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W a t e r LIFE


C Ch ha ar rllo ot tt te e H Ha ar rb bo or r a an nd d L Le em mo on n B Ba ay y Keeping Boaters & Fishermen Informed Since 1997

P r o d u c e r s o f t h e K I D S C U P To u r n a m e n t

June 2010

Fishing Report

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Hands On! at the Kids Cup

Page 12-13

Fish Surgery 12-13

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TARPON FISHING HEADQUARTERS L e t t e r s t o : Wa t e r L I F E @ c o m c a s t . n e t

Letter to FWCʼs Carol Knox

Ms. Knox I would like to learn more about the needs (e.g. hazards), costs and benefits associated with a Voluntary Manatee Protection Plan (VMMP). In your letter to the editor (Water Life May 2010) you indicated that Charlotte County could develop a VMMP. I am an environmental consultant with 30 plus years experience. I have guided many clients through both required and voluntary plans. The first item that gets address is the needs or hazards analysis. Please help me with this item. What do the data show on manatee hazards in Charlotte County? Please point me in the direction of the data and the report(s) that interpert these data. In regards to my request for data, please be aware that I am familiar with the information posted at anatee_index.htm and found it to be a step in the direction I am exploring; i.e., the need for a VMMP. By the way, according the year 2009 data posted, 75 percent of the manatee deaths in 2009 occurred in ten Florida counties and Charlotte County was not one of those counties. A further analysis of the year 2009 shows that Charlotte County was below the state average manatee death rate in all but one mortality category. Charlotte County was above the state average manatee death rate in the “Natural” causes category. I would also like to see a VMMP cost analysis review. These are “all-in” cost, not just the cost to write and get the VMMP approved. By “all-in” cost I am referring to such costs as enforcement of the VMMP, updating the VMMP, and economic impact to the community. We are in a time of budget reductions and good elected officials are doing the best they

can with diminishing financial resources. We need to be very careful when we start layering additional costs on top of our existing financial requirements. Thank you for your help with my request. J. Brad Peebles Ph.D. C.E.P.

Mr. Peebles, Sorry for the delay in response, I have been assigned some tasks related to my agenciesʼ response and preparations to the current oil spill in the gulf, and have been unable to respond to your email until now. I am concerned that based on an email response I sent to Ms. Jo Mogle in response to a question from her, that it has resulted in several misconceptions. I am sorry for creating any confusion, and will try to clarify what I think is the issue. I did not write a letter to the editor of the publication Water LIFE although it appears that the publication took the liberty of publishing an email exchange between myself and Major Daugherty. As you have noted in that email I was asked to explain what was happening in Charlotte County with regard to development of a county Manatee Protection Plan. I attempted to answer the question in that email but I will elaborate more. First, I would like to be clear that a Manatee Protection Plan (MPP) is not boat speed zones. At this time we have no plans for new rules in Charlotte County. An MPP includes a variety of information about manatees in a particular county and includes manatee education, habitat protection, speed zone enforcement strategies and boat facility siting provisions. Charlotte County is not required to complete an MPP but if they choose to the FWC could assist them. Currently the county is considering whether they would like to develop a county MPP and I donʼt believe they have reached a conclusion yet. There are ben-

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efits to having a plan, particularly for coastal developments that need state and federal permits. The boat facility siting portion of the plan can provide applicants an idea of what to anticipate in the permitting arena before they apply. Without an MPP each project is evaluated case by case and the outcomes can be less predictable and often take longer to process than in counties with MPPs. Typically the plans are developed with the county, the state and federal governments so that permitting at all levels can have similar outcomes. In the case of MPPs, voluntary plans would be generally comprised of the same information and components as plans developed in counties where they are required to have MPPs. With regard to your data request I am not very clear on what your request entails, however various manatee related data is reviewed and analyzed during the development of the MPP, so the reports of data analysis are not yet developed. Carol Knox, Biological Administrator Imperiled Species Management Section Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Water LIFE Editor Notes* It is our understanding that state employee inter-office communications are public records. and... Ms Knox, We are still waiting for your response as to which ʻprojectsʼ you were specifically referring to when you wrote Major Daugherty the following: “In Charlotte County there are currently a few proposed projects that are of such a size as to cause concern for the FWC and the federal wildlife agency U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service”

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Not affiliated with any other publication Vol IX No6 © 2010

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Contributing Editors:

Photography: Senior Editor: Capt. Ron Blago Charlotte Harbor Tarpon: Capt. Mark Bennett Port Charlotte: Capt. Andy Medina Gasparilla: Capt. Chuck Eichner Offshore: Capt. Steve Skevington Commercial Fishing: Kelly Beall Sea Grant: Betty Staugler Real Estate: Dave Hofer Inshore: Fishinʼ Frank Diving: Adam Wilson Kayaks: David Allen Sailing: Bill Dixon Office Dog: Molly Brown

on the COVER

Kristen White, age 16, releasing her 5.30 pound redfish into the fountain in the 2010 Kids Cup at Fishermenʼs Village Link to your website from ours ... advertise in Water LIFE

Water LIFE i s the o ffi ci al publ i cati o n o f the Charl o t t e Harb o r Reef As s o ci at i o n, the o ri g i nato r o f the Ki ds Cup To urnament and the pro ducer o f the Do n Bal l Scho o l o f Fi s hi ng .

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Lead by Example



By Mi chael Hel l er gram. I wanted to get some pictures. Water LIFE editor When the FWC team got to the first I really planned on writing something spot they put two people in the water soft and easy for this with one end of the month. The Kids Cup is net. Then the two over (more on page 12other FWC’ers ran 13), and I got word from the boat around, letthe Fish Florida ting out the rest of Foundation that we will the net until they receive a significant grant had come back full for our upcoming Don circle. Ball School of Fishing So there we program this fall. May were, me polling was all shaping up to be my boat around and One Kids Cup fish measured too big. a nice end to the winter taking pictures and The adult boat driver protested, but snowbird season. I had them standing in the Junior Angler knew better. even written the beginthe water by the ning of another column: “Their bed must bushes at a totally random spot outside have still been warm when I moved my Catfish Creek getting set to gather up the truck across the street into my neighbor’s net. driveway. They were gone-back-up-north “Look at this,” Chrystal Murray one and that meant my extra parking space of the FWC staffers said, pulling a was back!” But that’s all you get of that stitched together mesh ‘fish‘pen,’ out story because the ugly head of the evil from under the mangrove bush next to tournament dragon has risen again. her. It was a fish pen that somebody After the Kids Cup I met with the could put 2 fish in the night before and FWC research team on the water at then retrieve them on tournament mornCatfish Creek. They were going to pull ing. The mesh was pretty fresh, the wire their big 100-yard sampling net at several frame was still shiny. random spots selected by a computer proLooking at it made me sick. Within

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This mesh ʻfish penʼ was found outside Catfish Creek, by an FWC research team on May 25. “I don't know of any research activities in the area that could account for the deployment of minnow traps, fish pens, and such,” Philip Stevens head of the FWCʼs Charlotte lab, said.

the last 9 days the big-money IFA Ranger Boats Redfish Tour, our own Kids Cup tournament and the XTreme tournament had just been held. It looked like someone cheated. But what is the answer? Polygraph tests? Observers on every boat? Full time live video feeds? Or maybe I am totally wrong. Maybe this was just an innocent part of some 7th grader’s science project. Maybe nobody in any tournament got cheated out of any-

thing. Maybe... and then again maybe NOT. One thing is for sure, at this point no one is ever going to really know. In my speech at the Kids Cup Captain’s dinner I stressed the concept of the Ethical Angler, an angler who does the right thing even when no one else is watching. That goes double for tournaments. In a tournament there must not be even the suggestion of anything improper, ever.

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Plenty of Fish and NO OIL

OFFSHORE with Capt. Steve

Capt. S teve S kevington Water LIFE Offshore What a huge success our last few trips have been. On just one trip last week we had our limit of grouper, limit of snapper, limit of amberjack, limit of kingfish and three 15-pound muttons, as well as a 30 pound black-fin tuna!! And on the same trip we released two goliath over 300-pounds each and three sharks all of them over seven feet! Fishing to say the least has been very exciting. I hear the permit are out there right now too, just stacked up on almost every wreck. Live crabs are all that's needed. I knew this month was going to be all about the permit but I haven't even been able to play with them much yet. Our overnight trips have been just too loaded with big mangrove snapper and mutton's. We are getting these guys almost entirely on sardines. The kingfish are out in about 110 feet of water, and they are hitting everything we put out from cedar plugs to stretch 30s. The red grouper are everywhere now in depths from just 50 feet all the way out to 150 feet. Live squirrel fish are getting the best red grouper bite, but the frozen stuff’s working really good too. The sharks, as everyone knows, are just about everywhere now. Chum, chum and more chum for the big ones. On a side note, there is NO OIL OUT THERE!! So please call your favorite guide and book a trip the fishing is nothing short of red hot!

Offshore fish have been plentiful. The dolphin above caught on hook and line

Carlʼs giant cubera snapper was stopped with a spear. Cubera get bigger, but not much bigger than this one!

Capt. Stev e operates out of Pineland Marina. He can be reached for fishing information or to book a charter trip at: 941-5753528 His website is:



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Wat er LIFE S t aff There is no better way to spend your birthday than with friends, fishing. So on Sunday May 16 Robert Lugiewicz spent his birthday with Capt. Robert Moore and Capt Moore’s wife Lori, for a day on the water. “It was overcast all day. It was comfortable,” Robert remembered. Robert likes fishing for big sharks so they went straight to Boca Grande. “Shark was our primary goal,” Robert, who works full time managing Fishing Franks Bait and Tackle in Port Charlotte said, “Anything else would be a bonus,” he added. So they caught a couple of sharks, including one nice 300-plus pound 8-and-a-half foot bull shark, all caught using stingray for bait. All in the first two hours. Three years ago Capt. Moore put Robert on an inshore slam; redfish, snook and trout, for his birthday that year, now they were starting to talk about a ‘big fish’ slam for Robert’s birthday this year. What an idea! Goliath grouper have been thick around the Pass and they had some stingray parts left so they moved the boat, put a stingraywing on a hook and let it down. It didn’t take long and Robert was back in the fight, his arm muscles warming up again to take some more punishment. In about 20 minutes Robert had a 300pound Goliath to the boat. Robert hopped into the water along the beach to unhook the fish. What next? There had been some rain up in the northern end of the harbor. “We couldn’t go home because of the rain,” Robert noted,

smiling. So they moved the boat a couple of miles and started looking for tarpon out in front of Bull Bay where tarpon had been earlier. They free lined a threadfin out. “I literally hooked the tarpon within five seconds of my bait being in the water,” Robert who had by then switched to a Cabo 60 spinning reel, said. He boated the 110 pound fish in about 50 minutes. “The tarpon took longer than the shark and goliath combined,” Robert said massageing his sore shoulder. “The tarpon only jumped 3 times but it pulled like a brute,” Robert said. One and a half hours and a total of over 700 pounds of fish “The next day my arms felt like I did 1000 push ups,” Robert said. “But what a birthday!” he added.

Robert Lugiewicz with his three big fish. Above Robert (L) and Capt. Rob. Moore who put him in the right place, on the right day, three times. This is Charlotte Harbor spring fishing at its best!

Top 10 Reasons We Do Not Need a Manatee Protection Plan Page 8

On the Line

By Capt Ron Bl ago, Water LIFE Senior Staff Recently, Charlotte County was asked by State officials to put together a Manatee Protection Plan (MPP). If the county was asked or told to put this plan together seems to be a point of contention. Either way the reasons for the request have not been clearly stated. While we are waiting for State and local officials to tell us why we need a MPP, I thought I would speed things up a bit and tell you why I think we should not have a MPP. 1. Once we passed laws against killing, harming and harassing manatees; that was pretty much all humans could do to help manatees. The only thing officials have been able to do is change the definition of harassment. Adopting a manatee, swimming with a manatee, going on manatee tours or manatee observation areas was good. Building a dock or having a boat was bad. 2. The population of manatees is skyrocketing. If the population of manatees keep increasing; along with the increase of boating, waterfront development and the human population, isn’t that good? I thought we wanted more manatees and now we got them.

3. The staff members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) along with marine mammal experts have recommended the removal of the manatee from the endangered species list. Why hasn’t this happened yet? Because politics trumps best available science every time. 4. Charlotte County has no year round manatee habitat or warm water discharges. The manatees in our county are just passing through. Manatees are a migratory species if we let them. Population surveys of manatees in Charlotte County have shown a daily high of 400 in the spring but a low of fewer than 10 in the winter. How do you protect a species that is not there most of the time. 5. Watercraft deaths of manatees in Charlotte County is below the state average; which means that already; manatees are safer in Charlotte County than most other counties in Florida. 6. The term Manatee Protection Plan is a misnomer. Lets call it what it really is - a Boating and Waterfront Growth Restriction Plan. We all know the biggest threat to manatees is cold snaps and red tide; and I don’t believe humans can do much to change either. 7. While we are being brutally honest here, let’s look at one of the real man-

made threats to manatees; and that is artificial warm water discharges at power plants during the winter. Had the state authorities, back in the 60s, ruled that warm water discharges were thermal pollution (as they have in other states) the manatee would have gone back to their traditional migration routes to the south. Instead they buckled under to special interest who used manatees as an income stream and tried to turn wild animals into pets. That is why we have manatees stacked up like cordwood at the power plants each year. It is the reason we had over 400 manatees freeze to death this year. 8. You can not give in to extortion and blackmail; even if it’s by your own government. The state is holding up permits in exchange for a MPP. That is just plain wrong. Each project has to be judged on its own merit. If something is going to hurt manatees then let’s have it out in the open. You can’t hold the growth of a county hostage because they won’t volunteer for your MPP. 9. A MPP results in the loss of the local counties to control their own waterways. The state has been nibbling away at local authority for a long time now. With manatees, turtles, scrub jays, shore birds and seagrass ; officials are setting their own regulations and requirements. It is a



These manatees donʼt need protection...they look like they need a room!

miracle that anything gets done. The state talks about local input but all too often they don’t listen to the local counties; the state seem to be better at threatening local governments and withholding services and permits. 10. A MPP is nothing but a power grab by a department of the FWC. If they get it, they will need more marine patrol officers to enforce it, more scientists to study it, and more bureaucrats to manage it. An already bloated organization gets bigger all at the expense of the already over burdened local government. My advice is to just say no.

Tarpon Fever



By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Inshore

Tarpon anglers are a breed all their own. Some anglers are fly rod purists and will go days on end waiting for a shot at a tarpon to cruise within casting range. Other anglers will fish in a massive crowd day in and day out jigging for a deep water bite at Boca Grande Pass and others like myself will seek a solitary encounter with the silver king using whatever method necessary to entice a strike. No other fish has consistently kept me up at night with excitement for the next day’s fishing adventure or inspired years of analysis on how to “crack the code” to consistently make these fish strike.

Tarpon were spotted in the harbor as early as late March, but really didn’t start to bite until early May when the cooler water temperatures finally warmed to the tarpon’s comfort zone. Then tarpon were spotted in Redfish Pass to the south and north - east of the Peace River bridges. Fishing guides from Burnt Store Marina and Port Charlotte could be found in either of these locations and everywhere in between.

You can fish four different trips exclusively for tarpon and find every trip to be totally different than the trip before. This year my first trip was primarily to see if I could find the the fish and narrow down where to find the bait. Leaving the dock close to noon we discovered big threadfins in shallow water and quickly loaded the livewell. From there I ran straight out to the middle of the harbor and began my search. My approach was to ride slowly or turn off the engine and drift in areas where I think the fish might be traveling. My luck could not have been better as we spotted a few tarpon rolling in the 100 pound class within the first half hour. Quick bait, quick fish and lines in the water. Six hours later we counted 4 tarpon

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hooked, jumped and lost - a very successful and by tarpon standards, easy day of fishing.

With a true case of tarpon fever I met two Michigan anglers, Shawn and Roman at my dock the next day. Roman was hoping to catch his first tarpon and had no idea of what to expect. As an experienced Musky fisherman he was comfortable handling big fish. Our trip started early and met with an hour of searching for bait. As nature will have it, what happens the day before is no indication of what to expect on the next day. Within 2 hours we finally had a livewell full of threadins and pinfish and set out to look for tarpon. The weather was predicted to be hot and sunny, but we met with overcast skies and choppy waters - definitely not easy for spotting tarpon. Eventually Shawn spotted a silver flash on the surface and sheets of threadins hopping out of the water. As I reached into the livewell and nose hooked a thready onto a 7/0 circle hook, Shawn hollered “Tarpon! 40 feet at 5 o’clock.” You see, Shawn was the official spotter this day and he was perched way above the water’s surface in my tower. With that, I cast in that direction and began feeding line out as the boat drifted with the wind. The line was peeling off at light-speed as I handed the rod over to Roman and with a flip of the bail and a short rod-jab the reel was singin’ Sweet Lucy as a 100 pound tarpon burned off another 150 yards of line. One cast into the day and Roman was grunting and mumbling about a rod belt! Shawn poked fun at Roman telling him he was going to take home bruises and to jam the rod but into his belly and so he did. Then only one jump and 20 minutes later the line went limp. Typical of a tarpon as I explained to Roman, you’re lucky if you land one in four. So the next three hours we watched as tarpon

A lot of Charlotte Harbor tarpon seem to be big this year – this is one of them

rolled around the boat with no bites.

We varied leader from fluorocarbon to regular mono, 50# to 80#, leader length, added weight, used floats, anchored, drifted, fished cut bait, varied hooking methods and nothing. To top it all off a storm was approaching and before you knew it we had high winds and lightning. There were sheets of rain and no visibility and every boat had left the harbor except for us. Yes, tarpon fever was evident as we fought running back to port even as we watched another storm building. Then, almost on cue, tarpon began boiling on the surface within feet of the boat, teasing us against our own good sense.

We stayed, we cast and hooked up! This was Roman’s day. We coached him to put sideways pressure on the fish to slow down his run. Jump after jump the “silver energy” had taken over 200 yards of line out. Then, just as suddenly 35 minutes later, the fish pulled free and we ran home to the safety of our dock. Roman went back to Wisconsin with tarpon fever. I wonder if musky fishing will ever be the same for him.

Capt. Chuck Eichner operates Action Flats Back country Charters and can be contacted for charters at 941-505-0003 or v isit www.back country

From the Ol' Fish'n Hole

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By Capt. Ji m O'Bri en Water LIFE Englewood Hey Y'all! How has your fish'n been since last month? Our fish'n has been g-o-o-o-d. The red grouper bite has really picked up big time in 85 to 100 feet of water. Like I told y'all last month, let the water temperature reach 80 degrees or hotter and the big red grouper will start coming in. Just about all my hot spots from the last two summers are producing big red grouper right now. We are getting a few yellow tail snapper, but no big flags yet. Wait another two or thee weeks and they should be here and chewing good. The AJs (aka) reef donkeys are still out there by the hundreds anywhere from the inshore reefs to the offshore reefs and wrecks. The last three charters we had out we have been doing real good on AJs and mangrove snapper on steroids – Ha! The mangs are running 22 to 27 inches – now THAT'S-A -BIG-A- MANG! You have to use a lot of chum to get them up, then let the chum come out a little slower, so they don't get full on the chum. Then I use eighth to quarter ounce lime green or bright red jig heads, baiting them with live shrimp or a piece of sardine. Boy I mean to tell ya, on 10-pound spinning gear, it's rod bending, line screaming, action. These 22 to 27 inch mang's has got some power! The last charter I had out I hooked a big mang, on my trusty Ugly Stick with 10-pound mono main line and four feet of 10-pound fluorocarbon leader, tieing

Charlotte Harbor FISHING GUIDES

them together with a uni-to-uni knot. These big mang's didn't get this big by being stupid, that's why the fluorocarbon leader – even a small barrel swivel will turn the bite off. That's why we stared using the uni-to-uni knot. We picked up a lot more fish when the water was clear. There are mangs all over the place; Boca Grande Pass, Charlotte Harbor, any inshore structure, but the guy's I talked to said the BIG-UNS are out on the offshore wrecks and ledge's. The cobia are running big out where we were getting the big mangs. I have one cobia in particular that's giving me a pain in you know where. He has eluded me the last three trips. What makes it bad is he is swimming with three other ones. I have tried whole squid, that didn't work. I tried a black and silver eel, he didn't want that. I tried all kinds of live bait, he turned his head up at them too. But I got a few new ideas we can throw at him this week. Oh I forgot to mention this brute is every bit of 4 1/2 ft.



or longer. Hopefully in next months article I'll have a picture of him and I will be the one with a 4 1/2 ft. smile HA! The permit are here. When it's calm like 2 to 3 ft. seas, they will come to the surface, then you can see their dorsal fin and the top of their tail. It's time to get some no-2 size gulp crabs or the silver dollar size real crab's. Take side cuters and snip off one of its points on the shell, this will let more scent out. Then flip the crab out ahead of the permit, and let the crab go down naturally. It shouldn't take long before you get hooked up. Remember: Get out and snort some of that good cl ean sal t ai r cuz - i t's good fer ya!

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

Englewood Beach, FL




94 1 6 26 08 10

Charlotte Harbor • PIne Island Sound • Boca Grande • Gulf of Mexico


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

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

Nighttime Trips Available

Capt. Jim OʼBrien USCG 50 ton license since 1985


Guide Card Space Available $40/mo



R Re ea all E Es st ta at te e N Ne ew ws s

P a g e 11

PROVIDED BY: Dave Hofer RE/MAX Harbor Realty (941) 575-3777

Recent area news i tems: 1. Jeff Weiler's Southwest Florida Intermodal and Logistics Center is seeking Charlotte County's financial help to get it off the ground. The center would connect rail and truck connectivity services to the area. The economic downturn forced his lender, M & I Bank, to back away from the project. Proposing to lure 276 new jobs to the industrial area east of the Rt 17 & I-75 interchange, the developer pitched the economic development committee on a public-private partnership. Local history has shown that government sponsored commercial developments need not be burdened with prudent business plans. Under the proposal, the City would put up the money ($14 Mil) and the developer would put up the experience. Let's hope those roles aren't reversed when the development is completed. 2. Wilder Development's ambitious commercial/industrial/residential development on Jones Loop Rd & Taylor Rd has officially bitten the dust. Wilder understandably failed to payoff seller financing of $16 Mil that came due last November. The group carried the property with 8.25% financing through its four year planning phase. Wilder will retain a smaller portion of the property in mothballs until commercial development becomes viable. 3. CityMarketplace hasn't thrown in the towel yet, but it appears inevitable. Ron Oskey's group is being foreclosed on a $6.6 Mil loan from Fifth Third Bank which also encumbers the proposed Commons at Burnt Store Lakes.

Walkways will connect the Punta Gorda city marina area, seen here from the roof of the Wyvren Hotel, with the Fishermenʼs Village area and beyond. Punta Gorda has been chosen as the Bicycle Friendly City of the Year by the Florida Bicycle Association.

4. The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide $350 mil of financing to create the solar energy plant at Babcock Ranch. The Senate failed to pass the bill, however, so the future of the program is still in doubt. 5. Charlotte County will be expanding its holdings of useless land. They will spend $1.6 mil to buy 40 acres of scrub jay inhabited property to be used to mitigate developable scrub jay habitats. Would-be home builders could have used that land bank to make their properties buildable... three or four years ago! 6. Punta Gorda City Council voted 4-3 to reject a Subway franchise from opening for business in the city owned parking garage. Opting to wait for what they perceive to be a better fit to generate traffic as a destination to downtown, they appear to be formulating a real plan. Although many decry the turndown of a rent paying tenant, the pitifully low market rents don't come close to covering the cost generated by this commercial experiment. 7. Punta Gorda City Council voted to pave a little more paradise with a 30' walk/bike way along the river. The trails to rails project is progressing nicely with phases three and four getting ready for implementation. 8. Sarasota County was awarded $78 million of Federal stimulus funds.

Much of the award will be used to develop two new campuses for the University of South Florida and New College of Florida. Charlotte County will get but $6 million for help in resurfacing Rt 17. 9. Political infighting dominated County Board meetings this month. The new kids protested to the Sheriff's department that $118 parking fines at the beach complex discourages tourism. Sheriff Cameron defended the egregious practice by claiming that there are signs (somewhere) warning visitors of the rules and penalties. With the five member Municipal Planning Organization being controlled by three County Board members, heavy handed Commissioner, Richard Loftus, was set loose to wield his hatchet again. Ignoring the outrage of the two non commissioner members, MPO executive director, Mark Gumula, was summarily dismissed by the County Commissioners. In other news: Punta Gorda was designated as the bicycle friendly city of the year by the Florida Bicycle Association. S al es S tati sti cs: Inventories continue to decline. Pricing is back to 2002 levels on vacant lots. House sales are still dominated by short sales and bank owned properties. Activity in the upper end is still without much conviction.

Oil Monitoring for Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries

Wat er LIFE Updat e Increased Recreati onal S ampl i ng: NOAA Fisheries Service is proposing more timely and localized monitoring of changes in marine recreational fishing effort and catch in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of this increased sampling effort would be to better determine the effects of the oil spill on Gulf recreational fisheries. Results from the proposed sampling would also be used to evaluate fishery closures for species such as red snapper and greater amberjack. If sampling indicates quotas are not being met prior to each closure, NOAA Fisheries Service would increase the season length if warranted.

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Page 12



Water LIFE Kids Cup Tournament and

Sea Grant Redfish Tracking Project

The weather was perfect for the boats started returning to Fishermenʼs Village for the 2:30 weigh-in.

Good Science

FAR RIGHT: Run by Charlotte County Sea Grant with help from Mote Marine and Progress Energy, scientists brought their tanks and surgery stations to Center Court in Fishermenʼs Village.

RIGHT: Before any fish could undergo surgery it was ʻswipedʼ with a special wand that detects metal. It is important to know there are no hooks or sinkers in the fish that go to surgery because that could be an outside influence on the outcome of the surgery. BELOW RIGHT: In the fountain, fish biologists kept careful track of the temperature, salinity, dissolved solids and oxygen levels in the water.

Hands On Releases

Catch and release fishing is about catching and then releasing fish alive. The operative word is alive. At the Kids Cup the fish had to swim away to be considered a live release and they all did. This year we added a hands on release componant by draining the large fountain at Center Court in Fishermenʼs Village, pressure cleaning it and then pumping it full of harbor water. We did this three times before the tournament. We even we put a school of snapper and a school of spadefish in the fountain for the week before the tournament to make sure it was all good. On tournament day the young anglers brought their fish up to the scale in a waterfilled weigh bag. The fish was measured and weighed and then returned to the young angler in the weigh basket off the scale. Then the angler took the fish over to the fountain, submerged the basket and helped the fish swim away. Sometimes it took no help and sometimes the fish needed a little wiggle-push to help it get it oriented. This whole process happened in front of the crowd. The smiles and looks of satisfaction on the young anglerʼs faces made all the work worthwhile.

Brittany Smith age 10, 5.10 lbs

Collin Moore age 11, 5.10 lbs

Dakota Flenard age 12, 5.70 lbs

Dakota Cline Winner June


Top 4

Page 13

TOP LEFT: Owen Armstrong, age 10, 7.40 lbs. TOP RIGHT: Jesse Smith, age 16, 6.90 lbs.

ABOVE LEFT: 12 year old Dakota Cline struggles to haul his fish to the scale. ABOVE CENTER: The fish is measured and weighed in at 7.55 pounds. ABOVE: Dakota holding the Kids Cup trophy with his adult boat driver Brett Ezell.

BOTTOM LEFT: Alexandra Smith, age 15, 6.80 lbs. BOTTOM RIGHT: Logan McElligot, age 11, 6.30 lbs.

Michael Eisner Lightest fish 2.10

Jeff Watkins Closest to 3.75

All For The Crowd to See

ABOVE: This year始s new location provided excellent spectator viewing and allowed us to give up-close tours of the redfish surgery process. The surgery takes place so that compact sonic transmitters can be implanted in selected tournament fish. Then using special underwater listening devices placed around Charlotte Harbor scientists track the fish for two years. All this helps introduce young anglers to science, hands on fish biology and intelligent fishery resource management. The kids are all very interested. ABOVE LEFT: Biology grad-students from the University of Florida ran one of the two fish-surgery stations. In all 21 fish were implanted. BELOW: Sea Grant始s Betty Staugler prepares to net a redfish from the fountain and take it to surgery.

Age Group Winners

Tournament redfish were perfectly content and under no stress while in the fountain. The spadefish, our canaries, had been kept in the fountain for a week before tournament day

Robbie Howard age 13, 5.85 lbs

Justin Dutton age 14, 6.25 lbs

Austin Taylor age 15, 2.50 lbs

Kristen White age 16, 5.30 lbs

An Online Guide to Anchorages in Southwest Florida

Page 14

By Betty S taugl er Water LIFE / Sea Grant Roughly 15 years ago a popular guide to local anchorages was developed by an advisory committee of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, the Boaters’ Action Information League, volunteer members of local boating organizations and members of the Florida Sea Grant College Program. This guide was updated several years later in a second edition and printed guides were available in many local marine supply stores. Though the guide has long since been out of print, the information is still available on the Florida Sea Grant website horage_inventory.php The anchorage inventory provides online maps and information for popular southwest Florida anchorages. To help boaters make informed choices when selecting an anchorage, information is presented on local government ordinances, recreational characteristics, shoreside amenities, anchorage uses and sizes, and important safety factors. Over the years

as new information about these anchorages have become available the online guide has been updated. This website is one of Florida Sea Grant’s most visited sites. The online guide allows users to query individual anchorages based on location and/or by features/amenities. Users can also compare all anchorages side by side. A Most Important Cri teri a section gives an overall rating for each anchorage, based on boaters' top four anchorage selection criteria: storm protection, bottom holding, scenic beauty, and tranquility. Ratings for each of these four criteria are also indicated for each anchorage in the table. Site ratings are based on the opinions of surveyed boaters who used and evaluated these anchorages. Recreati onal Characteri sti cs are generally considered to be of secondary importance. Special waterfront dining facilities are included under "Entertainment." Anchorages where shorefront residents and businesses cater to visiting boaters are listed under "Hospitality." It may be difficult to find a pristine, well-protected area that also provides support facilities and recreational

amenities. Therefore, for many anchorages, the overall Recreational Characteristics ratings differ from the Most Important Criteria scores. S horesi de Profi l es offer additional information on the characteristics of shoreline development bordering the anchorage and the intensity of anchorage use. Anchorage Use Profi l es indicate whether an anchorage has low or high use or is "undiscovered" by most boaters. Devotees of small craft water sports, such as skiing and operating personal watercraft, at times may preempt the sheltered waters of some anchorages. This table indicates the likelihood of such use. It also suggests whether an anchorage is in fact popular or highly used for anchoring. Anchorage S i ze and Restri cti ons show categories based on the following criteria for normal weather conditions: Small size: 10 vessels or fewer; Medium size: 11-20 vessels; Large size: more than 20 vessels. Sixty percent of the anchorages are classified as small, while 20 percent are in the large category. Small size anchorages generally are stressed when the



number of boats exceeds the suggested limit. Stress may take several forms: environmental impacts from anchoring on sensitive marine habitats such as sea grass beds; and community conflicts through crowding, noise, pollution, traffic, or trespassing. The Maps and Photos are those presented in the second edition of A Guide to Anchorages in Southwest Florida (SGEB48). Some photographs include a dashed line to show the preferred approach to each anchorage. Hopefully readers will find this a valuable reference for information about the harbors of Southwest Florida.

Betty Staugler is the Florida Sea Grant Agent for Charlotte County. She can be reached at 941.764.4346. Sea Grant is a Univ ersity of Florida IFAS program.



The Bite Is On!

By Bi l l y Barton S pecial to Water LIFE Well fisherman, May was one heck of a month for just about everybody out there on the water. Everything is still just on fire! The whitebait is showing up all over the harbor. It's nice size bait, it's here thick and the fish are feeding on it heavily. For all of you inshore anglers who haven't dusted off your cast nets, you are late and now is the time to do so. The snook and redfishing has been top notch on the east and west sides of the Harbor down to Bokeelia, Pine Island, and Gasparilla sounds. The tarpon are spread out all over the place too. People come from all over to go to war over these amazing animals. I prefer to catch these fish on light tackle in the flats, or at the bridges at night time. Boy does it get crazy and I really do not recommend fishing in the middle of that tarpon pack if you aren't completely comfortable and confident with doing so. The best thing to do if you really want to go hook up with a silver king is to hire an experienced guide. Along with all the tarpon fun the cobia are making their way up in the Harbor. Cobia are about my favorite fish to sight fish here on light tackle. They will smoke your drag, and they are deeelicious on the grill! Usually when I see em it's when I'm least expecting it. I will be drifting across some deep flats fishing for reds or trout and all of a sudden there they are! Usually just one or two of em, but they stick out like a sore thumb and they are usually hungry for a nice piece of live bait, or even a piece of artificial (hard or soft plastic) it doesn't even matter. I've had em come straight to my boat like it was a piece of structure. This is cool they just sit there and wait to eat it's almost too easy to hook up with em and you have em in open water what fun!

Punta Gorda Isles


Punta Gorda Isles

Last, but definately not the least. Ahh yes! It is now time to do some shark fishin’. The small ones are here in very good numbers, and the big ones are moving in too right behind em. I had a pretty impressive night of shark fishing with a couple of my friends last week. We posted up around the Cape Haze and Turtle Bay area in about 10 to 12 foot of water, hung a few chum blocks and went to work. By the time the night was up we had to have caught easily 20 sharks. They were mostly small (3 to 4-foot) spinner sharks and very small sand sharks. However a very surprising last fish, the fish of the night was an eight and a half foot bull shark that took me a solid 45 minutes to get to the boat. That sucker wore me out he ran me around the boat 20! Hope everybody is ready for the annual Fishin’ Franks shark tournament coming up on June 12th. Oh yeah! All of you 4th of July Freedom Swimmers are crazy! If you only knew! On that note, I am signing out to go catch more fish. Remember to respect the waters, respect the fish, only keep what you're going to use, and don't kill what you don't need.

Page 15

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Oil Sick Page 16

By Kel l y Beal l Water LIFE Commercial Fishing Still no relief. My chest is aching and my head feels like its been in a vice. I can't believe this is really happening. I keep wishing it's some messed up dream and I'll wake soon. No - it's reality. It's the reason I've always been against offshore drilling. The first month of hearing about it I was so outraged, not because of what they were saying, but because what they weren't saying. Every time I put the news on to find out about the damage all I heard was about some golfer or about some stupid affair some government official was having. Then they would play some 15 second blurb about the spill. Wake up people! When the earthquake happened in Haiti that's all we heard about. God, everywhere you went it was like "Do you want to donate to Haiti relief?" No, I just wanted to order some coffee. Oh and before that it was the Tsunami in Thailand. Why is it we don’t care about those in our own country? It's like unless its a foreign catastrophe - nobody cares! Hey I'm sorry about the mud huts in Haiti - where they depleted their own land but I'm a little more concerned about the bad decisions we've made in the Gulf. We are a country of ostriches! Then I turn on local talk radio hoping for some kind of logical perception and all I hear is the host saying " Well if they would of just allowed inshore drilling this would of never have happened." WHAT?? NO, No, no...the risk is too great near any body of water. Are the oil companies paying off everyone??? Why did the media downplay the situation? I mean, my god, it's like hiding a pregnancy. Sooner or later that baby is going to come out. Did they think it was just going to go away?



Crabber Larry Pollins and his wife depend on the waters of Charlotte Harbor for a living. Everyone is worried about the oil.

Okay so it's done. They attempted the top kill and at first they didn’t even want to want the public to watch. Then when it failed and they were caught with significantly short estimates of how much oil had spilled, they waited to talk about it until Saturday evening at 7pm when news viewing is lowest. Now my paranoia has set in. My head spins with thoughts that maybe, just maybe...they've been stalling the entire time. A company who was concerned about saving money on a $500,000 piece of equipment that was needed for safety reasons – maybe, just maybe, the same company would be reluctant to give up a nine billion dollar a day well. What kind of sacrifices are they willing to make? Who cares about the seafood industry? I mean, most of the fish is imported anyway, right? Well, it's not just our industry that is completely and I MEAN completely screwed. Every person that lives in these coastal states will be affected. Who is going to want to invest in property after this? The worst thing is the unknown. We don't know if anything will stop this

mess. We don't know if the chemicals they are using to break down the oil will have long term affects on the sea life or humans. “We are going to have to study the effect of the dispersants for 10 years, before we know their effects,” the head of BP said on TV. And who is selling those clean up chemicals? Who benefits from this? There are those who are making money from this - is it just a coincidence that we don't know who? They (BP and whatever oil and chemical companies are also involved) like it that way. But do you like it? The unknown is worse than the devil himself. You can't look at the unknown, it just sneaks up on you. It just eats at you - the fear is relentless. This act should be put in a huge spotlight - it should be broadcast in every classroom - every building in America should be treated as if we were under attack, because this is no different then any terrorist act - it's just better financed!!

Kelly Beall runs Peace Riv er Seafood Restaurant and Mark et in Punta Gorda and can be reached at 505-8440

10 Tips for Boaters

From: Sea Tow Services International and Sea Tow Foundation 1) Wear a Life Jacket. Sea Tow and the Sea Tow Foundation encourage the active use of life jackets by all recreational boaters, regardless of age. In 2008 more than two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned – and of those, 90 percent were not wearing a life jacket. 2) Choose a Designated Boat Driver. “Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents,” according to a U.S. Coast Guard report. Just as on land, law enforcement officers will stop erratic drivers on the water and test them for BUI (Boating Under the Influence) similar to DUI. 3) Check Your Fuel Level. Sea Tow recommends starting each boating trip with a full tank of fuel and an adequate oil supply, particularly for 2-cycle outboard engines. Fuel drop requests are among the most common calls received by Sea Tow operators. Don’t trust your fuel gauge – stay on top of the fuel level by knowing your boat’s fuel consumption per hour and keeping track of the time you have been under way. 4) Vent Your Bilge. Always remember to shut off the engine(s) while fueling and run the blowers for the required amount of time to vent all fumes from the bilge before restarting. 5) Inspect Your Bilge. Make sure to visually inspect the bilge for excess water and ensure the bilge pump is in proper working order before leaving the dock. If you are putting in at a boat ramp, spare yourself an unexpected bath by replacing the drain plug(s) before launching. 6) Update Your Charts. Another frequent call for help to Sea Tow comes from boaters who have run aground. Make sure you have the latest charts on board, both paper and – if you have a chart plotter – digital, so you can stay up to date on shifting shoal areas and other submerged hazards. For more information, visit 7) Check the Weather. Be sure to look at the

tide tables, if you boat in tidal areas, and get an updated forecast before setting off for a day of boating. Learn to read cloud formations and look for the telltale “anvil” clouds that signal the approach of a thunderstorm. For more information, also be sure to listen to the National Weather Service broadcasts via your VHF radio. 8) Test Your VHF. No matter the size of your boat, a VHF radio is an essential safety tool. Make sure it is in working order before you leave the dock. Check with your local Sea Tow franchise; a growing number of locations offer free automated VHF radio checks to Sea Tow members on one of channels 24 to 28. A cell phone can be a useful back-up (especially if your boat has a 9-volt outlet you can use to charge the battery), but due to the unreliable nature of cell signals on the water, it should never replace a VHF. 9) File a Float Plan. Leave a float plan with details of your planned boating itinerary with a reliable person ashore whom you can count on to notify the U.S. Coast Guard and appropriate authorities if you don’t return by a designated time. For a detailed, U.S. Coast Guard-designed float plan template that you can fill in online and print out or download, visit 10) Carry an Anchor. It’s surprising how many boats leave the dock without an anchor and an adequate amount of rode. Don’t overlook this vital safety tool, which can save your life in the event of engine failure by securing your boat until help can reach you. “When in doubt, call Sea Tow,” adds Kristen Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow’s Chief Administrative Officer. “We have spent more than a quarter of century providing unmatched service to the boating community.

Great Viz



Local Diving

By Adam Wi l son Water LIFE Diving Dive conditions just don’t get any better than they are right now in the Gulf. There is still a chilly thermocline near the bottom at most locations, but with the spectacular visibility you can still take in all the sights while hovering in the warm water higher in the column. Every reef we dived on in the past week was clearly visible from the surface just by putting a mask in the water. In 50 feet it was easy to look down and see the dark black outline of ledges and rock piles against the stark white surrounding sand. Out deeper in 70 feet the Gulf is a beautiful deep indigo blue. We did a few drops out by the boxcar reef and even though it wasn’t fishy, the incredible 80 plus feet of vis kept everyone underwater just to explore the open expanse. The boxcars aren’t the only structure in that small area either. There is a huge pile of concrete rubble that extends for hundreds of yards south of the boxcars. If the area is infested with boats like it typically is on nice weekends, the rubble pile can be a place to sneak in without disturbing any ones fishing. GPS coordinates are N 26 41 768 W 82 35 959. About 100 yards to the southeast from there is another small area that can sometimes be open for a dive too when the main pile is just too busy. In closer the water isn’t quite so blue, but it is about as clear as it gets before rainy season. The Trembly Reef is visible from a running boat a couple hundred yards away. Watch for cobia when pulling up to this spot. A drop there last week turned up a nice 16 pound Delta Fast-Set anchor and a school of spotted eagle rays doing somersaults across the reef as they fed. Barracuda are also there right now up near the surface.

The amount of life offshore is evident from just outside the passes. Baby flying fish are right off the beach. Schools of glass minnows and sardines cover the surface like a blanket. Bonita and mackerel make the top water look as if it’s boiling as they smash their way through the baitfish. Watching bonita shoot from the bottom 70 feet down or more and then up to the surface to crash a sardine and back down again in a split second is amazing. They are the fastest fish I have ever seen. I don’t think they ever go slow. The event rarely lasts long and all that’s left once they move on is a steady rain of scales and bait parts from above. If you are on the bottom when a school of fish swarms through in feeding mode, be very aware of what’s around you. Typically not far behind will be a few sharks following the commotion. Fish know this beforehand. It’s a creepy feeling when all the fish around you start to act nervous and bolt for a hole leaving you the only thing out in the open. We had a huge bull shark investigating us as we hunted on a ledge in 50 feet last week. I first noticed him when I was at the end of the ledge peeking in holes by myself when I heard Carl give a few blasts on his underwater alert. I looked up to see the biggest bull shark I have seen here circling around the holes I had previously stirred up. As soon as he knew he had been spotted he leisurely cruised off out of sight without even the slightest tail movement, but I knew he didn’t go too far. I bee lined it back to Carl and we stayed together for the rest of the dive just to be safe. Then, as we began our ascent the shark came right back in below us to inspect the area for himself. Some would say that’s just one of many reasons to never leave your buddy’s side, but Carl and I routinely split up to work a reef. I enjoy working sections of reef alone sometimes. Carl and I, like most dive buddies, have an odd, almost sixth sense as to where each other is and our own distinct calling signals. This underwater relation-

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We had a huge bull shark investigating us as we hunted on a ledge in 50 feet last week.

ship comes with years of diving with the same person. That’s why most dive buddies won’t dive without the other. When doing training for deeper dives you begin to realize the importance of redundancy and having the knowledge and experience to save yourself if need be. Carl and I understand where we walk along that razor’s edge and have undertaken the highest level of training avail-

able to always make that walk as safe as possible. I don’t recommend solo diving. I think a solo diver course would be beneficial to every diver, whether or not they ever planned on diving alone. Rule number 1 is never, ever, dive outside of your own personal comfort zone or your level of training. That’s a good rule.

Page 18


Summer Paddling

By Davi d Al l en Water LIFE Kayaking Here we are… June already, and after an enjoyable winter of paddling with all our "snowbird" friends, we are now looking forward to a fine summer on the water. Hot weather paddling has its own charm, its own special places, and best of all, its own laid-back, "paddle at any speed that turns you on," feeling. But there are some extra precautions to observe when paddling in hot weather. For me, summer kayaking means shedding the long sleeves, the long pants, and getting cool, airy, shirts and shorts from the closet, those that are so comfortable to wear and that dry so quickly. Summer means getting out on the water early, when the haze is just coming off the water and the pelicans are skimming low looking for breakfast. Stopping along a beautiful, curved stretch of white sand beach, beaching the kayaks, getting a sandwich and drink out of the "cool bag" and going for a swim in the warm summer waters. How can you beat that? There are so many wonderful beaches in our area. Placida is a great place to launch the kayaks, leaving from either the public ramp just before the causeway or from Grande Tours. The best beaches are on Boca Grande so we often head out through Gasparilla Inlet turn south and paddle to the beaches near the lighthouse. The beaches slope gently toward deeper


water and the swimming is great. There is almost always wildlife in this area, particularly in the summer when the beaches are relatively empty and where we have seen a school of tarpon making their way down the coast. Cayo Costa is also a great spot to enjoy the water and wildlife in the summer. We usually launch from Pineland on Pine Island and paddle past the islands in Pine Island Sound to reach the back-side of Cayo Costa. An interesting A lone May paddler appears to be checking a map in the reedy backwater of the Peace River near Liverpool paddle through a short mangrove tunnel and you’re on the crystal springs of northern Florida. Silver eral bottles of water or Gatorade or whatbeach. Round trip about 12 miles. Springs, Rainbow Springs, Homasassa ever you enjoy, but drink often and reguStump Pass, separating Manasota Key Springs, just to mention a few of the bet- larly. If you start to feel dizzy or your (Englewood Beach) from Little Gasparilla ter known springs. Typically about a 2-3 vision gets hazy get off the water and into Island is often a challenging paddle when hours drive from Port Charlotte, they are the shade as quickly as possible. the currents are running, but the wonderwell worth the trip, and a pleasant cool One final suggestion: Think about ful beaches and shelling are always fun. weekend can be had paddling several of taking a moonlight paddle to enjoy the Stump Pass Park is the closest launch the more beautiful ones. cool evening and the beautiful moonlight site, although we often paddle there from With the great summer paddles there on the water. You'd be surprised at how Indian Mound Park in Englewood. are some precautions that you should well you can see. And don't forget the There are more good paddles than I can observe. Always apply a liberal dosing of 360 degree white light for you kayak. list, but suffice it to say that by checking sunscreen to all exposed skin area. The Port Charlotte Kayakers meet out the local maps you can easily find the Always wear a wide brimmed hat to proeach Wednesday evening at 5:30 PM at ones I’ve omitted. tect your head and face from the sun’s Port Charlotte Beach Park at the end of But why limit yourself to just the rays. A hat makes a huge difference in Harbor Blvd. All are welcome to attend. local bays and beaches? When the temper- your comfort level and helps protect For additional information contact Dave atures get too hot even for the against dehydration and/or sunstroke. And Allen at 941-235-2588 or leatherbacks we often head toward the cool probably most important, take along

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Camera shooting brids from a boat at one of the Peace River rookeries

CHARLOTTE COUNTY officers dispatched to a domestic violence complaint on a vessel. Upon arrival, they found a womanin the water. They retrieved her and made their way onto the anchored boat to investigate. The boyfriend had two open wounds on his forehead and a bite mark on his hand.Both individuals were placed in handcuffs. FREE FIS HING DAYS Although the

notice about Memorial Day Weekend came ON Memorial Day weekend, the June 5-7 weekend is also part of the Gover announced free fishing days when no license is required by residents or nonresidents to fish in Florida’s waters.

A LEE COUNTY officer near New Pass observed several individuals throwing a cast net and carrying a bucket of fish. When he approached the individuals, the male car-

rying the bucket ran off into the mangroves with the fish. Officer Cazalot was able to stop all the other individuals, who denied having any fish. After searching deep back into the mangroves the officerwas able to locate a bucket of snook. Six misdemeanors were issued.

OUTDOOR OUT Website and facebook sources are buzzing saying that ESPN’s Outdoor Network will be cut next year



By Bi l l Di xon Water LIFE Sailing

Lots of sailing classes this summer for children. The Community Sailing Center is putting on a one week class for kids age 10 -17 the week of July 12 -16 with a special event regatta/open house on the 17th. Contact Dennis Peck at 941-456-8542.

Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club is putting on three classes open to the public for kids age 8-12. Classes are scheduled June 7-18, June 21-July 2, and July 12 -23 Contact Doug Shore at 941-639-3922.

The Isles YC is putting on a summer camp which will include sailing, but I don’t believe it is open to the public and I have no contact info, or dates.

Dennis, the Charlotte Harbor Community Sailing Center, and before that the Red Cross have taught thousands to sail over the last 30 years here on Charlotte Harbor. This much Yacht Club activity looks to me as though Dennis has started a trend. Here’s

Some in the fleet were ill-prepared for a downwind start under their spinnakers

hoping some kids continue to sail after the classes ‘cause it’s fun for them, not cause the sailing moms and dads make them.

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Fishing Report June


Page 21

Charlotte Harbor: Robert at Fishin' Franks Port Charlotte: 625-3888

Tarpon and shark are the big things, without a doubt. Some guides are saying tarpon in the pass might last out into the middle of July because the water has been cooler and the fish showed up later. A lot of the fish stayed in the Harbor on the first hill tide at the end of May. Usually if 1000 fish leave then 1500 come back in, but this tide there were at least 3 or 4 schools of tarpon at the upper end of the harbor that stayed where they were and there were still more tarpon that came in after that. We have a lot of tarpon right now. There have been scattered fish from the bell buoy to the hill and more fish are still trickling in. Tarpon are normally here in the Harbor and on the beaches all summer right through until mid-October. Jigs are still the hot bait in the pass Plain lead with the old stand-by green tiger tail are tops, but in the past week chartreuse has picked up and the pink or faded red has been working really well

Capt Angel Torrez sent us the shark (left) tarpon (above) and cobia (right) from his May fishing trips

too. Tarpon in the Harbor are being caught mainly on live threadfins, and whole 2 to 4 inch live crabs free lined or fished 3 feet under a float. Bul l sharks and nurse sharks and some l emons are inside the Harbor following the tarpon and the schools of cow nosed rays that are breeding in the harbor right now. The bigger sharks are scattered on the near shore or offshore reefs. There are plenty of small bl ackti ps, spi nners and sharpnose sharks concentrated around the schools of threadfins. Threadfins are the schools dimpling and dancing fish breaking the surface anywhere out in the Harbor. They generally like to stay in 6 feet or more of water.

Capt. Morris Campbell holds a snook caught by Com. Cobi a has been feast or famine. One week really we get John Donovan on the 13th of May in Whidden Creek. Fishing with a 3000 Stradic and Corvalis reel with 6good reports and then there is a pound Powerpro, the fish caught measured 45 inches and showed a 25 lb wiight on the Boga grip. It was week with nothing. Sight fish for them in the morning with a carefully released alive. 10 or 12 inch worm or anything that mimics an eel – a white bucktail is Fishing Report also a really good choice. Watch for cobia Continued on following page to hide in the shade under your boat when you are shark fishing.

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Fishing Report .

The The BIG-4 BIG-4

Fish Fish to to expect expect in in


June June


Fishing Do Not Stop!

conti nued from page 21

Permi t are another good KING MACKEREL: Have been one to target offshore this offshore, Spanish closer in month. At any artificial reef, the Palm Island Ferry is a good one, Powerpole Reef is another, boxcars or the schoolbus reefs too – just free line a crab or pitch a crab with a small split shot. Mangrove snapper are coming back and nice l ane snapper are coming from offshore as well. This is a great month to run way offshore. There are dol phi n in 120 feet of water, a few sai l fi sh and some odd ball bl ackfi ns. S nook are still catch and release only but they will be spawning soon and either on the beaches or moving out to the beaches. They should be leaving the backwaters and heading to the near shore reefs to spawn this month. Mackerel are still around, King mackerel out further and Spanish closer in. Boni ta are moving in closer now too.

SHARK: are here now, bigger ones are offshore

TARPON: Plenty in the pass and in the harbor

941 - 625-2700

700 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda

941 - 637-0019


 June 3 Hurricane Seminar by local Power Squadrons, 750 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda 637-0766

 June 8-10 SafeBoating Class USCG Aux, Lemon Bay park, Englewood 697-9435

Jim at Fishermen’s Edge, Englewood: 697-7595

 June 5-6 Peace River Clean-Up Nav-A-Gator, DeSoto Boat Ramp

 June 5-6 Free Fishing Weekend

Audie Szymcek fishing with husband Capt. Tim Szymcek aboard the Florida Snow caught the tarpon and the snook in Charlotte Harbor on Memorial Day weekend. And Tim tells us Audie is 8-months pregnant!

for residents and nonresidents free fishing for saltwater species with no license required. All other regulations apply!

 June 12 National Marina Day at Fishermenʼs Village. Fishing Clinic Mote Marine Display and more 575-3000

You can send your calendar events to:

Fishing RIGHT NOW:

Big Fish!

The 2010 Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m. on June 1. The season closes 12:01 a.m. on July 24. Other regulations remain unchanged. Recreational fisheries for other reef fish species are open. These include gag, red grouper, other grouper species with the exceptions of goliath and Nassau grouper, other snappers, and gray triggerfish. Greater amberjack is also open; however, preliminary projections indicate that the fishery may close by late August. Coastal migratory species including king and Spanish mackerel, cobia, and dolphin (mahi mahi) are also open.


Bl ac k T i p B a i t & T ac kl e Our bait is guaranteed to catch fish or die trying!

Live Shrimp, Pinfish, Live Crabs

SNOOK: Moving from the backwaters to the beaches Catch & Release ONLY

4265 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte

Lemon Bay:

Fishin’ has been pretty good offshore. There are ki ng and S pani sh mackerel , and cobi a around the inshore reefs like Novak and Trembly, they are migrating from spot to spot. One cobia weighing 40-pounds came from El Jobean last month. For cobia you have to keep a rod ready or they will swim right by you. The little ones seem to be more aggressive right now. There have been some boni ta offshore there are still AJs and snapper. I had a report of dol phi n 16 miles out, right where there was a color change in the water. We’ve also had a lot of stuff inshore: tarpon on beach and in the pass.Trout from the south end in Pine Island Sound. Guys willing to go out and look are the ones doing best. Red snapper came in this week and a bunch of guys went out... we’ll have to see how they do. Finally there are some bl ackti p sharks and nurse sharks and bonnetheads (little bity ones) along the shoreline. That’s it!


at El Jobean

Full Line of Tackle Supplies

(941) 627-0809

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Ju s t I n




Water LIFE June 2010  

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