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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

November 2009

Still Jumping Tarpon Page 11

Better Way to Measure Fish? Page 9

Diving with Adam Wilson Page 12

Banned from the Boat Ramp? Could You be Next!

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DIRECT 941-235-5648 TOLL FREE 877-218-6552 NEW CONSTRUCTION Never lived in. Schroeder custom built home. Double door entry into great room with lots of appeal. Beautiful 10ft window in dining rm, kitchen white wood cabinets, corian, breakfast nook overlooking large back yard. Room for pool. Split bedroom plan, walk in closet, garden tub & shower. Large laundry. Home is all tiled except for carpet in bedrooms. $145,000 Call Ellen 628-6954


SALTWATER CANAL Look no more, sellers will look at all offers!!! Priced at todays market value, you will love the spacious living area. The living room opens to dining, kitchen and family florida room. Walk out sliding glass doors to an open patio and nice landscaping to the fishing dock and wide canal. A day of fun in the sun boating or go for your morning walk to the beach complex and enjoy florida living. Sit on your patio and enjoy that morning coffee or fish from your own dock. This is florida living!! Sellers are giving the new owners a $5,000 allowance for new inside paint and carpet of their choice, this way you choose your colors. $152,900 Call Ellen 628-6954

LIKE NEW waterfront home! This 2/2/1 home with over 1200 sq ft was completely remodeled before Charley. Just minutes to the harbor by way of the beach area. Concrete seawall with 2 docks and 6,000# boat lift. Bring your fishing pole!! 12x25 lanai outdoor carpet. All floors are porcelain tile. Beautiful wood cabinets and new appliances. Cultured marble bathrooms, one with jacuzzi. Glassed walk-in shower. All new plumbing and electrical, new roof in 2001 and new a/c. There is nothing, and I mean nothing to be done to this home but move right in. If you have been wanting good boating, good fishing waters, This is it! $199,900 Call Ellen 628-6954

ATTENTION! Key West style beauty you'll love. Two story with full length front porch with dormers and 2 car detached garage with a/c 14x25 bonus room or 4th bedrm over garage.,Built to 160+ mph wind code. Impact resistant glass in doors and windows. Concrete plank siding, metal roof. Upgrades include 2 a/c plus wall unit in bonus rm. Hardwood floors, tile in baths, wood cabinets, granite tops, stainless steel appliances. Six inch base boards and crown molding, walk in closets in every bedroom, sitting room at top of stairs. Huge walkin closets length of bedrooms upstairs. And the list goes on. New construction home, sold as-is. $239,900 Call Ellen 628-6954

EVERY IMAGINABLE UPGRADE- Gourmet kitchen, spacious master suite, area for fine dining and breakfast nook for those more casual meals. Lighted tray ceilings and well appointed game room, with built in wall entertainment and wet bar. Both the master bath and the main bath are extravagantly appointed, garden tub in the master numerous sprayers in the shower, including the ceiling rainmaker. Gourmet kitchen designed around the bakerĘźs rack with wall oven, microwave, glass cooktop stove, built up dishwasher on a pedastal, wood cabinetry, granite counters and crown mouldings. Waterfalling pool with a huge deck and a complete summer kitchen. Oversized 3 car garage with 14' ceilings and lots of built in storage. NOTHING NOT TO LOVE $575,000 Call Ellen 628-6954

BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPING Well taken care of, Volume ceilings thru out LR/DR wood laminate floors, Bay window in living room. Security, wired for generator, hurricane garage door. Walk-in closet in master, large open patio. You have to see this home. $89,900. Call Ellen 628-6954 BANK OWNED CUSTOM BUILT HOME with pool and lots of space, 1,958 sq ft under a/c! Living and family room. Cooks delight kitchen with maple wood cabinets, granite counter tops, glass top range with microwave. 9x6 laundry room and 20x20 garage. Split plan, large master bedroom and 8x9.6 walk in closet! Dual sinks and walk-in shower all tiled. Walk in the front double doors to tile entry and niches, bull nose corners and many upgrades. You need to see to appreciate the quality in this home. $165,900 Call Ellen 628-6954

PIRATE HARBOR SAILBOAT CANAL HOME- Heated pool home, 3 br, 2.5 ba, 2-car garage, oversized corner lot, concrete seawall, boat lift, dock and lush tropical landscaping. Brick pavers, 50 year hurricane proof Gerard steel roof, and solar windows. Garage has lots of storage room. Full of extras with beautiful pool and lanai. Loads of cabinets, desk. pantry, breakfast bar and nook all overlooking pool and canal. Kitchen appliances are GE Profile, range is convection glass top. Five ceiling fans, recess lighting, volume and tray ceilings, plant shelves and central vac. Large 14x17 master bedroom with a bath room you will love. Two walk-in closets, dual sinks, jetted tub and walk in shower. Newer pool heater and pool pump. This home is a steal!! Must see to appreciate. $339,900 Call Ellen 628-6954

Ellen McCarthy Broker Associate

19700 Cochran Blvd • Port Charlotte, FL 33948

Boat House



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2009 Water LIFE

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

No, You Can Not be ʻTrespassedʼ from the Boat Ramp or the Park

We got this just after we went to press with our November edition – Ed Mr. Hel l er: I discussed your concerns with the City Attorney today and was advised that the Police Department has been advised by the City Attorney that with the exception of the area immediately surrounding the Crab House as depicted on the Lease the City has with the Crab House, the remaining property of Laishley Park is a public park facility that anyone as the opportunity to enjoy without fear of being arrested for trespassing. The one (1) exception to that would be a public event where the event organizer has been granted the limited right or regulate entry into the area designated for the event. An example of this limitation would be the recent concert whereby a portion of Laishley Park was fenced off and admission was limited to ticket holders. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I confirmed with the City Attorney - the marina and boat ramp are part of the public park. Thank you. Teri Tubbs, Ci ty of Punta Gorda, Zoni ng Dept.

Edi tor Notes** We consider this to be a good outcome. We also consider the fact that the Flatsmasters tournament has decided not to include trout in their tournament venue for 2010 to also be a good thing. But if every trout brought back alive and released to swim away paid $1,000 we would be willing to bet we would see a whole lot more live trout. We believe that trout dehooked while still in the water, picked up with a soft slimey net and transported in a livewell that was somehow padded and lined with a Gulplike material, kept carefully monitored expertly aerated water, we belive more of those trout would survive. Another good thing that has come is that the Flatsmasters tournament is now posting the payout schedule on their website for every event. This appears to be something new and it should go a long way to help end the local squabbleing over payouts that we have seen in the past. In 2010 we will continue to cover the Flatsmasters Tournaments because they are the home town tournament. When there are good things to say we will say them, and if in the future there are problems we will report on them as well. That is our job.

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Not affiliated with any other publication Vol IIX No11 © 2009 Water LIFE

No part of this publication (printed or electronic) may be copied or reproduced without specific written permission.

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


Diver/photographer Adam Wilson photographed this goliath grouper under a colorful ledge in 80 feet of water out off Boca Grande last month. See related story on page 12 ASA1000 Photography 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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Whether Florida manatees suffer any nutritional stress caused by tooth wear with age remains to be investigated. So speak the manatee scientists who also note: The teethof Florida manatees are typically far more heavily worn than those of Antillean manatees. Enough already! Stop! I can’t take it any more! Manatees are fat because they are lazy. All they do is lay around eating seagrass. Or do they? Ten Years ago when I was still working for the Charlotte Sun, I postulated that it was not unrealistic to think that manatees from the West Indies are interbreeding with manatees from Florida and vice-versa. I ran a map in the old Sun Waterline section showing how I thought this was happening. Boy did I get yelled at! The overly liberal editorial writer (the same guy who on 9/11 after the second plane hit the twin towers told me “Don’t jump to conclusions, it could just be a coincidence” ) this same insight-lacking tree hugger dragged me into a meeting with the Manatee Club’s Laura Kleiss Hoeft and the paper’s editorial board and they proceeded to chide me for saying manatees are migrating, in print. They said they knew better. But I didn’t buy it. As it turns out, real scientists have known about the manatees long distance travels for a long time. They have known about how manatees from the West Indies and manatees from Florida are the same animals. But they don’t want them looked at as the same. For funding purposes they

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have to be separate. But they are the same. This has been a hush hush secret because if the word ever got out that the overly amorous manatee was partying with his sisters down in the islands then all bets would be off for conservation based on sevaral smaller populations. Mixing of the genes means you have to count them all. One big happy manatee world. I’ve been e-mailing James Reid, the senior USGS manatee migration scientist for about a month, wanting to know about a manatee named Mo who swam from North of Tampa to the Dry Tortugas. Mr Reid sent me a map of Mo’s track and when I asked him the Cuba question he wrote back: “There is definite evidence of a Florida manatee now in Cuba.” Bingo! No one has ever admitted that, at least not to me. Mr Reid also sent me a pdf of BioGeology of the West Indies. published in 2001. In it I learned if manatee meat had not been highly esteemed by pre-Columbian inhabitants and early explorers of the West Atlantic region, we would know much less about the former range and abundance of this species, but he manatees range is extensive. The book concludes: It is possible that linkage between (manatees) in the Greater Antilles and in South America has been maintained by wanderers that islandhopped across the Lesser Antilles. Dispersal may also occur between the


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Greater Antilles and Mexico and Central America. The North Equatorial Current, nowing from east to west through the Caribbean Sea and northward offshore of Yucatan, would tend to favor a Yucatanto-Cuba crossing morc than a Venezuela-ta-Puerto Rico crossing, although manatees may not necessarily depend upon favorable currents to cross open ocean. An extensive area of shallow waler (the Miskito Bank) between the Honduras-Nicaragua border and Jamaica might help to promote ocean crossing between Central America and the Antilles. Such a crossing is known for green sea turtles (Nietsehmann, 1972; Carr et aI., 1978). Allen (1942) suggested that manatees originally extended their range to the West Indies by way of the Yucatan Peninsula and the intervening shallows. Reynolds and Ferguson (1984) sighted two man- Mo the manatee survived for almost three weeks offshore enroute to the Dry Tortugas in 1998 but his atees 61 km northeast of the Dry exact course is strangely ʻmissingʼ Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico, three weeks. This supports even more the and suggested that they could be wandertheory that these secretive animals are ers from Florida, Cuba, or Yucatan. So moving great distances, and it gives even there you have it. more credence to the idea that they sent But it gets even better. The map showout a helicopter and a boat to recapture ing Mo’s travels shows him offshore on Mo and bring him back to captivity... May 7 and then there is no track for him especialy because they didn’t want the until May 23. The text references Mo radio track to show this animal’s travels traveling in an offshore current. But that and where he was headed. means the animal was offshore for almost

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Capt S teve S kevington Water LIFE offshore Well they are back, all the fish we look forward to seeing running down our side of the coast are here. And they are nothing short of hungry. The huge schools of bait just offshore are surrounded with fish from below and are suffering aerial attacks from birds up above. These small bait-fish stand no chance at all. And it's this spectacle you should keep your eyes peeled for. Just get close enough to make a cast with a small spoon or jig and you will be hooked up to something. Either it's a bonita, Spanish mac, shark, cobia, kingfish, bluefish, or even a ladyfish. They will all be there, with the feed-bag strapped on. All this great fishing is taking place right now within sight of land The gag grouper are back in a big way too.

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Running a half day trip two days ago we pulled our limit of fish in no time at all. We only fished two spots in as little as 60 feet of water, and quickly bagged up 12 keeper gags. They hit everything we put down, from live pinfish to buck-tail jigs. These same spots are starting to hold some really nice mangrove snapper too. One of my favorite fish, the amberjack, is back. The boxcar reef is so covered in these fish right now all you have to do is show up and drop a bait in the water and if that bait so much as gives those fish a dirty look he's gone. The kingfish are loaded up everywhere from the power-poles all the way in to the beach, and some real nice ones have been inside the pass. A lot of really great things are going on this month and next. Go Fish! Capt. Stev e operates out of Pineland Marina. He can be reached at: 941-575-3528 for fishing




Nathan Masters, mate for Captain Bob Breton of Sarasota stands 6-foot tall and weighs 220 lbs. He is shown coming back to port, holding a 98-pound wahoo. One of the biggest we have ever seen locally. The IGFA wahoo world record was set in 2005 at 184 pounds, but that fish was caught at Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur, Mexico!



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Red Cup Fallout Screaming Reels

By Capt. Andrew Medi na Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor When I heard that the Redfish Cup was taking a year off I wish I could say I was surprised, but I was not. All tournament trails are suffering from the economy. Charlotte Harbor has a tournament just about every weekend. Charlotte Harbor has one of the largest angling communities I have ever seen. So who is going to step up and fill the shoes of the Redfish Cup? Tournament fishing is a business and those anglers want to fish somewhere. But it takes a lot more than owning a boat and

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angler working the tournament. Lately there has been a lot of controversy directed towards tournaments, particularly over how the fish are weighed and measured. Something was bound to change. Tournament anglers know that the length of a fish can be manipulated by human effort. In all tournaments, the ‘bump master’ can make you, or break you. Now the HT-3 Trail has taken steps to level the playing field. They are going to use a standard Check-It Stick measuring board, but it will be built into a plexi glass frame that is fixed at a 30-degree angle that keeps the fish’s nose at the base of the board. A ‘tail clip’


Team Sun Country Realty: Cliff Utt, Greg Alcobar, and Mike Shelton brought in 14.98 pounds of snook and redfish and reportedly went home with the $7500 check for the Flatsmasters 2009 Championship.


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knowing where the fish are to make it on a competitive tournament trail. With tournament entry fees up over a thousand dollars per event, plus hotel, and travel expenses, sponsors are an essential part of an angler’s success. So without the Cup, sponsors have lost their television exposure and anglers find themselves looking for other televised events to make sponsors happy. One of the most popular locally televised tournaments is the PTTS, the Professional Tarpon Tournament series in Boca Grande Pass. It offers tournament anglers and their sponsors terrific TV exposure. All the events are shown on Sun Sports Network, and is seen by tons of viewers. Several Redfish Cup teams have already shown interest in joining the PTTS. Next, on the list ready to fill the Cup’s red slippers is the HT3-Cup. The tournament series is presented by Pat Malone who has big bass world tournament experience. I am sure he will put on nothing short of a great show. Where this particular tournament trail got my attention, was when I found out the tournament director will be Gritter Griffin, a long time tournament angler (and previous Redfish Cup angler) who will be overseeing the tournament format and rules, and bumping (measuring) fish. I think this is a great step toward the right thing – a tournament

(shown) will be used to ensure that every angler’s fish is pinched at the tail the same amount. This could become one of the most fair measuring systems out there. The IFA Ranger Boat Redfish Tour is also a player in filling the space vacated by the Redfish Cup. Recently the IFA announced scheduling of both east and west division events, something many of the redfish anglers asked the redfish cup to do a long time ago. In addition the IFA field will be limited to 60 boats, but is open to all anglers who choose to fish, so long as a spot remains available. The fourth and final event I looked at was the Flatsmasters Elite 50. Flatsmasters is a local multi species, backwater tournament. Last year, it was live bait or artificial, this year the Elite 50 is only artificial. Teams may consist of 3 anglers and wading will be permitted. The event is supposed to be televised on WFN. Flatsmasters will hold an event at Laishley Park on April 24 when the Redfish Cup was supposed to come to town. It will coincide with a Redfish Festival the Laishley Crab House is planning for that weekend. Entry fee for the Elite 50 will be $1000 per team, per event. Only time will tell if the entry fee is too high for a one stop tournament. Capt. Andrew Medina can be reached at (941)456-1540 or on the web at, to book a trip or fishing info.

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Call The Captain! 941-833-4234


Tracking Update

By Betty S taugl er Water LIFE / Sea Grant For the last three years, redfish weighed in during the annual Water LIFE Kids Cup tournament are tagged as part of an ongoing study to evaluate the fate of tournament caught and released redfish. This year’s tournament was held on April 25th. Forty four redfish were fitted with externally anchored dart tags (64 in 2007 and 68 in 2008) and twenty-two (20 each in 2007 and 2008) were implanted with battery operated acoustic tags. Kids Cup redfish are released during the tournament following our tagging procedures, which take only a few minutes. The exception is for our control group, which consists of 15 redfish each year. The control group of redfish are held in oxygenated tanks for 48 hours and then released. As many anglers are aware, the anchored dart tags are inserted near the dorsal fin and are easy to see when a fish is caught. We receive information on our dart tagged redfish when an angler catches one of these tagged redfish and takes the time to call the telephone number printed on the tag. This angler based approach provides us with valuable information about survival rates, migration patterns

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and growth rates. The retention rate of the external dart tags in a fish can be highly variable, but we anticipate our tags remain intact about two years. Since the April tournament, six recaptures have been reported. The first return of 2009 was a bonus with two recaptures reported the same day. Sal Crapanzano’s redfish was recaptured on June 28th near Hog Island. Sal had originally caught his fish along the West Wall. This fish was part of our 48 hour control study. Sal’s redfish was at large 62 days and reportedly grew about 6mm. Also on June 28th, Bobby Jones redfish was recaptured. Bobby also originally caught his fish on the West Wall, but his fish was recaptured near Pirate Harbor. Bobby’s fish was recaptured a second time on August 30th near Alligator Creek. Bobby’s fish was also part of our control study. Another recapture came in on August 27th, when Jacob Jordan’s redfish was recaptured near the Charlotte Harbor Ice House Flats. Jacob’s fish was at large for 124 days and reportedly grew 28mm. Jacob originally caught his fish in Pine Island Sound. Our next recapture came in on September 15th. This recapture was from a 2008 Kids Cup redfish originally caught by Wyatt Carter. Wyatt originally caught his fish in Matlacha Pass. It was recaptured after being at large 514 days near Burnt Store Marina. This fish reportedly grew 63mm. Our last recapture this year




came from the FWC-Charlotte Harbor Field Station. They recaptured Elio Fernandez’s redfish in a 600 foot seine near Ponce Park during one of their regular fisheries monitoring trips. Elio’s fish had been part of our control group and was also implanted with a dummy (non-working) acoustic tag. This fish was recaptured not far from where Elio originally caught it. The dart tag in Elio’s redfish fell out when researchers removed the redfish from the seine net, but they were able to reanchor it prior to release. All of the Above: Inserting a Dart tag, Below: The tags redfish called in to the redfish hotline so far this year have been released alive with their tags intact. To switch gears now to our acoustically tagged redfish; we receive data from these redfish when they swim near stationary listening units deployed in Charlotte Harbor. We have 15 units spread out in Charlotte Harbor. In years past, we downloaded our units redfish from the 2008 tournament. Our monthly to bi-monthly, but this year, we next download should occur as this are leaving our units in the water for month’s publication goes to print. Stay much longer periods of time. While the tuned for a full update (through October units are in the water, we do not know 2009) on the acoustic data next month. which fish have been recorded, but being Betty Staugler is the Florida Sea Grant able to leave them in the water longer Agent for Charlotte County. She can be offers huge time and cost savings. reached at 941.764.4346. In the data downloaded since the tourSea Grant is a Univ ersity of Florida IFAS nament, we have received information on program. all of our acoustically tagged redfish from 2009 as well as three acoustically tagged

Does it Get Any Better?

Stephen Lee was fishing one day ‘cause he was too sick to dive. He caught this big blackfin tuna in 80 feet on a grouper rig while waiting for his girlfriend Christina and her buddy to dive. Christina came up with this huge lobster!

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Not quite done with the tarpon just yet.

By Capt. Mark Bennett Water LIFE Tarpon With the temperatures cooling off a bit and more beautiful weather, it makes this time of year such a great time to be on the water. There are lots of different species right now to choose from. Everything from giant tarpon to smoker kings and big snook. The prevailing winds have been making the harbor a little too rough for tarpon fishing most days. On the windy mornings, I have been fishing the backcountry for snook and redfish. They were there and biting when the tide was right. With the coffee-colored water flowing good and the higher-than-normal tides over the last moon, the fish were stacked around deeper wind blown points and edges in the backcountry. When it is windy I like to fish spots where the wind and tide are moving together. This makes a little water flow, even when the tide is slow. I found snook and redfish in a lot of different places, but the key was hitting the right spots when the tide was high. Early on the incoming tide the bite was a little slow, but on the switch of the tide and the early outgoing they were there to eat for sure. Most of the reds were right in the slot, but a couple we caught were well over the size limit. The slightly cooler water has brought a few large-size trout into the inside. We caught them here and there around the backcountry while fishing for redfish. I expect there will be more big trout to come in, this month, with the cold fronts cooling down the flats. For snook and redfish we have been fishing live bait, scaled sardines (whitebait) and pinfish. All have been the ticket to success. This time of year I like to fish the whitebait free line (no float or weight) and pinfish on a float to keep them out of the grass. Letting the baits swim with the tide along the edges of the cover is always a good bet. Finding a well full of bait has been a no brainer. Just about every grass flat is loaded right now. Look for pelicans diving to point you in the right direction. Over the next couple of weeks the inshore flats fishing should get better with the cooler water temperatures on the way. Lots of snook should be returning to the backwaters and feeding up for winter. With the sardines and pinfish on about every drop-off in the area right now, it makes cast netting a well full a breeze. The bait was mixed, either large or small, not much in between. Don’t discount the smaller baits, most of our best fish last week went for the

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John Florit and daughter with his first snook

smaller offerings. Tarpon Report: Although the wind this time of year makes for tough going when looking for tarpon, I think there are quite a few tarpon left to be caught. There is still a lot of bait around so I doubt they are ready to leave just yet. Even though the snook and redfish fishing has been good, I am anxious to get on a few tarpon this month if the wind lets up a bit. Till next time, keep the line tight and bow when they jump, Capt. Mark Bennett can be reached to book a trip, for comments or questions at: or (941) 474-8900

Jeni Bennet, photographer wife of Capt. Mark Bennet, captured this silver king in the golden light of a Charlotte Harbor morning in late October.


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DIVING Page 12

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with Adam Wilson

By Adam Wi l son Water LIFE Diving Opening night for stone crab season was a lot of fun, even though the crabs weren’t as numerous as in previous years. Without any strong cold fronts prior to opening night to dirty up the water, I think not too many crabs had moved around yet. There were only a few boats out at midnight despite the beautiful conditions of a balmy, warm summer-like night with 87 degree and crystal clear water at the trestle. There were a huge number of toadfish taking up occupancy in most of the good crab holes. Stone crabs don’t usually co-habitat with fish. I also saw a couple of residents I had never seen at the trestle, both a juvenile green moray and a spotted moray eel. They were both small, around fifteen inches, but it makes you think twice about blindly shoving your hand in a hole, none the less. After the first good north blow a few days after the 15th I did start to find more crabs and even good numbers with jumbo claws as the water murked-up more. I think the hunting is going to get better as we get a little further into winter. The Asian green mussels are taking

Diving at “the boxcars” Right: one of the ʻcarsʼ.

a huge foothold in our area. You will no doubt see quite a few while stone crabbing. They are delicious at all sizes. Just check to see if the area is open for shellfish harvest. The offshore waters are cooling and the long awaited huge winter amberjacks will be swarming over big structure, but don’t think about taking any between now and December 31st. In an emergency cl osure, the Nati onal Mari ne Fi shery S ervi ce (NMFS ) has shut down amberjack as of October 24th. Reportedly, we, the recreational sector, have reached our annual allowable catch of 1.368 million pounds of AJ, thus spurring the closure. The Marine

Recreational fisheries statistics survey (MRFSS) is the group the NMFS turns to for determining when we have reached our quota. Unlike commercial fisheries that have their catches closely monitored, MRFSS samples a small portion of the rec sector and then creates math models to arrive at their data. In my opinion this type of data collection is hugely flawed and inaccurate and shouldn’t be used to determine the fate of our precious recreational fishery. These types of closures are only just beginning. Grouper, snapper and amberjack will be heavily targeted next year. Permit and African pompano are on the chopping block now with a zero take policy being discussed. I will be surprised if red snapper even has a season at all in 2010. Organizations like The Pew Charitable Trust and The Ocean Conservancy, just to name a couple, have billions, yes billions with a B, of dollars in assets and would like nothing more than to make the entire Gulf of Mexico a giant petting zoo and they are lobbying to make that a reality. Their representatives are at every Gulf Council meeting to support any and all closures proposed – period. Combine that type of money and power with flawed data and we will lose more and more fishing freedom if we let it happen. The big, anti-fishing machine

is hoping we are apathetic and do nothing. Supporting pro-recreational groups like the Fishing Rights Alliance ( is a great way to learn more, stay informed and discover what you can do to help protect our RIGHT to go fishing. Off of the serious and onto the topic of more fun stuff, cobia have been moving through and have been seen at all the shallow artificial reefs. This is a great time to run out to the Trembly or Novak reef to try and find a keeper. For now grouper are still open and would normally be creeping into their shallow winter spots, but they have really been pretty thick all summer. Also great on a dinner plate, almaco jack have been easy to target. They hang out with similar sized amberjacks, but are distinguished by their wider body and longer dorsal fin. Visibility has been fantastic all over and should only get better. I recently have been playing around with an external flash on my point and shoot camera. The biggest problem with photography at depth is lack of available light. Even past 30 feet there is a dramatic decrease in light and with the reduced light, photos take on a more greyish dark look. Even though my flash is only effec-



tive to about 10 feet away, hopefully I will have some much brighter and more colorful photos for the coming months. I’m also starting to experiment with a wide angle lens to capture a larger window into the undersea world. I guess I should keep working on my photography skills. Seems like before too long it may be the only thing we are allowed to do underwater, that is unless the fishery service determines the flashing bright lights and camera noises are just too upsetting to all the helpless fish.

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Above: Divers came upon this 40-foot whale shark last month off Boca Grande. Port Charlotte Fantasea Scuba Dive Shop owner Jim Joseph said “the animal came back around and let me touch him on the nose.” Divers took turns letting the big animal pull them around. Below: A nurse shark resting on a ledge.


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Capt Ron




Abandoning Stump Pass

On the Line wi th Capt Ron Bl ago

Water LIFE Senior Staff The scheduled maintenance dredging of Stump Pass, planned to begin in November, has been halted by a last minute request by the Florida DEP for additional environmental and engineering data. This has caught Charlotte County officials off guard; to say nothing of the recreational and commercial boats that were counting on having a straight, deep channel to the Gulf of Mexico during the traditional low tides of winter. The timing of the DEP request is so strategically devastating as to make a reasonable person believe that the DEP is out to get Charlotte County and particularly the boaters who use the pass. A little history is in order. Back in 1998, Stump Pass was a mear trickle of water connecting Lemon Bay to the Gulf. Water quality in Lemon Bay was extremely poor and sea grass beds were dying and disappearing. When county officials went to the DEP for advice they were told that passes sometimes close by themselves and that is just the way nature works. The

Without intervention the shoreline at Stump Pass will continue to march to the south, as seen in this 2000 aerial before the dredging

Lemon Bay aquatic preserve manager at the time, gave a talk to a local environmental group and said that the closing of Stump Pass might even be a good thing for Lemon Bay. That caused one of those Sea Change moments in history when the people in Charlotte County and in particular the people of Englewood started one of those “Tea Party” movements to convince the DEP to keep Stump Pass open. The DEP demanded that we get permits and permission from the Army Corp of Engineers, fom the Coast Guard, Southwest Water Management District, West Coast Inland Navigation District and the FWC. We were able to satisfy all the requirements with the exception of the DEP them-

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selves. Before they would give their approval we had to prove that we would not harm sea turtles, manatees, shorebirds or sea grass. When that was done they wanted their pound of flesh. They wanted sand from the dredging to renourish their State run beach on the north side of the pass. They also wanted the county to pay for the removal of all the Australian Pines the park staff had killed because they were non-native. The deal was done and for our effort we were given the permission to pay to have Stump Pass opened and to keep it open with repeat maintenance dredging for 10 years (I think). Whether this was a good deal for the tax payers of Charlotte County has long been a point of controversy; but what has been proven is the water quality of Lemon Bay is as good as it was 40 years ago. The sea grass beds are growing and are healthy. We even found scallops in Lemon Bay, a sign of good health; and of course the pass is safe for boaters. Three years ago the DEP was involved in a project to put Geo Tubes (large sand filled plastic tubes) on the north side of the pass. It was hoped that these tubes would cause sand to accumulate on the beach and stop erosion. One of the side benefits was that the sand that settled on the beach would not settle in the pass so we could stretch out the time between dredging. By most accounts the benefits to Stump Pass was substantial, but the rest of the project was in dispute. Local county officials wanted the Geo Tubes to

stay and were able to stall their removal for about six months, but in the end the DEP wanted them removed and so out they went. Without the tubes, Stump Pass began to fill up with sand at an accelerated rate. That forced the county to move up the timetable of the next dredging. Good luck came the county’s way in the form of a grant from FEMA to pay the majority of the cost of the project. Timing is everything in a dredging project of this size. There are only a handful of dredging companies that can complete this type of project. Ideally, you try to get your job done while the dredges are coming from or going to another project in your area. We were able to do that the last time the pass was dredged and we saved the taxpayers $200k. Of course the biggest obstacle of all is turtle nesting season which is from May 1 to November 1, when all the dredge companies work in other states. The DEP will give you a few weeks extension to finish an on going project in November and they had promised us that extension for Stump Pass – once the dredge sets up and if the weather is good, they can finish Stump Pass in less than a week. Now that the DEP wants more data from us we will miss the deadline to start in November. The next shot will be in March 2010, assuming the DEP gives us permission.

Capt. Ron can be reached for comments, information or to book a guided jig fishing trip at



Water LIFE

Northerly Approach

By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Inshore Sliding my boat into the fourth spot of the day was the telling sign of an abrupt cold front that just arrived. Beautiful live pilchards swimming frantically in the livewell and we still had not had the first bite. A talented fly angler from Wyoming and a hotshot largemouth bass fisherman from Maryland were my partners and they were not strangers to cold fronts. Confidence is the key, they assured me - keep casting. Cast, chum and wait was the cadence of the morning and my best fall spots were failing me as an enormous tide rose high on the mangroves as the front pushed from the southwest. By the end of the day this same front would blow from the northeast and the fish apparently new it. Time to think out of the box I mumbled quietly to myself. Temperatures were already dropping as I picked an unlikely spot against a mangrove shoreline that boats fly past throughout the day. No boat traffic this day with a 20 knot wind. The mangroves that we fished normally had a foot of water but today it was 3 feet. Lines in the water and wham! A nice snook blasted Brian’s line and a fat 24 incher came aboard. I cast, then Marty and a double header was being fought out. Amazing how quiet fishing can be until you hit the mother load. As time when on, Marty commented that he was having fish mouth his pilchard, but then dropping it. We watched as he cast repeatedly and worked the pilchard out of the bushes and into turtle grass imparting subtle twitches like fishing a plastic worm. This isn’t northern fishing, just let your bait swim naturally I reminded him! As the words rolled off my lips he sets the hook and his drag starts singing! “What was that you were saying Chuck?” exclaimed Marty. A beautiful redfish battle was won and there was something to be learned about “working” your baitfish. Two hours later the spot quieted down as the tide began to recede. Our next spot was a favorite of mine on an outgoing tide and we never produced a strike. Free swimming pilchards swam happily around the bushes so we moved to another area that I had never fished. A sandbar that normally is out of the water was covered up and had waves slapping it as the wind shifted to the northwest. As we dropped the second anchor to hold my 24’ Avenger boat in place I was questioning myself on the amount of trouble it was taking to set up. Memories of spots like this on the Chesapeake Bay came to mind that produced great striped bass fishing in shallow water. Turbulent, wind blown sand bars often have baitfish disoriented because of the wave action and gamefish instinctively take advantage of it. Most anglers ignore it because of the complexi-

Bomberʼs new Badonk a Donk topwater. Right: Marty and a nice fat red

ties of fishing it. Casting was extremely difficult as your line would swing about 60 degrees away from the intended direction because of the wind. Like an airline pilot we would take a vector and compensate for the 20 knot wind off our starboard side. Lady luck was with us again because Brian’s first cast produced a nice snook as did his second and third casts. We loaded the bait bat and slung a dozen stunned pilchards towards the bar. Immediately you could see fish blast even in the choppy water that was only 2 ½ feet deep and dropping quickly. Marty being the artificial purist decided to fish a plastic swimbait. A few casts later and it was game on! A chunky snook came aboard and for


the next 2 hours we flailed fish on pilchards and artificials. Marty even fished a topwater Rapala X-Rap and caught fish. Many nice snook and redfish were caught as we marveled at the huge waves in the harbor. No other boats were out this day and for good reason. It was too rough for boating and certainly too rough for fishing. Fish have to eat regardless of the weather. The challenge is figuring out where and how and being a little lucky really helps. I learned quite a few things this day from my northern fishing partners. Because they were on board we had to fish and I had to keep trying to figure

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out a pattern. Normally, I would not have gone out. We caught fish in places you would normally not give a thought to, used techniques on whitebait imparting lure like actions, fished lures while chumming and fished rough wind blown waters that would normally be ignored. The theme for the day was experimenting with technique and location with a bit of northern talent that made for a fine fishing memory.

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: www.back country

Page 16

Water LIFE





Sometimes Unsubstanciated,But Often True

Hey Randy, I wonder why more familie donʼt use the park

Cartoon by Harry Thomas

Official Leap Second Announcement from the US Navy

“Important Announcement: No positive leap second will be introduced at the end of December 2009. The last leap second was positive and was introduced in UTC at the end of December 2008.”

Commercial Fishing

Red Tide was found last month off Sanibel and Captiva. Cayo Costa, to the north, was clear. Lobster A federal citation to the captain of a shrimp trawler for illegal fishing inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve was issued. The catch weighed 10,754 pounds The case has been turned over to a National Marine Fisheries Service agent. Grande Illusions The Grande Tours kayak facility in Placida is for sale. $1.3 million is the rumored asking price. FWC Officer Anders Bergstrom responded to an early morning Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) assistance request. Trooper C. Fisher approached a vehicle parked at a Monroe County boat ramp. The trooper observed several subjects dump items out of their car and quickly drive away. Trooper Fisher stopped the vehicle and further investigation revealed 145 lobster tails on the ground.

Peace River Bass Tournament Planned by Flatsmasters for this month at Nav-A-Gator Grille in DeSoto county. Is the Jig Up? Tarpon Anglers Club, LLC the organizer and producer of the “Professional Tarpon Tournament Series” events and television shows, filed a motion before the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, in Leon County, asking that they be allowed to participate in a lawsuit that will decide whether anglers participating in their events, as well as all anglers , be able to continue using the arti The Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association has asked the court to rule that the “jig” is a snagging device that is designed to “breakaway”. The PTTS disagrees with the BGFGA claims that the “jig” used by many of itsʼ participants and fans is a snagging or designed breakaway device.

Anywhere you get mullet - it's going to be fresh because the guys are catching it everyday! There has been an increase in bottom fish landings and I have seen more sheephead come in lately. The jacks still seem to be hit or miss. Luckily we've been able to stayed stocked with pompano and some beautiful black drum. Well, that's the quick update on what's going on at the fishhouse - stop by Peace River Seafood anytime and check out the local catch. Heck, stay for a beer, you'll probably get lucky and hear some fisherman tell some really good lies!

By Kel l y Beal l Water LIFE Commercial Fishing Opening day of stone crab season was a pretty good one for those who have their traps on the beach. The big offshore boats were pretty disappointed as their catch was extremely small. Those who crab offshore won't see an increase in their catch till we have some decent weather. For those who have their traps on the beach, the catch is Kelly Beall can be reached at 505-8440 for comments or information or to reserv e some starting to really drop off. Crabbers who came in with 400 to 500 pounds on opening fresh or steamed crabs for pick up! day are now lucky if they come in with 100. Most have decided to move their traps back in to catch blue crab. This is good news for the wholesalers as we have had no blue crab catch to speak of. Now with the regular full time crabbers back in the waters where they can catch the blue crab, the hope is there to have better landings than we did last quarter. It’s funny, but the reason so many went to stone-crabbing was because the blue crab catch was so low. Now the few who have returned to the harbor to blue crab are showing decent numbers so wholesalers will probably have a better supply of blue crabs going into November. Capt. Angel Torres, a recreational angler, The big news of course is mullet. MULLET MULLET scours the area south of Ponce Inlet for everywhere!! The fisherman are all on limits as the catch is plenty, but the Blue Crabs. He netted three dozen in two demand is low – so support your local fisherman and go buy some fresh hours. 10 Gallons (whole crabs) is the daily recreational limit with no harvest at night. mullet for dinner tonight. At two dollars a pound retail you can't beat it.

RE! E H are s b Cra e n Sto


Water LIFE


Paddle Sports


By Davi d Al l en Water LIFE Kayaking Kayaking is EXPLODING! We have seen evidence of this blossoming interest in kayaking in our own kayak club; The Port Charlotte Kayakers. We have had added many new members throughout the long hot summer; unusual. Maybe the economic downturn has had something to do with the growth of kayaking. Kayaking is a very inexpensive recreation. After you've bought the kayak of your dreams, a paddle and life jacket, there is very little additional cost to enjoying your time on the water. Even our club is inexpensive, as we charge no dues or membership fees. Just load your kayak on top of your car and Voila', you are kayaking within minutes of your home for almost nothing. What other outdoor recreation allows you that degree of freedom and flexibility. I think there are a couple of reasons for the rapid expansion of kayaking in Charlotte County and Florida in general. A major factor, of course, is the area in which we live. It's hard to beat our beautiful streams and rivers, or the Gulf and Sounds, for a great paddling experience. Wild life, both fish and fowl, is abundant and it's seldom that we don't see a dolphin on a paddle in the Gulf or inlets. But even though the kayak was originally designed for hunting in frigid arctic waters, the transition to warm waters has brought the recreational kayak to a new level. New, innovative materials and improved, lighter/stronger designs have contributed to the high growth rate, as they make kayaks more easily handled both on and off the water. It's not unusual to see one or two carbon-fiber kayaks at a paddle, or a composite of Kevlar/glass which provides a strong, light weight kayak that is suitable for even the most demanding conditions off-

Page 17



Even reel manufacturers are beginning to cater to Kayakers, witness the new Penn reel with a hinged door to allow easy wash out and lube for reels that tend to get wet a lot.

shore. There are even new wrinkles in plastic rotomolded kayaks, normally considered the low end of the price scale. Vacuum bagging is a newer production technique for kayaks that allows the manufacturer to produce a laminate with a foam core, similar to the technique used in sailboat manufacture. And Eddyline has developed a new porprietary thermoplastic polymer, Carbonlite 2000, which results in a very high-gloss finish combined with strength and lightness. These new designs have allowed kayakers to take advantage of many new water activities; snorkeling/scuba diving, fishing, hunting, camping, and the list goes on and on. The rule is, "If you can do it on water, you can probably do it in a kayak." These factors are certainly apparent in our kayak club, as some members do use their kayaks for fishing, snorkeling and also camping trips. Club members have as varied a range of kayaks as you could imagine, from stable/short, open cockpit kayaks, to the longer, narrower fiberglass models suitable for longer paddles and offshore trips. For example, one of the newer kayak designs is the Current Design Kestrel. Several of our club members have purchased this boat and recommend it to other kayakers. It is a Kevlar/fiberglass composite, produced in 12' and 14' lengths. It is light, easily handled for car-

Let us build one for YOU!

topping and is comfortable to paddle. A comfortable seat is a major concern that manufacturers hear about often, and the seat is a real plus in the Kestrel. And, of course, there are always the discussions on the merits of Sit-In versus Sit-On-Top kayaks. Both design have been improved over the last few years. There are strong advocates on both sides of the questions, but it's fair to say that both groups enjoy the paddle, regardless of the style boat.

I encourage all of you to look into getting a kayak and gettin out on the water. You don't need to join a club...Just Do It! If you'd like to join a group of experienced kayakers who know the local streams and launch sites, give me a call.

The Port Charlotte Kay ak ers meet each Wednesday ev ening at 5:30 pm at Port Charlotte Beach Park . All are welcome to join us to learn about k ay ak ing. For additional information, contact Dav e Allen at 941-235-2588 or


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R Re ea al l E Es st ta at te e N Ne ew ws s PROVIDED BY: Dave Hofer RE/MAX Harbor Realty (941) 575-3777

1. Sarasota County and the City of North Port are jointly hurtling towards their own "bailout program" for the benefit of Naples based lender, Cypress Lending Group. Cypress obtained title to the 10 acre health spa in Warm Mineral Springs through a foreclosure action against the former operators, Golden Springs, LLC. Golden Springs had acquired the property for $3.75 Million in December of 1999 with $300K down and seller financing. They received $7 million in financing from a naive lender at the height of the real estate bubble in October, 2005. Golden Springs spent the next two years trying to sell the health spa before defaulting on the mortgage in March, 2008. Cypress Lending then foreclosed. Now, Fresh from a 2 year exile in outerspace, the Sarasota County Council and North Port City Council are jointly concocting a plan to purchase the property for $8 million! Certainly, someone should tell them that land values are now significantly below 2005 levels. The timing for this extravagance couldn't be much worse. Taxpayers have no interest in taking on $8 million more in debt to purchase non buildable land of little value to the community. 2. The final permit hurdles have been crossed for the Charlotte County Airport to begin construction of a $3 million control tower early next year. The FAA is predicting more than 15,000 takeoffs annually by 2015. No taxpayer dollars will be used for the construction or maintenance of the tower. 3. The Southwest Florida Planning Commission approved commencement of phase one of Babcock Village.

Water LIFE

Economic weather permitting, Kitson Partners will start with 1,000 single family residences, 26K sf of retail and 10K sf of office space on the 18,000 acre site. 4. Overwhelmed by too much work and too little personnel, Charlotte County will outsource the management of the Alligator Creek "s" curve. Dredging should begin next year some time. 5. Citizens Insurance have announced rate increases averaging 8.8% for single family homes and 10.2% for condominiums for next year. 6. KB Homes began construction of 2 new model homes in its Creekside subdivision on Taylor Road. KB is targeting the tax rebate stimulated first time home buyer with a more modest "open" design approach to their traditional tract home. 7. The first time home buyer's $8,000 tax credit was signed into law. Piggybacked on to an expansion of Federal Unemployment benefits, the program will finally be extend $6,500 to homeowners who have lived in a home for more than five years. It's refreshing that Congress finally realized that existing homeowners deserve a break too, but what's the magic of five years of ownership? 8. Fannie Mae announced a new program to cut down on the mindless shuffling of foreclosed homeowners seeking rental accommodations. Now, rather than FNMA wholesaling abandoned foreclosures to investors who will have to restore them and rent them out (largely to displaced foreclosees), they will be able to retain the former homeowners in their own homes as renters. Foreclosed homeowners will be able to turn over the deed to Fannie Mae, with less impact on their credit rating, and get a one year lease at greatly reduced market rent rates. In other news: Last month, Mike and Karen Hirsh related their experience of three visits to the new Laishley Crab House. Since their opinion mostly panned the new endeavor,



Ya c h t i n g a t R a n d o m


“Any Day on the water is better than the best day at the office�..... well not this day! Photo courtesy of Patrick McCarthy taken last month offshore from Casey Key.

it caught management's eye (and ire) ... Chris Evans, et al have promised to transform it into the first quality restaurant that our community deserves. Sales Statistics: Median sales prices actually rose in October over last year. The National Assn of Realtors reported that the number of sales in September were 54% than a year ago. The national rate was 9.4% higher. National median sales prices declined 11% from a year ago to $177,900. Ft. Myers SMSA led the nation in price declines, 40% to $98,000.Inventories are down over 50% from last year's already diminished levels. Median prices are showing signs of leveling off, but still typically 10-15% below last year's levels. Even a few sales of more expensive homes are taking place. Patience is still the order of the day, but the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Oct 31 Nov 1 Nov 8 Nov 14 Nov 21

Sat 5-9 pm, Mystic River Band Sun Biker Bash Party with Recording Artist - T.C. & The Troublemakers 2-6pm Sun Lisa 1-5pm Sat Up the Creek 2-6pm Sat Motorcycle Swap meet and music by Lisa 1-5pm




Water LIFE

Trespassing on Public Property?

Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE publisher Can John Q. Public be banned from from city property? From the Laishley Boat Ramp and Marina? The answer is apparently yes, and it happened to me. But was it within the law? No, not according to the city attorney. The new Laishley Crab House sponsors the Flatsmasters fishing tournament. Chris Evans, manager of the Laishley Crab House took issue with what we wrote about that tournament so I was told not to return. “The Flatsmasters (tournament) encourages all media to attend and report on our events, however, individuals who wish to promote only their points of view and not report objectively on the event will not be welcome.” That was the tournament’s official position. They wanted me gone. That’s their right, the Crab House is private property, but it’s my right to stay on public property and photograph the tournament from there if I want to. Previously, the city attorney’s office had told me: “To the extent that any member of the public is complying with lawfully adopted rules and regulations, laws or ordinances, that member of the public has a right of access to publicly owned property. The Crab House building is owned by Smuggler’s Enterprises, the land surrounding it

Page 19


Tournament Stage

The Police write me a warning for trespassing

The Crab House property ends at the arrow line. Public property continues to the right is Public zoned land owned by the City of Punta Gorda.” That week I obtained the audio tapes of the police disBut even though I stayed on the city side of the proppatch calls. On them, Evans claims I was ‘harassing the erty line when I went to cover the Flatsmasters tournament director.’ So now I’ve now been grabbed, Championship on October 17, Evans had the Punta Gorda shoved and threatened. The cops wrote me a bogus warnPolice dispatch an officer who issued me a trespass warning based on a false accusation and there is nothing I can ing for being at the Laishley Crab House. It didn’t matter do about it. The reality is: Around here those with the that I was not on Crab House property. The officer didn’t deepest pockets always win. So I will lose. want to hear about that and my repeated protests went But you will lose too. And every boater and fisherman unnoted in his official report. who uses the Laishley Park Marina or the Laishley Park Evans’ company also manages the city owned marina Boat Ramp will lose when we as citizens accept arbitrary, and boat ramp. arrogant and personally vindictive behavior from those “He is not allowed anywhere between US-41 and Nesbit Street,” Evans told the officer while I was detained. responsible for managing a public trust. And shame on the Punta Gorda Police for getting Then, the following day, Evans had his Harbor Master sucked into this. They should have known better. call to complain about me again.

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Page 20


By Bi l l Di xon Water LIFE Sailing

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Fall is here. Overnight, the temperature dropped to gloves and earmuffs. It’s gonna be a great fall season – all sorts of great racing coming up. As I write this the forecast for the moonlight regatta is 57 degrees and windy. Yahoo!! November 7, 8 is the pi ct ure of beer race, this year to Matlacha. Always a fun time and great beverages at Bert’s Bar. Again this month, the fall series races will be held back to back on the 15th and 22nd. The 15th is scheduled to be a long race with an earlier start time so be sure to Itʼs probably better for everyone that we donʼt know check the web site at who this is! Tom Scott and the Race Committee are going to try to get two races in on the 22nd. This will again mean an early start. For December, your humble scribe is organizing the Holiday Regatta on the 12th and 13th. Two buoy races are scheduled for Saturday. On Sunday the 13th there will be a reverse start race. These are very easy for casual racers to compete in. Everyone gets their own time offset from the slowest boat to sign up. The start line is fixed near Marker 3A in front of Fishville. It will not be crowded and is normally not a beat into the wind. Decorated boats and costumed crews are encouraged with a special Sunday only $10 entry fee. That includes admission for 2 to the awards. Extra crew are welcome at $3 per. I have asked the Conquistadors to judge the boats and costumes – who better than the men in tights? Sunday’s awards ceremony will have awards for sailing fast as well as decorated boats and costumed crews. The awards will also include a dessert contest with juried prizes for prettiest and popular voting for best tasting dessert. Applications to serve on the Dessert Jury may be accompanied by bribes. NOR and entry are on the club web site at William Dixon:




Feds to 60 Million American Anglers: We don't need

IRVINE, Calif. USA – October 5, 2009 – A recently published administration document outlines a structure that could result in closures of sport fishing in salt and freshwater areas across America. The White House created an Interagency Oceans Policy Task Force in June and gave them only 90 days to develop a comprehensive federal policy for all U.S. coastal, ocean and Great Lakes waters. Under the guise of ‘protecting’ these areas, the current second phase of the Task Force direction is to develop zoning which may permanently close vast areas of fishing waters nationwide. This is to be completed by December 9, 2009. Dave Pfeiffer, President of Shimano American Corporation explained, “In spite of extensive submissions from the recreational fishing community to the Task Force in person and in writing, they failed to include any mention of the over one million jobs or the 6o million anglers which may be affected by the new policies coast to coast. Input from the environmental groups who want to put us off the water was adopted into the report verbatim – the key points we submitted as an industry were ignored.” Recreational fishing generates a $125 billion annual economy in the United States and supports jobs in every state according to government figures. Through the Sport Fish Restoration program, anglers have provided more than $5 billion through excise taxes on fishing tackle to fishery conservation and education for decades. In addition to the economic aspects, anglers lead the nation in volunteer conservation efforts on behalf of improving fish habitat, water quality and related environmental areas. “There was no mention of the fishery conservation efforts which anglers have led for over 50 years in every state – an environmental success story that has no equal in the world”, said Phil Morlock, Director, Environmental Affairs for Shimano. “The Task Force did not make any distinction between the dramatic differences between harmful commercial fishing harvest methods and recreational fishing, even though we spelled it out for them in

Water LIFE


Newest Land Grab:


detail,” added Morlock. Claiming to be the result of a public consultation process the report states, “Having considered a broad range of public comments, this report reflects the requests and concerns of all interested parties.” The original White House memo and not surprisingly the Task Force report contains multiple references to developing a national policy where Great Lakes and coastal regions are managed, “consistent with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” - a 300-page treaty the U.S. has never ratified. “We question what implications there will be for state authority and jurisdiction in the Great Lakes and coastal regions if the U.S. adopts the U.N. Treaty,” said Pfeiffer. The report makes it clear that future authority for implementing the policy for coastal and inland waters will fall under White House jurisdiction with a new National Ocean Council comprised of over 20 federal agencies at Cabinet Secretary or Deputy Secretary level. No reference to Congressional jurisdiction is indicated. “This significant change in U.S. policy direction is the result of a 90-day fire drill process as ordered by the President that, not surprisingly, lacks balance, clarity and quality in the end product,” said Morlock. “People who simply want to take their kids fishing on public waters deserve better from their government,” he added. Shimano is joining with other members of the recreational fishing industry to urge anglers to contact their members of Congress and the administration to request this process be required to adopt the economic, conservation and social contributions of recreational fishing as key elements of the policy. It is critical that we ensure Congressional oversight and state jurisdiction and management continues. E-letters can be sent to the administration and members of Congress by visiting The future of fishing is in your hands.

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Feds Now Say Critical Habitat Designation Merits Further Review

From the US Fidsh and Wildlife Service Oct 11, 2009 The critical habitat designation for the Florida manatee may warrant revision, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last month, following an initial review of a petition seeking a revision to the 1976 critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is initiating a review of the current critical habitat designation for the subspecies to determine how it intends to proceed with the requested revision. Critical habitat was originally designated for the Florida manatee in 1976. Habitat was designated in areas including Citrus, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, De Soto, Lee, Collier, Monroe, Dade, Palm Beach, Martin, West Palm Beach, Volusia, Brevard, Nassau and Duval Counties. That listing was one of the first ESA critical habitat designations for an endangered species and the first for an endangered marine A Manatee pup in a Belize research boat. Are manatees being bred in capmammal. tivity in Belize? Today’s decision, commonly known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species provided in the petition received from the Wildlife Advocacy Project, Save the Manatee Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife requesting the revision to the Florida manatee’s critical habitat designation under the ESA. This finding is the first step in a process that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available to determine if revision is warranted, and if so, how best to proceed with a revision of the designation.

Where it all began

.... from the United Nations Caribbean Environmental Program “By stimulating appreciation and pride on the species, it may be possible to induce the development of a conservation philosophy, and achieve the goal of resource preservation. By being a high-profile species, the manatee may function as a catalyst in bringing together interested governmental and non-governmental agencies to elaborate comprehensive conservation plans. Manatees may be instrumental as well in the establishment of sanctuaries and attainment of the overall goal of preservation of coastal ecosystems with all their associated species.”

Outstanding Florida Waters designation is next to watch

Cry of the Water (an environmental group) has submitted an application to Florida DEP for the designation of the nearshore coral reef habitat off Ft. Lauderdale /Lauderdale-By-The-Sea/Pompano Beach as an Outstanding Florida Waters. This designation is being sought in order to increase the level of water quality protection being provided to these waters so that the current marine life, ecological integrity, recreational and fisheries values of this system can be maintained. Lauderdale-ByThe-Sea voted unanimously at their October 13th Town commission meeting, to establish a Marine Park and a management plan for the nearshore coral reef habitat thus taking a pro-active approach to protecting their coral reef eco-system. The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Marine Park will be modeled after the popular Key West Marine Park with an extended swim area for the protection of the nearshore reef and the many divers and snorkelers that frequent the area. The exclusion of boats in this extended swim area will eliminate anchoring impacts to this reef.

November Page 22

Fishing Report

Charlotte Harbor:

Robert at Fishin' Franks Port Charlotte: 625-3888

Here comes November it’s going to be a tough month to predict. Usually November is good for multiple winter species, but if the weather stays warm, sheepshead and trout will be slower coming in. Sheepshead and fl ounder are staging-up offshore and they should be there consistently through the month, pouring in to the beaches and ICW as the water temperature drops. For the flounder, fish around the perimeter of the reefs slowly dragging a shrimp or a small bait fish along the bottom. Just a standard jig head or a small bucktail, something that will keep it right on the bottom. The sand builds up in a washboard surface around the reefs and the flounder really like the bumpy bottom. Up to a half-ounce jig will be necessary around the reefs. A football jig would probably work pretty well. While

Water LIFE

you are out there the S pani sh macks and ki ngs should be there too. So far, the sizes of Spanish mackerel have been pretty impressive. Fish up to 7 pounds are already the normal this season. As the month progresses and the water temps cool down, the grouper and snapper should move in closer to shore. Tri pl etai l should be showing up in good number out along the stone crab buoys anywhere from a mile to five miles offshore. Get on plane and stay 30-40 feet from the buoy line. Run along until you see a fish. They will sometimes lay sideways along the buoy rope. They almost look like a clump of seaweed that is stuck on the rope of the trap. There is usually just one fish on a trap. You could go for miles and not see one then you may find ten in a short stretch. When you find them, go to the trolling motor or drift back to it. Use a free lined shrimp or a bobber with a shrimp. Very rarely will tripletail take a bait fish. They like crabs and shrimp. The bigger bull redfi sh have left in big numbers to go offshore to spawn. Some big stragglers will be here throughout the month. More slot-sized reds will show up in better numbers throughout




All smiles from Capt Angel Torresʼ October fishing trips on Charlotte Harbor

the month. These fish are migrating in from October when they were all schooled up. They are breaking up into small numbers of single to triple fish. Around Whidden Creek and Bull Bay is a good area for them now. Pirate Harbor north to Alligator Creek is the place on the east side for redfish. Live pinfish are your first bait of choice for them, next come shrimp and cut ladyfish. Pinfish are anywhere on the flats down around Pirate Harbor or out in front of Bull Bay. Chum

‘em up with moistened powdered ‘fish food’. Winter is a good time to use artificials because as the water temperatures drop the live bait becomes less abundant. Early morning fish topwaters, mid day for jigs, soft plastics and sub-surface divers. Evening and night time you can use top water and sub surface divers, preferably something with rattles that make noise. Continued on facing page



Fishing Report .

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The The BIG-4 BIG-4


Fish to expect expect in in Fish to

November November

conti nued S nook will be the same. They will be starting to migrate all over in the SNOOK: Coming in from off- REDFISH: On the east side MACKEREL: Offshore POMPANO: Near the Gulf Harbor right now. They still shore, moving up the harbor islands King Mackerel Too! passes moving in haven’t moved up into the upper Harbor yet because the water is still a little warm. Fl ounder are on the south end of Boca on You could say snook are in limbo right now. the outgoing tide. The sloughs in Placida are The west wall is starting to pick up a few holding Pompano. Inside on Stump Pass more snook and more are showing at the 41 around rag alley, all the areas near the inlets Bridge. These trends should continue as the will have pompano if the tide is right. month progresses. S heephead are around the pier at Placida. 4265 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte Trout season is closed for the next two Jacks up to 15 pounds have been keeping 941 - 625-2700 months. They are horrible catch and release fish things interesting with a lot of schools of big so be gentle if you happen to hook a trout. jacks and l adyfi sh here. Offshore a lot of fish Pompano are starting to show up good moving into the area. Boni ta, S pani sh, now with fairly good numbers out along the assorted cobi a on the inshore reefs. A lot of  November 12 to 15: Fort Myers Boat beaches and in the passes. They will be abunKi ngs too – some guys are even fishing them S how 239-656-7083 dant along the sandbars in the southern end of commercially. Guys are saying they have never  December 5 Chix-N-Stix Ladyfi sh the Harbor. When you are running along they seen it this good in a number of years. The Ttournament, Yeaviest bucket of ladyfish wins, will skip along the surface like a football. migration is upon us. minimum 12 inches/fish, $100 entry for ladies They don’t go very far, so when you see the $50 for men, Fish-Tale Marina. Contact Kristi pompano shut down or get out and wade fish. Riley 239-850-1707 or Lacey Rush 239-980There are a couple of jigs that work exception1436. ally well on pompano: The Silly Willy and the  January 7 Boati ng S ki l l s and Crazy jigs are two. Tip them with a small S eamanshi p, USCG Aux, Flotilla 87, Lemon piece of shrimp. Bomber also makes a small Bay Park, Englewood, 7 - 9 PM Monday and bucktail pompano jig. Thursday $40 /individual or $65/couple 941-6979435 Lemon Bay: Jim  January 21-24 Charl otte County Boat S how 239-656-7083 at Fishermen’s Edge, Englewood:

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Fishing at the moment is really good. There are a lot of snook, trout and redfi sh throughout Lemon Bay north of the bridge on Michael Saunders Flats – catch them on live shrimp. There are also really good sized trout, south, into Placid, Gasparilla and on to Pine Island. There has been a lot of red and snook action at the Cape Haze bar with the falling tide in the afternoon. Guys are doing well on the outer edges using mostly whitebait. A lot of guys switch to shrimp for bait when the temperature drops and the fish slow down.

Send cal endar i nfo rmat i o n t o : wat erl i fe@ co mcas t . net

NMFS closes the recreational fishery for greater amberjack in

Nicole Johnson with her first trout on her first time baiting and casting. Thatʼs her proud dad, Capt. Todd, grinninʼ


Excellent or

the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf Better of Mexico (Gulf). During the closure, the bag and possession limit for greater amberjack in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. In addition, a person aboard a vessel for which a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must also abide by these closure provisions in state waters. NMFS has determined this action is necessary to prevent the recreational fishery for greater amberjack from exceeding its quota for the fishing year. This closure is necessary to prevent overfishing of Gulf greater amberjack. The closure is effective through December 31, 2009.


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Page 24

Water LIFE Nov 2009  

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

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