for entertaining, cruising or liveaboard. Asking $82,000.

43' Sea Ray 430 Convertible 1988. Twin 370HP diesel engines. This boat has all the amenities of home! Asking $169,900

28' Bertram FBSF 1971. Engines replaced ʻ91, Bottom paint April 05, This classic vessel is in very nice condition! Asking $29,900

23' Boston Whaler Conquest 23 1999 twin 135HP Mercury Optimax. Very clean, lift stored, lightly used bluewater boat Asking $45,000


June 2005

LETTERS

One Reader Writes: I enjoyed last month’s Water LIFE, especially the article on Cedar Key. My wife and I like to travel up the gulf coast in the late fall and Cedar Key is a favorite. You are right, most folks would not believe the dangerous items that are found floating in Alligator Creek and inside the east bar of Charlotte Harbor. Saturday a week ago, after I dropped my charter at Burnt Store Marina, I was running up the inside of the east bar back to Alligator Creek and I almost ran over a piling I found just north of Pirate Harbor - a 25 foot piling floating just barely out of the

Water LIFE

water. I towed it to my house. This could have very well been from one of the manatee signs. In the pursuit of my business, many times I run out before daylight. I hate to even think of what would happen if I hit that thing at speed. On another day, (before daylight) leaving Alligator Creek to catch bait at the mouth of the creek I saw a complete roof truss floating out into the harbor. I have been meaning to call you about Rio Villa Marina on Alligator Creek. Have you seen or heard about the concrete debris being pushed into the creek around this marina? If you ride up Alligator Creek, take a look at the marina and notice that you can

Rip Currents

By Betty S taugl er Water LIFE / Sea Grant Summer is upon us, and that means trips to the beach for fun in the sun. The Gulf is a wonderful playground, but we must respect its power. Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers. They are most dangerous for weak or nonswimmers. Rip currents are not only a danger to swimmers. Anyone entering the water, including wade fishermen, run the risk of being caught in a rip current. Over 100 drownings occur every year as a result of rip currents. Compared to 53 deaths from lightning strikes and .6 deaths from shark attacks each year, rip currents are certainly worthy of recognition. To raise awareness of the dangers of rip currents, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has designated the week of June 5, 2005 as its inaugural National Rip Current Awareness Week. National Rip Current Awareness Week will continue each year there after during the first full week of June. Rip currents are formed when water is forced through a narrow path causing it to rush out to sea. Rip currents are frequently seen around jetties, groins, and other barriers, and can extend 1,000 feet offshore, occasionally reaching widths of 100 feet and speeds of up to 3 miles per hour (8 feet per second). This is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint. Thus, rip currents can pull even the most experienced swimmers out to sea. Rip currents can be found on many surf beaches every day. Some rip currents are present for only a few hours; others are permanent.

Telltale Signs of Rip Currents:

A noticeable difference in water color (either murkier or darker) A difference in waves (larger, choppier waves in the rip current; smaller, calmer waves in front of the bar) Foam or objects moving steadily seaward An offshore plume of turbid water past

see the old rip-rap wall along the creek just before the Oyster Bar Restaurant. This was the old marina boundary. Now, the concrete ‘storm debris’ are pushed out into the creek as far as 25 feet in a very narrow part on the creek channel and around back of the marina in the narrow canals. I have heard that FLDEP and the ACOE are looking into this. I just hope that they don't let them leave that mess in the creek and let them acquire that land by paying a fine. They should have to pay a huge fine, be made to remove it, and pay for each day that it was in the creek. That marina has been nothing but trouble for many years now.

More deadly than sharks

the sandbars. A common myth about rip currents is that they pull people under water. Actually they don’t. They pull people away from shore. Drowning occurs when people pulled offshore are no longer able to keep themselves afloat and swim to shore. This may be due to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion, or lack of swimming skills. WHAT TO DO: If you find yourself caught in a rip current, most importantly, don’t panic. Never swim against a rip current. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current. Rip currents are rarely more than 30 feet wide. If you can’t break free of the rip current, float calmly until the current dissipates, usually just beyond the breakers. Once free, swim diagonally to shore. If you’re unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help. Rip currents can be killers, so be safe, be smart, and know what to do. Source: Rip Currents: Don’t Panic, North Carolina Sea Grant

Many times I have seen signs of diesel fuel and/or gasoline in the creek around there to say nothing of the problem with the hundreds of cats that live and breed exponentially on his property. A fire there in 2001 left boats partially sunk and leaking fuel. The Coast Guard (I heard) made them install containment barriers until they removed those vessels. The day before hurricane Charlie, I was moving my boats out of the water, I observed (the marina crew) moving boats out of the marina and anchoring them all along Alligator Creek, in the south fork of Alligator

Page 13

Creek and in any small cove big enough to hold a boat. That's where many of the sunken boats in the creek came from. I hope you will look into this and expose what is going on at this marina to all your readers. The public needs to know about this! Thanks for your paper and thanks for all the very hard work. We are fortunate to have someone

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Page 14

Water LIFE

June 2005

MAGAZINE

The interesting part of this photo, taken late last month, is the remaining piece of bait sticking on the line. This fish and numerous others hit on Berkeley 驶Gulp始 baits, 22 miles offshore.

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June 2005

Taxation Without Explanation

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE editor Are you rebuilding or remodeling? When it comes to property taxes, apparently there is no way to know in advance what you will be paying. We met with Frank Desguin, the Charlotte County Tax assessor, for the second time last month since hurricane Charley. In our meeting, we had only two questions: 1) If a homeowner chooses to rebuild and includes an area greater than 10-percent of the old square footage, how will the property tax increase be calculated? and 2) How are taxes calculated for different areas (ie: living space, non air conditioned storage or utility space, garage area, covered patios, etc.) within a home? These are important questions for homeowners who are now designing new homes, trying to remain within a predictable budget. Essentially, what Desguin told us is that his office is in a state of transition and that within the next four or five months they will be revising their entire approach to doing tax calculations. “This is something we have been working on for the last three or four years, it’s not just since Hurricane Charley. Part of the problem is we are going to a different system of evaluation,” Desguin said. The county tax assessor is switching from their old database to a new database, a move that could effect homeowners throughout the county. “In order to calculate replacement-tonew on a structure, we will start using the Marshall Swift method of construction estimation,” Desguin said. Marshall Swift, an industry standard, came into play in Charlotte County most recently when the county building inspector offered it as one of three alternatives available to homeowners for determining the percentage of damage their home sustained in the storms. Marshall Swift is a cut and dry spreadsheet approach to evaluation. It could be good for some and bad for others.

Water LIFE

‘Then, is there a per-square-foot-cost that a homeowner can apply to a new home?’ we asked. “No,” Desguin said. The same home, same sticks and bricks, would be taxed differently depending on the area it is built in. “The value of the land, determined by comparable real estate sales in the area comes into play when calculating taxes,” Desguin said. “You could take what the land cost is, add what the home costs to build and multiply by the millage rate and you might come close,” he added. With fluctuatingreal estate prices ‘Might Come Close’ is a scary approach, and if real estate values go down there is no guarantee taxes will fall, at least they never have in the past. Unfortunately for homeowners who are rebuilding, ‘might’ is about as close as you can get right now. The bottom line is, the County does not want you to know in advance what your taxes will be. Think of it as taxation without explanation. “We evaluate everything in January,” Desguin said, adding that there is no provision within the county for a homeowner to bring in plans for a new home and have the assessor tell them what the taxes will be. When the county changes to the Marshall Swift approach, ‘replacement cost’ for construction will change. A year ago, new construction was calculated at around $60/ square foot. Desguin wouldn’t guarantee the new figures will be under $200/square foot in January. “I just can’t say,” he said. That brought us to question number two: How will taxes be calculated for the different interior layout areas? “Can’t tell you,” Desguin said, indicating again that the calculations are done in the County’s current computer model and in the new database things will be different within the next couple of months. In the end, if your home was destroyed by the storms, and you had a homestead exemption, just don’t build any more than 10-percent of your previous home’s total square footage and your taxes won’t change. If you go over that 10-percent, do so at your own peril, and no one knows what that is.

Page 15

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Water LIFE

June 2005

MAGAZINE

Still Time To

Sebring

8663 SW SUNNYBREEZE ROAD - Custom designed 2/2 home located on 17 waterfront acres on Thornton Creek with access to the Peace River. Unique dĂˆcor accented by the fabulous setting of wrap around porches and atriums make this a spectacular estate home. $975,000

4638 HERMAN CIRCLE - This 2/2 home features a large Florida room across rear that overlooks water a large wooden dock and 10K lift. Only one bridge between you and the open water of Charlotte Harbor! $559,000

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

413 VALLETTA CT. - 3/2/2 sailboat home on a quiet cul-de-sac with an extra wide canal view in Burnt Store Isles. With tile throughout and almost all new appliances, roof, and kitchen countertop, this home is like new and ready to move in! $649,000

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

323 MARLIN DRIVE - Cute little 2BR/1.5BA salt-waterfront home located in Charlotte Park with a concrete seawall and covered boathouse. Nice neighborhood with well maintained homes; concrete curbing to enhance landscaping; large Florida room overlooking water. $359,900


June 2005

Water LIFE

MAGAZINE

Page 17

o Sign Up!

34 Ocean Drive - Custom built Tim Towles home located on a valuable lot in PGI - This 3 BR/2 BA home is just 6 lots from Charlotte Harbor Tastefully decorated in neutral colors - Features are: ceramic tile floors, Diamond Brite pool, extended dock, mitered glass breakfast window & numerous custom interior features. $1,400.000. MLS# 472876

1066 San Mateo Drive - Executive residence overlooking large water basin leading out to Ponce Inlet. Grand entrance stairway w/bridge across upstairs for views down to the main rooms. 2 boat lifts & jet ski lift. 4 zone A/C, pool waterfall, valet system on heated pool. A/C workshop in garage. Alarm system, intercom, fireplace, 2nd story loft for pool table or office. $1,500,000. MLS# 468570

5060 Melbourne St. - Peace River building site 25,756 sq. ft. - 200 ft. wood dock & one of few parcels w/ beach. East of Rt. 41 & new preserve condo development. Absolute breathtaking sunrise to sunset. Outstanding location to almost everything. A real find! House & efficiency apt. rentable while you finalize building plans. $1,600,000. MLS# 468348

21350 Harborside Blvd. - Luxurious home in Grassy Point Estates w/3 BR/3-1/2 BA & 3-car garage - workshop - library w/mahogany & Brazilian rosewood cabinets - 3 AC units - 3 water heaters , entertainment center in family room is black walnut & red gum - kitchen & bathroom cabinets are all cherry - jacuzzi in master bath - dock in marina w/10,000 lb. boat lift. Travertine marble floors. Custom built cabinetry. New roof, gutter & soffits. Palm garden in back yard has 22 varieties of palms. $990,000. MLS# 462483

4006 Maltese Ct. - Outstanding executive residence (built by Fero) On tip lot in PGI with 170' of waterfront - by far best canal view in BSI or PGI - 10,000 lb. boat lift - oversized garage - new roof, pool cage & summer kitchen- elegant gas fireplace w/2 tanks - aquarium glass dining area - watch the manatees from your lanai ! $1,025,000. MLS#470728


Page 18

Whatʼs Selling NOW Area Real Estate Trends

Water LIFE

This is NOT an Ad

Factual Information compiled by Ellen Heller, Water LIFE publisher and a licensed realtor, using records from the Charlotte County Association of Realtors MLS database. Call 941-766-8180 for additional information.

This month we look at recent transactions in the Myakka River / Gulf Cove / Riverwood area of Charlotte County

Forbes Terrace - Built in 1983 this 2/2, 1595 sq ft house is on a canal just three lots from the Myakka River and the Gulf. No pool but it home comes with a sea wall and dock. It sold for its full asking price of $399,900 in March of '05 and before that in February of '04 for $299,900

Golf Pointe Dr -This home is in the gated golfing community of Riverwood near the Myakka river. It was built in 2003 with 2/2, 1,769 sq ft on a pond, too small for boating.It sold new in December of '03 for $243,400 and this past April '05 for $365,000 Pennyroyal - Also in the gated golfing community of Riverwood this rather large home with 4/3 and 2273 sq ft was built in 2001. Situated on a lot overlooking a lake and wooded preserve it has privacy and seclusion. It sold new in 2001 for $310,000 and again this past april for $493,000

Prather St - Older canal home built in 1988 with 2/2 and 1,321 sq ft. It has a private dock with quick access to the Myakka river and a river view from the roof top deck. First time it sold for $114,000 in 1996, again in 1998 $125,000 and recently in April '05 for full asking price of $375,000 Minot Ave - Gulf Cove home built in 1998 with 1,241 square feet and 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. It is on a canal with a seawall, dock and boat lift. The canal has Harbor and Gulf access. It sold last August 2004 for $338,000 and again just 8 months later, in April of '05 for $420,000 Stonebridge - Beautiful lake view from the lanai of this house in the gated community of Riverwood. Built in 1993, it has 2/2 and 1,409 sq ft of space and many upgrades. In 2000 it sold for $164,000 and more recently in March 2005 for the full asking price of $329,900

Thorman Rd - Built new in 1989 this home originally sold for $83,400. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1116 square feet and a sunroom to watch sunsets from. It is on a fresh water canal with no harbor access but plenty of fish. This home recently sold in April '05 for $194,000.

Fishinʼ with the Grey Fox MAGAZINE

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Editor Pete Zambuto is no kid. “I’ve had my captain’s license for 40 years,” Pete says proudly, rattling off a string of boats and marinas he has worked out of during his 76 trips around the sun. I started fishing with my dad when I was about 12. My dad was a rowboat fishermen, We’d go out on Jamaica Bay (Long Island) on Friday night with a bunch of food and bait. We’d fish the tide, then we’d wait and fish the next tide and sometimes the next. Sometimes we’d be out all weekend, catching fish. That’s how I grew up. Pete worked for a while as a long line fisherman, chartered out of Montauk Point, fished off the back of a destroyer in the Navy and dabbled in a hand full of other commercial venues but chartering was always his favorite. “When I retired I moved to Florida and fished out of the Castaway’s Marina on Miami Beach. I captained for a guy with a big yacht who decided he wanted me to wear epaulets and a hat with scrambled eggs.” I told him I fished in jeans and I quit,” Pete said. Then he moved to Cape Coral, but it was too crowded, so a year ago Pete discovered Charlotte Harbor and he hasn’t looked back. Pete lives with his wife and 17 year old son. We went out mid afternoon on a onetide-day with the water falling and the harbor flat. “Where do you want to fish?” Pete asked and I told him to make believe I was a tourist from Philadelphia and had never been here or fished before. “Just take me fishing,” I said. Pete already had a livewell full of shiners, so we left Laishley ramp in his 19foot Pathfinder and headed south. Soon enough we were angling left and headed into Alligator Creek. It was a Tuesday afternoon and there wasn’t another boat in sight. We anchored at the mouth of the creek, Pete positioning the boat so it swung in the outgoing tide and flipped a shiner at a clump of sticks. He had a two pound snapper on the hook before I got my line

June 2005

in the water. We spent the next three hours at that same spot catching nice snapper around the clump and then some 4-pound trout out where the bottom drops off into the channel. “This is the kind of spot where you can catch everything,” Pete said, and that’s exactly what we did. We found jacks in the 7 pound class roaming a little further towards the mouth of the creek. “If you were a first time fishermen you’d like those jacks,” Pete said, And we found snook, a few in the 6 pound range, clustered behind some debris closer to the shore. In no time we had the area mapped out with a mental picture of what was where and by positioning our casts we could almost depend on what we were going to catch. Pete handled the fish and released them. He had clearly done this before. In his tackle box were numerous circle hooks, also the right choice for a first time client. “I like circle hooks myself, all you do is reel ‘em in,” Pete explained. We made small talk: if your pliers are tight, rub in a mixture of Ajax or Comet cleanser with water - ‘A friend of mine knows Roland Martin and he told me for the TV fishing shows, when they have to cast and come up with a fish, Martin had a diver underwater who put fish from a bag on his hook for him.” Roland will love to read about that, I said.

“Fluorocarbon leader (Pete calls it Fluorescent Carbon) is too expensive, I like monofilament, If the fish are going to eat, they are going to eat,” he says. And what about all those expensive high-tech 400-X scented plastics? Pete says he buys the ‘plane ones’ from a guy at Cape Coral for $6 in a big brown bag. Favorite artificial? The ‘Zero” spook you mean Zara?, ‘yeah that one.’ It was an interesting afternoon, fishing with someone experienced, personable and a guy who knows where to find fish. That’s what Pete’ Two-by-Two charters is all


KIds Cup Update June 2005

Spots Still Available

What a pleasant surprise! Frank Ruby owner of Fi s h X-S in Englewood and one of his suppliers, the art group SPI-Ho me, are donating the beautiful bronze ‘Top-5’ Kids Cup redfish trophies, the same ones we had last year, and seven spectacular redfish prints by artist Don Ray. That means this year there will be a framed 11x14 redfish print with a bronze plaque going to each junior angler who weighs in the heaviest redfish in EACH age group (one for age: 10,11,12,13,14,15,and 16) PLUS they are also donating a 16x20 redfish print for the Rich Novak Memorial Sportsmanship Award winner. How GREAT is that? Our very BIG ‘Thank You’s’ go to Frank and SPI-Home. The Oh Bo y ! Oberto Redfi s h Cup is again the tournament namesake sponsor for the Kids Cup and along with us, the presenting sponsor, Water LIFE Mag azi ne, and the Ki ng fi s her Fl eet, we are going to make this tournament the fun kids event for summer. Lai s h l e y Mari n e and Pal m Chev ro l et are again the shirt and Captain’s Meeting sponsors. Tournament shirts were designed by artist Marti n Gambecki and will be printed by ScreenPri net Pl us in Cape Coral. The tournament hats will be provided by San Carl o s Mari ne of Fort Myers. Mercury Mari ne will be supplying the designer winner’s shirts and jackets and Shi mano will give the Top-5 anglers rod & reel combos. Wes t Mari ne and Bo at U. S. are again the IGFA Junior Angler World Championship sponsor. Ac t i o n Craf t

Water LIFE

Bo ats is the affiliate sponsor and the official boat of the Kids Cup tournament, and the Redfi s h Cho p Ho us e in Punta Gorda will be the official caterer providing the dinner. Ing man Mari ne in Port Charlotte is donating a Power Pole anchoring system for the guide who ‘fishes’ the winning kid and movie tickets for all the kids who weigh in a redfish. Thanks to Gary Ingman for his continued Kids Cup support. Bo ats Unl i mi ted will be providing the camera boat and a sponsorship check to help pay for the meeting hall. PGT Indus tri es in Venice is also a Kids Cup sponsor this year, as is Gre g g ’s Aut o mo t i v e in Punta Gorda, B o b ’s Mac h i n e S h o p in Ruskin, and Th e Pl ac i da Que e n . The Henry Tackl e company vendors are pitching in with fishing products for the captain’s bags. Li ndy Tackl e/Ol d Bay s i de will be providing soft plastics. Eppi ng er Lure s will be providing two of their Daredevil spoons for each angler and Ex ude will have a pack of baits in each Captain’s bag as well - and D. O. A. Lures are also donating some of their high-tech redfish baits too. WaterPro o f Charts in Punta Gorda will again supply harbor charts to all the anglers. The captain’s bags alone will be worth entry fee, and Pastor Rich Rob and the Mi rantha Fel l o ws hi p in Punta Gorda will be supplying each team with a bag lunch on fishing day. The S aras o t a/ Ch arl o t t e Heral d Tri bune and SNN6 are helping to promote the Kids Cup in their circulation areas and the Sebring Ne ws S un News paper is again going to print the Kids

MAGAZINE

This is the 2005 Kids Cup T-shirt design. Every competitor and every sponsor gets one of these beautiful shirts with the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup logo on the front.Shirts sponsored bt Palm Chevrolet and Laishley Marine.

Kids Cup 2005

Heaviest redfish weighed in for each age group (10,11,12,13,14,15,16) gets one of these beautiful framed Don Ray redfish prints donated by Fish X-S in Englewood and SPI-Home

Page 19

2005 Kids Cup Top-5 Trophies will be donated by Fish X-S and SPI-Home

ATTENTION The Manditory July 15 Captainʼs Meeting has been MOVED from Palm Chevrolet to the Good Shepherd Church on Henry Street (at Shreve) in Punta Gorda. Meeting time is 5 p.m.


Page 20

Water LIFE

June 2005

MAGAZINE

On the Line Fishing with Capt. Ron Blago Tips on Catching Whitebait

By Capt Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Executive Staff Paradise on earth is probably the best phrase to describe fishing right now in the local area. Both inshore and offshore fishing is at its peak. Good weather has kept the waters crystal clear and made spotting fish pretty easy. Live bait is easy to find on just about any shallow water grass flat. Here are a few tips for catching bait this time of year. Get on the water as early as you can. First light is always best. Head for your favorite bait spot. If you are new to the area it is best to get help from local fishermen or the local bait shops. I like to get my bait in shallow water, 4 feet or less. If the water is calm you usually can see the bait working on the surface. There are two types of bait catchers. Those that try to run down their bait with their boat and those that anchor their boat and use chum to draw the bait to them. If you are all by yourself, do what ever you feel like, but if there are other boats anchored up in the area, do not go flying through their chum slick. This is considered to be a major breach of fishing etiquette. I like to anchor right on the edge of the grass flat next to a pot hole. That way I can tease the bait off the flat into the hole so that when I throw my net into the hole I won’t pick up a ton of sea grass. Chum is a personal thing. Everyone has their own secret formulas. If you are just starting out, a can of jack mackerel mixed with a half dozen pieces of stale bread work just as well as anything else. Start by throwing a bit of chum away from the boat and watch which way the current takes it. You want the small pieces of chum to just sink on the edge of the pot hole. If you see bait on the surface of your chum slick start decreasing the amount of chum you throw in the water. Now comes the hard part, waiting for the right time to throw your net. There are times when a large school of whitebait swims right up to your boat and you throw your net and catch 50 baits in one throw. A rare day indeed. Most likely you will chum for a few minutes and you will see pinfish eating your chum. Pinfish will work as bait, but you are better off waiting a few more minutes for the whitebait to show up.

Whitebait: a local term for scaled sardines, Spanish sardines and threadfin herring

This time of year the whitebait is on the large size so a 3/8inch mesh castnet 8 to 10 foot in diameter is what is needed. I'll work a spot for 30 minutes and throw the net about four times before I move on. Fortunately you don't need a lot of bait this time of year. A few large whitbait will usually take care of a mornings fishing. Of course I always carry some shrimp as my backup bait. Snook fishing is great this year and they really love those large whitebaits. Remember catch and release only. I've been catching most of the larger fish in deeper water channels where the water tends to run faster during an incoming tide. On the outgoing tide, I've been fishing the mangroves. We have been catching a lot of the smaller snook by throwing a small shrimp under a popping cork as far back in the mangroves as you can get. You would be surprised how many fish are laying in less then one foot of water back there. Last month I was the guest speaker at the new Englewood Fishing Club. This new group is only a year old and already has over 100 members. The clubs main purpose is just to fish and have fun. They also help out the local community. While I was there, they were working out the details to help with the Big Brother-Big Sisters Kids Fishing Tournament. Their meetings are the second Thursday of the month at Bay Harbor Ford in Englewood. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM. The only contact number I have is an old friend, Don Preszler at 697-2197. Capt. Ron Blago can be reached for fishing information or to book a charter fishing

KIDS CUP

Free all-pro Kids Cup ʻSuper Seminarʼ Saturday July 9 at 4:30 p.m @ Laishley Marine


Water LIFE

Saturday ʻPoon Fishinʼ with Fishinʼ Frank June 2005

By Fi shi n’ Frank Water LIFE Senior Guide It’s pass fishing time again. The tarpon are in, big time, and the rules have changed. No break away lead in the pass, but the new laws have not slowed down the number of hook-ups. Tarpon fights are on all the time. It is the number of fish to the boat that has dropped. Fifteen years ago or so, in Louisiana, they came up with a break away jig to fish for big fish in deep water with a strong current. The rig was brought to Boca Grande by several different people. Who gets the credit (or blame) is hard to say. The point is, break away jig fishing was imported not invented here. It was invented by a ‘coonass’ a person who lives in lower Louisiana, usually of French decent. Hence the real name of the break-away jigs you see at Boca Grande are ‘coon-drop’ jigs. No, I am not making this up!!! During the years I have fished for tarpon in the pass, my preference is the old way; drifting with live bait. It is more layed back, and the old method of running up the outside and getting in line to make your drift is nice. Having the captains yelling at you to get out of their way when they try to scratch-start, setting their hooks on tarpon, cussin' you because they were there trying to make a living and you were just having fun... well that part has not changed much, but the old drift is gone for the most part, except in the evening when you can still relive the past as the live bait boats come back out for the late tarpon bite. The sunset, pods of tarpon rolling, all this while you drift quietly in your boat – I, for one, miss it. In its own way it is quite a majestic way to fish. But I don't take a stage coach when I want to go to Tampa and although drift fishing may be cool, when I am tarpon fishing today I want modern results and that means jigs. In late May, I got the chance to fish tarpon with a friend of 20 years, Capt. Dwayne French, who is also one of the best tarpon guides at Boca Pass. Dwayne asked Robert and I if we would fish the Tarpon series with him and Scott Huafman. Scott has to be the fastest man on earth with a reel. The water froths for three feet around the tip when he reels in. His speed and the ability to feel a tarpon even breathing against the line make him a great team member for pass tournaments. He is a tarpon fanatic, who eats sleeps and breaths tarpon. Me, I have watched the tournament on T.V. and I wanted to try it. Day of the Tournament: 4:30 a.m. Wake up, make coffee, have a cigarette, get the last minute things together and and I’m off to pick up Robert. We get to Dwayne's boat and Scott and Dwayne are busy loading up and checking last minute gear changes. As this is the first time we have all fished together we need a practice run into the Pass. Dwayne says ‘drop-em boys,’ our reels go to free spool and the jigs head to the bottom. When the jig hits the bottom the line will stop for an instant then you crank about two turns up off the bottom. The line only stops for a second as the boat is moving with the current. If you don’t get the jig up, you are snagged. If you don't find the bottom, you won't catch fish. Now, you have your jig two cranks off the bottom. There is no need to jig the pole, the wave and current activity will do that for you. Concentrate on staying in the boat. No sooner than our jigs are down I see Scott's rod tip twitch ever so slightly. He starts cranking on the reel. The water is frothing and the fight is on. That tarpon was swimming up with the jig. If Scott had been a little slower he would have never seen that fish. Sometimes, when a tarpon picks up the bait he will be

MAGAZINE

Page 21

swimming right up towards you. If you don’t keep reeling he will taste it and just spit it out. All you'll feel at that point is the slight pull on the rod as the jig hits the slack end off the line. Scott hooked that fish and it headed to the top, breached the surface then with a mighty head shake it was fish-on, fish-off. With the lead attached you no longer drop your rod tip and Bow to the King. The jig now must A tarpon jumps at the seasonʼs first tournament in Boca Grande. be fastened to the hook but the other was a take you to your knees pull, fight the with a material that is stronger than the breaking strength fish get to the fighting chair and hang on fight, until that of the line.With a 5 ounce jig now attached to the hook, jump. when the tarpon shakes his head the jig slings from side By using the weight of the jig head the tarpon threw to side and the weight of the lead pulls the hook loose. the jig back at us. Defenseless fish my butt, they are Often this causes a lead missile to come shooting back at gonna’ get even this year. the boat. Helmets and face shields may soon be the Boca Scott had three tarpon, Robert two and I also had two. look. Scott lost his fish then he was ready for more. That’s seven during the tournament and two before the Dwayne is back on the prowl. Soon it is ‘Drop-em tournament started for practice. But not a one to the boat. boys,’ and down they go. That’s tournament fishing and that’s life. Cheers to the This time it’s all me. A tap, a light pull and reeling winners and no whining for us, we had our shot, and like like crazy until I feel the weight of the fish, then a couple lemming to a cliff, we'll be back. of good hard pulls to make sure the circle hook is really Fishin’ Frank can be reached for information or to set. Yes you can can re-set and jerk on a circle hook once it is already set in the fish. My fish came up and I reeled not bowing to the king, and he stayed on. ‘Reel to the King’ does not have the same majestic sound as ‘Bow to the King,’ but with the lead weight still attached it seems to work better. Do not jerk, just reel. Five minutes into the fight I could feel the fish was pulling too hard and I made rookie mistake number one. I reached to loosen the drag and the line snapped. We got back in the hunt. One of the things I had to learn was the correct method of cupping the jig, or wrapping your hand around it. When moving the boat or looking for fish, most of the guys in the tournament were doing this. I thought it was done so as not to let the jog swing around and clobber you in the head. But no, there is much more intrigue in it Roomy, Comfortable and Dry than that. With every-one trying to come up with new ways of attaching jigs cupping the jig hides the rig. It Are you ready for some fun? keeps the secret jig secret. International espionage has Our new ʻSummertime Hoursʼ nothing on the pass fisherman. I felt like a secret agent. I Offer Something for Everyone. had to take an oath, spit and everything so as not to reveal the secret of the rig Dwayne fishes. There are a few 7am -1pm, Wednesday ... $39.00 + tax 7:45am -4 pm, Thursday ... $42.00 + tax methods of tying the jig on: with 80# mono, with very 7 am -1 pm, Friday ... $39.00 + tax heavy zip strips, or with a hog ring. Oops! Yes, I maybe Friday, nite fishing ... $42.00 + tax shot. If you see black helicopters flying over Fishin’ 7 am -5 pm, Saturday ... $50.00 + tax Franks call me so I can run. Dwayne uses the hog-ring 3 pm - 9 pm, Sunday-nite sunset fishing $39.00 + tax around the hook shank. All are good but there is a new rig on the horizon. Soon the coon-drop will be a memory, I’ll tell ya more later. The captain, or the guy running the boat, is key to success in pass fishing. He reads the depth finder maneuCall for reservations vers through the boats keeps you over fish and gets out of the way when someone else has a tarpon on and is coming your way. Fish on has right of way. in all cases. Spacious, Comfortable, Let the Placida Queen Be Your Destination Listen for ‘fish-on’ then look around. The tarpon may be ready to jump in your boat. This all takes practice, stay For summer fishing fun! to the out side of the pack until you get comfortable with Ask about our Private Charters on the it. 26‚ Boston Whaler. Offshore, Near Shore, For up to 4 People Robert got two hook ups one was a fish-on fish-off

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Page 22

WAT E R WAY

Water LIFE

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June 2005

MAGAZINE

ScuttleButt Sometimes Unsubstanciated ... but often true!

Colors A Comin' Been to Fishermenʼs Village lately? Maybe you noticed the freshly painted tangerine colored front or the new lime shading on Harpoon Harryʼs. Thatʼs just the beginning. A new color scheme designed to make the village more ʻvisible from afarʼ is in the works. In the coming weeks (months?) other buildings will sport green, yellow and purple, among others happy hues. Now if they could just get the marina back open and the fuel dock back in operation weʼd all take notice. Trash continues to be a problem Stop by the countyʼs busiest boat ramp in Placida any Sunday and youʼll see bags of trash piled up. Thatʼs in addition to an array of overflowing trash cans located around the site. Although the countyʼs fear of non boaters dumping their residential trash is a valid concern it might be time for them to install a decent sized dumpster.

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Soft Plastics A Number Of soft plastic tackle manufacturers are hard at work in their chemistry labs trying to duplicate the excessively successful smell of the Berkeley 400-X formula which has taken the soft plastics artificial bait market by storm.

FWC Skis Watch out on the Myakka River and in Lemon Bay. The FWCʼs new approach to manatee zone enforcement is to put their officers on jet skis and keep them out of sight while watching for boats traveling too fast. According to one source, It wonʼt be too much longer before they are laying in wait at the mouth of Turtle Bay as well. Donʼt say we didnʼt warn you.

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June 2005

David vs Goliath

Water LIFE

Page 23

MAGAZINE

Half or Full

Light Tackle

Capt. Andrew Medina

A Total Backwater Adventure Snook-

(941) 456-

By Cayl e Wi l l s Special to Water LIFE This isn’t a story wrapped in religion. Although God was mentioned a few times, it wasn’t used in a way we are allowed to express in print. But it is a story about a skinny little guy and a behemoth. The weapon of choice wasn’t a slingshot it was simply a 14/0 hook, a 4/0 reel, and a thin strand of monofilament line. If you frequent Fishin’ Frank’s, you’ll notice a new face behind the counter. That face rests a top a young, wiry body whos name is Billy. Billy is 20 years old and weighs about 150 lbs soaking wet with rocks in his pocket. Recently, Billy and I joined local guide, Angel Torres and headed to Boca Grande to go fishing. Most people head there to fish for tarpon, but we had a different plan. We were going after sharks and goliath grouper, formally known as Jewfish. How crazy is that? Smart, college educated people decided to change the name of this fish to be more politically correct, so you change it from jewfish to goliath. How’s that for an educated change? Now there is a rumor that it may be changed again next year to some funny looking symbol. The shark fishing was slow that day and the wind was picking up so we decided to try the goliath grouper hole we knew was close by. We put Billy on the bow and told him that the first fish was all his. He proudly mentioned his largest grouper to date was 80 lbs. He didn’t have a clue what he was in for. The bait was a 12-pound jack crevalle with his tail cut off and his sides butterfly filleted open. Goliath grouper are large fish and well documented to reach over 800 pounds. While you won’t find anything that large inhabiting inshore waters, the ones we were after are capable of taking that 12 pound jack in a single gulp. Billy rigged his line, hopped up onto the bow and let the bait sink down. It wasn’t down for more than a minute when that rod bent over. And that is when things started going wrong, just like they did for David. This was a large fish. This was a very large fish. The first noise I heard wasn’t the peel of the drag but a strange noise that sounded like someone had a goose in a headlock. It was Billy. I don’t know if it was shock, or fear, or happiness, but it was that sound someone makes when they realize they’ve just hooked the biggest fish of their life. We started backing away from the structure to keep the fish from going back into his hole or tieing us up on anything. It was going to be a team effort to land this fish.

Billyʼs Fish

Two minutes into the fight and Billy realizes his first mistake. He forgot to put on his fighting belt. I attribute the fact that he lasted two minutes with a rod levered into his crotch with a large fish pulling down on it to his youth. I grabbed the fighting belt and secured it around his waist. Once situated, Billy stood on the bow and continued to fight the fish. Angel was maneuvering the boat to keep the fish out of structure and to ease the fight. I went to the center of the boat to help encourage Billy. That is when Angel and I noticed the second problem. Billy was leaning back, way back, to fight this fish. When we looked up he had the rod in his hand, standing at a 45 degree angle, pulling against the weight of this fish. We both yelled at him to sit down. If that line snapped Billy would have gone for a swim. All of this brought us to minute four. That’s when God was referenced, numerous times, all of them in vane. If you were a fly on the wall during all of this, the moans, groans, and profanities would have made you wonder if this was actually a fishing trip. Now Billy started to whine. ‘My arms hurt.’ ‘I can’t take much more of this.’ I noticed that he quit pumping the rod and was just holding pressure against the fish. I shouted for him to keep pumping, don’t stop, just keep pumping. I wasn’t yelling at him to keep fighting the fish as much as I didn’t want him to stop moving. The fish was straight down, it wasn’t going anywhere, but if you stop moving your arms after working them like that, the lactic acid builds up in your muscles and you start to cramp. If you’ve ever caught a big fish then you know the feeling. Your arms feel 20 feet long and rubbery and you don’t want to move them – just take a nap or something. A fish this size is a pretty good workout. We knew he could beat this fish, and he needed to hear that to motivate him. After about 15 minutes he started to win the fight and complaints and moans and swearing turned into whoops and shouts of joy. And after an extremely loud WOOHOO the leader broke the surface and we could see color. Whoa! We knew it was a big fish from the start, but we didn’t expect something the size of a small lawn tractor. He brought it to the boat. It was the largest live goliath grouper I have ever seen. Easily 200 lbs. We brought him to the surface, captured a few pictures of the fish and it’s champion, cut him loose and watched him swim back into the depths. Billy plunked down into the seat, caught his breath, and uttered his first words of victory. “I’m gonna sleep good tonight.”

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Water LIFE

Page 24

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June 2005

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Water LIFE

June 2005

Yak-Tourney Fishing

By Capt. Robert Moore Water LIFE Staff Last month I fished in the DOA & Johnson Outdoors Paddlers Only Kayak Fishing Tournament held out of Englewood. The operative words here are ‘paddlers only and kayak.’ I have fished a lot of tournaments in the last 10 years, but always out of a mechanically propelled vessel. Even with the increasing popularity of kayak fishing in the last four years, I have never paddled a kayak. Since I knew he had some kayak experience and could give me some pointers, I made a phone call to a close friend of mine, Justin Phillips, and invited him to fish with me. The tournament format was pretty simple. They provide you with a tackle box filled with a generous amount of DOA soft plastics, hooks & jig heads. Those were the only baits you could use. The angler with the most measured fish-inches of one snook, one redfish, and one trout wins the tournament. Fishing boundaries were open and all fish had to be photographed with a supplied camera and released. The photos were to be turned in by 3pm in Englewood. The captain’s meeting was held in Placida at Grande Tours. I have been driving by Grande Tours for years and never stopped in until the meeting. Grande Tours offers numerous activities including kayak fishing, eco tours, and even kayak classes. What a great family place for Charlotte County. To say the least, I was

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very impressed with their facility. The tournament started the next day at safe light. Justin and I launched our kayaks in Pirate Harbor from a private ramp. Justin instructed me on how to get in and out of the kayak and within minutes we were both paddling our way towards the harbor. We headed south as we exited the Pirate Harbor subdivision and started fishing along the mangrove islands that are scattered along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor. Justin and I both opted to exit the kayaks and wade while we were fishing. I know, it’s not exactly fishing from a kayak but it was legal. My entire reason for this was not because I love wading. I was afraid that I would lose my balance while making a cast or hooking a fish and tip the kayak. Within the first 15 minutes Justin hooked and landed a small snook. The tide was low and beginning to come in. I mentioned to Justin that I liked the low water conditions because more than likely no motorized boats would be back this far running through the islands. Well, no longer than 15 minutes later we heard the familiar roar of an outboard motor coming at us. To put it in perspective I was standing in knee deep water when a flats boat roared by us within 50 yards, kicking mud 20 feet into the air. I learned lesson number one, a totally different perspective of just how much noise you make when you run in 18 inches of water. The fish in this

area were done. They now needed time to settle back down. Justin and I decided to jump back into our kayaks and paddle away from that area in hopes of finding an area the boat had not run through. We found two small islands with about 200 feet of space between them. The tide was now flowing pretty good and we could both see the current between the islands. This spot produced a half dozen small snook, one 25 inch snook and several redfish in the four pound range. We both zeroed in on the DOA 4-inch jerk bait in the avocado-red color on an 1/8 oz Cal jig head. That color was the ticket. The depth was three feet and with the smaller jig head we could jig these baits slowly just off the grassy bottom. It was now about 9 a.m. and I could hear the roar of outboard motors up and down the east wall of Charlotte Harbor. I watched as a boat would pass by us. I started studying the distance they were from me and whether or not I felt they would affect where I was fishing. Most boats were very courteous and stayed off about a hundred yards. I remember thinking to myself that is about the same distance I would give a kayaker if I were in my boat. Lesson number two. I learned 100 yards is not enough. Believe it or not, the vibration and noise from a boat a hundred yards away still spooked the fish. I watched as redfish and snook ran when a boat would pass at that distance. I personally will be giving much more room when

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running my boat by kayakers and fishing areas. By 11a.m., Justin and I both had our redfish and snook, but we both needed a trout to complete our slam. We headed out to open water where the grass was very thick with scattered sandy patches. Our tackle boxes both had the DOA Deadly Combo. The glow shrimp at the end of this cork system gave me the understanding of why they named this the ‘Deadly Combo.’ Within minutes we both had decent trout to complete our slam. Cast out, pop the cork every 15 seconds or so and set the hook. It was honestly that easy. At the end of the morning we were both happy with the experience of fishing a tournament in a kayak. In my opinion, you can not find a more peaceful and stealthy way to fish. The great experience was also highlighted with the lessons I learned. As if I don’t have enough boats in my yard, I’ll be trying to figure out a way to add a kayak to my arsenal soon. Many thanks to DOA Lures, the Charlotte County Visitors Bureau, Johnson Outdoors, the Englewood Chamber of Commerce, and Grande Tours for putting on a top notch event. Also thanks to Gene Kingery for loaning me his decked out kayak for the event. I’m already looking forward to next year’s tournament.

You can reach Capt. Robert Moore for fishing information or to book a charter fish-

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Enjoy fantastic sunrises and sunsets from this beautiful penthouse condo on Manasota Key. Move in this Barefoot Beach 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath Gulfside unit the end of June. Please call for additional information.


Offshore Chores

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By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Inshore Editor May typically marks the start of truly fine offshore fishing. Threadfin herring and scaled sardines have arrived in droves and the pelagic species follow. Just about everything that swims may show up on your line and what could be better! My approach to offshore fishing is a spin-off of inshore and back country fishing. Keep it simple, feed the fish what they’re used to eating and hang on. Offshore to many anglers who moved here from the northeast means 40 or 50 mile runs to deep canyons are necessary to hook up. I am certain the fishing is great out there, but how does 5-15 miles sound? That is pretty much where my comfort level is. May also marks the beginning of lighter winds and seas and some scorching hot days. I say leave early from the dock, catch your bait and leave the typical stiff westerly afternoon winds for sipping a cold one at home while you’re cleaning fish. So, on my first offshore trip of the year we left the dock at 6:30 a.m. and headed for a bait spot near Boca Grande. Throwing a cast net off my brother Bob’s 22-foot Grady is a chore, so I let him handle the task while I chummed with a cat food mix. An hour later we had several hundred scaled sardines and put the hammer down with great anticipation. Slick seas with a gentle roll greeted us and huge roving pods of threadfins were everywhere. Our excitement lead us to pass up the easy catching of threads on Sabiki rigs and try fishing with what we had. First timer Jerry was handling the task of dicing up a couple of gallons of baitfish while we closed in on our first spot. There are 2 kinds of spots offshore: public wrecks or reefs and sweet little honeyholes that take many hours of searching and discovering. Both are good in May and we opted for a public reef as our first stop. My rig for the day was simple. A 2/0 Owner heavy duty bait hook tied to 2 feet of 40 pound leader connected to a 15 pound

Water LIFE

class spinning rod. A spit shot was placed above the bait and the line fed out with the current. Not 15 minutes into the game I felt a take and slammed the rod home. My rod surged and the drag burned. Yeehaaaaa!, I hollered as this fish turned and rose from the depths like a long torpedo. Staring into the clear blue waters we all yelled cobia! What a start and in classic fashion a 30 pound cobe' came right alongside with minimal resistance. Then, seeing the boat, he went roaring away. A little later a gaff was about to be introduced and the hook pulled free. A great start, except for the hook pulling, so quickly we pitched our lines back out and hooked up with Spanish mackerel. What brought this instant action was chumming. Everybody knows to chum, but the key is consistency. A constant even chum flow is important. Your chum must be fresh and not sun baked. So, after countless mackerel bite-offs and a few landed, Barry the barracuda showed up. In fact, a whole family of cuda’s showed up, all between 5 and 30 pounds. Quick action with them and some acrobatic aerial jumps to nearly 5 feet out of the water were had, but of course none were landed because we wouldn’t take a break to put on steel. You know how it is, it’s much easier to sacrifice a hook and quickly re-tie when things are hot then to take the time to cut steel wire, crimp or haywire twist, etc. So on it went for the first hour-and-a-half. Placing more weight on the line put the baits closer to the bottom and small grouper were caught, but no legals. Flounder and blue runners also were caught with a blue runner held in the well for later with hopes of a big kingfish Typical in fishing are slow spells and after an incredible start, the fishing came to a halt. The wind shifted from easterly to southerly, the tide changed and we steadily chummed and fished and fished- but nothing. Dagwood sandwiches were served up by Jerry and we speculated on moving but we knew the fish were there or at least nearby. After lunch lines went over and Jerry

MAGAZINE

hooked up a behemoth! This fish burned drag and took deep lunges as pressure was applied to break his stride. Fifteen minutes of a dogged fish fight and we still didn’t have a clue to the species until the rod went thump-thump-thump in classic jack crevalle form. Sure enough a 30 pounder was netted. Interesting that a jack this big behaves just like the small ones, circling the boat and laying on its side thumping away. Inspection of the jack revealed a huge chomp mark behind the dorsal. Our first thought was that this fish just had a really bad day not only being hooked but chomped by a shark on the way up, but the wound was in the healing phase. Jacks are one tough fish and this one had survived a prior shark attack! Remember that blue runner in the well? He weighed nearly a pound and was put out under a ballon with a 110-pound wire leader. Using a tarpon rod spooled with 25-pound Andes, the blue runner didn’t stand a chance when a kingfish wolfed him down. This was Jerry’s first king and he soon knew why they’re nicknamed ‘smokers’ because that fish smoked the line off the reel like crazy. Good gaff work by Bob and this fish went into the box. Late afternoon and sure enough a stiff west wind picked the seas up to 3 feet and we motored through Boca Grande pass headed towards home. The typical flotilla of boats were there huddled over a deep hole hoping to hook a tarpon while

June 2005

the captains struggled to keep a following sea from splashing over the stern. I just had to wonder who had more fun on this day. So the simple rules for offshore success are: fresh caught bait for chumming and fishing, minimal terminal tackle, the smallest strongest hooks that can be used and vary your weight to present to different fish at different depths. These are the same guidelines I use for shallow water fishing. Pelagics generally have large eyes and they see well in clear water. I use fluorocarbon leader and wire only as heavy as absolutely needed. On this particular trip, there were many species that didn’t appear. Large snappers and groupers, goliath grouper and shark amongst others never made a show. But, for the first offshore trip of the year there was nothing to complain about!

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 website:


June 2005

Water LIFE

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MAGAZINE

2428 Saginaw Rd - Brand new home near golf courses, and minutes from I-75. $234,900 MLS# 466847 Call Dennis of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at 1-877-564-6767 or (941)697-1523.

14391 Maysville Dr -Newly constructed 3/2 home in the fast growing community of South Gulf Cove. Close to beaches, schools and shopping. $289,000. MLS# 466524 Call Ty Hartley of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at (941) 270-2353 or (941)698-1500

9284 Spring Circle - Enjoy the Florida lifestyle at its best in this Gulf access home. Only one bridge to Charlotte Harbor.Pool area great for entertaining. $579,000 MLS# 470102 Call Kelly Parker or Mark Becton of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at (941)2941039,(941)628-6894 or (941)697-1523

68 Clubhouse N - Great Rotonda 3/2 home in golfing community. Beautiful sunsets, gorgeous views and professionally landscaped. Room for a pool. $350,000 MLS# 468466 Call The Peerce Team of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at 1-866-620-3990 or (941)698-1500

10664 Ayear Rd - SAILBOAT TIP lot with access to the Myakka River and the Gulf. 3/2, open floor plan, tiled & carpeted. Many extras, 6500# boat lift and private dock for classic Florida living. $541,500 MLS# 471953. Call Martin & Dunagan Team of Duffy's Realty Sation Inc. at (866)530-0074 or (941)698-1500

45 Sportsman Rd - Watch the sun set over the canal while gazing through many fruit bearing trees. Florida room added in 2002, many upgrades. $229,900 MLS# 455906 Call Martin & Dunagan Team of Duffy's Realty Sation Inc. at (866)530-0074 or (941)698-1500

This the time of the year that I like to fish with a float in the mangroves for snook and reds. The reason for using a float is to keep white bait suspended along the mangrove edge. Old Bayside has recently introduced a new line of floats called Paradise Poppers made with titanium wire. I like using the cigar-shaped float with 12 to 18 inches of 30-lb leader and a 3/0 to 5/0 hook

A selection of Old Bayside始s new Paradise Poppers are now available at Laishley Marine and at Fishin始 Franks

27


BUILDING This New House Part 1: AINʼT NO THRILL WITH TOWER HILL

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By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE editor This begins a series about building our new waterfront home in Port Charlotte. Our old house was destroyed by hurricane Charley and after six months of battling with our insurance company, Clarendon Select, Tower Hill, we finally received our settlement checks for the house and its contents. Along with the check came a note from our adjuster that we had $7,500 remaining for demolition of the old house and $37,500 for law and ordinance. Law and ordinance is additional coverage which we paid for and which provides funds to comply with all the new building codes. This is significant since the new code requirements for our area say the finished floor of the new house must be four feet higher than the finished floor of the old house. That’s a lot of extra concrete and fill. Another new code requirement is for hurricane compliant windows and shutters. That will ad another big chunk to the price of our new home. Law and ordinance coverage is very important. Back in the early 70’s I was field superintendent for a company that built single family homes in Palm Beach County. In a five year period we completed over 600 homes. With that experience under my belt (and some help from more currently knowledgable friends) I decided I would be the owner/contractor for our own new house. In late December I called Doug Timmons, of Shore Protection Inc. Doug is a friend and a local fishermen who sponsors a team in some of the local tournaments. His company built our new seawall two years ago. I contracted with Doug to do the demolition of our old house and, right around the same, time I contacted another boating and fishing friend, Jon Cole, president of Giffels Webster Engineering in Englewood, to start drawing up the plans for

Thanks to raised floor elevations and a move closer to the canal our new house will have a great second story view.

Water LIFE

June 2005

MAGAZINE

Like many homeowners who are starting over we demolished the house but are keeping our swimming pool.

our new house. Doug sent over a heavy track-hoe in early January. When I talked to Nick King, the operator, I found he was also a fisherman and the father of the former Punta Gorda on-thewater policeman Joe King. All good people. With the house knocked down and plans in the works we called Universal Engineering testing service to bore a couple of test holes in our lot and make sure there were no pockets of muck under the spot the new house was going on. When the drilling crew showed up they were interested in the fish in our canal - they were both fisherman, and when I went down to their office to pick up the engineering report I met with Lindsay Weaver. He was wearing a sailfish shirt – another fisherman. Next came the roof trusses. Truss engineering takes time and the local suppliers were quoting 18 to 20 weeks for truss design and another month for manufacturing. I started looking out of the area for truss manufacturers and came up with Martinez Truss Company in Miami. I called one Saturday morning and got the owner George Martinez on the phone. We made small talk for a while. I knew trusses made in Miami met the more stringent Dade County wind loading criteria. I found out George was a fisherman. The price was right and the design and production time was in weeks not months, so I went to Miami to

check out his operation. The office had pictures of boats on the wall. The shop was professional. George got my job. In the interim I began to interview sub-contractors. Manny, our concrete guy is a serious fisherman. Andy Medina, our monthly tournament fishing columnist is also a block mason, Josh Smith who fishes the Redfish Tour owns Palmetto Custom Homes and he is going to be our framing carpenter and Jack Pierson of Bayside Plumbing in Englewood, a loyal Water LIFE subscriber and another fisherman, is our plumber. Blake Beerbower, a regular at Fishin' Franks, has offered to help with the electric and Mr Snook, Norm Day will be the ceramic tile man. and Jimmy Frye of Cabinets Plus will do the kitchen. Windows and glass doors will all be PGT products and Mike our supplier is a PGT distributor and of course he is a fisherman. There are still a few trades outstanding from our list: we are still looking for the right drywall crew and if we have enough money at the end, a roofer who does metal roofs and fishes will finish it off. It looks like our new digs on Bangsberg Road will be a fancy fish shack built on the water by local fisherman. We are excited. I couldn’t think of a better place to live in or a better crew to build it.

Now for the Bad News.

With our house torn down and the debris hauled away we submitted the demolition bill for our expenses to Clarendon Tower Hill Insurance. A week later we got a call from one Mr. Chad Honea of their Gainesville home office. He said “We have reviewed your initial claim and it looks like we overpaid you, there for we are not going to pay your demolition bill or your law and ordinance claim.” You’re what? I bit my tongue so as not to say anything which might later incriminate me. Brown and Brown Insurance is our local agent in Port Charlotte, they are the agents who put us with Tower Hill in the first place. We called them next and were told there is ‘nothing they can do,’ that we have to deal with the insurance company ourself. So I called our private adjuster and told him he was back on the case. Now our private adjuster has had his law firm (there must be a fisherman in that office, somewhere) in Tampa file a Notice of Civil Remedy with the State Insurance Commissioner’s office. Clarendon/Tower Hill now has 60 days to resolve this matter or, as I understand it, they open themselves to a civil claim and we could then file for damages. Please feel free to contact me if you have similar problems. I’ll gladly give you copies of our Civil Remedy filing so you can copy it and file your own paperwork. Next Month: Permitting with the county and ground breaking ...if we are lucky.


June 2005

By Don Cessna Water LIFE Englewood Wheew it's getting hot in Florida. Soon you could get roasted crispy, out fishing during the mid-day hours. The local guides will be looking like raccoons – sun burned but for the area their sun glasses cover around their eyes. Sunscreen is a must along with hats and sun glasses to protect your eyes from damage. Even the fish will be looking for cooler spots in the water. But this heat also brings the southern fishy species to our area. This is my favorite time of the fishing year. In the summer you can catch lots of snook while wading at the beach. There are plenty of spanish mackerel and trout as well. Grab a silver spoon and some jig heads and tails and take a walk along the shores. It always makes a really nice day at the beach and you can keep cool too. Now, taking advantage of the old standard knowledge of the best fishing being at night and early in the morning comes into play when it's just too hot to be outside. We used to run out and raft up the boats to mooring buoys over a wreck and fish all night. We'd watch the sun set and maybe even see the "green flash" (that's another whole story in itself). Fishing in the dark is completely different. Listening becomes very important since sight is limited. Listen for fish gulping bait on the surface. Sometimes you'll hear what had to be a huge fish. That’s when it gets exciting. Many times I do get that big one on by going to where the sound was. Fishing around the passes or bridges in some stronger current produces a parade of shrimp

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MAGAZINE

Hot Summer Nights

or ... Keep as Cool as You Can

and crabs hitching a free ride to the gulf and the ocean. There the fish are not shy when feeding. This can certainly give you a bunch of action. At the jetties in Venice the current is really strong and the fishing in turn can be good as far out as a hundred yards or more into the gulf. You don't need a boat to have some fun fishing at night. Often the fish cruise the shorelines and move in really close to feed. We have several fishing piers and fishing areas along Lemon Bay and asking questions of the local fishermen may reveal lots of opportunities. At night the local docks also hold fish and some are dependable. How do you find the ones which are most likely dependable? Look for things that would attract fish. Current is one since it would bring food to the feeding fish. Look for docks which hold

bait fish. Rock or concrete walls usually indicate a problem with erosion. This is a place fish would hold also. Erosion can dig a deeper area or hold food in that spot or even just oxygenate the water fish like all these conditions and are likely to visit frequently. Some docks may have an old tire, a barrel or boat hull to add a homey feel for the fish and make a cozy spot to live. Those who do or did some cat fishing up north would enjoy fishing for sharks at night here. This is pretty simple. Like cat fishing all you need is some chunked up bait fish and a strong fishing rod. Fishing piers, passes and the entire gulf coast would be likely places to fish. No trot lines allowed here by the way. Circle hooks are probably the best for sharks since they should hang in the corner of the mouth and facilitate easy hook removal. The hook can

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and should be removed. I modify the circle hook like a bass fisherman does by bending the point end to offset it from the shank of the hook. Sharks give you a good fish fight and often are larger than those northern catfish. We have a wide variety of sharks here. Commonly most will be from a foot long to maybe five feet in length. These would include lemon sharks, sand sharks, nurse sharks, bonnet head sharks, black tip sharks, and black nose sharks. With the migrating tarpon we get larger bull sharks and a few hammerheads. One keeper per person is allowed of any shark type and they are good to eat. Shark is cut into steaks normally and marinated or seasoned. Keep as cool as you can and try some really fun fishing in the dark hours. If you have friends who live on the water, maybe you can arrange a visit for some fishing. Set up a lantern and don't ever turn your back on the rods- they could be rooster tailing across the water in the blink of an eye. I had a friend who lost several rods that way so I sold him customized rods which included ten foot of crab trap line tied to the reel so he could tie the new rig to his belt and keep it longer than the others. Old timers always have fish stories which include a repertoire concerning monsters of the night, real or perceived. Early mornings and evenings are the nicest time to be out this time of the year. I hope you can get out and try it for yourself - and for those who work all day, this is a great opportunity to get out for some fresh air and unwind. Don Cessna is the former owner of Ray’s Bait & Tackle in Englewood and a regular Water LIFE contributor.


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Water LIFE

MAGAZINE

June 2005

Juneʼs Fishing Forecast

Charlotte Harbor

Ro bert at Fi s hi n' Franks Po rt Charl o tte: 6 2 5 -3 8 8 8 The obvious fish this month is the tarpo n. Boca Grande is the first spot, but it’s also time to look for them along the beaches and they are starting to move into the harbor now, in plentiful numbers. . The choice bait is menhaden or threadfins for live bait fishermen, live blue crabs are also working very well. Artificials are tough this time of year, but the best one is the D.O.A. bait buster. Sharks are my second choice this month

because you can do them from shore or from a boat and have an equal amount of fun. Places of choice for shark fishing from shore are Laishley Pier, Bayshore Pier, Port Charlotte Pier and the El Jobean and Placida trestles. There are plenty of black tips moving into all those areas right now. The larger sharks will also be scattered at those places as well as in the harbor. The bigger sharks will be where the tarpon are at. I’d issue a caution to wade fishermen this time of year because this is the time the bulls and the lemon sharks move onto the flats looking for mullet, and there are a lot of mullet around right now.

Our Naples buddy, Ken OʼLeary, sent us this photo of a respectable sized dolphin caught last month at Cat Key in the Bahamas.

COLLECTORʼS ITEM: The 2005 Shark Shirts are in at Fishinʼ Franks: $16.95


June 2005

Fishing Report Continued from facing page

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B BIIG G-4 4

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M Ma ay yʼs ʼs Ta Tar rg ge et t S Sp pe ec ciie es s

The next choice for fun in catch and release is big s no o k. They are out around the beaches at Boca Grande, Stump Pass and little Gasparilla pass. Please be sure to TARPON are here now, SHARKS eating voraciously SNOOK are out of season COBIA should be around for a take the time to revive them because more should be coming in throughout the area and only catch and release while now of the warm weather. Night snook fishing will produce the larger fish, There have been some 25 to 33-inch some in the 20-25-pound range. Shrimp mackerel caught this season. There are and baitfish are my first choices and for also plenty of Spanish mackerel inside artificials, the series 16 and 17 Bombers the harbor right now too. They should Fishinʼ Franks annual will work, as will the Rebel Wind be here sporadically for this month and Cheater for snook at night. Of course, spring Shark, Stingray and then they will move back out to the bigger bait will produce larger fish and Sailcat tournament beaches. you may hook into one of the oversized Co bi a is another good fish to start 625-3888 for info (30 to 40-inch) redfi s h at the same looking for. Shore fishermen at the time. piers are starting to catch them now and Speaking of redfish, we should start they will be here all summer through to see isolated schools of them along the September. From a boat, look for cobia Intracoastal at Whidden and Catfish at Alligator Creek Reef and on the west Creek. Kayakers and wade-fishermen side of the harbor. The Myakka, from working the skinny water near deeper the bridge to Marker No. 8 is another Sign out Sat afternoon, FISH ALL NIGHT and then be back drop-offs will do well. The area behind really good cobia spot. All in all, this at Franks with your catch Sunday morning June 12 Three Sisters is a good place to start should be a phenomenal big-fish looking. This is a phenomenal time to up to 20 pounds have been caught, which ing around – then they just dismonth. break out the topwater baits like the Zara are nice on light spinning rods. There are appear. Gro uper and snapper Spooks and the Top Dogs. Reds should Lemon Bay fishing has been good, lane, still al lot of redfi s h down around Pine also appear along the east side of the Ji m at Fi s hermen’s Edg e Island and into the southern sound around mangs and yellowtail are all harbor from Pirate Harbor on south. Eng l ewo o d: 6 9 7 -7 5 9 5 around. We’ve had so much the mangrove shoreline islands. Permi t are already out there and will The biggest focus is the tarpo n fishgrouper lately we’re serving Whitebait is the key for redfish. be for the next month or two. The best ery this month. There will be a lot of grouper sandwiches here. There are permi t on the offshore thing to do is try the near shore reefs beach tarpon and tarpon around the pass. wrecks, and co bi a are in the pods with from Sanibel all the way up to Sarasota. A lot of s no o k are now pouring out tarpon. There are Lot of s harks , small Stump Pass & the Gulf Any wreck in the 30 to 50-foot depth of the pass, bunches and bunches headblack tips, around. In June, Boca Grande Ben Pi ercy at Stump Pas s range is worth a shot, but Permit can be ing into the Gulf. I’ve had reports of will be good for small s napper and Mari na 6 9 7 -2 2 0 6 in water up to 75 feet deep. The Boxcars good beach snook fishing and some trout there are already plenty around. Offshore, Tro ut has been phenomenal. had some late in May, but they come and action as well on the beach. if you go 60 miles, there have been Lots of nice fish and they are go in little herds. The Novak Reef and There were quite a bit of po mpano s ai l fi s h sightings, fish waking behind staying put. Sno o k are coming south to the Culvert Pipes are all good close to the pass and along the beach the boat, but getting them on a line has out of the creeks, reds are still permit spots. Permit bait of choice is late last month. Lots of Spani s h and a been tough. This month they might be in hit or miss. There is a good absolutely live crabs. lot of Ki ng fi s h action in Boca Grande closer and there is liable to be do l phi n run of po mpano in Stump While you are out there bo ni ta and and out in the Gulf, probably because of out there too this month. We’ve had Pass. Lots of s harks on Spani s h mackerel will be there too. all the big threadfins around. Mackerel reports of schools of dolphin meanderthe pier at Venice. AJ’s off-

Itʼs Baaaaack!

Quick Fact:

The second leg of the Maverick Boats Flatsmasters Tournament Series presented by Ingman Marine and fished on May 7th, will be televised on The SunSports Network on:

June June June June June June

4th 5th 6th 6th 7th 9th

-

June 11

With half as many boats entered as in the first jig tournament, the first Live Bait Tarpon Tournament, held May 23-24, at Boca Grande, recorded seven fish weighed in. Thatʼs the same number of fish weighed in at the first jig tournament.

Flatsmasters on TV 11:30 am 4:30 pm 11:00 am 11:00 pm 2:00 am 2:00 am

The one hour show highlights all the action as teams competed for over $30,000 in prize money. Also included in the show are tips by tournament anglers, on the water action with the competing teams, aerial and underwater footage, and a complete wrap up of the weigh-in and awards.

Powered by

CALENDAR

n June4: Peace River Clean Up, Meet at Nav-AGator 10 a.m. n June 9-12: Caloosa Catch and Release, Captiva.

n June 9 Free Flats Seminar, Laishley Marine, Punta Gorda.

n June 11: Old Mossey Redfish Tournament, Punta Gorda. n June 12: 7–10 a.m. Professional Tarpon Tournament Series, at Boca

OF

EVENTS

Grande 255-1555

n June 18: Couples Tournament Burnt Store.

n June 11: Fishinʼ Frankʼs Shark, Stingray and Sailcat Tournament. 6253888

n June 20-24: Kayak Kamp for Kids First Session: Grande Tours, Placida. 697-8825

n July 9: Kids Cup Seminar, Laishley Marine, Punta Gorda. n June 9: Redfish

Roundup, Benefit for Charlotte High Athletic Dept. at Harpoon Harrys, 629-9948

n July 16-17: Water LIFE Kids Cup, Fishing Tournament Fishermenʼs Village, Punta Gorda. 766-8180

n July 16-17: IGFA Junior Angler World Championships, Key West. n Aug 19-20: Summer Slam, South Seas Plantation

Send us your event calendar information via e-mail: Waterlife@comcast.net

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Excellent! RIGHT NOW:

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Water LIFE June 2005