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Water L I F E FREE!

Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay Florida

Capt. Jeff Steele with his first place Cobia in the 2005 St. Pete open Spearfishing Tournament

Keeping Boaters and Fishermen Informed

September 2005

Pirates and Warriors Page 16

“We all know that excess fishing, boating and residential development have done almost all the damage to Charlotte Harbor and the phosphate companies have done almost no damage in comparison�

Davi d Dunn-Ranki n, Charl otte S un Publ i sher i n pri nt on Aug 15, 2005 Davi d: pl ease see Page 3

Python for Lunch Page 9

Our Thoughts and Prayers go out to the victims of hurricane Katrina - Michael & Ellen Heller, publishers





Water LIFE


September 2005

Water LIFE

Just say ʻKnowʼ to the Charlotte Sun September 2005

By Michael & Ellen Heller Water LIFE Publishers

You can't have it both ways. Condemning boating, fishing, fishing tournaments and real estate development while deriving revenue from two local advertising based boating and fishing publications, a twice monthly real estate magazine and a weekly real estate section is not only hypocritical it is deceitful. Last month David Dunn-Rankin, publisher of the Charlotte Sun newspaper, astonished the boating and real estate community in Charlotte County by stating the following in print, “We al l know t hat excessi v e fi shi ng, boat i ng and resi dent i al dev el opm ent hav e done al m ost al l t he dam age t o C harl ot t e Harbor and t he phosphat e com pani es hav e done al m ost no dam age i n com pari son. ” This statement came from a man who had never been out on the harbor himself. Advertisers asked the question “What damage have boaters and fishermen done to Charlotte Harbor?” a question which to this day Dunn-Rankin has never answered. Feigning ignorance is not a viable excuse, especially for a newspaper publisher. Dunn-Rankin’s pro-phosphate column followed a series of editorials in the Sun the weeks prior, all in support of phosphate mining on the Peace River. The Peace River has experienced numerous phosphate spills. In December of 1971 a spill left the river, as far down as the

US-41 bridges at Punta Gorda, a foaming white frothy mess, filled with dead fish and wildlife. Some old timers say the Harbor has still not yet fully recovered today, 35 years later. We cannot afford to take even a remote chance that this might happen again. Today, Charlotte Harbor is the cleanest estuary in Florida, perhaps on the entire east coast of the US. This is partly because we have prohibited more industrial development on the river. Phosphate mining is a high dollar, profit driven business, but the phosphate reserves in Florida are not the only phosphate reserves in the world. Our birds, fish, manatees, otters, and other wildlife need not be present, and might not be, when they take the last of the ore from the Peace River watershed. The history of the phosphate industry is a blur of corporate mergers, dissolutions, and takeovers all carefully orchestrated to avoid liability and and shirk responsibility for maintaining the environment and clean up when they leave. History has shown this to be true, and we should not forget it. Conversely, fishermen, boaters and waterfront property owners are motivated by a love for the water and all it holds. It behooves these people to protect the Harbor and its aquatic inhabitants, even to the point of giving back through restocking fish, planting sea grasses and creating artificial reefs for habitat. We educate our children and appreciate what we have. As an advocate of the free press we



Phosphate mining never hurt Charlotte Harbor or the Peace River eh? What do you call this Mr. Dunn-Rankin? This is Lettuce Lake on the Peace River in December of 1971 after the Cities Service spill into Whidden Creek. Thatʼs the Nav-A-Gator / Desoto Marina and boat ramp in the center of the photo. What would a major hurricane like Katrina do to Phosphate stacks in Floridaʼs delicate environment today? Photo: Fla. Game and Freshwater Fish Commission


must stand up for the Sun's right to publish their opinions but as citizens of this community and concerned protectors of the river and harbor environment, we feel it is time to respond. Even newspaper editorials should be loosely based on fact. Newspapers have a responsibility to disseminate news and opinions based on facts. Intentionally putting out misinformation and then claiming


ignorance does not cut it, and now the damage has been done. It was David Dunn-Rankin's father, Derrick Dunn-Rankin, president of the Sun now, publisher then, who on November 24, 2002, while talking about manatees said: "If you think about it, the most thorough way to deal with increased human threat to the manatee is to eliminate commercial and recreational boating


Water LIFE


Letters to Water LIFE

Re: the Charlotte Sunʼs Pro Phosphate and Anti Boating Fishing & Development position

From The Charlotte Sun: (In response to a letter-to-the-editor we sent them) Mike It has always been our position that boating interests and environmentalists spend too much money fighting each other when they all want the same thing — healthy waters full of fish (and manatees). As far as David Dunn-Rankin's column, his personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of our editorial board. I will be glad to publish your letter if you want to publish my response or perhaps reprint our editorial in full. Can you do that without an editor's comment? John Hackworth, Editorial writer, for the Charlotte Sun Water Life Replies: John: Itʼs no surprise to us that when we send a ʻletter to the editorʼ to the Sun it will only be published if we meet your specified conditions. Thatʼs just the kind of un-fair, im-balanced totally self-serving, one- sided liberal journalism we have come to expect from your publication. Donʼt print my letter, I donʼt give a ratʼs ass ... but Iʼll print yours anyway – MH

Dear Water LIFE If they (the Charlotte Sun) thinks the big problem is people then why are they still here? They must not have been here before the big phosphate spill in the seventies, I was and we saw the change and the harbor and river have never recovered from that spill. Back then, fish were know to jump into boats and immediately after that, the fishing was almost gone. It has been a slow recover and is still getting better so who did the real damage. Dennis Peck, Punta Gorda Sailing Club

Hey Michael Sounds like a lesson in "Watersheds"

is in

order. Perhaps Mr. Dunn-Rankin is unaware that 22 acres of watershed drains into every 1 acre of Harbor water, making watershed management the critical component to preserving a healthy estuary system. Betty Staugler, Charlotte County Sea Grant Dear Water LIFE The Charlotte Sun has always been pro development and pro commercial fisherman. The truth is not in them. John Montague Mike We need to sit down and talk. I was here in the early 70s when there was a spill into Peace River and I saw the results last over 30 years. Jeff Steele, SpAir Time Dive Charters

Dear Water LIFE Maybe big money just sticks together. Frank Kavanaugh

Mike, I had to read that article twice to believe Rankin wrote it. I've never spoken to him - neither he nor his dad have said a word to me in the (many) years I have worked there - Now I'm glad. He must really be a dumb s.o.b. Some old timers claim that the river never completely recovered from spills back in the 60's. It almost sounds like a slam against tournament fishing and the Kid's Cup. Name withheld for fear of reprisal Dear Mike You worked for the Sun and you quit over the way they misrepresented boaters in the manatee issue. Prior to that they sided against recreational anglers and threw in with the commercial fishermen against the net ban. They have been against real estate development, new housing and economic growth for as long as I have been coming here. Why are you so surprised at this


latest episode? Lenny Berman

Another Way of Looking At It Somethings are only apparent to those who pay attention. There is no denying that boaters and fishermen do some damage to the environment, but it is also true our boat taxes, fishing license fees and expansion donations help keep the balance. Each year with education and science, our motors run cleaner and props do less damage and more and more fish are released back into the harbor that live. We as fishermen and boaters are trying to improve things as we live on and with the water. On the other hand it is also true that the phosphate mines do not damage the water all the time, but this all reminds me of another thing in the news. At one time when a woman was stalked and threatened with rape or death the police could not do anything about it until it happened. At first the system worked to protect the rights of the stalker, the rapist, the murderer, who might be caught and punished or maybe not. But it did not work so well for the woman who was stalked, terrified, raped and then murdered. Today, there are stalking laws to protect people before the unthinkable happens ... before the crime is committed. This is what the phosphate mines are doing, stalking us, taking each day, each minute, to rape our waters of the natural beauty and innocence, and murder our fish and wild life that get in the way of a spill. Sadly it could be prevented with simple concrete barriers around and under the spoil ponds. No other waste this toxic is allowed to come that close to drinking water sources and not be kept in anything other than a dirt pond. Too much rain, too much wind or as was the case of 1971, a guy on a bulldozer who simply opened the pond and let it pour into the river are the problem. The 1971 spill killed 98 percent of all life in the river and made three species of aquatic life extinct.This is no easy task and there is no easy fix! It will take big money to fix this problem and luckily the phosphate industry has plenty of that in the bank. But will they spend it? I doubt it. Fishinʼ Frank


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September 2005

Water LIFE

Michael and Ellen Heller Publishers

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Water LIFE is not affiliated with any newspaper or other publication © 2005 Vol V No. 9 Water LIFE No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without the written permission of the publishers


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Contributing Editors:

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

on the COVER:

Jeff Steele of SpAir-Time Dive Boat Charters with a 54.3 lb cobia shot in the St. Pete open spearfishing tournament on the wreck Bayronto on Aug 20th, while diving with Capt. Dan Cambern - Hammerhead Charters, Ditmar - A. B. Biller spear guns and Capt. Jim Joseph, of Fantasea Scuba in Port Charlotte.

on our WEBSITE:

Tide Graphs: For local waters

Weather: Links to all of our favorite sites.

Back editions: Pages of previous editions Artificial Reefs: Lat. and Long local reefs

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

Too Weird September 2005

S taff Report Fishin’ Franks first Shark Tourney was held in 1985– one that year and two each year since. It has become known as Fishin’ Franks severe weather challenge. There have been tornados, water spouts, tropical storms, 6-inches of rain and high winds. One time in the early 90s there were 7 boats sunk or grounded-out and 13 people pulled to safety from other boats than they started in. Bug attacks, no-see-ums, mosquitoes the size of sparrows ...and let’s not forget several years back when it was still legal to shoot sharks. Back then, in almost every tournament someone would bring a shark aboard, get it on the deck and shoot it. The bullet would then pass through the shark, through the deck, through the hull, and the water would start pouring in. If they noticed in time it was a easy although embarrassing run to the ramp. If not the bilge pumps would run, and run and run, until somebody would figure out they had just shot a hole in the boat. No one sunk from this, although we do remember the kidding they took. It is now against the law to shoot sharks, maybe this is better? Maybe just not as funny? But they always brought in fish. By 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, when the tournament officially ends, there is usually a line of sharks and stingrays piled on the concrete island that separates US 41 from the parking area in front of Frank’s shop. Motorists in passing cars crane their necks as they slow to see what is going on. There are screeches of brakes as other cars come close to rear-ending them. The August tournament is not quite as popular as the one in June. The shark feeding frenzy at Boca Grande has usually slowed by August and the number of anglers in the later tournament drops from over 300 to about 200. But still, that is a lot of fishermen taking to the water. There are usu-

Water LIFE


Only one shark and no stingrays were brought in at this summerʼs shark tournament, but a number of catfish were caught.

ally numerous unlucky sharks stingrays and catfish, who on Sunday morning have that concrete island in front of Fishin’ Franks as the last stopping off point on their trip to the great beyond. Usually...but not this year. This year Frank put 141 anglers out on the water on Saturday night August 6. Sunday morning there was a crowd of spectators on hand, there was the requisite sheriff who drove by. There were the tissue sampling scientists from Mote Marine on hand to collect data, Ollie Tipton was there to fillet the sharks and take the meat to the needy, Frank was there, we were there...but at 8:25 there were no sharks, and no stingrays and only a few catfish. At 8:30 an angler drove up and plopped one small bull shark onto the pavement. By 8:45, still only one shark. So at 9 a.m. the tournament ended with no stingrays, one shark and a few catfish. “This is just too weird,” Frank said as he spoke to the crowd. “Everyone jumped a tarpon or two last night,” Frank said. “A lot of anglers reported catching Goliath Grouper,” but the sharks were gone. Some blamed the red tide. The previous week everyone was talking about the big sharks they had

been catching. Guys reported pre-fishing earlier in the week at Boca Grande and landing 6 to 7 foot bull sharks and big lemon sharks, but on tournament night nobody even got a run. “This is just too weird,” Frank reiterated. One angler who wanted to remain anonymous couldn't have agreed more. His plan was to catch each species, a shark a stingray and a catfish. He started out by catching a stingray and planned to use the ray for shark bait – sharks love eating stingrays. That ray would have been worth $500 if he had brought it back, but he used it for bait and lost it to a Goliath Grouper. No shark, no stingray ... but he did manage to land and keep a catfish. “A nice catfish too,” Frank said ... “but he didn't gut it.” Catfish according to tournament rules must be gutted before they are weighed. “We had to disqualify him in the catfish category,” Frank said, shaking his head. Too weird. The prize money for the tournament comes from the entries so with only catfish weighed there was plenty of money left over. Frank held an impromptu meeting and started calling out angler numbers and giving away $100 bills. “We had to do something,” Frank explained. Adding to the weirdness the angler who used his stingray

KNOW continued from page 3



Florida's coast and rivers." Dunn-Rankin expanded, saying ‘a more subtle step would be to halt construction of boat ramps and docks.’ This is the same publication that in 1995 fought against recreational angling and took a stance in favor of commercial gill netting. Recently the Sun's Bob Knight told readers of their boating and fishing publication that one of the main contributors to damaging the harbor is fishing tournaments. So we ask, why then did the Sun sponsor the Flatsmaster’s Tournament this year and publish a special section for the RedFish Cup last year? Was it solely for the money? Knight also said that “years ago he hardly ever ventured more than a quarter mile from home to catch fish.” Maybe that was before the phosphate spill. The point is we can’t stop an ever-increasing human population but we can fight the phosphate industry that threatens the very reason people make Charlotte County home. Growth is inevitable, but if we use public education and applied science there can be more of us to act as care takers of the harbor and protectors from industrial pollution and less people who are ‘conveniently’ uninformed. David Dunn- Rankin also advocated having the DEP mediate the phosphate case. We have already seen what the DEP did for the manatee issue. They entered into a convenient settlement agreement with the Manatee Club - without public input - so the whole issue would be litigation proof. Why should we think the DEP would not do the exact same thing again in mediations with the phosphate industry? And Knight’s idea of having the DEP issue permits to hold fishing tournaments is equally dumb. That would do nothing to stem the tide of a growing population. Fishermen will fish whether in an organized tournament or not. So we wrote a letter to the editor at the Sun’s editorial board complaining about all this and asked for an explanation of their stance. The reply we got back is printed on page 4, but it basically said ‘We will only print your letter if ...’ That's a despicable position for a supposedly open forum in a daily newspaper ... we'll print your letter if. You read their response, you be the judge and if you don't like the Sun's position then don't support them. Don't buy their paper and don't advertise in it. It is clear that the Sun is not going to change their pro-phosphate, no-growth, no-access position as long as their current upper level management team remains intact. Once again we remind them: Water means LIFE for us all.

Phosphate Spills Page


Water LIFE


September 2005

There have been many already

Gypsum Stacks will stay in place, in Florida, FOREVER

This is what phosphate strip mining does to the Florida landscape.

St aff Rep o rt 1945-A Polk County mining accident occurred where a dike broke releasing a "flood of mud and slush that swept down the Peace River." Game fish were killed in the tens of thousands.

1963 - A slime dam failure near Brandon "turned the Alafia River brownish white for two miles into the Gulf of Mexico." The costs for clean up-nothing. Back then it was considered an act of God. But as a result, the state enacted rules regarding phosphate waste disposal and containment.

1967 - The rupture of a Mobil Oil retention dike led to the death of a million fish, just as the Peace River was beginning to recover.

1971 - A spill of two million gallons of phosphate waste occurred near Fort Meade. A five-foot tide of slime swelled the river, which spread into pastures and swamps. One state wildlife officer estimated a 100-percent fish kill in Arcadia.

Also in 1971 - Cities Service Co. lost a clay settling area. A billion gallons of phosphatic clay slime spilled into Whidden Creek and then down the Peace River. Charlotte Harbor turned the color of

chocolate milk. The costs for clean-up: $6 million.

1984 - Several small ‘leaks’ released toxic acid-laden phosphate waste into the groundwater in the Peace River watershed from the Mulberry mine area.

1994 - IMC Global Inc. had a spill from its Payne Creek Mine into Hickey Branch. While most of the spill was contained in lakes on IMC land, some spilled onto CF Industries adjacent mining land where it was contained. The cost for clean-up-$2 million 1995 - A 15-story deep sinkhole opened up under an 80-million-ton phosphate gypsum stack, sucking the toxic waste down a hole into the aquifer. That aquifer is a source of drinking water for millions of people in the Tampa Bay area. There was nothing that could be done.

2004 - The hurricanes of 2004 brought phosphate disaster. Cargill Crop Nutrition had a spill that sent millions of gallons of radioactive clay waste into the environment. Downstream, the mess smothered crab traps and impacted fisheries. The vice president of the company said how, "…Very, very sorry they

A sinkhole put millions of gallons of acid in the water table

In our opinion

the problem with phosphate mining is containment. By the very nature of the mining process, large piles of mined material must be leached with sulfuric acid to separate phosphate from the ore. These piles, or gypsum stacks, then become a permanent part of the Florida landscape. There is no barrier below them so acid laden liquid leaches through and into the ground and then the water table. Sinkholes that open under these piles go undetected and all through the process there are small spills that are remedied by building more earthen dikes around them. Several such ʻleaks or spillsʼ are shown here. The gypsum stacks need to be isolated from the environment, entirely - underlayed and walled with concrete before mining is safe for the environment. Algae blooms are big in the runoff

Liquid will run through dirt, itʼs that simple



3 This gypsum stack has had numerous problems

Water LIFE

September 2005


The Watershed is the Primary Component Affecting the Health of Charlotte Harbor

By Betty S taugl er Water Life Staff / Sea Grant Charlotte Harbor is Florida’s second largest open water estuary (including Lemon Bay to Estero Bay). At 30 miles long and 7 miles wide, the harbor encompasses 270 square miles. The harbor’s predominantly natural shoreline (albeit still hurricane battered), affords us the same sense of tranquility experienced by our earliest settlers. Although the harbor is recognized as a being a large estuary, it is small in relation to its watershed. A watershed is the land area that drains rain water to surface waters (lakes, rivers, estuaries). A watershed is also referred to as a basin. Charlotte Harbor’s watershed is 4,468 square miles. This means that approximately 17 square miles of watershed drain into every one square mile of estuary, (a 17:1 ratio). If we focus just on Charlotte Harbor proper, the ratio increases to 22:1. Compare that to Lemon Bay with a land to water ratio of 1:1 or Tampa Bay with a ratio of 5:1, and it becomes apparent that the watershed is the primary component affecting the health of Charlotte Harbor. The Peace River watershed is the largest land area draining into Charlotte Harbor (2,350 square miles). This watershed begins in Polk County at the Peace Creek drainage canal, and Saddle Creek, north of Lake Hancock. From there the river flows about 105 miles south to the harbor. Flows from the river are critical to the health and overall productivity of Charlotte Harbor: (reference the internet: ateman/peaceriver) Predominant

land uses in the Peace River watershed include phosphate mining, agriculture and urban development. The Myakka River watershed encompasses approximately 600 square miles. This watershed begins in Manatee County at the confluence of seven tributaries which form the headwaters known as Flatford Swamp. The predominant land use in the Myakka River watershed is agriculture, with urbanization in the lower watershed (reference: n/index.htm). The cumulative effect of land use changes can effect storm water runoff (rain water that carries pollutants with it) and baseflow contributions (the lowest river flows) to the rivers. For instance, groundwater withdrawals lower the potentiometric surface or groundwater table and over time this causes saltwater intrusion. When groundwater (which is of poor water quality) is released into surface waters the result is degradation to overall water quality. This groundwater to surface water scenario presented serious problems for the City of Punta Gorda’s drinking water supply from Shell Creek, several years ago. As a result, agricultural users, who are the largest water users, came to the table and adopted best management practices (BMPs) to reduce their impact to water quality. Through the use of tail water recovery systems, groundwater releases to surface water have been dramatically reduced and water quality has been improved. Septic systems are another concern. Septic systems in the Peace and Myakka river water-


sheds contribute between 11-22percent of the total nitrogen load to the estuary (CHEC 2003). The majority of septic system failures occur due to improper sighting. Over 70-percent of the soils in the Peace and Myakka are considered unsuitable for septic systems (CHEC 2003, Charlotte County Comprehensive Plan 2003). Drainage of wetlands can also affect surface water storage and drainage patterns. Historic phosphate mining and reclamation of mined lands can alter the timing and magnitude of runoff, surface water storage, recharge, and evapotranspiration, which is water lost to the atmosphere. To address the possible affects of land use activities within the Peace River watershed, in 2003 the Florida Legislature directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to asses the cumulative impacts of all watershed land uses. In the future, this study will form the basis for preparation of a resource management plan for the Peace River watershed. You can follow the progress of this effort by going to the Southwest Florida Water Management District website provided above. The most important thing each of us can do to protect our estuary is arm ourselves with technically sound knowledge. Efforts such as the cumulative impact study reference above, which is being conducted by PBS&J, under the direction of Dr. Ralph Montgomery, is key towards our obtaining this knowledge. For additional information, get familiar with the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center’s


The Peace River Watershed

P h o s p h a t e

M i n e s

WRCwebsite,http://www.checflor There you will find a great deal of information about our watersheds as well as maps, graphs and additional links. To learn more about watersheds they provide a What is a Watershed? website which offers a lot of local information about our watershed.

L e t U s S e l l Yo ur B o at Daryl Hall • Tom Stivison Kurt Jilson www. redfish y ach t . com

Betty Staugler is the Florida Sea Grant Agent for Charlotte County. Florida Sea Grant is a Univ ersity of Florida-IFAS Ex tension Program. Betty can be reached at 764-4346. Prior to her Sea Grant position, Betty was the senior scientist for CHEC, the Charlotte Harbor Env ironmental Center.

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Water LIFE

Page 8

September 2005


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Grand Vista, great first floor end unit, 2 BR plus den or 3rd BR, 2 baths, 2-car garage, 1594 sq. ft. built 2003, tile floors except BR始s, upgraded with volume ceilings, trays, crown molding, d茅cor painting, quiet preserve and golf course view, enjoy huge heated pool at clubhouse, activity center, fitness room, spa, tennis, restaurant, & more! MLS #485697, $339,900. Call Ellen today!

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Maintenance Free, Lakeside Plantation 3/2/2+den 1906 sq ft. Built in 2003. Quiet, Transquil lakeview. Cherry wood cabinets, corian counter tops, upgraded lighting. Volume ceilings, beautiful maple wood floors in foyer, hallway and family room. Clubhouse with pool, fitness, tennis court and more. MLS# 481681 $337,000, Call Ellen

2/2 Villa, 1047 sq. ft., completely remodeled with brand new maple wood cabinets, granite countertops, and ceramic tile floors throughout. Washer, dryer and range are all new. Community pool, fishing and boating nearby and convenient to I-75. MLS # 481723, $159,900. Call Ellen today!

Sailboat, seawalled, beach complex area, end lot will million dollar view down canal. Just minutes to the Harbor. Oversized lot to build a large home and pool. Approx. 110x125, Water and sewer. Take a morning walk to the beach complex and watch the boaters going out to fish. What a great area to live in. MLS# 480740 $639,900 call Ellen

3/2/2 pool home, 1908 sq. ft. built 1994, very quiet street w/few homes for privacy, home features living, dining, & family room, kitchen has breakfast bar & nook, plant shelves throughout, pool bath, sliders from living rm., master BR & breakfast area, screened entry & garage, cathedral ceilings, skylight, oversized laundry room, $299,900, call Scott Jacobs, 235-5648.

September 2005

Gator vs Python in the Everglades

Water LIFE

Page 9


We told you about this last month, now have a look. A 7 ft alligator takes on an 8 ft Burmese python at Everglades National Park, just north of the Main Park Road about 1mi to the west of our Main Entrance Station. Thank goodness for the alligators! Dan B. Kimball, Superintendent Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks National Park Service,Homestead

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Hello Snookie!

Water LIFE

Page 10

September 2005


By Capt. Andrew Medi na Water LIFE Staff

Snook on the hook will be the saying for September with the opening of snook Season on Sept. 1. Everyone will catch the linesider fever, but be aware there is no cure. With an abundance of snook around Boca Grande, the docks and trestles will be a targeted area along with some local hot spots like the Myakka Bridge and cut off. Reports of 30 snook a night coming from PGI canals will be common with all the fish around and eating. The new Rip Tide Glow Shrimp under a lighted dock is probably a sure bet. Live bait is even easier; shrimp and pilchards all work with great results. Rod and line selection is the key to catching that keeper snook. A medium heavy rod with a solid back bone will help horse the snook out of the pilings. Line choice for fishing docks is about the most important link in the chain. Light monofilament is not going to do you any good and just get your fingers tired from retying. My suggestion is spool up with 30- to 50pound Power Pro so you can tighten your drag a little and fish the bait with hardly any slack in the line. That way, a fish can not make a run and wrap you around the dock. This has proven to be the most effective way I have found. A good fluorocarbon leader in 40- or 50-pound test will help

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33' Carver Mariner 1995 Twin 250HP Crusader. Very spacious boat- This boat has been very well maintained REDUCED TO SELL $64,900

30' SeaRay Weekender, 1989. Lift stored, lots of storage and spacious cockpit. Asking $35,900

26' World Class Leisure Cat 266LC-Twin 200 hp Evinrudes, 2002 models w/ app. 50 hrs. Very low hours, great family boat.

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

29' Chaparral Signature 29 1995 twin 185 HP Volvo 4.3, lift stored. Reduced to $36,900.00

20' Sea Pro CC 2004 Very clean boat, shows like new, extended warranty on 150 hp Yamaha Four Stroke. Only 130 hours. Asking $28,500

18' Boston Whaler Dauntless 1999 Center Console. 150 saltwater series Mercury outboard and fish package. Asking $23,500

30' Grady White Marlin 300 2001. Twin gas Yamahas. Dry stored and pro. maintained, nice condition throughout Asking $109,000.

improve your results. Don’t settle for just mono leader material, it will let you down. You may have to use a little muscle, but with a good hook set he will come out of his home. There are size and bag limits in the state of Florida and they are strictly enforced. Snook have to be between 27 and 34 inches in length and your allowed one per-person per-day. Handle undersize snook with care when you have to. Handling fish can remove scales and make them open to infection that could kill them. The worst enemy when catching a undersize snook are the dolphin, too many times I have seen anglers release undersize snook only to be eaten by a dolphin when put back in the water. Just look before you release the juveniles. Also, holding oversize snook on a Boga Grip too long will cause damage to the fish’s insides. Long battles with oversize snook put excess stress on the fish and can also prove fatal. Don’t release the fish until it is ready to swim and then let the fish swim away from your hands. She will tell you when she’s ready. The big females are what provide years of future snook fishing. Protect them. Good Luck, and remember to just have fun and be safe on the water.

Check out Capt. Andrew Medina on the web at or call him for charter information: (941)456-1540

28' Bertram FBSF 1971. Engines replaced ʻ91, Bottom paint April 05, This classic vessel is in very nice condition! Reduced to $27,900

30' Carver Sedan, 1993. Extremely well maintained boat with twin mercruisers. Asking $59,900

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

33" Cruisers 3372 Express 2002. Twin 320HP Mercruiser VD's. Beautiful boat, lift stored. Reduced to $139,500

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

43' Sea Ray 430 Convertible 1988. Twin 370HP diesel engines replaced in 2000. Boat has all the amenities of home! Reduced to $158,900

Water LIFE

September 2005

P a g e 11






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I have found that during the higher summer tides the Old Bayside Paradise Popper works awesome with live bait along the mangrove bushes for Redfish. Rig your Paradise Popper with an 18 inch 30 pound leader to a 1/4 ounce jig head. Hook on a Shrimp or Pinfish and simply cast to the edge of the bushes. Pop the Popper every 15-20 seconds. The popping and clacking noise resembles feeding action and will bring Redfish out to the edge of the bushes.

Old Baysideʼs Paradise Popper Extremes ... available at Fishinʼ Franks and at Laishley Marine

Water LIFE

Page 12

Pool Sharks of Lemon Bay Inc 3285 Placida Rd, Pelican Plaza Englewood Just got back from the Key's with a cooler full of Dolphin. These are two which the boys caught while fishing with Capt. Jeff Totten of Englewood off Cudjoe Key.

Please stop in and look over our fishinʼ scrapbook - Talk to Allen

(941) 698-9889

Maintenance • Repairs Heaters • Pumps • Chemicals Covers • Cleaners

Boat Buying Tips

Deep Seas or Skinny Water

The shape of the hull greatly impacts the "ride" and what areas you are able to access in your boat. Flat bottom boats allow access to "skinny" water, while v-hull perform better in deep water with waves. Pointed bow boats with flat bottoms seem to ride better than the square bow hulls because of less entry area into the water. Length also plays a large part of the ride; spanning more waves at a given time. A semi-V hull, in general, will have a better ride Ken Cook / Boats Unlimited and be dryer but could sacrifice floating, jump- 4809 Tamiami Trail ing up on plane, and deck space. Charlotte Harbor


Charlotte Countyʼs Complete Swimming Pool Supplys Pool Repair and Maintenance Store


Specializing in Heaters and Pumps

Located in the Punta Gorda Crossing Shopping Center Next to Publix

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Make Mine Mackerel MAGAZINE

By Don Cessna Water LIFE Englewood Our summer is almost over and it will soon be time for the fall migration of the gulf fish. The passage of hurricane Katrina has no-doubt effected the gulf but it’s still too soon to know exactly how. There has been a lot of talk about "The Dead Zone" which began around Venice and continued north up towards Tampa. The near shore bottom had been found to be barren of all life out to fifteen miles. Will hurricane Katrina have stirred this up and flushed it out? Could this be related to the dumping of phosphates in the gulf? It seems certain to me that some type of chemical pollution is to blame. For many years the state, counties and cities who find they have to deal with any hazardous chemical or biological item can always come to the conclusion to dump it in the gulf and are somehow always able to make the justification for doing it. So while this is happening offshore, what could a fisherman come up with for some fun in the nearshore waters? Near-shore in September means the macks will be back. Why not fish to the north or better yet south of the dead zone for some mackerel, cobia and some nice sized snook from the beach? The king mackerel will be moving to the winter grounds soon. When they get here fishing the spots around reefs and wrecks which hold bait is the best way to catch some of them. The Spanish mackerel have been here already and their numbers should increase. They like to be around the passes to snap up shrimp and bait fish riding the tide out to the gulf. Silver spoons or plugs will get you started. Rigged bally hoo with skirts are deadly for kings. When trolling, haul the lures or "hoos "as fast as possible as long as they are running true and are not just tumbling. Most people use mono leader for trolling plugs because the lures run better. Your tackle should be as light as possible, say 25-30 pound line for kings with a steel leader when bait fishing. Thirty pound steel is normally enough and about 30-inches is fine. If you use mono

September 2005

go with 40 or at the most 50-pound leader. Most king rigs for live or frozen bait have a large 7/0 hook and terminate with a 3/0 treble hook ‘stinger.’ The 7/0 hook holds the bait and the stinger is to the rear at the end of the length of whatever the bait is. You can make them up out of rigging wire or they can be purchased ready made. Buy a few then, when you find the one you like, make them up yourself. The same can be done for Spanish on a smaller scale. If you can fish the Spanish with 15 or 20 pound line and a mono leader of 30-pound you should have more success. Wire leaders of 30 pound and only 6 inches long work great. Overly strong tackle won't let the bait work as well and will reduce the feel for the hit and line too large is too visible to the fish. A favorite way to fish both Spanish and kings is a method of drifting. For Spanish a bobber such as a popping cork or a "bubble" is used. A bubble type bobber looks like a bubble only you can fill it with a desired amount of water to make it neutrally buoyant. For the kings substitute a larger bobber - a kids party balloon is perfect. For Spanish put the bobber up about three feet above a 1/0 or 2/0 hook and use your favorite bait on the hook. Shrimp, bait fish even cut bait is excellent for macks. For kings do the same, but use a rubber band to attach the balloon to the line about 25-30 feet above the bait A couple lines can be put out and different colors or sizes can be used to tell which rod is which. When letting out the balloons you can put them down behind the boats and idle upwind to the distance you want the lines out. Shut the motor off grab a sandwich and the beverage of your choice and start watching the baits. You can cast and retrieve the popping cork size rig for Spanish. If you like, you can do away with the bobber and free-line the bait. The great thing about saltwater fishing is that different fish are here throughout different times of the year. You may change the bait and the tactic for special migrations, but still there are always fish ready

Water LIFE

September 2005

Discontinued Ship始s Store

styles of

T Shirts

Fishing designs including snook, tarpon, redfish, trout, etc.

by artist Joe Suroviec

Short Sleeve $10 99 Long Sleeve $11 99 驶till they始re gone!

Page 13

Water LIFE

Page 14

September 2005

MAGAZINE For Fishing or Real Estate: Just Ask The Captain

JUST REDUCED $50,000! 20 Minutes to Gulf

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Two Side by Side Waterfront Lots in Englewood! Located on a freshwater canal in a great location close to beaches and shopping. Mls 488076 & 488086 Priced at $82,500 each.

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The best waterfront in Charlotte County! Seawalled and riprapped on a large deep water sailboat basin. Build a Keywest style home and have views of open harbor. Tarpon fishing, shrimping and crabbing right at your back door- it just doesn't get any better than this! Oversized tip lot, peaceful location, room for large dock. In community of beautiful homes. Priced to sell- MLS #481762 $709,900

Hurricane Theory

According to NOAA, the early August lull in Atlantic hurricane activity was due to a large dust cloud which came off Africa and hung over the mid-ocean tropics. Supposedly the settling dust kept the sun from warming the water and inhibited the upflow of heat which helps build hurricanes. Then in mid August the dust cloud broke up and Katrina formed. Moving over the previously undisturbed waters of the gulf which were exceptionally warm (90-plus degrees) Katrina became a monster storm. Shown above is the big map of storms which have impacted the US since the 1950s. The 2004 storms; Charlie, Ivan, Francis, Jean and 2005s storms; Dennis and Katrina came after this map was prepared.



Once in a lifetime opportunity – Situated on a protected open water estuary with deep water and direct quick access to the Gulf. Appximately 162 feet of waterfrontage with 180 degrees of waterview! Combine with the adjacent lot also available (MLS # 476415) for a total of appx. 262 feet of waterfront. Convenient location in Punta Gorda and in an area of beautiful homes. Each lot priced at $699,000 or make offer on both!


BRAND NEW HOME near golf courses, minutes from I 75. $234,900 MLS# 466847 Call Dennis of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at 1-877-564-6767 or (941)697-1523.

NEWLY CONSTRUCTED 3/2 home in the fast growing community of South Gulf Cove. Close to beaches, schools and shopping. $279,000. MLS# 476501 Call Ty Hartley of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at (941) 270-2353 or (941)698-1500

SEAWALLED, TIP LOT and no bridges to the Gulf. MLS# 487996 $418,500. Call The Betancourt/Stevens Team of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at (941)769-4006 or (941)662-0379


ENJOY THE FLORIDA LIFESTYLE at its best in this Gulf access home. Only one bridge to Charlotte Harbor.Pool area great for entertaining. $579,000 MLS# 470102. Call Kelly Parker or Mark Becton of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at (941)294-1039, (941)628-6894 or (941)697-1523

GREAT ROTONDA 3/2 HOME in Golfing community. Beautiful sunsets and gorgeous views. professionally landscaped. Room for a pool. $320,000 MLS# 468466 Call The Peerce Team of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at 1-866-620-3990 or (941)698-1500

OVERSIZES RESIDENTIAL LOT located in fast growing South Gulf Cove. MLS# 477885. $449,900. Please Call The Martin & Dunagan Team of Duffy's Realty Station Inc. at (941)662-0323 or (941)662-5763.

Water LIFE

September 2005

By Capt. Rob Moore Water LIFE Senior Guide September is the hottest month of the year for me. But to me it’s also a fantastic time for fishing. redfish are schooling on the flats and snook are schooled up around the deeper spots. What more could we ask for? Would some of the best tarpon fishing of the year be too much to ask for? Nope! September, without a doubt, offers some of the best tarpon action of the year. Some might disagree with me about that last statement, but when you can pull up and watch tarpon free jumping as they feed, that is hard to beat. Usually starting in late August, and lasting until the first cold front in October, ladyfish will school up and feed on the thousands of schools of bait fry throughout Charlotte Harbor. Do you remember running through Charlotte Harbor and seeing fish bust on the surface this time of year? More than likely it’s ladyfish. But did you know more likely than not there are several larger critters lurking beneath the unsuspecting feeding ladyfish? How will you know? Simply pull up to some feeding fish and

Late Season Tarpoon Action

watch. If tarpon are there, they will show themselves. When a tarpon feeds on an 8-14 inch ladyfish, it won’t be delicate. The explosion will be very noticeable. Over the years I have found several ways and techniques to approach this opportunity. First, you must match the bait. I will usually have a smaller little spinning rod and reel on board and catch a few ladyfish. A small gold or silver spoon is hard to beat, but most smaller plugs will do. I will cast into feeding ladyfish and reel the plug several feet and then let it sink. Usually when your plug begins to sink is the time when you will get hit by the ladyfish. Set the hook hard and keep

your rod low near to the water. The ladyfish will begin to jump and try to throw the hook. Keeping your rod low will help keep the ladyfish from jumping. Don’t try to finesse the catch. Get the bait in the boat as soon as possible before they throw the hook. Sometimes catching a half dozen ladyfish to fish with will be the hardest part of the day. I then look for where the tarpon are feeding on the ladyfish. You will either see them completely free jumping as they feed or spot a huge boil in the water. Sometimes in between feeds the tarpon will simply roll. I will then take the ladyfish and break the fishes back by simply touching the head to the tail. You’re not trying to kill the ladyfish,

just wound it, making it an easier target for the tarpon. With an 8/0 or 9/0 hook, simply place the hook into her mouth and run it through the top of his mouth. Cast the ladyfish into the water and let it drift about 100 feet behind the boat. Try to drift your bait through feeding ladyfish. You may not see the tarpon but they will be hanging out below. When the tarpon does hit open your bail and count to 10 before you close the bail and set the hook. With bait this large, it takes a moment for them to get it into their mouth. Using smaller bait like whitebait or pinfish can be very frustrating. Along with the ladyfish, 90percent of the time there will be sailcats with them. Your trip then

Cape Coral Sept 6 thru 13

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Page 15


becomes a catch and release cat fish trip. I have found one artificial bait that works very well on tarpon. The Bomber Magnum Long A in the Chartreuse back and white belly color is really hard to beat. Cast into the feeding ladyfish and simply retrieve the bait in a medium to fast speed. The only draw back to this plug is you will lose more fish using the double treble hook bait when they jump. The key to getting multiple hook ups is stealth. Do not run your outboard motor around the feeding ladyfish. This will kill the feed and the tarpon will disappear as well. Use a trolling motor to get yourself into position. If your boat is not equipped with a trolling motor then use the tide or wind to drift into the action. The next time you see feeding fish on the surface in September, stop and take a look. You might be missing some great action waiting to happen just below the surface.

You can reach Capt. Robert Moore for fishing information or to book a charter fishing trip at (941) 637-5710 or (941) 628-

Naples (7 day Class) Sept 12 thru 22

Cape Coral Oct 3 thru Oct 13

Are you against the $679 Dredging Tax?

sign the petition! call Ed Hatten 624-0350

A Tale of Two Tournaments Page 16

Water LIFE

September 2005


Above: The Warrior Tournament at Laishley park was casual and laid back. Fish were weighed in, in a 5-gallon bucket and , some say fittingly for August 13, the power for the scale came from a gasoline powered generator.

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Editor Tournaments are getting to be like bake sales or car washes. It seems like every event has a good cause and give anglers an excuse to go fishing. Last month we had another first. Two benefit tournaments on the same day. One a benefit for the Charlotte high school Warriors, the other a fund raiser for the Port Charlotte high school Pirates. Locally, most tournaments have been drawing 80 to 100 boats so it was no surprise to see the Warrior tournament draw 30 boats and the Pirate event draw 62. “It's kind of fitting that this is the

anniversary of hurricane Charley,” (Aug 13) Warrior weighmaster Fishin’ Frank said as he pulled the cord on the generator they were using to power the weigh in scale at Laishley Park. On the other side of the bridge, Pirate weighmaster Jerry Cleffi noted “Stuff is still breaking,” as he held up a submersible pump that quit working. Neither knew of the other’s comment. If there was a high end and its down home counterpart then the Pirates with a new boat and motor as first prize were the high end fishermen and the Warriors with a $1,000 first place payout were the down home boys.

“We’re just making due with what we have,” Frank said as he handed a 5-gallon pail down to one of the boats in the weigh in line. “Just put your fish in here,” Frank said. The bucket on Frank’s side of the bridge served as the counterpart to the formal weigh in basket the Pirates used at Harpoon Harrys. And while the crowd hung around the seawall at the still not open marina and ate under a tent at Laishley Park, at Harpoon Harry’s in Fishermen’s Village, the Pirates were gathered and Cleffi joked about ‘air-conditioned sky boxes’ as some spectators took refuge from the heat inside, behind the upstairs windows of the Captain’s Table restaurant.

323 MARLIN DRIVE - Cute little 2BR/1.5BA salt-waterfront home located in Charlotte Park with a concrete seawall and covered boathouse. Nice neighborhood with well maintained homes; concrete curbing to enhance landscaping; large Florida room overlooking water. $349,900

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

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

413 VALLETTA CT. - 3/2/2 sailboat home on a quiet cul-de-sac with an extra wide canal view in Burnt Store Isles. With tile throughout and almost all new appliances, roof, and kitchen countertop, this home is like new and ready to move in! REDUCED TO: $599,000

111 DANFORTH - 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2-story home with pool situated on 2 salt waterfront lots just around the corner from Charlotte Harbor with detached RV or toy garage. Great investment potential on this hurricane damaged home. $795,000

Two events with two distinct fields of anglers fishing on one harbor brought the ‘who gets there first’ perspective into play. With red tide shutting off the majority of the upper portion of the Pine Island Sound that day, anglers all vied for the best fishing holes up in the harbor. “We decided, screw that first light stuff,” Frank said, noting that he let the Warrior field loose at 5 a.m instead of 6 and had them come back an hour early. “I got here early to start checking in our boats,” Cleffi said, “and those guys (the Warriors) had already taken off.” But for all the dissimilarities the weather was the same for all involved. Hot, hot

Water LIFE

September 2005

In the Pirate event there was a new boat for first prize and the anglers were serious about winning, in spite of the red toenail polish one man wore.

hot and temperatures hovered in the high 90s. By the time anglers started back in there were dead fish at the scales on both sides of the bridge. Cleffi opened his scale at noon and by 11:30 there were already three boats lined up ready to weigh in. “We caught our fish early and we wanted to make sure we weighed them in alive,” J.R. Witt said from under a big umbrella, baby sitting his two hefty reds like a mother hen. After the weigh-in the team of Witt, Terry Brantly and Darrel Carter then waited until four p.m. to find out if their efforts would be worthwhile. The team that would win in the Pirate event would walk away

with a big prize, a brand new Hewes flats boat and Yamaha motor donated by Ingman Marine. But the wait for Witt, Carter and Brantley was not without incident. "At least the excitement made the time go by." The incident Witt was talking about was one in which, according to the police report, Joe Wittkowski tried to stuff a 20 foot boat into a dockside space that was only, according to Brantley, “15 feet long.” What made the accident interesting to spectators on the dock was that the offending boat was decked out with U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary badges, stickers and ring buoys. “He plowed right into our boat and broke my pushpole,” McKenzie said,

2240 BAYVIEW RD - Sail boater's paradise !! 2 mins. to Harbor - deep sailboat draft - beautiful, large 3 BR/2 BA home in perfect condition & shows like the day it was built - Extremely well-maintained - will not last long ! Master bath jet tub & guest BR bidet - sold 'AS IS' $735,000. MLS# 475632

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Page 17


adding that the fellow was nice enough. “He took his wallet right out and offered to pay for the damage, but when I told him it was a $900 carbon-fibre-50 pole, he put his wallet away and gave me his insurance card.” In the end, 41 of the 62 boats entered in the Pirate Redfish Tournament weighed in fish, with 14 fish weighing in at over 7 pounds. The biggest two fish tipping the scale at 8.15 and 7.80, both boated by Witt’s team. Team McKee had the dubious honor of weighing in the smallest fish a 2.35 pounder and the boys from Banks Engineering took home the Calcutta purse with a 10 spot redfish. Back at Laishley Park the Warriors

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245 LIDO DR. - House on property is scheduled for demolition - 80' waterfront lot with quick sailboat access to Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf of Mexico - Owner is licensed FL realtor. $610,000. MLS# 484378

made a good showing with 19 of 30 teams weighing in fish. The warrior winner was team Allstar Disposal weighing in two fish at 5.89 and 6.25 pounds for a 12.14 pound total. Second place was Team Partners Construction with a weight of 11.38-pounds. Third place was Team Little D's with a weight of 9.52-pounds The event raised approximately $10,000 for the Pop Warner youth organization to help rebuild from the destruction of Hurricane Charlie. The largest fish weighed in was 6.25 and the smallest was 2.24-pounds. Everyone ate and drank and tried to stay cool. In the end the thing they all had in common was they went home smiling.

2849 DON QUIXOTE DR. - Primary features of this home are many: Immediate water access to Ponce de Leon inlet puts you just a few minutes from Charlotte Harbor. Open floor plan w/a pocket sliding glass wall opens the living room to the huge lanai & pool area. Rear of the home is the desired Southern exposure. Thanks to Charley, there's a brand new barrel tile metal roof. The new pool cage is expected to be installed by August. $654,000 MLS# 480318

Page 18

Water LIFE



September 2005

with Capt. Ron Blago

By Capt Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Senior Staff Sure has been a rough summer and I for one will be glad to see it go. Hurricanes, heavy rains, hot weather, red tide and dead zones are just a few of the problems we have had to overcome this summer. Gulf temperatures, for the first time in my memory , have been steadily over 90 degrees. On the economic front business has been lousy, not only for the guides but also for the local bait and tackle shops. Now would be a good time to buy that new rod and reel you want. Your business will be greatly appreciated. Even with all the rough conditions, fishing is not that bad. Most of the real bad red tide has stayed north of Venice and for those who go past 20 miles offshore are getting pretty good catches of grouper and snapper. Remember to check for the latest Federal Regs on the recreational closed season for grouper. Inshore fishing has been pretty good throughout the area. It has been a good year for redfish so far with the best yet to come. I personally have been doing very well in Lemon Bay with a gold metal flake Cotte jig. Snook season opens Sept 1. Until the water cools down a bit, it will be the night time fishermen who will have the best shot at getting a big snook . If you haven't done any night fishing before head down to the Tom Adams fishing pier, the Placida Trestle or the El

Jeff Caulkins with a morning redfish

Jobean pier after dark and see how the locals get the job done. A word of caution; once you catch a big snook at night this type of fishing can become very addictive. Plenty of trout around with pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel showing up ; a sure sign of cooler weather. September is a great month in the Charlotte Harbor area. The fishing is pretty good and there are not to many other folks on the water. Get out there and do some fishing before the crowds show up. The Kid's Fishing Camp went off with out a hitch. We got to take a dozen boys and girls fishing around the Englewood area for the entire week without being rained out. All the kids had a great time, especially when they got to go out on Lemon Bay. They all caught a lot of fish. I would like to give a special thanks to the volunteers who helped me out this year. Ron Woods and his friend Foster Goshorn who came down from North Port and donated their boats and time to take some the kids fishing. To Fred Edwing of the Englewood Fishing Club and a Fishing College graduate for donating his brand new boat and his skill as a master angler to teach these kids how to catch fish - Thank you for being a hero to these kids. Capt. Ron Blago can be reached for fishing information or to book a charter fishing trip at (941) 474-3474

MONOFILAMENT LINE DISPOSAL CONTAINERS The Charlotte County Coastal Conservation Association has installed monofilament line disposal containers at all the boat ramps in the Charlotte County area. Anglers are urged to throw all their used line into these containers and please don`t throw trash into them. CCA also urges anglers to remove any old line from mangroves and dispose of this also. This line will be picked up at two week intervals by volunteers and brought to the proper recycling facility.

1 7 2 6 S t e a d l y Av e Punta Gorda

Shop 941- 575-8914 Home 235-2243

September 2005

Lowe Benefit Redfish Rodeo

S t aff R eport “It was obvious, last night that my brother Steve has a lot of friends in this community,” Roger Lowe said of the Captain’s Meeting, raffle and auction that raised ‘a significant amount of money’ for Steve’s medical bills. There was a hunting trip auctioned off for $8,000, a $100 Falcon rod that went for $500, $300 for a basket full of ‘ladies cosmetic stuff’ and a lot more. “Everyone just seemed to want to help and the value of the items didn’t really matter that much,” Roger said. Steve Lowe is a long time Charlotte Pop Warner League coach who was diagnosed with lung cancer and whose family searched for a medical treatment that might help him. His insurance would not cover the treatment he is currently receiving in Mississippi, but Steve says that his pain has subsided 100- percent and that he feels much better. When treatment is unconventional or experimental it is not covered by insurance. “Steve never smoked a day in his life,” Roger added. Lowe had coached four undefeated seasons in this city taken his kids to the regional finals three times, winning the national championship in 2003. “The doctors he is now seeing think they can help him,” Roger said adding that in another six to eight weeks Steve will be able to come home. “It’s unbelievable to me how this community turned out to help Steve and our family would like to thank each and every person in this community for helping to save his life. There are people who have helped tremendously and we don’t even know who they are. I just want to thank everyone,” Roger said.

Bob & Johanne Wallace

Water LIFE

Page 19


The tournament drew 89 boats and the fishing was good. Forty six of the teams weighed in fish , the heaviest of which was 7.75 pounds, backed up by a 7.45 pound fish that was good enough for a first place slot for the Person’s Realty team of Jason McCord, Bobby Jones and Matt Burson. Anglers, a significant number of them, reported success fishing with pinfish as bait. “Go figure, last week peeler crabs and shrimp were what worked, this week it was pinfish,” angler Jimmy Frye said. There were a lot of guys who usually fish together who split up for this event so they could take other people along. “There were a lot of guys on the water today who don’t usually fish a lot,” weighmaster Jerry Cleffi, who donated his time and equipment said. It was hot on the dock and hotter out on the harbor. There were more than the average number of stressed fish brought in. Also of interest in the event was the emergence of Kids Cup winner Drew Rossi, now wearing the fully sponsored colors of the Charlotte Animal Hospital. Rossi brought in two fish weighing just under eight pounds. “You have to start somewhere,” a still smiling Rossi said.

Right: Kids Cup Winner Drew Rossi now has his own sponsored team. Far Right. Jason McCord with the biggest fish .

941-625-4240 888-391-4240


3408 Peace River Dr.Rarely available riverfront lot with absolutely stunning view and the most glorious sunrises imaginable! Oversized (approximately 80' x 170') and lushly landscaped. On one of the very nicest streets in Harbour Heights where most of the properties are oversized. Concrete seawall, dock, and 8,000-pound boatlift already in place. Deep water right at the dock and sailboat access is only limited by the US41 and I75 bridges - both 45'. No deed restrictions and no scrub jays. [Photo was not enhanced - this is a real sunrise picture.] MLS# 471217 Offered at $700,000

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Area Real Estate Trends

Page 20

Water LIFE

Provided by Dave & Marlene Hofer, RE/MAX Harbor Realty, 1133 Bal Harbor Boulevard, Punta Gorda

Recent area news items:

1. Convinced that the court system will eventually need an appellate court in Punta Gorda, Charlotte County commissioners voted unanimously to restore the court house in Punta Gorda. This has been an ongoing controversy between residents who actually believe that there is architectural merit to this relic and those naive voters who are clinging to the dream that $6Million+ of taxpayer's money might be better spent elsewhere. Assuming that they actually did some research before reaching that conclusion, this may well be a positive solution 2. Proposed tax bills were mailed last week to property owners. Coincidentally, Punta Gorda's CRA complained about the tax base dropping in it's revitalization area this year impairing its budget capabilities. So, rather than addressing the shortcomings of our County Assessor's valuation techniques, it voted to allocate all of its available resources to the completion of Laishley Park improvements. The glaring error with declining property valuations is that the State and County both have declared a windfall to property owners that suffered hurricane damage. They ignored the fact that land values have increased dramatically SINCE the hurricane and whatever damage they sustained was reimbursed by insurance coverage. As a result, after adding in insurance benefits, these properties have increased substantially during the past year... why shouldn't their taxes go UP not DOWN? We are in woeful need of a fairer property tax valuation system! 3. Charlotte County will be building a new $8.4 Million emergency building to house fire, EMS some of the Sheriff's administrative staff. I'm sure it was just an oversight, but we still haven't seen any effort to create a shelter for residents. 4. The new Punta Gorda Civic Center on Shreve Street is scheduled to open September 22. 5. Stock Development Co. of Naples (the lead developer at Vivante, our

newest Punta Gorda Isles resort style condominium community) has purchased a 300 acre site just south of South Gulf Cove. 6. Mega builder, Lennar Homes, has received preliminary go ahead to rezone 130 acres on the north end of South Gulf Cove for condominium development. Since most of that site was of questionable single family development quality, they were able to maintain the same density level (478 units) by building vertically and setting aside more land area for natural conservation... Punta Gorda height restriction proponents, take note! 7. Charlotte County's temporary auditorium (tentarium) is scheduled to open October 1. 8. Residents have been howling about Punta Gorda Public Works purchasing a 166 acre tract for $5 million based on an independent appraisal. Current owner bought the property just last year for a fraction of that price. Something doesn't fit here... maybe the County Appraiser and this independent appraiser should get their heads together and get some consistency between our tax base and land acquisition issues. (revisit item 2, above). 9. Sonoma Preserve, a 999 unit planned unit development is moving forward next to Lake Suzy Estates in DeSoto County. Di d y o u kno w?: The recently enforced ban on easement intrusion by roof overhangs and a/c pads is in danger of being repealed. Seems that the City of Punta Gorda is receiving an overwhelming number of variation requests based on the hundreds of exceptions that have been allowed to be created over the 40 year life of this ordinance. Still no relief from the new requirement limiting driveways to 16' and built of concrete - probably the only city in Florida with those requirements - are we ahead of the curve?Sales Statistics: Median home prices in North Port held steady at $230K, Port Charlotte dropped from $200 to $185K and Deep Creek moved up from $269 to $275K. Year to

Serving Lunch & Dinner

September 2005


Kayaking Lettuce Lake

By Davi d Al l en Water LIFE Kayaking Lettuce Lake is a short, wide branch of the Peace River, which lies about one half mile east of the main flow. The boat ramp is about 1 mile south of Hwy. 761, off north Kings Highway, and almost directly opposite the Riverside RV Campgrounds. There are no restroom facilities on the site, but the ramp is in good shape and there is a small, sandy Under a low branch, single file on the Lettuce Lake trip beach that is ideal for launching kayaks. The parking is adeperatures we expected later in the day. The quate. adjacent ramp was busy with fishermen Water flows into Lettuce Lake from the launching their boats; heading out for a day north, through a branch off the Peace on the Peace River or the channels around River, and re-enters the Peace River two it. We headed north, and after about 100 miles south, opposite the Nav-A-Gator yards, entered the narrow, overgrown stream Ramp. It’s a nice paddle north from through the mangroves and brush. Lettuce Lake, through the narrow, twisty We lined up single file to get under channel and back into the Peace River. Or some branches, and over some of the you can paddle south from Lettuce Lake to sunken logs. Through the worst sections, check out the rookery at nesting season, or we had to move our kayaks forward by head even further east to the old, abandoned hand, pulling on the branches around us. Liverpool phosphate docks. Either route is Being able to do the ‘Limbo’ under some of scenic and pleasant to paddle on a bright, the lowest branches, puts you way ahead of sunny day. the game. It was slow going and there was Last week, we decided to take the narlittle breeze to cool us off. row, shallow north channel through the Gradually, we worked our way through overgrown branches and vines. This route the worst of the tangle and came to the had been completely closed by hurricane open lead that runs into the Peace River, Charley, with large and small trees and about 2 miles north of the Riverside RV many branches blown down across the Campgrounds. We headed across the river stream. However, Bill Mango, Ted to a sandy island on the west bank where Sliwinski, Charlie Halasz and other club we could stop for a drink and a snack. members spent many hours with chainsaws There was little boat traffic on the Peace and handsaws cleaning out the fallen trees River just a quiet Sunday morning on a and branches earlier. The channel is now beautiful stretch of the river. We were on reasonably clear and passable, although the the water about two hours and covered combination of wind and high water that about seven miles. Lettuce Lake is a good accompanies most of our summer storms starting point for many interesting paddles brings new branches and trees down to on the lower Peace River. block the waterway. Some spots still require a little bit of acrobatic skill to The Port Charlotte Kayakers meet each maneuver a kayak through the new growth Wednesday evening at 5:30 PM, at Port and fallen branches. Charlotte Beach Park at the southwest end We left the beach at Lettuce Lake at of Harbor Blvd. All kayakers are welcome. 8:30 a.m. determined to beat the high tem-

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September 2005

Water LIFE

Page 21


Should Pirate Harbor Have Improved Access to the Open Water?

By Capt. Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Staff Pirate Harbor is a fast growing, up scale communities that has blossomed on the east side of Charlotte Harbor, off of Burnt Store Road. I know a few people who have sold their homes on Punta Gorda Isles so they could build a brand new home in Pirate Harbor. The location is ideal. Still in Charlotte County, but only a stones throw from the Lee County line. The community has all the amenities for an upscale lifestyle, while still having a rural feel to the area. With the likelihood of Burnt Store Road being widened in the near future, its most likely that there will be high growth in the area. Of course the real draw for a lot of the people is the great fishing on the east wall of the harbor. Now when a guy or gal spends a million dollars plus on a properly zoned and permitted waterfront home with a legal dock they have certain expectations about taking their boat from their dock to the open waters of the harbor. Right now there is a channel that leads to open water but like the surrounding area it's a little too shallow for some people’s taste so some of the residents of Pirate Harbor have asked to have the channel dredged a little deeper. Mention the word ‘dredging’ and its like opening the graveyard on Halloween. The ghosts of past dredging projects comes flying out. People start talking about the history of dredge and fill in Florida, General Development Corporation, Stump Pass and every other project that occurred in the County over the last 50 years. To the environmental community, dredging is as unthinkable as harpooning manatees. Unfortunately for the people of Pirate Harbor, their channel runs through the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve which is guarded by the nice folk of the Department of Environmental Protection ; the same people who issued all those permits to the phosphate mines up on the Peace River. It seems they have some serious concerns about moving a few feet of sand for the Pirate Harbor channel. One of the concerns mentioned is the increased amount of prop scaring in the surrounding area. Is prop scarring a good thing ? No. Is it a big problem in Charlotte Harbor? In my opinion, also No. Mainly because the total amount of seagrass in Charlotte Harbor has been increasing since the 70's. Prop scaring occurs mostly in shallow water when too big a boat tries to go over too little water. We have all


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done it. You want to get over to that deep hole by the mangroves so you trim up the motor and go like hell. A few hundred boats over a few years and you pretty well have a channel. One of the smartest thing I ever heard at a meeting was a guy who said, "if you want people to do the right thing, you have to make it easy for them." If you want to cut down on prop scarring then provide people with a deep water, well marked channels like the one proposed for Pirate Harbor. These dredging problems are only going to become more common in the future. Lets face it, Charlotte County, like the rest of the world, is growing in population, in the number of houses and the number of boats. The new buss phrase in government is ‘you can't stop growth, but you can manage it’. It’s time to start planning for the future. We have to start managing the water with an eye towards future growth. If the county is going to approved future waterfront communities, they will have to consider the issue of open water access. Which means they will have to have more input in Aquatic Preserve management plans. Now is the time to start a county wide dredging plan. We can't hide from the future any more. Capt. Ron can be reached at 474-3474 for comments on this column or to book a guided fishing trip.


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Page 22

September 2005



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224 Colony Point Rd - Great waterfront home on a fabulous lot in a very desirable part of PGI, within walking distance of historic Ponce De Leon Park. This 2/2/2 is Florida living at its finest. With only minutes to the harbor, this deal will not last long. Call today for more details. $649,000. MLS# 472799

2153 Palm Tree Dr. - Gorgeous Lot in Punta Gorda Isles! Awesome wide open view of Charlotte Harbor! Come build your dream home!!! $1,100,000. MLS# 456077

1316 Monte Carlo Three bedroom, 3.5 Bath waterfront home with a contemporary flair. Completely refurbishedfreshly painted, new carpet, all new appliances, new landscape curbing. Pool cage is under contract and is included in the price of the home. $629,000 MLS# 469584

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Improvised Livewell September 2005

By Fi shi n’ Frank Water LIFE Senior Guide Catch and release tournaments held in the summer can be deadly on the fish. First, hot water does not hold oxygen the way cold water will. It is very hard to get enough dissolved oxygen into the water to keep a fish alive. When you move your boat even just a few yards there can be small ‘dead-zone’ places where too much heat and algae are stagnant from little or no tide movement, any or all of which can remove the oxygen and render the water deadly. These dead zones can be a few feet to miles long as seen in the gulf. The basic thing is, if you move the boat you need to stabilize your fish’s environment. It is almost easy, but like anything, there are tricks to keep the water cool to the touch. Cool, NOT COLD since more than a 5 or 10 degree change will kill the fish for sure. The best way to chill the water is by using frozen bottles of water or a refreezable ice pack. A last resort is plain ice cubes. Ice cubes can lower the salt content of the water – change to much of anything in the water to quickly and your fish will die. Now here we go. You have caught two 11 pound 26 and 7/8 inch redfish and it is hot. First thing, place him in the live well of your boat in recirculating water. The fish has just been thru one heck of a fight and now you are scaring the crap out of it by putting it in your live well. Give it about five minutes or so to, lets say, ‘get it all out of his system.’ Now it is time to head in. Fill an ice chest about 2/3rds full of water from where you caught the fish. The

Water LIFE

cold packs should be in the ice chest. Now add some Rejuvenate brand powder. Pour some in the cap and sprinkle it in the water. Mix well as you do this. The water should be a light shade of green, not dark. The bottle has directions on the label, but you won't read it anyway, so just make it a light green. Keep the water temperature closely monitored. Do not let it get too cold. Start the air pump or the water pump and keep lots of circulation. Make sure the pump is secure in a corner and will not let loose and beat up the fish. Remove the ice packs. You do not want them to beat against the fish on the ride home. Always put the ice chests far to the back of the boat as possible to keep the banging up and down to a minimum.

Fishin Report

Hot weather that has to be the understatement of the year. I am sure you know that the T.V. weather temperatures are taken in the shade and it is at least 13 degrees hotter than that in the sun. The heat index was 103 many times in the last month so that makes it 116 degrees in the sunshine. Well that will not hold true for September so take heart. I am going to call that and go on record saying that there will be no more major hurricanes in the gulf coast this year (after Katrina) maybe a small Cat 1storm, but no more home wreckers, but I still don’t want to be on the Atlantic side. Somewhere on the Atlantic sea board they may still get a major hurricane. Big red fish have been running in schools around Gasparilla sound and mov-

ing as far in as Cape Haze. Thirty inches or more are what the guides call bull reds. Big shrimp, cut lady fish chunks, or pieces of blue crabs have been the baits of choice. The big ‘She Snook’ have been moving up the harbor. There are lots of small bucks with them trying for one last spawn. Late night, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. have been the most productive times to fish. The harbor has a lot of glass minnows and the snook are sucking them in by the thousands. Find the glass minnows and the snook won't be far away. Small lures, 3-inches or less work well on the fish eating small baits. Trout, our big winter time catch fish, are not as plentiful now as during the cold months, but their average size is much larger. Twenty-inch trout are not uncommon along the outer bar of the west side or north of Pirate Harbor on the flats right now. Keep in mind, you are allowed 4 trout per day, 15 to 20 inches only, one of the four can be over 20 inches. With most of the trout being 20 or more inches, it is hard to find that second keeper right now, but that is not the worst problem to have. To close I’d like to remind several ‘special people who no-doubt know who they are, to try and remember when fishing tournaments, especially charity events where children are present, act with some class, try to set a good example for the kids. This is not the place for fighting, cursing, and showing your ass. Tournaments are stressful and expensive, but most of all they should be fun. Everyone slips up every

ScuttleButt Sometimes Unsubstanciated ... but often true!

Postmourtm - A family friend of the late Charlotte County Sea Grant Agent Rich Novak has told us that Novak had been prescribed and was taking a regular dose of the now banned pain killer Vioxx. Novak suffered a fatal heart attack while tuna fishing off the North Carolina coast. Vioxx was pulled off the market for contributing to heart attacks some time after Novakʼs death. Unfortunately Novakʼs body was cremated before that information became public.

Phosphate and Red Tide - Does anyone remember last year, before Charley when the state decided to reduce the size of the Piney Point gypsum stack at Tampa Bay by loading phosphate waste on barges and taking it out in the gulf where it was simply dumped? Do you remember the phosphate dumped in Bishop Harbor? Could

there be any relationship between those actions and this yearʼs incredibly large and long lasting red tide event? Many have long speculated that red tide is growing larger because of fertilizer run off and phosphate is the main ingrediant in fertilizer. Hummmm.....

The Sun Sinks Even Lower on Our Horizon We were nice, we even thanked the Charlotte Sun last month for their Kids Cup coverage. Now, in the wake of their anti boating, anti fishing anti development stance we are hearing that they also intentionally refused to connect our name with our Kids Cup event and that they even went so far as to crop us out of photos they used and changed stories written by their staff that attributed the event to our publication. Why canʼt we all get along?

Catty Tails One of the merchants at Fishermenʼs Village has set up her own

Page 23


cat farm and the Village is slowly being cleared of cats with furry kittys being relocated to a new home. Thatʼs the good news, on the dim side, with so many restaurants and dumpsters at the village we predict that rats could now mount their own infestation.

Jaws Breaker A new battery operated personal electronic device, which has been shown to literally scatter gathering sharks will soon be on the market.

The Quest for Resorts ForeLands, the development on the north side of the Peace River where the old Peppins restaurant used to be has changed hands and is now a Resort Quest property to be called Harbor Pointe.

Dirt Cheap? We donʼt think so. Fill dirt is going up past $3.50 a cubic yard due to a shortage of close pits and ever increasing fuel costs.

An Igloo cooler and a $30 battery operated pump is all you need to make a working recirculating livewell. Use frozen water bottles to cool the water before you put the fish in.

now and then, but it can be embarrassing for your friends and family when it happens. We would all like to win, but before you yell find out if there is anything to yell about. Then if you're still of the mind to be stupid, do it privately. Good luck to all of us.

Frank can be reached at Fishin’ Franks Bait and Tackle in Port Charlotte at

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Page 24

Water LIFE

Full Moon Snapper Blitz

September 2005


By Aaron S utcl i ffe Water LIFE Offshore I had been itching to go on a noholds-barred, cooler-filling mission with the possibility of catching new, exotic species. My best friend and charter captain Travis Ormond had been feeling the same - a need for adventure on the high seas. Our plan called for fishing the night away at a productive spot 75 miles out and continuing the next day even deeper for a blue water trolling expedition. Captain Ormond's vessel is a very seaworthy and dependable 31 foot center console with a single diesel that is very well maintained. Her name is Pelagic and we trust her with our lives. The preparation for this excursion was extensive and included the acquisition of a satellite phone, a six man inflatable life raft, and last but not least, a Kristal 651 deep-drop rig with 130 pound spectra and a slew of rigs in many different sizes. We departed from Stump Pass Marina, and trecked offshore for three and a half hours to our destination. The seas on the way out were a delightful zero feet. Upon arrival the Gulf was mill pond smooth, with the sun setting behind clouds, and the moon already visible with no cloud cover. We anchored well up from the wreck and found minimal current. Soon a trail of Capt. Marks sardine chum was flowing behind the transom and I supplemented the chum bag with scoops of pulverized pilchards and blue crabs – all good stuff that sinks fast. My first bait to the bottom was a sardine chunk on my sea line 4/0, and was immediately gobbled, which led to a solid hookup. The fish dug and pulled line against my hammered drag. One of the guests on the trip remarked that I was an ‘oxen-like creature’ and that he would have plenty of entertainment merely watching me winch fish from 180 feet below. I took it as a compliment. The fish now showed itself to be an almaco jack, cousin to the greater amberjack, and a keeper to boot. By this time everyone had settled into dropping baits to the bottom, and was


rewarded with vermillion snapper that were simply humongous. When you are catching vermillions that are over 20 inches long and weigh a couple of pounds it's easy to use words like ‘humongous’. Several mangrove snapper made it into the box, and several fish worked us into the structure and broke off. All aboard were using relatively light tackle, ranging from baitrunner 6500s with 20-pound mono, to Trinidad 12s with 15-pound braid. Two hours into the fishing, the moon was directly overhead and the bite was hot! No longer sending baits to the bottom, we were now free-lining jumbo hand picks and sardines chunks on 20-pound spinning gear. A 3/8 or 1/2 ounce jig head tied straight to twenty pound mono simplified our setup. Scoops of crushed crab and pilchard mixture made their way over board. Jig and shrimp would free-fall 40 or 50 feet off the stern and quickly be inhaled by jumbo mangroves which once aboard would regurgitate the bait and chum. You might think this would result in a huge mess with the action fast and furious and multiple hookups coming aboard simultaneously but one thing saved us. The cooler was open right in the middle of the stern area, and every time a 5 or 6 pound mango would come aboard it would sail directly into the open box. Unhooking them was easy, fish in the box we’d put on a fresh bait and send it out to catch another. It was somewhere in the middle of all this happening that Travis hooked a fish that was obviously of a different caliber. It squalled several yards off his spinner and was grudgingly coaxed to the surface as he put maximum pressure on it to keep it clear of any ‘cuda that might want to steal it. In the clear water I could see it as it neared the surface. I set my rod in a holder to assist with the landing. As it surfaced I placed my hands on the biggest flag yellowtail I had ever seen, and Travis had ever caught! continued on facing page

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Water LIFE

Offshore Report

September 2005

Capt Travis Ormond with his record-breaking-size yellowtail

Continued from page 24

As he pulled out the Boga Grip I had picked my spinner up and was freelining my bait. The announcement ‘8-pounds!’ was made just as my shrimp was inhaled and I made a solid hook set. My fish faltered for a moment, and upon realizing I was cranking it towards the surface it dug its head and ripped 30 pound braid off my Daiwa BG90 like a snapper on steroids. I played it towards the surface with an urgency necessitated by the presence of a large barracuda. Shortly thereafter another massive yellowtail surfaced and made its way into the cooler. My fish was one pound smaller... yet I was still stoked by my fish! The snapper bite continued as we neared our four person recreational limit. One guest was napping and the other sent a whole sardine to the bottom on a 6/0 Penn. It was quickly devoured and he was on with the only gag of the trip, an 8 or 9 pounder. I threatened to bust out the Kristal rig and try to power up something really big. The result was myself rigging it with a four hundred pound mono leader with 14/0 circle hook and a live mang’ for bait. The bait received some ‘doctoring’ in the form of several slices near his tail and then it was on its way down. I have to describe this rig to you: the reel has a titanium spool holding a thousand yards of 130-pound spectra. It was hard wired directly to the boat’s battery with the recommended eight gauge wire. The reel itself is a lever drag that has a thousand pounds of pull. It was coupled to a bent-butt rod with AFTCO rollers and swivel tip. It is a serious piece of machinery. It takes an ‘oxen-like creature’ like me two hands just to pull it out of the rocket launcher and place it in the gunnel rod holder. I set the drag by pulling on the line with two gloved hands, and was satisfied that I could not pull any off the spool. Then I sent my bait deep. It didn't take

long. The rod's short, beefy tip bounced once and began a slow descent towards the surface of the water. I hit the toggle switch and was elated to find out I was gaining line! I estimate that the fish had been dragged 30 or 40 feet from the bottom when the dynamics of the fight changed. When I say ‘changed’ I mean to say it stripped spectra off like a reef donkey on light tackle! I was still on the toggle switch and the motor hummed loudly as the fish slowed. It was now a battle of inches. I got three it took eight. I palmed the wide titanium spool and the rod made unhealthy sounds. The thick glassed gunnel of the Pelagic creaked, the Kristal sounded like the motor of a boat lift straining and as this was happening, the stern of the Pelagic swung north as the line crossed underneath the hull. No line was coming or going at this point. I tried to adjust the drag to a heavier setting as the boat came almost horizontal to the current. It was at this point that the leviathan found structure. The rod snapped straight with a loud "thung!" as something gave. I flipped the switch and shortly I was staring at a 580 pound Spro heavy duty swivel with less than a foot of chafed 400lb mono. My leader was twenty feet long. At least I know I can count on my crimps holding next time. Capt. Ormond and I looked over our trophy yellowtails, the weather started to turn bad and we headed east. When we got home I pulled out my IGFA record book and calmly let Travis know that the 20pound line class record for yellowtail is 7pounds, 4-ounces. Then told him that tomorrow I was going to spool our two favorite snapper sticks with 20-pound IGFA Ande. After all, now we know where they live!

Aaron Sutcliffe is first mate on Capt. Travis Ormond’s boat ‘Pelagic’ they fish charters from Stump Pass Marina in Englewood. They can be reached at (941) 374-1669


Page 25

By capt S teve S kevi ngton Water LIFE Offshore Fishing in our little section of the gulf this August has been everything it could be. With calm seas and hungry fish all but jumping in the boat. The Red Grouper bite has been even better than expected; we have seen several limits of these fish this August with most of them coming from 55 feet of water & deeper. Some Captains have all the luck. Capt Steve of the Drift fishing, and cut ladyfish Kingfisher Fleet, with a nice catch. were the trick if all you wanted was red & gag grouper, however there’s a lot of them around this time of anchoring-up and fishing frozen & live year and they are lot of fun to catch and shrimp on 1/0 size hooks has put hundreds even better on the table. of nice size lane snapper in the box all last Another fish that’s made a good showmonth, & with any luck at all we should ing this summer is the black tip shark. I do the same with bottom fishing all haven’t done a whole lot of this kind of through September . fishing this month, but friends are telling There have been plenty of one of my me the sharks are hanging out behind the personal favorite fish around here for the shrimp boats right at dawn, gobbling up last few months – the ‘saber-tooth grouper’ everything in sight including artificials. – otherwise known as barracuda. Now this If you decide to give this a shot keep an fish, unlike its not so close relatives the eye out for little tunny’s and black fin red & gag grouper, has no size limits on it tuna. and no closed seasons. Perhaps it’s their A 20 lb spinning rod with a 3oz jig is sheer numbers that keep them from being deadly on both these fish, just try not to federally managed, but whatever the case feed them to ‘jaws.’

Look at this lot in the upper-sailboat section of South Gulf Cove. It's only 10 minutes to the lock and you are on your way to the Myakka River, Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. $450,000. With a seawall in place, controlled water depth and million dollar homes in the area, it's the place to be in South Gulf Cove. Call Lowell at 941-661-5161

This property in the southern sailboat section of South Gulf Cove offers it all. Leave your dock and travel the Santa Cruz waterway to the Interceptor Lagoon. Enjoy the tranquility of the Bird Estuary and the lagoon on your way to the lock. No seawall is in place. This property offers all that Southwest Florida has to offer. $325,000 Call Nancy at 941-661-9737

Located in South Gulf Cove, this powerboat lot is already cleared and waiting for your dream home. Controlled water depth, great fishing, miles of canals to explore and easy access to the Myakka River, Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico makes this property right for you. $235,000 Call Noelle at 941-628-1584

Water LIFE

Page 26

Easy to Catch Fish in Charlotte Harbor

By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Inshore Editor My first introduction to fishing in Southwest Florida was on a guided fishing trip to the 10 Thousand Island area. We hooked several ladyfish that burned drag and jumped like crazy. Another trip to Clearwater and later on Estero Island, I again encountered the ladyfish. I was an experienced captain on vacation. My normal fishing grounds were the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries for stripers and largemouth bass and I was some kind of impressed with this fish. No one told me that it wasn’t really a game fish so I had a ball catching them on artificial lures. Of course, after many years of fishing sub-tropical waters you have a tendency to scow at this formidable adversary. Chasing redfish with lures all day and catching a few replaced throwing lures with explosive top water action- cast after cast. Does this make sense? Same goes for the Jack Crevalle. The jack readily strikes lures and pulls like crazy, so why is it that these easy to catch fish are ignored by the pros? Perhaps their too easy to catch but then again how nice is that. Here are some tips on lure fishing for Ladyfish and Jacks. After you’re tired of unhooking fish and you have a livewell full then we’ll talk about what to do next. Ladyfish can be found on the outside of the sandbars that run parallel to both the east side and west side of the harbor. Specifically on an outgoing tide you can set your boat adrift or run your trolling motor and cast until a school is located. I like to position the boat in 5-6 feet of water and troll towards the bank. This usually means that I am a quarter mile or more out in open water. Fish on the outside of the bar will mostly be ladyfish and an occasional jack. You will certainly catch plenty of bonus trout. I find the larger ladyfish on the west wall and some push 4 pounds this time of year. The east

side has lots of small fish which are perfect tarpon bait. The ladyfish are heavily schooled up this month and often you will have others following your hooked fish to the boat. You can fish fast wobbling spoons and I find a small silver spoon to be unbeatable. The Crocodile spoon is a killer. Sinking twitch baits by Mirrorlure are also fish candy. Pick any color with silver or gold and fish with a fast twitching motion. Rattletraps speed burned will get nailed with awesome aerial jumps. Lastly, any fast moving top water bait is fair game. Fast moving chuggers like the Chug Bug is great, Zara Spooks and very shallow lipped or lipless plugs will catch their share. The only problem is dealing with all of the treble hooks. To get around this if your really on them, rig a 1/4 oz. jig head and slide on a 4-inch plastic bait such as a Bass Assassin. Fish it fast with slight pauses and hang on. A single hook is easy to de-hook a fish with and believe me, the ladyfish will bleed or puke all over the boat when your messing with treble hooks. The key word in all the retrieves is fast. Basically, if your wrist doesn’t start to ache from the retrieve after 10 minutes of casting then you aren’t reeling fast enough. There are lots of free roaming ladyfish and jacks in the harbor. Small flocks of little white terns dipping the surface are a good sign in the distance. Idle in close enough to cast and you should be in business. I don’t know about you but sometimes fast action is a refreshing change to the intense pursuit of redfish and snook. As for locating jacks, they are really on the move and sudden eruptions either on the flats or in the canals signal this brute. The canal jack will be the largest with 7-12 pounders being pretty common. Fish the same lures on an outgoing tide in any PGI canal. In addition to catching jacks, ladyfish and trout with regularity there may be a few

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September 2005


The lures pictured are as follows: 1-Crocodile Spoon 2-Bass Assassin 3-Chug Bug 4-Rattletrap, 5-Mirrorlure Sinking Twitch Bait, 6-Zara Spook Note: A fish ripped off the rear hook on the Rattetrap. If you look closely you will see that most of these lures have been munched on quite a bit!

other surprises such as cobia, flounder bluefish and snapper. They are feeding in the same area and don’t be surprised if you hook a fish you can’t stop. So now you have a livewell full of lively ladyfish. You have two choices- go in shore on a high tide and bottom fish against the mangroves for redfish or turn your boat about face and head directly into the open harbor for tarpon. The final round of tarpon fishing ends this month and there will be some 100-150 pound fish around. The redfish season is hot and heavy with huge schools of big ones. The fishing technique for reds is easy. Cut the ladyfish into 1-2 inch chunks, place on a 3/0 hook with 30# leader and soak on the bottom in any fishy looking mangrove bush. Dice up handfuls of fish and pitch in the area for chum. You may have to fight off a few catfish but the redfish will come. For tarpon, rig a 25-pound class spinning outfit with 6 feet of 80-pound test leader with a 8/0 heavy bait hook. There are 2 approaches depending on your attitude. If the harbor is reasonably calm, I would idle large areas looking for rolling tarpon. Once spotted, ease into the area, hook the lady through the

lips and drop over the side. Slow troll with your trolling motor into the vicinity. You may also cast but your bait will wear down quickly in the warm water after several belly-flops upon casting. This method requires patience while you search the horizon for a sign. The second method is to blind troll with either the trolling motor or gas. If there is a stiff breeze you can also free-line the ladyfish behind the boat. This is laid back fishing but one take when a tarpon inhales that lady and you’re day has been made. Lastly, if you decided to keep some jacks they are notoriously good for shark. Fished whole or chunked in the deepest waters in the harbor with conventional bottom rigs, you should get some action. I consider the ladyfish a first cousin to the tarpon and the jack is a bluefish’s bad brother. So, if you want some easy catching on Charlotte Harbor give these tips a try and you will catch fish. It’s great for kids, the wife and even the seasoned fisherman.

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

Photos from the

Kids Cup

Richest Redfish Challenge and

Viewed and/or purchased on the internet at: Provided in conjunction with Water LIFE Magazine

September 2005

Water LIFE

PGSC Moonlight Race and Awards

By Bi l l Di xon Water LIFE Sailing Bill McCue, 1992 Punta Gorda Sailing Club Commodore raced seriously and held several other positions with the club. I never met him, but by all accounts he was a party guy. My kind of Irishman!! Anyway, he passed away and his widow wanted to memorialize him with a sail-racing trophy. The request was for a ‘good time’ event. So for the first annual Bill McCue Memorial, the PGSC board selected the Saturday, August 20 Moonlight Regatta, with a picnic in the park on Sunday August 21 for the awards ceremony. The Regatta was held under ideal conditions – wind and no lightning. Some boats spinnaker- reached the entire 16.8 miles. The turnout was excellent with 26 boats starting in 6 separate fleets. The winner of the McCue trophy was Dennis Peck in his nameless AMF 2100 racing in the spinnaker fleet. Other winners were: Non-spinnaker Blue Bayou, Roy Strelchun. Cruising 1, Ironic Breeze, Chuck Taylor. Cruising 2, Calista, Jack Ward. Novice, Dream Chaser, David Saemisch. Multihull, Millennium Dragon, Roger Strube. Several boats were reported with incorrect or no lights. (that’s running lights not Bud lights) Others had lights early, but the batteries gave out before the race ended. Come on y’all, Moonlight Regattas are always held at night. Better be ‘readier’ next year. Yes, there is a Moonlight Regatta scheduled for ‘06 we just don’t have the date yet! The awards picnic at Charlotte Beach Park on Sunday was also a huge success, with free hot dogs, many good side dishes, cold beverages, and lots of sailor talk. Amazing to me was the fact that it ended early and there was still beer left. All in all, it was a wonderful first annu-

Dennis Peck, the first recipient of the Bill McCue trophy.

al Bill McCue memorial. I am sure next year’s will be bigger and better, because everyone who raced or picnicked had a great time and they will be talking it up. Fall sailing season starts this month. September 17 and 18, the Community Sailing Center in partnership with PGSC and the YMCA Bayfront Center is hosting a Sunfish Regional Championship. They expect 30 to 40 sunfish from out of town plus several local sunfish sailors to compete for the right to enter the Sunfish World Championship. The regatta will be held off Gilchrist Park on both Saturday and Sunday. Call Dennis Peck 627-6650 for info. Also, Sunday the 18 the fall big boat series starts. Call Jerry Haller 505-0499


Page 27

Page 28

Someone Could Get Killed

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Editor We arrived early at Fishermen's Village to check out the opening of the scales at the Pirate Redfish Tournament. As we expected, there were already boats at the dock. We made small talk with Pirate weighmaster Jerry Cleffi who said his submersible pump had quit and now had no way to fill the resuscitation tank. Having a suitable replacement at my dock across the river I offered to go get it. We idled out of the marina, into the channel and popped up on plane. Coming out of the channel we saw two jet skis doing doughnuts around each other in the familiar reckless way that we more often than not see jet skis operating. We were the boat on the right, exiting the channel and had the right of way, but as one ski came around in a tight turn he hit the wake of the other ski and lost control, angling off at 90 degrees and now pointing straight at our boat. Then instead of backing off, the ski driver opened the throttle and blasted straight at us. ‘Hang on,’ I said to my passengers – there was no way to stop. The only hope we had was to get past him. Luckily we were still trimmed under and our big 200 Merc. got a good bite in the water, pushing us ahead as the jet ski passed within a foot of our prop. I almost continued on, until my wife said “Oh! You're not going to go back there, are you?” But, yes I was. I turned around and came up along side the ski. ‘I couldn't see,’ was the ski driver’s feeble reply. ‘So you gunned it?’ I


Water LIFE

said. He was clearly shaken as well. We went and got the pump and returned to the Village, only to find the same skis doing doughnuts again right at the head of the Fishermen's Village channel. This was a heavy boat traffic day with a hurricane party and raft up at Gilchrist Park and two tournaments – one at Laishley Park and the other at Fishermen’s Village– all going on. I've haven’t said much about jet ski drivers for a while, but guys like this ruin it for everyone. I believe this was a rented ski from a local boat rental business. We went over there and the owner told me she instructs all renters to stay clear of other vessels by at least 300 feet. That's good advice, but that's all it is, advice. You got the money you can rent a jet ski, or a boat for that matter. No experience? No problem. No brains? No worry. Perhaps it's time to re-think the way we put rental vessels out on the water, what we require of them and how they are supervised if they are unexperienced. Back in the early 80's Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson had the money to buy a new jet plane. He got certified by the salesman who sold him the jet and the day after he got his license he went out and killed himself. Money does not buy common sense, and money can't save the terminally stupid. Powerful vessels, are not what we should be renting to inexperienced idiots, or even experienced idiots for that matter. It may not be long before someone gets killed around here.

Bar Hopping in Lemon Bay


By Merry Beth Ryan Water LIFE Englewood It’s still dark. The water is slick calm. The stillness of the morning is slowly but surely passing us by. Pelican’s as well as the Osprey’s are in flight looking for breakfast as the sun rises, dolphin are frolicking off in the distance. Everything is coming alive. As we idle past Stump Pass Marina in search of bait it does not take long to spot some birds working an area nearby that holds bait. Birds are a great indicator that bait fish are near by. After cast netting a few hundred live minnows, off we went to fish the oyster and sand bars in hopes of landing a few fish. The water clarity is better than we expected after all the red tide scares and rainy run off. At idle speed we passed through the Tom Adams bridge heading north to our ‘secret spots.’ Places where a deep oyster bar edge holds fish. The same places that some local anglers pass by on a daily basis. Here. at one time or another, we have held our lines slack with a hooked fish at the other end as we allowed boat traffic to pass by. Those days are pretty well gone. Where ever your ‘secret’ hole is, one thing is for certain, someone has already fished it before and others will fish it later. There are many area’s to the north of Tom Adams bridge that look so fishy you will not be able to resist casting to those spots. This time of the year, it is best to get out early and come in early to avoid the heat of the summer. Oyster bars as well as sand bars are home to some of the best game fish Florida has to offer. Redfish, snook and trout are the big three that frequently can be found there waiting to attack their prey. I can already feel my adrenaline rising. Seeing the ‘push off’s’ and the tails in the air I am ready to wet my line. I like to be very still and quiet when fishing skinny water. Fish in short water tend to be skittish, a noise from the boat could send the fish off in an instance. One of my favorite ways of fishing is sight casting to the fish. Being able to present a bait just perfectly and getting that fish to bite it is what it’s all about. We chummed the area by tossing a few minnows into the water and then waiting to see or hear a fish explode on it. There were a few redfish tailing within casting distance. But after hearing that first snook engulf one of the chum baits I quickly focused my attention on him. Fish on! A nice snook, although it was still catch and release while fishing in August. Snook are still one of my favorite fish to catch. This month they are fair game. Later I decide to try a Mirrolure. I

September 2005

have always preferred live bait, but there are times artificial baits will work just as well, depending on the conditions we are presented with. I toss a pretty top water green Mirrolure a few times before getting my first strike. Another healthy snook. We snap a photo or two and release the fish quickly back into the water. Watching a fish explode on a top water lure is as good as it gets. With a live bait the minnow does most of the work for you, but you have to be patient when tossing artificials. We tend to either work a lure too fast or too slow. The more practice you get with artificial bait the more confidence you will gain and the closer you come to doing it just right. Vary your retrieve and experiment if you’re not getting hits. After spending a half hour or so catching snook we decide to try our luck on the redfish that were teasing us in the

distance. Redfish have a hard nose and often are rooting up crustaceans on the bottom to feed on. These broad shouldered bronze beauties are sometimes hard to see while they are up on the sand or near an oyster bar unless they are tailing. As the tide starts to drop off, especially when the water is hot, redfish will move away from an oyster bar or a sand bar and look for deeper water. After the tide bottoms out and starts coming in the fish will move back up into the skinny water. This is when sight fishing for them becomes a plan. On this fishing outing we had the right conditions, making it easier for us to toss our baits to a single fish. Redfish feed on crabs and shrimp mostly so I decided to toss a live shrimp. As I was working my bait back slowly I felt a fish grab it and turn with it. Reds will shake their head from side to side alerting the angler. The school of reds we found were feeding. Typically redfish move into the shallow water to feed. If their tail is up their head is down looking for something to eat. As the morning went on we caught several nice redfish and were even were able to get some trout to bite on a nearby grassy flat using some of the smaller minnows we had in the well. The trout put the finishing touch on our slam for the day. Not a bad day on the water considering we were home by lunch time.

BUILDING This New House Part 4

September 2005

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE editor My fingernails are impeccably clean, a rewarding benefit of scratching in the dirt all day. I am tired. Its been a month of digging in the morning, rain in the afternoon, going home to get some rest, getting up early and doing it all again. At least I'm sleeping good, but I'm getting to be too old to be doing this on a regular basis. Luckily I am not working alone. We received a successful inspection of our foundations. Then concrete became the problem. Our foundation guy had promised concrete two days after inspection. It didn’t happen. We called and he said his ‘man’ at the concrete plant was on vacation. We called again, he didn’t answer. Then he stopped answering our phone calls altogether. I called him from my wife’s phone and he answered. “I’ll call right now and call you back in ten minutes,” he said, but he didn’t. We dumped him and started looking for another guy. It’s the way things are going in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. No call backs, excuses and broken promises. Time means nothing. Deals are made to be broken. Katrina will only make the labor scene worse in the coming months. I'm thankful we're not living in a trailer like my next door neighbor Ronnie. Ronnie has a head start on us, his concrete work is already done and he is now moving into the framing stage. But Ronnie waited two weeks for his framers to show up. Everyone is waiting for something. We have heard stories of people now looking for builders to construct their new homes and we have heard prices ranging from $300,000- to over $500,000 for a 2500 square foot house. These are ridiculous numbers considering a year ago you could build for a third of that. The local level of unconscionable price gouging is enormous. That's why we are building our own house. We can't afford to do it any other way. What happened to the Governor and the state and their promises of penalizing unfair practices in the wake of the hurricane?

Water LIFE



Page 29


Another part of the problem is a little known alliance between the insurance industry and the Small Business Administration. The SBA was quick on the scene with cheap loans when the storms hit. They offered low interest rates and a lot of people signed up. But, as we have found out from our lawyer, there was a catch. When you take an SBA loan you give up your rights to the insurance proceeds and you give up your right to sue the insurance company if they don’t pay you what they are supposed to. Insurance companies, according to our lawyer, know this very well, and as soon as they see you have taken an SBA loan they know they are free to ‘readjust’ your claim because the SBA seldom if ever perseus them. “The SBA is intentionally letting the insurance companies off the hook,” our lawyer told us. Tower Hill, our carrier, settled with us on our house and contents and then when it came time to pay us for our ‘ordinance and law’ and ‘demolition’ coverage, they backpedaled and said they were not going to pay because they had recomputed our claim. They owed us over $40,000, but only sent us a check for $10,000. We called a lawyer. We filed a grievance with the state insurance commission and waited the requisite 60 days for them to respond. We heard nothing, our private adjuster heard nothing, the 60 days elapsed. We thought we had a shot at suing them for breach of contract and opening the door for a damage suit. But there appears to be yet another unspoken wrinkle in the process, one only known well by insurance lawyers. You don’t get notified whether the insurance company responds or doesn’t. “The insurance commissioner does not really protect the consumers of this state,” our lawyer told us. Currently there are 40,000 insurance claims in the state that still have not been settled. The insurance commissioner’s office is overwhelmed with notices filed from the 2004 storms. That’s not my problem...but now it is. So now we are faced with yet another dilemma. We have not drawn any money from our SBA loan yet, so we could

We have now fired our first concrete contractor and hired another, who got the concrete for us the very next day.

cancel the loan, there by opening the door to suing the insurance company for the money they still owe us, but if we come up short we might need to borrow money to finish our house. Will the interest on a new loan exceed $34,000? Our lawyer advised: “What you want to do is see how much meat is left on the bone (money remaining that could be collected from the insurance company) and then weigh your options.” It doesn’t get easier, it only gets more

Page 30

Water LIFE


September 2005

Augustʼs Fishing Forecast

Charlotte Harbor

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

A lot of the near shore reefs up near Tampa were cleaned off from hurricane Dennis so the passage of hurricane Katrina had to do something to perhaps clean up the dead zone in the Gulf. Little Gasparilla Pass is now six or eight degrees colder than it was just before the storm. That and the turbulence should have put more oxygen in the water which in turn should get the fish really fired up. It’s going to be a toss up between snook and redfish as which will be number one target this month. Lets start

with the redfi sh. They should still be along the Intracoastal Waterway and from Pine Island all the way up to Stump Pass where there should be very good fishing. Along the bushes and in the sandholes, the reds should be abundant. It just depends how you want to hunt them. There should be schools and individual fish, it just depends if you want to sit in one spot or move around. The baits of choice for any of them would be shrimp as the first choice or live pinfish. Pinfish are getting bigger as the month goes on and I prefer, personally, to peg them down with a split shot or a small jig, co nti nued o n the fo l l o wi ng pag e

Early morning is still the best time for fishing as Cindy Jackson shows, with this nice August catch & release snook.

September 2005

Fishing Report Continued from facing page


Water LIFE


Septemberʼs Septemberʼs Target Target Species Species

wade fishing will be phenomenal this whole month. The rains should subside and the water clarity should get better. Fishing topwater plugs in the morning should REDFISH are schooling up SNOOK now keeper fish in TARPON Late season tarSHARKS are feeding on the be incredible, but it requires and heading for the passes Sept. and they are biting pon fishing is very good ladyfish when they can. stealthiness because the fish are going to be a little spooky. first place. The bait or lure of choice, which is the should be good too and might be some cobi a as S harks usually would be a problem wade fishing thing I know of that catches them a this time well. only at this time, but recently they have not been This morning the air was so hot I figured that of year, is the D.O.A. Baitbuster. The next choice around. Once a week I am used to hearing about the ground water had to still be hot too. I wouldn’t would be a ladyfish and preferably a live one. six foot bulls or a bl ackti ps. This usually this doubt there are still some tarpon up in the harbor September is a good month to start looking for time of year you could anchor up at Marker No. 2 right now and I heard there were nice grouper offtri pl e tai l in the harbor. Water clarity might be a and catch 15 or 20 of them. I don’t know what’s but the guys that told me were way over shore, but blind-casting to the channel markers problem, happening. It’s been very inconsistent for sharks their limit with the new restrictions on grouper in and the crab trap buoys will work. Generally at this year. force now. There are still plenty of sharks down this time, early in the season, larger fish in the 10 S nook fishing has been, and will get, better at Boca Grande. Some of the shore-bound fisherpound range are fairly common. It’s a patience over this whole month. A lot of nice slot-size fish men casting out big mullet or small rays have game. There’s no instant gratification when fishing are being caught down at Placida and at Boca been catching sharks along the big pass right now. for triple tail. Grande in the Intracoastal area. Snook catches Hopefully fishing will pick up for the weekend Mangrove snapper fishing will get better as brought in to the Flatsmasters Tournament should now that snook season is open. the water cools a little bit. The fish will move be interesting this month. Night fishing is the into the passes, if they have not already, and will best for the larger fish and Placida Trestle is the Stump Pass & the Gulf migrate up into the Port Charlotte and PGI canals. best choice. But I personally like Boca Grande Aaron at S tump Pass There should be an increase of them at the El where it’s quieter and there are less people. A lot of Mari na 697-2206 Jobean and US 41 bridges as the river water starts snook have already moved off the beaches and into There are a lot of redi sh in north Lemon Bay to flow a little less. Baitfish will move in this the harbor. Guys are catching them in Bull and around the mangroves and on the flats at high tide. month and as the salinity gets higher basically Turtle Bay and in the deeper potholes in that area. S nook are starting to come off the beaches and fishing for all the species will start to get better as Those fish will start migrating up the harbor and move towards the flats – high tide is best for that. September comes to an end. snook fishing will get better and better up and There is a lot of whi tebai t, pi nfi sh, sardi nes down the east and west side. The bait of choice for Lemon Bay and threadfi ns coming in now. The day of the those fish, because they are coming out of the Ji m at Fi shermen’s Edge storm the baits were all up in the channels and the spawn and want to fatten up is pinfish. Shrimp or Engl ewood: 697-7595 fish were just ripping into them. The entire white bait would be my second choice. This is the slowest stretch of business I’ve ever Lemon Bay area was a feeding frenzy. There are It’s been an unusual early fall run for tarpon, seen. It’s been even slower than after Charley. bl uefi sh and spani sh mackerel in Stump and Generally you’d be catching a lot of fish in the 80 There is little white bait around. Some guys have Gasparilla a Pass as well as some pompano. to 100 pound range, but now they are considerably caught redfi sh scattered around in the back counOffshore, there are schools of boni ta eating small smaller. There have been an abundance of tarpon try and there was quite a bunch of snook along sardines and the yel l owtai l in the 85 to 115 foot between 10 to 40 pounds and unusually a lot of the beach and in ski alley right before Katrina depths have been really good. Grouper are in them are being caught up close to the mangroves the 115 to 120 foot depths, but are starting to passed. If things return to normal, spani sh as opposed to out in the open harbor. The US 41 slow down. Permi t on the wrecks are not any mackerel will start showing up and there will bridge traditionally holds a lot of nice tarpon at good any more, which is a bummer because it still be some snapper around. The snook fishing this time until the first cold snap. There will still be a few larger ones around, but so far they have been considerably smaller, which in a way is nice LAKE CHARLES, La. --- The official record book will reflect a 2-pound winning margin.Guthrie (Jacksonville, because they are also considerably more acrobatic. Fla.) and Murphy (Homestead, Fla.) weighed in two fish totaling 13.31 pounds to take The other advantage to the smaller fish is there home the $40,000 top prize in the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup, at Chalmette Louisiana. A will be less mortality on them since too many little more than 2 pounds behind them were Mike Friday (Naples, Fla.) and Dan Latham anglers target them with too light tackle in the (Punta Gorda, Fla.) in second with 11.29 pounds.

Danny Latham & Mike Friday Take Second

Trip to the Middle Grounds 3 day offshore fishing trip October 23-24-25 Call or stop in at Fishin Franks 625-3888

Limited to 32 people


Powered by

n Sept 3: Laishley Marine & Good Shepherd Day School's Richest Redfish Challenge $600 per two man team. Top Place pays $25,000, Harpoon Harry's, Fishermans Village. Proceeds to benefit school expansion. 941-639-5454 n Sept 8-10: lled a Oh Boy! e c n i n Ca Katr Oberto Redfish to e du Cup at Clearwater.


n Sept 17: Flatsmaster Red Snook Challenge, Harpoon Harrys, Punta Gorda. 6280702

n Sept 21: Simple fishing for Redfish, seminat at West Marine Port Charlotte with Capt. Jay Withers, 5:30 p.m.

n Sept 24 & Oct: 1 Venice Sail and Power Squadron Boat Smart Class, 12:00 PM. Must attend both ses-


sions. Class is held at the Waymire Training Center 1450 Lucaya Ave. Venice. Cost $35.00 per student or $55.00 for a couple sharing the same student manual. A continental breakfast is served at each session. To register and receive a student manual call 941-485-7245 leave your name and number.

n Sept 30: Ranger Redfish Tour Tournament, Port

Send us your event calendar information via e-mail:

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just OK


Water LIFE Sept 2005  
Water LIFE Sept 2005  

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